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Tags agnosticism , agnosticism definitions

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Old 9th May 2018, 06:30 AM   #161
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Originally Posted by Thermal View Post
Just saw this edit. I am not criticizing theists because AFAIK, no theists are even participating in this discussion, nor does the topic include the behaviors of extreme theists. Why would you expect criticisms at a group that is unrelated to the thread?



Your own thread title is Define "Agnostic", and here you are asking why I am not criticizing theists. Upthread, I was subjected to a psychotic psychic reading. Can a simple topic not be discussed without bringing in grudges from older battles with other posters?


Well, that’s an obvious “no.”




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Old 9th May 2018, 06:32 AM   #162
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
Wow this went right to the "Atheists are big mean poopie head" well even quicker than normal.
...says the self-proclaimed clairvoyant who misrepresents the posts of others.

Some posters here may have not participated in a discussion like this. If you are so bored and jaded with it, why comment? Do you reap some benefit from complaining and stomping off?
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Old 9th May 2018, 06:48 AM   #163
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Originally Posted by 3point14 View Post
Nobody knows for sure that Hogwarts doesn't exist. Are we going to equivocate about that too?
Who's equivocating anything? The bolded part is correct and doesn't contradict my statement. Don't be amazed though, that some people (very young ones) may actually believe Hogwarts exist even though they actually don't know this.

My point is that you don't need to know something is true, in order to believe in it. And that's where Atheism and Agnosticism differ. You can be either an Atheist or a Believer, but it still doesn't change that you don't know whether what you believe is true. So, when it comes to God, not everyone is an Atheist, but everyone is an Agnostic.
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Old 9th May 2018, 06:53 AM   #164
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Originally Posted by Ron_Tomkins View Post
So, when it comes to God, not everyone is an Atheist, but everyone is an Agnostic.
I don't think that's true from a subjective point of view. I'm sure there are plenty of religiously inclined people who would claim to have directly experienced the reality of God, and would therefore claim absolute knowledge that God exists. They would not, quite correctly therefore, describe themselves as agnostics; their personal belief is that it is possible to know for certain whether or not God exists.

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Old 9th May 2018, 06:53 AM   #165
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Originally Posted by Ron_Tomkins View Post
Who's equivocating anything? The bolded part is correct and doesn't contradict my statement.
What fundamental difference is there between Hogwarts and god that means we can be sure one doesn't exist but can't be sure if the other one does?


It's ridiculous to have to refute the existence of every fictional creature ever created. One can be agnostic about one's own existence if that's the standard, you could just be a brain in a jar. Are you agnostic about your own existence.


I don't accept that any reasonable discussion can be had about the existence of fictional, fantastic creatures. Mythical deities are fictional characters, I don't need to refute them any more than I need to refute Blofeld.
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Old 9th May 2018, 06:59 AM   #166
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Originally Posted by Dave Rogers View Post
I don't think that's true from a subjective point of view. I'm sure there are plenty of religiously inclined people who would claim to have directly experienced the reality of God, and would therefore claim absolute knowledge that God exists. They would not, quite correctly therefore, describe themselves as agnostics; their personal belief is that it is possible to know for certain whether or not God exists.

Dave
Sure. A lot of people claim to have "directly experienced" God. Doesn't make it any true, though.
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Old 9th May 2018, 07:01 AM   #167
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Originally Posted by Ron_Tomkins View Post
Who's equivocating anything? The bolded part is correct and doesn't contradict my statement. Don't be amazed though, that some people (very young ones) may actually believe Hogwarts exist even though they actually don't know this.

My point is that you don't need to know something is true, in order to believe in it. And that's where Atheism and Agnosticism differ. You can be either an Atheist or a Believer, but it still doesn't change that you don't know whether what you believe is true. So, when it comes to God, not everyone is an Atheist, but everyone is an Agnostic.
Oh come on Ron you're better than solipsism.
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Old 9th May 2018, 07:01 AM   #168
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Originally Posted by 3point14 View Post
What fundamental difference is there between Hogwarts and god that means we can be sure one doesn't exist but can't be sure if the other one does?


