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1 JeffFX  Tue, Feb 5, 2013 4:32:16pm

It’s weird to have him go on and on about not being an atheist, while he’s saying that he doesn’t believe in a god, which makes him Atheist.

He’s saying he doesn’t like the aggressive New Atheists, so he’s avoiding the label, but he’s not the sort of person to believe in the supernatural, which makes him Atheist among other things.

He’s right that we shouldn’t need a special word for people who don’t believe in any gods, but religion is still everywhere so we do.

2 Aligarr  Tue, Feb 5, 2013 4:36:32pm

Excellent response to the claims .Agnostic is appropo for just about everyone , since no one can prove the existence or non-existence of God ,a god, gods , a spritual force , I.D. , or a meta-physical force . The question at the moment is unscrutable . Stalemate .

3 JeffFX  Tue, Feb 5, 2013 4:41:42pm

re: #2 Aligarr

Excellent response to the claims .Agnostic is appropo for just about everyone , since no one can prove the existence or non-existence of God ,a god, gods , a spritual force , I.D. , or a meta-physical force . The question at the moment is unscrutable . Stalemate .

You’re an agnostic atheist if you don’t believe in gods and believe that you can’t know for sure. This appears to be the most rational position.

Someone needs to directly ask him if he’s an agnostic atheist, or an agnostic theist. I’m pretty sure I know what the answer is, but he needs to maintain his popularity with Americans, and a lot of them go crazy at the word “Atheist.”

It’s weird to see him pretend to not know what Atheist means, and try to create a false impression that Atheist means someone who’s actively fighting against religion, when I know for a fact he’s smarter than that.

4 EPR-radar  Tue, Feb 5, 2013 4:43:03pm

His point about it not making sense to have a special term for non-religion is weak.

If one has a religious worldview, then important parts of ones life relate to that religion.

A worldview lacking any such religions features can fairly be characterized as an atheist worldview.

The analogy to skiers vs. non skiers falls apart because theism vs. atheism is a much more basic part of a worldview than skiing vs. non-skiing. Nobody claims to base a theory of human rights on whether or not they are skiers. In contrast, ones views on the justification for human rights are likely to depend significantly on whether one is a theist or atheist.

5 EPR-radar  Tue, Feb 5, 2013 4:44:27pm

re: #3 JeffFX

Yes, there was a bit too much of the “I don’t want to get cooties from the abrasive atheists” in that for my taste.

6 EPR-radar  Tue, Feb 5, 2013 4:49:23pm

re: #2 Aligarr

Excellent response to the claims .Agnostic is appropo for just about everyone , since no one can prove the existence or non-existence of God ,a god, gods , a spritual force , I.D. , or a meta-physical force . The question at the moment is unscrutable . Stalemate .

It will forever be unknowable. So, one can choose to believe (theism). One can choose to not believe (atheism). Or one can choose to punt on the question (agnostic).

7 JeffFX  Tue, Feb 5, 2013 4:52:35pm

re: #5 EPR-radar

Yes, there was a bit too much of the “I don’t want to get cooties from the abrasive atheists” in that for my taste.

And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with being an aggressive atheist when religion is so out of hand in this country. If the religious kept their beliefs in church, the only vocal atheists would be teenagers and arrested-development cases. New Atheism is nothing but a push-back against aggressive religionists, just like we push back against wingnuts here. The reality is the the aggressive religionists and the wingnuts are often the exact same people, so lizards and new atheists have a lot in common.

8 EPR-radar  Tue, Feb 5, 2013 5:00:23pm

re: #3 JeffFX

I’m familiar with the idea of two axes, one for atheism and theism, and the other for agnostic and gnostic. Resulting in 4 categories (agnostic-theist, gnostic-atheist etc.).

However, the gnostic categories are looking very weak these days, as long as knowledge is regarded as needing some level of intersubjective agreement and/or persuasive force based on evidence.

So, to put it a bit crudely, I think there are really only two categories here: agnostic-theist and agnostic-atheist. If so, then ‘agnostic’ becomes pretty much meaningless.

