The god beyond belief: A review

In defense of William Rowe’s Evidential argument from evil by Nick Trakakis

Here and here, my friend Prayson wrote regarding the logical problem of evil that Epiricus asked many eons ago. The problem can be stated as follows

Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing?
Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able, and willing?
Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing?
Then why call him God.

to which Platinga challenged arguing that the existence of god and presence of evil was not a logical contradiction and which we are told atheist philosophers generally agreed with him.

Platinga’s argument can be stated as follows

(a) God exists
(b) God is omnipotent, omniscient, and wholly good
(c) Evil exists.

What Rowe conceded is that a-c can be logically true but matter of fact no all of a) b) and c) are true.

In this book, Trakakis, looks at Rowe’s evidential arguments from evil and offers a defense in face of challenge by philosophers such as Platinga and Swinburne among others. This is Rowe’s[1979] argument

(1) There exist instances of intense suffering which an omnipotent, omniscient being could have prevented without thereby losing some greater good or permitting some evil equally bad or worse.

(2) An omniscient, wholly good being would prevent the occurrence of any intense suffering it could, unless it could not do so without thereby losing some greater good or permitting some evil equally bad or worse.

(3) (Therefore) There does not exist an omnipotent, omniscient, wholly good being.

Rowe presents two instances of evil which he uses to defend the above argument. The first instance,E1, involves a fawn caught, unable to escape, in forest fire caused by lightning and unable to escape and is thus burnt horribly and lies in terrible agony for several days before death relieves its suffering. He asks what good is served by the fawn’s death and could an omnipotent god do anything to help the situation of the bird. His second instance, E2, involves a five-year old daughter who was raped and murdered by her mother’s boyfriend. He again asks what good was served by the little girl’s death? What greater good could god have had in mind by permitting such an evil act to occur?

In support of the above argument, Rowe goes further to state

No good state of affairs we know of is such that an omnipotent,omniscient being’s obtaining it would morally justify that being’s permitting E1 or E2.

Therefore

No good state of affairs is such that an omnipotent, omniscient being’s obtaining it would morally justify that being in permitting E1 or E2

In responding to the above argument, theist philosophers have resorted to among others arguing that the ways of god are inscrutable. This argument as developed by Wykstra aims at showing that

given our cognitive limitations, we are in no position to judge as improbable the statement that there are goods beyond our ken secured by God’s permission of many of the evils we find in the world.

In examining this argument, the author shows that Wykstra fails to provide reasonable grounds for thinking it likely that the goods for which god permits many sufferings would be indiscernible to us.

Other arguments that are looked, of which I had mentioned one in  a previous post, deals with divine hiddenness . Two levels of this have been advanced

  1. Divine hiddenness – level 1: God’s reasons for permitting horrendous evil are hidden from us.
  2. Divine hiddenness – level 2: God hides from us the fact that he has a reason for permitting horrendous evil and/or the fact that he exists or loves us and cares about us.

Against this line of argument, the author argues that

[..] we would expect a loving God, like a loving parent or partner, to pursue a personal relationship with us, to seek us out and draw near to us – an expectation that is magnified when we take into account that it is God who permits our suffering, and magnified further when we do not understand why he allows this suffering to befall us.

whereas Rowe argues that whoever holds the above premises 1 and 2 to be correct must also subscribe to the following

  1. A being of infinite wisdom and power is unable to prevent any instance of horrendous suffering without thereby forfeiting a greater good1.
  2. A being of infinite wisdom and power is unable to enable those who undergo horrendous suffering to understand just what good1 is (for which their suffering was necessary) without thereby forfeiting a greater good2.
  3. A being of infinite wisdom and power is unable to be consciously present to those who undergo horrendous suffering without thereby forfeiting another greater good3 – despite the despair and loneliness of those who undergo horrendous suffering without any conscious awareness of God’s presence.
  4. A being of infinite wisdom and power is unable to enable those who undergo horrendous suffering without any conscious awareness of God’s presence to understand just what good3 is (for the sake of which their suffering without any conscious awareness of God’s presence

Other philosophers have appealed to human freedom to defend divine hiddenness arguing that if the presence of god was made unambiguously clear to us, our freedom would in some significant way be curtailed. The problem I have with this argument, is if we take the bible account to be true, then this argument can’t hold. For at the moment of creating Adam and Eve, god’s presence was immediate while these two fellows still had the audacity to go against his commands. When we look farther even to Abe who has these late night conversations and BBQ sessions with god, he still does things in contravention to what god has told him. Appealing to this argument then can’t be supported by the bible story which to me is the basis of christian- Judaic belief.

