When can the Agnostic say 'Yes' ?

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Dworkin's picture
When can the Agnostic say 'Yes' ?

Folks,

Following on from my modest thesis on the Agnostic, here is a further practical consequent of the thesis.

Question – Do you know that the existence of God is impossible?

Dworkin, ‘No’.

Q. - Do you know that the non existence of God is impossible?

Dworkin, ‘No’.

Q. - Do you believe that the existence of God is impossible?

Dworkin, ‘No’

Q. - Do you believe that the non existence of God is impossible?

Dworkin. ‘No’.

Q. - Do you believe that the existence of God is possible?

Dworkin, ‘Yes’

Q. - Do you believe that the non existence of God is possible?

Dworkin, ‘Yes’

From this, we see that Dworkin finds it impossible to know or believe the impossible, but impossible to know, but possible to believe that the possible is possible.

To clarify further, of course it follows from this that someone might believe that the impossible is impossible, thus leaving them with the belief (but not the knowledge) that anything and everything is possible, which is where I think that most clear thinking Agnostics will end up. There is the caveat that believing that everything and anything is possible, could include that the impossible is possible, which might mean that the possible might also be impossible, which I think clearly, is not possible.

D.

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LogicFTW's picture
@Dworkin

@Dworkin

I too am an agnostic, but also an atheist. I most certainly agree I do not know everything. Or even close to to it.

I am an atheist in big part because of the same questions you pose:

Lets swap in the word: "Santa Claus" for the word "god." Would you still say it the same way?

Question – Do you know that the existence of Santa Claus is impossible?

Dworkin, ‘No’.

Q. - Do you know that the non existence of Santa Claus is impossible?

Dworkin, ‘No’.

Q. - Do you believe that the existence of Santa Claus is impossible?

Dworkin, ‘No’

Q. - Do you believe that the non existence of Santa Claus is impossible?

Dworkin. ‘No’.

Q. - Do you believe that the existence of Santa Claus is possible?

Dworkin, ‘Yes’

Q. - Do you believe that the non existence of Santa Claus is possible?

Dworkin, ‘Yes’

Do you still stand by the above?

How about I fill it in with thor? Or the boogeyman, or the rainbow farting unicorn god that is a popular reference by me. How about the: LogicFTW god?

If you agree any of those words can fill in the blank for you, then what is the difference and significance of any god idea or really any idea over any other idea? If you disagree, why? Why does it matter if one idea might possibly be correct, or you do not have full knowledge of all possible possibilities.

We have little use for such unevidenced ideas like a "god" idea, and inconsequential ideas such as "we do not know everything," provides little benefit to us other than to remind us we do not know everything and to operate accordingly. However for the folks that profit enormously from the various religious ideas, they love to push the idea that we do not know everything so they can wiggle in their god idea that they profit from greatly.

Dworkin's picture
Logic,

Logic,

Yes, I take your point. Allowing for possibility does include the atheist's 'boogeyman'. I don't make any selections from possibilities; as an agnostic (and realist) I don't know what the possibilities are. My suspicion is that the reality beyond our projections may not equate to either atheism or theism but I have nothing more to offer. Like Jack Kerouac, 'All I have to offer is my own confusion' (smiley here) but at least my confusion is both realistic and logical.

D.

There is a point in 'Ghostbusters' when someone thinks of a giant marshmallow man and he appears immanent. That seems relevant here.

Sheldon's picture
Dworkin "Allowing for

Dworkin "Allowing for possibility does include the atheist's 'boogeyman'.

That smacks of sophistry to me, since firstly it's a theist boogeyman, as atheists by definition don't believe it exists. Secondly atheism is the lack or absence of belief in any deity or deties, and does not therefore make any claim about the possibility of any deities existence. Again you seem determined to try and imply atheism and agnosticism are mutually exclusive, and though some atheists may not be agnostics, other atheists are, usually where god claims are posited as unfalsifiable.

It would be less embarrassing for theists who invoke logic, if they had a basic understanding of it, rather than just adding the word as rhetoric in the mistaken belief atheists are as ignorant of its meaning and principles of validation as theists so often appear to be.

