Dawkins is Agnostic

How is this a revelation? Richard Dawkins admits in his book “The God Delusion” that he cannot disprove the idea of god (or many other fantastic claims) but this does not mean they are probable.

That you cannot prove God’s non- existence is accepted and trivial, if only in the sense that we can never absolutely prove the non-existence of anything. What matters is not whether God is disprovable (he isn’t) but whether his existence is probable. That is another matter. Some undisprovable things are sensibly judged far less probable than other undisprovable things. There is no reason to regard God as immune from consideration along the spectrum of probabilities. And there is certainly no reason to suppose that, just because God can be neither proved nor disproved, his probability of existence is 50 per cent.”Richard Dawkins, page 54, “The God Delusion”

You will find that the majority of atheist are actually agnostic as well. There is no conflict here as once deals with belief (atheist) and the other deals with knowledge (agnostic). I do not know if a god exists or not, but I do not believe one does.

Posted February 25, 2012
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  • Guest

    Yup, he’s also an atheist.

    • http://godless.biz Andrew Skegg

      Thanks for the reminder.  I have added some text underneath to explain.

  • Clockworkdoc

    Agnostic atheist – its an educated position.

  • Guest

    Link “atheist are actually agnostic as well.” results in an SQL error.

    • http://godless.biz Andrew Skegg

      Yikes!  The entire site is down.  I’ll change the link to another site.

  • huehuehue

    To say that god could exist does not make one agnostic. Dawkins is an atheist…

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/PPUSRXLRHCUVEXYU5WGQY6MDZE Keith

      Gnosticism and theism are 2 completely different dimensions.  The point of the article is to point this out.  Dawkins is both atheist and agnostic (although about as close to gnostic as you can get while still admitting that there is a chance of the existence). I agree with Kmuzu; the term is fairly useless, as far as I can tell.

      • Guest

        Dawkins doesn’t admit there’s a chance of the existence at all, he accepts that you can’t disprove a negative.
        The baseline really is just that – can you prove there’s no such thing as Fairies?

    • http://godless.biz Andrew Skegg

      To say that god could exist does not make one agnostic. Dawkins is an atheist…

      Actually, it does.  However, you can also not *believe* a god exists, which is all that is required for atheism.

  • kmuzu

     I like being agnostic .. means you can just blow off anything that can’t be proven.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/5UPNF2DXSEZ7DPE5OEXTK7S4NQ Jason L

    The person who wrote this clearly has taken the quote out of context. He is talking to the world in general and not addressing his own point of view.

    • http://godless.biz Andrew Skegg

      Sorry – me or the quote in the referenced article?

  • Aristotle’s Muse

    Really, I consider “agnostic” to be a rather useless term.  We’re all agnostic about every conceivable intangible thing, regardless of how absurd or fantastical it is.  I’m agnostic about Mr. Hankey the Christmas Poo.  So what?  What does that matter?  The only important thing is that I do not believe in a talking Christmas poo. Agnosticism is a non-issue.

  • Guest

    atheists believe there is no good; agnostics don’t know but they believe even if there is one, it doesn’t matter because he/she/it does not interfere with the physical world.

    That’s at least how understand it

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/PPUSRXLRHCUVEXYU5WGQY6MDZE Keith

       In that case, you don’t understand the terms.  Theism is belief in the supernatural, atheism is the disbelief in the supernatural.  Gnosticism is believing that one has knowledge.  I don’t see how a person can be a theist and agnostic, because the only way to believe that there is a god is to believe you have the knowledge of something.  I think there are very few atheists that are not agnostic, since most of us capitulate that there might, indeed, exist some sort of supernatural being, however, since there is no evidence, we do not believe that any exist.  Gnosticism can be a sliding scale.  For example, Dawkins, Hitch, Harris and I are as close to Gnostic about the existence of god as anyone can rationally be.  But there are a lot of people who are more agnostic, yet still don’t actively believe in the supernatural.  There are very few, although some do exist, that admit that it is true that there can be no definitive knowledge that god exists, but they, personally, believe that a deity does.  Usually, the more gnostic a theist is, the more they want to push their beliefs down other people’s throats.  And the more gnostic a atheist is, the less willing they are to allow those beliefs to be shoved down their throats.

