Dawkins has said that for a while now. He doesn’t mean that he recently found more proof or he used to be sure and now he is not. Gnosticism and agnosticism are terms referring to the belief that one can know whether or not there is a god. A gnostic atheist believes it is possible to know if there is a god and says the answer is no. An agnostic atheist believes that it is impossible to know for sure if there is a god, but does not believe there is one.
The distinction is made because many atheists know that certain descriptions of higher beings (like the deist god) can’t be proven false, and so they acknowledge this means such a god could exist. At the same time, they don’t think there is evidence to prove any such higher power exists. This makes sense when looking at the word, the prefix “a” meaning without and “theism” meaning belief in some form of higher power.
Nowhere in the article does RD use the words attributed to him in the headline. If the writer had written – RD: I can’t be sure a god does not exist – I’d have no objection. Uppercase “God”, however, implies the Christian God. It’s a dishonest representation of RD’s views IMO.
Given that I only have one life, sure. That’s not a tough call.
I’d fly on a plane with a 2% chance of crashing too. But the difference is that in a lifetime, I’ll probably fly several times. And if the statistic is more than just descriptive, then it means if I fly 50 times, the plane will crash once.
I suspect the reason is that most people … have a residue of feeling that Darwinian evolution isn’t quite big enough to explain everything about life. All I can say as a biologist is that the feeling disappears progressively the more you read about and study what is known about life and evolution. I want to add one thing more. The more you understand the significance of evolution, the more you are pushed away from the agnostic position and towards atheism. Complex, statistically improbable things are by their nature more difficult to explain than simple, statistically probable things.
– Richard Dawkins, from The New Humanist, the Journal of the Rationalist Press Association, Vol 107 No 2
Nothing has changed his view. Agnosticism and Atheism are answers to two different questions. An Agnostic says he doesn’t know if God exists or not (because it’s not knowable). An Atheist says he doesn’t believe in God (because there’s a lack of compelling evidence).
You can be Agnostic and an Atheist simultaneously. Dawkins is, and so am I. There’s no contradiction between these positions.
I didn’t know Dawkins has never claimed that he was sure God did not exist. I thought he was pretty sure God does not exist. Not that I have never heard him say that, or read anywhere he said it. I just thought he was an atheist, and atheists are sure God does not exist.
I’ve heard many atheists says God does not exist. They have told me personally that God does not exist, that it is a lie and anyone who tells people God exists is lying and knows they are lying. I have been told telling my children God exists is tantamount to child abuse, because I am telling them lies. I have been told by these atheists I couldn’t possibly be intelligent because I believe in God - that belief in God and intelligence cannot go hand in hand because belief in God is a stupid belief.
Therefore, it would be a big deal for me if a person (Dawkins) such atheists have adopted as their guru doesn’t actually agree with them - and what they are telling people he thinks is not in fact what he thinks.