Agnostics are either confused or irrational

Consider the following claim: the universe is filled with blrbles, but blrbles are impossible to detect.

I know I would first ask how the claimant knows of these blrbles if they’re impossible to detect. If no answer given is satisfactory, then I reject the claim. I’m willing to accept that there may be blrbles, but I have no reason at this time to accept that there are blrbles; therefore, I reject the claim since there’s no current warrant to accept it. To say one is blrble agnostic makes no sense. If you’re agnostic because you find it definitionally impossible to know if there are blrbles, then you should either reject the claim outright for being definitionally self defeating or you look at the claimant’s evidence and decide whether it warrants acceptance. Retaining the possibility that there might be proof of blrbles is an admission that currently there is no proof of blrbles and if there is no proof of blrbles, then you can’t accept the claim that blrbles exist and thus, you don’t believe in blrbles.

If your rationale for being blrble agnostic is a difficulty to accept that you don’t currently believe in blrbles, then I suggest you examine what’s at the heart of that difficulty. Do you wish there were blrbles? Did you once believe in blrbles but now realize such belief is unwarranted but still hold out hope that there are blrbles? Do you find faith distasteful and wish to distance yourself from the blrble believers but yet can’t bring yourself to admit or label yourself as one who currently doesn’t believe in blrbles? Do you see non-belief in blrbles as squashing the hope that blrble’s exist? Do you see all blrble non-belief as faith based just like blrble belief? If you’re reason for being blrble agnostic is the last point, then you’re just confused about blrble non-belief for blrble non-belief does not require faith, as I showed earlier. If you’re blrble agnostic for any of the other reasons I listed, then your agnosticism is simply irrational.

I came across this statement in the comment section here:

Because agnostics retain the possibility that one day there might be a proof of deity, it is what stops us from being atheist

I’ve seen this lots of times from self-claimed agnostics, and it reveals a fundamental confusion of what atheism is. If you mistakenly believe that atheists make a knowledge claim like the theist then sure, I get that you call yourself an agnostic but the atheists I know don’t make such a claim. True, there are faith-based atheists, like Buddhists, Raellians or Scientologists, who are atheists as a tenet of their faith. There are faith-based atheists due to gut feelings, reading tea leaves, and a host of other irrational means, too. However, there are atheists who look at claims for the existence of deities the same way I described looking at the claim of blrble existence, and thus hold the same position as you. Like with blrbles, if you “retain the possibility that one day there might be a proof of deity”, then you’re acknowledging that there currently is no proof of a deity. If there is no current proof of a deity, then there’s no warrant to accept the claim that a deity exists. If there’s no warrant, then you can’t accept it and thus, you’re an atheist. If you accept there’s no current warrant yet still prefer to call yourself an agnostic, then I suggest you look at what’s prompting that preference. Like with blrble agnosticism, I’d think either confusion or irrationality.

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8 Responses to “Agnostics are either confused or irrational”

  1. I'm feeling generous today, so I'll cut them some slack and call them "confused."

  2. In a followup comment, the agnostic basically said he doesn't like atheists because he thinks they're "preachy". Now aside from the fact that he himself was pontificating, that rationale is irrational. It reminds me of Sam Harris' remark about wanting to believe he was over 6' tall because that's nicer to believe than the reality of being shorter. This guy is an atheist, but doesn't want to call himself one because he doesn't like atheists. That's a ridiculous response.

    It would be like saying I'm an aesthetic engineer rather than an artist because artists are weird and I don't want to be associated with them. ;)

  3. An irrational rationale. I like the wordplay. Not to mention the contradiction, the whole oxymoronic feel about it.

    If what you are saying is that agnosticism is just another word for atheism, I agree. In that sense, agnosticism is redundant, it's an either/or situation. We are either atheists or we are not. Agnosticism implies some middle ground, which is just a waffling, hedging-of-the-bets type of thinking. Exactly what your commenter was doing.

  4. Not another word for atheism, no. What I mean is agnosticism is not a rational position in light of a claim for the existence of a deity. Claims are accepted or not. What does it mean that you neither accept or dismiss? Give me an analogous situation where one neither accepts nor dismisses a claim, and then look at why. There aren't too many agnostic positions for anything other than deities.

    I think the reasons for why someone calls themselves an agnostic are either due to confusion or something irrational. For instance, I've met some who appear to use it as a stance of superiority, as if better than theists and atheists combined. Some, I suspect, are formerly religious and just having trouble fully letting go. Come to think of it, I'm not sure if I've ever encountered an agnostic who wasn't a former believer.

    This guy sort of runs the gamut. He's clearly confused as his definition of atheism is incorrect, yet when corrected he ignores that and clings to his false definition. I've met agnostics to whom I've explained how many see atheism and afterwards said that then they are atheists. So I think the confusion is willful ignorance, and being a former believer and clearly wanting to assume some air of intellectual superiority all add up to irrational rationales.

    Is he an atheist? By his own definition, yes, but maybe not. Maybe as some sort of scientist, he has to accept that belief isn't warranted, but deep down he wants to believe and hopes that there's a god, so he calls himself an agnostic.

  5. Agnostics I know are former Fundies who can’t let go of god completely. They know they’re indulging in wishful thinking but can’t bear to give up their imaginary friend. It’s sad, really.

  6. Interesting.

    Higgs Boson=Blrble?

    Currently newsworthy, but it seems to me an interesting parallel. The Higgs Boson has been posited since the 1960s, but so far nobody's been able to show any solid evidence for it other than that "it must exist, because"… Which sounds a pretty theist sort of thing to say.

    Here we are (december 2011) with CERN telling us they've found 'traces' of what is sometimes called 'the god particle', and predicting that they're on the verge of a breakthrough.

    So. Currently, nobody has ever seen proof of the existence of the higgs-boson, yet its existence is widely accepted in the world of particle physics. And I'm wondering, what stance might I take, as an extremely novice physicist. Do I believe in the higgs boson because cleverer people than I say that it exists, that the world around us proves it MUST exist?

    Do I deny it, because I see no proof?

    Or do I become a higgs-boson agnostic, saying I can't see evidence for it yet, but it'll be proved soon, so I'll neither proclaim it nor reject it?

    I am, by the way, an atheist.

  7. Warrant for belief would seem to begin with how much one trusts the SM of particle physics. That model points to their existence. Perhaps the model isn't 100% accurate. Perhaps something else is discovered, or maybe more than one kind of thing is discovered instead.

    The hypothesis is not comparable to a god of the gaps. Every gap in knowledge inspires hypotheses, but some are naturally more likely to be true than others. An example I've made before is believing I'm home alone, I hear a noise in the house. What could it be? Did my furnace just break? Did a picture fall off the wall? Is there a burglar? Have aliens come to abduct me? Are Olivia Wilde and Olivia Munn downstairs jello wrestling to see who gets to give me a massage? I can't simply believe one without investigation, however some are inherently more likely to be true, sadly. ;)

  8. Well these types of things are the part of the life and there is nothing we can do about it instead of avoiding from it. Beside that it was really something interesting to read about.

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