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My Specific Position

Careful Description Of My Current Self-Applied Label

Copyright © 2015 by Wil C. Fry. All Rights Reserved.

Published 2015.02.10, Updated 2015.11.26



By definition, I am an atheist. This means I answer “no” to the question “Do you believe in god(s)?”

More specifically, I am a “strong atheist”, which means I not only lack belief in gods, but assert that god claims are false. This is a change from my early 2015 position of “agnostic atheist”.

While it’s likely I will never be 100% certain that gods don’t exist, I can be reasonably certain, for all practical purposes.
Early in 2015, I said, “I choose to avoid a complete assertion of certainty, having been fairly certain of something (which turned out to be demonstrably false) for half my life.” While that hasn’t changed, my perception of “certainty” has shifted. While it’s likely I will never be 100% certain that gods don’t exist, I can be reasonably certain, for all practical purposes.

I originally referred to “there being no evidence either way”, when it comes to the question of the existence of gods. But I have continued to ponder and research the question, and have found evidence. It is not in God’s favor. I’ve written an entirely new page on that topic.

If a God or gods exist, he or she or it or they remain steadfastly undetectable — and therefore irrelevant. Because of the extreme lack of evidence where evidence should be abundant, I do not believe in any god, fairy, ghost, magic, or other imaginary or fictional being, power, or force. It’s extremely unlikely that any invisible deities exist.

If a God or gods exist, he or she or it or they remain steadfastly undetectable — and therefore irrelevant.
I won’t rule out the possibility that convincing evidence will someday be found. I could certainly be convinced, but not by baseless assertions.

The burden of proof is on the gods and his/her/its/their followers. If there’s no evidence of an elephant in my closet, I won’t believe in the elephant. If someone asserts there is an elephant in there, it’s up to them (or it) to prove its existence. It is not up to me to disprove it (though I’m fairly certain I can). There should at least be elephant poop on the carpet, or something. Perhaps strange noises coming from in there, or an odor. And even if I became somewhat convinced the elephant might exist, then when I open the door to take the elephant for a walk, and the closet is empty and clean, I would become very certain that it had not been in there.

Unlike religion, atheism is falsifiable — that is, certain evidence could disprove atheism, if that evidence ever presented itself. It hasn’t. But it could. At any time. Any deity that exists could show itself, or perform some act that would be undeniable proof. To me, this is far less likely than finding alternate-evolution mole people living under the crust of the Earth, but it could happen.

On the sliding scale of certainty (see image below), I would place myself near the far-right edge, at around 95%.


Sliding Scale Of Certainty, copyright © 2015 by Wil C. Fry


Another way of looking at it follows, an illustration I made in February 2015. On this chart, I would place myself in the upper right quadrant, perhaps at the “four o’clock” position.


Eight-point scale of belief/certainty, copyright © 2015 by Wil C. Fry


The scale below was written by a fairly famous atheist, though I think any reasonable person from any point on the scale can recognize the steps.

1. Strong Theist: 100% certain of God. Knowing, rather than believing.
2. De facto Theist: God is very probable. Live with the assumption God exists.
3. Weak Theist: Very uncertain, but inclined to belief.
4. Pure Agnostic: God’s existence and non-existence are equally probable.
5. Weak Atheist: Very uncertain, but inclined to skepticism.
6. De facto Atheist: God is very improbable. Live with the assumption God doesn’t exist.
7. Strong Atheist: 100% certain of no God.

(Source: The God Delusion, Richard Dawkins, 2008, Mariner, pg. 73)



I spent the first 20 years of my life at or very close to number 1 on this scale, and the next 20 years at number 2 or 3. When I sat down to write this page, I was a solid number 4. My current “strong atheism” would fall very near number 7 on this scale, perhaps 6.9. When I refer to “atheism” with no qualifiers, I generally mean anyone in the 5 to 7 range.





Next: Definitions

Related: Why There Is Almost Certainly No God

Related: Misconceptions About Atheism.

Or use the More menu to navigate.




EDITS:


2015.03.01: Added 8-point scale image and caption.

2015.03.09: Added link to misconceptions page.

2015.11.21: Re-labeled myself as “strong atheist”, rather than as “agnostic atheist”. Changed subhead. Added link to original version of this page. Replaced many paragraphs with new ones. Reworded other paragraphs. Created new pull-out text modules.

Edit, 2015.11.26: Added link to new page (“Why There Is Almost Certainly No God”).


This is the updated version of this page. To see the original version, click here.







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