The blog where I rant about things that should be obvious to everyone

As a man with a 4 year degree in computer science, and a mediocre job doing web development I'm not really qualified to comment on politics, religion, or anything else, but I'll be damned if that stops me.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Why I don't respect atheism

There are a lot of beliefs out there that I don't agree with, but I don't think that there is any religious belief that generates quite so much contempt for me as atheism. Now to be clear, I make a distinction between those who just don't think about it in general or agnostics and those who actively preach atheism. But for those who do, I can't think of any more self defeating belief system with the possible exception of pluralism.

The first problem with atheism is that it does not allow for free will. If science is all that there is, then all of our actions are determined absolutely by scientific laws. Our thoughts and actions are just the result of the atomic and sub-atomic physical and chemical reactions among the particles that make up our being. All thought and choice is merely an illusion. Now you might say that things are not 100% predetermined by the initial state due to theorized true randomness in sub-atomic movement. But this would not make you anymore free. It just means that the illusion of thought and choice is determined by a mixture of initial state and sub-atomic dice rolls. This is still no freewill. And when you take free will out of the equation then there is really no point to arguing about atheism is there? You can make your case but the truth is that the correct set of random sounds that would vibrate the air and then interact with the particles that make up my body would be just as likely to change my mind by effecting the movement of those particles and therefore effecting my illusions of thought. But freewill is self evident. I know that I have no way of proving it, but regardless I am aware of making choices before acting. And all of the atheists that I have interacted with also presumed freewill no matter how little it fits with their dogma.

As far as I'm concerned this completely defeats atheism. But I'm feeling generous, so lets just give those atheists a break and let them borrow the thoroughly religious concept of freewill from a vastly superior belief system that does allow for it. You then have the problem of morality. In atheism morality is a non concept. Morality has to exist independently of individuals and cultures otherwise it is completely arbitrary. And arbitrary morality is no morality. Its as if I made up the concept of abzudro. Things that are very abzudro are considered bluno. Things that are inabzudro are considered rgion. Now whether an thought, choice, or action is bluno or rgion can be defined by the culture, the individual, or other individuals or cultures. But of course it's all nonsense. You can just as easily say that a culture defines gravity as bluno and magnetism to be rgion. But there is no reason to do so. Gravity is what it is. As are all thoughts, choices, and actions. Applying good and evil values to them is no more or less valid than to apply them to laws of science, logic, or math.

But again, I know that there is right and wrong. I know it just as I know that I have freewill. I cannot prove either concept, but I don't need to. They are self evident. And if I am wrong about either one, then it does not matter because everything is completely pointless anyway. So you see atheism has multiple levels of pointlessness, and yet almost no atheist acts as though they believe this, leading me to conclude that even atheists don't believe in atheism. Its no different than people like Michael Moore who will say that Cuba is a better country than the U.S. with a superior government. And yet I don't see him moving. If you truly believe something, then you will act on it. If you are not willing to act on you beliefs, than subconsciously your not even fooling yourself.

4 comments:

  1. A "science only" approach does allow for free will in so far a the probabilistic behaviour of quanta is barely understood, and neurology isn't much better. This allows a lot of scope for how currently not understood parts of your brain could manipulate quantum states in a currently unknown way.

    But that is besides the point seeing as atheism does not dismiss spirituality anyway. A - theist. Literally without a God (ie. theological god. One that created us and is interested in our lives).

    This does not dismiss other spiritual ideas, but it does have a mindset in which empirical proof is required for belief. It's the same as if your friend claims there is a teacup orbiting Mars. Believing that without him proving it to you would be silly.

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  2. Well you are completely right to say that I'm using a limited definition of atheists. For the purposes of the post I would not have considered Yoda to be an atheist, but you would be correct in saying that none of the Star Wars characters expressed a belief in god.

