There’s faith and there’s no faith and then there is possibilian

Wednesday, 28 July, 2010

Neuroscientist David Eagleman is neither religious, agnostic, or atheist, instead he is forging a fourth-way of sorts as a possibilian, a term of his own devising:

Eagleman rejects not only conventional religion but also the labels of agnostic and atheist. In their place, he has coined the term possibilian: a word to describe those who “celebrate the vastness of our ignorance, are unwilling to commit to any particular made-up story, and take pleasure in entertaining multiple hypotheses.”

Related: , , , , , ,

On being agnostic, something for nothing, I don’t know, I doubt it

Monday, 5 July, 2010

An article by Ron Rosenbaum contends that atheists are just as faith-based as those who are religious, given their unswerving… belief that science alone will answer all the questions of the universe. All up a reasonable enough point.

Faced with the fundamental question: “Why is there something rather than nothing?” atheists have faith that science will tell us eventually. Most seem never to consider that it may well be a philosophic, logical impossibility for something to create itself from nothing. But the question presents a fundamental mystery that has bedeviled (so to speak) philosophers and theologians from Aristotle to Aquinas. Recently scientists have tried to answer it with theories of “multiverses” and “vacuums filled with quantum potentialities,” none of which strikes me as persuasive.

The rise of so-called “new atheism” – a movement made up of high profile authors who write in support of atheism – however may have left agnostics tarred with the atheists’ brush when it comes to the finality of the question of the existence of a God, or supreme being.

Agnosticism, a term coined by Thomas Henry Huxley incidentally, who was an advocate of Charles Darwin’s work, is more of a way of saying “I don’t know” to the question of the existence, or otherwise, of a “supreme being”:

Huxley originally defined his agnosticism against the claims of religion, but it also applies to the claims of science in its know-it-all mode. I should point out that I accept all that science has proven with evidence and falsifiable hypotheses but don’t believe there is evidence or falsifiable certitude that science can prove or disprove everything. Agnosticism doesn’t contend there are no certainties; it simply resists unwarranted untested or untestable certainties.

We could always agree to disagree, you take the high road, I’ll take the low road, after all how can something create itself from nothing:

The courage to admit we don’t know and may never know what we don’t know is more difficult than saying, sure, we know.

If nothing else it might allow us to turn our attention to more pressing matters… that much I believe.

Related: , , , ,