Friday, October 2, 2009

Intellectual Arrogance Argument Against Belief In God

Originally written March 2007

This is not an argument against the existence of God. My argument could be completely without error, and God could still exist. This is merely an argument against belief in a supernatural being.

Many people claim that atheists are intellectually arrogant. I get emails all the time from Christians, saying "you just think you have all the answers and are just soooo smart don't you!?" However, after reflecting on this assertion for awhile, it's actually the opposite that emerges as true. To hold a belief that God has ever had any effect on the universe is exactly the same as me stating, "I, Zachary Kroger, am the smartest person on earth, and no person in the present or future will know more than I do." How is this so? Let me explain.

Since the beginning of human curiosity, we have always placed a huge emphasis on supernatural agents. "How does the sun move across the sky" we asked. The answer, of course, was that there was a sun god that pulled the sun behind a chariot. "What causes thunder and lightning?" again, the answer was supernatural, "Thor and Zeus cause thunder and lightning." For every problem we came across, instead of actually investigating it, we came up with a supernatural explanation. Today, many people follow the same line of thinking and make up a Creator God for the answer to the question "why does the universe exist?" Richard Dawkins has pointed out that the reason these answers are so deeply unsatisfying to the curious mind is because these answers were simply made up. Indeed, such answers are based on nothing more than the laziness, ignorance or lack of imagination of the person asking the question.

Even Isaac Newton, perhaps one of the most brilliant men to ever live, fell into this trap of supernatural thinking. He was able to explain universal gravitation and discovered the three laws of motion. But he was perplexed with the puzzle of why the planets shared the same orbital plane. Instead of actually putting his brilliant mind to the task of figuring it out, he threw in the towel and declared that it must be the work of God. Needless to say, Newton, like everyone else before him that had posited a supernatural explanation, was wrong.

It's interesting to point out that throughout the entire history of scientific investigation, not one supernatural explanation has ever been confirmed as true. But time and time again, every phenomenon we investigate turns out to have a naturalistic explanation. There is not one example of someone claiming that there must be a natural explanation for something, and then the answer turning out to be supernatural. This is very revealing.

So what does this have to do with arrogance? Well, as we can see, every single time that a supernatural cause has been proposed, it has turned out to be wrong. This mode of thinking has a 100% rate of failure. Not good! However, people continue to believe that their favorite god created the universe, created life, works miracles, answers prayers, ect. Believe it or not, but this mode of thinking is about as intellectually arrogant as you can possibly get. Someone who says "God did ________" is essentially saying "no amount of scientific investigation will ever solve this problem. I know that if we went a trillion years into the future, science will still have not discovered the answer to the question of ________." So basically, by holding supernatural beliefs, you have to claim that you are in fact, omniscient. The only possible way you could ever think that something was caused by something supernatural would be to have a perfect understanding of the workings of the universe, and then know that there is no naturalistic explanation. That's a big claim.

In order for the theist to even get close to proving that God really did ________, they have to not only have to disprove all the current scientific models of explanation, they have to disprove every possibly explanation that could ever be presented, even if that explanation won't be proposed for another 10 million years. Obviously, this is an impossibly task. Therefore, the claiming that "God did ________" is a logically impossible position to hold.

So what's more arrogant: an atheist claiming that he does not know the answer to something, but pointing out that given enough time, science has a 100% rate of success? Or, a theist claiming that they know that there will never ever be a naturalistic explanation to a question that they have, even though that mode of thinking has a 100% rate of failure?

Of course, many theists will protest to my claim that they are arrogant. They may charge that I have constructed a straw man of their position. "Some believers might be arrogant, but I don't claim to have all the answers," one might say. Or, "Just because I believe in God doesn't mean that I think science will never answer some questions." And I will concede the point that not all theists act arrogantly. In fact, of all the God believers I know, I wouldn't consider any of them to be the least bit arrogant. However, arrogant behavior or not is not the issue. The issue is that the philosophical underpinnings of their beliefs demand that they take the position of extreme intellectual arrogance, whether they like it or not. The only way to logically hold a position of belief in God is to also claim you know for a fact that science will never answer certain questions. And as I have pointed out, this is an untenable position to hold, therefore belief in God is logically completely unjustified.

To demonstrate my point, just ask any Christian apologist for evidence of God. Even the top apologists in the world have never been able to give any better answer than "science can't explain the origin of life, the origin of the universe, morality or my personal religious experience, therefore God did it." To claim that these unsolved problems are absolutely unsolvable is not only intellectually arrogant to the nth degree, but such a position is not even tenable. Anyone who seriously claims such a thing should be laughed at, and not taken seriously. At this point in time, with our current state of knowledge, the only answer to questions such as how life began, why the universe exists and where morality comes from is "I don't know." And if you are a researcher in one of those areas, you could continue with "but we are working on it."

In conclusion, we can see that not only does belief in god require an enormous amount of intellectual arrogance regarding ones knowledge of the universe, but is a position that is logically impossible to defend.

Think about it.

"It is those who know little, not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science."
–Charles Darwin

"There is, in fact, no worldview more reprehensible in its arrogance than that of a religious believer: 'the creator of the universe takes an interest in me, approves of me, loves me, and will reward me after death; my current beliefs, drawn from scripture, will remain the best statement of truth until the end of the world; everyone who disagrees with me will spend eternity in hell.' An average Christian, in an average church, listening to an average Sunday sermon has achieved a level of arrogance simply unimaginable in scientific discourse — and there have been some extraordinarily arrogant scientists."
–Sam Harris

55 comments:

  1. Well written, nice job!

    Peace,
    Dan

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  2. everyone on earth needs to read this. i have intellectual empathy but if you cannot understand and agree with most of the points in this article, youre an idiot:[

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  3. The theist can believe that there is a scientific explanation for every phenomena. The theist must merely accept that the laws that govern the natural world was set by God.
    Even science cannot explain why laws are, it can prove that how and why laws work but giving the existence for why laws exist? that's for the metaphysical my arrogant friend.

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  4. I disagree. The theist cannot accept scientific explanations for a large number of things. Prayer, for example.

    It is the diest that must only accept that the laws of nature were set by god.

    I am confused about your last statement though. You claim that it is arrogant to claim why the laws of nature exist... but you just claimed theists know where the laws of nature come from. So are you saying that theists are still guilty of arrogance, or have I misunderstood?

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  5. You may be very impressed with your explanation, but it's just a bit of circular logic. Science, as a foundation, assumes that a natural explanation can be found for everything. So by appealing to science as a way of eliminating supernatural explanations is like trying to prove Christianity true by appealing to the Bible - nothing is proved and it makes you look dumb.

    By way of illustration, let's assume that a woman is found dead in her house. We can formulate two different explanations for why she's dead. First we can come up with a natural explanation (elevated levels of arsenic in her bloodstream) and additional naturalistic explanations thereafter (exactly how and why arsenic disrupts the proper functioning of the body). However, a more telling explanation might be that her husband poisoned her to get money from a life insurance policy. By claiming that the second explanation is automatically a bad explanation because the arsenic-in-the-bloodstream explanation explains everything is missing the point. Maybe her husband poisoned her, and maybe he didn't; and maybe we'll never really know for sure one way or another. However, it's not a bad hypothesis just because it assumes an intelligent actor may have had a hand in things.

    As for the second part of your argument, "...ask any Christian apologist for evidence of God." Every Christian I know of will start by making the case for Jesus and his resurrection. They'll quote non-Christian historical documents as proof that there was a Jesus of Nazareth, cite the lack of a body in the tomb on the Sunday following his death, and then cast doubt on the alternate theories that explain the body's disappearance (Jesus surviving crucifixion, mistaken tomb, body stolen, etc.). As to whether you find these explanations convincing, that's another issue. All I'm pointing out is that you should address the most convincing case your opponent has, instead of trying to score cheap points by creating nice-sounding talking points.

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    Replies
    1. I think your comfused. Science, consists of facts that have been tested and backed up by actual evidence. The bible, is simply a book, written by uneducated men. This is why christianity is called a "belief" because its your belief in something that is not yet accepted or proven as fact. Trying to compare science to the bible is like trying to compare a fact to a thoery.

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    2. Confused*. But don't be ashamed. Thinking in the way the author of this article does is not an easy thing to do. The reason being is because it means going against the grain of how you were TAUGHT to think. It means opening your mind, thinking in new ways, and considering everything in every nook and cranny before coming to an uneducated and far fetched conclusion that a GOD exists.

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  6. I am very confused about your critique. It seems to in no way even come into contact with my argument. My argument, in a nutshell, is this...

    1. Statements that claim God has done something (created life, etc) are statements based on a lack of scientific explanation.

    2. The theist in no way could possibly conclude that science will never answer such questions.

    3. Stating that science wont ever have an answer to such questions would require one to be omniscient.

    4. In conclusion, unless you are omniscient, you can't claim God has done anything, and belief in such a being is not defensible.


