qmark wrote:I just think weak or strong is silly when it comes down to describing atheists. It is either yes or no. You either believe or you don't. If you are in the middle, you are an agnostic. The dictionary describes atheist as one who denies the existance of God, the agnostic as one who is a skeptic, mainly because they believe it is unknowable. To me, that breaks it down succinctly.
I just noticed this.
You hit the nail right on the head with this part "the agnostic as one who is a skeptic, mainly because they believe it is unknowable".
So weak atheists are different to agnostics because they do not hold that position. You are agreeing with me.
So, what do you call a person who:
a) lacks belief
b) does not think knowledge is fundamentally unknowable
c) does not claim proof of non-existence, or outright dismiss the possibility that theism may be true
This does not fit agnosticism because of B, does not fit Strong Atheism because of C, and does not fit theism because of A.
Hence the term Weak Atheist.
I really do not see what your issue is now, because you seem to understand the problem, it just hasn't clicked into your head yet why the term "Weak Atheist" is the solution.
You also say "you either believe, or you don't", but then you contradict that by saying "agnostics are in the middle". Agnostics DO NOT BELIEVE, there is no middle ground, you cannot both believe and not believe, and you cannot fail to take a side. If the options are "belief" and "not belief" then it is agnosticism (the strange middle ground) that should not exist. Your complaint, if anything, should be with the agnostics, not the atheists.
The reason we had to invent the term "Weak Atheist" is because people like you assume that atheism is automatically a direct claim to knowledge of the non-existence of God, which it isn't. It is lack of belief - people who say confused and incorrect things like "If atheists do not dismiss it outright, than they are agnostics.", which you have refuted by your own additional comments here where you say "you either believe, or you don't believe [and those who don't believe are atheists]".
Babies are atheists, not agnostics. When a baby is born, the baby lacks belief, it has no concept of evidence for or against God, or of the impossibility of knowledge, or anything else, but a baby does not dismiss the possibility either because it does not have the mental capacity to even understand the question. Babies are atheists, and so are inanimate objects, and so are animals, and so are people who are not convinced by the evidence for any religion.
Sorry for waffling on, but this stuff is also core to the very philosophy many atheists share towards beliefs in general, and goes right to the heart of science and skepticism itself.
"All of our behavior can be traced to biological events about which we have no conscious knowledge: this has always suggested that free will is an illusion."
- Sam Harris