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Atheism is a belief

dylancatlow
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7/20/2018 3:33:15 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Most atheists hold that atheism is not a belief but only the lack of belief in any God. If this were really the case, then atheism would also have to be defined as a lack of belief in the nonexistence of God, which would make it completely synonymous with agnosticism. For atheism to be "not a belief", it must ascribe equal probability to the existence/nonexistence of God. If an atheist strays from the default position by claiming that God "probably" doesn't exist, he is making a claim about the world, and his insistence that the claim is true (or at least more reasonable than its opposite) means we are dealing with a belief.

Now, some atheists will claim that the term atheism is indeed just a synonym for agnosticism, but this is ridiculous. This would mean that the term "atheism" could just as well be written as "a-godless-worldism", or even "a-atheism". If it's just the default position, there's no reason to define it as an absence of a belief in God (theism) anymore than an absence of a belief in the nonexistence of God. The fact that it's defined *only* in juxtaposition to theism means that it is not a symmetric position like agnosticism, and implies that those who identify with atheism are more on the side of God's nonexistence than His existence.

The most sensible classification system is the following:

"Convinced atheist" for those who are (or are almost) 100 percent certain God does not exist.
"Atheist" for those who think God's existence is somewhere between unlikely and very unlikely.
"Agnostic" for those who truly are on the fence.
"Theist" for those who think God's existence is somewhere between likely and very likely.
"Convinced theist" for those who are (or are almost) 100 percent certain that God does exist.

The term "agnostic atheist" should be eliminated altogether.
SecularMerlin
Posts: 7,228
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7/20/2018 4:32:42 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 7/20/2018 3:33:15 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
Most atheists hold that atheism is not a belief but only the lack of belief in any God. If this were really the case, then atheism would also have to be defined as a lack of belief in the nonexistence of God, which would make it completely synonymous with agnosticism. For atheism to be "not a belief", it must ascribe equal probability to the existence/nonexistence of God. If an atheist strays from the default position by claiming that God "probably" doesn't exist, he is making a claim about the world, and his insistence that the claim is true (or at least more reasonable than its opposite) means we are dealing with a belief.

Now, some atheists will claim that the term atheism is indeed just a synonym for agnosticism, but this is ridiculous. This would mean that the term "atheism" could just as well be written as "a-godless-worldism", or even "a-atheism". If it's just the default position, there's no reason to define it as an absence of a belief in God (theism) anymore than an absence of a belief in the nonexistence of God. The fact that it's defined *only* in juxtaposition to theism means that it is not a symmetric position like agnosticism, and implies that those who identify with atheism are more on the side of God's nonexistence than His existence.

The most sensible classification system is the following:

"Convinced atheist" for those who are (or are almost) 100 percent certain God does not exist.
"Atheist" for those who think God's existence is somewhere between unlikely and very unlikely.
"Agnostic" for those who truly are on the fence.
"Theist" for those who think God's existence is somewhere between likely and very likely.
"Convinced theist" for those who are (or are almost) 100 percent certain that God does exist.

The term "agnostic atheist" should be eliminated altogether.

I am an agnostic atheist. I do not believe in any god(s) for the same reason that I do not believe in Russell's flying tea pot. I am unable to maintain a belief in the absence of evidence. The default position is skepticism.
The only true wisdom lies in knowing that you know nothing.
-Socrates

Imagination is the only weapon in the war against reality
-Lewis Carrol
dylancatlow
Posts: 13,530
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7/20/2018 4:38:18 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 7/20/2018 4:32:42 PM, SecularMerlin wrote:
At 7/20/2018 3:33:15 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
Most atheists hold that atheism is not a belief but only the lack of belief in any God. If this were really the case, then atheism would also have to be defined as a lack of belief in the nonexistence of God, which would make it completely synonymous with agnosticism. For atheism to be "not a belief", it must ascribe equal probability to the existence/nonexistence of God. If an atheist strays from the default position by claiming that God "probably" doesn't exist, he is making a claim about the world, and his insistence that the claim is true (or at least more reasonable than its opposite) means we are dealing with a belief.

Now, some atheists will claim that the term atheism is indeed just a synonym for agnosticism, but this is ridiculous. This would mean that the term "atheism" could just as well be written as "a-godless-worldism", or even "a-atheism". If it's just the default position, there's no reason to define it as an absence of a belief in God (theism) anymore than an absence of a belief in the nonexistence of God. The fact that it's defined *only* in juxtaposition to theism means that it is not a symmetric position like agnosticism, and implies that those who identify with atheism are more on the side of God's nonexistence than His existence.

The most sensible classification system is the following:

"Convinced atheist" for those who are (or are almost) 100 percent certain God does not exist.
"Atheist" for those who think God's existence is somewhere between unlikely and very unlikely.
"Agnostic" for those who truly are on the fence.
"Theist" for those who think God's existence is somewhere between likely and very likely.
"Convinced theist" for those who are (or are almost) 100 percent certain that God does exist.

The term "agnostic atheist" should be eliminated altogether.

I am an agnostic atheist. I do not believe in any god(s) for the same reason that I do not believe in Russell's flying tea pot. I am unable to maintain a belief in the absence of evidence. The default position is skepticism.

Why do you need to attach "agnostic" to "atheism"? Do you attach that label to every one of your positions that you're unsure of?
dylancatlow
Posts: 13,530
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7/20/2018 4:43:55 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
"I am unable to maintain a belief in the absence of evidence. The default position is skepticism."

