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ObfuscatoryAlias
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Ditch the Words
« on: 2007-05-14 16:48:22 »
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Although, I feel that I would chose the term agnostic over atheist, I have recently decided that both words are pointless. They no longer serve a purpose, they have no clear definitions, and some definitions of the two allow them to not be mutually exclusive. Those two words have collected far too much baggage over the last 150 years and right now lead to absurd semantical debates between people who, as Hermit pointed out, essentially agree. They are unnecessary hurdles to overtake in an epistomological debate. They are words that were formed as reactions to their times but we've grown from those points now and have become far more concise in our understandings. Atheism was a reaction to the dumbness of religion and agnosticism was a reaction to the narrowness of atheism. In all seriousness, from this point on I will describe myself as "one who places his confidence in logic, reason, and the scientific method" and I cannot see why one who calls himself and atheist or one who calls himself an agnostic and understands the contemporary essence of the terms would not agree. No dependence on highly subjective language. Just the concepts. Does there have to be a name for it? Not really! But there is always the tongue-in-cheek "Scientific Methodist". Or Scientific Methodologist. Or Scientiphile...
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David Lucifer
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Re:Ditch the Words
« Reply #1 on: 2007-05-14 22:13:04 »
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I don't think the definitions are unclear. If you are not a theist you are an atheist. An agnostic derives knowledge from evidence and reason (paraphrasing Huxley's original definition).  I claim to be an agnostic atheist because I have found no reasonable arguments or sufficient evidence to believe any gods exist outside of fiction.
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Re:Ditch the Words
« Reply #2 on: 2007-05-15 03:04:21 »
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In a sense, that is my point. Neither term, alone, completely satisfies a person's scientific view (or rather certain definitions of them do not). You feel the need mention both when categorizing yourself just to cover all of the grounds that the mere concept of believing in the scientific method already addresses.

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Re:Ditch the Words
« Reply #3 on: 2007-05-15 03:07:29 »
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Thank you for the link, by the way.
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David Lucifer
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Re:Ditch the Words
« Reply #4 on: 2007-05-15 12:51:30 »
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Quote from: ObfuscatoryAlias on 2007-05-15 03:04:21   

In a sense, that is my point. Neither term, alone, completely satisfies a person's scientific view (or rather certain definitions of them do not). You feel the need mention both when categorizing yourself just to cover all of the grounds that the mere concept of believing in the scientific method already addresses.

As Huxley said, "Agnosticism, in fact, is not a creed, but a method". Once you accept agnosticism there is no end to the number of creeds (statements of beliefs) that currently describe your worldview. Importantly these creeds (such as atheism) are always open to change in light of new evidence or information.
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Re:Ditch the Words
« Reply #5 on: 2007-05-15 13:08:32 »
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Quote from: David Lucifer on 2007-05-15 12:51:30   

As Huxley said, "Agnosticism, in fact, is not a creed, but a method". Once you accept agnosticism there is no end to the number of creeds (statements of beliefs) that currently describe your worldview. Importantly these creeds (such as atheism) are always open to change in light of new evidence or information.


I will say that I do not quite understand that conclusion. If you lay out the ground rules for "the best way to determine what is probably true and what is probably false" all results from the method fall into either category. Any other "creed" would either undermine the method or be ineffectual in its nature.
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Re:Ditch the Words
« Reply #6 on: 2007-05-15 22:47:14 »
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Quote from: ObfuscatoryAlias on 2007-05-15 13:08:32   

I will say that I do not quite understand that conclusion. If you lay out the ground rules for "the best way to determine what is probably true and what is probably false" all results from the method fall into either category. Any other "creed" would either undermine the method or be ineffectual in its nature.

You don't understand why you might change your beliefs in light of new evidence?
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Re:Ditch the Words
« Reply #7 on: 2007-05-16 11:37:37 »
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I guess I wasn't clear. There may be new evidence. But at any given time, after applying that method, things can be categorized as probably true or probably false. There is no sense in labeling further (as in, more specifically). These creeds suggest that there is room for interpretation when really it is room for more evidence but as long as long as one sticks to reason, forming a creed about the undetermined evidence is out of the question and forming a creed based on what is probably true is unnecessary as the relationship between the truth and the method should satisfy.
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