We are all atheists about most of the gods that societies have ever believed in. Some of us just go one god further.
- Richard Dawkins
An agnostic thinks that there may be a God. Never seen one, but who knows?
An Explicit atheist such as myself is convinced that on the basis of the evidence, there is no god.
We are not labouring under a logical flaw. Although absence of proof is not proof of absence, extraordinary claims demand extraordinary proof. Using Occam's razor, we should discount all theories if the only reason to believe them comes purely from wishful thinking, and not from any external evidence. Of course, should any new evidence emerge, a sensible person will re-evaluate their conclusions.
And quite frankly all the theism that I've ever seen is just wishful thinking, nothing more.
An agnostic has said "I don't know why you believe".
An atheist has said "I know why you believe, and it has nothing to do with a higher power".
Rather than say that an atheist is someone who doesn't believe that gods exist, I would put it in stronger terms: an Atheist is someone who believes that no gods exist.
Yes, I'm biased. Someone's got to tell it from the first person perspective.
General Wesc: The category of Implicit atheism, if I read it right, is someone who is an atheist because the idea of God doesn't feature in their existence at all. Unlikely, but possible. If this is so, then this person ceases to be an implicit atheist the minute that you shake them by the collar and demand to know "Do you believe in god or not?".
The example agnostic that I used is not in this class because they have heard of, and even thought about god before coming to their position of "I don't have enough evidence to tell" or "There's no evidence yet, but I'm holding out hope for some".
I find it odd that my model agnostic, Mr. Idunno, is called by you an atheist.
I can't call a person like this an atheist, because, well just because I baulk at calling anyone who says "there might be a god" an atheist. That's an agnostic of some kind. The example agnostic that I used is not Theistic agnosticism either because denying that anyone can ever know if there is a god is a much stronger position than "I don't know".
Atheism in my book starts with there is no god i.e. with explicit disbelief, which means that your category of Implicit atheism perhaps is not what I call atheist at all.
Mind you, there is a grey area from cautious atheism "there is no god, but I'm open to further evidence" on the one extreme, to agnosticism "I don't know, there doesn't seem to be one that affects me, so I won't concern myself with it" on the other.
CentrX insists that the only true agnostic is the kind who insists on the fundamental unknowability of the existence of God. He says "I am agnostic" is more prescriptive of a doctrine, rather than a simple hesitation or vacillation
To this I say phooey. In insisting on the exclusivity of this meaning, you are disagreeing with Webster 1913's agnostic writeup and with common usage. Moreover, the insistence on withholding judgement until all the facts are in is neither hesitation nor vacillation. It is a fine intellectual achievement, and one of the underpinnings of the scientific method.