Strong vs. Weak July 13, 2007Posted by Joe in agnosticism, atheism, belief, evidence, freethought, god, psychology, skepticism, theism.
Some atheists often separate themselves into two subtly distinct groups; the “weak” atheists and the “strong” atheists.
Weak atheism is defined as a lack of belief in any god or gods. They haven’t seen compelling evidence that a god exists so their default stance is not to form any god belief.
Strong atheism is a positive belief that there is no god. They have an actual belief that no god exists
It is a common thought and often expressed that weak atheism is the more defensible of the two. In conversations with theists I often see atheists claiming that most atheists are weak atheists and that strong atheism is mostly a popular misunderstanding of atheism. Strong atheists are rare, they say. The extreme end of the spectrum where most of us reasonable folks don’t go.
However, I protest. I can’t see how strong atheism isn’t a simple logical consequence of weak atheism. (I suppose this makes me a strong atheist.)
If I don’t believe in the existence of the Nessie, visiting extra-terrestrials, or ghosts, I don’t go around walking a fine line by stressing that I don’t disbelieve in ghosts I just lack a belief in ghosts. What nonsense. There is no evidence that the spirits of dead folks manifest themselves in anyway. Therefore I believe that there are no ghosts. Period.
Likewise, there is no evidence of any god existing so I believe that there is no god. Evidence could change my mind, but I won’t bother tip toeing around this question any more than I would any other supernatural claim. I believe there is no such thing as the supernatural. I believe the concept itself is nonsensical.
Can someone explain to me what keeps the weak atheists from going strong?