Since ancient times, India has known atheists, but I have not heard of any agnostic person tlll in recent past. The idea of
agnosticism seems to have come to India from  the west. This word therefore puzzles me. A  theist afirms that yes, there
is a god in whom he believes. An atheist says that no, there is no god. Both of these are firm statements and each
 person making  these has something to say that is specific. However, the statement that "There is probably no god "
sounds hollow. It is as good as saying "There is probably some god."  In either case, someone who says this, does not
appear  to have much to say. If you have a 10% doubt that god may exist, you are an agnostic. It is the same if
you have 20% , 50% or 90% doubt. So where does agnosticism stand? Does it really mean anything? If an agnostic is
so much in un-resolvable doubt, should he declare himself as an agnostic, that is, a person not capable of resolving his

The usual excuse for such a doubt is that no one can be 100% sure of anything, but we are so sure of many things in life.
If we have doubt on any subject, we take pains to resolve our doubt. Is it so difficult to resolve a doubt on the existance
of god that it can never be resolved and  so force a person to remain an agnostic for all his life? If this were so, there would
be no atheists in the world.  Does the agnostic lack  something that an atheist has? Or, does an atheist overstep a
limit of sound judgement?

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Replies to This Discussion

"Given that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, we cannot say that either claim, 'there is / is not a god,' has been confirmed or disconfirmed."

Lacking 100% certain evidence, to claim either is just one or the other side of the argument ad ignoratiam fallacy. 

"Again, the human constructs about zeus, god, yahweh, etc. clearly have been disconfirmed by all of the wrong statements and failed predictions in the religious artifacts associated with each."

Yes, given enough of a description, a contra-positive claim of existence is possible, if any part of the description deemed a necessity is disproved.

Sooner or later someone might come along and prove that he can walk on water , then we will have to reevaluate our position.

I had considered doing the feed 5,000 with a loaf of stale bread and can of tuna trick, but I couldn't find an audience of 5,000 believers.

I had considered doing the feed 5,000 with a loaf of stale bread and can of tuna trick, but I couldn't find an audience of 5,000 believers.

That's going to be one really tiny piece of bread and fish per person.


In his 1953 essay, What Is An Agnostic? Russell states:

An agnostic thinks it impossible to know the truth in matters such as God and the future life with which Christianity and other religions are concerned. Or, if not impossible, at least impossible at the present time.


Its a long time since 1953 now. Human ability to think as well ashuman  knowledge has progressed much. Atheism can no longer be called 'an extra-ordinary claim', theism was always so.

Dawkins also identifies two categories of agnostics; Temporary Agnostics in Practice (TAPs), and Permanent Agnosticsin Principle (PAPs). Dawkins considers temporary agnosticism an entirely reasonable position, but views permanent agnosticism as "fence-sitting, intellectual cowardice", (FROM A WIKIPEDIA ARTICLE)

 (Italics mine)

Bertrand Russel and Richard Dawkins are both agnosticism's greats. If we accept what they say, no one can justify a long term agnosticism in today's time.

Russel and Dawkins didn't coin the term. Darwin's Bulldog did.

Move the goalposts all you want, hey …even Presidents call Ketchup a vegetable, …I guess it must be.

But, only if it makes one feel better than those who think ketchup is actually a condiment.

What ever floats your boat.

You want fries with that?


Have you forgotten that these cards have already been played, …more than once.

How many threads have you started where you try to redefine these words, …only to abandon and start anew?

I've counted four, are there more?

Do you know Ben Franklin? …he has a really neat definition.

"I ... invented what I conceived to be the appropriate title of 'agnostic,' ... antithetic to the 'Gnostic' of Church history who professed to know so much about the very things of which I was ignorant. [T.H. Huxley, "Science and Christian Tradition," 1889]

The adjective is first recorded 1873."

"Thomas Henry Huxley PC FRS (4 May 1825 – 29 June 1895) was an Englishbiologist (anatomist), known as "Darwin's Bulldog" for his advocacy of Charles Darwin's theory of evolution.[1]

 How did you know that? 

I grew up in a home with an extensive library, Darwin, Dostoyevsky, Dickens, Descartes, de Bono, de Beauvoir, …(just a few "D's", we did have many Dictionaries, but were never taught that they were the ultimate arbiter of meaning alone); were required reading in my home if you wanted to understand dad.

My father also had a close connection to Thomas Huxley's grandson, Aldus; from close associations to the research in the '50s that fueled much of Aldus Huxley's work.


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