Sunday, August 16, 2015


"In its relation to religion, the century now drawing to 
its close is emphatically the Age of Agnosticism."

"If one were asked to name the two most characteristic intellectual attitudes of the latter half of the nineteenth century, one would probably be safe in answering - Evolutionism and Agnosticism."

"Establish the meaning of these without question, and we have principia from which we may deduce creeds and systems, the usefulness of which cannot be exaggerated, especiallyinan age of agnosticism."

"Seth went on to observe how noteworthy and surprising it was that an age which saw such remarkable achievements in science 'should be also the Age of Agnosticism, the epoch of the creed Ignoramus et ignorabimus'."

"The present philosophical situation has become simply intolerable"; "so far ... as the social and moral interests of mankind are concerned," the nineteenth century had become "the AGE OF AGNOSTICISM."

"The intellectual revolution caused by scientific findings had made, in relation to religion, the latter half of the nineteenth century the Age of Agnosticism."

Tuesday, August 11, 2015


Huxleyism: the theory of the anthropoid descent of man and its inevitable consequences.
Clarence Edwin Ayres, Huxley (1929) p. 242.

Darwin's bulldog was patently a man of almost puritanical uprightness.
Cyril Bibby in 'T.H. Huxley: Scientist, Humanist and Educator (1959) p. 56.

It was worth being born to have known Huxley.
Edward Clodd, biologist and biographer in Memories (1916), p. 40.

I think his tone is much too vehement.
Charles Darwin in letter to Joseph Dalton Hooker about Huxley's Royal Institution lecture in 1854.

My good and kind agent for the propagation of the Gospel; i.e. the Devil's gospel.
This humorous remark closes a letter by Charles Darwin, to Huxley (8 August 1860), but it can also be interpreted as referring to Louis Agassiz, rather than Huxley himself.

"Pope Huxley"
Richard Holt Hutton in the title of an article in which he accuses Huxley of too great a degree of certitude in some of his arguments. The Spectator (29 January 1870).

Huxley, I believe, was the greatest Englishman of the Nineteenth Century — perhaps the greatest Englishman of all time.
H. L. Mencken in "Thomas Henry Huxley" in the Baltimore Evening Sun (4 May 1925).

All of us owe a vast debt to Huxley, especially all of us of English speech, for it was he, more than any other man, who worked that great change in human thought which marked the Nineteenth Century.
H. L. Mencken in "Thomas Henry Huxley" in the Baltimore Evening Sun (4 May 1925).

The row was over Darwinism, but before it ended Darwinism was almost forgotten. What Huxley fought for was something far greater: the right of civilized men to think freely and speak freely, without asking leave of authority, clerical or lay. How new that right is! And yet how firmly held! Today it would be hard to imagine living without it. No man of self-respect, when he has a thought to utter, pauses to wonder what the bishops will have to say about it. The views of bishops are simply ignored. Yet only sixty years ago they were still so powerful that they gave Huxley the battle of his life.
H. L. Mencken in "Thomas Henry Huxley" in the Baltimore Evening Sun (4 May 1925).

From [1854] until 1885 Huxley's labours extended over the widest field of biology and philosophy ever covered by any naturalist with the single exception of Aristotle.
Henry Fairfield Osborn in Impressions of Great Naturalists (1924) p. 107-8.

Huxley gave the death-blow not only to Owen's theory of the skull but also to Owen's hitherto unchallenged prestige.
Henry Fairfield Osborn in Impressions of Great Naturalists. (1924) p. 113.

The illustrious comparative anatomist, Huxley, Darwin's great general in the battles that had to be fought, but not a naturalist, far less a student of living nature.
Edward Bagnall Poulton in Charles Darwin and the Origin of Species (1909) p. 58.

A man who was always taking two irons out of the fire and putting three in.
Herbert Spencer.

The papers are printed and circulated among the members, and begin to form a little volume. Among the contributors have been Archbishop Huxley and Professor Manning.
Bishop Connop Thirlwall Letters to a Friend (1881) p. 317.

I believed that he was the greatest man I was ever likely to meet, and I believe that all the more firmly today.
H. G. Wells in The Royal College of Science Magazine (1901).

If he has a fault it is... that like Caesar, he is ambitious... cutting up apes is his forté, cutting up men is his foible.
"A Devonshire Man" in the Pall Mall Gazette (18 January 1870).

I'm a good Christian woman — I'm not an infidel like you!
Huxley's cook Bridget, after being scolded for drunkenness, as quoted in Huxley : From Devil's Disciple to Evolution's High Priest (1997) by Adrian Desmond.

Oh, there goes Professor Huxley; faded but still fascinating.
Woman overheard at Dublin meeting of the British Association of 1878, quoted in The Life and Letters of Thomas Henry Huxley (1900) by Leonard Huxley, p. 80.

