When an atheist objects…

When an atheist objects that atheism is not parasitic on theism (since “atheism is not a positive doctrine, but merely the lack of belief in divinity,” etc.), ask him if immaterialism is parasitic on materialism.

When an atheist quips that all humans are born atheists and have to be taught to believe in God, ask him why all healthy infants are born with a Cartesian theory of mind, have to be taught to use the toilet, and must learn to read Shakespeare.

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About The Codgitator (a cadgertator)

Catholic convert. Quasi-Zorbatic. Freelance interpreter, translator, and web marketer. Former ESL teacher in Taiwan (2003-2012) and former public high school teacher (2012-2014). Married father of three. Multilingual, would-be scholar, and fairly consistent fitness monkey. My research interests include: the interface of religion and science, the history and philosophy of science and technology, ancient and medieval philosophy, and cognitive neuroscience. Please pray for me.
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6 Responses to When an atheist objects…

  1. Christopher says:

    I’m not sure I see the connection. Materialism and immaterialsim are philosophical thoughts about existence, neither feed off of each other. And the fact that infants are born not knowing anything is because they haven’t had experience nor been introduced to knowledge.

  2. Hi, Christopher, thanks for popping in.

    My post is kind of a reductio ad absurdum against what I think are embarassingly poor arguments against theism, but which I’ve actually read or heard people make.

    Let me rephrase your comment and put it in the mouth of an atheist who tried to mount one of the poor arguments I’m refuting, which might make my point clearer.

    “I’m not sure I see the connection. Theism and atheism are philosophical thoughts about existence, neither feed off of each other.”

    Problem is, you’d never have an atheist defend this. The whole point of atheism is that disbelief in God is intellectually mature and better informed than theism. My point is simply that, by that definition. atheism is a reaction to theism, and is parasitic on the latter. This is why I think the only successful arguments for atheism are those made from assumptions so radically different from mainstream metaphysics that every one of the theist’s assumption has no way of standing. Radical skepticism, in other words. As long as atheists choose to refute theism in realist, basically Aristotelian terms, they are just defective theists, not atheists.

    “And the fact that infants are born not knowing anything is because they haven’t had experience nor been introduced to knowledge.”

    Exactly, and yet I’ve known atheists who take it as some of kind of natural proof that atheism is true, since God is not something babies come to on their own. Not only is that most likely false, given what we know about infant developmental psychology and the anthropology of ancient religion, but it’s also refuted by the other popular tactic of atheists, namely saying God is an illusion precisely BECAUSE He’s wired into our brains! Which is it? Hard-wired or brainwashed in? FAIL.

  3. What is your basis for the claim about kids being Cartesians? Bloom’s work? I’m curious as this is something I’m researching, wondering if I’ve missed any major studies.

  4. Yes, mostly Bloom’s work, but there are lot of other peripheral references I have “in” mind. Sorry I can’t be more precise right now. The work of Baron-Cohen, Boyer, Guthrie are in the same vein, of course.

  5. Pingback: why I do not believe in the existence of atheists « JRFibonacci's blog: partnering with reality

  6. Bird says:

    I really enjoyed this article, and especially your reply to the comment-question.

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