There will be unicorns in Ecuador next

I’m watching this episode of The Point  on atheism.

The first item was a clip of James Randi, who started by saying there are two kinds of atheist, those who say there is no god, and those who say they can’t find any evidence for god. My version of the second one is different: it’s that I don’t know of any good reason to think there’s a god. That includes evidence, but it’s more than that.

Seen it?


  1. Beatrice says

    I don’t see a difference between saying “there is no god” and “I can’t find any evidence for god”.

    I can’t find any evidence that unicorns exist. THere is no evidence that unicorns exist. Therefore, I can pretty safely say that no unicorns exist.

  2. Beatrice says

    Unless of course one considers a possibility that some evidence for god(s) could be presented eventually. Only in that case there is a difference.

    But I’m fairly sure, I know no such evidence exists, so it’s all the same to me.

  3. smhll says

    I must be getting the Ecuador reference completely awry. My mind went “There will be unicorns in Ecuador… and Julian Assange will be riding them bareback.”

  4. Loqi says

    I didn’t like James Randi’s part. Let’s stop acting like there’s a difference between people who don’t believe something exists and people who haven’t found convincing evidence that something exists. They’re the same fucking thing.

  5. says

    I was glad the host began with the assumption of no gods, to frame the topic to the details of atheism. We need to delegitimize the debate over supernaturalism, and just focus on the consequences of naturalism.

    And why do we have to constantly apologize for the obvious fact that one cannot prove a negative?

    1) There is no evidence for the existence of any gods.
    2) There is overwhelming evidence that people create gods (history is littered with them).
    3) Psychology explains why people need gods (no answer is scarier than a wrong answer).

    So, does one of these fantasies, by coincidence, happen to match reality? Maybe, but that is still an absurd basis for social organization.

  6. says

    I’m not even sure that there’s *any* evidence that could convince me that a god exists. What would that evidence look like?

  7. fredbloggs says

    @latsot – I don’t think we have to worry; believers in fairy tales often imply atheists are willfully denying the existence of god and pine “but what evidence would convince you?” (subtext: we could provide endless evidence, but you still wouldn’t believe)

    To which my standard response is “Don’t know. what have you got?”

    Which usually results in loose talk about trees and butterflies.

  8. says

    I don’t have any trouble saying that there is a God. And there is plenty of evidence. But that God (or those Gods) are all human cultural constructs with no basis in physical reality.

    I take “atheism” as meaning “Whether or not there is a god has no significance as to how I live my life.”

    For perspective, mathematics is a human construct with no basis in physical reality. However, I most certainly am not an “amathematicsist” – in fact I’m a mathematician. That something is a human construct is not, by itself, a problem. Mathematics has proven to be a very useful human construct. Religions and their various gods have proven themselves to be harmful, to be “useful” only for pernicious purposes (for example, anti-humanist purposes).

  9. Ant Allan says

    Saw it. Like it. Agree somewhat with the criticism of Randi; worrying about those logical niceties is old-school scepticism, and non-scientific scepticism at that. As Sean noted, science has no certain proofs and the question is really about warranted belief. Liked all the panellists, but there seemed to be something missing…


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