Monday, July 30, 2007

70% of Sandwalk Readers are Atheists

 
According to the latest poll (see left hand margin) 70% of Sandwalk readers are atheists (PZ would be proud.). 12% are agnostics—I guess Wilkins and Catshark figured out how to vote multiple times. Only 14% are believers. I wish there were more believers, it would make for more lively discussions.

Six of you are uncertain. Why?

15 comments :

  1. What are you if you just don't care whether any gods ontologically exist or not?

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  2. I'd say that'd make you a de facto atheist, in the sense of not actively believing in gods.

    I never saw the poll, or there'd be an extra vote for atheist. I guess I don't usually scroll down beyond the content of the posts themselves.
    I did vote in the current one, though.

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  3. "De facto atheist" sounds about right. Thanks!

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  4. I've also heard apatheist, or someone who is apathetic to whether or not gods exist.

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  5. 12% are agnostics—I guess Wilkins and Catshark figured out how to vote multiple times

    Oi! Wilko and Johno aren't the only agnostics round here!

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  6. Ian says,

    Oi! Wilko and Johno aren't the only agnostics round here!

    Oops! Sorry Ian. How many times did you vote? :-)

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  7. I just find "agnostics" amusing. Oh so careful not to simply dismiss the possibility of existence of the imaginary being that happened to feature in your own childhood indoctrination, but expressing no such scruples about Zeus or Odin? Right, that's a well-thought-out position.

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  8. Steve Labonne,

    I can't speak for all agnostics but what I'm agnostic about is NOT that the imaginary being that featured in my own childhood might exist.

    By agnostic, I mean that I do not claim knowledge about gods, any gods including Zeus and Odin. Not even the knowledge of whether they exist. I don't think any of them do, but except for the subset that are obviously impossible like the creationist god, I cannot come up with grounds for stating categorically that they don't.

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  9. That position is in no way distinguishable from plain old atheism, so it doesn't need its own weasel-word label. Anybody who knows the first thing about science knows perfectly well that probabilities of precisely 0 (or 1) belong strictly to the realm of mathematics, not the natural world. Uttering such a truism in this context is merely a contentless evasive strategy.

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  10. My objection wasto the idea that everyone who prefers the label agnositc must mean that they are exempting a religion they prefer from the standards they apply elsewhere. Many of us don't.

    Since you raise 'weasel words'I'll admit that I should have pointed out that I'm also an atheist in the sense of not believing in gods and happy to say so if asked. So what exactly am I meant to be weaseling out of? Just because to me emphasising my honset ignorance of the supernatural is more important that emphasising one of the things that I lack belief in.

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  11. As I pointed out (with some additional amplification by Torbjorn) in another thread even a superficial philosophical analysis of the concept of "the supernatural" leads to a strong suspicion that it's neither coherent nor meaningful. So pleading "honest ignorance" of nonsense, and inventing a word for this feigned ignorance, is both superfluous and frankly rather craven.

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  12. While I consider myself an agnostic, I also strongly suspect the atheists are correct.

    I'm just not prepared to positively assert that "There is no God" when so many people who are (and were) a lot smarter than I am - such as Isaac Newton - believed in Him.

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  13. People a lot smarter than you also believed in torturing and killing "witches".

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  14. Ah feigned ignorance so I realy do know the answer?

    You have a point though if no one was claiming knowledge of a category called supernatural (yes it is incoherent) no one would feel the need for a word to describe those of us who don't claim such knowledge. Then again if no one claimed belief in a god I doubt anyone would need the word atheist.

    In the world that we live in though some of us want to describe our position and find these words useful.

    In any case my chief points are that agnostic (as I use it).

    1. Doesn't mean treating one claim differently to others.

    2. Is not an attempt to deny also being atheist.

    3. Is not motivated by fear of anything.

    If your only complaint is that the word is superfluous then I think I'll stop here, I find it useful you don't, and neither of us is likely to convince the other.

    If on the other hand you want to insist either that I am giving some claims special treatment or that I am motivated by fear then I I'd be interested in your arguments for those points.

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