Richard Swinburne in support of divine of hiddenness argues for moral freedom. He presents such a scenario

Knowing that there was a God, men would know that their most secret thoughts and actions were known to God; and knowing that he was just, they would expect for their bad actions and thoughts whatever punishment was just. Even if a good God would not punish bad men further, still they would have the punishment of knowing that their bad actions were known to God. They could no longer pose as respectable citizens; God would be too evident a member of the community. Further, in seeing God, as it were, face to face, men would see him to be good and worshipful, and hence would have every reason for conforming to his will. In such a world men would have little temptation to do wrong – it would be the mark of both prudence and reason to do what was virtuous. Yet a man only has a genuine choice of destiny if he has reasons for pursuing either good or evil courses of action; for … a man can only perform an action which he has some reason to do

This line of reasoning again can be turned on its head since the same theists insist their god knows our every thought and actions. To therefore appeal to this argument to defend god’s apparent hiddenness is to not be committed to traditional theism which as I have stated claims god’s omnipresence and omniscience.

The author shows there is no successful theodicy against natural evil.

Farther arguments that have been advanced in trying to explain away evil  is an appeal to god of chance where the theist when asks what is the purpose of an event, the answer is that it happens for no purpose. In such a scenario who want to believe in such a god who allows things to just happen without purpose at the same time, this argument can also be turned on its head because the traditional theist argues that everything that happens does so for a reason and that god knows the reason. It is therefore contradictory to hold the position that things just happen and at the same time hold it that everything happens for a reason.

The other argument appealed to is how do we know that the evil that is occurring here is beyond the minimum allowed by god? Well my question is why would an all loving god want to have so much of the evil that we see?

In conclusion Trakakis argues that Rowe’s argument is successful. He has this to say

The significance of these results for theism may be put as follows. If, as I have argued in Chapters 4–12, Rowe’s evidential argument successfully withstands the most powerful objections raised against it, and if the more indirect ways of responding to Rowe’s argument discussed in the present chapter (i.e., the G.E. Moore shift and revisions to the concept of God) prove to be unsatisfactory, then the only rational course of action left for the theist to take is to abandon theism and convert to atheism. This is by no means a novel conclusion, but it has been reached largely by way of a much neglected route, viz., by highlighting theism’s inability to account for any natural evil at all.

He says farther

in stark contrast to the common irenic view that, once all sides to the debate over the evidential problem of evil have been given a proper hearing, we arrive at a kind of stalemate or détente, with neither side in a position to claim victory.25 Against this view, I have argued that Rowe’s arguments succeed in settling the matter in favour of atheism.

On a light note and encouragement for the theist facing disillusionment on the foregoing he says

For some this is merely cause for frustration or resignation; but for the rest of us it reveals the fascination and beauty of all philosophical problems.

Problem of evil: Is free will defense adequate

As you already know, The problem of Evil appears to be one of the biggest problems to the theist philosopher. In trying to explain why god, if one exists, would allow evil to occur they[theist philosophers] have appealed to free will [I am of the view we have no free will as I have written in different posts here] as their line of defense to explain away evil.

Theist philosophers like Platinga and Swinburne argue that it is necessary to have evil in the world to enable us employ our free will in a significant way. They argue that in a world where our choices are between different level of goods, the world will be a playpen. They claim

[..] the existence of moral evil is permitted by God so as to preserve human free will, without which a host of significant goods – including self-determination, moral responsibility, and relationships of love and friendship – would be forever unattainable. [Trakakis Nick, The God Beyond Belief (pg 274)]

I don’t know if they really believe this, I find it absurd that one would claim that a loving god would create us with free will, allow us to commit horrendous evil against each other, so that we achieve can freely employ our freedoms in the slim hope that a heaven exists where we will live in eternal bliss with this god. Was it impossible for this god to create us in this state of bliss? Does this god have sadistic tendencies that he wants to fulfill and for his entertainment likes to watch men and women butcher, rape, maim, torture and kill each other just so that he can tell himself it ain’t my fault, they employed their free will! Free will my ass!

