Thursday, May 31, 2018

Koardic World








The word "Kaordic" is considered a blend, aka, a portmanteau, which is when the sounds and meanings of two words are turned into one word. Examples would be "execution", which is made from the words "execute" and "electrocution". Another would be, "motel", which is made from "motor" and "hotel".

The word "Kaordic" is a spin on a blend, being an adjective, not a noun, and it is derived from "kaos" and "order". In other words, opposites.

                                                 
                                            Kaordic World


                                                

                                                Right now I see the majesty of order
                                                Hostility is right behind the door
                                                And here I stand, somewhere in the middle
                                                Descended from the stars I live for evermore

                                             
                                                 There's no rhyme or reason why galaxies collide
                                                 Now Jesus Christ is bleeding....
                                                 For a world he wants to save
                                                 A world you can kiss goodbye

                                                   

                                                       ~ J. Lords (Dark Matter)











Friday, May 25, 2018

Under the Microscope: Divine Command Theory






Previously in a recent discussion on morality, "Divine Command Theory" came up.

"Divine Command Theory, henceforth, DCT, will often pop up when the topic turns to morality, simply because theists who argue as moral objectivists claim that there exists a moral standard that is "Absolute" and that said standard comes from "God". "God" is the standard, they would argue. And moreover, in some but not all cases, the theist will argue that atheists must account for an objective morality if they reject that morality comes from a Divine source. This is false, but what atheists need to account for (or not) is for another discussion.

So, ethics - aka, "right" Vs "wrong" - are contended to be grounded in a theistic framework, claims the theist.

For example, Christians would likely say that the god of their bible is the moral standard, while Muslims would contend that morals come from "Allah", the god of the Holy Qu'ran.

Okay, so this essentially leaves *two choices for the people who claim to get their moral standard from "God":

Either, 1) God can command anything at all and it is seen as "good" by sheer virtue of the command coming from "God", or 2) God commands certain things because certain things are "good", and by extension, God would refrain from commanding things that are "bad"(or "evil").

*if I've left an option out, I'm willing to have a listen to what that might be, preferably with examples. 

Option 1 is more or less DCT, encapsulated.

Here's how Wikipedia defines the term:

Also known as theological voluntarism, [DCT] is a meta-ethical theory which proposes that an action's status as morally good is equivalent to whether it is commanded by God. 

Perhaps the biggest clue here that something is amiss is the word "whether", because it's implicit that there's some contingency or stipulations to be found. In other words, we're being reasonable to conclude that "or not" is implied, as in, "an action's status as morally good is equivalent to whether or not it is commanded by God."

So, if certain things might not be commanded by God, the very first question we must ask, is why not?

Who or what would prevent even God from commanding certain things, if this God is presumably where the buck stops? Not to mention, the very fact that there would exist a "what" or a "who" that would prevent God from commanding certain things should be all the evidence that anyone needs to conclud that DCT completely crumbles if anything or anyone exists that might prevent God from commanding certain things.

In the past what I've used as an example was the command to kill all non-Christians. The response I got, in short, was that "God" would not command such a thing because if he did, then he/she/it wouldn't be "God".

I guess this depends on which "God" we're talking about, because in both the Bible and the Qu'ran, passages can be found commanding the death of the respective infidels.

In fact, in Luke 19:27, the bible states....


But those enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them—bring them here and kill them in front of me.

Nice, huh? Okay, well, to be fair, according to some apologists, Jesus is speaking in parable here. Fine. So what is parable mostly used for? It's used to illustrate some finer, spiritual lesson.

So, here, the finer spiritual lesson is evidently that it's in one's best interest to be Jesus' disciple. 

But rather than debate the "true" meaning of what was intended, I prefer to just use other examples. For instance, if God commanded our soldiers to secure the children of our enemies and to then dash their heads against rocks, the question we can rightfully ask, is this:  Does dashing the heads of children become the "moral" thing to do if God commands it? By the way, no Christian can use the, "God wouldn't be God if God commanded that", defense, because in this instance, it is clear that we have the OT deity of the bible, aka, "Yahweh", commanding precisely that. (Psalm 137:9) There's even a special twist, because said God is not saying that this act should be done regrettably, but instead, that we should feel "blessed", or righteous to perform such an act.