9 Achilles Tang  Tue, Feb 5, 2013 5:17:00pm

He is a science spokesman; looking for the largest audience possible and particularly the scientifically ignorant who coincidentally largely happen to be believers. He knows this and “coming out” as an atheist will only turn off many he hopes to reach.

He is too smart to be agnostic, but I understand why he says so.

10 JeffFX  Tue, Feb 5, 2013 5:18:58pm

re: #9 Achilles Tang

He may have the most noble of intentions in misleading people, but I still really hate seeing this man of all people blow smoke like this.

11 Achilles Tang  Tue, Feb 5, 2013 5:19:55pm

re: #2 Aligarr

Excellent response to the claims .Agnostic is appropo for just about everyone , since no one can prove the existence or non-existence of God ,a god, gods , a spritual force , I.D. , or a meta-physical force . The question at the moment is unscrutable . Stalemate .

So, are you agnostic about the possibility that you exist only in my quantum computer that I built in my garage?

12 EPR-radar  Tue, Feb 5, 2013 5:22:32pm

re: #10 JeffFX

He may have the most noble of intentions in misleading people, but I still really hate seeing this man of all people blow smoke like this.

I’d like to see him come back with something along the lines of: “My personal beliefs are irrelevant. If one is going to practice science, then the methods employed in this pursuit must be strictly natural, as opposed to supernatural (i.e., methodological atheism)”

13 Achilles Tang  Tue, Feb 5, 2013 5:22:34pm

re: #10 JeffFX

He may have the most noble of intentions in misleading people, but I still really hate seeing this man of all people blow smoke like this.

Yes, better to keep quiet.

14 TDG2112  Tue, Feb 5, 2013 5:24:08pm

re: #11 Achilles Tang

Show me the evidence, and I’ll consider it.

That’s the point Tyson is making. God’s existence is a scientific question. The fact that it is not testable one way or the other makes it impossible to answer. But hey, if actual evidence were to come to light, it should be reviewed and considered.

Scientists shouldn’t have a problem with that. Theists, for the most part, are the ones who refuse to consider the lack of evidence.

But again, the lack of evidence does not prove the none-existance of something you can’t find. Just like String Theory isn’t really a scientific theory. It isn’t testable. Doesn’t mean they’re wrong however.

15 EPR-radar  Tue, Feb 5, 2013 5:27:31pm

re: #14 TDG2112

Is there a ‘not’ missing in the second line here? The usual position is that God’s existence is not a scientific question.

16 JeffFX  Tue, Feb 5, 2013 5:31:03pm

re: #15 EPR-radar

Is there a ‘not’ missing in the second line here? The usual position is that God’s existence is not a scientific question.

If a god existed, his existence would be a scientific question. It’s just stuff that’s not real that they tell us science can’t apply to.

The early scientists thought they were studying god’s work, but the evidence let them in a different direction. If reality had been different, science would organized around the study of god instead of nature.

17 Achilles Tang  Tue, Feb 5, 2013 5:35:30pm

re: #14 TDG2112

God’s existence is a scientific question. God’s existence is a scientific question.

No it isn’t.

Saying something has always existed (as a sentience yet), and then saying that that something was therefore a cause for another obvious something to come into existence (which couldn’t conceivably have been before, they say), is simply tautology (otherwise known as theology).

18 EPR-radar  Tue, Feb 5, 2013 5:38:34pm

re: #16 JeffFX

If a god existed, his existence would be a scientific question. It’s just stuff that’s not real that they tell us science can’t apply to.

The early scientists thought they were studying god’s work, but the evidence let them in a different direction. If reality had been different, science would organized around the study of god instead of nature.

I’d rephrase that as “if a god existed that moved and acted in the natural world, his existence would be a scientific question”. However, such an entity would most likely be seen as simply a powerful creature (e.g., Q from Star Trek) as opposed to the inherently supernatural God of many religious traditions.

19 JeffFX  Tue, Feb 5, 2013 5:40:28pm

re: #18 EPR-radar

I’d rephrase that as “if a god existed that moved and acted in the natural world, his existence would be a scientific question”. However, such an entity would most likely be seen as simply a powerful creature (e.g., Q from Star Trek) as opposed to the inherently supernatural God of many religious traditions.

