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Strong/Gnostic Atheism and Weak/Agnostic Atheism
#1
Strong/Gnostic Atheism and Weak/Agnostic Atheism
This is a thread to discuss atheism related to gnosticism and agnosticism. Some atheists simply lack belief in gods, they do not claim to know if any gods exist (agnostics), others believe firmly no gods exist, they claim to know that gods cannot exist (gnostics).

I have a few questions I'd like to make to get started on this:

1 - Since we don't need to be 100% sure no god exists to be a gnostic atheist, how sure must we be? Is it reasonable to be a gnostic atheist? Has science disproved god or erased the possibility of god existing? Can we claim to have knowledge on gods not existing? Why?

2 - Is it possible to hold different positions according to the concrete god we're talking about? EG - In my case I'm an agnostic when it comes to the deistic god, but a gnostic (or at least I think so) when it comes to Zeus or Thor.

3 - Let's say I'm 95% sure no gods exist. Does that make me a 5% agnostic and a 95% gnostic?

4 - Would you generally describe yourself as an agnostic atheist or gnostic atheist (personal question, answer is optional)?

Also why are most theists gnostics? Why the hell to they claim to have knowledge on something that has no evidence?

There is no evidence for unicorns and most people will generally claim to know unicorns don't exist, since the possibility is unlikely and illogical. Could we apply the same to the god hypothesis and dismiss it on the basis that since there is no evidence (just like it happens with bigfoot, dragons, unicorns, etc.) god can't exist just like unicorns or dragons can't exist (unless evidence is presented on the contrary)?
Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you

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#2
RE: Strong/Gnostic Atheism and Weak/Agnostic Atheism
I thought gnostic attached to theism or atheism, meant that they knew for sure. If it means they firmly believe in atheism/theism, then I don't see the big deal either way. To me, to intelligently say you're a gnostic theist, I think you would have to have a strong argument (which I have yet to see). On the other side of the coin, to be a gnostic atheist, I think less evidence is needed (in this era of science). Which is actually what we have for the argument of theism, no evidence. There is zero proof of a god, and a very low amount of sound arguments for god, so I have less of a problem with gnostic atheism than I do with gnostic theism. Thor makes sense to me, for people that lived thousands of years ago. As time moves along, and the age of reason progresses, you see less of these "fairy tale" style of gods. We are basically left with an "higher power" or an old man in the sky. Actually Hinduism comes to mind, when thinking of more unreasonable gods, but the imaginary sounding gods have slowly diminished. As far as #3 goes, I'd say that is an argument one's personal opinion, and I don't have one on that subject. As I am new into the atheism world, it would be hard to categorize myself as agnostic or gnostic. In my opinion, if you see no evidence and no reason to believe, then you're just an atheist. The agnostic and gnostic is a little redundant to me.
"That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence." -Christopher Hitchens- My Hero
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#3
RE: Strong/Gnostic Atheism and Weak/Agnostic Atheism
I know one thing and only one thing for sure...!

"Blackout" never gets sicks of the discussing the definition of "atheism" and all it's iterations!

hehe
No God, No fear.
Know God, Know fear.
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#4
RE: Strong/Gnostic Atheism and Weak/Agnostic Atheism
(August 18, 2014 at 4:35 am)ignoramus Wrote: I know one thing and only one thing for sure...!

"Blackout" never gets sicks of the discussing the definition of "atheism" and all it's iterations!

hehe
You are right, but if you could just give a generic answer to some of my questions that'd be great Wink
Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you

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#5
RE: Strong/Gnostic Atheism and Weak/Agnostic Atheism
You can certainly be both, IMHO.

Gods that are self-refuting vis gods (claims) that are unknowable require different outlooks. There's nothing to stop being pragmatic about these things
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#6
RE: Strong/Gnostic Atheism and Weak/Agnostic Atheism
(August 18, 2014 at 8:53 am)Fidel_Castronaut Wrote: You can certainly be both, IMHO.

