Kenneth Miller on The Colbert Report tonight

| 204 Comments

Kenneth Miller, the lead-off expert witness in Kitzmiller v. Dover, is the guest on The Colbert Report tonight on Comedy Central. The show airs at 11:30 pm EST and PST, and rebroadcasts several times the following day, e.g. 7:30 pm I believe.

Every day this week, Stephen Colbert has been mentioning the fact that the word “truthiness”, which he invented, became the official 2005 Word of the Year declared by the American Dialect Society. Considering the relationship of “Truthiness” and the also-ran Word of the Year, “intelligent design” (a runner-up in the “Most Outrageous” category, although the category “Most Euphemistic” seems appropriate also) is rather entertaining. According to the ADS, “truthiness” is defined as “the quality of stating concepts or facts one wishes or believes to be true, rather than concepts or facts known to be true.” I can’t think of a better word to describe ID…

204 Comments

To paraphrase our “Faith based” leadership:

Sometimes you have to go with the concepts or facts one wishes or believes to be true, rather than concepts or facts known to be true.

Re: Comment #70800

Which is exactly why Intelligent Design does not belong in a science curriculum. There is absolutely no merit to it as a scientific, factual concept. Put it in a philosophy, religous, or world studies type curriculum, hell create a class of its own - but keep it out of the realm of science.

Two of my favourites together on one show!

If you haven’t seen Kenneth Miller’s presentations, you’ve missed a lot. This man has got some pretty good cajones on him. I was hoping the Case U format was actually going to be a debate, but the presentation and Q&A resulting from Dembski’s no-show was excellent watching anyhow.

*laugh* I do get a kick out of Colbert’s manufactured “persona” - a satire within a satire. Sometimes he can be fluffy on the interview; other times not.

I plan on staying up late to watch it :)

Too bad Ken Miller couldn’t be on the Daily Show instead. Stephen Colbert is horrible at interviews; he needs to learn to shut up and let the guest talk.

Lets hope the ID folks have many years of “Runner up” both in euphamestic labels for creationism and court battles!

Ken Miller has all the pizzaz of a person who has absolutely nothing to hide and is modest to a fault. I don’t have cable but I am sure I will get to watch the “news”cast one of these days.

If Ken Miller would write another book, he’d be invited onto the Daily Show in a minute! Most of the guests there seem to be pushing their latest book or movie these days.

Jeff McKee Wrote:

I don’t care if she accosts me again at another Board of Education meeting with this simple message, I’ll say it anyway: she is a liar.

I don’t know if this has come out before, but Jeff was the target of a vicious personal attack at the board meeting. He was there as the official representative of the Senate of The Ohio State University, and after presenting the Senate’s official position on the lesson plan was blindsided by Deborah Owens Fink.

She produced an email that Jeff had written and she misrepresented its contents to imply that Jeff was advocating physical violence on his opponents. (Can anyone say Mirecki?) Another creationist on the board (Michael Cochran) joined in on the attack. Jeff was blindsided and left almost speechless. There was a stunned silence in the room as Jeff struggled to find words to respond. He was far more composed than I would have been.

Jeff was followed by a student who was harassed by Cochran.

When I got up to speak, I was furious and let them have it with both barrels. I will be back next month.

The details of Jeff’s attack appeared on the Discovery Institute website within a few hours. Headline: In Ohio Darwinist Admits Plan to Burn Evolution Critics. I will not provide a link; I will not contaminate this site with even that much of this vile pollution.

I suspect that Debbie, Cochran, and DI conspired together to launch this attack.

If you want to protest Jeff’s treatment, or ask them how they got their hands on Jeff’s email, or how the DI learned about Debbie’s performance in Ohio, contact them at:

Deborah Owens Fink Michael Cochran

BTW: I usually post as McE. This time, I’m uncloaking.

Brian McEnnis

If Ken Miller would write another book, he’d be invited onto the Daily Show in a minute! Most of the guests there seem to be pushing their latest book or movie these days.

