What’s In A Name?
Are all skeptics atheists? No. Absolutely not. The problem with skeptics and atheists is that we like to argue. In fact, we tend to argue about everything. Sometimes we enjoy it, and sometimes things get ugly. But anyway, skepticism is a way of examining truth claims. That’s all it is. And traditionally, it applies mainly to supernatural and paranormal claims. Alternative medicine, such as homeopathy, is another frequent (and easy) target. But that doesn’t mean that skepticism can’t be applied to other assertions, though to reach a definite conclusion, the claim must be falsifiable. God claims, in their most nebulous sense, are not.
Atheism is lack of belief in god(s). If you want to add something else to atheism, then you have to add a plus. Or you have to rewrite the dictionary. Or something.
Frequently, skeptics are also atheists, since most god claims (except for deism, perhaps) are falsifiable, but skeptics certainly don’t need to be. They can be agnostics. And they can be theists or deists. They can even believe in astrology. In fact, for every single one of us, there are surely many things that we’re not skeptical about, and we don’t even know it.
Further, there are plenty of atheists who aren’t skeptics. For instance, all who embrace feminism — or any other political doctrine — dogmatically. I’m sure there will come a time when we’ll argue about that, too. So imagine a Venn diagram with a large overlap, and you’ll get the relationship between skepticism and atheism right.
Some changes for our fledgling network might be in the works. Stay tuned. Exciting times ahead.