It's ridiculous to have to refute the existence of every fictional creature ever created. One can be agnostic about one's own existence if that's the standard, you could just be a brain in a jar. Are you agnostic about your own existence.


I don't accept that any reasonable discussion can be had about the existence of fictional, fantastic creatures. Mythical deities are fictional characters, I don't need to refute them any more than I need to refute Blofeld.
Hogwarts has a known inventor, who only represented Hogwarts as a work of fiction. You can interview Ms. Rowling for further confirmation.

God, whatever that may mean, has no known inventor, and what writings we have seem to claim witness to actual existence.

Alternatively, what is meant by god is profoundly unclear. What is meant by Hogwarts is very clear.
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Old 9th May 2018, 07:02 AM   #169
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Originally Posted by 3point14 View Post
What fundamental difference is there between Hogwarts and god that means we can be sure one doesn't exist but can't be sure if the other one does?


It's ridiculous to have to refute the existence of every fictional creature ever created. One can be agnostic about one's own existence if that's the standard, you could just be a brain in a jar. Are you agnostic about your own existence.


I don't accept that any reasonable discussion can be had about the existence of fictional, fantastic creatures. Mythical deities are fictional characters, I don't need to refute them any more than I need to refute Blofeld.
I am not giving any validity to the claims of the "possible existence" of fictional characters, whether it's God, Santa Claus, Mickey Mouse, etc. I am merely explaining the difference between Atheism and Agnosticism. Atheism is about what you believe, and Agnosticism is about what you know. And because you don't need to know something in order to believe in it, everyone is an Agnostic about things such as God, but not everyone is an Atheist. That's the main difference between the two. That should be more than enough to clear all this ridiculous confusion about what differentiates Agnosticism from Atheism.
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Old 9th May 2018, 07:06 AM   #170
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Originally Posted by Ron_Tomkins View Post
Unlike atheism (which some adhere to, some don't) when it comes to agnosticism, everybody is an agnostic, because no one actually knows for sure whether or not there is a God.
Originally Posted by calebprime View Post
Heh, there are no real agnostics, because everyone has an opinion, like they have a ... body.
I would question the utility of a definition of "agnostic" that either includes or excludes everybody.
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Old 9th May 2018, 07:06 AM   #171
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Originally Posted by Ron_Tomkins View Post
everyone is an Agnostic about things such as God

Only, if they are intellectually consistent, to the same extent that they are agnostic about the existence of themselves, their loved ones and the universe.
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Old 9th May 2018, 07:09 AM   #172
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Nobody is arguing that agnosticism isn't valid on some technical or linguistic level.

Just that practically it's an attempt to treat not having an opinion as an opinion and it's not.

In others words there's a reason "Didn't Vote" didn't win the 2016 election. Because not having an opinion is not an valid 3rd opinion.
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Old 9th May 2018, 07:26 AM   #173
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
Nobody is arguing that agnosticism isn't valid on some technical or linguistic level.

Just that practically it's an attempt to treat not having an opinion as an opinion and it's not.

In others words there's a reason "Didn't Vote" didn't win the 2016 election. Because not having an opinion is not an valid 3rd opinion.
Well, you're right. The problem is that a lot of people use the label "Agnostic" as a cop-out, because again, saying "I don't know if there is a God" is not answering the question "Do you believe in God?". It's simply not answering it, because again, you don't need to know something is true in order to believe in it. That's not what was asked. The question was not "Do you know for a fact there is a God?"

