I’ve been involved in a conversation at Bobmo.com* about agnosticism. This is what Bob has to say about the subject:
Coined by English biologist Thomas Huxley in 1860, the word agnostic has taken several forms over the years. Agnosticism typically addresses the knowledge of God’s existence, but most agnostics don’t stop there. They often take a position on the existence of objective truth as well. One agnostic will say, “I don’t know, but you don’t know either,” or, “I don’t know, and I can’t know. And, neither can anyone else.” Others say, “I don’t know now, but maybe some day there will be more evidence and I’ll know then.”
So I have a question for anyone who is an agnostic. How do you know that agnosticism is correct?
If you say, “Well, I don’t know,” then, why are you agnostic if you have no basis for it? Or maybe you say, “In the absence of any convincing evidence, agnosticism is the best position to take.” But how do you know that agnosticism is the best position to take in the absence of any convincing evidence? Where’s your evidence for that?
It seems that, no matter how you slice it, agnosticism is a claim to knowledge.
My question for Bob is this: If there is no justification for saying, “I don’t know”, then on what basis would anyone say, “I know”? Under what circumstances is one justified in saying, “I don’t know.” Maybe the correct position to take is one of silence. If you don’t know, then maybe you should remain silent.