rvb8, one of our regular self-described atheistic materialists, makes some pretty interesting assertions, considering he admits he is not a scientist:
That is where you stumble, because chance and the interaction of forces and matter can explain it.
I’m with Mr Dawkins there; 99% sure, and am quite happy for you to build faith upon the remaining 1%.
the building blocks of life came from the first stars, and continue to be produced by Super Novas, and are ubiquitous throughout the universe.
The energy required to start this process of trial and error combinations of these chemicals and water, came from the sun, the heat of the earth, impacting astroids, electrical storms etc
Wikipedia has an excellent article on Miller/Urey. The experiment which, after one week of continuous work, produced all 20 amino acids necessary for life; or there was an ‘intervention’.
This is also the reason miracles are less flashy and more mundane these days. Most of the miracles of the past, or events that seemed supernatural, have been explained. Eartquakes and the like.
rvb8 has also admitted he distrusts long, technical written pieces and has said they make his head hurt and that he finds them difficult to read. One wonders, then how it is that rvb8 feels so comfortable making scientific claims he cannot hope to support (since he does not understand the science involved – indeed, doesn’t even have the time or attention necessary to even read through his own outdated and problematic wiki references.
This is not just rvb8’s problem, it’s a problem for many atheists we encounter on this site and others – people who are admittedly not scientists or philosophers, but yet who feel comfortable cheerleading certain atheist and materialist talking points and tropes as if they understood the science or as if they understood the philosophical/logical arguments and supposed rebuttals. They display a level of faith in their ideological perspective that rivals any faith held by religious laymen. They are fully invested in the unwarranted belief that “science” somehow supports their atheism or their materialism and so use phrases that are supposed to vaguely appeal to science as if science has “explained” whatever they are talking about. Of course, even if that were true, they lack any of the necessary credentials nor (often) have put in the necessary effort to actually understand and make such arguments.
Lacking such education and effort, the atheism and materialism of these individuals cannot be based on an understanding of the science or an understanding of the philosophical/logical/metaphysical arguments – rvb8 is a prime example of this. His atheism is (apparently) entirely faith-based. He has faith that there is no god, and faith that materialism is true, and requires no investigation or internal examination thereof. The question is, why? What can such faith be rooted in? Why adopt such a view and insist on defending it when it doesn’t even apparently offer anything of value in exchange?
rvb8 has commented upon the freedom and relief from guilt he felt when he parted from his old theistic views. I can empathize with that, because I went through much the same thing when I left my original religious views for other beliefs. Like rvb8 (apparently), I adopted a rather extreme contrary view against those beliefs which I felt had improperly and irrationally organized my sense of self and my place in the world. However, unlike rvb8, I invested the effort and time into examining new views because I realized (from my experience of childhood beliefs) I was susceptible to cultural programming, social pressures and my own internal, emotional, often unrecognized commitments, needs and desires. While I appreciated the thought process that liberated me from the beliefs I held as a child, I realized that unless I had fundamentally sound reasons for holding a belief and understood why I was holding it, what value it actually provided, and how well it was actually supported by the facts of my experience and logic, all I was doing was adopting the beliefs of others around me based on whatever unexamined, largely emotional appeal they provided me.
There is absolutely no scientific (or any kind of) evidence that atheism is true. None. There is not even a single, logical argument that atheism is true. Not one, at least that I’m aware of. There are, of course, rebuttals against arguments for god, but those “rebuttals” are only attempts to point out the logical flaws or erroneous assumptions of arguments in favor of certain concepts of god; they are not arguments that no god or gods exist whatsoever. On the other hand, there are countless firsthand testimonies of experiences of god, several good lines of scientific evidence in favor of the existence of an intelligent, creator god, and many, many decent arguments that a god of some sort likely or necessarily exists.
