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Humanities Section => Philosophy & Rhetoric General Discussion => Topic started by: Paolo on March 30, 2021, 05:36:15 AM

Title: The Nature of Skepticism
Post by: Paolo on March 30, 2021, 05:36:15 AM
A friend of mine defined Skepticism as ''being open to the possibilities'' and ''to never close oneself in certainties''.

Now, I short of knew this before he wrote it to me. But here was I thinking: the first sentence doesn't really boil down to ''consider everything''? Not engage in every claim, of course, especially those without preexisting evidence, but considering this definition, is it really a sin to ''consider'' that a saint's intact tongue MIGHT exist somewhere?

I am not trying to start up another topic about this, or to defend it, I am just using it as an example.

And to ''consider it all'' could be by extension an invitation to ''examine it all'', too. So it isn't excludent at all of assessing supernatural phenomena.

What do you think being a skeptic consist of, and what are 'methods' of skepticism?
Title: Re: The Nature of Skepticism
Post by: Cassia on March 30, 2021, 07:33:56 AM
Maybe you can can explain how somebody can prove anything supernatural with the natural sciences?
Title: Re: The Nature of Skepticism
Post by: Mike Cl on March 30, 2021, 09:04:01 AM
A friend of mine defined Skepticism as ''being open to the possibilities'' and ''to never close oneself in certainties''.

Now, I short of knew this before he wrote it to me. But here was I thinking: the first sentence doesn't really boil down to ''consider everything''? Not engage in every claim, of course, especially those without preexisting evidence, but considering this definition, is it really a sin to ''consider'' that a saint's intact tongue MIGHT exist somewhere?

I am not trying to start up another topic about this, or to defend it, I am just using it as an example.

And to ''consider it all'' could be by extension an invitation to ''examine it all'', too. So it isn't excludent at all of assessing supernatural phenomena.

What do you think being a skeptic consist of, and what are 'methods' of skepticism?

Once again, your 'friend' is too vague in his statement about a subject.  What type of skepticism is he referring to:

Definition
In ordinary usage, skepticism (US) or scepticism (UK) (Greek: 'σκέπτομαι' skeptomai, to search, to think about or look for; see also spelling differences) can refer to:

-an attitude of doubt or a disposition to incredulity either in general or toward a particular object;
-the doctrine that true knowledge or some particular knowledge is uncertain;
-the method of suspended judgment, systematic doubt, or criticism that is characteristic of skeptics (Merriam–Webster).

In philosophy, skepticism can refer to:
-a mode of inquiry that emphasizes critical scrutiny, caution, and intellectual rigor;
-a method of obtaining knowledge through systematic doubt and continual testing;
-a set of claims about the limitations of human knowledge and the proper response to such limitations.

He needs to define what it is he is talking about.

When you ask:' ... is it really a sin...'  you are using religious talk that presumes a ton of ideas and suggestions that the religious simply accept on belief/faith.  I reject the idea of 'sin'--there is no such thing.   Just as there is no final authority of what is moral/ethical or not.

Can a 'saints' (what is a saint anyway, Paolo???) tongue be 'intact'?  What does that mean??  Mummified?  Sure, there are quite a few of those in existence around the world.  Go to Egypt and you can see some.  But what do you mean by an 'intact  tongue'??  You use the term supernatural--there is no such thing.  If it is not 'natural' then it simply is not.  Can you name a single thing that is beyond nature??  I will  answer for you--you cannot, for it does not exist.  It is a religious term used by the religious  to answer the question of ' how come?' ; rather than say 'I don't know', they use the term supernatural.   
Title: Re: The Nature of Skepticism
Post by: Hydra009 on March 30, 2021, 03:04:23 PM
A friend of mine defined Skepticism as ''being open to the possibilities'' and ''to never close oneself in certainties''.

Now, I short of knew this before he wrote it to me. But here was I thinking: the first sentence doesn't really boil down to ''consider everything''? Not engage in every claim, of course, especially those without preexisting evidence, but considering this definition, is it really a sin to ''consider'' that a saint's intact tongue MIGHT exist somewhere?
First off, the burden of proof is on the person seeks to establish the existence of a miraculously intact tongue or other extremely abnormal occurrence running counter to what's currently known.  Scientists do this by rigorous study and data backing up new understandings of the world.  Religious people...take a very different approach, essentially "trust me, bro" to put it simply.  This is far from acceptable.

