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29-December-2013 / quantumsniper1

Why atheism is logically unsustainable

(Article, 237 words. Est. 1 mins average reading)

Those who have studied pure logic will know. There are only three possible logical states with regard to faith;

Hey! - At least I have friends!

Hey! – At least I have friends

1.   I am a believer. I.e. I have faith, and I promote the idea that there IS a god. And I do what I can to support his principles

2.  I am an agnostic (i.e. meaning literally; from the greek, “I do not yet recognize”). Where insufficient evidence has yet been presented to tip the balance of my opinion in favour of belief.

3.   I am atheist. i.e. I know for sure – beyond all reasonable doubt – that “there is no god”.

Only Number 3, here is the fool.

He who proclaims with absolute certainty “there is no god” whilst having at his disposal only the smallest fraction of the Universe’s information known to him, is merely expressing an unprovable opinion. 

Number 1, above suffers no logical inconsistency as does the Atheist, because people of faith are – by definition – acting upon more than just mere logic. They are acting and producing life choices based on faith.

An atheist purports to use logic and reason. Because of this, he reaches a logical fallacy that destroys his own position. He says; “Even though I can’t know for sure, I still know there is no god”.

Eh? Say what?  But what you’ve just done is actually define an Agnostic. Checkmate!

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16 Comments

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  1. Atomic Mutant / Dec 29 2013 1:12 PM

    Your scale is simply wrong, as the opposite of “I believe X” is NOT “I believe the opposite of X”, but “I do NOT believe X”. So, you missed something there.

    Which leads us to the simple fact, that many atheists themselves define their atheism as a lack of belief.So, if someone says “I am an atheist”, what he says is “I do not believe in any gods.”. It’s about a feeling or its absence. It’s not about what he can prove, it’s just about what he believes (or not). So, most atheists I know say “I do not believe in god”, but not “I believe there is no god.” or even “I know absolutely sure that there is no god”.

    Most atheists have no problem with agnosticism, as they simply agree that every non-falsifiable thing COULD exist. That is true for invisible flying unicorns, for fairies, etc. – and for god. Of course there is a chance that there is a god sitting in a gap somewhere – there is just no reason to assume that for atheists at the moment, no evidence. And of course, honest Christians also have no problem with agnosticism, as they say “I cannot prove god, but I make this leap of faith and BELIEVE he exists.”.

    So, honestly, I don’t know any atheists who claim with absolute certainty that there is no god. Some simply say that god does not exist with the same certainty that the sun will come up tomorrow again: Sure, there is a chance that all we know is wrong and the sun won’t – but it sure doesn’t seem likely. And yes, that’s effectively “beyond reasonable doubt”. We cannot be 100% sure, but we sure don’t have any reasonable doubt at the moment on which we have to act. So, it’s somehow ironic, that you logic is flawed: “Beyond reasonable doubt” it not “absolute certainty”.

    Sorry, mate, but you should try to LISTEN to the people you want to talk about first before making assumptions that only prove one thing: You don’t know what you are talking about. You just sat at a game of checkers, put a salt shaker on the board and called “Checkmate!”.

    • quantumsniper1 / Dec 31 2013 1:00 AM

      Thank you Atomic Mutant for a most insightful reply.

      My definition of Atheism was intentionally set to narrow parameters for me to identify a glaring logical flaw in a common Atheist thesis.

      You have rightly pointed out that the opposite of “I believe X” is NOT “I believe the opposite of {X}” but is “I do NOT believe {X}” in pure logic parlance.

      I note however, that in your reply you appeal to the notion that ‘many atheists … define their atheism as a lack of belief’. Moreover, you then expand upon that conception by again rightly pointing out that “beyond reasonable doubt”, is not the same as “absolute certainty”.

      Here is my point:
      The OED (Oxford English Dictionary) Concise edition defines “Atheism” as … ~ /n the theory or belief that God does not exist… atheist n. atheistic … [f. Gk atheos without God f. a- not + theos god]

      So… can you honestly make a clear distinction between “I believe {God does not exist}” and “I do NOT believe {God does not (redundant double negative) exist/s}”? Are you sure these AREN’T the exact same thing?

      All I’m doing is imposing the “absolute certainty” imperative into the “beyond reasonable doubt” debate. I am, in effect, saying that any atheist who is even SLIGHTLY UNSURE (< 1 millionth of a percent) that God exists … is in fact an Agnostic whether they admit it or no.

