Sunday, January 13, 2013

Agnosticism and proving a negative

One of the many reasons that I don't get involved with apologetics or philosophical arguments for or against the existence of God is that both methodologies in my opinion just lead to circular reasoning with no satisfactory conclusions. I don't think that agnosticism is a reasonable position for the reasons that I will outline here. In this post I will only address two positions; atheism and agnosticism and I will argue for the former as the most logical conclusion.

The encyclopedia Britannica defines atheism and agnosticism as: atheism, in general, the critique and denial of metaphysical beliefs in God or spiritual beings. As such, it is usually distinguished from theism, which affirms the reality of the divine and often seeks to demonstrate its existence. Atheism is also distinguished from agnosticism, which leaves open the question whether there is a god or not, professing to find the questions unanswered or unanswerable.

We know what theism is so we are not even going to waste time on that one. I personally find the last part of the definition for agnosticism as particularly interesting. The position of agnosticism basically states that the question of the existence of God us unanswerable. I disagree with this conclusion simply because it is entirely based on the premise that you cannot prove a negative. The fact that you can't disprove the existence of God does not make it true or even probable that he exists. Doing so is simply jumping to one huge fallacious conclusion based entirely on assumptions.

Stating that God exists basing your conclusions entirely on assumptions as a positive claim without any evidence, that includes circumstantial evidence whatsoever is outright ridiculous. Besides, when it comes to the claim that there is a God the onus is entirely on the theists. Trying to prove what a theist claims as true and real is in and of itself illogical and unreasonable.

It's like me making the claim that a man of his own will and power could fly if he ran fast enough and flapped his arms hard enough. Is it necessary for me to jump from the ledge of a cliff to prove my point? It is quite obvious that we are not biologically built for flight.

Here is my problem with some popular philosophers on this issue: on the one hand they state that religions are man made, and on the other they claim that they cannot prove the existence of God. I don't understand how anyone could make these contradictory claims in the same sentence or article. I am of the view that religious beliefs are entirely man made and a cultural phenomenon. Man created God or gods and not the other way around. Like other ideologies of man religious ideas, beliefs, and views have evolved.

Man has worshiped the forces of nature, animals, imaginary beings, ancestors, and man himself at one time or another. Some of our more ancient cultures have worshiped many gods and have espoused polytheism. The Abrahamic faith most likely started out as a polytheistic religion and eventually evolved into a monotheistic faith. Today's three major religions of the book are based on the Hebrew faith and have evolved into their own belief systems with slight differences. Once you recognize that religious beliefs are man made then it is illogical to then go ahead and claim that you cannot disprove the existence of gods or the biblical God so therefore there must be a least a probability that he/she/it exists.

I personally can't disprove that elves, fairies, gremlins, or even Sasquatch exist. So does it follow logically that there is a probability that they do exist? This to me is just another form of circular reasoning and a very tricky one at that. Going as far back as we could in history to the earliest known religious practices and religions and seeing how they have evolved demonstrates to me without a doubt that these beliefs are false. Faith and so called divine revelation are not a valid means of obtaining knowledge and science has proven this over and over again.

In conclusion, it is my opinion that once you come to the conclusion that the belief in gods or God and religions are all entirely man made there is no other conclusion but atheism. Agnosticism is not an option until the supernatural can be reasonably and conclusively proven to exist. It's not rocket science it's just simple observation and study of what is known about the world we live in.


  1. Chatpilot, we ignostics find that as He has contradictory and incoherent attributes, He cannot exist! See my blogs where I further that argument.

    1. I agree Morgan, and also feel that the attributes of God cannot be known. Theists are assuming these attributes not based on evidence but on faith on the divine inspiration of the authors narratives in the scriptures. And everyone who has read my blog knows exactly what I think about faith!

    2. Faith, that begged question, special pleads for His being other than the Cosmos to obviate answering the who designed and who created Him. William Sahakian claims that we use the fallacy of multiple questions [ Have you stopped beating your wife?], when it is theists who beg the question instead!
      Theists ignore the hard questions posed by the Santa Claus and Lord Russell's celestial teapot by noting how silly they are when actually, they pose magnificent points!
      Why, the author of the term agnosticism Huxley has the definition to find evidence or else dismiss the claim as we rationalists and skeptics do,
      [Herbert] Spencer agnosticism claims that none will ever find ut whether or not any supernatural exists.And that forgotten philosopher is responsible for Social Spencerism,falsely called Social Dawinism, a blasphemy against him!And one can also call Social Spencerism - Spencer- Randism [Ayn].
      aka, Ignostic Morgan, Inquiring Lynn, Lord Griggs amongst other monikers- MorganLynnGriggs Lamberth

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  3. I've never met an agnostic who is agnostic on the subject elves, gnomes, pixies, and faeries. They can neither be proven to exist or not exist, it "cannot be known" ... and yet interestingly they'll reject them at face as non-existant. So much for consistency.

    Claiming agnosticism on god/s is a hold over from their religious cultural indoctrination which causes them to straddle the fence, and/or a fear of simply branding themselves atheist and any implications that label has assumed beyond its pure definition.

    People who call themselves agnostic but live as though no god/s exist are engaging in self deception at best, or are utterly disengenuous at worst.

  4. In the end, theists ever use the arguments form personal incredulity and from ignorance. Why does there exist something instead of nothing is Leibniz's gargantuan blunder as that is that argument from personal incredulity that something cannot not exist and to answer with Him is that one from ignorance. The same pattern follow for their other arguments. Why is there design rests on Laberth's argument from pariedolia that people see the pareidolias of divine intent and design instead of the reality of mechanism and patterns just as people see the man in the Moon.
    Lamberth argues that without that divine intent, theism = reduced animism and thus, is as superstitious as full animism or polytheism!
    Lamberth's teleonomic- causal- mechanistic argument is that as science finds no divine intent, to ascribe intent to Him would contradict instead of complementing science, and thus, theistic evolution reigns as an oxy-moronic obscurantism!
    The Aquinas- Shelley superfluity argument argues as Percy Bysshe Shelley states:" To suppose that some existence beyond, or above them [ the descriptions- laws- of Nature, M.L.] is to invent a second and superfluous hypothesis to account for what is already accounted for." And for theists to claim that is a metaphysical category mistake would beg the question.
    Chatpilot and others, do, please, vet these arguments!

    1. pareidolias:That's the tendency to see recognisable images from ambiguous forms, whether random markings on rocks, patterns of mildew or water stains on shower walls.

      Theists see design in everything and ascribe to that imagined design a designer. This leads them to the conclusion that that designer can be none other than God (their God). They ignore that the design is only apparent and that amidst that apparent design there also exists a whole lot of random chaos. They suffer gravely from confirmation bias which only allows them to see and acknowledge anything that seems to support whatever view they are trying to promote.

      Morgan, I love your posts but sometimes I think that you're linguistically a little too sophisticated for some of our new atheist or the average lay person. Keep it coming though I find your sophistication quite challenging and entertaining.