Re: Why atheism beats agnosticism

Damien Broderick (
Fri, 24 Apr 1998 11:50:47 +0000

At 11:26 AM 4/23/98 -0700, Max More wrote:

>I would take the same position if someone claimed that an invisible,
>intangible elf lived on top of the Empire State Building, where it
>controlled the minds of the heads of state. Since there is zero evidence
>for such a belief, and any predictions such a beliefs makes are going to be
>either unfalsifiable or plain wrong, I would reject that belief.

I'm an atheist who was raised as a Catholic and spent a bit of time reading
in theology and mysticism. It seems to me that what Max is saying here is
*way* too easy.

The claims for a deity of the Judeo-Christian-Muslim variety are far
stronger than the utterances of a lone lunatic hallucinating an invisible
elf. Mystical experiences, which tend to be excluded or invalidated by
those who've never had them, are frequently conceptualised and framed in
terms that take language to its very boundaries. But so too do QT and much
of mathematics. Besides, like concepts of infinity and physical
singularities, deity can be teased out of our sense of the world's limits
in a special way utterly unlike delusions or even the indwelling
`life-force' or gods of animist belief systems. We need to give our
metaphysical foes credit for the depth and subtlety of their claims. (BTW,
to me *every* cognitive structure is metaphysical; I'm not using the term
as a swear word.)

Damien Broderick