a different reflection from Stathis's, but similarly not a counter-argument....
First off: George Carlin is a comedian and his humorous remarks are not subject 
to be discussed in a serious argumentation. I like him - at least the "old" 
to your #1:
:your" atheist has got to believe in the existence (maybe only as a valid 
topic) something to deny it. To speak about it in a yes/no fashion. He had to 
accept that "it is a topic". 
This is why I formulated "an atheist needs a god to deny".
to your #2:
"Not to believe in something" is IMO not implying "to believe in something 
else". Anything else.  Not even 'generally'.  Example: a solipsist. Or a 'comp' 
pantheist. (Caution: this word just appeared without consideration, I do not 
argue for its reasonable application).
Agnostic IMO is just pointing to the lack of well defined knowledge about 
ANYTHING, not restricted to god or religion, as it earlier was used. I consider 
myself a 'Science-Agnostic" because the ideas I take for most acceptable have 
no firm(?) foundations. 
to the reply of Stathis - reading::
1) Do you believe we should also be agnostic about Santa Claus and the Tooth 
Fairy? If so, should the balance of belief in these entities (i.e. belief 
for/against) be similar to that in the case of God? I ask in all seriousness as 
you are a logician and there *is* a huge difference, logically if not 
practically, between atheism and agnosticism. 
2) I don't know that atheists are much more likely to believe in a material 
universe than other people.
Stathis Papaioannou
I consider his #1 - AS:  "asantaclausist" or "atoothfairyist" - not 'agnostic' 
- like: "atheist". (Unless you believe in 'something like that' to exist).
An agnostic "is not sure" but does not deny the existence FOR SURE. 
The difference, as I feel, between  "I don't know" and "I no that no" - as I 
take Bruno's emphasis. (And I try to use only my own common sense logic).
With StP's #2 I agreed above.

John M

  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Bruno Marchal 
  Sent: Tuesday, March 20, 2007 7:27 AM
  Subject: Re: Believing ...

  Le 01-mars-07, à 00:35, Brent Meeker a écrit :

  > Brent Meeker quoted:
  > "Atheism is a belief system the way "Off" is a TV channel."
  > --- George Carlin

  Carlin makes the typical confusion between atheism and agnosticism.

  An atheist has indeed a rich belief system:
  1) he believes that God does not exist (unlike an agnostic who does not 
  believe that God exists: that makes a huge difference)
  2) he generally believes in a material or Aristotelian Universe 
  (despite its contradiction with comp, or with QM, or with some 
  physically reproducible facts, and despite any proof or argument beyond 
  the Aristotelian Matter reification.)


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