Since Smalley offered a bonus reason in his “Top Ten Reasons Why I’m an Athiest”, I thought I’d follow suit. Really, I want to address the reason he didn’t give, and that other atheists have suggested in place of his entire list.
That is, I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve heard “There’s only one reason to be an atheist: there’s no evidence that God exists”.
If this were true, it would make things very simple. All we’d need to do is point out moral truth, the existence of non-physical properties of the human mind, the fact that the universe needs an explanation for both its existence and structure, or any of the other evidences for God to wipe away this solitary reason why anyone should ever be an atheist.
Of course, I don’t honestly think there is only one reason an intelligent person might be an atheist, but those that do seem to have wagered quite a bit on its turning out to be true.
But I doubt that those who promote the “no evidence” argument will accept anything I’ve listed as proper evidence. In fact, I’ve had put to me many reasons why they are not. Some of these reasons are thoughtful, most of them are glib, but none of them are valid.
And, so far, all of them are based on the assumption that evidence is always physical.
In trying to figure out what the modern atheist’s problem with these things are, it always seems to come back to that. Whether its “There’s a physical explanation as to why you’d think that”, “Whatever affects ‘our reality’ can be weighed scientifically”, or something else, the bottom line is this idea that we shouldn’t believe something unless there’s physical evidence for it.
Of course, much of the evidence I named was physical, but that’s beside the point.
Put simply, this presumes scientism. We can’t simply insist, without evidence, that all evidence is physical then make proud declarations about what evidence does or doesn’t exist. This is assuming materialism in order to “prove” atheism, making it a circular argument. Rather, we first need to give a reason why all evidence is physical.
But this leads the materialist into a very difficult corner, because there’s absolutely no physical evidence to support the idea that all evidence is physical.
Generally, the response I get is further insistence that I “show” some non-physical things–as if the person asking doesn’t believe a mind, free will, moral truth, or even logical principles exist. What I never get is a bona fide reason to believe that all evidence is physical.
So, summing this up, along with Smalley’s points, we haven’t seen any reason at all to be a materialist. The reasons for belief in God, if they have any weight at all, will be the stronger case.
Of course, I’ve argued (and will continue to argue) that such reasons have substantial weight.