While this example might not put all theists in the hot seat, it most definitely puts Christian theists in a bit of a quandary, because what if their God commanded such things in 2018, assuming said God actually has a referent in reality for sake of discussion? How, exactly, would Christians respond to such commands? If one subscribes to DCT, then, in theory, such a despicable act and others just like it, become "moral" by mere virtue of the command coming from God, the supposed objective Moral-Giver.

So? What's stopping you? What would stop you from following such orders?

It seems to me that the only option would be to flat-out disobey God. In fact, from where I sit, that would be the one and only choice; the right choice. After all, there is nothing inherently "good" about following orders.

Consider that human beings have followed the orders of sinister people since time immemorial. Horrible, despicable acts, all carried out because people evidently either couldn't think for themselves or were too afraid to disobey. And again, some theists would surely be quick to point out that atheist dictators commanded evil things, too, and while I would not deny this, I would contend that they did this, not because they didn't have enough religion, but because they were following the tenets of religion a little too closely.

And let's examine something else: When a child follows the orders of a parent, is that child making a moral judgement? I would contend that, no, the child isn't making a moral judgement. Sure, said child is a free agent, but he or she is neither being moral, or immoral; he or she is just following orders. The end.

Most of us as normal, reasonable adults know that we must filter anything we're told to do, whether it comes from a person of authority, or not, through our own, innate sense of right and wrong. If it's contended that this "screening" process is totally subjective, and therefore, unacceptable, you know, since it's based on nothing outside or independent of ourselves, then he who contends this must consider that with DCT this is no different. The mindset, "Yeah, but this is God we're taking about!" amounts to special pleading, and at the end of the day, it ends up being a circular argument.

So, something's got to give, here. The one and only way that DCT can "work" as defined above is if the moral objectivist who's advocating said theory follows, without question or apprehension, any and every command or order that God gives them. The DCT proponent doesn't get to sit back and say, "Hmm, is this something that God would command?" To be apprehensive of, or to flat-out disobey such commands, instantly suggests that one is evoking their own, subjective sense of right and wrong and then projecting the conclusion onto the situation, which of course then flies in the face of the very idea of DCT.

There's no "wiggle room" here, folks.  If one wants to introduce things like "wiggle room" and nuance when one talks ethics, fine, but then they are talking situational ethics, not anything Absolute.


Sunday, May 20, 2018

Skepticism




Okay, so in the wake of the two previous blog posts, posts which actually involved some pretty intense and even heated debate with a Christian I came across on social media, a few things became apparent to me:

For starters, my blog statistics show that the two previous posts are the most viewed in relation to the amount of time they've been published. Hundreds of views in just a matter of days. In other words, there's evidently more people following along in the conversations that took place in these last two posts than there was in previous posts, posts where there's either been no comments at all, or only comments from other non-theists.

The second observation was that it seems like the biggest stumbling blocks in said conversations, were, 1) morality..i.e..where our moral standard comes from, 2) origin of the universe, and 3) burden of proof.

Maybe I'll revisit each of these in future posts. For now, I think it's safe to conclude that we, as human beings, at least in this society, become enamored with conflict and controversy, and particularly so in scenarios like this where one set of core beliefs is pitted against another set of core beliefs, so we like to see how our own views stack up when others represent those views. Although, I should point out right now that if every atheist at some point become a theist, I would still be and remain an atheist until I encountered evidence that I found credible enough to change my mind. In other words, I'm not an atheist because it's trendy or fast-growing. I'm an atheist because I'm not convinced by the claims of theism.

But back to debate---even if someone is declared to be a "winner" in a debate, this often means nothing more than one person is just a better debater than another. For example, Christian apologist Dr. William Lane Craig is a great debater. He is knowledgeable on the bible, he is well spoken, and he quite the wordsmith. A similar example on the atheist side would be Sam Harris.

