The Atlantic has published a startlingly honest article by Crispin Sartwell, as you can see even from it’s title, Irrational Atheism: Not Believing in God Isn’t Always Based on Reasoned Arguments And That’s OK. In it Sartwell admits:

  • The atheistic worldview “is similar to the worldview of religion—neither can be shown to be true or false by science, or indeed by any rational technique. Whether theistic or atheistic, they are all matters of faith, stances taken up by tiny creatures in an infinitely rich environment.”
  • His view of the universe as a natural, material system is based on his interpretation of his experience not on a rational argument.
  • “I have taken a leap of atheist faith.”
  • Atheism can be as much a product of family, social, and institutional context as religious faith.
  • “The idea that the atheist comes to her view of the world through rationality and argumentation, while the believer relies on arbitrary emotional commitments, is false.”
  • Just as religious people have often offloaded the burden of their choices on church dogma, so some atheists are equally willing to offload their beliefs on “reason” or “science” without acknowledging that they are making a bold intellectual commitment about the nature of the universe, and making it with utterly insufficient data.
  • Science rests on emotional commitment (that there is a truth), a passionate affirmation of desire, in which our social system backs us up.

What a refreshing blast of humble and honest air! You cannot but admire such a sincere, transparent, and honorable atheist. But the article ends on a painfully sad note, which may partly explain Sartwell’s atheism, and maybe even his humility:

Genuinely bad things have happened to me in my life: One of my brothers was murdered; another committed suicide. I’ve experienced addiction and mental illness. And I, like you, have watched horrors unfold all over the globe. I don’t—I can’t—believe this to be best of all possible worlds. I think there is genuinely unredeemed, pointless pain. Some of it is mine.

By not believing in God, I keep faith with the world’s indifference. I love its beauty. I hate its suffering…I’m perfectly sincere and definite in my belief that there is no God. I can see that there could be comfort in believing otherwise, believing that all the suffering and death makes sense, that everyone gets what they deserve, and that existence works out in the end.

But to believe that would be to betray my actual experiences, and even without the aid of reasoned arguments, that’s reason enough not to believe.

As is so often the case, the agony of suffering is a large contributor to Sartwell’s atheistic faith. There are many like him, young and old, who find personal and global pain an insurmountable obstacle to Christian faith. In my experience, quoting Romans 8:28, preaching God’s sovereignty, or offering philosophical arguments about suffering in such situations is usually ineffective.

If I had the opportunity, I’d take Crispin to the historic events around Calvary and especially to the sufferings of God’s Son. I’d try to keep him at the cross as long as possible, and I’d work at explaining what happened there and how this is the only way into the power and wisdom of God. It’s also the way God calls both religionists and atheists to saving faith. As the Apostle Paul said:

We preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God (1 Corinthians 1:23-24).

  • http://www.lifeschooled.com/ Daniel Gardner

    Excellent summary and analysis. Thank you.

    • David Murray

      Thank you for the kind words, Daniel.

    • http://atheistcards.com Andy Stout

      Thank you! (Ha ha.)

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  • Jason Ramay

    Also, we can take issue with the author’s statement that “I can see that there could be comfort in believing that everyone gets what they deserve.”
    But Christian theists emphatically do not believe that, if I have my theology correct. I most certainly will not be getting what I deserve – and praise God for that! Rather, it’s solid grace, all the way down – the Great Exchange. Christ gets what I deserve, and I get what he deserves.

    • Sandra Segarra

      It is so joyful that you are gonna get what you deserve! By accepting and caring for the precious salvation that Jesus gave you, your destination changed!

      • Mark

        If you were an all-powerful creator, your best idea for saving humanity (your creation that has gone so horribly awry) is to send down a human sacrifice two thousand years ago, and have this act of sacrifice witnessed by only a few select people, then have it written about by different people years after to stand as solid evidence for the rest of time? That makes sense? I’m genuinely curious!

        • Sandra Segarra

          It is so good to be curious! What else could God do for us receive salvation? Knock on every people’s door.? So we could understand Him, He used the same valid methods we use every day to find knowledge: history, believers and unbelievers witnesses, arqueleogoly, written documents. That is how we did for learning about Socrates, Roman emperors and so. Is it fair to apply the same for getting proof of Jesus? If my son is guilty and goes to jail, my love for him would make me take his punishment so he could be free. God took our place because of his love. Jesus suffered the most so we can identity with Him when we suffer. We have to learn God’s virtues and modus operandis to understand why He did and still does on our days. Warriors do fight for our liberty, so why can ‘t God died for our liberty from sin? And , yes, He knocks on every people’s heart. We chose if He can enter. God bless.

          • Mark

            Hi Sandra -

            As I understand, your God used to openly interact with the ancient world all the time. He’s suspiciously absent from public life these days. Kind of curious, don’t ya think?

            Me accepting Romans and Socrates existed does not demand I defy everything we know about the world through science. To accept Jesus would. If it turned out Socrates didn’t exist, it wouldn’t flip my world-view upside down.

            No, they don’t require the same evidence. To quote Hitchens “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence”. If I were to tell a friend I went shopping today, it makes sense they just take me at my word. If I were to claim I turned water into wine, they would be right to be extremely sceptical. Even upon SHOWING them, they should be sceptical! Isn’t it more likely at that point I’m using a trick versus actually performing the conversion?

          • Sandra Segarra

            I don’t think God is absent in the public eye because there is still controversy in many sociology issues. Speaking from what is the Bible point of view is God interferring. When a person who creates a liked company dies, his representatives continues with the business as long as there is a demand. There are still God seeker, even thouhg His way is not winning in many issues because people has let Him go. As for Jesus’s extraordinary evidences you may study about His resurrection, miracles and claim about being God.

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  • AtheistCards.com

    The atheistic worldview “is similar to the worldview of religion—neither can be shown to be true or false by science, or indeed by any rational technique. Whether theistic or atheistic, they are all matters of faith, stances taken up by tiny creatures in an infinitely rich environment.”