Good news: he is writing another book!

Colbert was the… perfect. straight. man.

Brian, I’m not shocked by the behavior of folks like Ms. Fink (how appropriate her name is). Standard political tactics engaged in by the right since the neocons started trying to take power in the late 70’s.

swiftboating has become quite a successful tactic.

It doesn’t make it any better tho.

What never ceases to shock me though, is that after pulling this kind of stunt, they invariably STILL claim the moral “high ground”.

and what disgusts me to the utmost extent, to the extent I’m working on leaving the US as we speak, is that most Americans let them get away with this crap.

… the audience in attendance at that meeting should have raised an immediate stink about Fink’s behavior, and demanded an immediate halt to any further proceedings until her claims could be investigated and shown to be what they are.

but… other than a brief moment of silence, what did the audience actually do, Brian?

did they side with your correct indignation at such low tactics?

or did they just sit and watch the show.

I’m genuinely curious to know.

Loved it.

I accidentally posted my comment #70901on the wrong thread. I’ll repost it where it belongs - on Intelligent Design on CNN.

Sir Toejam - I’ll respond over there.

sounds good.

I would have simply asked Mrs. Fink why she was reading my emails, and inform her that if she did not seek help for her stalker tendencies, I should get a restraining order. Turn the topic from her misrepresentation of the email to the issue of how she obtained the email itself.

Saw the Prof. Miller segment on the Colbert Report. It was excellent. I have read most of the papers on his miller&devine web site but I have never heard him speak. As I mentioned on another comment thread here, I have seen Ed Brayton praise him to the hilt, and now I know why. Prof. Miller is affable, and not overbearing, but also authoritative. (The last from his papers, not his TV appearance)

One thing that I found interesting is that Colbert and Prof. Miller did get into Prof. Miller’s Catholicism and evolution. I really do believe that things like that are very important–to reconcile evolution with peoples’ religious beliefs so that they do not reject it out of hand. And Prof. Miller handled it in a very good way.

I suspect, but cannot prove, that the host (Colbert) and the guest (Prof. Miller) work out the dialogue ahead of time. And Prof. Miller would certainly have known that he was appearing on a comedy show.

Working upthread, regarding the comment about the contrast with the Jon Stewart show, I believe that they are produced by the same production company (the tie-in should be obvious). Yes, most of Jon Stewart’s guests seem to be politicians or people pushing movies or books. And that’s why I often tune out after the first quarter hour. I haven’t figured out the nature of the guests on the Colbert Report, but I have watched some of them. Including Prof. Miller.

Colbert: “I don’t get flu shots; they’re too sciencey”

Miller: “perhaps too ‘truthy’?”

~later~

colbert: “would you come back and explain this whole, sun-doesn’t-go-around-the-earth thing?”

not bad.

raj wrote:

… things like that are very important—to reconcile evolution with peoples’ religious beliefs so that they do not reject it out of hand.

But what happens when we do discover something that rocks the boat of religious belief? Does religion have to trump science?

Some people who call themselves “Christian” are okay with evolution, but are other Christians going to be okay with them when they discover how different their Christianity and Catholicism are?

Miller talked about a “smarter”(?) God who sets up a process instead of one that gets involved and designs every little thing. Problem is, that’s not the God described by the Bible who does get involved in little things like men’s lives.

God involves himself in men’s lives not by manipulating all the quarks and leptons like some great cosmic puppeteer but rather thru a purely spiritual mechanism not amenable to empiric investigation. This is why the majority of Christians have no issues with evolution or other theories but may have major issues with the application of the technology developed from them.

God involves himself in men’s lives not by manipulating all the quarks and leptons like some great cosmic puppeteer but rather thru a purely spiritual mechanism not amenable to empiric investigation

Says you. I think bere likelihood and relevance of either scenario is exactly the same. I’m thinking of a number, a very small number. A small, small, round number.….zero.

Mental masturbation.

