lfnetwork.com mark read register faq members calendar

Thread: Agnostic thinking
Thread Tools Display Modes
Post a new thread. Add a reply to this thread. Indicate all threads in this forum as read. Subscribe to this forum. RSS feed: this forum RSS feed: all forums
Old 09-27-2003, 02:27 AM   #1
CloseTheBlastDo
Rookie
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 185
Agnostic thinking

In this thread, I would like to discuss agnostic thinking , and why I consider it to be the most superior scientific 'philosophy' - at least that I have come across.

Although, I must ask you Homnocul, to keep your lady friend back at a safe distance.
...and please keep spare blood nearby - you may need an emergency transfusion!
('In' joke to those who are confused!)


..ok - to begin...


Is an airoplane going to fall on my head tomorrow?
...no - I know damn well a plane is not going to fall on my head tomorrow.

Is this possible though?
Well sure - ANYTHING is possible!

So let's get specific - what are the chances of a plane falling on my head tomorrow?
You could accurately work out the probability of that event.
Take all the known plane crashes in my immediate area of the country over the past few years - find out how many people each time were immediatly under the actual crash site - add them all together, find the average number of people landed on by planes for one year, divide that by 365 (days) and the population of the area and viola - you have the chance of me having a plane fall on my head tomorrow.

..it's going to be a very, very small probability.



The fact is you can take almost any event you like - even something you would dismiss as totally impossible - and assign a probability to it.

For example - consider a piece of paper lying on a table. Is that piece of paper going to rise up off the table of it's own accord? (I'm talking about with no sudden gust of wind etc.)

No - there is no way that piece of paper is going to lift up off the table - right?

Is it possible though?
...well, actually, it is! ANYTHING is possible.

Under the piece of paper will be a small amount of trapped air. Air particles will be knocking around under the piece of paper. They will be moving around in essencially a random way - although we can predict with accuracy the overall result -the pressure of the air (Boyle's law).

The air particles would actually be hitting the paper itself from time to time. But because just one small air particle causes no real impact against the paper, and because of the random nature of the movement, not many air particles are ever going to hit the paper AT THE SAME TIME - it doesn't really have any real effect from our point of view - looking at it with the naked eye.

However, if all the air particles under the paper DID happen to hit the underside of the paper at the same time, and consisently continuted to do so again, and again, and again - AND all the air particles ABOVE the paper DIDN'T hit the TOP of the paper, and consistently DIDN'T hit it - again and again and again - then the paper would, as if by magic - rise up from the table!!!

So - let's get specific. How likely is it that piece of paper to rise up?

Well, I wouldn't know how to calculate that myself, but I'm sure Boyle's Law would get involved in some (probably more involved) from and in some way. You'd also need to know the amount and properties of the air trapped under the paper, the weight of the paper, it's area etc. etc.
Once you had all the parameters, you could calculate that probability.

Of course we all know that the eventual probibility is going to be so tiny, it's not even worth considering. We know this because if it was worth noting, we'd seen the odd piece of paper fly up for no reason! (Ghosts anyone?! )

...put it this way, compared to the probability of me seeing a piece of paper levitate tomorrow, the chance of me being hit by a falling airoplane is actually pretty bloody likely!
(....ermm - you know what - I think I'll stay in and watch the football tomorrow!! )

And once you start mentioning infinite time, well - then quite frankly ANYTHING LITERALLY is possible. Monkeys can start typing shakespear plays etc.!!

So the fact is - many of the things we dismiss as 'impossible', we should actually more accurately describe as HIGHLY improbable -even so improbable the term 'not true' can be justifiably used.

But to say something is absolutely impossible - or has a absolute 0.0000000000000000000000000000000000 (infinity) probability?! Well - put it this way - you'd better be PRETTY DAMN SURE if you say that!!


To nail down the point - if I told someone that it is possible that they could see a piece of paper rise up off a table - apparently of it's own accord - and they replied 'No, that is absolutely impossible', I would whole-heartedly disagree with them.
The accurate reply should be 'That would be SO unlikely, I can confidently say i will never see it happen'. THAT would be the correct answer.


To say that particular events or theories DON'T EVER have literally a 0 chance of being true or happenning, only varying degrees of probability between 1 and 0 - is one of the most powerful concepts I know of and - from where I'm standing - is the cornerstone of agnostism.