    In no way does this require any circular logic. And your example of someone being dead is in no way relevant to this argument, let alone even correct in it’s own sense.

    We know that people kill people... this has been seen a ton of times in the past. But we have never seen anyone, create a universe, for example. Also, ockhams razor.

    Every Christian you know might use the resurrection as a starting point. But I can’t think of a single philosopher or apologist that does (except for someone whose main area is in regards to the resurrection, like Mike Licona or Gary Habermas). The majority point to the complexity of life, the origin of the universe, or the fine tuning of the cosmological constants. That is, they all start with scientific questions that have yet to be answered, and point to those as evidence of God.

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  7. Rosemary Lyndall WemmAugust 10, 2011 at 12:08 PM

    Good article. You have been quoted here:

    http://www.thinkatheist.com/xn/detail/1982180:Comment:775253

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  8. Hey Rosepary! Thanks so much for linking my "article"! It made me smile to know that someone read it, and liked it!

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  9. I like it the way you seem to be proud of "THE STATE OF YOUR IGNORANCE".

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  10. I am not proud of it, it is just a statement of fact. This blog explores things I am interested in, and would like to figure out. I don't delude myself into thinking I have all the answers... but I work to learn as much as I can, and to push "the state of my ignorance" back as much as possible.

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  11. The Mutual Exclusiveness of Science and Supernature

    Science uses matters that are in observable natural existence to explain other matters that are also in observable natural existence, and how these matters influence one another. Therefore, Science cannot offer any answer to the unobservable supernatural existence, as intrinsically, science can only draw conclusions about the observable, using the observable. In other words, it is simply impossible to use observed truths to relate to an unobservable supernatural God.



    The Nature of Supernatural Antecedence

    Supernature is used, to define matters outside the grasp of scientific knowledge. In the case of a supernatural antecedent, it is supernatural because it is the antecedent to all that is currently known. When a supernatural antecedent is subsequently grasped by science, it will cease to be supernatural, and due to infinite regression, there must be yet another supernatural antecedent, ad infinitum. Thus, supernatural (unknown) events are simply the cause of natural (known) events. Therefore, denying the supernatural, because natural science cannot prove it, will be actually denying the cause of everything that we know through science.

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  12. God as the Natural Conclusion

    However, with greater understanding, it is possible to see that science has shown that all things tend towards a state of entropy (disorderliness), therefore it is peculiar that so many things in natural existence exhibit high degrees of orderliness (which happens to be the nature of God). Greater understanding will also make it possible to see the existence of God as the natural conclusion, with logical reasoning, rather than scientific reasoning that intrinsically cannot explain what is not within its boundary:

    You have said that Isaac Newton has rationalised, that the reason for planets sharing the same orbital plane must be the work of God. It is competent as a regressed logical deduction, probably subconscious/intuitive in nature, but certainly not competent if it were to be based on science (see paragraph 1). It is rather narrow minded to think of God as an "immediate cause" for particular matters in natural existence, rather than thinking of God as the supernatural cause that leads to all subsequent causes, including things that are currently unknown. In Newton's case, it should be competent to elaborate on his idea, that it is highly perplexing how any sequence of natural cause can result in the planar orbits of the planets, as opposed to the idea that no "direct" natural cause can bring about this orderly orbit. With the way that you have put things, why do you think earthquakes and hurricanes are often still referred to as “acts of God” when science has clearly shown the natural mechanisms behind them? Intuitively, if there exists something that is highly perplexing, even if the perplexing issue at hand has been settled, the explanation that clears things up will be in itself yet another perplexing issue, and we can understand from the concept of infinitism that such regression will go on forever.

    Problem of Infinitism:
    Now, the problem of infinitism arises. Infinitism is about justification of any belief that depends on “an infinite regression of reasons”. How, then, will it be possible for anything to be justified and believed in, since there has to be a “first cause” that is justified truth in itself, in order for an entire sequence of causes to be justified, and bring about the ability to believe. However, as a matter of fact, we do indeed have the ability to hold beliefs. Therefore, there has to exist in a “first cause” that in itself doesn't require justification. Consequently, the reasonable outcome will have to be the existence of a “Foundational Intuition”, which serves as our “first cause” in our logical thinking, and also of a God that is the “first cause” of everything in existence. It will be incompetent to question the cause of God, as God is the author of logic, and cause and effect. Therefore, He is above logic and causation and the rules of everything in existence.

    To see it in another way, human minds are not omnipotent, and to claim to ever be able to fully reason out our seemingly infinite world based on an infinite regression of reasons would be to claim that humanity is omnipotent. Therefore, the logical conclusion will have to be the existence of an infinite and omnipotent “first cause”, God, that created Man with a “foundational intuition” as the “first cause” of reasoning, so that we can believe. God also has to exist to be the “first cause” of existence, if not existence simply cannot be anything else but a lie.


    It is important to note that logical reasoning is neither perfect nor infallible, as likewise, no human being is perfect or infallible. Also, it is quite possible that intuitive belief based on subconscious reasoning (much more powerful than conscious reasoning) might be more accurate than the conscious logical reasoning. E.g. subconscious reasoning that manifests itself as intuition, where one intuitively knows of the existence of God.

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  13. Final Note

    Although nature and science cannot scientifically prove the existence of God, the facts of nature and science allows us to deduce and logically justify the existence of God. However, it is probably much easier for people to intuitively believe in God through subconscious reasoning that is much more powerful than conscious reasoning,

    It is everyone's choice, either to remain blinded in their own pride, or to make themselves humble in order to be free from intellectual arrogance, gain greater wisdom and understanding, and thus have a good end.





    Psa 19:1 "To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David. The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork."

    Rom 1:18-22 "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.
    For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.
    For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.
    For although they knew God, they did not honour him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.
    Claiming to be wise, they became fools,"

    1Pe 3:15 "but in your hearts honour Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defence to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,"

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  14. A couple of things. First, basically everything you wrote (which I can understand) is factually wrong.

    For example, it is possible to observe the supernatural scientifically (if it were to exist). Perfect example is with prayer studies. If a group of people being prayed for recovered faster than a group of people not being prayed for, that would be good evidence of prayer working.

    Likewise, no, not all things tend towards a state of entropy. Look at an egg/sperm developing into a baby. Look at a crystal. Look at a tree growing from a seed. Look at the solar system. When energy gets put into a system, the entropy decreases. That is basic thermodynamics.

    Secondly, you need to work on expressing your ideas a lot more clearly. For example, you state “You have said that Isaac Newton has rationalised, that the reason for planets sharing the same orbital plane must be the work of God. It is competent as a regressed logical deduction, probably subconscious/intuitive in nature, but certainly not competent if it were to be based on science.” This makes absolutely no sense. I read your comments like 5 times, trying to figure out what you were getting at, with no success. I can’t respond to an argument that isn’t expressed clearly. Put your argument in the form of a syllogism. Make sure you aren’t equivocating on words. Make sure you are using the standard definition of words. Don’t obfuscate. Don’t add info that’s not relevant.

    Lastly, make sure your arguments are a little better thought out. For example, you state that “It is important to note that logical reasoning is neither perfect nor infallible.” But that undermines everything you have tried to argue. If your reasoning is inherently flawed, what makes you think your arguments are valid and sound?

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  15. Hey Zach, you might want to revisit thermodynamics.

    When you put energy into a system, entropy INCREASES. When you put enough energy into a liquid, it turns into gas... Even putting energy into a system isn't natural to begin with. You have much to understand still, Zach.

    Also, try imagining a room filled to the brim with seeds and compare it with a room full of overgrown plantation. Do you still think that seeds are more entropic than trees?

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  16. Disclaimer: I am in no way related to the previous anon. I chanced upon your page by google-ing intellectual arrogance, and what you have said is indeed interesting. I have read the comments and i hope to direct you to see what the people are trying to say, where you have failed to understand. Here goes.

    Based on the earlier anon's statement that your logic is circular, i would have to disagree with his choice of words, but i will have to agree that you logic is not sound. The serious error in your logic has been pointed out by the anon just before me.

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  17. Next.
    Even if people do observe something that's supernatural, how will science prove it? Also, if science happens to prove it, it wouldn't be supernatural anymore. You don't really see the logic do you?

    You must know quite a lot about God or have proven the way prayer works, to be able to think that prayer works that way. Anyway, if you had taken university level Statistics like i've done, you would have realised the impossibility of such a method of study. (You might want to read up about the study of statistics.) Even if it were to be possible to reasonably observe a correlation between prayer and recovery, do you expect this to mean scientific proof? You ought to study more on the subject of "the theory of justification".