When these two guys debate(and they have debated, for anyone interested), dollars to doughnuts you will have atheists saying that Harris clearly won the debate, just like you will have Christians insisting that Craig clearly won the debate.

But again, a "winner" in a debate doesn't necessarily prove anything. Should Harris or some other atheist be declared the "winner" of a debate on God's existence, this doesn't necessarily disprove the existence of "God". And by the same token, if Craig or some other Christian was declared the "winner" of a debate on God's existence, this wouldn't necessarily prove that "God" exists.

So, where does this leave us? In my view, it leaves us with having to use other methods for determining which guy in the debate is arguing for a worldview that is actually true, because, after all, both atheist and Christian agree that someone can actually argue for a worldview that is false. There is no denying this if we just stop to consider that there actually exist Muslim scholars who debate the existence of "Allah", arguing for the Islamic faith, and as well, there are Jewish Rabbis who debate the existence of "El", arguing for the Jewish faith.

So, the long and short of it is this: both the Christian and the Jew think the Muslim believes in error. Both the Jew and Muslim think the Christian believes in error. Both the Christian and the Muslim think the Jew believes in error.

And the atheist? The atheist thinks they all believe in error.

But the point here is that all four are skeptical of someone else's claim. This is interesting, because the atheist contends that the theist doesn't apply the same skepticism to their own "faith" as they do to the other guy's faith.

But when they do apply it do the other guy's faith, what does this entail? What methods are theists using? What method is a Christian or Jew using to determine that a Muslim's personal experience is a figment of their imagination and/or that the Holy Qu'ran is man-made..i.e..not "Divine"? Isn't it the same methods and skepticism that atheists use when they arrive at the same conclusion about Muslims and the Islamic faith? I contend that the answer is yes.

First and foremost, to disbelieve in someone else's core beliefs and the related claims, there has to be at least some skepticism present. After all, skepticism is basically applied doubt. Skepticism weeds out error; it keeps us from being duped in our daily lives, just as it keeps us from being duped by false religions. From vacuum cleaner salesman who come to our doors, to emails from people in Nigeria offering us a share of a large sum of money, to products that promise to slow down the aging process, to guys like Tom Cruise trying to sell us Scientology, and on, and on, and on. Skepticism is a useful and necessary tool to navigate through life.

So, for me the question then becomes one of, if Muslims, Christians, and Jews are each skeptical of the other guy's religious claims, even to the point that they've all concluded that the other guy is self-deceived and subsequently believes in a man-made religion, why, then, are atheists seen as unreasonable, or "too scientific", or "too logical", or "too legalistic", or "too" this, that, and the other thing, when atheists are simply applying the exact same skepticism that theists use on each other? Atheists have determined that all religious people have been duped and that all religions are man-made, but evidently, this rubs quite a few theists the wrong way. Why is this?

Could it be because theists are only good with skepticism up until the point that someone uses it to determine that they have been duped and/or believe in error? I tend to think so. There are hundreds if not thousands of gods, all of which have been believed in throughout history. Atheists are skeptical of all of them, while Christians, Muslims, and Jews are skeptical of all of them except one.

To me, this seems suspiciously close to atheism. In fact, the following word and its *definition immediately come to mind....

1. Compartmentalize: transitive verb to separate into isolated compartments or categories.
(ref: Merriam Webster)

In psychology the mental process of allowing conflicting views to co-exist in one's mind without explicit acknowledgement is called compartmentalization.

Okay, so if theist Y is not going to accept the religious views nor the personal experiences of theist Z - say, for example, because theist Z believes that in the distant past his religion's prophet performed feats of the supernatural kind, specifically, things that conflict with what science currently tells us about the physical laws of the universe - but yet, theist Y, himself, holds the view that his own religion's prophet did precisely that..i.e...performed feats of the supernatural kind, then theist Y is not being consistent.  He's not applying the same skepticism to his own religion's supernatural claims as he is to the other guy's religion and related supernatural claims.

What theist Y is doing, is, he is "roping off" a section of his brain and is disallowing skepticism or critical thought to enter. In other words, theist Y is compartmentalizing.

