62 9

LINK Atheism Is Inconsistent with the Scientific Method, Prizewinning Physicist Says - Scientific American

This guy thinks exactly like I do. He's an agnostic scientist in the same flavor as I am.

It's a good read if you want to understand why I also think atheism is unscientific, why scientism is bad, and why the "New Atheists" by and large do a disservice to discussions on science and religion both.

TheMiddleWay 8 July 10

Enjoy being online again!

Welcome to the community of good people who base their values on evidence and appreciate civil discourse - the social network you will enjoy.

Create your free account


Feel free to reply to any comment by clicking the "Reply" button.


A scientist that won a prize from a Foundation that has an agenda, I would say....

From their home page...

The Foundation announces its first general research program.
The primary areas of concentration were: utilization of scientific methods in understanding the work and purpose of the creator, research on studying or stimulating progress in religion, and research on the benefits of religion.

Guess I will stick to being an god...

Yet the tempelton prize has nothing to do with what you quoted:

"The Templeton Prize honors a living person who has made an exceptional contribution to affirming life’s spiritual dimension, whether through insight, discovery, or practical works. Established in 1972 by the late Sir John Templeton, the Prize aims, in his words, to identify "entrepreneurs of the spirit"—outstanding individuals who have devoted their talents to expanding our vision of human purpose and ultimate reality. The Prize celebrates no particular faith tradition or notion of God, but rather the quest for progress in humanity’s efforts to comprehend the many and diverse manifestations of the Divine.

Regardless, my interest is not in the prize but in what the man says.
As I scientist, I agree with everything he says in this article.

[1] []

@TheMiddleWay Fine...believe what you want...I don't believe in the divine or any manifestations of it...


I like that he gets to make up his own definition of what atheist believe. Just so he can dispute it. Is that what award winning scientists do? Maybe just Templeton Award winning scientists.

How do you know your definition isn't the made up one? 🙂


I really like to read articles from a foundation that the founder is described as " enthusiastic Christian ", and evangelical Christian " . 😂😂😂👏👏👏
Do u want me to attach the screen shots from wikepedia or u got that ?😂😂😂✌🏻

You don't like reading articles form Scientific American?
Your loss. 😀

Hardly; SA has a long history of addressing these topics.


This Foundation has a pro creation bias, it’s whole purpose is to promote the idea that we were created and takes subscriptions from those who wish to prove that god exists. It is not an unbiased scientific organisation, quite the has an agenda. does...and well hidden if you don't research it...

I am laughing 😂😂😂

@Pralina1 seriously...ha ha ha...hello...intelligent group here...we know about this thing called google...ha ha ha ha

@thinktwice wtf right ? 😂😂😂

@Pralina1 I am screaming in my office right are my favorite to win the internet today! ha ha ha ha I am going to pee my pants if I don't get it under control!

@Pralina1 Thank you my dear...!

"t is not an unbiased scientific organisation, quite the has an agenda."

How does that agenda reflect, affect, or otherwise inform what Dr. Glesier says?
See, unlike many, I'm wholly completely uninterested in the prize... I'm only interested in what the good doctor has to say. And as I posted in my original, what the good doctor has to say is wholly in line with what I think.


The debate about which is better, or truer, or more sound between atheism and agnosticism is as stupid and pointless as the discussions within the church as to whether communion bread should be leavened or unleavened.

That intellegent people actually waste time on this is infuriating and the height of navel gazing combined with self congratulations.

And no, I'm not getting sucked into discussing it further. Have fun.

1of5 Level 8 July 10, 2019

"[...with self congratulations."

It does seem to come across that way. I am reminded of a quote:

"The proud man can learn humility, but he will be proud of it." -Mignon McLaughlin

@VictoriaNotes well he should be proud of it, he had to work harder to learn it. 😉

Yeah, I've spent to much time with narcissists. It's rubbed off on me.


Christian: God saved me from spilling my coffee.
Atheist: Do you have proof?
Christian: No, but I believe it.
Agnostic: I guess we'll never know which is true.

Marz Level 7 July 11, 2019

I've said that the prize and the foundation are inconsequential to what Dr. Gleiser says; that's hardly apologetic. 😀

He did not lie, though. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy [1], the Oxford Dictionary of Atheism [2], and the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy [3] all lend support his (and my) views of atheism.

As for what the TF does:

"There is no evidence that Templeton money is subverting science; in fact the opposite may be true. FQXi, for example, is a network of research projects headed by the respected physicists Max Tegmark and Anthony Aguirre. The questions it addresses are traditionally not well funded by government sources, so the money allows good scientists to do good science without draining the coffers for researchers in other fields.


There is no evidence of any attempt to sway academics. Paul Davies and John Barrow, for example, haven’t noticeably skewed their research portfolio towards religion since winning the prize. It’s hard to get Barrow to talk about religion at all. And the prize money is being spent wisely. The 2005 winner, Charles Townes, gave most of his prize to his alma mater, Furman University in South Carolina. Philosopher Charles Taylor, who won in 2007, said he would use his award to fund further research. I don’t know what Barrow did with his money in 2006, but knowing his inclinations I imagine most of it has gone to fund educational projects. If he used it to buy cocaine and prostitutes, he didn’t invite me to the party." [4]

[1] []
[2] []
[3] []
[4] []

@TheMiddleWay Your claim about number two is wrong.

"A belief in the non-existence of a God or gods, or (more broadly) an absence of belief in their existence. ..."

The second half is what we're all saying. But you already knew that. The OED would never make such an egregious mistake as the others make.

"Your claim about number two is wrong."
That still leaves 1 and 3 and the first half of number 2, enough to counter your claim that Dr. Gleseir (and I) are lying about our positions in atheism.

@TheMiddleWay You've also ignored all other dictionaries. Merriam-Webster? Not to mention the fact that you just keep ignoring WE ATHEISTS, lol. But that doesn't matter to you.

"atheist noun
athe·​ist | \ ˈā-thē-ist \
Definition of atheist
: a person who does not believe in the existence of a god or any gods " [1]

Which again shows that Dr. Glersier, and myself, are not lying about our definitions of atheism as we both consider atheism to be an unbelief in the existence in a god(2)... i.e., god(s) don't exist.

[1] []

"you just keep ignoring WE ATHEISTS,"
As long as you pretend to speak for all atheists instead of just yourself then yes, I will ignore what you have to say. You are not the "atheist pope", there is no "atheist bible", and thus trying to give your arguments weight by making it sound like you represent all, most, or many atheists is, to use a favorite word of yours, dishonest.

@TheMiddleWay What is dishonest is linking to Merriam-Webster's "atheist" definition, while ignoring where it says one who advocates atheism, without looking at the definition of atheism in their link, which says in the first freakin' entry, "a lack of belief or a strong disbelief in the existence of a god or any gods". But you just continue to be dishonest and argue in bad faith.

"a lack of belief" is the half we are talking about.

I am not the pope of atheism, and you are not the pope of dictionaries. Dictionaries get their definitions from the world around us. They are not prescriptive, but descriptive, so continually returning to them is idiotic when what you want to know is the position of a group of people on an issue. You have an avalanche of atheists on this website setting you straight, and you ignore them because you like trolling.

What atheist organizations would you then accept to clarify the stance of our group, since you do not accept me, or the dozens of others here? You are already on record as rejecting American Atheists because you don't like their definition. (You are arguing both sides against the middle. Implying you need someone to speak for our group but not me, and also rejecting the very definitions of one atheist group because you don't like their definitions a priori, is again dishonest and arguing on bad faith. There is more than one group.) Freedom From Religion Foundation? American Humanists? Atheist Alliance International? (Stop me when they add up to overwhelming evidence.) Center for Inquiry? Secular Student Alliance? Secular Coalition of America? Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers? Humanists International? League of Militant Atheists? Atheist Centre? Minnesota Atheists? Atheist Foundation of Australia? Atheist Ireland? Brazilian Association of Atheists and Agnostics?

I'm going to sleep. Others can argue with you.

"What atheist organizations would you then accept to clarify the stance of our group,"
There is no "group" is my point. Unlike the church, there is no singular organization that represents all atheists. And I've never said that I need someone to speak for your group.

Regardless, we are going off topic given that the point is made that Dr. Glesier and I are not "lying" in our definition of atheism as I've given well established and respected sources (Standford, Oxford, and others) that support our definition. That you use a different one is a matter for another time; for now, the evidence is clear that your assertion of "lying" is itself... a lie. 😉

@TheMiddleWay There is a group. We're called atheists.

"There are many ways to describe different types of atheism and some of these are explained below. These shouldn't be read as factions or sects within atheism in the same way as denominations and sects within religion, Protestant/Catholicism in Christianity, Sunni/Shia in Islam, and their multiple sub-groups for example. One does not "join" a group of implicit atheists. Instead of being sects that dictate people's beliefs, these should be taken as models to, at least roughly, describe people's beliefs and their attitudes towards belief itself." [1]

[1] []

@TheMiddleWay Will you quit equivocating on everything. "These should be taken as models to, at least roughly, describe people's beliefs and their attitudes towards belief itself."

When you ignore what we are telling you, what does it matter that there is no religious group "atheists" with a pope to tell you what we all lack a belief in? We are are telling you and you don't even care. So why do you keep insisting that our position isn't really our position but some other position?