You never say 'I know this is true - FULL STOP', or 'I know this is false - FULL STOP'. This simply isn't allowed.

Do leprecorns exist? I don't give it a 0 possibility, but I give it about the same probibility that a piece of paper is going to fly off my desk right now!!

Was the world and the universe created by some kind of supreme being?

Earlier on in my life, I would have given that a very high possibility! That's what I believed at the time.

However, over time, the evidence around me has caused me to constantly reconsider. Right now, I consider the possibility VERY low indeed. However, personally, I'd give it a substabtially higher possibility than a piece of paper flying up from my desk! It would still be very low though - let's say - around 0.001% maybe?

Maybe by the time I'm an old man, the probability will be no better than paper levitating! WHo knows.
...what I can say - with some certainty - is that it will never be absolute 0.

(I don't want to give the impression I've actually come up with some kind of accurate probability for the existence of God! lol - that would be something eh?! THis is only to get across how I think)


Come on then Homonocul - do your worst! lol

Last edited by CloseTheBlastDo; 09-27-2003 at 03:20 AM.
CloseTheBlastDo is offline   you may: quote & reply,
Old 09-27-2003, 03:08 AM   #2
CloseTheBlastDo
Rookie
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 185
Let me add a small little P.S. to my first post.

I have no problem with the term 'isn't true', or 'is true' etc.

I can say 'Leprecorns do not exist' in normal conversation without being hypocritical.

...this is because once the possibility or probibility of something being true has dropped below a certain 'threshold', I then consider that as essentially not true, as far as telling people my opinion, or how that 'truth' effects my actions - say.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, just because I am an agnostic, doesn't mean I can't come to a firm conclusion on anything, or make up my mind about anything. That's really thinking about it the wrong way.

I know what has the highest probibility of being true at any one time. And that to me is 'essentially' my knowledge of the truth at that point. So I have to do the best I can with it. Sure, my philosophy disctates I COULD be wrong on principle, but that doesn't mean I shouldn't act on my 'knowledge' - even if it is fundementally imperfect...
CloseTheBlastDo is offline   you may: quote & reply,
Old 10-01-2003, 07:34 AM   #3
Homuncul
 
Homuncul's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Russia
Posts: 383
Sorry for being so late. What a dejavu about this thread. Your post actually reminds of myself, same style, same fire. But I was on the other side of the barricade, and unfortunately I lost.

... Jubatus...Damn you!... I mean sorry buddy, didn't mean to offend.

First thing I learned from arguing world-views is that evolution/creation is not argueable and so is agnosticism/realism(don't know really how to name my state). So with great probability we'll be running in circles in about 6 posts (that's a prediction).

So let's fool around a little.

Definitions (taken from THE WEBSTER'S):

Agnosticism - an intellectual doctrine or attitude affirming uncertainty of all claims to ultimate knowledge.

Agnostic - one who holds that the ultimate cause (God) and the essencial nature of things are unknown and unknowable, or that human knowledge is limited to experience; philos. one who denies or doubts the possibility of ultimate knowledge in some area of study; asserts uncertainty of all claims to knowledge

Quote:
I know what has the highest probibility of being true at any one time. And that to me is 'essentially' my knowledge of the truth at that point. So I have to do the best I can with it. Sure, my philosophy disctates I COULD be wrong on principle, but that doesn't mean I shouldn't act on my 'knowledge' - even if it is fundementally imperfect...
Good for the start. But "I'm going deeper under ground"

First, what I personally can't justify in agnostic reasoning is the word "unknowable" (incapable of being understood implicitly, right). There is no such thing! That's a real question for discussion

Second, if the world is so uncertain than we don't probably see it correctly or we won't ever see it ultimately. Agnostics don'see a problem here (we're trying to know but we actually won't ever know), but if the whole thing was started to ultimately know, why must we put the knowledge aside. This point of thinking could easily mislead some people to believe in instrumentalism and other bad things leading them away from the true goal of science.

Perhaps I would agree that we don't know everything about quantum physics yet, but I have no doubt it is knowable and we would unveil it in time. Gosh, I've said so many times it's almost automatic.

