Skeptic Friends Network

Username:
Password:
Save Password
Forgot your Password?
Home | Forums | Active Topics | Active Polls | Register | FAQ | Contact Us  
  Connect: Chat | SFN Messenger | Buddy List | Members
Personalize: Profile | My Page | Forum Bookmarks  
 All Forums
 Community Forums
 General Discussion
 Neil de Grasse Tyson, Atheist or Agnostic
 New Topic  Reply to Topic
 Printer Friendly Bookmark this Topic BookMark Topic
Previous Page | Next Page
Author Previous Topic Topic Next Topic
Page: of 6

Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
13467 Posts

Posted - 04/13/2012 :  19:55:24   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Kil's Homepage  Send Kil an AOL message  Send Kil a Yahoo! Message Send Kil a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Dave W.

Originally posted by Kil

Do the Gnu's have to be so freaking sensitive?
That's a mighty broad brush you're wielding.
You're right. My mistake.


Uncertainty may make you uncomfortable. Certainty makes you ridiculous.

Why not question something for a change?

Genetic Literacy Project
Go to Top of Page

HalfMooner
Dingaling

Philippines
15831 Posts

Posted - 04/13/2012 :  21:54:50   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send HalfMooner a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Kil

Originally posted by Dave W.

Originally posted by Kil

Do the Gnu's have to be so freaking sensitive?
That's a mighty broad brush you're wielding.
You're right. My mistake.


It happens, and to me, too. A quick retraction for possibly offensive over-generalizations works wonders. (I hope Tyson is reading this!)

I was working on a reply to an earlier post by Kil. It was going to be a killer, as I'd really worked myself up and honed my hyperbole. But I was interrupted when my fiancee returned home after almost two weeks harvesting rice in "the province." She's brought along three of her nieces. When I finally got to sleep, I dreamed all night of peoples' reactions to that post, until my worries woke me. (Perhaps the constant allusions to Kil as "Hitler's evil twin brother" were a bit excessive.) Then, awake again, I recalled that I hadn't actually posted my reply -- it was still on my screen. Thanks, FSM!

Now I can cut that thing down to the basics, using only a few uses of Godwin and substituting even more appropriate ad homs.

Biology is just physics that has begun to smell bad.” —HalfMooner
Here's a link to Moonscape News, and one to its Archive.
Go to Top of Page

Gorgo
SFN Die Hard

USA
5310 Posts

Posted - 04/14/2012 :  07:32:15   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Gorgo a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Kil

Originally posted by Dave W.

Originally posted by Kil

Do the Gnu's have to be so freaking sensitive?
That's a mighty broad brush you're wielding.
You're right. My mistake.




Let's not get lost in this thinking this has to do with anyone's sensitivity, either. They were just dumb statements. Is there a word for non-skier? Yes, it's non-skier. If the word "atheist" weren't around, then we'd use, and we do, the words non-theist, non-believer, etc., etc. You don't like labels? Fine, then don't label yourself an agnostic, a scientist, etc. You don't want to be an atheist, fine, then don't say you're not, then say you are. Don't tell me that atheists don't think for themselves. It's just nonsense. The fact that Shermer doesn't call it nonsense doesn't mean anything. It's nonsense.

I know the rent is in arrears
The dog has not been fed in years
It's even worse than it appears
But it's alright-
Jerry Garcia
Robert Hunter



Go to Top of Page

Dude
SFN Die Hard

USA
6891 Posts

Posted - 04/16/2012 :  11:09:59   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Dude a Private Message  Reply with Quote
This whole thing is ridiculous.

The man wants to call himself an agnostic, so what?


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
Go to Top of Page

Gorgo
SFN Die Hard

USA
5310 Posts

Posted - 04/17/2012 :  09:29:59   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Gorgo a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Hey Mr. Tyson:

Atheism is not an an "ism" , at least, not in the same sense that communism is an "ism".

Atheists may or may not think for themselves. In fact, communists may or may not think for themselves, to whatever degree people can or cannot think for themselves. Atheism has little to do with independent thought or lack of independent thought.

Just because people assign baggage to you if you are something, that doesn't mean that you aren't that thing. People assign all kinds of baggage to scientists, black people, white people, agnostics, etc., etc.

