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Tags agnosticism , agnosticism definitions

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Old 5th May 2018, 08:44 AM   #81
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
You've two choices, objective reality or magic. You don't get to pretend there's a grey area between the two.

If the idea of something being "Measurable" sets you off, you're arguing for Woo.

It's standard by the book anti-intellectual hogwash.
That's a good argument, but for a different discussion. You ate assuming what I am saying based on..what others have said in the past in other discussions.

But I'll get off your lawn.
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Old 5th May 2018, 08:49 AM   #82
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Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
And was she wholly unconcerned about the God question as well? (If you wouldn’t mind my probing just a bit further about what is after all a personal matter?)

It is one thing being uninterested in religion per se, it is one thing feeling that one’s religion (or lack of it) is no one’s business but one’s own, but a whole different thing to be wholly fully and entirely indifferent about God (and everything that the God question represents). For instance, can one really be wholly indifferent about one’s mortality? And if one were to ever think seriously about one’s mortality (that is, about the fact of one’s mortality itself, as opposed to the practical pragmatic issues surrounding it, like estate planning etc), then how could one not think about the God question at all?

In fact not just thoughts about mortality : given that religion seems to have been thrust on to your mother (albeit she seems to have pushed back herself, repelled that thrust), wouldn’t that kind of pressure necessarily set one wondering in some way or form about the God question?

The reason I ask this is because (like I said in my previous post, addressed to Thermal) I haven’t really encountered a real bona fide apatheist myself (probably because I almost never discuss religion and God IRL) : and I have difficulty properly comprehending, difficulty empathizing with, the idea of apatheism -- I mean apatheism as an actual attitude that one spontaneously holds, as opposed to an idea or as a philosophy that one has thought one’s way to.

Because if you’ve had to consciously think your way to apatheism, after having properly considered the God question, then as Thermal says, that is probably because you’re probably (implicitly) an atheist underneath your apatheism, someone who has decided that the probability of God is too small to bother with (which is exactly the atheist’s position). But of course, if you spontaneously and right from the get go happen to indifferent to this issue, then I suppose you can really be described as a bona fide apatheist.
Perhaps you are thinking too much for my mother.

I'm also reminded of "D," a friend's father who also had not interest in topics of a religious or spiritual nature. D collected stamps and read historical maritime novels, but apart from that had a solid reputation of not only brushing off religious discussions but very little intellectual curiosity.

The majority of us at the ISF are an intellectually curious people, and the kind who must understand life. We, if we haven't already, come to our elder years with an accumulation of wisdom, or at least some decided views about the big questions and matters of God and religion. D had nothing.

I think he represents a lot of people who are not thinkers. Grappling with intellectual questions is too tiresome and difficult for them. Introspection gives them a headache.

My mother as well was not a thinker, and one to articulate a personal spirituality or morality.

She'd not care whether she was an "apatheist."

In spite of my username matters of personal ethic and philosophy are very important to me. The contexts in which I share and discuss them are limited, and I'm not inclined to push my views, so I might appear to some people to be apathetic about religion.

The last years of my mother's life, she had no motivation to continue. She was quite ready to die. I guess she wasn't apathetic about her mortality. She had a stated preference. She wanted her passing to be quick without weeks of nursing or hospice care. It was.

Anyway, consider that there are a lot of people on this planet who just don't have the intellectual curiosity to pursue the "big questions." Most of those are fine with mouthing the given answers from their childhood. Or some like my mother and D are fine having no positions about religion. They aren't even Agnostics.
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Old 5th May 2018, 09:05 AM   #83
Tommy Jeppesen
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
You've two choices, objective reality or magic. You don't get to pretend there's a grey area between the two.

If the idea of something being "Measurable" sets you off, you're arguing for Woo.

It's standard by the book anti-intellectual hogwash.
False dichotomy.
There is a grey area.
First objective reality as having reality independently of the mind is metaphysics, metaphysics is philosophy and that is nothing but Woo. So if that was what you meant by claiming objective reality, you are doing Woo. Right back at you!

If you mean that reality is objective in practice, the no. There is the evidence for that:
You: Reality is objective.
Me: No.
The reason I can say no, is because that no is subjective and that no is a part of reality. Reality is not objective nor is it subjective in practice. Some process are relative to humans objective and others are subjective.

You have to learn to think through your claims and test them. It is in practice Woo to claim that reality is objective just as it is Woo to claim that reality is subjective.
So let us play this quote again:
Quote:
"Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." Philip K. Dick
Me: No! That I believe in this no is a part of reality, yet it is only there because I believe in it. It, the no, is part of reality, because you are reading it. QED

Objective reality is Woo.

With regard
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Old 5th May 2018, 09:45 AM   #84
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Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
Which two contradictions?
You're arguing that the God question doesn't have to have its hair split to Narnia and back and while also trying to say those people who are doing it are justified because of "nuance."

If the distinction isn't valid the people making it can't be validated.

You're still acting like the distinction being forced in this one case doesn't mean anything while still ostensibly agreeing that the distinction doesn't matter.

"The distinction doesn't matter, but it's doesn't mean anything if people still insist on making" isn't valid.

Quote:
You may not care how I define it, but how can you possibly not care how the man who coined it intended it? That is, like, the very meaning of the word, a word that didn't exist before he coined it.
Because the entire term has an ulterior motive, one you've seemingly bought into and by using it we're playing a game of another players choosing and I refuse to do that.

Here I'm gonna break down my entire problem with arguing the details and "nuance" of opinions about the existence of God, and probably cross post it over to the "What is Atheism" thread because it's the functionally same thing.

Theist have strong motivation to make sure discussions about the existence of God never operate on the same rules as other discussions because talking about God differently becomes one of the proofs that God is different, which thing strengthens their argument that he has to be talked about differently, which requires even more pointless hairsplitting which strengthens their argument further and 20 goto 10.

