Do Atheists Exist?

This post is to move a discussion from Sandbox(4) at Entropy’s request.

Over on the Sandbox(4) thread, fifthmonarchyman made two statements that I disagree with:

“I’ve argued repeatedly that humans are hardwired to believe in God.”

“Everyone knows that God exists….”

As my handle indicates, I prefer to lurk.  The novelty of being told that I don’t exist overcame my good sense, so I joined the conversation.

For the record, I am what is called a weak atheist or negative atheist.  The Wikipedia page describes my position reasonably well:

Negative atheism, also called weak atheism and soft atheism, is any type of atheism where a person does not believe in the existence of any deities but does not explicitly assert that there are none. Positive atheism, also called strong atheism and hard atheism, is the form of atheism that additionally asserts that no deities exist.”

I do exist, so fifthmonarchyman’s claims are disproved.  For some reason he doesn’t agree, hence this thread.

Added In Edit by Alan Fox 16.48 CET 11th January, 2018

This thread is designated as an extension of Noyau. This means only basic rules apply. The “good faith” rule, the “accusations of dishonesty” rule do not apply in this thread.

1,409 Replies to “Do Atheists Exist?”

  1. keiths keiths
    Ignored
    says:

    KN,

    What we’re beginning to see from enactive cognitive science and related approaches is that we can explain at a neurocomputational level why the phenomenologists of embodiment were right, to the extent that they were, about why skepticism about the external world is a non-starter.

    I’d be interested in hearing you elaborate on that. I haven’t seen anyone, enactivist or not, demonstrate that skepticism about the external world is a non-starter.

  2. fifthmonarchyman
    Ignored
    says:

    Rumraket: He has replaced the basic assumption that logic obtains, with the assumption that god makes logic obtain

    God’s existence justifies the assumption that logic obtains.

    If you deny God’s existence you are left with the obvious question
    Why does logic obtain???

    Rumraket: Either way, he too has to assume logic obtains. He’s just added another layer that he calls god, on top.

    not at all,
    Assume God and logic necessarily follows.
    It’s not an added layer it’s a necessary consequence.

    peace

  3. fifthmonarchyman
    Ignored
    says:

    Rumraket: How do you know the revelation you claim is a revelation, actually is a revelation?

    This one seems to come up repeatedly so lets cover all the bases.

    How do I know revelation is genuine revelation?

    Short answer— revelation.
    Same answer from a different perspective—-revelation is self-verifying
    slightly longer answer — I know it’s actually a revelation if the revealer actually revealed it.

    Bonus paragraph

    How do I know that my wife’s favorite movie is the Princess Bride?
    Because she revealed it to me
    How do I know that she actually revealed it to me?
    Because I know my wife and I know what revelation from her is like.

    I hope that helps

    peace

  4. OMagain
    Ignored
    says:

    fifthmonarchyman: How do I know that she actually revealed it to me?

    Given false memories can be implanted exactly how reliable is such a memory?

  5. fifthmonarchyman
    Ignored
    says:

    newton: Why does it have to be an entity to be a condition?

    A condition does not exist in the absence of the entity it is attached to. But truth would still exist if absolutely nothing whatsoever existed because it would be true that nothing whatsoever existed.

    Truth is eternal and a-se

    peace

  6. newton
    Ignored
    says:

    fifthmonarchyman: Assume God and logic necessarily follows.

    Actually you have to assume God is logic and God is justifies logic and logic needs justification.

  7. fifthmonarchyman
    Ignored
    says:

    OMagain: Given false memories can be implanted exactly how reliable is such a memory?

    My memory of the revelation is not the same thing as the revelation

    The revelation is 100% reliable if she revealed it to me. It’s 0% reliable if she did not reveal it to me. In that case it’s not revelation at all.

    The reliability of the revelation is not dependent on my memory it’s dependent on if it was revealed.