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  18. Regarding entropy, you might wanna look at this:
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/matt-j-rossano/are-infinities-any-more-s_b_887779.html

    "For example, you state that “It is important to note that logical reasoning is neither perfect nor infallible.” But that undermines everything you have tried to argue. If your reasoning is inherently flawed, what makes you think your arguments are valid and sound?"
    I'm sorry, but you have failed to see what anon was trying to say. What he said undermines not only his credibility, but everyone's credibility, including yours and mine. It is simply a statement of truth and humility, for the simply reason that all human beings are fallible.

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  19. In general, the way you seem to confidently put across your views when they are not actually very solid seems to suggest that you are actually quite a proud person, like what the other anon has mentioned. Therefore, i urge you to put down your pride and to actually study matters more deeply instead of superficial saying things that you don't even really understand/thinking that you understand because you have superficial understanding of many fields of study. Please see http://conservapedia.com/Intellectual_arrogance

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  20. I've reviewed anon's words quite a number of times. What he/she has done is basically a sequence of syllogies. If you can't really understand, it might do you good to look up terms like "foundational", "intuition", "regress" or "infinitism". I think it will also help if you try to map out the sequence on paper, as it is quite a large chunk of information. From your point of view, you might feel that obfuscation has taken place. From my reviews, neither obfuscation nor the addition of irrelevant information has been committed. Do note that complexity might easily be mistaken as obfuscation. Therefore, i hope that you would put in more effort to understand what has been written. I hope you will be able to see past any possible pride to acknowledge the sincerity of others in sharing insight with you, at the cost of their time. At the same time, i also appreciate the passion you have for knowledge.

    Good wishes.

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  21. Hi Anon number 2! Thanks for your comments, and your attempts to clarify the previous guy’s statements.

    Let’s start at the beginning with thermodynamics. You seem to be saying that when you put energy into a system, the overall energy level decreases (and entropy increases). That is simply not correct. Thermodynamics has to do with heat/energy transfer. Something is going to lose heat/energy unless an outside source is giving it more energy. The sun shines on the earth, which heats it up, as well as gives plants energy to grow. If you think that putting energy into an open system can’t decrease its entropy level, then you are arguing against all of modern physics.

    Yes, I understand that when the supernatural is explained, it is no longer supernatural. But that is a problem for the people who believe in the supernatural, not for me. All it is is an admission that “supernatural” is just a synonym of “I don’t know.” To quote Michael Shermer, “There is no such thing as the paranormal and supernatural. There is only the normal and the natural and the mysteries we have yet to explain.” I completely agree. In order for the supernatural to exist, you have to argue that some phenomena is not only unexplained by science, but is forever unexplainable in natural terms. And no human can know that.

    My logic isn’t circular, the problem is that the idea of “supernatural” has no meaning. It is a negative statement about reality. That is, it doesn’t tell us anything, it just describes what we don’t know, don’t understand, etc. By its very nature, it has nothing to say. This is not my problem though. The same problem exists with parapsychologists who study psychic stuff, and they are very aware of it.

    The thing here is that you (or the other guy at least) are suggesting that the only way we can essentially see the supernatural, is from a distance, with one eye closed while the other is squinted. Meaning, if you want to see the supernatural, by all means, DON’T LOOK AT IT WITH SCIENCE LOL!!! Don’t look carefully or critically! I think it’s quite revealing that when the supernatural is viewed by science, the “super” part disappears. It’s this logic that ultimately drove the parapsychologist, Susan Blackmore, to realize she had been deluding herself. Her colleagues told her she was designing too tight of studies with too many controls. “That’s not how psychic phenomena works” they said. Just like you seem to be saying about prayer.

    Speaking of prayer, Christians ALWAYS have an excuse for failed prayer studies. And again, the whole thing is “if don’t look at it carefully and critically, and you will see that it works.” I have to ask this: if prayer studies showing no effect is what we should expect if God does exist (as you seem to suggest), what should we expect as a result if God doesn’t exist? I think it’s clear that this I just shell game logic. Heads you win, tails I loose. And if a study can’t show, even in principle, that prayer can work/not work, why should we think that anecdotes regarding prayer are valid as evidence for it (assuming you think prayer works)?

    If the only variable that was different between two groups of sick people was “one group was prayed for and the other was not”, and the group that was prayed for recovered faster, yes, that would be amazing evidence (not proof, this is science, not math) for its effectiveness. Especially if it only worked for Catholics or something. This is how we test every sort of claim regarding the effectiveness of a medical treatment or medicine. So to cry foul when the same standards are applied to God is just special pleading.

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  22. Yes, it is quite possible that I misunderstood anon… seeing as most of what he wrote was unintelligible. I tried my best though. Whatever the case, I don’t think many people would argue that logic is imperfect or fallible (especially theists, since they claim it is grounded in God’s nature). Humans that use it are fallible, sure. But I don’t think anyone would ever argue that the law of non contradiction (for example) might not actually be true. You can’t even coherently make an argument that logic is flawed, since you would be relying on logic to get the point across. It would be sort of like saying “this statement is false.”

    It’s interesting how in the same blog post, I can be accused of being proud of my ignorance, since I am declaring I don’t know much, and am trying my best… as well as have someone else accuse me of being proud of my knowledge. Very odd. I also find it even more odd that in all of anon’s comments, he didn’t even address my argument. I even have a syllogism right in the comments (Feb 6, 2011)… but nothing I have said has even been addressed. You also haven’t made any statements or attempts to show why my argument is wrong, or why my argument isn’t very solid… so I am not sure what part of what I have said could be considered as coming off as proud. First citing HuffPo, and then citing conservapedia? You can do better than that.

    There might be an argument somewhere in anon’s comments that could be made into a syllogism, but I am not going to spend the time trying to pull them out. The burden is on the person making the argument to be as clear as possible. Being obscure and unclear, with the expectation that the reader will figure out the meaning is not very fair. But at this point, there are no syllogisms present. Notice that when I have some formal argument, I will be quite clear, as well as lay out the argument in a syllogism at the end. I don’t expect the reader to map the argument on paper. If I am trying to make an argument, I am not going to make the reader decipher it.

    I am quite familiar with the terms he used, but the way in which he used them is very odd. For example, what does “a regressed logical deduction, probably subconscious/intuitive in nature” mean? How does one make a subconscious deduction, especially on God’s behavior? Are there examples of anything that we have subconsciously deduced that we know to be true? And if so, how do we know we deduced them, rather than just came to the conclusion based on something like emotional appeal, and our conclusion is accidentally true? Or, another example “It is quite possible that intuitive belief based on subconscious reasoning (much more powerful than conscious reasoning) might be more accurate than the conscious logical reasoning.” Why should we think that intuition and subconscious reasoning are the same? And what is subconscious reasoning? And why do we think it is more powerful than conscious reasoning? What evidence is there to support that? These are just vague, empty claims. White noise.

    The issue of infinitism, as well as quoting bible verses has absolutely zero relevance to this blog post. It is also very possible to explain a complex idea or argument without resorting to such un-clarity. Popular science books, as well as your own comments, are an example of this. Like I said earlier, if someone wants to present idea, it’s up to them to put in the work to make it understandable.

    Whatever the case, thanks for the comments! If you can, I would very much like to hear your response to the actual blog post, rather than Anon’s comments.

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  23. Entropy. When energy is put into a system, ENTHALPY INCREASES and ENTROPY ALSO INCREASES. Please do revisit the topic and gain proper understanding of it.

    Please study the THEORY OF JUSTIFICATION. You will realise that based on logic, the unexplained will always be present because of the REGRESS ARGUMENT.

    That's precisely what anon meant, that HUMAN REASONING IS FALLIBLE. LOGIC IS FOUNDED ON HUMAN REASONING. EQUIVANENTLY, LOGIC IS FALLIBLE.
    PLEASE, STUDY THE "THEORY OF KNOWLEDGE".

    Regressed logical deduction means logical deduction done with a sequence of premises and conclusion. And PLEASE READ UP ABOUT THE POWER OF THE SUBCONSCIOUS MIND. The subconscious mind resolves issues but the fact that proving anything requires conscious thinking makes the subconscious unprovable, because knowledge of what went through the subconscious cannot be consciously grasped.

    IT IS VERY CLEAR THAT WHAT ANON SAYS SHOWS HOW YOUR ARGUMENTS ARE SERIOUSLY FAULTY. BLAME IT ON YOUR OWN INCOMPETENCE, AND NOT ON OTHER PEOPLE.

    YOU WILL REMAIN IN YOUR FOLLY AS LONG AS YOU REMAIN AS HARDHEADED AND PROUD AS YOU ARE RIGHT NOW.

    Hope that you would understand the attempt to use BLOCK LETTERS to try to convery ideas that you have repeatedly failed to grasp because of your SUPERFICIAL UNDERSTANDING OF MANY THINGS, YET IN YOUR PRIDE, YOU DO NOT ADMIT IT AND DO NOT TAKE STEPS TO FURTHER CORRECT AND IMPROVE ON YOUR CURRENT UNDERSTANDING.

