Agnostic atheists

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jason.p | 11:02 Sat 07th Jan 2012 | Society & Culture
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How many professed atheists on here are actually "agnostic atheists", that is to say don't believe there are any "Gods" but don't rule out the possibility, how ever remote, that there may be? I've always regarded being agnostic as being a cop-out and sitting on the fence, but at the same time I like to think I keep an open mind. I know this probably comes down to semantics, but some people do like to categorise themselves and others to fit into groups of "like thinkers".


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"agnostic atheists" Is their such a thing? im as Atheist as you can get, that's does not prevent me from having an open mind, I don't believe there is or ever will be a God, that does not say my mind is closed to the idea, I just don't think it will happen.
It's just silly to claim that something exists when there is no evidence whatsoever to support it, so whilst most atheists won't completely rule out the possibility, until evidence is available they will continue to consider it to be a very remote one.
no i am an out and out atheist, can't see there is, was, or ever has been a divine being or beings, and nothing will convince me to think otherwise. Sounds intractable perhaps, but after years of thought on the matter, it's the only conclusion i can come to
As far as I'm aware, an agnostic is one who does not rule out the remote possibility of there being gods. An atheist is one who doesn't believe, period! I don't reckon you can be both. That would be as much akin to fence-sitting as being agnostic.
The term agnostic atheist makes as much sense as agnostic christian.
There are three possibilities:
Atheist: don't believe
Theist: believe in god(s)
Agnostic: don't know.
Strictly speaking, it's impossible to have absolute certainty that there is in the universe no such thing that might be justifiably called a god. But I am confident that there is no such thing. And I am certain that none of the gods that humans have worshiped actually exist s. That's my definition of atheism....
I think it probably is an issue of semantics, jason. There is, i think, a perception that agnosticism = open minded scepticism, whereas atheism = rejection of any god, a dogmatic response.I would disagree with this perception, but I would certainly agree that people exhibit differing certainties of belief, from zealous theist to strong atheist.

The definition of atheism is simply a disbelief in gods, and I have not met an atheist yet who says categorically that they could not be persuaded by the right kind of empirical evidence.

There is a kind of sliding scale though - the first time I saw it, it was Dawkins who suggested that theistic belief went through a spectrum of zealous belief in God, a sort of fundamentalist faith, all the way to a complete rejection of any kind of deity, with agnosticism sort of in the middle.

For myself, I would say I am at the strong atheist end of the spectrum - but- I follow evidence, and could be persuaded to change my mind, given sufficiently strong, repeatable empirical evidence.

Personally, I think the description of oneself as an agnostic atheist, or as an agnostic is a bit of a cop-out - its a compromise position, with an intent not to offend - at least, thats the way I see it ;)

If you do not believe in gods, you are an atheist. You shouldnt feel the requirement to temper the perception by calling yourself an agnostic, instead
Saxy, not really. Whilst atheists, because of lack of proof, do not believe that a God exists, when presented with supportable evidence they are willing to accept it and change their minds. If you look at the slogan used on the Atheist Bus, you will see that it says 'There is probably no God....'

People are confused by the word 'Agnostic'. It doesn't really mean 'don't know' - it means that knowledge of God is not possible.
a. One who believes that it is impossible to know whether there is a God.
b. One who is skeptical about the existence of God but does not profess true atheism.
2. One who is doubtful or noncommittal about something.
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I've always regarded myself as being at the hard end of the atheist scale, but I always try and see where other people are coming from.
I think Bertrand Russell's celestial teapot sums it up. The burden of proof is really on those who propose something which can't be proved to be false despite being so highly unlikely as to be absurd.
An agnostic is of the opinion (belief) that it is not possible to know if a god exists because a god would have to exist outside our physical universe.
An atheist is of the opinion that as there is not and has never been any evidence for the existence of a god then he effectively doesn't exist.
It is really more a matter of semantics than theology as mentioned earlier.
Using the above definitions it is possible to be both an atheist and an agnostic.
...- "I've always regarded being agnostic as being a cop-out and sitting on the fence"

thats rather a childish way of looking at it...

