On The Alleged Atheist Assumptions

There are Christians who claim that atheism assumes there is no god (https://lyleduell.me/2017/02/02/the-assumptions-of-atheism/). This is typical of theists who are self-styled atheist experts. Apparently this assumption (which hasn’t actually been established, merely claimed and assumed to be true) is false because

No one can prove that there is no God

If it’s not possible to prove there is no god, then equally it’s also not possible to prove that there is a god, which leaves the theist in the uncomfortable position of assuming there is a god, with no proof, while pointing a finger that the atheist saying you can’t assume there is no god because you can’t prove there is no god.

I participate in regular conversations with theists and atheists and the claims of atheists vary a lot. There are those who confidently claim there is no god and there are those who take the softer road that belief in god is not reasonable if said god cannot be demonstrated. The majority take the latter. It’s not clear from the blog post I linked to if all atheists are lumped into the assumption claim or if it’s only the former. What’s also not clear is how the author thinks atheists come to these assumptions. If the assumption if merely because the lack of a god can’t be proven, that that is an entirely reasonable position to take. Given that you can prove neither the existence nor the non-existence of a thing, assuming it exists is the least reasonable position to take.

Next we get to

The second assumption, which I have found in most atheists, is the belief that they are smarter than those who believe in a God.

Yes, there are many atheists who will comment along the lines of “only a stupid idiot would believe in a god”, or other less salubrious phrases. These are equally matched by those theists who quote Psalm 14:1 or other bible verses which justify looking down their noses at non-believers. I am pretty sure I’ve been called all sorts of variations of stupid by theists far more times that I’ve seen atheists bat it back. The numbers aren’t actually important though because the insult isn’t useful regardless of the direction it flows. It is a tad dishonest to accuse the atheist of assuming higher intelligence while not acknowledging the reverse is an equal problem.

The blog post then makes a reference to poll that claims that 51% of scientists believe in god. The link associated with the claim didn’t work for me but it seems to be this:

http://www.pewforum.org/2009/11/05/scientists-and-belief/

Note that it’s 33% believe in god and 18 believe is some form of higher power that’s not god. 10 of those 33% are religions other than Christian. Those stats don’t looks so great compared to the 41% with no belief. But I’m not sure what that has to do with intelligence and belief. Intelligent people sometimes believe dumb things. That happens the world over. Trying to point score on an intelligence comparison achieves nothing other than making it look like you are trying to justify an assumption you have.

Advertisements

10 thoughts on “On The Alleged Atheist Assumptions

  1. “There are Christians who claim that atheism assumes there is no god (https://lyleduell.me/2017/02/02/the-assumptions-of-atheism/). This is typical of theists who are self-styled atheist experts. Apparently this assumption (which hasn’t actually been established, merely claimed and assumed to be true) is false because

    No one can prove that there is no God

    If it’s not possible to prove there is no god, then equally it’s also not possible to prove that there is a god which leaves the theist in the uncomfortable position of assuming there is a god, with no proof, while pointing a finger that the atheist saying you can’t assume there is no god because you can’t prove there is no god.”

    It’s very unclear what you’re claiming here. Are you claiming that atheism and Theism are “evidentially” equal? I would probably agree with this since you consistently presume the fallacious epistemology of “scientism” which has nothing positive or negative to say about any philosophical issue, since materialist scientism is anti philosophy by definition.

    The point made by responsible theists against naive beliefs like the so called presumption of Atheism is that you can’t provide “materialist evidence” of an absolute negative. This makes sense because atheism is not a scientific claim but a philosophical claim. You can make a logical argument like the argument from evil (which was defeated in the 70s) or a probabilistic argument like the inductive argument from evil (most of which have undercutting defeaters for atheism inherent in them). Likewise there are numerous arguments for the existence of God. We could do a debate or some sort of interchange about them if you would like, I wouldn’t advise that you debate anyone but I would be willing to help you out if you wanted to do something like that.

    But more to the point your claim that if you can’t give evidence for a negative claim then you can’t give evidence of a positive claim is obviously mistaken. It will depend on the kind of claim being made and the method by which knowledge of such a thing is obtained. Math, logic, and mind are things that negative evidence cannot be provided for and yet numerous things evidence their existence. Solipsism can’t be argued for only against…this only evidences that your scientism has made you a very poor thinker.

    • “It’s very unclear what you’re claiming here. Are you claiming that atheism and Theism are “evidentially” equal?”

      No, I’m claiming that the claim that “there is no god is false because it can’t be proven” is incoherent when the person making the claim claims there is god but also can’t prove it.

