Re: Why Atheism Beats Agnosticism

den Otter (
Tue, 28 Apr 1998 00:26:17 +0200

> From: T0Morrow <>

> >> Like Laplace, I have little need for the god hypothesis.
> >> But the atheistic certainty in god's non-existence strikes
> >> me as a bit too cock-sure.
> Responded (den Otter):
> > Being sure of your case (or at least pretending to be sure) has a memetic
> > advantage, and if you're wrong and there *is* a "god", so what? Nothing
> > would matter anyway.
> Whether or not a claim has a "memetic advantage" hardly settles the issue of
> what claims to make. Back when people spoke of "rhetoric" rather than
> "memetics" (a fine distinction, I suppose, but one must stay au courant the
> buzzwords), they widely recognized that persuasion should stop short of
> falsehood.

I see no falsehood in the claim that "the existence of (the Judeo-Christian)
god is so unlikely that it can be treated in the same way as the [potential]
existence of elves: it is irrelevant to everyday life. Furthermore, the existence
of a Supreme Being, especially one with the characteristics of the Judeo-
Christian god is not desirable to the more serious transhumanist, because
it would likely frustrate his tecno-ascension and severely curb his freedom."

I don't know whether or not the above should be called "atheism",
"agnosticism" or something else, but it seems like the most rational
approach. As for the "memetic advantage": transhumanism and religion
(and most political ideologies etc.) are competitors in the memetic
field, they both hunt for the souls of the undecided. People tend to
go with the strongest (loudest) speaker, and since many of the competing
philosophy's spokespersons are loud and cocksure, similar tactics
must be employed (sometimes -- depending on your audience) to stand
a chance. In this case, the end justifies the means, IMHO of course...

Questioning your beliefs is good, but there is also something like too
much of a good thing. Just like we assume that the sun will rise
tomorrow, we must also (for the sake of practicality) assume that
god isn't going to come down from the heavens to save/kill/whatever