who knew

that

[..]. Precious few God-deniers have so much as even attempted a rational evaluation of the question of God’s reality.

one would be tempted to ask why are apologists busy creating new silly arguments to defend their chimeras if it was not the challenge from the godless?

This post says nothing in so many words.

This however has me banging my head against bricks

You might have heard atheists talking more about achieving peace and unity among men instead of meditating upon the significance of our Lord’s incarnation. But how could they even properly speak of “peace and unity” if they believe that God does not exist? Peace and unity presuppose order and order presupposes God. Without God, there will be no principle or reason to which we shall unite or strive for peace. The only virtue that a materialistic worldview could provide is the survival of fittest. There is nothing more.

Where to begin? What has belief in god to do with peace? Somewhere in that christian book of tales, it’s written

  Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. (Mathew 10:34)

If the christian believes in an omni god, whence cometh disorder? Who has allowed disorder to reign and why has omni not prevented it from taking root? In Genesis 11:1-11, god is the author of confusion, not men.

We live in a society of men and with discord, that society cannot long survive.

In a society where survival for the fittest is a virtue, peacefulness would be preferred to war. So i don’t see how this post is an argument against survival for the fittest or was the author just looking for words to throw around?

If Christians took their belief seriously, I think very few if none would join an army to kill brothers and sisters with whom they have no reason to be at war with. Tolstoy’s the Kingdom of God is within you would be their to go to book. Or if not, the many tomes against war wouldn’t have to be written, especially in christian nations.

In Mark Twain’s war prayer, after one side has finished offering their prayers to the god of war, these fellow approaches the pulpit to make them aware of the prayer that was not said and they conclude he was a mad man.

Happy holidays

Dear friends, passerby and all, happy holidays.

And if you are one of those people who don’t have something to celebrate today, worry not, it is my birthday. And I am receiving gifts and cash donations. All will be used for a good cause of my choosing of course 🙂

Now that we have that behind us, can we examine the claims in this post.

In the very first paragraph, the author makes an unjustified claim, that is

Suppose that there were no God. I say that both atheists (that is, naturalists) and theists would be deluded.

do we know that there is a god? Nope.

We are told atheists would be deluded because

Atheists, or at least most atheists, would also be deluded. They think there is a meaning to life. Not a grand meaning, but a personal meaning. They make the meaning. It’s subjective, of course.

and i can’t help but wonder how believing that we give our lives meaning be a delusion? To start us off, it should be important to point out there is no consensus on what meaning in life is. Is it different from a moral life, a happy and pleasant life? Those who believe meaning is subjective (mind dependent) represent just one group of naturalists. There are as well objectivists who maintain meaning is mind-independent. But this distinctions are not important for our discussion now. It is only important to point out that the author of that post without claiming to, does believe in a supernaturalist view of meaning- without deity no meaning is possible.

S/he writes

This meaning would be reducible to a set of brain states. These can be ultimately reduced to chemicals. Thus, this meaning could be achieved chemically. So if we could invent an advanced heroin-like drug, something akin to the soma found in Brave New World, one that could induce a sense of awe, wonder, purpose, connectedness, community, happiness, etc, then we all can find meaning in our lives. Why not? We could make this available to everyone, so that everyone lives a meaningful life.

and i reject this view. We wouldn’t consider a life in tube (simulator) as meaningful. Two, does a happy life mean a meaningful life? Or a life in community? Could it be the case that these things answer to different states and may only be secondary to the question of meaning.

The author writes

To rephrase this as an argument, let’s call the combination of all those features of lives worth living well-being:

(1) Well-being is subjective.

(2) If well-being is subjective, then it is reducible to a set of brain states.

(3) Therefore, well-being is a set of brain states.

(4) If well-being is a set of brain states, then it can at least theoretically, if not practically, be induced chemically.

(5) Well-being can be induced chemically.

Does well being and meaning mean the same thing? And while subjective is reducible to brain states, I don’t know whether it is the practice anywhere, even among scientists to reduce their states of mind to chemicals. I think this is a strawman argument.

How the author comes from the above to

if an atheist/naturalist thinks that meaning, purpose, and all that makes life worth living is anything beyond a set of states that can be induced by drugs, then they are deluded too.

but how is this so?

In this last paragraph, the author is conflating happiness and meaning when he writes

However, if an atheist is willing to accept that happiness, at least in the short term, can be achieved by some kind of drug, then I guess they aren’t deluded after all. This could be extended, theoretically if not practically. Imagine that we can solve our survival problems with machines so that we don’t have to work, and arrange for the machines to manufacture and deliver our drugs, then an uninterruptedly happy and meaningful life can be achieved completely by drug use. Ahh, heaven at last!

for one, a few people are known to claim to be happy  when high. This is not a delusion and is a fact of common experience- i.e, it is a truth. We have been working towards inventing machines to solve our survival problems not so that we can be uninterruptedly happy, but so we can have more time (thanks to capitalism this is not happening, we still work long hours side by side with robots) to do those things we find meaningful.

