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In 2015, Norwegians started a Facebook campaign to give Finland the Norwegian part of the Halti mountain as a gift for the centenary of its independence.

There is a town in the Democratic Republic of the Congo called Banana.

There are seven classifications of snowflakes: plates, stellar crystals, columns, needles, spatical dendrites, capped columns and irregular.

The wife of noted evolutionary biologist and author Richard Dawkins is called Lalla.

In 1838, Missouri Governor Lilburn Boggs called for the extermination of all Mormons in the State by means of an executive order. It was rescinded 138 years later.

See other: Quite Interesting Facts

Views on Agnosticism‏

“Isn’t [an agnostic] just an atheist without balls?” asked Stephen Colbert.

In short, agnosticism is the scepticism regarding the existence of a god. However, as with many theological terms, such short descriptions are rather crude and too general. Indeed, there are many interesting interpretations of this existential -ism.

“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 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.” ― Bertrand Russell

In Hitchensian atheism, attitudes towards agnosticism are generally supportive. What’s more, in Hitchens’ book God Is Not Great, he did something increasingly rare among atheists and critics of religion: whenever possible, Hitchens grouped agnostics with atheists and freethinkers together, as allies with shared arguments against monotheism, zealotry and fundamentalism. Also, like Russell, Hitchens argues that, strictly speaking, all atheists should be agnostics, but that all agnostics should have in fact the default position of atheism. After all, on what basis would one allow a reasonable amount of doubt any theistic notion?

Uniting agnostics and atheists not only made good political sense – given the size of their combined populations – it also underscored Hitchens’ firm grasp of history. As Susan Budd put it in her excellent study Varieties of Unbelief: Atheists and Agnostics in English Society, 1850-1960, ‘the conversion to atheism’ in those years ‘usually followed two distinct phases: the conversion from Christianity to unbelief or uncertainty […] and the move from unbelief to positive commitment to secularism.’ Arguably, a similar two-step exists today.

“I cannot believe in a God who wants to be praised all the time.”
― Friedrich Nietzsche

In Dawkinsian atheism, thoughts on agnostics are almost uniformly negative. While both Hitchens and Dawkins are noted for their scorn, even withering contempt, Hitchens’ was directed mainly at zealots and hypocrites. Dawkins, by contrast, targets ‘faith-heads’ and agnostics.

‘There is nothing wrong with being agnostic in cases where we lack evidence one way or the other,’ Dawkins at one point tries to comfort with a pat on the head, shortly before invoking the acronym PAP for what he says is Permanent Agnosticism in Principle in his book The God Delusion. But far from working with agnostics’ already manifold criticisms of religion or looking to shore up their common ground with ‘freethinkers and atheists,’ as Hitchens took pains to do, Dawkins can find only fault with this position, the scepticism of men such as Thomas Huxley: ‘In matters of the intellect follow your reason as far as it will take you, without regard to any other consideration.’ At the same time, ‘do not pretend that conclusions are certain which are not demonstrated or demonstrable.’

According to Dawkins, Huxley ‘seems to have been ignoring the shading of probability‘ for whether God exists, even though the essay in question, Agnosticism (1889), invokes probability as a term and concept no fewer than three times. Still, Dawkins feels sufficiently confident about Huxley’s missteps to insist, ‘The existence of God is a scientific hypothesis like any other.’ ‘Either he exists or he doesn’t,’ he writes a fraction earlier. ‘It’s a scientific question.’

For Dawkins, all the same, agnosticism’s embrace of a similar unknown points not to its stringency or capaciousness, but to its ‘poverty.’ ‘I am agnostic,’ he later quips, ‘to the extent that I am agnostic about fairies at the bottom of the garden.’ At such moments, the vast, considered history of agnosticism slips into caricature.

“The Old Testament is responsible for more atheism, agnosticism, disbelief — call it what you will — than any book ever written.”
― Alan Alexander Milne

Freedom of Prejudice

‘You can’t get away with saying, ‘If you try to stop me from insulting homosexuals it violates my freedom of prejudice.’ But you can get away with saying, ‘It violates my freedom of religion.’ What, when you think about it, is the difference?’

– Dawkins. R. 2006. The God Delusion London, Great Britain: Black Swan (2007) p. 46

Spectrum of Theistic Probability

Richard Dawkins posits that “the existence of God is a scientific hypothesis like any other.” He goes on to propose a continuous spectrum of probabilities between two extremes of opposite certainty, which can be represented by seven milestones. These milestones are:

1. Strong theist.
(100 per cent probability God exists.)
“I do not believe, I know.” – Carl Jung

2. De facto theist.
(Very high probability, but short of 100 per cent.)
“I don’t know for certain, but I strongly believe in God and live my life on the assumption that he is there.”

3. Leaning towards theism.
(Higher than 50 per cent, but not very high.)
“I am very uncertain, but I am inclined to believe in God.”

4. Completely impartial.
(Exactly 50 per cent.)
“God’s existence and non-existence are exactly equiprobable.”

5. Leaning towards Agnosticism.
(Lower than 50 per cent, but not very low.)
“I do not know whether God exists but I’m inclined to be sceptical.”

6. De facto atheist.
(Very low probability, but short of zero.)
“I don’t know for certain but I think God is very improbable, and I live my life on the assumption that he is not there.”

7. Strong atheist.
(100 per cent probability there is no God.)
“I know there is no God, with the same conviction as Jung knows there is one.”

Dawkins argues that while there appear to be plenty of theist individuals that would categorise themselves as ‘1’ due to the strictness of religious doctrine against doubt, most atheists do not consider themselves ‘7’ because atheism arises from a lack of evidence and evidence can always change a thinking person’s mind. Dawkins has identified himself as an atheist between a ‘6’ and a ‘6.9’.

Ignorant, Stupid or Insane

“It is absolutely safe to say that if you meet somebody who claims not to believe in evolution, that person is ignorant, stupid or insane (or wicked, but I’d rather not consider that).”

– Richard Dawkins