Richard Dawkins - Clarence Darrow - Nasadiya Sukta - Protagoras - Soren Kierkegaard - Thomas Huxley - Robert G Ingersoll - Bertrand Russell - Leslie Weatherhead - Charles Darwin - Martin Amis - Bart Ehrman & Stephen Colbert - Alan Dershowitz - Sydney J Harris - Robert Anton Wilson - Neil deGrasse Tyson -
So don’t confuse agnosticism with exactly 50/50 odds. Professor Richard Dawkins v Alister McGrath, Oxford Literary Festival 2007
I do not consider it an insult, but rather a compliment to be called an agnostic. I do not pretend to know where many ignorant men are sure – that is all that agnosticism means. Clarence Darrow 1857-1938, American lawyer
Who really knows?
Who will here proclaim it?
Whence was it produced? Whence is this creation?
The gods came afterwards, with the creation of this universe.
Who then knows whence it has arisen? Nasadiya Sukta, Rig Veda
Concerning the gods, I have no means of knowing whether they exist or not or of what sort they may be. Many things prevent knowledge including the obscurity of the subject and the brevity of human life. Protagoras
Let us call this unknown something: God. It is nothing more than a name we assign to it. The idea of demonstrating that this unknown something (God) exists, could scarcely suggest itself to Reason. For if God does not exist it would of course be impossible to prove it; and if he does exist it would be folly to attempt it. For at the very outset, in beginning my proof, I would have presupposed it, not as doubtful but as certain (a presupposition is never doubtful, for the very reason that it is a presupposition), since otherwise I would not begin, readily understanding that the whole would be impossible if he did not exist. But if when I speak of proving God’s existence I mean that I propose to prove that the Unknown, which exists, is God, then I express myself unfortunately. For in that case I do not prove anything, least of all an existence, but merely develop the content of a conception. Soren Kierkegaard, Philosophical Fragments
I neither affirm nor deny the immortality of man. I see no reason for believing it, but, on the other hand, I have no means of disproving it. I have no a priori objections to the doctrine. No man who has to deal daily and hourly with nature can trouble himself about a priori difficulties. Give me such evidence as would justify me in believing in anything else, and I will believe that. Why should I not? It is not half so wonderful as the conservation of force or the indestructibility of matter. Thomas Huxley
When I reached intellectual maturity and began to ask myself whether I was an atheist, a theist, or a pantheist; a materialist or an idealist; Christian or a freethinker; I found that the more I learned and reflected, the less ready was the answer; until, at last, I came to the conclusion that I had neither art nor part with any of these denominations, except the last. The one thing in which most of these good people were agreed was the one thing in which I differed from them. They were quite sure they had attained a certain ‘gnosis’ – had, more or less successfully, solved the problem of existence; while I was quite sure I had not, and had a pretty strong conviction that the problem was insoluble. And, with Hume and Kant on my side, I could not think myself presumptuous in holding fast by that opinion ...
So I took thought, and invented what I conceived to be the appropriate title of ‘agnostic’. It came into my head as suggestively antithetic to the ‘gnostic’ of Church history, who professed to know so much about the very things of which I was ignorant ... To my great satisfaction the term took. Thomas Huxley
We can be as honest as we are ignorant. If we are, when asked what is beyond the horizon of the known, we must say that we do not know. Robert G Ingersoll
As a philosopher, if I were speaking to a purely philosophic audience I should say that I ought to describe myself as an Agnostic, because I do not think that there is a conclusive argument by which one can prove that there is not a God. On the other hand, if I am to convey the right impression to the ordinary man in the street I think I ought to say that I am an Atheist, because when I say that I cannot prove that there is not a God, I ought to add equally that I cannot prove that there are not the Homeric gods. Bertrand Russell, Am I an Atheist or an Agnostic?
Many professing agnostics are nearer belief in the true God than are many conventional church-goers who believe in a body that does not exist whom they miscall God. Leslie Weatherhead, The Christian Agnostic
I have never been an atheist in the sense of denying the existence of a God. I think that generally ... an agnostic would be the most correct description of my state of mind. Charles Darwin
I say that I am an agnostic. People think that’s pusillanimous and covering your bets. But it’s not based on any belief or yearning for an afterlife but on the fact that we actually know so little about the cosmos. It is a tribute to the complexity and, at our present stage of development, the unknowability of the universe. Martin Amis, The Telegraph 13th May 2000
Stephen Colbert: So you’re an agnostic?
Bart Ehrman: That’s right.
Colbert: Isn’t that just an atheist without balls? Bart Ehrman, The Colbert Report 20 June 2006
I am a sceptic about everything, including God and Atheism. Alan Dershowitz
Agnosticism is a perfectly respectable and tenable philosophical position; it is not dogmatic and makes no pronouncements about the ultimate truths of the universe. It remains open to evidence and persuasion; lacking faith, it nevertheless does not deride faith. Sydney J Harris
It’s important to abolish the unconscious dogmatism that makes people think their way of looking at reality is the only sane way of viewing the world. My goal is to try to get people into a state of generalized agnosticism, not agnosticism about God alone, but agnosticism about everything. If one can only see things according to one’s own belief system, one is destined to become virtually deaf, dumb, and blind. Robert Anton Wilson
Agnostic separates me from the conduct of atheists whether or not there is strong overlap between the two categories, and at the end of the day I’d rather not be any category at all. Neil deGrasse Tyson