How Can Someone be an Agnostic and an Atheist at the Same Time?

How Can Someone be an Agnostic and an Atheist at the Same Time? January 14, 2019

Last week, I received an email from a reader who asked,

In English, we use the word “believe” when we don’t know.

People say they “believe in god”, but no one would say “I believe cats have four legs” or “I believe Elon Musk founded Telsa”. We know these things. No belief required.

So, it’s strange to me when atheists say “I don’t believe in god” because that’s ultimately the reverse of what believers say.

I’m wondering, then, what is an agnostic atheist? No one can know if there is or is not a god.

I, too, identify as an agnostic. I am also an atheist. The reason for this is that these two words define different aspects of my position on god. One means I have no belief in a god, the other means I don’t know if there is one. Belief and knowledge are different. You said that we use belief when we don’t know, but that’s not necessarily what belief is. Sure, people do use it sometimes to talk about something they don’t know but the word belief itself does not mean that. Belief is defined as:

1. an acceptance that a statement is true or that something exists.
“his belief in the value of hard work”
2. trust, faith, or confidence in someone or something.

For example, I can say “I believe in love”. At the same time, I know love exists, have experienced it, seen the crazy and beautiful and scary things it can lead people to do. I have knowledge of love and belief in the power it wields, too. I can tell my son, “I believe you are capable of this thing” and know he can do the thing, too. I can say that I believe in the generosity of people and know, at the very same time, that people can be and are often generous. So, belief is not the state of not knowing. It’s the act of accepting something as true. You can believe based on knowledge, and you can believe without knowledge.

Of course, no one on earth can know if there is a god, but there are indeed many who claim to know. For me, this is dishonest because there is no way of truly knowing there are or are not gods unless we’re talking about specific gods with specific qualities, but that doesn’t stop people from claiming knowledge. If we were all honest about it, we would all say we were agnostic about the existence of anything that can be defined as a god.

Not knowing, however, doesn’t stop people from believing. Ergo, you can have people who don’t know but do believe as well as people who don’t know that don’t believe, such as myself.

Some people seem to think agnosticism is like the middle ground between a theist and an atheist, but that makes zero logical sense, as theism and atheism deal solely with belief and not knowledge, while agnosticism and gnosticism deal solely with knowledge and not belief. Because we have atheists who claim to know there are zero gods as well as atheists like myself who admit they do not know, we need a way to differentiate between the two. So, we use gnostic/agnostic. Same with theism. There are people who believe in god who claim to know he is real, and there are people who believe in god who admit they do not know and we need a way to be able to differentiate between the two. So, we use gnostic/agnostic.

Of course, not everyone who identifies as an agnostic will claim to be a theist or atheist, but all agnostics are one of these two. They either have an active belief in a god or they do not and if they do not, whether these people like it or not, they are atheist. This is the definition of the word: no belief in god. It makes no difference if you claim knowledge of zero gods or not. Atheism is NOT the claim there are no gods.

I find that people have trouble understanding this when they view belief and knowledge as two points on the same continuum. They are not. They are labels we use to refer to two entirely different things.

Many people disagree with me on this, and I often ask them, what word do you use to refer to someone who does not have an active belief in any gods, but who claims they do not know if there are any gods? A word that is clearly different from a word that refers to someone who has an active belief in a god, but who still claims not to know if there is one?

For me, the term is agnostic-atheist, because I need a clear and easy way to talk about atheists who claim there are no gods and atheists who do not.

I hope this clears it up. I’d love to know what my readers think of this question and if you disagree or agree with me. Let me know in the comments!

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  • John Gills

    I consider myself to be an agnostic because, beyond the edges of human capabilities, there can be many other things.

    However, I think most ‘believers’ would consider me an atheist because neither my heart nor mind find any evidence of any being – or confluence of forces – that could possibly be considered a deity.

  • Lark62

    I call myself an atheist, but in a sense am also agnostic.

    It is possible that some supernatural power exists in the universe that humans cannot and have not seen / heard or experienced in any way. But since we have not seen / heard or experienced it, who cares?

    OTOH, based on a total lack of evidence, I am confident that Yahweh and all of other imaginary friends worshipped by humans are make believe and sheer nonsense.

    For comparison, I am agnostic about whether microbiotic life exists elsewhere in our solar system. I personally believe we will find evidence of microbes on another planet or one of their moons, but as yet there is no evidence. OTOH, we do have enough evidence to be certain that there are no green men with antennae living on Mars.

  • Freethinker

    The term “agnostic atheist” is an oxymoron. A fashionable term that lacks rationality and violates the textbook definitions of the respective terms.An atheist is very simply “a person who disbelieves or lacks belief in the existence of God or gods.”

    There is no ambiguity in this definition.

    An agnostic is someone who claims that we cannot know for sure whether or not god exists. That by definition implies a possibility of the existence of a god or gods which makes it a complete opposite to the definition of atheism. This is a full embodiment of ambiguity.
    An atheist has no uncertainty of whether or not god exists otherwise they would be…….an agnostic. It’s a term which describes a fence sitter. Someone who is hedging their bets. It’s akin to saying “maybe atheists are right, maybe religious people are right”. To usurp the term atheist while being agnostic is about as logical as calling yourself a married bachelor. You can’t have it both ways.

    An agnostic can attempt to pretend they are an atheist but that would automatically mean they are no longer confused or uncertain. An agnostic is simply not an atheist unless you want to create a new definition for either or both of the terms which no longer corresponds to what they mean currently in the context of classic rationalism.

  • abb3w

    An atheist is very simply “a person who disbelieves or lacks belief in the existence of God or gods.” There is no ambiguity in this definition.

    Neglects that such belief may be held with probabilistic certainty, and subject to Bayesian updating, rather than with absolute unary confidence.

    For example, I opened a window with this link to get a random poker hand (at about 4:05 PM eastern time, for the curious). A reasonable person would likely not believe that I got anything better than a no-pair high-card-only hand (as minutely over half of such random hands are such); however, they also would not assert that with absolute certainty (although many poker players are profitably short of “reasonable”), and would not be too surprised to find out that what I actually “drew” (as happens) was a pair of sevens.

    Personally, I consider the likelihood of most deities arbitrarily improbable; as such, I’m an atheist. In cases where the sense of “deity” is not self-contradictory, I also recognize that it’s philosophically possible that sufficient additional evidence might lead me to re-assess that probability upward, potentially even to the point of changing whether I consider “yay” or “nay” the more likely probability; as such, I’m also agnostic. I usually say atheist, as my doubts tend to be more trivial than those of those who claim that they are certain of their theism.

  • What I usually say is that I’m agnostic in that I’m not absolutely certain that there are no such things as gods or spirits or demons or ghosts or any other types of minds without bodies, but I am an atheist because as far as I can tell, every god proposed by humans since we’ve been able to talk is the product of speculation and storytelling which resulted in legends, not actual encounters.

    This is pretty clear in my mind, but you actually made it even more clear. Thanks!

  • MadScientist1023

    The agnostic atheist is not to be confused with the militant agnostic, whose credo is “I don’t know, and neither do you!”

  • Freethinker

    Within the domain of logical fallacies what you are proposing would fall within (the aptly named) definition of an “ambiguity”.

    The second you interject “probabilistic certainty” you introduce….uncertainty which places you in the agnostic territory. There are a number of these philosophical and definitional incongruities kicking around. For example pescatarians who identify as vegetarians are no more vegetarian than agnostics are atheist. The second you consume a meat product you cannot be considered a non-meat eater, no matter how much you would like to be defined as such for one reason or another. There is a reason why the terms vegaterian and vegan exist to identify ones level of commitment to a particular concept or lifestyle. Identifying yourself as a ‘vegetarian vegan’ makes about as much sense as an ‘agnostic atheist’ , a ‘two sided triangle’ or a ‘heterosexual bisexual’.

  • I’m not 100% certain that a class of beings we would describe as gods couldn’t exist (agnostic), but I am certain that the gods people believe in are the products of people’s imaginations (atheist). As Godless Mom said, these terms refer to two different things.

    You say “an agnostic is someone who claims that we cannot know for sure whether or not god exists.” I would modify that to “…cannot know for sure whether gods exist.” Your definition assumes monotheism.

  • MadScientist1023

    “An atheist is very simply ‘a person who disbelieves or lacks belief in the existence of God or gods.'”

    By your own definition, atheist means more than one thing. It refers to people who actively don’t believe in God(s) and people who lack belief in the existence of God(s) but who aren’t necessarily active disbelievers. How can you say it’s impossible to split atheists into the active disbelievers, or gnostic atheists, and those who see no evidence warranting belief, or agnostic atheists, when you yourself can’t come up with a definition lacking that division?

  • Freethinker

    You are correct. With so many delusions in existence, I should have made it plural.I can see how the author would use the term out of convenience while understanding the inherent lack of logic present in its definition. Unfortunately too many people use the term as a de facto description without considering the inherent schism. In other words they use the term non ironically.

  • abb3w

    The second you interject “probabilistic certainty” you introduce….uncertainty which places you in the agnostic territory.

    Contrariwise, by demanding the degree of certainty for an “atheist” be absolute unary probability confidence, you necessarily must no longer consider notables such as Richard Dawkins to be “atheist”. (See video that Disqus may want to put elsewhere.)

    Identifying yourself as a ‘vegetarian vegan’ makes about as much sense as an ‘agnostic atheist’, a ‘two sided triangle’ or a ‘heterosexual bisexual’

    Except that the term “agnostic atheist” may refer to two different factors (assessed balance of probability, versus confidence in that balance), while “two sided triangle” is internally inconsistent (per standard ZF-modeled definitions for construction of “triangle” and “two”), “heterosexual bisexual” indicates contradictory maximal preferences (or requires a deeply odd redefinition of terms via a modified Kinsey Scale), and “vegetarian” is a redundant (not contradictory) modifier for “vegan” (although not vice-versa).

    pescatarians who identify as vegetarians are no more vegetarian than agnostics are atheist

    The notion of “identify as” involves how they label an aspect of their social role, which is different from the terminological labels of their role. Thus, there are a non-trivial fraction of people who identify their religious identity as “Protestant”, but who say that they do not believe that God exists.

  • Kev Green

    I’ve seen my position described as Militant Agnosticism: “I don’t know and neither do you.” That’s not meant as a way to avoid taking a stand; it’s an honest assessment of the situation. I don’t believe that there is any real chance that a god or gods exist, but I’m going to stop short of claiming that I know that to be the case for sure.

    The second half of the statement is also important. I can safely dismiss any version of God that requires me to take someone else’s word that He exists. Saying I don’t know if God exists doesn’t mean I can’t make judgement on specific claims.

    I prefer to describe myself as an Agnostic since it stresses what I feel is most important; being honest enough to admit when we don’t know. I am also an atheist since I don’t actively believe in a god. I don’t use the term as much because I don’t see any reason to stress that I don’t believe in God over any of the many other mythical creatures I don’t believe in.

    Anyway, I think you pretty much nailed it in the OP. The two terms really do describe different concepts. The reason problems tend to arise is that both terms carry a heck of a lot of baggage.

  • TheBookOfDavid

    belief is not the state of not knowing.

    Achievement unlocked: pedantic nuisance. Carry on.

  • Jim Jones

    In practice, agnostic & atheist amount to the same thing.

    Neither will behave in such a way as to allow for the possibility of gods; both will change their opinion given enough proof, assuming that proof can exist.

  • Raging Bee

    No one can know if there is or is not a god.

    We CAN know that none of the claims ever made about the existence of god(s) are either proven or credible; therefore they can all be discounted, therefore we’re left with the default conclusion that none of those gods exist. Just like we’re left with the default-conclusion that vampires, werewolves, unicorns, ghosts, fairies, and other such mythical creatures don’t exist either. QEDuh.

  • TheBookOfDavid

    it’s strange to me when atheists say “I don’t believe in god” because that’s ultimately the reverse of what believers say.

    Your reader does not distinguish between “I do not believe” and “l believe the opposing view”. This could be the result of a simple misunderstanding of the nature of terms, brought on by binary thinking. It could just as easily be a dishonest effort to impose a false dichotomy on the discussion, in order to send you down the cattle chute of forced choice, and saddle you with the burden of proof to provide evidence against god.

    I find it much more productive and less frustrating to determine their intent in advance, in order to assess whether mutually participatory dialogue is even possible.

  • Freethinker

    Dawkins and anyone else can describe themselves as whatever they like that still does not change the meaning of words or the fact that words have meaning. Courtney specifically makes mention of the fact that she uses the term to make people understand her better in much the same way I am assuming you would be dumbing things down for a child or someone with limited intellectual facilities when explaining a difficult (for some) concept. That does not take away from the reality of meaning. Although you have Dawkins asserting himself to be an “agnostic” that is not the definition he uses on a daily basis. He is no doubt agnostic about the existence of sentient pink unicorns with rainbow tails or any other imaginary creature asserted without evidence.

    Your example of atheistic “protestant” is another example of such absurdities as someone identifying as a “Cultural Catholic”. What they are doing is simplifying for the sake of avoiding a lengthy and more nuanced explanation of the fact that one may engage in cultural rituals with, usually family members, or members of their community as an act of play acting as opposed to being. You may also use it out of politeness. As in I hold hands while my family says grace instead of telling everyone that they are f###ing insane for believing there is a man in the sky who cares about them. Analogously it is no different to putting a Vampire’s outfit for Halloween and not actually being a vampire. Yes there are those people who choose to wear a vampire outfit every day, believe that they are and insist on being addressed as such. And thank

  • Michael Neville

    “I believe gods do not exist” is not the same as “I do not believe gods exist.”