  2. “I participate in regular conversations with theists and atheists and the claims of atheists vary a lot. There are those who confidently claim there is no god and there are those who take the softer road that belief in god is not reasonable if said god cannot be demonstrated. The majority take the latter.”

    According to what means? Scientism? Do the majority of atheists also think Math, logic, and morality are unreasonable? What about hermeneutics? Constitutional law? Historiography? If so this just proves that atheism of your variety is the leftist version of YEC, which says more about you and your mental choices (by which I mean that you are intellectually lazy) than anything else since you exchanged one form of anti intellectualism for another.

  3. “It’s not clear from the blog post I linked to if all atheists are lumped into the assumption claim or if it’s only the former. What’s also not clear is how the author thinks atheists come to these assumptions. If the assumption if merely because the lack of a god can’t be proven, that that is an entirely reasonable position to take. Given that you can prove neither the existence nor the non-existence of a thing, assuming it exists is the least reasonable position to take.”

    Not really, agnosticism or apathy would be the most reasonable. Also that wouldn’t be an assumption it would be a conclusion. You equivocate those quite often. Conclusions come after you have looked at the evidence and assumptions come before so if you look at the evidence and decide that you cannot decide that means you conclude that not assume it.

    • Assumption is the word used by the blog post I am critiquing. Take it up with the author if you don’t like it. The author assumes there is a god, which he can’t prove, while decrying the atheist for allegedly assuming one does not exist.

      I agree that conclude is a better word. In the absence of any evidence for any god, it is perfectly reasonable to conclude that no such thing exists, pending further information. It is the position most atheists take.

  4. “Next we get to

    The second assumption, which I have found in most atheists, is the belief that they are smarter than those who believe in a God.

    Yes, there are many atheists who will comment along the lines of “only a stupid idiot would believe in a god”, or other less salubrious phrases. These are equally matched by those theists who quote Psalm 14:1 or other bible verses which justify looking down their noses at non-believers. I am pretty sure I’ve been called all sorts of variations of stupid by theists far more times that I’ve seen atheists bat it back. The numbers aren’t actually important though because the insult isn’t useful regardless of the direction it flows. It is a tad dishonest to accuse the atheist of assuming higher intelligence while not acknowledging the reverse is an equal problem.”

    You’re right this is irrelevant. But Psalm 14 says nothing about intelligence and responsible Christians don’t use it this way. The Psalmist is saying that those who deny the God of Israel (not Theism in general) are evil. I affirm this, and you have proved it on numerous occasions. Your beliefs are immoral (not all of them just the ones connected to atheism like your lack of belief in truth or morality or your inability to call the Shoah evil). I also think that people like Dawkins are quite stupid regarding these issues but it’s a willful stupidity not a lacking of intellectual ability, but a lacking of intellectual rigor. This stems from their ghettoized worldview of scientism and most importantly their anti philosophy bias. But as you’ve said this really doesn’t matter in regards to truth. I just think it’s important to sustain the correct narrative that atheism is immoral and anti intellectual and that stupid Theists and stupid atheists are really the problem and both need to be fought.

    • “The Psalmist is saying that those who deny the God of Israel (not Theism in general) are evil. I affirm this, and you have proved it on numerous occasions. ”

      Thanks. You think I’m evil. Nice. Doesn’t the bible warn against judging?

  5. “The blog post then makes a reference to poll that claims that 51% of scientists believe in god. The link associated with the claim didn’t work for me but it seems to be this:

    http://www.pewforum.org/2009/11/05/scientists-and-belief/

    Note that it’s 33% believe in god and 18 believe is some form of higher power that’s not god. 10 of those 33% are religions other than Christian. Those stats don’t looks so great compared to the 41% with no belief. But I’m not sure what that has to do with intelligence and belief. Intelligent people sometimes believe dumb things. That happens the world over. Trying to point score on an intelligence comparison achieves nothing other than making it look like you are trying to justify an assumption you have.”

    Yeah I think I basically agree with this statement. Sam Harris, Dick Dawkins, Richard Carrier, Christopher Hitchens, Robert Price, Daniel Dennet, and Peter Singer are all very smart and yet believe many many stupid and evil things. Christ mythicism and the moral goodness of murdering disabled infants being primary among those.

    Go Falcons!

  6. The trouble isn’t with proof – proof is just demonstration of consistency. It requires some postulate about the relationship between definable phenomena.
    The trouble is with what constitutes God. Someone who claims to believe in God must demonstrate that they have a viable concept in mind.
    Generally that is not the case.
    In the few instances where it is the case, the concept is radically different from the assertions and analogic deductions of classical theism.
    It must be to remain coherent.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s