Originally Posted by Piobaire
Reading the "Letters to the Editor" section of my hometown rag is as good as FB:
Typical arrogant, supercilious, hypernationalistic Canuck.
Originally Posted by Piobaire
Here's another letter. I'm spoilering it as it is cringe worthy.
Sheez louise! Do they not have word count limits on letters to the editor in Canadia?
Originally Posted by munchausen
Yes. In fact, I would say almost all atheists, if pressed, would tell you that they are agnostic, since they inherently can't claim any supernatural knowledge. Same goes for anything you don't believe in, really. That's why I never liked the label. Why make a point of being agnostic about YWHW and Allah but not Amon-Ra or Zeus, not to mention ghosts and unicorns?
You seem to be confused about a few things:
• Agnosticism does not imply a presumption of atheism. You can be an agnostic theist.
• There are many things we don't believe in that we are not agnostic about, that, in fact, we are quite sure don't exist (see mathematics and logic for things we are certain
• I'm not quite sure what you're saying there at the end. "Agnosticism"- unless qualified otherwise, as it often is- is understood to refer to an agnosticism concerning the monotheistic Capital-'G' God, transcendent Creator of all creation. This entire pop-atheist notion that there is a different flavor of atheism for every conceivable deity is completely misbegotten, and it seems to go hand-in-hand with that horrifically stupid and condescending "We are both atheists, I just go one God further" shibboleth.
Language expands to fill needs, based on what is useful
, not any sort of semantic egalitarianism. No, there's no specialized word for people who don't have antlers growing from their heads, but if 95% of people did
have antlers growing from their heads, you'd better believe there'd be a dedicated word for people who don't. Similarly, there's no specialized words for people who are atheist and/or agnostic about leprechauns because nobody gives a shit about whether you believe in leprechauns.
Originally Posted by erictheobscure
This is the standard line and it probably has some truth to it, but I wonder if there's something far more interesting about zealous atheism.
If it's true that Descartes initiates a certain modern mode of thought, then I wonder if this kind of atheism is at once a reaction against Cartesian skepticism and a continuation of it. For Descartes, God plays a rather funny role: first, the possibility of a god who might constantly be tricking us drives skepticism, but very quickly, it's the existence of a benevolent God that enables us to move from near certainty about things to pretty much absolute certainty. I take this to have to opposite consequences: God is either not that
important, as the leap from near certainty to absolute certainty might not be that important; or God is the linchpin in Descartes's ability to conclude if that something is perspicuously true, then it's true. (I hope I'm not butchering Descartes' Meditations since I'm not an expert.) But I wonder if the insistence on atheism as opposed to agnosticism (often in the name of rationality & science) is at heart an attempt to purge modern knowledge of any transcendent anchor of knowledge while still insisting on certainty. My own hunch is that this is a misguided form of scientism. Or, if not misguided, then at least a bit blind to the full implications of really desiring something (knowledge, existence, whatever) based on a supposed absence.
I'd be lying if I said you didn't lose me a bit here. The "misguided form of scientism" strain of atheism may as well be the only form of atheism on the internet, as any other more interesting or dynamic perspectives on religion invariably get crushed under the bulldozing banality of Dawkins' army of neckbeards.