The leading candidate for ironic declaration of the year? The “open-minded” agnostic who says “Nobody can know that God exists.” Why? Well gosh, he sure sounds confident for someone who characterizes his position in the terms of tentative doubt. I thought of that as I read Jerry Rivard’s comment:
“I consider it to be an obvious and undeniable truth that we don’t know for certain how and why we’re here, and as such we all must decide for ourselves what to do with our lives, even if we believe with all our hearts that we’ve made that decision based on God’s will.”
This is one of those statements which is just begging for someone to defeat it, kind of like a flamboyant transvestite holding up an “Obama 2012” placard at a Michigan Militia convention.
Jerry believes it is “obvious and undeniable” that “nobody knows for certain how and why we’re here”. Really? Any claim for knowledge that is obvious and undeniable is a claim which begs for a defense, especially when there are people who seem, on the face of it at least, to be reasonable and who deny the claim in question. Myself for instance. How is it that I can demur and say it doesn’t seem obvious and undeniable to me that this is the case? Am I missing something? Or is Jerry’s dogmatic doubt a case of an indefensible dogmatism hiding under the cover of an open-minded agnosticism? Let’s be clear. Dogmatic doubt is an epistemic attitude which needs justification as surely as dogmatic belief and tentative belief. Each one is an epistemic position which claims the allegiance of people and as such which begs for a defense. So what reason is there to think that it is obvious and undeniable that nobody knows why we’re here?