  • Illithid

    I am also an agnostic atheist as you describe. Although I’m sufficiently confident that the Abrahamic deity is fictional that I will say that I actively believe it does not exist.

    I’d take issue with your claim that “no one… can know if there is a god”. If such a being exists, it could demonstrate that existence to someone sufficiently that they could claim to know that it exists, with as much confidence as anyone can claim to know much of anything. I don’t believe that anyone has ever had such a demonstration, however.

  • Elizabeth A. Root

    I also call myself an agnostic atheist. I like to distinguish among the terms know, believe, and think. I think there are no god(s) because I have thought about it at length and weighed such evidence as I have. I will concede that I cannot prove that there are no god(s) but one has to move forward in life even in cases where there is not absolute certainty. So I have decided that not believing in god(s) is the best choice.

  • PDF

    I have found visuals like this to be helpful in explaining. https://nargaque.files.wordpress.com/2013/10/agnostic_chart.png?w=600&h=580

  • The Bofa on the Sofa

    I contend that an atheist MUST be agnostic. Because of the nature of the position.

    How can you prove the non-existence of an omnipotent, omniscient being that constantly hides from you? You can’t. That such a being exists CANNOT be known. Not just “is not” known, but cannot be known. Any god worth its name has the capability of hiding from you.

    Granted, that rules out the interventionist gods of religion, but it doesn’t rule out everything.

    Any belief that said gods don’t exist are just that, belief, and so in sum total is atheist. But that doesn’t mean you know it is true.

    Theists can be gnostic or agnostic, because they can claim to “know” the existence – for things that exist, their existence can be known. However, when talking about things that don’t exist, you can run into trouble, because there are those whose non-existence cannot be known. Russell’s teapot, and all that…

  • I use agnostic atheist to describe myself – as in, I do not know for sure whether there is/are god(s) but the evidence I have so far leads me to believe that there is/are not god(s). Simple.

  • Is the word “hope” for the existence of a just, peaceful, loving God and afterlife a better alternative word?

  • David Peebles

    I’d like to add another item to the layers of atheism: that even if it were proved that god does in fact exist, one could still reject this god and refuse to worship him (or her, or it). In other words, if god exists, he or she has a hell of a lot to answer for. One could make a case for indictment of god on grounds of malfeasance, misfeasance, and nonfeasance. And I think that would be the ultimate atheism.

  • Andrej Đeneš

    “I believe Elon Musk founded Tesla”

    He didn’t. Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning did.

  • Cage KY

    I have used your logic and explanation to explain my thought process and position on deity since I “came out” (at the age of 58) five years ago. And I hold firm to it despite being repeatedly, even vehemently, how this is somehow impossible by self-described theists, atheists and agnostics, …especially online.
    Of course, I also hold a few, yet hardly all, conservative described positions and have been told that is impossible as well. Seriously.
    That all said, there are select times when I have found myself declaring openly there is no god when the claim for such is particularly and vociferously nonsensical, without reason, caustic or just vile and reprehensible.
    For similar reasons, I can be antitheist upon occasion, though I try not to be so generalized if possible. But there are fewer and fewer moments, as I’ve reached my elder years, where I’m willing to just let crap said, written, declared or acted out lie still without speaking out as I might once have when society, peer acceptance, career potential or other’s feelings were of possible value to me.
    That all seems so silly now, …in hindsight, and a great waste of my time, effort and concern I cannot get back.

  • This “Gnostic Atheism” is NOT strong. It is pitifully weak. It claims to know (as in a true fact) a negative. A claim to have rational proof of a negative does damage to atheism, and all theists secretly smile when this is declared, because they know they have tricked their enemy into accepting the burden of proof. Don’t do it.

    Here is the real strong atheism: “I am without God. A-theist. Now go ahead and ask me what I do believe in, but first, if you claim to believe in God, prove its existence.”

  • Posting to agree. Thanks, Freethinker.

  • I’m fuzzy on the notion “active” disbelief. What the hell is that?

    When an atheist reports he does not believe in god, it requires an absurdly infinitesimal amount of action.

  • EllyR

    Well, one is a positive of a negative and the other a negative of a positive. The difference is just in presentation. The final thesis and message is the same!

  • EllyR

    Militant…??? How can an absolutely true statement be militant??? Regarding the possible existence of supernatural forces and deities saying that nobody knows is a very polite and friendly statement.

  • MadScientist1023

    Simple. It’s the difference between “there definitely is no God” and “there’s no reason to think there’s a God”.

  • MadScientist1023

    It’s a joke, sweetie. Lighten up.

  • Mythblaster

    Humanity can’t prove there are no gods, just like we can’t prove there are no pink unicorns on the dark side of the moon (yeah, I know the Chinese have cameras up there now, but pink unicorns are like vampires… their images can’t be captured or reflected)… so the mystery continues.

    So, in my mind I have to confess to being an agnostic (can’t prove leprechauns don’t exist, either), but in my heart I’m an Atheist.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/2ad190e08cc6242cc2d59f8b0d81f15a75a9d4e720064332a419a3cb9795df94.jpg

  • Freethinker

    Revisionist word salads. Does not speak to the actual meaning of the terms in question. Actual definitions below.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/8fb956fc5d699f48471876814a2c930d42bd0988ad8f2ab0608c8e61af1d630e.jpg

  • Ted Harazda

    I think that the Dawkins Scale of Belief/Unbelief is pretty convenient to use. It slices and dices the subject seven different ways. In my own case, using his simple scale, I’m a 6.9 (if I can slice it a little finer). I’m a De Facto Atheist. That is, I find that the existence of an actual god is implausible and I conduct my life as if there isn’t one. Of course I’ve told people before that if their god concept is that of an old man with a white beard, I am a solid 7.0….a pure 100% atheist !

  • Keo Capestany

    Any belief that is not testable is not worth thinking about. I do not call myself any names because I do not know and I do not care. If ever the existence of gods is established I would continue living the same way, respecting the rights of others, loving my family and my friends, doing my duties and trying to leave the world a little better than I found it. If at the end of my life there is nothing, I will not know it; if there are gods and are nasty beings there is nothing I can do about it now or ever. If there are gods and are nice they will be fair to me.

  • RichardSRussell

    Your usage is the same one favored by George H. Smith in Atheism: The Case against God.

    I myself am an agnostic atheist with respect to the merely superheroic gods like Thor or Zeus or Vishnu or Quetzlcoatl. While there isn’t a shred of evidence to suggest that they ever existed, nothing claimed about them is literally impossible, merely highly unlikely.

    The same cannot be said of the monotheistic Abrahamic god (or any other god for whom any ultimate characteristic is claimed). It is logically impossible for a creature to be even one of all-powerful, all-present, all-knowing, and all-loving, let alone any combination of them. This is most clearly encapsulated in the old riddle “Can God make a rock so heavy he can’t lift it?” Either way you answer, God’s not all-powerful. Similarly, how can he be all-loving and all-knowing if he knows in advance that most of his creations will spend eternity in a lake of fire. You can go on like this, imagining any 2 of these ultimate characteristics in conflict with each other, and one of them will always lose, proving that God wasn’t so all-whatever after all.

  • Michael Neville

    No, you’re wrong. “I believe gods do not exist” is gnostic atheism, a positive statement about the existence of gods. “I do not believe gods exist” leaves the possibility that gods could exist. This is the attitude of most atheists, we’re agnostic about gods’ existence.

    The gnostic atheist has the same burden of proof as the theist. The agnostic atheist just needs a statement of disbelief in the existence of gods.

  • I never hear atheists say “I believe gods do not exist.” Thank god, because that is a toxic statement, since “believe” subsumes irrational mystical magic. It’s another example of enabling theism/belief/faith/OtherWaysOfKnowing.”

    Do you, Michael, make the statement “I believe gods do not exist?” And if so, why do you use that formulation?

    Atheists say “God does not exist,” which I (an atheist) am on record here and elsewhere denouncing, or they say “I do not believe in God,” which is the only proper stance for an atheist.

  • Michael Neville

    There are atheists who say “I believe gods do not exist.” They’re a minority but I’ve run across several of them on atheist blogs.

    I personally am an agnostic atheist, I don’t believe gods exist because of the lack of evidence for their existence. But it’s possible that one or more gods do exist. It’s also possible that every proton in the galaxy could spontaneously decay into a muon, a pion and a scattering of neutrinos in the next ten minutes. I consider both possibilities to be in the same order of magnitude.

  • What the human mind can imagine is less than nothing when confronted what the human mind can know of reality.

  • Illithid

    I share your position, but I describe myself as an atheist. I’ll claim that baggage.

  • EllyR

    Don’t give up your day job. Telling jokes is not your talent and don’t call me sweetie, boy!

  • Terry

    When I’m asked if I believe in god, I always ask which one!

  • Eric Hairgrove

    Question the idea of belief. For a philosophy to have value, it must result in a clarification of consciousness that gives the practitioner a valid understanding of himself and the universe. Consciousness is a function of the brain. The brain is a measuring device that takes in sensory data, and filters that data through layers of cultural, familial and biological conditioning. Based upon this body of conditioned information, the brain creates a consciousness that use this faulty data to make calculations about the nature of its own being and the nature of the universe. The complexity of human consciousness creates in us a sense of self awareness. Sentience combined with the biological fear of death are the origins of the various forms of belief. The constructs of belief or no-belief develop in consciousness as a means of coping with anxiety about mortality. Hence, as a philosophical tools atheism, theism, agnosticism, and gnosticism have zero value because they are not the result of of clarity, but rather, they are a conditioned response to fear. Philosophically it is better to find the origin of belief/no-belief and to then eliminate it a a driver of consciousness.

  • Wayne VanWeerthuizen

    Atheism is the mere lack of belief in any gods. Agnosticism is the affirmative position that none of us can possibly know if there are any gods. One is not an agnostic if one is open to new evidence discovered in the future possibly being able to decide the question.

  • ejoty

    As far as gods are concerned, I’m both an atheist and an agnostic.
    For those claimed to be omniscient, all-powerful, and omni-benevolent, I’m an atheist. The existence of such gods would contradict the world I observe.
    But for the rest, I’m agnostic. Juno, Kali, Loki and the others could logically exist, though I see no evidence that any of them actually do.

  • “One is not an agnostic if one is open to new evidence discovered in the future being able to decide the question.”

    What is one with that position, then?

  • ORAXX

    I’m an atheist because I see no compelling evidence that would lead me to support any religion, but agnostic to the extent I’m willing to acknowledge I cannot prove gods do not exist. I do, however, consider the burden of proof to lie entirely with theists to prove their point. I do not have to disprove their claims.

  • MadScientist1023

    Sorry. I’ll start posting comics with poop emojis in them next time, like the professionals do.

  • Gary Whittenberger

    Courtney, I appreciate your willingness to tackle such a thorny problem. However, I frame it a little differently.

    The meaning of “agnostic” is changing from the original meaning you are attributing to it. For most people it now means “a person who hasn’t decided whether to believe that God, gods, and/or the supernatural exit or to believe otherwise.” So, the term doesn’t refer to “lack of knowledge” as it has in the past. If you go to the mall and ask a hundred people “what is an agnostic” you will get an answer similar to the one I present here from most of them. However, even with the new meaning, agnostics are still atheists, but cannot be theists.

    Consider that there may be four types of atheists:
    1. Those who know God does not exist. (For clarity I’m focusing on only one god here.)
    2. Those who believe that God definitely does not exist.
    3. Those who believe that God probably does not exist.
    4. Those who are uncertain about believing that God exists. These are the agnostics.
    What do they all have in common? They lack a belief that God exists.
    Consider that there may be three types of theists:
    1. Those who know God exists.
    2. Those who believe that God definitely exists.
    3. Those who believe that God probably exists.

    “Many people disagree with me on this, and I often ask them, what word do you use to refer to someone who does not have an active belief in any gods, but who claims they do not know if there are any gods?”

    I use the word “atheist” to describe them because they lack a belief in any god.

  • Gary Whittenberger

    Yes, you have a burden of proof only if you believe that God does not exist or you believe that God does exist.

  • Gary Whittenberger

    I like the way you discriminate between the different alleged gods.

  • Gary Whittenberger

    “It is logically impossible for a creature to be even one of all-powerful, all-present, all-knowing, and all-loving, let alone any combination of them.”

    I think it is logically possible for an entity to be just all-powerful, if you tweak the definition a little. Consider: An entity is all-powerful if it is able to do anything not logically impossible. In fact, many Christian theologians use this definition. They think that God could create people who would never assault another, but do not think God could create a square triangle or a married bachelor or rock he couldn’t lift.

  • Ted Arbury

    This got me thinking about if /when we do discover something that could be considered a good, would we all be in agreement over it? Most likely not, considering the various definitions out there for what a god or gods could be.

  • ORAXX

    Your statement is self contradictory. Is the burden of proof on the person who does not believe in unicorns?

  • Disco Taz

    Thanks for making me think. I recently realized (a bit late, I realize) that I can’t prove that a god does not exist. This realization came about when I was trying to reconcile my best friend’s intelligence with her steadfast belief in her deity. She expressed that my “belief” must be much stronger than hers, because the end result of my “belief” is nothingness (as opposed to heaven or whatever).

    I still identify as atheist because I personally think that any “god” is simply an advanced being beyond our understanding. Plus that dude in the bible is a total asshole.

  • abb3w

    Dawkins and anyone else can describe themselves as whatever they like that still does not change the meaning of words or the fact that words have meaning.

    The semantic significance assigned to words and phrases is a social construct, not intrinsic to the symbols; if a member of society uses it differently, the meaning changes. Cue Lewis Carroll .

    Although you have Dawkins asserting himself to be an “agnostic” that is not the definition he uses on a daily basis.

