2010-10-01

A logic textbook to the rescue: atheism again

The blogger I ripped on a few blog posts ago just wrote something really good. So, I'll have to go back and re-evaluate what I said about Stan at Atheism Analyzed. Maybe he was just angry while writing the antagonistic posts I read previously.

The current post is a beautiful example of the atheistic prove-there's-a-god dogma inverted and thrown back in the atheists' faces, with some philosophical jargon mixed in. I've used the same ideas before, but what makes Stan's post different is that, between the post and the comments, the proof is water-tight to an extent that I haven't yet seen, complete with all of the standard counter-arguments and rebuttals in the comments.

The highlight, however, was a comment under the name of Martin. He, in turn, quotes a standard text on logic [emphasis Martin's, but I like it]:

From Introduction to Logic by Harry Gensler: "When we criticize an opponent's argument, we try to show that it's unsound...But the conclusion still might be true - and our opponent might later discover a better argument for it. To show a view to be false, we must do more than just refute an argument for it; we must invent an argument of our own that shows the view to be false."

This quote says, more clearly and irrefutably than I ever have, what role logic plays in the atheism-theism argument. Informally, it says that atheists (or anyone) are not allowed to claim a coherent logical (or rational, or scientific) victory over theists without proving or at least providing evidence that their gods do not exist. Furthermore, atheists are not allowed to back away from the hypothesis, "there [very likely] is no god," without conceding that this hypothesis is exactly as coherent as the assertion, "there is a god." Thus, the general atheist intolerance of theist belief has absolutely no logical basis.

To conclude, I'll restate my position in all of this: If you'd like to fight the corruption and miseducation apparent in many religious organizations, I'll stand behind you every step of the way. But, if you attack theist belief itself, know that you are on a religious crusade, and that I will be against you, not because our beliefs are different but because you have no right to impose your beliefs on others.