Strinsinger wrote: "I agree with Steve Shaw about agnosticism. It's from a position of denial, I think, by not wanting to make a clear appraisal.
and to me...
"I see no insult in Dawkin's statement. This is the kind of ultra-sensitivity that causes problems when broaching this topic. People take this examination personally. "Probably" is the key word here. The insult is insisting that there is a god. That violates free thought."
Where exactly is my denial occurring in my statement about how I choose to be agnostic? What is there to deny? I am clearly stating that I await proof one way or the other. I am denying no possibilty of one idea or the other therefore. THAT IS my clear appraisal based on many many years of being let down by both religious dogma AND science. I am looking at it as someone who has been involved with religion and science. Science can sometimes be misleading too (deliberately) and try and shut down free thinkers. Anyone who doubts it look up the story of what happened to Alton Arp when he discovered various innacuracies about quasars and the Hubble Constant. At one point I was left with totally nothing I could belive in with honesty and truth. That aside. No denial is taking place. My uncertainty comes from lack of what I need to make a decision for myself.
What insulted me about Dawkin's statement and involvement with the bus advertising, which again I clearly stated earlier in this thread, was his pompous and arogant attitude. He calls agnostics fence sitters and then he himself uses the word "probably". Probably suggests some doubt or alternative is possible. Where is his conviction with such a sloppy statement?
As a scientist I had no problems at all with Dawkins. Brilliant man. But he should have stuck with what he was good at. This, what now seems like a private crusade, to trash those who have belief is unworthy of him in my opnion. He has made his point. Several times... and several times and again and again... ad nauseum. Why does he have to keeping thrusting it home? And then, with all his oh-so-certain statements and commitment, he goes along with the word probably. THAT word just about said it all and with it went my respect for him.
Someone who stands on for what they believe in has my respect. I may not necessarily believe in what they do, but I can respect their commitment and stance. I also accept that sometimes people change their position. But to hammer home a point about something that he is certain about, and call those who do not go along with his thinking, and then use the word probably, is wishy-washy at best. It is insincere. Had he advertised THERE IS NO GOD then, no matter what I personally think, he is sticking by his message. The word "probably" said a great deal.
Over sensitive? Well, no. But I am entitled to feel affronted when I get called a fence sitter by the likes of Dawkins. He is no better with the statement he made. I get called as being in denial, something I clearly am not. I get called diingeneous when I am neither a liar or insincere.
I only 'personalise' this as I cannot speak for other agnostics. Just myself. I have not taken ofence on a personal level. I know Dawkin's and yours and others are not personal to me. But my response is a personal one. It is also honest and sincere.
Fundamentalist atheism is as bad as any other form of fundamentalism. Hammering home insults to open minds or believers does not make the other's mesage any more certain or correct. There are many variations on this theme and I think people are entitled to them without having to suffer the indignations of those who hold other views. If you believe there is not God then well and good. No argument will you get from me. You do need to allow for other people having other views though without seeing it as being in denial.
Sorry to have rabbited on ;-)