Readers of Planet Atheism have probably seen this several times today:
Fundamentalists: believe 2+2 =5 because It Is Written. Somewhere. They have a lot of trouble on their tax returns.
“Moderate” believers: live their lives on the basis that 2+2=4. but go regularly to church to be told that 2+2 once made 5, or will one day make 5, or in a very real and spiritual sense should make 5.
“Moderate” atheists: know that 2+2 =4 but think it impolite to say so too loudly as people who think 2+2=5 might be offended.
“Militant” atheists: “Oh for pity’s sake. HERE. Two pebbles. Two more pebbles. FOUR pebbles. What is WRONG with you people?”
And, of course, it’s absolutely correct.
But I’d add another one in the middle:
Agnostics: 2+2 may be 4, or may be 5. Yes, it LOOKS like it’s 4, but I don’t have perfect knowledge, and I want to keep an open mind. Who’s to say the religionists aren’t correct? Who am I to know?
Yes, as long time readers of WotM are probably aware of, I really don’t like agnostics. Sorry if you’re one, but, to me, agnosticism is pure intellectual cowardice.
A fundamentalist theist believes “truth” is separate from reality, and, if they conflict, then reality is wrong. An atheist believes reality IS truth. An agnostic, on the other hand, believes reality is unknowable, and therefore evades the responsibility of trying to understand it. Anything goes. Reality is fluid, ever-changing, unpredictable. We can never truly know anything for certain, since everything we know, every law we take as true, may change tomorrow.
An agnostic — much like a New Age mystic — distorts the concept of “open mindedness” to an absurd level, where there are no laws, no rules, no hard facts, no reality — at least none that can be ever understood. To an agnostic, everything is possible, so nothing is ever certain. Taken to the extreme, nothing is ever even more likely than anything else.
Sorry, but, to me, this is no more rational than believing in an invisible bearded man in the sky, invented by primitive Bronze Age nomads, who, somehow, hates all the same people you do.