To clarify:

  1. Presenting references for how I use my words is the exact opposite of equivocating. You, OTOH, seldom if ever present outside references to how you use your words.

  2. And I'm telling you that IMO your position is illogical or misguided, not that it isn't your position. I'm not denying that you think that way, only showcasing how illogical or misguided said thinking is and I do so with as much evidence as I can present in the context of social media to support my assertion.

@TheMiddleWay And yet I just listed a dozen atheist groups who all define "atheism" the same way. I gave you Merriam-Websters, and you dishonestly ignored "atheism" to focus on "atheist" and hope I wouldn't notice the very link to the word "atheism".

For cryin' out loud, even "conservapedia's" bat shit crazy website acknowledges both "lack of a belief" and "believing there are no gods".

Here's wikipedia if you care, which I'm sure you don't. Feel free to accuse me of not giving citations once again.

"Atheism is, in the broadest sense, the absence of belief in the existence of deities.[1][2][3][4] Less broadly, atheism is the rejection of belief that any deities exist.[5][6] In an even narrower sense, atheism is specifically the position that there are no deities.[1][2][7][8] Atheism is contrasted with theism,[9][10] which, in its most general form, is the belief that at least one deity exists.[10][11][12]"


" And yet I just listed a dozen atheist groups who all define "atheism" the same way."

So what? I've never denied that there are people that hold your point of view or a definition different than mine and Dr. G's.

OTOH, you denied that Dr. G's and my point of view was held by anyone.
I demonstrated otherwise, thus proving your accusation of "lying" wrong.
All your other commentary is secondary to demonstrating that we are not "liars" for using our definition of atheism.

@TheMiddleWay Are you pretending to be this confused on purpose? Do you really want me to believe you are this lost about our previous conversation? lol Maybe you are having multiple conversations at once and don't remember what you were saying in each one. But I highly doubt it.

Read though this sub-thread:

  1. at all times, I'm addressing @Owlinasack 's original statement that Dr. G and my definitions aren't real, that we are ascribing to atheists a position that is not held by anyone, and thus is a strawman.
  2. At all times, I've based my responses to show that Dr. G and my definitions are real, that we are ascribing to atheists a position that some or many hold, and thus is not a strawman.

I'm not confused at all given that both you and I have access to the entirety of this subthread to see that this is in fact what I've been talking about. What you have been hearing, of course, I cannot account for...

@TheMiddleWay I'm not talking about this thread. I'm talking about everything you already told me in the other conversation, doofus. It doesn't matter anyway as you are just wrong. Most atheists do not use the definition you keep foisting on us from the SEP (which is not as clear cut as the section you keep quoting from anyway--the very section theists quote screaming as if their hair is on fire--because apparently you did not read the entire entry), and your narrow definition fits inside the broader one anyway. You just don't care.

Why is it so important for you to define what other people's positions are? And if you are now going to deny this, why is it so important for you to assign "some or many" to this narrow definition (when this is not true either, unless by "some" you mean a tiny, tiny fraction of the whole)? What is your motivation? (I know you will give none, which will allow readers of this thread to make up their own minds.)

"But find me any atheist who holds those views? "
The best data to answer your question comes from a 2006 Gallup poll that showed that 3% of people polled are convinced god does not exist [1], a position that would put them in line with the "unscientific" characterization Dr. G speaks of in the article.

That is almost half of the people that answered that god doesn't exist and thus can be reasonably called atheists.

[1] []

"I'm not talking about this thread. I'm talking about everything you already told me in the other conversation, doofus"
Then talk to me about it in those conversations, not this one.

"Most atheists do not use the definition you keep foisting on us from the SEP"
False, as my reply to Owl above demonstrates.

"And if you are now going to deny this, why is it so important for you to assign "some or many" to this narrow definition (when this is not true either, unless by "some" you mean a tiny, tiny fraction of the whole)? What is your motivation?"
I can demonstrate that is false by the same reply that I gave Owl.

"Why is it so important for you to define what other people's positions are? "
Who ever said it was important?

"What is your motivation? "
I simply enjoy discussing my viewpoints with others and others discussing their viewpoints with me and I discussing their viewpoints and they discussing my viewpoints.

"you’ve explicitly ascribed it to me despite me telling you repeatedly that this is not a definition that applies to me."
I don't recall explicitly ascribing any position to you. I do recall stating that I thought your position was inconsistent and incoherent. Though, in fairness, I've had hundreds of post over the last few days so if I did ascribe a position to you, I apologize. I merely want to present what I consider flaws in the way people think about this subject not unlike you might point out flaws in the way a theist thinks about this subject.

"On this thread - as before on this site - you’ve got a stack of people deeply irritated with you for doing it, some going to the extent of blocking you as a result. The issue isn’t our inability to comprehend"
The emotional inability to "respectfully disagree" is the issue as I see it.
This is the same way theists feel and act when their worldviews are challenged: they get emotional, they get defensive, they get combative, and they huff and puff as they walk away, make a grandiose melodrama over how they will block/leave the conversation because it's obvious they are right and you are wrong and our inability to see that is personally offensive to them.
If you can't take the heat, I don't want you in my oven.

"I am convinced that god’s don’t exist too - but as I don’t know [..] There is nothing vaguely unscientific or definitive about the position"
That is beyond unscientific: it is oxymoronic. To be convinced means to be absolutely certain. To say I don't know is to express uncertainty. So you are simultaneously certain and uncertain that gods exist; that's an oxymoron. Imagine a scientist saying they are convinced that global warming is fake... but they don't know that global warming is fake. Surely you would find their position on global warming unscientific.

Now mind you, there is nothing wrong with oxymorons like this; you are basically taking a guess: to be absolutely convinced that gods don't exist even as you don't know that... you are essentially "guessing" that gods don't exist... but such guesses aren't scientific. That's like claiming absolute certainty that the next number rolled will be a "6"... even as you don't know that the next number will be a "6". Perfectly human way to approach life, we take guesses all the time, but scientists try to keep guesses to a minimum or none at all.

In distinction, as I practice my agnoticism, I am not convinced that gods don't exist exactly because I don't know. I'm not convinced the next number rolled will be a "6" because I don't know if it will be a six. Only if the die were loaded would I be convinced since I know. 😉😀

"In failing to clarify this at all you sort of do though."
Then you aren't reading carefully. I try to be very careful with my qualifications: I speak of how I practice MY atheism. I state that IMO. I take care to explicitly state that in MY view. I speak of MANY or FEW and rarely, if all, of ALL or MOST.

I don't need to clarify this because anyone who thinks I'm telling them what they need to be, should do, or must think is simply reading what they want, not what I'm writing.

Of course I'm not perfect and in responding to the many people I have on this thread, I can't pretend to acheive 100% fidelity. But the bulk of my responses, works, and prior conversations speak to how I am merely commenting on how I see things, not telling other people how to do things.

"with a definition that applies to almost no one."
I've presented evidence via a gallup poll from 2006 that this is not the case. While you may dismiss that data in support of saying that "some" or "many" hold that point of view, I'd like to point out that you provided NO data to support your view that "few" or "almost none" hold that point of view.

"deeply unprincipled man"
That's a broad accusation. Has he, like Dr. Krauss, been accused of some impropriety, sexual, academic, monetary, or otherwise? I'm not aware of such unprincipled action on his part or any hint of controversy on his wikipedia entry [1].

I do however see a consummate supporter and researcher of science, not only for the world, but for his home country of brazil. If this is what you mean by unprincipled, then I hope you see me as unprincipled as well for, as a physicist, I can only dream of accomplishing half the things he has for my field

[1] []

@TheMiddleWay, @OwlInASack

Years ago when I was in college, I had a Great Books class for four years. We had two professors lead our round table discussions, and one was a pretty hardcore Calvinist. When we got to the bible and god issues, I always used the "I don't know" agnostic label.

They would always laugh and say that meant I was an atheist--the implication being that in order to believe in god, you had to actually declare theism. Anything else was atheism.

Now that the winds of change are blowing in our direction, they do everything they can to say belief in god isn't really necessary to be a theist. Just say "I don't know" and you can have Jesus at your side, lol. (Some already say atheists go to heaven too, so it doesn't really matter.)

"Pope Francis assures atheists: You don’t have to believe in God to go to heaven"

Sound similar to the atheist quip that everyone is an atheist about all but one god. 😁

@TheMiddleWay Not everyone. Just believers in one god. It is weird that you assume everyone are theists. Maybe not weird, but...suspicious. lol

If you know the quip to which i refer, you'd know that everyone means everyone that is a theist.

Nothing more suspicious than a mistake in succinctness on my part.

@TheMiddleWay You routinely insult my intelligence and education, while pretending you had no idea you are doing so. Touche. Touche.

I've not once commented on your intelligence or education that I can recall; that's not my style.

@TheMiddleWay You make assumptions about me (and others), and then comment as if the premises of those assumptions are true. Doofus. You know what you are doing because you are not as dumb as you pretend. No one is. lol

Me: that was lucky then!

I have made no assumptions about you or others that I can recall; that's not my style.

