Ive noticed quite a few agnostics becoming quite vocal and opinionated recently with statements like "I dont know...and neither do you!". To me, agnosticism is exactly like any religion, twisting and rationalizing excuses for religion to be a viable alternative to reason, albeit with agnosticism a "live and let live" seems to more be the idea. What really gets me, though is that insipid argument in which they state that atheism requires as much faith as religion, and that Agnosticism is the only non-faith movement. Its BULLSHIT, of course. We are all atheists about the flying spaghetti monster and a celestial teapot, and yet we do not have "Faith" those things do not exist. Faith is a positive action where you believe in something that clearly does not exist. (the more clear it is that something exists, the less faith is required)

Anyway, I am as passionately anti agnostic as I am anti theist, because I see agnosticism as a gateway drug to religious delusion, and it only aids religion by turning a blind eye to it.

Thoughts? Am I alone in this? Should we ridicule agnostics on A/N until they leave or change their minds?

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If dictionaries are useless - then the only definition that is valid is the one applied by the person using the word - not the person hearing it used.

I am truly tired of the idea that if I use a word according to the lexicon, I am improperly using it if it differs from the common misinterpretation. Perhaps it behooves me to try harder to be understood - but I still use the word 'atheist' even when many hear 'baby-eater.'

Agnostic references an inability to discover and analyze enough conclusive empirical evidence to describe the absolute nature of the absolute reality. It is the only reasonable position to take. It also tends to support atheism, since theism not only concludes that the nature of absolute reality is knowable, but that it is known.

Since most atheists admit that, rather than make something up when we don't know something, we should admit we don't know and continue to pursue empirical evidence to expand our, admittedly, limited knowledge of the universe, I am confounded by the ludicrous idea that any atheist claims to know what is absolutely going on.

Sure, the idea that human beings are the pet creations of a Supreme Being who is similar to a human, who can be petitioned through prayer, who operates outside of all detectable interactive forces, and who dictated his absolute truths to bronze age madmen is patently ridiculous and I will absolutely aver that, whatever is going on, it isn't that.

But, if you say you know what is going on at an absolute level - you're deluded or a liar.
You misread me. I didn't say mention that god had to have anything to do with an "absolute level' - in fact - I qualified that. So - no insult intended. What I said was - as you reposted:

But, if you say you know what is going on at an absolute level - you're deluded or a liar.

First - since theists say this - I stand by my statement. And, since you can't possibly know - even if it does not include a god - even for atheists I stand by this.
On the bit about semantics (since I agree with the rest of the post), the fact is that that's not always the way it works. Plenty of words are misused all the time and those misuses are written into a dictionairy as well.
For example, we've all heard "creationists" going on and on about how evolution is "just a theory"; the reason they do so is because they're working from the colloquial way the word "theory" is used: a hunch. What they don't realise is that there's a technical and professional context the word is used in.

The same goes for agnosticism. By all means, label yourself an agnostic in a colloquial context if you think that conveys better what you believe. But when we're talking about words in a philosophical context (like we are doing now), then the definitions are a bit different and quite a bit more precise.
Even better would be if we just used the philosophical definition all the time instead of the colloquial one, but I don't see that happening.

Regardless, you're using the word correctly as far as I can tell. Most self-proclaimed agnostics, however, use the label to show that they are "not sure" (who is?), or "open to evidence either way" (who isn't?). That's not how philosophers use it, and I just thought I'd point that out.

Why don't I consider myself an agnostic? Because I do not believe that we have an inability to discover God (if he exists) and even analyse him. I think that if there was a God as so many believe in (for example the omni-God), then we would be able to perceive his existence: whether by miracles, by divine revelation, by the consistent answering of prayers, etcetera.
Creationists use 'theory' incorrectly according to the lexicon. Therefore, no matter how common their use is, the misunderstanding is on them.
If I use a word correctly according to the lexicon, the fact that many others interpret it incorrectly is on them not me.

It is true that, if I wish to be understood, it behooves me to be aware of how I may likely be misinterpreted in a given cultural context. Nevertheless, I get pretty tired of people demanding that the correct use is wrong if the majority interpretation is ignorant.
The way you are using the word is correct (if we were talking about philosophy). The colloquial way most agnostics use it (as mere "fence-setting" or being "unsure") is not; that's why it's colloquial.

Creationists also use a valid definition of the word theory though: the colloquial one. The only mistake they make is thinking this colloquial definition applies in a scientific context.
Thank you for the correction, as you are correct. It should be pointed out that a word's origin does not alway equal it's current meaning.
See reply above: According to your simple (and correct) definition of agnosticism which does not reference god - thus - since you cannot possibly have absolute knowledge of absolute truth (a god notwithstanding) - I stand by my statement of delusion or prevarication. In fact, most atheists I know are, intrinsically, agnostic when they admit that science does not have a complete picture of the nature of reality.
Fine, you're an agnostic. Now tell me, are you an agnostic theist or an agnostic atheist?
I think I'm an agnostic agnostic. I think it's possible that agnostics exist, but it's impossible to know for sure.
This is where things get tricky. Though I 100% percent agree with you in that any logic an agnostic uses could also be used to prove there was a planet of unicorns, the reason I think agnostics are common place among atheist groups is because, despite this, agnostics are typically hated by the religious right for refusing to conform to organised religion. For all the flack that atheists get for being “angry”, we tend to have a bigger heart for the little voice and a willingness to talk things out, rather than slander.

Had this discussion last December (see above link) on this same Atheism forum when I started a discussion titled:
Is there really such a thing as Agnosticism?”
There does seem to be a lot of convinced agnostics out there.
Went back and read some of the replies ...
verrrry interesting.

Good topic, Ryan.
I agree with one of the first replies that Agnosticism is basically fence sitting, but I'd rather have a bunch of those than theists. Agnostics are at least questioning their faith or lack of. They're trying to use their critical thinking, and I don't see anything wrong with that. You must remember that there are still millions of "sheep" out there that are afraid to question their faith, or to even be brave enough to say "I don't know". To lots of people, saying "I don't know" is unacceptable, because it makes them feel like a leaf at the mercy of the wind. To them, their God is stable, and that's comforting to them. That's a hard thing to let go of, so for an agnostic to admit they don't know is pretty stellar to me. Good for them.




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