18th February 2009

“An agnostic is somebody who doesn't believe in something until there is evidence for it, so I'm agnostic.”

Carl Sagan1934 – 1996

12 Responses to “18th February 2009”

  1. David Jakobsen Says:

    And so Sagan doesn’t believe in the existence of other minds, in objective moral values, in the reality of the past and the existence of an outer world. None of these can be proven, a lesson learned from the last 500 years attempts by philosophers, without assuming what needs to be proven.

  2. AtheistAdvocate Says:

    David, you may be correct about Mr. Sagan. So… What’s your point? The only conclusion I take from this quote is that we are all different and define ourselves differently.

    The issue is, that the god of Abraham should be very easy to prove, given the vast amounts of specifics detailed in the bible or preached about in every church and on religious blogs like this. Yet there is none…

    Or, since you and I are different, do you believe god is a theory, like the other examples you have given?

  3. David Jakobsen Says:

    Three answers AtheistAdvocate
    1. If I am correct about Sagan – wouldn’t that imply then that he has a weird criterion for whether or not he should believe in something? Wouldn’t it indicate that his way of finding out what to believe in or not is wrong? I for one think so.
    2. Why think that the God of Abraham should be easy to prove?
    3. I do not believe that the existence of other minds is a theory, or the existence of the past. They are just as real as God. The consequence I take of this is that I trust my cognitive faculties are working as they should when they produce believes like these in me – and why should I then doubt the very same faculties when they produce the belief in me that God wants me to repent and trust Jesus for my salvation? Of course if atheists were able to give me convincing reasons for disbelieving Gods existence, then I would have to reconsider the trustworthiness of my beliefs.

  4. Chris Says:

    David – please prove the existence of god using a verifiable, non-book based process. Next, please explain why the Abrahamic god is more compelling than, say Thor. And please don’t say “because there’s this book…”

    If we don’t at least try to use evidence based reasoning we may as well all be iron age primitives believing in god-zombies simply because people in authority told us they exist.

  5. Nefari Says:

    David: Sagan said ‘evidence’, not ‘proof’. There is evidence of minds, past, etc. Whether or not it’s compelling, or only weak induction, or unproven is another matter.

  6. Phil Says:

    David is simply ****** up troll. Don’t worry David, we’ll “pray” for you and your sins.


    Admin: please be civil to believers and non-believers alike.

  7. AtheistAdvocate Says:

    1. Sagan may indeed have a weird criterion for his beliefs. Again, I don’t get your point. Sagan has a the belief that agnostics believe something they see evidence of. That’s his take, and he has the right.

    2. Because anything omnipotent and omnipresent and omniscient and other omni-whatevers would be absolutely evident. Supposedly, he wrestled with Job, walked with Adam, drown all his children, had a son etc… There should be evidence. One would have to be delusional to believe anything this overwhelming leaves absolutely no trace.

    3. You ask atheists to give you convincing reasons for disbelieving god’s existence. NOT MY JOB! The person making the claim must shoulders the burden of proof. If negative proof was a logical argument, then I would ask you to prove that the Flying Spaghetti Monster (Pesto be upon him) does not really exist. You can’t prove the FSM does not exist!

  8. Chris Says:

    Piggy back on your comment AA, Carl Sagan also said “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence” This is an excellent maxim to live by.

    I also like this little gem – a personal favorite:

    “I contend we are both atheists, I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.”
    …Stephen F Roberts

  9. AtheistAdvocate Says:

    Very concise Chris. I will write those down in my little black book of quotes! 🙂

  10. Hypatia Says:

    I think Nefari hit the nail of the head here – the key point is that Sagan said evidence, not proof.

    The question I’d like to ask David is why he believes in something which cannot be proved false but for which there is no evidence.

    The only rationale I can identify is desire – he wants to believe it. But since when has wanting something made it true?

  11. David Jakobsen Says:

    Dear AtheistAdvocate

    To your 1. He has the right of course, but if his criterion is that weird, why should any believer in Abrahams God find that interesting. It is like saying – “you are not entitled to believe anything that cannot be pronounced in english using only vowels.” Well congratulation on your weird criterion!
    And contrary to what some atheist thinks – it is common knowledge in philosophy that there is no proof whatsoever – and therefore no evidence either for the existence of other minds, the external world and the past.

    To your 2. If you talk about the God of the Scripture you should read up on Him. Your ignorance is showing here. God is a God who hides himself – to the judgment of the wicked. When they will se Him one day, they will scream for the mountains to hide them from his face. It is his grace that gives you the change to repent. Read for instance Is 45:15.

    To your 3. Why should I be responsible for your beliefs. Go ahead and continue in your disbelief – it is without excuse, as you will discover one day. The criterion you are using is so lame that it destroys any simply knowledge in your daily life. I will be responsible for my beliefs, and the spaghettibelievers can be responsible for theirs. I can perfectly account for the rationality of my beliefs – well – you can’t even account for the rationality of what you had for breakfast using your criterion 🙂

  12. Hypatia Says:

    continue in your disbelief – it is without excuse

    ROTFLOL – AtheistAdvocate needs an excuse for not believing in something silent, invisible and undetectable?!

    I guess I need an excuse for not believing in invisible pink unicorns.

    I can perfectly account for the rationality of my beliefs

    That David I very much doubt. I don’t think you would ever question your beliefs objectively – your emotional attachment to them is too strong.