Of gods and atheists


An atheist said, “Reality arbitrates…you rely on reality to justify your belief”

This just so highly demonstrates the depths of delusion that some atheists have sunk to. At some point, the rocks, the trees, and the birds in the sky must have sat us all down and taught us the steps to the scientific method. The flowers think and even speak. The keys I lost told me that they were on the table when I was looking for them. Why appeal to unseen authorities like God when we have millions of little inanimate gods among us who become animated enough to guide us to the holiest of holies where the eternal insistence upon independent verification has trapped us in circular logic. But, nevermind the circle. It came from the rocks, and is therefore right. The rocks have arbitrated, and we are their intellectually begotten sons who have only previously gone astray by trading in millions of material gods for a single immaterial one. Let us draw near to the courts of the flowers. Let us behold their beauty and enquire in their halls of justice which of us is right. Neither shall we waste time with our own cognitive abilities unless it be to receive the admonition of the rhododendrons. Sing praises, for we all dwell in the temple of the gods and have found in the shimmering mirrors of all physical phenomena eternal relations capable of joy and suffering just as we and who have graciously summed us up and summed themselves up in a single principle: the practicality of the scientific method.

I wonder if the atheists really hear themselves when they speak or if they’ve been listening to each other for so long they just don’t think about it anymore.

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11 thoughts on “Of gods and atheists

  1. This doesn’t seem altogether even-minded.

    [1] – reality as defined by any philosophical-cum-scientific grouping is always given as containing complex parts – that is no one defines reality as simply all the readily available objects. Almost any model, even the most rudimentary, can give a decent explanation as to how inquiry is at all possible and how it is that it takes a certain form [for example the scientific method] without seriously transgressing its own boundaries.

    [2] – you could get away with saying something actually meaningful like ‘the language surrounding talk of the scientific method involves certain terms which can only be properly explained by appealing to a non-scientific framework’ – so many philosophers would claim that science is either misguided to articulate itself as truth-giving or knowledge-seeking as those kind of terms can’t themselves be explained or elucidated from within the scientific view of reality OR science is dependent in some respect on another discipline which deals with these kind of terms to articulate the actual relation of the sciences to ‘truth’ ‘knowledge’ etc.

    [3] – your characterisation of the scientific method is also very misleading – you erroneously present the reasoning thusly

    ‘science claims that ‘reality’ [which you present bizarrely as just random objects] tells them things, as such scientists are claiming that a bunch of random objects [at this point you fully supplant the term ‘reality’ with your bizarre definition] are more authoritative sources than God.’

    This is misleading because –

    [3.1] – firstly a logical fallacy on your part, you take a predetermined standard, the omnipotent nature of God, then claim that scientists are simply attempting to replace that standard with another, that of random objects, then you conclude but why would anyone take random objects as standards over an omnipotent being??? This presumes the existence of such a being beforehand.

    [3.2] – of course the reality is far harsher and far simpler, scientists just don’t assume the existence of anything, they start from a position of scepticism, they say ‘what can we actually examine, test, experiment with ourselves?’ – the answer evidently isn’t God – it is whatever it is that makes up sensory experience.

    [3.3] – as such science says NOTHING about the existence or non-existence of God as the whole essence of the method is to start from what is actually available to our senses and do the best we can from there. The only evidence against the existence of God from a scientific perspective is simply that scientists have found nothing in the analysis of what is in fact available to us directly to indicate that there is indeed a God.

    [3.4] – of course this is in itself a category error, that is a repetition of what you yourself did in regard of science. God may not be the kind of thing that is knowable scientifically, therefore a scientific standard won’t ever work for us.

    [3.5] – unless of course you make the far more contentious, positivist claim that the scientific method is the only kind of knowing which it is acceptable to speak of.

    1. Peter,

      I just take what people say seriously, and I follow it to its conclusion. The person I’m taking seriously may not think this way, but it is indeed what they are saying. This piece of satire is meant to force certain people into clarifying what it is they are talking about. I want them to get off of this anthropomorphic language which seems to destroy their materialistic ideology and just speak plainly. I will not allow someone to speak out of both sides of their mouth.

