Debate 001: Tasha and Blair debate death, agnosticism and the paranormal

Tasha Rebuttal #001:

Your definition of what an agnostic is seems different from what I have read. May I suggest you read more than one dictionary, because terms like these have different definitions.

I am an agnostic. The definition of agnosticism has more than one definition. I will say that I don’t believe I can know if there is a supreme being, period, until I am dead perhaps. I am not waiting around for traffic to clear! I have been agnostic all my life. I found your definition somewhat silly. I am certainly not waiting for “someone” to prove the existence of a “god”, as you said agnostics do in your explanation. What was that about waiting to see which side of the street to clear first? Don’t be ridiculous! I haven’t found your extended definition remotely close to the ones I’ve read. You portray agnostics as people who just can’t make up their mind. I have made up my mind, and feel quite logical in my choice. You should dispel myths in your own department (atheism) and stop spreading misconceptions about agnosticism.

Response to Tasha #001:

TASHA: “May I suggest you read more than one dictionary…”

I have and they were pretty much the same with only minor and insignificant differences and word usage but all conveyed the same meaning. My choice of Webster was because it is the most common and respected dictionary around. Perhaps you should take your complaint of the definition up with Webster?

I’m sorry you find my extended definition silly. I stated from the beginning that I didn’t want people to need a doctorate in philosophy to visit my page. I wanted the page to be understood by anyone that visited it to help dispel any myths surrounding Atheism. One of the myths often held is that there are no true Atheists that we are all Agnostics. I feel that it is very important to separate the two and describe their differences. While the candy store analogy may be silly (that I grant you), it helps to convey the message in easy to understand terms. I do not think the highway median analogy is silly. You stated yourself that “I will say that I don’t believe I can know if there is a Supreme Being, period, until I am dead perhaps.” You are correct. You are standing in the median of the atheism/theism highway declaring “I don’t believe I can know.” Sooner or later you will know one way or the other. You will either know god and cross to the Theism side or you will finally conclude that you know there is no god and cross to the Atheism side. Or you will never know and die in the median.

Tasha Rebuttal #002:Thank you for the response, I would like to reiterate my opinion and share some thoughts on your own. In your description on agnosticism, you give the reader the impression that agnostics are undecided. That is not true of all agnostics, you made a generalization. I am decided, and have no intentions of changing my mind. I have had theists and atheists alike argue with me under the same misguided interpretation of what an agnostic is. Your candy store analogy only promotes more misunderstanding about agnosticism. There is no comparison to be made between hard atheists and agnostics. While I appreciate your attempt to make agnosticism more understandable, I don’t believe you have done that. I think you may want to redefine what agnosticism is on your site, or just ignore the subject altogether by stating simply that agnostics are NOT the same as atheists. The main point of this is that not all agnostics are undecided, and you haven’t given that impression to the reader. As an agnostic, I don’t believe there IS anything to decide. The Webster dictionary’s definition of agnosticism is not in question here; yours is.

Response to Tasha #002:An agnostic is undecided. They are undecided as to whether god exists or not. While you may KNOW that we can never know if he does or not you are still undecided about the existence of a god. Claiming you know that no one can ever know is another way of saying, “I’m undecided”. I think you are misinterpreting the definition of Agnosticism to meet your expectations.

As Douglas E. Krueger states in his book “What is Atheism: A Short Introduction,

“[An Agnostic is] someone who suspends judgment on the matter of god’s existence and other supernatural claims. Some Agnostics believe that there is not enough evidence about whether or not god exists to reach a definitive judgment on the issue. They hold that until such facts are gathered, lest one commit the fallacy of an appeal to ignorance, one should not affirm or deny the existence of such beings”.

In other words, they are undecided about the existence or non-existence of God and clarify this indecision as an issue of knowledge or more accurately, the lack of knowledge.

Until such time that the founder of Agnosticism, Thomas Huxley, decides that the definition should change then I shall leave it as it is. Of course he is dead so I don’t see that happening any time soon since I don’t believe in ghosts or resurrection.

Tasha Rebuttal #003:

BLAIR: “I think you are misinterpreting the definition of agnosticism to meet you expectations.”

How? I don’t see how my own explanation could be excluded from the one you gave by Thomas Huxley. I was simply saying that your analogy was poor, because it has nothing to do with what agnostics are in general, only your idea of what agnostics are. Not all agnostics are waiting to decide, as you said. Agnostics have simply suspended judgment, there is no presumption that they ever will decide. I think you should simply quote Huxley when trying to assert what an agnostic is, because your analogy is incomplete.

Response to Tasha #003:

To avoid generalization should I specify every case of Agnosticism there is? I think that would be redundant. Catering to every minority is what has caused the Politically Correct revolution and the ceaseless stupid litigation in our justice system. However I will get rid of the analogies in the definition and stick to the basics. Is this acceptable?

Tasha Rebuttal #004:

Thank you for changing your definition of agnosticism, it’s appreciated.

Response to Tasha #004:

You’re welcome.

Tasha Rebuttal #005:

Furthermore, while I can certainly understand why you have explained what death is to your children in an effort to spare them confusion, there is one thing I am left to ponder. Do you know where your conscience goes after death? Assuming you are a logical atheist, you will probably admit you do not. Did you tell your daughters about this? Thousands of testimonies from ALL types of people have documented unexplainable (by standard terms) experiences while either clinically dead or in a coma. But that’s somewhat beside the point. Is it not fair to HOPE that part of our being does not end? Could you not extend this hope to your daughters? Can you honestly say you have been dead before? If you would like evidence as to paranormal activity, I can find some links for you. The mind has an immense amount of power, how can you say for certain that such a power ends when our physical beings end? Assuming you understand evolution, isn’t it possible that we are evolved in ways not yet understood? I do not know one way or the other, but I at least hope I go on somehow, simply because I have no other choice but to realize that there are some things I simply cannot know now. Love is a power, hope is a choice.

Response to Tasha #005:

TASHA: “Do you know where your conscience goes after death?”

Conscience or conscious? Conscience is the faculty by which distinctions are made between right and wrong. Conscious is to be mentally aware of one’s inner thoughts and feelings. I am going to assume you meant the conscious since that seems to be more relevant to the rest of your statement. What are the only two species on the planet that have a conscious? Human beings and chimpanzees are the only two species on the planet that have self-awareness. Does the conscious of a chimpanzee continue after death? Do chimpanzees go to Heaven since they are self-aware?

Do you know what causes the “tunnel effect” in near death experiences? Air Force and Navy pilots know. They noticed the same “tunnel effect” during high G testing in a centrifuge. The pilots lost consciousness and began to see a tunnel of light and they felt like they were being pulled into it. Scientists quickly began a more dedicated research into the phenomenon and found that during times of unconsciousness and death the brain released hormones as much as ten times as normal. These hormones act like a narcotic to the brain and reduce pain stimuli to the nerve center. It causes the brain to focus in on whatever stimuli are left. This causes a tunnel effect. The effect has also been documented in high stress situations that involved fight or flight. Victims that escaped recalled not being able to hear anything or see anything except what was immediately in front of them. Everything else was blurry. They had a sense of walking down a tunnel and being in “automatic” mode.

