Thread: Atheism
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      05-02-2010, 06:20 PM   #3
radix
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Well worded and a good read, but I think the author spends to much time trying to equate atheism to a form of agnosticism. In particular I take issue with this:

Quote:
Therefore, if Agnosticism is the method pertaining to religious knowledge, then the only valid conclusion from that method is Atheism. There is, then, a natural and unavoidable connection between the two concepts. If Agnosticism is the process, Atheism is the product. I am an Atheist because I am an Agnostic.

The sentence in bold is utterly nonsensical for the following reason:

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/atheism

Quote:
a·the·ism   [ey-thee-iz-uhm] Show IPA
–noun
1.
the doctrine or belief that there is no god.
2.
disbelief in the existence of a supreme being or beings.
http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/agnosticism

Quote:
ag·nos·ti·cism   [ag-nos-tuh-siz-uhm] Show IPA
–noun
1.
the doctrine or belief of an agnostic.
2.
an intellectual doctrine or attitude affirming the uncertainty of all claims to ultimate knowledge.
One can't be both "uncertain of all claims to ultimate knowledge" and "believe that there is no god" simultaneously, as the latter implies certainty.

Here is a quote from Huxley that the author conveniently left out of the article:

Quote:
When I reached intellectual maturity and began to ask myself whether I was an atheist, a theist, or a pantheist; a materialist or an idealist; Christian or a freethinker; I found that the more I learned and reflected, the less ready was the answer; until, at last, I came to the conclusion that I had neither art nor part with any of these denominations, except the last. The one thing in which most of these good people were agreed was the one thing in which I differed from them. They were quite sure they had attained a certain "gnosis,"–had, more or less successfully, solved the problem of existence; while I was quite sure I had not, and had a pretty strong conviction that the problem was insoluble.
So I took thought, and invented what I conceived to be the appropriate title of "agnostic."
It came into my head as suggestively antithetic to the "gnostic" of Church history, who professed to know so much about the very things of which I was ignorant. To my great satisfaction the term took.

It follows then that you cannot be an atheist because you are agnostic, as the two are quite mutually exclusive according to the quoted text above, which comes from the coiner of the term "agnostic".

Last edited by radix; 05-02-2010 at 10:22 PM.
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