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Atheism Disproven?

Discussion in 'Ethics & Morality' started by Al Gammate, Apr 12, 2021.

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  1. Al Gammate

    Al Gammate Newbie

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    In my opinion, I find it difficult to hold onto the ideology of classical atheism after reading the following passages by two very deep thinkers:

    Douglas Wilson on Atheism

    "If there is no God, then all that exists is time and chance acting on matter. If this is true then the difference between your thoughts and mine correspond to the difference between shaking up a bottle of Mountain Dew and a bottle of Dr. Pepper. You simply fizz atheistically and I fizz theistically. This means that you do not hold to atheism because it is true, but rather because of a series of chemical reactions. Morality, tragedy, and sorrow are equally evanescent. They are all empty sensations created by the chemical reactions of the brain, in turn created by too much pizza the night before. If there is no God, then all abstractions are chemical epiphenomena, like swamp gas over fetid water. This means that we have no reason for assigning truth and falsity to the chemical fizz we call reasoning or right and wrong to the irrational reaction we call morality. If no God, mankind is a set of bi-pedal carbon units of mostly water. And nothing else."

    C.S. Lewis on Atheism

    "If the solar system was brought about by an accidental collision, then the appearance of organic life on this planet was also an accident, and the whole evolution of Man was an accident too. If so, then all our present thoughts are mere accidents – the accidental by-product of the movement of atoms. And this holds for the thoughts of the materialists and astronomers as well as for anyone else’s. But if their thoughts – i.e., Materialism and Astronomy – are mere accidental by-products, why should we believe them to be true? I see no reason for believing that one accident should be able to give me a correct account of all the other accidents. It’s like expecting the accidental shape taken by the splash when you upset a milk-jug should give you a correct account of how the jug was made and why it was upset."

    Summary

    These two passages, taken together, seem to imply that if classical atheism is true, then the following are true: That the thoughts, emotions, and behaviors of humans are nothing more than accidental fizzing chemical reactions completely devoid of any underlying meaning. That humans themselves are completely devoid of any underlying meaning.

    Nevertheless, when I open my eyes and look around, the thoughts, emotions, and behaviors of humans seem to be pregnant with meaning. That humans themselves seem to be pregnant with meaning.

    So in order to disprove classical atheism, all one has to do is open one's eyes and look around.

    Any thoughts on this?
     
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  2. Yttrium

    Yttrium Independent Centrist

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    Well, to start with, I'd just like to point out a logical flaw in your argument. A lack of a God does not in itself imply a lack of supernatural forces. There are in fact atheists who believe in the supernatural. Atheism is just a lack in belief of God or gods. There could still be souls, for example.
     
  3. Mark Quayle

    Mark Quayle Well-Known Member Supporter

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    To be fair, there are Atheists who believe in absolute causation --the rule of cause and effect. They don't believe Chance can cause, because that is self-contradictory. (They hold tightly to the rule of causation, right up to First Cause, which to them somehow 'logically' does not need to be purposeful.)
     
  4. Ken-1122

    Ken-1122 Newbie

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    C.S. Lewis and Douglas Wilson are wrong. God is not needed to have meaning in one's life
    No; to prove C.S. Lewis and Douglas Wilson wrong, all one has to do is look around
     
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  5. Pavel Mosko

    Pavel Mosko Arch-Dude of the Apostolic Supporter

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    The problem with the OP is, you will be hard pressed to find any self proclaimed contemporary atheist holding onto "Classical Atheism". Instead of believing "there is no God or there are no gods" most atheists have taken the formula established by this one American atheist who lived in the 1800s, who redefined it as "The belief that there is no credible evidence to support the belief in a God or gods".

    But that kind of distinction is important because it kind of takes the burden of proof and puts it squarely on the believers end of things. While the classical formula which could be used by Communists etc. at different times to great affect also could be argued against when it came to certain miracles and events, and there always was the problem of a theist demanding the atheist prove their God didn't exist (Which is impossible since that is a universal negative).
     
  6. Bradskii

    Bradskii Well-Known Member

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    Atheism is simply the lack of belief in gods. I have no belief in gods. So that constitutes atheism. To 'disprove atheism' you'd have to show that I don't believe in gods. I think we can agree that's a nonsensical proposal. Ipso facto, the question in the op makes no sense.

    The passages you have quoted are not concerned with whether atheism can be proved. They are concerned with whether God exists.

