Sunday, February 8, 2009

The atheist basis for belief

By one atheist’s definition, the phrase “There is no evidence for God” means,

“This “fact” could not exist unless there was a Creator God.”

Well, each and every one of these posts is giving examples, examples that are based on scientific facts, facts that are attested to and verified by atheist scientists that show that the laws of physics as we know them are not able to account for the facts that we observe.

Therefore citing Creator God as the probable cause for these facts is not an argument from ignorance because Creator God is the answer that best fits the scientific evidence. The only thing keeping people from accepting the obvious answer to what we observe is an a priori rejection of the existence of Creator God. In other words,

According to known and accepted scientific laws and observations, the evidence that I am citing in this series of posts COULD NOT EXIST unless there was a Creator God.

Are there alternative speculations proposed? Of course there are! There have to be because in the atheist world-view Creator God cannot exist. Have you ever asked yourself why there are dozens of hypotheses and dozens of variations of those hypotheses? It's because NONE of them work according to the laws of physics. If any one of them was workable according to scientific laws, then that would be the end of it. Like the saying, "It was in the last place that I looked," if any one of the atheist speculations was acceptable there wouldn't be any more theories. The fact is, based on known science, NONE of them are acceptable.

Because of clear scientific (observable, repeatable, verifiable) evidence, we know that:
. Whatever begins to exist has a cause.

Richard, This point, I think, goes directly to your comment that "atheists DO have a basis for their view." That we consistently observe this premise to be true is critically important because scientific naturalists, I assume that includes you demand that nothing can be believed without consistent observation and verification. Every single attempt to promote alternatives to this premise have only reinforced its truth. Therefore, atheists, including you have the highest motivation to accept this premise. As well -

Because of clear scientific (observable, repeatable, verifiable) evidence, we know that:
. The universe began to exist.

Because those premises are true and coherent we can know that the following conclusion is also true:

The universe has a cause.

While Christians agree with this line of thought, it is science and soley science that proves it to be true regardless of various failed attempts to refute the conclusion. I'd be very interested in how you think this is not relevant to the existence of Creator God, or more specifically relevant to your statement that atheists have a basis for their belief that everything including the universe came from nothing, by nothing.

Because of clear scientific evidence, we know that:
. Matter and energy cannot precede themselves or preexist themselves either physically or chronologically.

The reason that matter and energy cannot precede themselves is because “Coming Into Being” is an essential and objective feature of time. Time did not exist prior to the Big Bang.

Because of clear scientific evidence, we know that:
. Matter and energy do not have the ability to create themselves or bring themselves into existence from nothing or ex nihilo.

Because of clear scientific evidence, we know that:
. Matter and energy cannot exist from infinity past.
Therefore, whatever brought matter, energy, space, time and the laws of physics into existence had to have existed outside of these entities.

I look forward to your thoughts / explanations. Before I sign off, Richard I wonder if you would also comment on the following. An atheist who blogs at whispersessions once wrote,
"It’s imperative to understand that not all atheists are advocates of reason. We are all born atheists, therefore it is our default state. Many atheists don’t believe in a god because they simply never gave it a thought. They could very well be dishonest, angry people who have no moral code whatsoever. Some are atheists out of rebellion to their family. They may have never given a thought to philosophy or science, let alone ethics and morality. Some are atheists simply because they despise religion. Their “lack of belief” is actually a vicious anti-belief, and when asked about what they do believe, they’ll generally have nothing more to say than how badly they hate someone else’s beliefs. They will tell you that religion is wrong, but they’ll have nothing to say about what is right. They’ll say theism is false, but they will have nothing to say about what is true. To be sure, many atheists’ atheism rests upon nothing at all. They are not advocates of reason. They are advocates of nothing. They are atheist, non-rational, amoral, and anti-reason all at the same time."
While he was certain that none of these reasons applied to him (he was an atheist because he was so logical and reasoned in his thinking) he explained the situation very well.

Richard, do you think that you might fit in here somewhere? That's not a snarky challenge. I seriously wonder if it might be true.

2 comments:

Richard said...