" Doofus. You know what you are doing because you are not as dumb as you pretend"

The irony is thick considering that a few posts ago you were complaining that:

"You routinely insult my intelligence and education, while pretending you had no idea you are doing so. Touche. Touche."

Its starting to seem that what you say about me is actually a reflection of you.... that you see me as insulting and commeting on your intelligence because that is what you do. 😟

@TheMiddleWay That's not ironic. That's me saying the same thing twice (you are pretending in both, pretending to be dumb in both), and you pretending you didn't understand. Again. 🙂

" I can’t tell what is wrong with you that you persist with your appallingly bad analysis"
My analysis is just fine. You simply disagree with it is all. No sense moralizing a disagreement.

"I find him unprincipled for his baseless and commercial attack on atheism."
Excellent. Then I'm unprincipled as well and consider myself in good company.

"I don't recall explicitly ascribing any position to you

How convenient"
If it where true, you'd be able to bring up the quotes where I ascribed said position to you.
Can you?
If not, that would means you are either a) mis-remembering or b) purposely lying.
I would like it to be a) and hope it's not b)

"along with everyone else here "
Not everyone. Careful with bandwagoning...

"That’s called a notpology."
I'm admitting that I could be mistaken in light of evidence that I ascribed a position to you.
This is no different than many atheists stating they could be mistaken in their views on gods in light of evidence that gods exist.
That is not I, or atheists, apologizing.
That is us admitting that if you present evidence we are mistaken, you'll get a formal apology.

"You didn’t merely want to do anything. You misrepresent the lived atheism of most atheists and then attack the misrepresentation,"
I've misrepresented nothing given that I've provided sound justification (via the SEP, IEP, gallup poll, etc) that the definition of atheism I and Dr. Gleiser talk about is clearly in force with some/many atheists.

I would note the irony, however, of you misrepresenting my stated intentions (talk about a subject) and then attacking said misrepresentation (intimating that I have anterior purposes or a lack of integrity in your eyes). Pot calling the Kettle black territory methinks.

"My view us that you lack self awareness"
Ok. Making commentary on who or what I am or am not is ad hominem territory and still doesn't mean I've made assumptions about you as that is not my style... I work with what is given, using the "quote"-response system to make sure you know what I'm addressing and the context of my response instead of assuming or paraphrasing.

@TheMiddleWay Agreed, we should avoid ad hominem attacks. It's best if we assume that the other person is presenting arguments in good faith, with no ulterior motives. We're on the same team after all.

@OwlInASack Ah, I'm definitely out of the loop then.

"The persistent attribution of a nonsense position to most atheists"
Nonsense to you is not nonsense to all. No sense getting worked up over it. 🙂

"while failing to address the counter arguments "
If there is anything you've said which showcases how worked up and irrational you've become over our disagreements it's this... as it's painfully obvious to all that I've diligently tried to address EVERY counter argument presented by EVERY person on this thread (and many others). To claim that I don't address what people say in contra to what I say is demonstraby the basest of lies.

" chip on his shoulder about an imaginary set of atheists!"
No more a chip than an atheist who peacefully and respectfully tries to discuss the inconsistency and incoherence of the theist stance with said theist.

"And if atheists were what he claims they are, I'd agree with him!"
And if atheists where ONE group, then it would be easy to say they are this OR that. But as there are almost as many flavors of atheists as there are religions, then I'm glad that you agree with our (Dr. G and my) critique of this particular flavor... a flavor I've proven in previous rebuttals to apply to some/many atheists via definitions from the SEP, IEP, and polls of peoples attitudes.

" Eventually it's hard to continue to assign good intent to that."
When you focus on INTENT over SUBSTANCE, you lose sight of what's important. Disagree with the substance all you want... but that doesn't betray bad intent.


For a scientist his reasoning is terrible. According to him, you cannot claim anyone’s imaginations are real or unreal. He thinks atheism is actively disproving an unfalsifiable claim, instead of the rejection of someone’s claim.

Here’s the thought experiment he didn’t take the time to conduct:

Boy claims a god exists in his car. Girl has no evidence there is or isn’t a god, so she cannot reject his claim and therefore being agnostic makes the most sense (according to this physicist).

Feel free to change the place, situation or the imagined entity and the logic in that argument will be equally stupid.

Marz Level 7 July 11, 2019

"He thinks atheism is actively disproving an unfalsifiable claim, instead of the rejection of someone’s claim."
If you reject someones claim, in this case theism, you better actively disprove it. Therein lay the crux of his thesis as I see it. In science, if I reject the Aether or the Caloric, I do so not because someone claims it exist and fails to prove it but because I claim it doesn't and manage to prove it.

"That’s very rarely the claim being dismissed though. It’s claims like Jesus died for your sins. And God wants priests to wear purple vestments in lent."
So two things here:

  1. Specific claims of religion are amenable to testing. However, most people speak in universals. This makes the conversation a bit difficult sometimes for if someone says "god wants you to eat your vegitables or something bad will happen to you mother", you can test that claim... same with "prayer cures cancer". However, those tests don't actually dismiss the idea of gods, only those particular claims. It may be that our experiment is flawed, that we don't have a large enough sample, or that we didn't use the right prayer, or etc etc. This is why a paper [1] reviewing religious experiments concludes: " For a multitude of reasons, research on the healing effects of prayer is riddled with assumptions, challenges and contradictions that make the subject a scientific and religious minefield. We believe that the research has led nowhere, and that future research, if any, will forever be constrained by the scientific limitations that we outline."

  2. So while some/many specific claims are tenable to experimentation, the fundamental thesis of theism, "god exists" is not so easily proven or dismissed. I like to think that this is very much like humanity painting itself in a corner in creating a concept that (to date) cannot be conclusively proven or dismissed and thus, as I see it, we just have to deal with the uncertainty as best we can. Some deal with it by denial; some by existence; others, like myself, by keeping ourselves open to all possibilities.

[1] []


This argument makes logical sense but it is wrong at its core. If you assume that believing in a religion is essentially the zero state, this makes perfect sense. Atheism in this context is a rejection of an accepted normal. Then you can expect that proof is needed to overcome the norm. I fully reject that premise.

At some point, people who did not use scientific methods or any evidence came to a conclusion that if they did not understand why something happened that they could attempt to explain it by offering magical explanations and beings that control the magic.

The author of the article claims that atheism is a hypothesis but that is not true. Religion is the hypothesis. If religion cannot be proven, it is a failed hypothesis and must be discarded or at least be discredited. If you use scientific methods you must accept to some degree of atheism. We do not continue to hold on to hypothesis that cannot be proven.

Alchemy has been discarded. Greek and Roman gods have been left behind. So should be the realm of all myths. His premise is that we should believe every hypothesis that cannot be 100% proven incorrect even if there is no way to ever confirm any part of the premise. It is not scientific method he is using but he's hanging on to false information.

CK-One Level 6 July 10, 2019

"If religion cannot be proven, it is a failed hypothesis and must be discarded or at least be discredited."
Therein lay the rub. I agree that religion or atheism as hypothesis is a failed concept because you can't experiment (in the scientific manner) on either proposition. Show me an experiment that will conclusively prove one or the other; can't be done or, more accurately, hasn't been done.

However, it should be noted that failure to prove a hypothesis is scientifically different from discarding the hypothesis. Consider the higgs boson.. there was a failure to prove that hypothesis for decades... until there was success. Consider string theory... there is a current failure to prove that hypothesis and yet it is not dismissed. Now consider technicolor.. there was not only a failure to prove that hypothesis but it was actively shown to be false. Same with the Aether and the Caloric... it wasn't the failure to prove those hypothesis that damned them but active research that showed them to be false.

This is a recurrent theme in my replies to people: if the theist doesn't prove their hypothesis, it is unscientific to reject the hypothesis (much like it is unscientific to reject string theory when they can't prove their hypothesis). Rather, the atheist (as the author and I define them) must prove their hypothesis which is not that the theist can't prove their case but that the theist is wrong, that their premise is false. This is why I object to people who say that the theist has the burden to prove their claim but the atheist does not; I feel (and I think the author does as well) that they both carry a burden to prove their case because either side not proving their case doesn't automatically reject their case... it's just not prove... in statistical parlance, it's "a failure to reject" not "a success of acceptance".

I agree. This goes to show that even apparently intelligent people can practice self-delusion when it's in their pecuniary or emotional interest.

@TheMiddleWay The "scientific" method dictates that the burden of proof rests with the one who makes an affirmative statement ("god exists" ), not the others to prove the negative. Theism has many gods. Countless gods in fact, and they are often self-contradictory.

I think that we can fairly affirmatively prove that Zeus doesn't exist. I think we can fairly affirmatively prove Yehew doesn't exist. The problem with theism is that it is a moving target. But if we were to examine every single organized religion, we can fairly prove that they are artificial. As artificial as Joseph Smith and his golden plates.

What we need to enter is the realm of epistemology, a theory of "knowledge": what does it mean when we say we know things, and what does it mean when we say we believe things.

There is nothing in the world that can be 100% iron-clad proven or disproven. That is why there are still those who debate materialism vs. idealism. How do I for absolutely certain know that what I am holding is an actual apple that objectively exist, as opposed to a product of my (or collective) imagination? These are NOT scientific inquiries, but they are in fact philosophical.