And this works because people, like you're doing, don't understand that language inexactly describes reality it doesn't create it literally and argue that "Well these two words have some technical dictionary difference so they have to be describing some valid distinction we have to acknowledge" and we don't. You can call the bottle of tomato based condiment in my fridge catsup or ketchup, it's still the same thing. Those two distinct words don't force us into a real world practical distinction we have to acknowledge.

By forcing non-theistic people to argue their stances and opinions across this huge swath of distinctions without difference theist have made it so we're arguing nothing.

I and the language I use is not beholden to nuance that other people are making up just so their argument is harder to argue against.

"Is a baby an atheist or an agnostic?" That's the dumbest question ever asked. We don't hairsplit any distinction between "Negative opinion and lack of ability/context to from an opinion yet" in anyway equivalent to that anywhere else. We don't have crisis of faith over whether a baby is a Democrat or a Republican or if there lack of ability to form an opinion puts them into some magical third special category.

As we sit here and hairsplit meaningless minutia about level of disbelief and strong v weak disbelief... context which are 100% meaningless when discussing anything else, we just force ourselves into position where nothing we say has any meaning or strength behind it.

And I refuse to do it. "There is no God." I refuse to rewrite that to frame it the theisticly preferred version.
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Old 5th May 2018, 10:33 AM   #85
Tommy Jeppesen
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
...
And I refuse to do it. "There is no God." I refuse to rewrite that to frame it the theisticly preferred version.
I don't care if there is a God or not. I have found out, that I don't know if there is a God or not and that I can have a life without believing in God.
So again I don't care if there is a God or not.

As to the theists and what not, who need to box me in as though I am religious, then here is the God, that I don't believe in.

God is all powerful, but bored. She created Satan and asked Satan what she should do for fun. Satan said: "Since you are the source of everything and all powerful, create a materialistic universe without souls, heaven and hell and the humans in it will die, when they die.
God answered: I like it. Let there be light!


Stop claiming knowledge, evidence or what ever for something you don't know. You don't know if there is at least one god and or not. So live your life as you!

With regard
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Old 5th May 2018, 11:37 PM   #86
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Originally Posted by Tommy Jeppesen View Post
So you did something subjective in denying subjectivity. "No, I don't" is subjective. So you believe - "No, I don't" - is subjective?
No, I answered a yes or no question in a deliberately curt manner.
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Old 5th May 2018, 11:56 PM   #87
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Originally Posted by Nay_Sayer View Post
No, I answered a yes or no question in a deliberately curt manner.
Yes, but you gave no evidence. So what you claim can be dismissed:
“That which can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.” -Christopher Hitchens-

You are capable of reason, logic and evidence. Then use that on the subject of subjectivity or be considered a believer, who doesn't use reason, logic and evidence.
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Old 6th May 2018, 09:07 AM   #88
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Originally Posted by Tommy Jeppesen View Post
Yes, but you gave no evidence. So what you claim can be dismissed:
“That which can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.” -Christopher Hitchens-

You are capable of reason, logic and evidence. Then use that on the subject of subjectivity or be considered a believer, who doesn't use reason, logic and evidence.
Let's rewind a bit.

The op asked us to define Agnostic/Agnosticism; My reply which was mixed with humor is two-fold; Being agnostic only applies to the level of knowledge about a given proposition.

Agnosticism to be is invalid fence setting when the subject is god(s) being the question being asked is often "Do you believe in a god or gods, That is a yes or no answer and as I said anything but a yes makes you an atheist. On a personal level, I think it exists because some folks don't like the label.

Then as a 'gotcha' asking me if I believe in love I answered that No because I was curious to Thermals reply and where they would go with their argument.

Love isn't, however, Is not subjective it's chemical reactions and base attractions that we as humans have added a lot of fluff around, That may seem like a bitter way to view it and I'm fine with using all the fluff language, but it is what it is.

If you're asking me about the philosophical concept of subjectivity; Descartes almost had it right; Instead of I think therefore I am' it's more aptly
'My brain is getting oxygen and firing neurons, therefore, I can think'.

I hope I understood your point.
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Old 6th May 2018, 10:40 AM   #89
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Originally Posted by Nay_Sayer View Post
Let's rewind a bit.

The op asked us to define Agnostic/Agnosticism; My reply which was mixed with humor is two-fold; Being agnostic only applies to the level of knowledge about a given proposition.

Agnosticism to be is invalid fence setting when the subject is god(s) being the question being asked is often "Do you believe in a god or gods, That is a yes or no answer and as I said anything but a yes makes you an atheist. On a personal level, I think it exists because some folks don't like the label.

Then as a 'gotcha' asking me if I believe in love I answered that No because I was curious to Thermals reply and where they would go with their argument.

Love isn't, however, Is not subjective it's chemical reactions and base attractions that we as humans have added a lot of fluff around, That may seem like a bitter way to view it and I'm fine with using all the fluff language, but it is what it is.

If you're asking me about the philosophical concept of subjectivity; Descartes almost had it right; Instead of I think therefore I am' it's more aptly
'My brain is getting oxygen and firing neurons, therefore, I can think'.

I hope I understood your point.
Just a note: it was not intended as a gotcha. I was trying to determine how you evaluate a nebulous concept that is common to most people. The curtness, as you call it, of your reply was well taken and so naturally not pursued.

I'll get back off the lawn now.
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Old 6th May 2018, 01:46 PM   #90
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Gnostic/agnostic are the stuff of knowledge and theist is the stuff of belief. The former should never be applied to the latter. A theist that claims they know their god exists is conflating belief and knowledge.

Agnostic = A label that should never be applied to belief in god(s) (aka - theism).
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Old 6th May 2018, 06:40 PM   #91
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Sorry, that should've been . . .
Gnostic/agnostic = Labels that should never be applied to belief in god(s) (theist/theism).
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Old 6th May 2018, 10:51 PM   #92
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
There is no God. I can make that statement and just... stop talking. I can make that statement and just stop talking even if you disagree with me.
It is your right, but that is leaving the battlefield to the enemy. You will have your reasons, I suppose.
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Old 6th May 2018, 11:01 PM   #93
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Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
If we go with this particular definition of the word Agnosticism, then no, agnosticism does not assume that “'God exists' is a magically different kind of question from everything else". It does not hold that “'Magically unknowable' has a kind of validity that it doesn’t have in other cases". No, it isn’t special pleading. And yes, it is perfectly valid.
Agnostic's problem is to explain what concept of truth he has that prevents him from refuting the existence of gnomes, fairies, invisible dragons or gods. The second problem is that it is opening the door for the irrationalist to admit "possible" entities.
I would not say that the agnostic is an intellectual coward, as Abaddon says, but on many occasions he is similar.