Third, is the ultimate causality which is to blame for any human mistake instead of blaming those humans for making those mistakes. And here are 2 different and I think just incomparable things that should be mentioned. I changed my view about it many times, so don't be afraid to flame and criticise it: Fate is a small part of ultimate causality concerning subjective beginning and end of some event. Freedom of choice is a justification (always only subjective) for nonability to perceive causality. Still it's not in any way limitating and furthermore is fundamental for understanding some things such as many worlds (my beloved )

And a little bit about experience. Our perceiving the reality is dependent on the accuracy of our experience. And it is defined by our ability to interpret our experience. Science is one way to do it, religion is the other. The advantage of science is that it is a problem solving process, critical, testable, "objective".

And another thing here. Think for yourself about anything that doesn't give impact on us. We could say it doesn't exist and we would be right. As long as something doesn't present itself at least intangibly, it doesn't present a problem of explanation and therefore is not vital for understanding. Por ejemplo, it was our guess that if we could somehow register subatomics particles that we could prove that they exist. The reason why we were considering subatomic particles at all was that there was a problem of discribing some effects of "normal" atoms which were not yet explained (that these subatomic particles presented themself intangibly through different interaction of atoms from what we have predicted and so were introducing a new problem of explaining them). The same with interference phenomena which were not yet explained better than with multiverse.

And of course the word illusion should be mentioned also for if we're living in illusion, what reality can we discribe in terms of it. Illusory? Yes. but might we live in illusion? My answer is still no. Solipsism is the best example for dismissing such thinking and I can direct you to some reading about that.

P.S. Don't be too serious about it. It's just your world view is questioned . I'll post more later. And I would be very happy to see other people joining the debate and finally anihilate me
Homuncul is offline   you may: quote & reply,
Old 10-01-2003, 04:43 PM   #4
CloseTheBlastDo
Rookie
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 185
Excellent! You posted! I thought you'd disappeared for a second there!

I will reply properly soon, but I'm totally invoved with 'doing battle' with the christians at the moment:

http://www.lucasforums.com/showthrea...hreadid=112817

But don't worry - I haven't forgotten about this thread - oh no!

In my best Arnold Schwarzanegger (or however the hell you spell it!) impression:

I'll be back!

...how's that for not taking my world-view too seriously?

...it might help if you call off your 'death girl' though...! She's still giving me serious eyeball!

Last edited by CloseTheBlastDo; 10-01-2003 at 05:14 PM.
CloseTheBlastDo is offline   you may: quote & reply,
Old 10-01-2003, 06:56 PM   #5
Jubatus
 
Jubatus's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: In your head
Posts: 406
Quote:
Originally posted by Homuncul
... Jubatus...Damn you!
If I wasn't sitting here with the flu I'd probably pick up on this thread. One thing though; as far as I can read through my diseased haze and your english, Homuncul (no offence) it seems like you're moving further and further towards the "Dark Side" - a dash more of enlightenment and you will be mine!....or CTBD's...whomever....in either case: BWAHAHAHA!

That's as much as I can muster right now in my condition. I shall return in strength.


-]H-P[-Jubatus - All bow down to TROGDOR the BURNINATOR!

Ode to a

Hey, you there! What we count in numbers we lack in wit.
Hey, you there! I take orders from an imperial git.
Hey, you there! I can't shot for sh*t.
Hey, you there!....Is there a bottom to this pit?
Jubatus is offline   you may: quote & reply,
Old 10-02-2003, 02:55 PM   #6
Homuncul
 
Homuncul's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Russia
Posts: 383
Quote:
Jubatus:
That's as much as I can muster right now in my condition. I shall return in strength.
Oh please do it. I need you... to be able to scream when I'm gonna tear you apart, drink your grey substance and with doubled intellect rule this planet. Cheers
Homuncul is offline   you may: quote & reply,
Old 10-07-2003, 02:33 AM   #7
shukrallah
White Dragon
 
shukrallah's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Posts: 3,250
I heard from a guy who said he was agnostic that you believe theres soemthing out there (God) but it doesnt affect you... is it true? based on what you said, im guessing no... but then again, i read ctbd's post like a week ago, didnt have anything to say, so i left. Then came today and read Homuncul's and figured id ask this.
shukrallah is offline   you may: quote & reply,
Old 10-07-2003, 04:41 AM   #8
Rainer511
 
Rainer511's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Haha! No....
Posts: 45
So there are absolutely no absolutes. Are you absolutely sure about that? (Sorry I Couldn't Resist)

Agnosticism is a World View rather than a religion. Actually that depends on your definition of religion-some would define Secular Humanism to be a religion. I think that the only thing that Agnosticism implies as far as religion goes is that there is no way of being sure about anything-including God or any sort of religion.


