David Eagleman is confused

I have to imagine the confusion is caused by the mistaken idea religion has anything to contribute to the conversation about our existence and our place in the Universe. They’ve been making the claim for so long it’s considered “normal” to believe in God. They have it easy: they can make an infinite amount of baseless claims, and we’re seen as the bad guys for calling them on their bullshit. So when a group of individuals reject these claims as being entirely without merit, we’re the ones painted as dogmatic and close minded. “Science hasn’t yet found all the answers, and my God lives in the margins!”

How many pointless articles are going to be written about how “New Atheism” is dogmatic? I feel like the same old tired arguments are always being carelessly tossed around. “How can atheists claim with certainty there is no God? It’s more intellectually congruous to be an agnostic!”. Have any of these people actually bothered to think about what they’re saying before they say it?

It’s not just dumb religious people chiming in their two cents, accusing us non-believers of being dogmatic. Smart people can also be profoundly confused as to the nature of disbelief. Take this article written by David Eagleman. He seems to think we’re being intellectually disingenuous, and he feels being a “possibilian” (possibly the dumbest new word I’ve heard all year) is the better position. But I have to wonder what’s to be done with the millions of people who simply don’t find the argument for God compelling? Are they dogmatic for having never been convinced something supernatural created the natural world? Should we all sit them down and berate them for being dogmatic?

So it seems we know too little to commit to strict atheism, and too much to commit to any religion. Given this, I am often surprised by the number of people who seem to possess total certainty about their position.

How many times do we have to clarify our position the absence of evidence for God is our only real conviction? If there was suddenly compelling evidence to suggest “He” was real (I still giggle at religionists giving their God a sex), do you think the majority of atheists would continue to be disbelievers? It demonstrates only a profound ignorance of the concept of atheism. We are all, to some degree, agnostics, and open to evidence about the supernatural. We’re just fucking sick and tired of people telling us atheists are the ones in the wrong. Last time I checked, the most “compelling” evidence for God was we hadn’t found him yet. Wow, I’m totally convinced now! I’ll have to sell all my atheist related books and get on this whole “possibilian” bandwagon! Yeah, I’ll get right on that…

Comments (3)

  • avatar


    “They have it easy: they can make an infinite amount of baseless claims, and we’re seen as the bad guys for calling them on their bullshit.”

    Totally with you on that one. What baffles me even more is that when presented with compelling (at least I thought it was) evidence that their religion was invented by humans, they perform mind-boggling acts of mental gymnastics so that in their mind they are still correct, even though there isn’t a single fact to support any of their religious beliefs.

  • avatar


    While listening to an episode of another similarly-themed podcast: “Chariots of Iron,” I heard an interesting distinction. While atheism refers to a lack of belief in god or gods, agnosticism describes a lack of knowledge about any such. I can’t sanely claim any direct, evidence-based knowledge, so I can’t believe in gods of any description. What do you know? I’m an agnostic atheist.

  • avatar

    Steven Wright

    Richard Dawkins claims more than he is pretending here. David Eagleman is a genius!

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