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Only An Agnostic Part 1

The History

What is an agnostic? Oxford Dictionaries online ...
Agnostic. noun. A person who believes that nothing is known or can be known of the existence or nature of God.”
Agnostic was derived from the Greek word “agnostos” which means “to not know” but in the latter part of eighteenth century, Thomas Henry Huxley (1825-1895) invented the word agnostic to describe his ignorance regarding the existence of a higher entity. And there's loads more salient facts at agnostic-definition.com but for me it describes a time, a period in my life, must have been when I was about 9 or 10, when I wasn't sure about why I didn't believe, a time when I feared the anger, no, ‘anger’ is too strong, disappointment of my family. It wasn't a label I even knew I had, my "I don't know" response was defensive, a shield to signal religious disinterest; I found the religious mostly left me alone, some harbouring thoughts I’ve discovered since, of “He’s just not found the path to god yet” and atheists left me alone because I wasn’t preaching or stoning. I’ve since also realised that just the fact that I had a ‘response’ suggests I was feeling under pressure to “Not fuck up everybody else’s pretendsies with my heinous non-pretending ways”.
It was pressure then but laughable now I’m adult, to think that faith is so fragile that a child must be cajoled into pretending the 'right' way!
That I did not know the label agnosticism didn't change the fact that "I don't know" but the fact that "I did not know" meant I had not 'just accepted'; looking back I realise I'd already taken a few steps up the ladder to reality. That was only thirty-something years ago but science has answered so many questions so quickly in that span, I feel now that agnostics today have way less ground on which to stand.

When Huxley coined the phrase in 1869, scientific knowledge was a mere foetus of what science is now.

In 1869 there was...

No theory of electromagnetism
No periodic table
No definition of entropy
No knowledge x-rays
No understanding of radioactivity

Thermodynamics only had 2 laws
Nobody knew about continental drift
Discovery of DNA was no more than a point on the academic horizon
The idea of space travel had been the preserve of ONLY Jules Verne fans and for only four years - Timeline of scientific discoveries and to have any true perspective of the actual numbers of stars or how truly, unbelievably huge and ancient the universe actually is, Huxley would have had to wait over a century for Hubble's space telescope to be launched.
Public education only became available in the UK in 1870
About 40% of the UK population were still 'making their mark' not a signature.
And books had only really been generally affordable for those who could read, for about 30 years. - Literacy in Europe
In 1869 40% people could not even read, let alone comprehend real science or have even been exposed to the meaning of 'scientific method'.
The theory of evolution was only a decade old but in at that time a decades worth of the spread of information was not even close to the spread of information we have today. The difference I’d suggest is as treacle is to gas.

Because of the poor quality, dissemination and comprehension of even the scientific knowledge that was available at that time Huxley coined the term, wouldn't the answer to the question 'is there a god?' have appeared, from Huxley and his contemporaries’ perspective, more, if not completely, unanswerable? Would it not have appeared to the people of that time that there was a 50/50 chance of there being a god?

Though I personally feel Huxley’s leanings were towards atheism,(I mean, what reason would a full 'believer' have to invent a word to describe himself as a 'don't know-er'?) the term itself seems to be considered a mid point. It is not ( Gnostic/Agnostic - Theist/Atheist Graph) but it seems to have been traditionally considered such.
Now, if we accept that Huxley’s term was coined at a time when the chance was 50/50 and then add in all the advances in knowledge science has made since 1869, where does it get us?
51/49 against god? 70/30 against? 99/1 against?
And more to the point how far away from 50/50 does one move before one stops claiming indecision?
When in fact the existence of a god is starting to look like it would draw the sort of odds you'd expect to see if a Cabbage entered the 100m Olympic final, can it still be considered a midpoint between two philosophical positions? Must it not be considered more in the region of merely a lay-by on the way to the reason?
Indeed, I wonder, had Huxley the evidence available then that is laid out before us today where the all gods and fables are squeezed daily more tightly by our grasp of reality into the diminishing gaps in our knowledge…
Do you think Huxley would even have bothered to think up the word?

Only An Agnostic Part 2

This is one of the Too Many Questions

PEACE
Crispy
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