    We hear this time and time again, and it’s simply NOT true. It makes it sound as if it’s a wash. Being an atheist does not require faith, but rather a LACK of faith. We are simply rejecting supernatural claims. It’s a rejection of ‘belief in god’, no more, no less. It’s not surprising that many atheists do indeed share a similar worldview, but those are not prerequisites to being atheist.

    Here’s a definition of faith: b (1) : firm belief in something for which there is no proof (2) : complete trust

    An atheist requires NO faith. Rather, an atheist is skeptical and demands proof. An atheist may make positive assertions about the world, cosmos, etc., but again, that is not what makes them an atheist! I don’t get how a fellow atheist like Crispin Sartwell doesn’t see that.

    • S.Jones

      I’ve heard this fatuous trend time and time again—a license for cementing the non-existence of God, while still retaining the argumentitive evasive power of a non-position (attributed only to what would be considered a true agnostic). By believing that one’s beliefs are not beliefs, one confines oneself to the supposition that those beliefs need not even be vindicated, which is the very definition of ignorance. Non-belief or ‘lack of belief’ in its proper sense is the equivalent to complete ignorance or complete indifference regarding a subject matter. Yet, the very fact that ‘lack of belief’ must be invoked as a pseudo-defensive measure negates indifference as an option. Therefore, I must assume that all people who actively assert their ‘lack of belief’ lack the mental capacity to even understand the concept of God, much less infer against those who hold to that position. This is analogous to inquiring the nature of electrons in an atom to a native tribesmen ignorant of such scientific terminologies. This is why things such as plants fail in being atheists, as plants lack the capability to account such a concept in the first place.

      According to your logic, I must ‘lack belief’ in the self-existence of nature. Yet if I were truly honest, I came to this ‘lack of belief’ based on active logic—at least of which was due to grasping the concept of self-existence as applied to the concept of nature. Then subsequently accounted to terms of the implication based on what can be already known of the universe.
      An assertion otherwise, even passively, would be a ‘faith’ according to your definition—unless your an agnostic that either isn’t willing or capable of addressing the concept. The true definition of faith actually categorically resides in the relational (e.g. a husband does not attribute faith to his wife’s existence, only in her intent and purposes; for which there can be no proof).

      • Mark

        People love playing this semantics game. Yes, most atheist do hold beliefs. To not hold any, would render one a potato. The point is, that’s not what makes them atheist.

        Espousing the “being an atheist takes the same faith as being religious” implies that saying Jesus was sent down from the heavens as a human sacrifice to save humanity, is the same as saying “no, he probably didn’t”. Or whatever the commonly held religious claim is, which any atheist would reject.

        If your wife is trying to poison you, is that not proof of her intent and purposes?

        • S.Jones

          Various religious claims, and how an atheist may regard them, are irrelevant. I don’t think anyone claimed that an atheist doesn’t harbor any other type of belief. The point is, any type of atheistic notion whatsoever inherently harbors a position that does not recognize any form of god (regardless of what form it may take), no matter if an atheist is too ignorant or indifferent in understanding/recognizing the implications of such a position. That is what makes them an atheist. I guess I can understand the gymnastics, as this position happens to be a broken stance. I would go as far as saying someone that infers some unknown god, or even the greek myths for that matter, is categorically in a more coherent position (regardless of the subsequent myths obviously fabricated). The lack of recognition of a position does not make the implications any less illogical—no more than an a-gravitistic position makes a lack of belief in gravity any less of a position (which also happens to be illogical due to the inductive implications of gravity).

          “It was always either going to be Christianity, the Golden Cow or the Cult of the Flying Purple Gorgon. If atheism were the only other alternative I’d have gladly gone with the Flying Purple Gorgon.”—Bo Jinn

          Yes, the premise that a wife purposed to poison her husband the purpose/intent is already known. So I guess the purpose proven was the purpose given already in the premise? Regardless, this wasn’t the point. You cannot prove that your wife will consistently serve your well-being, or consistently poison you for that matter. Faith is an active tense, not a passive one.

          • Mark

            Really, a Bo Jinn quote? That guy’s an idiot. How is believing in the Flying Purple Gorgon better than not believing in any of them? I don’t get it. Sorry, I’m trying my best to follow your logic, but you seem rather good at saying lots without saying much. I find what people actually believe more interesting than semantics and logic games.

          • S.Jones

            I’d even quote Hitler if I believed something he said were true. Big deal. Your opinions on Jinn or on my points, by reason of your ineptitude to grasp them, is ironically more akin to ‘not saying much’—but understandable. Yet with ad hominem, who needs to play ‘logic games’ when you have that in your repertoire? I suspect my points seem semantical in nature due to the original argument being semantical in nature itself (i.e. ‘lack’ of belief)—so big surprise. I discussed the point that Jinn made prior to his quote, but to put it in another example: categorically, it is more logically coherent to say Santa Claus wrote the books of the Twilight series than to say it was caused by trees and ink getting caught in some random explosion.

            Personally, I find it more interesting in how one thinks, not so much in what one thinks or believes. Preconceived notions are a dime a dozen, and can be wielded by any ignoramus.

          • Mark

            Okay, so a terrible explanation is better than no explanation (Santa Claus writing the Twilight series)? It seems as though you are forcing yourself to choose between (potentially) terrible explanations. Why? Why not “I don’t know” as an option, if that’s indeed the case. I don’t know that God did or didn’t create the universe. I’m quite certain nobody KNOWS that. I do find it highly improbable.

            P.S. I readily admit my own ineptitude and do appreciate your time in replying! I know very little, but am astounded by how much other people claim to know.