Same thing applies in any other department with the word "belief". I may not "know" whether you can actually win the football game, but I "believe you can win". I may not know I'm in fact going to win the lottery, but "I believe I'm not gonna win". Sometimes, my belief may be backed up with some statistical data. But sometimes, it may not have any data at all. A belief is a leap of faith about something. It doesn't necessitate data. In fact, a lot of examples of belief (such as belief in deities) are exactly about that. It's a strong emotional "hunch" so to speak. It's not something that is fed on any actual verifiable data.
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Old 9th May 2018, 07:27 AM   #174
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You asked earlier if a chair was blue as a comparable analogy.

What if the question was 'is the chair squidoodles?'

Squidoodles not being defined, of course.

What is the yes or no opinion?
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Old 9th May 2018, 07:36 AM   #175
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Originally Posted by Ron_Tomkins View Post
Sure. A lot of people claim to have "directly experienced" God. Doesn't make it any true, though.
That's the wrong axis to plot this on. "Agnostic" is an aspect of a person's belief system. If they believe they have knowledge of whether God exists or not, they cannot be described as agnostic while allowing the word any meaning whatsoever.

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Old 9th May 2018, 07:37 AM   #176
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
Nobody is arguing that agnosticism isn't valid on some technical or linguistic level.

Just that practically it's an attempt to treat not having an opinion as an opinion and it's not.

In others words there's a reason "Didn't Vote" didn't win the 2016 election. Because not having an opinion is not an valid 3rd opinion.
Personally, I'd favour the definition that agnosticism is actually a conclusion of sorts. That someone has at least given some thought to the question of the existence of god(s) and has concluded that there's not enough in the evidence, philosophical arguments etc. to conclude if it is true or untrue.

ETA: Having just read JoeMorgue's post immediately below, I would include perceived spiritual experience and emotional response (or lack thereof) in my "etc." as they're often pretty key factors involved in such conclusions on this subject.
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Old 9th May 2018, 07:37 AM   #177
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Originally Posted by Ron_Tomkins View Post
Well, you're right. The problem is that a lot of people use the label "Agnostic" as a cop-out, because again, saying "I don't know if there is a God" is not answering the question "Do you believe in God?". It's simply not answering it, because again, you don't need to know something is true in order to believe in it. That's not what was asked. The question was not "Do you know for a fact there is a God?"

Same thing applies in any other department with the word "belief". I may not "know" whether you can actually win the football game, but I "believe you can win". I may not know I'm in fact going to win the lottery, but "I believe I'm not gonna win". Sometimes, my belief may be backed up with some statistical data. But sometimes, it may not have any data at all. A belief is a leap of faith about something. It doesn't necessitate data. In fact, a lot of examples of belief (such as belief in deities) are exactly about that. It's a strong emotional "hunch" so to speak. It's not something that is fed on any actual verifiable data.
That's giving belief a little bit too much power for my taste.

"God exists" is an opinion, one you should be expected to be able to, if not argue at least conceptualize in the framework of concepts like "burden of proof" and "positive evidence for" and "Can't prove a negative" and the Null Hypothesis and... not special pleading and stuff like that.
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Old 9th May 2018, 07:41 AM   #178
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Originally Posted by Thermal View Post
Hogwarts has a known inventor, who only represented Hogwarts as a work of fiction. You can interview Ms. Rowling for further confirmation.

God, whatever that may mean, has no known inventor, and what writings we have seem to claim witness to actual existence.
All that means is that the invention of Hogwarts is sufficiently recent that the identity of its inventor is still known, that the original work of fiction is still available, and that nobody has yet published derivative writings which make a claim of literal truth.

Originally Posted by Thermal View Post
Alternatively, what is meant by god is profoundly unclear. What is meant by Hogwarts is very clear.
Take scientology as an example, then. We know it was generated as a work of fiction for personal enrichment of its creator. We know who its creator is. We know its claims to be expressed very clearly. We also know that there is a large body of subsequent commentary which treats its subject matter as entirely factual. Are you agnostic about the existence of body thetans, and is it incumbent on everybody in the population to have a stated position on their existence?