like people have to choose and be forced to be one or the other and are not allowed to wonder about the shades of grey...
people feel how they feel... trying to imply they are somehow less of a person because they havent made a definite decision - about something that can never be proven, and therefore has no definite decision - is condescending.
@Joko - Well, thats your opinion I suppose. I would disagree. Describing oneself as an agnostic demonstrates a lack of commitment, a desire to compromise.

Underpinning both though is a disbelief in a deity. Agnosticism merely redefines the atheist position to say " I'm not sure, and moreover we can never know" and I think thats a cop- out, one that other, far more accomplished thinkers than I have arrived out. Whether the critique of a particular philosophical stance could be described as childish we can leave to others to decide, but I would disagree with your assertion.

Most descriptions of the agnostic position assert the premise that we can never know whether there are deities or not - I would fundamentally disagree.
The question itself is very simple and has only two possible answers - either there is a God or there isn't.

The real question is can humanity ever truly know the answer. If there is no God then we already have the answer, nothing else will ever occur that can possibly make this answer clearer, because there is no God.

Therefore the only movement that could possibly happen in this area is something that shows that there is a God. I acknowledge this as a point of logic rather than any speck of belief that there may be a God but I do factor it into my arguments on this subject as to ignore it would be illogical.
"lack of commitment, a desire to compromise"

well so what?
what is wrong with not being 'committed' to choosing whether you believe in god or not?
what is wrong with accepting that you simply dont know for sure and never will - so choose to compromise in how you state that to people?

you seem to imply that a person is somehow lacking because they dont want to make bold claims they cannot substantiate...

some people may have studied the subject a great deal, and still cannot decide how they feel - whats wrong with that?

people who are so utterly certain they are correct, one way or another, are the ones who need to rethink.
Having been scientifically trained, atheism - where's the proof of a higher being.

Are there forms out there that can exist such as "spirits", new energy forms, yes I do believe that - we have yet to discover them, just as our ancestors could not explain electricity but knew of St Elmo's Fire, lightning, static etc..... could there be something faster than light as being considered at the moment re CERN - well, if so, that could open up a lot of new possibilities towards fusion.

Just because I am an atheist does not mean that I am not open to the concept of a God exisitng - if (in italics) the proof can be unequivocally delivered. If there is one, I would think that it could be much more along the lines Einstein outlined in his Living Philosophies or Schilpp's Philosopher-Scientist Vol 7.
@Joko Because it is a fundamental difference in worldview. How is declaring yourself an atheist a " bold claim that you cannot substantiate?"
It was Dawkin's, wasn't it, who said everyone is an atheist when it comes to Zeus? If we don't feel the need to qualify our disbelief in the Olympian deities why do so regarding the God of the Bible or the Koran, unless we cede the point that monotheism is in some way more intellectually and morally respectable than the old polytheisms? Personally I concede no such point: the Christian doctrine of vicarious redemption by blood sacrifice and the Christian/Muslim preachments about eternal punishment are two of the most disgusting products of human imagination. And my avatar, by the way, is a hamadryad.
"fundamental difference in worldview"

again, so what? peope are not obliged to choose only one way and stick to it rigidly - most people i know couldnt care less, and have no intention of making any sort of choice.
why do you assume everyone should be so 'committed' to this?

although i do not believe in god, i have no proof that i am correct - its is just what i think... i think the notion of god etc is ridiculous - but i am also open to the idea that i may be wrong - i dont really think i am but i am aware i may be - as i am not arrogant enough to claim i 'know' for a fact... so i can do nothng else but compromise and sit on the fence

i am not going to be bullied into taking sides on an issue i really couldnt give two hoots about, for fear of being labelled a 'cop out'!

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