    Knowledge does not require certainty or even perfect memory.
    I can know stuff even if it’s possible that I may be mistaken.

    peace

  8. Kantian Naturalist Kantian Naturalist
    Ignored
    says:

    I have no idea what it means to say that logic exists. What is “logic” supposed to mean here? What kind of “existence” is logic supposed to have?

  9. fifthmonarchyman
    Ignored
    says:

    newton: Actually you have to assume God is logic

    It’s not an assumption it’s revelation

    The greek word Logos means Logic or Reason

    In the beginning was the word (Logos), and the word (Logos) was with God, and the word (Logos) was God.
    (Joh 1:1)

    newton: God is justifies logic

    If logos is logos is

    newton: logic needs justification

    Assume logic and you assume God.

    What needs justifying is the idea that logic can exist and at the same time God not exist.

    peace

  10. fifthmonarchyman
    Ignored
    says:

    Kantian Naturalist: I have no idea what it means to say that logic exists.

    That does not surprise me.

    Kantian Naturalist: What is “logic” supposed to mean here?

    check it out

    http://www.trinityfoundation.org/journal.php?id=16

    quote:
    God is a rational being, the architecture of whose mind is logic.
    end quote:
    peace

  11. GlenDavidson
    Ignored
    says:

    Where would presuppositionalism be without equivocation?

    Glen Davidson

  12. newton
    Ignored
    says:

    fifthmonarchyman: A condition does not exist in the absence of the entity it is attached to.

    Your theory is it constitutes the entity, God is truth, not God is truthful.

    But truth would still exist if absolutely nothing whatsoever existed because it would be true that nothing whatsoever existed.

    Then statement nothing existed would exist.

  13. Entropy Entropy
    Ignored
    says:

    GlenDavidson,

    Should be re-baptized to equivocationalism bullshitologetics.

  14. fifthmonarchyman
    Ignored
    says:

    newton: Your theory is it constitutes the entity, God is truth, not God is truthful.

    Truth is a person yes…..and a condition

    “Ful” is simply a suffix meaning “full of,”

    Truth is Truthful
    as
    God is Godly

    peace

  15. fifthmonarchyman
    Ignored
    says:

    newton: Then statement nothing existed would exist.

    The statement “nothing existed” is something, is it not?

    peace

  16. fifthmonarchyman
    Ignored
    says:

    All,

    I going to have to leave you to your fun for a little while. Like i have said repeatedly i am swamped right now

    enjoy 😉

    peace

  17. keiths keiths
    Ignored
    says:

    And when he returns, he’ll be back to making the same inane arguments, as if his ass hadn’t been kicked and re-kicked in this thread as in earlier ones.

  18. Neil Rickert
    Ignored
    says:

    fifthmonarchyman: In the beginning was the word (Logos), and the word (Logos) was with God, and the word (Logos) was God.
    (Joh 1:1)

    That’s a metaphor. It is not meant to be taken literally.

  19. Entropy Entropy
    Ignored
    says:

    fifthmonarchyman: God is a rational being, the architecture of whose mind is logic.

    This is absurdity mounted onto more absurdity. Logic is a conceptual framework that helps solve problems. A being that already knows everything has no use for logic. Your imaginary friend is not supposed to have any problems to solve. It has all the power and all the knowledge, past and future. So it would be absurd for this imaginary being to put together any syllogisms and/or look for problems in an argument. Hell, your imaginary friend has no use for senses. It knows everything, every position, every color, every everything. it doesn’t need to feel to move out of the way, it’s invisible and “immaterial.”

    Concepts are representations. So, if this imaginary being’s mind is composed of logic, then the mind of this being is composed of concepts, of representations. That makes this being necessarily limited, thus contradicting the omni-everything idea (which is absurd either way).

    That makes your claim for revelation a claim of having something told to you by a limited being.

    Fantasy and bullshit from the very foundation. When you idiots try and put that together you invite further problems, and you don’t even notice. You just make those claims with airs of superiority, as if your arrogance made the shit you’re eating any less nauseating.