    That are indeed the definitions he uses; I think what you more precisely intend to signify is that this is not the appellation he primarily uses for identification.

    Your example of atheistic “protestant” is another example of such absurdities

    The absurdity of a brute fact does not change its status as fact. (Although atheistic protestant is far less absurd than some other options. Philosophically, the prevalent strains of atheism seem taxonomically descended from the Protestant reformation; as is Satanism, perhaps more amusingly.)

  • Gary Whittenberger

    No, my statement is correct. There is a burden of proof for the person who claims “Unicorns do not exist.”

    You are confusing not having a belief that unicorns exist with the belief that unicorns do not exist, and these are not the same thing. It is a common mistake.

    Likewise, the person who says “I do not believe that God exists” does not have a burden of proof, but the person who says “I believe that God does not exist” does have a burden of proof.

  • ORAXX

    That is utterly absurd. There is absolutely no burden to prove a negative. People were making claims for god for many millennia before I came along. I didn’t make the initial claim, and it is entirely up to theists to substantiate their claims, not me. In any event, proof of a supernatural argument isn’t possible. All the atheist is saying is theists haven’t substantiated their claims, and offer no compelling evidence. I have no obligation to disprove their ideas.

  • Gary Whittenberger

    O2: That is utterly absurd.

    GW2: That is a common misunderstanding. It is utterly rational.

    O2: There is absolutely no burden to prove a negative.

    GW2: If you claim that a negative proposition is true, then you have a burden of proof, just like the person who claims that a positive proposition is true. For example, if you claim “Ted Williams never hit 60 or more home runs in a single season,” then you have the burden of proof if somebody says “I don’t believe you. Present your evidence for that.” If another person claims “Ted Williams hit 60 or more home runs in at least one season,” then he has the burden of proof if somebody says “I don’t believe you. Present your evidence for that.”

    O2: People were making claims for god for many millennia before I came along. I didn’t make the initial claim, and it is entirely up to theists to substantiate their claims, not me.

    GW2: You are misunderstanding me. You don’t have a burden of proof to substantiate their specific clam that God exists. But if you claim “God does not exist,” then you do have a burden of proof. You are still confusing the lack of belief in God with the belief that God does not exist, and they are not the same thing. Common mistake.

    O2: In any event, proof of a supernatural argument isn’t possible.

    GW2: I don’t know what you mean by “a supernatural argument.” All arguments are natural. People make them, and no laws of nature are violated when people make them.

    O2: All the atheist is saying is theists haven’t substantiated their claims, and offer no compelling evidence. I have no obligation to disprove their ideas.

    GW2: Yes, I agree, but you have an obligation to offer proof for your own ideas. If one of your ideas is “God does not exist,” then you have a burden of proof. I like to call it “a burden of rational demonstration.”

  • ORAXX

    Endless, circular nonsense.

  • Gary Whittenberger

    Discrete, linear rationality.

    You claim my point is nonsense, so you have a burden of proof to show how it is. So far, you have just made the claim without any evidence, reasons, or arguments.

  • ORAXX

    I tell you what…..call into The Atheist Experience on youtube, 4:00 Central on Sunday and take up your argument with Matt Dilahunty. You will find you’re not the philosopher you think you are.

  • Gary Whittenberger

    Apparently you aren’t the philosopher you think you are because you are just repeating your claim without providing any support for it.

    When you are talking about a burden of proof, you are just saying that somebody has an ethical obligation to provide strong evidence, reasons, and/or arguments in support of a proposition. But you want a double standard, which is itself unethical. If you claim X, then you have a burden, and if you claim not X, you have a burden.

    Think some more about my Ted Williams example and I think you’ll eventually get it.

    Or let’s take another example. Suppose a person says there is an elephant in your garage. You’d ask him to prove it. Suppose you say there is no elephant in your garage. I’d ask you to prove it. Both persons have a burden of proof or obligation of rational demonstration because they are making specific claims about reality. But, if you said that you don’t know if there is an elephant in your garage or if you said that you lacked a belief that there is an elephant in your garage, then you’d have no burden.

  • ORAXX

    I make no claim to be a philosopher, but it’s pretty elementary stuff that the burden of proof lies with the person making the claim, and not the person who rejects it. How much time do you spend disproving Hinduism? None I hope. That isn’t your responsibility. Ever.

  • Gary Whittenberger

    O3: I make no claim to be a philosopher, but it’s pretty elementary stuff that the burden of proof lies with the person making the claim, and not the person who rejects it.

    GW3: You just have a misunderstanding of the elementary, as do many people. These claims might be made by people: “God does not exist.” “Ted Williams never hit 60 or more homers in one season.” “There is not an elephant in my garage.” A burden of proof lies with the people making these claims.

    O3: How much time do you spend disproving Hinduism? None I hope. That isn’t your responsibility. Ever.

    GW3: It all depends on what specific claim I make about Hinduism. If I claim “Vishnu does not exist,” then I have a burden of proof. If I say “I have no belief that Vishnu exists,” then I don’t have a burden. The two statements are quite different.

  • David Peebles

    Was it Asimov (or A.C. Clarke) who said that any extremely advanced technology would appear to be magic to primitive people (like us)? And the beings who made or controlled that technology would appear as gods.

    An interesting (and probably irrelevant to this discussion) observation is that in mythology and science fiction, all magical powers can be countered with other magic. There is no such thing as all powerful. Not even gods are all powerful.

  • I consider the god named Bruce to be a more approachable, and acceptable, deity than that standoffish bastard YHWH introduced in the OT.

    Compulsion is awful. Anyone should have complete freedom in choosing of a deity, even when there is no credible evidence for their existence at all.

    One can entreat Bruce to join one for a beer, and some friendly conversation. Bruce doesn’t require anyone to bow down to him, or to praise him. Bruce is a good all-round decent deity. Bruce doesn’t even have any consuming need to be addressed with any title (such as Lord, or Father – he know’s that humans have only one father; the one who inseminated the pregnancy). Just have a gander on a suggested form of prayer , for the god Bruce:

    Bruce’s prayer:

    Oh Bruce! Who chucks the odd Mickey (or two) from Heaven.
    
Well thought of is your (NEW) name.

    Your King-less-dom should really jolly-well come.
    
Your suggested behaviour be performed on our Earth.

    As it appears to be in Heaven.

    Give us today our daily croissant (or cream bun).

    And forgive us our fu*k-ups.
    
As we forgive those who fu*k-up our situations.

    And stop us from going bonkers.

    But shield us from the nasties.

    For your-own idiom is that king-less abode,
    
Your friendly Power, and your non-Glory requirement,
    
For a really, really, long time period.

    So be it!

  • Disco Taz

    I thought Spock said it 😉 jk

  • Excellent, well-articulated and thoughtful article! It’s good to scrutinize and comparatively flesh out the nuances and contrasts of the words “atheist” and “agnostic,” just as you did.

    Picking up on a couple of points…

    “So, it’s strange to me when atheists say ‘I don’t believe in god’ because that’s ultimately the reverse of what believers say.”

    Agreed. The framing of “I don’t believe in god” is wrong, because it presupposes that a god DOES exist. Moreover, it can easily be (mis-)construed—especially if spoken, as opposed to written– as “… in God”. Those issues can be fixed with:

    “I possess no god-beliefs.”

    In similar vein, I would rephrase your given definition of “atheist” given here:

    “no belief in god,”

    to “no god-beliefs.”

    Or maybe even better, since “God” is used so often as a proper noun by theists these days–which has the effect of muddying the waters:

    “no deity-beliefs.”

    On this:

    “For me, the term is agnostic-atheist, because I need a clear and easy way to talk about atheists who claim there are no gods and atheists who do not.”

    That’s reasonable. That, along with your writing overall and as a whole, reminds me of something I read from Richard Dawkins years ago. He self-identified
    as “atheist,” but added that he is also a “nominal agnostic”; as I recall he said this was because of the fact that neither he, nor anyone, can prove non-existence of god(s), so as a matter of intellectual honesty (which you touched on) he is also an agnostic.

    To close here, “atheist,” “agnostic,” and your proposed term “agnostic-atheist” are all useful for discussing, differentiating and clarification, but as a personal label of choice I like “freethinker,” with “humanist” a close second. It’s mainly because freethinker and humanist are affirmative (and on the former
    term, “free[dom]” and “think[ing]” connote things I’m strongly in favor of), in contrast with words prefixed with “a-”, which means, as you addressed, “without.”

    I see my sentiment on this as akin to the classic “half empty” versus “half full” analogy. To be clear, I’m not at all knocking “agnostic” or
    “atheist” as self-identifiers–self-labeling is an ultra personal, and a potentially sensitive choice–and, depending on the context, I do self-describe with them sometimes and congruent with your laid out definitions. But they follow my faves.

  • Jim X

    I KNOW that NO one has ever had such a demonstration.

  • Illithid

    How do you know that?

  • Mustafa Curtess

    Agnostics are merely those that hope the Holocaust will end before the last Atheist has been gassed and buried in a mass grave.

  • Raging Bee

    She was wrong, and we don’t need to prove the nonexistence of gods. The positive claim is that a god exists, so that’s the claim that has to be proven. And since none of those claims have ever been proven, then that is, for all practical purposes, proof of nonexistence of gods.

  • Freethinker

    That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence.

  • Shawn Somersby

    I am a gnostic atheist. Does that make sense?

  • Thebob

    Except you believe that the big bang happened even though it cannot be proven 100%…as there was NO ONE AROUND TO OBSERVE IT…Science can use equations and data to create an “idea” or hypothesis of what happened, but it is only guess work when it all comes down to it….
    Example: Gravity, science says Gravity, also called gravitation, is a force that exists among all material objects in the universe…We can only see the effects of gravity. But we don’t know why a “body” has gravitational force. We know the simple equation to calculate gravitational acceleration is g=Gm/r^2

    g is the gravitational acceleration

    G is the gravitational constant 6.673×10^-11 [Nm^2kg^2]

    r is the distance from the center of mass

    The equation above describes the force or effect of gravity. The variables we know like m and r are easy to measure. Luckily, the constant G is a linear correction factor applied to the proportional relationships between m and r to give us the correct g value. G has been obtained through experiments and measurements. But we can’t calculate G based on an understanding of how gravity works. It’s still a mystery wrapped in theories. We won’t know until one of the theories gets proven, if ever…kinda like Love…

  • Thebob

    That is called a straw-man argument…the simple truth is atheism, root theism, is anti-theism or anti-theist against theist’s…That is all atheism is, going against self described believers (my opinion but more directed at the Christian sects than anyone else.)…Believe- to accept something as true, genuine, or real. Belief-or a belief is a state of mind, like you have a belief that dogs are man’s best friend…cannot be proven as fact or with 100% certainty, yet that does nothing to discount that statement, but to believe dogs are man’s best friend is also a negative or a false truism which cannot be proved..
    I do like “It claims to know (as in a true fact) a negative. This same thinking can be applied to evolution as well or the beginning of the universe…

    Ones personal beliefs are to them a truism to themselves, it is a state of mind…

  • Thebob

    Definition of legend
    1a : a story coming down from the past
    especially : one popularly regarded as historical although not verifiable.

    All legends have some truth to them…BTW, those legends are how our languages were created and passed down from generation to generation…

    And you can’t even accurately describe your own belief or really your own state of mind, which is what a belief is…Atheist KNOW there is no God, gods and they are not even possible (which when you think about it, that is a really small in box way of thinking)….Agnostic is unsure or it is possible…And really anything is possible…So you there for contradict your own beliefs as eh it could be true, but I know it isn’t true…If that isn’t an oxymoron then IDK what is…You decide…either Anything is possible(agnostic) or Only certain things are possible which we can’t prove either way(atheist or really Anti-theist).

  • Thebob

    So you view the world inside a box and only certain things are possible or attainable…that is a really small way of thinking and moving through life…I doubt you will accomplish much with that way of thinking…

  • “straw man?” Rejected.

    Your paragraph? jibber-jabber about jibber-jabber.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aNmVy-FnAJ8

    The deepest, strongest, fundamental position of “an atheist” is: a person who does not believe in God. Period.

    Not “against” anything. Not claiming there “is no god.” Simply a-theist, without God in their convictions.

    This strong position leaves the gaping maw open for the theist to face the fact they must prove the existence of – not just God – but of anything they claim exists.

  • Thebob

    atheist or atheism, is Anti-theist or Anti-theism…that is the root of the word, theism…That is all atheist are, anti theism…If there really are no gods or God, then it really doesn’t matter now does it? Yet, you are going against a system or structure…being Anti-Theist…against Theist or Theism…If you truly are “atheist” which is really a small minded way of thinking, cause you’re declaring that only certain things are possible and attainable…And I now for a fact that is not how Tesla or Einstein thought…
    So I see it like this:
    Atheist – you know for 100% fact truth gods, God, spirits, demons etc etc. do not exist and cannot possibly exist…

    Or you have anything is possible and if that is the case you’re just against Theists meaning you’re anti religion regardless of the possibilities…actually not even anti religion anti beliefs….as a belief is just a state of mind…

  • Thebob

    Because he is claiming an Absolute Fact, cause he is God and knows all things and that only certain things are possible and that nothing is also possible…

  • Thebob

    So, nothing is possible, yet anything is possible….Gotcha. You like other humans telling you what you should think and that not anything is possible…That really is a SMALL Minded way of thinking, which I thought you were all Out of the Box thinkers…which isn’t true at all…

    You are now claiming with that statement that YOU KNOW WITH ABSOLUTE FACT that a God or gods or spirits or demons, etc..etc..ARE IMPOSSIBLE AND CANNOT POSSIBLY exist, that is what you are saying then?

