Sunday, 20 December 2009

6 Ultimate Reasons Not To Be An Atheist?

I was doing my Sunday morning check of what videos my favourite Youtube Vloggers had put up for me when I came across this video that Youtube recommended:

6 ultimate reasons why atheism fails as a world-view. Interesting. In the disclaimer at the beginning it says:
This video does not argue for God's existence...
It simply shows what atheism does not but CANNOT account for.

The first thing I'd want to point out is that atheism is not a world-view. You might as well say that not collecting stamps fails as a hobby. The reason for this is simple, atheism is the not-belief, so what follows has to be what the god hypothesis answers that one who is of the belief that there's no such thing as interventionist deities would also have to account for. But to be as charitable as possible, the question is not the validity of atheism itself but of those who profess to be atheists. And from there, let's precede.

So to me there are three questions that stem from each challenge. First question is whether it is necessary. That is will the position hold without being able to account for that. If it is necessary to explain, then two more questions follow. Firstly, can theism itself account for what is being explained? Secondly, in the absence of gods, what is a means to explain it?

The first question should be self-evident. That is if the proposed unanswerable question is not necessary in a world-view, then why should it matter one way or another to the truth of a proposition? If it is desired but not necessary, then the best that could be argued for is belief in belief - that is to persist in a delusion for a reason beyond the reasonable.

To ask what theism can explain is important. It's all well and good to call an interventionist deity an uncaused cause for example, but does that really hold up as a proof for God's existence? Can it follow that an uncaused cause can be interventionist in relation to being inside a causal reality? Just because the argument can be made that non-belief cannot answer a necessary question, it doesn't follow that just because a proposition is out there supporting theism that it is a valid argument or can explain what an atheist can't.

Regardless of whether it is necessary or whether theism can explain it, it hardly seems intellectually satisfying to leave it at that. The questions exist because they hit home at who we are. There's not much in saying "well you can't account for it either". Though for some there may be unanswerable questions, for others tentative answers. It might be that I don't know what I'm talking about, that I've missed some philosophical subtlety in the argument, or that I've made any number of logical fallacies in my arguments.

Part 1: Meaning
Part 2: Morality
Part 3: Free Will
Part 4: Reasoning
Part 5: Logic
Part 6: Truth

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