And how about the personal or religious experience? Same. If theist Y is not going to accept the personal experiences of theist Z - say, when theist Z claims to have had a direct, one-on-one experience with the deity of his chosen religion - but yet, theist Y expects theist Z and everyone else to accept and not discredit his own alleged one-on-one experience with the deity of his chosen religion, this, again, is compartmentalization at work.

So, again, the atheist simply rejects the religious doctrines and personal experiences of both theist Y and Z. The atheist does not make an allowance for one or the other, nor does he partake in special pleading, which brings me to this:

If someone is going to set forth an argument that follows a given principle or rule, for instance, say, that all bachelors are single, but then later on argues for the existence of a "married bachelor", he or she is special pleading. In turn, if the person arguing that special pleading has been employed holds the user of the fallacious argument to the definition of "married bachelor", he or she is not being unreasonable. Bottom line: Words have meaning. Definitions exist to convey meaning. Does this rule out things like nuance in certain circumstances? No. But are there some circumstances in which there just isn't any "fudge" room? Yes. "Married bachelors", by definition, cannot exist, and therefore, do not exist. The only "fudge" or wiggle room is if you discount or completely change one or the other definitions---or, eliminate one of the two words altogether.

I guess the trick would be to avoid or eliminate beliefs or premises that rest on special pleading? It seems so, but perhaps that's easier said than done, depending on which philosophies or religious doctrines one is upholding. If nothing else, at least try to understand that everyone..e.g...atheist and theist, alike, is skeptical of someone else's claims. "Skepticism" is not a bad word.

Sunday, May 06, 2018

Fallacy of Composition





In the previous post an interesting exchange took place between theist and atheist. While I'm not exactly sure how much common ground was achieved, if any, a question was raised(directed at me, the atheist). And while I felt it was a loaded question, and I said as much, I do think that I may have an idea where this question was going.

I'm still waiting on the clarification, so the discussion could very well continue, but in the meantime I'm going to roll forward and dedicate a separate post to this question in an attempt to address it and lay it to rest, and I'm doing so under the pretense that my hunch is correct about what the question is ultimately implying.

So, the theist guest with whom I was exchanging ideas, a guy who blogs as "Deus Aderit", asked me the following...

What is outside evolution to an atheist? 

To try to add a little context, this was immediately followed by him also remarking , "Saying love is an instinct is like saying violin music is cat gut scrapped over horse hair."

Okay, so the impression I'm getting here is that Deus somehow thinks that since atheists don't believe in God, then atheists must substitute something else for "God". And by the looks of things, what we substitute for "God" is evolution.

This is incorrect on a few different levels. For starters, this mindset makes the assumption that all human beings must derive purpose in life from an original source, in a Christian's case, it would be an ultimate source.  For example, it's a safe bet that many (most? all?) Christians will claim their origins are rooted in "God" and possibly even cite the Genesis narrative of "creation".

In other words, Christians get their purpose in life from God, and/or, Jesus, and/or, the Holy Spirit.

If Christians want to believe or claim that, that's fine and all, but what they don't get to do is assume that since atheists came about by evolution, then... oh,  then atheists must get their purpose from evolution and that all things that atheists experience in life must be explained by the process of evolution. This is as ridiculous as it is wrong. For one thing, evolution does not attempt to say or explain anything about origins. That topic is abiogenesis, not evolution. The latter is simply an explanation of the diversity of life we see on earth.

Secondly, why does there have to be an explanation for everything? Thirdly, how does "God did it!" explain anything? Until any of us learn how a God or gods did something, theists are simply substituting one question mark for another. They are no more knowledgeable about the mechanics of origins than anyone else.

I, as an atheist, am content with saying, "I don't know for certain". *From what I can tell, theists are not at all content with it, hence, "God".

*Note, I do not want to over-generalize here. I'm inferring that theists are not comfortable with not knowing things, in this case, the answers to life's greatest questions.