False. Due to the "absence of evidence", you have strayed from the default position and ascribe a lower than 50 percent chance to God's existence. This is clearly a belief. You believe there is no evidence for God's existence, and that this means there is a lower than 50 percent chance of His existence. If this is not what you think, then you're not an atheist.
SecularMerlin
Posts: 7,228
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7/20/2018 4:53:12 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 7/20/2018 4:38:18 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
At 7/20/2018 4:32:42 PM, SecularMerlin wrote:
At 7/20/2018 3:33:15 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
Most atheists hold that atheism is not a belief but only the lack of belief in any God. If this were really the case, then atheism would also have to be defined as a lack of belief in the nonexistence of God, which would make it completely synonymous with agnosticism. For atheism to be "not a belief", it must ascribe equal probability to the existence/nonexistence of God. If an atheist strays from the default position by claiming that God "probably" doesn't exist, he is making a claim about the world, and his insistence that the claim is true (or at least more reasonable than its opposite) means we are dealing with a belief.

Now, some atheists will claim that the term atheism is indeed just a synonym for agnosticism, but this is ridiculous. This would mean that the term "atheism" could just as well be written as "a-godless-worldism", or even "a-atheism". If it's just the default position, there's no reason to define it as an absence of a belief in God (theism) anymore than an absence of a belief in the nonexistence of God. The fact that it's defined *only* in juxtaposition to theism means that it is not a symmetric position like agnosticism, and implies that those who identify with atheism are more on the side of God's nonexistence than His existence.

The most sensible classification system is the following:

"Convinced atheist" for those who are (or are almost) 100 percent certain God does not exist.
"Atheist" for those who think God's existence is somewhere between unlikely and very unlikely.
"Agnostic" for those who truly are on the fence.
"Theist" for those who think God's existence is somewhere between likely and very likely.
"Convinced theist" for those who are (or are almost) 100 percent certain that God does exist.

The term "agnostic atheist" should be eliminated altogether.

I am an agnostic atheist. I do not believe in any god(s) for the same reason that I do not believe in Russell's flying tea pot. I am unable to maintain a belief in the absence of evidence. The default position is skepticism.

Why do you need to attach "agnostic" to "atheism"? Do you attach that label to every one of your positions that you're unsure of?

I could and it would not be untrue. In this case however it stems from the fact that there are gnostic and agnostic atheists and gnostic and agnostic theists. Atheism/theism refers to belief and gnosticism/agnosticism refers to knowledge, or at least the claim of knowledge. Saying I am an agnostic does not actually tell you if I am an atheist or a theist. While we are on the subject of unorthodox beliefs there are also religious atheists and nonreligious theists.
The only true wisdom lies in knowing that you know nothing.
-Socrates

Imagination is the only weapon in the war against reality
-Lewis Carrol
SecularMerlin
Posts: 7,228
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7/20/2018 5:01:43 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 7/20/2018 4:43:55 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
"I am unable to maintain a belief in the absence of evidence. The default position is skepticism."

False. Due to the "absence of evidence", you have strayed from the default position and ascribe a lower than 50 percent chance to God's existence. This is clearly a belief. You believe there is no evidence for God's existence, and that this means there is a lower than 50 percent chance of His existence. If this is not what you think, then you're not an atheist.

If I believed in all claims for which there is no evidence then I would end up believing in many contradictory ideas. In order to avoid this my default position is skepticism skepticism does not assign a "50 percent chance" to anything. I personally feel that nothing has a "50 percent chance" of anything. Either there is a one hundred percent chance (i.e. it is true) or a zero percent chance (i.e. it is not true) for every claim. This is the case even if we cannot determine which category a particular claim falls under.
The only true wisdom lies in knowing that you know nothing.
-Socrates

Imagination is the only weapon in the war against reality
-Lewis Carrol
dylancatlow
Posts: 13,530
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7/20/2018 5:04:06 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 7/20/2018 4:53:12 PM, SecularMerlin wrote:
At 7/20/2018 4:38:18 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
At 7/20/2018 4:32:42 PM, SecularMerlin wrote:
At 7/20/2018 3:33:15 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
Most atheists hold that atheism is not a belief but only the lack of belief in any God. If this were really the case, then atheism would also have to be defined as a lack of belief in the nonexistence of God, which would make it completely synonymous with agnosticism. For atheism to be "not a belief", it must ascribe equal probability to the existence/nonexistence of God. If an atheist strays from the default position by claiming that God "probably" doesn't exist, he is making a claim about the world, and his insistence that the claim is true (or at least more reasonable than its opposite) means we are dealing with a belief.

Now, some atheists will claim that the term atheism is indeed just a synonym for agnosticism, but this is ridiculous. This would mean that the term "atheism" could just as well be written as "a-godless-worldism", or even "a-atheism". If it's just the default position, there's no reason to define it as an absence of a belief in God (theism) anymore than an absence of a belief in the nonexistence of God. The fact that it's defined *only* in juxtaposition to theism means that it is not a symmetric position like agnosticism, and implies that those who identify with atheism are more on the side of God's nonexistence than His existence.

The most sensible classification system is the following:

"Convinced atheist" for those who are (or are almost) 100 percent certain God does not exist.
"Atheist" for those who think God's existence is somewhere between unlikely and very unlikely.
"Agnostic" for those who truly are on the fence.
"Theist" for those who think God's existence is somewhere between likely and very likely.
"Convinced theist" for those who are (or are almost) 100 percent certain that God does exist.

The term "agnostic atheist" should be eliminated altogether.

I am an agnostic atheist. I do not believe in any god(s) for the same reason that I do not believe in Russell's flying tea pot. I am unable to maintain a belief in the absence of evidence. The default position is skepticism.

Why do you need to attach "agnostic" to "atheism"? Do you attach that label to every one of your positions that you're unsure of?