TASHA: “Can you honestly say you have been dead before?”

I didn’t say I was dead before. I don’t believe in reincarnation.

TASHA: “Is it not fair to HOPE that part of our being does not end?”

Sure it’s fair to hope. The hope that there is something better when we die allows people to accept their death a lot easier. Is the hope logical and rational? I don’t think it is but that does not make the hope wrong.

TASHA: “…isn’t it possible that we are evolved in ways not yet understood?”

Sure. We still do not completely understand the mechanics of evolution – hence it’s a Theory instead of a Law. That’s the great thing about science – it’s always self-correcting itself and looking for mistakes in previous theory.

Tasha Rebuttal #006:

Re: tunnel effects.

I wasn’t speaking in regards to only tunnel effect. There are several other cases that have nothing to do with it. My point is that you don’t know, you can only theorize. Hope is a way of looking at things, one that offers serenity even to a non-theist. I think the fact that you haven’t allowed your daughters to make their own opinions regarding death is similar to religious parents who pound god into their children’s head. In essence, you are just on the flip side of the coin. While you may know what happens to the physical being after death, you should allow your daughters to understand that we are also conscious beings, and that whether the mind and body are inseparable is unknown. You haven’t addressed this with your daughters it seems, after reading about your discussion with them. And how can you say that hope is not rational or logical? I think any psychologist would say otherwise.

Re: science correcting itself.

Theories about science come from an OPEN mind, meaning open to possibility. Do you think your daughters will have an open mind for scientific theory when you explain things to them in the way that you have? Wouldn’t it be fairer to say, “well, we know what happens to our bodies; they decompose etc—but as far as our conscious minds or emotions, that is unknown, and is of a different nature, and may have it’s own possibilities”. Believe me, children are better off with “I don’t know” than “I THINK we know”, because the truth is you don’t. Thank you for the feedback, I hope to hear more from you.

Response to Tasha #006:

TASHA: “There are several other cases that have nothing to do with it”.

Please elaborate.

I’m not Agnostic so I declare knowledge instead of declaring I will never have the knowledge. I don’t declare that mankind can never have the knowledge of such matters. I know that the conscious (self-awareness) is a function of the brain. When brain activity ceases then so does consciousness. If mankind needs to believe in an afterlife and Heaven to accept death more gracefully and to be at peace then so be it. I will die at peace knowing I lead a successful life and raised two wonderful daughters.

Do you have children? As a parent you cannot let your children make their own decisions about death when they are 4 or 5 years old. They do not have the mental capacity to make that kind of decision. I prefer that my children sleep without nightmares or make decisions about death that are irrational or cause them to fear death. Death is a natural occurrence and they should recognize it as such. Death is not a supernatural event. Had their grandmother not died I wouldn’t have had that discussion until they were older.

I expect my children to make their own decision about God when they reach a mature enough age to make that kind of decision. I will help them in every way possible and give them access to any resource they require. Do you tell your children (if you have them) that you don’t have the knowledge as to whether monsters are under their bed? You tell them that monsters under the bed don’t exist because they are irrational. We KNOW monsters do not exist. Why make separations with God? Why not tell your kids that God is just as pretend as monsters under the bed. They are both irrational and sources of fear.

Hope is a lack of ration or logic. Hope is rational and logical in a sense that it helps to ease pain and suffering and allows humans to accept hardship much easier. However it is a lack of rationalism, reasoning, and logic that cause hope to flourish in the first place. Religion is rational for mankind to create in order to answer the unanswerable but it lacks ration, reason, and logic.

I don’t see how you can say children are better off with “I don’t know”. I don’t tell my children what I think. I tell my children what I know. If I don’t know the answer I tell them “I will find out”. And I will provide the best possible answer I can based on what is currently available and not what may or may not be available. Honesty with a child is better than denying a child that knowledge. When a child asks you a question they are seeking knowledge and expanding their minds. Fill their minds with what you know not with what you don’t. It would NOT be fairer to say “as far as our conscious minds or emotions, that is unknown” because that statement is not true. I know what happens to the brain when we die. It ceases and the conscious ceases with it. There IS NO evidence that the consciousness continues on. There IS evidence that the consciousness ceases.

Tasha rebuttal #007:

I don’t see much need to elaborate, because my only point was that there are unexplained cases, which cannot be disproved.

As far as children are concerned, they don’t have to know one way or the other. I didn’t, regardless of what people said, BELIEVE in anything about death, one way or the other. I simply pondered these different ideas and concluded that I didn’t know. Children don’t HAVE to make any decisions about death, they simply want to know what death is. You can tell them what you know about death as well as what you don’t; that doesn’t create fear. Being afraid of death is a natural instinct. Your claims that heaven is just a place adults made up so they wouldn’t feel bad has some validity, but saying that about something you don’t even know about is silly. You DON’T KNOW, and telling your daughter that you do is lying. Lying about something is never good for your children, especially about a serious issue. If children don’t have the mental capacity to make decisions about death, then why should you explain it to them in such frightening detail at all? I am sorry they lost their grandmother, and you could simply have said that her body is dead. You didn’t have to lie and tell them her whole being was rotting into the ground, when you don’t know that as a fact.

You compare God with monsters under the bed. I find that pretty silly too. There is no good reason for a child to believe monsters are under their beds. So I see no reason against telling them there are none. The reason for a child to hope in a God or afterlife is solely for the purpose of finding comfort in the fact that they do not know, but can still hope. Hope is a way of comforting one’s self when the present is difficult or the future is unknown. There is nothing wrong with it. Hoping for something not yet understood perfectly reasonable. Hope is a way of alleviating grief. Hope is a way of not fearing the unknown. Hope has nothing to do with religion, you are throwing out the baby with the bath water.

You are irrational for one reason, you claim knowledge where you have none; death. Unless you can show how you know that I cease to exist when my body dies, I will continue to find comfort in hope. Hope, in it’s self, is a good thing. No psychologist will argue against a hope in something not yet known. You may choose to believe that there is no afterlife, but you don’t KNOW one way or the other. My friend dies, am I supposed to say, “NO I don’t hope he lives on in some way-that’s being irrational!” It is perfectly logical for me to say, “I don’t know if he lives on, I can only hope”.

Logic is just as good for kids as it is for adults. Not knowing something doesn’t mean one must fear it. You seem to connect the unknown with fear. You are much like those who claim to KNOW God, just on the flip side of the coin. Many atheists would consider your form of disbelief to be irrational. I think you should step out of your own box, just like some religious people should, and welcome yourself to the world of possibility.

