Anonymous asked in Society & CultureReligion & Spirituality · 1 decade ago

Fellow atheists, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence?

Before reading on, please realize I AM an atheist.

One of the reason I stopped believing in God because I realized that claiming that I know exactly how the universe was created is a rather big thing to claim. Not to mention, there was absolutely NO evidence supporting this claim, rather than the bible. (which as we know is no real proof of anything)

But lately I've been leaning toward agnosticism. I consider myself an atheist still, as I don't believe in a God really. But lately I was thinking about this: Would you agree that also claiming there is no God an extraordinary claim to make? Sure there is significant proof of evolution and the Big Bang, which disproves the bible, but doesn't necessarily prove against a deity? I'm not saying I believe there is one, but wouldn't you agree that claiming there is absolutely no creator, a rather extraordinary claim to make?


I am certainly no 'fence sitter'.

For the most part I don't believe in God, but I do accept that there will never be enough evidence to support my claim, but there will also never be enough evidence to claim there IS a God.

Don't call me a fence-sitter, because if you do, you clearly have no idea what agnosticism is.

35 Answers

  • fray
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago
    Favourite answer

    this comes up time and time again. you're not alone in your thoughts, the vast majority of atheists don't claim there is no god, they just don't believe in god. not believing in something isn't the same as believing it's not true.

    there are many things i don't believe in, leprechauns, invisible pink unicorns, god, etc. but obviously i'm not omniscient, i can't say with certainty that they don't exist, you can't prove a negative claim. but with no evidence i'm certainly not going to believe in them.

    to me agnosticism is about claiming that we can't possibly know the truth, which seems in itself an extraordinary claim, if i die and find myself in heaven (or hell, who knows?), i'm going to figure that that's pretty good evidence for god. i don't think we can't know the truth (although that's highly likely), i just think we don't

    i also understand that a lot of people who call themselves agnostic do so under a different definition to the one i just put forward, which is why i try not to judge people on labels, this is just the reasoning i used to work out where i stood personally. some agnostics view it more as 'we don't know right now' and under that definition i could just as easily consider myself agnostic, although i don't think i should be made to actively entertain an idea just because others have chosen to believe it without evidence.

  • 1 decade ago

    There are many things to consider. But first, yes, an extraordinary claim requires extraordinary evidence. While I understand that you could consider the shorthand statement "god or gods do not exist" as a claim, what this means to some to most of us is: no evidence of a objective, empirical, compelling nature has ever in the history of humanity been presented to justify the claim that a god or gods exist. This is supported by "if a god existed and interacts with this world, then evidence of those interactions would exist".

    Agnostic on the other hand (at least hard-line agnostics), state that it is categorically impossible to determine if a god or gods exist.

    Having said all of this, some to most atheists do not treat their declaration of no god or gods as a belief. It is a statement based on all of the currently available information. If new information comes to light, then just like in everything else, they would reevaluate the statement. For example if geologists confirm that they have missed a global layer of silt that dates to the same time period, then I will retract my statement that the global flood did not happen. Since this has not happened nor is there any reason to give credence to a global flood, I see no reason to say that it can or can not be proved.

    Likewise, I see no reason that a god or gods can not have evidence, or that the assertion that the supernatural cannot be detected or studied is a true statement. So the agnostic position seems to be unsupportable to me. If there is evidence or a very strong reason to think that there is anything that can exist without discoverable evidence, then I may consider the agnostic viewpoint. (so far there is none).

  • 1 decade ago

    Hi, the truth fairy 2,

    I think you are just sitting on the fence and waiting to see what will happen,... afraid to believe in a Deity of any kind, and ....afraid not to.

    Personally my little fence sitter, I would love to see you sit in favor of a Deity, or of a God. And yes, I agree that claiming that there is absolutely no creator, is a rather extraordinary claim to make.

    But even more extraordinary is claiming that there is a Creator. I must say tho, that my Creator would prefer you to be Hot or Cold, not lukewarm. He does not accept lukewarm.

    The fact is that you have no creator and you still don't know how the universe was created.

    Have you ever found yourself saying Oh My God?, or Thank God for that, or I wish to God this or that would happen. Of course you have.

    God Exists in the realm of the Spirit. It is a Spiritual Thing. Very personal, and very real.

    Don't worry so much about creation, sometimes truth fairy,.. obstacles are put in your path to deceive you. Try and let the seeds that have been planted take fertile ground, resist the temporal and fight for things eternal with all of you Heart Mind Soul and Strength. You may never understand creation. In fact, I can guarantee that you wont. But you do understand the needs that you have for the Creators' Spirit in your life... other than that, you would not keep searching so hard for truth.

    Ask the Spirit within you to show you a pathway. When you get the answer, let this be something that you remember

    Trust in the LORD with all your heart,

    And lean not on your own understanding;

    In all your ways acknowledge Him,

    And He shall direct your paths.

