Monday, June 12, 2017

An Examination of Poor Atheist Arguments

I've spent a lot of time on this blog criticizing theism and the arguments offered for its validity. That said, some arguments in favor of atheism that also deserve criticism. Poor arguments in favor of a position I hold are still fallacious. A higher caliber of arguments can be made.

The first is what might be called the "single proof" fallacy. If a theist makes a cosmological argument (for instance, from causality) many atheists will respond that even if true, it really doesn't prove that the God they believe in exist. At best it proves some kind of First Cause.

Though true, unless the theist rests their case solely on this argument, the criticism is off the mark. Every case must start somewhere. To do that with where everything came from is a logical starting point. It is a rare theist that doesn't make other arguments as well in favor of the argument, assuming they actually want to convince anyone.

Many atheists, moreover, appear to be strict empiricists, even positivists, claiming that only empirical data has any weight. Therefore, they will then triumphantly declare there is no empirical data for any gods' existence, and thus atheism is validated by that alone.

However, as has long been known, this view has no ability to support itself. For how can any person use empirical data to determine that only empirical data has any validity? Moreover, theists do cite empirical data in favor of God's existence. Fine tuning is one obvious example, but also causality as mentioned earlier. This does mean one must accept it, but we can't claim none is offered either.

It has also been claimed than an argument is not evidence. Even a sound argument for God does not prove he really does. While it's true that a sound argument can still be false, this is usually related to the empiricist claim up above. Only scientific evidence is held to be valid. Yet not every issue can be a subject of scientific investigation. In any case, many arguments are indeed based on scientific and empirical evidence, for instance both fine tuning or causality as mentioned previously.

There are more still that could be dissected, and they may be yet in a future post. At this time, though, it seems enough to caution against these sorts of fallacious arguments. Even a correct position, which I believe atheism to be, can have poor arguments made for it which should be discarded.

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