    And with that, you ask that I must prove my belief my state of mind to you, whom has small in the box minded thinking…While at the same time claiming and Absolute Truth..but really you are just trying to throw my state of mind, back in my face being Anti-Belief or Anti-Theist…not true atheism…Simply put, you’re being a bully…

  • I am atheist. I don’t believe in God. That is the only element in my convictions that even discusses God, and only for the purpose of saying “god does not matter to me”, and I only mention it because so many other people keep bringing it up, otherwise, “God” does not concern me.

    That is true strong atheism.

  • Cage KY

    You’re deeply mistaken. It’s saying an infidel, nonbeliever, are the same as a heretic or apostate.
    These are ALL pejorative terms believers invented to label make believe crimes so as to identify, ostracize, punish and even execute any who might even think to dare contradict their mythology or dismiss their imaginary friend. Because, to not do so, threatened the very existence and authority of the religion and its leaderships. It’s never been about faith, …not really.

  • Thebob

    So, you know for fact that only certain things might be possible…with what you said above then one could also say the same thing about Love or even Gravity. So you’re nothing but a self aware animal then?

  • I didn’t not bring “might be possible” into my statement. My mind is completely open to discovery of anything that exists. Anything.

  • Thebob

    “Because, to not do so, threatened the very existence and authority of the religion and its leaderships.” That I could see 400+ years ago or so, with the power base in Kings and Popes, Bishops etc..etc..But not today, more like what Sam Harris has said, atheist shouldn’t even exist as a word, as no other’s declare I am not a_____…. I am a non-alchemist, a non-astrologer etc..etc….My opinion, today it is used more so for being anti-religion or anti-religious persons…or going against Theist…anti-theist which is the root of the word…Wiki-“In antiquity it had multiple uses as a pejorative term applied to those thought to reject the gods worshiped by the larger society” which supports my opinion…Going against a society “norm”…The origination of the word is 5 Century BCE Greek…meaning “with out gods”…Pejoratives came later…But even today, writers disagree on how to best define the word…

  • Thebob

    I will assume you did a stent in Iraq or Afghanistan? Or were you Gulf I?

  • Thebob

    Yet you know for fact that God or gods do not exist, you just contradicted that statement, discovery of anything that exists…Either anything is possible or it isn’t…Tesla and Einstein said as much….and they were not small box thinkers like you appear as…

  • I never claimed that “god does not exist.” I only reported to you that I do not believe in what billions of people call “god.” That’s all. I am a-theist, “without God.”

    “The Possible” is trivial. “What Exists” is monumental and awe-inspiring.

  • Thebob

    WIth the Possible, what exists, wouldn’t exist…nor be awe-inspiring…that is very small minded thinking…or only thinking inside the box…Thankfully people like Tesla and Einstein didn’t think that way or the wheel would still be made of stone…

  • True, imagining what’s “possible” is a creative act. Still, it is trivial unless discovered to exist or be true. There is nothing awe-inspiring about imagining something hypothetical. No one cares or remembers what Tesla imagined that was never discovered; we are awe-struck by what he made real.

  • Thebob

    I would argue what exists is the trivial; the possible is the inspiring and full of awe…The unknown unknown’s are what peak peoples interests…Belief, is just a State of Mind…To Believe-is true…or to know it is true…

  • Thebob

    “There is nothing awe-inspiring about imagining something hypothetical” LMAO, yet you believe in a total hypothetical…almost all of Science is hypothetical possibilities….With few exceptions, Science is constantly changing it’s hypotheticals. “No amount of experimentation can prove me right; a single experiment can prove me wrong.” Albert Einstein.

    On regards to Tesla, just about every modern convince we have we owe to that man Tesla…up to and including WiFi…

  • Edison is famous for having “imagined” thousands of structures for his light bulb. All but one ended on the ash heap and are of trivial interest.

    “almost all of Science is hypothetical possibilities”
    No, science is the rejection of failed hypotheses.

  • Illithid

    Hi, I’ve read through some of your comments, and while I agree that Jim X is claiming knowledge he does not have, I wanted to clarify that this is not a typical atheist position. It certainly is not mine.

    I do not claim to know that there are no gods. My position is that of all the claims of the existence of deities made by all the religions I’ve heard of, none has convinced me. Theists make claims. I am unconvinced, so I reject those claims; I withhold belief.

    Now, there are some descriptions of deities that are either internally inconsistent or that contradict things I know about the universe. I am willing to say, in those cases, that I believe that those deities do not exist. However, this is still not an assertion of absolute knowledge; I could in theory be convinced that I was wrong. The Greek pantheon, the Norse pantheon, the Abrahamic god YHWH, all these gods I have what I regard as good reasons to regard them as fictional, inventions of humans. Accordingly, I believe that they don’t exist. Compelling evidence would be required for me to change my mind.

  • Raging Bee

    That’s still a preponderance of evidence in favor of the Big Bang and gravitational theory, and ZERO evidence against it.

    And there’s still ZERO evidence to support any belief in any gods. No amount of know-nothingism about science can change that. You still have nothing.

  • Thebob

    “That’s still a preponderance of evidence in favor of the Big Bang and gravitational theory, and ZERO evidence against it.”

    Actually it isn’t…It is a Guess at what happened…some, not even a majority, believe this, or have belief in this Super Natural start of the Universe…Which is just a guess by a man or a few men who thought this up and now have told people like you and you believe it to be fact, when you’re only really being told what to think by a few men…That is the reality of it…the really sad thing is, those same men can’t even come to a general consensus either on exactly what they think..Where as, most of those who believe in a creation, are pretty much on the same page…

    And I say you’re told what to think, by a few; not even taught, you’re told cause you can’t back it up or test it yourself…Unlike with Math; which is actual science, not theoretical mumbo jumbo BS…
    Example: You’re told 2+2=4, you can test this by doing it yourself…2+2=…..wait for it….4…
    Lots of people like you say, Religion is just man’s way of explaining the unexplained…While science; also man made, is also that same thing…trying to explain things that happen around us in our environment; while claiming to know everything, yet can only explain a very small amount of things; while also claiming known things do not exist, for example Life of an unborn is not a life yet for all of humanity that is exactly what has been taught now we are suppose to toss out our lying eye’s and ear’s….Pathetic really…

  • Raging Bee

    You clearly have no idea what you’re talking about, and it’s obvious to anyone who reads your blithering. Science and rational inquiry work, religion doesn’t, and never did; and there’s no way you can hand-wave your way around this obvious fact. Trust me, smarter persons of all faiths have tried, and failed, and admitted their failure.

  • Thebob

    Some skeptics say Jesus did not exist, but by any historic standard, the man known as Jesus of Nazareth existed. If he did not exist, then neither did the Greek philosopher Socrates. We have no writings from Socrates himself. We only know of his existence through the writings of other people. But no one would doubt Socrates existed. We actually have more eyewitness accounts of Jesus’ existence than of Socrates’. Some, however, argue that because Jesus made claims of divinity, there must be extraordinary evidence; perhaps as to his divinity, but not for his historical existence. We have to wipe a lot of people out of history to wipe Jesus out of history.

  • Raging Bee

    Have you accomplished more?

  • Thebob

    A hypothesis is a proposed explanation for a phenomenon….Scientists generally base scientific hypotheses on previous observations that cannot satisfactorily be explained with the available scientific theories; of which, those scientific theories are constantly changing and are not FACT…Only a basis for assumptions…

  • Thebob

    than?

  • Illithid

    I have no problem stipulating that a guy named Jesus lived, preached, and got crucified. “Jesus”, or Yeshua, or Joshua, was a common name. Apocalypse preachers were known to exist. The Romans crucified lots of people. I’m not certain he existed, like I’m not sure Socrates existed, but I’m willing to accept it as a reasonable probability.

    Similarly, Hercules may have been a famously strong guy that really lived. Even so, I don’t believe he was the son of Zeus or that he fought a hydra. That doesn’t mean that I absolutely know those things aren’t true. I just don’t see any good reason to suppose that they are, and they conflict with other things I’m confident of (like there being no multi-headed dragons), so I don’t accept them as true; I don’t believe them.

  • Thebob

    We have multi headed cows born today…a “dragon” could have been a very large creature that is now extinct….Hell we are still discovering new creatures today…As my argument still persists, you have “inbox” small minded kind of thinking…very obtuse; instead of Open Mind, “out of box”, thinking, which is how I was taught and told to look at things scientifically…Cause if you don’t, then you are looking for a predetermined outcome you want to fit, instead of finding the outcome without bias; regardless if it is what you want or not…

  • Thebob

    Research into DNA has shown, by the almost unbelievable complexity of the arrangements which are needed to produce life, that intelligence must have been involved. – Andrew Fleet

    Einstein believed in a God represented by order, harmony, beauty, simplicity and elegance, the God of Spinoza. – Michio Kaku

    What came before the big bang?
    “Scientific attempts to establish what came before have concluded that nothing came before. How can this be? In the human mind, ‘nothing’ does not register. This ‘nothing’ that does not register is the central character in many philosophical theses and the cause of much existential angst. But theoretical physicists argue that ‘nothing’ need not be the empty vacuum we imagine and that has haunted us thus far. Nothing is what gives confirmation that something created us. Something else other than that which we know. Something which predates our universe. And thus, we find we have just been placed gently back in the palm of something. In recognizing the limitations of the human mind to understand something as transcendent as a God-like force, modern science concedes that such force is actually a much more likely explanation for our beginnings than our minds would have us believe. And in doing so, echoes the sentiments of metaphysical inquiry across the ages.”
    We can only guess blindly, as our understanding is limited by our 3D capacity for thought. Many of us spend the first stages of our adult life trying on various philosophies and attachments to ideology, born from our choices of lifestyle, friends, and hair styles. And just when we think we have outrun the big nothing, it returns. Only this time it has us waking in the middle of the night in a cold sweat, concluding that there is indeed no meaning to life. We have backed ourselves into a dark corner through our way of thinking. And as we only ever have our mind to work with and this very equipment is often hardwired for self-doubt; we may have reached a point where believing in love, in good, and in purpose seems childish and ungrounded. The universe has no point and we are just random specks of dust. But this is just another thought. And things need not be this way. If we were to LET GO of our attachment to understanding definitively; to hold hard evidence, our minds would expand!!!
    Close in box vs Open out of box…

  • Thebob

    Smarter people are still trying and failing and using their rational thinking to come to the conclusion of intelligent design…Even String Theory, which is massively complicated, even supports this notion…Not I saying this, People like Michio Kaku saying this…

    Answer these please, just to appease me if anything..

    1. Is the Earth round?
    I will assume, yes, follow up then, why do you believe this?
    Again I will assume, you believe this, cause in 1st grade or so, this is what you were TOLD correct?
    So with out any possible means to actually see this for yourself, you believe what you are told correct?

    You many answer, well I can see it is round with my own eyes..Actually you can’t and every image EVER produced of Earth is PHOTOSHOPED or Computer Generated, this is proven FACT, google it…
    SO you still believe, the Earth is round, because you are TOLD it is round? Therefore you believe it to be true cause you are TOLD what to think and you cannot verify this with your OWN EYES. You are relying on others to speak the Truth…Just like other points in our history; where people believed a lie that was taught as Truth…

    It was once known to be true that blacks were considered sub human…Mostly by people of “Science”…I doubt you believe this to be true…Correct?

  • Raging Bee

    Sorry, but even if we disregard everything we’ve been told about the Universe, that still doesn’t make any of your bogus claims more plausible in any way. Your flailing crankery is dismissed.

  • Raging Bee

    Have you accomplished ANYTHING?

  • Thebob

    With what, my life? I served my country for 10 years…I got shot at, dodged IED’s…I have 3 kids, 1 being a child genius….3 dogs, own a farm now…What do you speak of? What have you done? Have you ever accomplished ANY menial tasks? Did you accomplish taking a dump today?

  • Thebob

    You are just being a bigot….Cause it is from someone like myself…..so it just gets tossed aside, cause you have bias and so do I…thing is, I can admit it…you all just wallow in it…

  • Thebob

    Other than killing your unborn, what have you done? Which most people don’t and wouldn’t consider that accomplishing anything; except taking a life…

  • Illithid

    Sure, maybe Hercules fought a two-headed mutant Komodo dragon, whatever. I’m happy to discuss what your religious claims are, what evidence you have for them, and how they should be evaluated. But first, I want to settle the original topic.

    My position is not that I categorically reject religious claims. I have seen no good evidence of the existence of any deities, or of any of the supernatural claims of any religion. Accordingly, I withhold my acceptance of those claims: I don’t believe them. I do not claim to know with certainty that no gods exist. Do you understand this?

  • Thebob

    Yes, you only believe in what you can see with your own eye’s, hear, taste or smell to believe anything. Is that pretty much the gist of it?

  • Illithid

    No, that’s not it. Much evidence is inferential. I believe that Austrailia exists, for example, despite never having seen it. I know that islands and larger landmasses exist, I have much reliable testimony that this place is real, and there’s no alternative that makes any sense. I believe that electrons exist, although it’s possible that our model of them is somehow incomplete. I have a reasonable confidence in the model of hydrogen fusion that fuels stars, because the explanation fits with other things I know and makes sense to me, and I know that there are thousands of well-educated people who study the subject professionally and who do directly observe the evidence, any one of whom would become rich and famous if they discovered a radically different explanation that better fit the observed data.

    The question I actually asked, you skipped entirely. I’ll repeat: I do not claim to know with certainty that there are no gods. I have simply not been presented with compelling evidence or good arguments for the existence of such beings. Do you understand that?

  • Raging Bee

    And there’s plenty of atheists who have accomplished all that, and more. Your claim that you can accomplish more because you’re more superstitious, is garbage.

