Atheistic Irrationality

In 2007 Atheist Sam Harris said “Atheism is not a philosophy, just as non-racism is not. It is not a worldview, though it is frequently spock good and evilportrayed as one.”(1) What a violation of the basic laws of logic! It is impossible to NOT have a worldview. Anyone that says they do not have a worldview has a perspective on what a worldview is and a belief of why they don’t have a worldview; which is in essence….a worldview!

So Sam Harris states a belief about atheism while denying any belief at all, but he clearly believes it!

At the same conference that Sam Harris attended, Richard Dawkins stated “Religion is not the root of all evil, but it gets in the way of [determining] how we got here and where we find ourselves. And that is an evil in itself.”

But doesn’t Dawkins reject the existence of moral good or evil? After all he did write “The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose [i.e. no God], no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference.” (2)

These are observable basic inconsistencies in the atheistic mind. I would call it Doctrinal problem inside the church of atheism.

 

Bibliography

  1. Matt Purple, CNSNews.com Correspondent,”Religion Must Be Destroyed, Atheist Alliance Declares”, October 03, 2007
  2. Richard Dawkins, “God’s Utility Function”, Scientific American, November 1995, p.85

6 thoughts on “Atheistic Irrationality

  1. 🙂 Sam Harris isn’t saying that he doesn’t have a worldview, he’s saying that atheism isn’t a worldview. There is no “atheistic mind” or atheist doctrine, which is exactly the point that was being made. Some are tempted to think of atheism as a set of beliefs but an atheist is really just a person who has no affirmative beliefs about the existence of gods.

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    1. Thank you for your comment I do disagree. There are only three possibilities that I can see:
      1. Theism (belief that God exists).
      2. Atheism (belief that God does not exist)
      3. Agnosticism (I don’t know)
      If atheism is defined as a “lack of belief” then one can NEVER make a positive claim of assertion that God does not exist, because that is a belief. Having no affirmative belief in something is not humanly possible unless one is never exposed to the concept. Once a person is exposed to a concept or idea a belief is automatically formed.

      Matthew Lieberman, a psychologist at the University of California, seemed to demonstrate how beliefs help people’s brains categorize others and view objects as good or bad (which is a belief); and this done mostly unconsciously.

      When Lieberman showed a group of people photographs of expressionless black faces, he found neurological triggers in the amygdala – the brain’s panic button. It was triggered in almost two-thirds of the subjects studied. There was no difference in the response between black and white people.

      Lieberman said: “Even people who believe to their core that they do not have prejudices may still have negative associations that are not conscious.” This is a belief! Though I do not subscribe to the notion that the brain causes belief but instead the belief triggers the brains response.

      Dr. Michael Shermer wrote: “We form our beliefs for a variety of subjective, personal, emotional, and psychological reasons in the context of environments created by family, friends, colleagues, culture, and society at large; after forming our beliefs we then defend, justify, and rationalize them with a host of intellectual reasons, cogent arguments, and rational explanations. Beliefs come first, explanations for beliefs follow.”

      Atheism cannot be a “lack of belief”, after all they believe it don’t they? And that is self refuting.

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      1. 🙂 there are a lot more than three possibilities but sticking to the ones you have mentioned:

        1) I think you’re confusing theism with monotheism
        2) Atheism isn’t a negation of a specific monotheism. It is also not a “lack of belief”. It is an absence of affirmative beliefs in the existence of gods.
        3) Agnosticism is a spectrum on which you also find many atheists.

        A person who is an atheist can make positive claims that a specific god doesn’t exist but that is not a function of their atheism. My view is that I cannot disprove any gods existence but can judge claims about a god’s existence with skepticism. As it stands I have yet to encounter a convincing claim so hold no affirmative beliefs about the existence of gods (https://matthewphillips.wordpress.com/2016/04/23/belief-in-absence-vs-absence-of-belief/).

        I wonder if you are mixing definitions of belief as a notion of how things are with belief as the acceptance of a religion proposition?

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      2. Again thank you for the post.

        I used monotheism for its simplicity.

        I do not find it rational to lump agnosticism with atheism because of the first law of Logic: law of identity. In your understanding of atheism, the only positive claim you can make is “I do not know.” If you are unconvinced by the evidence for God, for whatever reason, and you cannot disprove the existence of God,as you already said, therefore you are an agnostic and not an atheist.

        If you are an agnostic then you can make the claim “I don’t know” but not the claim “there is no god”. Again if you “lack a belief in a God” then you cannot claim “there is no God” and you use this belief (your “lack of a belief”) to make conclusions about information being giving. As Dr. Shermer pointed out you need a belief to interpret information so you must have a belief in order to deny or dismiss the evidences for God’s existence. Even when you believe “I don’t know.”

        On the blog you linked, you wrote: “Atheism has no evaluative tools or framework that might be used to form a belief about gods. There is no atheist epistemology.” Well, no epistemology is only agnosticism and if that is your definition, why not just call yourself an agnostic? Having no epistemology, would also mean that you cannot use atheism (under your definition) to prove anything true or false because without epistemology you cannot have the preconditions of intelligibility.

        You also wrote “It says nothing about how beliefs are constituted or by what means decisions about beliefs are reached.” However it is doing just that with you. You have a belief that you “don’t know.” and you believe it.

        Seems to me that the traditional definition of atheism (literally a-theist or no-god, a positive claim) could not hold up to it’s claims rationally and now the neo atheists are trying the classical George Orwell’s double-think psychosis to save themselves.

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      3. 🙂 I suspect that trying to make things simple is what confuses the issue. Defining theism through monotheism makes sense to you, seems simpler but also skews the meaning. I agree, atheism and agnosticism should not be “lumped together”. They are two distinct things that are often wrongly treated as mutually exclusive for simplicity. My understanding of the word atheist is roughly this: http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/atheist. I think sometimes people try to frame atheism as the belief that the Christian god doesn’t exist because it’s simple and suits their argument (this would be a violation of the law of identity). I don’t think it’s done intentionally but rather from an ingrained perspective that is difficult to transcend.

        I feel I should make it very clear that I’m not in the business of trying to disprove peoples’ gods. I do engage people on the basis of their claims and I will be critical of ideas but I can’t see any reason to try to disprove. Claims about the supernatural are unfalsifiable but they can be assessed for their credibility. I think the point you make about beliefs informing judgements over claims of a god’s existence is very important one and I would add values to the mix as well. It comes down to the kinds of evidence you value and the beliefs you have about the nature of truth.

        You mention the blog post I linked, specifically the part about epistemology. This is essentially the same message as the Sam Harris quote. I’m saying there is no “atheist epistemology” but of course people who are atheists have epistemologies. One might be an atheist who believes in animal spirits instead of gods or perhaps an atheist who believes in only the verifiable material world for example. Both are atheists and have quite different world views. The notion of neo or new atheists strikes me as a problematic analytical category that is badly defined. It seems like a convenient way to tar heterogeneous people with a misrepresenting brush. It’s also worth pointing out that agnosticism is often oversimplified as well. There is a tendency for it to be defined as “not sure”, as though there were only a choice between believing the Christian god exists or believing that he doesn’t and as if agnostics are equally (un)convinced of both.

        Is it not perhaps an exercise in double-think 😉 to have multiple people using the same reasoning to evidence their mutually incompatible religions while maintaining that theirs is the right one?

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  2. You’re putting a lot of effort in to justify a theistic view, why are YOU the one that needs to do so? Have you ever questioned that?

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