Moving on to love, music, and art, etc., maybe someone can explain why I, as an atheist, have to know where love or music originates in order to enjoy it? Where is it written that I must know why or how love exists for me to be able to love or be loved? Best as I can tell, it's not written anywhere and "love" is an instinct that ensures our survival. If the human species wasn't capable of love, they'd be flippin' extinct. And for that matter, so would any other species of animal that isn't capable of love. A female cat gives birth to a litter of kittens. She instinctively loves her young, because if she didn't, they surely get eaten or suffer in some other way. There are, of course, lower, non-sentient creatures that might not feel "love", but these creatures have still evolved by the process of natural selection to propagate the species. Surviving is job one.

To be able to love, benefits a species and is a life-affirming emotion. From a naturalistic standpoint, "love" originates in our brains. But the supernaturalist will no doubt say that our brains are, oh, just a bunch chemical reactions, or something of the sort.

For those who take such a position, I'd tell them that this is the fallacy of composition. This is where someone (erroneously) infers that just because something is true of the parts of something, it is therefore true of the whole. For example, the chemical formula for water is H2O. What would you say to the person who told you that since water is just some chemicals, then water couldn't possibly be wet? 'Sounds a little off, doesn't it? What about a stringed instrument? Say, a violin? Sure, at a fundamental level we can say it's cat gut and horse hair. But put together, it can produce some beautiful tones, can't it?

These are crude analogies, but they work. Just because "love" is the result of some chemical reactions in our brains, that doesn't mean that love is nothing more than just some chemicals and that it cannot be something beautiful to experience.


"We are most often inspired and motivated by fallacy rather than logic" ~ M.F. Moonzajer




Thursday, May 03, 2018

Purpose in Life Revisited






I'll get straight into it: An encounter with a social media theist happened and a discussion ensued because of a remark I made in response to one of his comments:

Atheists often claim that life is irrelevant

I started by asking for examples of this claim, and I specifically requested examples where the word "irrelevant" was used, because, curiously, I don't recall ever encountering an atheist, either online, or in real life, whose sentiment on life's purpose is that it's "irrelevant". It sounds very grim, doesn't it? Well, in my experience with theists and moral objectivists, this is no accident. No. See, they need it to sound grim in order to bolster or fortify their belief that life can't possibly have any purpose if there's no gods/God, which of course, is where they (claim to) get their purpose.

This person came back with a Bertrand Russell quote(see above).

So, okay, putting aside the fact that the word "irrelevant" is nowhere to be found(yes, it could be considered a nitpick), there is still a distinction to be made here, and that is that Russell(an atheist) is saying that the question would be meaningless unless one assumes a God. He does not disclose his own personal feelings on life's purpose one way or the other; he is talking about the question, itself.

 And, so, here's where I'm willing to give benefit of doubt:

Even if atheist X cannot see/find/secure/obtain, etc., any objective purpose to life and he or she regards life(not the question, but life, itself) as "irrelevant", that does not preclude me from finding subjective purpose in life. It just doesn't. Maybe there just isn't any "higher" Purpose to Life. Fine, whatever. That does not mean that there can't be any purpose in life---"in", being the operative word, here.

See, I decide if I find purpose in life. This is not something that other people get to decide for me, much less complete strangers on social media. Sorry, but nah.

I do "get it" to a degree, though, because for some people, fathoming their own non-existence is just out of the realm of possibility, hence, why they postulate (wish for) an afterlife, an unproven "realm" in which they never really die and life goes on forever and ever and ever..i.e..to infinity. I mean, if life ended, then theists would apparently be forced to conclude that everything up until that end is meaningless or "irrelevant".

But do theists live this mindset, is the question. I contend that, no, they do not.

Imagine you have a friend who identifies as a Christian and you invite them to the movies and his or her response is, "You know, I appreciate the offer, but I'm going to have to pass because the movie will eventually end, so it would be a meaningless night out in the grand scheme of things".

'Sound silly? It is, but let's keep going, though, because all of these things end, too...

- a nice, frosty mug of beer

- going on a picnic with friends

- taking a hike in the wilderness

- a snow cone on a hot day

- reading a good book

and on, and on, and on, and on. 