Sure, and even if it WAS the alien that created us (slave race, food supply, whatever) As soon as we saw it was real, and not some BS we could lie to our fellow man about to advance ourselves, we’d try to kill it before it took power from our current leaders.

20 hellosnackbar  Tue, Feb 5, 2013 5:48:02pm

He represents himself as an example of an Atheist who is not an Antitheist.

21 JeffFX  Tue, Feb 5, 2013 5:59:10pm

re: #20 hellosnackbar

He represents himself as an example of an Atheist who is not an Antitheist.

It would be cool if he had actually done that in the video instead of misleading people about what atheism is. Maybe you watched a different video?

22 EPR-radar  Tue, Feb 5, 2013 6:01:03pm

re: #21 JeffFX

It would be cool if he had actually done that in the video instead of misleading people about what atheism is. Maybe you watched a different video?

What I saw was an intentional blurring of the distinction between ‘atheism’ and what one might call ‘evangelical atheism’.

23 JeffFX  Tue, Feb 5, 2013 6:05:55pm

re: #22 EPR-radar

What I saw was an intentional blurring of the distinction between ‘atheism’ and what one might call ‘evangelical atheism’.

Yep, also known as the New Atheists. Folks like PZ Myers. Most atheists aren’t aggressive about their beliefs at all, and some keep it a complete secret.

24 EPR-radar  Tue, Feb 5, 2013 6:10:18pm

re: #23 JeffFX

Yep, also known as the New Atheists. Folks like PZ Myers. Most atheists aren’t aggressive about their beliefs at all, and some keep it a complete secret.

Indeed. PZ’s views on the utility of elected officials paying heed to religion are direct, to say the least.

25 EPR-radar  Tue, Feb 5, 2013 6:28:09pm

re: #24 EPR-radar

Indeed. PZ’s views on the utility of elected officials paying heed to religion are direct, to say the least.

Compared to PZ, I’m very restrained, as long as nobody is trying to convert me.

The most I will do when unprovoked is to point out, with a bit of petty malice, the impossibility of defining ‘delusional’ (e.g., as in the DSM for psychiatry) without a great big exception for beliefs put forth by organized religions.

26 calochortus  Tue, Feb 5, 2013 6:57:48pm

The problem with atheist vs. agnostic is a lack of clarity to the terms. I sometimes say I’m an atheist, sometimes an agnostic, and most often I just say I’m not religious.
I think we need an agreed upon term for “I don’t see any evidence for the supernatural, and until I do, I don’t believe it exists. However, if I see evidence I will reevaluate my position.”

27 EPR-radar  Tue, Feb 5, 2013 7:17:12pm

re: #26 calochortus

The problem with atheist vs. agnostic is a lack of clarity to the terms. I sometimes say I’m an atheist, sometimes an agnostic, and most often I just say I’m not religious.
I think we need an agreed upon term for “I don’t see any evidence for the supernatural, and until I do, I don’t believe it exists. However, if I see evidence I will reevaluate my position.”

The position you describe is basically my own, and I tend to think of my view as closer to atheism than to anything else.

There is nothing about atheism that inherently means “and I’ll continue to refuse to believe no matter what events might come up in the future.”

For my part, I’ll drop my atheism the same day that lightning bolts from a clear sky take out any two or more of the hateful right wing US nut jobs calling themselves preachers.

28 calochortus  Tue, Feb 5, 2013 7:47:46pm

re: #27 EPR-radar

There may be nothing about the term atheist that means one stridently carries on about the non-existence of god or will never believe-but many people do make that assumption, and believe that atheists hate god. Agnostics are sometimes defined as those saying the nature of god is not knowable-but they believe in a deity of some sort.
I realize we can’t sort that all out here-but as fewer people claim religious belief, I think we’ll eventually have to clarify terms.

29 chadu  Tue, Feb 5, 2013 8:51:56pm

re: #26 calochortus

The problem with atheist vs. agnostic is a lack of clarity to the terms. I sometimes say I’m an atheist, sometimes an agnostic, and most often I just say I’m not religious.

