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About Amit Varma

Amit Varma is a writer based in Mumbai. He worked in journalism for over a decade, and won the Bastiat Prize for Journalism in 2007. His bestselling novel, My Friend Sancho, was published in 2009. He is best known for his blog, India Uncut. His current project is a non-fiction book about the lack of personal and economic freedoms in post-Independence India.




Bastiat Prize 2007 Winner

Recent entries

Procrastination (and Kumble vs Kohli)

This is the 39th installment of Rhyme and Reason, my weekly set of limericks for the Sunday Times of India…

Saffron is the New Red

This essay, which I co-wrote with Barun Mitra, was published in Pragati, the online magazine I edit, on June 21.…

Politics = Bribery

This essay, which I co-wrote with Kumar Anand, was published in Pragati, the online magazine I edit, on June 13.…

Wonder Woman, the God of War and Public Choice Economics

This essay, which I co-wrote with Kumar Anand, was published in Pragati, the online magazine I edit, on June 8.…

Legalise Prostitution to Fight Trafficking

This essay, which I co-wrote with Manasa Venkataraman, was published in Pragati, the online magazine I edit, on May 24.…

08 August, 2007

Atheism as the absence of belief

Scott Adams is a fantastic cartoonist and a very funny writer, but he writes the occasional odd post when he tackles a subject that he is not too familiar with. PZ Myers tears into him for a strange post on atheism, in which Adams had remixed Pascal’s Wager in a rather odd way. Read Myers and Austin Cline for more on his post, but being an atheist myself, let me clarify one point.

Atheism is not a belief that there is no God—it is the absence of belief in God. I am an atheist not because I am 100% sure that there is no God—how does one prove the negative anyway?—but because I see as little evidence around me for God as for flying fairies or invisible pink unicorns. I’m open to evidence that any of those exist, but in the absence of such evidence, I will not believe in them.

Adams’s post was particularly galling because he was not even arguing against atheism, but against his own silly misrepresentation of it. If it was wilful, it was intellectually dishonest; I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and assume that it was just sloppy thinking. I am a massive fan of Adams’s blog, and will continue relishing his posts, but I wish he avoids one of the great dangers of blogging: publishing thoughts without thinking them through.

And yes, of course, I’ve done that as well, and have silly posts in my past that embarrass me when I revisit them. (I’ve done around 5000 posts across my blogs, and such wanton prolificness invites blunder, though I try my best to avoid that now.) So I feel for Adams…

Also read: Austin Cline on the difference between atheism and agnosticism.

(Link via email from MadMan. This post comes out of an email conversation with Neha.)

Posted by Amit Varma in Blogging | Miscellaneous | Personal

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