But since unlike theists I'm open minded, and approach all claims without bias, please do explain rationally how you know your deity is possible? If you can't then holding any belief about that possibility is irrational. Or better still, demonstrate sufficient objective evidence for the existence of any deity?

I don't know whether any deity exists, when the claim is unfalsifiable, thus I am an agnostic.

I don't know whether any deity, or anything supernatural is possible, when the claim is unfalsifiable, thus I am an agnostic.

I don't believe any deity or deities exist, as there is no objective evidence or rational argument for their existence, thus I am an atheist.

It's not that complicated a premise really...

Sheldon's picture
Dworkin "the reality beyond

Dworkin "the reality beyond our projections may not equate to either atheism or theism"

Since existence and non existence are logical negations of each other, and are therefore mutually exclusive states, reality can only equate to either theism or atheism.

David Killens's picture
@ Dworkin

@ Dworkin

"There is a point in 'Ghostbusters' when someone thinks of a giant marshmallow man and he appears immanent. That seems relevant here."

It is not relevant in any way because there have never been any recorded examples of a giant marshmallow man appearing out of nowhere. If there was anything we could compare to if we could measure this event, then we could discuss it.

Cognostic's picture
@Dworkin: Back for a second

@Dworkin: Back for a second thrashing? I seriously hope you learned a thing or two from the first one. Hopefully you will not sound as ignorant this time..... I 've got my fingers crossed for you..... Here goes......

Do atheists know (AGNOSTIC NOT ATHEIST) the existence of God is impossible - "NO" An Agnostic Position not an atheist position. WHY IN THE FUCK ARE YOU INCAPABLE OF LEARNING.

An Agnostic Atheists does not know if a god exists and does not believe in the existence of that god, based on the lack of knowledge.
=============================================
Do you know (Agnostic Again) the non-existence of god is impossible. This references Agnosticism once again. "What you know or can be known." It says nothing about what you believe.

We already fucking discussed this. You can know absolutely nothing about the existence of a god or gods and still believe or not believe in them. Agnosticism is a claim about KNOWLEDGE.

==========================================
Do you believe the existence of god is impossible: Most atheists agree with "No" as we can not know anything with regards to absolute certainty. Some Atheists, Antitheists may say "Yes." I would respond "Yes" but only after knowing exactly what you mean by God. Some gods I can respond "yes" to and others just don't fucking matter even if they are a god. I have never seen any good evidence for a god. This is a claim about what a person believes. Atheists do not believe in god or gods. It is not a position on the possibility or impossibility of any God. Possibility and impossibility are knowledge claims, not belief.
=========================================
Do you believe the non-existence of god is impossible. "No." I certainly do not believe the non-existence of god is impossible but I would also never make that claim without some sort of evidence to back it up. The burden of proof is on the person making the claim. Can you prove the non-existence of God? I would certainly say that most of the evidence we have gathered thus far supports the claim that God is non-existent. Lack of evidence, is in fact, evidence of lack. Especially after thousands of years of failed gods and failed claims.
================================================
Do you believe the existence of god is possible. Anything is possible. What evidence do you have for the existence of your god? If you can show me the evidence and a good reason to believe, I will believe too. As I have not seen any good evidence, the reasonable thing to do is withhold belief until such evidence is available. The Agnostic Atheist position is the most logical of all positions.
=========================================================
Is the non-existence of god possible. Sure, why not? And if he does not exist, what difference could it possibly make? At the same time, if you are going to assert God does not exist, you have adopted a burden of proof. Please demonstrate your claim.
===========================================================

From this, we see that Dworkin finds it impossible to know: And we all agree. NO ONE HAS ASKED dworkin WHAT HE KNOWS. The question being asked is "Do you believe a god exists or not."

"know or believe the impossible" Why do you define God as "Impossible." That puts you in the camp with the Anti-theists. You can not possibly know that any specific god is impossible without a definition of that god. Isn't it obvious that you just don't know what you are talking about?

RE: 'To clarify further, of course it follows from this that someone might believe that the impossible is impossible" YOU HAVE NOT PROVED GOD TO BE IMPOSSIBLE. WTF ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?