  2. What I actually wrote was The method of inquiry that allows reality to arbitrate claims made about it independent of the beliefs of those undertaking the inquiry may or may not yield knowledge that works for everyone everywhere all the time. But the test is not a ‘perspective’ or ‘bias’ or world view’ or any of the other misrepresentations you unfailingly grasp to trivialize and attack the character of those who utilize this method; reality will arbitrate whether or not claims made about are true independent of those making a claim about it.

    From this you deduce that I am saying that “the flowers think and even speak.”

    *sigh*

    Daniel, do you or do you not care about what is true? Put another way, do you care more about what you believe is true or what is true independent of your belief (they may or may not coincide)?

    1. Tildeb,

      Your language here is no better. You still indicate reality is some sort of active agent to which we must submit and is capable of settling our differences. This is wish fulfillment language. You want there to be some true way in which reality can spell things out for us and bypass all of our previous beliefs and you do not hesitate to assert the universality and practicality of the scientific method in this matter. But, you know just as I, we are the discerners, not reality. We are the investigators. And we cannot even begin to use the scientific method without having multiple beliefs set in place beforehand. For instance:

      (1) the existence of a theory-independent, external world;
      (2) the orderly nature of the external world;
      (3) the knowability of the external world;
      (4) the existence of truth;
      (5) the laws of logic;
      (6) the reliability of our cognitive and sensory faculties to serve as truth gatherers and as a source of justified true beliefs in our intellectual environment;
      (7) the adequacy of language to describe the world;
      (8) the existence of values used in science (e.g., “test theories fairly and report test results honestly”);
      (9) the uniformity of nature and induction;
      (10) the existence of numbers.

      All these beliefs are blind. There is no way to independently verify them, their effectualness, or their accuracy. Yet, they must be in place for the scientific method to get off of the ground.

      Let me put it this way: To begin to be reasonable, man must first be unreasonable. Without blind belief (a sort of non-religious faith, but a faith nonetheless), facts and evidence are dust and nonsense.

      1. You still indicate…

        Then quote him indicating it.
        Do it properly and honestly. No quote mining allowed.

        You want…

        Then quote him wanting it.
        Do it properly and honestly. No quote mining allowed.

        But, you know…

        Then quote him knowing it.
        Do it properly and honestly. No quote mining allowed

        Stop creating strawmen. Engage with the actual argument that people around you are making rather than your own “special” subjective, creative re-interpretation.
        If he really indicates or wants or knows something then don’t assert.
        Just show it.

        Famous Creationist Quote Mining

      2. Dan believes he saw the keys on the table. Tildeb believes he saw them hanging on a hook by the door. Who will arbitrate this claim?

        No one. No agency is needed to arbitrate which, if either, of these beliefs is an accurate reflection of reality.

        The right question is, What will arbitrate this claim: someone’s beliefs, or the keys themselves?

        Dan would have us come at these questions as a supporter of the first, meaning that beliefs alone (if logically coherent) are the best arbiter of reality.

        I would have us come at these questions with the goal of finding out what’s true for everyone regardless of beliefs they may cherish. To do this, I must rely on reality – in this case the keys themselves – to arbitrate claims made about their location.

        For us to come to agreement about where the keys are actually located, we must first recognize what the goal here is. If all Dan wants to do is cocoon his beliefs so as to protect them from any arbitration other than his beliefs, then I do not share that goal because it does not serve what is true; it serves his beliefs first. I do not care what his beliefs are about the location of the keys: I want to find the keys themselves.