  • Raging Bee

    And I say you’re told what to think, by a few; not even taught, you’re told cause you can’t back it up or test it yourself…Unlike with Math; which is actual science, not theoretical mumbo jumbo BS…

    Prove what we’ve been told is wrong, and we’ll take you seriously.

  • {Illithid, the well-known evader Thebob will never respond with integrity to your perfect challenge, but I’m posting to let you know at least one other person admires your argument. Thanks!}

  • Thebob

    Prove my belief wrong…Prove God, gods, or super natural does not exist? Keep playing the straw man…And once again, I am not here to try to convince you to “switch sides” that is futile…Only here to engage and talk; but I only seem to get bigotry and hate back from self described “Tolerant” people, only tolerant if agreed with…

  • Thebob

    I didn’t claim that at all…Nor did I ever mention accomplished or accomplishments…You are once again putting words in my mouth I did not say..

  • Raging Bee

    This is what you said:

    So you view the world inside a box and only certain things are possible or attainable…that is a really small way of thinking and moving through life…I doubt you will accomplish much with that way of thinking…

    You need to show SUPERIOR accomplishment on your part in order to back up this claim. And so far, you’ve failed to do so.

  • Raging Bee

    YOU need to prove the EXISTENCE of the beings you claim exist, otherwise the default conclusion is that they don’t exist, just like werewolves and tooth-fairies don’t exist.

  • Thebob

    Yes, you want to be told by someone more intelligent or appears to be more intelligent than you, that Proof exists of a God or gods or super natural?
    You’re a follower who needs to be told/taught things instead of using your own logical brain and thinking to accomplish something on your own, with regards to this…I doubt you have ever actually looked into the historical evidence yourself…which you admitted there is historical evidence…You just want someone else to tell you for fact that this or that does exist…yet you believe science which a lot is not factual, only Theoretical(which is just another term for possible).

    Try this on for size…It is theoretically possible, that the big bang, and formation of planets and stars and evolution of life, on one specific insignificant planet, all happened by chance. Or it didn’t.

    Those are your two options, by science, either you’re alive today, cause of Chance, which the odds are astronomically high, like 1 in 10 to the power of 1 trillion..Or you and science are wrong and we are here cause of intelligent design, either by another life form or Super Natural entity…

    Now logic says, you believe Australia exists, cause someone told you it is there, plus millions of people have been there. Yet you believe even though you have not been, this is logical..
    Logic also says, our world is flat, that is what our Eye’s tell us, yet once again we are told this is not the case, our world is a globe so massive we can’t perceive the curve. So you believe have faith develop a belief(a state of mind) that we live on a ‘globe’, all because someone else told you so. And that not only is our globe so massive, it sits in space that is so massive we cannot even begin to understand just how big it is; yet we are still nothing but a spec of dust on a spec of dust, in a massive pile of dust, where we mean absolutely nothing…Literally mean nothing cause all of this is by chance, so much so, you didn’t even decide to talk to me, it is all already predetermined this would happened, and science concludes as much they, science community, can even come up with what you will say next, that is how predictable this chance encounter of humans is…

    They claim to know how everything works with such enthusiasm and confidence, yet we can’t even solve, what should be simple problems, like cancer. Meanwhile we have cities that are no-kill animal shelters yet have signed onto what amounts to Infanticide abortion laws…So…I can respect your choice, hell I can even fight to protect that choice of yours, even though you probably wouldn’t fight to protect my choice, even though you are really nothing of any importance at all, you’re not special, you’re life means nothing, except maybe to you or maybe it doesn’t, cause in your reality you mean nothing and there fore are nothing…Life, love, and sadness, mean NOTHING. Therefore Greed, violence, and hate, also mean NOTHING cause it is all just Chance…cause there really is no good there is no evil and what you man perceive as Good or Evil is just your illogical brain or your evolved animal emotions taking over, there fore this WHOLE topic of Moral’s means JACK SHIT NOTHING, cause in reality Morals are nothing, cause we are nothing on an insignificant spec of dust in space…

    There are no morals with out Good and Evil. and if you can’t admit that evil exists then good does not cannot exist either…SO What is Morally good does not exist either and if evil does not exist neither can God or Devil, there fore Right and Wrong is only really logically in your nothing brain and means nothing except to you…

  • Thebob

    Prove they don’t exist? There is some truth to those stories passed down throughout history, or are they just figments of imagination, which is what exactly? Imagination? Prove Werewolves are not real…there are people out there who would say and testify otherwise, are you now telling those people they are wrong and stupid? If so you MUST have proof to back up that claim, so produce it?

    I don’t need to PROVE SHIT to you…YOU seem to want proof, seems to me you are looking or itching for proof and if proof is found you would jump on board? Seems to me, you’re just nothing whom stands for nothing whom lacks all beliefs( a state of mind) in nothing, because YOU ARE MEANINGLESS PILE OF EVOLVED GOO, Whom is here by Random Blind Chance, which science says means nothing, therefore you are nothing…Good or Evil doesn’t matter, Morally Right or Morally Wrong doesn’t matter…

    You like to point out Bible stories as being screwed up and you won’t follow a God who tells X to do X to X people, yet you admit right there those stories are True, yet the Bible is a work of Fiction…You can’t have it both ways, either the Bible has NO HISTORICAL Value at all a complete work of Fiction or the Bible does have Historical significance, historical value…You can’t have it both ways…

  • Thebob

    No, small minded thinkers DO NOT Accomplish much…And no I don’t HAVE TO PROVE JACK DICK NOTHING TO YOU, that is all you want is to be PROVEN wrong…that is just fucking insane talk…OH you need to show, SUPERIOR accomplishments on YOUR PART…STFU you dumb cunt…You totally missed my point and this dumbass thread you keep on going with is proof of my claim…You’re a good little follower of Richard Dawkins; hell he’d probably think your bat shit crazy too…Oh the burden of proof is on the Majority of the World which is steeped in 1000’s of Years of History and Culture, yet the minority of pathetic Atheist’s needs proof…You’re just fucking sad a sad pathetic whelp…OH and a Bigot to boot…Piss off block me IDGAF what you do, done talking with your dumbass whom has not brought any kind of remote intellectual conversation into this…Again I am not here to try to change your mind, I am here to debate and talk and throw different ideas around, cause unlike your Bigoted cunt ass, I respect your right to believe IN NOTHING…even though you don’t respect mine or others who do not adhere to your ideology, like the good fascist ideologue you are…

  • Raging Bee

    Okay, we’ll just leave you to your tantrum…nighty night…

  • Thebob

    Piss off ass hat…Try to bring some intelligence to an intellectual conversation instead of 2nd grade I know you are but what am I BULLSHIT you’re playing at…Just as I thought an ideologue who is an Ignoramus whom can’t back up any of their ideals with any intelligent conversation…Thank you for proving yourself and idiot who does exactly as they are told and exactly what and how to think…

  • Thebob

    Do you fuck your dog?

  • DogGone

    Aw, that’s sweet 🙂

  • Thebob

    Without a higher purpose, “I would continue living the same way, respecting the rights of others, loving my family and my friends, doing my duties and trying to leave the world a little better than I found it.” means absolutely NOTHING, you’re just walking fertilizer plain and simple…Others don’t have rights, love means nothing, so do family and friends, those are just man made up words to make you feel better about your pathetic life of waste. It doesn’t and won’t matter how much better you leave this pathetic shit world cause it MEANS NOTHING; only to make your pathetic feelings feel better about yourself, to anyone else it does nothing absolutely NOTHING!! As of now, you are really just wasting resources for others, whom believe they have a purpose other than being walking fertilizer, that and you look old, so you have also used up any purpose of your life and are now more of a waste of resources both human and environmental; as other humans will have to waste more resources caring for your old wasted ass trying to keep you alive; we might as well abort you and others once a certain age is reached as your usefulness vs wastefulness is exceeded…

  • DogGone

    Well said. I need to add something though. I just want to make it clear that I am not open to theists annoying me with the same weary arguments, trying to subject me to their arcane, authoritarian nonsense. I understand their motivations and their background. I, like many here, used to be religious. I have read the Christian texts more times and more deeply than most Christians, if that’s what we’re talking about (most other religions don’t bother us here, though each has its own limitations.) What I don’t believe is nobody else’s business. I hang out here because I like being around people who strive to protect the right to freedom from religion and all the other personal rights and freedoms that follow. I personally have a policy. I block theists.

  • Freethinker

    Don’t bother. You are dealing with a myth worshipping meat puppet who thinks that there is a man in the sky and that killing for his government, owning a farm and breeding are grand “accomplishments” worthy of capitalized mention. More than likely a Trump supporter. Just another human shit stain.

  • Thebob

    Thanks for proving ALL of my points above…YOU are a human POS, Bigot, whom if they don’t agree with you is a shit stain…Actually the other way around, Freethinker…LMAO…Thanks again for supporting Bigots and proving it even more so…Actually proving You’re a Fascist Punk and that is ALL you will ever be and nothing more..

    “Think about questioning everything including the unthinkable and the unquestionable.” LMAO if you actually believed this to any degree…OMG this is the best line I think I have ever seen one of you punks pages…LMAO, question everything including the unthinkable and unquestionable…GUESS WHAT DUMB ASS YOU ARE THE Unthinkable and Unquestionable…LMAO I don’t think you remotely understand what that even means….

  • Freethinker

    Did the VA shaft you on your med refills again Bubba?
    Maybe it’s time to ease off on the moonshine too.

  • DogGone

    Yes. Intent is the heart of it. As an atheist, I simply don’t care what theists believe. If believing in cloud dragons makes them happy, they should go for it. They just shouldn’t tell me the Cloud Dragon told them to force all women to pop out as many babies .as possible or it will never rain again and expect me to go along with it.

  • Thebob

    I stopped drinking, but thanks dick head…

  • Freethinker

    Maybe you should start again, you seem seriously wound up.
    Or maybe you’re just not getting enough blowjobs. Whatever it is, you need some serious mental health help. PTSD is no fun to deal with on your own.

  • DogGone

    Unfortunately, theists take it as an invitation. It’s like leaving a prybar leaning against your house under a window. It’s not dangerous, of course, when they try to break in, but it’s boring–yawn–such a waste of energy.

  • Thebob

    Nah, this is fun for me, thanks for the entertainment dick head…Well except for @ragingbee just a dumb cunt who lacks all basic atheist intellectual arguments…but still remotely fun.

  • Thebob

    And why does it matter anyway or really why would any of this matter to begin with, we nothing but walking meat suites, what you say to me, what I say to you means nothing absolutely nothing, cause ultimately according to you, we are here for no reason other than blind chance…not even luck as luck is superstitious and doesn’t exist..YOU are nothing more than fertilizer and worm food…Actually you are a waste of resources and harmful to the planet that by chance happen to spit you out.

  • DogGone

    Christians seem to think that the fallen angel Lucifer is more powerful than their god. This is a big problem for them.

  • Freethinker
  • DogGone

    The only reason anyone would consider proving the nonexistence of a god or gods is the fact that historically the surrounding culture has accepted its (or their) existence as a given. Cultures accept many things as true which for a time are useful, but which prove false and increasingly destructive as time goes on. I contend that this argument is not really about proving gods do not exist (how can you prove a negative?) Rather, it is about the role of unquestioned cultural assumptions of all sorts in our lives.

  • Thebob

    Show me ONE animal that we have OBSERVED, through the scientific method, with HUMAN EYE’s and I would concede one point…But, you’re making claims about me that YOU HAVE NO FUCKING CLUE what you are talking about…NOT ONE of you has ever asked me a question…While NONE of you have ever answered any questions I have posed…

    so again, in the last 10,000 years actually since Science is actually very modern and evolution is less than 300 years old, as an idea, SHOW ME ONE SINGLE ANIMAL SCIENCE HAS OBSERVED EVOLVING INTO A NEW SPECIES…please, I beg you for this proof show me…

  • DogGone

    AND that proof is never a troll from another part of Patheos spouting the same tired arguments (yawn)–not you, Jim.

  • Thebob

    Again, why does that matter…And A THEORY IS NOT FACT…A FACT IS TRUTH AND JUST CAUSE PEOPLE BELIEVE IT AS TRUTH DOES NOT MAKE IT FACT!!!!

    Fact: 2+2=4
    Opinion: YOUR A FUCKING DUMB ASS
    Truth: I don’t know you and I don’t care…

  • Freethinker

    Wow. It scares me that you decided to breed.

    No wonder this country is going to shit. The dumbing down of America’s gene pool continues. You do know what a gene is now ‘donchya Bubba? That thing that you can’t “see” with your “special god made” eye that has unequivocally shown an evolutionary chain over the last 4 billions years. I know. I know. BIG numbers! Hard to wrap the little jar head brain without getting a headache now is it. Sooo much easier to just believe fairy tales from a tiny part of the Middle East at the time of iron age to explain the hard to understand reality to illiterate goat herders.

    Sending you a virtual Tylenol.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/07045df48fa89ca20e29ff30768a7f305a4d8ca6cdd1b0e81846a751c296061d.jpg

  • Thebob

    And MORE proof, you’re a bigot, please ask an Intelligent question or keep your dick headedness to yourself…

    Science is true…BUT THEORIES ARE NOT FACT…It really is that simple….See, here my theory is, you’re a pedophile, cause why else would anyone want to be an Atheist who believes in nothing so they have no conscious decision they make has any repercussions …My Theory once again, is YOU’RE A PEDOPHILE, PROVE ME WRONG…

  • Thebob

    Oh and nice job quoting another leftist sexual deviant…my theory also includes Neil deGassfarts Tyson is also a pedophile, proof, accusations of sexual deviancy against him..PROVE ME WRONG…

  • Thebob

    What scares me is you think its perfectly fine to kill children and also be a sexual deviant with them…That is really scary for our society or well lack of any society that murders their unborn and then uses them for pleasure of adults…You and your’s are ONE SICK PIECE OF OUR SHITTY SOCIETY…actually you are the shitty society…

  • Thebob

    @ReasonTrumpsSuperstition:disqus is a Pedophile, my proof, he likes to quote a sexual deviant serial harasser Neil deFraud Tyson….#IBELIEVESURVIVORS prove me wrong, but doing so would then discredit Neil’s accuser #IBELIEVESURVIVORS!!!

