Whats an Agnostic to do in a lackers world?

Discussion in 'Religion & Philosophy' started by Kokomojojo, Aug 1, 2018.

  1. One Mind

    One Mind Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    That had nothing to do with the basic difference between definitive terms. And if you are incapable of realizing this, it makes no difference to me. We have 3 terms in regards to this issue, and there is a reason for 3 instead of 2. Each represents something different. Agnosticism is not atheism. Period. Agnosticism is not theism, period. And there is no existing logic that would negate this. If there is, I would love to see it. So would profs who teach logic and reason at the college level.
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2018
  2. tecoyah

    tecoyah Well-Known Member

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    This is rather sad and I will not bother explaining why as you would not understand such incredible complexity as is clear at this point.

    Believe it or not....some people do not fit into the "Terms" you find so important and instead think in detail.
     
  3. One Mind

    One Mind Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    You are trying to make simple terms, complex, when they are not complex but clear and simple. I think an ego will just not admit it is wrong. You want to take a poll to see who can go where your head went? You would not win it.

    If people cannot accept specific definition of terms, then that is on them. Not me. You refuse to accept the specificity. So create you own term, and leave those specific terms alone? But don't use contradicting terms. If I ask you which state you are in, you would, to remain consistent claim to be in two at the same time. But only in your mind. Not in reality.
     
  4. Capt Nice

    Capt Nice Well-Known Member

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    Think of a fork in the road. A Theist knows which fork to take. An Atheist knows which fork to take. An Agnostic stops and is probably picking his now while he's uncertain which way to go.
     
  5. Swensson

    Swensson Devil's advocate

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    Okidoki.

    The problem lies in what we mean by the word "atheism".

    Google suggests "disbelief or lack of belief in the existence of God or gods" (source)
    Wikipedia suggests "Atheism is, in the broadest sense, the absence of belief in the existence of deities" (source)
    Merriam Webster suggests "Disbelief or lack of belief in the existence of God or gods" (source)

    Disbelief in the existence of God is arguably "I believe there is no God" (although there is room for debate there too, but I don't think that'll be important), but a lack of belief in something is simply not to hold it as true. So the question then becomes "does being an agnostic imply not holding 'there is a God' as true?".

    We then turn to the law of the excluded middle, one of the three classic laws of thought (which in practice defines the concept of a negation, the word "not"). "For any proposition, either that proposition is true or its negation is true".

    The logical proposition in question is "I believe there is a god" (and the negation is "I do not believe there is a god"). Either than proposition is true, or that proposition is not true. We ask our agnostic "Do you believe there is a God?". The agnostic holds neither the belief "There is a god" nor the belief "there is no god", so the answer is no (compare: If you hold nor an apple or an orange, the correct answer to "Do you hold an apple" is no). By the law of the excluded middle, this means that do you not hold that belief is yes (which should not be confused with believing that there is no god). This in turn satisfies the "lack" definition of atheism.

    Of course, the objections to this includes questioning whether the lack definition is an appropriate definition to use. I would suggest that the person introducing the term to a line of reasoning decides (so as long as you're referring to arguments made before you, the definitions intended in those arguments are in force). Compare this to two people talking about "orange". One might say "Oranges taste nice" and the other might answer "Oranges are a type of paint, paint is never tasty, you're lying". It's not that the second person is wrong to use "oranges" to refer to instances of paint, but he is wrong to do so while referring to an argument made with a different definition in force. Similarly, as long as Kokomojojo, you and others are discussing arguments where the "lack" definition was used, that definition should stay in force.
     
  6. One Mind

    One Mind Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    I can see no negation of my argument here. One does not believe, a lack of a belief. Or one believes. Or one says he does not know, and has no belief one way or the other, in regards to whether god exists or not. I see three different states of mind here. Not two.
     
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  7. jay runner

    jay runner Well-Known Member

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    There's nothing wrong with making camp at the fork in the road.
     
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  8. One Mind

    One Mind Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    Actually it isn't a fork, but more like a 3 way! ha ha

    But I liked your post! And in a way, being an agnostic, I am camped. For I don't know which way leads to the truth. The atheist says the left leads to truth, the theist the right road leads to truth, but since I have discerned that both are just assuming, and they don't know with certainty(certainty being based upon observation and evidence of that which is outside of this universe) in intellectual honesty, I have to say, hell, I just do not know. So I either camp there, or take the 3rd way of unknowing.

