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 Post subject: The Agnostic Fallacy
PostPosted: Tue Nov 28, 2006 6:38 pm 
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The Agnostic Fallacy

I can appreciate agnosticism in the sense that it is a safe place to hang out for all the time one needs until they make a decisive decision hopefully based on credible evidence. And to get over the fear & discrimination tied into being Atheist. All theistic arguments have failed - when one is willing to accept this fact, then one realizes that Atheism is a rational position. However, there's no substance in atheism, it's not a philosophy or a thing. So you don't believe in god, then what? This is where The Mythicist Position comes in to fill that vacuum and give a mountain of substance serving also as a bridge between theism and atheism.

Below are a few quotes I've plucked out of the Agnostic Fallacy article and I'll share a video for the mythicist position at the bottom:

Quote:
The modern definition of agnosticism turns around a lack of knowledge about the god question. The word a-gnosticism itself means not-knowing, just like a-theism means not-belief in god.

Agnosticism is mostly considered a vague middle ground in the debate surrounding the god question. Some people see it as the most rational alternative, given the sheer weight of debate going on from both theists and atheists.

If we examine the agnostic premise, we find that it is quite unreasonable. Agnosticism is based on the notion that we can have no knowledge on the god question. But for this to be true, the agnostic must know all possible arguments of atheism and theism, since he discards them all out of hand. If any single argument is valid, then agnosticism must crumble. Many such arguments are available in the atheist literature, and it is disingenuous to deny them.

Furthermore, the lack of knowledge inherent in agnosticism is self-contradictory. If we know nothing about the god-concept, then we cannot claim it exists, or discuss it rationally.

If we claim not to know anything about the concept, then we still know something about it : that it is beyond human understanding, and rational discussion. Therefore agnosticism is contradictory, and must inevitably lead to strong-atheism.

Furthermore, agnosticism must be self-contradictory, as identity is necessary for anything to exist, and there is no such thing as an undefined object. Whatever exists in reality has attributes. If we admit that we have no knowledge about the god-concept, including how to define it, then it cannot exist. Thus assuming agnosticism is true leads to a contradiction.

Agnostics have to answer the following question, if their position is to make any sense at all :

How can you presume that "god" has some possible meaning if you have no knowledge about "god" ?
Quote:
"I think it's important to realize that when two opposite points of view are expressed with equal intensity, the truth does not necessarily lie exactly halfway between them. It is possible for one side to be simply wrong"

- Richard Dawkins' Evolution"

http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/atheism/106355

A major flaw in agnosticism is that there is actually much we can KNOW about religion - for example, we can investigate their claims and demonstrate that they're false and/or extremely unlikely. Extraordinary claims requires extraordinary evidence.

The Mythicist Position:

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 28, 2006 9:32 pm 
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Dawkins is a pompous fool. Darwinian Evolution does not appeal to common sense, and I believe Charles Darwin even realized that before he died.

I tried to point out on one of his affiliate forums how there's already convincing evidence of intelligent design. Then there's the video: Evolution: Fact or Belief?, along with just common sense reasoning that even with selective breading we can not bread a cat into a dog or vice versa. An impossible jump in the number of chromosomes would have to occur at the same time at the same place, in both sexes of a species, and they must successfully reproduce (which also perpetuates genetic diseases).

Instead of addressing it; they deleted it. One of the members went on to accuse me of anti-semitism (untrue as I'm against religion not race), and followed up my other two posts on their forum with nonsensical anti summaries to attack my character.

One of the few videos that G*video has rejected from my uploads was one of Dawkin's. I think the man is more concerned about being a celebrity than healing the world of religion. Even his style is too crass to appeal to people who disagree with him.

This evolution propaganda appeals to anti-theist racists. From what I can see Acharya has her head on straight and is much more effective at exposing religion.

