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Old 2008-02-16, 10:32   Link #301
Archontic
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aka Providence View Post
mm, not sure if i get what you mean by 'absolute agnostic'. being agnostic means you are skceptical of an existence of a higher being. which means you question it, or at the very least you are waiting for proof that a god exists. you're definition of an absolute agnostic sounds like you don't want to believe in it -- so i think atheist better suits you.

or something like that. i'm just posting this as an observation -- just my way of passing the time.
Agnosticism, like all philosophies, comes in many different flavors. I'd talk about it, but I'm too fucking lazy, so I'll let Wiki do the talking.

Agnosticism

It's generally called Strong Agnosticism, but I think that Absolute sounds cooler. It also looks more official when I capitalize it, so fuck off. =P

http://atheism.about.com/od/aboutagn.../a/atheism.htm
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Old 2008-02-16, 10:45   Link #302
aka Providence
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Archontic View Post
Agnosticism, like all philosophies, comes in many different flavors. I'd talk about it, but I'm too fucking lazy, so I'll let Wiki do the talking.

Agnosticism

It's generally called Strong Agnosticism, but I think that Absolute sounds cooler. It also looks more official when I capitalize it, so fuck off. =P

http://atheism.about.com/od/aboutagn.../a/atheism.htm
read the wiki article long ago, and maybe you're right. it was pretty hard to tell since you said 'i'm sick about hearing religion' sounds too much like personal opinion in my ears. meh, i hate elaboating anyway, so i'm not surprised that other people would do the same.

so anyhoo, fucking off.

ew, just ew. that sounds so weird.
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Old 2008-02-16, 11:46   Link #303
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I've always enjoyed thinking of the difference between Agnosticism and Atheism as such:

Agnostic: "You can't prove something is there any more than I can prove something isn't."

Atheism: "There's nothing there."

Maybe that's totally wrong but, in terms of a simple definition of the two, I consider it pretty close.
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Old 2008-02-16, 16:40   Link #304
Vexx
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No, that's pretty much there in a nutshell.

Atheism falls into two camps though ...
1) arrived at through analysis of the available data.
2) arrived at by irrational means (epiphanies, etc)

The latter camp I don't distinguish from Religion because it was arrived at either by sheeping (social env was atheist) or fiat (personal revelation).

The former camp --- is always willing to adjust their theory if new verifiable *data* comes in.
I fall in that camp... though I practice a mild form of Buddhism as a ethical behavior model and a form of Shinto because I feel like that form of animism is a colorful poetic metaphor for the forces of the world.


Besides, whether I call it an "electromagnetic field" or "blue faerie dust" -- most people can't hear the difference.
"oops... blue smoke, your microwave oven pixies got away...."
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Old 2008-02-16, 17:14   Link #305
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I've already said it somewhere up there but I don't like the distinction between agnosticism and atheism at all. I bet it has been invented by believers and if that's true, then I must applaud them for this important strategic victory on the rhetoric battlefield.

The problem with these two terms is that you're damned if you do and damned if you don't (pun intended).

Point is,I think that the folk definition of atheism is restricted to atheism type 2) of Vexx' post, if not worse. A kind of anti-religion in the truest sense of the word, a stance not supported by reason but believed from the bottom of the heart. Because otherwise, so people would argue, you're not really an atheist but an agnosticist.

On the other hand, agnosticism sounds more like being totally unsure about one's own position which can thus not really be taken serious. Because otherwise, so people would argue now, you're not really an agnosticist but an atheist.

The agnosticism/atheism distinction is the root of the dilemma and creates more smoke than removing it. This is why I deleted agnosticism from my active vocabulary. (It was never part of it actually.)

I have no problems being called an atheist as in 1). But way too often I have to stress the fact that my "belief" in atheism is in no way a belief in the religious sense. Is doesn't go as deep as that. I also can't prove that it is right. What can we prove anyway? But that does not mean that I'm somehow sitting on the fence.