A scientific method would start with the presumption that what I hold in my hand looks, feels, and smells like an apple, and even though I cannot be absolutely certain that I "know" it is objectively an apple, I will interact with it with the assumption (usually very safe) that it is an apple. I will take a bite.

It doesn't make me an apple-agnostic to say that I don't know for sure that it is an apple, but I am pretty certain that it is an apple.

There are lots of scientific hypotheses that later prove to be right, but these hypotheses are built upon evidence, not lack of non-evidence. And just because the Theory of Evolution starts with the word "theory" it doesn't make it a theory: any honest biologist will tell you that the evolution is a fact. If so, much of "theistic" belief goes out in the smoke.

We want to hold on to theism, for whatever comfort that it may give, but theism is a by-product of exploitation of the powerless by the powerful, and the human history is an excellent witness to that charge.

@AtheistReader He knows all of this. I had this discussion with him over days and days and dozens upon dozens (if not hundreds) of messages. So have others.

The "scientific" method dictates that the burden of proof rests with the one who makes an affirmative statement ("god exists" ), not the others to prove the negative."
If the atheist says "god doesn't exist", as many do, then the burden is theirs as well. It is this brand of atheism that the author is talking about.

"hese are NOT scientific inquiries, but they are in fact philosophical."
Therein lay the rub: theology has always, and likely will always, be closer to philosophy than science. Just like people still talk of brain in a jar or philosophical zombie or living in the matrix... if it smells like an apple and tastes like an apple, what difference if I'm a brain in a jar or in a simulation... for all intents and purposes it is an apple for that jar-apple or sim-apple is the only apple I have access to and the only apple I define.

@TheMiddleWay You did not address the points I made. Instead, you simply restated your position. Leading me to believe that this isn't a conversation.

@greyeyed123 I am giving up.

I'm sorry; which point did you make that I did not address? I am responding to over 100 posts on this thread so you'll forgive me if I don't address something you feel is critical to the discussion.

@AtheistReader I told you so. lol

@TheMiddleWay It's taking me awhile to get back to this but I have to comment on one thing that you stated. You mentioned the Higgs Boson and String Theory as examples of how you cannot discard or disregard a hypothesis. Thousands of scientists have done exactly that. I think that you are unaware of the peer review process. Even if you cannot disprove something there has to be agreement and the hypothesis has to be tested and reproducible.

Let's talk about testing. I have heard repeatedly that God is jealous, omniscient and omnipotent. If I were to proclaim there's no god right now, just like I have so many times before, I should be struck by lightning or something. Yet repeatedly I have not. Over and over again. It does not conclusively conclude that there are no gods because there could be a different less important version of a god but I repeatedly try to piss off whatever fantasy god you come up with until the only God left is insignificant and powerless or dead. In that case, either you can believe that there are no gods or you can disregard these gods because they don't matter.

I choose the obvious, no god. Atheism. If any real evidence is shown, then I will change my mind. That's the same for God, Higgs boson or string theory but let's be honest there's strong, reproducible supporting evidence for both Higgs and String theory. None of a god.

" I think that you are unaware of the peer review process."
I'm a theoretical particle and medical physicist; very aware.
So I'm not following what role the peer review process has in this conversation.

"In that case, either you can believe that there are no gods or you can disregard these gods because they don't matter."
I would say the first position is philosophically (and scientifically) untenable for as you admit your "tests" are not sufficient and necessary to justify your belief. I would say the second position on the other hand is tenable. In disregarding gods, you are making no claims about whether they exist or not... merely that you are not going to be influenced by them. This is what I idiosyncraticly call "being secular" in distinction to "being atheist": for former is a statement on how you act; the latter is a statement on what you know/believe.

"there's strong, reproducible supporting evidence for both Higgs and String theory."
Good evidence for the Higgs: there are a handful of candidate events in several trillion collisions... not what I would particularly call strong.
Absolutely ZERO for string theory, multiverses, bigfoot, and aliens. All are plausible in their own way but there is no objective evidence proving or dismissing any.


I see you've found another bright shiny thing to get agnostics and atheists at each other's throats again on this site, Middle. Of course. Well, I'm not going to be distracted from MY goal: opposing religion!

I concur.

His point; that "agnostics say there's no evidence - but that doesn't prove "no god" fairly reasonable. An Atheist says he's absolutely sure there's no god. How can an atheist be absolutely sure? He makes a good argument.

I like this chart, and share it often;

There are gradients. Not all atheists are absolutely sure there are no gods. However, I would qualify those people as agnostics not atheists so maybe in a sense all people committed to atheism must be absolutely sure... otherwise how can they claim that we are "without gods". Similarly, most theists are absolutely sure their god(s) exist... but those that aren't sure I wouldn't call theists but agnostics as well.

Variance in belief, knowledge, definition, and application of belief is what makes this topic so interesting to me

Haters be hating. I only posted this because this accomplished physicist mirrors my views exactly and reading this article would help you understand how I understand my agnosticism.

If people take that exposition as a battle cry to oppose my/his views, that's on them not me.

@Robecology It doesn't prove it, no one is saying it does. Agnosticism is the best reason there is to be an Atheist.
Middle Way thinks that Agnosticism is a Middle Ground between Atheism and Theism. It's not.

@TheMiddleWay if only you disapproved of religion as much as you disapprove of atheism, Middle..

The issue is this is an agnostic (really atheist) board where attacks on theism are common and thus don't need my input. Most of the time all you'll see is my giving a thumbs up or a love to arguments against theism I support.

However, by the same token, because attacks on atheism are uncommon, you will see more of my input on them.


Before I read the article, which I will, the answers to the natural world (atheism?) are not found in science alone. But with science, art and philosophy together, some major "figuring things out" happen.
I suppose that is why religion considers all three a "danger" to their existence

twill Level 7 July 14, 2019

I think it's a mischaracterization that religion (in general) consider any of these a danger. Islam for example has a specific mandate in the Q'uaran to study the universe. The vatican established on of the one of the oldest science institutes to study the cosmos in the Vatican Observatory. Islam has produced a lot of beautiful art in honor of it's religion as has Christianity.

IMO, a foundation like Templeton which has a clearly religious bias supports people like this and other science projects showcases how religion and science need not be at odds with each other, despite what mainstream atheists, theists, and others tell us.

@TheMiddleWay Mis Characterization or not, the vast majority of the indoctrinated are swallowing it up, spitting it out and taking up arms and are ready to become/ becoming martyrs.


Wow. His arguments are painfully stupid. I can only assume he's agnostic about a celestial teapot, the disappearing elephant in my trunk, bigfoot, unicorns, etc. And of course he'd be totally respectful of the people that successfully impose their genocidal space wizard agenda as necessary. Fuck Scientific American for not asking the simplest of questions.

Rather than making a bald-faced declaration of disbelief concerning ultimate reality, it would seem more honest to just say that you don’t understand.

@OwlInASack I am also an atheist with respect to the set of mad and often immoral claims presented by some organized religious groups. A set of claims is not all there is to reality.

Gleiser is not calling for people to believe the unbelievable. I think he is asking us to look directly at the stark implications of reality and see the limitations to our ability to comprehend. If A person declares in connection with ultimate reality that they disbelieve, that is a sure sign that they have not truly looked.

Deciding that the moon is not a goddess or that it is, after all, not made of cheese—that is only the first step. We should go on from there to examine and study the moon as best we can with an attitude of curiosity, awe and reverence. Sitting on your ass and spouting disbelief will get you nowhere.


His understanding of atheism is wrong.

"What I mean by that is, what is atheism? It’s a statement, a categorical statement that expresses belief in nonbelief. “I don’t believe even though I have no evidence for or against, simply I don’t believe.” Period. It’s a declaration. But in science we don’t really do declarations. We say, “Okay, you can have a hypothesis, you have to have some evidence against or for that.” And so an agnostic would say, look, I have no evidence for God or any kind of god (What god, first of all? The Maori gods, or the Jewish or Christian or Muslim God? Which god is that?) But on the other hand, an agnostic would acknowledge no right to make a final statement about something he or she doesn’t know about. “The absence of evidence is not evidence of absence,” and all that. This positions me very much against all of the “New Atheist” guys—even though I want my message to be respectful of people’s beliefs and reasoning, which might be community-based, or dignity-based, and so on. And I think obviously the Templeton Foundation likes all of this, because this is part of an emerging conversation."

It is not a declaration. It is a presumption. Besides, if you look at all the organized religion, we have more than compelling evidence that they are man-made, and those "gods" do not exist.

What you are talking about is hypothetical "spirituality." Is is possible that it exists, yes. But unless there is an affirmative "evidence" that it exists, it is perfectly scientific to assume it doesn't.


Believing in unsubstantiated supernatural mythology is vastly more unscientific then choosing not to believe. Personally, I came to be atheist because of logic and the overwhelming lack of evidence to support the existence of any gods. So, I'm miles closer to being scientific than any religious person.

@Antifred Okay... seems your talking semantics but when a Christian, Muslim, Hindu, or the vast majority of other religions use the word "god" they are referring to a supernatural being, not a person or a silly collective of people. What I am referring to and what you are referring to are two separate things. Sure, you can call the population of New York City a god or all of the clowns in the world a god but that has nothing to do with organized religion or the religious definition of "god".