I have had such difficult times in my life that the only way to motivate myself was to hope for something better. If it wasn’t for hope I may have lost my sanity. Explain then, why hope is irrational, and how extending hope to your children is irrational

Response to Tasha #007:

TASHA: “I don’t see much need to elaborate, because my only point was that there are unexplained cases which cannot be disproved.”

Why don’t you feel the need to elaborate? Do I not have the chance to find evidence and a scientific cause to the “unexplained” events? Why keep them from me? Are they that easy to explain with scientific reason? Please do not hold back on my account (or yours). I look forward to hearing about these other unexplained cases. The term “other unexplained” does not apply since the first case has been scientifically proven and the source identified to be not of a supernatural origin.

TASHA: “Children don’t HAVE to make any decisions about death, they simply want to know what death is. You can tell them what you know about death as well as what you don’t; that doesn’t create fear.”

You’re right that children don’t have to make decisions about death. Death seems to make that decision for them all the time. I do tell them what I know about death. I do not tell them what I don’t know about death. I know that the consciousness dies along with the brain. The phrase “to lose consciousness” did not come about offhandedly. One can lose consciousness at any given moment because of blunt trauma, shock, fear, extra G forces, medication reactions, or any other number of causes. If we can lose consciousness at any time during our living life why would I say that consciousness extends beyond life?

TASHA: “You DON’T KNOW, and telling your daughter that you do is lying.”

I DO KNOW. I am not lying to my daughters when I tell them what happens at death. I choose to leave the supernatural out of it. Supernatural events are unproven and have no scientific foundation. Why should I fill my children’s brains with a bunch of hocus-pocus and abracadabra? Why do you find the natural processes of death to be “in frightening detail”? Death is not something to be scared of. If I had left out the natural process of death and told them only the hocus-pocus and abracadabra then as you put it I would be lying to them. Why is it lying to say, as you put it, “her whole being is rotting in the ground”. Is there not a corpse under the gravestone that is rotting”? Since I know that consciousness dies with brain activity then I can safely say that she is 100% dead and not a single part of her lives on (except her hair and fingernails which continue to grow). I did not go into “grotesque” details about their grandmother’s death. I explained the natural events surrounding death and elaborated as necessary when additional questions were asked.

TASHA: “You compare God with monsters under the bed. I find that pretty silly too. There is no good reason for a child to believe monsters are under their beds.”

Why do you find monsters irrational and God rational? They are both mythological beings that supposedly dwell in the supernatural realm. Just as there is not good reason for a child to believe there are monsters under their beds there is also no good reason for a child to believe there is an invisible supernatural being in space that controls their lives. I have an easier time believing in monsters then an invisible supernatural being.

TASHA: “The reason for a child to hope in a God or afterlife is solely for the purpose of finding comfort in the fact that they do not know, but can still hope. Hope is a way of comforting one’s self when the present is difficult or the future is unknown.”

Why does hope and God provide solace when there is lack of knowledge? It was lack of knowledge in the first place that prompted humans to invent God(s). There were Gods to explain lightning, thunder, earthquakes, tornadoes, tidal waves, wind, water, and everything else on Earth has had a God assigned to at one time or another by one religion or another. In today’s society we have knowledge of these events and understand why they happen. Why is Zeus no longer worshiped? Because we know there is no God sitting on a cloud throwing lightning bolts down at us.

I agree that hope is a way of comforting oneself in a time of crisis. And I want my children to have hope. I don’t want them to have hope in a supernatural being that doesn’t exist. Let them have hope in their love for each other and the love their family has to give them. Let them have hope in their inner strength and their ability to control their lives and their own destiny. Why tell them that their lives are meaningless because they’re here only to atone for the sins of Adam and that they’re going to hell, anyway? Where’s the hope in that?

TASHA: “Many atheists would consider your form of disbelief to be irrational. I think you should step out of your own box, just like some religious people should, and welcome yourself to the world of possibility.”

I have been out of my box several times and always returned to it. There is no ration, reason, or logic in the supernatural. I could not call myself an Atheist if I didn’t say that all supernatural events were irrational, illogical, and without reason. How can I know that God does not exist then say that Ghosts may exist? That would be irrational of me. Saying that all supernatural events are nothing more than man’s need to explain his presence and purpose and constitute an irrational, illogical, and unreasonable thought process seems to be more rational. I fail to see your point of view on this one.

TASHA: “If it wasn’t for hope I may have lost my sanity.”

The disagreement is not whether hope exists or not. I agree that hope exists. The disagreement is not whether hope is beneficial. I agree that hope is beneficial. Where I disagree is what the foundation of hope should be based upon. During my times of despair during my life I found hope in my loved ones, my ability to change the cause of the despair, and my own inner strength. Why should I place my hope on a foundation of unfounded supernatural beings and events?

Tasha Rebuttal #008:

I will elaborate as best as I can regarding supernatural and unexplainable events.

I have had personal experiences in clairvoyance that has lead me to believe that our minds may have some sort of “supernatural” abilities not scientifically understood. Unfortunately, I don’t research the issue much because it’s so hard to sort through the hocus pocus and real information, but plan to look into it more. I have no REASON to lie about this. I think I can safely say I am a rational person and know the difference between coincidences and what I have experienced. I am very good at comprehension, but I don’t think that can explain being able to describe a perfect stranger in detail on more than one occasion. I have always been interested in occultism, mainly because it acknowledges things that major religions do not. You seem to constantly come back to criticizing Christianity and religion, how convenient. There are other spiritualities, which are quite more open, and also accept the theory of evolution. You may want to investigate these more yourself, they are highly interesting. Many arts born of religion have now become acknowledged as medically beneficial as well as scientifically valid, yet have been around for thousands of years and stemmed from spiritual beliefs. A few of these beliefs I can name, and have been acknowledged as laws by the scientific community. One being; Energy cannot be created or destroyed (reincarnation or Chi); another is that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction (yin/yang)(Karma, in a way). While these laws don’t assert that reincarnation or Karma is valid, they certainly could be in support of it.

As far as godlike experience upon clinical death, that was merely an example. I found your info about tunnels very interesting, and may be more inclined to think differently in the future with regards to tunnel vision. But many who have been clinically dead come back with knowledge that cannot be explained, much like the clairvoyant experiences I’ve had. If you have ever read about remote viewing, one of the methods to obtain a vision was to impair the senses, called sensory depravation. This is believed to make the subconscious or “sixth sense” stronger. This form of consciousness isn’t well understood, but the scientific community HAS conducted studies indicating that it exists. This is a concept that cannot be explained from any classical scientific perspective, and yet appears to be documented and valid to an extent. It’s classified with the paranormal, and yet is studied widely by psychologists and scientists alike. The fact that there is a part of the human mind that may be capable of such ability upon altering consciousness (like being clinically dead or in a coma too) raises new questions about what consciousness even is. The source of this ability is unfathomable by what science understands to date. These ideas also do raise questions about what death is and what comprises a human being’s mind.