      I mean, if you burn all your own bridges, what do you have to gain? A True Atheist lives under the mantra: "I accept there's no God. I'm clever. I am not answerable to anyone but me. In fact I probably AM God!" Is that not the highest level of masturbatory self-nihilism? A true atheist pledges no responsibility to improve the world to anyone but themselves …. IF they feel like it at the time." Unfortunately, that level of championing for a better world is null-targeted and is merely luke-warm at best.

      I trust that, one day soon, you too will put aside your distractions, and join me in the good fight. One with steely hope and grace against oppression.

      Oh! By the way. I do LISTEN to people. As I have today to your point of view. FYI. I used to be an atheist.

      As I have matured, however, I am now sworn to taking more definitive action with my words. I DO truly want to change the world for the better. It is not enough for me now to just blend-in to a world teeming with "not quite so sure" folks. Nor do I want to "just fit-in" with confused intellectuals who mask their lack of action with distracting semantic debates. From my point of view, well-intentioned people must do more than just spectate and wait for others to take action and responsibility.

      My use of the 'Checkmate' phrase was merely as a punctuation. I wanted to hold the debate on the logical level rather than invite emotional rejoinders. It was designed to incite the reader to develop their own insight (if you will). To encourage people to think. By the heat of your replies, I am happy to see the article achieve this goal in part.

      I trust I do not overly 'assault' your salt shaker analogy with my reply. But I play chess, not checkers. Now I put you into 'Check'. And thank you for your consideration.

      — QuantumSniper

      • Atomic Mutant / Dec 31 2013 2:46 PM

        Let’s start with the important point… Uncertainty.

        Unfortunately, your idea simply makes the word “agnosticism” completely meaningless. Let’s look at an example:

        Can be sure sure (with 100% certainty) that the sun will still be there tomorrow? Nope. We cannot. To be absolutely sure of that, we would have to disprove EVERY possible way how the sun could suddenly vanish. Impossible.

        And that’s that. If you ask for 100% certainty, you will find it for nothing, meaning that agnosticism would be the only correct way for everything – and thus, totally meaningless, without any use in reality. Thus, we simply don’t ask for 100% certainty for something positive (we can disprove things, because one counter-example if often enough, but we often cannot prove them with 100% certainty). Never. Science doesn’t do that and much less do sane people. We simply ask to be reasonably sure.
        So, yes, you could try to ask for absolute certainty and everyone with half a brain would have to call himself an agnostic – but that’s obvious. In other words: No shit, Sherlock. But it would also make the word “agnostic” meaningless – if everyone is, it doesn’t serve as a distinction to anything else.

        So, yes, I am an agnostic. But I am also an atheist. Simple as that. Agnosticism is about knowledge – Atheism is about belief. I know, we cannot know for sure, but I still don’t believe.

        So, you believed yourself to be god? That’s not called “atheism”, that’s called “insanity”. Honestly, no atheist I ever met claimed that. Some believers did (the whole “god IS the universe, thus we are all part of god, thus I am (part of) god!” thingy, you know). And, to be quite honest, I have asked myself often: “Where exactly is the difference between thinking you ARE god and thinking that you are SO right, that every thought of you exactly reflects god’s opinion?”. Many believers are so absolutely sure that what THEY believe is 100%, absolutely, the will of god. It almost seems as if they think that they can command god (especially the ones who threaten punishment for everyone who doesn’t agree with them). Personally, I always felt that this should be called “blasphemy”, but who am I to judge?

        And who are you to define what a “true” atheist is? A “true” atheist is someone who doesn’t believe in god, end of story. Whatever else he may be doesn’t follow from atheism. I have met many atheists with many different philosophies, some which I agree, some not (except on the atheism part).
        It’s always nice to see believers pat on their own back in and claim that atheists are no good people, as it just proves their own arrogance.

        I don’t doubt that you were an atheist (as I said, there is not much to it), I just doubt that you thought much about it. It’s easy not to believe, never think about it and then get convinced by some arguments that sound plausible, just because you never thought about your own point of view before. It works the other way around, too: If you are Christian by name only, it’s likely that you will be convinced by the first argument for atheism that sounds good to you (no matter if the argument is actually valid or sound).
        So, claiming to have been an atheist doesn’t change anything. It doesn’t make your argument better. So why do it? I was a Christian once (raised as one, served as an altar boy, the whole shebang) – I just never believed. It took a while to realize that and made me think about man things.

