AGNOSTICS INTERNATIONAL (Agnosticism)

by dhw, Sunday, October 23, 2011, 17:25 (2164 days ago) @ David Turell

GEORGE: This seems to be Julian Baggini's continuation of his argument:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/belief/2011/oct/21/science-atheism-humanism-rel...

But I can't say he has reinvigorated the "god wars".

For once, George and I are in complete agreement! David has already quoted the hollow conclusion, with its portentous final admonition: "All of which means that science just isn't as central to the disputes between believers and atheists as almost everyone seems to suppose. It's time to move on." Move on to what? Where is the promised freshener?

GEORGE: Baggini himself is to me a fluffy-minded philosopher who thinks in vague general concepts. I suspect that if he defined his terms precisely in the first place he would find that there is no problem.

A delightful turn of phrase and tables, George. With his neutrality, Baggini is clearly a "fluffy" agnostic (his own term) in the making. But he has neither the courage to admit it, nor the desire to "engage" (again his own word) in any but the vaguest generalizations.

However, the responses from George and David really can't be allowed to pass without comment:

GEORGE: ...as a rationalist-empiricist whose views are based on the scientific evidence I can't see how there can be any conflict for me.

DAVID: I have no trouble with science, in fact having used it to rationally conclude there is a greater power.

I see both of you as equally rational, and your views as being based not on the scientific evidence, but on your interpretation of the scientific evidence (or to be more precise, lack of it).

David's post contains the perfect sting in the tail: "And the Catholic Church, especially in the Jesuit order does science research and adapts the findings to their teachings." That sums up the topsy-turvy situation pretty well. If conversely both sides adapted their teachings to scientific findings (or, again to be more precise, to what science has not found), they would turn to agnosticism! But of course both sides are perfectly entitled to their non-scientific beliefs.


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