And while yes it's true that skeptics should keep an open mind about gods and magic and unicorns and ESP and ghosts, the reality is that none of these things are taken the slightest bit seriously without some sort of evidence.  For me personally, all I want is some sort of evidence that this phenomenon exists outside of your own head.  That's it.  Give me that and we'll talk.  Give me the run around, shift the burden of proof, and play rhetorical games instead of showing proof - all that looks very suspicious and damages your credibility significantly and leads inevitably to the conclusion that you're just claiming something that you want to believe is true rather than something that is actually true.
Title: Re: The Nature of Skepticism
Post by: aitm on March 31, 2021, 04:56:53 AM
A friend of mine defined Skepticism as ''being open to the possibilities'' and ''to never close oneself in certainties''.

I have never considered skepticism as “being open to possibilities”. I call that “gullible”
Title: Re: The Nature of Skepticism
Post by: Paolo on March 31, 2021, 09:24:32 AM
I have never considered skepticism as “being open to possibilities”. I call that “gullible”

I believe he was refferring to Philosophical Skepticism.
Title: Re: The Nature of Skepticism
Post by: Mike Cl on March 31, 2021, 09:57:22 AM
I believe he was refferring to Philosophical Skepticism.
Most of the time when you pose these questions or ideas or beliefs, you have the feel of a sniper.  For me, you seem to hide behind what a 'friend' says or a 'person you talked to' and never reveal what it is you believe or think.  And when people answer or attempt to answer you, you 'snipe' at them from behind the cover of what your 'friend' said.  You rarely, if ever, just come forward and state what you think.  So, what do you think about the nature of skepticism?
Title: Re: The Nature of Skepticism
Post by: Paolo on April 01, 2021, 10:02:25 AM
Most of the time when you pose these questions or ideas or beliefs, you have the feel of a sniper.  For me, you seem to hide behind what a 'friend' says or a 'person you talked to' and never reveal what it is you believe or think.  And when people answer or attempt to answer you, you 'snipe' at them from behind the cover of what your 'friend' said.  You rarely, if ever, just come forward and state what you think.  So, what do you think about the nature of skepticism?

Isn't it obvious that I want people here to help me figure out these issues? At least that's what I intended.

So I actually may don't even have an ''opinion''.
Title: Re: The Nature of Skepticism
Post by: Mike Cl on April 01, 2021, 10:31:03 AM
Isn't it obvious that I want people here to help me figure out these issues? At least that's what I intended.

So I actually may don't even have an ''opinion''.
No, it is not obvious.  You frame your 'question' as though you have a hidden agenda.  It would be very helpful if you would tell us what your opinion is, even if you don't have one; let us know you are simply asking for ideas. 
Title: Re: The Nature of Skepticism
Post by: Cassia on April 01, 2021, 10:44:55 AM
Isn't it obvious that I want people here to help me figure out these issues? At least that's what I intended.

So I actually may don't even have an ''opinion''.
Let me ask again. How would one go about gathering evidence to support any 'supernatural' claim? Evolution makes claims and predictions and natural physical evidence supports those claims. Many of the predictions (such as the existence of "genes") are now considered to be facts.

Would a supernatural claim require "supernatural evidence" (isn't that a nonsensical word?). Could someone use natural evidence to prove something supernatural? If you claimed someone was dead for 3 days and then just rose up because of a particular god, how would I prove that was true? If I was to monitor the heartbeat of a dead person and it was flatline for three days and then started beating and the person arose what does that tell us? What evidence would prove it was supernatural cause or a certain god did it? Basically you still have no known cause.

So the setup to show legitimacy of just about every religion goes like this:
-An prophesy is made and recorded predicting that some unlikely event will occur
-A claim is made and recorded that the unlikely even has happened with many witnesses
-See! our religion is true. Look how great is our god !
Title: Re: The Nature of Skepticism
Post by: Paolo on April 03, 2021, 09:27:03 AM
Most of the time when you pose these questions or ideas or beliefs, you have the feel of a sniper.  For me, you seem to hide behind what a 'friend' says or a 'person you talked to' and never reveal what it is you believe or think.  And when people answer or attempt to answer you, you 'snipe' at them from behind the cover of what your 'friend' said.  You rarely, if ever, just come forward and state what you think.  So, what do you think about the nature of skepticism?