      • quantumsniper1 / Jan 16 2014 1:34 PM

        Mr Atomic Mutant

        Thank you again for taking time to make another couple of considered replies.

        Re your comments/replies submitted on 2013/12/31 at 2:46 PM..

        Look. I am not looking to point fingers or punish you, or any other thinking person who takes some time to think about the subject. But we can still take you on as a case-study.

        Unlike yourself, there are many who assert Atheism “Just because”. I.e. Just to be lazy. Just to taunt. Just to denounce low-IQ peer ridicule. Just to invite debate by controversial postulate. Not You, of course.

        Essentially; Methinks you doth protest too much in suggesting that —

        1. It was appropriate to boil down my previous claim to be an Atheist to a simplistic “So, You believed yourself to be god?…” (Para. 7 of your First reply.)

        – and –

        2. Broadly defined Agnosticism as a term is “meaningless”, (Para. 4 of your First reply.)

        – and –

        3. that Believers are “insane” (rather than possibly strategically pro-active), (see last sentence of Para. 4 of your First reply.)

        – and –

        4. that you may deny Me as an journalist, the right to define a “True” Atheist whilst then reserving that right exclusively as your own self-appointment in the very next sentence. (Para. 9 of your First reply.)

        So lets break it down and elaborate with reference to your replies;:

        1. I didn’t think I was god. If it really matters for you to know, I was a solipsist. (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solipsism)

        It is presumptuous and misrepresentative to paint me (as someone who once claimed to be atheist), as believing “I am / thought I was / to be god”.

        I was merely being rhetorical in my First reply to you. I was just giving an extreme example of a delusional Atheism who is no less insane than the “god talks to me in my prayers” theists.

        Sure; I was at one time an atheist who felt unaccountable to the universe, and this led to a solipsistic philosophy. At the time, I did reason Cogito Ergo Sum (“I think therefore I am”). So I maybe believed my thoughts are all there is.

        However, you border on “badgering the witness” to claim that my particular variety of atheism back then was that “every thought exactly reflects god’s opinion”, OR that some Believers think their every thought is 100% absolutely the will of god”. Extreme irrational and deluded Theists OR Atheists may claim that, but I personally did not.

        Take a look at the former comment by David, above. He has described (if I may excerpt) the state of being “Gnostic Atheist”, and “Agnostic Atheist”. Since you clearly say you do not occupy the extreme ‘stupid’ camp of claiming you outright “RECOGNIZE there is NO God”, then you are an “Agnostic Atheist”. (i.e. “I do not believe in God, because I have NOT YET RECOGNIZED”).

        Why is this so controversial to you? Unless you are, truly, trying to say something more your own personal brand of Atheism which you have not specified, then;

        ==> your “Atheism” is in the category of “Agnostic Atheism”.
        ==> Cancel out common denominators, (the word “Atheism” from both sides).
        ==> ergo you are therefore AGNOSTIC

        It should be clear to you in this debate that BOTH You and I occupy the middle ground between these two extremes of Atheist -v- Theist. So you need not use unnecessarily abrasive assertiveness (as in your First reply) to suggest that *I* as a current non-atheist claim absolute certainty over all knowledge and belief (of god or whatever).

        As I’ve said: in my simple article, all I’m suggesting is that “if you have less than 100.000% certainty, you are therefore “Agnostic”, not “Atheist”.

        2. My Article definition of agnosticism is not “meaningless”.

        My thesis in the original article is to intentionally keep the debate at a basic level. This thereby sets strict parameters on the breadth of possible arguments.

        Nevertheless, since you wish to play the “nothing is certain in the long run” card. And in so doing, you thereby invite the scarecrow of “ultimate meaninglessness” to stand as vanguard against any potential breakdown of logic. I remind you; Pure Logic and Philosophy are not daunted by the concept of “Meaninglessness” as a linguistic construct. Logic works exactly because it relies on identifying and distinguishing labels, contradictions, paradoxes, fallacies, consolidating truth, and then ever moving forward.

        I fully agree with you that it is folly to ask for 100% certainty. Your use of the “sun might vanish tomorrow” example is one I regularly use myself in debates. It perfectly illustrates that “100% certainty” is a fools errand.

