The Agnostic third way

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Dworkin's picture
The Agnostic third way

Folks,

I would like to offer a modest thesis regarding the Agnostic, suggesting that we might better serve the Agnostic by using the word as a noun rather than an adjective before another noun.

Here it is:

Question – Do you know that the statement ‘There is God’ is true?

Dworkin – No.

Question – Do you know that the statement ‘There is no God’ is true?

Dworkin – No.

Question – Do you believe that the statement ‘There is God’ is true?

Dworkin – No.

Question – Do you believe that the statement ‘There is no God’ is true?

Dworkin – No.

We will see from the above that the words ‘know’ and ‘believe’ are interchangeable in the questions and this has no effect on the answers.

A conclusion on Dworkin’s position is therefore clear. This is what I will call the ‘Agnostic third way’.

D.

PS – I’m obviously open to objections and there is no criticism implied of other and different positions such as the Theist or the Atheist, the Agnostic Theist or Agnostic Atheist.

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Whitefire13's picture
Dworkin... I see where you’re

Dworkin... I see where you’re going. For myself, I keep in mind the meaning of “gnostic” which is knowledge. Where “theist” refers to “god”.

At one point, I thought of myself as “agnostic” mostly because I thought it meant “with holding belief” (which I did, because of lack of evidence)

I came to understand that to be “agnostic” means (or is commonly understood) that it's impossible for human beings to know anything about how the universe was created and if divine beings exist.

I don’t know how to determine “impossible”. 100 years ago, our society was “impossible”.

So for myself, I’m open to evidence. Maybe 100 years from now, these discussions will just be amusing - another “notch” on humanities’ belt of knowledge.

Dworkin's picture
Whitefire,

Whitefire,

Your point is interesting. The idea that an agnostic (without knowledge) should then make a claim to knowledge (impossible to know) does seem to be confused. I prefer your view that we don't know at this time but are 'open to evidence'.

However, my own view is not really about evidence at all. My view is that I don't know but suspect that anything is possible. I'm a bit like Thunderthighs in Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy who claims the right to question as the primary mode. Some kind of 'God' thing could appear in my living room (evidence) and that would just be a catalyst for more questioning, not an end to it.

Like Thunderthighs, I claim the right to believe that anything I say (or believe) might be wrong.

D.

Whitefire13's picture
@Dworkin... I do see your

@Dworkin... I do see your point. And I see how “if a god thing” showed up in your living room (my quoting you, not cut and paste) it opens a load of questions.

For a stranger, definitely some type of evidence. Someone who “knows you inside and out” - May believe you without evidence because of their relationship to you.
Questions would definitely come into play...a delusion? An alien? An angel? An unknown life/species native to earth? Time traveller? Etc etc ...

However - knowing myself - I’d probably keep my experience to myself or tell a trusted friend because I’d want “some type of handle” on “what the fuck?!?!” Then I’d be mad as shit because “it” didn’t give me evidence so what “good” does it do?

David Killens's picture
@ Dworkin

@ Dworkin

"I claim the right to believe that anything I say (or believe) might be wrong."

Which I fully support, being an advocate for free speech.

But if you do not know if a subject is right or wrong, don't you try to find the truth? Because for almost very atheist, they were driven to separate fact and reality from fiction and fantasy.

For a great percentage of atheists, truth matters.

Now the kicker .... there are tools and methods available for us to discern truth from lies and fiction. One does not need to go through life unable to resolve a question, if they are willing to seek out the truth.

Cognostic's picture
@Great Post David!

@Great Post David!
One of those methods is to open your mouth, state an opinion, that then listen to the people around you. Not everything on the site is Cog busting the chops of others. I stick my neck out plenty and have had it chopped on several occasions. Thank the person who chops it for helping you grow and move on.

Maxos Goober's picture
Whitefire!

Whitefire!

Great point there. I love it.

This reminds me of the scientific "paradigm shifts" (if I named that right from memory) where periods of normalcy get shaken by crazy scientific discoveries.

I truly hope God gets discovered. I hope so. Until then, I'm a comedic Christian.

