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William

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Q: Is Agnosticism opposed to Gnosticism?

When we view the interaction between Theism and Atheism [theists and atheists] there is clearly opposition.

Traditionally agnosticism is viewed as a subset of atheism, rather than a position independent from either theism or atheism.

As such, I no longer refer to myself as an "Agnostic" because it appears that ship has sailed, and flies under the banner of Atheism.

Since I am neither theist or atheist, I am identifying my position as "Natural-Neutral" as I am not apposed to Gnosticism [which Agnosticism implies] any more than I am opposed to any other form of theism. Nor am I opposed to atheism.
If I am opposed to anything, it is to established beliefs within those sectors which are not aligned with the truth of our collective ignorance.
 

AgnosticBoy

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Q: Is Agnosticism opposed to Gnosticism?
Good question!

If you go by modern-day usage, then agnosticism is opposed to gnosticism. However, if we go back to its original founder, Thomas Huxley, then I can say that agnosticism is not opposed to gnosticism. Huxley only had an issue with things that people took for knowledge that really wasn't so, but the adherents acted and argued as if it was so. In other words, Huxley was only against unwarranted certainty (he commonly referred to it as "dogmatism").

If anything, I'm willing to say that if agnosticism doesn't do more than just claim "I don't know", then it risks dying off or becoming very insignificant in any debate on God and other major issues.

Traditionally agnosticism is viewed as a subset of atheism, rather than a position independent from either theism or atheism.
Well, not historically... and I mean history going as far back to its original founder.

Either way, there is still hope in that there are some agnostics today who do not accept the theist and atheist label. Years ago, there used to be a big debate about it right around the time Richard Dawkins released his book (The God Delusion) that included an agnostic scale. Some of that push by independent agnostics may be losing steam, but I plan to be one of those who push for it.

If I am opposed to anything, it is to established beliefs within those sectors which are not aligned with the truth of our collective ignorance.
(y)(y)
 

William

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For me it seems pointless trying to resurrect a position to its former status. I see no reason to refer to my position as Agnostic.
 

AgnosticBoy

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For me it seems pointless trying to resurrect a position to its former status.
That may be the case but we still need a position that opposes or that's neutral in relation to the two extremes. The two sides are too polarized and it is beyond repair.

Perhaps I'm being too optimistic but I would like to see the original agnosticism become the common usage. Don't get me wrong, modern agnostics have a lot in common with the agnosticism that Huxley advocated for, but they do limit themselves when or if they don't go beyond their "I don't know" position.
 
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William

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That may be the case but we still need a position that opposes or that's neutral in relation to the two extremes.

I doubt there will be any formal position.

It is better to recognize the function of the position in relation to theism and atheism, than to waste effort on trying to resurrect a failed attempt to do this with Agnosticism.

Obviously at some point after the introduction of Agnosticism, Atheism - up to its normal tricks - hijacked the position by claiming the position was a subset of Atheism - and referring to agnostics as 'weak atheists'.


Further to that, my observations are that both theists and atheists assume that the only two positions one can have on the question of whether we exist within a creation is 'yes' or 'no' and 'maybe' is not really a position on the question at all. One either believes or one does not believe. "Maybe' is 'wishy-washy'.

Perhaps I'm being too optimistic but I would like to see the original agnosticism become the common usage.

Call me a realist because I think that ship has sailed.
Furthermore, how many folk do you see around this forum, referring to themselves as Agnostic and beating the drums of solidarity?

Don't get me wrong, modern agnostics have a lot in common with the agnosticism that Huxley advocated for, but they do limit themselves when or if they don't go beyond their "I don't know" position.

Where are these 'modern agnostics'?
"I don't know" is the most honest reply to the question .

Q: Do we exist within a creation?"

Theist: I have belief that we do exist within a creation.

Atheist: I lack belief that we do exist within a creation.

Natural Neutral: I don't know and refuse to form belief or lack of belief as belief or non-belief provides me with no compelling answer.
__________________
 

AgnosticBoy

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All valid points, William.

Moving on from these problems you brought up, what I'm wondering now is how to respond? What are some good options?

Come up with another position or label? I think a label is needed to identify us, especially if we form a group.

Reclaim agnosticism or push back on atheists that want to assimilate us? I know you're against this idea.

Those are the only two options I can think of right now, although I think it's going to require a little of both options. Instead of using just the label agnostics, those that want to emphasize their independents from atheists can also use "independent", as in "independent agnostic" or "neutral agnostic".

Also, for those interested, I was able to find a study that compares how people view Christians, agnostics, and atheists. I posted some of the results for atheists and agnostics here.
 
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William

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All valid points, William.

Moving on from these problems you brought up, what I'm wondering now is how to respond? What are some good options?

Come up with another position or label? I think a label is needed to identify us, especially if we form a group.