Here's a South Park clip on Dawkins: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tGkSUCqq-Kc

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 29, 2006 1:55 am 
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Basically no one knows anything for sure.........it's all conjecture. So you can either have dueling conjecture positions or just have fun exploring the mystery and making endless discoveries.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 29, 2006 6:04 am 
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"Agnostic" in colloquial usage usually means "I don't know if god exists." More thoughtful folks will use it to mean "I don't think we can know if god exists." I think this is a symptom of the influence of theists controlling the agenda of the discussion. They arbitrarily define god as supernatural and therefore beyond rational analysis. I think "supernatural" is BS, crap that clerics use to maintain their authority. If their fricking gawd is after all "transcendent" then of course the average guy can only learn about him from an appointed authority. Any supposed god could at most be immanent; a part of natural reality. And so I agree with Richard Dawkins that the existence of such god is a legimate scientific question.

Agnostic in the more technical sense refers to the position that we are unable to know anything for sure. "Everything is conjecture." This positon essentially sets aside the rational basis of western civilization and puts us at the mercy of oriental despots of the mind.

The technological advances of the recent centuries are surely astounding and may seem like magic. But they are based on testing the conjectures made by educated reasoning minds. We can do more than conjecture; else we can do no more than enjoy superstitious mysticism ("mystery") and make more conjectures ("fascinating discoveries")

It took a long time and a lot of study to acquire even a very simple and basic understanding of the theory of evolution by natural selection. In the process i spent a lot of time in the misapprehensions common to those who do not understand it. A superficial misapprehension has often led to doctrines of racial superiority, etc. This has NOTHING to do with evolution. There is NOTHING in Darwin's theory that supports racism.
I apologize in advance for not being willing at the present time to debate this or do more than skim counter-arguments should any be presented.

Summing up: the agnostic position is one provided for us courtesy of theistic despotism. They will do anything to prevent rational thought and discussion. Free thought is their greatest enemy, that is why they fear atheists so much. An atheist is one who has confidence in his or her own reason and experimentation to determine truth without appeal to authority.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 29, 2006 12:28 pm 
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Believing in Jesus because evolution is debunked is as irrational as believing in evolution because Jesus is debunked.

We may not know much about a Creator, but we do know evolution and religions are frauds serving racism, hate, strife, and ultimately war which our government for *fill in the blank reason* would have us believe.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 29, 2006 7:59 pm 
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I see I'm not the only one that believes that Dawkins has a racist reason for choosing evolution:

Quote:
Anti-Religion Extremist Dawkins Advocates Eugenics
Says Nazi regime’s genocidal project “may not be bad”

http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2006/nov/06112103.html

It wasn't long ago that I wrote an article exposing an affiliate forum of his as being controlled by crypto-racists who were censoring and team ridiculing evidences of Intelligent Design, and Evolution: Fact or Belief?. I then realized the forum was so small that it wasn't worth exposing (so I don't mention them). They resemble a kool-aid cult appearance and mentality anyway appealing to the intelligence and discernment of the common racist.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 29, 2006 9:22 pm 
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I don't have time to respond but I'll share the rest of that article. Thanks for your replies. However, Mad may want to start a thread of your own on your distaste for Dawkins & evolution. This thread isn't about that. Okay. I did see that South Park episode & was going to share it here but considered the sexual parts of it disgusting & decided against it. I was disapointed with that episode.

from the article:

Quote:
To claim that "gods could exist" is possible, one must attribute some meaning to "god" in order for this proposition to be meaningful. To say that "gods cannot exist", from this semantic viewpoint, is to say that there can be no referent to "god", because the word "god" is meaningless.

But the agnostic has no knowledge about "god" from which he can attribute it meaning. Therefore agnosticism contradicts itself on this crucial issue.

A number of arguments can be proposed in favour of agnosticism. I will now examine the most important arguments.

* Argument from the limits of human reason

Based on Huxley's equivocation between a judicious use of reason and agnosticism, some thinkers have proposed that atheism oversteps the boundaries of human reason. I have already pointed out that this is unreasonable. If it is true that human reason cannot discuss theology, then the atheist arguments must be shown to be invalid. It is not sufficient to simply declare it without evidence.