    Comments to anon's comments indirectly comments on your blog post.

    This shall be the last. Be at Peace.

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  24. Well, I see that you completely dropped every point that I brought up which has any relevance to my argument, and instead decided to defend Anon’s irrelevant points.

    Thermodynamics really has no relevance here, so I will grant you everything, since it has no bearing on my argument whatsoever. As far as I understand it, in order for usable energy to increase (like a seed growing into a tomato), you have to have energy being put into that system (in this case, from the sun). If that is not the case, my apologies. Regardless, it has nothing to do with any of my premises.

    Yes, I am aware that the regress argument exists, but again, this has no relevance to my argument either. Simply because one can ask “why” to everything in no way means that the answer will eventually be “because God.” The argument I put forth already addresses this, indirectly.

    I already pointed out that theists think logic is grounded in God’s nature. Regardless if you think that is correct or not, are you saying that there are circumstances in which modus ponens is incorrect? How could you know this? And could you give an example? I think it’s more accurate to say that logic is a reflection of the nature of reality, and humans can understand it, sometimes incorrectly. That is, logic is descriptive, not prescriptive. My logic could be wrong, but LOGIC is not ever wrong (and if it is, I don’t know how anyone could prove it, or even what that would mean).

    I am very aware of the research regarding the subconscious mind. Yes, it solves problems, but it solves problems by processing information and bringing solutions to the attention of the conscious part of the mind. But no, the subconscious is not un-provable. What do you think keeps your heart beating, or keeps you breathing while asleep? Certainly not your conscious mind. Almost everything your brain does is on the unconscious level. Very few processes get brought up to conscious awareness (there is TONS of research about this). And anyway, AGAIN, this has nothing to do with my argument at all. In what way does “the mind processes info subconsciously” have anything to do with my premises? The fact that you are so set on defending irrelevant points (when I brought up tons of relevant issues that you haven’t addressed) is weird.

    All you have done here is tried to clarify Anon’s argument (which, granted, is commendable). But in doing so, you have demonstrated that his argument was quite convoluted, seeing as you have had an easy time conveying it in very understandable terms. If it is so hard to convey a supposedly complex topic clearly (as you mentioned earlier), then why was it so easy for you? Though, we still don’t seem to understand what all that stuff with Newton was about. And you haven’t told me what the syllogisms were either, or how they are relevant to my argument.

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  25. So once again, here are the premises of my argument...

    1.Statements that claim God has done something (created life, etc) are statements regarding a phenomena that currently lack a scientific explanation.
    2. One couldn’t ever know that science will never answer any currently unresolved questions.
    3. Stating that science won’t ever have an answer to such questions would require one to be omniscient.
    Therefore,
    4. Unless you are omniscient, you can't claim God has done anything, since that is the same as stating science will never have the answer.

    If you are going to accuse me of being too proud, etc, please do me the courtesy of actually telling me which premise(s) you find to be incorrect, or why you find the premises to not follow. I am quite happy to admit an error, and I do it all the time.

    Yes, issues regarding epistemology and the regression of justification, etc are important, but that’s not what this is directly about. It would be similar to someone saying “here is evidence that the earth has tectonic plates” with some guy then saying “yeah… man, but like, how do we even know this is real?” A good question, but not appropriate for the context of the discussion.

    We also haven’t heard what we should expect as a result of prayer studies if God doesn’t exist. Though, to be fair, I have asked theists this question for years, and I have yet to hear a response (I seriously have asked hundreds of people, and no one has ever responded to this question. Not once, not never).

    Feel free to comment more, but please, forget what Anon has said (as I have pointed out, it has no direct relevance to my premises), and focus on my actual argument. Thanks!

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  26. Against premise 1:
    Premise 1 is irrelevant because saying that God created life, or God created me, simply means that God is the beginning of everything. It does not mean that God is the direct cause of whatever is mentioned.
    In other words, you are misunderstanding what theists are saying. Theists do not base their beliefs on science, because it is common sense that if God is proven by science, God will not be God, because the nature of God is supposed to be unfathomable. If this is difficult to understand you might want to visit bible verses which mention about this.

    Against premise 2 & 3:
    How about the problem of the beginning of knowledge? It is logical that science will never solve it, because of the regress argument. Basically, proving infinity can never be proven by science, because infinite amount of proof will be required, which will only be possible at the end of an infinite amount of time, which will never come, because infinity never ends. It's logic.

    Against premise 4:
    Now what all that anon has mentioned will most greatly come into play. Anon was effectively saying that one could only prove God with science if he is omniscient, because of the problem of infinite regress. However, he has demonstrated that with logic, one can come to the conclusion that God is the beginning cause of existence. The starting premise is the fact that we have the ability to believe. Then the whole load of Theory of Knowledge and Regress Argument come in, which would seem convoluted because of it's complex nature.


    Oh, and about logic, see if you can understand this: Logic in it's entirety is defined and formed based on the logical reasoning of Human Beings, which you have also admitted, is fallible. Therefore, logic is fallible.
    Also think about this: What makes you think logic is infallible, and how do you justify it?

    Hope you'll understand.

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  27. Edit: Basically, infinity can never be proven by science.

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  28. "Science has nothing to do with Christ, except insofar as the habit of scientific research makes a man cautious in admitting evidence."
    - Charles Darwin

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  29. Yay!! Thanks for the specific criticism!

    I disagree. Saying that God created life is not the same as saying God is the beginning of everything. The “beginning of everything” is an argument in itself. Take, for example, Newton on the orbital planes of the planets. It was unknown how it occurred, so Newton said it was the result of God. Now that we know the answer, no one says it’s the result of God.

    I think you are misunderstanding what theists claim, not me. I am basing this off of years of conversations, hundreds (if not thousands) of emails, as well as books, lectures and debates on Christian apologetics. I was also the “token skeptic” on a Christian radio show for awhile. Basically every apologetic (evidential) line of thought which argues for the existence of God will talk about the origin of life, the existence of the universe, the cosmological constants, our sense of morality and sometimes the existence of consciousness. They all say that science has no way to explain them, and so the best explanation is God. This is why there is such a thing called “the God of the Gaps argument”… it is just so common. Another great example is the now all but defunct Intelligent Design movement. “I don’t know how X could have evolved, therefore God designed it.” But then someone shows “here is how X could have evolved”, and they drop the argument. Creationists have been doing this for decades.

    If you want me to quote specific examples, I am happy to list tons for you.

    Also, saying that “Theists do not base their beliefs on science, because it is common sense that if God is proven by science” seems contradictory. That seems like me saying “I don’t base my belief in atoms in science, because it is common sense that they are proven by science.” God’s existence is not common sense. If it were, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. Also, 93% of scientists and 72% of philosophers are atheists.

    It is also ironic that theists will say “the nature of God is unfathomable”, but then have no problem telling people what they think God likes, doesn’t like, thinks about certain issues, etc. If the nature of God is unfathomable, then we should all just stop talking about it. And how would one know if something was unfathomable?

    Your criticism of premises two and three has nothing to do with the premises. All I am saying is that no one can ever claim to know what science won’t discover. This has nothing to do with the philosophical issue of the beginning of knowledge. And as I pointed out before, even if it were relevant, it doesn’t mean that God is the beginning of knowledge.

    There is no premise four… that is the conclusion.

    Logic can’t be fallible. It’s an abstract object that isn’t able to do anything. Like numbers, it just exists. Can numbers be fallible? Of course not. Humans can use logic (or math) incorrectly though, which can lead to false results. Using your argument, you could say the same thing for reality. “Reality is deduced via human reasoning. Human reasoning is fallible, therefore reality is fallible.” That is a non sequitur. Saying that because a user can misuse a tool, the tool is broken, doesn’t work. And like I mentioned before, if logic is grounded in God (as theists believe), then that make the argument even less valid.

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  30. Interesting read, but your argument relies on the accuracy of science, and you say that it has a "100% rate of success". However, you don't know that for sure. It has a 100% success rate as far as proving the things we are aware of so far to be correct, but what about things that we are not aware of? For science to be 100% accurate we (humans) would have to have a 100% accurate view of reality. Do we? We don't know. Furthermore (regarding the discoveris we have already made) we know about gravity, but what if gravity goes way beyond what we have discovered so far, and goes to something that we cannot even imagine. Same with all of our scientific discoveries so far. And then there are things that we are not even capable of comprehending. How accurate is science with these things? What if our view of the Universe is equivalent to that of an ant's (just from a 'higher' perspective). Ants can never understand gravity, or anything that we do for that matter. What if we are just as limited? We probably are. To claim that science will discover everything is also to claim that you are omniscient. After all, is any of this even real, or are you just having a pleasant dream? If it is real, show me proof. Peace :)

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  31. Thanks for the comment!

