For Agnostics only please

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by VenusianSky, May 7, 2012.

  1. VenusianSky, May 7, 2012
    Last edited: May 20, 2012

    VenusianSky macrumors 65816

    VenusianSky

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    #1
    Update 3:

    By one stating that, without a shadow of doubt, there is no god is no different than someone stating that, without a shadow of doubt, there is a god.


    Update 2:

    Agnosticism applies the scientific method. Atheism does not.

    If you are curious to this statement please read through this thread. Great minds throughout this thread.

    I do not mean to offend any atheist, I was one for many years, but if you do not understand my sentence above, you do not understand the scientific method to its full capacity. Maybe it is time to let go of the atheistic view, as I, and start to truly understand the meaning of science so that we can apply it with an open conscience. Maybe more people will start to apply science so that we can further benefit from its success over the theory of a creator, that has strongly become wishful hope.

    I strongly recommend reading about Carl Sagan, a extremely wise and intelligent person that has been quoted to say he is agnostic. Read his books. Carl provides great wisdom to why science has far benefited us over the theory of a creator. But if you apply the scientific method to the question of a creator, you will see it fits in just like any other question. The question of a creator has just been stuck in hypothesis stage of the scientific method with it's followers waiting for it to reach the scientific hypothesis stage, which is still far from law. In progress, the creator theory still trails behind "scientific" theories ,further and further each day. For example, we are smashing particles in extremely large accelerators
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    Update: To all you great thinkers on this thread:

    I have created another thread titled "About Science, for anyone" to summarize my thoughts in my original post. Please feel free to read it and comment, or not. I just wanted to be a little more clear on where I was going with my original post (below), and not exclude anyone, being that I titled this one "For Agnostics only...". If you have not read this thread, feel free to read it if you wish. Thanks :)
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    Original Post:

    Anyone here truly consider themself agnostic? If not, please do not bother reading any further. I do not wish to start a debate. You can read if you wish, but please do not start a debate. I only have a simple question for agnostics (not atheists either :) ).




    I believe I have recently discovered that I am agnostic. For the longest time, I consider myself atheist and a "follower" of science. Thinking about science more, and believing very much in science, I realized that I must question science itself when it comes to where we come from. Science is about questioning, building hypotheses and the assumption and acceptance that the question may be proven wrong. So in itself, science must be questioned regarding where we come from.
    What is so great about science are the times when things are proven correct and can be seen by my own eyes, not just told in a book. Things that were once said to be divinity, but only to be proven as science. I very much favor science because of the evidence. However, I must accept that it could be wrong, regarding where we come from, because science is about accepting that the "question" is out there with the possibility of being wrong and I now feel I truly believe in science.

    I have been reading about Carl Sagan recently and came by a quote (wiki) from him shortly before his death that he stated he is agnostic. Surely, one of the biggest proponents of scientific education throughout the world, in our time, had a very deep understanding of science and pseudoscience. I started reading Sagan's "Demon-Haunted World", and am really enjoying it. It is sort of a liberating read. I feel that I have finally found someone else that shared the same views on the "big question" as I have questioned within myself recently.

    So, am I "getting" science and what it is to be agnostic? Like I said, I consider myself atheist for the longest time, but what I think what I really believe in is Science. I don't really care if that is not agnostic, because it is only a word. Just curious.
     
  2. Sydde macrumors 68020

    Sydde

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    "Science" is not really something you "believe in", not the way one would with a deity. It works, and so we begin to trust the experimental results, which is practically difficult to do with religion.

    You see, scientific knowledge is built from the ground up, starting with simple fundamentals, expanding and extending their scope, interpolating and extrapolating. God, on the other hand, is built from the top down. A nebulous concept, based on ignorance, is posited, then convenient properties are added. What one is asked to believe in is that god defies logic so the rules of logic cannot be applied to it.

    The real beauty of unbelief is that we do not feel compelled to make up stuff to explain what we do not understand. Ignorance can only be addressed by analysis and study, not delusional faith. Yet, there is no shame in lacking an answer. There are things we will simply never know, and that is good, because it keeps us striving for more.

    Some find the idea of a vast nothing out there to be terrifying and need to fill it with something. For others, the void (which is not truly empty) is an awesome part of nature, just as beautiful as a thunderstorm or a tiny orange frog. For the latter, "god" becomes merely superfluous.
     
  3. ericrwalker macrumors 68030

    ericrwalker

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    #3
    I consider myself agnostic. I don't think there really is anything to discus.

    1. No matter how religious you are, you can't prove to me God does exist.
    2. No matter how atheist you are, you can't prove to me that God doesn't exist.
    3. No matter what science proves, it's can't disprove that there may or may not be a God or more than one God.
     