First off, those friends actually exist, though most of them are online friends. Sort of like you and I.

What I think? I think skepticism can be defined as ''doubt''. But doubt extends both ways. It can't ''favor'' nor ''run counter'' to the supernatural: all claims must be examined impartially, at least as much as humanly possible.

Does that count for an answer (not a rhetorical question, by the way)? It is my current ''opinion'', though it can change, of course.
Title: Re: The Nature of Skepticism
Post by: Paolo on April 03, 2021, 09:32:33 AM
Let me ask again. How would one go about gathering evidence to support any 'supernatural' claim? Evolution makes claims and predictions and natural physical evidence supports those claims. Many of the predictions (such as the existence of "genes") are now considered to be facts.

Would a supernatural claim require "supernatural evidence" (isn't that a nonsensical word?). Could someone use natural evidence to prove something supernatural? If you claimed someone was dead for 3 days and then just rose up because of a particular god, how would I prove that was true? If I was to monitor the heartbeat of a dead person and it was flatline for three days and then started beating and the person arose what does that tell us? What evidence would prove it was supernatural cause or a certain god did it? Basically you still have no known cause.

So the setup to show legitimacy of just about every religion goes like this:
-An prophesy is made and recorded predicting that some unlikely event will occur
-A claim is made and recorded that the unlikely even has happened with many witnesses
-See! our religion is true. Look how great is our god !

This very friend I spoke about in the OP said that the only definition of supernatural which does make sense is this:

''Any physical event which does possess a NON-PHYSICAL cause''.

Do you think that definition makes sense?

P.S.: I did not know evolution predicted the existence of genes. That's very cool.
Title: Re: The Nature of Skepticism
Post by: Mike Cl on April 03, 2021, 10:12:48 AM
First off, those friends actually exist, though most of them are online friends. Sort of like you and I.

What I think? I think skepticism can be defined as ''doubt''. But doubt extends both ways. It can't ''favor'' nor ''run counter'' to the supernatural: all claims must be examined impartially, at least as much as humanly possible.

Does that count for an answer (not a rhetorical question, by the way)? It is my current ''opinion'', though it can change, of course.
That is a start of a discussion.  In my view, considering a viewpoint or idea or statement, I use a method.  Historical method, scientific method or the weighing of evidence for court; those are all good methods of attempting to find the truth.  It is about understanding and evaluating the evidence of any particular stance.  Let's consider George Washington.  Did he exist?  We have to look at the evidence.  There are hundreds/thousands of primary documents (created by a personal witness to a person or event) testifying to his existence.  We then examine each source to figure out if they are relating factual evidence or made up evidence.  Not every source can be deemed to be useful or factual.  For example, a Rev. Weems wrote about Washington to illustrate good character traits all of us should use.  He uses a story of a young Washington chopping down a cherry tree and then not lying to his dad about it.  Good story; not a truthful one, though.  How do we know?  Because there is not a mention of that story by anybody prior to Weems; nor another source for it after.  He made it up to fit his agenda. 

Supernatural.  Look at the word.  The 'super' means beyond nature.  For me nature is simply what is in the real world; it can be seen, touched, interacted with and is what is.  Empirical evidence shows us what it is.  There is nothing beyond nature that is real, for if something is real it is nature.  The 'soul' is not natural, for example.  It is quite common to refer to a person's 'soul'.  Yet there is no empirical evidence to support it's existence.  I don't express doubt about the existence of a soul, I say that it doesn't exist.  No doubt.  Why?  Because in the history of this planet, there has not been one single piece of empirical evidence produced that supports the existence of a soul.  I do not leave any wiggle room in saying it is my 'belief' that it does not exist.  But I do have an open mind--which means that if some empirical evidence is produced, then I will change my stance and accept the existence of souls as being true.