    I think it's important to point out that I said that science has a 100% success rate GIVEN ENOUGH TIME. For example, there are tons of mysteries of science, but the history of scientific progress gives us no reason to think that such mysteries are unanswerable (and the fact that scientists continue to work on such mysteries strongly suggests that the experts agree).

    Also, my argument is not about unknown mysteries that we have yet to find out about (like some weird aspect of gravity, as you mentioned). The argument is in regards to mysteries we currently know about, such as the origin of life, how consciousness works, where the universe came from, etc.

    So, the argument isn't that science will discover everything--but that science will explain everything that has been discovered.

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    1. Thanks for replying...I think you contradict yourself a little when you say "my argument is not about unknown mysteries that we have yet to find out about (like some weird aspect of gravity)", as we have already discovered gravity, but still not fully understood it, so there are "weird aspects" that remain to be explained, even though gravity is a known phenomenon. And later you say "my argument isn't that science will discover everything--but that science will explain everything that has been discovered". Gravity has indeed been discovered, yet there still remain the "weird aspects" about it that have not been explained, which you earlier classed as the "unknown mysteries" that are not what you're argument is about.

      And we have no idea about the origin of life, how consciousness works, or where the universe came from and how, by the way. There are many theories for these things, all based on scientific evidence and observation, yet none of them can be said to be a scientific fact (such as 'gravity exists' can be said to be). All of them are publicized as the one and only truth by the scientist that came up with the theory, but this is mainly to convince you to buy their latest book. If you actually talked to some of these scientists and asked them the right questions you would realize this.

      And, saying science has a 100% success rate "given enough time" is still not accurate as there could still be those things that remain 'mysteries of science'. This is an impossible prediction, even if we are looking at the history of science, as we just don't know yet what is provable and what isn't. It could be the case, for example, that science stops advancing in 50 years time and that's it. We cannot say either way. Quantum physics, for example, is hitting some brick walls that are making it seem as if a paradigm shift is due soon, or that our understanding has reached it's limit.

      Look forward to your reply! Cheers

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    2. ...and you haven't answered my questions regarding whether we percieve reality accuratly or not. Is this knowable? And is there proof that this existence is real? Because if we cannot know the answer to these two questions then we are in serious trouble as far as 'knowing' anything goes lol. Cheers

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  32. I think I understand where you are coming from, but it seems like we could easily be talking past each other.

    You seem to be mainly pointing out that there are things we don’t know about, and it’s not certain that we will ever will figure them out. That is true, but I wouldn’t bet on it (in the long run). When I think back to things people said were impossible, such as life existing without an “elan vital”, it’s clear that the “we will never know” sort of thinking is not a very good horse to bet on.

    Anyway, to be a little more precise, my argument is actually about the failure of religious explanations over scientific explanations. For sake of your argument though, let’s say I am wrong about science explaining things like the origin of life, the universe and consciousness. In no way is that a point for religion, since they have no explanation either, other than “God did it.”

    As for my contradiction, I just don’t see it. Yes, there are weird aspects of gravity that have yet to be explained, but are you willing to bet that in say 10,000 years, we still won’t have a clue about them? If it helps, I would say my argument is inductive, and based on probability, rather than deductive, and based on some logical certainty. So, I could be wrong, but that doesn’t seem likely

    Sure, you could say that it’s wrong to say “science has a 100% success rate, given enough time” because there are still mysteries. But I would just go back to the original statement, and say “well give the mysteries more time. There is no scientific mystery that scientists have thrown their hands up and said “We give up!” The only people I think who do that are proponents of Intelligent Design. “The blood clotting cascade is too complex, we give up! It must be God.” Meanwhile, actual researchers (I dated a biochemist whose research actually was the blood clotting cascade) continue.

    Sure, perhaps in 50 years we will hit a brick wall and things will just be too much for us to comprehend. However, so far, there is no reason to think such a thing. And even if we did hit that wall, there would be no reason to say “Ah, this super weird aspect of gravity—THAT’S created by God.”

    Apologies for not answering your last question. I thought you were just making a rhetorical point. I would say that I know I exist because “I think therefore I am.” Maybe YOU are a figment of my imagination, but I know for certain that I exist. And an illusion of self existing is a contradiction. So, at least one mind exists (mine).

    Now, how do I know that reality is what I experience? Well, I don’t think it is, actually. I experience a very small aspect of reality. What humans can perceive on the light and sound spectrum is very small in regards to what is actually out there (of course, we can in a sense perceive such things with the help of technology). Then there is the issue of only being aware of a very small amount of the information entering my brain. My conscious experience of everything around me is extremely small. As for the existence of an objective world outside myself… I don’t think there is any non-question begging way of answering that. You just have to take it from a pragmatic perspective.

    Anyway, I hope I didn’t misunderstand your arguments or objections. If I did, please feel free to correct me!

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    1. The contradiction is irrelevant. You're point about humans experiencing only a tiny fragment of reality is what I am getting at! Throw in new multiverse theories, and the logical extension of such theories, and that fragment of reality shrinks to an infinitely small dot. From this knowledge of how limited our view of reality is, we can deduce that our scientific method can only explain whatever is within that tiny fragment of 'human-reality.' That leaves one hell of a lot of infinity simply unexplainable by science, no matter how much time passes by.

      And I'm not arguing for the explanation that 'I don't know so God did it!'. I'm just trying to make you realize that to conclude God doesn't exist simply because ancients believed God did physical things, such as make lightening, which were then proven to be a physical process, is unjustifiable. This is because the question remains 'Where does the process come from and how does it work?'. When that is answered by science, the question remains, 'so where does that process come from?' etc etc for infinity. I certainly don't believe in the God that can shoot lightening out of his a@£e; the God I believe in is infinity. It's the whole of existence all together whatever that may be. It's the reason of why things exist rather than not exist (even if you talk about quantum physics and say that particles pop in and out of existence randomly, out of nothingness, it still doesn't explain the idea of existence vs. non-existence away as the question then becomes, 'well, how is this possible? What is the process underlying it?' etc...back to infinite regression).
      Obviously this is a very abstract view of God compared to what can be called the 'religious God'. That's why I love science in fact. To me it proves that there is such a God as the questions just keep coming, and will probably never stop. Science and philosophy also show you how limited we are as creatures and so to me this means that I cannot conclude anything solid about reality, especially the existence or non-existence of God. And that makes life freaking amazing!
      Please explain to me your view on this and how you reach the conclusion that God doesn't exist if you know how limited we are as humans. To me, it seems as if everything is a belief. For example; a classic atheist argument =

      Person A: 'Why don't you believe in God?'
      Person B: 'There is no evidence for God's existence.'

      And that is fair enough if it was that simple. But it's not, because person B has to BELIEVE that humans are capable of getting evidence for God's existence, if God indeed exists. This is a belief as we don't know (we cannot say either way) that we are capable of finding evidence for God's existence, if indeed he existed. We just don't know whether we can or not. From this, person B can then conclude that God doesn't exist as there is no evidence for it, but only once the above belief is held. And so, atheism appears to rely on belief also, as does everything (including whether anything around you exists or not, as you mentioned previously, thanks to Mr. Descartes' Meditations).
      This has gone slightly off-topic! But I am just curious as to how people can reach the conclusion of atheism given that they know we are so limited as humans. And how atheists call atheism a lack of belief when clearly it is not, as it relies on a belief to be held in order to reach the conclusion of 'there is no God' (that is, the Gid I have described as believing in). I have been reading and searching for ages now and still have no answer that is a good one. I know all of the atheist arguments, I know logic and science (I study psychology and philosophy), but still nothing! No definitive answers/ reasons to persuade me on the non-existence of God.

      Thanks a lot!

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  33. If your main point is to argue that it’s wrong to conclude that God doesn’t exist, simply because ancients believed God made things that turned out to have natural explanations, I would cite the very first paragraph of this blog post: “This is not an argument against the existence of God. My argument could be completely without error, and God could still exist. This is merely an argument against belief in a supernatural being.”

    Though, to be more precise, it’s belief in the traditional God of monotheism who interacts with this world (does things like heal cancer patients on occasion, designs bacterial flagellum, created life, etc.) that I am arguing is unreasonable.

    As for the idea of some “infinite” or abstract god… I really have no interest in that, as such a thing isn’t falsifiable.

    As for your last question, it all depends on the definition of god you are talking about. If we are talking about a God who created people out of dirt and a rib, flooded the world, has a mind, is three persons in one, is transcendent, omnipresent, etc, it’s pretty simple to show how that god can’t exist (logically and scientifically).