          • S.Jones

            It is an analogy, not an explanation. Projecting that I don’t know what I’m relaying based on your inability to know what point I’m making, is a ridiculous accusation. Secondly, projecting that I claim to ‘know’ or have proof that God created the universe—I never indicated that once. I infer through evidence and logical deduction from what we do know, or what we can already know. I also (obviously) disagree with the assessment of it being improbable; as I find your perspective not only improbable, but highly illogical. Agree to disagree I guess.

            As far as the analogy, it was a comparitive demonstration of degrees of deductive accuracy. Take a forensic case: you enter a crime scene and find a trail of smeared blood on the ground. Would you conclude the killer, after hiding the body, accidently rubbed blood in the shape of a perfect path on the ground? Or would you conclude he dragged the body? That same is true with the Santa/Twilight scenario. If someone concludes Santa wrote Twilight, minimally they at least know an intelligent being wrote a book. Even though the details are obviously wrong, at least their foundation is correct; with their logical accuracy being greater than the person who says some trees and ink came together in an accidental mishap simply because they disagree with the little detail of it being Santa Claus. This is an erroneous conflation with a variable in form with the minimal inference of function.

          • Mark

            I get the analogy, I just think it’s a bad one. You compared a book with our universe. Apples and cosmic oranges! People made the exact same argument for the human eye (which is why Darwin addressed it in his book). Except we know it wasn’t designed, despite that appearance. Why are you so sure the greater universe isn’t playing a similar trick on you?

          • S.Jones

            Actually the analogy was a comparison to other ‘actual’ information systems, such as DNA—which seems to have escaped the inductive process for some reason. Hmm. So we ‘know’ the eye wasn’t designed huh? I supposed we assume that the universe is playing a trick on us by reason of this non-argument. Let’s toss out the scientific method on this little whim shall we?

          • Mark

            Sorry, who designed the eye again? We have a full and complete understanding of how the eye came to be – and it had nothing to do with a designer.

            I can SEE you are all for tossing out the scientific method!

          • S.Jones

            Why the particular obsession with the eye? No matter. The inductive method is not concerned ‘who’ designed it (irrelevant), only with the information system behind it.

            So which is it? The mysteries of the universe trying to be a trickster, or is it a full and complete understanding? Here, the scientific method seems to be equated with full and complete fabrication more rather. Last I checked, there hasn’t been any actual observations of an eye self-programming.

            Yeah, these assertions seem to make it evident that the proper definition of scientific method has not been really grasped—or at least misapplied.

            But hey, I SEE what you did there. (heehee)

          • Mark

            The particular obsession with the eye is that it’s fascinating. Darwin, in developing his theory, knew that it if it didn’t perfectly explain how something like the human eye – something that common sense would tell any reasonable person had to have been designed – was in fact a product of natural selection, then his theory was worthless. Of course he did just that.

            I absolutely never said we had full and completely understanding of the universe, or the existence of life. I’m not the one inventing imaginary creation sources.

            How do you yourself get past an infinite regression? You say life can’t account for itself, so there must be a creation point. And I know these are tired arguments, but I have to ask again: how does a creator account for itself? Who created the creator? I fail to see how this helps us understand existence any better!

          • Mark

            * complete

          • S.Jones

            //”I absolutely never said we had full and completely understanding of the universe, or the existence of life.”

            I never said it in reference to the universe, or life—but the eye. “Why are you so sure the greater universe isn’t playing a similar trick on you?”, “We have a full and complete understanding of how the eye came to be.” –Then I go on to explain why you don’t, in fact, have full and complete understand regarding the ‘programming’ of the eye—to which you have continually detracted from, even now.

            The entire apparatus of the “appearance of design’ explanation depends on the prior existence of genetic code. Since the existence of this material is the precondition of the possibility of evolution, evolutionary theory cannot explain its existence. Not only is evolution not the cause or explanation of the staggering complexity of life on this planet, evolution itself is a process which is the result of the staggering complexity of life on this planet.

            You are projecting arguments I haven’t addressed, and then attempting to refute them. That is the definition of a straw man fallacy. When I reiterate my actual points, you ignore them and revert back to your detractions—thus reinforcing the staw man.

            //”How do you yourself get past an infinite regression?’, ‘Who created the creator?”

            I already explained this, to which you detracted from. I guess that causes some symptom of amnesia, since you seem to be stuck on repeat. I can only guess this effect is evidence of selective perception.

            A creator of any medium would not be subject to that medium (e.g. space-time). Even If you could not grasp the concept of being outside time and space; the logical inference is enough to minimally conclude it—to which you, in a hollow manner, attribute as “inventing”.

          • Mark

            Ha! Every thing is a straw-man or a misrepresentation of your clear and unshakable logic. Riiiight.

            When you conjure up a being in your head, yes, that’s inventing. This stuff is fine material for science fiction, but not good evidence for explaining reality.

            I think we’ve reached the end of any meaningful dialogue, but I appreciate your responses nonetheless.

          • S.Jones

            Denigrate the logic all you want, just calling it how it is. I’ve dealt with my fair share of atheists, with some that actually respectably engage in strict inference without reverting to the generalization of theistic worldviews. Unfortunately, those who don’t properly engage the logic in arguments tend to prolong the discussions. This is due to the inability to steady on actual points, thus prompting a reliance on generalization or a projection for attack. If this doesn’t work, it usually falls to personal attack. Sometimes it is a mixture. If that fails to work, then the detractions usually recycle, like some static mantra with brunt force. This gives an illusion of control in an argument, when in fact it’s an image that is maintained self-deceptively at best. Yes, theists do this too—atheists and theists alike.

            //”When you conjure up a being in your head, yes, that’s inventing. …not good evidence for explaining reality.”

            See what I mean? Not once have I conjured up any particular being as part of my argument, much less use that as evidence. I have inferred intelligence from evidence that is available to us. But I can only guess that since the implication is unfavorable, it is ignored; and back to square one with a broad accusation of using some conjured “being in your head” as the asserting evidence.

