The difference????? the word BELIEF. There are only three 'levels of evidence' :
-undisputed evidence.... "the near roundness of the earth"
-contradictory evidence...... "active chemicals make humans sick"
-non existent... "unicorns and gods"
Neither of the three situations require 'belief' for a skeptic. A true skeptic functions on evidence alone. Honest dialogue requires the use of the word 'uncertainty' for only the second situation. Any skeptic who can "believe" in a possible god given total and complete lack of evidence is no skeptic at all. Personally, 'belief' is the one word I have completely banned from my vocabulary since meeting people on this website, because of so-called agnostics who throw that word around like it was some sort of badge of honour to remain friendly with religious folk.
Frankly, the popularity of the words agnostic and skeptic as buzz words in our Western civilisation may be the greatest contribution the 'new' atheists made to society in the last two decades. And the natural trendy instinct of humans means there are many people jumping on the band wagon of skepticism, and trying to redefine it, making it more 'inclusive'.
To the three above situations, a skeptic responds yes, maybe, no.
How do you define skepticism? And skeptic. With concrete language please. What do you think are the essential qualities of these ideas that make them so?
I'll admit, I have not been operating on an explicitly defined concept, but I call people who doubt knowledge in the absence of contradictory evidence, skeptics. I guess, what I really mean is that these people are too skeptical, they are irrational. Proper valid skepticism is healthy doubt in the presence of incomplete or contradictory evidence. But another part of me thinks that doubt in the presence of incomplete or contradictory evidence is just part of the normal integration process and skeptics are always wishy-washy, no matter what, as a rule. These brand of skeptics assert that they know for certain that certain knowledge is impossible, which we both recognize as idiotic.
Good question. I'd be a fool to say that I am 100% certain there is no God. What I can say with 100% certainty is that the God most of us were taught about does not exist. The Bible, both testaments, if the ramifications weren't so sad, would be the most hilarious book ever written. The other religious foundational texts aren't much better. Most are very long, poorly constructed farces with the human race as the object of the jokes or wrath of these powerful intervening beings.
I would remind you that there is no such thing as proof of a negative. So, from what we know there is no positive evidence anywhere for a God, gods, demi-gods, etc. That being the case, it's not likely there is one pending some scientific, positive proof of God.
As for me, if there is a God and it in anyway is an intervening God as described in religious texts, I'm putting the useless bastard on trial for negligence and fraud. So even if I'm wrong, no fear.
I am 99.999% sure that we're not the creation of some colossal alien lab student.
However 100% sure that there is no god.
Remember, when you talk of god, you talk of divinity...which is 100% human fabrication. The term divinity isn't even clear to the religious people themselves! It's to do with.. like... good supernatural energy... or something.
And if you're talking of none-divine creators, then you're talking about aliens.
As long as you equally say that it's "unlikely" there is a Santa, or unicorns, or an Easter Bunny... then you'd be consistent. But would you really want to lead people on by pretending that there is such a possibility? I've never raised infants, but if I did, I would not teach such possibilities to my children. It's kinda like saying that snake oils "might" work.