Additionally, there is no good reason to be either an atheist or a materialist, as they offer no incentives whatsoever towards leading a better, more fulfilled, more ethical, more enjoyable life. Materialism cannot even be supported by rational argument because materialism undermines the premise that our arguments are actually rational in nature and that we have the free will and supernatural capacity necessary to understand the meaningful content of such arguments and implement their conclusions upon our physical bodies.
While it may be valid to abandon beliefs that appear to make one’s life miserable, or to abandon beliefs that actually cause one harm, that doesn’t mean it is wise to abandon a whole class of beliefs just because one’s personal experience of one specific belief in that category didn’t work out well. There’s no good reason to be committed to atheism or materialism because, even if true, such views offer no benefit other than whatever immediate emotional satisfaction they might provide. The sad thing is, there is no rational reason why such beliefs – especially if true – should make anyone feel better emotionally; it’s not like atheism and materialism are anything but bleak, nihilistic perspectives that give you no personal credit for anything you happen to do.
Perhaps in the mind of the atheistic faithful, they can say “at least I believe the truth” even though they can take no personal credit for the happenstance material interactions that produces such beliefs (whether they liked it or not), nor hold others responsible for the presumably false beliefs their chemistries happen to produce, and even though such beliefs cannot be said to produce any better outcomes than false beliefs. I mean, atheists can’t even claim that theistic beliefs are some sort of emotional “crutch”; under atheistic materialism, people believe whatever happenstance chemistries produce as beliefs. Nothing more, nothing less. Any sense of self-worth for believing the “hard truth” is lost because of the nature of what those truths mean; you can hardly take personal credit for beliefs you didn’t choose and can’t do anything about. You might as well be a rock rolling down a hill taking credit for the particular path it happens to take.
What a hollow, meaningless reason to feel good about yourself; it would be like claiming victory in life for being whatever height you happen to be as an adult.
Wow. Good argument, atheistic materialists! Under the premise that what you believe is true, you deserve no credit for your beliefs; you cannot help but hold them due to happenstance chemistry; and ultimately your beliefs offer no benefits nor intrinsic advantage because it is not beliefs that control our activities, choices or feelings. Rather, those are simply products of chemistry and physics. Beliefs are nothing more than the concurrent sensations experienced by an illusory “self” that may or may not correspond at all with behaviors; the perceived content of beliefs are not themselves actually causative factors – it is only the chemistry itself which is causative.
Now, if rvb8 and others actually understood these intrinsic problems with atheism and materialism, it’s hard to imagine them keeping their faith. However, that is the nature of an uninformed, largely unexamined faith commitment; it can even be self-contradicting and utterly preposterous. Irrational beliefs are what they are; they cannot be rationally explained. Here we have beliefs that, if true, cannot themselves possibly confer any benefit upon those who experience the sensation of having them and cannot be acquired via reason or will but only by happenstance chemical processes we are not in control of. What an inanely perplexing position to try and argue.
Again, why? Even if atheism and materialism were what I call “retroviral memes” used to mentally and emotionally detach oneself from what one perceived to be harmful beliefs, why remain so committed to them that one ignores their blatantly irrational, self-defeating and self-contradicting nature, and attempt to argue on their behalf when no such argument can even hope to be valid or meaningful if those beliefs were in fact true? Why bother, when none of it would ultimately mean anything?
Perplexing. Perhaps they irrationally see atheism and materialism as heroic views that saved them from emotional distress and can also save the world from its ills, and so they have a devotion towards spreading those views and “freeing” others from what they experienced as harmful or hurtful beliefs. The problem is that if those views are true, their commitment and mission is necessarily worse than Quixotic; they are tilting at windmills as if they were giants even though they insist that giants do not exist. They argue here as if we have some supernatural agency like free will and the capacity to to force our chemistries into obeyance of rationality, even while insisting we do not. Atheistic materialists seem utterly unconcerned that their behavior is necessarily delusional – they act and argue as if the atheistic, material illusions of self, free will and rationality were real, causative commodities and not just side-effect sensations generated by ongoing chemical interactions.