    I like the unknowing, but mostly because I perceive it to be the only honest position to hold. I like living in the Honesty Camp. It also yields humility, something you seldom see in those who claim certainty, that they in reality cannot honestly claim. Doesn't stop em' though. ha ha I think it is a ego problem. Ego seem to demand to "know" even if they can't know. And the same ego will not allow them to admit that they don't know and can't know. Must give them great anxiety to admit the obvious? ha ha

    But if someone gives me observable evidence of either position, and since agnosticism creates an open mind, I have no reservations about accepting the evidence and will accept it. Both of the other camps would question it, and probably reject it, depending upon if it agreed with their beliefs. Isn't that the way reality works? ha ha A reality in large part tied in with the ego. And its nature.
     
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  9. Swensson

    Swensson Devil's advocate

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    The law of the excluded middle says that a proposition must either be true or not true. The answer to the question "Do you believe there is a God" has only two answers, yes and no. As you say, there are three (at least three, probably countless) different situations which can be true, but the question "Do you believe" sorts them into two categories.

    Imagine there being an orange, and apple and a banana (here symbolising "I believe there is a god", "I believe there is no god" and agnosticism respectively) and let's say you have one arm and have to hold a fruit (so you have to hold exactly one of those). It is true that there are three options for you, you can hold the orange, the apple or the banana.

    The equivalent of lacking "I believe there is a god" is equivalent to lacking the orange, i.e. to not hold the orange. In that sense, there are only two options for you, you can either have the orange or lack the orange.

    The apple is equivalent to "I believe there is no god". Holding the apple means you do not hold the orange, you lack the orange. The banana is equivalent to agnosticism, holding the banana means you lack the orange. If you hold the banana and you're asked "Do you hold the orange?" the answer isn't "I hold neither the orange or the apple", the answer is "No".

    I agree with you that there are three states of mind. However, the "lack" definition of atheism doesn't care what your state of mind is or how many options you have, it only cares whether the answer to "Do you believe there is a god" is yes or no (given that you don't lie and a bunch of other minor details).
     
  10. Kokomojojo

    Kokomojojo Well-Known Member

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    Yep
    Nope.
    that is one of several possibilities.
    It can also mean 'huh'?....never heard of it, wtf are you talking about....that person would also 'lack'.
    Lack requires no brain, no mental process is necessary, rocks lack.
    Its not a 3 states of mind, its 3 logical positions.
    and it completely violates the laws of the excluded middle, and turns it upsidedown to become the laws of the included everything.
     
  11. One Mind

    One Mind Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    The lack definition of atheism is what? A lack of a belief in a god. It is a negative statement which by implication, a logical implication, that can be stated in a positive fashion. Which is, I do not believe in god. Theism could also be stated as a negative, in that I have a lack of belief in the non existence of a god. Or positively, I believe in god. I think we are getting tangled up in words here. ha ha

    Point being, that lack of belief that atheists hold, is no different from saying there is no god, or I do not believe there is a god. If the agnostic's position is that he does not know, and therefore cannot believe in a god, or not believe in a god, combining that with atheism is an incoherence, a contradiction in the two terms.

    So if the guy you mentioned had two hands, and he picked up the orange and banana, he cannot logically or reasonably claim that he only holds an orangibanana, for that fruit does not exist. ha ha. Now he may say that he does hold an imaginary fruit, but he will not convince others that such a fruit exists. And that may be a terrible analogy! ha ha

    I guess you could imagine that an agnostic atheist is a person who does not know he is an atheist? ha ha

    Perhaps one day, a human being will escape this universe, stand outside of it, and then have a means to take others with him so that those people can observe whether the universe has nothing outside of it that created it. At the same time, they would discover the truth of whether philosophical materialism or philosophical idealism was FACT, over an assumption. ha ha ha

    But unless a person can get outside of this universe, this question of god or no god will always remain nothing more than one big assumption. And you can believe whichever way that suits you. But at least one should realize that it is a belief that lacks evidence. And yet they don't. And so some of us have been driven to the position of agnosticism. I didn't go there, driven by emotions, desires, wants, hopes, but by realizing what can be known and what cannot be known. At least at this stage of the game.

    I personally would prefer a creator, separate from this universe, but only because for some reason I prefer purpose over no purpose. That is, a higher purpose with meaning and significance . But I will not self delude myself in order to hold onto a belief with no basis, for holding onto it, other than an assumption. And at this late age of 76, I doubt if this will change.
     
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  12. Kokomojojo

    Kokomojojo Well-Known Member

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    As an elected US senator you have 3 paths, that is 3 choices to make a decision on a bill.

    You can choose;

    1) Yes
    2) No
    3) Abstain


    This is an identical situation to the problem being discussed here.