I insist, the problem is what concept of truth we handle.
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Old 7th May 2018, 05:51 AM   #94
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
You're arguing that the God question doesn't have to have its hair split to Narnia and back and while also trying to say those people who are doing it are justified because of "nuance."

If the distinction isn't valid the people making it can't be validated.

You're still acting like the distinction being forced in this one case doesn't mean anything while still ostensibly agreeing that the distinction doesn't matter.

"The distinction doesn't matter, but it's doesn't mean anything if people still insist on making" isn't valid.

And that, Joe, is exactly why I had been asking you, repeatedly, to re-read my post #63.

What you’re protesting here is a strawman. Not one deliberately pushed here, I’m sure, but probably the result of your not having followed what I was saying in that post of mine. (And again, I’m not saying this to denigrate you in any way. Quite possibly the fault, if any, is mine, for not having been able to articulate my point clearly enough.)

Given your past expression of indignation at my pointing you toward that post, I won’t repeat that request of mine. But what I will do is copy here, word for word, the definition of Agnosticism that I had put in there. Here :
Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
Here is how I define the term ‘agnosticism’. The agnostic admits that one does not have sufficient information, sufficient evidence, to form a conclusion about the God question ; and further, lacking this information and evidence, one takes the default position that there is no God.

This last part -- “lacking this information and evidence, one takes the default position that there is no God” -- is the particular "nuance" I was referring to.

I hope my meaning is now clear? I don’t know how to make this any clearer than this! You don’t have to agree with this definition for Agnostic (yet -- we'll get to that part after this, in the next section : one point at a time) : but I just want you to understand what I’d tried to convey there, what I meant by “nuance”.

I’m agreeing with you that “the God question doesn’t have to have its hair split to Narnia and back”. And no, I am NOT saying, as you seem to think, that “those people who are doing it are justified because of ‘nuance’”. That isn’t what I was saying at all, and the contradiction that you see there does not, in fact, exist. I hope you now see the strawman you were expending your energy contesting?


Quote:
Because the entire term has an ulterior motive, one you've seemingly bought into and by using it we're playing a game of another players choosing and I refuse to do that.

Huxley was no theist. In a time and age when it was both unfashionable (within the larger society, albeit it may indeed have been fashionable within select niches) as well as difficult, in practical day-to-day terms -- when compared with today, that is -- not to be a theist, and to publically declare one’s non-theism, he was, at such a time, a non-theist. My understanding is that at that time, the term “atheist” carried distinct overtones (carried a “nuance”, in fact, if you don’t mind my using that word again), the sense that is best articulated today by the term “hard atheist” -- and, not caring for that particular nuance, he coined that word, Agnostic.

My understanding is that the word Agnostic, as Huxley intended it, is no different from what we today would describe as Soft Atheist, and what you yourself would like to convey by the word Atheist.

(And your own etymology-consistent definition of Atheism I am myself fully in agreement with, by the way – that is, both etymologically and functionally, your meaning, your use of the word Atheism for the position I spelt out above [for which same sense others use the word Agnosticm, and yet others the term Soft Atheism] is consistent. My only point is that these words do, in practice and in fact, carry different meanings to different people, and that difference [in what they mean in practice to different people] cannot be wished away. And must be dealt with. Unless one chooses to simply disengage with those who use individual words in senses differently from how we would like them to. And to disengage with people merely because of differences about semantics -- which to me seems to be your underlying position and intention [but do please correct me if you believe that to be a strawman of my own, if you think I have misinterpreted your intention, misunderstood your broader position] -- that seems silly to me.)


Quote:
Here I'm gonna break down my entire problem with arguing the details and "nuance" of opinions about the existence of God, and probably cross post it over to the "What is Atheism" thread because it's the functionally same thing.

Theist have strong motivation to make sure discussions about the existence of God never operate on the same rules as other discussions because talking about God differently becomes one of the proofs that God is different, which thing strengthens their argument that he has to be talked about differently, which requires even more pointless hairsplitting which strengthens their argument further and 20 goto 10.

And this works because people, like you're doing, don't understand that language inexactly describes reality it doesn't create it literally and argue that "Well these two words have some technical dictionary difference so they have to be describing some valid distinction we have to acknowledge" and we don't. You can call the bottle of tomato based condiment in my fridge catsup or ketchup, it's still the same thing. Those two distinct words don't force us into a real world practical distinction we have to acknowledge.

By forcing non-theistic people to argue their stances and opinions across this huge swath of distinctions without difference theist have made it so we're arguing nothing.

I and the language I use is not beholden to nuance that other people are making up just so their argument is harder to argue against.

"Is a baby an atheist or an agnostic?" That's the dumbest question ever asked. We don't hairsplit any distinction between "Negative opinion and lack of ability/context to from an opinion yet" in anyway equivalent to that anywhere else. We don't have crisis of faith over whether a baby is a Democrat or a Republican or if there lack of ability to form an opinion puts them into some magical third special category.

As we sit here and hairsplit meaningless minutia about level of disbelief and strong v weak disbelief... context which are 100% meaningless when discussing anything else, we just force ourselves into position where nothing we say has any meaning or strength behind it.

And I refuse to do it. "There is no God." I refuse to rewrite that to frame it the theisticly preferred version.

Sure, it’s fine with me if you carry on (or repeat) this argument in that thread. I’ve read that thread too. Your own views seem consistent with the OP’s, there. I didn’t post there myself, on that other thread, because I’ve nothing more to add beyond this one point that I’m making. (And obviously, while I’m addressing this post to you, others -- including the OP -- are welcome to engage with this if they so wish, either here or in that other thread.)

