Questions to an agnostic

Discuss philosophical questions regarding theism (and atheism), and discuss religion as it relates to philosophy. This includes any philosophical discussions that happen to be about god, gods, or a 'higher power' or the belief of them. This also generally includes philosophical topics about organized or ritualistic mysticism or about organized, common or ritualistic beliefs in the existence of supernatural phenomenon.
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ThomasHobbes
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Re: Questions to an agnostic

Post by ThomasHobbes » June 13th, 2018, 9:26 am

Dark Matter wrote:
June 12th, 2018, 2:13 pm
According to the WHO, suicide rates have increased by 60% over the last 45 years. Commonsense would suggest that the 'sense of self' must be at the heart of the problem.
Why?
One thing is for sure. Over the last 45 years statistic have been gathered for more thoroughly.
And over the last 45 years people have been more willing to admit that 'accidents', are more likely to have been suicides. Whether or not this amounts to a real increase of that extent remains to be seen.

Without a better look at that actual evidence, your claim is useless. Do you have a link?
As for your suggestion - the increase might be due to the rise of "goth" culture. The normalising of suicide; the rise of social media where people are not so alone and find the decision easier to make; more information about methods from the Internet also makes it easier to take that last step. In fact anything that has changed socially in the same time period could be offered as causation.
But I do not see any specific change in our "sense of self' in operation during that period.

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Re: Questions to an agnostic

Post by Dark Matter » June 13th, 2018, 10:30 am

Greta:

I will not dignify you loathing, bias and irrationality with a response. It does not befit a philosophy forum.
Belindi wrote:
June 13th, 2018, 3:44 am
Greta wrote:
Theists on forums are always talking about how awful life is without religion. It appears that theists personally have issues and existential angst that they feel has been alleviated by religion. So they wrongly assume that everyone feels empty inside until filled by religion. It's akin to a neurotic being helped by psychotherapy and consequently believing that everyone needs psychotherapy.
But how can anyone live without a world view? Old fashioned Abrahamic religions are based upon the world view that supreme God does actively intervene in nature, not necessarily only by means of miraculous events but also by long historical developments and by his original intentions.

I think, Greta, that your criticism does not pertain to God as work in progress by humans for the benefit of life on Earth. Albeit with the addendum, life on Earth as long as it lasts.
The excerpt Greta was commenting on is from respected psychologist Rollo May. Note that nothing was said about religion or God. Nevertheless, so great is her bias that an irrational response, a non sequitur, followed.

I would say a person can live without a world view -- or perhaps more accurately a universe frame in which to think -- but coherency is impossible without one.

TH:
You might be right, but the rise in suicides is just on of the consequences of the "death of God." In that respect, Nietzsche was a prophet.

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Re: Questions to an agnostic

Post by -1- » June 13th, 2018, 10:57 am

Consul wrote:
June 10th, 2018, 11:07 am
Anyway, doesn't the following statement strike you as very odd: "I know that p, but I don't believe that p."
I stated this:

1. I know that p, therefore my belief of p is redundant.

You, consul, stated this:
2. I know that p, but I don't believe that p.

1. is obviously not equivalent to 2.

You misrepresented my position, that's all. This, what you did, is called a Strawman fallacy.
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Re: Questions to an agnostic

Post by Eduk » June 13th, 2018, 10:57 am

Does everyone know what a 'world view' is other than me?

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Re: Questions to an agnostic

Post by Belindi » June 13th, 2018, 11:04 am

Eduk, I'd say that a world view is a view of what is real , and what is not real.This is what I meant when I asked "can anyone live without a world view?"

Take God for instance. Some people's world view includes that God is real, and reality is a)what occupies space in a Cartesian sense plus b) God who does not occupy space.
Me, I am not agnostic about that worldview as I have decided that I don't believe it or trust it. So I am atheist about that world view.

I claim that one cannot live without a view of what's real and what's not real.

My views are mine pro tem and I may learn to think differently, so I can claim to be sceptical.

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Consul
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Re: Questions to an agnostic

Post by Consul » June 13th, 2018, 12:54 pm

-1- wrote:
June 13th, 2018, 10:57 am
Consul wrote:
June 10th, 2018, 11:07 am
Anyway, doesn't the following statement strike you as very odd: "I know that p, but I don't believe that p."
I stated this:

1. I know that p, therefore my belief of p is redundant.

You, consul, stated this:
2. I know that p, but I don't believe that p.

1. is obviously not equivalent to 2.