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Old 9th May 2018, 08:01 AM   #179
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Originally Posted by Dave Rogers View Post
All that means is that the invention of Hogwarts is sufficiently recent that the identity of its inventor is still known, that the original work of fiction is still available, and that nobody has yet published derivative writings which make a claim of literal truth.



Take scientology as an example, then. We know it was generated as a work of fiction for personal enrichment of its creator. We know who its creator is. We know its claims to be expressed very clearly. We also know that there is a large body of subsequent commentary which treats its subject matter as entirely factual. Are you agnostic about the existence of body thetans, and is it incumbent on everybody in the population to have a stated position on their existence?

Dave
Excellent points. In 300 years, who's to say that there won't have been enough such commentary and elaboration that Scientology becomes a prominent world religion and L Ron Hubbard the new messiah?

I've always thought that the various mythologies were largely known to be fictional stories in antiquity -at least they started out that way. Over time, those stories were passed on, changed, added to and it evolved into religious beliefs. I think it's entirely possible that our current popular fiction could eventually take on mythic proportions and form the basis of religious beliefs in the not-too-distant future. Game of Thrones fans seem extremely dedicated to the books/shows. They adorn their shirts, cars, homes, etc with various symbols of the different houses. There are sites dedicated to discussing and evolving it's story. Couldn't Norse Mythology have started off much the same way but over campfires and a little too much beer? In fact, I think that's the most likely origin of all religious beliefs -stories we tell each other that evolve into beliefs.
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Old 9th May 2018, 08:02 AM   #180
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Originally Posted by Dave Rogers View Post
All that means is that the invention of Hogwarts is sufficiently recent that the identity of its inventor is still known, that the original work of fiction is still available, and that nobody has yet published derivative writings which make a claim of literal truth.
Yes, and I think that establishes a significant qualitative difference for Hogwarts, rendering the comparison a little reductio ad absurdum.

Quote:
Take scientology as an example, then. We know it was generated as a work of fiction for personal enrichment of its creator. We know who its creator is. We know its claims to be expressed very clearly. We also know that there is a large body of subsequent commentary which treats its subject matter as entirely factual. Are you agnostic about the existence of body thetans, and is it incumbent on everybody in the population to have a stated position on their existence?

Dave
No, I am not. I am also not agnostic about a dude with a long white beard and choruses of angels in the clouds. I have no reason to believe these things and many reasons to believe they are contrived. So I have enough information on thetans and angelic hosts to conclude that they are not real.

The problem I have is when the 'what is meant by god' rabbit hole gets fallen into. As that gets murkier, so does confidence in the conclusion.
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Old 9th May 2018, 09:20 AM   #181
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Originally Posted by Dave Rogers View Post
All that means is that the invention of Hogwarts is sufficiently recent that the identity of its inventor is still known, that the original work of fiction is still available, and that nobody has yet published derivative writings which make a claim of literal truth.



Take scientology as an example, then. We know it was generated as a work of fiction for personal enrichment of its creator. We know who its creator is. We know its claims to be expressed very clearly. We also know that there is a large body of subsequent commentary which treats its subject matter as entirely factual. Are you agnostic about the existence of body thetans, and is it incumbent on everybody in the population to have a stated position on their existence?

Dave
The ridiculousness of a particular fictional religion (Scientology) has a much to do with the possible existence of god(s) as the ridiculousness of a particular fictional alien life (Vogons) has to do with the possible existence of alien life. Which is to say, nothing.
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Old 9th May 2018, 09:25 AM   #182
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Originally Posted by Fudbucker View Post
The ridiculousness of a particular fictional religion (Scientology) has a much to do with the possible existence of god(s) as the ridiculousness of a particular fictional alien life (Vogons) has to do with the possible existence of alien life. Which is to say, nothing.