Pro,

Don’t like science?.…Don’t use it!

Rely on your beliefs for transportation, communication, education…or anything else that involves day to day living.

See how far the science of faith gets you.

Um, in case no one noticed, Pro is on our side.

Or do we just intend to provoke yet another pointless war between theists and atheists … ?

Steverino wrote:

See how far the science of faith gets you.

Yikes! Lets not do another religious war. I just asked a question.

However, “the pro from dover” does seem to miss the point of my question. “A purely spiritual mechanism not amenable to empiric investigation” is not just safely unfalsifiable and unscientific, it is also still a god getting involved in petty details. And what science has shown us is that man is a petty detail in this universe – a scum of life on a tiny grain of sand on a universal beach so vast it’s sands are greater than all the beaches of Earth. And we’ve existed for a fraction of a second in eternity and genetic drift will carry our ancestors into new forms before another second passes.

If the majority of Christians have no issues with evolution or other theories then they don’t seem to grasp the implications.

So, god created all this – and now he even gives a shit about your sex life, gay marriage, embryonic stem cells, democracy and capitalism? It’ll all going to be gone in a relative second anyway here on this speck of dust we call Earth.

The god of Christians and the Bible is too small for the universe science has shown us.

The god of Christians and the Bible is too small for the universe science has shown us.

That’s the God YOU comprehend, Norman, based on bits of the Bible that you cherrypicked, took out of context, and declared “central.” It is most certainly NOT the God the rest of us comprehend.

Your understanding of spirituality is no stronger than an IDer’s understanding of the basic concepts of science. You really ought to try to get out more, and stop going out of your way to insult your allies in this important political struggle.

Raging Bee wrote:

That’s the God YOU comprehend, Norman, based on bits of the Bible that you cherrypicked, took out of context, …

You guys make a lot of claims about your “advanced spirituality” that sounds like so much obfuscation and also about my limitations – let’s see you back them up.

Show me a part of the Bible I haven’t cherry picked that would actually resonate with the universe science has discovered.

Show me you actually comprehend anything through “spirituality” instead of just bragging.

Posted by Norman Doering on January 13, 2006 08:55 AM (e) (s)

… You guys make a lot of claims about your “advanced spirituality” that sounds like so much obfuscation and also about my limitations — let’s see you back them up.

Show me a part of the Bible I haven’t cherry picked that would actually resonate with the universe science has discovered.

Show me you actually comprehend anything through “spirituality” instead of just bragging.

I can’t, yet I am not going to deny belief in God. Is there a reason for your rage?

Deja vu…all over again.

You’re demanding WE show our comprehension? That’s rich, coming from someone who goes on at ridiculous length about a passage about snakes and completely ignores, not only the wisdom of Jesus, but a colossal mass of divine wisdom from Bhuddism, Hinduism, Islam, Taoism, Paganism, Shintoism, and Gods-know-what else (pardon the pun).

Divine wisdom is not just about “the universe science has discovered;” it’s mostly about the universes within our hearts and minds, and how those inner universes interact with the big one outside. It’s subjective and largely unprovable and un-falsifiable. (That’s why it’s NOT SCIENCE and CAN’T BE TAUGHT AS SCIENCE, remember?)

I used to believe as you do – back when I was twelve. Then puberty came along, and my perspective began to change and deepen. It’s still changing.

We can’t do your homework for you here. It’s up to you to get out and listen to people who have experienced things you haven’t. Trust me on this: spirituality is no less real, no less relevant, and no less important in a balanced life, for being immaterial. And when you start to understand this, the orgasms get better…

we just intend to provoke yet another pointless war between theists and atheists?

Not particularly.

But have you noticed that every religious war starts with a statement in the form, “god is X”?

I won’t say it if you won’t.

Here is a link to Comedy Central’s website:

The Colbert Report - Celebrity Interviews

Not yet updated, though I would expect that the Miller interview will be up tomorrow if not later today.