Student at the Jedi Academy (www.thejediacademy.net)
My Academy alias is Ranja. I also sometimes go by the alias of tritonic.
Rainer511 is offline   you may: quote & reply,
Old 10-07-2003, 04:52 AM   #9
SkinWalker
Anthropologist
 
SkinWalker's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Give critical thought a chance
Posts: 2,709
LFN Staff Member 
Agnostic simply means that one acknowledges either condition is possible: god exists, or he doesn't.

Most scientists are agnostic, as this fits with scientific method. There exists no proof either way. There is no reason to dismiss the existance of a god, since there are many unanswered questions in and about the universe, but there is also no compelling reason to put blind faith in a diety that may not exist. Nor is there any compelling reason to waste time with ancient cult rituals / superstitions that cannot be verified as the correct method of worship.

I wasn't referring to christianity, but theism in general.


A Hot Cup of Joe - My Blog

Not finding an intellectual challenge in the Swamp? Try the Senate Chambers!

Evolution and How We Know It's Right - Post your thoughts!
Debate Strategies & Tactics - Polish your online debate skills and offer your own advice
SkinWalker is offline   you may: quote & reply,
Old 10-07-2003, 07:50 AM   #10
SkinWalker
Anthropologist
 
SkinWalker's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Give critical thought a chance
Posts: 2,709
LFN Staff Member 
Quote:
Originally posted by Rainer511
Agnosticism is a World View rather than a religion. Actually that depends on your definition of religion-some would define Secular Humanism to be a religion.
Anthropologically speaking, agnosticism is not a religion, since it lacks ritual or ceremony. Moreover, it lacks a focus of worship.

Humanism, also, is not a religion, but is, as you pointed out a world view or philosophy. Agnosticism isn't so much a philosophy as a way of describing people who "share a similar perspective" in regards to theism. Humanism, as a philosophy, is interested in the enlightenment of man as well as the ethical and moral treatment of one-another. It is the belief of humanists that morality can exist outside of religion. It could be argued that humanism is a religion based on man worshiping man and ceremonies do exist to marry, honor dead, honor various rites of passage (i.e. graduations), etc., but these are largely cultural traditions and the failure to conduct a ceremony or ritual does not constitute a taboo.


A Hot Cup of Joe - My Blog

Not finding an intellectual challenge in the Swamp? Try the Senate Chambers!

Evolution and How We Know It's Right - Post your thoughts!
Debate Strategies & Tactics - Polish your online debate skills and offer your own advice
SkinWalker is offline   you may: quote & reply,
Old 10-07-2003, 08:07 AM   #11
CloseTheBlastDo
Rookie
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 185
Quote:
Humanism, as a philosophy, is interested in the enlightenment of man as well as the ethical and moral treatment of one-another. It is the belief of humanists that morality can exist outside of religion. It could be argued that humanism is a religion based on man worshiping man and ceremonies do exist to marry, honor dead, honor various rites of passage (i.e. graduations), etc., but these are largely cultural traditions and the failure to conduct a ceremony or ritual does not constitute a taboo.
THat very accurately describes my moral viewpoint.

Quote:
I heard from a guy who said he was agnostic that you believe theres soemthing out there (God) but it doesnt affect you... is it true? based on what you said, im guessing no... but then again, i read ctbd's post like a week ago, didnt have anything to say, so i left. Then came today and read Homuncul's and figured id ask this.
No Luke, this isn't my viewpoint. But thanks for at least taking an interest

I simply do not know whether a God exists or not. The classic line is 'there is not enough data either way...!'

...BUT - IF God does exist - I certainly don't believe he / she / it get's personally involved in everyday matters. If he / she / it did, I think you'd see FAR more 'conclusive' and 'undisputed' signs of 'external manipulation' on the workings of nature and the planet as a whole...

From your viewpoint - I'm sure you believe that this 'external manipulation' can be shown to exist.
But where you see the works of God, I see co-incidence, myth, and in some cases, simply reading more into certain events than is warranted by the events themselves.