BLAIR: “I DO know. I am not lying when I tell my daughters what happens at death. I choose to leave the supernatural out of it.”

Oh really? Then why did you tell them that heaven is a place people make up? I agree that leaving out the natural process of death would be dishonest as well, but claiming knowledge about why others choose to believe as they do is also dishonest, when you don’t know. You are generalizing again.

BLAIR: “Since I know that consciousness dies with brain activity then I can safely say that she is 100% dead and not a single part of her lives on.”

I wasn’t meaning to imply that she could be living on, I meant that part of her could CONTINUE. Remember, not everything is understood about consciousness anyway, and because of that, we don’t know how her energy (or soul, if you will) is transformed. There could be more to consciousness than mere physical existence, as I explained in my second paragraph. Science does not KNOW all the answers, actually, scientists and parapsychologists seem more open to this than you are.

BLAIR: “Why do you find monsters irrational and god rational?”

Monsters, or being open to the possibility of their existence, would serve no useful purpose that I am aware of, other than to keep kids up scared. Being open to the idea of god as simply a possibility inspires the very type of free thought and debate that makes new discoveries more possible. I never said god was rational, I said the idea of god was not irrational.

I have one thing to say with regards to hope, and I don’t object to your own ideas about how it could be useful. Sometimes, when one questions the purpose of their existence, their identity and how they identify with their world, pure rationalism has no answers. When one decides how to identify themselves and their environment, they must have questions about the nature of that identity. The concept of power comes to mind, and most have the revelation that they are not all-powerful beings, that there is power greater than them. Considering that human beings are considered the most powerful and creative living species, to ponder what greater power exists beyond us is to identify with the power of life. We are conscious, creative beings, is it impossible that the very essence of life too is conscious? To better identify with the essence of life, is it unreasonable to hope so? Hoping and believing are two different things, and I can understand why it could be irrational to BELIEVE such a thing, but not to hope for it. On the contrary, I can see how hoping for such a thing, or at least being open to the possibility, could be beneficial.Face it, there are some things that your inner strength cannot change. There are some things that will cause you despair that you have no power to change. When speaking of hope, one must step outside their own ego, if they realize that they are not all-powerful. Hoping that these things you have no control over are in the hands of a higher power or God is a way of accepting things you cannot change without constantly questioning your own purpose in life. Everyone I know who truly come from the brink of despair were unable to do so without opening their minds to the possibility of a power greater than themselves or believing that it could restore them to sanity. Many of them identify with a conscious higher power. That would mean a god. Some hope that they are a part of this being, thus identifying it as a conscious entity.

Response to Tasha #008:

TASHA: “I have no REASON to lie about this.”

I don’t think you are lying. I do think that what you perceived as a clairvoyant occurrence was not such. There has NEVER been a documented case of clairvoyance or other type of psychic phenomenon that has been proven. Everyone interviewed believed they were telling the truth and given the circumstances it was easy to understand why they had come to the conclusion they had. There’s a theory about dejavu that surfaced within the last 10 years that is quite intriguing. Our brain takes in so much information that it can sometimes be overwhelming (often observed when people are taken from a lack of stimuli environment to the opposite extreme). Dreams are the way in which the brain attempts to sort out these stimuli. The combinations it makes sometimes come to pass. Is this ESP? It’s just coincidence and when you encounter something in your life that is even remotely similar to a dream its dejavu. While it has not been proven it’s at least intriguing. I’m anticipating further research into the Theory.

TASHA: “…but I don’t think being able to describe a perfect stranger in detail on more than one occasion can be explained by that.”

I think it can be explained by coincidence. Horoscopes seem to be right on when you read them. Why is that? Because it’s natural for the human brain to find associations and connections where there are none. By making generalizations the human brain finds a likeness to itself. If you look for coincidences you will find them. This is why predictions and prophecy have failed so miserably. Because they have all been generalizations or made based on common assumptions. This goes beyond Christianity and the “other” religions and spiritual cults that you mentioned. Nothing supernatural or paranormal has EVER been proven. While the supernatural and paranormal make great material for movies, books, documentaries, and flashy Fox-TV shows they can go no further than that.

TASHA: “But many who have been clinically dead come back with knowledge that cannot be explained, much like the clairvoyant experiences I’ve had.”

None of these “gained knowledge” experiences has EVER been proven. Never has one provided specific dates, places, or names. Never has one of their prophecy come true. Each generalizes that they see the end of the world by earthquake, fire, etc. Sounds like someone read a little Nostradamus before they had their “experience”.

TASHA: “One being; Energy cannot be created or destroyed (reincarnation or Chi); another is that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction (yin/yang)(Karma, in a way). While these laws don’t assert that reincarnation or Karma are valid, they certainly could be in support of it.”

I guess the theory of gravity could support the story of falling angels? With every advanced society, regardless of its foundation (religion, hierarchy, etc.) there are observations made. Sometimes these observations are bogus and other times they are right on. There a many examples of past civilizations that made observations about our universe that were proven later by science to be correct. There is also an equal amount that has been proven to be incorrect.

TASHA: “This form of consciousness isn’t well understood, but the scientific community HAS conducted studies indicating that it exists.”

The last studies I saw on the sixth sense and the use of sensory deprivation showed that there was an increase in brain activity. While this was first attributed to a possible sixth sense it was later revoked. The final thought was that the increase in brain activity was the brain compensating for the lack of stimuli. It’s also important to note that almost all of the test subjects suffered from one form or another of mental illness after the experiment was complete. This ranged from severe phobias to schizophrenia.

TASHA: “Then why did you tell them that heaven is a place people make up …claiming knowledge about why others choose to believe as they do is also dishonest, when you don’t know.”

Heaven is made up. Heaven does not exist. If people need to believe in heaven and hope that there is some form of afterlife to make their death easier then more power to them. I don’t claim to have knowledge about why others specifically choose to believe one way or the other. I do claim to have knowledge about why others generally choose to believe one way or the other. Hence the generalization. If I were to cater to every possible minority it would take volumes. Again I will reiterate that minority catering has cause the politically correct environment that we are now in.

TASHA: “…we don’t know how her energy (or soul, if you will) is transformed.”

We do know how energy is transferred at death. As a cell dies it gives off energy. The energy is absorbed by surrounding cells (be they plant, animal, or inorganic cells is irrelevant). I have often heard of this process referred to jokingly as cellular reincarnation. If energy (or soul as you call it) were to transfer out of the body at death and ascend to a “better place” then this transference would be measurable. Energy can be measured even in the smallest amount. There are a few scientists that are open to this line of thought. These scientists are like the Scully and Moulder of the scientific community. Their work needs to be done but no one wants to acknowledge they’re really there at all. Parapsychology is the investigation of psychic phenomenon as extrasensory perception. Adding the suffix -ist to the end of a title does not make one a scientist. Parapsychology is the investigation of and not the study of psychic phenomenon. Ever notice that most parapsychologists are frowned upon by the rest of the scientific community?