I think we need an agreed upon term for “I don’t see any evidence for the supernatural, and until I do, I don’t believe it exists. However, if I see evidence I will reevaluate my position.”

My issue is that I want to see hard scientific evidence, but have also had had personal experiences of the supernatural* (might just be merely anecdata or misunderstandings of my own mind, freely posited), so that puts me into the “reevaluate” category.

* These experiences will be boring to most folk; mostly they were either a sense of overwhelming, irresistible peace; dream-like experiences-but-not-real-experiences-while-real-experiences were happening, not under any chemical influence; and I think I saw a ghost once (but that could be again a problem of EM/fungal/psychosomatic influence, I admit).

30 Destro  Tue, Feb 5, 2013 10:12:50pm

re: #29 chadu

My issue is that I want to see hard scientific evidence, but have also had had personal experiences of the supernatural* (might just be merely anecdata or misunderstandings of my own mind, freely posited), so that puts me into the “reevaluate” category.

* These experiences will be boring to most folk; mostly they were either a sense of overwhelming, irresistible peace; dream-like experiences-but-not-real-experiences-while-real-experiences were happening, not under any chemical influence; and I think I saw a ghost once (but that could be again a problem of EM/fungal/psychosomatic influence, I admit).

Trippy. I have pre-cog abilities but they are random and I don’t get them till afterwards. Like on 9/11 when I went to put on my shoes I had a feeling that I should change the selection to a more comfortable pair because I would need to do some walking that day. Now that could be my brain backtracking and making connections that have no connections and in hindsight I view it as a “premonition”. Other precognition powers I have (I think) is that I will think of an obscure television show I once saw and then a few days later I see it on. I know, stupidest super-power ever. Again, it probably is not supernatural - just my brain making patterns out of unconnected things.

31 goddamnedfrank  Tue, Feb 5, 2013 10:32:32pm

re: #3 JeffFX

You’re an agnostic atheist if you don’t believe in gods and believe that you can’t know for sure. This appears to be the most rational position.

You’re an agnostic if you believe it’s beyond the capacity of your mind to definitively know the answer. Saying agnostic atheist is like saying Judeo Christian, a transparent attempt to pretend a belief is more inclusive than it really is by appending and superseding another label.

Someone needs to directly ask him if he’s an agnostic atheist, or an agnostic theist.

I don’t get this need to pigeonhole the man according to your own categorical definitions of what these words mean.

It’s weird to see him pretend to not know what Atheist means …

Assuming he’s pretending because his expressed understanding doesn’t line up with yours, that’s an interesting assumption to make.

And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with being an aggressive atheist when religion is so out of hand in this country.

And if it wasn’t out of hand? I don’t get this line of reasoning, justification by forced contextualization. I’d say there’s nothing wrong with aggressive atheism because it’s an honest expression of personal belief, just like agnosticism. They stand on their own. The idea that either of their legitimacies derives reactionarily from overreach by religion is a new one.

32 Jimmah  Wed, Feb 6, 2013 5:14:29am

re: #31 goddamnedfrank

You’re an agnostic if you believe it’s beyond the capacity of your mind to definitively know the answer.

On that definition, can you name any atheists? Richard Dawkins doesn’t qualify on that basis.

33 JeffFX  Wed, Feb 6, 2013 5:38:28am

re: #31 goddamnedfrank

You’re an agnostic if you believe it’s beyond the capacity of your mind to definitively know the answer. Saying agnostic atheist is like saying Judeo Christian, a transparent attempt to pretend a belief is more inclusive than it really is by appending and superseding another label.

Your statement just isn’t true. If you don’t believe in a god, you’re Atheist. It’s really that simple. The two terms are orthogonal.

I don’t get this need to pigeonhole the man according to your own categorical definitions of what these words mean.

Not my own definitions, I’m talking about what words actually mean. If words don’t mean things, we can’t communicate.

Assuming he’s pretending because his expressed understanding doesn’t line up with yours, that’s an interesting assumption to make.

How interesting is it when a smart person tries to obfuscate the meaning of words? Why are you on-board with that?