Gods that are self-refuting via gods (claims) that are unknowable require different outlooks. There's nothing to stop being pragmatic about these things

When someone makes the case for the deist god, I can't prove he doesn't exist, or at least it's impossible for me to believe he doesn't, I'm an agnostic adeist, but when it comes to theism I believe their gods do not exist.
Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you

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#7
RE: Strong/Gnostic Atheism and Weak/Agnostic Atheism
I believe it depends on what god you're talking about. I call myself agnostic because everyone has a different definition of god e.g I'm Agnostic About Cthulhu. Of course I know that jehovah, allah and hubal are bullshit.

I agree with blackout.
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#8
RE: Strong/Gnostic Atheism and Weak/Agnostic Atheism
(August 17, 2014 at 1:04 pm)Blackout Wrote:

Hi Blackout, I guess this is the corollary discussion to the one we're having on the 'Prove your claim' thread.

1. As sure as you need to be to make a positive claim. This will differ from person to person. I would say that I need 100% certainty to make a positive statement; it's a point of intellectual honesty for me.

2. Yup. The Arahamic gods are impossible (based on their attribute definitions) therefore I can be 100% certain of their non-existence. The claims for the existence of deist gods are impossible to address as there can be no evidence so whilst I don't have to care about their existence, either way, I can make no gnostic claim.

3. That's entirely up to you! Gnosis regards your claims to knowledge, your 'justified-true' beliefs. If you can provide a justification that satisfies your standards of evidence, you will make a gnostic claim. For example, AronRa puts it this way: "If you can't show it, you don't know it" and "PEARL" (Physical Evidence And Reasoned Logic). That states his method of justification very clearly. On the other end of the spectrum, Ken Ham states 'The Bible says it, I believe it, that settles it!'. Once again, very clear standards of evidence.

4. Generally, I'm agnostic. So many theistic gods have such vague or deliberately ethereal definitions as to put them outside the realms of honest enquiry. I simply put my hands up, on grounds of intellectual honesty, and say 'I don't know' (and sometimes 'I can never know'). That doesn't mean I won't argue the toss regarding the likelihood of such gods.

Quote:Also why are most theists gnostics? Why the hell to they claim to have knowledge on something that has no evidence?
I started to cover this off in 3.: standards of evidence. Indoctrination also plays a part: there are people who rigourously compartmentalise their religious beliefs and therefore don't apply the same standards that they might apply when addressing other matters.

Quote:There is no evidence for unicorns and most people will generally claim to know unicorns don't exist, since the possibility is unlikely and illogical. Could we apply the same to the god hypothesis and dismiss it on the basis that since there is no evidence (just like it happens with bigfoot, dragons, unicorns, etc.) god can't exist just like unicorns or dragons can't exist (unless evidence is presented on the contrary)?
This is the point I was making about 'likelihood'. I dismiss god claims until evidence can be put forward. That doesn't mean I make a gnostic claim against the god in question, it simply means that I find no justification for belief.
Sum ergo sum
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#9
RE: Strong/Gnostic Atheism and Weak/Agnostic Atheism
Quote:1. As sure as you need to be to make a positive claim. This will differ from person to person. I would say that I need 100% certainty to make a positive statement; it's a point of intellectual honesty for me.
Hey there Ben Davis, thanks for replying to my thread. I've been without a PC and since it's really though to type on my PS3 console I decided to reply to you only now. Now going back to the thread - I do not need 100% certainty to claim knowledge. Let's take the example of gravity - I'm not 100% sure gravity is real, it could be an illusion, or the law of gravity could be badly formulated, but I assume it's real and so I claim knowledge on something. I think we can't be 100% sure about anything, but that's not a reason to avoid claiming knowledge, otherwise we wouldn't possess knowledge on anything. I respect your position, seriously, but for me it's intellectual dishonest to be an agnostic when I'm only, let's say, 1%-5% sure god exists, it's unworthy to be an agnostic just because of a tiny margin of error. If I'm certain enough, I claim knowledge, and that's what I'm doing right now. Just like I believe unicorns do not exist (I don't lack belief in them, I truly believe they are false), I believe gods do not exist. But hey, if evidence is presented on the contrary, I'll admit I'm wrong without problems.
Quote:2. Yup. The Arahamic gods are impossible (based on their attribute definitions) therefore I can be 100% certain of their non-existence. The claims for the existence of deist gods are impossible to address as there can be no evidence so whilst I don't have to care about their existence, either way, I can make no gnostic claim.
Yes but I'm an atheist, not an Adeist. I'm an agnostic when it comes to the deist god (and the pantheist one since I can't prove the universe isn't god himself), but I'm gnostic to all theist gods, therefore it's irrational for me to label myself as a general agnostic
Quote:3. That's entirely up to you! Gnosis regards your claims to knowledge, your 'justified-true' beliefs. If you can provide a justification that satisfies your standards of evidence, you will make a gnostic claim. For example, AronRa puts it this way: "If you can't show it, you don't know it" and "PEARL" (Physical Evidence And Reasoned Logic). That states his method of justification very clearly. On the other end of the spectrum, Ken Ham states 'The Bible says it, I believe it, that settles it!'. Once again, very clear standards of evidence.
Well we could question if the standard of evidence for some people should be allowed, using the example of Ken Ham. Evidence for me works like this - You make a claim, you provide the evidence, otherwise I will consider the hypothesis as false, which means I will believe your claim is a lie and that the subject doesn't exist.
Quote:4. Generally, I'm agnostic. So many theistic gods have such vague or deliberately ethereal definitions as to put them outside the realms of honest enquiry. I simply put my hands up, on grounds of intellectual honesty, and say 'I don't know' (and sometimes 'I can never know'). That doesn't mean I won't argue the toss regarding the likelihood of such gods.
Agree, but I can claim knowledge on theist gods, they need to at least possess the contradictory characteristics (the Omni). In fact, speaking of that, is the deist god really a god? Someone who doesn't intervene? Either he is a jerk or he is powerless.