I understand what both of you (both you and the OP, as well as one or two others) are saying. You’re saying that the word Atheism is ample to describe the position I’d described above. You’re saying that Atheism means ‘a-theism’, not-theism, non-theism, lack in belief in God (however defined, and irrespective of anything else that guides or accompanies that non-belief). Fair enough. I agree with your definition.

Well, what next? You’ve made this very obvious point, and no one can possibly disagree with you when you say that that particular meaning of Atheism is both etymologically and functionally valid, because it is such a blindingly obvious point. Now I’m asking you, What now? What next? Having made that very obvious point, what do you propose now?

Words, especially in English, tend to often carry meanings and senses that are counter-intuitive, etymologically speaking. The same word sometimes carries different, even contradictory, meanings. The world may perhaps have been a happier place had that not been the case. Or perhaps not. The point is, in the real world, words, especially in English, sometimes/often do carry very different/diverse as well as etymologically inconsistent meanings. How do you propose to deal with this, in this specific instance?



You end your post with the declaration that “I refuse to rewrite that to frame it (to comport with) the theistically preferred version”. Well, first of all, it’s not a question of your “re-writing” anything, it’s a question of your recognizing (or not recognizing) definitions already extant. Second of all, that isn’t necessarily a “theistically preferred” version -- there are plenty of non-theists who prefer those versions (starting with Huxley himself), and nor do I see any reason to presume that all theists necessarily carry this alleged preference. But most importantly (much more important than pointing out the inconsistencies with and inaccuracies in how you have framed that declaration) : Having refused to define Atheism (as well as related words like Agnosticism) in any other way (other than the definitions you yourself prefer for these words), and having refused to recognize the other senses in which some others use these words, what do you now propose?

How do you propose to engage with those who use these words differently? (Others, whether theist or non-theist, who prefer the word Agnostic, or perhaps prefer the term Soft Atheist, or perhaps the label Agnostic-Atheist?) Or do you propose not to engage with any of them at all? (It’s fine if that is what you wish. You are perfectly free to engage with anyone you wish, or not, basis any reasons that appeal to you, irrespective of whether that appears reasonable to me or to others. I’m just asking you to clearly spell out what you propose, that’s all.)



I’ve described what I propose. It’s simple : We recognize that this is a disagreement over semantics, and not over the underlying position itself (when, that is, that is what happens to be case -- and I’d say that happens often enough). Therefore we, at the outset, settle this difference by agreeing on the definitions we are to use (if only for the space of some specific discussion) -- or, if we are unable to come to such agreement, then we stop fixating with the terms themselves and directly discuss the underlying positions instead. Sounds straightforward to me.

Do you disagree with what I propose? Can you spell out your disagreement, if so? And can you tell us what you propose instead?

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Old 7th May 2018, 05:58 AM   #95
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Originally Posted by Apathia View Post
Perhaps you are thinking too much for my mother.

I'm also reminded of "D," a friend's father who also had not interest in topics of a religious or spiritual nature. D collected stamps and read historical maritime novels, but apart from that had a solid reputation of not only brushing off religious discussions but very little intellectual curiosity.

The majority of us at the ISF are an intellectually curious people, and the kind who must understand life. We, if we haven't already, come to our elder years with an accumulation of wisdom, or at least some decided views about the big questions and matters of God and religion. D had nothing.

I think he represents a lot of people who are not thinkers. Grappling with intellectual questions is too tiresome and difficult for them. Introspection gives them a headache.

My mother as well was not a thinker, and one to articulate a personal spirituality or morality.

She'd not care whether she was an "apatheist."

In spite of my username matters of personal ethic and philosophy are very important to me. The contexts in which I share and discuss them are limited, and I'm not inclined to push my views, so I might appear to some people to be apathetic about religion.

The last years of my mother's life, she had no motivation to continue. She was quite ready to die. I guess she wasn't apathetic about her mortality. She had a stated preference. She wanted her passing to be quick without weeks of nursing or hospice care. It was.

Anyway, consider that there are a lot of people on this planet who just don't have the intellectual curiosity to pursue the "big questions." Most of those are fine with mouthing the given answers from their childhood. Or some like my mother and D are fine having no positions about religion. They aren't even Agnostics.

I’ve come across enough people, myself, who seem similarly apatheistic (without necessarily worrying about, or even being aware of, this label). But because I’ve never discussed the God question with them -- one feels weird raising this topic generally, outside of this forum I mean, and I can count on the fingers of one single hand the people with whom I am comfortable talking about the God question IRL -- I’ve always assumed that that is merely their outer expression on this subject, an outer expression of cogitations already gone through internally and conclusions already drawn.

I’m afraid I’m no closer, really, to properly appreciating -- at the gut level I mean, I mean properly empathizing, as opposed to merely intellectually acknowledging -- this POV despite reading your accounts. But thanks very much for sharing.
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Old 7th May 2018, 07:31 AM   #96
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Originally Posted by ynot View Post
Gnostic/agnostic are the stuff of knowledge and theist is the stuff of belief.

Etymologically, yes ; but in practice, no, not entirely, not in the case of the word ‘agnostic’. At least in English, it is established usage that gives words their meanings, and those meanings are sometimes/often contradictory, as well different from (or with nuances not necessarily arising out of) what the etymology might suggest.


Quote:
The former should never be applied to the latter.

That is your opinion, sure. But it is no more than that, is it? *


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A theist that claims they know their god exists is conflating belief and knowledge.

Perhaps. Not necessarily, but perhaps. (That is, they are conflating belief and knowledge, only if they are actually doing that. Circular-ish, that. Tautological, conditional, and circular.)


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Agnostic = A label that should never be applied to belief in god(s) (aka - theism).
Originally Posted by ynot View Post
Sorry, that should've been . . .
Gnostic/agnostic = Labels that should never be applied to belief in god(s) (theist/theism).

