Thursday, April 24, 2008


Up until recently, I, like many others, was under the impression that agnosticism was somewhere inbetween atheism and theism. That it was just "fence sitting". I learned that (a)gnosticism and (a)theism are not mutually exclusive when I watched this video by the Atheist Experience. Now I know that I am an agnostic atheist.

You can also read a great explanation about what agnosticism really is at the Atheist Blogger.

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DrPoodle said...

I doubt very many people are Gnostic Atheists, even Dawkins (who claims to be 99% there) is probably just acting "tough".

The thing that separates gnosticism and agnosticism is the fact that you can't "disprove" an agnostic viewpoint, because the agnostic was always open to the possibility of being wrong.

Cheers for the linkback :D

Justin Mueller said...

Most atheists are likely agnostic atheists. It is very simply a much more simplistic and easily defensible position that the general public can comprehend. However, I personally consider myself a strong atheist, and I do not think it has anything to do with acting "tough".

The strong atheist critique of the idea of gods rests on a few more extensive critiques of the premises of theism that agnostic atheism simply does not address. One of those critiques is in the utterly undefined manner in which the term "god" is thrown about. The agnostic atheist (I'll call it "a/a" for short) asks the theist "where is your evidence of god?" like any good scientist should. However, in doing so, the a/a lets slide a very important aspect of the theist proposition, namely, in asking what on earth is this theist talking about? If I said that a Snarlkafk exists, I would first need to define what predicates make up a Snarlkafk. If I do not, then the very term "Snarlkafk" is linguistically vacuous, and thus absurd and definitively non-existent.

Furthermore, while "god" is, like the Snarlkafk, an empty and absurdly vacuous term and idea, it is even worse off, because the very attempts made to define it have pushed it out of possibility. By being defined as "supernatural" (another undefined term that means nothing in particular), or some other ambiguous term that essentially places it "outside" of the "natural" world (again, whatever that means), any and all attempt at creating an idea of "god" that even potentially COULD mean something becomes impossible, because all descriptive terms are comprehensible only in relation to other concepts and physical things. Thus, "god" ends up lacking both a positive definition, and is then further "defined" into absurdity by saying that this undefined *whatever* exists, without actually meeting any of the requirements for being, namely the actual manifestation of predicates.

It is these inherent and unresolvable contradictions in the notions of "god" and the "supernatural" that inform the strong atheist critique, not a manner of blind certainty or unjustified confidence in the odds falling in our favor.

Just trying to represent for the extreme minority of the A-Team ;).