        Consequently; in like spirit to your reply, I ditto your: “No shit, Sherlock” to confirm no “100% certainty” for the universe at large. Of course, certainty can be improved by more knowledge or lateral thinking, but still not to the 100% level.

        Less than 100% Certainty is what we all settle-for every day. But this < 100% does not automatically imply 'everything is meaningless'. And it CERTAINLY does not mean that enlarging and clarifying the definition of an "Agnostic" should make that term meaningless.

        In the universe of my article, anybody who is a 'Religious Zealot' on the one hand, or an 'Avowed Atheist' on the other uses those labels with peril. As neither end of the spectrum can claim pure empirical logic to justify their position.

        In the article, the definition of "Agnostic" allows it to act as a slush-fund that supports ALL classes of people who "do not yet recognize" god. This includes all classes of —

        – The Undecideds,
        – The 'I-never-thought-about-its',
        – The former-more-christian-now-more-atheist (and vice-versa),
        – The mal-informed (I was originally told god exists but now I'm told something else),

        The parameters of being Agnostic do NOT, however, include the extremes of the spectrum. Where madness or "insanity" rules.

        "Agnosticism" most vehemently DOESNT include that class of completely deluded person who fail to acknowledge they have no capacity to know with 100% certainty that god EXISTS or DOES NOT EXIST.

        You are not in that category. And neither am I.

        As an Atheist, you are actually in the category who claims: "I have not seen, therefore I do not believe in god".

        As a Theist, I am in the category where I claim: "I have not seen, but I choose to Act [as if] in [blind] Christian faith with every motive and decision".

        In this world of less-than-certainty, however, I can say from my experience, it is much harder to constantly find positive ways to be a "Believer", and to elicit grace towards fellow humans. It is, I think, easier and less courageous to capitulate to morbidity and confusion by claiming "Since I've not seen god, I will be an atheist and stop bothering being good except as a buttress against my inner fears of being marginalized by society."

        3. Believers are not necessarily 'insane / simple / stupid'.

        In your Second reply on 31-Dec-2013 – where you tempered your previous derision with a more diplomatic summary – you gave two categories of Believer. By the end of that Second reply you had essentially usurped the definition of "I do not belive in god" as being true for all atheists, whilst selectively ignoring the fact that all agnostics ALSO fall into this same category because they 'as yet' have not found [a] god.

        My thesis is you are only a TRUE ATHEIST if you claim "There is no god" as if this were a 100% certain fact. In an unqualified discussion, the phrase "I am an a-theist" (i.e. "A-" as in "Anti~/Against~/Averse~/Non~" and "Theist" as in God-Advocate) is tantamount to you saying "there IS no god" as if you HAD that 100% certainty.

        The word 'belief' is of course problematic. Because neither You nor I have defined limits or paramaters of this word it may only be useful as an adjective rather than a noun.

        In that regard, my article itself, defines "Believer" in a quite narrow context. I use it purely as an Adjective. I do not base my definition of theism/agnosticism/atheism on the word "Believer" as a noun. "Believer" as a word cannot be entrusted with that burden. The word "Believer" is so nebulous in connotation that it is only proper to use it purely as a Descriptive. I think, however, that you DO use it as a Noun in your reply.

        Anyway, your reply reveals some confusion on this point. So, for the record:

        "Belief" is defined by Concise OED as "..conviction, ..firm opinion, ..an acceptance, ..a trust or confidence". And it defines a "Believer" as being "an adherent in the efficacy of something".

        {NOTE: Although I admit that using the dictionary for definitions CAN lead to ambivalence, it is still the best thing we've got. And there is no misrepresentation at all to use the OED to reliably define "Atheism" as I have done in my previous reply to you. Especially since I have already distinguished any cause for concern over the word "Believer" as preferentially being an Adjective rather than Noun.}

        So; Isnt it common sense that Belief can ONLY be based on Knowledge? If you say you just base your beliefs on a "feeling" you are no better than the so-called "insane" Christian Believer.

        Therefore it is purely incorrect to say "Agnosticism is about knowledge – Atheism is about belief" (at your First reply Para. 6). Quite to the contrary, BOTH Agnosticism and Atheism are about having some level of KNOWLEDGE (irrelevantly either correct/incorrect), which THEN leads each camp to one or the other BELIEF.

