• Agent Smith
    8.9k
    You should try using emojis because your so-called "thinking" is :roll: tonight.180 Proof

    :lol:
  • Agent Smith
    8.9k
    Agnosticism is not having a belief concerning god.
    — Banno

    Therefore rocks are agnostic!
    fdrake

    :lol: That's exactly the point I was looking for. Rocks lack belief. So are rocks atheists if atheism is, as some claim, a lack of belief?
  • Sam26
    2.2k
    Agnosticism is saying that the person doesn't know if the concept God has an instance in reality. They're not sure if there is a fact of the matter, or state-of-affairs that attaches itself to the concept. So, there is a belief about the concept, but a lack of belief as to whether the concept has an instance in reality, to say it in a slightly different way.
  • Agent Smith
    8.9k
    Agnosticism isn't a lack of belief.
  • Sam26
    2.2k
    I didn't say that it was.
  • Agent Smith
    8.9k
    I didn't say that it wasSam26

    :ok:
  • EricH
    448
    If you're not a theist, then you're an atheist. Don't be afraid of the word. If you are not a believer in any kind of deity then you're effectively an atheist. I think many people with 'spiritual beliefs' are atheists.Tom Storm

    I am an agnostic atheist - a standard definition amongst atheists I know. Agnostic in terms of knowledge, atheist in terms of belief.Tom Storm

    I also think the idea of god is incoherent and lacks any explanatory power, I really don't know what people mean by god except as a kind of vague, Tillich-like mystical metanarrative, or more frequently, a literalist mega-moron as per Islam or Christianity.Tom Storm

    Based on what I'm reading, it sounds like you are closer to ignosticism - which (in essence) says that the very notion of a deity or deities is incoherent.

    Is ignosticism a sub-category of atheism? The answer is still being debated, but my 2 cents is that ignosticism is a distinct category unto itself and not some sub-category of atheism and/or agnosticism.
  • 180 Proof
    10.9k
    It makes sense to me to think of agnosticism as uncertainty concerning god (i.e. epoche)... which makes the religious and irreligious, fundies and secularists, theists and atheists, alike also agnostic as well. Is 'being agnostic simpliciter' even possible? I suppose Pyrrhonians think so ...

  • Fooloso4
    3.7k
    I am pistically atheist and epistemically agnostic. Lacking knowledge I make no claims about gods but I am not uncertain in terms of what I believe and how I live.
  • Gnomon
    2.8k
    There's nothing accomplished by invoking god in any context I can think of, unless you happen to have particular questions that seem better when stoppered up by a magic man.Tom Storm
    Yes. Atheism is a response -- part rational, part emotional -- to traditional religious god-models of a "magic man" in the sky. But philosophers typically avoid anthro-morphic definitions for their ultimate/universal (non-particular) Ontological theories. And, since their logical models are hypothetical, they don't claim to have physical evidence to support their notions of Logos or First Cause.

    So, what if the "god" invoked by Enformationism is a hypothetical meta-physical Principle or Property or Qualia, like insubstantial Pure Energy/Causation*1, instead of an imaginary anthro-morphic wizard, hiding behind the curtain of Quantum Uncertainty*2. Can you think of any "particular questions" about the opaque shroud of fuzzy randomness that caused Quantum pioneers to turn to Eastern philosophies for metaphorical answers?*3 What if it's the god-like gap-stopper of the Quantum mass gap*4.

    Perhaps you "don't care" about the esoteric mysteries of Eastern Religions or Quantum theory, but they undermine the "solid" foundation of classical physics and materialistic philosophy with open questions. And the esoteric mystery of Ontological origins is a fundamental philosophical concern. :smile:


    *1. Pure Energy :
    "Pure energy" doesn't mean anything in physics. Energy can take many forms (mass, kinetic energy, or any of many forms of potential energy), but no one of them is "pure" in any sense, no more so than any other form.
    Energy is a property of light and matter and not a substance in itself.

    https://physics.stackexchange.com/questions/15122/what-is-pure-energy

    *2. Quantum Weirdness :
    Phillip Ball introduces his topic by clarifying the murkiness of Quantum Physics : “what has emerged most strongly from this work on the fundamental aspects of quantum theory is that it is not a theory about particles and waves, discreteness or uncertainty or fuzziness. It is a theory about information.” [My emphasis] He then admits that “quantum information brings its own problems, because it raises questions about what this information is . . . because information is not a thing that you can point to . . .”
    http://bothandblog7.enformationism.info/page43.html