His voice was low, clear and distinct... Professor Huxley's method is slow, precise, and clear, and he guards the positions that he takes with astuteness and ability. He does not utter anything in reckless fashion which conviction sometimes countenances and excuses, but rather with the deliberation that research and close inquiry foster.
Newspaper account of speech at opening of Johns Hopkins University (13 September 1876), quoted in The Great Influenza : The Epic Story of the Deadliest Plague in History (2005) by John M. Barry, p. 13.

Monday, August 10, 2015


Confusion on people's views stems a lot on definitions. Using different definitions of labels causes confusion. Using different definitions of what it is we're supposed to be contemplating the existence of also causes much confusion.

So, what do I mean by "gods"? 

The starting point for almost all concepts of "gods", has one or more intelligent beings who exists beyond our known universe (beyond, because our known universe doesn't exist at the beginning of almost every creation story). That starting point is the bare bones concept of "god", described by deism. Deism (root "deos") is just Latin for Theism (root "theos"), so I consider it to be the most basic form of theism, without all the specific religions' or mythologies' attachments. This is somewhat similar to our concept of "aliens" as just some kind of intelligent beings who exist beyond our planet, or even solar system. 

To write an "alien" science fiction story, and prior to giving the beings descriptions, attributes, powers, etc., one would first have to have the bare bones "aliens" concept in their head. I apply the same principal to "gods". To write a "gods" fantasy story, and prior to giving the beings descriptions, attributes, powers, etc., one would first have to have the bare bones "gods" concept in their head.

I look upon the Bible and a Superman comic, in a similar light. If someone thinks the Bible is evidence of "gods" existing, I consider that as logical as someone thinking a Superman comic is evidence of "aliens" existing. On the flip side, if someone thinks they can scientifically show that "gods" or "aliens" don't exist with a copy of the Bible or Superman, then I think they are being quite illogical, as well. 

An added aspect to religious writings are claims of personal experiences. Unlike Superman, this is equivalent to people claiming to have personal "alien" experiences. That part of the equation leads to a chicken and egg question. Which came first, the concept of "aliens", or claims of "alien" experiences? Which came first, the concept of "gods", or claims of "god" experiences? With regards to "aliens", it seems that the concept came first. 

Does evidence suggest there are no other intelligent "alien" beings in the known universe, outside of planet Earth? No. The universe is vast, and we have barely begun to actually explore it. Then how can someone say there is evidence to suggest that no intelligent "god" beings exist in the known universe, outside of planet Earth? 

If we add the concept of "multi-verses", does evidence suggest there are no other individual universes existing beyond our known universe? No. We still haven't come to a consensus on whether, or not, there is a single-verse or there are multi-verses. Then how can someone say there is evidence to suggest "god" beings do, or don't, exist beyond our known universe? 

The first step in trying to scientifically disprove the existence of a Bible, Torah, Qur'an, etc., "God", is to accept that it's some kind of valid evidence, in the first place, that you can test and falsify. Again, that seems, to me, like accepting that a Superman comic is valid evidence for "Superman", that you can test and falsify. That sounds like pseudo-science. 

Added to the "gods" concept is that the "gods" then bring forth our known universe. Where they supposedly exist, though, is answered by where they are said to exist, before that happens.

The question then is, if creating universes is an ability that can't be separated from the concept of "gods", is creating universes possible? According to theoretical physicists, that answer is "yes". 

If we did create a universe, we would, by definition, be deistic "gods". There would also exist a universe potentially filled with trillions upon trillions of beings considering us "gods" and speculating as to whether we're "good" or "evil", what we look like, what abilities we have, etc., and maybe even having personal experiences that some of them think our interactions with us. They might write stories, based on those speculations and experiences.

The ironic part would be that, if we couldn't interact with our creation, we would be speculating about what exists within it, if anything (we could do a shit job and the whole thing could just explode into nothingness without our even knowing it), as much as they are speculating what exists beyond it, if anything.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

ADDLED ATHEIST #5: David Nicholls

"Agnostics of the planet are a very dangerous breed"

 What the...I'm dangerous? Yet another article by an atheist who stupidly thinks agnostics are trying to squeeze in somewhere between broad definition atheism and theism. An utter moron. And, this moron appears to have been the president of the Atheist Foundation of Australia.

"As adults it is difficult to modify or undo the infant indoctrination but it is possible"

What this supposedly has to do with agnostics, I have no clue. I don't know about other agnostics, but I was taught no religious beliefs. I ended up with no religious beliefs. Of course, the author would call this being "atheist". I don't. I don't like the broad definition "atheist" labelling.
"There are two distinct classes of agnostics: One is the Atheist, who, not wanting to upset family or friends or fearful of some genuine or presumed ostracism by society, is therefore reticent to openly admit that stand, and the other is the confused thinker."
Do I not like the broad definition "atheist" labelling because I'm fearful of something? No. That's stupid. Nothing like an atheist who thinks they have some kind of big balls, for doing nothing. Here, let me give this a try...