Whitefire13's picture
@man-or-myth-worshipping

@man-or-myth-worshipping-shrek-guy

Every so often my brain burps out something worthwhile.

I posited (in a different thread) that we are currently discovering “god” ...it’s dead thingy parts.

It’s just an opinion - one I don’t think I believe ...

I appreciate comedy.

Edited
To add: are you a Christian atheist? How’s that work?

Nyarlathotep's picture
Dworkin - ...suggesting that

Dworkin - ...suggesting that we might better serve the Agnostic by using the word as a noun rather than an adjective before another noun.

What you've said about parts of grammar is controversial (noun V.S. adjective); and yet your argument does not seem to depend on it; therefore, I recommend removing it from your argument, just so it doesn't side track your critics.

Dworkin's picture
Nyarlathotep,

Nyarlathotep,

I've been thinking about your response and agree. The grammatical analogy was meant to illustrate the stand alone nature of the agnostic position, but the argument does stand without it.

Analogies are tempting, but so often (as you say) critics hit on the analogy rather than the core argument. Once the debate has sidetracked to the strength of an analogy, we are talking about something else.

Thanks for the constructive response.

D.

Cognostic's picture
@Dworkin: YOU COULD NOT BE

@Dworkin: YOU COULD NOT BE MORE WRONG. The fact that you use the words as if they are interchangeable does not make it so. You are engaged in a equivocation fallacy that is no different than a Christian using the word "Faith" as something that everyone has and confusing it with "Belief."

Either there is a God or there is not a god. This is true. BUT!! You are simultaneously addressing two prongs of a dilemma.

Look at it this way. You assert, the number of stars in the night sky are even. You are a Theist, with direct knowledge of the number of stars.

I tell you that I do not believe you. I am an atheist with regard to the number of stars. (I have not asserted the number is odd.)

You ask me why I do not believe you and I state there is no way you could KNOW such information. I do not KNOW it. No one KNOWS it. How do you think you KNOW it? I am now an Agnostic Atheist about the number of stars in the night sky being even.

When you attempt to share how you KNOW such information and engage in one fallacy after another, I have demonstrated that you are not actually a THEIST WITH KNOWLEDGE, but in fact an AGNOSTIC THEIST, with no actual KNOWLEDGE AT ALL.

At no point does the fact that I do not believe you, mean that I accept the opposite proposition. You say the number of stars are even and I only assert that I do not believe you.

Atheism is a position on "BELIEF" Atheists lack belief in God or gods.
Theists believe in God or gods. And we have seen no KNOWLEDGE.

Agnostic Atheists admit that there is no knowledge for the existence of a God or gods and that is often the core position of their atheism.

Agnostic Theists follow the teachings of the Bible --- PAY ATTENTION NOW!
"24 But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came.
25 The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.”
26 ¶ And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: [then] came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace [be] unto you.
27 Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust [it] into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.
28 And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.
29 Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: BLESSED ARE THEY WHO HAVE NOT SEEN, and [yet] have believed.

ENTER -------- *PASCAL'S WAGER!*
You lose nothing by believing and gain everything. Whether or not you KNOW, choose to BELIEVE!!!

Do you know the statement "There is a god." is true.
Atheist - NO
Agnostic Atheist - No.
Agnostic Theist - No (How many times have you heard these people say "I cannot prove god to you." )
Theist - Yes (But when you question them you discover they really do not "KNOW" anything beyond faith and so they are actually AGNOSTIC as well.

Atheism answers the question "What do you BELIEVE."
Agnosticism answers the question "What do you KNOW."

THESE ARE NOT THE SAME IN ANY WAY, SHAPE OR FORM.

Columbus's picture
"Either there is a God or

"Either there is a God or there is not a god. This is true."

This is not true.

While the God characters of religious fiction are more plausibly explained by the human characteristics of self deception and weak mental processes, I'm sure that there is more to Reality than we currently imagine. Or are capable of imagining, given our puny intellects. It's the same reason people used to "know" geocentric cosmology. They were just too primitive to imagine the Reality. Modern science is much more sophisticated, but I doubt that it's as far as we can go in understanding. As an agnostic deist, I just don't pretend to know what we might find out as we get more sophisticated.