    *23 The Evolution of God : by science writer Robert Wright
    The Progression of Human Understanding
    Although he says “’materialist’ is a not-very-misleading term for me”, and that he wrote this book “from a materialist standpoint”, he still concludes that the “religious worldview” may have some validity. “The story of this evolution itself points to the existence of something you can meaningfully call divinity”. But quickly concedes “that the kind of god that remains plausible . . . is not the kind of god that most religious believers currently have in mind.” Instead, it seems to be the kind of First Cause Creator that Bloom called the “Inventor”, and that I call “G*D” or “Logos”.
    http://bothandblog7.enformationism.info/page43.html

    *4. Why is Yang-Mills mass gap important? :
    The mass gap is an important challenge because solving it should force mathematical physicists to confront directly the messy question of exactly what the observables of QCD are.
    https://physics.stackexchange.com/questions/9704/why-is-the-yang-mills-existence-and-mass-gap-problem-so-fundamental
  • Tom Storm
    5.8k
    Based on what I'm reading, it sounds like you are closer to ignosticism - which (in essence) says that the very notion of a deity or deities is incoherent.EricH

    Maybe. I generally agree with that gods are incoherent ideas. But it is easier to say one is atheist as it's a word people know. I never find much profit in getting bogged down in definitions. If you don't believe in god then you are an atheist, regardless of any other beliefs. It's the answer to a single question.

    I am pistically atheist and epistemically agnostic.Fooloso4

    Nicely put.

    Yes. Atheism is a response -- part rational, part emotional -- to traditional religious god-models of a "magic man" in the sky. But philosophers typically avoid anthro-morphic definitions for their ultimate/universal (non-particular) Ontological theories. And, since their logical models are hypothetical, they don't claim to have physical evidence to support their notions of Logos or First Cause.Gnomon

    Yes, I know all that. I read Paul Tillich and was close to theosophical and Buddhist groups in the 1980's. I studied Carl Jung and I read J Krishnamurti. There's probably not a version of god or higher awareness, idealism, non-dualism or quantum speculation I haven't been exposed to, at least in part.

    Perhaps you "don't care" about the esoteric mysteries of Eastern Religions or Quantum theoryGnomon

    Yes. I'm also not interested in air conditioning or folk dancing. Unlike you perhaps, I am not overcome with the need to make meaning or find 'ultimate realty'. I am content and mostly satisfied by life as it appears and frankly whatever ontological beliefs we hold, the moment we leave home we are all naïve realists. :wink:

    And the esoteric mystery of Ontological origins is a fundamental philosophical concern. :smile:Gnomon

    Amongst many hundred of other philosophical concerns. Great that it matters to you. I'm all for diversity.
  • Banno
    19.9k
    ↪Banno It makes sense to me to think of agnosticism as uncertainty concerning god (i.e. epoche)... which makes the religious and irreligious, fundies and secularists, theists and atheists, alike also agnostic as well. Is 'being agnostic simpliciter' even possible? I suppose Pyrrhonians think so ...180 Proof

    Really? So your preference is to render the term useless. Fine.
  • Wayfarer
    16.7k
    It makes sense to me to think of agnosticism as uncertainty concerning god (i.e. epoche)... which makes the religious and irreligious, fundies and secularists, theists and atheists, alike also agnostic as well. Is 'being agnostic simpliciter' even possible? I suppose Pyrrhonians think so ...180 Proof