Markarios, your web page was still in one of my browser tabs. I happened to spot that you specifically addressed me. What 'got' me is that your tone is one of pleading. "Surely", you beg, "I cannot be wrong after so many years of my life." Well, you are, but you are only about 2/3rds of the way through your life, so you can still make it Right. That is NOT arrogance speaking, it is how I care for a kindred spirit in the struggle to live with Self-Respect, and to be happy with one's life.

Please note, my use of caps is not a case of shouting, at you, it is just an easy form of emphasis of an idea. This took to long to write. I did a hasty proof read of the first half. I hope subsequent typos and mis-wordings do not lead to misunderstandings.

In my first reaction I wondered, is Markarios curious about my type of Atheism, or is he just hoping to further insult me? After all, that was the the level you reduced yourself to, as of February 10, 2009 1:07 PM on AtheistHomeSchooler's "Let's talk about sex, baby"

Yes, I am an Atheist and I am serious about it. Why so serious? Well my adult view is that the facts of the issue are so absolute as to be irreversible. The proper way to for a man to live is by his own reason, and by a rational moral code based on his Nature as a Man (not simply his individual nature, which would be hedonist and arbitrary). Irrationality in (mysticism, collectivism and their variations)only does harm. However, that understanding is the end result of a long process that few people go through. So, here I go, presenting my intellectual history as it relates to the issue that most concerns YOU. Back to me, from five to 12 years old...

My Sunday School lessons, and my lay preacher-father, insisted, time and again, that a Good Man is honest. In the sense of their intentions, their invocation backfired. I became more honest than they! Honesty requires recognizing that the UNreal claims of someone, even your mum or dad, ARE unreal. Sunday School was a pack of nonsense, even though I did believe in God and Jesus. I even became an alter boy. But did my own parents really believe the miracles; care about the litany of "begats"; accept that God could be so vicious; explain why biblical people either vicious or suffering? What on earth was honesty, if it did not right these wrongs? Why wouldn't God, if He was honest, not right these wrongs? Even crucifying Jesus did not stop them? Was it ALWAYS just people in the wrong? NO, Abraham was not in the wrong when asked to sacrifice his baby, Job was not in the wrong when he was so terribly afflicted. Something else was wrong and, whatever it was, perhaps it lay in the Bible. Or, perhaps I still did not understand honesty.

Relevant here is my brother. My brother was, and continues to be (45 yrs later), dishonest! He suffered from a couple of non-life-threatening illnesses, so my parents always took pity on him and accepted his obvious-to-me lies. Time and again, I would be punished, as he feigned innocence-harmed.

Sure, I hold resentment for that, but as I reached teenage years I found it increasingly imperative that I discover what was right for myself. I also saw how my brother was ruining his own happiness. I refused to be 'that' way. It was also becoming clear to me that others just were not doing the thinking honesty required; many were trying to EVADE doing the thinking.

People in my life launched so many, at times well meaning, dishonesties that I could barely listen to two sentences in a row, from anyone, before something false popped out.

The church types were smarmy & self-righteous, yet they were loaded with basic transgressions of their own purported beliefs (of Right and Good). I noticed they were never happier than when they had a 'herd' of us kids agreeing with and emulating their charade.

It WAS a charade, because the rest of the time they were NOT happy. Obviously, as one Sunday School teacher admitted, most prayed to BEG for relief from their pain. The dishonesty reeked.

I discovered, on my own, that some were delusionally happy. But that is another issue of the human capacity to create psychological delusions, and to live by them. If you are one of them, and you may well be, then absolutely nothing can influence you to think rationally. Please just die.

Returning to my years as a teen, girls played a host of social games. So did high school teachers who sought to convince us that their 'take' was the really profound approach. Yes, there were one or two exceptions whom I admired, but the WORST were the English teachers.

In University, it was either religionor meat!

Meat? you ask?

Yes, I was told, human beings are just meat. They last about 76 yrs, basically hewing to various meaningless societal conventions. No, their choices were not really rational, because what they chose between was the options of the mental imaginings of other pieces of human meat. Essentially their choice was accidental, and then you die and rot in a box in cemetery.

WHAT???? my mind screamed!!!! Are you people out of your mind!

[I can now say they were.]

To summarize: the choices 'the intellectuals of our time' gave me:
=> be smarmy and phony while pretending to be devout, or
=> be meat,and pretend to be proud that you are intelligent meat.

