And More Voices…

More voices here.

Atheism, like Christianity, requires an act of faith. There is no evidence whatsoever for the non-existence of God, and there is plenty of evidence for His existence. However, this evidence is entirely anecdotal, highly subjective, often conflicting and not subject to scientific rigour.
I could quibble, of course, with some of this.  But he sees a key point that most miss; and, that is, that the atheist lives by faith just like the rest of us.  Even skepticism is faith based.  As I’ve noted before, one is only skeptical about one thing, because he BELIEVES this other thing and thus his skepticism.  Show me a skeptic and I will turn the coin over and show you a great and robust BELIEVER in something, even if it is only a self-referential belief in one’s ability to know everything.  One could become their own god I suppose.  Whatever.  It is still belief and it is still faith.  I’m reminded of a saying we have in the legal world: “An attorney who represents himself has a fool for a client.”  I would suggest a similar sentiment toward those who think their powers of objectivity so strong they can always trust their skepticism…which always seems to agree with whatever they were so sure about to begin with.  Hmmmm… In other words, let’s turn this around: The “evidence” for the non-existence of God is entirely anecdotal, highly subjective, often conflicting and not subject to scientific rigour.
The writer also, to his credit, sees that the “evidence” for God’s existence was never meant for “scientific” rigor because God is not a “force” or object like any other known “thing” that one could even subject to scientific rigor (How funny!  “Ummm, God, could you step on this scale so we can see how much you weigh?”).  He knows to try and make God subject to moving a Richter scale or showing up on radar is to make a philosophical category error.  He notes that if we consider the global evidence, existence itself, the physical universe, and ourselves, that such could be interpretedas indicating God’s existence to be more likely than not.
It could also be interpreted differently and thus the possibility of atheism.  But both interpretations are ultimately faith-based (in the sense of how I have already posted regarding what faith means).  
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52 Responses to And More Voices…

  1. Darrell says:

    “I understand where you are coming from, and I try not make moral arguments on this basis. Indeed in this long converstation, it is Darrell and co-religionsists who have of late been playing the morality-is-objective card, confident that they have access to some certified objective truth that the relativists / subjectivists obstinately deny or can't see.”

    Wow, I had no idea that such was the issue Ron was addressing. Good eye Burk.

    Of late? How about since time began. Yes, I think the Holocaust was objectively morally wrong–wrong no matter what time period or what culture. Guilty. I will play that card every time.


  2. RonH says:

    Everybody believes in objective morality, Burk. Every atheist I know believes that eating your neighbor's children is wrong always and everywhere, no matter what the tribal tradition might be and regardless of whether or not your neighbor consents. Problem is, everyone's “objective morality” isn't always the same. Religions go a long way towards codifying systems of morality that societies can build themselves around. Non-religious systems are less common, and even less agreed-upon. I cut atheists lots of slack here, in that they haven't had nearly as long to work on it. But, honestly, atheist systems of morality are all over the map. You guys need to coalesce around something if you want to form cohesive societies that can resist hostile belief systems (i.e. militant Islam).

    And naturalists do so try to dictate morals. Sam Harris is a naturalist who wrote up a system of morality. And a key point I took from his book was that as a Christian, I was immoral and a plague on society whenever I disagreed with him. Peter Singer is a religious person's boogeyman if there ever was one. He's willing to support post-birth “abortions” under some circumstances. These guys' primary drumbeat is that their morality is better because it rests on “objective, empirical science”. Dude, trust me: I know fundamentalist certainty when I smell it.

    As an aside: how is “keeping religion out of the state” any different from “keeping religious people out of the state”? Religious people in government are okay, so long as they never attempt to do anything that doesn't originate in naturalist premises? Sorry, thanks for playing. Look, the whole deal about a pluralistic society is that you've got other people with different morals, principles, and motivations from you, and you've got to learn to live together. That does not mean bludgeoning the other side until they agree with you. It means letting people who disagree with you be “wrong”, because that's better than civil war. Who knows… maybe you can get them to come around peacefully. It took a long time for the Brits to get slavery out of the Empire, but they did it with a vastly smaller body count than we Yanks did.

    Finally, while you may think the quality of intuition is poor, in many of the most important areas of human life we don't have much else to go on. Science won't get us there. We should rely on science where we can, but beyond that our stories are all we have — so we should choose good ones.


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