Michael Palmer’s The Atheist’s Creed records the first article of faith, which characterizes what I call religious atheism, namely “I BELIEVE THAT the cosmos is all that is or ever was and ever will be.”(Palmer 2012:5, emphasis in original), which is contrary to modern cosmology. I recommend reading the first part: Cosmic Beginning And Grousing Of Religious Atheists, before reading its second.
In The Beginning And Religious Atheists’ Fear
Religious atheists’ fear, as echoed in Steven Hawking’s prerecorded speech played on his 70th birthday, is that “[a] point of creation would be a place where science broke down. One would have to appeal to religion and the hand of God.” (Grossman 2012: 6).
“Neurotheology” is a term used by Dr. Andrew Newberg to describe the relationship between the brain and religious experience. In fact, many neuroscientists have performed studies claiming to find the part of the brain responsible for religious belief and experience. One approach is to use a single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) scanner to analyze the brains of religious people (from various faith traditions) and look for stimulation in activity in certain portions of the brain. In fact, many scientists claim to have found the “God Center.” A variation of this research comes from geneticists who search for the “God Gene,” a particular gene that correlates with religious belief.
In and of itself, there is nothing wrong with these studies. The problem lies in the use many new atheists try to put them to. Continue reading →
The first article of faith in Michael Palmer’s “The Atheist’s Creed” is that he believes, echoing Carl Sagan, that “the cosmos is all that is or ever was and ever will be.” (Palmer 2012:5) “The fact of the matter is that the most reasonable belief is that we came from nothing, by nothing and for nothing” (Smith 1993: 135), so we are told by Quentin Smith.
Was Bertrand Russell correct in deeming that “the universe is just there, and that’s all” ? Why are some atheists repelled by the concept of the cosmic beginning? It is time to ponder. Keeping my post short, I have divided this article in two parts, part I Cosmic Beginning and part II Cosmic Genesis.
Eternal Universe: Religious Atheists’ Article of Faith
Michael Ruse quoted Ernst Mayr’s noteworthy observation: “People forget that it is possible to be intensely religious in the entire absence of theological belief.” (Ruse 2003: 335) To avoid painting all atheists with a single stroke, an explanation of what I mean by the oxymoron “religious atheists,” as used in this article, is required. Continue reading →
A retired elementary particle physicist Victor J. Stenger, contrary to contemporary cosmology, still stands firm in a possibility of eternal universe.
In his talk given on November 7th 2012 at the Boulder Socrates Café, “How Can Something Come From Nothing?”, Stenger echoed Bertrand Russell’s 1948’s objection rose in a debate with Frederick C. Copleston while discussing the cosmological argument. Stenger contended,
A common question I get from religious believers is “How can something come from nothing?” They seem to think it’s the final clincher proving the existence of God—or at least some form of supernatural creation. Of course, they don’t say how God came from nothing. Or, if they do, they claim God always existed and so did not have to come from anything. But then, why couldn’t the universe have always existed? In fact, modern cosmology suggests that it did—that the universe is eternal. (Stenger 2012: n.p underline original) Continue reading →
“We must follow the argument wherever it leads”, a principle that Plato attributed to Socrates, was the norm to which Flew followed (Flew 2007: 46). With increasing evidences of the teleological argument, Flew had to change his position. Continue reading →
Equating belief in God with belief in Santa seems to be popular among many atheists who have grown up in religious families but later abandoned their “childish” belief in God in the same way they gave up their belief in Santa Claus. It’s so obvious that God is something you only believe in as a child but then later give up when you mature and become a rational, reasoning individual right? I mean, come on…you believe in an all-powerful, all-knowing, all-good God who created the universe and interacts with human beings? That’s worse than Santa Claus! For those who are sarcastically challenged, that last bit might have had a tinge of sarcasm. On a serious note, are they the same? Are we justified in giving up belief in God the same way we give up belief in Santa Claus?
Penn Jillette of the magician duo “Penn and Teller” has given an interview (back in 2005) to NPR on why he does not believe in God. Along the way, he evinces some misunderstandings and fallacious appeals. What are those misunderstandings?
First, Penn claims atheism is “not believing in God.” Aside from the fact this is the non-traditional definition, it also ignores the fact that theism is the proposition “God exists,” while atheism is negating that proposition. The position he describes more closely resembles that of classic agnosticism. Further, he fails to distinguish atheism from agnosticism on this view (what makes one different from the other on this view?). Continue reading →
“The 9th commandment defended” is my four words review of Sam Harris’ 26 paged book “Lying”. Harris succeeded to convince me “that lying, even about the smallest matters, needlessly damages personal relationships and public trust”.
Harris is simply at his best in this noteworthy essay to which I, as a Christian theist, do concur with him in all areas but one major issue, namely the ontological wrongness of lying and one minor issue found in “Lies in Extremis”, viz., if truth could be an “hypothetical lie”. Continue reading →
Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy (IEP) described “New Atheists” as early twenty-first century atheist authors promoting atheism.
The “New Atheist” label for these critics [that include Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, and Christopher Hitchens] of religion and religious belief emerged out of journalistic commentary on the contents and impacts of their books. A standard observation is that New Atheist authors exhibit an unusually high level of confidence in their views. Reviewers have noted that these authors tend to be motivated by a sense of moral concern and even outrage about the effects of religious beliefs on the global scene. It is difficult to identify anything philosophically unprecedented in their positions and arguments, but the New Atheists have provoked considerable controversy with their body of work. (The New Atheists, pub. James E. Taylor, IEP)
Taylor explained that “New Atheist authors share the central belief that there is no supernatural or divine reality of any kind.[…] The moral component is the assumption that there is a universal and objective secular moral standard.”
To avoid painting all atheists with a single brush, I have used New Atheists in this article as described by Taylor.
Friedrich Nietzsche And English Flat Heads
As New Atheist, Mary Anne Evans, also known as G. Eliot, rejected the existence of God yet held to objective humanistic moral standard. Nietzsche notices that by getting rid of Christian God, a person cannot cling on Christian (Objective) moral standard. Nietzsche mounded ridicule upon G. Eliot and her fellow. Only “English Flat Heads” would not see the consequences of the death of God. Continue reading →
Richard Dawkins, Richard Carrier, Barry McGowan, Christopher Hitchens, Bertrand Russell, Madalyn Murray O’Hair — they all had one thing in common — they are or were people. They also happen to be or were well-known atheists.
I was quite taken with Madalyn Murray O’Hair at one time. I never met her, but had the opportunity to talk with her more than 40 years ago when she was a guest on a radio talk show I produced. I was a young atheist and looked up to her and Bertrand Russell (he was still alive at the time) as examples of what I wanted to be in society — a freethinker who opened the minds of the masses to think for themselves — unhampered by the dictates of religion. I didn’t think of Madalyn or Bertrand as anything other than people speaking their mind. Continue reading →