    However I can say that about the "science only" approach because everything that can be modeled with science is subject to scientific laws. If science can model human action it means that we are nothing but complex machines. The fact that we don't understand all the mechanics of it does not change that. So either we are machines, or there is some sort of super natural.

    Empirical proof is nice, but it is hardly the only kind of proof or evidence that is useful. Your right that I would tend to disbelieve my friend about the teacup orbiting Mars, but if he told me that he just saw someone drive by in a Bugatti, I would believe him empirical proof completely aside.

    Another example would be that when I first started reading about game I had absolutely no empirical proof or evidence that it was true, but I thought that it was probably mostly accurate because it made sense.

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  3. I'll start by saying that I like some of your other posts, but this is article pretty far-fetched.

    Atheism is not a religious belief. It is a lack of religious belief.

    With regard to atheism not allowing for free will - Did you just make that up? Did someone tell you that free will is something that has to be granted to you?

    I'm going to ignore for a moment that in modern society we all have the illusion of free will and actually have very limited choices with what we can and cannot do.

    Instead, I'll focus on this part: "If science is all that there is, then all of our actions are determined absolutely by scientific laws. Our thoughts and actions are just the result of the atomic and sub-atomic physical and chemical reactions among the particles that make up our being."

    Just because it seems too complex does not make it untrue. There was a time when we couldn't measure gravity. It must have been god keeping us on the ground before that, right?

    If you can think and write, surely you can read as well. You're talking about Christian morality. What kind of a moral code is that? It calls for rape, torture, genocide, executions, you name it and you can guarantee 'god' ordered it done several times. But he works in mysterious ways aye.

    And then we can look at how the church has, in the real world, committed countless horrific deeds in the name of their morality - and still do today.

    "So you see atheism has multiple levels of pointlessness, and yet almost no atheist acts as though they believe this, leading me to conclude that even atheists don't believe in atheism."
    This is a funny sentence. If atheists don't believe in atheism, what do they believe in? Do they, by default, believe in the same god as you?

    I've noticed that christians like that phrase 'self evident'. It's another way of saying "I can't explain what's happening - god done it".

    By the way, google defines dogma as:
    'A principle or set of principles laid down by an authority as incontrovertibly true: "the Christian dogma of the Trinity".'

    Science/atheism don't say I am right and will always be right and if you don't agree you're going to suffer worse than you can imagine forever. We leave that to the religious.

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    Replies
    1. Wow, apparently I hit your sacred cow with this one. Of course Atheism is a religious belief. To use the wikipedia definition of religion, a religion is “a collection of cultural systems, belief systems, and worldviews that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values.” Atheism certainly falls under this definition. It's common for atheists to make a false divide between their religion and all others, but the truth is that in principle, atheist finger waging at others for believing differently is no different than is muslim, christian, hindu, or pluralist finger waging. It's all just one group of people telling another that their core beliefs are wrong and make them do bad things. Atheist's moral authority is just as contingent on them being right as everyone else's, with the exception that their moral arguments don't even follow from their core beliefs.

      As to the rest of your comment, I'm confused. Do you agree that atheism does not allow for freewill or does it?

      No, no one told me free will has to be granted (nor do I claim that it does). But for my claim that science alone does not grant (different definition of grant genius) for freewill, I did come up with it independently, but I'm hardly the only one. And as you quoted my case for it, I'm not sure why your asking for what authority I use to make the claim. Logic is it's own authority, and its valid structure and truth are independent of it's source.

      So do you believe in freewill or not? If not, why argue with me? I have no choice but to believe and act in the way that I do. If so, how do you justify that belief within an atheistic framework?

      As for self evident truths, it's not just christians that like them. Mathematicians are big on them to, as are scientists, and philosophers of all strips.

      And what is your point about atheists not making any claims of eternal damnation? That hardly makes them unique among the many religions out there. Although Atheists as a group certainly do make a lot of very silly truth claims, such as religion (by which they mean all other religions) being responsible for all war.

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