Tom

P.s. Kiss my monkey bite

Cognostic's picture
@Columbus: Do you not even

@Columbus: Do you not even realize that you said absolutely NOTHING, not a single thing, that challenged my post in any way at all.

The assertion - "God exists," is either true or not true.
The assertion- "No god exists" is either true or not true.

There is nothing you can assert that will change the basic laws of logic. It does not matter if there is more reality than we can imagine or not.

You either believe a god exists, or you do not believe a god exists.
Either you believe no gods exist, or you do not believe no god's exist.

Columbus's picture
"The assertion - "God exists,

"The assertion - "God exists," is either true or not true.
The assertion- "No god exists" is either true or not true."

Unless you can give me an objective definition for the word "god", Kiss My Monkey Bite.

You cannot make truth claims about concepts you don't understand.

Well, not credible truth claims. I suppose you can just claim anything you want. Religionists do it all the time. No reason to think you can't.
Tom

Whitefire13's picture
@Columbus ...” an objective

@Columbus ...” an objective definition for the word "god",”

You are asking Cog to define something that there is no proof exists and those that “believe” in this something cannot define with any measurable success. Interesting approach, let me try this...

What if I said I believe in xctralptui. I now tell you to “define” this and tell me why you would/would not believe (however, my belief claim in the above needs you to define and disprove???)

My understanding is you are assuming that there is some mutual understanding of this “god” concept irregardless of various attempts to explain and worship the concept.

Why don’t you explain “god” first so there is some understanding what you are talking about.

Columbus's picture
Why don’t you explain “god”

Why don’t you explain “god” first so there is some understanding what you are talking about.

I'm not making the truth claims. Cog is.

I'm pointing out that his claims make no logical sense unless he tells me what he means by the word "god". I don't think he can.
Tom

P.s. I'm not supposed to be responding to you. Because you're female and I might be exhibiting sexism. I'm not sure what that word means on this forum.

Cognostic's picture
@Columbus: I'm not making

@Columbus: I'm not making the truth claims. Cog is.

LISTEN AGAIN: Wrap your brain around this..;... "Either a god exists or it does not."

At no point is it asserted that a god exists. NO CLAIM
At no point is it asserted that a god does not exist. NO CLAIM

The claim is...... Either the claim that a god exists is true or not true.
The claim is...... Either the claim that a god does not exist is true or not true.

THIS IS A FACT. Agnostic atheists reject the claim that a god is true based on a lack of evidence.

All atheists reject the claim, "a god exists" for whatever reason they reject it.

All theists; a person who believes in the existence of god, accept the claim "God exists" as true.

All Agnostic theists; accept the idea of, "God exists." as true but admit that they can not prove it and do not see any evidence.

ARE YOU FOLLOWING THIS DISCUSSION AT ALL, OR JUST JUMPING TO INANE ASSERTIONS BASED ON YOUR COMPLETE LACK OF KNOWLEDGE ON THE SUBJECT?

Whitefire13's picture
OK fucktard that comment was

OK fucktard that comment was unnecessary “ P.s. I'm not supposed to be responding to you. Because you're female and I might be exhibiting sexism. ”

Now given the level of “reasoning” you just displayed (if YOU can set aside the vagina and penis parts of our anatomy and deal with a PERSON) ... I was going to say,

If you have an idea of god and can reasonably demonstrate why you’ve reached your “conclusion”, I’m always up for more information ... however, I’m cautious in how intelligently you’ll present it, since you already stooped to a stupid “fall-back” (sexism?!?! Really?!?!!!!)

cranky47's picture
@Columbus

@Columbus

"P.s. I'm not supposed to be responding to you. Because you're female and I might be exhibiting sexism. I'm not sure what that word means on this forum."

Grow up.

Cognostic's picture
It does not matter what the

It does not matter what the definition is.
Either a God exists or it does not exist. Define it any way you like and then answer the question.

No one has made any truth claim. It's basic logic. Try reading a book. If you believe a god exists, you are a theist. If you do not believe a god exists, you are a non-theist (Atheist.) Sorry you do not have the ability to understand what is going on. Perhaps you will do better in the morning after the drugs wear off.