            You may see me as a theist; but I see you as a collection of thought. Not once have I indicated my personal view, so at least there is hope for your capacity for inference.

            Thank you for taking the time for the responses! I enjoyed the discussion.

          • Mark

            :)

            Cheers and all the best.

    • AnthonyU

      Without God (a timeless, spaceless, immaterial, powerful being), I would have to believe that:

      Life came from non-life,

      Matter came from non-matter,

      intelligence came from non-intelligence,

      reason came from non-reason,

      immaterial mind came from matter or particles,

      personal morals came from an impersonal explosion,

      consciousness came out of unconsciousness,

      order came out of disorder,

      design came from non-design,

      meaning and purpose came out of chaos,

      AND,

      everything came from nothing.

      Now personally, I don’t have enough evidence, OR enough blind faith to believe that the atheistic worldview is true.

      • http://atheistcards.com Andy Stout

        To AnthonyU: There is no “atheist world view”. Where would you get such a strange notion?

        • S.Jones

          Maybe the implications of an un-caused or infinite universe(s) maybe? Nature, implied as self-existent, happens to be a view on nature, even passively. Atheists simply view the world as without a god. That is a view, or a perception simply put.

          • http://atheistcards.com Andy Stout

            To S.Jones: I presume that you view the world as devoid of unicorns. If that constitutes a “world view”, then we atheists are just like you, except that our world is devoid of theism.

            The only “implication” one might conclude is associated with this outright rejection of theism is that similar ungrounded assertions are also likely to be rejected, by atheists, such as the existence of unicorns.

            But be very clear that what atheism rejects is theism only, and not any other unsupported beliefs outside this realm.

          • S.Jones

            Well, I’d have to say I’m indifferent to the prospect of unicorns within my worldview, as they hold absolutely no bearing on the universe itself. That is not to say I’m adverse to the prospect of unicorns, since at least they could logically exist as a product within the universe. This is a false analogy by the way, as the implications are not synonymous.

            “what atheism rejects is theism only, and not any other unsupported beliefs outside this realm.”

            Right. You can be an atheist and still believe in unicorns. But at least I can credit the belief in unicorns as logically feasible, even if unsubstantiated.

          • http://atheistcards.com Andy Stout

            The existence of unicorns is of no interest to either of us—but for completely different reasons. That is the point I am trying to make.

            For you, who believes in a god who created everything, unicorns could easily have been zapped into existence. Such creatures are consistent with your “world view”. (Note that the existence of a god and unicorns are equally unsupported.) Therefore, your world view is a construct of fanciful beliefs that you cherry pick, willy nilly,

            In contrast, an “atheist” can not have a world view. That is because the word “atheist” precludes having a “world view” of any kind.

            Atheism is NOT an assertion, it is NOT a belief, it is NOT an opinion, it is NOT a proposition—it is, by the very definition of the word “a-theism”, the absence or rejection of theism.

            Any “implications” you wish to assign to this absence of belief are pure speculation.

          • S.Jones

            //”For you, who believes in a god who created everything, unicorns could easily have been zapped into existence.”

            True, or this god could of used a natural means to do so. For you, unicorns could just have easily evolved from nothing, existing on some distant planet or in a parallel universe that likewise evolved from nothing. Heck, the sky’s the limit on what can evolve from nothing —there’s nothing that nothing can’t do.

            //”Note that the existence of a god is equally unsupported as the existence of a unicorn.”

            No, still this is false—unless the whole entirety of the universe as we know it, is consequential to this one unicorn. This is an erroneous conflation of form with the minimal inference of function.

            //”your world view is a construct of fanciful beliefs that you cherry pick, willy nilly”

            I guess inference to intelligence is cherry picking. Last I checked, all formulation of information systems have only been traced or observed as constituting minimally from some type of intelligence. Yet, in biology, we should just assume otherwise right? I guess the inductive method (i.e. scientific method) garners to your definition of cherry picking willy nilly. I don’t infer unicorns as a form that exists in reality as we know it, as I have no reason to. But if they did happen to exist, I would garner the information as contained within their DNA as an inference to an intelligent origin minimally—as I have no reason not to.

            //”an ‘atheist’ can not have a world view…Atheism is NOT an assertion…a belief…an opinion… a proposition—it is…the absence or rejection of theism.”

            So which is it? Complete ignorance, indifference, or the rejection of theism? Last time I checked, these are not coterminous. The rejection of anything constitutes an opinion, or a view, at least in relation to the object of rejection.

            Personally, I’m indifferent to unicorns. Yet I’m honest enough in my understanding to see this indifference as an incorporated part of my worldview—even being inconsequential in my perception of spaciotemporal existence.

            I could propose a lack of belief in the perpetuity of gravity, slap on some goofy dance of evasive semantics, call it a ‘non-view’ of gravity all the live long day—yet I am still accountable to being moronic if I jump off a bridge.

            Yes, you have a worldview. Deal with it.

          • http://atheistcards.com Andy Stout

            I am not trying to be insulting, but your reply is largely incoherent. I think you are trying too hard to sound educated or intellectual. I would suggest trying to be succinct and to the point. For example, I have no idea what you are trying to say here: “No, still this is false—unless the whole entirety of the universe as we know it, is consequential to this one unicorn. This is an erroneous conflation of form with the minimal inference of function.”

            See what I mean?

            Permit me to make one last stab at informing you as to what, exactly, atheism means and why it does not espouse a world view, as you mistakenly believe.

            Atheism is not an positive assertion. Atheism does not say “x is true” or “x exists” or “x can be inferred”.

            Atheism simply rejects theism. Period. That is the definition of “atheism”. The “a” serves as a minus sign (—) to negate “theism”. That’s all.

            The negation of something does not (logically) imply the assertion of something else. For example, the word “amoral” is a negation of the word “moral”. A person or object attributed to being amoral is a person or object wholly lacking in what is defined by “moral”. Period.