And if it wasn’t out of hand? I don’t get this line of reasoning, justification by forced contextualization. I’d say there’s nothing wrong with aggressive atheism because it’s an honest expression of personal belief, just like agnosticism. They stand on their own. The idea that either of their legitimacies derives reactionarily from overreach by religion is a new one.

If it weren’t out of hand, Atheists wouldn’t need to push back like we absolutely have to. No one wants to upset their grandmother, but we have to be honest and open about what religion is when it has so much influence in this country.

Do you think LGF would be the same place it is if wingnuts didn’t exist? Same deal with vocal atheists. We’re pushing back against idiocy.

34 JeffFX  Wed, Feb 6, 2013 5:42:02am

re: #32 Jimmah

On that definition, can you name any atheists? Richard Dawkins doesn’t qualify on that basis.

Obviously, no one does and Frank’s position is unsupportable.

I also don’t get why Locker thought it was a great segment, but am thankful that I’ve been made aware that even someone I admire as much as Tyson misleads people for personal reasons.

35 Decatur Deb  Wed, Feb 6, 2013 5:45:34am

re: #33 JeffFX

The discussion is getting trapped in a simple inadequacy of language. The spectrum of non-believers is broader than two words. “Anti-theist” might be a useful extension. (My son insists that I’m a Soft Atheist, while I just call myself a flat-out Agnostic of the Don’t-Give-A-Shit Rite.)

36 Glenn Beck's Grand Unifying Theory of Obdicut  Wed, Feb 6, 2013 5:50:59am

re: #33 JeffFX

Your statement just isn’t true. If you don’t believe in a god, you’re Atheist. It’s really that simple. The two terms are orthogonal.

It’s not really useful, though, that definition. Mostly because ‘god’ doesn’t have an actual definition. Hell, Christians got called atheists by the Romans because they denied the Roman gods.

Like Decatur said, this is just a language problem. I don’t believe in the supernatural at all, and I don’t believe the concept of it makes any sense, nor do I think any supernatural concept makes sense. So it’s not even that I believe in god, it’s that I don’t even think the concept of god is coherent.

One of my favorite dudes is an atheist priest. He believes, as he says, in “A god as real as love.”

37 Jimmah  Wed, Feb 6, 2013 6:03:57am

re: #34 JeffFX

Obviously, no one does and Frank’s position is unsupportable.

I also don’t get why Locker thought it was a great segment, but am thankful that I’ve been made aware that even someone I admire as much as Tyson misleads people for personal reasons.

I think whether someone who doesn’t believe in God calls themselves an atheist or agnostic is all about how they are positioning themselves. An ‘agnostic’ is basically saying “I don’t believe in God/s but I don’t want to make any trouble here with all you believers”.

I reckon Tyson thinks it’s ‘politically’ expedient for him to take that position given the audience he is trying to reach with his scientific message (God-fearing Americans). Unfortunately such a position validates a lot of whiny concern trolling about ‘nasty atheists’ so it always disappoints me to see it. I think it’s better to say “I’m an atheist because I don’t believe in God however that doesn’t mean I possess absolute knowledge of God’s non-existence and, contrary to what you may have read in the Daily Mail, I’m not going to eat your babies.”

38 JeffFX  Wed, Feb 6, 2013 6:07:22am

re: #37 Jimmah

I tend to just tell people “I’m not religious” if asked. If they ask if I believe in “God,” I’ll tell them no. If they ask why, I’ll tell them, and they’ll be offended.

Maybe we should just drop the word “atheist” because it makes people twitchy, so many are confused about the meaning, and just saying we’re not saddled with religion should be enough.

39 Decatur Deb  Wed, Feb 6, 2013 6:08:32am

re: #37 Jimmah

I think whether someone who doesn’t believe in God calls themselves an atheist or agnostic is all about how they are positioning themselves. An ‘agnostic’ is basically saying “I don’t believe in God/s but I don’t want to make any trouble here with all you believers”.