        I want to know what is true and then align my beliefs accordingly because I know that this is the way we successfully negotiate our environments in reality. Substituting what is true for what someone may believe is true is the direct route to Crazy Town and those embarked on it leave reality behind and become dysfunctional navigators of the reality we share. These folk want their cherished belief to be true and then seek to define the way reality must be to make it so. This is a guaranteed way to fool ourselves, to assume a belief model of the world is true yet seem bewildered when they bump up against the sharp, pointy corners of it that shouldn’t be there. And this is exactly what we find when reality reveals no founding couple, no global flood, no efficacy in prayer, no Poof!ism, no central position of our world in the cosmos, no evidence from reality that the beliefs are true. In fact, we find the opposite, the sharp pointy corners that stand in conflict with and contrary to these beliefs.

        We don’t ask <iwho is going to arbitrate these incompatible claims; we ask what will arbitrate between them? If you reject reality’s role, then you have nothing to say about it. You wax poetically all you want about what you believe but understand that these beliefs carry no weight in describing the reality we share. That’s reality’s job, and you either respect it or you don’t. There is no middle ground.

  3. Methods of inquiry can be used to persuade and manipulate. I do not think we can rely on methods of inquiry to teach or show us anything objectively.

    1. Epistemology (how we know) informs ontology (what we know). You come biologically equipped to interact with the environment and this interaction has consequences. You have learned how to navigate this environment by relying on various methods of inquiry that work. You rely on our understanding of aerodynamics to board a plane, our understanding of buoyancy before you board a boat, our understanding of gravity before you board an elevator, our understanding of tension before you step out onto a raised floor, and so on. You have a very great deal of confidence in whatever works for everyone everywhere all the time. Not all these methods are equivalent. You rely on the method of inquiry through the interpretation of visual data, but I hope you understand that what you think you see may not, in fact, be what you’re seeing. There are methods of significantly reducing the subjective interpretation of visual data to reveal what it is you think you are seeing and there is one method in particular that seems to work for everyone everywhere all the time to produce reliable and consistent data today, yesterday, and predictably tomorrow. This method works so well, in fact, that you trust it implicitly when you turn on your cell phone you have a reasonable expectation that it will work, that when you turn the key in your your ignition, the engine will start, that when you turn up the thermostat, heat will be produced, and so on. In fact, should any of these actions be undertaken without something working, you have a reasonable expectation that something is wrong, something is broken, something is not working properly.

      How do you know this if what you say is true, that you don’t think we can rely on a method of inquiry because it cannot teach of show us anything objectively. Au contraire! You are simply so spoiled by a lifelong expectation for this benefit to continue producing what works for everyone everywhere all the time that you forget there was a time before this method was widely applied.

      There was a time when we assumed cause meant agency, that effect was the result of mystical directions that could be benevolent if favourable and malevolent if negative. We assumed motion was evidence for agency, that illness was evidence for demons, that heaviness was evidence for inherent properties. But a better method of inquiry – one that demanded that some knowledge claim had to work for everyone everywhere all the time – came along and our knowledge exploded in the form of applications, therapies, and technologies that worked for everyone everywhere all the time. This is a tremendous achievement for our species, yet you seem willing to throw this method aside while continuing to use with a very high degree of confidence its products without any hesitation and, in fact, maintain an expectation that these products should work not just for you but everyone everywhere all the time.

      When there is such a discrepancy between what someone says and what someone does, that person should pause and consider how such a discrepancy has come about. You show just such a discrepancy between what you say – that methods of inquiry are used to persuade and manipulate but not able to teach or show us anything objectively – and what you do – expect the products of one such method to work objectively well: for everyone everywhere all the time. This method is called the scientific method… and it works to reveal the reality we share, which is why it produces knowledge, an understanding upon which all our technologies, therapies, and applications work for everyone everywhere all the time… an understanding that works not just on earth but on distant planets! If that is not objective enough for you, then nothing is.

  4. This should be a benign discussion without hatefilled language. It is good to get input about things from a variety of sources in order to make up one’s mind about things. It should not be threat to anyone.

  5. This should be a benign discussion without hatefilled language.
    (facepalm)
    You must be great fun at parties. There’s not “hatefilled language”.
    Avail yourself of the internet and google the appropriate meme.
    Also, please stop writing as if you are stoned.

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