There are two distinct classes of atheists: One is the weak/negative atheist who is acting like they have big balls, just because their chosen label puts them in the same boat as strong/positive atheists, when in reality, their own belief is the same as the agnostic's, and the other is the strong/positive atheist cowardly hiding behind a broad definition, so they can pretend they don't have a burden of proof for their "gods do not exist" claim.

Now, I know that's not entirely, or even remotely, correct. So, let's get back to why I don't use the label "atheist". I think calling the middle "atheist" is stupid. Plain and simple. Simply renaming the middle "atheist" is, in fact, not excluding the middle. Anyone who thinks it does, is an idiot. See BINARY BULLSHIT
"While the confused thinker/agnostic can find no rational reason to believe in anything supernatural they maintain their deep survival yearning."
Ummm, no. Huxley's agnosticism is a form of demarcation. Popper was an agnostic, too. No evidence = untestable and unfalsifiable = unscientific and inconclusive. Inconclusive = no belief, either way.
"The confused thinker/agnostic is really just another religious person."
Ummm, no. I treat the concept of "gods" the same way I treat the concept of "aliens". I consider religious writings somewhat equivalent to sci-fi writing. Using some basic concept, the writer imagines stories, descriptions, abilities, etc. Religious texts may also add some parts that amount to personal "alien" encounters, or "god" encounters.
"the path of the confused thinker/agnostic is one far easier to travel than that chosen by an Atheist"
More perceived atheist bullshit.  Agnostics get treated as non-believers. Some theists will argue with and try to evangelize them. Some even think agnostics are closer to some stupid edge, and give some extra effort, thinking agnostics are close to becoming theists. No. Piss off evangelical theists, unless you have evidence. Plus, we get atheists acting like asshats, as well, insulting and trying to convert us. No. Piss off evangelical atheists, unless you have some evidence. Being neither is not "easier".
"The phrase, confused thinker, and the word agnostic, have always been and will forever remain, synonymous."
The phrase, "confused thinker", and "David Nicholls", will forever remain synonymous, to me.


There seem to be quite a few atheists who act like there is only one proposition, "gods exist", in play. They also separate questions of belief and knowledge, and then ask two binary questions. One, regarding belief, and the second, regarding knowledge. 

Do you believe "gods exist"?

"Yes" = theist
"No" = atheist

Do you "know" "gods exist"?

"Yes" = gnostic
"No" = agnostic 

The first problem is that this will only give you 3 possible answers: 

(YY) = gnostic theist
(YN) = agnostic theist
(NN) = agnostic atheist

Using just those 2 questions, the 4th option is an impossibility: 

(NY) = gnostic atheist

It's impossible to not believe "gods exist" but "know" "gods exist". Even if it were possible, it wouldn't be representing what we mean by "gnostic atheist". The "gnostic atheist" must have been asked an entirely different 3rd question: 

Do you "know" "gods don't exist"? 

"Yes" = gnostic (apparently)
"No" = agnostic (I assume)

The second problem is that we should have the "gnostic atheist"'s answer to the 2nd question, and everyone else should have been asked the same 3rd question, and their answers given. That gives us the 4 positions:

(YYN) = gnostic agnostic theist
(YNN) = agnostic agnostic theist
(NNN) = agnostic agnostic atheist
(NNY) = agnostic gnostic atheist

The third problem is that a belief question, regarding the "gods don't exist" proposition, should have been asked as well as the knowledge question, and it too should have been asked of everyone. 

Do you believe "gods don't exist"? 

"Yes" = ?
"No" = ? 

^Fourth problem...there aren't really any binary belief labels for this question. I'll use the "negative" and "positive" terms, even though those words don't really describe beliefs in answer to the question. Now we've got: 

(YYNN) = gnostic agnostic negative theist
(YNNN) = agnostic agnostic negative theist
(NNNN) = agnostic agnostic negative atheist
(NNNY) = agnostic agnostic positive atheist
(NNYY) = agnostic gnostic positive atheist

We arrive at this convoluted mess by attempting to assign labels to all the specific answers, rather than labelling the 5 different positions, at the end.

We'll clean that mess up a bit by saying all theists are "negative", so that's a redundancy. We'll also say that it's redundant to note that a gnostic is agnostic about the opposing question, and that the remaining "agnostic agnostic" positions are agnostic to both, so we'll clean that up too, with only one "agnostic". Now the broad definition "atheism" and narrow definition "agnosticism" looks like this: 

(YYNN) = gnostic theist
(YNNN) = agnostic theist
(NNNN) = agnostic negative atheist
(NNNY) = agnostic positive atheist
(NNYY) = gnostic positive atheist

Labelling, the final positions with broad definition "agnosticism" and narrow definition "atheism":

(YYNN) = theognostic
(YNNN) = theist
(NNNN) = agnostic
(NNNY) = atheist
(NNYY) = atheognostic