    If you go back to the origins of Pyrrhonian scepticism with Pyrrho of Elis, he is said to have voyaged to India (likely Gandhara, in the Swat Valley, straddling today's Afghanistan and Pakistan, then a major cultural center) where he spent some period of time with the 'gymnosophists' (naked philosophers i.e. ascetics) and Buddhists (specifically Mahāyāna in that time/location.) 1 On his return he began to teach his doctrine of "non-assent to what is not evident", in pursuit of ataraxia - indifference or tranquility. This, it is said, was derived from the Buddhist principle of nirodha - cessation or turning away from attachments and sources of craving - in pursuit of release - mokṣa or Nirvāṇa - also epoché (suspension of judgement) which is compared to the Buddhist principle of emptiness (śūnyatā). Buddhists reject the existence of a personal creator god (Isvara) on the basis that we are authors of our own destiny (although as the tradition evolved a pantheon of demi-gods were later to appear in the form of celestial beings, past and future Buddhas and so on.) But the point behind all this is that this form of ancient scepticism was still firmly grounded in the pursuit of liberation from the cycle of birth and death. It was, from our modern perspective, still a religious philosophy, albeit grounded in a completely different kind of religious vision to the Biblical faiths (hence the interminable arguments about whether Buddhism really is a religion, or is a philosophy or way of life. That is because it doesn't fit within the implicit faultlines that have been carved into Western culture by history.)

    Within that context, 'unknowing' or 'suspension of judgement' is not at all like what scepticism is taken to mean in day-to-day speech, although there are some overlaps. But the context makes a major difference. If you do one of the ten-day meditation retreats, all 'philosophising' is completely forbidden (although you're certainly allowed to raise questions about the difficulties you're having, which are often considerable.) The instruction is, invariably, pay attention to your breathing, watch your thinking processes as they arise and cease, but don't pursue them. That is what 'scepticism' means in that context. I'm also fairly sure it's close to what it meant for the early Greek sceptics and cynics.
  • 180 Proof
    10.9k
    Sounds about right to me. :up:

    :smirk:
  • Andrew4Handel
    2.3k
    The way I defined morality in the post you quoted from will do for the sake of this discussion. Why do you believe, Andrew, that nature doesn't ground a definition of morality like mine that has no need of 'supernatural support'?180 Proof

    If people don't agree on a definition of morality then that is an unresolvable problem itself with no objective arbitrer to refer to. I think it is arbitrary to pick some features of nature you like to have as your morality. Why can't you be a moral nihilist and an atheist? Why can't one be an atheist and nihilist and believe it has negative ramifications?

    I don't believe the prognosis that you can be an atheist and nothing need change because that really amounts to hanging onto the coat tail of believers who believe in objective values or others coopting peoples meanings.

    I am a fan of Religious Classical music through the ages and Gospel music from America. I realise that that would not have been created without religious belief. I don't assume anything we have now in society would exist without religion and its motivations and myths etc. I am not a fan of counterfactuals so I have no idea what a purely atheist history of humans would have looked like.

    It seems impossible now to be an atheist uninfluenced by religious cultures and to be able to claim these cultures could have been created by atheists.
  • 180 Proof
    10.9k
    No idea what you're talking about or what your ramble, Andrew, has to do with mine.
  • Tom Storm
    5.8k
    It seems impossible now to be an atheist uninfluenced by religious cultures and to be able to claim these cultures could have been created by atheists.Andrew4Handel

    Sure. But nor could you claim that atheists could not have created a similar culture. Or even that it might have been better (less guilt, less piety, less misogamy, less ritual, less colonization, less hang ups about sex, etc).

    I have no idea what a purely atheist history of humans would have looked like.Andrew4Handel

    Indeed. But the problem is atheists don't have a lot in common, except for where they stand on one question. They might be right wing or left wing, libertarians or communists. So morality, like today, would be about aiming for a consensus amongst the contradictory cacophony of opinions.

    If people don't agree on a definition of morality then that is an unresolvable problem itself with no objective arbitrer to refer toAndrew4Handel

    But it is seen as an unresolvable problem and always has, unless we are in a dictatorship or a theocracy.

    Even within the one religion there is no agreement about morality. Look at where Christians are (all over the shop, frankly) on abortion, women's rights, trans rights, capital punishment, homosexuality, stem cell research, gun ownership, etc... Religious people and atheists only have personal preferences and philosophy to resolve the matter of how we should conduct ourselves towards others. In theists' case, it's derived from their personal interpretation of who they think god is and what they think god wants. How could that possibly go wrong? :scream:
  • EricH
    448
    Maybe. I generally agree with that gods are incoherent ideas. But it is easier to say one is atheist as it's a word people know.Tom Storm

    That makes sense if you're out and about. Maybe I'm being too generous in this assessment, but here in TPF I think we're all reasonably informed enough to understand the distinction.

