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Topic: The Problem with Agnosticism (Read 26201 times)

The Problem with Agnosticism
Well, we've threads on religion and atheism, so I suppose we need one on agnosticism, a philosophical system which was fashioned by T. H. Huxley.
Quote
Agnosticism, in fact, is not a creed, but a method, the essence of which lies in the rigorous application of a single principle. That principle is of great antiquity; it is as old as Socrates; as old as the writer who said, 'Try all things, hold fast by that which is good'; it is the foundation of the Reformation, which simply illustrated the axiom that every man should be able to give a reason for the faith that is in him, it is the great principle of Descartes; it is the fundamental axiom of modern science. Positively the principle may be expressed: In matters of the intellect, follow your reason as far as it will take you, without regard to any other consideration. And negatively: In matters of the intellect, do not pretend that conclusions are certain which are not demonstrated or demonstrable. That I take to be the agnostic faith, which if a man keep whole and undefiled, he shall not be ashamed to look the universe in the face, whatever the future may have in store for him.

Re: The Problem with Agnosticism
Reply #1
It would be appropriate for me to include myself in the ranks of the agnostics because I live in a world that's characterized by uncertainty and wonder rather than certainty and doctrine.

I hereby reject atheism and absolve myself of all of my atheistic errors.

[move]Certainty isn't all that it's cracked up to be.[/move]

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Re: The Problem with Agnosticism
Reply #2
But what's THE problem with that thing?
And I just noticed -- why are you 3738?

Re: The Problem with Agnosticism
Reply #3
Multiple accounts. Old habits hardly die.

  • ersi
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Re: The Problem with Agnosticism
Reply #4

It would be appropriate for me to include myself in the ranks of the agnostics because I live in a world that's characterized by uncertainty and wonder rather than certainty and doctrine.

Isn't it rather certain that uncertainties lurk behind every corner and hide themselves in every nook and cranny and then trouble you in your sleep? My temperament is to methodically address uncertainties, paradoxes, and problems, until they are figured out, solved, and answered. I don't like unanswered questions. In the end, I have found no question unanswerable. The result is life free of surprises and wonders. May seem boring to you, but I call it trouble-free.

Re: The Problem with Agnosticism
Reply #5
Perhaps we should have The problem with people thread?

Re: The Problem with Agnosticism
Reply #6

Perhaps we should have The problem with people thread?



Wooof!   Woooof!           

Re: The Problem with Agnosticism
Reply #7
Multiple accounts. Old habits hardly die.

I lost the password for the alternate jimbro. If you knew how many manifestations I have had in D&D over the years you'd think me dafter than you do now.

Re: The Problem with Agnosticism
Reply #8
I have thought on making up a false account for rjhowie... but it would not be funny. Besides, I don't communicate well in Scottish.
I miss your good old Jaybro account.

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Re: The Problem with Agnosticism
Reply #9
I lost the password...
You could retreive it!
There must've been an email you set when registered - ask Frans.

  • Frenzie
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Re: The Problem with Agnosticism
Reply #10
That is true. I can also change the password.

Re: The Problem with Agnosticism
Reply #11

I lost the password...
You could retreive it!
There must've been an email you set when registered - ask Frans.


That is true. I can also change the password.


How it aughts ta be:     One user account per user..........period, no exceptions (except to the head honcho, & to the select one(s) whom 'he' deems it administratively necessary to)

Why, 'cuz I'd hate to see this forum tank to the level of credibility that that Opera one did with all them sock-puppets springing up with 3 or 4 posts to their name, siding with their puppet masters, or just continually causing general mayhem!
  • Last Edit: 2013-12-21, 02:07:53 by SmileyFaze

  • ersi
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Re: The Problem with Agnosticism
Reply #12
Can you evaluate yourself?

Re: The Problem with Agnosticism
Reply #13
(This reminds me here: http://my.opera.com/community/forums/findpost.pl?id=9050592)
Close to 7. Nobody can say "I know there is no God" without taking a look at the whole universe (and around) and being sure that "he's not there".
If it weren't for the word "know", I would be 7. For me, the probability is zero.

  • Belfrager
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Re: The Problem with Agnosticism
Reply #14
 "Dawkins scale"
I'm out of scale, probably minus 5.
God can be known beyond knowledge, rational thinking is not the limit of human beings. Why does the scale stops at "I know"?

And who's that Dawkins by the way?
A matter of attitude.