RE: knowledge anything and everything is possible, which is where I think that most clear thinking Agnostics will end up.

AGNOSTICISM does not postulate anything to be true. No clear thinking agnostic would ever think. NOTHING CAN BE KNOWN, THEREFORE EVERYTHING IS POSSIBLE. Are you fucking retarded? The only thing a clear thinking Agnostic can say about anything is..... "I DON'T KNOW."

(AND THAT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH WHAT THEY BELIEVE.)

You are fucking with your own mind. STOP

Agnosticism is about "WHAT YOU KNOW."

Atheism is about "WHAT YOU BELIEVE."

BELIEF is a subcategory of KNOWLEDGE (AKA Justified True Belief).

Agnostic theists believe in God without evidence ....
Agnostic Atheists believe Theists have not met their burden of proof and do not believe in god or gods based on the complete lack of evidence. Belief is suspended.

What do you believe?

Dworkin's picture
Cog,

Cog,

Yes, in epistemology there is the theory of 'justified true belief'. AFAIK it has been criticised but not totally refuted up to now.

It is possible that belief in the statement 'There is God' is true and it is possible that belief in the statement 'There is no God' is true.

As an agnostic I suspend belief in either of these statements. I do this because neither belief is justified and cite the principle of induction as justification for my position.

D.

CyberLN's picture
Dworkin, are you EVER going

Dworkin, are you EVER going to grab the clue that a/gnosticism is about knowledge, not belief? Non/Belief in gawd(s) is called a/theism.

Perhaps you are just refusing to accept the correct definition. If that’s the case, instead of being merely ignorant, you are engaging in willful stupidity.

Cognostic's picture
As an Atheist: you suspend

As an Atheist: you suspend belief. As an agnostic you don't KNOW your ass from a hole in the wall. AGNOSTIC is about KNOWLEDGE.

RE: "neither belief is justified' The very definition of AGNOSTIC ATHEIST! And since neither is justified, There is no reason to BELIEVE. Atheist!

Cognostic's picture
The Agnostic says yes when

The Agnostic theist says yes when they buy into PASCAL'S WAGER. I have already proved that fact and cited sources in the current threads with "Homer."

Dworkin's picture
Cog,

Cog,

Pascal's wager only applies if you want the particular end .

D.

Cognostic's picture
@Dworkin: Damn you are dense

@Dworkin: Damn you are dense. The whole point of the wager is to BELIEVE WITHOUT EVIDENCE. If you believe you lose nothing and gain everything, so you might as well believe.

The point is ---- YOU LOSE NOTHING BY BELIEVING, AND GAIN ALL.

The end is irrelevant as Pascal is Agnostic and admits we can not know. "It is a coin flip," according to Pascal. If there is no god, you win by living an ethical and moral life. If there is a god, you win by going to heaven. The wager is a win win proposition. However; the assertion that you give up nothing is complete bullshit.
and so the wager fails. It also fails Biblically as god demands complete love and obedience. "Is god so stupid that he does not realize you are only believing so that you can get into heaven?" Is he that easy to manipulate?

The wager specifically targets - the reason to believe without evidence!

Dworkin's picture
Cog,

Cog,

You can't "gain all" if you don't want it.

There may be people who just don't want to go the Christian heaven and I would be one of them. So why would I accept the wager? I align with Dostoevsky's Karamazov in my dislike of the Christian God projection. Of course, the problem of evil is another subject which we can enjoy later.

D.

Cognostic's picture
@Dworkin: Re: "You can't

@Dworkin: Re: "You can't gain all if you don't want it." No body gives a shit what you want. You simply don't take the wager and don't believe a god exists. No problem. You are an atheist. You either believe a god exists or you don't . How many more ways are you going to assert you are Atheist?

Sheldon's picture
An indigestible word salad

An indigestible word salad there, just to state you don't know whether a deity is possible or not, but believe it might be possible, despite already admitting you don't know, have no rational argument, and can demonstrate no objective evidence.

And what thesis? All you did in the other thread was misrepresent the definition of agnosticism, to imply it was mutually exclusive with atheism. You seem now to be violating informal reason in the same way you earlier violated the dictionary, like a drag queen at a tractor pull.