            You are free to speculate as to why a person is amoral, or what you might think this state of being implies, but please understand that your inferences are your own—they do not logically follow from the definition of the negated word. For example, you may infer that an amoral person holds a certain world view, or even that that his hair is orange. But the definition of “amoral”, like ‘atheist”, logically implies nothing outside its single purpose, which is to negate the word to which the negation is assigned.

            None of the above is conjecture on my part. It is simply true information which I trust you now understand and accept. Look it up.

            Now, I will grant you that if somebody is amoral…or worse…is an atheist, certain attributes are likely to be present: Personally, I think that the reason atheists dismiss theism is because they have a greater capacity for recognizing and accepting evidence, especially when the evidence (or lack of it) precludes the existence of an eternal afterlife of sheer bliss with a loving god. In short, atheists aren’t afraid to face facts. They yearn for the truth about their world, instead of seeking comforting superstitious beliefs from the Iron Age.

            Ah, but that just is what I personally believe that atheism implies. Please understand that my inference is simply conjecture and not a logical implication of atheism.

          • Mark

            Amen!

          • S.Jones

            Praise the Strawman!

          • http://atheistcards.com Andy Stout

            To S.Jones,
            I have no idea what you mean by: “No worries, projecting my motive as to why I convey myself the way I do is not insulting. If anything, it detracts from the main arguments—even if they’re trivial semantics.”

            Anyway, you have conceded all my points and “checked them off”, so I’m making excellent progress!

            But then you go and introduce more nonsense for me to clean up. In your words, “atheism is [sic] product of a worldview, the implication of a worldview, contained within a worldview”. Whew, I have no idea what you are trying to say by that peculiar sentence. All I can say is that atheism is not a product. It is just a word, whose definition you have conceded is the negation of “theism”.

            Curiously, after conceding to my (the) definition of atheism, you accuse me of misusing it: “Do not conflate the terms ‘atheism’ with ‘atheist’…”. Well when did I ever conflate the meaning of these two words? Atheism is the negation of theism, while an atheist is a person—one who subscribes to atheism. The two words are related, but not synonymous. I certainly never did, nor would, conflate them.

            In fact, it is you, S. Jones, who is guilty of conflating things. You announce what you believe to be the real issue: “…the crux of the matter is not atheism or theism itself, but how one infers no-god/god from their worldview”. You are now conflating atheism and theism by assigning them the same origin—both, you say, are inferred from one’s worldview! Really?

            Only theism infers. Indeed, theism IS an inference. Atheism infers nothing. Let’s consider the real origin of these polar opposites.

            Theism: The world is thought to be a creation, so a supernatural being is inferred, as its creator. Since there is no shred of empirical evidence to support this inference, theism is actually metaphysical mumbo jumbo.

            Atheism: Atheism is simply the rejection of theism based upon the conspicuous and complete lack of evidence. The god of theism is on the same par as a unicorn.

          • S.Jones

            Next time, hit reply under my actual comment instead of Mark’s. This has no way of notifying me of your replies.

            //”I have no idea what you mean by: ”No worries, projecting my motive…is not insulting. …it detracts from the main arguments.’”

            Just realize that it didn’t insult me, and that it is irrelevant to any actual arguments (ad hominem).

            //”you have conceded all my points… so I’m making excellent progress!”

            Showing progress? I never denied these assertions. It was to clarify my position, as your projections of my belief were spilling all over the place, thus only to be attacked as incorporated within your arguments. Now that I clarify, you serve it to your credit. I see the continuance of a straw man theme carrying over.

            //”atheism is not a product. It is just a word, whose definition you have conceded is the negation of “theism”.

            Then the word atheism is meaningless—falsely equated to plain ignorance. For example, plants are not atheists, nor are they marked by atheism. As you say, “Atheism is simply the rejection of theism”. But even this is not correct. It is the athe’ist’ that rejects theism, not athe’ism’. This is another instance of misrepresenting my position.

            //”You are now conflating atheism and theism by assigning them the same origin”

            Everyone has a worldview. Period.
            One may happen to reflect atheism. The other may reflect theism.
            I do not conflate atheism to theism, I merely attribute a worldview as promoting them. Do I conflate a worldview with an atheist and theist. Yes, but it is accurately applied. Don’t like the word worldview? Fine. Call it a perception on reality. It doesn’t change a thing. The semantics do not change a thing—yet it seems to be doing everything else BUT “clean” things up.

            Take for example:
            Everyone has a mind. But not everyone has sight. A blind guy may lack belief in colors. But this does not mean color is superfluous to reality. Proposing that both these men have minds does not conflate the meaning of sight with non-sight—only that they have minds. And just because a man uses a mind for sight, doesn’t mean being blind excludes the mind from being within a blind individual—just that it’s perception is limited. The blind man can equate color with unicorns all the live long day, but his mind still exists with perceptive ability—even if it is limited.

            //”The god of theism is on the same par as a unicorn.”

            You have not addressed my argument concerning the variables of logical inferences—to which you’ve incorrectly drawn into a straw man. The constant reiteration of an assertion is not any type of argument, but only serves evidence of having selective perception.

          • http://atheistcards.com Andy Stout

            To S.Jones,
            My patience has run out. There is no point arguing with you, since you lack the ability and skill to construct and recognize logical, coherent arguments.

            Here are the most recent examples of your failed and bewildering attempts:

            “…the word atheism is meaningless—falsely equated to plain ignorance. For example, plants are not atheists, nor are they marked by atheism.” —[What on Earth does this mean?!]

            Here’s a beauty…

            “As you say, ‘Atheism is simply the rejection of theism’. But even this not correct. It is the athe’ist’ that rejects theism, not athe’ism’.” —[Incredible. You are actually confining logical negation solely to the realm of human decisions! You clearly don’t appreciate that the “a” in “atheism” is a purely abstract negation of “theism”, which is independent of human judgement being involved.]