You misrepresented my position, that's all.
No, I didn't, because I was simply asking a question.
Anyway, if knowledge is justified true belief, then it is not the case that "knowledge renders belief redundant" (that's your original statement).
"We may philosophize well or ill, but we must philosophize." – Wilfrid Sellars

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Re: Questions to an agnostic

Post by Dark Matter » June 13th, 2018, 1:23 pm

Eduk wrote:
June 13th, 2018, 10:57 am
Does everyone know what a 'world view' is other than me?
As I understand it, a worldview is one's fundamental cognitive orientation.

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Re: Questions to an agnostic

Post by Eduk » June 13th, 2018, 2:01 pm

Sorry DM. No idea what you mean. Can you give an example. Do you mean the same thing as Belindi?

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Re: Questions to an agnostic

Post by -1- » June 13th, 2018, 3:05 pm

Consul wrote:
June 13th, 2018, 12:54 pm

Anyway, if knowledge is justified true belief, then it is not the case that "knowledge renders belief redundant" (that's your original statement).
Why is it not the case?
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Re: Questions to an agnostic

Post by Dark Matter » June 13th, 2018, 4:14 pm

Eduk wrote:
June 13th, 2018, 2:01 pm
Sorry DM. No idea what you mean. Can you give an example. Do you mean the same thing as Belindi?
I think it is fair to say my understanding is a little different than Belinda's. In the phrase, "fundamental cognitive orientation, orientation is the keyword. It is defined as an integrated set of attitudes and beliefs.

I think a lot of the problem we see here is that attitudes and beliefs are not integrated very well. For example, "reason" goes to class, "emotion" visits a lover, "will power" studies for an exam and "religious duty" is to believe. This compartmentalization of values and goals disintegrates, rather than integrates the unity of the personality; the person is in “pieces” within as well as without and does not know which way to go.

Beliefs (and all "knowledge" is a belief of some kind) can never be more than a cognitive interpretation. For theists, St. Augustine, the Bishop of Hippo, summed it up very well when he said, “I believe in order to understand” (credo ut intelligam). Centuries later, St. Anselm of Canterbury echoed his statement in similar fashion: “I do not seek to understand in order that I may believe, but I believe in order to understand.” It is also why Thomas Aquinas famously said, "In the end, we know God as unknown."

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Re: Questions to an agnostic

Post by Greta » June 13th, 2018, 9:17 pm

Dark Matter wrote:
June 13th, 2018, 10:30 am
Greta:

I will not dignify you loathing, bias and irrationality with a response. It does not befit a philosophy forum.
Few have shown more loathing, bias and irrationality on this forum than you. I'm pleased if you have reformed, if you have done. However, it looks like another way of avoiding addressing points that have destroyed your laughably weak Twitteresque snippets on this thread - talk about not being up to standard on philosophy forums! Your Buridan's Ass argument was demolished but you won't admit being wrong, instead playing your games.

Buridan's Ass is the most feeble of arguments, as if belief and non-belief in a supernatural entity are matters of life and death as is food for a donkey.

Dark Matter wrote:I would say a person can live without a world view -- or perhaps more accurately a universe frame in which to think -- but coherency is impossible without one.
Agnostics most certainly have worldviews. It is impossible for an intellectually competent adult to not hold world views. Obviously. However, unlike theists, agnostics (and most atheists) don't claim that their views and perceptions reflect the absolute objective truth about the nature of reality.

This thread is ultimately about humility - and its lack. It's about admitting when one doesn't know something (rather than BSing through with dodgy physics, like some here, ahem). It's about admitting that the scope of reality is almost certainly far greater than one's conceptions. Some can admit not knowing (or being wrong, for that matter) while others need to feel like they have control over their Weltanschauung rather than observing it with interest.

That's why theists and atheists fight - belief or non belief has diddly to do with the nature of reality and everything to do with temperament and personality.

Thus I am agnostic. I'm not playing games with this, looking for life hacks or claiming things I cannot possibly know. I am just interested - curious, hungry to know more. Of course I'm atheist to Yahweh, the big man in the sky, but the nature of the larger stage of reality is beyond my ken - or anyone's, if they care/dare to admit it.

