The Spectrum of Knowledge and Belief
I have at times accepted the Agnostic Atheist label I did so in part as an assertion of the scientific principle of uncertainty (I was never indoctrinated and haven’t experienced the doubts I have heard from those who struggled from the grasp of such). So it was definitely not being doubtful, just trying to be scientific. Sounds good? nods, but I also felt uncomfortable with the agnostic angle because as generally used it implied doubt which I didn’t in any way feel. Now I have come to think I was fundamentally missing the point and confusing the issue. The core problem comes from the definition of knowledge and belief.
So let’s look at a philosophical definition of knowledge as quite honestly when we are doing with this labelling game. We are dancing with philosophy. (Pragmatic types just left the room)
Plato defined knowledge as a “Justified True Belief”
This might be modelled thusly
This brings us to the bit…
Knowledge and Belief
are not purely distinct things
In fact knowledge is just a specialized case where a claim meets standards of evidence sufficiently to match our acceptance as knowledge threshold. (we do not have any handle on plato’s truth not really so lets ignore that for now sigh)
Presenting them as different axis like they are often done might be seen as rather deceptive.
Perhaps we could argue they are different markers along a path of differing degrees of justification.
<insert image reflecting this model>
Justification aka Evidence.
We could define this as a range of evidence quality with markers showing where we decide that belief becomes knowledge (and aside from errors generally there should have strong correlation with plato’s truth).
Standards of Evidence
What amount of evidence or lack there of (where evidence would reasonably be expected ) do you require to consider a belief to be knowledge?
This question is the core of that scale. But it gets tricky do you have different standards for different things well yes of course you do but are they appropriately contextual like how the scientific axiom of “Extreme assertions requiring extreme evidence” as popularised by Carl Sagan calls it. Or are those standards influenced by something else (like fear tactics embedded in the religious doctrines themselves or a desire to get along and not be in conflict with dominant religions).
There is also of course differences in evidence quality like subjective vs objective experience . (let’s just avoid Descartes anti-pragmatic it is all subjective hole for now).
Beyond that we come down to the nature of the claim…
Multitudes of Definitions
– Changing/Moving Goal Posts
One of the reasons we see where people assert they do not believe but they do not know (ie agnostic atheism) may be occurring because of the lack of precision in “the god claim” , but I think it is not just that there are a variety of claims ( for this reason I have a fondness for Ignosticism ).
As even focusing on what is supposedly a broadly speaking singular modern claim. you see serious changing definitions over time and those changes have a pattern that should itself be a clue about the nature of the claims.
It seems very apparent that the religious salesmen and apologists have been intentionally redefining their magic sky daddy premise and moving goal posts to remove expectation of evidence. He was in the sky and liked the smell of burning flesh till humans were able to fly beyond the world, now he is some interdimensional out of time being. They aren’t gaining new knowledge they are refining a manipulative scam a con game. The con-men want you to give them freedom to sell their crap.
I personally won’t be buffaloed in to not calling it crap because of some extreme vague white washed deist possibility that simply put does not correspond at all to what the religions are actually selling.
I actually think they should focus on the something worth selling they might have a handle on.