  20. fifthmonarchyman
    Ignored
    says:

    quote:
    one God, alone, great, true, truthful, the truth. Of whom if we endeavor to think, so far as He Himself permits and grants

    and

    O soul pressed down by the corruptible body, and weighed down by earthly thoughts, many and various; behold and see, if you can, that God is truth. For it is written that “God is light;” not in such way as these eyes see, but in such way as the heart sees, when it is said, He is truth [reality]. Ask not what is truth [reality] for immediately the darkness of corporeal images and the clouds of phantasms will put themselves in the way, and will disturb that calm which at the first twinkling shone forth to you, when I said truth [reality]. See that you remain, if you can, in that first twinkling with which you are dazzled, as it were, by a flash, when it is said to you, Truth [Reality]. But you can not; you will glide back into those usual and earthly things. And what weight, pray, is it that will cause you so to glide back, unless it be the bird-lime of the stains of appetite you have contracted, and the errors of your wandering from the right path?

    end quote:

    Augustine of Hippo

    peace

  21. Entropy Entropy
    Ignored
    says:

    keiths: And when he returns, he’ll be back to making the same inane arguments, as if his ass hadn’t been kicked and re-kicked in this thread as in earlier ones.

    That’s the whole idea of presuppositionalism. They make a commitment to their fantasies, and nothing you say will penetrate their minds. Nothing at all. He will just repeat the very same bullshit and pretend that he presented a solution to his absurd requests, even though people have shown them that their claims are beyond absurd.

  22. fifthmonarchyman
    Ignored
    says:

    Entropy: Logic is a conceptual framework that helps solve problems.

    quote:
    For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.
    (Rom 1:21)
    end quote:

    peace

    This time I really got to go

  23. colewd
    Ignored
    says:

    Entropy,

    Your imaginary friend is not supposed to have any problems to solve.

    Is this its own presupposition?

  24. keiths keiths
    Ignored
    says:

    Bill,

    Since you’re here, let’s do an experiment. Read this comment and tell us if you can see the logic mistake that fifth is making. It’s quite basic and obvious.

  25. fifthmonarchyman
    Ignored
    says:

    quote:

    Augustine, after he had experienced all the implications of ancient skepticism, gave a classical answer to the problem of the two absolutes: they coincide in the nature of truth. Veritas is presupposed in ever philosophical argument; and veritas is God. You cannot deny truth as such because you could do it only in the name of truth, thus establishing truth. And if you establish truth you affirm God. “Where I have found the truth there I have found my God, the truth itself,” Augustine says. The question of the two Ultimates is solved in such a way that the religious Ultimate is presupposed in every philosophical question, including the question of God. God is the presupposition of the question of God.

    end quote:

    Paul Tillich

    peace

  26. Rumraket Rumraket
    Ignored
    says:

    fifthmonarchyman: Short answer— revelation.
    Same answer from a different perspective—-revelation is self-verifying

    Thank you for this textbook example of the circular reasoning fallacy.

  27. Entropy Entropy
    Ignored
    says:

    colewd:
    Is this its own presupposition?

    What do you refer to when you write “its.” FMMs imaginary friend?

  28. colewd
    Ignored
    says:

    Entropy,

    Yes

  29. ALurker
    Ignored
    says:

    fifthmonarchyman:

    That’s simply an acceptance of reality. As such, it has nothing to do with your worldview.

    If you accept that you live in a world where you know things and don’t have justification for doing so you are borrowing from my worldview

    I agree that if I thought I knew things without justification then my worldview would be similar in that sense to yours. Well done, perhaps there’s hope for you yet.

  30. ALurker
    Ignored
    says:

    fifthmonarchyman:

    What support do you have for your claim that your god must exist in order for the law of “noncontridiction” to be valid and for our powers of reasoning to be generally reliable?