Re: The Problem with Agnosticism
Reply #15
rational thinking is not the limit of human beings

Yes, we can see it all the time.  ::)  ;D

  • ersi
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Re: The Problem with Agnosticism
Reply #16
And who's that Dawkins by the way?
Dawkins is associated with two things:

1. The word "meme" which sounds both cool and important, but hasn't amounted to any sort of consistently usable concept.
2. New Atheism. He is the first and greatest proponent of it.

And there's a third thing too - his name is occasionally mixed up with Stephen Hawking.

  • Belfrager
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Re: The Problem with Agnosticism
Reply #17
Oh, yes... that Dawkins.
A matter of attitude.

Re: The Problem with Agnosticism
Reply #18

Why does the scale stops at "I know"?

Probably because a negative range would turn into pathologic  :o

  • Belfrager
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Re: The Problem with Agnosticism
Reply #19


Why does the scale stops at "I know"?

Probably because a negative range would turn into pathologic  :o

I see... agnostics are the "positive" ones... the higher the rank the more they get into perfection, meaning atheism.
It must be the positiveness of "I don't know"...
A matter of attitude.

Re: The Problem with Agnosticism
Reply #20

I see... agnostics are the "positive" ones... the higher the rank the more they get into perfection, ...

There is no relation between the numbering and 'getting into perfection', except you want to give it your very own interpretation ;)

  • Belfrager
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Re: The Problem with Agnosticism
Reply #21


I see... agnostics are the "positive" ones... the higher the rank the more they get into perfection, ...

There is no relation between the numbering and 'getting into perfection', except you want to give it your very own interpretation ;)


Well, I like everything very my own... :)
A matter of attitude.

  • ersi
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Re: The Problem with Agnosticism
Reply #22


Why does the scale stops at "I know"?

Probably because a negative range would turn into pathologic  :o
The scale would be quite okay if agnosticism were centred at zero.

  • Belfrager
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Re: The Problem with Agnosticism
Reply #23



Why does the scale stops at "I know"?

Probably because a negative range would turn into pathologic  :o
The scale would be quite okay if agnosticism were centred at zero.

That's just the beginning of The Problem with Agnosticism.
Just as we have these days the "new atheism", we also have the "new agnosticism". New agnosticism means a posture of indifference towards much more than just philosophical questions, it means simply I don't care, I don't want to know. It includes philosophical questions but also much more things.

That's not Agnosticism, Agnosticism means a certainty that is not possible to the human being to know if God exists.
In others words, the ultimate truths and, very particularly - the existence of God, are not accessible to Men.

I used to be there until I realized the mistake and wrongness of the classical agnosticism.
A matter of attitude.

  • ersi
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Re: The Problem with Agnosticism
Reply #24


The scale would be quite okay if agnosticism were centred at zero.

That's just the beginning of The Problem with Agnosticism.
Just as we have these days the "new atheism", we also have the "new agnosticism". New agnosticism means a posture of indifference towards much more than just philosophical questions, it means simply I don't care, I don't want to know. It includes philosophical questions but also much more things.

That's not Agnosticism, Agnosticism means a certainty that is not possible to the human being to know if God exists.
In others words, the ultimate truths and, very particularly - the existence of God, are not accessible to Men.

I used to be there until I realized the mistake and wrongness of the classical agnosticism.

Even though the scale comes from a new atheist, I don't see it as tendentious. I have seen similar scales in the eighties. The problem with the scale is the fact that it's one-dimensional, while the issue is more-dimensional. In addition to "knowing" if there is God or not, there's also the issue what one does with the knowledge. For example "knowers" of God may well have buried their heads in sand or hiding in the closet from the direct implications of the knowledge, and "knowers" that there is no God may have tightly tied their careers to evangelising about God, a la Dawkins.

Agnosticism also has at least two sides. One type of agnostics "know" that "Does God exist?" cannot be answered either way, while others are totally lukewarm to the question, and they think this is what agnosticism means. Or, in a slightly better case, they think "I don't know" is a good and valid answer that should be eye-opening to people and convince everybody to affirm the same.

Same trouble with skepticism. Skepticism mostly means doubt these days, but there are skeptics who see doubt as something to be removed by means of enquiry and investigation, to come up with sure knowledge in the end. Then again, other skeptics only reinforce doubt by undermining all possible positive accounts of anything, criticising everyone and everything without any purpose other than criticising, until the field of uncertainty is absolute.