        If you come to an atheist's conclusion of "I do not believe in god" based on NO knowledge, lack of knowledge, or false-knowledge then your consequent belief ("…an opinion or acceptance"), will merely be either pot-luck correct or usually just plain wrong.

        To say you are both an "agnostic and an atheist" in Para. 6 is tantamount to saying your atheism has NO KNOWLEDGEABLE or LOGICAL foundation.

        Mr Atomic Mutant; You may believe whatever you want. CALL yourself whatever you want. You basically admit you don't know any better. In fact, thats what an agnostic claiming to be an atheist actually is. You want to claim to be someone closer to 100% certain about your atheism? If so, you fall afoul of your own logic because you are pretending toward 100% KNOWING that god does not exist.

        On the other hand, if you want to claim you are atheist because you have rejected the "stupid simplicity" and "emotive mantras" of Theists ALONE, that's NOT what an atheist is. Dont mistake your rebelliouslness against the disciplines of faith as cut-and-dried Atheism.

        Moreover, you have no monopoly over either "science", the scientific method, nor claims of "sanity" any more than anyone else in the full spectrum of human knowledge and belief. If you, personally, CANNOT say ABSOLUTELY that "there is no god", (Para. 3 of your Second reply), then Agnostic you will remain till your dying day.

        Moreover, dont CALL yourself an Atheist unless you presume 100% certainty like the pretender Richard Dawkins who calls himself an Atheist because he cant abide with any world-view that breaches the limited logical constraints of Evolutionary Theory.

        By the way, Dawkins does not espouse an evolving "philosophy". He uses "reason in seeking truth and knowledge … of the principles governing existence". See (OED on the definition of "Philosophy").

        However, he is overcome with his own academic imperiousness in Darwinian Theory masquerading as his own personal "religion". His is just a more sophisticated form of "Show me some more evidence, and I'll tell you thats STILL not enough". This is not the spirit of philosophy, its just damned stubborn-ness.

        4. The definition of "True Atheism".

        Of course, whether or not You, personally, as an avowed 'atheist' have ever met or associated with such individuals (i.e. Atheists who say 100% there is no god), and claim to know the fullness of the minds and beliefs of ALL these so-called atheists, is neither here nor there. You have used the phrase "I have never met an atheist who (whatever)…" as though your own experiences are completely definitive of the category "atheist". This is the "Argumentum Ad Ignorantium" Fallacy and the Strawman Fallacy in earnest.

        Let me be clear here. I dont have a problem with you at all. I know you are trying. And I know you are probably still pissy about being pushed into nonsensical rituals as a christian alter-boy or whatever. Also, it is NOT unreasonable for you to seek empirical evidence as your be-all-and-end-all. I just think its a limited world view. It lacks an imperative. It just "IS". And by that virtue it is an appeal to "existentialism" which is a notion I suffered through, and abandoned, in my late 20's.

        So; for the record, I now say: I am no god. I would never presume to be so stupid in ignoring worldly evidence. Also, MY thoughts do not emanate FROM G/god. They are just simple constructs of a calculus of trial and error over my decades of life so far. I know some good science. I know my logic. I know my desire to be courageous and act with grace towards others. I know that it is not illogical for me to define a Platonic Universal known as a "spirit", (a "holy spirit" if you will) and to thereby turn that Universal into a Particular in my everyday life. (See: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/universals-medieval/)

        I dont believe in the anthropo-morphic concept of god as Old Man in White Robes playing a Harp in the Clouds, and I have yet to find a description of God that is satisfactorily definitive to all people except as a metaphor or "Coping Mechanism". I subscribe to the BELIEF that, whilst I am alive, I should offer some accountability. If I can help others through their confusion to avoid being misanthropes, then I will offer my assistance as an imperative.

        My adherence to Christian ideals is what I will label for you as ANTI-ATHEISTIC, and ANTI-AGNOSTIC. There is no psychosis or delusion or mental illness in this conviction. My KNOWLEDGE leads me to BELIEVE in a positive and pro-active pragmatism and ideology.

        People may call me whatever they want. Call me "Christian" if it helps you get through the day to distinguish Me from You. "Agnostic" or "Believer" if you want to use these words as definitive nouns despite that I mean them as Adjectives.

