Tuesday 27 August 2013

Skeptic and/or atheist?

I have been reading about the question of whether you can be a sceptic and not an atheists and vice-versa. I am not sure why this is not clear cut in a lot of peoples minds so I thought I would give it a try.

If you are an atheist, you do not have to be a sceptic, although I do believe most atheists are sceptics as they have got to atheism through healthy doses of doubt applied to their religious upbringing etc. Atheism is only the position that there is not a god. As such an atheist can believe in fairies if they want, as fairies are not gods. For that matter an atheist can believe in a anything that does not fit into the god realm. This may make their arguments weaker at times, but it does not stop them from been unsceptical about things beyond the god question.

On the other hand, a sceptic is unable to not be an atheist. I am not sure how anyone can debate this, as by definition a sceptic follows the evidence and there is absolutely no evidence for a god. If this is not the case then pure and simple you are not a sceptic, as would we call a UFO abductee a sceptic if they were sceptical about everything besides UFO abduction? The simple answer is no. If a sceptic is to adopt the agnostic viewpoint that there is a possibility that there can be a god, I have to wonder how as I have pointed out before there is no evidence for any god. BTW my opinion is that agnosticism is a weak position about which I have blogged before.

As a caveat before someone points this out. If I call a rock (Or a shoe/totem/dog/material object) god, then yes their is evidence for a god. But lets not play words games we all know what we are talking about when we use the word god, we are talking about a creator/all seeing/all powerful supernatural entity. But if this is the argument you want to use, then realise that there is no longer a word and position called "atheist". All there is then is a varying degree of theism of which some are based on superstition and some are based on material objects.

In summary scepticism cannot be mutually exclusive of atheism, but atheism can be exclusive of scepticism.