Why, for example, would a perfectly loving god with omniscient capabilities want such a state is beyond me.

My question therefore is, do you think the free will defense for existence of horrendous moral evil is successful in explaining why a loving god would not intervene to prevent such evil from occurring? Would a moral person with the power to stop such evil act with indifference as the supposed god seems to play aloof?

Is the universe proof of god

When I last wrote about the universe, I did say that it is a sufficient cause and need not be caused, our friend of the Canaanite massacre fame has written a post arguing that the universe need a cause.

First he starts with a bad set of arguments for which he offers no evidence in support of. He tells us

Every effect has a cause
The universe is an effect
The universe needs a cause.

How he gets to the second premise I don’t know. The first premise has also been shown to be false since it has been observed at the quantum level and even in radioactivity that there are effects that do not require a cause. Since the first and second premise are not factually correct, we need not go to the third premise or conclusion whichever you prefer!

The universe is indeed an effect, and therefore cannot be uncaused. It cannot have caused its own existence, for it would have had to have existed before itself in order to cause itself, which is absurd.

Why would an always existing universe be absurd? How does positing god as creator of cause and effect become less absurd? Still the fellow doesn’t give us any reason why we should think the universe as an effect and not a sufficient cause. In the contrary I offer two arguments, one that matter, whatever it is, can’t be created or destroyed and the universe is all matter it couldn’t have been created; two there is no evidence so far as we know when there was a break in the cause-effect chain such that if god is to be posited as starting the effect, universe, he needed to have been caused by something outside itself ad infinitum.

The universe is limited, for we see the evidences of limitation all around us……stars die, resources get used up.

In all these death matter ain’t lost. There is a transformation from solid to gas to heat but then the total sum remains zero. While still here, if the stars collapse naturally into themselves, why would a creator be needed at their formation, that is, if stellar collapse doesn’t require a divine destroyer why should we posit a divine creator at its beginning?

God is not an effect, and therefore does not need a cause.

We are not given any reason why this should be true and why the same can’t be said for the universe.

The syllogism above is simple, but no more simple than looking at nature and coming to the conclusion that there must be a God, for nature could not have come about by itself.

Why does one need to posit that a god is involved in nature?

I honestly believe that people have to work a long time to convince themselves that God does not exist.

Yes you are right, you have believed so much falsehood that it would be a Herculean task to convince you of the lack of existence of gods.

As they used to say in the South, some people have “too much education and not enough sense.”

As we say on this blog, the above statement is representative of most theists!

And for entertainment and education here is Lawrence Krauss’ A universe from nothing

What claims does science make?

J.R Dickens has already been introduced here. In this post, I look at his post in which he talks about the value of science. He is welcome to defend his post here or show that he has been misrepresented.

He starts with the same argument that in the last post I endeavored to show was erroneous, that is, the claim that Atheism is a religion and even though he says the post stirred controversy, he seems to me, to not have picked anything from the controversy or he would have revised this line of Atheism being a religion.

This scientist openly admits that nothing in the realm of science requires such an assumption—he chooses his atheistic view of the universe as an article of faith. 

How this is an article of faith beats me, maybe you my fine readers know something I don’t know and could weigh in on this matter. In the previous post, I did show the scientist is not making this view of the universe as a matter of faith but this is what she has observed. Humboldt, Laplace, Darwin and any naturalists you can think of were not making statements of faith but were making conclusions after several years of observation. Dickens has to present when this position has been a question of faith[sic] for the Atheist!

The reason is simple: in a post-Christian culture, science is rapidly being elevated to the status of ultimate truth—where it bears directly on our understanding of meaning and morality. 