    You have my permission to call yourself an ignostic . . . :smile:
  • Andrew4Handel
    2.3k
    Sure. But nor could you claim that atheists could not have created a similar culture. Or even that it might have been better (less guilt, less piety, less misogamy, less ritual, less colonization, less hang ups about sex, etc).Tom Storm

    What do you think would have motivated atheists living in primitive conditions? I assume they wouldn't have churches, religious architecture and art and religious/supernatural based hierarchies. What fantasies would be generated based solely on reason? Religion is part of colourful fantastical thinking meaning we aren't restricted just to pure reason it seems.

    If they reached the current conclusion of evolution by natural selection thousands of years ago what influence would that have had on them? Part of the current thinking is that there is no teleology or purpose or end goal plus the eventual heat death of the universe through entropy.

    I left religion in the early 1990's in an advanced UK culture and I experienced bad nihilism after that was hard to overcome but has improved.

    Even within the one religion there is no agreement about morality.Tom Storm

    The role religion had in morality is in claiming there was a moral law giver and that that entity could generate moral truths.

    I would agree that we could create a pseudo moral system that benefitted some people in creating a some kind of harmonious society focused on equality and harm prevention.

    But I think a lack of moral truth is still problematic in terms of resolving moral disagreements and having the feeling that you know you are doing the right thing and enforcing the good.
  • Bradskii
    72
    I think it is a straw man to present God in a way that seems easy to disbelieve like portraying God as the Flying Spaghetti monster which ridicules the notion of God so people forget about the more sophisticated arguments like causal role/explanatory Gaps.Andrew4Handel

    Which atheist is presenting God like that? The fsm isn't a version of God. The only way that I know what God is meant to be is by being told by those who believe in Him what they think He is. And I haven't been convinced by what any of them say. They are presenting God in ways that are relatively easy to disbelieve.

    I can't present God in any way. I can only repeat what others have told me.
  • Andrew4Handel
    2.3k
    They are presenting God in ways that are relatively easy to disbelieve.Bradskii

    Are you including the philosophical arguments for God in this?

    The cosmological argument.
    The moral argument for God.
    Aquinas's Five ways
    The ontological argument
    The argument from beauty
    The argument from consciousness
    The teleological argument

    And more: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Existence_of_God#Arguments_for_the_existence_of_God_or_gods

    How many people are aware of these arguments? That has not been my experience of the online and public discourse on these issues.

    The discourse seems to have changed in more recent years. though

    https://medium.com/grim-tidings/scientism-and-the-downfall-of-new-atheism-919213775919
  • Tom Storm
    5.8k
    The role religion had in morality is in claiming there was a moral law giver and that that entity could generate moral truths.Andrew4Handel

    I understand that but it's pointless if no one can agree about what the truths are. The thing that actually matters - a morality - is missing.

    If they reached the current conclusion of evolution by natural selection thousands of years ago what influence would that have had on them?Andrew4Handel

    You keep forgetting that there is not an atheist worldview. You might be thinking of secular humanism. Or scientism. Atheism is about the answer to just one question. There are atheist idealists and mystics. They are not all Richard Dawkins.

    art of the current thinking is that there is no teleology or purpose or end goal plus the eventual heat death of the universe through entropy.Andrew4Handel

    I am an atheist - I have almost no interest in causation or teleology or quantum woo. As I keep saying humans make up stories and manufacture intersubjective communities of truth. Some of those truths can be tested empirically, many cannot. We can't possibly hope to know the answers to many of the questions we pose. They may not even be proper questions, just the limits of the human imagination going around and around making meaning, dreaming up scenarios.
  • Bradskii
    72
    Are you including the philosophical arguments for God in this?

    The cosmological argument.
    The moral argument for God.
    Aquinas's Five ways
    The ontological argument
    The argument from beauty
    The argument from consciousness
    The teleological argument
    Andrew4Handel

    They are arguments for deism, not God.
  • Tom Storm
    5.8k
    The cosmological argument.
    The moral argument for God.
    Aquinas's Five ways
    The ontological argument
    The argument from beauty
    The argument from consciousness
    The teleological argument
    Andrew4Handel

    Yep, the traditional 'proofs' of god. Most atheist books and freethinker polemical works respond to these old things. There are thousands of pages answering these arguments. There are thousands of words on this site answering each and every one of these arguments already. We go around and around. :wink:

    The point is we have many potential alternatives to 'god of the gaps' or goddidit.

