Sunday, October 5, 2014

Scientists Discover that Atheists Might Not Exist

In one of his blogs CalvinDude wrote:

Scientists discover that atheists might not exist, and that’s not a joke.
[ ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ link to article   ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑ ↑]

The article tries to claim that there are evolutionary survivability advantages to believing in God despite Him supposedly not existing. But frankly the article posits nothing of value on that discussion. Better arguments have been put forth elsewhere.

Of course, all such arguments fall prey to one important fact. If evolution selects for us to believe in some form of deity when objectively there is no God at all, then evolution is selecting for us to believe a lie; and since on the theory that God isn’t real then all our knowledge comes from similar evolutionary pressures, then ultimately we must acknowledge that evolution cannot select for truth at all. This means we can’t exactly trust anything that is based on evolutionary pressures.
But I’m sure atheists will get right on patching up that flaw. Any time now. Any time.

The link CalvinDude provides is to an article that argues that the scientific evidence strongly supports the idea that humans are neurologically hard-wired to believe in metaphysically supernatural personal entities (like God, gods, ghosts, spirits etc.). Atheists often appeal to evolutionary reliabilism to overcome the theistic challenge of EAAN (i.e. the Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism). However, if humans really are hard-wired to believe in supernatural entities and can't completely escape or overcome that bias, then that undermines the appeal to evolutionary reliabilism.

With the assumption that atheism is true, the fact that "most" people ("all" according to the article above?) are believers in the supernatural goes to show that evolution has done a terrible job of designing our sensory organs and mental faculties to be able to arrive at truth. This supports Plantinga's EAAN (Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism) which argues that it's rationally incoherent to be a evolutionary atheist because unguided evolution makes it unlikely that any of our thoughts and conclusions are trustworthy or true. Including the conclusion of atheism.

On the one hand many atheists claim that our cognitive faculties are reliable enough to enable us to conclude that God doesn't exist (or probably so). Yet, the empirical evidence from experiments is that humans are naturally and incurably wedded to the belief in supernatural entities like God. On the other hand, many atheists claim that our cognitive faculties are very deceptive and that accounts for why the majority of humans believe in supernatural entities and only a few can overcome that natural programming so as to come to the more sensible conclusion that there probably isn't a God. Yet, if taken to its logical conclusion, that gives atheists reason to doubt their conclusions, including the conclusion that there is no God or is likely no God. Why assume they can overcome such evolutionary programming if evolution did such a bad job at forming our cognitive faculties? Thus making positive strong atheism epistemologically difficult (if not impossible) to assert.

The following are three links to an article about the scientific experiment that showed that atheists sweat when they dare God to do harm:

Belief in God is part of human nature - Oxford study

Related links:

Are humans innately inclined to find theism intuitive?

I’m an atheist. So why can’t I shake God?

10 facts about atheists

Why God Won't Go Away: Brain Science & the Biology of Belief

Do children believe because they're told to by adults? The evidence suggests otherwise

Is Atheism a Delusion?

Is Atheism a Delusion? (Follow up)
Can Atheists Trust Their Own Minds?
by William Lane Craig

The Circularity of Evolutionary Reliabilism

Two Senses of ‘Reliability’ in Evolutionary Epistemology

The Case Against Reality by Greg Welty

Evolution May Obscure Reality, Says a Cognitive Scientist and Evolutionist by Sarah Chaffee

 Born Believers: The Science of Children's Religious Belief by Justin L. Barrett [ link]

The Hard Problem of Consciousness

Problems of Consciousness

Eliminative Materialism

Is Consciousness an Illusion? by Thomas Nagel

Greg Bahnsen's doctoral dissertation is available for download. The title is, A Conditional Resolution of the Apparent Paradox of Self-Deception

It was presented to the faculty of the University of Southern California

Here's the link:

Greg Bahnsen was a Calvinist philosopher and apologist who argued for the standard Calvinistic position that all men know God but suppress that knowledge in their unrighteousness. I'm no longer dogmatic that [setting aside the mentally handicapped and infants] all men do know God. Maybe we all do. But at the very least, I'm convinced that all people *OUGHT* to know God exists and that those who don't (if they really exist) are culpably ignorant.

See Also My Blogs:

Evidence and Arguments Against Materialism and Naturalism

The Psychology of Atheism

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