posted on Dec, 1 2015 @ 06:41 PM
I am a member of an ill-health forum which happens to have a spirituality section. The website has been very quiet for over a year and this question
was brought up but had very few challenges. The member who posted the question has not been online in over 2 months so may be ill or lost
It is a shame as the statements this individual made niggled me for weeks and then I realised it was due to all the arguments actually making sense to
me. I have alternated between atheism and theism during my life but have never followed scripture.
I would like to share some of these statements/arguments in my own words although ATS T&Cs prevent me posting a direct link to another forum. I have
stated they are not my own and I will not directly quote so I am not plagiarising. I did post a link to ATS in the thread so the individual may be a
member now. If they are I hope they come forward and contribute.
For the record this is not a religion versus atheism thread. It is about negative atheism being an intellectually untenable position. Creationism is
mentioned solely to demonstrate this. Evolutionists could use their own arguments to show positive atheism as intellectually tenable.
Positive-Theist: I know there is a god.
Negative-Theist: I won't pretend to know, but I believe there is a god.
Negative-Atheist: I lack a belief in gods.
Positive-Atheist: I know there are no gods.
Anti-theism: (positive atheists who also oppose religion).
If you don't believe in an intelligent design behind the universe then you believe there was a non intelligent cause for the universe. This is a
belief system (positive atheism).
With regard to intergalactic warlords or the flying spaghetti monster (FSM), most people have a rational (philosophy/probability based) 'positive
belief' that they don't exist (ie not a lack of belief). If you have a positive belief that these do not exist then you should also have a positive
belief that there is no intelligent design behind the universe.
Scientific methodology is unable to verify the existence or non-existence of the FSM (or any non observable object). Most rational/logical people
will recognise this and use good philosophical rational arguments to develop a positive belief that the FSM does not exist. A negative atheist does
not use rational or logical thought. They renege from the issue and demand empirical evidence, despite the above being clearly applicable and
sufficient to have a positive belief.
Belief does not have to be based on blind faith. It can also be based on logic, rationality, probability, evidences etc An example would be a jury
who find somebody guilty of murder. They may ‘believe’ the person is guilty but they cannot prove it beyond any doubt. They can accept
philosophical argument e.g. finding a motive. They can accept evidence eg finding the offenders fingerprints on a weapon. They can infer
In other words the jury have no clear indisputable evidence but can employ philosophy, logic and evidence to base their belief on. This is not the
same as simply having faith, rather faith based on intellectual and convincing grounds. If the accused stated he was framed, the same methods can be
used to arrive at the belief that he is either telling the truth or not telling the truth.
As mentioned in Argument 1 we choose not to believe in the flying spaghetti monster based on the case for and against it (similar to a jury). From
this we can establish that the problem is not having a belief but rather how you arrive at your beliefs and what your evidences are. This will
determine the viability of your beliefs.
Some negative atheists say ‘I follow what the scientists say’ or ‘scientists say "....."’. These individuals tend to have no idea what
science really says. Science is an effective tool to explain natural mechanisms occurring in the natural world but it cannot test the non-observable
world. Physicists state that both time and space had a starting point and everything consequently came into existence. What scientists have
discovered so far have been inside the realm of time and space, they do nothing to explain what happened prior to this.
To observe something existing outside time and space is by definition illogical as the scientific methodology is inside time and space. This suggests
that science cannot be relied upon to explain this. Instead we have to use other methods such as philosophical, logical, mathematical propositions etc
in arriving at your beliefs.
Negative atheism is a totally unnatural position to have.
If I said a flying elephant is about to come into the room and kill you, do you:
a) run for cover?
b) say you have a lack of belief on the matter and demand evidence?
c) dismiss it as some ridiculous idea based on philosophy, probability etc
The obvious position is C. Note the methodology used (also used by negative atheists) to arrive at this belief. If the evidence for the flying
elephant is equivalent to the evidence for a designer creator then we would expect a negative atheist to disbelieve in an intelligent cause for the
universe rather than have a lack of belief on the matter. Their claims and behaviours suggest otherwise so one wonders if they really have a lack of
belief to begin with or are just in a state of denial. The double standards is clear.
It is a fallacy that negative atheists say that 'there is no evidence for a designer creator' and therefore have a lack of belief. It is much
better to say I 'believe' there is no evidence for a designer creator (positive atheism) which is an intellectually tenable position.
The evidences are all around them and yet negative atheists choose not to acknowledge it, are in denial or/and have ridiculous expectations about what
constitutes evidence. Moreover the whole 'lack of belief' approach, is not something which science validated for them, rather it's a philosophical
approach created by themselves.
If anything these arguments have made me question my own position. Of course everyone has the right to their own beliefs but in discussion it is the
vigour of arguments/evidences that matters and I believe negative atheism does not have these arguments/evidences. When it comes down to negative
atheists voicing their 'lack of belief' and demanding proof, I do not think it is an intellectually tenable position to start a discussion from. It
is far better to research/critique belief eg positive atheism, positive theism and adopt the one you believe has the best evidences.