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Officiant
Skeptic Friend

166 Posts

Posted - 08/21/2011 :  17:18:00  Show Profile Send Officiant a Private Message
Agnosticism is antithetical to science and is the enemy of civilization. It only serves to protect the supernatural.

"That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence." — Christopher Hitchens

Agnosticism should exposed as an intellectual fraud. It is an affront to intellectual honesty that so many philosophy professors are cowardly agnostics. It is not the middle position and is not supported by evidence.
It is based on an Argument from ignorance, also known as argumentum ad ignorantiam or appeal to ignorance, is an informal logical fallacy. It asserts that a proposition is necessarily true because it has not been proven false (or vice versa)

Agnostic atheists are cowardly pseudo-intellectual dilettantes. I would especially like to hear from agnostic academics why they support a position based on a lack of evidence.

Renowned astrophysicist Carl Sagan once described a "baloney detection kit" — a set of tools that skeptical thinkers use to investigate any new concept. A few of the key tools include a healthy distrust of information that isn't independently verified, critically assessing an idea rather than becoming irrationally attached to it simply because it's intriguing, and a preference for simple explanations over wildly speculative ones. Apply this to agnosticism.

H. Humbert
SFN Die Hard

USA
4574 Posts

Posted - 08/21/2011 :  17:42:59   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send H. Humbert a Private Message
It asserts that a proposition is necessarily true because it has not been proven false (or vice versa)
What assertion do you think agnosticism makes, exactly?

You are aware that agnosticism has nothing to with belief in god and that it's entirely possible to be an agnostic atheist, right?


"A man is his own easiest dupe, for what he wishes to be true he generally believes to be true." --Demosthenes

"The first principle is that you must not fool yourself - and you are the easiest person to fool." --Richard P. Feynman

"Face facts with dignity." --found inside a fortune cookie
Edited by - H. Humbert on 08/21/2011 17:43:43
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Dude
SFN Die Hard

USA
6891 Posts

Posted - 08/21/2011 :  18:34:02   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Dude a Private Message
Time for a lesson in word etymology, apparently.

Later though, maybe tomorrow.


Ignorance is preferable to error; and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing, than he who believes what is wrong.
-- Thomas Jefferson

"god :: the last refuge of a man with no answers and no argument." - G. Carlin

Hope, n.
The handmaiden of desperation; the opiate of despair; the illegible signpost on the road to perdition. ~~ da filth
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the_ignored
SFN Addict

2557 Posts

Posted - 08/21/2011 :  19:00:48   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send the_ignored a Private Message
Agnosticism makes no outright claims doesn't it, but rather just says that we don't, or can't know if any god exists, right? In what way is that not supported by evidence? It's the lack of evidence for any god that leads to both the agnostic and atheist positions. I figure, anyway.

>From: enuffenuff@fastmail.fm
(excerpt follows):
> I'm looking to teach these two bastards a lesson they'll never forget.
> Personal visit by mates of mine. No violence, just a wee little chat.
>
> **** has also committed more crimes than you can count with his
> incitement of hatred against a religion. That law came in about 2007
> much to ****'s ignorance. That is fact and his writing will become well
> know as well as him becoming a publicly known icon of hatred.
>
> Good luck with that fuckwit. And Reynold, fucking run, and don't stop.
> Disappear would be best as it was you who dared to attack me on my
> illness knowing nothing of the cause. You disgust me and you are top of
> the list boy. Again, no violence. Just regular reminders of who's there
> and visits to see you are behaving. Nothing scary in reality. But I'd
> still disappear if I was you.

What brought that on? this. Original posting here.

Another example of this guy's lunacy here.
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Valiant Dancer
Forum Goalie

USA
4826 Posts

Posted - 08/21/2011 :  19:59:03   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Valiant Dancer's Homepage Send Valiant Dancer a Private Message
I really don't see any sort of problem with agnosticism.

Are you referring to Theistic agnosticism or atheistic agnosticism?

Agnosticism just acknowledges that the premise is untestable.

Theistic agnosticism assumes the existence of the diety.

Atheistic agnosticism does not assume the existence of the diety.

Atheistic agnosticism is the stronger of the two positions.

Cthulhu/Asmodeus when you're tired of voting for the lesser of two evils

Brother Cutlass of Reasoned Discussion
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Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
13462 Posts

Posted - 08/21/2011 :  21:04:26   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Kil's Homepage  Send Kil an AOL message  Send Kil a Yahoo! Message Send Kil a Private Message
Originally posted by Officiant

Agnosticism is antithetical to science and is the enemy of civilization. It only serves to protect the supernatural.