Columbus's picture
"Sorry you do not have the

"Sorry you do not have the ability to understand what is going on. Perhaps you will do better in the morning after the drugs wear off."

That's the best you've got?

Explain to me what you meant by the word "god"
In post #6.
You very clearly made a truth claim.

"The assertion - "God exists," is either true or not true.
The assertion- "No god exists" is either true or not true."

That's your truth claim.

Now, tell us all what you meant by the word God in that statement.
Tom

Cognostic's picture
Holy-moly - if your posts

Holy-moly - if your posts are an indication of your IQ, I'm surprised the staff has allowed you to sit in a chair by a computer. How do you keep the drool off the keyboard?

Sheldon's picture
Cognostic "Either there is a

Cognostic "Either there is a God or there is not a god. This is true."

Columbus "This is not true."

I am pretty sure Cognostic is correct here, as those statements are logical negations of each other. However you define a deity, it either exists or it does not.

Cognostic's picture
@Sheldon: LOL - I was

@Sheldon: LOL - I was pretty sure Cog was correct as well.

Cognostic's picture
@Sheldon: LOL - I was

@Sheldon: LOL - I was pretty sure Cog was correct as well.

Cognostic's picture
@Sheldon: I think you shut

@Sheldon: I think you shut him down with that post! Hopefully he is hitting the books and trying to find out what happened. Perhaps he will send someone a PM.
He claimed to be Atheist but did not seem to know the basics.

Dworkin's picture
Hi cognostic,

Hi cognostic,

Thanks for taking my minithesis seriously and putting some work in.

What you have described as equivocation, is in my view taking a step back and a wider look at the ontology. It is a third way.

When asked if Dworkin believes that either theism or atheism are true, he can say that he does not believe that either are true. This is primarily because he doesn't know and he is a realist. He prefers to believe what he knows and suspend belief about what he doesn't know. Nothing difficult here.

Now, you have wisely introduced Pascal's wager, an argument that is often used by atheists to imply a selfish motive in theist wannabees and agnostics. But there is a problem with this use, because it prejudges that a person will want there to be a God. This is by no means certain. Dworkin can (and will) say that there are big downsides to God as a reality, and it is an outcome that he is not keen on. But, from this it does not follow that Dworkin will persuade himself to atheism, as that makes a claim that he does not know is true. Being a realist, Dworkin will not be persuaded to believe what he doesn't know.

In the end we have to ask Dworkin what he believes. I think Dworkin will answer, "I believe that I do not know".

D.

Cognostic's picture
Dworkin: RE: "When asked if

Dworkin: RE: "When asked if Dworkin believes that either theism or atheism are true, he can say that he does not believe that either are true."

WTF????

Okay, let's take these one at a time....
"I don't believe atheism is true." So you do not believe that people are capable of not believing in God or gods? You do not believe that people are capable of believing in gods? You can not assert either to be "untrue" without the capacity to mind read and know for a fact what people believe. THIS IS A PRETTY LAME ASSERTION.

RE: Suspending belief in things we do not know: HUH? Everything is belief. Knowledge is a subcategory of belief. You can not have knowledge unless you believe it to be true. What we generally refer to as knowledge is 'JUSTIFIED TRUE BELIEF." Belief is generally allocated to the degree of evidence available. Belief without evidence is regarded as unfounded and irrational.

RE: "Dworkin prefers suspend belief about what he doesn't know." Dworkin is using belief as a black or white proposition. Either something is known or not known. This is fallacious. We know absolutely nothing 100%. There is no answer to hard solecism. You may be a brain in a vat. It does not matter as this is the reality we have. We live here and make the best sense we can out of the world in which we find ourselves. That which is known is known based on the available evidence we have. That which would be earth shattering / life altering if proved to be wrong would be the stuff we consider knowledge. Belief is allocated to the degree of evidence provided.