Can I ask how you, personally, distinguish a "fictional religion" from a religion?
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Old 9th May 2018, 10:22 AM   #183
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Originally Posted by 3point14 View Post
Can I ask how you, personally, distinguish a "fictional religion" from a religion?
The same way you distinguish a "fictional alien" from an alien.
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Old 9th May 2018, 10:24 AM   #184
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Originally Posted by Fudbucker View Post
The same way you distinguish a "fictional alien" from an alien.
Ask to be shown the alien? Ask for any proof of the alien's existence? Assume "The alien doesn't exist" is a safe default that isn't going to nitpicked to Narnia and back with semantics and hairsplitting and a billion different categories of "opinion" until sufficient proof has been shown?
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Old 9th May 2018, 10:55 AM   #185
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Originally Posted by Ron_Tomkins View Post
Who's equivocating anything? The bolded part is correct and doesn't contradict my statement. Don't be amazed though, that some people (very young ones) may actually believe Hogwarts exist even though they actually don't know this.

My point is that you don't need to know something is true, in order to believe in it. And that's where Atheism and Agnosticism differ. You can be either an Atheist or a Believer, but it still doesn't change that you don't know whether what you believe is true. So, when it comes to God, not everyone is an Atheist, but everyone is an Agnostic.
But an agnostic is not someone who doesn't know whether there's a God, an agnostic is someone who believes that they don't know whether there's a god (or believes it can't be known, or other variations on the idea).

If someone believes they know there's a god, or believes they know there isn't a god, then they're not an agnostic. The word agnostic is not about what someone knows, it's about what they believe they know (or can know).

There's a lot of really wonky ideas being thrown around in these recent threads along with a trend to make blanket ideas about who believes or doesn't believe those same wonky ideas.

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Old 9th May 2018, 10:59 AM   #186
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Originally Posted by Fudbucker View Post
The ridiculousness of a particular fictional religion (Scientology) has a much to do with the possible existence of god(s) as the ridiculousness of a particular fictional alien life (Vogons) has to do with the possible existence of alien life. Which is to say, nothing.


Scientology is a real religion. You can go to major cities and walk into their Church just as easily as you can a Catholic Church.

You may regard their beliefs as fictional, but then I wonder how we distinguish fictional religious beliefs from non-fictional religious beliefs....


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Old 9th May 2018, 11:11 AM   #187
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Originally Posted by Egg View Post
Personally, I'd favour the definition that agnosticism is actually a conclusion of sorts. That someone has at least given some thought to the question of the existence of god(s) and has concluded that there's not enough in the evidence, philosophical arguments etc. to conclude if it is true or untrue.
In my experience, the opposite is generally true. Agnosticism is commonly a waypoint on the road to atheism and they call themselves agnostic because they haven't given it enough thought to realise it's all a bunch of nonsense. They have their doubts, have questioned their religion and questioned the existence of God, and think that calling themselves agnostic is just being open minded and intellectually honest about some philosophical and spiritual question that isn't decided.

Just an opinion based upon my experience.
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Old 9th May 2018, 11:15 AM   #188
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Is Scientiology is a 'fictional religion' because it's obviously untrue, then Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, etc. are also 'fictional religions'.
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Old 9th May 2018, 01:26 PM   #189
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Originally Posted by Fudbucker View Post
The same way you distinguish a "fictional alien" from an alien.
I don't know how you'd do that either.

Please explain.
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Old 9th May 2018, 01:37 PM   #190
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Atheists special pleading for god beliefs is more weird and concerning than god beliefs.
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Old 9th May 2018, 02:05 PM   #191
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Originally Posted by 3point14 View Post
I don't know how you'd do that either.