* Post-modernist argument

A more fundamental argument can be built on the grounds of post-modernism. According to this school of thought, all of our positions and beliefs are determined not by truth, but by our upbringing and social context. Children raised from Christian parents will be naturally biased to become Christians. Children raised from atheist parents will be naturally biased to become atheists. Only agnosticism escapes this bias, by stepping outside of positive positions and claiming moderation.

However, this argument not only suffers from the same flaw than the previous argument, in that it is not sufficient to claim that atheism is biased but it must also be proven, but it is also open to the standard refutation of post-modernism. Being a positive position, post-modernism itself is also subject to upbringing and social context, and therefore must be rejected out of hand, if we follow the argument.

* Antirealist attack

An even more fundamental argument has been recently elaborated by agnostic Bill Schultz. In his article "A Formal Justification of Agnosticism", he proposes that agnosticism is valid because logic is invalid in cases where we do not observe facts of reality directly. Since we cannot observe gods directly, we cannot make any knowledge claim about the god question.

Unfortunately, the fundamental nature of this argument means that it is extremely vulnerable to the flaws exposed above. First of all, it is not sufficient to claim that logic is invalid in cases where we do not observe facts of reality directly. This claim must be proven. There is no functional difference between facts of reality that we observe directly and those we observe indirectly : in both cases we must use logic in some form and to some extent.

Secondly, if logic is not applicable to cases where we do not observe facts of reality directly, then this also applies to the truth or falsity of agnosticism, which is not observable directly. Following this argument, all we can do is say that agnosticism is untenable.

Finally, if the god question is special because its object is not observed directly, then this also applies to any other absurd entity. We do not observe Santa Claus, unicorns, giant space waffles, or angels directly. The antirealist attack would have us suspend judgment on all these entities also. But this is an absurd position.

http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/atheism/106355

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 30, 2006 3:07 am 
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If you throw in aliens, intelligent design and evolution are both compatable. Otherwise it doesn't make sense that in the unimaginable vastness of the universe there is one being pulling the strings for everything in our little speck of a galaxy, it could also help explain the quantum jumps in evolution (aliens genetically modified us).


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 01, 2006 9:50 pm 
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Thanks for being polite about this thread. I've shared this info elsewhere & have been attacked for even bringing up the discussion. It has pissed-off many agnostic & philosophy folks. Many have shown monumental discrimination against atheists & atheism in general. Even though their position can at times have atheistic influences. It reminded me of the,

"Study: Atheists Most Discriminated Minority" -
http://www.religioustolerance.org/atheist5.htm

from wiki

Criticism:

* "This position may be seen as a logical fallacy because the agnostic theist is holding a belief, even though he/she is in a state of doubt. In order to believe something, you give a conviction made on knowledge about something you find to be true; in which an agnostic does not do. Additionally, to be in a state of doubt, you make no conviction.

* "This position may also be seen as a paradox, in so far as one knows about a deity but does not believe in that deity, and yet one believes knowledge is unattainable of a deity that one has knowledge of, yet doesn't believe in the knowledge one has of that deity of which one knows."

George H. Smith's rebuttal In Atheism: The Case Against God[2] George H. Smith argues that all agnosticism is a form of atheism (defined here as "lacking a belief in a deity"). His argument against agnostic theism is that it is contradictory to state that a being is inherently or currently unknowable, and yet positively assert a belief in its existence. His argument goes:

"One cannot possibly know that something exists without some knowledge of what it is that exists."

If it is declared unknowable, the concept of "god" becomes meaningless. The agnostic theist's statement of belief therefore becomes equivalent to "a blark exists."

This unspecified belief ("I believe in 'something'") is equivalent to nonbelief ("I am not convinced by any particular religious claim"). Therefore the so-called agnostic theist is in fact an atheist (by being unable to assert a positive belief in any specific deity). It ensues that all agnosticism is a form of atheism.