Dworkin "which is where I think that most clear thinking Agnostics will end up."

That last paragraph is as far from "clear thinking" as it is possible to get. It's a risible world salad, I only hope you were attempting levity.

Why would any rational person believe a claim when they don't even know if it is possible, it is btw axiomatic that if you don't know whether something is possible you cannot know if it is impossible, as they are logical negations of each other, the entirely redundant addition of long wordy proclamations of two mutually exclusive position is fooling no one. The double negatives are irrelevant, and in my opinion a smokescreen. I don't know whether invisible mermaids are possible, and so ipso facto can't know that they are impossible, nor do you, is it clear thinking to believe they might therefore be possible?

Dworkin's picture
Sheldon,

Sheldon,

As subsequent commentators of Descartes realised, philosophy collapses upon itself at the limits of reason. The Cogito seemed plausible right up to the moment of its collapse.

D.

Sheldon's picture
@Dworkin

@Dworkin

So do you have an answer to my question?

Sheldon's picture
Q. - Do you believe that the

Q. - Do you believe that the existence of God is impossible?

Dworkin, ‘No’

Q. - Do you believe that the non existence of God is impossible?

Dworkin. ‘No’.

They're logical negations of each other, a deity either is or is not possible, you cannot simultaneously believe it is both possible and impossible, despite all your redundant dizzying double negatives.

Dworkin's picture
Sheldon,

Sheldon,

You are confusing the terms 'possible' and 'impossible'. There is no confusion is asserting that we do not believe the impossible and do believe the possible. Your quote above refers to the former.

D.

Sheldon's picture
Dworkin "You are confusing

Dworkin "You are confusing the terms 'possible' and 'impossible'. "

On the contrary, it was your risible word salad with its endless double negatives that did that.

A deity is either possible or not. We can either know it is possible or not know. We can either believe it is possible or not believe it.

Dworkin "There is no confusion is asserting that we do not believe the impossible and do believe the possible.

Straw man, since that wasn't what I said, I suggest you read it again, more carefully.

Dworkin "Your quote above refers to the former."

No it doesn't, and the confusion here is entirely yours. You asserted you did not know whether a deity was possible or not.

Hence it is irrational to hold a belief on either position. Agnosticism is an epistemologically sound position on that question. As is disbelieving the claim a deity exists, since there is no rational or empirical reason to accept the claim.

I am inclined to believe your ridiculous over complication was deliberate sophistry. Like your earlier attempts to misrepresent the definitions of atheism and agnosticism.

Hume's picture
Dworkin,

Dworkin,

There is a problem here—there is no god model that you can work off on to eliminate the possibility or impossibility of existence of god—existence of anything falls under working with laws of nature and carry out experiments and observations and formulating hypotheses and theories etc—but for that to happen one must first formulate the model which is the basis of any hypothesis.

In case of god there is no such model. You must fist form hypotheses around what god is, how possibly it could have existed in time-space, how it gathered the intelligence, what is it made of, where the particles that it is made of come from, and many many other things that come into play.

You see we don’t come here and hypothesize any other entity with lifelike qualities and yet is something we we don’t know the type of —we only talk about things we have basis to talk about (eg a tree, fish, lion, chair, ping pong ball), but when it comes an entity called “god” we are so adamant to talk about its existence, lack of, or no knowledge of. Why?

Dworkin's picture
Hume,

Hume,

Possibility has no model. To think so is a philosophical category mistake.

D.

Hume's picture
Dworkin,

Dworkin,

Our world at sub-particle level is world of probabilities (what you call possibility). It’s in fabric of nature.

Even at macro level reality all hypotheses have a possibility—that’s precisely why they make the cut for the models. We don’t come up with hypotheses because flip a coin or wake up on the wrong side of the bed or juat feel like it.

Sheldon's picture
@Hume

@Hume

Good darts sir, as you point out, the concept of deity Dworkin hypothesises is of course unfalsifiable, and therefore objectively meaningless.

Tin-Man's picture
Re: OP - "When can the

Re: OP - "When can the Agnostic say 'Yes' ?"