THAT is my viewpoint. Hopefully that makes some sense to you - regardless of whether you disagree or not...

Quote:
So there are absolutely no absolutes. Are you absolutely sure about that? (Sorry I Couldn't Resist)

Nice one Rainer! lol
CloseTheBlastDo is offline   you may: quote & reply,
Old 10-07-2003, 08:20 AM   #12
Homuncul
 
Homuncul's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Russia
Posts: 383
Quote:
luke:
I heard from a guy who said he was agnostic that you believe theres soemthing out there (God) but it doesnt affect you... is it true? based on what you said, im guessing no... but then again, i read ctbd's post like a week ago, didnt have anything to say, so i left. Then came today and read Homuncul's and figured id ask this.
First to consider this you would have to (for just a moment) look through the eyes of agnostic. So due to lack of objectivity in all that claims to god, agnostics and not only them assume that in this case god is either doesn't exist or it's out of our perception. Remember elementary philosophy at school. A process of cognition of an object is only possible if it kicks back (at least intangibly) to our 5 senses (probably 6). If the object doesn't kick back at us we're justifyed to say it's not real. Instantaneusly you may argue that it's stupid and what if something is out there but we can't perceive it. Then your own sentence would destroy itself because it means that something out there kicks back at you and makes you think about it. Mostly it's due to the understanding that everything in science is uncertain and that that science consists of questions rather than of answers.

When I said "at least intangibly" I wasn't right. This impact is always intangible, we do not perceive anything directly, even the closest path the information about the object takes to get to our brain is still few centimeters away (say the distance to our eyes or ears). In micro world it's a great distance and the loss of some part of the information is inevitable. The other issue is that the difference between perceiving one thing and the other is less than millimetric (the separation of nerve fibres in the optic nerve, and anything could happen there). These are things (or at least some things) that make agnostics think about uncertainty of everything. I agree with them in some things here but not with all of them.

Another thing about god concept is that if thought fundamentally, it brings only unneeded complication to the reality we live in. I'm not to argue any what ifs here because our reality is only a present moment. It doesn't exist in the past or in the furture. If god is to show himself in the future in some way only then we should start considering him. I'm speaking so harsh and so definite because it's true. And also I wouldn't want to argue it because of the gap that separates christians here from say scientists. There is a gap of faith and the gap of terminology, maybe even the gap of ignorance (which I would not apply to anyone here).

Quote:
Rainer: So there are absolutely no absolutes. Are you absolutely sure about that? (Sorry I Couldn't Resist)
Let's rephrase: there are absolutely no absolutes anywhere but here.

Becasue in the present for us (relatively) things are only absolute. In all other snapshots of time anything's possible. Relativity, one of our greatest concepts.

Quote:
Rainer:
I think that the only thing that Agnosticism implies as far as religion goes is that there is no way of being sure about anything-including God or any sort of religion.

Skin:
Agnostic simply means that one acknowledges either condition is possible: god exists, or he doesn't.
If matter with agnosticism was that simple (only argueing god) we wouldn't have started to argue it. I'm not yet convinced fully of agnosticism though looking at agnostics here and the manner of their thinking I would like to get rid of those nasty things I don't agree about . I'm now 50/50 percent sure that these are my own misunderstandings but I can't just start believing in agnosticism. It would be stupid.
Homuncul is offline   you may: quote & reply,
Old 10-07-2003, 04:01 PM   #13
CloseTheBlastDo
Rookie
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 185
Quote:
If matter with agnosticism was that simple (only argueing god) we wouldn't have started to argue it.
Indeed H.

When I talk of having an agnostic 'world-view', I'm not just referring to God - although it is often used specifically in relation to belief in God.

I'm sure the word also has meaning in a wider sense. i.e. I have an agnostic outlook on ALL matters of truth - not only about the existence or non-existence of God...

Quote:
I'm now 50/50 percent sure that these are my own misunderstandings but I can't just start believing in agnosticism. It would be stupid.
I don't want to demean the difference between agnostic thinking and your own view. It's a fairly important distinction between knowing and having a highly-probable best guess!

...but I think it's important to emphasise that this is JUST a theoretical difference.

In most practical senses, our outlooks are the same.

Here's one example:

I don't let the words of so-called 'prophets' or 'holy writings' dictate my consience or outlook.