I think the meaning of words is being fudged here: I’ve always been told that an AGNOSTIC (whose literal meaning is “not knowing”) is someone who lacks a specific religious belief, doesn’t claim to know what to believe, and/or who has simply not made up his/her mind on the subject; and an ATHEIST is someone who has made up his/her mind and believes there is no god. That, at least, is how I’ve been using these words all my life, and how everyone I’ve talked to so far understands them.

Raging Bee:

I’ve always been told that an AGNOSTIC (whose literal meaning is “not knowing”) is someone who lacks a specific religious belief, doesn’t claim to know what to believe, and/or who has simply not made up his/her mind on the subject; and an ATHEIST is someone who has made up his/her mind and believes there is no god.

And there’s the rub: the fact that you’ve been told these things does not make them true. I am an atheist and I do not “believe there is no god”. I simply do not believe any god-claim I’ve ever encountered. Is it just me? No, as is plainly apparent by reading what several other fellows have written in this very thread. There are also plenty of atheist thinkers who have defined atheism as the lack of a god-belief.

I have no problem with people calling themselves agnostics. Actually, if one goes by the self-definition of agnosticism that agnostics often give, I am ALSO an agnostic.

I find it disturbing that so many smart people think that they can define what other people think without asking them. It is not a good sign.

Lenny Wrote:

If pressed, I usually call myself an “apatheist” ——- I simply don’t CARE if there’s a god or not.

That describes me pretty well also. Every god men have believed in strikes me as nothing but self-satisfying nonsense. I can imagine a plausible nature for God, but it renders God irrelevant to human affairs. If God exists and is relevant, He has done a spectacularly lousy job of making His relevance clear. In light of these things, I see no reason to clutter my life with the matter. I recommend the same to everyone, but I don’t twist any arms or collect any tithes over it.

steve s Wrote:

I can’t absolutely rule out the possibility of Santa Claus, but don’t you think it would be silly to be agnostic on that?

It would be silly because the nature of Santa Claus is absurd. So, in my opinion, is the idea of a virgin birth, or a resurrection, or a god that gives a particular damn about humanity. But if there is a mode of existence beyond our experience - in higher dimensions, let’s say - then I concede that a god such as that of Deism might not be absurd. Now, that’s a pretty big “if”, but I feel I must recognize it. This doesn’t preclude taking a stand against anti-American religothugs, though.

It really does come down to what one means by “god”.

Aureola,

Regarding your lack of faith…

Perhaps you should worship me. After all my body projects a powerful aura that causes lightbulbs to burn out (or occasionally turn on).

For instance, nearly everytime I go driving with my family, one or more streetlamps will inexplicably burn out as we drive under them.

Just ask my wife, she will confirm these observations.

Alternatively, if someone could violate the laws of thermodynamics on command, I would seriously consider joining their religion.

jim:

thank you very much for your kind offer, but I think I’ll pass. See, I burn streetlamps too! How cool is that?

A different angle:

If god really exists why do we need pastors, priests, rabbi’s, mullah’s etc ?

Atheist from the ancient Greek word a + theos = without gods =not god outside the human mind.

stolen from dictionary.com “ The discussion of atheoi was pronounced in the debate between early Christians and pagans, who each attributed atheism to the other.”

For a giggle google

Logical positivists, Brianism

Jim you ought to be cannonised, pity your married with children you could take a lesson in charlatanism from Dembski and start a new “cult of the dead dark suckers” a zombie cult of young virgins.….dang hasn’t Dembski done that already ?.

AC: “It really does come down to what one means by “god”.” The old elephant and the 6 blind men. The Buddha was reputed to have said when asked this question by one of his followers “What is god” he replied along these lines “For each person on earth you will get a different answer”

It seems to be (an ancient) part of human nature perhaps a survival mechanism since we are the only animals to actually have the luxury of considering the proposition.

Well, I am with this guy.

But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.

-Thomas Jefferson, Notes on Virginia, 1782

BTW. There is a whole religious thread over on AtBC.

