Uncommon Sense

March 22, 2019

So Smart and Yet … And Still Prone to Simple Mistakes

In the most recent Scientific American issue, there was an interview with a Brazilian physicist.

Atheism Is Inconsistent with the Scientific Method, Prizewinning Physicist Says
In conversation, the 2019 Templeton Prize winner does not pull punches on the limits of science, the value of humility and the irrationality of nonbelief
by Lee Billings (March 20, 2019)

According to that article “Marcelo Gleiser, a 60-year-old Brazil-born theoretical physicist at Dartmouth College and prolific science popularizer, has won this year’s Templeton Prize. Valued at just under $1.5 million, the award from the John Templeton Foundation annually recognizes an individual ‘who has made an exceptional contribution to affirming life’s spiritual dimension.’”

“… And by doing that, by understanding how science advances, science really becomes a deeply spiritual conversation with the mysterious, about all the things we don’t know. So that’s one answer to your question. And that has nothing to do with organized religion, obviously, but it does inform my position against atheism. I consider myself an agnostic.

“I honestly think atheism is inconsistent with the scientific method. What I mean by that is, what is atheism? It’s a statement, a categorical statement that expresses belief in nonbelief. ‘I don’t believe even though I have no evidence for or against, simply I don’t believe.’ Period. It’s a declaration. But in science we don’t really do declarations.”

I can’t really tell whether this is willful ignorance or just Lying for Jesus. It is hard to tell, but really “What is atheism? It’s a statement, a categorical statement that expresses belief in nonbelief.”

According to this convoluted definition if you do not accept the “proof” of the existence of the Loch Ness Monster or Bigfoot, then you really just believe in their nonexistence, for no reasons whatsoever.

So, all of the evidence that Santa isn’t real is not to be considered. If you do not think Santa is real, then you have a belief in the nonbelief in Santa.

What a crock of horse pucky.

Atheism is not a belief. Here is what atheism at its core is:
Theist God exists and loves you!
Atheist I don’t “believe” you.
Theist But the proof is obvious; it is all around you.
Atheist Yeah, like what?
Theist Blah, blah, blah, blah.
Atheist Your proofs make no sense. I am not convinced.

Atheists are not believers, nor are they unbelievers. We are the unconvinced. Being unconvinced is not a state built on a foundation of belief, it is built on a foundation of no evidence, bad arguments, special pleading, logical errors, and a great many facts to the contrary.

Compatabilist scientists notwithstanding, trying to turn atheism into a belief system to imbue it with all of the flaws of religious belief systems and put it on an equal footing with them is an old, old strategy … that still does not work. Why? Because we are not convinced that atheism is a belief.


  1. Doesn’t atheism actually mean against theism (i.e., a-theism) — which, by definition would mean the person is against (by definition) The doctrine or belief in the existence of a God or gods.

    Thus, atheists simply do not accept the existence of a God or gods. There’s no “belief” involved.



    Comment by Nan — March 22, 2019 @ 1:47 pm | Reply

    • Some people agree with you and some eith Steve. Look up the definition on google, read a number of the pieces that pop up.

      One source devided the definition atheism into broad, regular and narrow.

      I would call Steve’s definition agnostic. But that is just my own non authority opinion.


      Comment by OG — March 22, 2019 @ 2:10 pm | Reply

    • Nope the a- prefix means without or not as in “not a theist.”

      On Fri, Mar 22, 2019 at 1:47 PM Class Warfare Blog wrote:


      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by Steve Ruis — March 22, 2019 @ 9:15 pm | Reply

  2. Those who insist that my disbelief in evidence-less hypotheses, such as Thor, Bigfoot, Jesus, Allah, and Santa, is actually a belief in them are effing a-holes. Now THAT I do believe.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by inspiredbythedivine1 — March 22, 2019 @ 3:31 pm | Reply

  3. I think he knows exactly what he’s doing. When very intelligent people make this sort of obvious mistake, I believe it’s with the intent of generating publicity.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by The Pink Agendist — March 22, 2019 @ 4:18 pm | Reply

    • The article’s title was click-bait in and of itself.

