How amusing and sadly typical that, upon visitng iamanatheist.com I
am informed that, like it or not, I am an atheist.
Well, folks, I am not.
Sorry to hear that you find instant conversion to atheistm through visiting a Web site typical. Personally, I think it’s rather atypical, but you may have more experience in this area than I (or I might be misunderstanding you).
I read your essay, and I think that we actually agree on pretty much everything but some minor issues involving vocabulary. I would say — and many dictionaries would agree — that someone who is not convinced that deities exist is just as correctly called an atheist as someone who insists that deities do not exist. Given this, I am an atheist in the “I see no compelling evidence for deities” sense. I do not profess knowledge of the metaphysical truth, and I am open to further evidence.
So why don’t I call myself an agnostic?
Well, I largely agree with your statements about science being agnostic. But I am hoping you would agree that even those with a strong scientific bent do not spend their lives pointing out that they are technically agnostic on many subjects. For example, if someone asks me if the person I call Dad is my father, I will say yes rather than explaining that I believe he is my father but that it is possible there is additional evidence of which I am not aware. For this reason, I would not describe myself as agnostic on the subject of who my father is, even if in a purely scientific sense I am.
So far as I have seen, the evidence for the existence of a deity is incredibly weak. For this reason, I feel that consistency requires me to not say that I am agnostic on the issue. If I were to call myself an agnostic on the issue of dieties, then I would feel compelled to call myself an agnostic on the issues of astrology, aliens in UFOs, fairies, and witchcraft, among other things, and to do so would give people a decidendly incorrect picture of my opinion.
I’d be interested in hearing your reaction to the points I make here, and I would be happy to share your words with my readers.