In a recent Cleveland Freethinkers discussion thread, I attempted to present three points of evidence on which I base my atheism.
Joining me in this part of the discussion (which has not concluded as of yet) are Paul, an Agnostic (as far as I know)- and Michael (CFT's Blogmaster), an Atheist like myself. Both Paul and Michael gave their analysis on each of the three points.
Here is what ensued... (Mark blue, Paul red, Michael black)
1) The distinct and obvious lack of ANY empirical evidence for the existence of a Supreme Being (all hearsay & manipulated science are ruled out).
1) I agree with the above because it is true. However if we flip the coin we have: The distinct and obvious lack of ANY empirical evidence for the non-existence of a Supreme Being etc....
1) The argument of evidence, or lack thereof, in defense or critique of god, is one that I feel very strongly about, and on that I personally believe best illustrates the nature of the debate. A person who claims that the lack of evidence of non existence can be construed as possible evidence of existence is revealing them self to be guilty of wanting that existence to be true, to the extent that they are willing to reject any argument that conflicts with that desire. Desire does not have any influence over reality, and as such cannot be used in defense of a position.
2) Being human myself, I know of the human mind's propensity for falling prey to both fear of the unknown and wishful thinking.
2) We can wish there is a God and we can wish there isn't a God. This statement proves nothing other than human beings can wish. It doesn't add anything credible to whether or not God does or does not exist. It simply levels the conversation to one of choice!
2) As I said previously, desire does not have any influence over reality. You clearly recognize that thinking along these lines reduces the argument to one of choice- I have to ask, why then should we dismiss the significance of choice in defense of the the god hypothesis? I think we can all agree that we are, by nature, atheist at birth, needing to be influenced by our environments and families in order to embrace any understanding of a higher power. Why cannot it be argued that those who believe in a higher power are doing out of no more compelling motivation than their own selfish desires? Why is the natural position, one of atheistic agnosticism, the position that must do all the intellectual heavy lifting?
3) The observable, measurable natural universe is capable of self-organization, self-regulation, and self-replication within the framework of nature itself- no "intelligent designer" needed!
3) Says who? You! A person can say: The observable ............of nature itself needs an intelligent designer. Your statement is faith based because you can't prove it. There are colors the human eye cannot see and sounds we can't hear. Because we can't see or hear a thing with our five senses does not mean it doesn't exist! Therefore something could be standing next to us made of a color we can't see, speaking to us in a range we can't hear! I'm a philosopher but I'm also a realist and admit what I can't prove to be true or false.
3) I have to point out that you have not addressed Mark's statement with your comment, but rather suggested that he makes it out of faith. I agree with Mark's position that the natural world functions without intervention, and that there is no omnipotent, invisible hand manipulating things in our absence. I disagree with your assessment of that position being a faith claim. As I understand it, a faith claim has it's origins in the human mind, not in the observable natural world. We can, and have, and do, and will, for our entire lives, be able to observe and interpret and manipulate with great effect the machinations of the natural world. This is no faith claim. I can plant a seed, give it water and light, and in time it will grow into a adult specimen of a plant. If I planted a sunflower seed, I could have faith that it would grow into a pear tree, but the reality of nature dictates that things operate independently of our thoughts and desires, and that I would be disappointed with the outcome, as every person is who bases their faith outside of what is real, determined through observation, reason, and experimentation. god is not obervable, his existence cannot be proved through experimentation (I will argue that is have been disproved through experimentation), and the very notion of it's existence is unreasonable (though understandable). Therefore, god cannot be real.