Where does the good go

Quote of the week

An atheist has to know a lot more than I know. An atheist is someone who knows there is no god. By some definitions atheism is very stupid. – Carl Sagan

13 Responses to “Quote of the week”

  1. Alceste Says:

    What prompted this quote? (Which I’ve always found kind of weird since Sagan reportedly didn’t actually believe in god. I suppose he’s drawing a distinction between atheism and agnosticism, but most atheists i’ve known tend to be in the absence of belief camp rather than having an affirmative belief of the non-existence of god.)

  2. dawn summers Says:

    went to sciency themed adult ed last night. i now fancy myself a scientist. but yes, sagan was agnostic.

  3. Mary Says:

  4. dawn summers Says:

    that dude is a black guy! right?

  5. Mary Says:

  6. Smarty Pants aka VinNay Says:

    Oy vey. Yes, Carl Sagan was “agnostic.” And religious people love to point that out, because it makes them feel on equal ground with non-believers. But, “athiest” and “agnostic” are words that need a more explicit definition as people use them to mean different things.

    To be sure, Carl Sagan was “agnostic,” but agnostic in a way that was equivalent to uncertainty if there are invisible, undetectable unicorns on Pluto.

  7. Alceste Says:

    The quote also is odd in how it mixes the concept of knowledge with belief. How many Christians “know” there is a god versus believe in god on the basis of their faith? How much of faith is itself belief in the unknown or the unknowable?

    (By way of example, I have no clue whether god exists one way or the other, but, like Sagan, I don’t have an affirmative belief in its existence. You’re still going to call me an atheist, albeit an agnostic atheist, even though I don’t make any claim to “know” that there’s no god. The acknowledgement that I lack any knowledge about it is where the agnosticm kicks in.)

  8. Smarty Pants aka VinNay Says:

    Alceste – So by your definition, are you agnostic about leprechauns?

    Personally, I feel as comfortable saying “Dude, there is no such this as god” as I do saying “Dude, there is no such thing as leprechauns.”

  9. Smarty Pants aka VinNay Says:

    I guess a better way to state my position is to say that arbitrary statements (god, leprechauns, flying spaghetti monsters, et cetera) shouldn’t stake any claim whatsoever on our attention.

    Granting them validity of attention requires us to relinquish our proper method of reason, logic, and gaining knowledge.

  10. Dawn Says:

    Just so you know, I’m praying to Jesus for both of you tomorrow. What can I get for you? Car? wealth? Flying spgaghetti monster?

  11. Smarty Pants aka VinNay Says:

    I want an Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifle!

  12. Dawn Summers Says:

    You’ll shoot your eye out, kid.

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