I think there’s a God. It only ticks me off when people tell me what to believe. That and thinking science can definately decide it one way or another.

this thread is hilarity!! i love you guys.…. i kept telling myself not to continue reading, but i couldn’t… look… away. like a particularly bad freeway incident, perhaps.

(all that follows is opinion…one man’s even… to be taken with 1000 lbs. of salt, as always)

i think that everyone has made some relevant and decent points. i tend to become chagrined when i see ‘Norman’ basically ripping on people for not having all their personal belief ducks in a row – i myself am an intellectual musician type, and could go whole years without thinking about Gawd, except when the fundies try to shove it down my gullet. and that isn’t even the top of my list of ‘apparently socially important things that i should care about’ that i don’t give a rat’s ass about.…

and then there’s ‘raging bee’, who brings out that all-important ‘i too thought the way you used to, then i GREW UP and learned something’… i love that sentiment, all-too-often used by the falsely pious religious freaks in this country to denigrate their foes. please.… if you are not a religious freakazoid, refrain from the ‘you’ll learn someday, son’, pat-pat-pat on the head tone. it is disgusting.

that said, great thread. very entertaining. with all the venom and posturing based on belief, there is still a modicum of tolerance. kudos.…

Thomas Jefferson Wrote:

But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.

I’d like to think that if TJ were alive today, he would have a few extra things to say when he saw religion actually picking pockets (tax-exempt status for churches, “faith-based initiatives”) and breaking legs (abortion clinic bombings, religiously-motivated assaults, etc.).

Posted by AC on January 17, 2006 06:49 PM (e) … I’d like to think that if TJ were alive today, he would have a few extra things to say when he saw religion actually picking pockets (tax-exempt status for churches, “faith-based initiatives”) and breaking legs (abortion clinic bombings, religiously-motivated assaults, etc.).

Now be serious. That does not correlate to the quote. It was specifically about a neighbours belief, not the antics of an organised religion.

I find it disturbing that so many smart people think that they can define what other people think without asking them. It is not a good sign.

I find the whole need to pigeonhole everyone’s beliefs by labelling them, kinda silly. Which is why I pointed out that, in my view, I don’t really fit ANY of the pigeonholes.

And, right on cue, was jumped on for not fitting my views into the “proper” pigeonhole. (sigh)

I’d like to think that if TJ were alive today, he would have a few extra things to say when he saw religion actually picking pockets (tax-exempt status for churches, “faith-based initiatives”) and breaking legs (abortion clinic bombings, religiously-motivated assaults, etc.).

In all fairness, it seems to be the rather exclusive domain of the FUNDIES to, uh, “serve god” in this manner.

I don’t recall ever hearing about any Unitarian Universalists blowing up abortion clinics, or any Zen Buddhists beating up people who don’t share their religion. There aren’t any Taoist terrorists, that I’ve ever heard about. And the UCC church, on principle, refuses to apply for any “faith based initiatives” funds.

Keep in mind that, despite all the fundie blither to the contrary, “religion” does not equal “fundamentalist”.

k.e., Re “since we are the only animals to actually have the luxury of considering the proposition.” So far as we know, anyway. Without a common language with any other species it’s kind of hard to be certain of that.

Re “ The discussion of atheoi was pronounced in the debate between early Christians and pagans, who each attributed atheism to the other.” Now that’s ironic. Zeus should’a zapped somebody.

steve s, Re “I can’t absolutely rule out the possibility of Santa Claus, “ Perhaps not 100.000000% absolutely, but close enough, since with the the traditional description of that entity, it would have produced observable effects that would have been reported by now.

Henry

Lenny:

I find the whole need to pigeonhole everyone’s beliefs by labelling them, kinda silly. Which is why I pointed out that, in my view, I don’t really fit ANY of the pigeonholes.

If the label is used as a descriptor, a shorthand for use when time is short, it can be covenient. Of course, when it goes beyond that and gets wielded like a club, it stops being useful.

