Nareed
Nareed
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November 21st, 2010 at 12:30:22 PM permalink
Quote: Wizard

Earlier this week I put an atheist on this board, who shall remain nameless, to the test. He is the kind of atheist who believes there is no god in the same way a theist believes there is one. The other kind of atheist, like me, does not believe either way, because of a perceived lack of evidence either way.



If you don't believe either way, then wouldn't you be agnostic?

Anyway, I don't believe in God (or any type of deity) because there is no evidence to support His (or their) existence. I am open to such evidence, should any ever be found. I also don't believe in the Loch Ness Monster, Big Foot, the chupacabra, the tooth fairy, etc etc for the same reason.
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weaselman
weaselman
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November 21st, 2010 at 12:37:04 PM permalink
Quote: Wizard

The other kind of atheist, like me, does not believe either way, because of a perceived lack of evidence either way.


You are not an atheist then, rather an agnostic.


Quote:

Does this contract look fair? I welcome all comments.



Item #3 does not make very much sense to me. If you buy something, you should be able to do what you please with it. As it is, it looks more like a soul loan contract with $10 as collateral, than a purchase and sale agreement.
"When two people always agree one of them is unnecessary"
MathExtremist
MathExtremist
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November 21st, 2010 at 1:08:40 PM permalink
Quote: weaselman

You are not an atheist then, rather an agnostic.



Without weighing in on the rest of the topic, this is an important distinction. A lack of belief in one or more deities is different than a belief in zero deities. Atheism is technically the latter, though the word is often used to describe either. Agnosticism holds that the answer to whether a deity exists is unknowable (either way). It boils down to an epistemological position - both theism and atheism are predicated on the question of deism being answerable (one affirmatively, one negatively), while agnosticism holds that "not only do I not know whether a deity exists but there's no way to find out".
"In my own case, when it seemed to me after a long illness that death was close at hand, I found no little solace in playing constantly at dice." -- Girolamo Cardano, 1563
mkl654321
mkl654321
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November 21st, 2010 at 1:28:14 PM permalink
Quote: MathExtremist

Without weighing in on the rest of the topic, this is an important distinction. A lack of belief in one or more deities is different than a belief in zero deities. Atheism is technically the latter, though the word is often used to describe either. Agnosticism holds that the answer to whether a deity exists is unknowable (either way). It boils down to an epistemological position - both theism and atheism are predicated on the question of deism being answerable (one affirmatively, one negatively), while agnosticism holds that "not only do I not know whether a deity exists but there's no way to find out".



a- as a prefix: lacking something, without something, as in "amoral" or "anaemic".

So "atheism" means without "theism", i.e., without belief in a deity or deities. The semantic question is, therefore, whether a lack of belief in a deity equates to belief that there is no deity. This is where the agnostic comes in (I believe, heh, heh). The atheist who rejects religious belief does not necessarily advocate the nonexistence of a deity, only that he rejects the idea of such a thing existing without proof. Logically, for such a person, there would be no reason to "believe" that there is no God, either---no evidence of THAT.

The distinction is that the agnostic says that there is no evidence one way or another; the atheist says that lacking such evidence, the burden of proof is on those who say the Man in the Sky exists, and until such proof is forthcoming, the default setting should be disbelief, AS IT SHOULD BE for ANY fantastical claim.
The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one. The happiness of credulity is a cheap and dangerous quality.---George Bernard Shaw
Wizard
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Wizard
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November 21st, 2010 at 1:50:27 PM permalink
This is a spin-off of the the thread Soul purchase contract. I moved the threads above here, because they got off topic from the issue of the contract. Here is what I wrote about the definition of atheism myself, before reading the two posts above.

----------------------

In Greek, the prefix of a at the beginning of a word means "not." So atheism should mean without theism. However, I would have to grant that popular usage has caused some confusion. Let's look at the dictionary:


a·the·ist 墨oun
a person who denies or disbelieves the existence of a supreme being or beings. -- Websters.com.' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/atheist]Websters.com.

Denies is a stronger word that disbelieves. I would say the "denies" atheist specifically believes there isn't a god. The "disbelieves" believes atheist (like me) could mean the person either denies or is on the fence.

Now let's look at the definition of agnostic.

ag·nos·tic   墨oun

a person who holds that the existence of the ultimate cause, as god, and the essential nature of things are unknown and unknowable, or that human knowledge is limited to experience.

That could describe me too. However, in popular usage, I've known people who believed in god, but didn't subscribe to any particular religion, call themselves agnostics.

I prefer atheist for myself. However, if I'm incorrect about these definitions am open to correction.
It's not whether you win or lose; it's whether or not you had a good bet.
mkl654321
mkl654321
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November 21st, 2010 at 1:54:00 PM permalink
Quote: Wizard

I prefer atheist for myself. However, if I'm incorrect about these definitions am open to correction.



For myself, I prefer "Godless commie". And "Oregonian".
The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one. The happiness of credulity is a cheap and dangerous quality.---George Bernard Shaw
Wizard
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Wizard
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November 21st, 2010 at 2:01:59 PM permalink
Quote: mkl654321

The distinction is that the agnostic says that there is no evidence one way or another; the atheist says that lacking such evidence, the burden of proof is on those who say the Man in the Sky exists, and until such proof is forthcoming, the default setting should be disbelief, AS IT SHOULD BE for ANY fantastical claim.



This puts my position perfectly. I view belief in a supreme being like belief in Bigfoot or Santa Claus. While I don't rule out any of them 100%, I am highly skeptical until I seem some strong evidence, and I don't think it is worthy of much of my time discussing it until such evidence is presented.
It's not whether you win or lose; it's whether or not you had a good bet.
DJTeddyBear
DJTeddyBear
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November 21st, 2010 at 5:22:52 PM permalink
I don't know enough about the actual word "Atheism" or "Agnostic" to give a definitive answer, but there definitely is a difference between someone who passively does not believe in God, vs someone who actively rejects the existence of God.

Those of you that have been paying attention, know that I am a Reverend. A very non-traditional Reverend.

The Church of Spiritual Humanism, thru which I was ordained, has beliefs similar to Nareed's position:
Quote: Nareed

I don't believe in God (or any type of deity) because there is no evidence to support His (or their) existence. I am open to such evidence, should any ever be found.

When I talk to my wedding clients, I say that the religion believes spirituality comes from within, and not from a higher power.

However, it does hold that "Humanism" is different than "Atheism" or "Agnostic" - but don't ask me what or how.



By coincidence, I was talking about this very topic with my wife today. Basically I boiled it down to: God is an invention of man, not the other way around.
I invented a few casino games. Info: http://www.DaveMillerGaming.com/ 覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧 Superstitions are silly, childish, irrational rituals, born out of fear of the unknown. But how much does it cost to knock on wood? 😁
Mosca
Mosca
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November 21st, 2010 at 5:27:56 PM permalink
I think any scientific atheist would look at evidence for a god, if it were convincing. But I don't think that makes them agnostics, except in the way the sets overlap. It might be better to say that agnostics think that evidence might someday come up, and atheists are pretty convinced it won't.
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EvenBob
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November 21st, 2010 at 6:13:28 PM permalink
Quote: Mosca

I think any scientific atheist would look at evidence for a god,



For most atheists, the denial of a god IS their religion. They are far more passionate about it than most religious people are about their religions, which makes no sense. Why be passionate about something you claim doesn't exist? I don't believe in Bigfoot or extraterrestrials, but I don't get all worked up about it when faced with people who do. I could care less.
"It's not enough to succeed, your friends must fail." Gore Vidal

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