    Also, I wouldn’t say I know 100% that God doesn’t exist. I am just strongly convinced he doesn’t. I have a whole list of things that would change my mind (such as prayer studies showing prayer works for certain religious groups and not others). I would agree with Richard Feynman when he said “I have approximate answers and possible beliefs and different degrees of certainty about different things. But I’m not absolutely sure of anything. And there are many things that I don’t know anything about.”

    But based on the best available evidence, I am very strongly convinced that the God of traditional theism does not exist.

    As for the whole line of reasoning about us assuming we are capable of getting evidence for God… I think that is just a waste of time to be honest. It’s basically just defining God out of scrutiny. Just like the dragon in Carl Sagan’s garage. We either define God in certain ways and admit that there is no evidence (and there is evidence against) such characteristics, or we define god in some non falsifiable way, and that gets us nowhere.

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    1. As for the “lacking belief” thing, I wouldn’t over-think it. Basically, if atheism is a “belief that God doesn’t exist”, then we would also have to say that “not collecting coins is a hobby.” Though, trying to find an argument to 100% not believe in some abstract god that in no way interacts with the world in a meaningful way, you are going to be disappointed. No one really cares about such a thing, and no one makes arguments about that. So, you are searching for something that doesn’t exist. Though, I suppose by your same logic, you have no reason to think that such an argument doesn’t exist. We are so limited in our understanding, should you really presume that just because you don’t know of an argument that shows your belief to be 100% wrong, you should think there isn’t one? ;)

      Though, how can you reach the conclusion that you aren’t being abducted by aliens every night, and they erase your memory of the event? There is so much we don’t know, how can we be so certain such a thing isn’t happening? Or, how do you know I didn’t come possess you body, and guide you to my blog? You see, it’s possible that I am not actually a person… I am an inter-dimensional being capable of taking over human minds without them knowing, and having them do as I please. The universe is a vast, mysterious place… so what would convince you that such a thing hasn’t happened? Do you simply lack belief that these things have happened, or do you just have faith that they don’t, and you have no reason not to think they aren’t?

      All it takes to not believe these things (God included) is for me to have no evidence or good argument whatsoever. The burden of proof is on me, and the theists to provide evidence of these claims. Your failure to be convinced is not some faith you are right. There is a difference between what is possible and what is probable. Just because something is theoretically possible (aliens abducting you and erasing your memory) in no way means we should humor the idea. There has to be reason for us to believe it. There has to be evidence.

      Though, in the end, it seems like your reason for this abstract god is just based on your lack of answers for big questions. I would say that that is just an argument from ignorance. Why not just admit “I don’t know” and leave it at that?

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    2. Indeed, I am aware of your first paragraph, yet that is not my main point. I have now begun to question why you are an atheist, and how it is possible that atheists see their position as a logical one (as I said, slightly off topic).
      How can you ask me to not "over-think"? This is a logical, philosophical argument, is it not? I'm not on a religious page of some sort, am I?...or am I? You ask me to not over-think as I have found a gigantic hole in atheism. Let me explain it a little better - I'm not saying that atheism is a non-belief in God (I understand the concept of lack of belief that atheists go on about). However, that 'lack of belief' comes from focusing only on what it is that atheists do indeed have a lack of belief in, which is of course God. But, this is equivalent to looking at religions and ignoring all the beliefs that they have and that we associate with religion, and saying 'actually, religions are not belief systems as they hold a lack of belief in materialism'. So religious/ spiritual people should be called amaterialists? And therefore, schoolos of thought we call religions are not a beliefs, but a lack of belief? Then we could list the number of non-hobbies that we would have to say are hobbies to show this 'lack of belief' in action for religions also.
      But, no one thinks about this. They only focus on the belief-side of religion, and the lack-of-belief-side in atheism. No one questions the other side of each position. So then, as religion has a belief-side, atheism too has a belief-side (as does everything - everything has it's foundation on a belief, hence everything is a belief). This belief-side for atheism is, Belief A: 'Evidence of God's existence can be obtained by human beings', and also, Belief B: 'I believe in materialism', amoungst others most likely, but these are the main ones. Now then, there is more reason to believe in 'Belief B', but those reasons are slowly dwindling thanks to quantum physics (have you heard about the 'double-slit experiment' by the way? It will blow your mind!). 'Belief B' however is totally unwarranted. There is no reason that would either strongly suggest or deny this belief (it is 50%. There is no argument about probability here), so it is a pure belief based on absolutely nothing whatsoever. And, that is the belief that atheism hinges on as without it one cannot conclude that the lack of evidence for God indeed proves that there is no God. If God cannot be proven to exist (which we don't know), then there is no burden of proof as it is not appropriate. It is appropriate for things which can be proven (namely physical objects/ phenomenon, which is what science does. But you shouldn't use science where science isn't the right 'tool'. That's like trying to cut wood with a screwdriver, instead of using a saw)...

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    3. Regarding my abstract God - this is obviously not the God of the religion you know (most likely Catholic. At any rate, definitely a western idea of God). God is said to be infinite by Christianity anyway - this is one of God's characteristics, so it's not my idea. Omnipresent, omniscient, omnipotent? That's infinity. What does it mean if God is indeed infinite? It would mean that God is the only thing in existence in fact, as if God wasn't part (more than just a 'part' actually. It would have to be the only thing present in the object/ thing/ whatever) of everything, then it wouldn't be infinite, would it? So then, that's why I like science. It is making it clear that whatever we are a part of (this existence) is infinite, which is proof for God's existence, if you ask me. Now, it depends again on what you believe as to what you make of this apparent evidence (everything is a belief, remember). However, at least I am aware that my view of the world is a belief, whereas atheists don't seem to be. They are convinced that God doesn't exist, even though you just said yourself you're not 100% sure. So which is it? You are sure or you're not sure? It can't be both.
      And the argument from ignorance thing at the end of what you just said is false as for you to be able to call me ignorant, you would have to know some information about these 'big questions', which no one does. So, it could be the case I am ignorant, yet it also could be the case that I am not, but yet again, you don't know.

      Cheers

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  34. My comment about not overthinking things was in regards to the whole “Atheism is not a lack of belief” sort of thing. If someone really wants to debate that… fine, but it seems like a huge waste of time to me. It would be like arguing if you “lack belief” aliens are abducting you, or if you simply have no reason to believe it. It seems silly to waste time on it.

    If religious people wanted to say they are not materialists, fine. But that doesn’t tell us what they believe. Likewise, saying you are an atheist doesn’t tell anyone what you believe. Both terms aren’t helpful at all.

    I would disagree that atheism has a belief side. I “lack belief” in god, so I am an atheist, but then on the positive side, I am a methodological naturalist. Atheism isn’t helpful in explaining what I believe. Though, I don’t really think about things for myself in terms of belief. I think about it in terms of evidence. I don’t believe in electricity… I have evidence for it. Likewise for all my beliefs (or so I like to think).

    And at least for myself I don’t “believe in materialism.” Evidence for materialism is all around us… the existence of the universe is evidence of materialism. HOWEVER, there is no good evidence of anything other (spirits and whatnot). So I don’t believe in materialism, I just have no reason to think that anything else exists. Just like you have no reason to think you are being abducted by aliens every night.

    I don’t think that the whole “evidence for God’s existence can be obtained by humans” is an atheist belief. I think it is a general presupposition that people have in regards to what holy books say. If no holy book described God as interacting with the world, there would be no argument.

    Yeah, I am familiar with the double slit experiment. I think that quantum entanglement is even cooler though!!

    I agree that the lack of evidence for God doesn’t prove God doesn’t exist. But it’s pretty good evidence. It’s exactly what is predicted on atheism.

    Science works on things that exist in reality. If you want to define God as being intangible and undetectable… fine. But I could claim that there is a giant magic jar of moldy peanut butter running the universe, and there is no way to detect it. It’s a poor line of logic. It’s the dragon in the garage, as I mentioned earlier.

    Frankly, I think the whole “you can’t test God with science” thing is nonsense. It’s shell game logic. Heads I win, tails you lose. Even if we couldn’t test God himself, we should be able to test his effects on the world (prayer studies, for example).

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    1. I completely agree with you on your critiques of saying God is omnipresent. That was one of the first questions I had in regards to the existence of God. “If God is everywhere, then he must be everything… nothing but God could exist.” However, after that, you completely lost me and I wasn’t sure what your argument was. Could you try breaking it down into a syllogism? I feel like you also need to distinguish between actual infinite and potential infinite, because I feel like you keep going back and forth between them.

      As for your last question… I don’t believe in God. That is not my worldview. My worldview is metaphysical naturalism, part of which states there is no immaterial beings, or consciousness without brains. That means gods and spirits can’t exist. I think this because I have good evidence to think so. If you want to call that a belief… fine, but then I would also say it’s a belief that when I hit keys on the keyboard, letters will appear on the screen. And if you want to call not being convinced God exists a belief, then fine, but I then think you also have to say not collecting stamps is a hobby. Though, as I mentioned before, I find it very odd that people waste time trying to split these types of hairs. I don’t really care about any of that, and I don’t see how it has any real importance.