As I said, I am an atheist, which means that I don’t grant my assent to any belief in gods. That’s all this label means, really, and I always make a point of not allowing any additional baggage to be loaded onto it - precisely in order to avoid its usage as a club against me.

Lixivium:

Too bad Ken Miller couldn’t be on the Daily Show instead. Stephen Colbert is horrible at interviews; he needs to learn to shut up and let the guest talk.

Ummmm, I think you’re missing the point.…

While it may actually be the case that “The Daily Show”/”The Colbert Report” is the best news you can find on television, that doesn’t mean that it’s supposed to be that way.…

Cheers,

I know it’s just the fundies, but Jefferson’s statement doesn’t take them into account. I generally appreciate his wisdom, so I wonder what he would say about the case where the proverbial neighbor is an actual fundie who picks pockets and breaks legs for his beliefs.

As I said, I am an atheist, which means that I don’t grant my assent to any belief in gods. That’s all this label means, really, and I always make a point of not allowing any additional baggage to be loaded onto it - precisely in order to avoid its usage as a club against me.

Works for me. As long as one remembers who is attempting to club you, and who is not.

I know it’s just the fundies, but Jefferson’s statement doesn’t take them into account. I generally appreciate his wisdom, so I wonder what he would say about the case where the proverbial neighbor is an actual fundie who picks pockets and breaks legs for his beliefs.

I’m quite sure that a musket would be involved, if necessary.

Atheistic China kills prisoners to use their body parts for more “prominent” people who need them. Perhaps you have heard of Stalin; he was an “atheist” too. Your right, w/o religion the world would be a better place, as these two atheistic examples attest to.

”…and the also-ran Word of the Year, ‘intelligent design’”

Er, they realise that “Intelligent Design” is *two* words, right?

BTW, I do think Prof. Miller is brilliant - at last a great scientist and devout Catholic Christian guy who shows people that there is nothing contradictory whatsoever with scientific truth and the truth of the Gospel.

In fact, Science and Religion are different subjects, which touch only occasionally in philosophy and some empirical academic research (i.e. the science behind archaeology that studies periods of history around the Scriptures, the science of koine Greek exegesis, etc.) That people get the two confused through a simplistically-flawed literalist reading of Genesis just annoys me so much!

Pax tecum,

The Cavalier

Oh, and Aureola Nominee, and Raging Bee:

“I’ve always been told that an AGNOSTIC (whose literal meaning is “not knowing”) is someone who lacks a specific religious belief, doesn’t claim to know what to believe, and/or who has simply not made up his/her mind on the subject; and an ATHEIST is someone who has made up his/her mind and believes there is no god.”

“And there’s the rub: the fact that you’ve been told these things does not make them true. I am an atheist and I do not “believe there is no god”. I simply do not believe any god-claim I’ve ever encountered. Is it just me? No, as is plainly apparent by reading what several other fellows have written in this very thread. There are also plenty of atheist thinkers who have defined atheism as the lack of a god-belief.

I have no problem with people calling themselves agnostics. Actually, if one goes by the self-definition of agnosticism that agnostics often give, I am ALSO an agnostic.

I find it disturbing that so many smart people think that they can define what other people think without asking them. It is not a good sign.”

Can I just point out something that you both might find helpful:

There is an academic difference beween ‘Positive’ and ‘Negative’ Atheists, and ‘Positive’ and ‘Negative’ Agnostics.

Negative Atheism is the assertion that “I don’t believe there is a God personally, but I don’t deny there might be one.” This, I perceive, though I am of course perfectly willing to be corrected, is Aureola Nominee’s position.

Positive Atheism (by which Raging Bee seems to chracterise all ‘Atheism’) is the assertion that “Not only do I not believe in a God, but there can’t possibly be a God at all anyway!”

Negative Agnosticism is the assertion that “I don’t personally know if there is a God, but I don’t deny that one might be able to know.”