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Re: Questions to an agnostic

Post by Dark Matter » June 13th, 2018, 10:13 pm

Greta wrote:
June 13th, 2018, 9:17 pm

Buridan's Ass is the most feeble of arguments, as if belief and non-belief in a supernatural entity are matters of life and death as is food for a donkey.
It's not an argument. Never was. It's called a "paradox" because it's a paradox and not an argument; it's a paradox you refuse to confront.
Agnostics most certainly have worldviews. It is impossible for an intellectually competent adult to not hold world views. Obviously. However, unlike theists, agnostics (and most atheists) don't claim that their views and perceptions reflect the absolute objective truth about the nature of reality.
In view of what I said, that is a biased, if not irrational, claim.
This thread is ultimately about humility...
Your hate and vitriol belies that; it's about you needing to be right.
That's why theists and atheists fight - belief or non belief has diddly to do with the nature of reality and everything to do with temperament and personality.
It also has a lot to do with direction, relating and understanding -- the willingness to go beyond objective certainty and to delve deeply into the invisible things of the world.
Thus I am agnostic. I'm not playing games with this, looking for life hacks or claiming things I cannot possibly know. I am just interested - curious, hungry to know more. Of course I'm atheist to Yahweh, the big man in the sky, but the nature of the larger stage of reality is beyond my ken - or anyone's, if they care/dare to admit it.
Are you also agnostic regarding what a human being is? A conception of that is critical to a coherent worldview.

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Re: Questions to an agnostic

Post by Greta » June 14th, 2018, 12:27 am

Dark Matter wrote:
June 13th, 2018, 10:13 pm
Greta wrote:
June 13th, 2018, 9:17 pm
Buridan's Ass is the most feeble of arguments, as if belief and non-belief in a supernatural entity are matters of life and death as is food for a donkey.
It's not an argument. Never was. It's called a "paradox" because it's a paradox and not an argument; it's a paradox you refuse to confront.
There is no paradox with humans and belief in god, only for donkeys with hay.

Don't be disingenuous. You used Buridan's Ass as an argument against agnosticism, and I showed how it didn't validly apply.
Dark Matter wrote:
Agnostics most certainly have worldviews. It is impossible for an intellectually competent adult to not hold world views. Obviously. However, unlike theists, agnostics (and most atheists) don't claim that their views and perceptions reflect the absolute objective truth about the nature of reality.
In view of what I said, that is a biased, if not irrational, claim.
Ahem. Pot and the kettle much? If you believe in God as the ultimate [whatever] of reality then you are making truth claims about the absolute nature of reality.

Dark Matter wrote:
This thread is ultimately about humility...
Your hate and vitriol belies that; it's about you needing to be right.
It's not hate and vitriol, it's irritation and impatience with your creative squirming. Raised in the dramatic language of myth and lost in the romanticisation of phenomena, theists seem to almost be invariably tragic drama queens. You take cheap "drive by" pot shots without substantiation or depth and then whine and desperately obfuscate when challenged.

Me wrote:Thus I am agnostic. I'm not playing games with this, looking for life hacks or claiming things I cannot possibly know. I am just interested - curious, hungry to know more. Of course I'm atheist to Yahweh, the big man in the sky, but the nature of the larger stage of reality is beyond my ken - or anyone's, if they care/dare to admit it.
Dark Matter wrote:Are you also agnostic regarding what a human being is? A conception of that is critical to a coherent worldview.
Hurrah, something useful with which to engage. If I was a melodramatic theist, steeped in the blood and thunder of mystical texts, I might claim that humans are the closest expression in the universe to God so far (at least in this part of the galaxy). However, I am just an agnostic so I find other angles more compelling.

To start, I am generally awed by reality and think that the business of our lives forces us to take the miraculous for granted, to treat the extraordinary as ordinary. None of it - life, the universe etc is ordinary. Just 5% of the universe is matter, and almost all of that is plasma. This makes even the humble space rock is a rare gem in the greater scheme of things. So then how extraordinary is life? Intelligent life? Humans?

So I see humans as jaw-droppingly weird, wonderful and sometimes scary technological apes, the biosphere's most eloquent expression so far, and the funniest! IMO when one sees clearly, in the greater scheme of things humans are extremely funny animals - playful, sly, goofy, clumsy and sometimes brilliant. I gloss over humanity's faults as growing pains. We personally are here for a short time but life and humanity is the long game, and over long periods the extraordinary happens. The lunacy that people complain about will not always be the norm.

So we humans are a stepping stone to the next leap in evolution, and quite possibly we will enable the reproduction of Earth organisms' DNA and creation of new evolutionary paths on other worlds, achieving levels of sophistication that we cannot even imagine.

So what do you think a human being is? Another question - seriously - what do you think a tree is?

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Re: Questions to an agnostic

Post by Dark Matter » June 14th, 2018, 2:26 am

Without a commitment to an idea of what a human being is, without a hypothesis adopted as a guide to experiment or investigation or as a basis of action, it is impossible to formulate a self-consistent worldview.

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Re: Questions to an agnostic

Post by Greta » June 14th, 2018, 2:44 am

Yes Reflex, but will you answer the question?

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