Thursday, March 11, 2010

Atheists: brave agnostics

There is not a big difference between an atheist and an agnostic. They both don’t know whether or not a god exists. The difference is that atheists aren’t afraid to just lump god in with all the other stuff that we don’t have evidence for. There is no evidence against fairies or leprechauns, and no one knows that they don’t exist. But you don’t believe in fairies, they aren’t real. If someone were to ask you if fairies were real, you would say “no” with a good bit of certainty. This is because in our day-to-day lives, we don’t think in terms of absolute knowledge, but rather practical knowledge. There is no evidence for fairies, so we don’t believe. It would be pointless to spend the rest of our lives debating in our heads whether or not they exist. An atheist treats God the same way. No atheist knows there is no god (even Richard Dawkins admits this), but can still say with certainty that one doesn’t exist based on a lack of evidence. So come on agnostics, make the switch! Treat god like everything else.

Similar to fairies, leprechauns, the Lochness monster, and Bigfoot, God to me seems to be a human construct. Who wrote the Bible? Humans, of course. Whether or not God guided the hands of those humans is something that Christians cannot demonstrate, so why believe it?

Being agnostic is good in that you recognize the state of your knowledge about god. You don’t know, and may never know. There’s no proof either way. These are true statements. However, they are also true for other issues such as mythological creatures. So in reality, an agnostic doesn’t believe, and is simply admitting the fragility of their knowledge. However, we shouldn’t hold God on such a pedestal. Your knowledge is fragile in every area, and you can’t be agnostic about everything. What you believe and don’t believe is all about evidence.

- Evan


  1. Hey Evan, I have really enjoyed reading your blog. It seems we have a lot in common. I thought I might take this opportunity to list some books that I've read and enjoyed, just in case there are some on this list that you haven't read yet..... (you are welcome to borrow them)

    Richard Dawkins; The Ancestor's Tale, and The God Delusion
    Thomas Frank; What's the Matter with Kansas?
    Dan Barker; Godless
    Jon Krakauer; Under the Banner of Heaven
    Sam Harris; End of Faith, and Letter to a Christian Nation
    Chris Mooney, The Republican War on Science
    Christopher Hitchens; God is Not Great
    A.J. Jacobs; The Year of Living Biblically
    Neil DeGrasse Tyson; Origins

    And here are some books that I've bought but haven't gotten around to reading yet...

    Richard Dawkins: The Greatest Show on Earth
    Jennifer Hecht; Doubt
    Christopher Hitchens; The Portable Atheist
    Daniel Dennett; Darwin's Dangerous Idea
    Noble Cunningham; In Pursuit of Reason: The Life of Thomas Jefferson
    Neil Shubin; Your Inner Fish

  2. I'm glad you enjoyed it :) I've been a little lazy with it recently, haven't posted in a while. Check out some of the older posts. Sam Harris's End of Faith was one of the first atheist books I read, and I've heard of the others from Dawkins, Hitchens, and Dennet.

    I want to read Your Inner Fish and The Greatest Show on Earth for sure. You should check out Why Evolution is True by Jerry Coyne. Oh and Neil deGrasse Tyson is my favorite person ever!

  3. Hey, Evan. I think you've already left Iowa City, *tear*, but I thought that you would enjoy this documentary that I found on Netflix. It's called "The Atheist Tapes," and is super interesting. There are about 7 portions, each about 30 minutes long. Enjoy! And, have a lovely summer.

    Goo Goo Goo Joob (I hope that doesn't mean something horrible),


  4. Oh good memories haha... goo goo ga-joob...

    Anyways I think I've seen one or two of these but not all. I'll check it out for sure! And a recommendation for you (and Blaine if he reads this) is a user on YouTube called Qualiasoup. Some of the most eloquently spoken explanations of reason and non-belief I've ever heard. Search for his channel!