Reclaim agnosticism or push back on atheists that want to assimilate us? I know you're against this idea.

Those are the only two options I can think of right now, although I think it's going to require a little of both options. Instead of using just the label agnostics, those that want to emphasize their independents from atheists can also use "independent", as in "independent agnostic" or "neutral agnostic".

Also, for those interested, I was able to find a study that compares how people view Christians, agnostics, and atheists. I posted some of the results for atheists and agnostics here.
I think the problem re your suggestions AB is that you want to retain the title Agnostic. The title has already been claimed by atheism as a weak subset. Agnostics should have seen the assimilation when it occurred, and that they did not, speaks volumes about the nature of the "I don't knows" which are more along the lines of being Apatheist/Apatheism than this ideal of Agnosticism you - somewhat romantically - wish to fire up from the ashes of atheist misuse and abuse.
I am gong to do a little more research into the history of agnosticism to see if I can pinpoint anything therein...starting here
 
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AgnosticBoy

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Btw, all or most of Huxley's writings can be found here...
http://aleph0.clarku.edu/huxley/bib1.html (I did the ctrl + F function to find "agnostic" or "agnosticism"). That should point you to his writings on agnosticism.

Reading over some of Huxley's essays reminded me that people have been trying to mislabel agnosticism from the start. Huxley wrote about it in his writings, like this one...
The present discussion has arisen out of the use, which has become general in the last few years, of the terms "Agnostic" and "Agnosticism."

The people who call themselves "Agnostics" have been charged with doing so because they have not the courage to declare themselves "Infidels." It has been insinuated that they have adopted a new name in order to escape the unpleasantness which attaches to their proper denomination.​
Source: Agnosticism and Christianity (1899) - Collected Essays V

The quoted information indicates that the mislabeling was done since the earliest days (during Huxley's time) that agnosticism was invented. At times it was intentional in that it was done as an attack - as a way to lump agnostics in with other enemies. I know I've been attacked by atheists plenty of times for being on the "other" side, w/ other side being the Christian, Conservative, and whatever "other" side they can think of. The pattern is that the ones who do this tend to put agnostics on the enemy side.

We are misunderstood and mislabeled a lot of times because we tend to not have no set side.
 
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William

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My overall point would be that it should not matter what we call ourselves so much as how we understand our position to being.
Agnosticism was doomed through underhanded dishonest trickery even in Huxley's time...
A position, which considers positions on either side to being non tenurable to moving forward with open-minded intent - is seen to be worth slurring by those in positions threatened by it.

An example of the audacity which motivates atheistic influenced mindsets;
I have made it clear that the logical and evidential basis for atheism is solid, and (while the door for evidence is always open) we don't have it yet and cryptotheist claims (like 'minds affect nature' as i saw recently) are no kind of valid case.

It is not difficult to understand that such mind sets would go to such lengths as infiltrating and hijacking opposing positions.
 
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I still consider myself agnostic and not atheist or theist.

I wrote this today in an atheist versus theist group:

Yeah, it gets worded that way often nowadays but it's not accurate in practice even for those who make the claim and it is not compatible with a deep dive in philosophy and logic. Now, if most people really "thought" this way and treated others respectfully under those titles I would most likely be okay with the general definitions you provided. Of course not all theists, atheists, and agnostics agree, but if most did and the logic added up I would be ok with it. Fact is that is not typical. Most theists think they know God exists. Most atheists think they know God does not exist. A truly self proclaimed agnostic is neither a theist or atheist. Of course there are some agnostic atheists and agnostic theists but that is not as common as some claim.
From logic the excluded middle is not absolute and there are real world violations. No, not everything violates it but the "law" is not an absolute law.


The law of noncontradiction by extension can also be violated real world and in mathematical logic.
Again not everything contradicts them but somethings do. Most atheism is positive atheism or a subset of antitheism. I know there are many websites and books that try to argue differently just as the new face of literalist Christianity says it's not a religion but a direct spiritual relationship with the one true God.
Knowledge is a subset of belief where knowledge is a smaller aspect of our beliefs that are true (or asserted as true).
Belief is a subjective requirement of knowledge and belief = knowledge if and only if it is justified truth.
In epistemology S believes P (belief condition),
If P is true (Truth condition),
S is justified in believing P ( The justification condition).
Beliefs are a mental state and subjective and not sufficient on their own to be true knowledge but they are required l, otherwise no knowledge exists. I cannot lack all belief and claim any knowledge.


