Re: Why atheism beats agnosticism (Was: Re: Contacting God)

Max More (
Thu, 23 Apr 1998 14:19:07 -0700

Just a brief follow-up, since I must leave...

"Agnostic" -- a-gnosis -- means someone without knowledge of god(s). The
weak form of agnosticism is held by one who believes they *do not* have
knowledge of any possible god(s). The strong form is held by one who holds
the positive view that they *cannot* know whether there is a god or gods.

The strong form of agnosticism implies a certain view of human knowledge.
Essentially it implies that questions of the existence of gods lies
definitely beyond human knowledge. I suspect that many people are attracted
to this position because they equate knowledge with absolute,
non-contextual certainly. I think that equation is thoroughly wrong.

If you have a reasonable standard of knowledge, or of rational belief, then
you can look at the arguments and the evidence and conclude that there is
no reason to believe in a god. That lack of belief, that a-theism, makes
you an atheist. The agnostic, by contrast, has a standard of knowledge such
that they may think they can never know or rationally come to a conclusion
on the issue.


Max More, Ph.D.
Updated website (Jan 98):
President, Extropy Institute:,