Here Dickens is spreading several falsehoods in one paragraph. First, we are not in a post christian culture. The religious control many aspects of our lives, they are busy with how they want the laws to be framed, who should marry who and so on. I would allow him however to show me where there is a post christian culture [ am aware that most parts of Europe are atheistic or secular but even in these places, the religious still have a say]. The second lie concerns ultimate truth, science does not make such a claim for itself. All the scientist is willing to admit is that the knowledge we have is provisional and gives the best explanation of phenomena as we have been able to observe. On the question of meaning, which is a philosophical question, all science says if am not mistaken is to talk of some meaning or purpose is to imply intent on a super natural being we have no evidence of its or their existence.Science has a say in morality.

science tells us nothing at all for sure. Science is neither the only source of knowledge, nor is it the most important one. Consequently, it cannot be viewed as independently authoritative.

Tell me, any of you agree that science tells us nothing? To make such a claim without providing other sources of knowledge is to be naive and besides no one says science is the only source of knowledge. As I had indicated in the previous post, his definition of science must be the narrowest I have encountered. Nobody denies that there are sources of knowledge but all these sources, to the best of my knowledge, to arrive at any useful knowledge employ the scientific method to arrive at their conclusions.

Of all the things that technology can do to improve our lives, there is nothing it can do for our moral improvement. In fact, as technology advances, we see the fallen nature of man devising ways to exploit technology for evil purposes.

Technology of course is impersonal. It doesn’t care this way or that so you don’t expect your computer to teach you how to behave but we can use technology to understand why a certain person acts in the way they do and when does this impulse occur. This knowledge of how the brain works, which will be acquired through the use of technology, would allow us to modify our penal codes and this to me is a great achievement. To imply that man is fallen is to use the theological line of fall of man in genesis after eating the metaphorical fruit [I don’t think there are theologians who take the Adam/Eve story literally anymore].

One person uses his computer to write a thought-provoking blog article; another uses his computer as a platform for electronic crime.

Each person acts according to their own nature. No one deserves any merit for writing a thought-provoking blog or solving a mathematical problem and I also say no one deserves condemnation for creating a computer virus [I will be mad if someone infected my computer with a damn virus though] for she will have acted according to her nature.

Evil intentions reside in the heart of man, not inside the machine. By making this point up front, we’re setting the stage to show that the scientific method cannot be used to make moral judgments. Knowledge of a moral nature must come from another source.

I can tell from a mile away where we are headed with this and that is the Divine Command Theory, William Craig’s favorite argument for morality. I will, however, give Dickens the benefit of doubt to tell us where he thinks knowledge of moral nature must come from. The scientific study of morality together with studies in human psychology, culture and other social sciences which in some way employ the scientific method will be crucial in solving the problems associated with morality. I can say here that religion is not going to solve the question and since we already know Dickens is an apologist for the christian brand of theism, he is far from likely to argue for the science of morality but will attempt to show us that his sect can give us a guide on how to make moral judgments.

When and if he does that, you will know.

On politics and election petition

A few days ago I did write an article on the just concluded plebiscite that we had here and in which I attempted to show that the middle class, the elite and the urbane are a group that is as backward as their villagers. Some people have taken offense with the post saying they will not vote for my candidate, a candidate I haven’t declared to be mine.

There is a petition that has been filed in the Supreme Court which if successful is going to be a game changer. You can read more about it here.

As I was showing in my previous post, we are so tribal that some people are blinded by it that even a clear case which is about integrity of our systems is reduced to a question of tribe and it is this that saddens me.

I’m not sure how this benefits RAO. For one, he’s changed his story: 1st it was that he should have won and he has the irrefutable proof. Now it’s that the election itself had irregularities here and there and a new election is needed. 1st, a new election would need to happen within 60 days after the Supreme Court ruling. IEBC doesn’t have the technology to do that. So it would be manual all over again. 2nd, he had 44/ 45% of the votes. The likely hood of that # going further down is very high since people won’t want to stand in long ques, in a tense environment, only to wait a whole week for results, again. But this time neither of them needs to cross that 50%+ threshold coz the SC would declare the winner. 3rd, no election is w/out flaws even in the West. So he’s spending time & money, & keeping an entire nation on edge to what gain? All this over 85k voters who were registered after the deadline, & some vote tallies that were exaggerated. But how does that make up for the 800k votes he got less than Uhuru? Anyway, its his right. Now we wait for the IEBC/ Uhuru response.

