• Lionino
    1.8k
    for we know that most primitive cultures believe in such a "being" or "beings"Manuel

    Primitive cultures believe thunders are caused by a god's will. We know today it is not the case.

    If by God you are speaking about a "personal creator", by this you mean a being that has the power to give life to people? If that's what is being argued, then I do not think it is a strong argument.Manuel

    I don't understand this.

    If you mean that there is "personal creator" of some higher being who created the universe.Manuel

    I am not making ontological commitments here, that's what theists do. I, instead of relying on religious conceptions, delineated the most generic God-concept possible, stripping it of all its accidents and sticking to the essence, the necessary meaning of the word "God". In my understanding, this concept is of a mind (so it is personal), it is outside of space and time (and by that of course I am excluding hippie distortions like "the universe is god", not to be confused with Spinoza's pantheism), and it is the cause of the world we see — I think my rendition of the concept is minimal to all theistic religions.

    My point is simple, this insistence on agnosticism applies not just to the God question but to most questions. Yet we reply to most questions with "yes" or "no". There are those that reply "I don't know", surely, but we don't say the people that said "no" are being unreasonable, especially when "yes" would be more unreasonable then. That much says that you are applying a special ad hoc epistemic standard to God.

    Back to the problem of my father, yes, you are correct, I do not know with 100% accuracy that he is my father. I have plenty of evidence to suggest that he is, but pictures of me being a baby could be faked, maybe the baby in the picture is not me, etc.

    Given the options I have, then I opt to believe that my father is my real father with, say, 99% accuracy. Hence, I have no good reason to be agnostic about this issue, because what my father is, is much better defined than God, or a higher being.
    Manuel

    Now you are working with degrees of certainty and, by that standard, agnosticism, in practice, doesn't really exist — a claim that I set to prove in this post. Graph:
    MT7IKFE.png
    Source.
  • Manuel
    4k
    Primitive cultures believe thunders are caused by a god's will. We know today it is not the case.Lionino

    Yes. The point is that there seems to be an innate mechanism that causes us to believe in these things, which is why I do not think they should be dismissed that easily.

    I don't understand this.Lionino

    You said:
    let's take a universalist generic theist: "I believe a personal creator beyond the universe existsLionino

    This creator is personal, meaning applies to one person, the one who believes? Or does this refer to people who claim a creator creates everything?

    These are not the same.

    The first claim is significantly weaker than the second one.

    In my understanding, this concept is of a mind (so it is personal), it is outside of space and time (and by that of course I am excluding hippie distortions like "the universe is god", not to be confused with Spinoza's pantheism), and it is the cause of the world we see — I think my rendition of the concept is minimal to all theistic religions.Lionino

    So it's a mental concept, which postulates something outside of space and time. Ok, a mental concept, is a mental concept if we can apply it to something empirical, we can either affirm or dismiss the claim.

    If a person believes in Unicorns, but we find no unicorns in the world, then this belief is a fiction, because empirical evidence goes against such a claim.

    If you speak of a being outside of space and time, how are we to verify or dismiss it? I don't know how, so I don't know if such a being exists.

    If in addition to this a theist says, I believe this being is all good and all powerful then we have plenty of evidence to show that this claim is false, we show them the world.

    My point is simple, this insistence on agnosticism applies not just to the God question but to most questions. Yet we reply to most questions with "yes" or "no". There are those that reply "I don't know", surely, but we don't say the people that said "no" are being unreasonable, especially when "yes" would be more unreasonable then. That much says that you are applying a special ad hoc epistemic standard to God.Lionino

    Most people say yes or now to these questions, but I don't think most people care much about epistemology, or if they do, it's to a quite limited range. But you are asking for certainty, I cannot give you that.

    From B and D, when we ask someone whether they believe in God they should say yes or no, the uncertainty of the topic is already implied, stating whether you are an agnostic theist/atheit is redundant, and any gnostic theist/atheist has an almost impossible-to-meet burden of proof, so I say the gnostics here are either lying or confused. The agnostic label should be reserved for those who are truly divided (even if the evidence sways their mind in another direction) and prefer to suspend judgement in the await for more evidence.Lionino

    As I said, if you are speaking about the Abrahamic tradition, of which I belong to and whose arguments I understand to some degree, then I am an atheist. I don't believe in heaven, I don't believe in hell, I do not believe a person rose from the dead, etc. Those are rather specific claims, which are capable of being shown to be wrong.