I could and it would not be untrue. In this case however it stems from the fact that there are gnostic and agnostic atheists and gnostic and agnostic theists. Atheism/theism refers to belief and gnosticism/agnosticism refers to knowledge, or at least the claim of knowledge. Saying I am an agnostic does not actually tell you if I am an atheist or a theist. While we are on the subject of unorthodox beliefs there are also religious atheists and nonreligious theists.

So then an agnostic atheist is someone who believes there's no God but has no reason to think so?

Yes, I know what you really mean. You mean that an agnostic atheist is someone who suspects or behaves as if there's no God but isn't certain of it. They have *some* reason for thinking God doesn't exist, but they lack *hard proof* of God's nonexistence. But since there is no implication that someone who calls themselves an atheist is absolutely certain of their position, you might as well just drop the "agnostic" modifier and call yourself an atheist, and those minority of atheists who are absolutely certain can call themselves "convinced atheists".
dylancatlow
Posts: 13,530
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7/20/2018 5:09:30 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 7/20/2018 5:01:43 PM, SecularMerlin wrote:
At 7/20/2018 4:43:55 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
"I am unable to maintain a belief in the absence of evidence. The default position is skepticism."

False. Due to the "absence of evidence", you have strayed from the default position and ascribe a lower than 50 percent chance to God's existence. This is clearly a belief. You believe there is no evidence for God's existence, and that this means there is a lower than 50 percent chance of His existence. If this is not what you think, then you're not an atheist.

If I believed in all claims for which there is no evidence then I would end up believing in many contradictory ideas. In order to avoid this my default position is skepticism skepticism does not assign a "50 percent chance" to anything. I personally feel that nothing has a "50 percent chance" of anything. Either there is a one hundred percent chance (i.e. it is true) or a zero percent chance (i.e. it is not true) for every claim. This is the case even if we cannot determine which category a particular claim falls under.

If you're unsure whether something has a 100 percent chance of being true or a 0 percent chance, then treating them as equally likely means you ascribe a 50 percent chance to that something being true. That's the only way to say it's as likely to be false as it is to be true.
SecularMerlin
Posts: 7,228
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7/20/2018 5:13:17 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 7/20/2018 5:04:06 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
At 7/20/2018 4:53:12 PM, SecularMerlin wrote:
At 7/20/2018 4:38:18 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
At 7/20/2018 4:32:42 PM, SecularMerlin wrote:
At 7/20/2018 3:33:15 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
Most atheists hold that atheism is not a belief but only the lack of belief in any God. If this were really the case, then atheism would also have to be defined as a lack of belief in the nonexistence of God, which would make it completely synonymous with agnosticism. For atheism to be "not a belief", it must ascribe equal probability to the existence/nonexistence of God. If an atheist strays from the default position by claiming that God "probably" doesn't exist, he is making a claim about the world, and his insistence that the claim is true (or at least more reasonable than its opposite) means we are dealing with a belief.

Now, some atheists will claim that the term atheism is indeed just a synonym for agnosticism, but this is ridiculous. This would mean that the term "atheism" could just as well be written as "a-godless-worldism", or even "a-atheism". If it's just the default position, there's no reason to define it as an absence of a belief in God (theism) anymore than an absence of a belief in the nonexistence of God. The fact that it's defined *only* in juxtaposition to theism means that it is not a symmetric position like agnosticism, and implies that those who identify with atheism are more on the side of God's nonexistence than His existence.

The most sensible classification system is the following:

"Convinced atheist" for those who are (or are almost) 100 percent certain God does not exist.
"Atheist" for those who think God's existence is somewhere between unlikely and very unlikely.
"Agnostic" for those who truly are on the fence.
"Theist" for those who think God's existence is somewhere between likely and very likely.
"Convinced theist" for those who are (or are almost) 100 percent certain that God does exist.

The term "agnostic atheist" should be eliminated altogether.

I am an agnostic atheist. I do not believe in any god(s) for the same reason that I do not believe in Russell's flying tea pot. I am unable to maintain a belief in the absence of evidence. The default position is skepticism.

Why do you need to attach "agnostic" to "atheism"? Do you attach that label to every one of your positions that you're unsure of?

I could and it would not be untrue. In this case however it stems from the fact that there are gnostic and agnostic atheists and gnostic and agnostic theists. Atheism/theism refers to belief and gnosticism/agnosticism refers to knowledge, or at least the claim of knowledge. Saying I am an agnostic does not actually tell you if I am an atheist or a theist. While we are on the subject of unorthodox beliefs there are also religious atheists and nonreligious theists.

So then an agnostic atheist is someone who believes there's no God but has no reason to think so?

Yes, I know what you really mean. You mean that an agnostic atheist is someone who suspects or behaves as if there's no God but isn't certain of it. They have *some* reason for thinking God doesn't exist, but they lack *hard proof* of God's nonexistence. But since there is no implication that someone who calls themselves an atheist is absolutely certain of their position, you might as well just drop the "agnostic" modifier and call yourself an atheist, and those minority of atheists who are absolutely certain can call themselves "convinced atheists".

