Tuesday, November 6, 2007

The Proof Is in the Pudding

In the last post's comment thread, a commenter named B said:

The athiest's argument is actually "There is no god because it has not been proven."

First, I think one's reasoning for declaring God nonexistent is not germane to my point. The unfortunate reality is that atheists lay claim to knowledge that they do not--and cannot--possess. The reasons behind this belief are extraneous to whether or not this is an act of extreme hubris.

I'd also like to point out that B reinforces my earlier contention, in suggesting that he knows why atheists insist that God is imaginary. Individuals express different reasons for reaching the same conclusions. B may have his reason for disbelief, and the atheist professor at the local community college may hold yet another rationale. Aldous Huxley, a proponent of Evolution and grandson of "Darwin's Bulldog," Thomas Huxley, provided this insight into his own beliefs:

‘I had motive for not wanting the world to have a meaning; consequently assumed that it had none, and was able without any difficulty to find satisfying reasons for this assumption. The philosopher who finds no meaning in the world is not concerned exclusively with a problem in pure metaphysics, he is also concerned to prove that there is no valid reason why he personally should not do as he wants to do, or why his friends should not seize political power and govern in the way that they find most advantageous to themselves. … For myself, the philosophy of meaninglessness was essentially an instrument of liberation, sexual and political.’--taken from Ends and Means

So here we have an atheist stating that his unbelief is a product of a desire for unrestricted personal behavior, not "because God has not been proven."

Stating that there is no God, because His existence remains unproven, is like suggesting that Attila the Hun never lived, since you find the evidence of his life inconclusive. It's a non sequitur. Proclaiming something untrue due to incomplete evidence is a statement of faith, not science or reason. If I say "I don't know," or "I'm not sure," these are honest admissions. "God isn't real," however, reveals an inherent assumption that one has all the facts at his disposal, when the evidence unambiguously suggests otherwise.

The distinction between atheism and theism isn't faith; both require it. The difference is that, while theists place their faith in God, atheists put their faith in themselves.

It's also worth noting that literally billions of people have weighed the evidence for God in the balance, and have reached the conclusion that He is a fundamental part of reality. So the atheist's assertion that "There is no God, because it has not been proven," is a statement of opinion.

B continues: The only people claiming omnipotent knowledge are actually religious people; does knowing the truth make them God?

This is inaccurate, I'm afraid. Proposing that God exists is not the same sort of claim as insisting that He's fictional. One merely requires evidence; the other has a prerequisite of omniscience. Hundreds of books have been written making the case for God. A few brief examples: every effect has a cause; in human experience, life only springs from life, never from inanimate matter; living organisms show evidence of design, in structures that have irreducible complexity; that forces of chance could produce repeated beneficial mutation-- which in turn produces higher life forms--is statistically impossible; that the existence of reason, itself, presupposes logical, non-contradictory laws. How did blind chance produce workable logic?

One could provide numerous other examples. The point is that the case for God can be and has been made, and in a very convincing manner. True, the proof is not 100% air-tight, but it does exist in copious quantities, for those interested in examining it with an open mind. Atheism, on the other hand, must somehow prove a negative--that God does not exist. This necessitates universal knowledge, which is unavailable to humans. Nor is the limited available evidence sympathetic to a belief in God's fairy-tale quality.

Following the accessible evidence to a reasonable conclusion does not require a claim of omniscience; atheism's accuracy, by definition, cannot be known without it.

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