And I think it's safe to say that above statement goes for you too H.

This statement is true for either of us. It doesn't matter that I say 'I believe God doesn't exist' and you say 'I KNOW God doesn't exist'. The result is the same...

So in this case, the theoretical difference that I do accept that I could be wrong
(i.e. God COULD exist and the writings of particular 'prophets' or 'holy writings' COULD be 100% true - no matter how nonsensical or contradictory it may seem to my limited, mortal brain!!)
doesn't make any difference to my actual life in practical terms - because I hold this possibility to be so remote, I don't consider it in a practical sense. i.e. it does not affect my resulting actions.

So in fact - in practical terms - we have EXACTLY the same outlook in many cases. Our differing underlying philosophies do not nessesarily affect the practical outcome...
CloseTheBlastDo is offline   you may: quote & reply,
Old 10-08-2003, 05:22 AM   #14
Homuncul
 
Homuncul's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Russia
Posts: 383
Quote:
So in fact - in practical terms - we have EXACTLY the same outlook in many cases. Our differing underlying philosophies do not nessesarily affect the practical outcome...
It's a good point and I agree here

But let's go back to the definitions. Unknowable. Are we objectively justifyed to use such a term. We seem to know this word, attributing it to everything we can't find a way to know (to untrackable tasks such as causality). And so agnostics (at least it's what I heard from them) are free to say that truth is unknowable and it would always only be our fallible interpretation. Where is the objective reason for that, I wonder? The uncertainty of everything is surely not reason. You're probably thinking that counting something accurately is not possible, and that it will always be a matter of counting even more accurately (so that ultimate truth however close to us still won't be an ultimate truth). But that's all technology dependent. And we're talking in terms of philosophy. We can do such counting with PERFECT accuracy in principle.

Imagine yourself standing in a VR machine. What invironments can such machine render in principle? Any phisically possible, and it would be accurate and true to our understanding (especially if we have designed the code, but ultimately it's irrelevant whether we did or not).

It's only one aspect of a problem...
Homuncul is offline   you may: quote & reply,
Old 10-08-2003, 06:12 AM   #15
SkinWalker
Anthropologist
 
SkinWalker's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Give critical thought a chance
Posts: 2,709
LFN Staff Member 
For some, agnosticism might be a philosophy and a belief, but I refuse to acknowledge it as such.

Agnostics of scientific reasoning do not generally state that the idea of 'god' is unknowable. In fact, most agnostics I know subscribe to the notion that the universe is knowable, even if unlikely that all its secrets will be revealed in their lifetimes.

That having been said, claiming an agnostic view on theology means for many that there could be a god, but it is unlikely based on available evidence. The evidence certainly doesn't rule one out... there just appears no "divine" intervention/involvement at work in the universe. The absence of explaination for the origin of our universe leaves the conclusion open.

Agnostics that I know don't "believe" in the sense that they have a faith... their "beliefs" are based upon available evidence and educated guesses balanced with an understanding that absolute proof is unattainable and the best that can be had is significant probability when "knowing" the universe.

I'm always amazed at the complexity with which people attempt to explain agnostic principle, as if it is a concept that must equal the depth of theistic religion in order to be valid.

I say it is simple: A god or gods appear absent from the universe, but their existance is possible; since theistic explanations rely on untestable, unbounded concepts, they must therefore be disregarded as methods of explaning, exploring, and learning about our universe.


A Hot Cup of Joe - My Blog

Not finding an intellectual challenge in the Swamp? Try the Senate Chambers!

Evolution and How We Know It's Right - Post your thoughts!
Debate Strategies & Tactics - Polish your online debate skills and offer your own advice
SkinWalker is offline   you may: quote & reply,
Old 10-08-2003, 01:40 PM   #16
CloseTheBlastDo
Rookie
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 185
Quote:
(so that ultimate truth however close to us still won't be an ultimate truth).
Hmmm. I'd wouldn't say that's exactly my view.

I don't think it's impossible for human beings to discover the 'ultimate truth' (whatever that means in practical terms).

Where I see the difficulty is where we finally say - with certainly - that we have - indeed - found the ultimate truth.

In other words, if we did ever find the ultimate truth, I still don't think we could actually claim 100% to know we've found it - even if we had done in reality!
We could think we had - and in actual fact we MAY have - but we can't be SURE we have!