How so? Are you bothering to distinguish between types of agnostics? Let’s see… There are agnostics who simply admit that they are “without knowledge” with regard to the specific question; is there a god? There are theistic agnostics who think there might be a god or gods but aren’t sure because that knowledge is outside of what we can test for and therefor know. And there are agnostic atheists, who also doubt that certain knowledge is possible, where it comes to the question of god or gods, but are also asserting their atheism because lacking any evidence for god, it’s reasonable to conclude that there very likely isn’t a god. (Many claims by people of faith actually can be tested and have so far come up lacking.)

That kind of agnostic is really no different than many atheists. Agnostic atheists are just more openly asserting their skepticism with regard to certainty, which is exactly a scientific approach to a lack of knowledge. How anyone can assert that position somehow “serves to protects the supernatural” is puzzling to me since it’s often that kind of skepticism that motivates a person to doubt and question all supernatural claims. In fact, it’s that kind of skepticism that questions the existence of a supernatural!

Speaking as a skeptic, I don’t see what good it does to assert the non-existence of god, but believe in things like psi or be anti-vaxx and really, pretty much open to any baloney. But I see that every day. Because skepticism is a method and atheism is a conclusion, atheism does not inform skepticism or science.
Officiant:
"That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence." — Christopher Hitchens

Yeah. That’s why there are agnostic/atheists. The agnostic part is a nod to scientific empericism, and the atheist part is dismissing a claim lacking evidence.

Officiant:
Agnosticism should exposed as an intellectual fraud. It is an affront to intellectual honesty that so many philosophy professors are cowardly agnostics. It is not the middle position and is not supported by evidence.

Of course it’s not supported by evidence. That’s the point, silly.
Officiant:
It is based on an Argument from ignorance, also known as argumentum ad ignorantiam or appeal to ignorance, is an informal logical fallacy. It asserts that a proposition is necessarily true because it has not been proven false (or vice versa)

Agnosticism does no such thing. There is no fallacy in asserting that there are claims that are outside of what science can test for, at least at the moment. And in no way at all does it assert that a proposition is true because it hasn’t proved to be false. Now you’re just making stuff up.
Officiant:
Agnostic atheists are cowardly pseudo-intellectual dilettantes.

Yes indeed. My quest to be as precise in my language as I can be makes me a cowardly pseudo-intellectual dilettante. Or just maybe it’s your inability to grasp nuance and your need to see things in black and white that makes you say that. Perhaps you are a bigot?
Officiant:
Renowned astrophysicist Carl Sagan once described a "baloney detection kit" — a set of tools that skeptical thinkers use to investigate any new concept. A few of the key tools include a healthy distrust of information that isn't independently verified, critically assessing an idea rather than becoming irrationally attached to it simply because it's intriguing, and a preference for simple explanations over wildly speculative ones. Apply this to agnosticism.
First off, all of my crackpot alarms go off when a prominent scientist is referred to as “Renowned.” On the other hand, my love for Carl Sagan is unbounded. One simple answer that Sagan had no problem with was “I don’t know.”

"My view is that if there is no evidence for it, then forget about it. An agnostic is somebody who doesn't believe in something until there is evidence for it, so I'm agnostic." – Carl Sagan

Source

Uncertainty may make you uncomfortable. Certainty makes you ridiculous.

Why not question something for a change?

Genetic Literacy Project
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Officiant
Skeptic Friend

166 Posts

Posted - 08/22/2011 :  08:35:56   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Officiant a Private Message
Definition of AGNOSTIC
1
: a person who holds the view that any ultimate reality (as God) is unknown and probably unknowable; broadly : one who is not committed to believing in either the existence or the nonexistence of God or a god
2
: a person who is unwilling to commit to an opinion about something <political agnostics>
David, Do you agree with the Merriam-Webster dictionary?
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Ebone4rock
SFN Regular

USA
894 Posts

Posted - 08/22/2011 :  09:00:08   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Ebone4rock a Private Message
Dear Mr. Officiant,
I would like to offer a bit of unsolicited advice. The participants of this forum are generally very receptive and happy to discuss these types of subjects. There is no need to come in with such an adversarial, insulting attitude. If you come in and ask politely why folks prefer calling themselves agnostic or atheist you will find that a much more informative dialog will occur.