Again, that is your opinion, sure. But it is no more than that.

* I keep on pointing out that this no more than your opinion : but of course, there’s nothing wrong in holding some personal opinion, as long as one realizes that is what it is. Nor is there anything wrong with expressing it, as you are doing here. Indeed, expressing one’s personal opinion, and discussing the reasons for those opinions, as well the consequences arising out of following some prescription that follows from those opinions, that is as effective a way as any of influencing other people’s opinions.


But what follows from your opinion, ynot? What do you propose, basis that opinion? When you do find some person, whether theist or non-theist, who seems to be using the word Agnostic differently from how you prescribe, what then do you propose one should do? What would you yourself do?

I’ve tried to discuss this aspect, and to ask this question with more clarity and in greater detail, in an earlier post addressed to JoeMorgue. Perhaps you might like to go through it, and consider what I’ve tried to convey there? This portion, especially, would probably be relevant here :

Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
How do you propose to engage with those who use these words differently? (Others, whether theist or non-theist, who prefer the word Agnostic, or perhaps prefer the term Soft Atheist, or perhaps the label Agnostic-Atheist?) Or do you propose not to engage with any of them at all? (It’s fine if that is what you wish. You are perfectly free to engage with anyone you wish, or not, basis any reasons that appeal to you, irrespective of whether that appears reasonable to me or to others. I’m just asking you to clearly spell out what you propose, that’s all.)



I’ve described what I propose. It’s simple : We recognize that this is a disagreement over semantics, and not over the underlying position itself (when, that is, that is what happens to be case -- and I’d say that happens often enough). Therefore we, at the outset, settle this difference by agreeing on the definitions we are to use (if only for the space of some specific discussion) -- or, if we are unable to come to such agreement, then we stop fixating with the terms themselves and directly discuss the underlying positions instead. Sounds straightforward to me.

Do you disagree with what I propose? Can you spell out your disagreement, if so? And can you tell us what you propose instead?
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Old 7th May 2018, 07:43 AM   #97
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Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
Do you disagree with what I propose? Can you spell out your disagreement, if so? And can you tell us what you propose instead?
I still don't think you get that I see being forced to define my stance to some exacting degree is the problem. I'm saying the hand wringing over exact terminology has an ulterior motive that clarifying the terminology won't actually help. I thank you for the 5 paragraph long linguistic lecture, but it wasn't necessary but I'm not arguing the linguistic. I'm arguing the need for the linguistics.

Yes you and I could very well spend the next 10 pages refining and defining and clarifying our position until all nuance is lost and all the rough edges are gone but... to what end and to what purpose?

In other words asking me to clarify in detail why I think an argument is being too pedantic is pretty much asking me to lose.

That's what I keep saying, that the level of exactedness (that needs to be a word) demanding in this discussion has an ulterior motive.

Now I get that this is the internet and the internet holy stone tablets state that there is no such thing as too much detail, too much nitpicking, too much pedantics, or too much semantics but I'm not going to get caught in some Jabbian trap of being forced to word my argument in such a way as to admit my opponent is right before I'm even allowed in the discussion.

"God exists? Y/N" doesn't have to be approached from 90 bazillion different angles to the point that nobody is actually saying anything so the "belief" side can keep winning.
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Old 7th May 2018, 07:50 AM   #98
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Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
Agnostic's problem is to explain what concept of truth he has that prevents him from refuting the existence of gnomes, fairies, invisible dragons or gods. The second problem is that it is opening the door for the irrationalist to admit "possible" entities.
I would not say that the agnostic is an intellectual coward, as Abaddon says, but on many occasions he is similar.

I insist, the problem is what concept of truth we handle.

None of what you say would apply if 'agnosticism' is defined as acknowledging that one does not know what one does not know ; and with the added nuance that, when it comes to the God question, one does not believe what one does not have grounds for believing. When defined thus, complete with that added nuance, then the word 'agnostic' means the same as 'soft atheist', and indeed the exact same as the etymologically derived meaning of the word 'atheist'.

As far as I can see, that was Huxley's intention. During his time (and indeed, at times, in our as well) the word 'atheist' is taken to mean 'hard atheist', and my understanding is that he did not care to take on that added nuance.

True, that meaning of 'agnosticism' is somewhat different from the etymologically derived meaning. But there are many words in English that differ somewhat (and at times differ drastically) from their etymologically derived meanings. And it is a fact that there are those who, in practice, do use the word 'agnosticism' in this sense.

My whole point, that I am trying to make in this thread, is that different people do, in fact, use these words ('atheist' and 'agnostic') in different senses. That cannot be wished away. To say that something-or-other *should* be the meaning that everyone agrees with, that is where the special pleading comes in. There are many meanings that might, with justification, be used. I'm saying this kind of insistence that everyone should use these words in just one single sense that one prefers isn't justified at all ; and even if for the sake of argument I grant you that this demand is justified, even then there is no way really to enforce that demand, is there?

So what is one to do?

I propose that before commencing any discussion, one takes care to agree on definitions at the very outset. If one can't do that, then one must stop fixating with terms, and directly talk about the underlying concepts. That is probably the best -- indeed, perhaps the only -- way to effectively deal with this issue.

Do you agree? If not, why not? And, if not, then what alternative proposal would you propose instead to deal with this situation?
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Old 7th May 2018, 07:58 AM   #99
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
I still don't think you get that I see being forced to define my stance to some exacting degree is the problem. I'm saying the hand wringing over exact terminology has an ulterior motive that clarifying the terminology won't actually help. I thank you for the 5 paragraph long linguistic lecture, but it wasn't necessary but I'm not arguing the linguistic. I'm arguing the need for the linguistics.

Yes you and I could very well spend the next 10 pages refining and defining and clarifying our position until all nuance is lost and all the rough edges are gone but... to what end and to what purpose?

In other words asking me to clarify in detail why I think an argument is being too pedantic is pretty much asking me to lose.

That's what I keep saying, that the level of exactedness (that needs to be a word) demanding in this discussion has an ulterior motive.