Because the possibility would remain that while we may think we have found the ultimate truth, we haven't at all. It just SEEMS like the ultimate truth looking at it from NOT ONLY our limited understanding, but from out limited experience.

Would this ULTIMATE TRUTH still hold up in environments we can't possibly reproduce or within enviromnents where we cannot observe events in the 'normal' way...?
Even if this 'ultimate' theory of everything worked for 1000's upon 1000's of years without fail within human experience, does that mean it wouldn't fail when applied to situations we can't reproduce - or even imagine?!

So - this is the important point:

Saying we can never be SURE of ultimate knowledge, DOESN'T restrict us from reaching it in reality.

It just means that even if we DID reach it, we still couldn't be sure we had reached it, simply because we could not test our 'ultimate' theories against an infinite amount of test conditions and situations...

But I see this as a good thing! At least we'll never get to the point where we say:

'OK - we now know the ultimate truth about everything. So - ermmm - what do we try and discover now?!'

If we don't realise we have the ultimate truth when indeed we do, at least we'll never be bored continuing to search for it!!
CloseTheBlastDo is offline   you may: quote & reply,
Old 10-08-2003, 01:59 PM   #17
CloseTheBlastDo
Rookie
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 185
Quote:
Originally posted by SkinWalker
For some, agnosticism might be a philosophy and a belief, but I refuse to acknowledge it as such.
Well - it is certainly possible I am using the word 'agnostism' in inappropaite ways. I possibly need to find a more accurate term for the way I see things - although personally, I think the term translates quite well between matters of God to any other matter - even if technically that's not the correct way to use it...

Quote:
Agnostics of scientific reasoning do not generally state that the idea of 'god' is unknowable. In fact, most agnostics I know subscribe to the notion that the universe is knowable, even if unlikely that all its secrets will be revealed in their lifetimes.
OK - I guess my 'undetermanistic' thinking with regards to ALL areas of scientific knowledge aren't technically 'agnostic' thinking then...

Quote:
That having been said, claiming an agnostic view on theology means for many that there could be a god, but it is unlikely based on available evidence. The evidence certainly doesn't rule one out... there just appears no "divine" intervention/involvement at work in the universe. The absence of explaination for the origin of our universe leaves the conclusion open.
I think this accurately sums up my view on God.

Quote:
Agnostics that I know don't "believe" in the sense that they have a faith... their "beliefs" are based upon available evidence and educated guesses balanced with an understanding that absolute proof is unattainable and the best that can be had is significant probability when "knowing" the universe.
THis is probably about how the words 'faith' and 'belief' are different:

Quote:
be·lief ( P ) Pronunciation Key (b-lf)

n.
* The mental act, condition, or habit of placing trust or confidence in another: My belief in you is as strong as ever.
* Mental acceptance of and conviction in the truth, actuality, or validity of something: His explanation of what happened defies belief.
* Something believed or accepted as true, especially a particular tenet or a body of tenets accepted by a group of persons
Quote:
faith ( P ) Pronunciation Key (fth)
n.
* Confident belief in the truth, value, or trustworthiness of a person, idea, or thing.
* Belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence. See Synonyms at belief. See Synonyms at trust.
* Loyalty to a person or thing; allegiance: keeping faith with one's supporters.
* often Faith Christianity. The theological virtue defined as secure belief in God and a trusting acceptance of God's will.
* The body of dogma of a religion: the Muslim faith.
* A set of principles or beliefs.
I think point no.2 of faith sums up the difference for me.

Belief - to me - is just a weak version of 'knowledge'. (Perhaps due to lack of evidence for example...)

Faith - on the other hand - implies (to me at least) a certain amount of (acknowledged) irrationality.

i.e. Catholics may claim that wine DOES indeed turn into the blood of Christ during the holy communion.
However, I haven't met (or heard of) any who are too interested in finding out if this is true in the literal sense.
i.e. this is a case where I think the word 'Faith' is more relevent than the word 'Belief'...

Quote:
I'm always amazed at the complexity with which people attempt to explain agnostic principle, as if it is a concept that must equal the depth of theistic religion in order to be valid.