    You cannot be a combination of any to 2, ever, you pick one period, and there are 3 valid choices, therefore you cannot reasonably, or logically be a no+abstension at the same time or a yes+abstension at the same time, that is patently ridiculous and violates the laws of the excluded middle between any 2 choices.

    In classic logic, but not constructive logic as I have explained.
    That is error, not detail.
    Its you and the neoatheist evangelist crew that does not understand. As I pointed out you are improperly joining positions when only one is allowed.
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2018
  13. Kokomojojo

    Kokomojojo Well-Known Member

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    That says it all! They simply dont get it and dont want to get it. this is like trying to discuss how to make mud with someone that thinks it only requires dirt and refuses to consider that a liquid is also required.
     
  14. Swensson

    Swensson Devil's advocate

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    I agree. I think this highlights the difference between lacking belief and believing the opposite. A rock can lack belief, but it cannot believe that there is no god (since that would require a brain). Thus the two describe different things.
    Sure.
    It is only the logical middle ground between yes and no which is excluded. The name of the law refers only to that.
     
  15. Kokomojojo

    Kokomojojo Well-Known Member

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    and a theist lacks disbelief, since they chose only to believe. In both cases the theist has a brain, the neoatheist does not need one, any more than a rock needs one, and technically only agnostic can claim lack of belief or absence of belief because they do not believe or disbelieve, they abstain from an affirmative or negative belief position which is also a conscious choice that requires a brain.

    The only position in the group that requires no brain is the neo atheist
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2018
  16. Etbauer

    Etbauer Well-Known Member

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    But of course, just because a rock lacks belief in leprechauns doesn't mean that is a good reason to think they might exist right?
     
  17. Swensson

    Swensson Devil's advocate

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    True.
     
  18. Swensson

    Swensson Devil's advocate

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    Both of those seem like negative statements to me. "I sing" is a positive statement, "I don't sing" seems to me a negative statement, so "I don't believe" should be a negative statement too.
    I don't think those two are interchangeable (although I agree that both statements will be true for a theist).
    There is a difference though. One is a statement, the other is the lack of a statement. I think the example Kokomojojo brought up makes this point. Consider a rock. A rock has no brain or other cognitive facilities. It is unable to believe that there is no god. Indeed, it is unable to believe anything whatsoever. However, it is able to not believe. Thus, a rock does not believe that there is no god, but it lacks the belief that there is a god. Therefore, those two must not be the same thing.
    Yeah, if you bring in an extra hand, you now have a person who can hold both "there is a god" and "there is no god" as true at the same time (as well as a slew of other implausible scenarios). That's why I limited us to one hand.
    I don't really care either way. Having rejected religion, I find the question of whether there actually is a god to be rather uninteresting, at least in the ways it keeps presenting itself. I am more intrigued by the machinations of humans, language, interactions, art and philosophy.
     
  19. Swensson

    Swensson Devil's advocate

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    So in this example, "I believe there is a god" plays the role of yes, "I believe there is no god" plays the role of no, and abstaining plays the role of agnosticism. The definition of atheism suggested is "I lack the belief that there is a god" which translates to the example as "I did not vote yes". Of course, there is more than one way to not vote yes, voting no is not the same as voting yes, and abstaining is not the same as voting yes, so "not voting yes" includes both no sayers and abstainers.

    The problem arises in that you're stuck to the interpretation that atheism corresponds to "no". However, it is an equivocation to consider "atheism is the lack of belief in god" arguments using that understanding.
    The situation is well explained in classical logic. There is no feedback in the logic (which is what gives rise to constructive logic). You seem to be grasping at straws for a solution.
     
  20. Swensson

    Swensson Devil's advocate

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    No, the agnostic also refrains from any belief, which can also be done by a rock. Well, it depends, if by agnostic, we mean someone who actively believes that the answer is unknowable, then a rock could not hold that belief.

    Either way, the nouns theist, atheist or agnostic still require the object to be a person, so a brain is still required, but yes, the state of not believing something does not.
     
  21. Kokomojojo

    Kokomojojo Well-Known Member

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    where is the distinction in that?
     
  22. Kokomojojo

    Kokomojojo Well-Known Member

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    I think you meant the state of lack does not.
     
  23. Swensson

    Swensson Devil's advocate

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    Why would there have to be one?

    Apples and bananas are both non-oranges, if we try to figure out whether a specific object is a non-orange, the distinction between apples and bananas is not important.
     
  24. Kokomojojo

    Kokomojojo Well-Known Member

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    thats ok if there is none then we are left with agnostic as the proper slot for it.
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2018
  25. Kokomojojo

    Kokomojojo Well-Known Member

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    agreed, atheism 'has' to be thought of as the antithesis or negation of theism to even make sense.
     

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