Now I get that this is the internet and the internet holy stone tablets state that there is no such thing as too much detail, too much nitpicking, too much pedantics, or too much semantics but I'm not going to get caught in some Jabbian trap of being forced to word my argument in such a way as to admit my opponent is right before I'm even allowed in the discussion.

"God exists? Y/N" doesn't have to be approached from 90 bazillion different angles to the point that nobody is actually saying anything so the "belief" side can keep winning.

Instead of pointing out the flaws that I detect in what you have said there, as well as pointing out the portions of your post that I agree with, I will ask again what I have already asked you once : So what is it that you propose? How do you propose to engage in discussion with all of those theists and all of those non-theists who choose to define the words 'atheist' and 'agnostic' in ways that are different from what appears reasonable to you? Or do you choose not to engage with these people at all?
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Old 7th May 2018, 08:43 AM   #100
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Originally Posted by Tommy Jeppesen View Post
You are subjective!!! We can't have that you claim something based on how you feel. There has to be an objective standard for the beauty of gardens. Do you really what us to accept that the garden is beautiful just because you say so???
Reality is objective and only real for that which is so independent of you believing, thinking and feeling so. You peddle woo-woo! What you claim is not real, without an objective standard and is not a part of reality!

You are doing apologetics and trying to smuggle God in by starting to get us to believe that reality is subjective!
Psst - objectively I can show that subjective experience exists....
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Old 7th May 2018, 08:50 AM   #101
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Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
Instead of pointing out the flaws that I detect in what you have said there, as well as pointing out the portions of your post that I agree with, I will ask again what I have already asked you once : So what is it that you propose? How do you propose to engage in discussion with all of those theists and all of those non-theists who choose to define the words 'atheist' and 'agnostic' in ways that are different from what appears reasonable to you? Or do you choose not to engage with these people at all?
You "engage" my saying "this is what I mean" - if they then say "oh not that can't be your view because an atheist would..." say "thanks but you are wrong that is indeed my meaning".

Also of course this all depends on matter of level of detail required to have a meaningful discussion. When asked for directions to the local pub I don't start with a lecture that according to relativity there is no absolute frame of reference so I can't actually give you directions from where you are standing (if indeed we can even have a concept of you standing in a particular place outside my frame of reference) I say "yeah go on about another 500 yards and take the next right next to the police station and the pub's about 1/2 a mile up that road on the left".
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Old 7th May 2018, 08:58 AM   #102
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Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
I’ve come across enough people, myself, who seem similarly apatheistic (without necessarily worrying about, or even being aware of, this label). But because I’ve never discussed the God question with them -- one feels weird raising this topic generally, outside of this forum I mean, and I can count on the fingers of one single hand the people with whom I am comfortable talking about the God question IRL -- I’ve always assumed that that is merely their outer expression on this subject, an outer expression of cogitations already gone through internally and conclusions already drawn.

I’m afraid I’m no closer, really, to properly appreciating -- at the gut level I mean, I mean properly empathizing, as opposed to merely intellectually acknowledging -- this POV despite reading your accounts. But thanks very much for sharing.
Thanks for interacting. I relate more to the people who do have an intellectual process about matters of religion and spirituality, even if their current conclusions are much different from my own. I don't feel a compulsion to push my own conclusions or arrive at some uniformity. It's just that people who do think are more my tribe.
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Old 7th May 2018, 10:17 AM   #103
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I miss the old days when meaning of words was not something subjective and "debatable" and "relative", and you could just refer to a dictionary and go on with the rest of your day.
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Old 7th May 2018, 10:35 AM   #104
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Originally Posted by ynot View Post
Define “Agnostic”
I don't know.
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Old 7th May 2018, 12:36 PM   #105
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Originally Posted by Ron_Tomkins View Post
I miss the old days when meaning of words was not something subjective and "debatable" and "relative", and you could just refer to a dictionary and go on with the rest of your day.
Trouble is many modern dictionary definitions seem to represent the beliefs of theists and psychowankers more than what they actually should represent.
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Old 7th May 2018, 01:04 PM   #106
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Not having a belief in gods is what makes me an atheist. That I claim I know gods don’t exist describes what type of atheist I am. I was an atheist without a god belief long before I concluded that I know gods don’t exist.

Knowledge on which I base my “I know gods don’t exist” claim . . .

Knowledge that after thousands of years of intensive and desperate searching there hasn’t been a single piece of credible evidence found that establishes gods do actually exist.

Knowledge that there is no known method by which gods even could or might exist.

Knowledge of scientific discoveries that negate the need to use god beliefs to fill gaps in knowledge and understanding.

Knowledge that god beliefs are created by the minds of humans.

That’s a few “off the top of my head”, I’m sure I cloud come up with more.

ETA - I meant to post this in the "Define Atheism" thread (which I've done). But I'll also leave it here.
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Old 7th May 2018, 01:08 PM   #107
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Originally Posted by ynot View Post
Knowledge that there is no known method by which gods even could or might exist.
Supernatural sex.

Or is that unnatural sex?
[/quote]
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Old 7th May 2018, 01:10 PM   #108
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Originally Posted by The Greater Fool View Post
Supernatural sex.

Or is that unnatural sex?
Immaculate sex? But who or what is the mother and father?

Regardless, these are fantasy methods, not known methods
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Old 7th May 2018, 01:12 PM   #109
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Originally Posted by ynot View Post
Immaculate sex? But who or what is the mother and father?
With all the shouts of "Oh god!" I'm not sure it matters.
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Old 7th May 2018, 06:15 PM   #110
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Originally Posted by Ron_Tomkins View Post
But belief is never a meaningful way to obtain knowledge, so anyone who thinks that, is already starting off a wrong premise.
Paranormal beliefs are knowledge placebos.
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Old 7th May 2018, 08:46 PM   #111
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Originally Posted by Thermal View Post
Just to be safe, I checked some of the current definitions and theories on love. Nowhere did I find a credible description of the whole of love being a measurable set of physiological reactions.

