What Else You Got?

Man-Weighing-OptionsWhat is the evidence that relativism is true?

And, for that matter, what is the evidence that materialism is true?

What is the evidence that a materialist demanding evidence on the internet is a good and fair judge of what should be considered evidence?

It seems to me that there are basically three ways that the materialist who is used to asking for evidence for God can answer these questions:

First, we can look at the matter, applying the same standards of evidence that are routinely taken toward theism.

Under this method, materialism and moral relativism fail abysmally. They aren’t remotely supported y anything like the kinds of evidence regularly insisted upon by the same people defending materialism.

Second, we can revise the concept of evidence so that the reasons people give for believing materialism and relativism count as evidence.

This option comes the closest to my own approach. Of course, its drawback for the materialist is that theism has a great deal of evidentiary support under this system. Most  who defend atheism on the internet would lose their main (and, often as not) only argument if we take this approach.

This brings us to option number three. We could try to give some reason why the same standards of evidence don’t apply to the atheist’s philosophy of life as are being applied to religious philosophies of life.

In my experience, this is the  direction most atheists take. It is the home of the (very poor) “I simply lack belief”, and “we’re not talking about my view” arguments. For all that is said about religious views by this group, on would think they’d be eager to prove that their life-approaches and moral systems meet higher standards of evidence.

But I don’t find this to be the case. In fact, I find the opposite. Very few want to talk about specific options to theism at all. But simply refusing to discuss the issue does nothing to show why it shouldn’t meet the same standards of evidence as theism. It simply ignores the issue.

And this is where we always end up, I think: the insistence that there is some view out there which is better than theism, along with a complete refusal to hold that view up to any scrutiny at all.

Once we do start taking a serious look at materialist views, however, theism is clearly the more plausible option.

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2 responses to “What Else You Got?

  • myatheistlife

    You have an interesting point. Let me see if I can explain my purchase on this.

    In life, there simply is. Existence is. We cannot doubt it. Bogito ergo sum. When we talk of doubting existence the entirety of the conversation changes. Your thoughts presume that existence is. On this we should both be agreeable.

    Your point seems only focussed on what there is evidence for. You seem willing to say that theism has evidence. I can go out in my garden and kick a brick and know that in all my senses, that brick is real. This is evidence. Following this thought, evidence for a thing is something that all of us can share in experience, something that we can repeat and get the same results. In what we experience or think we do, it is only those things which can be shared experience and testable, repeatable, falsifiable which can be considered real or extent.

    I think that you spoke incorrectly when you said theism has plenty of evidence and generally support theism, if not specifically. There is no credible evidence for gods or the supernatural. If you have some, pretty much everyone in the world would like to see it and experience it for themselves. Since the news has not been aflutter with your discoveries I will assume that you have nothing new to offer that William Lane Craig has not already offered…. or similar persons.

    Science has my evidence. Science shows us what is real in the world, what works, what is effectual. When all the theories are thrown up for examination religion falls far short of being worthy of being considered true in comparison to what science shows us. The very computer that you typed your blog entry with is brought to you by science and the things we have evidence for … not religion, theism, prayer, or the supernatural. It is real. The evidence for it was used by you to make the blog post… at least some of it was.

    In this thought of your post you are trying to shift the burden of evidence away from your claim that theism is true. I believe what there is evidence to believe. You (or theists in general) make a claim about the existence of a god. Where is your proof? If you have none, you have nothing but make believe and myth. You proved my belief by using a computer to post a blog entry. Science, it works. It has explanation, explanatory powers, is falsifiable, and can be experienced by everyone. Theism? Not so much. It might seem to work for some people, but even your truth is not good enough for all theists. When you can convince all theists that your position on gods and objective morality et al is correct, perhaps there might be something to investigate. What you claim as evidence is denied by theists. Atheists don’t even have to get into this fray. You can’t even get theists to agree with you. Pretty much it can be said that you are in a minority… very few people (on the larger scale) actually agree with you. You are not in a majority… no matter what faith you hold.

    If theism had actual evidence that was credible there would not be so many sects of theism. You would all be able to agree on this supposed objective morality. Ooops, that’s not working out for you. So go back, get your house in order, sort out those errant theists who disagree with you then come back and tell atheists what you believe.

    • Debilis

      Okay, I’ll try to make this organized (let’s see how I do):

      1. Science
      I completely agree that science is impressive, and I don’t doubt the existence of the physical world. It seems we agree here.

      2. Materialism
      I disagree that the materialist is merely waiting for evidence for the supernatural. All people must have an approach to life, and moral relativism, determinism, and many other claims that materialists frequently make are true only if there is no supernatural.

      As such, we should be given some reason to believe those claims.

      It is not enough simply to demand that theists provide support, the materialist must as well.

      3. Evidence
      So long as one demands that evidence is tangible or otherwise sharable through the senses, one is promoting scientism.

      That is to say that many things all humans believe, and even science itself, are based on support that is not subject to repeatable experiments. No one, in real life, actually lives as if this were the only sort of evidence to be accepted.

      The first example to come to mind is the fact that science itself is based on metaphysical principles established through rational intuition and logical argument. To demand that these methods aren’t acceptable is to insist that science is baseless.

      4. Many Religions
      Disagreement on a subject is not a reason to reject it.

      In fact, it is not simply the theists who have a diversity of views, but the non-theists as well. To insist that all theists in the world agree before claiming that atheism is false is no more reasonable than to insist that atheists do the same thing.

      I’d never insist that a materialist has no business arguing against theism until he’s dealt with platonism, solipsism, secular dualism, and the like. For the materialists to make this insistence of me seems completely odd.

      Well, that went better than I expected. I hope it was clear.

      Either way, best to you out there.

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