I see your little wheels churning. You’re worried I’m going into theological discussion mode, right?
Oh no, what’s he going to say about god and life and religion? Does he hate religion? Does he believe in god? What’s this lump on my leg? Oh, it’s a bit of barbecue sauce from last night. If I eat it will I get sick? Is it weird that I just ate barbecue sauce from my leg?
You sicken me.
This is NOT about being agnostic, it is not about whether god exists or my personal views on the subject. This is about T.H. Huxley and what a dumb son of a bitch he was. Sure, he was a big supporter of evolution when most of the world was going around in a funk of intellectual stupor the likes of which we rarely see outside of the Mississippi border. (Just like Alabama, I love you Mississippi… but, seriously, come on.) He also gets some intelligence points for having no formal schooling yet still becoming an anatomist. Even further, he was one of the originators of the idea that birds evolved from dinosaurs (which is widely accepted today).
Yet, this paradigm of old smarty-fartyisms came to a conclusion that is unforgivable. He created a word.
There is nothing wrong with creating a word.
He created the word ‘Agnostic’.
There’s nothing wrong with that word
What my esteemed secondary intelligence, represented with indented and italicized words seems to forget is etymology.
I know about etymology, Dave.
Alright, let me turn that guy off for a while, he’s starting to get creepy.
Etymology is the study of words. More specifically, it’s the study of where they came from, the history of the word and how it came to form. Etymology is the study of the historical meaning of words. Through this study, you can often find out how a word SHOULD be pronounced.
At this point I have to tell you about my internal conflict with the english language. It’s a definite one-sided love/hate relationship. I love the artistry of it, the many sources, the synonyms, homonyms, antonyms, all sorts of nyms, you get the point. I HATE the non-phonetic nature of it.
You want an illustration of what I mean?
If you can’t get what I’m trying to say with that one word, stop reading. I don’t just mean stop reading this. Stop reading everything and please talk to your nearest english teacher.
There are situations, however, when historical convention wins out in my mind over phonetics IF there’s a specific reason attached to understanding the meaning of the word.
Agnostic is defined in my mind as one such situation.
It is currently pronounced as AG-NAU-STIC. (Screw your standardized enunciation symbols.)
The word was coined in 1869.
A term that was used around the same time (though much older in actual origin) was ‘Atheist’. It was and is pronounced as A-THEE-IST
Both have similar etymologies. Both have the SAME EXACT LATIN PREFIX, ‘A’. That prefix means ‘without’, in the cases of these two words.
Atheist is a combination of two greek words, A (without) and Theos (god)… Atheos, Atheism, Atheist. It means ‘without god’. An atheist walks alone in this world, not relying on a deity or faith to see them through. They live without god.
To live without god is a sin, Dave.
Agnostic is a combination of two greek words, A (without) and Gnosis (pronounced NO-SIS, as in KNOW-SIS. It means KNOWLEDGE!) Agnosis, Agnosticism, Agnostic. An agnostic accepts that there may be no way of knowing whether god exists or not and therefore does not spend their time searching for the answer. A true agnostic is, and remains, without spiritual knowledge.
You’ll always have knowledge with me. I’ll always be here. I promise.
I think I need help… But, I’m not done with this post, so I’ll keep going.
AG is a Latin prefix that means MOVEMENT TO and IN ADDITION TO… To pronounce it as Huxley did means to completely change the meaning in terms of etymology.
Atheist is pronounced A-THEIST… NOT AT-HEIST… NOT ATH-EIST.
Doctors don’t ask their patience if they took their ANTIBIO-TIC.
I would have liked to have heard that thought process, really.
ok, I’m going to take this word, Gnosis… It sounds like Nosis… I’m going to take it and put an A in front of it… and it’s going to change into AG-NOSIS but it’s still going to keep its meaning.
This is almost as bad as what those bastards did to the letters W and H… but more on that later.
Or so you hope…
– Aaron Shively
Posted on 04/29/2011, in Philosophy, Rantings and tagged 2001, aaron, errant, etymology, humor, language, literature, musings, random, shively, space odyssey, studios, T.H., Thomas Henry Huxley, words, writing. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.