If the agnostic theist still wishes to believe, he must ascribe attributes of some sort to the belief. However, they would then be claiming some knowledge of their deity and are therefore no longer agnostics but are theists instead.
Smith concisely describes the paradox on pg 44:

To posit the existence of something which, by its nature, cannot be known to man is to submerge oneself in hopeless contradictions. [...] When one claims that something is unknowable, can one produce knowledge in support of this claim? If one cannot, one's assertion is arbitrary and utterly without merit. If one can, one has accomplished the impossible: one has knowledge of the unknowable. [...] The theist who is called upon to explain the content of his belief - and who then introduces the "unknowable" as a supposed characteristic of the concept itself - is saying, in effect: "I will explain the concept of god by pointing out that it cannot be explained."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agnostic_theism#Criticism

Recommended Reading: Clarence Darrow, Why I Am an Agnostic

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 02, 2006 12:03 pm 
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My only question is....why does everything or anything have to make sense...at least in our puny minds? Of course, by sense, I mean rational or logical, but I could extend that to the physical senses. There is a lot in the universe that does not appear to make sense to us....accent on "appear". I have no arguement with atheists if they wish to believe by their logic that there is no higher being or supernatural force beyond the natural. I simply say I don't know.

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 03, 2006 11:34 am 
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The probablility of the nonexistence of any gods is in the high 90's. At this point in time with our present knowledge there is a 97-99% probablility that no gods exist. Due to the very serious lack of evidence by theists over the course of several millennia. Since they have the burden of proof to provide the evidence for their claims.

Still, this could change as soon as god shows up. If god were to show up to endorse a particular religion & more specifically, its denomination then, a political party, we would have something interesting to talk about. Until then, there exists no evidence for any gods.

We don't claim 100% certainty that there are no gods. One cannot make the 100% certainty claim with the principle of proving a negative under the question of something like "god". If someone were to claim that there is a pink unicorn in their little girls bedroom then, we can go to that bedroom & investigate. The search for god is far to vague. Though, if something doesn't exist, there will be no evidence for or against its existence.

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 03, 2006 2:33 pm 
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Whaddya mean gods don't exist. We is little gods inside a bigger god inside an even bigger god...in my case an annoying demon...lol! I am half-ass kidding you.

Imagine one cell debating with another cell wether there is a being greater than themselves of which they may be a part. I doubt they have any means of confirming that "I" exist and I hardly have any known means of commincating with or affecting them individually with my prescence. I don't know if this is a reasonable anology to explain how such a barrier might keep us from actually Knowing...all evidence or lack thereof and logic nothwithstanding.

Perhaps the whole universe is a living organism and we are but cells with in cells of greater organisms beyond our comprehension to perceive. Hey....I am trying hard to hold up the "greater-being" hypothesis as best I can, without bringing religon into it! :lol:

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 03, 2006 11:41 pm 
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:shock: Was I that convincing?!! Just a little peice I threw at you FT. Courtesy of some dude from Calgary calling himself Lobsang Rampa--a supposed Buddhist monk! Metaphysical stuff.

I accept your logic that there can be no god or gods as we usually define god or deity. I do not think that such a creature if it or they did exist would hardly be aware of us, even supposing they or it were concious-beings. But then we aren't always concious of every little function of our own bodies (that would drive us bonkers---good thing some part of us is on auto-pilot!).

I am just having difficulty rejecting the whole idea of reality as we know it existing without some over-arching purpose. It seems illogical to me, that we exist and seemingly with no design or purpose. It bothers me not knowing why....like, what is the point?! That is why I won't reject the greater-being concept (If that could be considered a definition of a deity). Not that it matters much, cause I, all life and this planet's life will end one day to be recycled and "I" won't likely be any the wiser!

I am not going to loose any sleep over it anyhow! I am satisifed (most times) with resigning myself to not knowing. What will be will be.

Oh! I should tell you I have two of Tom Bearden's books. You might take notice, or maybe you have, that he postulates some kind of gestalt of the collective mind or being with the greater mind. I am not sure I am depicting that accurately, but that is what I vaguely remember from years ago now since I read him. It was hard enough to try and grasp his "potentials" in vacuums, scalar waves and all that scientific stuff over my head.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2009 2:22 pm 
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The link from "objective thought" in the original post is no longer valid so here's a quick replacement link -
http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/atheism/106355/1

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2009 9:42 pm 
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I would be very interesting to hear what Bob has to say about the Agnostic Fallacy

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