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AgnosticBoy

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Alright agnostics. Weak atheism is most likely here to stay. Even if atheism was originally meant to refer to someone who was against God or his existence, well now the term has branched out giving us "weak atheism". In my view, whether or not, atheists did this to include agnostics and even babies into their camps does not change the fact that it is common usage. Sure, we can debate on "common usage" but I think the term is common enough and it's not incoherent so I see no problem with it.

Here's Merriam-Webster on common usage of words...
Before a new word can be added to the dictionary, it must have enough citations to show that it is widely used. But having a lot of citations is not enough; in fact, a large number of citations might even make a word more difficult to define, because many citations show too little about the meaning of a word to be helpful. A word may be rejected for entry into a general dictionary if all of its citations come from a single source or if they are all from highly specialized publications that reflect the jargon of experts within a single field.

To be included in a Merriam-Webster dictionary, a word must be used in a substantial number of citations that come from a wide range of publications over a considerable period of time. Specifically, the word must have enough citations to allow accurate judgments about its establishment, currency, and meaning.

The number and range of citations needed to add a word to the dictionary varies. In rare cases, a word jumps onto the scene and is both instantly prevalent and likely to last, as was the case in the 1980s with AIDS. In such a situation, the editors determine that the word has become firmly established in a relatively short time and should be entered in the dictionary, even though its citations may not span the wide range of years exhibited by other words.


For Discussion:
1. If 'weak atheism' is here to stay, then how is Agnosticism mutually exclusive to weak atheism?
2. I can understand why some atheists would want agnostics and even babies in their camp (e.g. boosting their numbers and/or make it seem natural or the default), but why would agnostics be against any "atheist" label? Should agnostics be against the atheist label?
 

AgnosticBoy

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If 'weak atheism' is here to stay, then how is Agnosticism mutually exclusive to weak atheism?
The first or common point that agnostics offer for not accepting the atheist label is by showing that atheists have redefined atheism to include more people. As I brought up earlier, this would eventually turn into an argument involving the common usage of terms, and I think the "weak" atheist term is common enough. So I see no point in bringing up the original or past definitions for atheism.

I think Richard Dawkins provides one way agnostics can be independent of atheists in his book, The God Delusion. If belief is not all or nothing but is instead a matter of degree, then someone can say that he believes that there's a 50% chance that God exist and 50% chance he doesn't exist.

Another way an agnostic can be independent of weak atheism (and theism) is if they don't know what they believe. There's a back and forth in their mind or it is not made up. This is different than saying you're neither believe nor disbelieve. Perhaps, the person is genuinely torn between the two positions due to various reasons/evidence, some of which conflict with each other.

I can understand why some atheists would want agnostics and even babies in their camp (e.g. boosting their numbers and/or make it seem natural or the default), but why would agnostics be against any "atheist" label? Should agnostics be against the atheist label?
I believe Huxley was against atheism because he understood it to be a belief that God doesn't exist. I can also say that he was against a lot of their metaphysical views like materialism, etc. This only speaks to the strong atheist variety.

So why be against the weak atheism label? It seems that the majority of atheists call themselves weak atheists, but yet they act or think like strong atheists. This of course doesn't mean that their conclusions are wrong, but it can mean that they call themselves ('weak atheists') is misleading. So the big reason for me to avoid the weak atheist label is because too many weak atheists think and act like strong atheists.
 
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AgnosticBoy

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Since I brought up Richard Dawkins in my last post.. here's a short video presentation of him explaining agnosticism. Take note that he classifies the agnostic as a #4 on his scale, that is, someone that "believes that the probability of God existing and not existing are equal".

 

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AgnosticBoy

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Thanks for the reference. I started reading the last page but to get some context I'll also read the entire thread. So far I see that you and Goose are in agreement on some points.

Added after reading the entire thread there:
I took notes and a lot of different points were already dealt with so I didn't have to contribute much. The main disagreement I had was with one of Tcg's post. I responded by reiterating my view from earlier in this thread:
So why be against the weak atheism label? It seems that the majority of atheists call themselves weak atheists, but yet they act or think like strong atheists. This of course doesn't mean that their conclusions are wrong, but it can mean that they call themselves ('weak atheists') is misleading. So the big reason for me to avoid the weak atheist label is because too many weak atheists think and act like strong atheists.
 
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William

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Thanks for the reference. I started reading the last page but to get some context I'll also read the entire thread. So far I see that you and Goose are in agreement on some points.

Added after reading the entire thread there:
I took notes and a lot of different points were already dealt with so I didn't have to contribute much. The main disagreement I had was with one of Tcg's post. I responded by reiterating my view from earlier in this thread:

So why be against the weak atheism label? It seems that the majority of atheists call themselves weak atheists, but yet they act or think like strong atheists. This of course doesn't mean that their conclusions are wrong, but it can mean that they call themselves ('weak atheists') is misleading. So the big reason for me to avoid the weak atheist label is because too many weak atheists think and act like strong atheists.

That is a different angle on previous comments you made which alluded to agnosticism never meant to be considered a sub-set of atheism.

It appears kind of soft...why refer to "weak atheism" as a thing at all? Do you consider the position of agnosticism to being weak?