We could use that terminology for the purposes of this discussion but popular usage will remain unchanged and you still have agnostic theists to spread your message to. Or you could simply accept popular usage as you have already admitted that you know what I really mean and expressing meaning is the only purpose of language.
The only true wisdom lies in knowing that you know nothing.
-Socrates

Imagination is the only weapon in the war against reality
-Lewis Carrol
dylancatlow
Posts: 13,530
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7/20/2018 5:24:20 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 7/20/2018 5:13:17 PM, SecularMerlin wrote:
At 7/20/2018 5:04:06 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
At 7/20/2018 4:53:12 PM, SecularMerlin wrote:
At 7/20/2018 4:38:18 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
At 7/20/2018 4:32:42 PM, SecularMerlin wrote:
At 7/20/2018 3:33:15 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
Most atheists hold that atheism is not a belief but only the lack of belief in any God. If this were really the case, then atheism would also have to be defined as a lack of belief in the nonexistence of God, which would make it completely synonymous with agnosticism. For atheism to be "not a belief", it must ascribe equal probability to the existence/nonexistence of God. If an atheist strays from the default position by claiming that God "probably" doesn't exist, he is making a claim about the world, and his insistence that the claim is true (or at least more reasonable than its opposite) means we are dealing with a belief.

Now, some atheists will claim that the term atheism is indeed just a synonym for agnosticism, but this is ridiculous. This would mean that the term "atheism" could just as well be written as "a-godless-worldism", or even "a-atheism". If it's just the default position, there's no reason to define it as an absence of a belief in God (theism) anymore than an absence of a belief in the nonexistence of God. The fact that it's defined *only* in juxtaposition to theism means that it is not a symmetric position like agnosticism, and implies that those who identify with atheism are more on the side of God's nonexistence than His existence.

The most sensible classification system is the following:

"Convinced atheist" for those who are (or are almost) 100 percent certain God does not exist.
"Atheist" for those who think God's existence is somewhere between unlikely and very unlikely.
"Agnostic" for those who truly are on the fence.
"Theist" for those who think God's existence is somewhere between likely and very likely.
"Convinced theist" for those who are (or are almost) 100 percent certain that God does exist.

The term "agnostic atheist" should be eliminated altogether.

I am an agnostic atheist. I do not believe in any god(s) for the same reason that I do not believe in Russell's flying tea pot. I am unable to maintain a belief in the absence of evidence. The default position is skepticism.

Why do you need to attach "agnostic" to "atheism"? Do you attach that label to every one of your positions that you're unsure of?

I could and it would not be untrue. In this case however it stems from the fact that there are gnostic and agnostic atheists and gnostic and agnostic theists. Atheism/theism refers to belief and gnosticism/agnosticism refers to knowledge, or at least the claim of knowledge. Saying I am an agnostic does not actually tell you if I am an atheist or a theist. While we are on the subject of unorthodox beliefs there are also religious atheists and nonreligious theists.

So then an agnostic atheist is someone who believes there's no God but has no reason to think so?

Yes, I know what you really mean. You mean that an agnostic atheist is someone who suspects or behaves as if there's no God but isn't certain of it. They have *some* reason for thinking God doesn't exist, but they lack *hard proof* of God's nonexistence. But since there is no implication that someone who calls themselves an atheist is absolutely certain of their position, you might as well just drop the "agnostic" modifier and call yourself an atheist, and those minority of atheists who are absolutely certain can call themselves "convinced atheists".

We could use that terminology for the purposes of this discussion but popular usage will remain unchanged and you still have agnostic theists to spread your message to. Or you could simply accept popular usage as you have already admitted that you know what I really mean and expressing meaning is the only purpose of language.

I object to your usage of language. Most of those calling themselves "agnostic atheists" are not agnostics at all, but actively believe in the nonexistence of God. Why should they get to call themselves "agnostic" when they are taking a position just like any other? It reinforces the notion that atheists have no burden of proof, when they obviously do. Moreover, atheists use this as a way to get true agnostics to align themselves with atheists, since no religious person uses the "agnostic" modifier when referring to themselves. The reason atheists insist on labeling themselves "agnostic" has nothing to do with communication and everything to do with *growing atheism*.
SecularMerlin
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7/20/2018 5:35:09 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 7/20/2018 5:09:30 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
At 7/20/2018 5:01:43 PM, SecularMerlin wrote:
At 7/20/2018 4:43:55 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
"I am unable to maintain a belief in the absence of evidence. The default position is skepticism."

False. Due to the "absence of evidence", you have strayed from the default position and ascribe a lower than 50 percent chance to God's existence. This is clearly a belief. You believe there is no evidence for God's existence, and that this means there is a lower than 50 percent chance of His existence. If this is not what you think, then you're not an atheist.

If I believed in all claims for which there is no evidence then I would end up believing in many contradictory ideas. In order to avoid this my default position is skepticism skepticism does not assign a "50 percent chance" to anything. I personally feel that nothing has a "50 percent chance" of anything. Either there is a one hundred percent chance (i.e. it is true) or a zero percent chance (i.e. it is not true) for every claim. This is the case even if we cannot determine which category a particular claim falls under.

If you're unsure whether something has a 100 percent chance of being true or a 0 percent chance, then treating them as equally likely means you ascribe a 50 percent chance to that something being true. That's the only way to say it's as likely to be false as it is to be true.

I never said that I treat the possibilities as though they were equally likely. Being a skeptic first and foremost I treat unproven claims as untrue with the option to change my mind should evidence become available. This is as true for claims of Bigfoot, live garden gnomes and the lost theory of Atlantis as it is for theistic claims
The only true wisdom lies in knowing that you know nothing.
-Socrates

Imagination is the only weapon in the war against reality
-Lewis Carrol
SecularMerlin
Posts: 7,228
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7/20/2018 6:06:26 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 7/20/2018 5:24:20 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
At 7/20/2018 5:13:17 PM, SecularMerlin wrote:
At 7/20/2018 5:04:06 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
At 7/20/2018 4:53:12 PM, SecularMerlin wrote:
At 7/20/2018 4:38:18 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
At 7/20/2018 4:32:42 PM, SecularMerlin wrote:
At 7/20/2018 3:33:15 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
Most atheists hold that atheism is not a belief but only the lack of belief in any God. If this were really the case, then atheism would also have to be defined as a lack of belief in the nonexistence of God, which would make it completely synonymous with agnosticism. For atheism to be "not a belief", it must ascribe equal probability to the existence/nonexistence of God. If an atheist strays from the default position by claiming that God "probably" doesn't exist, he is making a claim about the world, and his insistence that the claim is true (or at least more reasonable than its opposite) means we are dealing with a belief.