I reckon Tyson thinks it’s ‘politically’ expedient for him to take that position given the audience he is trying to reach with his scientific message (God-fearing Americans). Unfortunately such a position validates a lot of whiny concern trolling about ‘nasty atheists’ so it always disappoints me to see it. I think it’s better to say “I’m an atheist because I don’t believe in God however that doesn’t mean I possess absolute knowledge of God’s non-existence and, contrary to what you may have read in the Daily Mail, I’m not going to eat your babies.”

Depends on where and when you learned the language. I would never call myself an atheist because in the America of the 1950s, atheism was Madlyn Murray O’Hare. I would as soon be associated with Aimee Semple McPherson.

40 JeffFX  Wed, Feb 6, 2013 6:10:33am

re: #27 EPR-radar

For my part, I’ll drop my atheism the same day that lightning bolts from a clear sky take out any two or more of the hateful right wing US nut jobs calling themselves preachers.

I’d think of Varek or other aliens before a god, and I’ll bet the defense department would too.

41 JeffFX  Wed, Feb 6, 2013 6:12:38am

re: #39 Decatur Deb

Depends on where and when you learned the language. I would never call myself an atheist because in the America of the 1950s, atheism was Madlyn Murray O’Hare. I would as soon be associated with Aimee Semple McPherson.

Then no one should call themselves Liberal or Conservative because of the extremists either.

Besides she was kidnapped and murdered, so I think her opponents were the greater problem.

42 Decatur Deb  Wed, Feb 6, 2013 6:13:55am

re: #41 JeffFX

Then no one should call themselves Liberal or Conservative because of the extremists either.

Besides she was kidnapped and murdered, so I think her opponents were the greater problem.

IIRC, her killing was related to family and money, gold coins I think.

43 Jimmah  Wed, Feb 6, 2013 6:14:30am

re: #38 JeffFX

I tend to just tell people “I’m not religious” if asked. If they ask if I believe in “God,” I’ll tell them no. If they ask why, I’ll tell them, and they’ll be offended.

Maybe we should just drop the word “atheist” because it makes people twitchy, so many are confused about the meaning, and just saying we’re not saddled with religion should be enough.

I see your point, but I think we should stick with ‘atheist’ - it hasn’t done any harm in the UK, and really, dropping it would be like dropping the word ‘liberal’ because the Republicans made it a dirty word in 1988 when Dukakis ran.

44 JeffFX  Wed, Feb 6, 2013 6:15:11am

re: #42 Decatur Deb

IIRC, her killing was related to family and money, gold coins I think.

Thanks for the correction! It was her allies that were the greater problem.

45 Decatur Deb  Wed, Feb 6, 2013 6:17:09am

re: #44 JeffFX

Thanks for the correction! It was her allies that were the greater problem.

Yeah, and the upshot was that at least one family member became a religious nut. The whole cycle suggests more fraud and posturing than philosophy.

46 Jimmah  Wed, Feb 6, 2013 6:23:56am

re: #42 Decatur Deb

IIRC, her killing was related to family and money, gold coins I think.

Just wiki’d her and I don’t see anything wrong with anything she did in promoting atheism. She , her son and grandaughter were the victims of a horrible murder perpetrated by someone who had worked for her organisation and stole the association’s money.

47 Decatur Deb  Wed, Feb 6, 2013 6:25:25am

re: #46 Jimmah

Just wiki’d her and I don’t see anything wrong with anything she did in promoting atheism. She , her son and grandaughter were the victims of a horrible murder perpetrated by someone who had worked for her organisation and stole the association’s money.

She turned it into a profession—like a bishop.

48 Jimmah  Wed, Feb 6, 2013 6:26:21am

re: #44 JeffFX

Thanks for the correction! It was her allies that were the greater problem.

The killer was a typesetter for the organisation American Atheists. He embezzled money from them and he was enraged that O’Hair exposed him in a newsletter.

49 Jimmah  Wed, Feb 6, 2013 6:27:49am

re: #47 Decatur Deb

She turned it into a profession—like a bishop.

As far as I know she didn’t cover up any sexual abuse so, no- not like a bishop.

/Sorry about the cheap shot but I couldn’t resist.

50 JeffFX  Wed, Feb 6, 2013 6:30:51am

re: #48 Jimmah

The killer was a typesetter for the organisation American Atheists. He embezzled money from them and he was enraged that O’Hair exposed him in a newsletter.