Thank You,
E-Bone

Haole with heart, thats all I'll ever be. I'm not a part of the North Shore society. Stuck on the shoulder, that's where you'll find me. Digging for scraps with the kooks in line. -Offspring
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26002 Posts

Posted - 08/22/2011 :  09:01:47   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message
Originally posted by Officiant

Definition of AGNOSTIC
1
: a person who holds the view that any ultimate reality (as God) is unknown and probably unknowable;...
If you leave out the "as God" part, this should describe every thoughtful scientist, since whether the process of science shows us "ultimate reality" or not is itself unknowable.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.
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Valiant Dancer
Forum Goalie

USA
4826 Posts

Posted - 08/22/2011 :  09:49:01   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Valiant Dancer's Homepage Send Valiant Dancer a Private Message
Originally posted by Officiant

Definition of AGNOSTIC
1
: a person who holds the view that any ultimate reality (as God) is unknown and probably unknowable; broadly : one who is not committed to believing in either the existence or the nonexistence of God or a god
2
: a person who is unwilling to commit to an opinion about something <political agnostics>
David, Do you agree with the Merriam-Webster dictionary?


The Merriam-Webster dictionary conflates multiple meanings into a single one. It also assumes the existence of a diety.

It's "broadly" statement, which specifically links agnosticism to a belief in a diety, is fallaciaously overbroad.

A person who holds the view that any ultimate reality is unknown and probably unknowable is an agnostic. Science also relies on these agnostic views. The application of such a view to religion requires the sub-division into theistic and atheistic agnostics.

And then there is the context in which words are presented. Context can define which meaning of a word is being used. Dictionaries try to present all possible meanings for a word irrespective of context.

Quoting dictionaries doesn't get people far here. Being advesarial and not backing up ones assertions don't either. Being insulting really doesn't help your arguments at all. If you're here to pick a fight, its been done here before and better that what you've presented here today.

You have been presented with quite a few counter-arguments and you have chosen to defend a single one from Dave. (Dave has presented multiple counter-arguments in his post.) Dave has also asked for clarification of context.

Science is a journey, not a destination. Civilization has an enemy of greed and corruption, not admitting that the ultimate reality of something is currently unknowable (gravity exists, but what makes it and why is still a mystery) and may never be knowable (where did that flipping sock get to).

Cthulhu/Asmodeus when you're tired of voting for the lesser of two evils

Brother Cutlass of Reasoned Discussion
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26002 Posts

Posted - 08/22/2011 :  09:50:53   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message
Originally posted by Valiant Dancer

You have been presented with quite a few counter-arguments and you have chosen to defend a single one from Dave. (Dave has presented multiple counter-arguments in his post.) Dave has also asked for clarification of context.
Just for clarification, it's David.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.
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Ebone4rock
SFN Regular

USA
894 Posts

Posted - 08/22/2011 :  09:57:36   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Ebone4rock a Private Message
Originally posted by Dave W.

Originally posted by Valiant Dancer

You have been presented with quite a few counter-arguments and you have chosen to defend a single one from Dave. (Dave has presented multiple counter-arguments in his post.) Dave has also asked for clarification of context.
Just for clarification, it's David.


Haole with heart, thats all I'll ever be. I'm not a part of the North Shore society. Stuck on the shoulder, that's where you'll find me. Digging for scraps with the kooks in line. -Offspring
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Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
13462 Posts

Posted - 08/22/2011 :  12:42:34   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Kil's Homepage  Send Kil an AOL message  Send Kil a Yahoo! Message Send Kil a Private Message
Originally posted by Officiant

Definition of AGNOSTIC
1
: a person who holds the view that any ultimate reality (as God) is unknown and probably unknowable; broadly : one who is not committed to believing in either the existence or the nonexistence of God or a god
2
: a person who is unwilling to commit to an opinion about something <political agnostics>
David, Do you agree with the Merriam-Webster dictionary?
Well... Others here have pretty much answered your question as I would have. So how about if we go to the source of the word. Do you not agree with this?

Agnosticism is not a creed but a method, the essence of which lies in the vigorous application of a single principle ...Positively the principle may be expressed as in matters of intellect, do not pretend conclusions are certain that are not demonstrated or demonstrable. - Thomas Huxley

Or this?

I further say that Agnosticism is not properly described as a “negative” creed, nor indeed as a creed of any kind, except in so far as it expresses absolute faith in the validity of a principle, which is as much ethical as intellectual. This principle may be stated in various ways, but they all amount to this: that it is wrong for a man to say he is certain of the objective truth of a proposition unless he can produce evidence which logically justifies that certainty. That is what agnosticism asserts and, in my opinion, is all that is essential to agnosticism. - Thomas Huxley

Source

Bolding is mine.