        However, to give the impression that *I* personally, live by a credo of being "100% certain" is somewhat bullying, and inflammatory. As we've both agreed, above, such beliefs are pure folly.

        The only thing I am "100% certain" about, is there is more to learn, and more that can/should be done with my life in this body / corporeal vehicle.

        In my last reply to you, the key passage I wrote was … "All I’m doing is imposing the “absolute certainty” imperative into the “beyond reasonable doubt” debate. I am, in effect, saying that any atheist who is even SLIGHTLY UNSURE (< 1 millionth of a percent) that God exists … is in fact an Agnostic whether they admit it or no." …

        We do not necessarily need to herein define every flavour, spectrum, class, category, or nuance of all alleged Atheists. Nor which sect YOU personally belong to as if to discredit my assertions. I simply want people to be "absolutely 100% certain" that their beliefs are "beyond reasonable doubt" if they come to a debate.

        I never denied there was a class of atheists (such as yourself) who seek to be "absolutely 100% certain" that proof of god should be "beyond reasonable doubt". Self-styled atheists who have that "BELIEF" are a dime-a-dozen. What I am talking about is a world-view that leaves empirical proof way back at the Starting Line. To me you are still definitively Agnostic despite any protestations.

        As you've said in your own words; "I know, we cannot know for sure, but I still don't believe". Therein, Mr Atomic Mutant, lies the rub.

        – QuantumSniper

  2. rayanzehn / Dec 29 2013 5:37 PM

    You confuse atheism here with agnosticism. Atheists have no faith, which is different from knowing that there is no god. Agnostics question the definition of god, not the existence. When proper definitions are applied, I don’t think your argument stands to reason anymore.

    • quantumsniper1 / Dec 31 2013 1:25 AM

      Thank you Rayanzhen
      May I kindly direct you to my reply to Mr. Atomic Mutant, above.

      In that reply, I think you will find I have applied the proper definition of atheism according to the OED. I.e. “Atheism is the theory or belief there is no God.”

      Pursuant to that definition, an atheist having “no faith” is merely a subset of the larger set of those persons who “do not believe in god”.

      You are right in that “Agnostics question the definition of god”. But that is also only a subset of the larger/fuller conception of an Agnostic.

      My knowledge of the original greek derivation of the word “agnosto” (meaning “unrecognized”), is on all-fours with the Concise OED definition as being “a person who believes that nothing is known, or can be known, of the existence or nature of God, or of anything beyond material phenomena”.

      But it is a little more than that. Beyond the Dictionary, to be “agnostos” means that one invites the question of [God’s] existence. To be truly “agnostos” or “agnostic”, is not just about inhabiting a linguistic-only universe.

      Thank you very kindly for your thoughts / reply.

      — QuantumSniper

      • Atomic Mutant / Dec 31 2013 2:49 PM

        The problem is, that a dictionary is not a philosophical book. Thus, it, inevitably, has to make things easy and thus can also get things wrong. There are different opinions about the definition of “atheism”, as you can see by looking it up in Wikipedia. Even among atheists, there is not absolute consent about it, but one thing is quite certain:

        “I do not believe in god” is true for ALL atheists.

        “I believe there is no god” it NOT.

        Thus, I prefer the usage of the first one, simply because everyone who calls himself an atheists can agree to it, while not every atheist can agree to the second.

  3. hermit73 / Dec 29 2013 6:07 PM

    Strawman. I’ve never met an atheist who claims #3. Instead of claiming to prove a negative, atheist lack of belief is due to lack of evidence. Reference Bertrand Russell’s celestial teapot or Richard Dawkins statement that on a 7 point scale the most an atheist can claim is 6.

    However, some religions do claim infallibility, so #1 could be rephrased as “I know for sure there is a God”. But that equally would be a strawman.

    Finally, note that agnosticism is not a statement of belief but a statement of knowledge. One can say one doesn’t know, but believes (making one agnostic and theist); or the one doesn’t know and doesn’t believe (an agnostic atheist). But being agnostic by itself tells us nothing about what one actually does believe.

  4. David / Dec 30 2013 4:21 AM

    Gnosticism and theism are two completely different questions. You can be an agnostic atheist, gnostic atheist, gnostic theist, or agnostic theist. I would argue that gnostic theists (those who KNOW there is a god or gods) and gnostic atheists (those who KNOW there is no god or gods) are stupid.