NO way, part of me held. I was better than either option, and I was not going to cave into their notions.

I would live as best I could amongst those notions, by keeping a shining spot in my mind that was always alert for what was Right and Good about life!!

I read every issue of "Scientific American" (as a subscriber) published between 1971 (I was 20) and 1993 (I was 43).
For 23 years I read EVERY ISSUE,
every article,
every letter to the editor,
every OpEd,
every Game or math challenge.

At the same time, but with perhaps 10% less rigor, I read articles on
the
* - Philosophy of Science, I read about
* - Analytical Philosophy,
* - Psychology Today,
* - Journal of Wildlife Management,
* - American Scientist,
* - Science,
* - Nature.

I wanted to know how in the H_ll what is Right and Good could be identified.

I studied Logic, and have forgotten more of it than most academics ever read about.

I studied Statistical Analysis ad nauseum, such that I became the "go to" graduate student at McGill University. Later, as I worked in Ontario's "Ministry of Natural Resources Wildlife Research Branch", when professors or research scientists wanted their stats analyses verified, it was me to whom they turned.

My 1979 graduate thesis was an analysis of 650,000 data points.

I had to use advanced Factor Analysis from one of the earliest Stats Packs ever devised.

Even that software package could not meet what I needed. I had to learn Fortran, and write my own "Analysis of CoVariance" program. It had to use MY data properly. It could not assume my data was just like any other data.

I WANTED TO KNOW WHAT WAS RIGHT, AND I HAD TO BE RIGHT!

To be Right is to be Good. Being Right means those Right decisions are followed up by Right actions.

To me, that last italicized portion was brutally obvious.

I had no idea how FEW people remotely understood that principle.

The expression here is,
"He can talk the talk, but he can't walk the walk."
All I ever wanted was to be the Man who always "walked the walk".

Some five years into my career as a Research Biologist, a Research Scientist came to me to ask if he had conducted a set of analyses correctly. (His project had been funded at some $650,000/yr for four years, and hired two young people throughout.) Quite simply, he had not.

I moved his data into a more advanced statistical analysis program. Sadly, only one small thing proved statistically significant; there was no significance to ANY of his major issues. His sample sizes were too small, or the issue being tested just was not in effect, if real at all.

I explained why in careful detail. He was surprisingly less concerned than I expected. I found out why a year later.

In our office scientists' regularly put reprints of their latest publications in everyone's mailboxes. There was one of his, and the title sounded like the very thing I knew he had nothing worth publishing.

Lo and behold he had learned a lot from me. He had written up his faulty methods of analysis in such a way as to make them appear to be the proper type of analysis. I wondered why the journal reviewers had not smelled a rat, but suspected it was just the common lack of understanding of proper statistical analysis.

I knew confronting the scientist was pointless, so I went to the Department Head -an experienced scientist. After seeing the whole thing, he shook his head sadly, and said, "Richard, sometimes we have to decide whether we want to be right, or whether we want a job". That man is now assistant to the Deputy Minister of Natural Resources for the entire province of Ontario (population: 11,410,046; ~1/3 of all of Canada).

I chose to walk, and studied to become a high school teacher.

The dishonesty among the teacher absolutely blew me away. One deparment head made every effort to get me to raise her, usually stoned by 9am, son so he could get to University. I didn't, and she smeared me to other teachers and even students for the next six years.

Another was a student councilor and rugby coach. I heard him explain to students that if they study they wouldn't have to cheat —obvious message: if you don't study, you cheat. I learned, through the asst' rugby coach, that this teacher also put the team through exercises teaching them how to cheat so the ref would not detect it.

One boy, Nik, hung about that teacher. He was a very smart, but very cynical young man. His Punjabi parents were insistent that he always have the highest marks. Should he fail, he failed everyone in his family, even his grandparents, aunts and uncles and cousins back in India! If he failed he faced a life of shame before his friends and his Gods. (Nik, several times, sought to prove to me that Vishnu ♂, Siva ♀ -the destroyer-, Hanuman and Ganesh were real.) He was under a LOT of pressure.

I often suspected him, and his group, of cheating in my own assignments, tests or exams, particularly when I saw them snickering as they looked at me. I could not catch them.

