In today’s world, many people like to play the agnosticism card. When in face of touch questions, they answer “I do not know” and explain that they do not have enough data to have a definite answer on the question.
That – at first sight – seems like a perfectly legit (if not the MOST legit) answer to a question.
After all, how can you have an opinion on something you do not know the answer to? Isn’t it more honest and scientific to admit that you do not know?
Yet, all of the above is wrong.
The truth is that we can NEVER know anything with 100% certainty. We can never be completely sure that what we say is right. We do not and we will never know all the parameters of ANY problem so as to have a definite opinion on that problem. The realm of knowledge is infinite and the more we explore, the more it expands. There will always be gaps in our knowledge of the cosmos. Taking that into consideration, it is typically and scientifically wrong to claim that we “know” anything. Even for the simplest problem (let’s say: to predict where a billiard ball will hit next) we do not have and we will never have all the data to provide the perfect solution to that problem. We can predict where the billiard ball will hit with a great accuracy, but the more we know the more we will have a better accuracy to that answer. Typically speaking: we will never reach a point where we will be able to say that our answer is the BEST possible answer. (one can search for Poincare and the “Three body problem” to see that we can never even predict how a simple system of 3 bodies will behave in the future, to understand the limits of our methods of thinking)
The same as the above, apply to even greater extent to philosophical and theological problems. We will never know for sure how the cosmos was created. No matter what we do, even after 1,000,000 years we will not have “all” the data to give an answer. We will never be able to know with a 100% certainty the solution to the problem of “free will”. We will never be able to have a definite answer to questions about human consciousness or about the nature of existence per se.
Having that in mind, the position of the agnostic seems more and more like hypocrisy and evasion that a true honest position. The agnosticism’s solution of “I don’t know” is not a valid answer anymore.
Related article: Why you can’t be an agnostic
Sure, we do not know and we may never know how the cosmos was created. But stating “I do not know” in order to avoid the answer, is like saying that “The sun rises from the East” and avoid the answer. You simple state something which is anyway true (“I do not know”) to justify your evasion of taking a stand or for attempting to answer.
Making things worse, practice has shown that people who tend to answer “I do not know” in questions of metaphysical type (like “How was the world created?”) are truly atheists trying to cover up their true position under a cloak of scientism. And this stance is perfectly out of line from what true science also believes: True scientists try to reach for the truth by taking a stance for unanswered difficult questions. Science has progressed not by saying “I do not know” but by proposing possible solutions and theories to explain unexplained phenomena. Simply saying “I don’t know” would truly make Newton – who tried to answer why the planets move in an era where gravity was unknown – turn into his grave. Agnosticism is the best way to stay stagnant in an era where progress of knowledge seems to be the best and only way forward.
In summary, agnosticism is in every aspect wrong.
“I don’t know”…