You've pulled a fast one by substituting "show me the whole of love" for what was originally a request to show empirical and non-anecdotal evidence of love. Of course you can't show the "whole of love" with such evidence. You can't show the whole of anything whatsoever, by any means whatsoever.

Go ahead, show me the whole of a rock. A small one will do. There seems to be a problem: you can only show me one side of it at a time. And you can only show me the outside, not the inside. One side of the outside clearly isn't the whole of it. And you can't show it to me in the wavelengths my eyes can't perceive. And you can only show it as it is now, yet its existence might span billions of years and involve multiple transformations.

And in any case, you won't find a credible description of a rock as being a set of visual patterns. So really, you haven't begun to show it at all, have you?

The existence and presence of a rock can, however, be shown simply enough, and with sufficient reliability for most purposes, via the patterns of light reflecting off of a rock as detected by your eye. And the existence and presence of love can be shown reliably by patterns that appear in an MRI.
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Old 7th May 2018, 10:53 PM   #112
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A theist believes there is a creator without any proof.

An atheist believes there is not a creator without any proof.

Both are just as boneheaded.

An agnostic only believes in things (or not) based on scientific proofs, evidentiary proofs, and logical proofs.



Anyone who tells you anything different than the above is either an atheist or a theist (even if they deny being either) and is letting tribal B.S. cloud their definitions.
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Old 8th May 2018, 01:08 AM   #113
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Originally Posted by ynot View Post
I won’t offer any definition at this time, but I don’t accept any definition that makes “agnostic” a position between “theist” and “atheist”.
I dont't know what Agnostic means, either one way or the other.
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Old 8th May 2018, 01:25 AM   #114
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It's funny, but if someone proudly and loudly proclaims that any fictional character exists, we get them treated. Unless they're talking about 'god', in whatever sense they mean it, in which case, suddenly, they're not mental, they're spiritual. I don't buy it. A firm belief in the existence of a fictional entity, any fictional entity, is a sign of delusion.
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Old 8th May 2018, 02:57 AM   #115
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Originally Posted by This is The End View Post
An agnostic only believes in things (or not) based on scientific proofs, evidentiary proofs, and logical proofs.
Therefore, like all other atheist types, an agnostic doesn't believe in gods because they aren't based on scientific proofs, evidentiary proofs, and logical proofs.

You will obviously argue otherwise because you want "agnostic" to be a superior middle position that allows you to consider yourself to be superior (not a blockhead).
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Old 8th May 2018, 03:15 AM   #116
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How do those who are agnostic decide what to be agnostic about?
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Old 8th May 2018, 05:47 AM   #117
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
You "engage" my saying "this is what I mean"

Thank you, Darat. My point exactly!

I would have thought that it would be evident to everyone once pointed out -- in those few cases where it isn’t evident even before it has to be pointed out by someone else -- that this is the reasonable approach in these circumstances.

When one sees that the words ‘atheism’ and ‘agnosticism’ seem to carry multiple connotations and nuances and meanings, and that different people seem to be using these words differently, then one avoids unnecessary confusion by clearly recognizing this disagreement over semantics for what it is. And then, after recognizing this, instead of repeatedly beating one’s chest over this and lamenting this state of affairs, what the reasonable person does is try at the outset to arrive at common terms of reference, definitions that everyone agrees to if only for the space of the discussion. And, if that does not seem possible, then without further ado one shifts to directly discussing the underlying concepts and ideas themselves, instead of continuing to stay fixated on the terms and definitions that describe those concepts and ideas.

I’m glad you agree with me here.

(I hope I am not misinterpreting, and inadvertently strawmanning, your stance on this question? Do correct me if that is the case.)


Quote:
if they then say "oh not that can't be your view because an atheist would..." say "thanks but you are wrong that is indeed my meaning".

Sure, that would be an out-and-out strawman, easy enough to recognize and to refute.


Quote:
Also of course this all depends on matter of level of detail required to have a meaningful discussion.

True. If one can get by some discussion without encountering any difficulty over these multiple interpretations of these words, then absolutely, one does that.


Quote:
When asked for directions to the local pub I don't start with a lecture that according to relativity there is no absolute frame of reference so I can't actually give you directions from where you are standing (if indeed we can even have a concept of you standing in a particular place outside my frame of reference) I say "yeah go on about another 500 yards and take the next right next to the police station and the pub's about 1/2 a mile up that road on the left".

My point exactly!

And your reference to pubs is apt, it offers an apt analogy to emphasize the absurdity of what some people seem to be saying here.

I see here the amazing spectacle of some people doing the equivalent of claiming that all places where one can go to have a drink must necessarily be referred to as ‘bars’, and who seem to be throwing a blue fit at the thought that some people might instead choose to refer to watering holes as ‘pubs’.

Sure, the world would have been a simpler place (although not necessarily a better place) if all alcohol-serving public establishments were described by one and just one word. But since that is not how it is in the real world, then the reasonable person makes sure that those he’s speaking with are on the same page as he about these terms, if only for the space of some discussion. And if this does not seem to be working -- if those you’ve asked to direct you to the pub are either unable to understand or unwilling to acknowledge that what they think of as ‘bar’ is no different from what you yourself refer to as ‘pub’ -- then the reasonable person does not waste time and energy in never-ending lamentation at this, and nor do they disengage in disgust from this discussion as a result : instead, the reasonable person then shifts directly to engaging with the underlying concepts and ideas and, in this case, says clearly that they want to satisfy their thirst, and asks plainly where one can go get a beer.

What could be more straightforward than that?
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Old 8th May 2018, 06:04 AM   #118
Chanakya

 
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Originally Posted by Ron_Tomkins View Post
I miss the old days when meaning of words was not something subjective and "debatable" and "relative", and you could just refer to a dictionary and go on with the rest of your day.

Would you elaborate on that, Ron?