This whole mindset that we get from religion that teaches us that life has to last forever in order for us to have meaning and purpose while on this earth is short-sighted, at best. When I used to harbor this very mindset myself, my perspective was short-sighted. It's actually easy to see, once on the outside of the theist bubble.

And let's back up a bit. If theists get their "purpose" from somewhere else, call me crazy, but it's not their own purpose at the end of the day. How ironic, then, that it's the ones ministering to us non-believers on the topic of  "purpose" who don't have a purpose of their own????

Then there was a follow up comment regarding a "moral absolute". Not too shocking, though, because in my experience, these two subjects often go hand in hand when theists claim to want to understand what we atheists believe/do not believe.

Welp, as I've stated many times on this blog, I don't believe that morality is "absolute," nor that there even has to be an "absolute morality" in order to have morals(act ethically). I contend that the closest that one can get to an absolute morality is the avoidance of unnecessary harm.

But once again, I'm willing to point out the irony here, which is that so-called moral objectivists are in the same subjective boat in which they like to put me, the atheist.

Here's how and why: When theists - let's take for example, Christian theists - claim to get morals from their bible, they are filtering every passage on ethics or morals through their own, subjective moral standard. To think that we get morals from a book that condones owning and beating other human beings; to think that we learn "right" from "wrong" from a book that says one should feel "blessed" to take their enemy's children and dash their heads against rocks, is the height of craziness.

And the dead give-away? How would Moses or any other human being know the difference between a slab of "good" commands and a slab of "evil" commands? This is a no-brainer.

We do not get morals from gods or holy books.



Sunday, March 18, 2018

Conflicted



Back when I was new to the internet, and particularly, when I was a silent lurker in a few atheist/theist discussions, I remember a few things that atheists would point out to theists, namely Christian theists, that would stand out. Certain things said would just stand out more than others, and one day an atheist put personification to good use. His Christian opponent was arguing for anthropic principle, but at some point the atheist wrote back[paraphrased], "'Lookit how perfectly I fit into this hole in the road! It must've been made just for me!', said the mud puddle."

That was a "light bulb" moment for me, despite already having doubts as young as nine years old and carrying those doubts into adulthood..e.g..Captain Noah and his ark, things just springing into existence, etc.

Long-story-short, I lost faith in faith because I eventually could no longer ignore the conflicted thoughts.

______________________________________________________________________


Changing gears, someone asked another person, "How can you eat something that has a face?"


: /


: (


>: (

This got me thinking(more like a nagging feeling, actually), to the point that I cannot simply choose just to not think about it anymorealbeit, I was able to not think about it for most of my life.

But how? Compartmentalization? Say it isn't so. Indoctrination? Indoctrinated to believe that eating other sentient creatures is A-oh-fu(king kay? Why not? I mean, that's exactly how I became "okay" with an innocent person being executed for my shortcomings. That's how I became "okay" with someone holding me accountable for something I have zero control over...i.e..being human. That's how I became "okay" with some of my fellow human beings being incinerated alive in a place torture chamber called "hell" for not believing as I believed.

After ruminating on this, it seems to me that, yes, this is exactly how I was able to have stuffed animals as "friends" as a child, but could be called to the table to eat a sandwich made out of ground up farm animals, gobble it right down, then be back playing with my stuffed animals.

Q: Why didn't I make the connection?

A: Indoctrination.

You're taught that doing X, Y, and Z is "normal", so you don't ever question it. You see a BLT in front of you, what do you do? Why of course, you eat it.






Mmmm....bacon. Right? I'd venture a guess that if you could somehow know people's thoughts right before they are preparing to jam cured and smoked pig flesh down their gullets, you would not see many thought bubbles with the above-pictured in those bubbles. After all, such thoughts might cause conflicted feelings. And yes, I'm aware that there's people who have no qualms keeping and eventually slaughtering certain animals to put food on the table. After all, that's the way they always done it, ain't it? Yes, just ask the "Motor City Madman", himself, Ted Nugent......::eyeroll::

But it seems that, yes, for millions, that's how they've always done it. And of course, the more longstanding the tradition, the more it must be right. Right? Arg.

