I have heard many an atheist claim that is the case. Indeed I am sometimes guilty of using that word to describe myself in place of atheist. Occasionally one wants to minimize the impact of their beliefs in a religious world. Agnostic means without knowledge. Atheism means without a god or religion.

I do know that I don't believe in an Abrahamic god, heaven, hell, original sin or supernatural miracles. However, I do not know that death means the end of consciousness. In that sense I am agnostic. It may well be the end of consciousness and I am OK with that. However, I look around at a universe that recycles itself. The body of a dead animal feeds a myriad of other organisms and is thus recycled. Our solar system was born from the death of a star. Our universe may have spawned off of another universe ( Multiverse Theory). It seems like an endless cycle. Ultimately none of us knows as we have not returned from the dead. I suppose it comes down to semantics and how you interpret the word.

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I see your point, Jerry and also find a continuation of consciousness seemingly very unlikely. However, everything in this universe is highly unlikely. The odds that the conditions were just right at the big bang for the universe to continue expanding were extremely remote. The odds that the Earth ended up with all of the perfect ingredients for life to evolve into humans is highly unlikely. It had to be the perfect distance from the perfect star. It had to have a very large, single perfect moon to influence the tides and more. It had to have a perfect atmosphere, magnetosphere and plate tectonic engine among many, many other things. The perfect conditions had to arise for the hairless ape to walk upright - possibly a large rift in the ground. What are the odds that, out of all of your father's sperm cells, the one that made you was the one that did.? Life is a series of impossible odds coming together perfectly. If you consider some new theories explaining quantum uncertainty ( Heisenberg principle ) then every possible outcome does occur due to an infinite multiverse of possibilities.

John Dumaker I agree about existence being weirder than we think, or can even imagine.  I can't follow all the quantum mechanic stuff and physics and possible multiple universes and such, that stuff is totally not my bag, but it all is, to say the least, counter-intuitive to what evolved hairless apes would expect.  Heck, it's intuitive that the sun is revolving around us, not the other way around. 

As far as the liklihood of life arising based on the conditions of the planet, etc, that's just chance.  Somebody has to win the lottery.

Exactly - numbers dictate that it must happen though. Ive always thought it was egocentric to believe the Earth is the only planet in the universe to house life. I thought that well before the discovery of extra-solar planets. Our galaxy alone has roughly 100 billion stars. There are roughly 100 billion galaxies in the known universe. With numbers like that life must arise. There is an interesting equation called the Drake equation that postulates the frequency of intelligent life in the Milky Way.

Virtually all conditions are the result of hitting a lottery.

I don't think there's any chance of any form of human consciousness surviving death. (Nor do I think it would be in any way desirable if there were.) I can make zero claim to any level of technical understanding of quantum mechanics, but I do think physics is gradually cruising toward proving Einstein's notion that the world of human sensory perception - the empirically verifiable world, in other words, is a "persistent illusion." 

Probability that the quantum world obeys local realism is less than one in a billion, experiment shows

Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2017-07-probability-quantum-world-local-reali...


By analogy if we observe a charlatan concoct a cock and bull myth/story are we agnostic or atheistic as to the charlatan's cock and bull?

Notwithstanding the philosophical issue of certainty we ought to stand up and be counted not only because cock and bull is troubling as perpetuation of lies on lies, cock on cock, bull on bull; but because the harm associated with the story is too great to be impassive. 

Say it. Say it goddamnit!

I am an atheist. 

YES!  I am an atheist without any doubt or question!

Glen, I openly admit to being atheist. But I'm older and don't stand to lose anything. Except maybe some pretend friends but I have few friends who call themselves religious.
I admit it in the hopes of normalizing it as Compelled pointed out. As long as we call ourselves something less than atheist people will continue to believe we are a rarity and not the percentage of the population that we represent.
That being said, there are definitely risks to many atheists who are seeking employment or are in a situation that calls for discretion because we stand to lose something by being openly atheist at times.

But I proudly wear my Godless Heathen and FFRF t-shirts​ for all the world to see : )

K.H. KY, as the twig is bent so the tree is inclined but i will admit it to whomever i find be they orange, purple or blue ..I proudly proclaim: atheist, iconoclast, half breed jew. 

I have taken risks most of my life...wagering on equines without a sniff and then of a sudden vicissitudes shift causing the author to brandish his gift.

Definitionally, the two words operate on different tracks:

  • Agnosticism – Lack of knowledge regarding the existence of god(s)
  • Atheism – Lack of BELIEF in god(s)

That said, is it possible to KNOW that there are absolutely NO GODS in this universe?  Not from where I sit.  However, the ultimate source from which most belief systems spring are the holy books which represent said system.  An analysis of the bible or the quran or any other holy book yields up multiple serious problems regarding reportage, observational errors, internal contradictions within the books, or contradictions with known scientific fact which would disqualify any attempt at being an authoritative reference.  Steve Wells' work on both the bible and quran does a serviceable job of dismantling both, to the point where I can say with reasonable confidence that the gods those books represent simply do not exist.  As regards the Abrahamic god, I am a gnostic atheist.

Regarding any other god which may exist but produces no LOCAL demonstration of its existence, I have to fall back on the Null Hypothesis, which effectively says that, in the absence of evidence, the best answer to the such a question is: "I DON'T KNOW."

Now ... all THAT said, ultimately, I think there are those who claim agnosticism rather than atheism because of the negative baggage associated with the latter term.  That to me IS a cop-out, and here I agree heartily with David Silverman in that "atheist" is what we SHOULD be calling ourselves, if for no other reason than that the term is well understood by the vast majority of those who hear it.  If the word "atheist" is confrontational, I have no problem with that.  Most of us are confronted daily with the presumption of Christian privilege which too many believers exercise on a regular basis, and that needs to be answered in kind.  They need to be disabused of that practice and understand that Christianity should be on an even footing with Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Jainism and every other baseless superstition this world has produced to date.  Not one of them should have the favor of the government over another; that needs to be an utterly LEVEL playing field, regardless of belief or lack thereof.

It's past time to man-up ... or woman-up or person-up or whatever ... and call ourselves what we are: ATHEISTS.  If Neil deGrasse Tyson doesn't like it, that's his privilege, but he's missing the boat on this one.

Albert Einstein referred to himself as an agnostic or religious nonbeliever. He also claimed to believe in a pantheistic god but not in a personal god that concerns himself with the actions of humans.

Einstein did not like the fervor of some atheists and often criticized them. I'm guessing Neil deGrasse Tyson is following Einstein's and Carl Sagan's belief, or non belief, systems.

 I was thinking about Mr. Einstein the other day. I realized that the true impact of a person is not measured by their deeds. It is best done by measuring how often they are misrepresented and internationally misquoted after death.  No matter how hard they try they can't "make" him a "good Christian" now that he has passed.

Nor can we claim him a good atheist.
" I have repeatedly said that in my opinion the idea of a personal God is a childlike one. You may call me an agnostic, but I do not share the crusading spirit of the professional atheist whose fervor is mostly due to a painful act of liberation from the fetters of religious indoctrination received in youth. I prefer an attitude of humility corresponding to the weakness of our intellectual understanding of nature and of our own being."
- Albert Einstein, letter to Guy H. Raner Jr., Sept. 28, 1949, quoted by Michael R. Gilmore in Skeptic, Vol. 5, No. 2
I really like the last sentence.




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