This blog contains material I wrote and posted on multiply.com between the years 2005 and 2011 only. It does not contain any new material. For newer writing, please check my main blog (Bill the Butcher).


Monday, 26 November 2012

The Green Cheese Moon: Why I am no agnostic


A fairly typical argument by theists goes along these lines: "If you were a true non-believer you would be an agnostic; by being an atheist you are actually declaring your belief, even if that belief is in the non-existence of god."

Atheists sometimes come across agnostics parroting this theory - something which has made this atheist wonder if there is any such thing as an agnostic really, or, as an old friend (a Maoist from Australia, and, yes, such people do exist) loves to say: "Agnostics make a god of doubt."

Anyway, here is my answer to this theist argument. This is why I'm an atheist, not an agnostic.

My standpoint is simple. I'm not the one making a statement that a deity exists - you (as a theist) are.

It is not for me to prove a deity does not exist.

It is for you to prove a deity exists.

And by "proof" I do not mean what is written in a book, whoever that book might pretend it descended from, unless, of course, the words of your book can be backed up by externally verifiable hard evidence, historical, archaeological, or scientific.

If, at any point, your chain of "evidence" fails the test of objective verification, your entire argument collapses, just as any scientific theory under similar conditions would.

For instance, if you posit that the moon is constructed of green cheese, it is for you to prove that it is so constructed. I have no reason even to admit that you may have truth on your side until you actually, by whatever means, prove that at least a part of the moon is indubitably composed of green cheese.

A theist would take the moon to be made of cheese on faith alone. An agnostic might examine a piece of the moon, find it not to be made of cheese, and declare that the rest of the moon might still be made of cheese. So long as even one molecule of the moon remains unexamined, the agnostic would insist that it still might be made of cheese. Both views fail the test of objectivity, let alone the laugh test.

So long as you cannot prove, by objective means, your contention that a deity exists, I have no reason to believe in even the possibility that your deity may exist, and I shall remain an atheist.

Being an atheist isn't a belief; it's just a statement of non-belief when there is no reason to believe. This is why I shall remain an atheist.

The ball is in your court.

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