For those who might answer "no"..e.g...me, the solution is simple, isn't it? Yes, I just stop eating meat, and voila!

Okay. But as with many other things done out of habit, tradition, and convenience, this is easier said than done. And to make matters worse, just how in the hell does a saucier avoid foods with animal proteins?

So, again. I want to do what I feel is right, ethically, but muuuuch easier said than done. This is going to be tough, because once again, you cannot "unring" a bell.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Atheists are Intellectually Dishonest







I'm paraphrasing from memory, but recently in a discussion it was argued that Atheists are "intellectually dishonest," and the theory here is that this is because someone would have to essentially be God in order to simultaneously search everywhere in the universe, which would be necessary in order to know that there is no God. For this reason they argued that atheism is intellectually dishonest, adding that agnosticism is the better, more honest choice, if one is going to dare to be a non-believer(as if non-belief is a choice?)

Anyway, I contend that this line of thinking is not entirely correct. While I do agree with the part that a person would need to be omnipotent to be able simultaneously search everywhere in the universe, that dilemma could also be solved with either omnipresence or omniscience, both of which many believers also attribute to God. If, say, you're omnipresent, then by definition you're already everywhere at once. If you're omniscient, then you know everything, including if gods exist, or not.

But what I'm also contending here is that one needn't have any of those three attributes to conclude, in a practical sense, that there is no God/are no gods. More on this in a minute.

For now, let's look at two types of atheists: (1) those who believe that there is no God, and (2) those who simply lack a belief that there is a God(there's a meaningful distinction there, BTW).

But before I get too far into this, I should point out that it is possible and reasonable for someone to be both agnostic and atheist at the same time. Yes, contrary to what many people believe, the two positions are not mutually exclusive, because one deals with belief; the other deals with knowledge. In other words, it's two totally different subjects. I know I've covered this a half a dozen times on this blog, but it seems it can't hurt to repeat it as long as people are going to repeat misinformation or out'n out falsities.

To attempt to illustrate how I or anyone can be both atheist and agnostic, consider that I do not know for sure, and thus, I cannot say for certain that leprechauns do not exist(for all intents and purposes, I'm agnostic when it comes to leprechauns).

Notwithstanding, I still do not believe that leprechauns exist(for all intents and purposes, I'm an atheist when it comes to leprechauns). Note that this is slightly different than me saying, "I believe leprechauns are non-existent!", and it's much different than me saying, "Leprechauns don't exist!".

So, on the one hand I could simply be suspending belief in something until there's conclusive evidence for that something's existence, all the while admitting that I don't know for certain. On the other hand, I could be saying that X doesn't exist and it be implicit that I mean it in a practical sense, not an absolute sense.

Neither of these is being intellectually dishonest or unreasonable, whether agnosticism is overt like in the former, or whether agnosticism is implied, like in the latter.

If we encounter a person who believes that God does not exist, or if someone proclaims, "There is no God!", the same thing applies; this person need not know with absolute certainty that no God exists to be intellectually honest with one's self and others.

Case in point, in the same practical sense that we can say that leprechauns don't exist, we can also say that invisible, supernatural, creator beings don't exist. If someone says that they don't believe in leprechauns, no one tells them that they're being foolish and/or intellectually dishonest. I mean, imagine how that would sound. Well, I contend that it sounds just as absurd to say that non-believers are "intellectually dishonest", including when they profess Atheism instead of Agnosticism. Sorry, I don't have to choose between the two.

Now, with all of that being said, could I, an agnostic atheist, be missing a greater truth? Yes! Of course I could! How about a more awesome truth? Ditto! But here's the rub: I'd only be doing myself a disservice to accept such a greater, more awesome truth on "faith". Once I start accepting things on "faith" and/or because something sounds more awesome than something else, at that point I have chosen a constructed truth over a truth built on facts and evidence. If someone finds fault in truth that's built on facts and evidence, then I don't know, maybe it just could be that I'm not the one who's being intellectually dishonest?