Please explain.
Easy: It's entirely possible the first person to set foot on Mars will be a woman, right? What's the possibility that the first person who steps foot on Mars will be a 5'6'' left-handed woman who's first name starts with "M"?
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Old 9th May 2018, 04:10 PM   #192
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Originally Posted by Fudbucker View Post
Easy: It's entirely possible the first person to set foot on Mars will be a woman, right? What's the possibility that the first person who steps foot on Mars will be a 5'6'' left-handed woman who's first name starts with "M"?
Well I tried. Yep, I really tried. Read it several times every-which-way. But I just can’t find any correlation (not even remotely) with how to “distinguish a "fictional alien" from an alien”. Someone is dancing too far from the music, hope it’s not me.
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Old 9th May 2018, 04:12 PM   #193
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Oooops!
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Old 9th May 2018, 06:39 PM   #194
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Originally Posted by Tommy Jeppesen View Post
There are at least 3 versions of agnosticism:
The chance of any gods or not are 50/50.
Holds neither belief nor disbelief in any gods.
Knows not whether there are any gods or not.

The 3 versions are respectively about probability, beliefs and knowledge.

E.g. I am only an agnostic as per the 3rd one and the first 2 ones.

With regards
Number 2 "Holds neither belief nor disbelief in any gods." is an incorrect statement logically imo.

You either hold a belief or you don't hold a belief. You can't be both or neither at the same time. And if you don't have a belief in a God - you are an Atheist - by definition.
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Old 9th May 2018, 06:48 PM   #195
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Originally Posted by BadBoy View Post
Number 2 "Holds neither belief nor disbelief in any gods." is an incorrect statement logically imo.

You either hold a belief or you don't hold a belief. You can't be both or neither at the same time. And if you don't have a belief in a God - you are an Atheist - by definition.
"Disbelief" (belief of lack) and "don't hold a belief" (lack of belief) are not the same thing. Why does this have to be pointed out ad infinitum?
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Old 9th May 2018, 08:10 PM   #196
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Originally Posted by ynot View Post
Well I tried. Yep, I really tried. Read it several times every-which-way. But I just can’t find any correlation (not even remotely) with how to “distinguish a "fictional alien" from an alien”. Someone is dancing too far from the music, hope it’s not me.
Trust me, it's you.
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Old 9th May 2018, 08:20 PM   #197
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Originally Posted by Fudbucker View Post
Trust me, it's you.
Darn! Well I never was a good dancer.

Well being such a nice person you won't mind explaining how . . .
Originally Posted by Fudbucker View Post
Easy: It's entirely possible the first person to set foot on Mars will be a woman, right? What's the possibility that the first person who steps foot on Mars will be a 5'6'' left-handed woman who's first name starts with "M"?
In any way correlates to . . .
Originally Posted by Fudbucker View Post
The same way you distinguish a "fictional alien" from an alien.
Thanks in advance. I can't wait to start dancing with the music again.
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Old 9th May 2018, 09:55 PM   #198
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Originally Posted by BadBoy View Post
...
You either hold a belief or you don't hold a belief. You can't be both or neither at the same time.
...
You would be amazed at what wonderful feats of illogicality human beings can be capable of!

We probably need a "Define Belief" thread too. I find I lean more towards a non-binary concept of belief. I think we often provisionally accept something as true, or accept things as possibly true, or believe in the likeliness of something being true, or believe something is metaphorically true, or believe partially in something incompletely defined, or any number of other positions along a multi-dimensional scale.
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Old 9th May 2018, 10:03 PM   #199
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Originally Posted by ynot View Post
"Disbelief" (belief of lack) and "don't hold a belief" (lack of belief) are not the same thing. Why does this have to be pointed out ad infinitum?
ok, sorry. My mistake. I do understand the difference, despite appearance. I just parsed it incorrectly.
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Old 9th May 2018, 10:07 PM   #200
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Originally Posted by Egg View Post
You would be amazed at what wonderful feats of illogicality human beings can be capable of!

We probably need a "Define Belief" thread too. I find I lean more towards a non-binary concept of belief. I think we often provisionally accept something as true, or accept things as possibly true, or believe in the likeliness of something being true, or believe something is metaphorically true, or believe partially in something incompletely defined, or any number of other positions along a multi-dimensional scale.
I believe you may be correct, though not totally because you need to provide evidence. But I think what you said could be true, and probably is true - to some extent. But I'm prepared to change my mind.
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