    'I don't know' is perfectly reasonable too.

    And fallacies like the appeal from ignorance or the argument from incredulity are not a good solution to such hoary old questions.

    "I can't imagine another answer for X but the magic man did it." - is not a solution.
  • Andrew4Handel
    2.3k
    You keep forgetting that there is not an atheist worldview.Tom Storm

    That is what I am disagreeing with and the argument of this thread. I have been arguing it entails a worldview.

    Yep, the traditional 'proofs' of god. Most atheist books and freethinker polemical works respond to these old things. There are thousands of pages answering these arguments.Tom Storm

    This goes against the idea of a simple disbelief in gods if you have to write thousands of words in response to arguments for God.

    Atheists themselves in their writings have linked their atheism freely and closely with other beliefs. What was the motivation for notable atheist Lawrence Krauss writing the book "A universe from nothing"? It was clearly to try forestall a creator deity from having any role in existence.

    I am just trying to clarify things to myself now after having years of interactions with atheists where they were arrogant, certain, ridiculed the notion of gods and took their own worldview for granted. I think that if it is acceptable to attack one set of beliefs it is acceptable to attack all of them.

    I think that there are nihilist consequences to atheism in conjunction with scientific materialism that has been promoted and denied at the same time. I don't think atheists should be complacent in their atheism nor religious people complacent in their theism. It is an ongoing process of trying to understand reality and find meaning.
  • 180 Proof
    10.9k
    You keep forgetting that there is not an atheist worldview.
    — Tom Storm

    That is what I am disagreeing with and the argument of this thread. I have been arguing it entails a worldview.
    Andrew4Handel
    So the atheism of e.g. materialist Marx and idealist Schopenhauer "entails" the same "worldview"? :sweat:

    :up: :up:
  • Tom Storm
    5.8k
    I don't think atheists should be complacent in their atheism nor religious people complacent in their theism. It is an ongoing process of trying to understand reality and find meaning.Andrew4Handel

    I think this is a wise observation.

    Note: I believe there are also many wonderful people who believe in god, who practice religion, who behave justly and are inclusive. I am friends with several.

    That is what I am disagreeing with and the argument of this thread. I have been arguing it entails a worldview.Andrew4Handel

    I'm not convinced but I guess you may hold a definition of worldview which is different to mine. I think atheism is a very broad church (if you'll pardon the term) with a diversity of views. But it is true that there are some atheists who have a worldview which embraces scientism.

    I think that there are nihilist consequences to atheism in conjunction with scientific materialism that has been promoted and denied at the same time.Andrew4Handel

    If the opposite of nihilism is theism, which holds values that allow for the torment and torture of believers with stories of sin, guilt and hell fire, etc, then nihilism looks promising.

    What was the motivation for notable atheist Lawrence Krauss writing the bookAndrew4Handel

    Probably a key exponent of scientism, right? His argument may well be correct. But who would know? Are you a physics genius who fully understands this material? I know I'm not. His motivation is anyone's guess, but I suspect it is to let people know that choosing the God-of -the-Gaps option is not the only story available or useful.

    This goes against the idea of a simple disbelief in gods if you have to write thousands of words in response to arguments for God.Andrew4Handel

    Not really. Many atheists see themselves as former victims of religion. Hence the very popular self-help group, "Recovering from Religion". Many are also horrified by what is being done around the world in the name of gods. And theists/apologists constantly claim the best use of reason proves god. Often variations on the very arguments by Aquinas you put up earlier.

    That's a major reason why atheists cultivate and respond to arguments. There's a culture war over god. Theism can be defended or it can be dismissed by reason. The arguments do not belong solely to the theists.

    The debate matters because the consequences of prominent theisms around the world, held in place by these ratty old arguments, are so often bloody awful - think Modi's Hindu nationalism, the Saudi's Wahhabi Islam, American evangelicalism, and the role of religious violence worldwide (Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Syria, Kenya, etc, etc).

    The question of belief in god can not be separated from the behavior theism so often generates. So if you say atheism leads to nihilism, I would say to you, if the opposite of nihilism looks like theism as practiced around the world, then how is it better?
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