This fellow doesn’t understand the need for obeying the law. He is so concerned with Uhuro winning that to him the question of impropriety doesn’t count and it is this disease that I hope we will get to deal with.

And I must give credit where it is due. The person who wrote the comment below at least understands what is at stake. She says it so eloquently that there is nothing much I can add to this

The problem with us Kenyans is ignorance, tribalism and hate. People who are loyal to Uhuru and Ruto have refused to be neutral in analyzing and coming to an impartial conclusion about the petition RAO has filed. This like any other fight is about the future of Kenya, our children, our grand children. If Uhuru won fair then we have a president but if there was an electoral crime made by either Uhuru or Hassan, would we not want to correct it so that this does not become law and disorder for our future leaders. Raila as always wants to fight for the minority ethnic groups so that domination is not done on them by those who have amassed loads of wealth from the tax payers’ sweat. Democracy is what Raila has fought for. When he was fighting for a two-party system the same people ridiculed him just to please Moi but when he won, the very haters were part of celebration. Same thing happened with the new constitution. Those who campaigned against it are now ridiculing RAO. It’s all about ignorance where tribe is more important than ideology. We need education and that means all Kenyans.

except to say that we really must look ourselves in the mirror and ask ourselves tough questions. Where do we want to be and how do we want to get there.

There are those asking for god to intervene and those thanking god for the win, I don’t know if god is a registered voter in any constituency here and while at it why ask god to intervene now when the same god could have stopped the malpractices? I know I live in a country where majority of people hold a theistic belief of some kind but this attitude of calling on god after fucking things up is a cop-out and a refusal to want to deal with issues at hand. I look forward to the day when people will think for themselves and realize that god belief goes against common sense. That will be a real special day!

My friends and I

I have very fine friends. Yes, they are religious and no they are not trying to convert me. They have nicknamed me Socrates and I plan to wring their necks one by one [please don’t tell them] for that. They make my world go round by the many things we do together. They have in the past organised surprise birthday parties for me[ my birthday is not today], and whenever possible we go out together for weekends, they are very sober people I don’t know how they live without taking beer 🙂

We were out this weekend and we had such a great time.

I don't what stand off was there between my friend and the giraffe maybe it was a question of who is taller

I don’t what stand off was there between my friend and the giraffe maybe it was a question of who is taller .

The zebras and wild-beasts were quite easy

The zebras and wild-beasts were quite easy

No it ain't a nuclear plant. They are cooling towers at a geothermal plant.

No it ain’t a nuclear plant. They are cooling towers at a geothermal plant.

It's a rig, not an oil rig

It’s a rig, not an oil rig

Lake Naivasha from Hell's Gate

Lake Naivasha from Hell’s Gate

This is a big stone!

This is a big stone!

This is not an ordinary swimming pool.

This is not an ordinary swimming pool.

Was God Immoral When He Commanded Israel To Destroy Canaan? A resounding yes

My friend John brought this blog post to my notice and I think it is worthwhile to share it. It is an attempt, that fails terribly, to explain away the killing of the Canaanites by the Israelites in one of the biblical accounts. I don’t know how one can reconcile a good god with the atrocities, cruelties, genocides in the bible.

Skeptics and critics get a lot of mileage in criticizing the Bible regarding the commands in the Old Testament to kill all the people of Canaan. God told Joshua to utterly destroy all the inhabitants of Canaan, including men, women, young children, and the elderly. In Jericho, God even told Joshua to kill all the livestock. The critics claim this is genocide, racially motivated hatred and the killing of innocents, and claim it makes the God of the Bible unworthy of worship.

If anyone sees this differently, don’t you think it is time we checked you into an institution?

Let us listen to the responses

  • The people of Canaan were not innocent. They practiced many forms of evil, including child sacrifice to their idols. The venereal disease alone would have provided a possible source of death if it had not been eradicated.