When you are using the word "god" you are not referring to a supernatural being in the same context as the Christian god (for example). I don't think you are claiming that someone who is Taco God has omniscience or omnipotence or is worthy of devotion and worship as a higher being.

A couple of thousand years of reprinting a book does not in any way make it more true. If so, then Zeus and Odin are real. And only the Torah is more than 2000 years old since the Koran wasn't written until the 7th century and the Bible wasn't compiled until the 5th century.

Quoting the Bible has as much validity as quoting "The Hobbit" and expecting me to believe that dragons are real.

Except that "begging the question" by presupposing a priori that something is mythology without evidence establishing it so is very unscientific.

Consider String Theory. There are many people who would dismiss it as being mythology and and people working on it to be unscientific. Yet I feel that most scientists, regardless of how they personally feel about the validity of string theory, welcome investigations into string theory because we don't know if it's mythology or not.

@Charles1971 Hey mate, you do realize that " AntiFred" is, in fact, imho, a religious Troll, or a Religious 'roach as I like to call them, and you've just opened the door to a possible interminable debate (aka flood of) consisting of endless repetitive biblical citations from him?

@Antifred 'Spiritualist/Spiritualism/Supernaturalist/ism' is not that merely a 'cop-out' kind of situation religiously speaking, FriarFred?
What precisely and exact is a SPIRIT ( NOT the alcoholic variety of course), what, also is 'Supernaturalism' if it is just simply something above or beyond the PRESENTLY observable part of the natural world, a world btw, that we are only just beginning to explore fully and understand very little of this far.

Also, I stated that IN MY HONEST Opinion, NOTE, MY Honest Opinion, that you are a Religious Troll/Roach I was OFFERING up my OWN Opinion and NOT making an actual Accusation, there IS a very GREAT difference between STATEMENT of Opinion and STATEMENT of FACT in case you are/were unaware.

And, as per my opinion, I shall leaving 'kindergarten tactics, as you so kindly put it, to you since, IN MY OPINION, you are far better suited to them than I.

@Antifred Yes, I see that you are already, and as is your usual trait, resorting to interminable religious citations, BUT what empirical evidence and PROOF positive do YOU offer up that this 'ruach'/'spirit' actually exists?
YOU have made the claim, therefore, the ONUS is solely upon YOU to prove your claim, that Sir, is the way things are done.
Ergo, come up with the Proof or forever remain silent.

@Antifred Dude I think I am correct in assuming that NOBODY wants to read this shit. You can't even spell and it's downright ANNOYING.

@Antifred PLEASE do TRY to tell something, no matter how MINISCULE it may be, from you exulted bible that I have NOT already known from my years of Studies to gain my ThD.

@Antifred Conjecture, AntiFred, aka FriarFed, merely CONJECTURE not PROOF.
I requested empirical PROOF from you or for you, failing giving that as requested, to remain forever silent.
On a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 means a failure and 10 means you've succeeded, SIR, you've hit the MINUS 1, i.e. a Complete, Utter and Irrevocable FAILURE.

@Antifred Fred, Fred, Fred, my sympathies are with you, imho, you must live a truly tedious and boring life there in Texass, sorry Texas.
Have you ever considered just putting away your cellphone or whatever, getting up and going over and kissing the wife, hugging the children or even just simply going out into the countryside and enjoying what nature has to offer?

@Antifred okay there Antifred, play your 'Theist's Favorite Sport" as in my little offering below.
I think, by now, we all know full well that you HAVE absolutely NO empirical proof nor evidence to offer up so run and hide as all Theists do so very well.

@Antifred You seem to have ignored my response and gotten into a posting contest with Triphid.

I'm not replying to the numerous posts between yourself and Triphid that popped up in the past 12 or so hours.

As you stated, man made "jesus style god" and any god that is made up (fictional) can be dismissed.

So, unless you have something more substantial to say then I'm done.

@Charles1971 Sorry, but I ignored unintentionally due to the unwanted bombardment from another source. Please accept my most sincere apologies.

As I talked about in another reply to you, failure to prove is not the same as proving a failure.

Hence, we can prove that certain mythologies are failures (thor produces lightning, the tooth fairy is real) but others we can't (bigfoot, aliens).

As such, it is right (read: scientific) to dismiss thor and tooth fairies as there is evidence to dismiss them but it is not right to dismiss aliens or bigfoot as there is no evidence to dismiss them (yet)

"Until there is evidence for Bigfoot, leprechauns, unicorns, and Russell's Teapot, there is no reason to believe any of them exist."
The difference between us is that in the absence of evidence, you dismiss where I don't.
After all, ifthere is no evidence one way or another (which I'm not saying is the case for your list, just a general statement), then what is the justification to not believe they exist exactly?

"So you're saying you've proved negatives then? Amazing!"
Negatives get proven all the time; they are just more difficult to prove than positives which is why they don't get as much attention.

@Antifred I do NOT believe nor think that I am better than anyone else, I am just me, an individual who is a human being with the self-same Morals and Ethics, though somewhat honed and improved over the millenia since, that our Proto-Hominid Ancestors worked out for themselves when they first climbed down out of the trees and stood erect on 2 legs for the first time. THAT is what makes me Human, that is what makes me think, learn, study, better myself knowledge-wise, that is what drives me to pick up and read books, etc, on numerous and diverse subjects rather than merely scanning through ONE single collection of ancient 'books' assembled and purportedly claimed to be the "Written Word/s of a Supreme Deity" that absolutely NO-ONE has ever seen, etc.
When I express my opinions, I express them from knowledge gained by studying, learning, etc, from almost innumerable sources INCLUDING over 7 years of intense studies required to achieve a ThD (Doctorate in Theology and Comparative Modern Religions) PLUS 2 other PhDs and a number of Bachelors Degrees as well.
I have and use NO prejudices, nor pessimisms or condescending attitudes BUT I do use Logic, Reason and Reasoning PLUS tried and tested, proven Empirical Evidences and Facts.

I think Antifred just wants to argue for the sake of argument. If I said I like pizza he'd argue the definition of pizza.

@Charles1971 Precisely.


Technically speaking here, it IS not the Atheists that are wrong since we only REFUTE the unfounded CLAIMS of the Religious since any claim made WITHOUT proven evidence is considered, logically,to be little more than a FALSE Claim at best, therefore it IS the onus of the Claimant, the Religious, to furnish the Proof and Proven Evidence that supports their claim in the first place.

Not really. Agnostics "claim" nothing.

@Storm1752 Atheists claim nothing as well.

@Storm1752 Do not Agnostics state that they are 'unsure' ( for want of a better word/phrase) whether or not a God/Deity exists or not, whereas an Atheist, like myself for example, simply REFUTE the unfounded, unproven CLAIMS made by believers that a God/Deity exists BECAUSE there never has been ANY empirically proven EVIDENCE brought forward by those believers to support their claims.
Yes, the believers can and do hold up their bibles and state loudly that this is ALL the proof they need since it IS the " Written Word of God" BUT NOWHERE within that collection of books, which it truly is btw, is there even one single thing to state or show clearly and undeniably that IS the 'book' and was written by this God him/herself.

A belief that there is are no gods or an unbelief in gods (however you want to phrase it) is most assuredly a claim.

That a theist hasn't made their case is why I'm agnostic... because neither has the atheism made their case. Each carries a burden to show that their worldview is the correct one and both fail said burden IMO.

@TheMiddleWay You can 'believe' what or however you wish BUT since Atheism is NOT in any way shape nor form a system of Belief then it makes no claim whatsoever, it simply states, asserts and affirms that, given the continually growing 'mountains' of empirically tried, tested and proven evidence offered up in its favour that a Supreme Deity/God does NOT nor never has existed, ergo it IS not a CLAIM, it is a proven assertion.

@TheMiddleWay A Theist holds forth only ONE book and CLAIMS it to be fact and Truth, an Atheist lists countless, often innumerable books, filled with tried and tested EVIDENCE and asserts and affirms that these do actually hold facts and truths that can and do stand by themselves against all comers.

@TheMiddleWay Here we go again with words and labels. Yes, a belief that there is are no gods or an unbelief in gods is a claim. That’s not necessarily what an atheist is though.

It's more than words and labels. At the heart of it is what we are saying with those words and labels and the consistency and coherence of the underlying thought.

So, to me, when an atheist claims that their saying "I don't believe in god" doesn't then imply that gods don't exist, I find that incoherent and inconsistent. If you are a theist, you believe your god exists... it makes no sense to interpret their belief otherwise. Hence, if you are going to stand in oppositiong to theism with the word "atheist", then you believe that (or all) gods don't exist.... it makes not sense to prefix a word in opposition to a root and then radically change what the root means.

I've said this before and it hasn't gained any traction: like agnostic is "without knowledge", apistic is "without belief"... so if you want to take the epistemological stance that your don't believe in gods without incurring any ontological burden of stating that gods don't exist, I've proposed that being apistic about gods is a better term.... but if you want to take the epistemological stance that you don't believe in gods AND that they don't exist, then atheism makes since considering that the theist takes the epistemological stance that they do believe in gods AND that they do exist.