    However, good luck finding an atheist who tells you that they know there is no god. We recognize we can’t disprove god but here’s the kicker, we don’t need to. We don’t make a claim. We only say that we do not believe in a deity. Therefore the one making a claim (I believe in a deity) has the burden of proof.

    There would be no such thing as atheism if there weren’t religions. After all we have no word for people who don’t believe in unicorns. Or people who don’t practice astrology.

    • quantumsniper1 / Jan 16 2014 2:51 PM

      David

      Excellent concise and precise observations. Thank you for that. I only hope to respond as formidably.

      I will say that I almost completely agree with your first paragraph. Such that I agree with —

      (a) the defining of the spectrum of Gnostic Atheist –> Agnostic Atheist –> Agnostic Theist –> Gnostic Theist.

      and

      (b) it is most likely that Gnostic ATHEISTS or Gnostic THEISTS at the ends of the the spectrum are likely to be possibly “stupid”. (OR, I would add, lacking in knowledge or confidence of conviction)

      Truly, it may be almost impossible to find a thinking atheist who claims “there is no god”. They wouldn’t dare lest they – similarly to the Christian believer – be stymied by the Burden of Proof (or dis-proving as the case may be).

      I tip my hat at your clever invocation of the requirement of Burden of Proof.

      However, I see that to be a red herring, because – as I’m sure you will admit from own experiences – so called “Believers in the Spirit” dont base their “religious beliefs” on Empirical Proof. They base them on doctrinally defined “Faith”.

      So therefore “Proof” has no relevance. (i.e. You can’t force a Christian to empirically prove there is a god, any more than you can demand an Atheist to substantiate their views using “spirituality”). I think you’ll find these are mutually exclusive universes.

      Your Third Paragraph appears to intone that Atheism is a “necessary evil” manifesting into existence purely to counteract (perhaps) the rigidity or ritualism of established religions. Something I also have no disagreement with.

      Now; Just for the record I say this —

      *I*, personally, am happy to occupy either the “mostly agnostic” camp … or on days when I feel particularly pro-active … will label myself as a “person of strong faith based on a christian value-system”.

      I am prepared to accept that Atheism may have its place as a sociological and historical counterpoint to those who espouse intellect and faith together.

      However, I DO find it curious that the since —

      1. “Belief” is defined by Concise OED as “..conviction, ..firm opinion, ..an acceptance, ..a trust or confidence”.

      – and –

      2. “Atheism” is defined by Concise OED as “..The theory or belief there is no God”.

      … and if so, that tediously self-acclaimed Atheists will repeatedly skirt the deepest adoption of the defined meaning of Atheism, yet boldly use it as the label for themselves as if it meant something else.

      Perhaps it is intellectual mischeviousness on their part. They want someone else to do the real work. Someone else to commit to the Conviction of their action. Someone else to take the blame or the fall for commencing the Good Fight.

      After all, no “reasonable person” would stand up to the Power of Rome just to be cut down as an inspiration martyr. Would they?

      Thank you, David, for furthering this debate.

      – QuantumSniper

  5. William Owies / Feb 14 2014 3:32 AM

    Thanks, QuantumSniper. I’ve always believed that.

  6. UberTheRandom Randomizer / Feb 24 2016 5:48 PM

    That article is fucking ridiculous. It is attempting an obvious strawman. Atheists are what he is calling agnostics in this article and the definition of agnostic is not even listed. Gnosticism has to do with knowledge, not with “recognition”, “literally” or otherwise. In short, the author of that article is a fucking idiot at best and blatantly dishonest at worst. 

    • quantumsniper1 / Mar 2 2016 6:02 PM

      Hey. UberRandom Guy;
      Firstly; watch your fucking mouth! Whew! now that you know that I, too, am susceptible to juvenile emotionalism. (Like for like, unfortunately)
      Now. Lets get down to business.

      Secondly I’m sorry you feel that way about my article. Other than the use of the artistic flourish “Checkmate!” at the end of the article, which perhaps a fellow who thinks himself both Atheist and mentally nimble might object to, I don’t see why you would need to be so caustic, vitriolic and dismissive. At any rate, Argumenta ad Hominem are beneath my dignity. I just find them tiresome.