Now, some atheists will claim that the term atheism is indeed just a synonym for agnosticism, but this is ridiculous. This would mean that the term "atheism" could just as well be written as "a-godless-worldism", or even "a-atheism". If it's just the default position, there's no reason to define it as an absence of a belief in God (theism) anymore than an absence of a belief in the nonexistence of God. The fact that it's defined *only* in juxtaposition to theism means that it is not a symmetric position like agnosticism, and implies that those who identify with atheism are more on the side of God's nonexistence than His existence.

The most sensible classification system is the following:

"Convinced atheist" for those who are (or are almost) 100 percent certain God does not exist.
"Atheist" for those who think God's existence is somewhere between unlikely and very unlikely.
"Agnostic" for those who truly are on the fence.
"Theist" for those who think God's existence is somewhere between likely and very likely.
"Convinced theist" for those who are (or are almost) 100 percent certain that God does exist.

The term "agnostic atheist" should be eliminated altogether.

I am an agnostic atheist. I do not believe in any god(s) for the same reason that I do not believe in Russell's flying tea pot. I am unable to maintain a belief in the absence of evidence. The default position is skepticism.

Why do you need to attach "agnostic" to "atheism"? Do you attach that label to every one of your positions that you're unsure of?

I could and it would not be untrue. In this case however it stems from the fact that there are gnostic and agnostic atheists and gnostic and agnostic theists. Atheism/theism refers to belief and gnosticism/agnosticism refers to knowledge, or at least the claim of knowledge. Saying I am an agnostic does not actually tell you if I am an atheist or a theist. While we are on the subject of unorthodox beliefs there are also religious atheists and nonreligious theists.

So then an agnostic atheist is someone who believes there's no God but has no reason to think so?

Yes, I know what you really mean. You mean that an agnostic atheist is someone who suspects or behaves as if there's no God but isn't certain of it. They have *some* reason for thinking God doesn't exist, but they lack *hard proof* of God's nonexistence. But since there is no implication that someone who calls themselves an atheist is absolutely certain of their position, you might as well just drop the "agnostic" modifier and call yourself an atheist, and those minority of atheists who are absolutely certain can call themselves "convinced atheists".

We could use that terminology for the purposes of this discussion but popular usage will remain unchanged and you still have agnostic theists to spread your message to. Or you could simply accept popular usage as you have already admitted that you know what I really mean and expressing meaning is the only purpose of language.

I object to your usage of language. Most of those calling themselves "agnostic atheists" are not agnostics at all, but actively believe in the nonexistence of God. Why should they get to call themselves "agnostic" when they are taking a position just like any other? It reinforces the notion that atheists have no burden of proof, when they obviously do. Moreover, atheists use this as a way to get true agnostics to align themselves with atheists, since no religious person uses the "agnostic" modifier when referring to themselves. The reason atheists insist on labeling themselves "agnostic" has nothing to do with communication and everything to do with *growing atheism*.

So your objection has nothing to do with my use of language and everything to do with the fact that you think it us "unfair" that a person claiming "x us true" has a burden of proof while the person who rather than making a claim merely states "I see no reason to believe that x is true" does not?
The only true wisdom lies in knowing that you know nothing.
-Socrates

Imagination is the only weapon in the war against reality
-Lewis Carrol
keithprosser
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7/20/2018 10:25:39 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 7/20/2018 3:33:15 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
Most atheists hold that atheism is not a belief....

I would say the word 'atheism' is used in two ways:

1 - atheism is the absence of the belief 'gods exist'
2 - atheism is the presence of the belief 'the gods don't exist'

There is no 'word tzar' to decree which is correct, and both are used haphazardly and that will, no doubt, continue to be the case!
It makes little practical difference - it is only if you ask trivial questions like 'Are babies (or lumps of rock) atheists?' you get different answers.

ps I think 'gnosis' is impossible. Everyone is an 'agnostic X' so you as might well just drop the 'agnostic' prefix altogether.
SecularMerlin
Posts: 7,228
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7/20/2018 11:49:45 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 7/20/2018 10:25:39 PM, keithprosser wrote:
At 7/20/2018 3:33:15 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
Most atheists hold that atheism is not a belief....

I would say the word 'atheism' is used in two ways:

1 - atheism is the absence of the belief 'gods exist'
2 - atheism is the presence of the belief 'the gods don't exist'

There is no 'word tzar' to decree which is correct, and both are used haphazardly and that will, no doubt, continue to be the case!
It makes little practical difference - it is only if you ask trivial questions like 'Are babies (or lumps of rock) atheists?' you get different answers.

ps I think 'gnosis' is impossible. Everyone is an 'agnostic X' so you as might well just drop the 'agnostic' prefix altogether.

People can nevertheless claim to be gnostic and identify as gnostic. Calling someone an 'agnostic x' is therefore a convenient way to tell these two groups apart.
The only true wisdom lies in knowing that you know nothing.
-Socrates

Imagination is the only weapon in the war against reality
-Lewis Carrol
keithprosser
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7/20/2018 11:55:03 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 7/20/2018 11:49:45 PM, SecularMerlin wrote:
At 7/20/2018 10:25:39 PM, keithprosser wrote:
At 7/20/2018 3:33:15 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
Most atheists hold that atheism is not a belief....