As far as I can tell, all Huxley was pointing out are principals that are consistant with science and a naturalistic view and not limited to the question of god, but to all metaphysical claims of fact. Remember that he was fighting with religious leaders at the time, defending Darwin and evolution. What he was saying is that despite what Christianity says, and asserts to be true, it should not be taken as truth unless evidence of its truth can be supplied.

I apply my agnosticism in exactly the way Huxley said it should be applied. How you can find that "Agnosticism is antithetical to science and an enemy of civilization" and "It only serves to protect the supernatural" is ridiculous. But that's what happens when people like you assume that agnosticism means sitting on a fence.


Uncertainty may make you uncomfortable. Certainty makes you ridiculous.

Why not question something for a change?

Genetic Literacy Project
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Officiant
Skeptic Friend

166 Posts

Posted - 08/22/2011 :  14:42:14   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Officiant a Private Message
So the Merriam-Webster definition of agnostic is not acceptable to skeptics? What dictionary do skeptics use? I would like to establish some common ground so I can methodically grind your flaky arguments to pieces. Can we agree to conduct this discussion using the following principles?
Rules of Critical Thinking
The evidence offered in support of any claim must be adequate to establish the truth of that claim, with these stipulations:
the burden of proof for any claim rests on the claimant,
extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence, and
evidence based upon authority and/or testimony is always inadequate for any paranormal claim
... Falsifiability
It must be possible to conceive of evidence that would prove the claim false.
Logic
Any argument offered as evidence in support of any claim must be sound.
Committee for Skeptical Inquiry Box 703 Amherst, NY, 14226 716-636-1425
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26002 Posts

Posted - 08/22/2011 :  14:48:29   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message
Originally posted by Officiant

So the Merriam-Webster definition of agnostic is not acceptable to skeptics? What dictionary do skeptics use? I would like to establish some common ground so I can methodically grind your flaky arguments to pieces. Can we agree to conduct this discussion using the following principles?
Rules of Critical Thinking
The evidence offered in support of any claim must be adequate to establish the truth of that claim, with these stipulations:
the burden of proof for any claim rests on the claimant,
extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence, and
evidence based upon authority and/or testimony is always inadequate for any paranormal claim
... Falsifiability
It must be possible to conceive of evidence that would prove the claim false.
Logic
Any argument offered as evidence in support of any claim must be sound.
Committee for Skeptical Inquiry Box 703 Amherst, NY, 14226 716-636-1425
I challenge you to support the following claim by the above conditions:
Agnostic atheists are cowardly pseudo-intellectual dilettantes.
Please provide evidence for your claim, any hypothetical evidence that would prove your claim false, and the sound logic behind your claim.

The raw assertions you make in your OP are just assertions, and aren't evidence that your claim is true.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.
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Officiant
Skeptic Friend

166 Posts

Posted - 08/22/2011 :  14:54:47   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Officiant a Private Message
The Poverty of Agnosticism

Dawkins now attacks agnostics. Thomas Huxley, the originator of the word ‘agnosticism’ said that when it comes to issues that are still open to debate, refusing to commit to a particular belief is the smartest position to take.

Dawkins says that there is nothing wrong with being agnostic in cases where we lack enough evidence one way or the other. Without any evidence, the reasonable thing to do is to not take a position. Unless, according to Dawkins, you are talking about God.

He then splits agnostics into two groups, those who won't commit yet for lack of evidence, and those who believe it is impossible to know. The difference between the two is whether the question of God's existence can ever be answered using science. Dawkins claims that it can be.

According to Dawkins, agnosticism is flawed because it assumes that the probability that God exists is equal to the probability that God does not exist. This is an important claim, because it is his only solid argument against agnosticism, and he promises that he will prove that the probabilities are unequal later in the book.

He admits that for many agnostics, claims about probability are meaningless. If there are no measurable quantities from which the probability can be calculated then it is only a matter of possibilities, not probabilities. But he then dismisses this argument using a quote from the famous philosopher, Bertrand Russell, who said that the responsibility is on believers to prove God's existence rather than on atheists to disprove it. No rational person believes in tooth fairies or flying spaghetti monsters and yet they are also impossible to disprove.

The above was written by Robert Stewart in reviewing The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins.
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