“You wait for ages for an atheist bus, then 800 come along at once.”

Interesting reporting on this campaign, on the use of the word “probably”.

Some implying Dawkins was against it in his quip “about as likely as the tooth fairy” and suggesting the word was enforced by advertising regulations against Dawkins wishes, whereas others indicate that the campaign organiser (not Dawkins) had no intention of being dogmatic. I guess the dogmatic Dawkins invites this kind of trouble, even though quip and dogma are miles apart.

This is back to the agnostic / atheist definitional – cup half-full / half-empty – problem. To a theist a non-theist seems to have to be either agnostic or atheist so they can choose the right argument. But to a non-theist the distinction only matters if they are also being dogmatic. “Probably no god” (in the sense the public would understand a theist believes in a god, as a opposed to a sophisticated theologian) is exactly right to any pragmatist who sees no reason to invoke a god – a non-theist. It’s not agnostic; the pragmatist cares about the question, and has decided the answer on balance of evidence, probabilities, etc, like any rational (scientific) pragmatist. A non-theist is a non-dogmatic atheist, a concept that is tough for a dogmatically “faithful” theist to comprehend. Dawkins speaks to people he wants to pick a fight with.

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