We may be having a semantic disagreement, and that's fine. Atheism is about belief in god. If you lack a belief in god, then you're an atheist. If you disagree with that definition, then fine, say so. If you don't want to get sucked into the discussion, then say you don't want to talk about it, you are not an expert on atheism or religion, you don't want to do debates about atheism or religion, you won't write a book about atheism or religion, and you don't want to be seen as an expert on atheism or religion.

You'd rather explore one another's ideas in real time? So, that means you want to talk about atheism and religion, or you don't? To say you're an agnostic and that you don't have the evidence for the claims of religion is to talk about it. That puts you in a camp. That puts a label on you. That makes you part of the discussion.

You are constantly claimed by atheists because you seem to talk about the fact that you lack evidence for believing in gods and the claims of some religious people. Most atheists I know define atheism in just those terms. You don't want to change policy? Like what? Like Intelligent Design? So, you've never talked against Intelligent Design? I think you have.

I don't think most atheist (or naturalist or freethinker, etc.) groups just sit around and talk about atheism. They talk about things that interest them. Sorry you don't appreciate "The Conduct" of atheists, whatever that is, but if you don't want to be in a category, don't do or think anything, but then you'll be in the category of "non-doers." (just because it's a hyphenated word, doesn't mean that it's not descriptive of a category)

Sorry, if that offends, but you were being an "in-your-face agnostic, and I didn't think you'd mind.

I know the rent is in arrears
The dog has not been fed in years
It's even worse than it appears
But it's alright-
Jerry Garcia
Robert Hunter



Edited by - Gorgo on 04/17/2012 09:32:21
Go to Top of Page

Gorgo
SFN Die Hard

USA
5310 Posts

Posted - 04/25/2012 :  15:57:45   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Gorgo a Private Message  Reply with Quote
http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2012/04/25/when-did-neil-degrasse-tyson-start-using-the-arguments-of-christian-apologists/

"When Did Neil deGrasse Tyson Start Using the Arguments of Christian Apologists?"

I know the rent is in arrears
The dog has not been fed in years
It's even worse than it appears
But it's alright-
Jerry Garcia
Robert Hunter



Edited by - Gorgo on 04/25/2012 15:58:04
Go to Top of Page

Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
13467 Posts

Posted - 04/25/2012 :  16:29:00   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Kil's Homepage  Send Kil an AOL message  Send Kil a Yahoo! Message Send Kil a Private Message  Reply with Quote
“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

Uncertainty may make you uncomfortable. Certainty makes you ridiculous.

Why not question something for a change?

Genetic Literacy Project
Go to Top of Page

Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26013 Posts

Posted - 04/25/2012 :  17:57:01   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Kil

“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
But still, Sagan made some of the same arguments as the Gnus in Demon-Haunted World and other books. He was broadly anti-religion. For example:
Life is but a momentary glimpse of the wonder of this astonishing universe, and it is sad to see so many dreaming it away on spiritual fantasy.
Perhaps more importantly - at least as far as our previous conversations have gone, Kil - Sagan seemed to be all for holding religions to the same standards as science:
Skeptical scrutiny is the means, in both science and religion, by which deep thoughts can be winnowed from deep nonsense.
I bet if he'd lived to read it, Sagan would have pinned himself as another Dawkins-style 6.9 on the belief scale.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.
Go to Top of Page

Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
13467 Posts

Posted - 04/25/2012 :  18:20:17   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Kil's Homepage  Send Kil an AOL message  Send Kil a Yahoo! Message Send Kil a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Dave W.

Originally posted by Kil

“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
But still, Sagan made some of the same arguments as the Gnus in Demon-Haunted World and other books. He was broadly anti-religion. For example:
Life is but a momentary glimpse of the wonder of this astonishing universe, and it is sad to see so many dreaming it away on spiritual fantasy.
Perhaps more importantly - at least as far as our previous conversations have gone, Kil - Sagan seemed to be all for holding religions to the same standards as science:
Skeptical scrutiny is the means, in both science and religion, by which deep thoughts can be winnowed from deep nonsense.
I bet if he'd lived to read it, Sagan would have pinned himself as another Dawkins-style 6.9 on the belief scale.
Check out the video I posted. Tyson has given lots of talks on the harm that religion does to the advancement of science. But as Dude says, and I say, if he wants to be called agnostic, let it be so. Technically he's an agnostic/atheist. But I see a very good reason for him to not have to spend his time carrying and defending the atheist label. Like Sagan, he's trying to reach the widest audience possible to promote science.