      I am not sure why you have trouble with the idea that you can have a view on something, but not be 100% certain. There is literally nothing I am 100% certain about (other than my own subjective existence). But being convinced of something doesn’t mean you have to be 100% certain. For example, with language acquisition, I am convinced that the empiricists are correct. Now, I am not nearly 100% close to being convinced, but I am more convinced of their arguments than I am from the nativists. Since I am not 100% convinced, would it be wrong to say that I don’t believe the empiricists? No, that would be silly.

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  35. But atheism IS helpful in explaining what you believe as it is indeed the case that you cannot have a disbelief in something without having a belief in it's opposite. It is an impossibilty. So, atheism is a lack of belief in God just like theism is a lack of belief in materialism. What does that tell us about the beliefs of the two groups then? We can conclude (by examing the logical implications of the 2 different lack-of-beliefs) that atheists must believe something that allows them to conclude that God does not exist, and theists must believe something that allows them to conclude that materialism is innaccurate. That belief for atheists is that humans can find evidence of God if indeed God exists, and that belief for theists is that the afterlife/ God/ etc exists and therefore there is more than this material existence, ie materialism is not accurate.

    Also, look at this for example:
    Reality = there is no evidence that proves the existence of God.

    Atheism = lack of belief in God = belief that humans can find evidence of God's existence

    Theism = lack of belief in materialism = belief in God

    So then, it seems as if both groups are looking at the same reality (that there is no evidence for God's existence) and interpruting it in different ways according to what they believe.

    In standard form, the two positions;

    Atheism
    P1: There is no evidence for God's existence (reality)
    P2: I think humans could prove God if God indeed existed (belief)
    C: Therefore, God does not exist.

    Theism
    P1: There is no evidence for God's existence (reality)
    P2: I don't think humans could prove God's existnce if God indeed existed (belief)
    P3: My religious text tells me God exists/or/ I have experienced God first-hand etc. (belief /or/ first-hand experience)
    C: Therefore, God exists

    One of these theistic positions is a lot more accurate than the other, however.

    I think the only logical position to hold infact is agnosticism, unless you have experienced God first-hand, as atheism and theism are both based fully on belief, as shown above.

    Agnosticism
    P1: There is no evidence of God's existence (reality)
    P2: I don't know whether humans can find evidence of God (reality)
    C: I don't know whether God exists

    As you mentioned, the lack of evidence of God's existence is indeed expected if atheism is correct (that God doesnt exist), but it is also expected in all the other 3 situations! The only situation where something else could be expected is if God exists and we are able to find evidence for it's existence (we would then eventually find it). But, even in this situation we would only know when and only when this evidence is found. Until then, the same lack of evidence would be expected.
    The 4 situations are:
    1. God exists and humans can find evidence of God (no evidence until it is proven)
    2. God exists and humans cannot find evidence of God (no evidence ever)
    3. God doesn't exist and humans can find evidence of God (no evidence ever)
    4. God doesn't exist and humans cannot find evidence of God (it becomes irrelevant but still, no evidence ever)

    Situation 1 is the only one where anything can actually be known about the existence of God based on evidence. Yet, there is still a situation that could be true where God exists and no evidence will ever be found (situation 2). We don't know what situation we are in so to guess which one we are in is a belief, hence agnosticism is the only logical option (unless you have experienced something 'spiritual' first-hand, if it's possible).

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  36. Okay, I am noticing a few patterns here, and I think we are basically talking past each other. Several times now, you have taken the views of atheists, and tried to apply them to a definition of god that no one ever talks or cares about (this abstract, unknowable god). Atheists are atheists in regards to the standard definition of God—the traditional monotheist one. You claim that atheists are assuming that god is knowable—and ignoring the fact that atheists are not talking about your unknowable god. They are talking about the knowable God that Christians, Muslims and Jews claim exists. To continue to take the views of atheists and try to apply them to a god of a completely different definition is no good.

    Yes, there are certain things that have led me to think God (OF MONOTHEISM) does not exist, such as the dependence of the mind on the brain. However, even if I didn’t have positive arguments for atheism, I would still be an atheist, because I am not convinced by the arguments that theists put forward.

    As I have repeatedly stated, just because you aren’t convinced aliens are abducting you every night, this doesn’t mean you have some belief against them.

    Thank you for breaking your arguments down into syllogisms. It was very helpful. However, as I pointed out above, you are sneaking in a premise which states “theists think God exists and interacts with reality.” This is not an atheist belief, but a theist assertion—one of the main assertion that atheists are responding to.

    So your argument for atheism should look like this…

    P1: Theists claim evidence of God is attainable.
    P2: Based on P1, humans should have evidence of God, if God indeed existed.
    P3: There is no evidence for God's existence.
    C: Therefore, God probably does not exist.

    As for your point about agnosticism, this is again you basically equivocating between your abstract god and the God of traditional monotheism.

    Your argument could also be used to justify literally anything. Watch…

    No Peanut Butter
    P1: There is no evidence for invisible jars of moldy peanut butter (IJMPB) running the world (reality)
    P2: I think humans could prove IJMPB if IJMPB indeed existed (belief).
    C: Therefore, IJMPB does not exist.

    Peanut Butter
    P1: There is no evidence for IJMPB existence (reality)
    P2: I don't think humans could prove IJMPB existence if IJMPB indeed existed (belief)
    P3: My tarot card reader text tells me IJMPB exists.
    C: Therefore, IJMPB exists.

    According to your logic, belief and non belief in the IJMPB is based on belief. The trick is to just claim that the rejection of someone’s beliefs (any belief) is a belief itself. And that is simply not the case, as I have explained a number of times before.

    Your argument for agnosticism is fine, but only if you are talking about a god that isn’t the traditional monotheistic one.

    You go on to mention that lack of evidence of God is expected in all scenarios. That is just nonsense. The whole fields of theology and philosophy of religion is based on the idea that God is potentially knowable. Again, this is you taking YOUR definition of god, and putting it on everyone else. And everyone else, atheist and theist alike, would disagree with you. If you think I am wrong, I would point you to the vast literature of Christian apologetics. Theists believe God is knowable, some people say “show me the evidence”, theists can’t, and the people who asked for evidence are then referred to as atheists.

    Anyway, we have really strayed from the original topic. Let’s get back to it shall we? The argument is that belief in God because of the current lack of scientific explanations for certain things is not reasonable. Reason being, to claim “God exists because we don’t know how life started” (or whatever) is assuming that science will NEVER have an answer. And no one can know that. And looking at the track record of science, it’s not a safe bet.

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    1. Well, for me, I have no idea what your theology says about God. The God I am talking about is simply the God I think is worthy to be called God. It makes the most sense as, if there is a God, it would be absolutely uncomprehendible in every way imaginable and non-imaginable to a human being, and even that is too narrow a description. If we are going to piss around with fairy tales then be my guest. I care about finding the truth, not playing the logical version of who has the biggest d@$k. And, obviously there exists at least one person who cares about that God (ie me), and that's enough from my point of view! There are other people also who just simply think about spirituality in a very logical way and who have stumbled upon the same ideas I have.
      Your view of what God is based on what has been told to you by the culture around you ie Catholicism most likely because you live in America, which is clearly a load of BS. You should read Orthodox Christianity and Eastern spiritual teachings if you want a view of these things that is untainted by the political BS and manipulation that the 'religion' you have in your head obviously is. I don't care about any of these things, just like you say you don't care about the God I'm talking about. We come from different cultures so have different views of what God is. To me, whatever you are calling 'God' is ridiculous and I would call myself an atheist regarding that or any other being-god. It wouldn't make sense to call God 'God' unless it is absolutely infinite. This God could still interact with the world/ existence though, as it does by creating it/ being it/ sustaining it/ experiencing it. If this God is too abstract then that is the point! How could something that created EVERYTHING in existence be understood by a human being?! That makes no sense whatsoever, so I don't know why you keep insisting that some sort of person-god being is God. That could just be one of your aliens that keeps apparently abducting me without my knowledge, and travelling to other dimensions lol. If my view of God doesn't fit with atheism or theism, I don't care. Call me something else if it makes you feel better - a third option...or is that not allowed for some reason? Why are you just sticking to the boxes you've labelled theism and atheism?

