I am new to WordPress, I am still at a loss when it comes to getting a catchy title for my posts, or when it comes to introducing myself. I normally limit myself in trying to understand the posts and viewpoints of other bloggers, just surfing through the ‘Reader’ section. Recently, I came to know about some great theistic blogs to look at, also some incredibly naive ones which disappointed me to a great extent. By the by, I ran into this post. Having an excellent click-bait title, all it provides is some ridiculous arguments, probably thought out all by the author himself (which actually should be a credit to the blogger), but showcasing a great deal of lack in research. I thought that it would be great if I can actually sort out the flaws in the article and in the same time clear a lot of misconceptions about non-belief. Here we go.
At first we need to get set on the definitions. Definitions can be very tricky if not clearly stated. Google defines atheism as “disbelief or lack of belief in the existence of God or gods.” All right, here we see two terms, “disbelief” and “lack of belief”. As far my understanding of English goes, it means that you need to either disbelieve or have a lack of belief in God, and you are all set to call yourself an atheist. What about agnosticism? Let Google come to the rescue; “a person who believes that nothing is known or can be known of the existence or nature of God.” That’s as clear as Dihydrogen Monoxide. Now, you see, the first definition uses the term ‘belief’ while the latter talks about ‘knowledge’. You can believe in something while you still don’t know it for sure.
Imagine a sealed basket full of ping-pong balls. You don’t know whether the number of balls is even or odd, those are the only possibilities. However, the manufacturer of the balls promises you exactly 40 balls in the pack. In this scenario, it is perfectly reasonable to believe that the number of balls is indeed even, the odds are on that side. Nevertheless, you could be wrong. The manufacturer might make a mistake. No matter how probable it is for the number to be even, you cannot possibly know for sure that it is the case, although you can reasonably believe so. The only way to know so is to actually count them. But when it comes to God, there is no way to evaluate his existence in such a rigorous manner. The point is, you can believe in a statement without being able to actually know it, you can also lack belief in something without actually knowing that it is false. You can play on probabilities without being dogmatic.
By that, an agnostic can be an atheist or a theist or even an apatheist. To learn more, click here.
If you did read the article I am responding to, you should now begin to understand why the author got the definitions all wrong, that’s my first objection to his argument. However, even if we turn to his definition of atheism, is his argument sound? Short answer: no. Of course, you are not satisfied by that, let me justify my answer.
Let’s say atheism is ‘the belief that there is no God’. He says that this position is invalid, because the atheist has to prove that “God (a metaphysically necessary being) is metaphysically impossible”. In his opinion, it is equivalent to having to prove that something which has to exist, cannot exist. If we analyse that comparison, it all comes down to something idiotic. By that, “metaphysical necessity” entails the compulsory quality of existence. However, the topic of God being a metaphysically necessary being is very controversial. Metaphysical necessity usually entails the quality of existence in all possible worlds. If you cannot conceive a possible universe where X doesn’t exist, then X is metaphysically necessary. Nevertheless, I can conceive of a world where God doesn’t exist, it is far too easy.
Imagine a universe consisting of nothing except empty space. A blank existence, no movement, no incident, nothing except pitiless indifference. There is no God in that world, you can keep from conceiving any, because you do not need God in that world. You may say God to explain the origin of that world, but why? That world never begun, it had no Big Bang, you cannot get to the Kalam argument there. There isn’t any movement either, no First Mover chit chat. Here goes my argument;
P1. If God is metaphysically necessary, he has to exist in all possible worlds.
P2. God doesn’t have to exist in all possible worlds.
C. God is not metaphysically necessary.
Now, I did not prove God to be metaphysically impossible, I just proved that he is not metaphysically necessary, that being my second objection to his argument. But to feed my rival’s hubris, I have to prove the former as well, which is also remarkably easy.
P1. If God exists any one possible world, he has to exist in all possible worlds. (The Ontological Argument)
P2. There is a world where God doesn’t have to exist.
C. God does not exist in any possible world.
The conclusion being just another way to say that God is metaphysically impossible. Let that be my third objection to his argument.
Now, forget all of my previous objections. Let’s say he is right so far in claiming the atheist’s (entailing that screwed up definition) burden of proof is huge. Does that prove that agnosticism is not valid as well? The problem with his reasoning is that he hasn’t proved that atheism (by his definition) is not true, he has only showed that the atheist may not be able to prove that atheism is true. However, things can be true even if not proven just yet. I cannot prove that there is an Invisible Pink Unicorn behind my back, but it may be the case, I can’t even prove the opposite, but that may also be the case. It is absurd to claim that neutrality is not an option when an affirmative stance is hard to prove. I don’t even think there is anything to explain, it is so painfully simple, my fourth objection to his reasoning.
That’s it, let that sink in for now. Dear mr. Abitoforange, if you’re reading this, thanks for bothering. If you feel offended, I had no such intentions, I just gave my arguments and opinions on your ideas, not you as a person.
Thanks for understanding if you did. Don’t forget to share this post if you find it intigruing.