Where is the supporting evidence for this claim? Was death and plunder the only recourse available to an all-powerful god? What venereal disease was this, it is not listed anywhere in the bible unless I have been using a wrong bible in which case, please tell me what translation you are using I acquire one for myself.

  • The land of Canaan actually belonged to the descendants of Jacob, who owned it back in Genesis when they left for Egypt due to a famine. So the ownership of the land of Canaan was at best in legal dispute, and the Israelites had a legal claim to the land.

If at the end of genesis before they leave for Canaan a land flowing with  milk and honey, which Abe was promised and he never set foot on, where does it then become their property? [CORRECTION: Abraham was in Canaan where he bought a burial plot for Sarah his wife/sister a plot he had been offered for free] If Israelites were god’s chosen people, was he incapable of ending the famine or rather why did he let them leave if he knew, as he must have known unless he isn’t omniscient, that the land will be occupied by others, that he will command his chosen people to kill them and that Joshua will not kill everyone and that he[god] will be incensed over the matter and cause pestilence for unspecified length of time?

  • God had given the Canaanites many years to repent and change their ways. We do not have a detailed record of all of God’s communication, but based on the other passages in the Bible about how God communicates to pagan lands, it is safe to conclude that God gave the Canaanites plenty of advanced warning, which they rejected. For example, the book of Jonah tells us of God’s message to the people of Nineveh, Nineveh’s repentance, and God’s mercy.

I would prefer that you list the instances of god sending prophets to the Canaanites. While at it, also list verses where god or anyone says that YHWH was god of the Canaanites too.

  • Joshua failed to carry out God’s commands to kill all the inhabitants of Canaan. As a result, Israel was plagued for centuries with idol worship, pagan religious rituals, and the resultant murders and judgment. If Israel would have killed all of Canaan, it would have saved lives later and would have resulted in the good of God’s message being lived out to many people.

Let us say this differently. The Hutus in Rwanda did not kill all the Tutsis as they had set to and so they still have some Tutsis to deal with. Now I invite you to think about this statement, don’t gloss over it, read it slowly, reflect about it and then tell me what image of god do you have at the end. If at all you think of this as a merciful and loving god, am buying a new dictionary!

  • Since the people of the land of Canaan were so evil, if God had not killed them, He would have been guilty of being an unrighteous judge, allowing evil and not punishing it. So the skeptics and critics are actually trying to put God in a paradox in which He would be guilty of either choice He made.

Allowing god to exist for a moment, and further that he is the creator of the universe and by extension man. Whose fault is it when man turns out sinful? IS it possible that an all-powerful god could create man in such a way that all his decisions would be between degrees of good? A world where there was no evil? To claim here that to expect god to let the Canaanites free would put god in a paradox is to directly diminish the claim of an all-powerful god. There is just no way this can be explained away!

  • As pointed out by Geisler & Howe, children who die before the age of accountability go to heaven. After the age of accountability, people are held guilty and without repentance will go to Hell. So taking the children to heaven could be viewed as an act of God’s mercy.

Is this person claiming that the population of heaven had gone down so god wanted it repopulated with children? Were the animals also going to heaven or had they also committed the sins we were told in the opening paragraph? Someone tell me if the cows had venereal diseases, false gods and if they had refused to repent! What mercy is there in killing anyone without giving a person a hearing?

So while the destruction of the people of the land of Canaan was awful and ugly, it was indeed a necessary act. At the very least, the people of Canaan were not innocent, and the claims of modern critics about God’s actions are unfounded. God is always holy, righteous, and good, but does not always do things that we find pleasant.

Well, some good news, god does not exist so he could have commanded such a horrible act and if he does exist, he must write down that I defended him against such blasphemy. There is no way the atrocities so described in the OT can be attributed to a holy, righteous and good being unless these words have a different meaning to what we attach to them and in that case they lose meaning to us.

Science vs Religion

I already introduce our theist of the day, J R Dickens and in those post he outdoes himself in trying to convince us of two things, one that science is compatible with religion and that Atheism is a religion. Whenever you see anyone say that, just know they are either of two things, accommodationists of whatever stripe or they are deeply religious people.

