Richard Dawkins: Actually, I'm not sure that God doesn't exist

Go on. Laugh it up. Twist the knife in my heart.

Seriously, though, he’s making a banal point here — banal enough that I’ve made it myself repeatedly when arguing with readers in our comment threads. Having one of the world’s most prominent atheists admit he’s not totally sure is catnip for believers, but all he’s doing is being a conscientious skeptic. Every atheist is technically an agnostic; the distinction in the labels is largely the degree of confidence with which one’s concluded that there’s no God. Since there’s no way to conclusively prove that God doesn’t exist, no one can correctly claim absolute confidence. That’s all Dawkins is getting at, per his point that he’s a 6.9 on his own seven-point scale of doubt. I’d guesstimate that most people between, say, four and six call themselves “agnostic” while anyone beyond six self-identifies as “atheist.” Point is, you can never quite get to seven, just as virtually any conscientious believer will admit that they’re not quite at one. Which of course is why they’re called “believers,” not “knowers.”

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Jazz Shaw 5:31 PM on February 04, 2023