Empirical evidence is what allows us to understand what nature is.  Doubt has nothing to do with it.   
Title: Re: The Nature of Skepticism
Post by: SGOS on April 03, 2021, 10:53:01 AM
I like to see a comprehensive debate about the invisible pink unicorn, because some people may believe in one.  Then we should move on to Bigfoot, and the teapot that is said to orbit Jupiter.  These are all reasonable debates because each of those things, and millions of other similar things have been posited by actual people.  In the process of doing all this, the forum should be renamed "Redefining Skepticism to Make it More Usable for the Mentally Challanged."  After all, if you're going to be a true skeptic, you must be skeptical enough about skepticism to get rid of it when it no longer suits everyone's agenda.
Title: Re: The Nature of Skepticism
Post by: Hydra009 on April 03, 2021, 11:08:07 AM
What I think? I think skepticism can be defined as ''doubt''. But doubt extends both ways.
It's a related concept, but the two are very different.  People doubt that a god exists.  People doubt that the moon landing happened.  Some people even can't believe that it is not butter.

Of crucial importance is the reasoning that goes into these doubts.  A position commonly argued by atheists is scientific skepticism (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skeptical_movement).  It's essentially a position of initial neutrality when a claim comes up, and a call for such claims to be investigated and either confirmed or disconfirmed.  This is a sort of middle path between dangerously taking claims on faith (the adoption of beliefs on mere say-so) and dangerously rejecting any new claim out of hand.  The key aporism is "keep an open mind, but not so open your brains fall out".

Scientific skepticism's foundation is empiricism - that claims can be investigated and supported by physical evidence.  In my dragon example, it's not enough for one person to swear up and down that they saw a dragon or for whole communities to say that there are dragons, it has to be empirically investigated - one has to find physical evidence that only a dragon could produce.  In this way, we winnow truth from mere stories.
Title: Re: The Nature of Skepticism
Post by: Paolo on April 03, 2021, 12:02:22 PM
I like to see a comprehensive debate about the invisible pink unicorn, because some people may believe in one.  Then we should move on to Bigfoot, and the teapot that is said to orbit Jupiter.  These are all reasonable debates because each of those things, and millions of other similar things have been posited by actual people.  In the process of doing all this, the forum should be renamed "Redefining Skepticism to Make it More Usable for the Mentally Challanged."  After all, if you're going to be a true skeptic, you must be skeptical enough about skepticism to get rid of it when it no longer suits everyone's agenda.

Regardings unicorns, etc, this is what I have to say:

It is certainly perfectly possible to criticize Agnosticism, but not by means of probabilities, and much less by the bizarre way of ridiculous comparisons that, surprisingly, not only Dawkins but many other atheists use frequently, which is to equate belief in God with weird beliefs like unicorns, pink elephants or chupacabras, claiming that as it is not possible to prove their non-existence, we should then be agnostic about them as well.

It could be, but this argument is simply stupid for ignoring at least two obvious interconnected things:

1 - That belief in God, due to its intrinsic characteristic, is metaphysical and infinitely extensible, different from other specific entities that can be claimed;
2 - And that Agnosticism is not based on the simple fact that it is not possible to prove that God does not exist, but mainly on the fact that IT IS ALSO IMPOSSIBLE TO PROVE THAT HE EXISTS, which certainly does not apply to other specific beings.
Title: Re: The Nature of Skepticism
Post by: Paolo on April 04, 2021, 04:30:52 AM
By the way, for the intelectually impaired, and mentally challenged, the above is a reflection on Agnosticism aa a means to counter retarded, stupid comparisions to ''pink unicorns'' or some other equally dumb shit.

No wonder SGOS has no response to it. Nor could he/she.
Title: Re: The Nature of Skepticism
Post by: aitm on April 04, 2021, 07:37:16 AM

