Tuesday, December 21

Who's Confused: the Atheists, or the Agnostics?

Ricky Gervais
'Tis religious high season in the western/Christian parts of the world, and Ricky Gervais has taken a time out from comedy to share his reasoning on why he's an atheist.

Ricky's explanation for his atheism brings to mind a question I've previously raised with individuals who claim that their atheism, like Ricky's, is rooted in scientific rational thought.

A little over a decade ago during Alan Grenspan's heyday -- a time when I would like to believe that I was not only younger but also much less wiser -- my question even managed to get me thrown out of the Ayn Rand Institute in Southern California.

Here's the short story: after asking the managing director a sincere question about about the atheism of the institute's namesake, I was quickly escorted to the exit with his parting words "I don't have time to be talking to mystics".

Ricky believes God does not exist because there is no provable, scientific evidence which verifies the existence of God. No argument here from me on this point.

My question is this: what scientific evidence does Ricky have to counter the belief that God does in fact exist? The answer is none. Ergo, the logical default is not in fact to be an atheist, but to be an agnostic.

Atheists -- by believing that God does not exist -- are making the same error in logic which believers in God make. Neither of them have scientific evidence to support their beliefs. So the only logical consistent and scientifically supported view is agnosticism.

Are the science-believing atheists simply confused? Or is it the science believing agnostics, like myself, who have it all wrong?

I'll close with an interesting atheist/agnostic factoid and another question: in the U.S. Congress it appears that every 'major' minority group in the United States is represented. There are jews, muslims, blacks, latinos, asians, homosexuals, disabled, left-handed, etc.

However, there is not a single avowed atheist or agnostic among the 535 members of Congress. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders is rumored to be an atheist, but to my knowledge he has never publicly outed himself as one.

Given that atheists and agnostics represent perhaps as much as 5-10% of the U.S. population, would it be fair to say that atheists and/or agnostics are discriminated against? And in regards to election to the U.S. Congress, is there a reason why they are discriminated against more than any of the other 'major' minority groups?

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