" growing 'mountains' of empirically tried, tested and proven evidence offered up in its favour that a Supreme Deity/God does NOT nor never has existed,"

You are making mountains out of molehills:
"For a multitude of reasons, research on the healing effects of prayer is riddled with assumptions, challenges and contradictions that make the subject a scientific and religious minefield. We believe that the research has led nowhere, and that future research, if any, will forever be constrained by the scientific limitations that we outline." [1]

Prayer and healing: A medical and scientific perspective on randomized controlled trials

[1] []

@TheMiddleWay Well if you think "I don't believe in god" means or implies “gods don't exist”, then I don’t know what to say. They are different statements.

When people say they don't believe in unicorns, aren't they saying the leprechauns aren't real, that they don't exist? Or are they saying they don't believe in them but they do exist?

Or consider a theist: when they say they believe in their god, isn't it implicit that they think their god exists? And thus to be A-theist, to stand in opposition to the theist is some mannter (not, without, against, opposite) would have to oppose their view that gods exist.

To me, it's oxymoronic to not believe in something but then imply that they exist. Hence, if the atheists says "I don't believe in god but it does/may exist", that to me sounds like a standing contradiction.

But yes, this is the crux of my disagreement with how many atheists define themselves, using a root word (theism) which is at it's root ontological but then changing it to reflect their epsitemology.

@TheMiddleWay Speaking here for myself, which, for the most part is what only anyone can truly do, as an Atheists from childhood I can safely and honestly state that through my many, many years of learning and studying that it is my honest opinion that the God/s, etc, that people choose to worship are little more than products of the imaginations of people from more older/ancient times whose knowledge and understandings of the world around them was extremely limited, etc.
Therefore, in my well considered and somewhat well educated opinion, I am at LEAST 99.9999% CERTAIN that absolutely NO God, Gods, Goddesses in any shape nor form, etc, have ever existed or even exist in the here and now.

I appreciate that nod to personal views insofar as I can only speak to my agnosticism and you can only speak to your atheism... and I can only comment on how you view your atheism and you can only comment on how I view my agnosticism.

So what you say plays to my point: those who, like you, say they don't believe in gods are, to my ear, implicitly saying they don't believe in the existence of gods. Regardless of the 0.00001% uncertainty (which for an intents is insignificant), I think deep down any atheist worth their salt would admit that they don't believe gods exist. They can be certain or uncertain about it in varying degrees... but I would wager most atheists would put it in the high 80's or high 90's... that most people if there were asked to bet money on gods existence, would bet on "no"...

@TheMiddleWay So it is impossible to not believe one way or the other on anything?

Why would it be impossible? Our topic is wholly concerned with the notion of "god(s)" which by definition are (currently) unameanable to scientific inquiry which, to me, is the best gauge for belief. But science is not the only source of belief and there may be a time when we come up with a scientific way to address this question. So no, only on those concepts that are unameanable to scientific inquiry is it difficult to believe one way or another... though I not impossible on everything, no.

@TheMiddleWay Science as science is NOT a system of belief nor does it require or demand belief,.
Science is system of questioning, searching for, discovering, examining, trying, testing, re-trying, re-testing, re-examining and finally actually PROVING by empirical means and measures the FACTS and the Truths.
Whereas religion and religious BELIEFS absolutely DISCOURAGE any form of Questioning, Examining, Trying, Testing and the usage of empirical means and measurement, religions DEMAND Faith, usually BLIND Faith and throughout its history has regularly castigated those who have dared question it.

Not sure what the context of your latest comment is but here goes:

"Science as science is NOT a system of belief nor does it require or demand belief,."
Religious belief, no; Belief in an unproven being is not necessary.
Non-religious belief, yes; Belief in certain unproven starting conditions (axioms/assumptions) is necessary.

To whit, scientists may not have blind faith but we do have axioms, beliefs that can't be proven but form the foundation of all further beliefs.

For example, a cosmologist has to believe in the isotropic and homogeneous nature of the universe: that everything that happens here on Earth is exactly as it will happen 1 billion light years away. As we cannot go 1 billion light years to discover, examine, try, test, and re- these assumptions, a cosmologist has to use this belief as a basis for their observation and to interpret all experiments derived from that assumption.

@TheMiddleWay No, not really. Cosmologist do NOT really believe as you have just posted, they cannot state nor believe ( for want of a better and more appropriate word) that " what happens on Earth here and now, happens a million/billion Light distant." They might HYPOTHESISE given that which has been observed here BUT that which has occurred here may NOT be the same as that which has/is or may occur elsewhere because the Universe and events occurring throughout it and within are differing and changing constantly.
For example, take the possibility of Extraterrestrial life, though mammals have evolved here they may never have evolved a billion or even a million Light Years away on other planets, something else may have evolved, not the so-called Hollywood style Aliens we see depicted, but something beyond our present scope of imagining, perhaps some kind of semi-intelligent, limbless, water dwelling, jellyfish species for example. No-one truly knows exactly what is out there for a FACT.
As for your "axioms and beliefs" well many of those have fallen by the way-side as scientific knowledge and understandings have grown, e.g. it was once state and believed that the Earth WAS the centre of the Solar System, the Sun and planets revolved/orbited around the Earth and the stars were mere 'pin-holes' in the firmament of the night sky which allowed specks of light to pass through them. Well that axiom/belief has gone the way of the dinosaurs, has it not?

They can't hypothesize about universal isotropy or homogeneity for there is no way to directly test it. If it were a hypothesize, it would be falsifiable... but there is no way to truly falsify it without a priori assuming it!

Consider that the age of the universe is ~15 billion years. This assumes that the speed of light is constant everywhere at all times. How can you test this hypothesis for light coming at us from 15B years ago? You can't. Hence that is an axiom an we build our Cosmology around it.

And I think you bring out the important difference between religious belief and scientific belief: the former doesn't change while the later can. It may be the case that in time we can travel 15 years away and test isotropy and homogeneity directly. At that point, we can make a hypothesis out of our axioms and modify (or strengthen) our models accordingly. If space isn't isotropic or homogeneous, our models must account for why it looked that way or why we thought that was the case from earth but isn't that way out there. Religious belief, as we both know, would do the opposite: it would take new data and try to interpret it so as to support the belief, so that that it's canon is always true despite evidence to the contrary.

While an interesting discussion, I'm not sure how this pertains to our current conversation. Care to provide some context tieing it back into the topic at hand?

@TheMiddleWay Well, Light speed has been measured and tested repeatedly and still stands at approx. 180,000 miles or 300,000kms per second just as do radio waves as well.
Ergo, other than the light emitted by our Sun, light striking our eyes/planet from space left its point of emission anywhere between 1 Earth second ago to 1 Light Year + ago. Hence the light we see from the stars, NOT the Moon or planets in THIS Solar system btw, at night could have been emitted anywhere from 1 Light Year ago ( 6 Million, Million miles distant) to 10s of Billions of Miles distant and even Billions of years back in time.
We NEVER see or observe the light emitted from, for example, the Binary Stars nearest to our system that was emitted this very moment/second or even the year before today BECAUSE it has not reached us yet, it WILL arrive here some time is the distant future though.
Yes, scientific theories change as more evidence, etc, is added to them, that either disproves the original or enhances it whichever may the case. But that is how science works thankfully and religions founder.

"Well, Light speed has been measured and tested repeatedly and still stands at approx. 180,000 miles or 300,000kms per second just as do radio waves as well"
Only within the confines of our solar system to 16B km, the distance that our furthermost measuring apparatus, Voyager 2, reaches.

"Light striking our eyes/planet from space left its point of emission anywhere between 1 Earth second ago to 1 Light Year + ago."
Under the assumption that in the intervening 1 light year, light travels at the same speed.
Can we go out to one light year in any direction to test this assumption?
Hence it's not a hypothesis but an a priori assumption, an axiom.

"Yes, scientific theories change as more evidence, etc, is added to them, that either disproves the original or enhances it whichever may the case. But that is how science works thankfully and religions founder."

@TheMiddleWay The have almost innumerable experiments done since, and including, Einstein's experiments to determine and calculate the speed of light and every one of them has arrived at precisely the same rate of speed.
IF, you do NOT believe me then there is a very simple, easy experiment you and a friend can try for yourselves; Find a site/place flat and open enough where YOU can stand separated by a scaled down distant of the 186,000/300,000 miles/kms in as complete darkness as possible. Have your friend stand at one end of the distance separating you, you and stopwatch at the other, then when you see your friend switch on his/her flashlight, record the time that elapsed between it being switch on and the light shining in your eyes. Multiply that time by the co-efficient used to calculate the scaling DOWN of the distance of 186,000/300,000miles/kms and you will get the precise same result as did REAL scientists before you.

I don't know why you are trying to convince me the speed of light is constant. I've never denied that as I'm a firm believer in SR and GR.
However, I think you are missing the point that ALL said experiments have been done locally in the solar system, Thus extrapolating those results universally, to distance light years away where we have no independent data except that gathered by the very light we are talking about, means that it stands as an assumption, an axiom, that the speed of light is the same light years away as it is here.