What is it you find amiss here? Is it the fact two threads were stared specifically to discuss the meanings of two words? Is it the fact that some people seem to be attempting to bulldoze their own ill-considered linguistic straitjackets on to the world at large? Is it the fact that I am offering reasonable objections to this ill-conceived effort to straitjacket the actual meanings of actual real-life words (as opposed to some Platonic-ish ideal of what words *should* mean in some ideal world)? Or is it something else altogether, that has nothing to do with any of these three, that troubles you?

I ask because some of those who are attempting this straitjacketing project -- without much success, but they are attempting it nevertheless -- have been around here in these forums since far longer than I, and therefore I’m inferring that possibly, probably, you might, by referring to “old days” that were a happier time than our present days, be attempting to express support for their misguided efforts here.

Do correct me if I’m wrong in so inferring. If you can explain your position and your remark clearly, and can show me that I’m strawmanning you here, then I’ll be happy to retract the rest of my post (in as much, that is, as it wouldn't then apply to what you've posted here).



But if what I’m inferring is true, then I’ll ask you to consider the alternative that these people seem to be offering in place of this hairsplitting over linguistics. Their solution, as far as I can see, is that everyone should agree to their particular definition. They are unable to offer any reasonable arguments to back their claim or to support this extravagant demand of theirs, and because they have no cogent arguments to offer, they pretend to turn their nose down on semantic discussion -- all the while repeating, over and over and over, their own position, which is essentially no more than a semantic position.

Do you see the absurdity of such an attempt? First of all, the position they’re advocating is itself questionable, as I’ve tried to show earlier ; and secondly, even if one were to grant them this position for the sake of argument, how on earth are they to impose their particular meaning of words -- even when unopposed within these forums -- on to the rest of the world? Might it be that their only intention is to create an echo chamber within these forums, an echo chamber isolated from the big bad world outside, an echo chamber that resonates with their wholly unreasonable pronouncements that they are unable to logically defend?

Not only are these people unable to defend their position when challenged, but they actually have the nerve to attempt to brazen their way through by trying to label such reasonable challenge, through innuendo and implication as opposed to direct honest argument, as pedantic hair-splitting : blithely ignoring the fact that it is they who initiated this linguistic discussion, this particular foray into this particular rabbit hole, in the first place, by initiating and participating extensively in these threads that deal exclusively with the meaning of these two words. The only thing wrong about this linguistic/semantic rabbit hole that they’ve dug for themselves seems to be that it does not quite lead to where they might have hoped it would, because their progress within the rabbit hole has been successfully challenged.

In these “old days” that you speak of, were positions similarly bereft of reasonable justification and argument bolstering them up, routinely paraded around uncontested? The only thing going for these misguided arguments seems to be their repeated assertion, over and over and over again, and the loud and sometimes concerted clamoring : was the volume of this clamoring adequate, in those fabled olden days of yours, to browbeat those with contrary views, and to win the day?

These “old days” of yours, are you sure they actually were as you seem to recall them? That does not really sound like much of a Golden Age to me. More yellow than golden if you ask me.

Last edited by Chanakya; 8th May 2018 at 06:14 AM. Reason: corrected some typos, spelling, grammar
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Old 8th May 2018, 07:22 AM   #119
Thermal
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Originally Posted by Myriad View Post
You've pulled a fast one by substituting "show me the whole of love" for what was originally a request to show empirical and non-anecdotal evidence of love.

Of course you can't show the "whole of love" with such evidence. You can't show the whole of anything whatsoever, by any means whatsoever.

Go ahead, show me the whole of a rock. A small one will do. There seems to be a problem: you can only show me one side of it at a time. And you can only show me the outside, not the inside. One side of the outside clearly isn't the whole of it. And you can't show it to me in the wavelengths my eyes can't perceive. And you can only show it as it is now, yet its existence might span billions of years and involve multiple transformations.

And in any case, you won't find a credible description of a rock as being a set of visual patterns. So really, you haven't begun to show it at all, have you?

The existence and presence of a rock can, however, be shown simply enough, and with sufficient reliability for most purposes, via the patterns of light reflecting off of a rock as detected by your eye. And the existence and presence of love can be shown reliably by patterns that appear in an MRI.
I get your point, but I never, even a little tiny bit, employed such a restrictive use of 'whole'. I'll happily switch it out for another expression if you see that one as somehow dishonest. TBH, I found JoeMorgue's interpretation of love as being nothing but a set of readouts... a little odd. While you kinda sorta can observe the activities and effects, those are individual elements, not remotely the gestalt.

For instance, I looked at an article about neurological basis of love. A subject was shown a picture of his wife and areas of stimulated brain activity were mapped. That is not measuring love, IMO. It's a reaction to a picture. The claim that it is 'love' being monitored seems capricious.

If you were asked to define pain, would you point to a chart showing areas of neurological activity? Such a response is useless and pointless, and does less than nothing for the purposes of discussion. It's a dodge. That was my point in asking for evidence. Little rhetoric there. You can absolutely measure the brain activity of someone who claims he is in love. Assuming he is. And he knows the difference between love and really liking a lot, so he can tell the researchers that it is love he is experiencing...do you see why I don't find this line of reasoning convincing?
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Old 8th May 2018, 07:28 AM   #120
Tommok
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Gnostic Theist: I know a god exists.
Agnostic Theist: I do not know that a god exists, I believe a god exists.
Gnostic Atheist: I know that no god exists (variation: I know that I do not believe a god exists).
Agnostic Atheist: I do not believe a god exists, I do not claim to know that one does not exist.

In my understanding of the language "agnostic" is an adjective, not a noun. So you qualify some other feature with it, such as "agnostic weatherman" or "gnostic time-teller".

And again: "gnostic" or "agnostic" is derived from "cognoscere", which means it addresses knowledge claims ("I know X to be true") as opposed to claims of belief ("I believe X to be likely true" (based on whatever kind of evidence)).

So when asked whether or not one believes in a god, saying "I am an agnostic" is, besondes being bad English, not a substantial reply to the question asked, but rather a diversion, implying that this question should rather be discussed on a basis of knowledge rather than belief.

And it is, indeed, a copout in many cases.
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