There are two basic worldview choices: theism and atheism. Most scientists today are grounded in the religion of atheism—the belief that God does not exist. They subscribe to a form of science that can be described as naturalism or materialism (the two of which are closely related). Naturalism is the belief that all we see in the universe must be explained only in terms of natural laws—by definition, no supernatural explanations are allowed. Materialism assumes that the universe is nothing more than “matter in motion”—there is no guiding purpose or intelligence, only random forces producing visible effects.

For beginners, Atheism is a lack of belief in gods. How this translates to a religion is anyone’s guess. Is there any among you who can explain the phenomena in any terms that are not natural and what really is the problem with materialism. Is there an instance in your life where there is no interaction of matter?

Before I proceed, allow me to define our terms. Merriam Webster dictionary defines religion thus

a : the state of a religious 
(1) : the service and worship of God or the supernatural (2): commitment or devotion to religious faith or observance
: a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices
archaic : scrupulous conformity : conscientiousness
: a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith
Someone please tell me at what point does lack of a belief translates to a religion.
The choice to reject the possibility of supernatural causes is a religious commitment, not a scientific commitment.
When Laplace responded to Napoleon that he didn’t see the need for the god hypotheses, he was not making a religious commitment. He was just saying a fact as he had observed it. If you think there are supernatural causes, can you tell us where and how they can be tested by science? If they can’t be observed or tested, then the working assumption of no supernatural causes is not a religious commitment but a statement of facts as we know them. As you a scientist that our apologist says he is, he must show us where the supernatural acts for us to accept his assertion that we have decided to throw the supernatural outta the window whereas it is actually measurable.
Secondly, notice that the up-front assumptions of naturalism cannot be tested by any scientific (empirical) methods. In other words, naturalism depends upon a starting premise that is self-contradictory—that everything (physical) must be explained in terms of natural (metaphysical) laws which would not exist if naturalism was true.
First of you are lying to claim that naturalism depends upon a self-contradictory premise, unless am wrong, you are making a claim here that naturalism is a priori belief. It ain’t. The reason scientists and philosophers have adopted the naturalistic world view is because based on the knowledge of the universe as we have it, appears to us to not involve any interaction with the supernatural. It is based on experimentation, observation and volumes of studies in different disciplines so that the claim of self-contradiction has no place.
Please give an instance where the assumptions of naturalism can’t be tested by any scientific methods and then tell us what is used to test religious claims, that is if they can withstand any testing for that matter!
In addition, the scientific (empirical) method depends upon logic to hypothesize, test, and draw conclusions. And science depends upon mathematics to describe what it observes. The laws of logic and mathematics form the basis for scientific investigation, and yet these are metaphysical assumptions that are beyond the reach of empirical scientific investigation. Likewise, “laws” that govern the behavior of matter and energy exist only in the metaphysical realm, though we observe the effect of those laws in the physical realm.
It is not easy to notice the problem with this statement. It lies in his definition of science. He takes a very narrow view so that mathematics, social studies, morality are not included in the definition of science. It is this question of definition that is at the core of his misleading statement!
The bias in this “scientific” worldview should be apparent: No supernatural causes are possible because we say so. Therefore, any theories that involve any kind of supernatural guiding intelligence are rejected out-of-hand as “unscientific.” Materialistic science only produces materialistic causes because those are the only kinds of causes that are possible in this worldview. But there is no scientific basis for assuming exclusively material causes—this assumption is entirely an article of faith.
I only ask for one supernatural theory with supporting evidence that it is at least plausible and can be tested by different scientists then we can have a debate. In the absence of any such theory, this claim is then not sustainable. Scientists at least the ones have read their work leave a small room for the existence of a deity but even such little room the deity has refused to claim.
It is therefore absurd 1) to claim that Atheism is a religion without supporting such an assertion; 2) to claim naturalism and materialism are based on self-contradictory premises; 3) that the working assumptions that there are no supernatural causes is a religious commitment; unless you can go ahead to show that everything must be religious to make it correct!