Wait, how can you expose the typesetter in your newsletter? He controls the type. ;>

51 Decatur Deb  Wed, Feb 6, 2013 6:30:55am

re: #49 Jimmah

As far as I know she didn’t cover up any sexual abuse so, no- not like a bishop.

/Sorry about the cheap shot but I couldn’t resist.

Two of my schoolmates are archbishops, the good one specializes in cleaning up the mess left by Law and others. (The other is a RW stooge.)

52 JeffFX  Wed, Feb 6, 2013 6:31:30am

re: #47 Decatur Deb

She turned it into a profession—like a bishop.

This is what Americans do. It’s all about making a buck.

53 Locker  Wed, Feb 6, 2013 6:31:55am

Wow talk about a lot of comments.

I’m an agnostic. Personally, it means “I don’t know shit for sure”. Not really sure how someone can be “Too smart to be agnostic” when that seems the smartest thing to be, in my opinion.

Atheists are sure. Believers are sure. Agnostics and scientists are not sure, they just make the best guess they can.

I’m an agnostic.

54 Decatur Deb  Wed, Feb 6, 2013 6:32:10am

re: #52 JeffFX

This is what Americans do. It’s all about making a buck.

Gives godlessness a bad name.

55 Decatur Deb  Wed, Feb 6, 2013 6:34:01am

re: #53 Locker

Wow talk about a lot of comments.

I’m an agnostic. Personally, it means “I don’t know shit for sure”. Not really sure how someone can be “Too smart to be agnostic” when that seems the smartest thing to be, in my opinion.

Atheists are sure. Believers are sure. Agnostics and scientists are not sure, they just make the best guess they can.

I’m an agnostic.

Yup. No more interested in being a True Disbeliever than a True Believer.

56 Glenn Beck's Grand Unifying Theory of Obdicut  Wed, Feb 6, 2013 6:53:29am

re: #53 Locker

Again, it all depends on terminology. I’ve never heard a definition of god or the supernatural that makes any actual sense. I’m not sure what it is I am or am not supposed to be sure about.

I’d call myself an atheist. But I don’t think it matters much. I’m allowed to use other words to explain what I think and feel.

57 Locker  Wed, Feb 6, 2013 7:05:32am

re: #56 Obdicut

Again, it all depends on terminology. I’ve never heard a definition of god or the supernatural that makes any actual sense. I’m not sure what it is I am or am not supposed to be sure about.

I’d call myself an atheist. But I don’t think it matters much. I’m allowed to use other words to explain what I think and feel.

Of course you are (allowed to use other words…), that’s why I tried to convey that it was my personal definition. I’m not really going to let someone else push their definition on me as I’m quite sure of what I mean.

As far what you are or aren’t suppose to be sure about.. in this scenario it would be “the specific definition of god” as what’s being considered.

I honestly find it a big waste of time to debate about the fine points of a definition while completely skipping the content/intent of the speaker. That’s what really matters, imo.

58 Glenn Beck's Grand Unifying Theory of Obdicut  Wed, Feb 6, 2013 7:24:44am

re: #57 Locker

Of course you are (allowed to use other words…), that’s why I tried to convey that it was my personal definition. I’m not really going to let someone else push their definition on me as I’m quite sure of what I mean.

As far what you are or aren’t suppose to be sure about.. in this scenario it would be “the specific definition of god” as what’s being considered.

I honestly find it a big waste of time to debate about the fine points of a definition while completely skipping the content/intent of the speaker. That’s what really matters, imo.

I mean that I’m an atheist, arguably a ‘hard’ atheist, because I don’t agree that it’s possible ‘god’ might exist, because I’ve never seen a description of god make any sense. It’s like being asked if I believe in colorless green light, to me. I’m an ‘agnostic’ in that I know I’m just a individual human with a normal brain and so maybe I’m just not getting something, but I doubt it.

59 Achilles Tang  Wed, Feb 6, 2013 7:07:07pm

re: #58 Obdicut

People can come up with any hairbrained scheme, and simplistic logic can say that if we can’t conclusively prove it wrong in some way, then we are agnostic, which satisfies the inventor of the scheme, to a degree.