What Sagan said is exactly what agnosticism is about. So it's not as though Tyson is asking to be identified inaccurately.

And my guess is there isn't a dimes worth of difference in that department between how Sagan saw himself and how Tyson sees himself.

Yes he did a bit of lumping. That was his mistake. But it's a small mistake and not worth harping on in my opinion.

Uncertainty may make you uncomfortable. Certainty makes you ridiculous.

Why not question something for a change?

Genetic Literacy Project
Go to Top of Page

Machi4velli
SFN Regular

USA
854 Posts

Posted - 04/25/2012 :  18:45:24   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Machi4velli a Private Message  Reply with Quote
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ai4qeuvbi-0&feature=g-vrec

He's pretty much doing similar things here again, not calling himself an "atheist" because of things he think are silly that atheist groups are doing, which is a weird argument, not sure why he sees calling himself one means that he supports or agrees with these groups.

Honestly, with all the (either correct or incorrect) connotations of the word atheist (most theists seem to think it means claiming there's no god, and we have quotes from Sagan saying the same thing actually -- "atheists know far more than I do" and the like). I don't know why weak atheists even take on the baggage of the word or drop the "weak" qualifier when describing their position.

Bertrand Russell wrote a nice essay on the words atheist and agnostic, saying that among philosophers he'd most certainly call himself agnostic, but in public he'd self-describe himself as atheist to emphasize that he lived as if there were no god. Of course there's no reason to believe in such a thing without evidence, but I have sort of transitioned into considering the proposition that god exists somewhat like the proposition that objective reality exists (or at least independent minds exist).

At the risk of opening that can of worms again, in the same way we've discussed that this proposition is simply not important to how we behave, neither is the existence of god. Mere existence can have absolutely no bearing on how one should act or think. It in no way implies or supports intelligent design or other anti-intellectual ideas its supporters seem to think it does. Forget the burden of proof regarding existence of an external being (I'm not saying to accept it, but that it doesn't matter much), let them have a try at linking existence with any implications, there's absolutely no context for this.

"Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people."
-Giordano Bruno

"The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, but the illusion of knowledge."
-Stephen Hawking

"Seeking what is true is not seeking what is desirable"
-Albert Camus
Go to Top of Page

HalfMooner
Dingaling

Philippines
15831 Posts

Posted - 04/25/2012 :  19:55:41   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send HalfMooner a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Thanks for the link, Mach. When Tyson says in the video that "Humanists" cross out the words "Under God" on every piece of currency that comes their way, he's gone way beyond mere distancing himself from Gnu Atheists. Now he's slinging absurd and insulting lies indiscriminately.

I really really hate this bizarre behavior. Mainly because it serves primarily to injure one of our best science spokespersons, Neil DeGrasse Tyson himself.

Edited to correct. Tyson said "cross out, not "cut out."

Biology is just physics that has begun to smell bad.” —HalfMooner
Here's a link to Moonscape News, and one to its Archive.
Edited by - HalfMooner on 04/25/2012 21:19:04
Go to Top of Page

Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26013 Posts

Posted - 04/25/2012 :  20:56:51   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
From what I've read about Huxley's coinage of the term "agnostic," he was just looking for a label for his atheism which didn't have the baggage of the word "atheist" (which, even before his time, had only negative connotations and was nothing but a derogatory term). Unfortunately, time has added baggage to "agnostic" too, with most people seeing agnostics as 50-50 wishy-washy fence-sitters regarding the existence of particular gods, and not as people who are philosophically disinclined towards taking empirical, potentially verifiable existential positions which currently lack evidence.

Both self-professed agnostics and atheists have negative political and social baggage to confront, and so it's silly to reject one label in favor of the other because such baggage exists. The only time "agnostic" and "atheist" aren't synonymous to people within the movement(s) is when we encounter those rare folk who profess that they have proof or certain knowledge of the non-existence of any/all gods (just to be clear, they are wrong). To people outside the rationalism sphere, atheists are church-burning baby-eaters and agnostics are spineless cowards, and so to suggest one is somehow better than the other for outreach purposes is ridiculous.

