Bertrand Russell on why the term “agnostic” is for show

Why Evolution Is True

Reader Dom sent me a Bertrand Russell quote from what appears to be a very short essay, “Am I An Atheist Or An Agnostic?” (1947)

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 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 that 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.

None of us would seriously consider the possibility that all the gods of Homer really exist, and yet…

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