Thursday, 7 February 2008

What I know nothing about

know nothing
There has been a time, not too long ago, when I used to call myself an agnostic. This is a very handy position when you are tired of discussions with religious people. You just tell them that we all know nothing about these things. That is, about the existence of God, what will be after death, what has been before the Big Bang, and the like.

Most religious people can easily follow this position. And this makes me suspicious. The divide arises when they say that faith must do what knowledge can't do. And this, in my opinion, is a serious weakness of agnosticism. A strict agnostic is not able to figure out whether faith is reasonable or not. He just says dunno, sorry.

The agnostic fallacy

Dear agnostic folks, what do you tell those who believe that behind our visible world there is an invisible spiritual world, populated by angels who watch over us and guide us? Right. Here is the problem: As this spiritual world is outside of the material world, and as we only can know things about this material world, we "can't know anything" about it.

This weakness of agnosticism is caused by a permissive stance concerning the set up of hypotheses, followed by an agnostic appraisal of these hypotheses. And here comes the famous Big Flying Spaghetti Monster into play. It has been invented to show the absurdity of radical and permissive agnosticism.

What will be after death

We know quite a lot about death. Even about our own death, as far as the loss of our conscious existence is concerned. We experience it every night. Sleep has been called the half-brother of death. As conscious beings, we "die" every night and are "reborn" when we wake up in the morning.

Just imagine that, while you have been asleep last night, a meteorite could have hit your house and vaporized you in a few milliseconds, too fast for any pain reaction to occur. Now try to figure out the difference in your consciousness just before the hit and at any given time after it. I did it more than a dozen times, and I find it very fascinating. There is no difference at all. Both states are the same when it comes to consciousness.

Thus, when our last hour will come, this will not be a first experience but a very familiar one. No reason for agnosticism here.

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