  • Keo Capestany

    I have been insulted by real pros and I always consider the source. I do want to admit that being called “just walking fertilizer plain and simple.” is very nice and I will take note of that for future use. If he knew me better he would have had a lot of material to really hurt my feelings . I have always said that I would like to be ground as fertilizer upon my death now I will make sure it is done.

  • Lisa Cybergirl

    Dick, shit, fuck, cunt, ass… these are the words of a superior person?

  • Lisa Cybergirl

    No, I fuck yours. 🙂

  • Illithid

    So, you can’t answer a straightforward question.
    You don’t understand what you read.
    You don’t understand how evidence works.
    And you might even be a flat-earther.
    This is weapons-grade willful ignorance.
    The poor punctuation and grammar, and the random capitalization, don’t help either.

    I have no further interest in conversing with you.

  • Raging Bee

    At the very least, we’re dealing with an obnoxious self-important asshole with obvious anger issues who can’t handle differing ideas without flipping out and lashing out at whoever is nearby.

    I’ll pray to Apollo and Athena for him…

  • Freethinker

    You are kinder than I am. Prayers will not fix what only a lobotomy and sterilization might help with.

  • Freethinker

    You actually list owning “3 dogs” among your most mention worthy life accomplishments? Wow…. I bet you think being able to tie your OWN shoelaces is a pretty big deal. Just don’t try to walk and chew gum at the same time. That will not end well for you.

  • Raging Bee

    And the flailing incoherent tantrum continues…

  • Raging Bee

    There’s no “double standard” here, just a practical fact: nonexistent things don’t leave material traces of their nonexistence, therefore it is reasonable to demand proof of the claim that something exists, but not of the claim that it doesn’t. No one has to prove the nonexistence of werewolves; we just need to note that there is insufficient evidence that they exist, therefore we don’t need to give our cops silver bullets every full Moon.

  • Jim Jones

    Says the troll with the concealed posting history.

  • Jim Jones

    For a binary choice between the big bang and the Big God, the big bang wins out overwhelmingly.

  • Jim Jones

    My granny had a great recipe for tripe. You? Not so much.

  • DogGone

    Jim–we are buddies! I wasn’t talking about you. I was talking about marauding Xtians looking for fresh meat. I conceal my history because they are vicious. Their “love” gives the word a bad name, as all of us here know. When I see them, I block them. LOL–I have blocked a lot of people (but not you)

  • DogGone

    I like the mere lack of belief in gods. It’s elegant, modest, unpretentious, and has the faint perfume of, yawn, let me see..I have so many other things to think about. (winks)

  • DogGone

    Lovely!

  • DogGone

    Bingo

  • DogGone

    YES

  • Gary Whittenberger

    I partly agree and partly disagree with your claims here. It mostly depends on the alleged nature of the thing under discussion. The person who claims that something does not exist STARTS WITH a burden of proof, but the burden may be lifted if it is impossible or impractical to meet the burden. In the case of God, it is neither impossible nor impractical to meet the burden, and so the burden stands.

    Here is how one meets the burden with the case of God:
    1. Stipulate the generally accepted definition of “God”
    2. Make rational predictions from the definition
    3. Show that the predictions are disconfirmed

    An example:
    1. God is the hypothetical all-knowing, all-powerful, and perfectly moral Creator of the universe.
    2. If God did exist, then there wouldn’t be any natural disasters.
    3. But there are natural disasters.
    4. Therefore, God does not exist.
    Burden met.

    I am not sure if it is possible or practical to disprove werewolves. I haven’t thought much about that.

  • Sophotroph

    You make this mistake everywhere, and it seems impossible to get you to see reason, but I will try again.

    Words have definitions. You may feel they are starting to be used in different ways. That does not negate the original use, nor are you any authority of what definitions are now in vogue.

    The issue is understood, and the arguments are over.

    There are agnostic atheists, gnostic atheists, agnostic theists, and gnostic theists. That often the hoi polloi misuse words is not permission for you to change the definitions for everybody else.

    Most atheists are agnostic atheists, because while there is no extant evidence whatsoever for the existence of anything that could be meaningfully described as a god, there is certainly a subset of those beings whose existence are not strictly impossible.

    The meaning of “agnostic”, in this context, does not change because you personally asked questions of random mall-goers.

    Those who wish to discuss these issues must use the terms as they are accepted and used in good faith in the communities that are hosting the discussion. Why is that so hard for you?

  • Raging Bee

    Nope, we don’t have to do any of those things. All we have to do is note the following:

    1. None of the claims for the existence of any gods have ever even been fleshed out enough to be falsifiable, let alone actually proven.

    2. The overwhelming majority of such claims — and of the people making such claims — are so lacking in credibility that there’s really no point in taking them seriously anyway. Indeed, this current burden-shifting alone — insisting we have to prove their god doesn’t exist, while ignoring the fact that this also applies to other gods they don’t believe in — is proof of the theists’ dishonesty, hypocrisy and bad faith.

    As for werewolves, just think of how much you’d accomplish if you really felt you had to drop everything, every time someone claimed some fairytale or hallucination was real, and prove it wasn’t real. This is why it makes absolutely no sense to require proof of claims of NONexistence.

  • Thebob

    Genesis, written 1000’s of years ago, God said let their be light, so whom is ripping off whom, which was thought of in the 1920’s so not even 100 year old idea or theory, yet…Genesis this was written long before….But hey, you’re the tolerant one…

  • Thebob

    I answered your question, it was Do you understand, how many times to DO I HAVE TO ANSWER WITH YES YOU DUMB FUK!!!

  • Thebob

    Who is claiming superiority here??? Not I…you and your’s seem to be the intellectually superior here…LMAO…If God gods, super natural do not exist, words are just words and meanings really don’t mean a thing only to define a word nothing more…

  • Thebob

    Still waiting for an intellectual debate from the oh so great Tolerant people of all ideas, unless they are not our ideas….pathetic…

  • Thebob

    And the stupidity from the leftist scum Anti-Semite nazi continues…

  • Thebob

    “The poor punctuation and grammar, and the random capitalization, don’t help either.” Typical attack of the retarded leftists…typing on the internet not writing a book or college term paper…eat a dick, dick head..

  • Gary Whittenberger

    S1: You make this mistake everywhere, and it seems impossible to get you to see reason, but I will try again.

    GW1: You believe I have made a mistake, but I believe I have not. So we disagree. You are welcome to try to persuade me to your position.

    S1: Words have definitions. You may feel they are starting to be used in different ways. That does not negate the original use, nor are you any authority of what definitions are now in vogue.

    GW1: Words have definitions in dictionaries and common usage, but definitions change. Definitions are added to, deleted from, and modified. That’s just the way language works. My own experience in the culture is my basis for saying which definitions are in vogue. I will rely on that until you contradict it with scientific surveys of usage of particular terms.

    S1: The issue is understood, and the arguments are over.

    GW1: I disagree. The arguments are not over since we are arguing about the same issue.

    S1: There are agnostic atheists, gnostic atheists, agnostic theists, and gnostic theists. That often the hoi polloi misuse words is not permission for you to change the definitions for everybody else.

    GW1: I am not misusing words. I am just using words in a way you are not accustomed to. Definitions of words are not set in stone forever. It would be helpful if you presented your explicit definitions of these four terms you are presenting here.

    S1: Most atheists are agnostic atheists, because while there is no extant evidence whatsoever for the existence of anything that could be meaningfully described as a god, there is certainly a subset of those beings whose existence are not strictly impossible.

    GW1: From what I can tell, I think we are in agreement on the definition of “atheist,” but I think we differ on the definition of “agnostic,” and so, we also differ on the definition of “agnostic atheist.” I believe most atheists are not agnostic atheists. In our discussion let’s refer only to God for now, and later extend our conclusions to other gods and supernatural concepts.

    S1: The meaning of “agnostic”, in this context, does not change because you personally asked questions of random mall-goers.

    GW1: I didn’t conduct a study in which I systematically asked questions of random mall-goers, although this could be done. Based on my interactions with maybe 200-300 people in the last ten years, in-person and on the internet, it is my conclusion that people in the US today use a different definition of “agnostic” than was initiated by Huxley long ago. I think you are using Huxley’s definition. That’s fine but it does not reflect new and common usage.

    S1: Those who wish to discuss these issues must use the terms as they are accepted and used in good faith in the communities that are hosting the discussion. Why is that so hard for you?

    GW1: What is easy or hard for me, or for you, has no relevance to this discussion. Try to stick to the substantive issues.

  • Freethinker
  • Freethinker
  • Thebob

    oooo, aaaaaaahhh, pretty colors…Science, keep changing until we get it right, except that will never happen, so we just keep making changes as we keep getting proved wrong or just utterly fail all together but one day one day we will get it right…

  • Freethinker
  • Thebob

    You’re good at posting opinion memes…Nice job dude, but I like the others with pretty colors, you know captures attention of us stupid religious peoples…

  • Thebob

    Scientific Theories proven Fact 100% True, BIG FAT 0, that is ZERO…

  • Freethinker

    captures attention of us stupid religious peoples

    Since you like colorful things little boy, here is one last one just for you that pretty much summarizes it all. Not that we don’t already know what choice you have already made.
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/2ab6138a170c3f58172582340ef28817fe5dac8e582c03e4f9173b98b766b1ed.png

  • Thebob

    In 2011, the University of Chicago evolutionary biologist James Shapiro argued that, remarkably enough, many micro-evolutionary processes worked as though guided by a purposeful “sentience” of the evolving plant and animal organisms themselves. “The capacity of living organisms to alter their own heredity is undeniable,” he wrote. “Our current ideas about evolution have to incorporate this basic fact of life.”

    For the past 10,000 years at a minimum, the most important changes in human existence have been driven by cultural developments occurring in the realm of human ideas. In the Axial Age (commonly dated from 800 to 200 B.C.), world-transforming ideas such as Buddhism, Confucianism, the philosophies of Plato and Aristotle, and the Hebrew Old Testament almost miraculously appeared at about the same time in India, China, ancient Greece and among the Jews in the Middle East, groups having little interaction with one another.

  • Thebob

    And there it is, the typical, Stupid play by Such Tolerant Atheists….You’re an immature POS..plain and simple…SO BOI, sit down STFU and let the Adults do the Adulting…And still waiting on proof you’re not a Pedophile….

  • I don’t know That certainly makes him more accomplished than my family. I mean, we only have 2 dogs and they’re both idiots. I seriously doubt either of them would be capable of owning a farm.

  • Gary Whittenberger

    RB2: Nope, we don’t have to do any of those things. All we have to do is note the following:

    GW2: If you, I, or anyone else claims “God does not exist” or even “I believe that God does not exist,” then we have a burden of rational demonstration. (I am going to use “rational demonstration” rather than “proof” because “proof” is often used in more specialized contexts like mathematics, geometry, and symbolic logic.) If we claim that the theist has a burden of rational demonstration, then the atheist who says “I believe God does not exist” also has a burden. On the other hand, if a person says “I am undecided if God exists,” then that person has no burden.

    RB2: 1. None of the claims for the existence of any gods have ever even been fleshed out enough to be falsifiable, let alone actually proven.

    GW2: I disagree. The claim for the existence of God has been fleshed out enough to be falsifiable, and others and I have falsified it.

    RB2: 2. The overwhelming majority of such claims — and of the people making such claims — are so lacking in credibility that there’s really no point in taking them seriously anyway. Indeed, this current burden-shifting alone — insisting we have to prove their god doesn’t exist, while ignoring the fact that this also applies to other gods they don’t believe in — is proof of the theists’ dishonesty, hypocrisy and bad faith.

    GW2: There is a point in taking these religious leaders seriously since most people believe them, and wrong beliefs lead to suffering. We don’t “have to” rationally demonstrate that God does not exist, but we should attempt to do so. It is our ethical burden. I’m not disagreeing with you that some theists are dishonest, hypocritical, or disingenuous, but that is not the subject of this discussion. What is the ethical and intellectual burden of atheists? – That’s what we are discussing.

    RB2: As for werewolves, just think of how much you’d accomplish if you really felt you had to drop everything, every time someone claimed some fairytale or hallucination was real, and prove it wasn’t real. This is why it makes absolutely no sense to require proof of claims of NONexistence.

    GW2: You are missing a major point – if you report that you are undecided about the existence of werewolves or anything else, then you have no burden. It is only if you claim that werewolves (or something else) exists or does not exist that you have a burden. BTW, fairytales and hallucinations are real, but their contents may not be.

  • Herald Newman

    If you, I, or anyone else claims “God does not exist” or even “I believe that God does not exist,” then we have a burden of rational demonstration.

    And that *demonstration *can be done by simply asserting the null hypothesis. Until somebody can actually establish that a god exists I am rationally justified in disbelief, and even asserting my disbelief.

    I disagree. The claim for the existence of God has been fleshed out enough to be falsifiable, and others and I have falsified it.

    Yes, some specific god claims can be falisifed, but not all can. The whole point is rather irrelevant given that nobody has actually establish that any gods exist.

    It is only if you claim that werewolves (or something else) exists or does not exist that you have a burden.

