I think there's a lot of truth in that. Certainly, the mainstream advocacy for theists is similarly weak.
This to me is the same thing that bugs you about "Pop" atheists, only coming from the other end of the spectrum. It is just as weak to claim to be an atheist without any philosophical grounding as it is to claim to be a theist without any philosophical grounding.
This is the inane sort of stuff I'm talking about. Did you even read my post?
Originally Posted by TearyEyedTrista
My position is less though of an unbelief in God and more of a we don't know everylthing so let's not make up stuff to help us figure it out kind of a position. That's how my mom is.
So are you saying I should not call myself an Athiest till I give Christianity or Theism a shot? I do notice that most Athiests are Christians who are rebelling against their parents. And they tend to have a more "Dark" and "life is meaningless" type of attitude with their Athiesm than I do. I'm more a happy go lucky athiest. lol
I am not saying that you shouldn't be an atheist until you give Christianity a shot. I'm saying that if people want to stand in the public square, as intellectuals, and argue about religion, they should know the history of these arguments and be aware of the historical forms that are philosophically superior to the arguments that they are making.
My point is not about the general acceptance of the belief so much as the advocacy of the belief without the capacity to defer to the relevant history.
While I do like Hume and Nietzsche and other philosophers who justify agnosticism or atheism, respectively in this case, it seems in no way harmful for one to hold atheistic beliefs without being well read in arguments that help justify their belief.
If you and I were arguing about evolution or health sciences, I would be expected to refer to relevant data in the field, and arguments supporting particular interpretations of that data within the context of certain theories.
To advocate the positions of atheism without deference to the preexisting literature on the subject is harmful to the polemic and, as a result, to the position.
The issue is not simply that Dawkins and Harris (in particular) don't refer by name to great thinkers like Hume and Nietzsche. It is that their ideas and arguments overlook relevant elements of the work of Nietzsche and Hume.
I see where you are coming from...I haven't read all those books either.
Logically speaking though, couldn't Dawkins assume that his readership has "evolved" thinking the things you discussed are well-known...or couldn't he just write the way he does because he has the knowledge...and is "proving" more scientifically than logically or philosophically?
It's that they don't use the ideas; they aren't aware of the content. That's a real serious problem.
To clarify: I happen to think that if you adopt a label to identify yourself in a particular way you should know what that label entails. But the fact is that most people don't.
To label yourself something means you understand what that label means or implies, however without the proper context you are labeling yourself out of ignorance (not derogatory; definition - lack of knowledge in given subject). That was the point the OP was making (at least that's what I got out of it). Most people that label themselves Atheist are really agnostic meaning not sure either way (overall main theme though there are variations).
It's not simply that most of these folks are agnostics. It is that the relevant literature on the subject doesn't appropriately reflect the wealth of philosophical thought that has been gifted upon it over generations.
I'll be honest, I actually think that the agnostic position is pretty weak, when it is articulated that way. The absence of evidence, when one has constructed a reasonable philosophically valid argument, is generally excepted as reason to reject the antecedent claim.
There are different types of Atheism just like there are different branches of Christianity, but generally when people say they are Atheist it is taken to mean that they believe there is no God. To come to that conclusion you would have to be able to explain philosophically what lead you there. Agnostics have more flexibility in that they can simple state "There is not sufficient enough evidence either way to say that God or any supernatural being exists or doesn't exist".
I mean, I think that modus tollens does a lot of heavy lifting in those sorts of cases.