    It’s not a claim it’s a tentative assumption

    You wrote it as a claim. You’re now trying to distance yourself from it because you were asked to support it. Do you think that kind of behavior is honest? Would your god approve?

    based on the fact that no one has been able to articulate a way that we can know our powers of reasoning to be generally reliable that does not include God.

    I will withdraw it just as soon as you provide an answer that is not subject to further regress

    That’s not how rational discourse proceeds. You made the claim, you have to support it. What are your evidence and logic supporting the idea that your god must exist in order for the law of “noncontridiction” to be valid and for our powers of reasoning to be generally reliable? Stop trying to avoid supporting your claim by asking questions of others. Your argument must stand on its own. You don’t win by default.

  31. ALurker
    Ignored
    says:

    GlenDavidson: And you haven’t shown that we can know our powers of reasoning to be generally reliable in a way that does include God.

    Mere logical possibility means almost nothing at all.

    And you’re completely closed to any explanation but your own, despite the fact that you have no meaningful explanation.

    Glen Davidson

    Well said. I should have read ahead.

  32. phoodoo
    Ignored
    says:

    ALurker: Stop trying to avoid supporting your claim by asking questions of others.

    Moderators, how long are you going to allow this to continue??

    Where does Alurker get off trying to decide the motives of FMM’s questions?

    This constant rules breaking and extra leniency by the moderators to allow this has to stop. Just because Alurker would like to be an atheist, that does not mean he deserves to not have the rules apply to him. I don’t know what his motives are, but I know it is against the rules to say what his motives are.

  33. Kantian Naturalist Kantian Naturalist
    Ignored
    says:

    fifthmonarchyman: God is a rational being, the architecture of whose mind is logic.

    It’s one thing to say that if God exists, and if God is a rational being in the same sense that we are, then God’s mind conforms to logical principles. But that doesn’t tell us anything about what logic is or why it’s only theism that allows us to understand logic.

    To be honest, it’s not at all clear to me that you understand what logic is or what logicians do.

  34. phoodoo
    Ignored
    says:

    Kantian Naturalist:
    I have no idea what it means to say that logic exists. What is “logic” supposed to mean here? What kind of “existence” is logic supposed to have?

    Right, so isn’t that the question? Maybe NOTHING is logical, and we just believe it is. Do we have any basis for believing our thoughts are logical, if there is nothing TRUE that exists outside our mind?

    Some people would say that a God is an example of true knowledge (a God is something that is presumably not fooled by his senses). But if that doesn’t exist, then there is no such thing as true knowledge. We are all just fools of our senses. As such, we have no real logic by which to base anything. Nothing we believe is true, thus nothing is logical.

    Then what is logic?

  35. J-Mac
    Ignored
    says:

    Kantian Naturalist: To be honest

    When some uses this expression, it gives a distinct impression that until this very moment he had been BSing me… Otherwise why would he even mention it?

    That’s what I call logic…

  36. Neil Rickert
    Ignored
    says:

    Moved a couple of posts to guano.

  37. newton
    Ignored
    says:

    fifthmonarchyman: Ignored
    newton: Actually you have to assume God is logic

    It’s not an assumption it’s revelation

    It is an assumption that the revelation is true, it is an assumption it is divine, it is an assumption you understand correctly, three more assumptions, makes six

    The greek word Logos means Logic or Reason

    In the beginning was the word (Logos), and the word (Logos) was with God, and the word (Logos) was God.
    (Joh 1:1)

    So John says God is Logic,and we are back at revelation with the addition of Biblical assumptions.

    newton: God is justifies logic

    If logos is logos is

    I agree, so far it is revelation all the way down

    newton: logic needs justification

    Assume logic and you assume God.

    Not asssuming logic, it is a tool which has been demonstrated to be useful and you only need to assume God if you already assumed He is Logic.

    What needs justifying is the idea that logic can exist and at the same time God not exist.