RE: Pascal's Wager: "But there is a problem with this use, because it prejudges that a person will want there to be a God." Agreed - it is an argument which makes the assertion "People should believe in god. Believing in god gains everything and loses nothing." NOT TRUE. I would have to give up my brain to hold such an irrational belief. I refuse to do that.

RE: Dworkin can (and will) say that there are big downsides to God as a reality, and it is an outcome that he is not keen on.

He would first have to prove there is a God thing. Perhaps he would be better off asserting that there are downsides to believing in God or gods. On that we could certainly agree. That is one objection to Pascal's wager. The wager was presented only to demonstrate "AGNOSTIC THEISM." along with the Bible Quote. Did you miss that? Agnosticism and Atheism are MUTUALLY EXCLUSIVE. One is about BELIEF and the other about KNOWLEDGE. The fact that there is a correlation between the two does not mean they are automatically connected.

RE: "from this it does not follow that Dworkin will persuade himself to atheism, as that makes a claim that he does not know is true."

There is no PERSUASION to atheism. Atheism is a position on the existence of a God or gods. Either you believe a God exists or you do not. Simply ask Dworkin if he believes a God exists. If he says "YES" he is a theist. If he says "No" he is an atheist. There is nothing more than this. There is no persuading to atheism. There is accepting the idea of a God based on the lack of evidence provided by theists or simply looking at the facts and being unconvinced. Atheists do not believe God claims. That's it! Finished! Nothing to persuade yourself to.

RE: "Atheism, as that makes a claim that he does not know is true." WRONG AGAIN. Atheism makes no claims. Atheism is the rejection of the god claim. Why is this so hard to grasp. If you tell me that the number of stars in the sky is even and I tell you that I do not believe you, I DID NOT MAKE A CLAIM. You made a claim and I asserted non belief in the claim you made. THEISM makes the claim and atheists have opted to simply not believe the claim until such time as the evidence provided warrants belief. BELIEF IS ALLOCATED TO THE DEGREE OF EVIDENCE PROVIDED. Shit evidence warrants no reason to believe. THERE IS NO PERSUASION TO ATHEISM.

RE: Being a realist, Dworkin will not be persuaded to believe what he doesn't know.

Dworkin does not know what the word 'KNOW' means. The only people professing to KNOW anything are the THEISTS. ATHEISM makes no claims and simply asks theists "What do you know? How do you know it? Why should I believe it too?" Lacking any and all evidence for their God claim, ATHEISTS OPT NOT TO BELIEVE. ATHEIST: a person who does not believe in God or gods.

RE: In the end we have to ask Dworkin what he believes. I think Dworkin will answer, "I believe that I do not know".

IN THE END DWORKIN IS SAYING THE EXACT SAME THING HE SAID BEFORE EVEN THOUGH IT HAS BEEN CLEARLY EXPLAINED TO HIM "HE IS FUCKING WRONG!"

ATHEISM: is about "BELIEF"
AGNOSTICISM: is about "KNOWLEDGE"

No one asked Dworkin what he KNEW. He has been asked what he BELIEVES.

A person who believes in a God without evidence is FOLLOWING THE BIBLE QUOTE I GAVE YOU AND PASCAL'S WAGER and is an AGNOSTIC THEIST.

A person who does not BELIEVE is an ATHEIST. If they do not believe based on the lack of evidence "KNOWLEDGE" provided by the theists, they are AGNOSTIC ATHEISTS.

"I believe that I do not know".
NO ONE ASKED YOU WHAT YOU KNOW. YOU HAVE BEEN ASKED, DO YOU BELIEVE A GOD OR GODS EXIST. No one cares about what you think you know or do not know.

Nyarlathotep's picture
Cognostic - So you do not

Cognostic - So you do not believe that people are capable of not believing in God or gods?

Heh, for sure. This one always bugs me. To suggest that atheism isn't true, is just the veiled suggestion that all atheists are lying; and marks the end of a conversation, not the beginning.

Cognostic's picture
@Nyarlathotep: O -- If only

@Nyarlathotep: O -- If only the silly sod actually understood what you just said. The conversation would be over. Unfortunately.........

Whitefire13's picture
Cog...wow, nicely explained.

Cog...wow, nicely explained.

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