As to what you don’t get; that is an absolute conviction of something that you really have no desire to question. The majority of humanity seems to get (be afflicted with) that.

60 Achilles Tang  Wed, Feb 6, 2013 7:24:10pm

re: #53 Locker

Wow talk about a lot of comments.

I’m an agnostic. Personally, it means “I don’t know shit for sure”. Not really sure how someone can be “Too smart to be agnostic” when that seems the smartest thing to be, in my opinion.

Atheists are sure. Believers are sure. Agnostics and scientists are not sure, they just make the best guess they can.

I’m an agnostic.

I’m guessing that was my comment you reference, about too smart to be agnostic.

No disrespect meant, but I don’t think you have spent much time thinking about the god concept. If you did, and I am sure you are smart enough to do so, you would either come to a comprehension stop that you can’t or don’t want to go past and call yourself a believer or, if you continue, an atheist.

I called myself an agnostic once when I was young.

61 goddamnedfrank  Wed, Feb 6, 2013 10:12:32pm

This is what cracks me up - the know it alls. It’s not enough for some people to profess what’s in their own hearts and minds, they have to second guess, correct and label other people’s self assessed statements of belief. I love these straight faced iron clad assertions that people like Degrasse-Tyson are lying, pretending or playing politics out of some fear rather than honestly presenting a well thought out position on an intensely personal subject. When self described agnostics cogitate on the question of the existence of the divine and come to a conclusion that’s based largely on their understanding of their own limitations, guess what, it has nothing to do with you. Nobody’s asking you to buy into that line of reasoning for yourself, but understand that it’s intrinsically disrespectful to cast aspersions on the person’s integrity and/or intelligence in order to question their own self identity - assuming that they’re basically chickenshit, afraid of the public or that they couldn’t possibly have thought about the question as much as you have.

62 Locker  Thu, Feb 7, 2013 10:05:09am

re: #60 Achilles Tang

I’m guessing that was my comment you reference, about too smart to be agnostic.

No disrespect meant, but I don’t think you have spent much time thinking about the god concept. If you did, and I am sure you are smart enough to do so, you would either come to a comprehension stop that you can’t or don’t want to go past and call yourself a believer or, if you continue, an atheist.

I called myself an agnostic once when I was young.

You just did it again… saying I’m only smart enough if I agree with your premise. You also assume I don’t spend enough time thinking about the god concept because I don’t agree with you.

I’m not arrogant enough to assume that just because it seems that Scientologist (or any ist or ian) beliefs are nuts that they couldn’t also be completely true. What the fuck do I know? I’m wrong all the time.

You can accept that or not but it’s my reality. Faith, belief and certainty are concepts I try to avoid.

63 Locker  Thu, Feb 7, 2013 10:09:30am

re: #61 goddamnedfrank

Very well said. I agree completely and there is a lot of the behavior you describe right here in this comment stream.

64 Achilles Tang  Thu, Feb 7, 2013 2:58:00pm

re: #62 Locker

You just did it again… saying I’m only smart enough if I agree with your premise. You also assume I don’t spend enough time thinking about the god concept because I don’t agree with you.

I’m not arrogant enough to assume that just because it seems that Scientologist (or any ist or ian) beliefs are nuts that they couldn’t also be completely true. What the fuck do I know? I’m wrong all the time.

You can accept that or not but it’s my reality. Faith, belief and certainty are concepts I try to avoid.

No I didn’t say that. I said you were smart enough, probably, but by your own words you avoid the issue and explain that by calling yourself agnostic. I avoid the issue as well, in the flesh, for the obvious reason evidenced here that it is one that cannot be discussed without creating conflict.

Nobody needs to discuss faith in a magical being that explain what is not known (often not known through ignorance), but this is a free discussion place to be avoided if found unpleasant.

If you want to suppose that, maybe, something (a god) created all the something we know (perhaps specifically for humans), but can’t conceive of the existence of the second something without imagining a first something; then you haven’t thought further.

Sorry if I offend, but you might as well say it’s Turtles All The Way Down.


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