Equating Strong with Weak

It is almost as if it is a trend to accuse atheists of strong atheism despite repeated clarification that we generally espoused weak atheism. And I'm not talking about religious fundamentalists -- it's moderates and even freaking "agnostics".

An article by a "Christian agnostic", titled "Atheism: Null Hypothesis on God", makes a similar point. He didn't point fingers but makes a rather explicit indication that the atheists currently in the public forum are strong atheists and that they should be weak atheists if they're reasonable.

The article has the typical misunderstanding of what atheism and agnosticism is.

And that's why I struggle to understand atheism.

Etymologically, atheism has similar Greek roots to agnosticism, coming from the words "a-theos" which means "no God" or "without God." This implies the same kind of certitude that a religious fundamentalist might claim is arguing they "know without any doubt that God exists." Based on what? Either of you? There is no way to prove or disprove the existence of God. Especially when we can't even nail down what exactly it is we're talking about.

Firstly, screw the etymology. That is beside the point. I've seen rather pointless arguments over whether "atheism" means "without belief in gods" or "belief in no gods" when the actual point is whether the atheist is or is not a strong atheist.

Secondly, the common usage of the word "atheism" by atheists who use the label is weak atheism. That is "without belief in god". It is not an assertion that gods do not exist but a rejection of theism.

Third. I am pretty sure that if he have indeed talked to atheists, most would be quite okay, or even happy, to admit that their position is not held with absolute certainty (unlike religious fundamentalists).

Fourth. Disproving god can be done if the said entity explicitly contradicts with observed reality or is logically contradictory.

Fifth. Using vague ass definition of god to argue the case is kinda dishonest. With close to half of the American population subscribing to some form of creationism and a portion of those believing in a god who poofs all of existence into existence with incantations, I don't know what "nailing down" the author is talking about. The nutjobs' gods? We can nail down and dead actually -- they are the most pressing problem we're dealing with.

Now, I'm not a scientist, but it makes perfect sense within this model to have the "null hypothesis" that God doesn't exist.

However, to leap from that to certitude of God's non-existence is to violate the principles of the scientific method, isn't it?

Oh look. Weak atheism is philosophically tenable and strong atheism is too unreasonable.

Gee. Who knew? Fucking old news.

It seems to me, to paraphrase Paul (like Huxley), that we risk becoming that which we hate in staking claims of certainty on either side of this issue. In pushing back primarily against religious fundamentalism, atheism risks embracing the very fundamentalism it resists. And in doing so, it abandons the very principles of science it claims as the basis for non-belief.


I don't know if God exists. You don't know if God doesn't exist. But if scientists can not only coexist on both sides of a hypothesis, but even use that difference to promote progress, it seems we can and should apply similar principles to the public forum.

Is he completely in the dark that atheists generally espouse weak atheism? Or is that an implicit accusation that atheists shouldn't be strong atheists (because he thinks we currently are)?

Either way, that sounds like a very uninformed piece trying to sound educated. Ughhh...