      Thirdly; All this simple article does is exercise some basic logic, and the intentional use of some fully self-contained, self-encapsulated definitions to avoid abuse by purveyors of self-serving fallacy. Its job is to just point out to people that they “just don’t know everything even though they think they might”. You cant believe this is actually dangerous do you or dishonest do you? Is it not possible that SOMEONE who might read this article wouldn’t find it useful?

      I’m just hoping to elevate the reader to where they begin to exercise slightly better discernment. I just pose a simple socratic thesis, and let them fight with their own demons on the way out from there.

      You must appreciate that there are many lay persons who are so esconced in the matrix of the material world, or with their own ego, that they haven’t really broken free of worldly paradigms. In fact, I think there are all-too-many people out there who hold fast to under-developed understandings of the true disciplines exercised by many functioning high-level proclaimed atheists, and high-level proclaimed practitioners of theology/religion? So I’m convinced that this article is perfectly adequate for my intended purpose.

      By my pointing out that most people remain ignorant of the technicalities of both ends of the spectrum, and plugging them firmly in a lay definition of “Agnostic” I believe I have achieved my objectives of making people think a bit more about the subject, and about their own place in the universe.

      Fourth; When you say “Gnosticism” is “about knowledge, not recognition’, you are NOT (I’m sure) referring to Capital-G “Gnosticism” which is the second century pre-Christian movement. Because I never made reference to that historical context.

      If so, you must therefore be referring to ‘gnosticism’ as an adjective, and as a counter-point to “Agnostic-ism”. Again, if so, I ask: ‘don’t you think that under a common-man lay definition “Knowledge about knowledge” is not actually the same thing as “Recognition”? ie. Literally and figuratively.

      Fifth; Following on, I thought I HAD clearly defined “Agnostic” (see Item 2 in the article), and that I based it on a simple common-man definition. I have chosen to use the root origin Greek word “gnossis”. Meaning “to Recognize”. Consequently, I simply meant that an “A-GNOSTIC” is therefore the opposite: I.e. Someone who semantically has “not yet come to recognize” (a ‘god’ in this instance).

      Sixth; Now; About You. On your good days I’m sure you’ll admit that your own resorting to name-calling, and the use of phrases like “fucking idiot” and “fucking ridiculous” about the writer and the article display a juvenile tendency toward bullying, abusiveness, and emotionalism on your part. That can’t be good for your psyche/soul at home, can it?

      Finally, and seriously Dude; Before you come to my blog next time, read My House Rules (in the menu above) about the use of courteous language. This is imperative here. Otherwise I will take one look at your carefully-crafted diatribe reply based on some kind of bullying Argumentum Ad Baculum, looks-like-another-angry-troll-to-me, and I will hit the delete key without a single afterthought.

      – QS

  7. ideazoneii / Mar 1 2016 11:50 PM

    It is stupid to have imaginary friends that’s why I don’t believe in the hoax fairy tale that the government is my friend any one that believes that the governments purpose is the benefit you then you are being delusional and stupid.

  8. Chris James / Jan 21 2017 8:10 AM

    That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever read. The atheist position is not that there is no God. It’s that there is not sufficient evidence to prove that god exists. Faith: believing in something without evidence.

    • quantumsniper1 / Apr 28 2017 2:42 PM

      Alert. Strawman fallacy! Your definition of atheism is merely “A” definition, not “THE” definition.

      Besides, If you are not THAT kind of atheist that asserts there is no God, then why bother calling yourself an atheist it all? Aren’t YOU just a closet agnostic?

      I am guessing that you would call yourself an atheist, otherwise why would you be so stinky about the concept of “faith”.

      Listen. If you are trying to sell people on your faithless, soulless, meaningless, casio-calculator-like abysmal philosophy of atheism you’re gonna have to gimme some sugar, baby, or else I ain’t buyin that shit.

      I any event, you dummy, MY article makes exactly the same Point that you cling to for your validation. Albeit the obverse … Ie. That there is not sufficient evidence to prove that god DOESN’T exist.

      I have not at any point claimed that god exists on any empirical grounds. (And we won’t buy into the debate of exactly what MY God IS, at this point. I wouldn’t want to blow your mind.)

      I simply claimed with absolute certainty that THAT kind of atheist; One who might assert with certainty there is no God), COULD NOT PROVE such an assertion. Since one cannot prove a negative!

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