  4. VenusianSky thread starter macrumors 65816

    VenusianSky

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    #4
    Thank you. That answers my question.

    Sydde - I didnt really mean that I "believe" in science as in believing a religion. "Believe" was just a poor choice of word, I guess. I meant more that I have trust in the questioning and answering aspect that is science because when something is proven by science, I can see and witness it for myself. Also, we do not worship what we discover with science.
    Another quote (wikipedia) I read from Sagan, that gave me a chuckle:

    "But if by God one means the set of physical laws that govern the universe, then clearly there is such a God. This God is emotionally unsatisfying... it does not make much sense to pray to the law of gravity."
     
  5. Macky-Mac macrumors 68030

    Macky-Mac

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    #5
    perhaps you've simply been putting too much faith in science
     
  6. Sedulous macrumors 68000

    Sedulous

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    #6
    ... or too little.
     
  7. Zombie Acorn macrumors 65816

    Zombie Acorn

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    #7
    If you are about to hit the ground it does.
     
  8. zap2 macrumors 604

    zap2

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    #8

    As a far agnostic, I was totally behind this line of thinking.


    But the idea that pushes science forward isn't evidence for something that not existing, it's a evidence to support that something does exist. You don't need evidence to not believe in something that doesn't have (scientific) evidence to support a claim, of it's existence.


    If we get more evidence, I'd gladly change my mind.
     
  9. splitpea macrumors 6502a

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    #9
    I'd call myself an atheist, but if you press hard enough I'll admit to being agnostic.

    I know I can't *prove* the absence of supernatural beings, but since everything I know points to their nonexistence I'm pretty darn confident stating they don't exist. Much as most people here would have no hesitation in stating that Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and Zeus don't exist, even though they can't *prove* their nonexistence.

    As Sydde said, science doesn't require belief any more than "2+2=4" requires belief. It's a method of *deduction* based on logic, which works whether or not you believe in it.

    And what's more, if for some reason one insists on believing in the supernatural, the scientific method and the theories and concepts science has proven over the years are *entirely* compatible with the existence of supernatural beings.

    The only thing scientific findings are incompatible with is taking a collection of folk tales as literal truth.
     
  10. niuniu macrumors 68020

    niuniu

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    #10
    Same boat, man.

    Spent years in what I would describe as active atheism, ie, intellectual honeymooning in atheist forms, listening to free thought radio etc..

    At some point I simplified it all. Can't prove nothin one way or another. Science isn't giving me the degree of proof I need to exclude the concept of a creator, and there is certainly nothing in religion that I consider worth listening to. In fact my dislike of religion has grown into a contempt that I can barely contain.

    I mix perfectly well with atheists and still hashtag atheism if networking. I dont seek to outwardly distinguish myself in any debate. Atheism has bred the knowledge, logic and growth of secularism that I admire. Only my bottom line has shifted somewhat. As far as labels go, I could call myself a secular humanist and be done with it.
     
  11. iJohnHenry macrumors P6

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    I'm not dismissing anything, except the time-line that Religion is forcing upon us, in order to make Man seem somehow important. I reject this notion.

    Some organisms are so complex. that you might wonder why would a god would go to that level of detail??

    But, and this is the big one, if the Big Bang were somehow created by a super-being, the rest could be just a matter of time.

    Lots and lots of time, way beyond what Man can even imagine.

    I favour this scenario.
     
  12. NickZac macrumors 68000

    NickZac

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    #12
    I like this explanation. Good job in putting it to words! I feel very much the same.
     
  13. .Andy macrumors 68030

    .Andy

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    Should I discount the possibility that I can teleport as highly improbable or consider it a reasonable hypothesis?
     
  14. niuniu macrumors 68020

    niuniu

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    #14
    There are an infinite number of things that are 'highly improbable'. I'd say the odds of some of those being discovered as a part of our reality Are about the as... The big bang -> abiogenesis -> iPhone 5
     
  15. iJohnHenry macrumors P6

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    I would go with highly improbable, given the vast signature you represent being transmitted.
     
  16. stevenlangley1 macrumors regular

    stevenlangley1

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  17. VenusianSky, May 7, 2012
    Last edited: May 7, 2012

    VenusianSky thread starter macrumors 65816

    VenusianSky

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    #17
    Thank you for this link. I very much enjoy his knowledge of science (well, the little I have encountered). He is very smart and can explain things in a way that is easy to understand. I couldn't agree more on his perspective.
     
  18. EricNau Moderator emeritus

    EricNau

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    #18
    VenusianSky,

    I think you would really enjoy The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins. The book is very well written, easy to read (much like The Demon Haunted World), and Dawkins' primary goal is to justify his belief that God does not exist versus the agnostic's claim that God might possibly exist.