If for example a boxing world champion is boxing a 10 years old kid, I have for many reasons a rather strong "belief" that the world champion will win. But the belief is not absolute. It doesn't mean that my world would shatter if he doesn't win. Maybe he gets a heart attack from too much doping right after the fight starts. This strong "belief" does not influence my ethical values, nor do I think that it's important enough to build incense-filled stone buildings around it. That is my atheism.
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Old 2008-02-16, 17:16   Link #306
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Old 2008-02-16, 20:31   Link #307
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Agnostics generally realize that it is impossible to know about God, probably because they ascribe to an empirical epistemology (basically means that all that can be known can only be known by scientific means). Since God by definition is "above" empirical discovery, the agnostic cannot place himself in a camp of belief or disbelief because he is "trapped" in a materialist mindframe.
Atheists, as mentioned, do fall into two camps. True atheists study carefully the world and its answers and conclude that God does not exist. I will call the other camp pragmatic atheists who have chosen to reject the notion of God from very limited to no study at all, but do so for personal or practical reasons.
So the atheist believes it IS possible to prove God does not exist by "scientific" means whereas the agnostic cannot agreed to such a thing because it flies in the face of (his) logic and philosophy.
I am a Christian myself.
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Old 2008-02-16, 20:37   Link #308
Vexx
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"pragmatic"? O.o hmmm, interesting definition of "lazy"
Pragmatists usually expect concrete reasons to go with something... ah well.

Interesting variations from several posts on what they think agnosticism and atheism actually mean....
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Old 2008-02-17, 05:57   Link #309
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Old 2008-02-17, 08:06   Link #310
Anh_Minh
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I don't see how you can "prove" that an omnipotent being doesn't exist. I mean, he'd have the power to not have any traces of his existence show up, wouldn't he?

Ultimately, a leap of faith is required. Though as far as I'm concerned, it's a far smaller leap to think that the forces of nature just are, impersonal and absolute, rather than, say, gravity being the result of invisible gravity hippos.
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Old 2008-02-17, 08:07   Link #311
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My religion is the religion of no religion.

Now before you think "Athiest" let me correct you.

Athism is the belief that there is no "god" or rather, we all disapear into an abyss when we die and our conciousness just ceases to exist.

Big bang theory... etc.

I simply have no belief, i couldn't be bothered to try and figure it out, it's beyond me and probably always will be, Id prefer to live in the here & now, and find out what's after life when I die.


Edit:
After reading up, I see we're discussing it already, so instead of being annoyingly vague, ill just say it:

Agnostic
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Old 2008-02-17, 09:44   Link #312
Quzor
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anh_Minh View Post
I don't see how you can "prove" that an omnipotent being doesn't exist. I mean, he'd have the power to not have any traces of his existence show up, wouldn't he?

Ultimately, a leap of faith is required. Though as far as I'm concerned, it's a far smaller leap to think that the forces of nature just are, impersonal and absolute, rather than, say, gravity being the result of invisible gravity hippos.
That's part of what I don't like about religion; the creator doesn't want you to know he's there. It's sort of like he's playing a game with you, like "figure out how long that piece of popcorn has been in between the couch cushions," or "what's that smell coming from the refrigerator?" In a sense, I guess it would be more wise for him to not want to take credit, but I would argue that he made us in his image, and we want to take credit for everything (even some stuff we can't be credited with)!

As far as the gravity hippos are concerned, I think that's a fantastic idea. I'd choose to believe it if I didn't know things about centrifugal and centripetal forces, and how the earth's rotation causes these two forces to effect on one another, thus creating gravity. Therein lies the problem. Scientific things can be proven via the scientific method, and facts of logic. God, in all his infinite wisdom (omnipotence, gotta get me some of that), exists outside the realm of reason and logic. It's fine for people who choose to believe that sort of thing, but many also choose to stay within the bounds of scientific certainty, accepting that new answers may come along in the future to refute past claims of the non-existence of such beings.
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Old 2008-02-17, 14:57   Link #313
Vexx
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Oye.. Anh's hit on it... Gravity Hippos explain so much!

There's no need to "prove" an omnipotent being doesn't exist. The burden of proof is that such a creature *exists*. That's the hypothesis that religion proposes.
(sidenote: omnipotent and omniscient are mutually exclusive, but left as an exercise for the reader). Setting such a creature outside processes of reason (i.e. into faith) insulates it somewhat from rational inquiry.

But the thread is not for debating religious beliefs... its simply for articulating one's own stance. (ahem).
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Old 2008-02-17, 15:06   Link #314
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@Vexx wats ur religion

P.S. u have been converted
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Old 2008-02-17, 15:14   Link #315
Anh_Minh
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How is putting the burden of proof on the other side "analysis of the current data"?


(If anyone's curious of my own stance: I believe God doesn't exist, but I'm willing to accept the irrational component of that belief.)

Damn gravity hippos, pushing us down!
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Old 2008-02-17, 15:57   Link #316
Vexx
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The way I arrange the situation is thus:

Hypothesis: an omnipotent being exists, created the universe, has enough bandwidth to process *all* incoming calls, sufficient computing power to run universe simulation, etc.