    Not assuming anything about God’s existence one way or the other and logic exists , it’s dependence on God’s existence is an assumption. Just cause you pile them up it doesn’t mean they become non assumptions.

    peace

  38. keiths keiths
    Ignored
    says:

    fifth:

    If you accept that you live in a world where you know things and don’t have justification for doing so you are borrowing from my worldview

    ALurker:

    I agree that if I thought I knew things without justification then my worldview would be similar in that sense to yours. Well done, perhaps there’s hope for you yet.

    Heh. Fifth has a knack for falling into his own traps.

  39. fifthmonarchyman
    Ignored
    says:

    Neil Rickert: That’s a metaphor. It is not meant to be taken literally.

    Think about that, you are claiming that scripture and the church fathers and learned Christians through the ages meant to say “God is like logos” instead of “God is Logos”.

    What could it possibly mean to say “God is like Logic”?

    peace

  40. fifthmonarchyman
    Ignored
    says:

    Rumraket: Thank you for this textbook example of the circular reasoning fallacy.

    Nope, you need to read up on the difference between viciously circular and virtuously circular.

    To say that revelation is self verifying is virtuously circular because revelation is not a instantaneous event but a process that continuously imports contextual information from the outside.

    communication is unique in that way

    My wife can reveal that she loves something in an instant but it will take a lifetime of interpersonal communication for me to exauhaust the totality of what was meant by that simple revelation.

    peace

  41. fifthmonarchyman
    Ignored
    says:

    newton: logic needs justification

    I agree logic needs justification in a world with out God

    newton: Not asssuming logic, it is a tool which has been demonstrated to be useful

    the assumptions in that statement are glaring and manifold

    1) how do you know that you are not imagining that logic has been demonstrated to be useful?
    2) how do you know that “useful” is synonymous with valid?
    3) how do you know that “useful in the past” is in anyway relevant to what is happening now?

    etc etc

    peace

  42. fifthmonarchyman
    Ignored
    says:

    Kantian Naturalist: It’s one thing to say that if God exists, and if God is a rational being in the same sense that we are, then God’s mind conforms to logical principles.

    That is not at all what I’m saying.

    Kantian Naturalist: But that doesn’t tell us anything about what logic is or why it’s only theism that allows us to understand logic.

    God reveals to you what logic is and you don’t have to be a Christian to understand logic you just have to be a Christian to justify it.

    Peace

  43. fifthmonarchyman
    Ignored
    says:

    ALurker: I agree that if I thought I knew things without justification then my worldview would be similar in that sense to yours.

    No, just the opposite is true.

    I have justification for what I know and you don’t as far as I can tell.

    I have provided justification that you have already implicitly accepted
    God can reveal so things so that I can know them!

    You have not provided any justification whatsoever as of yet for what you claim to know.

    I’ll bet that if you ever do it will be subject to further regress

    peace

  44. Entropy Entropy
    Ignored
    says:

    fifthmonarchyman: Nope, you need to read up on the difference between viciously circular and virtuously circular.

    Virtuously circular: name given by presuppositionalists to their own fallaciously circular arguments.

    Viciously circular: name given by presuppositionalists to anything an atheist might respond to the presuppositionalist’s “arguments.”

    There you go.

  45. Kantian Naturalist Kantian Naturalist
    Ignored
    says:

    It seems odd that with all the talk in this thread about “logic,” no one has mentioned any concepts involved in logic: inference, argument, validity, structure, form, soundness, premises, or conclusion. Nor has anyone here noted that there are many logics: sentential logic, predicate logic, modal logic, deontic logic, paraconsistent logics, relevance logic, quantum logic, monotonic and non-monotonic logics, etc. (see here)

    The question was raised above as to what justifies logic if not God. I think that a moment’s reflection will show that this question does not make sense. (It is also worth pointing out that God cannot both justify logic and also be logic.)