      And for the third time (I think), I am not claiming that the rejection of a belief is a belief. I am saying that in order to reach any conclusion what so ever, a belief must be held. This is true as firstly you need to believe that this existence is real (at the very most basic level). From there, you can begin to build your 'knowledge' of the world around you. You mentioned this line of thought before when you quoted Descartes.
      Regarding atheism in this respect - the reason why atheists reach the conclusion that God does not exist is not simply because they reject a belief, it is because they have a different underlying belief that allows them to reach a conclusion that is contradictory to the conclusion of theism. All it is, is two different beliefs whos conclusions end up clashing, and therefore one conclusion is called theism and the other atheism. I don't know how to explain it to you any better. It is not that the lack of belief is a belief in itself; it is nothing to do with the lack of belief. It goes way deeper than that. You are only looking at the surface of atheism and theism without delving into the underlying thoughts about it (you could call them the sub-conscious thoughts, the less apparent ones), that form the foundations which allow for the building of atheism to be built on top...

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    2. ...And, once again, there is no proof that consciousness is a product of the brain. The brain could just as easily be said to be a filter of consciousness (filtering consciousness to give a certain reality by using specific 'filters') and all the data we have about the brain would still fit this alternate conclusion. The only reason some scientists currently conclude that consciousness is a product of the brain is because most of them have the underlying belief that this is only a material existence; which, again, is slowly being shown not to be the case by quanutm physics.

      What would you say about the God that I am talking about by the way? Could you believe in it? Just curious.

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    3. According to your definition, it sounds like you just randomly made up this god. If we can’t even understand him, then there is no way for you to come to the conclusion he exists, or know anything about him, such as that he is unknowable. It's literally a self-defeating position. And then worse, in principle, there would be no way to provide evidence for him, rendering him non-falsifiable. Or as they say in physics, not even wrong.

      My views on God have mostly been influenced by a variety of protestant denominations. Catholicism plays a very small role, simply because Catholics aren’t really evangelical. I also find mainstream Catholic ideas to be so absurd that I can’t take it seriously (not that I really take protestant views seriously either though). At least in protestant circles, there are attempts to make things seem reasonable. Though, the Catholics accept evolution, so I will give them that.

      I am not sure why you think I have some strange view of religion. I read LOTS of New Testament history, and am quite familiar with the origins of it. However, according to your logic, if God is so incomprehensible, who says he would conform to some arbitrary ideas that you have about what is and isn’t BS? Wouldn’t the more absurd things be just as, if not more, likely?

      The reason I am insisting that God is some person thing, is because that was what my blog post was about. If you don’t want to talk about that… fine, but why comment to begin with?

      Why couldn’t something that created everything not be understood? What reason do we have to think that the universe is not intelligible? We have lots of evidence to suggest it is. We once thought it would be impossible to understand life… but now we know. It seems like your god would be just like us… but just a bit smarter.

      I am not trying to box you in to any definitions. I am just keeping things on track with my blog post.

      Apologies if I misunderstood you about rejection of a belief being a belief.

      You are going to have to define “belief” before I accept that any conclusion whatsoever is based on a belief. I am using “belief” in the sense of accepting something, regardless of evidence. However, if you mean belief in the sense of “accepting a proposition”, then I would agree. I think theists believe (my definition) in their religion, and evidence has nothing to do with it—they think they have a personal relationship with Jesus. So in comparison to that, atheists don’t believe in atheism. HOWEVER, on your definition, I would agree that both theists and atheists believe certain propositions. Though, I would then go on to say that atheists have better reasons for believing than theists do ;)

      I think you mean presuppositions, rather than sub-conscious thoughts that atheism is built upon. But you are correct, atheism assume that the external world exists, that we can know it and investigate it, etc. Though, literally every position out there has those presuppositions.

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    4. As for consciousness and the brain… oh geese. I know more about this topic than any other topic, and I think it’s funny to see the silly reasons people have. For example, you say that the brain acting as a filter fits all the data we have about the mind. That’s just not true, and reveals your ignorance of modern neuroscience. How does filtering account for split brain patients? How does it account for readiness potentials, or the Left Brain Interpreter and PDP models? Literally every aspect of your mind can be destroyed by damaging your brain. And it’s not like your mind is intact somewhere else, and you just can’t get the words out.--your conscious experience is fundamentally changed by brain damage (or heck, just by getting drunk or taking drugs).

      And claiming some universal bias because scientists are materialists is nonsense (this is one of the hallmark claims of pseudoscience... that there is some conspiracy holding the truth down. The exact same logic is used by creationists). What about people like Owen Flanagan? He is Buddhist. Or what about V.S. Ramachandran, who was raised in a Hindu culture? Both totally agree--the mind is created by the brain.

      Anyway, if it were the case that the mind wasn’t hurt when the brain was damaged, or rises off the brain, completely intact when the brain is destroyed, this would be part of our understanding of the brain and mind. Even if we didn’t understand how it happens, we would have the evidence right there in front of us. The reason scientists conclude that the mind is reliant on the brain is because the evidence is clear and overwhelming.

      Relying on quantum mechanics will get you nowhere. The people that propose such things take one very peculiar interpretation of QM and apply it to things WAY bigger than then quantum level. Neurons and synapses are much too big to be influenced by quantum mechanics. The Nobel laureate physicist, Murray Gell-Mann called this “quantum flapadoodle.” Or, as Scientific American called it, “quantum quackery.” Such ideas are generally only embraced by new-agers who don’t know anything about neuroscience or quantum mechanics, outside of what they saw in “What the Bleep Do We Know!?”

      If you want to talk about that stuff though, I recommend you go to this post instead:
      http://stateofmyignorance.blogspot.com/2009/10/god-and-neurology.html

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    5. Ok then, Protestant views are still very backwards and unlogical in my opinion though. As I say, you should read some Eastern philosophy of spirituality as they seem to make a lot more sense, from the logical perspective. This will really challange your atheism, and your world view, so be prepared. I think that challanging your world view is the only way to get to a deeper understanding (you obviously already know this as you're an atheist).
      And I haven't just made up this God; I have sat down and thought to the point of insanity about all of this! I have read both sides, and debated with countless atheists, theists, and agnositcs, with friends, relatives etc. And this God is the only thing worth calling God. Don't call it 'God' if that word has too much emotion/ thought attached to it; call it whatever you want. It just seems to me that all of this (reality) is a construct of some sort and we are inside of it, and there is a reason, otherwise it wouldn't be happening. I mean, we can hide behind logical loop de loops all we like, but that doesn't solve any problems. If we can't understand something, then we can't understand it. There's nothing wrong with that, as you said earlier.

      ...Anyway, at least we agree on organized religion being a bad idea! I do suggest you listen to/ read some Eastern philosophers though as they have some crazy yet simple ideas. A good one is Alan Watts, who is actually British but studied Eastern philosophy.
      I'll leave you and you're blog be now anyway. Very nice talking to you! Have a good one :)

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    6. ...I didn't see the second half of your comment, and now that I have I feel compelled to write something more.
      The idea that the brain is a filter comes mainly from those cases where indeed the brain is damaged and the patient looses some mental capacity. This could show that that specific area is responsible for creating that mental capacity (such as is the current theory), or it could suggest, as I say, that the brain is a filter of consciousness. By consciousness I mean a very primitive awareness of some sort that is totally not dependant on anything material. And so, with the 'filter' theory, it would still be the case that the person looses the mental or physical ability as simply they are no longer capable of using that part of the filter, ie the awareness/ consciousness does not 'flow' through that particular filter anymore as it doesn't work properly. So, if the frontal lobes are damaged, the person may loose some elements of their personality, for example. That would exactly be expected if the frontal lobes are the filter for that particular element of personality.
      And, once upon a time even Galileo too was ridiculed. If we look at your history of science, this seems to happen quite often infact. Only time will tell.

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  37. See, but you are just adding unneeded assumptions. Ockhams Razor works well in this case. You are now assuming that there is some immaterial substance, that it can interact with matter, that consciousness exists somewhere else, that there is a filter of sorts, etc. For such an idea to even get off the ground, it has to make testable predictions that are unique to it's hypothesis.

    Such an idea also still fails to account for many things, like split brain patients who have two spheres of consciousness, Left Brain Interpreter models, PDP models, action potentials, etc. This is just like when creationists say that evolution and creation are both using the same evidence. Not quite... creationists, like yourself with the brain, just aren't actually aware of all we know.

    And the whole "Galileo was ridiculed thing" is a great indicator of pseudoscience. It's so common that it made the list of the "Crackpot Index." This is the same line used by every group who proposes something that flies in the face of modern science. Yes, they laughed at Galileo, but they also laughed at Bozo the clown.

    http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Galileo_gambit

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    1. Well, like I say, we'll see. I'm studying psychology with the hope of doing it at PHD level so I will learn what there is to know about the brain (have only done my first year!).
      Your point about Ockhams Razor is true. I am not claiming this to be a relevant theory, only a possibility. There are no experiments which prove it but I'm not in the position to be able to do experiments yet.
      There's no point continuing this debate as we seem to have totaly different mind-sets (even though I still think you're wrong, as ofcourse you still think I am. And the other examples you have given about the brain also fit perfectly with this filter theory) so I will bid you farewell once again.

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