Quote:I started to cover this off in 3.: standards of evidence. Indoctrination also plays a part: there are people who rigourously compartmentalise their religious beliefs and therefore don't apply the same standards that they might apply when addressing other matters.
Agree
Quote:This is the point I was making about 'likelihood'. I dismiss god claims until evidence can be put forward. That doesn't mean I make a gnostic claim against the god in question, it simply means that I find no justification for belief.
I agree partially, except that I'll make a positive claim of knowledge. I don't see reasons to treat god differently from other hypothesis who have zero evidence. If someone says 'Look there's a dragon over there' and I can't see one, I won't say 'I lack belief but I can't disprove it', I'll say 'No there isn't any dragon'. Now I'm applying this to the god hypothesis, and for me it suits the issue well... But thanks for your interesting reply!
Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you

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#10
RE: Strong/Gnostic Atheism and Weak/Agnostic Atheism
(August 21, 2014 at 4:08 pm)Blackout Wrote: I agree partially, except that I'll make a positive claim of knowledge. I don't see reasons to treat god differently from other hypothesis who have zero evidence. If someone says 'Look there's a dragon over there' and I can't see one, I won't say 'I lack belief but I can't disprove it', I'll say 'No there isn't any dragon'. Now I'm applying this to the god hypothesis, and for me it suits the issue well... But thanks for your interesting reply!

The problem with this analogy is that the idea of god, at least the one worth contemplating, isn't an empirical notion, but rather a rational one; I think it would be more fair to compare god with say, the law of non-contradiction, or numbers, as opposed to material objects (though a dragon may be nothing more than an abstraction, its constituent parts are no less derived from empirical concepts). So, I can say, the law of non-contradiction is true, but can I provide material evidence? Can you point to any tangible object in the Universe that is a number? You can surely create a symbol that you call "5," and have it represent a quantity of similar objects, but you cannot define what "5" is apart from appealing to other numbers--and those are not in-of-themselves sufficient for conceptualizing the meaning of "5." Numbers, I reckon, exist purely in the abstract, and cannot established as actual "things," as is, say, a "cat," yet we never doubt their necessity or meaning in framing our empirical experience of the world. I think "dragon" is in the category of the latter, with "cat," while something like god would have to be akin to a principle, a law of logical necessity, that is, of an immaterial existence. Does that make any sense? Thinking

So, the question, "Is god a 'real thing'?" would find an answer similar to the inquiry: Are the 'laws of logic' 'real things'? Are numbers 'real things'? Or are they merely mental tools by which all else is made (to appear) real?
He who loves God cannot endeavour that God should love him in return - Baruch Spinoza
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