      Liked by 2 people

      Comment by john zande — March 22, 2019 @ 4:45 pm | Reply

      • Yeah, I am disappointed in Scientific American. I wonder if Templeton is one of their donors.

        On Fri, Mar 22, 2019 at 4:45 PM Class Warfare Blog wrote:


        Liked by 2 people

        Comment by Steve Ruis — March 22, 2019 @ 9:17 pm | Reply

        • Was in a debate with Stephen Law and Philip Goff this week on Twitter about this very thng. Law was pretty much saying Templeton is the largest funder of research right now, so it’s not out of the question to also think they’re into SA.


          Comment by john zande — March 23, 2019 @ 4:54 am | Reply

          • Well thinking and knowing are two different things. I have been reading SA for 60 years and if they have been pandering for Templeton, I think I would be done.

            On Sat, Mar 23, 2019 at 4:54 AM Class Warfare Blog wrote:



            Comment by Steve Ruis — March 23, 2019 @ 8:46 am | Reply

            • You’re right to raise the question. It was a strange article to carry, made only stranger by the title.


              Comment by john zande — March 23, 2019 @ 10:27 am | Reply

    • Since he won the Templeton Prize (the foundation of which is notorious for such approaches), I tend to agree with you.

      On Fri, Mar 22, 2019 at 4:18 PM Class Warfare Blog wrote:


      Liked by 2 people

      Comment by Steve Ruis — March 22, 2019 @ 9:16 pm | Reply

  4. Oh joy, we get a prize winning physicist charging headlong into semantics. He needs to stick to his physics, my own opinion, others may vary.
    I am not opposed to any religion, I just have no use for any of them.
    On a side note (I do go off on many various tangents online and even more so in personal {face-to-face} talks), I understand my hospice social worker better now. This week we sort of touched on belief. I told him mine is, I was born, had a life that was OK, until it wasn’t, then it gets hard and I’ll die sooner than I may have liked, big deal. He says he is spiritual and he buys into a higher power. I know why, he went through some 12 step program. No, he didn’t tell me outright, and I doubt he’d ever do so nor would he mention which one he did go though. I know of a few who went to AA and they were all told to buy into some sort of higher power, even if it is the door knob to the front door of the place they live. I have no problem with that sort of thing, but I personally doubt these various higher powers unless one counts the accelerator at CERN and the various super high energies out in the universe. Those great photos from the space telescopes are amazing and awe inspiring. They still don’t make me buy into some “designer” nor to any doG.
    I can get the same feeling from petting a common house cat. One old Lolcat had the caption that went like this; when you look at a cat, it is the universe looking back at you.
    Just my own $0.02. Oh, and sorry for rambling on so long.
    One last thing. I am 100,000,000% sure that the “treat others the way you want to be treated” predates every type of religion even made up by we humans. It has to in my view, if not we’d never have got to where we are, let alone older, long gone civilizations/societies.


    Comment by Walter Kronkat — March 23, 2019 @ 3:00 am | Reply

    • Ah, the buying into a higher power scam. Basically this says “give up your power and allow yourself to be led.” This makes it easier for whoever is selling what they are selling to sell it to you. If someone has something to offer as a leader, why must you give up your power as a person to follow them? The only reason is that is makes it easier for the leader. They don’t have to prove or demonstrate anything, followers just need to “have faith” or “believe.” This has been a common element of indoctrination programs from the major religions, to the Jesuits, to autocrats of all stripes, to military training, to new age movements like EST. I trust none of them as they are based upon a reduction in the individual acolytes capacity to reason and make their own decisions.

      On Sat, Mar 23, 2019 at 3:00 AM Class Warfare Blog wrote:



      Comment by Steve Ruis — March 23, 2019 @ 8:46 am | Reply

  5. You fundamentalists are hilarious! Kenn Hamm would have the exact same opinion of this article. Scientific American is speaking heresy!!!


    Comment by John Branyan — March 23, 2019 @ 11:10 pm | Reply

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