TASHA: “Monsters, or being open to the possibility of their existence, would serve no useful purpose that I am aware of, other than to keep kids up scared.”

Monsters serve a purpose of entertaining us in the movies and providing the backbone to great legends. What purpose does God serve? I can see no useful purpose of having a God other than to keep believers scared of damnation.

TASHA: “There are some things that will cause you despair that you have no power to change.”

Please provide examples. I have racked my brain over this one and can’t think of a single thing that can cause me to despair that I cannot change directly or indirectly.

TASHA: “When speaking of hope, one must step outside their own ego, if they realize that they are not all-powerful.”

On the contrary one must step into their ego to hope. As human beings we are naturally egocentric. It is our ego that causes us to hope in the first place. Our ego dictates that life can’t be meaningless. I amount to more than just a 70-year life span of a few million cells. There has to be an afterlife for me. It’s the ego that feeds these hopes in the first place. It’s not about power but about egocentrism.

Tasha Rebuttal #009:

BLAIR: “I have no REASON to believe you are lying”

No, but you obviously have reason to doubt me, probably because you don’t identify with my type of experience on a personal level.

BLAIR: “I DO think that what you perceived as a clairvoyant was not such”

Again, I can understand why. I had several experiences I thought could be clairvoyant, and pretty much doubted them. I can sometimes “see” a person I have never met before. Sometimes the person I am describing this vision to may be lying about my accuracy. Sometimes I may have a small amount of knowledge about this person I envision, which leads to general details to expand on. It took several events for me to finally believe in my ability. Several years ago, to give an example, a friend and I were on a camping trip. We met two guys one evening. We just hung out briefly and gave no personal information about ourselves other than where we were from. Then one of these guys brought up something about his girlfriend (lets call this guy Bob, since I can’t recall his name). Bob simply said something about his girlfriend getting mad about if he hung out with girls. I then had a vision of this girl. I normally have visions but am either not aware of them until later or I keep them to myself. But at this point I had a feeling that I had a vision of Bob’s girlfriend. The only knowledge I had about Bob was where he was from, that he had a girlfriend, and that she may be jealous. I told Bob his girlfriend had medium brown, slightly permed hair just below the shoulders with bangs. Bob acted amazed and said I was right. He wanted me to go into further detail so that he could actually believe it. I couldn’t believe that I had been so accurate, and so doubted that Bob was telling me the truth about my accuracy. So I asked my friend Join, who was with me, to let Bob describe his girlfriend IN DETAIL to her so that she could also tell me of my accuracy. Join eagerly did this because she was sure that we would all find out Bob was lying and I was just imagining things. Join, by the way, had had no previous knowledge that Bob even had a girlfriend. Must I mention, by the way, that Bob’s friend was also standing there with his mouth hanging open, since he too knew Bob’s girlfriend. I described Bob’s girlfriend in exact detail, from her height (an inch below mine), her preferred outfit, her exact clothing style, her eye color, her body shape (flat buttocks small breasts, thin overall), and some more that I can’t recall. All were amazed. I was accurate. This is one of my much more detailed accurate visions, but I have good reason to believe it was accurate. The main reason I don’t have these visions on a regular basis is because I don’t pay any attention to them. This example I have given is one of a few that I have which have led me to believe in clairvoyance. I was an agnostic all my life, but I do believe in clairvoyance. I do not know if any other paranormal abilities are possible. But my personal experience has given me evidence. I don’t know what my friends think. My mom says she has visions, but I can’t believe her in spite of my own experiences. I understand if you don’t believe in this, but I don’t understand if you close your mind to the possibility of its existence.

Since that time, I have tried to be more aware of my ability, and have tested it with others. Most of the time I am wrong. But once in a while I have a vision that reminds me it’s not all hocus-pocus. I wish I knew what it was that made me accurate, but I haven’t figured it out. I don’t go around constantly testing this ability, so it’s not a matter of chance. I only share my visions if I feel they could be accurate.

As far as documented evidence with regards to the paranormal. Most studies that have been conducted are poor. Actually, the poorer the study the higher likeliness of positive results. I also know that parapsychologists are still developing more accurate ways of testing and that there aren’t many studies that have been conducted so far in a proper way as to show evidence one way or the other. However, the most “scientifically valid” study to date has in fact revealed positive results in testing for psi. It is known as the Ganzfield studies. The results were analyzed in several complex ways taking in several factors. The results from different sites all showed a positive indicator and on average had a score of 0.53. Meaning that psi exists going by their results, but in a VERY low amount. I am going to find the report I spoke of and give the link tomorrow so you can see the accuracy for yourself. It’s a REALLY detailed report from all angles, and was tested by different people in different clinics, a certain percentage skeptics and a certain percent were believers, so the results weren’t as biased, and followed some rigid guidelines. But I agree, this is only the beginning, and it may take knowledge or resources we don’t yet have to conclude actual proof of psychic ability. This will allow people without personal experience in ESP to see overwhelming evidence. If the result was only 0.53%, it was still positive. Many skeptics call this insignificant. I say, it still EXISTS though, whether the numbers are significant in your opinion or not. Proving it is a long struggle, but this study can’t be argued over too much in the way of method. We need more for the sake of definite proof, and to refine testing methods.

re: dejavu

I have heard that dejavu occurs when the neurotransmitters send the same information twice. It is easily understandable in that case why someone would preclude a vision and holds little interest to me.

As far a Nostradamus, I have read all of his prophesies from different translations, and think they are pretty bogus. But one thing I heard of is that he had on a watch when he was buried, and that the watch had a secret inscription on it predicting the exact date his grave would be desecrated. Anyway I haven’t investigated this, but it supposedly happened and the perpetrator went insane with fear. I never said I believed in fortune telling. But there are scientific ways to predict sociologic events and human behaviors. Ever heard of the sun spot theory?

re: astrology

I have studied both Eastern and Western methods, and have only concluded so far that our time of birth indeed dictates certain characteristics, but perhaps astrology is off in many regards, it still inspired a lot of new discoveries about our galaxy. I have been able to know the month and year of someone’s birth after speaking with him or her for ten minutes on about five different occasions. This ability was strengthened by my study of the occult and astrology. I don’t know that these were clairvoyant but haven’t ruled out the possibility that it was a factor.

I know that the scientific community frowns on parapsychology. They used to frown on people who said that earth was round. This type of study is growing and constantly expanding, it’s still trying to earn more credibility.

BLAIR: “What purpose does God serve?”

Or better yet, what purpose WOULD God serve. I think that if the existence of such a God meant an afterlife, most would consider that a worthy purpose. But God, hypothetically speaking, would be THE purpose, obviously. A way to better identify with all that lives consciously.