I would say the word 'atheism' is used in two ways:

1 - atheism is the absence of the belief 'gods exist'
2 - atheism is the presence of the belief 'the gods don't exist'

There is no 'word tzar' to decree which is correct, and both are used haphazardly and that will, no doubt, continue to be the case!
It makes little practical difference - it is only if you ask trivial questions like 'Are babies (or lumps of rock) atheists?' you get different answers.

ps I think 'gnosis' is impossible. Everyone is an 'agnostic X' so you as might well just drop the 'agnostic' prefix altogether.

People can nevertheless claim to be gnostic and identify as gnostic. Calling someone an 'agnostic x' is therefore a convenient way to tell these two groups apart.

I think anybody who claims to be a 'gnostic whatever' is rather like someone who claims to be a Martian whatever. If you tell me you are a 'gnostic atheist' I'll tell you I accept you are an atheist, but I don't accept you are gnostic about it. Such a person needs to be introduced to Hume and Descartes.
SecularMerlin
Posts: 7,228
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7/21/2018 1:10:55 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 7/20/2018 11:55:03 PM, keithprosser wrote:
At 7/20/2018 11:49:45 PM, SecularMerlin wrote:
At 7/20/2018 10:25:39 PM, keithprosser wrote:
At 7/20/2018 3:33:15 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
Most atheists hold that atheism is not a belief....

I would say the word 'atheism' is used in two ways:

1 - atheism is the absence of the belief 'gods exist'
2 - atheism is the presence of the belief 'the gods don't exist'

There is no 'word tzar' to decree which is correct, and both are used haphazardly and that will, no doubt, continue to be the case!
It makes little practical difference - it is only if you ask trivial questions like 'Are babies (or lumps of rock) atheists?' you get different answers.

ps I think 'gnosis' is impossible. Everyone is an 'agnostic X' so you as might well just drop the 'agnostic' prefix altogether.

People can nevertheless claim to be gnostic and identify as gnostic. Calling someone an 'agnostic x' is therefore a convenient way to tell these two groups apart.

I think anybody who claims to be a 'gnostic whatever' is rather like someone who claims to be a Martian whatever. If you tell me you are a 'gnostic atheist' I'll tell you I accept you are an atheist, but I don't accept you are gnostic about it. Such a person needs to be introduced to Hume and Descartes.

That does not stop people from identifying as gnostic, theistic or alien abductees. What should we call them to differentiate them from those who acknowledge our fundamental inability to teach objective truth?

I am especially fond of Descartes by the way. I concider myself a cartian sceptic depending on how fine a point I feel like putting on my beliefs.
The only true wisdom lies in knowing that you know nothing.
-Socrates

Imagination is the only weapon in the war against reality
-Lewis Carrol
keithprosser
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7/21/2018 1:35:26 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 7/21/2018 1:10:55 AM, SecularMerlin wrote:

That does not stop people from identifying as gnostic, theistic or alien abductees. What should we call them to differentiate them from those who acknowledge our fundamental inability to teach objective truth?

I am especially fond of Descartes by the way. I concider myself a cartian sceptic depending on how fine a point I feel like putting on my beliefs.

Well, I suppose it depends if we interested in classifying people as to what they are or what they call themselves - two very different things conceptually. I don't think that we should create a special category for people who identify themsleves as 'Martian theists', for instance.

Descartes was amongst the first of the 'early modern' philosophers. He had very few pre-existing giants's shoulders to stand on, but many since have stood on Descartes' shoulders and seen further and better because of it.

For me, because Descartes was a theist and took god's existence as a given his actual writings are of little value or interest to me while i acnowlegde their historical importance. That said, I think moral philosophy has not and does not receive as much attention as it needs period.
SecularMerlin
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7/21/2018 2:07:18 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 7/21/2018 1:35:26 AM, keithprosser wrote:
At 7/21/2018 1:10:55 AM, SecularMerlin wrote:

That does not stop people from identifying as gnostic, theistic or alien abductees. What should we call them to differentiate them from those who acknowledge our fundamental inability to teach objective truth?

I am especially fond of Descartes by the way. I concider myself a cartian sceptic depending on how fine a point I feel like putting on my beliefs.

Well, I suppose it depends if we interested in classifying people as to what they are or what they call themselves - two very different things conceptually. I don't think that we should create a special category for people who identify themsleves as 'Martian theists', for instance.

Who then decides what they are and how they are categorized? You? Me? A government official? In any case a gnostic is simply someone who claims, right or wrong, that they do know with certainty.

Descartes was amongst the first of the 'early modern' philosophers. He had very few pre-existing giants's shoulders to stand on, but many since have stood on Descartes' shoulders and seen further and better because of it.

For me, because Descartes was a theist and took god's existence as a given his actual writings are of little value or interest to me while i acnowlegde their historical importance. That said, I think moral philosophy has not and does not receive as much attention as it needs period.

I have definitely come to different conclusions by using Descartes method than Descartes himself did but I attribute that mostly to the fact that as you said I have more giants shoulder a to stand on than he did.
The only true wisdom lies in knowing that you know nothing.
-Socrates

Imagination is the only weapon in the war against reality
-Lewis Carrol
dylancatlow
Posts: 13,530
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7/21/2018 4:49:40 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 7/20/2018 10:25:39 PM, keithprosser wrote:
At 7/20/2018 3:33:15 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
Most atheists hold that atheism is not a belief....