    Accordingly, I think you'll find that atheism is closer to science than agnosticism. As Stephen J. Gould once said, "In science, fact can only mean confirmed to such a degree that it would be perverse to withhold provisional assent. I suppose that apples might start to rise tomorrow, but the possibility does not merit equal time in physics classrooms."
     
  19. angelneo macrumors 68000

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    #19
    Science can't disprove something that didn't exist in the first place, especially something that isn't even clearly define and varies from different culture, places and people. The onus is on the people who believe it exist.

    I can say there's a invisible giant pie in the sky that elude all senses, since science cannot prove that I am wrong, then it really exist?
     
  20. lewis82 macrumors 68000

    lewis82

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    #20
    [​IMG]

    Not rejecting the possibility that a deity exists does not make one necessarily agnostic. Only strong atheists completely reject the existence of a deity ("God does not exist"), while explicit weak atheists do not ("I do not believe that God exists, but I do not reject the possibility"). Implicit atheism is just those who aren't conscious that they are atheists.

    Agnosticism, in the other hand, is thinking that it is impossible to know wether a deity exists or not, and thus not taking a position.

    Hope that helps defining these ambiguous terms a bit. :)
     
  21. Sydde macrumors 68020

    Sydde

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    To an atheist, death marks the end of existence. There is a curious sort of symmetry with religious doctrine in that, for the believers say that they will go to be with god when they die: so too will the atheist join god in the state of non-existence.

    Except, we do not truly cease to exist. As long as someone is informed or affected by our words, remembers our face or our touch, we will continue to exist. Yet, one could also say such about Thane MacBeth, Ebeneezer Scrooge, Zaphod Beeblebrox or Harry Potter, whose words and actions may inform or affect those who know of them, even though those people never had physical form. By the same token, one cannot wholly discount the existence of god, because it has had a real effect.

    Mathematically and logically, god makes no sense. Infinite entities cannot meaningfully interact with finite entities. But the fiction of god, the ridiculous, poetic holy writs, make a difference in the world. It is the people who treat that fiction as reality that represent a potential or actual danger to society we must address. If there were a god, I am certain it would be aghast at the things that have been done in its name.
     
  22. iStudentUK macrumors 65816

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    #22
    Yes the terms atheist and agnostic are commony misused. Especially considering their technical meanings are different to their colloquial meanings! The majority of agnostics (including those posting in this very thread) are actually explicit weak atheists.
     
  23. ericrwalker macrumors 68030

    ericrwalker

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    #23
    Right, but everything around you, everything you can see does exist. Science takes something that is tangible and come up with a reasonable theory of why. I don't think it has to be either science or religion. For example. Science would say that water will become a solid at 32F(0C), but it could have been deity that created such a law.

    We could go back to the "chicken or the egg" theory. If God exist what created him? Even the big bang theory starts with the existence of gas and particles floating around that created the universe. Where did they come from? Nobody can explain the creation of the universe. Even if the big bang holds true something had to create those masses in the first place. It's beyond what any human can come to a solid conclusion.



     
  24. hafr macrumors 68030

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    #24
    I think it's quite odd that atheists have the arguments that they have. Saying there is no god because it hasn't been proven is about as unscientific as it gets and is the same kind of blind faith as believing in a particular god is...

    I mean, how do we know that all that we consider to be nature science and so on isn't created by some kind of deity? It's as ignorant to brush aside the existence of something greater as it is believing this greater thing would be micromanaging people's lives, or attributing it with human traits (such as stupid arguments like "oh, but God can't be good because there is evil in the world").

    I see religion as a good thing because of the way it glues societies and people together and offer relief, help and so on (for instance, the suicide rate is lower amongst people being a part of an organized religion than amongst those who aren't). It can help people who are lost and offer a kind of moral compass.

    But on the other hand, just about every religion that I know of is also being used to justify hatred and illogical decisions, which is why I see religion as a bad thing.

    My personal view on the question if there is a god is quite simple: I don't know. But if there is something greater, I have a hard time believing that any of the existing religions (that I've read about) have gotten it right...

    Arguing the existence or non-existence of a deity is arrogant and even less useful than a chocolate vs. vanilla discussion.
     
  25. Zombie Acorn macrumors 65816

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    #25
    The probability of there being a god or gods is as likely as there being a fat man that flies around at night delivering presents on christmas. As long as you accept that and do not attempt to create laws around the concept of the "god" then you have no problems with the atheist community.

    Disproving imaginary beings would be an endless chore, I could come up with 200 different things today that you cannot disprove, but the probability is about as likely as the particles that make up my table separating momentarily and my computer falling through.
     

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