I don't believe I know. Sorry I couldn't help. And, unfortunately, I don't know if I believe there is anybody around here who does believe they know. However, I believe if you know where to look, you might just find somebody who believes they know what you believe you don't know. But, then again, hey, who knows?... *shrugging shoulders*...

cranky47's picture
@thread

@thread

Yet another theist trying to do what no one else has done in the history of the world, as far as I know; argue god into existence.

As far as I'm aware, all claims about god remain unfalsifiable . To me, that means that so far, no one has been able to prove nor disprove any claims about God.

As for myself, I'm convinced that IF there is a god AND he's YHWH of the Torah, that he's a complete cunt. Now I can't prove that ,it's just the impression I got from reading the Torah, beginning with Genesis

My existential position is that I do not believe in any gods nor a supernatural or paranormal world, due to lack of evidence. But I simply don 't know if I'm right.

So, lacking both belief AND knowledge, I call myself an agnostic atheist.

Dworkin's picture
cranky,

cranky,

Agreed. You have presented the position of the agnostic atheist very clearly.

D.

Cognostic's picture
@Homer.... I mean Dorkin:

@Homer.... I mean Dorkin: You guys are all alike. Here is a hint for you...... Do not use the words "Atheist" and "Know" in the same sentence.

There is no dogma to atheism. We have no rules. No magical book. No invisible means of support. Saying or asking a question like "Atheists know" or "Do atheists know." is the same thing as saying "People know" or asking "Do people know." Your words have no meaning at all. Atheism is the ABSENCE of belief in God or Gods and NOTHING MORE. "KNOW" is a knowledge claim. To qualify KNOWLEDGE as TRUE or just REASONABLE, requires INDEPENDENT VERIFICATION. (TESTING, EXAMINATION, EVALUATION, and REPETITION) That which is asserted without evidence can be rejected without evidence.

Atheism is a claim about WHAT YOU FUCKING BELIEVE. "God exists" Do you believe the statement to be true or not.

Agnosticism is a claim about knowledge: It answers the question "Why do you believe" or "Why do you not believe?"

Withholding belief is the same thing as not believing. That qualifies you as an atheist. If you can not say "God exists" you are an atheist.

If there are times when you think Gods exist and other times when you think Gods do not exist, you are simply confused and fluctuating between Theism and Atheism.

THERE IS NO POSITION OF AGNOSTICISM: And you can not simultaneously believe a god exists and does not exist and that is cognitive dissonance as well as a violation of the laws of logic.

NO ONE CAN MAKE THIS ANY MORE CLEAR FOR YOU. Wallow in ignorance if you must but please do it in a dark corner where we can't watch. It's hard to watch an animal suffer and not try to do something about it.

cranky47's picture
@Cognostic

@Cognostic

" It's hard to watch an animal suffer and not try to do something about it."

Indeed, although I don't include humans as animals unless I'm being very pedantic .

Christians and other believers wallowing a pain caused by wilful ignorance is a different matter entirely. I have developed the ability to endure such suffering with great fortitude.

I only feel truly saddened when they breed.

Dworkin's picture
Cog,

Cog,

Simple logic. I have not said that I '..simultaneously believe that a god exists and does not exist'.

I have said that I believe that the statement 'God exists' is possibly true and I believe that the statement 'God does not exist' is possibly true' .

Philosophy can be a difficult subject but the above is clear.

Cog says, 'THERE IS NO POSITION OF AGNOSTICISM'.

Now your point above is more interesting. I think this is what some theists were implying when they said "You have to settle on something". Both theists and atheists seems to have great difficulty with the idea of an Agnostic withholding belief. It is an amusing idea, somewhat akin to Zen, as one person says to another 'You cannot sit in that position, while the other person is sitting in that position'.

But I am sitting in the Agnostic position. Your obvious frustration with my comfort and the similar frustration shown by theists is enlightening to me. If both camps are so irritated by the Agnostic, then my enquiring mind finds that there is something with which they are irritated. One English vicar, face to face, called me 'morally sick' because of my Agnostic position. I think he smelt the Devil. (horned smiley here).

D.

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