I would say the word 'atheism' is used in two ways:

1 - atheism is the absence of the belief 'gods exist'
2 - atheism is the presence of the belief 'the gods don't exist'

There is no 'word tzar' to decree which is correct, and both are used haphazardly and that will, no doubt, continue to be the case!
It makes little practical difference - it is only if you ask trivial questions like 'Are babies (or lumps of rock) atheists?' you get different answers.

ps I think 'gnosis' is impossible. Everyone is an 'agnostic X' so you as might well just drop the 'agnostic' prefix altogether.

If atheism is defined as the mere absence of belief, then it is the absence of belief in God AND the absence of belief in God's nonexistence. We already have a word for this: agnostic. Calling this the "atheist position" is inappropriate, because we're dealing not merely with the absence of theism but with the absence of (positive) atheism as well.
keithprosser
Posts: 8,122
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7/21/2018 5:21:59 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 7/21/2018 4:49:40 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
If atheism is defined as the mere absence of belief, then it is the absence of belief in God AND the absence of belief in God's nonexistence. We already have a word for this: agnostic. Calling this the "atheist position" is inappropriate, because we're dealing not merely with the absence of theism but with the absence of (positive) atheism as well.

An alternative analysis is to say when two words are used the first word relates to a knowedge claim and the second word to what is known/believed, so a gnostic X is someone who claims to know X; an agnostic X is someone who believes X but does not claim to know it.

When a single word is used it usually refers to a personal belief, not a knowledge claim.
ken1122
Posts: 1,737
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7/21/2018 6:15:45 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 7/20/2018 3:33:15 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
Most atheists hold that atheism is not a belief but only the lack of belief in any God. If this were really the case, then atheism would also have to be defined as a lack of belief in the nonexistence of God,

No; that would be the double negative version of theism.

which would make it completely synonymous with agnosticism.

No; agnosticism is about knowledge; not belief. If someone asked an agnostic if they believe in God and they reply; there is no way of knowing, they haven"t answered the question because the question was about belief not knowledge.

For atheism to be "not a belief", it must ascribe equal probability to the existence/nonexistence of God.

I assume by equal probability, you mean zero.

The most sensible classification system is the following:

"Convinced atheist" for those who are (or are almost) 100 percent certain God does not exist.
"Atheist" for those who think God's existence is somewhere between unlikely and very unlikely.
"Agnostic" for those who truly are on the fence.
"Theist" for those who think God's existence is somewhere between likely and very likely.
"Convinced theist" for those who are (or are almost) 100 percent certain that God does exist.

The term "agnostic atheist" should be eliminated altogether.

What about a person who will recognize what you choose to call God may exist, but does not call him God? I know Halle Selassie existed, but I don"t call him God; I call him a man just like you and I. It would be foolish for me to claim he doesn"t exist just because there are those who call him God.
ken1122
Posts: 1,737
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7/21/2018 6:24:36 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 7/21/2018 4:49:40 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
At 7/20/2018 10:25:39 PM, keithprosser wrote:
At 7/20/2018 3:33:15 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
Most atheists hold that atheism is not a belief....

I would say the word 'atheism' is used in two ways:

1 - atheism is the absence of the belief 'gods exist'
2 - atheism is the presence of the belief 'the gods don't exist'

There is no 'word tzar' to decree which is correct, and both are used haphazardly and that will, no doubt, continue to be the case!
It makes little practical difference - it is only if you ask trivial questions like 'Are babies (or lumps of rock) atheists?' you get different answers.

ps I think 'gnosis' is impossible. Everyone is an 'agnostic X' so you as might well just drop the 'agnostic' prefix altogether.

If atheism is defined as the mere absence of belief, then it is the absence of belief in God AND the absence of belief in God's nonexistence. We already have a word for this: agnostic

According to Thomas Huxley; (the man who coined the agnostic) Agnostic is not an absence of belief in God, it is the claim that it is impossible to KNOW about the existence of God
https://infidels.org...
keithprosser
Posts: 8,122
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7/21/2018 7:14:44 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 7/21/2018 6:24:36 PM, ken1122 wrote:
At 7/21/2018 4:49:40 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
At 7/20/2018 10:25:39 PM, keithprosser wrote:
At 7/20/2018 3:33:15 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
Most atheists hold that atheism is not a belief....

I would say the word 'atheism' is used in two ways:

1 - atheism is the absence of the belief 'gods exist'
2 - atheism is the presence of the belief 'the gods don't exist'

There is no 'word tzar' to decree which is correct, and both are used haphazardly and that will, no doubt, continue to be the case!
It makes little practical difference - it is only if you ask trivial questions like 'Are babies (or lumps of rock) atheists?' you get different answers.

ps I think 'gnosis' is impossible. Everyone is an 'agnostic X' so you as might well just drop the 'agnostic' prefix altogether.

If atheism is defined as the mere absence of belief, then it is the absence of belief in God AND the absence of belief in God's nonexistence. We already have a word for this: agnostic

According to Thomas Huxley; (the man who coined the agnostic) Agnostic is not an absence of belief in God, it is the claim that it is impossible to KNOW about the existence of God
https://infidels.org...

You are correct, but over time the meaning as mutated into meaning something closer to 'undecided'. It King Canute like to stick with obsolete definitions - it's like insisting that a billion is 1e12 not 1e9.
ken1122
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7/21/2018 10:41:15 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 7/21/2018 7:14:44 PM, keithprosser wrote:
At 7/21/2018 6:24:36 PM, ken1122 wrote:
At 7/21/2018 4:49:40 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
At 7/20/2018 10:25:39 PM, keithprosser wrote:
At 7/20/2018 3:33:15 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
Most atheists hold that atheism is not a belief....