    As to whether there is such a thing as "God" or a higher being, I do not know, I cannot verify or deny this. Ergo, I am an agnostic on the God question.
  • Lionino
    1.8k
    which is why I do not think they should be dismissed that easily.Manuel

    Yet we dismiss a guy sitting on clouds causing thunder. In any case, primitive societies are animists. I remember reading good psychological investigation into animism — like how we see faces on rocks and clouds even though there are no faces —, without any appeal to the actuality of those beliefs.

    This creator is personal, meaning applies to one person, the one who believes?Manuel

    It means it is a person, it has a mind, it thinks.

    Or does this refer to people who claim a creator creates everything?Manuel

    I don't think that is what I am referring to, as "a creator creates something" is a nonsensical phrase.

    I am using the most basic concept of God we can deal with before it stops classifying as God. It is straightforward like that. Every God we may find is a mind, it is not fully physical, it is a creator. If something is not one of these, it is not a God. It is a matter of grammar.

    So it's a mental conceptManuel

    No. Every concept is mental. The God concept is a concept that refers to a mind.

    If a person believes in Unicorns, but we find no unicorns in the world, then this belief is a fiction, because empirical evidence goes against such a claim.

    If you speak of a being outside of space and time, how are we to verify or dismiss it? I don't know how, so I don't know if such a being exists.
    Manuel

    You are changing your terms. Empirical evidence doesn't go against the unicorn, there is a lack of empirical evidence for the unicorn. Likewise, there is a lack of evidence for a being outside of space and time.

    "If you speak of a being outside of space and time, how are we to verify or dismiss it?"

    This question is about grammar in the end.

    I don't believe in heaven, I don't believe in hell, I do not believe a person rose from the dead, etc. Those are rather specific claims, which are capable of being shown to be wrong.Manuel

    Are you sure there is no heaven? It is outside of space and time as we know, too.

    But you are asking for certainty, I cannot give you that.Manuel

    You can't give me certainty. So let's just say we are agnostic about everything and call it a day. Deal?
  • Manuel
    4k
    Yet we dismiss a guy sitting on clouds causing thunder. In any case, primitive societies are animists. I remember reading good psychological investigation into animism — like how we see faces on rocks and clouds even though there are no faces —, without any appeal to the actuality of those beliefs.Lionino

    Sure. And these are quite interesting to discover out psychological constitution which could bear fruit in other areas of inquiry.

    You are changing your terms. Empirical evidence doesn't go against the unicorn, there is a lack of empirical evidence for the unicorn. Likewise, there is a lack of evidence for a being outside of space and time.Lionino

    Ha, now I think this is semantic. Ok, there is lack of evidence for the mental entity unicorn. So it is a fiction, fine with that.

    How do you know there is no evidence for something outside space and time? Can we go to this place to verify or reject such a claim?

    Are you sure there is no heaven? It is outside of space and time as we know, too.Lionino

    The Christian tradition posits a person who raised from the dead and said there was a heaven. In this world, I do not know of any cases in which a dead person has come back to life after several days.

    Ergo, I do not believe there is something called heaven based on this tradition. Such a person today would be called a charlatan, correctly.

    Am I certain there is no heaven? I don't reach certainty, but if you like, I'd say I think there is a 99.9% chance that heaven does not exist.

    You can't give me certainty. So let's just say we are agnostic about everything and call it a day. Deal?Lionino

    That's too hasty. But if forced between certainty and agnosticism, I think agnosticism is a safer bet. I cannot go outside myself, much less outside of space and time to see what may or may not exist.
  • Lionino
    1.8k
    How do you know there is no evidence for something outside space and time?Manuel

    The word evidence already invokes a "how to know". Next you will ask me how do I know that I know there is no evidence.

    Ha, now I think this is semantic.Manuel

    Because it is, the issue is that you are not being consistent. You want to be sure about some things and but then claim you can only be unsure about a specific matter — for no reason.

    The Christian tradition posits a person who raised from the dead and said there was a heaven. In this world, I do not know of any cases in which a dead person has come back to life after several days.Manuel

    Again lack of evidence. It doesn't prove there is no heaven.

    I don't reach certainty, but if you like, I'd say I think there is a 99.9% chance that heaven does not exist.Manuel

    Degrees of certainty. See:

    Now you are working with degrees of certainty and, by that standard, agnosticism, in practice, doesn't really exist — a claim that I set to prove in this postLionino

    But if forced between certainty and agnosticism, I think agnosticism is a safer bet.Manuel

    Ok, so we don't know anything for sure, not just the matter of whether there is a God. handshake
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