BLAIR: “There are some things that you have no control over that will cause you despair that you have no power to change”

Want examples? What have you felt despair over? Why did you, if you had the power to change it? For me, my cat dying caused me despair. It was a painful thing for me to lose this pet because I loved it. I had no control over it dying, I had no power to change the fact that it was dead. Yet I felt despair, and could find no way to not feel it. I could have suppressed it, but it would have still existed. It is my choice to hope that my cat lives on in some way that is one of the ways I have lessened my despair.

I can understand why you don’t believe in anything supernatural. The desire to find proof millennium after millennium has created some lies cloaked in a veil of false proof or evidence. We are creative human beings, and again, I say


Response to Tasha #009:

I appreciate you sharing your story about clairvoyance with everyone. It’s not often that people are willing to admit to having paranormal abilities, much less share a specific story regarding those abilities. I will not patronize you or ridicule you. If you believe you had a clairvoyant experience then that is fine. I think it is important to say that I do not believe in paranormal activity. I will grant you that there are things about the human brain which are yet undiscovered and perhaps science will one day find that the human brain is capable of telepathy or other activities. I have even seen arguments stating that the next step in human evolution is further brain development to include abilities such as those mentioned. I’ll let your story carry the weight that you intended and let the readers decide for themselves.

TASHA: “Most of the time I am wrong. But once in a while I have a vision that reminds me it’s not all hocus-pocus. … I only share my visions if I feel they could be accurate.”

This is the only statement I wanted to make an exact comment on. You yourself admit that most of the time you are wrong. To have a clairvoyant experience that is correct “once in a while” is fair to say with (rather than against) the odds. When I was a kid growing up I swore that I had ESP because of some dreams I had. They dreams were vague but we always found an event to associate them with. If you want yourself to have this ability then you will find coincidences and “once in a whiles” to collaborate your wants. Now I realize that the few dreams I had, spooky as they were, were just that, spooky. I had a few dreams that coincidentally coincided with events within the next few months. Because I wanted to have ESP I found the coincidental connections and used them as “proof” to “further my cause”.

The Ganzfield (German for “whole field”) involve a receiver and sender. The receiver is isolated from the sender and prevented from hearing, smelling, tasting, seeing, or feeling. The receiver has to rely solely on the brain to receive signals from the sender. The sender is placed in another isolated room and watches a video between 20 to 40 minutes in length. The receiver is then brought into the room and shown 4 videos. 1 is the actual video and the other 3 are decoys. Already that’s a 25% guarantee. The results only showed a 34% success rate in guessing the video the sender watched. I wouldn’t call that “positive results” as you did. I’d call that standard odds in guessing. Guessing always places higher than the odds of average. The odds of average would place success at 25%. The odds of guessing would be higher, so the results of 34% are not surprising or positive. The test would have been more conclusive if they had shown the receiver 10 videos. 1 being the actual video and 9 decoy videos.

TASHA: “Ever heard of the sun spot theory?”

I’m going to assume you mean the theory that attempts to correlate the 11-year sun spot cycle to an increase in different activities? The sun spot theory goes along the same lines that crime increases during a full moon. William Stanley Jevons (1835-1882) was a prominent businessman during his time attempted to associate sunspot activity to increased revenue and there are a lot of businessmen today that still believe it. As a Radioman in the U. S. Navy I know all about sun spot activity and the 11-year cycle. The sun plays major havoc with radio communications, especially during the peak cycle. If anyone has something good happen to him or her they attribute it to sun spot activity. If anyone has something bad happen to him or her they attribute it to sun spot activity. Had the good or bad thing happened a year before they would have found something else to attribute it to. Look for coincidence and you will find it.

TASHA: “They used to frown on people who said that earth was round.”

Science as a whole did not frown on people who said the Earth was round. That is a big misconception held by a lot of people, including a few atheists. Almost all scientists and cultures advanced enough to navigate the seas knew the Earth was round (or at least curved) and not flat. The church prevented this information from getting out. Scientists were afraid of the church and went along. Christopher Columbus was harassed by the church and was actually locked in prison by the church for saying the Earth was round. No wonder the rest of the scientist kept quite.

TASHA: “What have you felt despair over? Why did you, if you had the power to change it?”

I have felt despair many times in my life. Each time I was able to alter my life to pull myself out of that despair. I didn’t need hope or faith to get me out. I relied on self-perseverance, self-preservation, love of family, and most importantly my internal strength. If you don’t have an internal strength then you have to turn to an external one or create a pseudo-internal strength such as hope or God.

TASHA: “If human beings are the most powerful and creative living species, to ponder what could be more powerful than ourselves is to ponder the power of creation.”

That’s the underlying problem with humanity as a whole. The need to know we’re not alone. The need to know where we came from and what our purpose in life is. From the dawn of man that question has been asked and a lot of answers have been put on the table. From Zeus to Mother Earth. Why ponder that question at all? When I consider something more powerful than myself I think of volcanoes and plate tectonics. A supreme being or creator never enters the picture. Why does it enter yours?

Tasha rebuttal #010:

Your dreams as a child indeed are understandably interesting. I have never had prophetic dreams and haven’t even referred to them in my rebuttals. I have no argument to present against your statement aboutyour own experiences. I wasn’t speaking about fortune telling, premonitions, or any other type of seeing into the future. Please do not compare my experience to any of these; they have nothing in common.

BLAIR: “Because I wanted to have ESP I found the coincidental connections and used them as “proof” to further my cause.”

Understandably, as do many. I can’t say I’m innocent of this either. However, the example I gave really has nothing to do with coincidental or connections. I wasn’t searching for either, just being open to what my “subconscious” was allowing to surface. I had three witnesses, and the possibility of coincidence was pretty inconceivable. That was only the second actual description of an unseen person I had shared with others; most of my other “visions” were different. As far as being wrong most of the time, I have already said that I only share my visions on occasion, and the detail with which I am accurate, when I am, assures me that the chances for being so detailed in my visions is unexplained by a chance, however slim. As I said I don’t go around testing this all the time, and certainly not on enough occasions to create room for as many accurate readings as I’ve given.

As far as the Ganzfield studies, your analysis is also taken into account in the report, which I have provided a direct link to here PSY1. The methods are far more strict that you have implied, and the results weren’t calculated the way you described. This study is very complex and was done under guidelines approved by the scientific community, as accurately as could be determined.

BLAIR: “If someone has something good happen to them they attribute it to the sunspot activity. Had the good or bad thing happened before they would have found something else to attribute it to. Look for coincidence and you will find it.”

Okay, well, I guess you are speaking about plain old ignorance. I’m sure ignorant people could blame sunspots for their problems, but this isn’t what I was talking about. A thoroughly detailed analysis is available and was conducted by different scientists. Check this ARTICLE , be sure to check out additional links at this page, as this article IS a bit one-sided, if only it’s because the author researched it quite a bit. I’m not arguing with your idea about coincidences, but I think looking for them has been more enlightening than shutting one’s mind to them altogether, hence sunspot theory. It’s just an idea or a superstition until you gather evidence, which is what people like scientists try to do.