1 - That belief in God, due to its intrinsic characteristic, is metaphysical and infinitely extensible, different from other specific entities that can be claimed;
The “belief” in a god, any gods, is a learned belief. One does not pop out of the womb already conscious of a supernatural being. That belief must be taught. Anthropology has shown us the “evolution” of religion, from simple animism, to totemism, to shamanism to eventual deities. We can watch the very same development in our children. They process from believing that inanimate objects can communicate with them, that rocks, stuffed toys and blankets can be their friends and confidants. “We” teach them that there are gods. There is no intrinsic character. We gift the gods their intrinsic character. We invent it, define it, then worship it. A rather incredible idea actually, but still childish in its invention. Make up something that offers you comfort and then conform it into a god that can grant your wishes. Then teach it as reality to everyone who will listen so you not only are foolish for believing it, but now you have dozens, hundreds, thousands of fools unaware of their foolishness and no one dares to question it, thus it becomes religion. A shared delusion brought to life and offered as proof by popular agreement. Argue with them and the become obstinate, angry even violent. Why? Because deep down, they really know that their beliefs is probably bullshit, but they have invested too much time, energy and pride is hailing it as truth. Sheer embarrassment now.
Title: Re: The Nature of Skepticism
Post by: Cassia on April 04, 2021, 07:50:23 AM
1 - That belief in God, due to its intrinsic characteristic, is metaphysical and infinitely extensible, different from other specific entities that can be claimed;
2 - And that Agnosticism is not based on the simple fact that it is not possible to prove that God does not exist, but mainly on the fact that IT IS ALSO IMPOSSIBLE TO PROVE THAT HE EXISTS, which certainly does not apply to other specific beings.

It is also "intrinsic" to believe the sun revolves around the earth. Calling something "intrinsic" has no value when looking for truth. Got any examples of anything infinite? Since there is zero evidence for the gods, giving them a characteristic that has also not been shown to exist does not help at all.

Why is it impossible to prove gods exist (unless they don't)? And if this is the case why should you believe? You can no longer distinguish between god or unicorn or anything else someone claims exists. There is no difference. Unicorns are mentioned in the bible (8 times). So is god. These tired old "metaphysical" justifications are not providing any facts or truths.
Title: Re: The Nature of Skepticism
Post by: SGOS on April 04, 2021, 08:54:28 AM

It could be, but this argument (existence for the Pink Unicorn) is simply stupid for ignoring at least two obvious interconnected things:

1 - That belief in God, due to its intrinsic characteristic, is metaphysical and infinitely extensible, different from other specific entities that can be claimed;
2 - And that Agnosticism is not based on the simple fact that it is not possible to prove that God does not exist, but mainly on the fact that IT IS ALSO IMPOSSIBLE TO PROVE THAT HE EXISTS, which certainly does not apply to other specific beings.
Oof!  You're discharging your shotgun wildly into the air.  I know I promised I would ignore you, but this is so absurd that I can't resist. So now you know. If you want me to respond, all you have to do is say something absurdly stupid, and I'll be here.

1. There is nothing anymore intrinsic about God than there is of the unicorn or the Easter Bunny.  They both have to be taught. Even most things that actually exist are not intrinsic, like Ford, Boris Karloff movies, and hot stoves.  Things that are intrinsic do exist like proprioception, where our bodies actually sense where our feet are without looking.  But God is not intrinsic to our being.  Many theists such as yourself believe God is intrinsic to humans, but as we all know, you can't believe something into existence. That's not how reality works. But I do commend you on squeezing the words "intrinsic, metaphysical, infinitely, extensible, and entities" into a readable sentence, although that added nothing to your argument.

2.  Part two of your response,

"IT IS ALSO IMPOSSIBLE TO PROVE THAT GOD EXISTS, which certainly does not apply to other specific beings,"

is not relevant to your cause.  You are just repeating what everyone here knows, and doesn't argue against any claim anyone has made.
Title: Re: The Nature of Skepticism
Post by: Cassia on April 04, 2021, 09:30:54 AM
It would be incredibly easy to prove a god as defined in a particular scripture existed. For example there are extraordinary claims in the bible about the efficacy of prayer. The simplest of experiments would be able to prove if the claims about prayer are true. Even general data collection should provide evidence that prayer works. Yet in fundamentalist regions where belief and practice of prayer is prevalent, typically have worse outcomes than more secular regions. Go figure.

The bible makes claims about a flood that reset the biological trajectory on this planet. The scientific evidence would be overwhelming, yet the non-religious academia disputes these claims as nonsense. If these claims were true there would be need to constantly talk of "faith" in the gods.