I say it is simple: A god or gods appear absent from the universe, but their existance is possible; since theistic explanations rely on untestable, unbounded concepts, they must therefore be disregarded as methods of explaning, exploring, and learning about our universe.
If we were JUST talking about God, then I'd agree with you. I wouldn't need to go on like I have!
But I've been using the term 'agnostic' (rightly or wrongly) in a broader sense than this - to encompass all areas of 'truth'. in which case, your above defintion does not do the concept justice.

But I conceed maybe it should not be called 'agnostic' thinking.

...maybe 'non-determanistic' thinking? Maybe that's the word I should be using - not sure really...

Last edited by CloseTheBlastDo; 10-08-2003 at 04:00 PM.
CloseTheBlastDo is offline   you may: quote & reply,
Old 10-09-2003, 06:13 AM   #18
Homuncul
 
Homuncul's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Russia
Posts: 383
Quote:
CloseDo:
Where I see the difficulty is where we finally say - with certainly - that we have - indeed - found the ultimate truth.
We could say something is true when all questions it makes are answered. Meaning that if something is concerned critically, contains no unsatisfying things, then it is justified to be called true. But is it important that we acknowledge something as ultimately true? I'm not sure about that.

Quote:
It just SEEMS like the ultimate truth looking at it from NOT ONLY our limited understanding, but from out limited experience.
This is what I'm not agreed with at all. As I explained it somewhere we're not limited in our understanding neither by fundamental philosophy (that some people use to forbid it) nor by technology we use to gather data, later to interpret. It's an illusion. We have problems now with technology, but that again doesn't concern the pinciple of a thing. This illusion is due mostly to our intuition that we have only 5 senses and this is only one of the examples where we should not rely on intuition or common sense. We can't see in infra red but we can understand it and build an appropriate device. This is again a matter of belief for me that if we are able to understand anything, then in time we could understand something to be ultimately true. Can't help quoting F. Herbert here although (I just love Dune. A strong book):

"Any road followed precisely to its end leads pecisely nowhere. Climb the mountain just a little bit to test that it's a mountain. From the top of the mountain, you cannot see the mountain"

"There is in all things a pattern that is part of our universe. It has symmetry, elegance, and grace - those qualities you find always in that which the true artist captures. You can find it in the turning of the seasons, in the way sand trails along the ridge, in the branch clusters of the creosote bush or the pattern of its leaves. We try to copy these patterns in our lives and our society, seeking the rhythms, the dances, the forms that comfort. Yet, it is possible to see peril in the finding of ultimate perfection. It is clear that the ultimate pattern contains its own fixity. In such perfection, all things move towards death."

Quote:
Would this ULTIMATE TRUTH still hold up in environments we can't possibly reproduce or within enviromnents where we cannot observe events in the 'normal' way...? Even if this 'ultimate' theory of everything worked for 1000's upon 1000's of years without fail within human experience, does that mean it wouldn't fail when applied to situations we can't reproduce - or even imagine?!
That is also only a matter of technology. In principle we can render any physically possible invironment in VR which accuracy would only depend on advancement of our technology. Throw away your intuition here. I always mention VR because in a sense (and objectively) we live in a VR of our senses, which if looked closely is an answer to many fundamental questions.

Quote:
Saying we can never be SURE of ultimate knowledge, DOESN'T restrict us from reaching it in reality.
Neither am I argueing that. I doubt that we should consider it ultimately important cauze it's only a human concept, not objective purpose. In here I agree with agnostics.

Quote:
...we could not test our 'ultimate' theories against an infinite amount of test conditions and situations...
Again it's your intuition here. First thing's first. Infinite is probably not the best word as the universe is probably not infinite. Second it's only an abstraction (which is a justification for complexity of a system. In practice doesn't hold itself). And third I would like to return to multiverse theory pointing we can test them all. Hehe... I can put it anywhere. Either way my point is as BELIEVABLE as yours (maybe even more believable... hehe), though it's not knowledge.
Homuncul is offline   you may: quote & reply,
Post a new thread. Add a reply to this thread. Indicate all threads in this forum as read. Subscribe to this forum. RSS feed: this forum RSS feed: all forums
Go Back   LucasForums > Network > JediKnight Series > Community > Senate Chambers > Agnostic thinking

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 04:56 AM.

LFNetwork, LLC ©2002-2011 - All rights reserved.
Powered by vBulletin®
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.