Re: round earth, religion, and science

I was trying to provide an example, and I’m sure many things can be blamed on religious ignorance, however, there are more examples. Galileo was considered insane by the religious community AS WELL AS the scientific community when he asserted that the sun was the center of our solar system. That was never proven until about 400 years later. The point is that the scientific community is known to frown on ideas that seem non-provable or hard to believe. That doesn’t mean that these ideas are totally incredible. By the way, not ALL of the scientific community frowns on parapsychology. More accurate testing methods are actually evolving, for studying paranormal activity with the help of scientists.

Re: the power to change things

You have not shown me how or if you were able to change the thing you felt despair over.

BLAIR: “If you don’t have an external strength then you have to create an external one or create a pseudo-external strength such as hope or God.”

Well, if someone is at their bottom and has no self-esteem left, they have no internal strength that they’re aware of. This is why one may search for an outside strength to help them identify with their own.

Hoping is something they do instead of giving up. I have found that my internal strength and love for my family is just one part of my willingness, sometimes it hasn’t been enough. Again, every happy person I’ve ever met relies on more than just their own inner strength, I think it’s because they learned that that isn’t enough in all circumstances. We are not all-powerful, and sometimes must surrender these things we cannot change to the all-powerful. Choosing to hope that power is conscious is a method of confirming what we do have the power to change, and that everything else will be handled for us. Hope is a wonderful and sensible thing in this case, and has worked when nothing else would.

BLAIR: “That’s an underlying problem with humanity as a whole. The need to know we’re not alone. The need to know where we came from and what our purpose in life is.”

Then you are considering an only human trait to be a problem, and that in it’s self is pretty interesting. I think that these cravings for knowledge have a good reason, otherwise we wouldn’t have evolved to have them. Like I said, to ponder what could be more powerful than us is to ponder the power of creation. Denying these desires to know is suppressive and obviously not in the vein of evolution. We are creative, and being open to possibility is necessary for creativity.

BLAIR: “A supreme being or creator never enters the picture, why does it enter yours?”

For the love of possibility, creation, identity, and all that exists. Because I can. Possibility exists, and hope is a motivation to explore possibility.

Response to Tasha #010:

TASHA: “Please do not compare my experience to any of these; they have nothing in common.”

I think they have more in common then you think they do. They are both surrounded by convincing coincidences. There are people today that know of those times and are still convinced I had ESP as a pre-teen. ESP and clairvoyance are both under the parapsychology umbrella. How can you say that clairvoyance isn’t a form of fortune telling? A psychic is a psychic is a psychic, no? You yourself have said on several occasions that you are usually wrong or only match generalities. How can you attribute a couple of detailed hits to clairvoyance? If I predict there’s going to be an earthquake in Los Angeles every morning I wake up I’m going to be pretty accurate on a couple of days but the rest of the time I’m just guessing. Should I then say since I was right on a few times that I have ESP?

You referred me to the article Does Psi Exist? While this page made a wonderful attempt at keeping the Ganzfield study afloat it failed miserably. The results are still 34%, which is expected at guessing. Study patients were in some cases allowed to choose their partners and different facilities were used. Those two items alone corrupted data and took away the control and common denominator. If you don’t have a control (command test facility) then you don’t have accurate data. To be conclusive the study needs to be done again. Did you think about why they tried the total sensory deprivation? Have you ever seen a psychic that uses sensory deprivation to achieve their psychic abilities? Why do parapsychologists seem to think that sensory deprivation is needed? Watching the psi world leads me to believe that sensory deprivation is not required and that psychics can operate under any condition. After all, you didn’t need sensory deprivation at the campsite.

You also referred me to the article SUNSPOT CYCLES AND ACTIVIST STRATEGY. There are a lot of flaws in this report and I consider it to be more glamour and glitz than accurate reporting and a detailed analysis. He was also wrong about a couple of things.

He said:

ARTICLE: “Sunspots are solar explosions which appear as dark blotches on the surface of the sun.”

This is incorrect. Sunspots are areas of electromagnetic field disturbances on the sun. While these disturbances may cause eruptions of solar wind they are not explosions.

He charted sunspot activity all the way back to 1748. How did he come across the sunspot activity for 1748? Does he have a time machine?

He cited events that occurred during heightened sunspot activity. I’m glad he knows his history (at least half of it). What about the events that occurred between those times? Did he intentionally leave out other major events in order to convince the gullible public that sunspot activity does affect the psi of the masses? Surely a scientist of his magnitude would not have done such a thing. He left out a lot of events during the non-heightened sunspot activity periods that are contradictory to his presentation.

Bottom line is his report is flawed, biased, inaccurate, and unable to convince an analytical and scientific mind that he’s proven anything. After reading his presentation skills and use of data I came to the conclusion that the article was written by a fraud pretending to be a scientist/doctor and making a very feeble attempt to make his opinion of sunspot activism known.

TASHA: “The point is that the scientific community is known to frown on ideas that seem non-provable or hard to believe.”

Granted. That’s the whole point about science. You have to prove what is thought to be non-provable. That has yet to be done with parapsychology. Parapsychology hasn’t even come close.

The last response I received from Tasha was on 11/99 and I have not received anything since then.

Do Atheists Refuse to Believe In God?

I usually get this statement near the end of a discussion when the theist is running out of options. It is usually followed by “But everybody worships something! What do atheists worship?”

It is at this point that the theist is attempting to rationalize his or her beliefs by saying they are doing nothing more than what everyone else does. Everyone else is doing it, so why can I not?

Is that really such a good policy to live by? I know it is a last minute ditch to justify their beliefs, but come on people! We teach kids, “Just because little Johnny jumps off a bridge does that mean you should, too?” So why do theists, as adults, completely disregard their own teachings to their children?

There are no gods that atheists “refuse” to believe in. Many Atheists searched for a god and only found that a belief in gods was irrational and that defined gods did not logically exist.

I personally searched for a god and found that the belief in a god was irrational. It is not a refusal to believe in something real. It is a conclusion of lack a belief based on the evidence and research conducted.

One of the things that I constantly do is ensure that my conclusions are correct as new evidence, data, and knowledge become available. As new data comes in, I have to compare that new data to my current conclusions. Should my conclusion need modification because of the new evidence or data then I will do it.

What this means is that it will not take a miracle to make me a theist – it will just take solid evidence and the proper data for me to modify my current conclusion about theistic belief.

If there were any evidence that a god existed, then I would believe in that god. Of course, if evidence were available then it would not be an issue of belief – but of acceptance and conclusion.

The very word belief is indicative of the fact that belief is required in the first place. We can believe in many things – but knowing is much better.

What Is Atheism?

No one asks this question enough.

The reason no one asks this a lot is that most people have preconceived ideas about what an Atheist is and is not. Where these preconceived ideas come from varies, but they tend to evolve from theistic influences or other sources.