I would say the word 'atheism' is used in two ways:

1 - atheism is the absence of the belief 'gods exist'
2 - atheism is the presence of the belief 'the gods don't exist'

There is no 'word tzar' to decree which is correct, and both are used haphazardly and that will, no doubt, continue to be the case!
It makes little practical difference - it is only if you ask trivial questions like 'Are babies (or lumps of rock) atheists?' you get different answers.

ps I think 'gnosis' is impossible. Everyone is an 'agnostic X' so you as might well just drop the 'agnostic' prefix altogether.

If atheism is defined as the mere absence of belief, then it is the absence of belief in God AND the absence of belief in God's nonexistence. We already have a word for this: agnostic

According to Thomas Huxley; (the man who coined the agnostic) Agnostic is not an absence of belief in God, it is the claim that it is impossible to KNOW about the existence of God
https://infidels.org...

You are correct, but over time the meaning as mutated into meaning something closer to 'undecided'. It King Canute like to stick with obsolete definitions - it's like insisting that a billion is 1e12 not 1e9.

I agree; and because of this the term agnostic will often mean different things to different people; which will often lead to confusion when having debates like these.
ommadon
Posts: 87
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7/24/2018 12:05:31 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
The most sensible classification system is the following:

"Convinced atheist" for those who are (or are almost) 100 percent certain God does not exist.
"Atheist" for those who think God's existence is somewhere between unlikely and very unlikely.
"Agnostic" for those who truly are on the fence.
"Theist" for those who think God's existence is somewhere between likely and very likely.
"Convinced theist" for those who are (or are almost) 100 percent certain that God does exist.

I'd say there are "positive" atheists and "negative" atheists. The former make claims that God does not exist, and the latter don't make claims at all because they're unaware of the idea of God or God claims. So you could say that atheists who have a "lack of belief in God" are negative atheists.
BertrandsTeapot
Posts: 17
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7/24/2018 6:29:58 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
"In fact, "atheism" is a term that should not even exist. No one ever needs to identify himself as a "non-astrologer" or a "non-alchemist." We do not have words for people who doubt that Elvis is still alive or that aliens have traversed the galaxy only to molest ranchers and their cattle. Atheism is nothing more than the noises reasonable people make in the presence of unjustified religious beliefs."
ken1122
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7/24/2018 6:49:52 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 7/24/2018 12:05:31 PM, ommadon wrote:
The most sensible classification system is the following:

"Convinced atheist" for those who are (or are almost) 100 percent certain God does not exist.
"Atheist" for those who think God's existence is somewhere between unlikely and very unlikely.
"Agnostic" for those who truly are on the fence.
"Theist" for those who think God's existence is somewhere between likely and very likely.
"Convinced theist" for those who are (or are almost) 100 percent certain that God does exist.


I'd say there are "positive" atheists and "negative" atheists. The former make claims that God does not exist, and the latter don't make claims at all because they're unaware of the idea of God or God claims. So you could say that atheists who have a "lack of belief in God" are negative atheists.

Where do you guys get this stuff? You read it out of a book or something? Or do you just make stuff up as you go along.
ommadon
Posts: 87
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7/25/2018 7:40:40 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 7/24/2018 6:49:52 PM, ken1122 wrote:
At 7/24/2018 12:05:31 PM, ommadon wrote:
The most sensible classification system is the following:

"Convinced atheist" for those who are (or are almost) 100 percent certain God does not exist.
"Atheist" for those who think God's existence is somewhere between unlikely and very unlikely.
"Agnostic" for those who truly are on the fence.
"Theist" for those who think God's existence is somewhere between likely and very likely.
"Convinced theist" for those who are (or are almost) 100 percent certain that God does exist.


I'd say there are "positive" atheists and "negative" atheists. The former make claims that God does not exist, and the latter don't make claims at all because they're unaware of the idea of God or God claims. So you could say that atheists who have a "lack of belief in God" are negative atheists.

Where do you guys get this stuff? You read it out of a book or something? Or do you just make stuff up as you go along.

Personally, I'd say it's a mix between thinking about it and talking with others about it.
ken1122
Posts: 1,737
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7/25/2018 8:08:24 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 7/25/2018 7:40:40 AM, ommadon wrote:
At 7/24/2018 6:49:52 PM, ken1122 wrote:
At 7/24/2018 12:05:31 PM, ommadon wrote:
The most sensible classification system is the following:

"Convinced atheist" for those who are (or are almost) 100 percent certain God does not exist.
"Atheist" for those who think God's existence is somewhere between unlikely and very unlikely.
"Agnostic" for those who truly are on the fence.
"Theist" for those who think God's existence is somewhere between likely and very likely.
"Convinced theist" for those who are (or are almost) 100 percent certain that God does exist.


I'd say there are "positive" atheists and "negative" atheists. The former make claims that God does not exist, and the latter don't make claims at all because they're unaware of the idea of God or God claims. So you could say that atheists who have a "lack of belief in God" are negative atheists.

Where do you guys get this stuff? You read it out of a book or something? Or do you just make stuff up as you go along.

Personally, I'd say it's a mix between thinking about it and talking with others about it.

AKA Makin' s**t up as you go along; huh?
ken1122
Posts: 1,737
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7/25/2018 8:10:46 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 7/24/2018 6:29:58 PM, BertrandsTeapot wrote:
"In fact, "atheism" is a term that should not even exist. No one ever needs to identify himself as a "non-astrologer" or a "non-alchemist." We do not have words for people who doubt that Elvis is still alive or that aliens have traversed the galaxy only to molest ranchers and their cattle. Atheism is nothing more than the noises reasonable people make in the presence of unjustified religious beliefs."

I agree! from my understanding; atheist was initially a pejorative theists came up with to describe those who don't agree with their religious views.

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