    Whether it’s werewolves, vampires, Loch Ness monster, or even the Flying Spaghetti Monster (sauce be upon him), asserting the null hypothesis is sufficient to fulfill my burden of proof.

  • Herald Newman

    I think it is logically possible for an entity to be just all-powerful, if you tweak the definition a little. Consider: An entity is all-powerful if it is able to do anything not logically impossible.

    I think all powerful can be meaningful, but you have to be extremely careful about how you define the term. If you’re sloppy, and want to insist that God can do anything that is logically possible (effectively what you’re trying to say), then even this definition fails. The problem comes down to any self-referencing. Asking if God can create a pile of rocks that God cannot lift causes a paradox, but is logically possible, and shows that the definition of omnipotence has problems.

    There’s nothing incoherent about the idea of creating a pile of rocks, or not being able to lift a pile of rocks. I can even do both of these things. So why would this be logically impossible for God, but logically possible for me? Am I more powerful than God?

    The whole omnipotence paradox thing can be solved by simply enumerating exactly what abilities God has, and then making sure that none of those abilities end up being mutually contradictory, or end up with self-referencing problems.

  • Raging Bee

    If you, I, or anyone else claims “God does not exist” or even “I believe that God does not exist,” then we have a burden of rational demonstration.

    No, we don’t, and it’s both dishonest and unreasonable to say we do. As I said before, nonexistent things don’t leave material traces of their nonexistence. This is a purely practical matter of how real people make important decisions, regardless of what some philosopher demands or thinks we should think.

    There is a point in taking these religious leaders seriously since most people believe them, and wrong beliefs lead to suffering. We don’t “have to” rationally demonstrate that God does not exist, but we should attempt to do so.

    No, our burden is to expose dishonesty, irrationality and wrongdoing by religious leaders and institutions. It’s much easier to convince someone that certain people are wrong and untrustworthy, than to convince them that their religious beliefs themselves are wrong. (And besides, it really doesn’t matter what people believe; what’s important is what they do, and what actions they support.)

  • Jim Jones

    Apophenia and pareidolia.

  • @garywhittenberger:disqus

    Someone claiming God does not exist bears no burden of proof, because they have made a fundamental error, and “proving” is moot.

    You can’t prove a negative, and falsifiability is irrelevant for a made-up imaginary existent. Falsifiality pertains to things already proven to exist, and consists of deduction only, for instance, “I contend there are no lunar landers on the backside of the moon.” That is falsifiable, because both ‘landers’ and ‘dark side of the moon’ are stipulated and proven to exist and by deduction the claim can and could be proven false. “I contend there is no such thing as God” is totally void, an error.

    Their error is not “gee, I can’t prove god does not exist, whoops” but rather “I should not have made a claim of the non-existence of something – it gives the thing and the claimer the upper hand.

  • Gary Whittenberger

    GW1: If you, I, or anyone else claims “God does not exist” or even “I believe that God does not exist,” then we have a burden of rational demonstration.

    HN2: And that *demonstration *can be done by simply asserting the null hypothesis. Until somebody can actually establish that a god exists I am rationally justified in disbelief, and even asserting my disbelief.

    GW2: I disagree. Take these two claims: “I do not believe that God exists” vs. “I believe that God does not exist.” You are treating them as if they are the same, when they are not. The holder of the latter has a burden of rational demonstration, while the holder of the former does not.

    GW1: I disagree. The claim for the existence of God has been fleshed out enough to be falsifiable, and others and I have falsified it.

    HN2: Yes, some specific god claims can be falisifed, but not all can. The whole point is rather irrelevant given that nobody has actually establish that any gods exist.

    GW2: No, the main point is that those who claim that God does not exist have a burden just like those who claim that God does exist. We aren’t talking about the history of success at either, just about the ethical and intellectual obligation. On the other hand, those who say they are undecided don’t have a burden.

    GW1: It is only if you claim that werewolves (or something else) exists or does not exist that you have a burden.

    HN2: Whether it’s werewolves, vampires, Loch Ness monster, or even the Flying Spaghetti Monster (sauce be upon him), asserting the null hypothesis is sufficient to fulfill my burden of proof.

    GW2: I disagree. But clearly state the null hypothesis for the case of God, and then we can talk about it.

  • Gary Whittenberger

    GW1: If you, I, or anyone else claims “God does not exist” or even “I believe that God does not exist,” then we have a burden of rational demonstration.

    RB1: No, we don’t, and it’s both dishonest and unreasonable to say we do.

    GW1: I disagree. Why do you think so?

    RB1: As I said before, nonexistent things don’t leave material traces of their nonexistence. This is a purely practical matter of how real people make important decisions, regardless of what some philosopher demands or thinks we should think.

    GW2: Yes, nonexistent things don’t leave material traces, but at the start of a debate about God you can’t just beg the question by assuming that God does not exist. This is the conclusion you have the burden for rational demonstration.

    GW1: There is a point in taking these religious leaders seriously since most people believe them, and wrong beliefs lead to suffering. We don’t “have to” rationally demonstrate that God does not exist, but we should attempt to do so.

    RB2: No, our burden is to expose dishonesty, irrationality and wrongdoing by religious leaders and institutions.

    GW1: I certainly agree with that, but then we have two burdens rather than one.

    RB2: It’s much easier to convince someone that certain people are wrong and untrustworthy, than to convince them that their religious beliefs themselves are wrong.

    GW2: We aren’t talking about ease of persuasion here. We are talking about obligation.

    RB2: (And besides, it really doesn’t matter what people believe; what’s important is what they do, and what actions they support.)

    GW2: But it does matter! As Sam Harris pointed out in his first book, beliefs have consequences. If matters to the conduct of one’s life whether one believes “God exists” vs. “God does not exist.”

  • Raging Bee

    …at the start of a debate about God you can’t just beg the question by assuming that God does not exist.

    And we can’t let the believers beg the question in the opposite direction either. What we can, and must, do, is start with the premise that there’s never been any proof of any claims of the existence of any gods, ever. That’s not the same as “assuming that God does not exist.”

    We aren’t talking about ease of persuasion here. We are talking about obligation.

    Our obligation is to get the right things DONE. And that means doing what’s possible and has a reasonable chance of success.

  • Raging Bee

    And yes, beliefs have consequences; but that doesn’t mean we have to police other people’s beliefs, when we need to be appealing to them for support against a common enemy. We need, most of all, to get the support of Christians and Muslims, not just atheists, against bigotry, tyranny, fraud and abuse by religious authoritarians and con-artists. We can argue about their specific beliefs later.

  • Thebob

    @freethinker, your friendly neighbor baby murderer…

  • Gary Whittenberger

    GW1: I think it is logically possible for an entity to be just all-powerful, if you tweak the definition a little. Consider: An entity is all-powerful if it is able to do anything not logically impossible.

    HN2: I think all powerful can be meaningful, but you have to be extremely careful about how you define the term. If you’re sloppy, and want to insist that God can do anything that is logically possible (effectively what you’re trying to say), then even this definition fails.

    GW2: I agree that you must be extremely careful, as I have been.

    HN2: The problem comes down to any self-referencing. Asking if God can create a pile of rocks that God cannot lift causes a paradox, but is logically possible, and shows that the definition of omnipotence has problems. There’s nothing incoherent about the idea of creating a pile of rocks, or not being able to lift a pile of rocks. I can even do both of these things. So why would this be logically impossible for God, but logically possible for me? Am I more powerful than God?

    GW2: It is logically impossible to be able to lift all piles of rocks and to be unable to lift one. This must be ruled out in any valid definition of “omnipotent.”

    HN2: The whole omnipotence paradox thing can be solved by simply enumerating exactly what abilities God has, and then making sure that none of those abilities end up being mutually contradictory, or end up with self-referencing problems.

    GW2: I think it is better to go the other way and just say being omnipotent means the ability to do anything, but list the exceptions. The enumeration you describe is too cumbersome.

  • Thebob

    Just cause you still in mama’s basement sucking off her Tit…

  • Gary Whittenberger

    JD1: Someone claiming God does not exist bears no burden of proof, because they have made a fundamental error, and “proving” is moot.

    GW1: You are engaged in question begging – assuming from the start that they are mistaken. They have an obligation to at least try to show they are correct.

    JD1: You can’t prove a negative – and falsifiability is irrelevant – for a made-up imaginary existent.

    GW1: You certainly can prove a negative, e.g. that God does not exist. You can also prove that there is no elephant in your garage.

    JD1: Falsifiality pertains to things already proven to exist, and consists of deduction only, for instance, “I contend there are no lunar landers on the backside of the moon.” That is falsifiable, because both ‘landers’ and ‘dark side of the moon’ are stipulated and proven to exist and by deduction the claim can and could be proven false. “I contend there is no such thing as God” is totally void, an error.

    GW1: I disagree. Falsifiability pertains to testability. You don’t assume in advance whether something exists or not. I agree with your moon example. “God does not exist” is a claim which can be tested. He who makes the claim has a burden of rational demonstration. His burden is to those to whom he makes the claim since he is asserting that “God does not exist” is true.

    JD1: Their error is not “gee, I can’t prove god does not exist, whoops” but rather “I should not have made a claim of the non-existence of some imaginary thing – it gives the thing and the claimer the upper hand.

    GW1: Oh, my goodness, we wouldn’t want to give the theist the upper hand! I disagree with your premise. One person claims “God exists” and another person claims “God does not exist.” Neither has the upper hand since both have a burden of rational demonstration. Their obligation is to the community of persons to which they make the claim since some people may believe them and act on the belief, for good or ill.

  • a) you don’t understand “begging the question”:
    b) you don’t understand who’s ‘proving is moot’ in my response. Slow down, you look ridiculous;
    c) you can’t prove that God does not exist, since the identity of god is made up, not induced from reality
    d) an elephant is a real thing, as opposed to “god” so you did not learn from my penetrating differentiation;
    e) it is correct to assume something does not exist until the claimant proves it exists. a claim about a made-up thing does not even rise to the level of falsifiability;
    f) “God does not exist” cannot be tested, since God is a made up existent with any billion number of random arbitrary characteristics, all made up;
    g) I already corrected you that the “problem” or “error” of the person saying “I can prove God does not exist” is not that they can’t, simply that such a proof of an imaginary thing is moot
    h) I definitely do not want to give a theist the upper hand by admitting “God” into a claim – not until it is proven to exist. It is wrong to let anyone usher the “possibility” of a made-up existent into a claim for truth by asserting the non-existence of it, not just “god”

    I now challenge you: are you a theist?

  • Gary Whittenberger

    JD2: a) you don’t understand “begging the question”:

    GW2: Sure I do! But if you think you do understand it, then present your definition.

    JD2: b) you don’t understand who’s ‘proving is moot’ in my response. Slow down, you look ridiculous;

    GW2: How I look to you is irrelevant. Please stick to the topic.

    JD2: c) you can’t prove that God does not exist, since the identity of god is made up, not induced from reality

    GW2: I have already proven that God does not exist. It doesn’t matter where a hypothesis comes from.

    JD2: d) an elephant is a real thing, as opposed to “god” so you did not learn from my penetrating differentiation;

    GW2: God could be a real thing. There is nothing wrong with hypothesizing “God exists” just like there is nothing wrong with hypothesizing “There is an elephant in your garage” or “Elephants exist.”

    JD2: e) it is correct to assume something does not exist until the claimant proves it exists. a claim about a made-up thing does not even rise to the level of falsifiability;

    GW2: I disagree. It is correct to be undecided if something exists until somebody proves it does or somebody proves it doesn’t exist. It is correct to not believe that something exists until somebody proves it does. You are still confusing two different propositions: “I don’t believe God exists” vs “I believe God does not exist.” They are not equivalent.

    JD2: f) “God does not exist” cannot be tested, since God is a made up existent with any billion number of random arbitrary characteristics, all made up;

    GW2: I disagree. I can be tested. It has been tested. Many others and I have tested it and proven it to be correct. You must start with a specific and clear definition of “God,” preferably the one accepted by most believers.

    JD2: g) I already corrected you that the “problem” or “error” of the person saying “I can prove God does not exist” is not that they can’t, simply that a proof of the non-existence of an imaginary thing is an error and should not have been made.

    GW2: That doesn’t make any sense to me. Again, you are engaged in question begging. You can’t assume in advance that God is imaginary. That is a conclusion which must come at the end of an investigation and rational demonstration.

    JD2: h) I definitely do not want to give a theist the upper hand by admitting “God” into a claim – not until it is proven to exist. It is wrong to let anyone usher the “possibility” of a made-up existent into a claim for truth by asserting the non-existence of it, not just “god”

    GW2: The theist and the assertive atheist start on a level playing field. Neither has the upper hand. Both have a burden to rationally demonstrate their conclusions.

    JD2: I now challenge you: are you a theist?

    GW2: Of course not. Are you a theist?

  • You have not proven that god does not exist. That is a void claim.

    No they do not start on a level playing field with regard to the existence of God. The theist believes in God and makes claims. The atheist is without god, does not believe in god. There is no burden whatsoever on the atheist to prove the non-existence of the theist’s claim. All the burden is on the theist. Yet you let them off the hook of that burden by your (in their glorious mind of centuries of Theocratic Wisdom) insignificant squeaks.

    And, in fact, as a disaster-making gambit of which you are a driven proponent, the “assertive atheist” does substantial harm to reason, reality, rationality, by making the claim “I can prove there is no such thing as God.” That claim of yours respects the made-up definition of God. Theists love it when you do that. They can slime-define God around all your pitiful proofs of non-existence, making you look like an insignificant flea trying to land on their almighty lord.

    I am atheist. You have the look of a counterfeit traitor.

    [edited to add …]
    Stop accidentally or deliberately misconstruing my point about “moot.” Far from saying the theist’s proofs are moot, I encourage them, insist on them, making them. Have at it. Hypothesize away. Stop saying I reject that.