My overall point on that thread is that the question of GOD is not the first question we should be asking.

What is the agnostic view on that observation?
 

AgnosticBoy

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That is a different angle on previous comments you made which alluded to agnosticism never meant to be considered a sub-set of atheism.
It is because I've come to accept the weak atheist label. Before that, of course I would've objected to weak atheism on historical grounds given the fact that the term atheism meant denial of God's existence for most of its history.

BUT even after accepting the weak atheist label I find problems with it based on practical terms. It's simply not sustainable in debates unless you offer little to nothing in debates and we know atheists tend to be the opposite, esp. against Christians. In fact, neutral agnosticism is also not sustainable in debates which is why I push for non-partisanship as opposed to neutrality.

It appears kind of soft...why refer to "weak atheism" as a thing at all? Do you consider the position of agnosticism to being weak?
Not at all. Agnosticism goes beyond just a simple label of I don't know. Huxley also laid out a principle that agnostics were to live up to in order to avoid some of the pitfalls of atheism and theism.

My overall point on that thread is that the question of GOD is not the first question we should be asking.

What is the agnostic view on that observation?
I don't see anything wrong with that approach and besides you would eventually get to the question of God's existence.
 

William

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I don't see anything wrong with that approach and besides you would eventually get to the question of God's existence.
Only once it was established beyond any doubt that we exist within a creation. Until such - questions of GOD are cart before horse stuff. Can one be agnostic re the question of existing within a creation, or only re the question of creator?
 

AgnosticBoy

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Only once it was established beyond any doubt that we exist within a creation. Until such - questions of GOD are cart before horse stuff. Can one be agnostic re the question of existing within a creation, or only re the question of creator?
I think it's smart to separate the two. Doing so eliminates a lot of baggage since presuming we exist in a creation does not have to involve the traditional gods. We can ask who or what created us.

Based on the common definition of agnosticism, which is uncertainty towards God's existence, I would say someone can only be agnostic towards the creator.
 
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William

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Based on the common definition of agnosticism, which is uncertainty towards God's existence, I would say someone can only be agnostic towards the creator.
I agree. This is why I am not an agnostic, as the position is dictated by the G-question and limited in scope and is commonly defined [or at least thought of] as weak fence sitting by both theists and atheists alike.

My understand [recent] is that the battle between theists and atheists regarding the G-question is an ancient and pointless one as it is illogical to be arguing about the nature of Creator-Gods before it has even been established that we exist within a Creation.
The battle is all smoke and mirrors.

 

William

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On the Question of GOD, I am a weak atheist/weak theist depending on how the one I am debating with identifies the position they are arguing from.

On the Question of Existing Within a Creation, I am continuing to investigate that possibility and the data to date definitely has me leaning toward it being the case that I exist within a creation.

[Whatever 'position' this might be called, it cannot be called theist or atheist or agnostic.]

 
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AgnosticBoy

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1. If 'weak atheism' is here to stay, then how is Agnosticism mutually exclusive to weak atheism?
2. I can understand why some atheists would want agnostics and even babies in their camp (e.g. boosting their numbers and/or make it seem natural or the default), but why would agnostics be against any "atheist" label? Should agnostics be against the atheist label?
After engaging in debates on weak atheism both here and elsewhere, I've now come to a slightly different conclusion than the one from my earlier post. I still accept the definition of weak atheism, but now I don't believe that it is practical or sustainable unless someone remains neutral in debates. Weak atheists aren't supposed to be convinced either way, but in debates I find that many of them think or have views (e.g. metaphysical naturalism or materialism) that are compatible with strong atheism.

With that said, I'm not convinced that agnostics can remain neutral either.* As soon as you lean one way or the other on the issue of God's existence then you're no longer neutral and it will eventually show in your debates. However, I do believe that agnostics tend to be more moderate in their views than atheists, on average. I also still accept that it's possible for agnostics to not know what they believe or not be settled on the issue of God's existence.

*As an agnostic, I've transitioned from trying to be neutral to just being nonpartisan. I think that quality contributes to the intellectual honesty that agnostics are known for.
 
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William

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I think my understanding shifted when I came to the realization that theism involved claiming that a Creator or Creators existed and atheism became a reaction to the claim.

I find the subject of Creator(s) existing interesting, therefore I find theism interesting re that.
I find atheism boring, and my experience with atheists over the years has convinced me that there is no point in engaging with them at all.

But the realization that there might be Creator(s) took me to the logical conclusion that the question of GOD only pointed to the question of Creation, and realizing the logical - the question of GOD [Quog] was the cart before the horse - because IF there is a creator, THEN we must exist within a creation.

Therefore any evidence for there being a creator could only be found within the creation.

That is why the Quog becomes secondary to the question of creation [Quoc]

That is also why it is possible for me [or anyone] to be neither atheist or theist or even agnostic because I do not have to hold a position on the Quog.
_____________

You mentioned an experience you had recently...something about dreaming and having an OOBE?

Would you like to start a thread and share more detail?

Cheers

W
 
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AgnosticBoy

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You mentioned an experience you had recently...something about dreaming and having an OOBE?

Would you like to start a thread and share more detail?
Sure, just let me know where.
 
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