Atheists are people too!

Atheism usually defined incorrectly as a belief system. Atheism is not a disbelief in gods; it is a lack of belief in gods. Older dictionaries define Atheism as “a belief that there is no God.” Many dictionaries also define Atheism as “wickedness,” “sinful,” and other nasty adjectives. Clearly, Christian influence taints dictionaries. People cannot trust these dictionaries to define Atheism. The fact that dictionaries define Atheism as “there is no God” betrays the Christian influence. If it were a general religious influence, it would read, “There are no gods.”

Why should Atheists allow theists to define who Atheists are? Do other minorities allow the majority to define their character, views, and opinions? No, they do not. So why does everyone expect Atheists to lie down and accept the definition placed upon them by the world’s religious groups? Atheists will define themselves.

Atheism is not a belief system nor is it a religion. Atheism may be a part of individual’s religious beliefs, but the Atheism, of and by itself, is not a belief or religion. (NOTE: Religious belief does not require a god. One out of three religions is Atheistic in nature in that it does not have a god or deity in its belief system.)

The only common thread that ties all Atheists together is a lack of belief in gods and supernatural beings. Some of the best debates I have ever had have been with fellow Atheists. This is because Atheists do not have a common belief system so Atheists often disagree on many issues and ideas.Atheists come in a variety of shapes, colors, beliefs, convictions, and backgrounds. We are as unique as our fingerprints.

As you go through the rest of the Q & A, you will get a lot more clarification on the question, “What’s an Atheist?”

Keep in mind that the answers to the Q & A are my personal views and do not necessarily reflect the views of all Atheists.

What Is Agnosticism?

My answer to this question has made many self-proclaimed Agnostics upset in the past and will probably ire a few more. I can assure all Agnostic readers that I do not intent to offend you with my answer. My answer is how I see the dilemma of Agnosticism versus Atheism and how they both contradict and coexist.

An Atheist is someone that lacks belief in gods and supernatural beings. An Agnostic is someone who claims that we, as human beings, cannot have the knowledge of whether gods exist or not.

There are two types of people in this world: Atheists and theists. Either people believe in a god or they lack belief in a god.

Agnosticism and Atheism deal with two separate issues. Atheism and theism deal with beliefs or lack thereof. Gnosticism and Agnosticism deal with knowledge or lack thereof.

Atheism and Agnosticism cover different issues. That is why Agnosticism and Atheism can co-exist together. If one prefers they can call themselves an Atheistic Agnostic or Agnostic Atheist (depending on where they want the emphasis to be). There are also Agnostic theists and theistic Agnostics.

Because Agnosticism deals with knowledge instead of belief, we can use Agnosticism more freely in the area of knowledge and decision-making. Have you ever heard of the term political Agnostic? A political Agnostic is someone that claims they do not have enough knowledge about politics to make a decision about what party to vote for, what candidate to choose, or how to vote on an amendment.

Many people confuse Agnosticism and Atheism. While an Agnostic may be Atheistic, the position of Agnosticism does not automatically make one an Atheist. The criterion that makes one an Atheist is the lack of belief in gods.

The argument I often get from Agnostics (that do not want to admit their Atheism or theism) is, “But I don’t know! I can’t answer yes or no to the question of do you believe.”

The Agnostic may sincerely not know if they believe or do not believe. The problem is that the Agnostic is using the incorrect definition of Atheism as “not believing.”

Atheism is a lack of belief. The Agnostic either has a belief or lacks belief. Knowledge or lack thereof is irrelevant to the fact that the individual believes either in a god or supernatural being or, in his or her lack of knowledge and claim of belief, lacks said belief, and is therefore Atheistic.

There is nothing wrong with claiming no knowledge to make a belief or lack of belief decision or statement. Agnosticism is a respectable stance to take and on many ideas, an appropriate stance to take. However, the fact remains that all Agnostics are either theistic or Atheistic. They believe either in a god or in gods or they lack a belief in a god or gods.

Robert Green Ingersoll said that Agnostics are Atheists seeking social acceptance. While he said this in jest, there is a bit of truth to that statement. I get a completely different reaction from people if I tell them I am an Agnostic (same holds true with the word Freethinker). Declaring one’s self an Agnostic gets you fewer evil glares, snide remarks, and proselytizing from the general population. Many Atheists are afraid of the word Atheist and prefer to say that they are Agnostic.

Personally, I consider myself an Atheistic Agnostic. I am an Atheist because I lack belief in any gods and supernatural beings. I am an Agnostic because I realize that I do not know everything and I am constantly learning something. I grant the possibility of a god, but there is no evidence that any god exists. As I address in other questions, we should make our conclusions based on what we do know – not what we do not know. As I receive new data, I reevaluate my position and reconsider my conclusions. If I need to change my conclusions and positions upon the arrival of new data then I will do so.

My Atheism allows people to know that I lack a belief in gods and supernatural beings. My Agnosticism lets people know that I recognize that I do not know everything and that I have an open mind to further inquiry and data.

The next time someone tells you they are an Agnostic do not automatically assume they are Atheist, because the two are not synonymous.

Why Atheism?

Usually when people ask this question they are looking for a sign that a psychological or traumatic event that I associate with the church, god, or religion somehow drove me away from religion. It’s not that complicated, though. I do not hate god because someone close to me died or anything else like that. I would have to believe in a god in order to hate that god.

Atheists: We’re your neighbors, police officers, fire fighters, teachers, scientists, athletes, business owners, etc. Chances are you know several and don’t even know it.

There are some individuals that others may call atheists because of emotional or psychological reasons (associated with a traumatic event). However, they tend to still be believers, but simply mad at god and are disassociated from their respective church. If you hate a god then you at least have some belief (however miniscule) that the god exists in the first place. It seems somewhat futile to hate something that you supposedly do not believe in. Some of these individuals finally lose their belief and become atheists, others find another religious path, and some return to their original religion or church. Unfortunately, there are no statistics that track these individuals so we may never know how many people who go through a “crisis of faith” become atheists, find another religion, or return to their original one.

I am an atheist because theism cannot and does not provide the answers that I seek. When I ask the questions that religion often use as their “trump card,” I am not satisfied with their answers. These include questions like, “Why Am I here?” “Where did I come from?” “What is the purpose and meaning of life?”

Theism, in my view, is superfluous in this modern scientific age of knowledge and the expansion of that knowledge. It is too abracadabra, hocus pocus, and illogical! Instead of intelligently looking for the answers to those psychological needs, people grab onto the easy answer from the religious “silver platter.”

I am an atheist because I refuse to take the silver platter answers that the religions of the world dish out. I will travel the road less traveled and find the answers on my own. I will investigate all possibilities and intelligently eliminate those that are irrational.

I could write an entire book to answer this single question. I hope that as people ask questions the answers will help them understand why I am an atheist.