In the end, I argue that this author has not proved what he sought to do. But that happens a lot when you create a strawman anyway.

So once again, Merry Christmas my friends. You have one and all made blogging interesting and worthwhile.


for those interested in further reading on the subject

of questions and dumb questions

Now some of you visit quora as often as I do. Some of you don’t. That’s also ok. So today I saw this question which at first glance I think is dumb. On second reading, I still think it is dumb but it raises a very interesting question; nature of existence.

First the question

Why do we believe in the existence of atheism and not the existence of god.

My first reaction was does this investigator know what atheism is. Defined simply as a lack of belief in deities, it does seem to me atheism, if it exists, it does so only as an idea. A concept. Or as others might say, as a conclusion. In what sense then do we say an idea exists? My view is that an idea exists as long as it has been defined or expressed somewhere even if no one still holds onto it. It is not subject dependent.

What gods are, we don’t know. Unless by tying the two questions together, the investigator meant to also argue that god exists only as an idea in our minds but has no separate existence in time and space. If this is not the case, the question, I think is fallacious (equivocation?) in some way even if I can’t pin it down.

Now I come to the reason why I said the question is interesting. Philosophers have argued over the same question and identified two areas which because I am lazy I will just quote and I hope you do the reading when you have time. 

Is existence a property of individuals? and

Assuming that existence is a property of individuals, are there individuals that lack it?

Or maybe I missed something.

Monday highlights

I was crawling on the internet and came across some very interesting articles for Monday.

Is gender a social construct?

What is the future of religion?

Who knew

For one thing, many atheists are ignorant of the religion they criticize. They think about religion a lot, especially Christianity, but most of what they think they know about it is wrong. I realize that there are plenty of thoughtful atheists who harbor no ill will against believers and respect their beliefs. The trouble was I kept running into the other kind.

and when did argumentum populum become a valid argument? And just in case you don’t know it yet, there will be no atheists in 2050. The world will have become peaceful and prosperous.

And finally something on the enlightenment

who knew

There was a direct link between anti-natalism and atheism.

The author of Ecclesiastes (my favorite book of the bible) wrote

4 Next, I turned to look at all the acts of oppression that make people suffer under the sun. Look at the tears of those who suffer! No one can comfort them. Their oppressors have all the power. No one can comfort those who suffer. I congratulate the dead, who have already died, rather than the living, who still have to carry on. But the person who hasn’t been born yet is better off than both of them (emphasis mine). He hasn’t seen the evil that is done under the sun.

And Nietzsche in the Birth of Tragedy writes

There is an old legend that king Midas for a long time hunted the wise Silenus, the companion of
Dionysus, in the forests, without catching him. When Silenus finally fell into the king’s hands, the king
asked what was the best thing of all for men, the very finest. The daemon remained silent, motionless
and inflexible, until, compelled by the king, he finally broke out into shrill laughter and said these
words, “Suffering creature, born for a day, child of accident and toil, why are you forcing me to say
what would give you the greatest pleasure not to hear? The very best thing for you is totally
unreachable: not to have been born, not to exist , to be nothing. The second best thing for you, however,
is this — to die soon.”

Since I find nothing odd in the observation of Silenus and Qoheleth, I am inclined to argue they make a lot of sense and while an argument can be made that all of us who write in support of anti-natalism do so only because we have been born, this argument doesn’t defeat the arguments for anti-natalism. And whether those who support anti-natalism are atheists or agnostics is not an argument against the position. It proves nothing. It is neither an argument against atheism nor against anti-natalism.

Allowing for a moment that most of those who support anti-natalism are atheists, is this an argument against any of the two positions?

Maybe, just maybe, we are like Kirilov in the Possessed who commits a logical suicide.

this post has no title

The week is ending or it could have ended if you are in New Zealand, like Barry 🙂 and so I think we need something light to usher us into the weekend.

Most of you, I know, have been wondering what demons are, whether they are similar to angels and how many of them can dance on a pin. This problem has been answered by one Mr. Meyer. Since I know some of my readers are lazy and I will not name names, of demons, Meyer writes

Demons, as angels, can take many forms in the physical plane. The most impressive forms which demons can take are ghost forms.

There is a Catholic girl who wants your help. In her own words

Now, every belief system knows best how to convince others that they are correct. Atheists (and Agnostics if you please), feel free to recommend any resources arguing against the existence of God. My search for resources may be weakened by personal bias (and a dislike of Christopher Hitchens.

I wish yours truly could help her. I will however suggest she reads the bible, properly. I think it was Isaac Asimov who said ”

Properly read, the Bible is the most potent force for atheism ever conceived”

and as such, no other book is needed. I could be wrong though.

Have a good weekend everyone.