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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Agnostic

"Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? 
Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing?
Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able, and willing?
Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing?
Then why call him God?"
~Epicurus



its impossible to prove anything on a deep enough level. You cant even prove blue is blue in reality. Certainty is just a weighing up of probabilities. if you think its 51% likely that you are an athiest, call yourself an athiest. if its the other way around, so be it. Just the odds of it being exactly 50/50 in your mind are highly unlikely. i'd say just lean towards whatever you feel is most rational.

Agnosticism is not a valid alternative to theism or atheism. Gnosticism concerns KNOWLEDGE, theism concerns BELIEF, they are two different things.

You can be an agnostic atheist or an agnostic theist. You can't simply be agnostic. Sure you don't know if god exists, but do you believe in god? If you don't currently believe in god you're an atheist. If you don't know what you believe you're ______.

You can't "disprove" the existence of Xenu or Santa or Russell's Teapot, but you don't go around acting as though they're all perfectly reasonable ideas either. You acknowledge the negligible chance that they exist, and then operate on the assumption that they don't.

Going around pretending that Xenu is a possible alternative is dumb as fuck, and Yahweh (or any other myth) is no fucking better.

It's a binary position. You can't not believe in god and not not believe in god. EVERYONE is either theist or atheist. Agnosticism is a non-issue, nearly everyone (atheist and theist) is agnostic (doesn't know for sure).

3 comments:

one billion daleks said...

That's a much better post Alan! Cos those earlier ones were more like curios - and they were a bit er, inpenetrable, to me anyway!

It seems to daleks, that the problem with that quote from Epicurus, is that it omits to define 'evil'. I mean, what seems evil to Epicurus would be his own subjective view wouldn't it, but it wouldn't inevitably be evil from some other perspective.

And maybe it's a kinda quirky coincidence that you mention Gnosticism! ... as the i-Magi-Nation has just launched a new blog along those lines, which will be expounding dalek philosophy, and delving into these very issues :) ... here.

All The Best!

Alan (my planet is mars) said...

if i had to argue Epicurus' view on evil, i'd say he saw it as the definition of the word. He was a scientist and professor thus he might have taught what was generally agreed upon by philosophers and critical thinkers of his time. i.e., that which causes harm or destruction or misfortune; "the evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones"- Shakespeare

And the topic was just on my mind at the moment but it's been with me for a while. I'll look at what you've written. By the way, i read your post on comment notification and had no idea it existed. thanks a billion, dalek.

one billion daleks said...

Well, I'm happy to hear that the 'comment notification' post was useful for you!

Yes, I'd go along with that definition of evil, more or less ;) The dalek view is to "not cause unnecessary suffering for others". But that has the caveat of "unnecessary", because some suffering is in fact necessary.

And the dalek view strictly pertains to sentient beings, so doesn't include plants and bugs, which are just organic factories / robots - they do not 'suffer', merely exhibit pre-programmed behaviours.

But what is evil can be subjective, as much as what is good.

For example, from my point of view, my cat is cute and cuddly - just a friendly little sentient creature. But from a mouse's point-of-view, my cat is a psychotic mass murderer, one without a hint of remorse. If a mouse evaluated in terms of good and evil, then my cat would be deemed to be evil incarnate. So who is right - me or the mouse ...? Well, neither actually.

Then there are issues of natural calamities ... volcanos, tidal waves, forest fires.

Or things like 25 foot tapeworms that live in human digestive tracts, bacteria that eat away living flesh, quicksand and tar-pits that ensnare animals - dooming them to a slow lingering death.

Or take a strong healthy horse that joyfully gallops across a prairie only to put it's foot into a rabbit hole concealed in the grass, fall and break it's leg - left helpless and doomed to starve and be eaten alive by fly larvae.

... are these kinds of things 'evil' ...? In the dalek view, only subjectively.

Objective evil does exist though, and that is when harm is knowingly inflicted on another - like that arsehole you posted about a while back, and the way he treated that cat. Now, that is evil.

But everything else is 'shit happens'. daleks advocate that there is a difference, and will be documenting what that difference is on the i-Magi-Nation blogs - busy busy daleks! ;)