In his first year of University, he was only running high B's, and had no time to complete an essential essay. He copied one and handed it in. He was caught. The new penalty at the University was expulsion WITH the explanation on his official transcript.

Nik leaped head first from a third story window. Who was morally guilty in his death? What dishonesties had held that boy hostage?

While I was a Research Biologist, I read Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead. I did not really get the message. I met someone during my year studying for my B.Ed., who said things that made me pick them up again. I was STUNNED at how inept my first reading had been. The metaphors, dialogue, ideas and even actions, that I had failed to understand.

I painstakingly began to read Rand's non-fiction, challenging everything I believed. Was what she said actually true in the real world? If so why? If not, why not? The nature of the Universe (metaphysics) could only be as she showed it to be.

The Laws of Identity and Causality (identity applied to Actions), though first named by Aristotle (!!!) had to be as they were, or the Universe could not exist. Nor could you or I. The Law of Identity says a thing IS what it is —A is A. Something cannot come from Nothing.

Our senses are our reliable, and only, means of obtaining evidence of the nature of Reality. (our senses can be extended by our tools or instruments.) Concept formation (a form of induction), Reason and Logic are our means understanding Reality. Revelation, Intuition, Emotion, etc. are NOT tools of knowledge, but a misguided application of our imagination. We should never lose sight of the difference.

This is not the place to teach these ideas; they have already been explained in Objectivist literature. There are now some 50 Objectivist professors across America. Objectivists are asked to speak on major radio and TV outlets on almost a daily basis. Their articles appear in newspapers, their books are published by major academic publishing houses (Cambridge, Oxford). The American Philosophical Association now sanctions, under its auspices, an Ayn Rand Association. Meanwhile Wikipedians are still trying to figure out if she is a philosopher... duh!


Though I was on the right track, morally, as a young man, grasping virtuous behavior properly —walking the walk—, never became clearer to me than through Rand's Objectivism. Any Man's highest Virtues are (with some implementation examples):

a. Productivity: since life takes effort.
b. Rationality: a commitment to reason and logic, one’s primary tools of survival. It is to nbe used day-to-day, not only in discussion, or at work, but in romance, child raising, driving, gardening etc.
c. Independence: just as you can only breathe and eat for yourself, you must think and act for yourself. Otherwise one lives as a parasite.
d. Honesty: recognizing that the unreal is unreal. The stolen goods in your hands were never yours! The God of the Oceans was never real.
e. Integrity: agreem’t between one’s actions and rational judgments. One can't argue against abortion AND use contraception.
f. Justice: never faking the character of men, including your own.
g. Pride: choosing & pursuing one’s own highest objective standards in one's every action.

Breech any ONE of the above, and the others are also breeched, in some degree.

To be happy one needs to pursue or maintain the Value inherent in sound Purposes, in Self Respect and in Reason.

The woman that looted me of $50,000 understood all those things (& more). As I may have mentioned, her actions were not because there was anything wrong with me, they were because she developed Borderline Personality Disorder... she was pathologically unable to think clearly, particularly in the realm of valuing. It would have been emotionally easier for me if she had been killed in an accident.

Here is how a purse snatcher violates ALL seven virtues.

a. -He has produced nothing.
b. -He arbitrarily stakes a claim c. -His existence depends on the wealth of his victims, and his ability to elude the law.
d. -He must pretend his unreal wealth is real
e. -He knows he is a theif, but resents the man who steals from him.
f. -He must fake his own character
g. -He can have no pride.

To accept something that is unreal, such as the creation of something (a higher being) out of is nothing has the same consequence to virtue. However it does not begin with Productivity, it begins with Honesty.

d. -He accepts the unreal as real.
b. -He evades reason and logic.
e. -He fails to act in a real world on the basis of real world judgments.
c. -He becomes dependent on those who taught him, or those who agree with, the unreality, for his self esteem and justification.
g. -His pride depends on others.
a. -His productivity is dampened by each and every action he avoids because of his unreal views... such as counseling couples in false understandings.
f. -he misjudges the character of others, and himself, through his false premises.

Such is the banality of evil.

Makarios said...

Yes, well, thank you for the information. I am sorry if I am just one shmuck in a long line of shmucks that seem to have passed through your life.

I hope your philosophy carries the day for you.