Prayson has posted a quote from the writings of Hume on his blog, a post that has elicited quite a bit of comment but which I think do not respond directly to what he[Hume] was alluding to and it is my intention to try to address the question here briefly and invite further comments.
A little philosophy, says lord BACON, makes men atheists: A great deal reconciles them to religion. For men, being taught, by superstitious prejudices, to lay the stress on a wrong place; when that fails them, and they discover, by a little reflection, that the course of nature is regular and uniform, their whole faith totters, and falls to ruin. But being taught, by more reflection, that this very regularity and uniformity is the strongest proof of design and of a supreme intelligence, they return to that belief, which they had deserted; and they are now able to establish it on a firmer and more durable foundation.
– David Hume, (NHR 4:329, Hume’s emphasis)
Cited: Natural History of Religion, in The Philosophical Works,ed. T .H. Green and T. H. Grose, 4 vols. (Dannstadt, 1964)
This quote here alludes to the design argument for the proof for the existence of god. Unlike other arguments that attempt to show the existence of god can be proved with the aid of pure reason alone, such as the Ontological argument, this argument starts with alluding to experience, that is, that we observe in the world of experience things that display regularity, uniformity and an appearance of design and then shifts to the ontological argument in its conclusion that there must exist a supreme intelligence. This conclusion, however, doesn’t follow from the premises. All that can be granted to the proponent of this argument is that there could exist an architect for the order in the universe but as an argument for the existence of god it is insufficient.
As a general comment, I need to add that if the existence of god were provable, only one argument would have been sufficient. The fact that there exists so many arguments attempting to prove that a god exists goes to show that they have all been insufficient in the course they set for themselves.
One of the comments on the post is irrelevant to say the least and commits a logical fallacy. He writes
You are on the loosing side. Atheists comprised an estimated 2.01% of the world population, according to The World Factbook in 2010. Source: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_atheism
The Christian share of the world’s population has stood at around 33% for the last hundred years, which says that one in three persons on earth are Christians.
Christianity, in one form or another, is the sole state religion of the following nations: Costa Rica (Roman Catholic), Denmark (Evangelical Lutheran), El Salvador (Roman Catholic), England (Anglican), Finland (Evangelical Lutheran & Orthodox), Georgia (Georgian Orthodox), Greece (Greek Orthodox), Iceland (Evangelical Lutheran), Liechtenstein (Roman Catholic), Malta (Roman Catholic), Monaco (Roman Catholic), and Vatican City (Roman Catholic). There are numerous other countries, such as Cyprus, which although do not have an established church, still give official recognition to a specific Christian denomination.
Western culture, throughout most of its history, has been nearly equivalent to Christian culture, and many of the population of the Western hemisphere could broadly be described as cultural Christians. Though Western culture contained several polytheistic religions during its early years under the Greek and Roman empires, as the centralized Roman power waned, the dominance of the Catholic Church was the only consistent force in Europe. Until the Age of Enlightenment, Christian culture was the predominant force in western civilization, guiding the course of philosophy, art, and science. Christian disciplines of the respective arts have subsequently developed into Christian philosophy, Christian art, etc..
I want to point out that we are not in competition with christianity or any world religion for numbers. It is the religious who need numbers in their congregations for various reasons, atheism only calls for you to be rational and whether you chose to do so is your business. It has been noted that rationality is not for everyone since there are people around the world whose only concern is how they will get the next meal and as such do not have the luxury to spend their time thinking about philosophy.
The second problem with this argument is that the author isn’t concerned with whether the claims of christianity are true but rather with the number of the adherents of his particular sect. I would like to tell him that a false belief doesn’t become true because it is held by many people. The only thing that the numbers show, is that a significant part of the human population have bought into the story of some Hebrew goat herders set in the Middle East. Nothing more.
The same fellow lists two [he claims] there are ten facts that show that evolution is false. Yours truly is not a biologist and as such will invite comments by those who are well versed on this subject. He writes
Scientific Fact No. 1 – Human Egg and Sperm Proves Evolution is Wrong
The evolutionist ignores the problem surrounding the human female egg and the male sperm in the evolutionary theory. The female egg contains the X-chromosome and the male sperm contains either an X-chromosome for the reproduction of a male or a Y-chromosome for the reproduction of a female. The female eggs all develop within the ovaries while she is a baby (fetus) within her mother’s womb. Evolutionists claim environmental factors cause small changes in the offspring in the evolutionary chain. However, the environmental experience of the female cannot change the chromosomes within her eggs and cannot have any effect upon her offspring. Her body cannot go into the eggs contained within her ovaries at her birth to make an intelligent change. Females cannot be a part of the evolutionary theory for these reasons.
I honestly don’t get what he is saying.
Scientific Fact No. 2 – Chromosome Count Proves Evolution is Wrong
There is no scientific evidence that a species can change the number of chromosomes within the DNA. The chromosome count within each species is fixed. This is the reason a male from one species cannot mate successfully with a female of another species. Man could not evolve from a monkey. Each species is locked into its chromosome count that cannot change. If an animal developed an extra chromosome or lost a chromosome because of some deformity, it could not successfully mate. The defect could not be passed along to the next generation. Evolving a new species is scientifically impossible. Evolutionists prove that getting a college education does not impart wisdom.
If I understand what he is saying, it appears to me, he believes he evolved from a monkey which I don’t think is what is taught in evolution. Last I checked the theory of evolution posits that we share a common ancestor with other primates. I would be interested in knowing if he means by scientifically impossible that it is not possible in nature over long period of time for changes to occur?
Hume on religion