            More rambling…

            “Everyone has a worldview. Period. One may happen [to] reflect atheism. The other may reflect theism. I do not conflate atheism to theism, I merely attribute a worldview as promoting them. Do I conflate a worldview with an atheist and theist[?] Yes, but it is accurately applied.” —[I don’t know if everyone on the planet has a worldview. In any case, you begin by saying that one’s worldview MAY reflect atheism, or theism. But in the next sentence you say that a worldview DOES promote either of them! And I fail to understand what you mean by “it is accurately applied”. What is the “it”? Just more incoherence…]

            And I can’t see your point here…

            “A blind guy may lack belief in colors. But this does not mean color is superfluous to reality.” —[Superfluous to reality? Perhaps you meant “absent from reality”?]

            You go on…

            “Proposing that both these men [a blind man and a sighted man] have minds does not conflate the meaning of sight with nonsight. —[Well of course not! What would prompt you to even mention something so obvious?!]

            Yet, another profound insight…

            “And just because a man uses a mind for sight, doesn’t mean being blind excludes the mind from being within a blind individual—just that it’s perception is limited.” —[So blind people have brains too? Golly!]

            Sorry, but here’s another…

            “The blind man can equate color with unicorns all the live long day, but his perception will remain limited.” —[Why would anyone equate colour with a unicorn? Perhaps you meant to say that neither colour nor the physical form of a unicorn can be imagined by a blind man. Either way, your expert prognosis is that the blind person’s blindness will remain. How very informative!]

            Finally, your knockout punch to my glass chin…

            “You have not addressed my argument concerning the variables of logical inferences—to which you’ve incorrectly drawn into a straw man.” —[What do you mean by “the variables of logical inferences”? You love to throw out illusive terms hoping to intimidate your opponent. Your disingenuous modus operandi will only take you so far. I confess that I am formally educated in Philosophy and Logic, so I recognize BS when I see it. I will leave you to move on to some easier prey. However, I would sincerely encourage you to take an intro course in Philosophy and Formal Logic. If you are going to bandy about terms related to these disciplines, you really ought to know how to use them. (Yes, I plead guilty to argumentum ad hominem!)
            Good luck.
            -Andy Stout

          • S.Jones

            Good, you agree to some details of my analogy as blatantly obvious. Well hmm, I think that’s the entire point. Now you can apply if you wish. Since the bulk of your reply seems to be crying on about complex words, sentence structure, appeal to your own education (to which I see no evidence of, personally), broken context, with no actual argument that I can find; I guess we’re done then.

            Wait, here’s a faint resemblance of an argument I think…

            //”You are actually confining logical negation solely to the realm of human decisions! You clearly don’t appreciate that the “a” in “atheism” is a purely abstract negation of “theism”, which is independent of human judgement being involved.”

            Oh no! ‘Abstract’ is a scary word… Here is the definition.

            “Abstract /adj/ – existing in thought or as an idea but not having a physical or concrete existence.”

            Well, I guess abstract doesn’t exist in physical reality. But where oh where does “purely abstract negation of theism” reside? Maybe a mind? Well, that can’t be. You said it’s not confined to the realm of human decision. But that means it is must be confined to a meaningless word. Yet, words are confined to a mind. Crap, so it’s all just meaningless then!?

            —Yeah. I already covered this. I suspect this is partly why your entire argument is ‘meaningless’. If you did receive formal education, I think you may have wasted your money.

            Good luck. And thank you for the discussion. It has been a pleasure!

            P.S. Some highlights:
            //”you begin by saying that one’s worldview MAY reflect atheism, or theism. But in the next sentence you say that a worldview DOES promote either of them!” <– Heh. You really are scraping the bottom of the barrel. This simply means a worldview is the requirement of atheism/theism, not vice versa.

            //"your expert medical prognosis is that a blind person’s blindness will remain. Perhaps in most cases, Dr. Jones, but not always!" <– LOL! You realize you're splitting hairs on a hypothetical detail of an analogy right? I've never witness a straw man at such depth of desperation. Well at least this has been left on a humorous note.

          • S.Jones

            No worries, projecting my motive as to why I convey myself the way I do is not insulting. If anything, it detracts from the main arguments—even if they’re trivial semantics.

            Listen. I will simplify this down as much as possible:

            Yes, I do understand quite frankly that in a core sense, ‘atheism’, in and of itself, is not a worldview. – So check that off.

            I also understand the term ‘a-theism’, as in negative or minus a god, or however you put it. – Check that off.

            So you can stop reiterating. You’re spinning your wheels.

            Here’s the thing. You, have a worldview—you, as a person. An atheist, as a person, has a worldview that happens to be devoid of any god(s). Atheism is product of a worldview, the implication of a worldview, contained within a worldview. Do not conflate the terms ‘atheism’ with ‘atheist’ (i.e. conflate, as in combine to one meaning).

            On the same token, a theist has a worldview. And likwise, ‘theism’ also in itself is also NOT a worldview by the anal semantics put forth. I could believe in a god as to have no effect on how I view morality, or how I live my life, or affect my worldview directly. But the crux of the matter is not atheism or theism itself, but how one infers no-god/god from their worldview (with no-god or a god being merely a symptom of it). So let’s look at that.

            So how is a unicorn any different than god? Well, it depends on the worldview, and the nature of how it infers. So, how is god inferred? Is it like how a unicorn is inferred?

            -Yes, if it is some random god that exists as a product of the universe, within the universe, like a unicorn—and yes, your unicorn analogy would the fit here. This type of inference to god is unsubstantiated.

            -No, if one attributes the universe itself as product by order of some intelligence, but attributes that as God. *Note, that this is different than the former.

