RE: virus: Agnosticism

Wright, James 7929 (
Thu, 03 Apr 97 08:26:00 EST

Since you're relatively new (to commenting here in CofV) I'll skip the
Lovecraft and reply coherently:

>Ok, sorry about the delay. Here we go:<

No need for apologies. I am frequently out of town: I sometimes can't get
to the Net for a couple of days (or more) at a time. If you don't answer,
you're busy, that's that. I can wait.
<Snip backquotes>
>But isn't it the tradition of the scientific community (and within the
>logic community unless I am mistaken) to hold a hypothesis as true until

>it can be disproven? That is, in fact, the definition of a hypothesis
>(an assumption made to test its logical consequences which is accepted
to be
>true until proven false. --Mirriam-Webster Dictionary, 4th ed.)

Not quite certain that the CofV front page intended a hypothesis as such;
the statements made may be assumptions, but may not be verifiable,
falsifiable or investigable, which removes them from the realm of Science
but not necessarily from CofV. Logic has to deal with Godel's Theorem,
which says that any system contains statements which cannot be proven
within that system; truth is not assumed as a given. I think what you are
doing is mixing intent (I need to be interested enough to investigate
this hypothesis, or I won't ever do it) with truth (I can show that this
statement meets the requirements of logic, Science or whatever).
Einstein made numerous theories that could not be tested with the
apparatus / environments available at the time. They were theories until
proven true ( or false); then they became part of knowledge instead of
speculation. I might suggest that the front page of CofV contains
theories as well as hypotheses.

<snip lobster lips and inhabitants thereof>
>Touche. But why must we accept everything as false?
>Seems to me that would be a pretty pessimistic outlook on life.<

I do not propose that everything is false; it may be unknown, or
unknowable until the distant future allows better methods of
investigation (or sharper investigators).

>I guess what this whole situation boils down to is that your not going
>to be able to prove that God does not exist, and I'm not going to be
>to prove that she does. So wouldn't the best policy to adopt be that of
>agnosticism? Agnosticism is basically saying what we are saying, that
>the entire thing is unprovable one way or the other.<

If your definition of Agnosticism allows improvement (verification) in
the future, I suppose we are in agreement. If you do not allow future
verification, that is, "It is now and will forever be unknown," I
consider that Mystery and a form of Mysticism, and have difficulty with
that portion.

>I myself am not agnostic. Agnosticism implies a desire to want to know,
>a desire to have the answer shown to you, so that you may believe. I
>the perfect term to label my religious beliefs would be "passive
>agnostic". If it's proven to me, fine. If it's not, fine.<

This seems like a really well-adjusted way to deal with an area that many
people have great trouble with.

<snip dualistic thinking discussion>
>Actually, I was presenting anything *but* a dualistic mode of thinking.
>The point of the entire message was to show that there is yet another
>to theism and atheism...that of agnosticism, and furthermore, that
>agnosticism is the only logical conclusion from an unprovable argument.
I agree,
>there is not just "belief" or "disbelief", there is also (for lack of a
>term) what you described as "non-belief." This non-belief *is*

Actually, I would contend that there are SEVERAL forms of "non-belief"
running around at the present; there is Science, which accepts as true
only the proven; Zen, which accepts paradox but denies identity and other
common conceptions; Objectivism, which apparently accepts three primary
axioms and denies anything not directly inductive/deductive from those
axioms; "pancreative rationalism", which has been mentioned but I haven't
seen a full description of; and probably some more. Labelling them all as
agnosticism would seem to be a disservice.
I said your next post would be eagerly awaited, and I was not
disappointed. Thank you for jumping in, and I hope you enjoy the show!