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romansh

Agnosticism

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On 6/13/2019 at 8:51 PM, romansh said:

A shortish essay on agnosticism … from myblog

Thanks for sharing, Rom.  I had a read and enjoyed the way you laid the points out.  I think the world would be a better place if we had more agnostics! :)

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Posted (edited)

Here is a list of Robin Le Poidevin agnostic manifesto points.

  1. As far as the onus of proof is concerned, the theist and atheist are in exactly the same position; neither has a greater duty to justify their position than the other. There should be no automatic presumption of atheism, but rather an initial presumption of agnosticism.
  2. Theism is not ‘bad science’; it is the very general hypothesis there exists, in terms of an intelligent being, a true unifying explanation of the world, ourselves, our consciousness and our capacity for good. The initial probability of the proposition that there exists such an explanation (as opposed to a detailed attempt at one) is not smaller than the initial probability that there is no such explanation.
  3. [The agnostic principle: always seek reasons for beliefs, and do not make knowledge claims that are not adequately supported by the evidence. Clifford’s statement of this principle, that it is wrong, always, everywhere, and for anyone, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence, is too strong. Clifford does not allow for degrees of belief: we should proportion the extent to which we are inclined to believe something to the weight of the evidence.
  4. The evidence which is often pointed to as supporting, or undermining, theism is ambiguous: it can be shown to be consistent both with theism and atheism without resorting to ad hoc implausible manoeuvres.
  5.  Since the evidence is ambiguous, commitment either to theism or atheism is, at least in part, an emotional response to the world, not a purely rational one. But this does not make either theism or atheism an irrational response. Theists regard the religious attitude as natural, in-built, and one which is valuable and to be encouraged and developed. Atheists, while often recognizing the response as natural, see it apt to delude us, and as something to be exorcised. The difference is more temperamental than either side acknowledges.
  6. Agnosticism as an attitude should not be viewed as final, but should be provisional, to be accompanied by an open-minded attitude, and a willingness to look at the new evidence and arguments.
  7. There are different shades of agnosticism, reflecting different views on how probable or improbable theism is. The admission that one doesn’t know whether or not God exists is entirely compatible with either a theist or an atheist outlook. There can be belief without knowledge
  8. Even the kind of agnosticism that takes theism and atheism to be equiprobable is compatible with a practical and emotional commitment to a religious way of life. James [William] thought that such a commitment necessitated genuine belief, but the agnostic participation in religion is more akin to participation in a game of make-believe.
  9. Agnosticism is part of the wider phenomenon of uncertainty, and uncertainty is positive in so far as it promotes creativity, theoretical progress, and social tolerance. Agnosticism thus promotes religious pluralism: peaceful co-existence between different faiths, and between religious and humanist groups. What id does not promote or imply is a relativistic view of truth: ‘Islam is true-for-me but false-for-you and so on.


Not sure it is exactly a manifesto ... but hey ... when I write a manifesto.
I thought they were OK, but I would have had different emphases, and I thought he lets off theists lightly.
A more detailed response can be found here.

Edited by romansh

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