Thursday, February 2, 2017

Atheists Can't Explain...

One of the most common complaints I hear from believers and apologists is that atheists do not have explanations for many of the phenomenon that believers claim God as an explanation for. The most common example of this is the origin of the Universe. The idea is that because scientists and atheists still admit that the origin of the Universe is shrouded in mystery and difficult to explain that the lack of an explanation exposes some inherent flaw in atheism itself.

Part of the confusion is the false notion that atheism is a belief system or set of ideas that is taken up by non-believers as a replacement for religious beliefs. Atheism is merely non-belief in gods. It has no other stipulations. Someone can be utterly non-scientific and illogical and still be an atheist.

So Atheists are under no obligation to explain anything simply because they are atheists. Atheism is not a worldview or a set of beliefs, rather it is a non-belief.

In one of my earlier blogposts I talked about how the lack of an answer doesn't suddenly make God a viable option. It isn't as if we search for an answer scientifically and then when none can currently be found we give up and leap to supernatural conclusions. Yet that is the kind of leap theists apparently expect when they berate non-believers about the fact that they don't have an explanation for something.

I've also seen the Problem of Evil and Problem of Suffering directed at Atheists. For believers in an all powerful benevolent deity the conflict is obvious, evil shouldn't even be capable of existing, the Universe should be perfect and suffering should be an impossibility. For Atheists however there isn't any confusion or conflict about the Problem of Evil/Suffering and yet I hear believers throw this back towards atheists as if it is meant to stump them.

Sorry but the world is full of bad people who do evil things. We live in an indifferent and sometimes chaotic Universe despite it also having regularities and allowing the evolution of life. Suffering is a survival mechanism, a suffering organism knows it has to change its behavior or environment if it wants to thrive again. This is why you feel pain when you touch something hot, your body is warning you of danger. Suffering is the reaction of a living being to conditions that aren't conducive to the continued existence of that being. Without a God evil and suffering are not mysterious in the slightest.

But even if an atheist can't form an explanation for some reason  I fail to see how that makes the magical explanation any more viable. In primitive times it might have seemed impressive when a villager claimed that gods brought the rain because of a recent human sacrifice. A village skeptic raising the issue of what evidence there was that the two were correlated might have been laughed at, after all, the skeptic has no alternative explanation as to where the rains actually come from and why they came when they did. The fact that the village skeptic doesn't have an explanation doesn't mean his skepticism is wrong and that the absurd supernatural explanation is right.

Something completely unreasonable or outright impossible doesn't become plausible because there aren't any other explanations.

It is perfectly reasonable to dismiss, without an alternative to offer, any supernatural explanation proffered without evidence of it's own. Ideas stand and fall on their own merit, not on the lack of an explanation from the ideological competition. At any rate there is a ton of evidence suggesting that all known gods humanity has ever worshiped are fictional but even if there were not it doesn't make the gods a good explanation for anything.

UPDATE: I plan to do more posts on this blog mostly because has introduced mandatory professional editing which I cannot stand the idea of. I have no desire to have my written work messed up in order to make it conform to some made up bullshit standards someone else has of what my writing should be. As such you will likely see old posts of mine from hubpages get moved here. It may take me a few months or more to make the move so bear with me (if anyone is even reading this!).

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