Non-tangible Evidence: ancient fragments of texts, anecdotal personal experience testimonies.
Tangible Evidence: none. The verifiable data so far suggest and supports models (physics, natural selection, sufficient time) that don't require resorting to extra-physical or extraordinary means to accomplish.
Tentative Results: Such a being doesn't seem to be necessary for the universe to exist.

There's no particular reason the reverse Hypothesis couldn't be arranged -- but the "There *is*" hypothesis... came first?
Hypotheses are created to be tested for failure (until one that fits the available facts better is proposed).

Note: Needing such a being for moral guidance is a different chain of conversation and I don't want to over-complicate the discussion.

@King Lycan: I've already stated my waffly little views on religion in a couple of previous posts here
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Old 2008-02-17, 16:02   Link #317
Anh_Minh
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I agree that there's no real proof for the existence of God. Or at least, that I haven't come across any, and that I can't imagine what form it could take.

But at best, that "logic" only leads to agnosticism, not atheism.
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Old 2008-02-17, 16:27   Link #318
Vexx
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Some philosophers and scientists argue that "agnosticism" is just a "wussy" way out of atheism. In the end, it comes down to a bit of semantics (I liked the post from Slice of Life that bemoaned the problem of labels). I guess it depends on how you frame the Hypothesis (is, is not) and then what evidence you submit.

Myself, I like using animism and magic in a playful way to describe reality (the Eastern lines seem to fit what I see better than what remains of the Western lines) -- but they're just another form of goofy little model in the end.
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Old 2008-02-17, 16:37   Link #319
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Im not a very devout Christian but I have to defend my religion, what Vexx said about needing God for moral guidance is cynical and moronic.

In the world of today all agnosticism and atheism breeds is close-minded,selfish and objective people, whereas most religious followers strive to be morally virtuous. Tell me what people lose from following their religion?

I put a lot of weight behind scientifical evidence like other people but you are as naive as you think religious followers are: science is largely theoretical and faith is needed to believe such theories are true, especially as you are told by another it is the truth.
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Old 2008-02-17, 16:48   Link #320
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blizzer View Post
Im not a very devout Christian but I have to defend my religion, what Vexx said about needing God for moral guidance is cynical and moronic.

In the world of today all agnosticism and atheism breeds is close-minded,selfish and objective people, whereas most religious followers strive to be morally virtuous. Tell me what people lose from following their religion?

I put a lot of weight behind scientifical evidence like other people but you are as naive as you think religious followers are: science is largely theoretical and faith is needed to believe such theories are true, especially as you are told by another it is the truth.
Although I know Vexx can defend himself, I'm going to respond to this because, as you've seen fit to discuss my beliefs in a negative light, so shall I feel free to return the favor.

First of all...I love this bit: "In the world of today all agnosticism and atheism breeds is close-minded, selfish, and objective people, whereas most religious followers strive to be morally virtuous." How very hypocritical of you. You call yourself morally virtuous while you put down all of those who choose not to believe the same as you do. Which moral virtue is that again?

Secondly, science is not largely theoretical. Theory is a big part of science, this is true. But so is scientific law. Most of what non-religious people find comfort in is this portion of science. Atheists might choose to only believe in scientific fact, and Agnostics might choose to believe in fact while leaving theory open to interpretation and possibility. It is in this instance that the lines of the labels begin to blur. Regardless, saying that it requires faith to believe in scientific theories is hardly the same as the faith necessary to believe in what cannot be proven, as most scientific theories are derived from previous scientific laws.

Lastly, those who believe in science and are, as you so succinctly put it, "told by another it is the truth," function under the same logic as you. You are told by another that there is a God and that is truth. You can't make this argument without turning it back on yourself, because it's an argument that goes both ways. You can't say that we believe something that someone told us it true, and you believe something you know is true, the same way that we couldn't say the opposite (you believe something someone told you is true, we believe something we know is true). This circular argument is moot the moment you try to qualify your theory of belief as fact, while simultaneously denouncing scientific theory as hearsay.

This is precisely what I was talking about in my post so long ago: Arguments like this are what drive people like me to stay away from religion. I am aware that my soul cannot be saved simply by saying I believe in a thing, regardless of how little I practice the principles of that belief. I encourage you to re-read Jesus "Sermon on the Mount," and gain some perspective into your own beliefs, before you go and denounce the beliefs of others.
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