    An innocuous and non-controversial characterization of logic is that it is the study of inference, or better, inferential form. An argument is logically valid if it has the right form or structure, regardless of its content. The “laws” of logic are rules which stipulate what a good inferential form has to be like.

    Generally speaking, there’s a deep connection between goodness of inferential form and preservation of truth: if an argument has good inferential form, then true premises will yield true conclusions. If an argument is invalid because has the wrong inferential form, then it will have true premises and a false conclusion. There’s actually a rather lively debate among logicians about whether inference or truth is the more fundamental notion: shall we define inference in terms of truth, or truth in terms of inference? Regardless, there’s a very deep connection between the two.

    The fact that we have multiple logics — both the standard or ‘classical’ logic and the various ‘non-classical logics’ — suggests that there’s more than one way to codify goodness of inferential form. It depends on what aspects of reasoning we’re trying to capture in our logic. (For an example, see here on the debate between material implication and strict implication.)

    What then of justification? We may take justification to be about reasoning: a claim p is justified if there is a reason, q, for accepting p. What counts as a good reason is often context-dependent (for example, the standard of “reasonable doubt” does not hold in civil law; a person can be convicted in civil court even if found innocent in criminal court). The standards of evidence are different in law and in science (despite what Philip Johnson would have us believe).

    When we take up the question, “what justifies logic?” or “why does logic exist?” it is impossible to understand what these questions could mean. Logic, as a study of inferential form, is not the sort of thing that could be justified. There’s no line of reasoning that takes premises of any sort and yields “logic!” as a conclusion.

    To engage in reasoning at all is to engage in the kind of activity that can be modeled with some logic of some kind. Logic does not need any justification because it is a way of understanding what justification is — namely, a way of understanding the role of inferential form in reasoning.

    (All this, by the by, should be perfectly obvious to anyone who has taken the time to study logic in high school or college.)

  46. Entropy Entropy
    Ignored
    says:

    fifthmonarchyman: God’s existence justifies the assumption that logic obtains.

    That’s a contradiction of terms involving layers of absurdity upon absurdity.

    1. That logic obtains means that it doesn’t need justification. It’s self-containing.

    2. Justification requires logic, so asking for a justification for logic is self-imploding and self-refuting.

    3. Making a question requires logic, so asking for a justification for logic is self-imploding and self-refuting.

    4. The existence of anything implies logic, so pretending that a magical being’s existence is necessary to justify logic is ass-backwards. Cart-before-the-horse.

    5. Since the existence of anything implies logic, presuppositionalists actually rely on logic obtaining, which means that the presuppositionalists are arrogantly borrowing, without acknowledgement, from an atheist worldview.

  47. Zachriel Zachriel
    Ignored
    says:

    To fifthmonarchyman:

    “You’re not really a theist. You’re mistaken about that.”

  48. phoodoo
    Ignored
    says:

    Kantian Naturalist,

    I don’t read anything in this that explains how truth can be described outside of our senses if there is no one who possesses perfect truth.

    If nothing is true, nothing is logical. Its only logical for you, because you are only going by your truth, which must necessarily be different from everyone else’s.

  49. ALurker
    Ignored
    says:

    Neil Rickert:
    Moved a couple of posts to guano.

    On what basis did you move my comment to Guano? I very carefully wrote it to conform to the rules. You are demonstrating the problem that I am trying to get you and Alan to address.

  50. newton
    Ignored
    says:

    phoodoo:
    Kantian Naturalist,

    I don’t read anything in this that explains how truth can be described outside of our senses if there is no one who possesses perfect truth.

    If nothing is true, nothing is logical.Its only logical for you, because you are only going by your truth, which must necessarily be different from everyone else’s.

    Your conclusion does not follow from premise , it does not follow that nothing is true. We have evidence that enough sensory information must be true enough and shared to allow us to maneuver heavy objects at high speed routinely though others doing the same to reach a destination.

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