Positive Agnosticism is the assertion that “Not only do I not know if there is a God, I deny that anyone will ever be able to know at all!”

Hope that helps, pax tecum,

The Cavalier

Oh, and Aureola Nominee, and Raging Bee:

“I’ve always been told that an AGNOSTIC (whose literal meaning is “not knowing”) is someone who lacks a specific religious belief, doesn’t claim to know what to believe, and/or who has simply not made up his/her mind on the subject; and an ATHEIST is someone who has made up his/her mind and believes there is no god.”

“And there’s the rub: the fact that you’ve been told these things does not make them true. I am an atheist and I do not “believe there is no god”. I simply do not believe any god-claim I’ve ever encountered. Is it just me? No, as is plainly apparent by reading what several other fellows have written in this very thread. There are also plenty of atheist thinkers who have defined atheism as the lack of a god-belief.

I have no problem with people calling themselves agnostics. Actually, if one goes by the self-definition of agnosticism that agnostics often give, I am ALSO an agnostic.

I find it disturbing that so many smart people think that they can define what other people think without asking them. It is not a good sign.”

Can I just point out something that you both might find helpful:

There is an academic difference beween ‘Positive’ and ‘Negative’ Atheists, and ‘Positive’ and ‘Negative’ Agnostics.

Negative Atheism is the assertion that “I don’t believe there is a God personally, but I don’t deny there might be one.” This, I perceive, though I am of course perfectly willing to be corrected, is Aureola Nominee’s position.

Positive Atheism (by which Raging Bee seems to chracterise all ‘Atheism’) is the assertion that “Not only do I not believe in a God, but there can’t possibly be a God at all anyway!”

Negative Agnosticism is the assertion that “I don’t personally know if there is a God, but I don’t deny that one might be able to know.”

Positive Agnosticism is the assertion that “Not only do I not know if there is a God, I deny that anyone will ever be able to know at all!”

Hope that helps, pax tecum,

The Cavalier

Oh, and Aureola Nominee, and Raging Bee:

“I’ve always been told that an AGNOSTIC (whose literal meaning is “not knowing”) is someone who lacks a specific religious belief, doesn’t claim to know what to believe, and/or who has simply not made up his/her mind on the subject; and an ATHEIST is someone who has made up his/her mind and believes there is no god.”

“And there’s the rub: the fact that you’ve been told these things does not make them true. I am an atheist and I do not “believe there is no god”. I simply do not believe any god-claim I’ve ever encountered. Is it just me? No, as is plainly apparent by reading what several other fellows have written in this very thread. There are also plenty of atheist thinkers who have defined atheism as the lack of a god-belief.

I have no problem with people calling themselves agnostics. Actually, if one goes by the self-definition of agnosticism that agnostics often give, I am ALSO an agnostic.

I find it disturbing that so many smart people think that they can define what other people think without asking them. It is not a good sign.”

—————————————————-

Can I just point out something that you both might find helpful:

There is an academic difference beween ‘Positive’ and ‘Negative’ Atheists, and ‘Positive’ and ‘Negative’ Agnostics.

Negative Atheism is the assertion that “I don’t believe there is a God personally, but I don’t deny there might be one.” This, I perceive, though I am of course perfectly willing to be corrected, is Aureola Nominee’s position.

Positive Atheism (by which Raging Bee seems to chracterise all ‘Atheism’) is the assertion that “Not only do I not believe in a God, but there can’t possibly be a God at all anyway!”

Negative Agnosticism is the assertion that “I don’t personally know if there is a God, but I don’t deny that one might be able to know.”

Positive Agnosticism is the assertion that “Not only do I not know if there is a God, I deny that anyone will ever be able to know at all!”

Hope that helps! Pax tecum,

The Cavalier

Er, that shouldn’t have happened three times, but never mind.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Nick Matzke published on January 12, 2006 6:34 PM.

Intelligent Design on CNN was the previous entry in this blog.

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