            To put it simply, we have two types of inferences that could stem from theism (with X being the god variable) :

            1. X, constituting some intelligence, as a product of the universe.

            -Versus-

            2. The universe, as a product of some intelligence constituting as X.

            The unicorn scenario fits #1, but not #2. Unless one believes a unicorn is the actual intelligence behind the universe, to which it is ironically still more logical and parsimonious than any inference from a worldview producing atheism. This unicorn god if you will, by function would have attributes to what we would normally constitute as a god (source, intelligence, creator of universe.) but then again, why would we have any reason to infer it particulary as a unicorn? The power of inference in #2 is enough conclude at least some intelligent source regardless of the details in its form.

            Bottom line is that the unicorn analogy is a strawman fallacy. It conflates (replaces, or generalizes) scenario #2 with #1. Then tries to negate the inference of #2 by reason of unsubstantiability of #1.

            The proposed nonrelation between a ‘worldview’ and ‘atheism’ is a reverse strawman. It segregates the effect of a worldview against it as a cause. (e.g. It is propose that ‘A’ has no relation to ‘B’ because A is not product of B; When in fact B is a product of A, thus having a correlation).

            Yes, an atheist has a worldview (dont misunderstand, I am not calling atheism itself a worldview). By reason of its atheistic notion, I would still deduce it as illogical, its perception as selective. and its inductive reasoning as inadequate at best.

          • http://atheistcards.com Andy Stout

            To S.Jones,
            I have no idea what you mean by: “No worries, projecting my motive as to why I convey myself the way I do is not insulting. If anything, it detracts from the main arguments—even if they’re trivial semantics.”

            Anyway, you have conceded all my points and “checked them off”, so I’m making excellent progress!

            But then you go and introduce more nonsense for me to clean up. In your words, “atheism is [sic] product of a worldview, the implication of a worldview, contained within a worldview”. Whew, I have no idea what you are trying to say by that peculiar sentence. All I can say is that atheism is not a product. It is just a word, whose definition you have conceded is the negation of “theism”.

            Curiously, after conceding to my (the) definition of atheism, you accuse me of misusing it: “Do not conflate the terms ‘atheism’ with ‘atheist’…”. Well when did I ever conflate the meaning of these two words? Atheism is the negation of theism, while an atheist is a person—one who subscribes to atheism. The two words are related, but not synonymous. I certainly never did, nor would, conflate them.

            In fact, it is you, S. Jones, who is guilty of conflating things. You announce what you believe to be the real issue: “…the crux of the matter is not atheism or theism itself, but how one infers no-god/god from their worldview”. You are now conflating atheism and theism by assigning them the same origin—both, you say, are inferred from one’s worldview! Really?

            Only theism infers. Indeed, theism IS an inference. Atheism infers nothing. Let’s consider the real origin of these polar opposites.

            Theism: The world is thought to be a creation, so a supernatural being is inferred, as its creator. Since there is no shred of empirical evidence to support this inference, theism is actually metaphysical mumbo jumbo.

            Atheism: Atheism is simply the rejection of theism based upon the conspicuous and complete lack of evidence. The god of theism is on the same par as a unicorn.

      • Mark

        Just because you don’t understand something, it’s bad reasoning to default to “must be god!”. The appearance of design is an illusion, and a damn good one. Evolution explains this. Indeed for most our history, we thought we were designed because any other explanation was inconceivable. Only through good science did we learn better.

        • S.Jones

          We are accountable for what is known. And what is known infers not only that the self-existence of the universe is unsubstantiated, but illogical.

          Evolution has only shown itself deleterious. Therefore, it cannot show the inherency of information as within life.

          • Mark

            And how is the idea of a self-existing creator logical and substantiated?

            So do you deny evolution, or just that it explains life completely? How has it shown itself deleterious? We wouldn’t be having this fun conversation without it – I’d say that’s positive!

          • S.Jones

            Any source of the spaciotemporal would obviously not be bound by it. Since space-time is a quantitative medium, it must be finite, as anything infinite cannot completely actualize within quantity. Therefore space-time cannot be infinite, and thus cannot be self-existent itself—as anything dubbed as self-existence must contain a property of absolute infinity (i.e. not to be confused with infinite ‘potential’; as in having beginning with no end). The deduction must be inferred that this source must at least contain these properties, and extrapolate the effect of order primarily. This is because chaos minimally requires some reference of order as its medium for execution. In other words, order must predicate chaos. I could go on, but I’ll spare it. I’m sure it’s ripe for a dismissive quip.

            Now evolution as deleterious—as in, it has only been shown to delete inherent information within genes, not add. In other words, it cannot account for the inherent information that dictates life, only the subsequent variations.

            “I’d say that’s positive!”—Ha! The positiveness concerning this conversation stems from your perspective intelligence. An immaterial in itself. Outside of the that, it is neutral, nothing but ones and zeros stimulating the pixels from your screen to the receptors in your eye and to the neurons in your brain. Personally, I refer to that as relativity, the misunderstood and under-used element within scientific inquiry—hidden in plain sight.

          • Mark

            // Any source of the spaciotemporal would obviously not be bound by it.

            You are taking a huge leap of faith and speculation to posit that source in the first place. One for which I see no proof.

            // The deduction must be inferred that this source must at least contain these properties, and extrapolate the effect of order primarily.

            This sentence gives me brain freeze.

            // In other words, it cannot account for the inherent information that dictates life, only the subsequent variations.

            Yes, there are no doubt still great mysteries surrounding the origin of life. I don’t know what sparked it. But to introduce a creator, creates much bigger problems, and unnecessarily. You say life cannot account for itself. So how can a creator account for itself?

          • S.Jones

            //You are taking a huge leap of faith and speculation to posit that source in the first place.

            Logic.

            //This sentence gives me brain freeze.

            Sorry, logic again. Watch your step.

            //there are no doubt still great mysteries surrounding the origin of life.

            We are accountable to what is already known of the universe. Plus the inductive method (scientific method) has been quite useful so far.

            //S o how can a creator account for itself?