    Regarding Lewis's suggestion that all thoughts are accidental, that's not the case. He's conflating the term 'accidental by-products' with determinism. If you have one rock and I give you another rock then the fact that you now have two is easily determined. But it's not an accidental by-product. Lewis is using the term 'accidental by-product' as another way of saying random. But we don't randomly decide that you have two rocks...

    That goes for all science. There may be a case that the whole of existence is determinate (another matter for another time) but how we interact with it is not random or accidental. In fact, if everything is determinate then it's just the opposite. It's umm...determined.

    The argument is more an argument against free will (and in my opinion fails in that). It certainy doesn't relate to your question.
     
  7. Gene2memE

    Gene2memE Newbie

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    Douglas Wilson is wrong here. He's creating a false dichotomy (Either 'God' or 'just time and chance acting on matter'). He's also wrong that there's no difference between the thinking of conscious agents and the Brownian motion of carbonated soft drinks.

    It's a quippy deepity though.

    This is reductively simple, but true of any belief. Whether a God exists or not. It may not be palatable to some people, but its true regardless.

    Yes, mankind is a set of bi-pedal carbon units of mostly water, but not just that. If I put legs on my fridge, that doesn't mean its capable of valuing things like I do.

    This isn't necessarily about atheism, or even a "proof" of atheism.

    A creator God could exist and the solar system could still have been brought about by "accident", and the evolutionary development of mankind could still be the product of random events.

    As to why we should believe our thoughts to be true? We can demonstrate their truth, and the utility of that truth (for instance: the pot is hot, the gun is loaded, the bear is hiding there). We can also demonstrate when thoughts are false, and the harm from false beliefs.

    So what if they're mere accidental byproducts? They have utility to me, and to everyone else I know. Oxygen is an accidental byproduct too, but its beneficial to nearly every living thing on the planet.
     
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  8. honey badger

    honey badger i am

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    i find it interesting that the the god the christians believe in is the same god the atheist's don't believe in ... which makes them both right and wrong for the same reason ...
     
  9. Freodin

    Freodin Devout believer in a theologically different God

    +3,524
    Atheist
    That's not quite correct.
    Atheism is always a counter to theistic claims. Any theistic claims.
    So the god atheist's don't believe in is any god that any theist present to them.
     
  10. honey badger

    honey badger i am

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    yes it is, as it applies to every god of every religion ...
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2021
  11. Bradskii

    Bradskii Well-Known Member

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    The god the christians believe is one of the gods the atheist's don't believe in. Notwithstanding that the conception of God changes, not just within religions, or even within denominations, but between individual people within those denominations.
     
  12. honey badger

    honey badger i am

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    exactly ... but this does not make what atheist believe or rather not believe to be true ...
     
  13. Bradskii

    Bradskii Well-Known Member

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    I don't believe in Vishnu. Do you think I'm right?

    I do believe that God is accepted as the creator of all existence by the three major monotheistic religions. Do you think I'm right?

    So we should change your statement to read 'This does not make all of that which some atheists believe about my God to be true'.

    I was going to say 'Thanks, Honey'. But...that doesn't sound right.
     
  14. honey badger

    honey badger i am

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    it matters not whether you are right or whether you are wrong when the context which defines the belief is flawed ...
     
  15. Bradskii

    Bradskii Well-Known Member

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    Well, we both agree on that hb. Touche.
     
  16. stevil

    stevil Godless and without morals

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    I'm an atheist and there are thousands and thousands of gods that I don't believe in.
    YHWH is merely one among the many thousands.
    I also don't believe in ghosts, and angels and demons, valkeries, dragons, fairies, wizards, witches, miracles, magic, vampires, ghouls, zombies, locness, bigfoot, candyman, freddy kruger, jason vorhees, damian from omen, ...

    Life would be alot more exciting if these things existed, but alas, I just get my fix from watching movies.
     
  17. Occams Barber

    Occams Barber Newbie Supporter

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    Atheists see no evidence for the existence of any god. Your God just happens to be the local version.

    OB
     
  18. Larnievc

    Larnievc Well-Known Member

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    That would be the meaning that you yourself impose on reality.

    What you find meaningful I might not. And vice versa. Meaning can come from us, not externally.
     
  19. Larnievc

    Larnievc Well-Known Member

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    Not so. The Christian god is simply one of the many gods that atheists do not believe in.
     
  20. Larnievc

    Larnievc Well-Known Member

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    If you don’t believe in Zombies you not going to be properly prepared for the zombie apocalypse: it’s not if, it’s when.

    But yeah, the rest of those things are obviously rubbish.
     
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