Thus belief is a necessary, but not sufficient component of knowledge.
Agnostics believe there is not enough knowledge for or against a theist or atheist.
Atheists typically belive there are no deities or on some cases there are no God's. The atheists who actually seem to fir the second definition in real life tend to be highly educated and generally intelligent and not simply because they lack beliefs in God(s). Of course Hitchens and others were very intelligent but they were militant atheists.
Regardless even atheists who "lack belief" when pressed admit they do believe there are no God(s), and "believe" the lack of evidence for God(s) gives them knowledge & some evidence provides evidence to them knowing or gnosis.
Go to many agnostic discussion groups and they disagree with the atheist and theist claims on what they believe. Is that less valid than what theists and atheists believe?
 
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William

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I was informed just today that "The Truth" = "Well defined yet scantily supported opinion" {SOURCE}

I think that once something has been proven true, there is no requirement to believe it is true.
The word "belief" is [imo] notoriously misused.

Someone who is neither theist or atheist, does not have to concern themselves with belief re the question "Do we exist within a creation" which is the fundamental-claim of theism and the fundamental-rejection of atheism.

I myself, see no logical reason to form beliefs for or against the idea that we exist within a creation. Just stack up what evidence there is and put the pieces together as best one is able.

I also see no logical reason why I should refer to myself as a Agnostic, not only for the reasons mentioned in prior posts in this thread, but also because those who do call themselves agnostics haven't provided such.

I remember on a Christian debate forum, I asked why folk call themselves "Christians" when they also argue that Christianity became infiltrated and corrupted centuries ago.
The replies were all along the lines of there being some need in them to rescue the word "Christian" and somehow help it to gain the true status is deserved.

I say "that ship has sailed".

It is not to say that remaining unbiased either way is not a great way in which to navigate the treacherous encounters with theist/atheist belief systems, but that one needn't trouble oneself with identifying ones position on the matter, apart from making sure one does not fall into the trap of calling ones position 'agnostic' - even with the intent of trying to educate others on its 'true meaning' - because it does not matter. As far as folk are concerned, being an agnostic means you are a weak fence-squatting atheist ...
 
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I was informed just today that "The Truth" = "Well defined yet scantily supported opinion" {SOURCE}

I think that once something has been proven true, there is no requirement to believe it is true.
The word "belief" is [imo] notoriously misused.

Someone who is neither theist or atheist, does not have to concern themselves with belief re the question "Do we exist within a creation" which is the fundamental-claim of theism and the fundamental-rejection of atheism.

I myself, see no logical reason to form beliefs for or against the idea that we exist within a creation. Just stack up what evidence there is and put the pieces together as best one is able.

I also see no logical reason why I should refer to myself as a Agnostic, not only for the reasons mentioned in prior posts in this thread, but also because those who do call themselves agnostics haven't provided such.

I remember on a Christian debate forum, I asked why folk call themselves "Christians" when they also argue that Christianity became infiltrated and corrupted centuries ago.
The replies were all along the lines of there being some need in them to rescue the word "Christian" and somehow help it to gain the true status is deserved.

I say "that ship has sailed".

It is not to say that remaining unbiased either way is not a great way in which to navigate the treacherous encounters with theist/atheist belief systems, but that one needn't trouble oneself with identifying ones position on the matter, apart from making sure one does not fall into the trap of calling ones position 'agnostic' - even with the intent of trying to educate others on its 'true meaning' - because it does not matter. As far as folk are concerned, being an agnostic means you are a weak fence-squatting atheist ...
Some do believe agnostics are weak fence-squatting atheists, but that means nothing.
 
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AgnosticBoy

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Well, that is a completely different claim you are making than before. I 100% disagree--the agnostic position is the closest to scientific and, in my opinion, honest.
Part of William's criticism has to do with what atheists have done to the term "agnosticism". I can agree with him on that although I don't think the term is beyond repair.

I'd really like to see what would happen if us independent agnostics united (w/ much larger numbers of course), and then we pushed for our independence from atheists.

There are some lone agnostics here and there that have explained how agnostics are not atheists, but some times one person is not enough.
 
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William

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The position appears to be Liminal;

Liminal [relating to a transitional or initial stage of a process. occupying a position at, or on both sides of, a boundary or threshold.]
 
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Part of William's criticism has to do with what atheists have done to the term "agnosticism". I can agree with him on that although I don't think the term is beyond repair.

I'd really like to see what would happen if us independent agnostics united (w/ much larger numbers of course), and then we pushed for our independence from atheists.

There are some lone agnostics here and there that have explained how agnostics are not atheists, but some times one person is not enough.
Thanks for the clarification. I think it is worthwhile to communicate with each other and attempt to unify to repair the term.
 
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The position appears to be Liminal;

Liminal [relating to a transitional or initial stage of a process. occupying a position at, or on both sides of, a boundary or threshold.]
Thanks--atheists and theists often commit this fallacy labeling the terms: Atheist, theist, and agnostic--https://www.thoughtco.com/etymological-fallacy-words-1690613 among others: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/fallacies/