In a previous post I described myself as an "agnostic/atheist". This prompted some comments so I think I will explain myself a little more.
One reason I describe myself as an agnostic/atheist is that I have never been completely clear on the exact definition of agnostic and atheist and the precise distinction between them, something that the wikipedia entries on Agnosticism and Atheism don't really clear up at least in my mind. And I expect other people are confused as well so describing yourself as one or the other risks misunderstanding as different people are likely to ascribe different meanings to the words.
Another reason I describe myself as an agnostic/atheist is that to the extent I do understand the difference my views are somewhat intermediate. The wikipedia agnosticism article cites Richard Dawkins as follows:
According to Richard Dawkins, a distinction between agnosticism and atheism is unwieldy and depends on how close to zero we are willing to rate the existence of any given god-like entity. Since in practice it is not worth contrasting a zero probability with a probability that is nearly indistinguishable from zero, he prefers to categorize himself as a "de facto atheist".
I agree up to a point. But almost zero is not zero especially since there are an infinite number of possible god-like entities so summing over all of them might yield a reasonable chance for the existence of something like a god.
Also the distinction between agnostic and atheist sometimes seems like one of those pointless religious quarrels that nonreligious people like myself prefer to avoid. So it seems simplest to describe myself as an agnostic/atheist.
Friday Cat Blogging – 24 November 2017
3 hours ago