    And so Lovely Lady of the truth fairy persuasion,

    Dont Give up and sit on the fence, put Spirit in your life and Live victoriously. Dont let anyone, or anything steal your Spirit.

    And yes, I am a Christian.


    That means the Unconditional Love of God is my hope and expectationh for you,


  • 1 decade ago

    Look at the 6 days of creation as stated in the bible, these tally with the stages of creation of the universe and life on earth. Just a coincidence, maybe, but it would be an amazingly big one.

    Religion and evolution do not exclude each other, the only problem is people who will not acknowledge that their edition of the bible may not be entirely accurate or the people who will not admit that science does not have all the answers. The truth is probabbly somewhere in between.

    My suggestion is just be a good person, make other people happy and believe what ever you want to. And don't tell anyone they are wrong, they probably are, but they will rarely admit it.

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  • 1 decade ago

    I am also an atheis but technically the position is one of agnosticism (not knowing).

    We are all in a position of not knowing. Christians don't know for sure Zeus doesn't exist, Hindus don't know for sure that Jahweh doesn't exist. I admit that I don't know that any of them don't exist.

    Here's where Russell's Teapot comes in. To quote Bertrand Russell in his unpublished magazine article "Is there a God?":

    "If I were to suggest that between the Earth and Mars there is a china teapot revolving about the sun in an elliptical orbit, nobody would be able to disprove my assertion provided I were careful to add that the teapot is too small to be revealed even by our most powerful telescopes. But if I were to go on to say that, since my assertion cannot be disproved, it is an intolerable presumption on the part of human reason to doubt it, I should rightly be thought to be talking nonsense. If, however, the existence of such a teapot were affirmed in ancient books, taught as the sacred truth every Sunday, and instilled into the minds of children at school, hesitation to believe in its existence would become a mark of eccentricity and entitle the doubter to the attentions of the psychiatrist in an enlightened age or of the Inquisitor in an earlier time."

    All these different and various gods, Russell was arguing, had no more right to a presumption of existence than the mythical teapot. You won't find a Christian prepared to give the existence of the goddess Venus a moment's credence, so why should an atheist mince words about the incredibility of the whole lot of them?

    File the whole lot of them under "may exist" with an infinitessimal probability, until further evidence should present itself.

  • I'm happy to discuss the not-knowing perspective. It's Zen, all the way, and I love that.

    Yes, you're right. Devout atheism is really no different from devout Catholocism or devout Judaism, etc.

    It's a matter of walking the middle road of not-knowing, not-believeing, not-having all the answers.

    That's the path to walk, although having attempted to describe exactly what the path is, I've detoured a slight degree off of it. That's the beauty of the Tao. You name it, and all of a sudden, you're miles away from it.

    Better to live in the mystery of being alive and discovering something new everyday. This doesn't mean accepting the possibility of a deity figure actually being responsible for the "creation" of the universe, nor does it mean we have to bow down before the noodly-ness of the FSM (although I'm more inclined to the latter than the former).

  • 1 decade ago

    The universe without God is simpler than a universe with God, so it's better to default to the atheist hypothesis.

    In other words, when we claim God doesn't exist, we're denying the existence of an infinitely complex, infinitely powerful, infinitely knowledgeable being who has always existed, without origin or cause. This denial is definitely not an extraordinary claim. The burden of proof is clearly and heavily on the shoulders of those who believe in such an exotic being.

  • 1 decade ago

    absolutely not, fellow atheist. to claim that god or a creator exists is to also claim that magic exists. sharply against the scientific method, the only bastion of logic and reasoning in our society.

    another reason why it is foolish to claim that a creator exists is because the idea is human, and only based off human intelligence. technically, because we don't know, it could have been ANYTHING that got us to where we are now. this means that claiming a "being" (human or not, still a "living being") created us is a biased, human thing to say.

    basically, the idea of a deity was born from the human mind. it's magic. it's foolish. it's extrodinary to claim there IS a creator. when ever reasoning is part of a claim, the claim is not extrodinary; it is reasonable.

  • 1 decade ago

    Of course it's an extroardinary claim. But since there's no evidence of a creator, and as far as I can tell all religions are wrong, there's no sense in following a false religion when, if there is a creator, it's not the one you're worshipping. I have a feeling if there is an intelligent creator (who may or may not give a crap about us) then he'd probably reward man for thinking on his own rather than following a manmade religion used to control people. But the question is unanswerable either way, because no one KNOWS if there is a creator.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    "Would you agree that also claiming there is no God an extraordinary claim to make?"

    Honestly no, because I feel it's really improbable that there is an invisible *being* of any sort that controls everything.

    Particularly that such a "being" would have any interest in, let alone full attention or be centered on, a species on one tiny planet that are so small we hardly even exist. In the earthly world, a gnat is huge in contrast to our existence compared to the universe.

    I feel it's more likely that we just lucked out. Too bad we can't as a planet of people act like it.

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