We'll have to have a deep discussion about epistemology to get to the heart of the matter.. suffice to say, that nearly all claims that assert that religious belief is reasonable, all rely on a sort of epistemological relativism that could hardly be called reasonable. That is, other "ways of knowing" are more or less equal to more empirical "ways of knowing" (such as the scientific method) for certain scopes of questions. For example, some might claim that one can gain true spiritual knowledge through "divine revelation", perhaps in the form of a feeling or thought, and that the certainty of this thought or feeling can be considered on par with any objective knowledge (such as a well evidenced scientific theory). But one cannot justify this sort of thing without simultaneously justifying every single possible belief, no matter how ridiculous. At the bottom of all religious belief, is this sort of relativism, which really only serves to set up separate, more lax criteria with which to ascertain the certainty of a claim that confirms personal bias. Reasonable, it is not.And why does belief automatically become a deficit of reason and common sense? Can't you see the hostility that you bring to the table before you even begin to speak? Does that anger serve you well?
I don't think a huge amount of seriousness are attributed to those statistics... most oft they are brought out when the inevitable happens... a theist claims "theism leads to morality", or "atheism leads to immorality", etc. The stats serve well to debunk those particular hypotheses, but don't prove much of anything on their own. If any atheist stretches those stats beyond what they can be used for, I would criticize them along with you.Ah, but atheists are quick to point out the percentage of believers in prisons and tar all believers as ignorant, blue collar yokels. Besides, the point is that the author seeks to associate atheism with respectable professions, which had nothing to do with Ms. Allen's argument.
As for Myers putting atheists "in good light", Ms. Allens argument was specifically targeted towards the outspoken atheists of today, which are largely from academia, or the sciences... a few political polemicists (like Hitchens) are in the mix, but they are, by and large, scientists, philosophers, and historians. His point being, that such people, whether theist or atheist are likely to bore the average person with their pedantic and technical discussions, even when the topic isnt atheism vs theism.
However, the atheist vs theist debate is still a pretty popular format, and those events routinely sell out and receive large amounts of press... possibly more than they ever have in the past. So it seems more and more people do not find them boring.
Which can be interpreted as a 'lack of belief in god(s)', not necessarily 'there is no god'.No. The absolute stance that no god exists, is pretty much the definition of the term. Atheist is derived from the Greek adjective atheos, literally translated as "godless."
At minimum agnostic can mean "no special knowledge" (without gnosis). I quite admit that common usage of both these terms is generally as you are claiming here... but quite a many people, serious philosophers included, recognize and work from the more precise definitions that I am talking about... and claim it is possible to be an agnostic theist or an agnostic atheist... or a gnostic theist or gnostic atheist.Those who deny knowledge of god, literally those who claim to not know the answer, are agnostics, again, from the Greek, "without knowledge,"
Really, suit yourself, on which ever you want to use, it doesnt really matter. The important part is consistency. Dawkins, Hitchens, Harris, and all the other "big names" in "atheism" (and myself) are actually agnostics by your definition, so this needs to be kept in mind when throwing around the terms. Sometimes, I wish they would go with the common usage and call themselves agnostics, even though its not really technically appropriate.... simply because I've had this conversation waaaaay to many times.
Most of the atheists that Allen criticized, if not scientists themselves, follow the epistemology of science closely... which means that they would generally agree with the notion that nothing that can really ever be proven to be true, and that one cannot falsify certain types of claims (such as the existence of a god(s) or pink unicorns). So this actually fits your definition quite well.and specifically means that one considers spiritual questions, such as the existence of god, inherently impossible to prove or disprove.
Lol... good one. A weak atheist is one who doesn't rule out the possibility that there is a god(s) and lacks belief in any of those god(s). The strong atheist is one who, with certainty, believes or claims there is no god(s).An Atheist Agnostic is therefore a contradiction in terms, and a "weak atheist" is someone who denies the existence of any god and cannot do push-ups.
Last edited by wilbur; 05-24-2009 at 11:40 PM.
|« Previous Thread | Next Thread »|