@TheMiddleWay Well, it CAN be said that EVERYTHING we 'know' re- the Universe is MERELY based solely UPON data, etc, we have extrapolated here in the very tiny, insignificant patch of a massive Universe.

exactly. And worse yet is that everything that we've learned about our universe outside our solar system is purely dependent on electromagnetism, light. We have no direct access to magnetic fields the strong force weak decay products chemical composition, etc. We make the assumption or axiomize that these are the same as locally... And that can be an excellent and very accurate assumption... But given our inability to directly be able to validate or falsify them they stand as assumptions or axioms nonetheless

@TheMiddleWay Yes, BUT we do know from both the Voyager Programs and the Lunar Landings, unless of course you believe both were faked, that e.m. radiations ( radio signals) go through a type of time lapse between transmissions and receptions the further away from Earth, etc, the transceivers are, hence it goes to prove that since light is an Electromagnetic Transmission, just as are radio waves DO travel at a set speed only.

I fear you are missing the point once again. Voyager and Lunar landings represent spaces that we've set out calibrated equipment, equipment that is man made, equipment that we understand and thus we can trust that the results from it are valid and that the speed of light is constant from here to the moon and from here to the heliosphere.

However, we have no such equipment light years away and thus to assume that the results that are valid HERE also apply THERE is axiomatic, an assumption, unproven and (currently) unprovable.

@TheMiddleWay Then, IF the time lapses between transmission from Earth and reception on the Moon, for example, are unproven evidential facts, then what, exactly are they, complete and utter bunkum perhaps?


my atheism has nothing to do with science, or lack of science, or anything except my belief that there is no more chance of their being a god than there is of being a tooth fairy -- somewhat less, in fact, because the tooth fairy still owes me a quarter (plus interest). i don't care whether agnostics think i am unscientific. i don't need to waste my time and energy trying to figure out whether or not there is a god; i don't CARE. it's a nonissue, a nothingburger. the only time it's half a burger is when someone tries to legislate, execute or adjudicate religion where it doesn't belong. apart from that, i just live my life quite happily without any gods (but i might take the tooth fairy to people's court).



"Belief in nonbelief"- that is a classical straw man.
For me as an atheist it is just that I do not believe in what theists claim : that there is a "God". Of course, if you play the Spinoza card (like Einstein) and claim that "God" is a synonym for "the order and beauty of the Universe" - but in this case we are not talking about the same thing. But 99% of theists do not mean the God of Spinoza when they talk about or pray to God, so this is basically a red herring.

The only claim that would be incompatible with science would be "I can prove that there is no God", because such a prove cannot be made. But to say "I do not believe in God" if you mean the God of the vast majority of believers and theologians, is certainly not unscientific.

Just replace "God" by "aliens": Do you believe that aliens from outer space visit planet earth? Suppose for the sake of argument that you do not believe it. What would you say if somebody told you that you have a "belief in nonbelief" regarding aliens?

Matias Level 8 July 10, 2019

I would answer that I'm as agnostic about aliens almost as much asI am about god. Almost because we know of one lifeform in the universe, us, and thus at least we have one model for what aliens can be like. This is, however, a far cry from evidence that they do or do not exist and thus while we don't have a model for gods (or we do, loosely, in extrapolating human traits), the scientific premise for gods is as strong, or weak, as that for aliens.

So to claim aliens exist, or don't exist, or to believe in aliens, or unbelieve in them, is equally fallacious to me as claiming gods exist, or don't, or believe in gods, or not... hence how I practice my agnosticism.

@TheMiddleWay My question was "Do you believe that aliens from outer space (regularily) visit our planet ?" I am agnostic too about the question "Are there other forms of life somewhere in the Universe?" (I guess the probability is quite high), but I do not believe' that those forms of life visit us.

What I do not like about the guy in the interview is that he is playing with words ("belief in nonbelief" ) to present atheism as unscientific. It would be unscientific indeed to claim "I know that there is no God", but that's not what (most) atheists say (not even Dawkins or Dennett!). They simply say "I do not believe that God exists".

Besides: If atheists "believe in their nonbelief", you'd have to say that theists "believe in their belief". Neither sentence makes sentence, and it woud require another belief: I believe that I believe that I do not believe in God"... et ad infinitum.
You believe (theist) or you do not believe (atheist) or you suspend your judgment (agnostic) regarding the existence of God. What's so difficult about this?

BTW The Spinozian God (deus sive natura or God as the order and intelligibility of the Universe ) only exists in the minds of physicists and mathematicians. That is neither the god of the Bible nor the god ordinary believers pray to

I've never seen an alien. Others claim they have. I don't know. There is reason to believe they might. There is reason to believe they might not. Agnostic again.

"but that's not what (most) atheists say (not even Dawkins or Dennett!). "
Difficult assertion to say. We can accurately say that not all say that but I'm not sure we are justified in saying that "most* don't say that.

""I know that there is no God", but that's not what (most) atheists say (not even Dawkins or Dennett!). They simply say "I do not believe that God exists"."
I can only speak for myself but I warrant maybe the author would agree: whether phrased as knowledge or belief, to hold an opinion without evidence is unscientific. The (ideal) behind science is to be completely neutral towards any claims. If I'm exploring the higgs, I can't singularly believe that it does or does not exist... holding either stance threatens my objectivity and introduces potential bias into how I address the question of higgs existence. Rather, an analogy I've been using in this thread is that (again, the ideal) is to hold a superposition of belif, a schrodinger like state where you simultaneously belief and unbelief and which you presently hold is based on the question you ask.

Now, the superposition is how I view my agnosticism: neither believing or unbeliving but believing and unbeliving... allowing for both possibilities without embracing either. This is why we (the author and I) find atheism, and of course theism, to be unscientific for regardless of belief or knowledge, it threatenst to bias the person one way or the other in search of answers.

@TheMiddleWay You write that to hold an opinion without evidence is unscientific.
I'd say that there is a lot of negative evidence (absence of positive evidence) to justify my unbelief. If there is no evidence in favor of the existence of X, am I not justified to say "I do not believe that X exists"? If that were true it would be "unscientific" to say "I do not believe that guardian angels (or fairies, or morphogenetic fields....) exists".

You seem to forget that it is theists that make the positive claim "God exists", so it would be up to them to to provide positive evidence, which they have been trying - unsuccessfully, as I and other atheists believe.
If somebody makes a claim about the existence of X and is not able to provide evidence that would stand to the test of scientific scrutiny, it is scientific to say "Given that you are unable to provide evidence in favor of X, I believe that X 'exists' only in your mind".

What's more: there is a lot of (positive) evidence that when theists speak about their God, with his personal attributes and features (God wants..., God punishes, rewards, commands, loves, etc...) that this anthropomorphic God is a figment of human imagination, and it is this God with a human face that billions of people worship and relate with.

Frankly, I do not believe you when you claim that you are truly agnostic about the existence of Shiva or Ganesha or Zeus or the thousands of deities human imagination has come up with in history. I am pretty sure that you too do not believe that Shiva, Zeus et al. 'exist' only in the collective imagination of the believers, in other words: that all those deities are fictitious.
Again, I do not believe that you are really in a state of suspended, superposed state of belief/unbelief regarding the existence of Zeus or Allah or the God Billy Graham believed in.

The problem with some "agnostic" scientists is that they practice a sort of intellectual sleight of hand and replace the common idea of "God" with notions like "Pure Being" or "Order of the Universe", but nobody out there worships and prays to Pure Being...

"If that were true it would be "unscientific" to say "I do not believe that guardian angels (or fairies, or morphogenetic fields....) exists"."
But not every belief or unbelief need be scientific. You can believe or unbelieve in angels all you want. In my view however, what you can't do is then elevate that view to the more rigorous status of a scientific belief or unbelief.

"If somebody makes a claim about the existence of X and is not able to provide evidence that would stand to the test of scientific scrutiny, it is scientific to say "Given that you are unable to provide evidence in favor of X, I believe that X 'exists' only in your mind"."
Consider the HIggs boson. It was in that state for decades. Had it been scientific to adopt your viewpoint, there would not have been any impetus to continue searching for it. And not just the Higgs; there was no evidence for relativity for about a decade until eddington provided it. Many scientists adopted your view, that there is no evidence for relativity and thus it only exists in Einstein's mind. But Eddignton showed otherwise.

"Frankly, I do not believe you when you claim that you are truly agnostic about the existence of Shiva or Ganesha or Zeus or the thousands of deities human imagination has come up with in history. "
Because I've never made that claim. 😉
There are a host of definitions of gods that I can safely dismiss.
My agnosticism is rooted in those that I can't.

"The problem with some "agnostic" scientists is that they practice a sort of intellectual sleight of hand and replace the common idea of "God" with notions like "Pure Being" or "Order of the Universe", but nobody out there worships and prays to Pure Being..."
Not I.
The "nature as god" view is clearly the anthropomorphism of phenomena that all dismissable gods suffer from, such as Thor or Zeus in explaining lightning. I don't abide by that view at all despite many scientists, as you correctly point out, doing so.

@TheMiddleWay "There are a host of definitions of gods that I can safely dismiss"

Fine. But which is the definition of "God" in relation of which you are in a state of agnostic superposition of simultaneous Belief/unbelief?

The broad notion of a supreme being that may or may not exist, that may or may not intervene in human affairs, that may or may not be observable... The general concept, not any particular implementation per se.