  • Herald Newman

    No, the main point is that those who claim that God does not exist have a burden just like those who claim that God does exist.

    Yes, both sides have a burden, but the two burdens are not symmetrical.

  • Gary Whittenberger

    JD2: You have not proven that god does not exist. That is a void claim.

    GW2: Yes I have. If you think I made an error, identify it and we can discuss it.

    JD2: No they do not start on a level playing field with regard to the existence of God. The theist believes in God and makes claims. The atheist is without god, does not believe in god. There is no burden whatsoever on the atheist to prove the non-existence of the theist’s claim. All the burden is on the theist.

    GW2: Yes, in a debate they do start on a level playing field. By definition, the atheist does not believe that God exists, but some atheists make the assertive claim “God does not exist.” This is the subgroup of atheists which has the burden, as do all the theists.

    JD2: Yet you let them off the hook of that burden by your (in their glorious mind of centuries of Theocratic Wisdom) insignificant squeaks.

    GW2: Of course I do not let them off the hook. They have a burden also.

    JD2: And, in fact, as a disaster-making gambit of which you are a driven proponent, the “assertive atheist” does substantial harm to reason, reality, rationality, by making the claim “I can prove there is no such thing as God.”

    GW2: The atheist cannot prove that God does not exist without using reason. Others and I have rationally demonstrated that God does not exist.

    JD2: That claim of yours respects the made-up definition of God.

    GW2: I respect “God exists” as a hypothesis, not as a belief. It doesn’t matter where hypotheses come from. They are just speculations to be tested.

    JD2: Theists love it when you do that.

    GW2: I don’t care whether they love it or hate it. Their emotional reaction is irrelevant.

    JD2: They can slime-define God around all your pitiful proofs of non-existence, making you look like an insignificant flea trying to land on their almighty lord.

    GW2: I only use a definition of “God” which most of them agree with.

    JD2: I am atheist. You have the look of a counterfeit traitor.

    GW2: How I look to you is irrelevant. I am an atheist and have been for over 50 years. However, I am an assertive atheist. I assert that God does not exist and others and I have rationally demonstrated this to be true. I hope you will join us.

  • God help us if you’ve been an aggressive atheist for 50 years. Damage. The theists have a place waiting for you in heaven for all the help you’ve given them.

    You are not a counterfeit traitor, you are a clear and present danger.

  • Gary Whittenberger

    Now you are just making ad hominem attacks and are no longer addressing the issues raised in the essay.

  • I already destroyed your position, there’s nothing else to say except that it does damage to reality.

    [edit to add:] the others posting against you above, who are showing more sense than I for not feeding your wrongheaded obsession, also destroyed your position.]

  • Gary Whittenberger

    JD: I already destroyed your position, there’s nothing else to say except that it does damage to reality.

    GW: If there’s nothing else to say then why did you make ad hominem attacks? My position is unscathed by your objections.

    JD: [edit to add:] the others posting against you above, who are showing more sense than I for not feeding your wrongheaded obsession, also destroyed your position.]

    GW: Nobody has destroyed my position. It is based on reason.

  • There are very very few atheists who claim “I have proven that God does not exist.” We know it is a heinous error to do so, playing right into the hands of theists. And the ugliness of your aggression gives atheism a bad name.

    I, for one, consider your beliefs far more damaging than the average person who simply wants to find “the good” and unfortunately thinks it requires God. There’s a chance their eyes will open at some point.

    But someone obviously smart enough to know better, yet who deliberately damages the cause of reality and reason? I wish there were hell for that.

    I’m going to alter my evaluation: your position is a counter-insurgency in the name of irrationality. What an ugly flag you fly.

  • Gary Whittenberger

    JD1: There are very very few atheists who claim “I have proven that God does not exist.” We know it is a heinous error to do so, playing right into the hands of theists. And the ugliness of your aggression gives atheism a bad name.

    GW1: Some of the atheists who have proven that God does not exist have not taken credit for it, but there are far more than “very very few.” This gives no advantage to the theists. My claim is assertive, not aggressive. To say that it is aggressive plays right into the hands of theists. Beauty/ugliness is in the eye of the beholder.

    JD1: I, for one, consider your beliefs far more damaging than the average person who simply wants to find “the good” and unfortunately thinks it requires God. There’s a chance their eyes will open at some point.

    GW1: Thank you for your opinion. I disagree with it.

    JD1: But someone obviously smart enough to know better, yet who deliberately damages the cause of reality and reason? I wish there were hell for that.

    GW1: Yes, wouldn’t it be ironic if people who believe in God went to hell?

    JD1: I’m going to alter my evaluation: your position is a counter-insurgency in the name of irrationality. What an ugly flag you fly.

    GW1: Until you can find a specific error in my arguments against the existence of God, I will not find your opinion helpful. You just don’t like it. You have a right to your opinion and I have a right to reject it.

  • There are billions of atheists alive. Only a very very very few brazenly go about claiming “I have proven that God does not exist.” You are welcome to that club, it’s a free world. I have no idea what your motive is, I just judge the results. It is not good.

    It is impossible to prove that God does not exist.

    Any such claim, which you arrogantly and fatuously continue to make, is an aggressive attack on reason, and as such is toxic.

    Your “arguments against the existence of God” do not need to be “disproved,” just need to be excoriated on their face. I have done that, and so have others here.

    What is your motive for holding this belief?

  • Gary Whittenberger

    JD2: There are billions of atheists alive.

    GW2: I am skeptical of that claim. How did you arrive at this conclusion?

    JD2: Only a very very very few brazenly go about claiming “I have proven that God does not exist.” You are welcome to that club, it’s a free world. I have no idea what your motive is, I just judge the results. It is not good.

    GW2: Some atheists have claimed to have proven that God does not exist. The number and percentage doesn’t matter too much to me. They are correct, and it is good.

    JD2: It is impossible to prove that God does not exist.

    GW2: I disagree. It is not only possible, it has already been done.

    JD2: Any such claim, which you arrogantly and fatuously continue to make, is an aggressive attack on reason, and as such is toxic.

    GW2: No. To make the claim is neither arrogant, fatuous, aggressive, toxic, nor attacking of reason. I reject all your claims here. I will say that it is bold, brazen, and assertive. I once thought the same as you do now, i.e. that it cannot be proven that God does not exist, but after about ten years of study, I changed my mind. I am confident that if you conscientiously pursue the issue, you will come to the same conclusion.

    JD2: Your “arguments against the existence of God” do not need to be “disproved,” just need to be excoriated on their face. I have done that, and so have others here.

    GW2: I think that I have only presented one argument against the existence of God here. (There are many good ones.) So far, a few people have said that it is mistaken, but nobody has demonstrated an error. And so, I stand by my claim.

    JD2: What is your motive for holding this belief?

    GW2: The desire to know what is true and what is false about reality. Don’t you have the same motive? Just saying that you disagree with a claim doesn’t invalidate the claim. You need to present evidence, reasons, and/or arguments.

  • Cynthia

    Upvoted for the last paragraph, esp. that last sentence.

  • rationalobservations?

    No one has ever proved the existence of any of the millions of undetected and undetectable gods, goddesses and god-men that litter human fiction.

    The major problem for all things “Jesus cult” is that there is no authentic and original, 1st century originated historical evidence that any man named “Jesus” existed and no historical record at all that validates any of the diverse and very different, confused and contradictory legends of “Jesus” that first appeared centuries after the time in which they are set.

    There are millions of undetected and undetectable gods, goddesses and god-men among which the originally Canaanite god “Yahweh” and Roman’s god-man “Jesus” appear nothing special and there is no evidence of the existence of any of the millions of undetected and undetectable gods, goddesses and god-men among which the originally Canaanite god “Yahweh” and Roman’s god-man “Jesus” appear nothing special.

    It’s not that we atheists pretend to know that any particular god does not exist. We observe there is no evidence of the existence of any gods, goddesses and god-men, (including the one(s) you fail to justify or excuse) and simply do not pretend to “know” that any of the millions of undetected and undetectable gods do exist.

    Again (for those who have not read this before):
    Christians are often baffled how atheists could deny the existence of their originally Canaanite god, “Yahweh” and Roman god-man “Jesus”, but they really shouldn’t be. Christians deny thousands of the very same undetectable and undetected gods, goddesses and god-men that atheists deny. Atheists just deny one more god than Christians do (or is that three gods and countless demigod “Cherubim” “angels”, “saints” and other ridiculous imaginary assorted beings, maybe?).

    It’s not that we atheists are “anti” any of the many millions of gods and goddesses that have been invented by men to gain power and wealth for themselves down the ages. We simply do not believe in any and all of them. I wonder if any unreconstructed religionists are “anti” Zeus, Odin, Apollo, Quetzalcoatl, Pratibhanapratisamvit, (Buddhist goddess of context analysis), Acat, (Mayan god of tattoo artists). Or Tsa’qamae, north american god of salmon migration, or any of the millions of other undetectable and undetected totally imaginary deities among which the Judaeo/christian gods appear nothing special and about which there is nothing unique or original? Some religionists accuse atheists of hating their god but hating an imaginary entity would appear as ridiculous as believing in it.

    Atheists and religionists are not so different, after all! Let us celebrate our vast agreement on the non-existence of millions of undetected and undetectable gods and other hypothetical and imaginary beings!

    As for any of the many diverse and different creation myths (including the two contradictory creation myths in GEN 1 and GEN 2)? There is nothing that the science of cosmology has discovered that corresponds to any of the myths that were invented by ignorant ancient barbarians.

    The infinite 13,820,000,000 year old universe has been measured and inspected and we have images of the hot dense young universe as it was shortly after it emerged and started the rapid and accelerating expansion we observe and continue to measure today.
    We understand the material evolution of the universe and accept the growing mountain of evidence that confirms the fact of 4,000,000,000 years of past, current and ongoing biological evolution of life on Earth.

    The alternative to understanding science and accepting the fact of evolution is not creationism – it is ignorance and superstition.

    https://godless.no/wp-content/uploads/Atheist.jpg

  • rationalobservations?

    There are millions of undetected and undetectable gods, goddesses and god-men among which the originally Canaanite god “Yahweh” and Roman’s god-man “Jesus” appear nothing special and there is no evidence of the existence of any of the millions of undetected and undetectable gods, goddesses and god-men among which the originally Canaanite god “Yahweh” and Roman’s god-man “Jesus” appear nothing special.

    It’s not that we atheists pretend to know that any particular god does not exist. We observe there is no evidence of the existence of any gods, goddesses and god-men, (including the one(s) you fail to justify or excuse) and simply do not pretend to “know” that any of the millions of undetected and undetectable gods do exist.

  • rationalobservations?

    No one has ever proved the existence of any of the millions of undetected and undetectable gods, goddesses and god-men that litter human fiction.

    The major problem for all things “Jesus cult” is that there is no authentic and original, 1st century originated historical evidence that any man named “Jesus” existed and no historical record at all that validates any of the diverse and very different, confused and contradictory legends of “Jesus” that first appeared centuries after the time in which they are set.

    There are millions of undetected and undetectable gods, goddesses and god-men among which the originally Canaanite god “Yahweh” and Roman’s god-man “Jesus” appear nothing special and there is no evidence of the existence of any of the millions of undetected and undetectable gods, goddesses and god-men among which the originally Canaanite god “Yahweh” and Roman’s god-man “Jesus” appear nothing special.

    It’s not that we atheists pretend to know that any particular god does not exist. We observe there is no evidence of the existence of any gods, goddesses and god-men, (including the one(s) you fail to justify or excuse) and simply do not pretend to “know” that any of the millions of undetected and undetectable gods do exist.

    Christians are often baffled how atheists could deny the existence of their originally Canaanite god, “Yahweh” and Roman god-man “Jesus”, but they really shouldn’t be. Christians deny thousands of the very same undetectable and undetected gods, goddesses and god-men that atheists deny. Atheists just deny one more god than Christians do (or is that three gods and countless demigod “Cherubim” “angels”, “saints” and other ridiculous imaginary assorted beings, maybe?).

    It’s not that we atheists are “anti” any of the many millions of gods and goddesses that have been invented by men to gain power and wealth for themselves down the ages. We simply do not believe in any and all of them. I wonder if any unreconstructed religionists are “anti” Zeus, Odin, Apollo, Quetzalcoatl, Pratibhanapratisamvit, (Buddhist goddess of context analysis), Acat, (Mayan god of tattoo artists). Or Tsa’qamae, north american god of salmon migration, or any of the millions of other undetectable and undetected totally imaginary deities among which the Judaeo/christian gods appear nothing special and about which there is nothing unique or original? Some religionists accuse atheists of hating their god but hating an imaginary entity would appear as ridiculous as believing in it.

    Atheists and religionists are not so different, after all! Let us celebrate our vast agreement on the non-existence of millions of undetected and undetectable gods and other hypothetical and imaginary beings! We recognise them all as being fictional and you appear only to accept that the vast vast majority are fictional.

    As for any of the many diverse and different creation myths (including the two contradictory creation myths in GEN 1 and GEN 2)?
    There is nothing that the science of cosmology has discovered that corresponds to any of the myths that were invented by ignorant ancient barbarians.

    The infinite 13,820,000,000 year old universe has been measured and inspected and we have images of the hot dense young universe as it was shortly after it emerged and started the rapid and accelerating expansion we observe and continue to measure today.
    We understand the material evolution of the universe and accept the growing mountain of evidence that confirms the fact of 4,000,000,000 years of past, current and ongoing biological evolution of life on Earth.

    The alternative to understanding science and accepting the fact of evolution is not creationism – it is ignorance and superstition.

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