What many Gnus are trying to do is the same as what gays have done: take possession of a once-derogatory term, turning it into something that's at least socially acceptable. Generally, the Gnus' definition of atheism is operationally identical to Sagan's definition of agnosticism. In that light, what Neil deGrasse Tyson is doing by more-or-less publicly condemning the word "atheist" is to work against those who are trying to make all forms of godlessness less demonized in the public eye (like the Out Campaign), even those who label themselves "agnostics."
Originally posted by Machi4velli

He's pretty much doing similar things here again, not calling himself an "atheist" because of things he think are silly that atheist groups are doing, which is a weird argument, not sure why he sees calling himself one means that he supports or agrees with these groups.
That's like me saying that I refuse to call myself "white" because of all the evil the Klu Klux Klan has done. Or refusing to acknowledge my German heritage because of Hitler. Or refusing to label myself "male" because of Pol Pot. I must be an acolored, agerman asexual. Who knew?

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.
Go to Top of Page

Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26013 Posts

Posted - 04/25/2012 :  21:05:22   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Machi4velli

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ai4qeuvbi-0&feature=g-vrec
Poor guy. He's worried about listening to religious music and calling himself "atheist." Dawkins like that same music.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.
Go to Top of Page

HalfMooner
Dingaling

Philippines
15831 Posts

Posted - 04/25/2012 :  21:26:03   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send HalfMooner a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Dave W.

Originally posted by Machi4velli

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ai4qeuvbi-0&feature=g-vrec
Poor guy. He's worried about listening to religious music and calling himself "atheist." Dawkins like that same music.
Talk about strawmen! Dawkins has long been very eloquent on acknowledging the beautiful art, architecture and music that have been created in the name of religion. He even loves sitting through a really beautiful church service, fergodssake! And Dawkins is one of the loudest of the Gnus. Now Tyson has Humanists [!] (many of whom are quite moderate, some of whom are even theists) compulsively crossing out "God" on dollar bills? Gimme a break, Neil!

Tyson's not just putting his foot in his mouth. He's lying.


Biology is just physics that has begun to smell bad.” —HalfMooner
Here's a link to Moonscape News, and one to its Archive.
Edited by - HalfMooner on 04/25/2012 21:31:39
Go to Top of Page

Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
13467 Posts

Posted - 04/25/2012 :  22:21:25   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Kil's Homepage  Send Kil an AOL message  Send Kil a Yahoo! Message Send Kil a Private Message  Reply with Quote
He's making a mistake. But it's not a big one. He just doesn't give a crap and doesn't want to be bothered. I suggest you listen to his lectures and decide what side he's on.

Mooner:
Now he's slinging absurd and insulting lies indiscriminately.

No. Actually it's a big assed meme that's been moving through the community recently and even I've been doing it because I think it's unconstitutional to have "In God We Trust" on the money. I can get you a lot more examples if you need them.

Clearly he's not an anti-theist. And if that's a crime, I'm a criminal too. At the end of the little interview he comes right out and says; "just keep it out of the science classroom." His focus is on science. And that's how he likes it.

This isn't some big betrayal though I agree that he's doing way too much lumping. It's true that he can be an atheist without being political about it.

And yeah. Agnostics have to put up with being called fence sitters. Most of us here know what it means and we also know that why we are both agnostic and atheist.

But technically, he can stop at agnostic if he chooses, because without evidence there is nothing to consider. He's not required to come to a conclusion. Like Sagan, he can just wave it away if he wants to.

Uncertainty may make you uncomfortable. Certainty makes you ridiculous.

Why not question something for a change?

Genetic Literacy Project
Go to Top of Page
Page: of 6 Previous Topic Topic Next Topic  
Previous Page | Next Page
 New Topic  Reply to Topic
 Printer Friendly Bookmark this Topic BookMark Topic
Jump To:

The mission of the Skeptic Friends Network is to promote skepticism, critical thinking, science and logic as the best methods for evaluating all claims of fact, and we invite active participation by our members to create a skeptical community with a wide variety of viewpoints and expertise.


Home | Skeptic Forums | Skeptic Summary | The Kil Report | Creation/Evolution | Rationally Speaking | Skeptillaneous | About Skepticism | Fan Mail | Claims List | Calendar & Events | Skeptic Links | Book Reviews | Gift Shop | SFN on Facebook | Staff | Contact Us

Skeptic Friends Network
© 2008 Skeptic Friends Network Go To Top Of Page
This page was generated in 0.67 seconds.
Powered by @tomic Studio
Snitz Forums 2000