@TheMiddleWay That is not a "general concept" - that is not even a concept at all. Instead of "God" we could also talk about the "concept" of Hödlüz : a being that may or may not exist, that may or may not intervene in human affairs, that may or may not be observable...

That is not the basis of a meaningful discussion, it is just playing with words.
if you want people to take you seriously, you should know (a.) the different ideas associated with the words Deus/God/Dios... in the intellectual history of the Occident, and you should be able to (b.) make meaningful statements about those ideas. Otherwise your statements are indistinguishable from nonsense; your "agnosticism" would be indistinguishable from plain ignorance.

It is as if I talked about "Black energy" or "p-brane" and claimed to be agnostic regarding its existence or features. The truth is: I am not agnostic but simply ignorant. I know the words, but cannot attach any meaning to them.
The same seems to be the case when you talk about "God" - a word without meaning (or with any meaning, which is more or less the same thing)

It is this inherent difficulty in providing a definition that even two people can agree upon that leans me more and more towards ignosticism.


The atheist position is the skeptical position. If you don't believe things without evidence you will not believe things that are untrue. If you believe things without evidence you can believe diametrically opposed things which is irrational.

FYI, TheMiddleWay believes atheism can only be a claim that no gods exist. Lacking a belief is not a definition he accepts, and he will support it with the SEP over and over again. (I will not post any more comments in this thread because I do not want to have that argument with him, or anyone, again. At least not today. lol)

@greyeyed123 thanks for the heads up...

Yeaup, that's the definition of atheism I use and the only one I consider logical which is why I agree with Gleseir's viewpoint.

@TheMiddleWay Merriam-Webster and Oxford beg to disagree.

If you want to play it that way, encyclopedias trump dictionaries. 😉

@TheMiddleWay 🙄 Yes, when I want to know the meaning, origin and Latin root of a word, I definitely pick up my encyclopedia set.


"Theism Is Inconsistent with the Scientific Method" …

I agree. Both the theist and the atheist makes statements that cannot be tested by the scientific method.


I'm always surprised when people think theres sone way to ratiobalize this shit.


Hmmmm. Seems like you rattled a few cages with that one😱. Love to see them feathers fly. More like f the same please Middle!

@ReadyforaChange Glad to see courteous interaction is still part of the eclectic landscape here.

@Geoffrey51 No courtesy for troublemakers. Go away troll.

@ReadyforaChange Why troll? Who is trouble being caused for?

@ReadyforaChange ditto!

@ReadyforaChange, @Geoffrey51 hey, you vicious sexual predator (and I have several ladies who will testify now, why are You still slinking around?!

@AnneWimsey Is he? Have we reported him?

@ReadyforaChange Please do as its incorrect.

@ReadyforaChange I I gave Admin full details about 6 months ago...nada reply or action....

@AnneWimsey Which was what Anne? No action as nothing to answer.

@Geoffrey51 "nada" Spanish for "nothing".......

@AnneWimsey What were the details if I may ask because this seems all very odd to me. Please copy and paste some remark that you have viewed in order for me to comment.

@Geoffrey51 um, remember Betsey, who was trusting enough to walk into your house, where you threw down a pillow & told her to "get on your knees"?...turns out she is a friend of mine! We compared your messages, and modus operandi, you sleaze

@AnneWimsey that’s not me Anne. I have no idea who Betsy is. No one from here has ever walked into my house. I am in Australia and have been for 12 years. Please look again and you will see that is not me.

@Geoffrey51 then you are hacked...he uses your camel pic on here & Plenty of Fish as well. Plus the name Geoffrey. He is in Avon, Ct, near Hartford. One reason I gave him my trust, and Betsey too, is because he is on both this site & POF

@AnneWimsey Thanks Anne that is a bit disturbing. I’m not even on Facebook let alone Plenty of Fish!

I’ll let admin know.


Complete Bull Shit!

zblaze Level 7 July 10, 2019

You can be an agnostic and a scientist at the same time, but you cannot be an atheist and a scientist at the same time. The very nature of the scientific method doesn’t allow atheism and science to co-exist.

That's just nonsense.

Come on. That is absolute nonsense

I agree and that is the tenor of the article. To be an atheist is to believe in something for which there is no evidence for. Likewise for the theist. As such, both positions are untenable to a scientist who, ideally, only holds belief for things there IS evidence for.

Of course people disagree. But it's a credit to the weak stance of their views of atheism and science that all they can say is "BS" or "no way" without ANY further defense of their position! They are offended that their view is untenable to many scientists... but don't know why! 😀😀😀

@TheMiddleWay "To be an atheist is to believe in something for which there is no evidence for."

Words have definitions, and that ain't it, chief.

@TheMiddleWay To be an atheist is to NOT believe in something for which there is no evidence for, is the correct definition.

Correct how? 😉 Because that is the definition you use or is there some "atheist pope" that determines what the correct definition is?

See the problem is that I have support for my definition as you undoubtedly think you have support for yours. You won't accept my evidence for my definition and I will logically decompose your definition. But you won't accept my logical decomposition and will instead steadfastly hold onto what I consider an inconsistent definition.

Correct for you? Maybe. But not correct for me or for others.

I have support for my definition. As I'm telling others who claim their definition is the "god given" one, there is no "atheist pope" who determines what the correct definition is. I have mine and can support it. You have yours and you feel you can support yours. I will find inconsistencies in your definition; you will find ways to not accept my definition.

At the end of the day, you can only claim that the "right" definition is the one that is "right" for you... but be humble enough to realize it may not be "right" for everyone. 🙂

@TheMiddleWay Bruh, as usual, your smugness belies your bias. Words have definitions, they are universally agreed upon, understood to mean a specific THING and written in books called DICTIONARIES. You should totes pick one up.

You confuse confidence and a calm discussion demeanor for smugness.
Given the passion and emotion with which many people discuss this topic, that isn't surprising.


"Words have definitions, they are universally agreed upon, understood to mean a specific THING and written in books called DICTIONARIES. "

From the Oxford DICTIONARY of Atheism

"A belief in the non-existence of a God or gods, or (more broadly) an absence of belief in their existence. .."

[1] []


Looks like someone found their poster boy. I could only read so much of this horseshit. Where is PT Barnum when you need him?

“This whole notion of finality and final ideas is, to me, just an attempt to turn science into a religious system, which is something I disagree with profoundly.”
Don’t like the competition?

"To me, science is one way of connecting with the mystery of existence. "
One of many. Thinking helps too.

“ I’m not talking about the science of materials, or high-temperature superconductivity, which is awesome and super important, but that’s not the kind of science I’m doing. I’m talking about science as part of a much grander and older sort of questioning about who we are in the big picture of the universe. To me, as a theoretical physicist and also someone who spends time out in the mountains, this sort of questioning offers a deeply spiritual connection with the world, through my mind and through my body. Einstein would have said the same thing, I think, with his cosmic religious feeling.”
I me mine, I me mine, I me mine

“I believe we should take a much humbler approach to knowledge, in the sense that if you look carefully at the way science works, you’ll see that yes, it is wonderful — magnificent! — but it has limits. And we have to understand and respect those limits. And by doing that, by understanding how science advances, science really becomes a deeply spiritual conversation with the mysterious, about all the things we don’t know.”
A humbler approach to knowledge and ....put more faith into faith? It's what he doesn't say that gets the base all riled up

“What I mean by that is, what is atheism? It’s a statement, a categorical statement that expresses belief in nonbelief. “
Not as good as a belief in belief evidently

“There is a difference between “science” and what we can call “scientism,” which is the notion that science can solve all problems. To a large extent, it is not science but rather how humanity has used science that has put us in our present difficulties. Because most people, in general, have no awareness of what science can and cannot do. So they misuse it, and they do not think about science in a more pluralistic way. So, okay, you’re going to develop a self-driving car? Good! But how will that car handle hard choices, like whether to prioritize the lives of its occupants or the lives of pedestrian bystanders? Is it going to just be the technologist from Google who decides? Let us hope not! You have to talk to philosophers, you have to talk to ethicists.”
No Shit Sherlock. It might even be how people used many other "things" that has affected the outcome concerning where the human race is right now. "Things" such as weapons, energy, religion, wisdom, land, animal, water,..........the list does not really end.

twill Level 7 July 14, 2019

Ohferpetessake, another BS claim........

They need attention...gets lonely in they mama's basement.


Also, sorry but agnostics are wimpy. You either believe or you don't...simple.
AND...religion had it's's done now. Get over it.

Not at all.
An agnostic is one that can deal with tripartite logic (true, false, indeterminate) as opposed to only binary logic (true, false).
An agnostic is one that can deal with a epistemological superposition of simultaneously having believe and unbelief... much like quantum mechanics teaches us that our fundamental reality is an ontological superposition of wave and particle.

This isn't wimpy but a more advanced way (and thus difficult) way of looking at the world.

Can't be both: can't simultaneously say there is no god(s) (atheist) and that you don't know if there is a god (agnostic).

I've gone over my reasons and logic for this viewpoint in another thread:

This post is ...

@owlinasack thank you.

Write Comment
You can include a link to this post in your posts and comments by including the text q:372141
Agnostic does not evaluate or guarantee the accuracy of any content. Read full disclaimer.