Title: Re: The Nature of Skepticism
Post by: Mike Cl on April 04, 2021, 09:49:34 AM

It could be, but this argument is simply stupid for ignoring at least two obvious interconnected things:

1 - That belief in God, due to its intrinsic characteristic, is metaphysical and infinitely extensible, different from other specific entities that can be claimed;
2 - And that Agnosticism is not based on the simple fact that it is not possible to prove that God does not exist, but mainly on the fact that IT IS ALSO IMPOSSIBLE TO PROVE THAT HE EXISTS, which certainly does not apply to other specific beings.
It is becoming more and more obvious that English is not your first language.  The purpose of writing is to communicate with others.  In order to do that, one has to learn how to use language to do that--communicate.  If one's audience tells you that they don't understand what you are trying to say, then the problem rests with you as the communicator.  I have no idea what it is you are trying to say in the above.  Maybe you could rephrase those two points?
Title: Re: The Nature of Skepticism
Post by: Hydra009 on April 04, 2021, 12:32:29 PM
By the way, for the intelectually impaired, and mentally challenged, the above is a reflection on Agnosticism aa a means to counter retarded, stupid comparisions to ''pink unicorns'' or some other equally dumb shit.
Fun fact: the IPU is a facetious mockery of presicely the claim that god is unknowable (when challenged) yet simultaneously knowable (when it comes to insisting that god is a he or advocates certain political positions or dislikes certain groups of people that the speaker conveniently also dislikes)

Recognizing that this is a dumb idea may be a sign of being on the precipice of an even greater realization.   :fsm:
Title: Re: The Nature of Skepticism
Post by: Paolo on April 05, 2021, 06:45:52 AM
It is becoming more and more obvious that English is not your first language.  The purpose of writing is to communicate with others.  In order to do that, one has to learn how to use language to do that--communicate.  If one's audience tells you that they don't understand what you are trying to say, then the problem rests with you as the communicator.  I have no idea what it is you are trying to say in the above.  Maybe you could rephrase those two points?

It may also rest on the reader's inability to read properly. But I will rephrase the points as soon as I have more patience and time to reply to the stupidity (not yours) displayed here, especially by SGOS.
Title: Re: The Nature of Skepticism
Post by: Paolo on April 06, 2021, 12:56:31 PM
It is becoming more and more obvious that English is not your first language.  The purpose of writing is to communicate with others.  In order to do that, one has to learn how to use language to do that--communicate.  If one's audience tells you that they don't understand what you are trying to say, then the problem rests with you as the communicator.  I have no idea what it is you are trying to say in the above.  Maybe you could rephrase those two points?

Let me give you an example. I indeed cannot prove that there are no unicorns in the world because of a mere practical issue -- I have other things to do! But I can prove that there is not an unicorn in my room. And I could prove that in relation to the world if I could have simultaneous sensorial access to the whole planet in every one of its locations, or even the universe. Therefore, agnosticism about unicorns could be at best a TEMPORARY one, to use a category suggested by Richard Dawkins himself in The God Delusion.

But I cannot prove that there is no God in my room, not even if I had access to all the universe, for the simple reason that one of the main properties that is typical of God, with capital ''D'', is he being ''greater'' than the universe, and his INDECTABILITY by definition. That's why this type of Agnosticism is necessarily PERMANENT, which is the other category suggested by Dawkins in said book.

I could indeed prove the existence of an unicorn simply by showing you one, but I cannot in ANY WAY prove the existence of God not even if I show the most miraculous, stupendeous and colossal thing of all the time, for the best that could achive is showing something super-human, but how do you know if that something would be God?
Title: Re: The Nature of Skepticism
Post by: aitm on April 06, 2021, 01:05:52 PM
and his INDECTABILITY by definition.

Well, if one believes the babble, god showed himself to the Hebrews. They apparently, were not all that impressed.
Title: Re: The Nature of Skepticism
Post by: Mike Cl on April 06, 2021, 01:56:16 PM
Let me give you an example. I indeed cannot prove that there are no unicorns in the world because of a mere practical issue -- I have other things to do! But I can prove that there is not an unicorn in my room. And I could prove that in relation to the world if I could have simultaneous sensorial access to the whole planet in every one of its locations, or even the universe. Therefore, agnosticism about unicorns could be at best a TEMPORARY one, to use a category suggested by Richard Dawkins himself in The God Delusion.