    • http://godless.biz Andrew Skegg

      agnostics don’t know but they believe even if there is one …

      Not always.  Agnostics do not know if a god exists or not and some go further stating that knowledge of gods can never be obtained.  So you can believe a god exist but not know it for sure (agnostic theist) or disbelieve a god exists but not be sure (agnostic atheist).

      Your line about “not interfering with the physical world” points much more towards deism – the belief that a god created the universe then disappeared, stopped existing, or doesn’t care.

  • Crash_614

    This is so ridiculously mis-quoted it’s goes from funny to unfunny and back into funny again..
    It’s like a Movie quoting taking the quote “This could’ve been the best film this year, but it’s not, it’s the worst thing I’ve ever seen, ever” and putting “The best film this year” on the front of their straight to DVD feature.

    To clarify:
    He’s just as agnostic about God as he is the Celestial Teapot, the Flying Spaghetti Monster, The Invisible Pink Unicorn, Zeus, Odin, Ra, or Bahamut from Final Fantasy VII, as indeed by the definition you’re seemingly willing to accept are we all.The next line in that text tellingly goes on to say “On the contrary, as we shall see” and he goes on to explain how he dissected a book by a well known Theologian, Alister McGrath; “..after his admirably fair summary of my scientific works, it seems to be the only point in rebuttal that he has to offer: the undeniable but ignominiously weak point that you cannot disprove the existence of God. On page after page as I read McGrath, I found myself scribbling ‘teapot’ in the margin”

    Be Religious or of faith if you like, or agnostic or an atheist, but don’t go around misquoting people to further your own agenda, it’s wrong and it makes you look stupid.

    • TW

       Gnosticism and Theism are completely different animals.  It is absolutely reasonable to be agnostic and atheist at the same time, so I have no idea where you’re coming from on this.  The Dawkins scale calls it a ’6′ and any intellectually honest atheist would never claim to “know” a god of some sort doesn’t exist.  It defeats the purpose of a skeptic stance because it asserts a claim.

      Dawkins is agnostic towards the existence of a non-specific god.  He may very well claim that the christian god does not exist as defined in the bible, as the bible’s definition is contradictory.  I still wouldn’t claim knowledge of that, but I feel very comfortable asserting that logic has to fail for the christian god to exist, and therefore the christian god very very likely does not exist..

      • http://godless.biz Andrew Skegg

        I am not sure you’re disagreeing with @1b35fb8385d9d632d522f576dec5fc01:disqus .

  • jk

    sorry but i do not understand what the claim was. dawkins is definitely an atheist, i think you are just misunderstanding his line.

    • http://godless.biz Andrew Skegg

      Yes – Dawkins is certainly as atheist.  He is also a self confessed agnostic, and there is no conflict.  Atheism is merely the disbelief gods exist – it does not require knowledge gods absolutely do not exist.  This leaves a minuscule probability a god exists, which technically makes one agnostic.  However, in practical terms it makes  little difference as the probability gods exist is on the level with fairies, dragons, leprechauns, and unicorns.

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  • Airquake

    this is stupid. even though you cannot disprove gods(s) doesn’t mean you are agnostic. a christian can’t disprove Vishnu. does that make that christian a Hindu? no. I can’t disprove any god, but I don’t think that any exist. i am atheist.

    • http://godless.biz Andrew Skegg

      Because you cannot disprove gods exist you are technically agnostic *because* you do *not know*.  Since there is no evidence for any gods it is logical and reasonable not to beleive any exist.  In this was you can be both agnostic AND atheist.  There is no confusion here.

  • jason

    actually dawkins is wrong in the same way pascals wager is wrong gods chance of being real is less than 1% because you can’t assume that god is either real or not you have to take into account every god from every religion

    • http://godless.biz Andrew Skegg

      Since the probability of a god existing is not 0% remaining technically agnostic on the question is perfectly rational.

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