            Self-existence.. infinity… blahbla blah. It was already mentioned. Hey, maybe it was during that brain freeze you encountered before. Understandable.

        • http://atheistcards.com Andy Stout

          Well said!

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  • De Ha

    It was written by a Theist. Specifically, a Presuppositionalist. He argues against thinking itself! Look st his completely dismissive attitude towards “Rationalism”.

    You assume he’s the one and only Atheist who actually confirms your straw-man is the only atheist on the planet who’s “honest” and all the rest are lying.

    That’s exactly why you should be suspicious.

  • De Ha

    The Atlantic has published a startlingly honest article by Crispin Sartwell, as you can see even from it’s title, Irrational Atheism: Not Believing in God Isn’t Always Based on Reasoned Arguments

    ***THORAN***
    Then you’re doing it wrong.

    ***YOU***
    And That’s OK.

    ***THORAN***
    NO IT’S NOT! If there are Atheists as stupid as creationists, they deserve no more respect than Creationists do.

    ***YOU***
    In it Sartwell admits:

    The atheistic worldview “is similar to the worldview of religion—neither can be shown to be true or false by science,

    ***THORAN***
    My beliefs are BASED on Science you moron.

    ***YOU***
    r indeed by any rational technique.

    ***THORAN***
    How do you think I deconverted in the first place?

    ***YOU***
    hether theistic or atheistic, they are all matters of faith,

    ***THORAN***
    Faith is the closed-minded pig-headed refusal to think lest God punish you for having a brain, “Faith” is beyond stupid. “Faith” is anti-intelligence. Ignorance is the neutral point between intelligence and “Faith”.

    ***YOU***
    tances taken up by tiny creatures in an infinitely rich environment.”
    His view of the universe as a natural, material system is based on his interpretation of his experience not on a rational argument.

    ***THORAN***
    So… he’s an idiot.

    ***YOU***

    “I have taken a leap of atheist faith.”

    ***THORAN***
    How is that even possible? You jump out a window and rejoice that Superman lets you go splat?

    ***YOU***

    Atheism can be as much a product of family, social, and institutional context as religious faith.

    ***THORAN***
    And my family is Catholic so bullshit.

    ***YOU***

    “The idea that the atheist comes to her view of the world through rationality and argumentation, while the believer relies on arbitrary emotional commitments, is false.”

    ***THORAN***
    I have a feeling this guy isn’t an Atheist at all, he’s starting to sound like a Theist straw-man.

    ***YOU***

    Just as religious people have often offloaded the burden of their choices on church dogma, so some atheists are equally willing to offload their beliefs on “reason” or “science” without acknowledging that they are making a bold intellectual commitment about the nature of the universe, and making it with utterly insufficient data.

    ***THORAN***
    Wait… so… to you, intelligence is something OUTSIDE your own mind? You yourself are not a skeptic, you just bow to an external force you call “reason”? And by the way, what Atheist is so dismissive of “reason”? Creationists have been known to talk about “reason” the same way Vulkiens talk about “emotion”. Creationists, and you.
    You can’t be that dismissive of intelligence itself and then complain when we call you idiots.

    ***YOU***

    Science rests on emotional commitment

    ***THORAN***
    *facepalm*

    ***YOU***
    (that there is a truth), a passionate affirmation of desire, in which our social system backs us up.

    ***THORAN***
    You know nothing about Science.

    ***YOU***

    What a refreshing blast of humble and honest air!

    ***THORAN***
    No it isn’t. It’s the ravings of a complete idiot. Possibly a straw-man, definitely an idiot.

    ***YOU***
    You cannot but admire such a sincere, transparent, and honorable atheist.

    ***THORAN***
    Admire? He said he takes Leaps of Faith and he doesn’t base his beliefs on reason! HE IS A MORON!

    ***YOU***
    But the article ends on a painfully sad note, which may partly explain Sartwell’s atheism, and maybe even his humility:

    Genuinely bad things have happened to me in my life:

    ***THORAN***
    I’m actually going to delete this part. If he is not a reverse Poe, then I will be making fun of genuine trajedy. If he is a reverse Poe, he’s an emotionally manipulative troll. Either way, best to skip it entirely.

    ***YOU***

    By not believing in God, I keep faith with the world’s indifference.

    ***THORAN***
    Faith in indifference… what?

    ***YOU***
    I love its beauty. I hate its suffering…I’m perfectly sincere and definite in my belief that there is no God. I can see that there could be comfort in believing otherwise, believing that all the suffering and death makes sense, that everyone gets what they deserve, and that existence works out in the end.

    But to believe that would be to betray my actual experiences,

    ***THORAN***
    Betray experience… betray an abstract concept that is basically memouries… betray a non-person… ok I’m missing something here.

    ***YOU***
    and even without the aid of reasoned arguments,

    ***THORAN***
    And there’s your problem. No skeptic does ANYTHING without thinking about it. ESPECIALLY believe things.

    ***YOU***
    that’s reason enough not to believe.

    ***THORAN***
    No it’s not. In fact, I would be happy if you accepted Jesus as your personal lord and saviour. One less idiot amongst our ranks.

    ***YOU***

    As is so often the case, the agony of suffering is a large contributor to Sartwell’s atheistic faith.

    ***THORAN***
    Idiot.

    ***YOU***
    There are many like him,

    ***THORAN***
    We’re not all Batman!

    ***YOU***
    young and old, who find personal and global pain an insurmountable obstacle to Christian faith.

    ***THORAN***
    The fact that “thought about it” doesn’t even occur to you as a reason someone might deconvert says a lot about you.

    ***YOU***
    In my experience, quoting Romans 8:28, preaching God’s sovereignty, or offering philosophical arguments about suffering in such situations is usually ineffective.

    ***THORAN***
    Gee, quoting a book we think is bullshit to prove a book we think is bullshit doesn’t work on people who think is bullshit. What are the odds?