But I cannot prove that there is no God in my room, not even if I had access to all the universe, for the simple reason that one of the main properties that is typical of God, with capital ''D'', is he being ''greater'' than the universe, and his INDECTABILITY by definition. That's why this type of Agnosticism is necessarily PERMANENT, which is the other category suggested by Dawkins in said book.

I could indeed prove the existence of an unicorn simply by showing you one, but I cannot in ANY WAY prove the existence of God not even if I show the most miraculous, stupendeous and colossal thing of all the time, for the best that could achive is showing something super-human, but how do you know if that something would be God?
I understand what you said.  I used to call myself an agnostic.  But after much study and thought, I think that the total lack of any data that suggests the existence of unicorns or god(s) that they simply do not exist except in the minds of those who believe they do.  I could say that an invisible pink eyed snot monster lives under my house.  Can I prove it?  No.  Can I disprove it?  No.  Except there is no data to suggest that that might be true. 

I used be agnostic about the existence of the christian god.  I used to say (and think) that one could neither prove the existence of nor the non-existence of god.  So, agnostic it is--or was.  I then went on search for spiritual guidance or enlightenment.  My wife was/is a recovering catholic and so we went to Unity to discover what was spiritually right for us.  We were there for over 10 years and were fully active in the church--both of us were board members and I ran the sound system and was the 'greeter'.  Anyway, this was a study time for me.  I discovered for myself, that actually, the absence of proof does constitute negative proof of the existence of any god, or gods, or Jesus, or supernatural anything.   There is not a single scrap of evidence that proves those things exist or ever existed.  And there is another type of proof that for me, proves that god does not exist.  Christians give god a whole list of attributes, headed by love, justice, righteousness, etc.  If god were love, then the universe would reflect that love.  So, how to account for birth defects, or happenstance natural disasters that kill thousands--the good and the bad all get it in the neck.  So, yeah, the absence of proof is proof of nonexistence.  Agnostic I am not.  God does not exist--and there has never been one iota of data to suggest or even hint at, his existence. 
Title: Re: The Nature of Skepticism
Post by: Cassia on April 06, 2021, 04:03:53 PM
Well, if one believes the babble, god showed himself to the Hebrews. They apparently, were not all that impressed.
Yeah, gawd mooned Moses. Guess it was nothing to write home about.

And it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a cleft of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by. And I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen.
(Exodus 33:22-23)
Title: Re: The Nature of Skepticism
Post by: SGOS on April 06, 2021, 04:48:36 PM
Yeah, gawd mooned

And it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a cleft of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by. And I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen.

(Exodus 33:22-23)
Bible thumper quoting scripture.  I'm happy you posted that.  You never know when you might need that verse.
Title: Re: The Nature of Skepticism
Post by: Hydra009 on April 06, 2021, 06:42:53 PM
Let me give you an example. I indeed cannot prove that there are no unicorns in the world because of a mere practical issue -- I have other things to do!
And even if you did devote your life to tracking down unicorns and never found one, there'd always be someone who claims that they're out there based on nothing but blind faith.  Kinda reminds ya of a certain miraculous tongue, doesn't it?

Quote
I could indeed prove the existence of an unicorn simply by showing you one, but I cannot in ANY WAY prove the existence of God not even if I show the most miraculous, stupendeous and colossal thing of all the time, for the best that could achive is showing something super-human, but how do you know if that something would be God?
Exactly, which makes it an inherently unverifiable/unfalsifiable claim, like the idea that the observable universe is a mote in a giant's eye or that invisible spirits roam the world after death or that gingers have souls.  Hence my very disinterested agnostic atheism.

Also, it kinda makes one wonder why tons of people act so damn sure about something you agree can't be demonstrated in the slightest.  Do they truly know what they claim they know?
Title: Re: The Nature of Skepticism
Post by: SGOS on April 08, 2021, 04:57:05 AM
From Wiki:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robin_Hood

The historicity of Robin Hood is not proven and has been debated for centuries. There are numerous references to historical figures with similar names that have been proposed as possible evidence of his existence, some dating back to the late 13th century. At least eight plausible origins to the story have been mooted by historians and folklorists, including suggestions that "Robin Hood" was a stock alias used by or in reference to bandits.