For reasons which are not 100% clear to me, someone decided to send me this asinine little website which tries to argue that Christianity is more logical than atheism. And I, having nothing better to do*, decided I had to respond for posterity. This is the sort of thing which really irritates me. People who take religion, an inherantly intuitive belief, and try against all measure to force it to be reasonable. On top of this, they try to equate atheism and their religious belief system in terms of premises in order to show that both are equally rational or irrational or something.
To begin with, if you believe in any metaphysics whatsoever, it's not a "rational" belief in the sense that it follows from certain or analytic knowledge. A physics or set of perceptions can never imply a metaphysics - you simply can't go up a level like that. Reason as a tool is built into an epistemological system - it's generally a hinge to discourse as far as the predication goes, but certainly not necessary for the system to exist. There are plenty of antirational systems - religion being the paragon example, but by no means the only one - which state that deductive or implicative reason isn't certain to yield truth. There are various disagreements on the nature of logic and which logic can yield certain truth - plenty of people take issue with inductive reasoning, even withion the rationalist camp. So when the person who wrote this starts talking about how one can prove "God exists" by gathering evidence, he's just being stupid.
The other claim the author makes is another which is used all the time, despite being contextually false. He says that it is impossible to disprove the existance of a thing. This would also be a blatent falsehood. You can prove that a carniverous omnivore does not exist, for example, becuase it is an internally inconsistant object. If you accept the system of epistemic proof as being valid (which he does), then you cannot in the same breath just deny the law of noncontradiction. He then goes on to ascribe about sixty different properties to God which seem at least marginally irrational - things like God being a capricious individual who has to break his own set rules in order for things to turn out ways he wants them. If you can shape existance to how you want, it seems silly that you would use natural processes in order to accomplish that end rather than just... say.... having that end, or having the rules you set governing existance force that end.
The last thing is where he says this:
"...a logical and rational person only has two possible belief systems when they are aware that it is impossible to disprove the existence of God. The first is to remain open minded and undecided concerning the existence of God until it is possible to prove such a being could not exist which may be never. "This just plays on an equivocation which is used all over the goddamn place in philosophy. The "possible that/possible for" equivocation is just used without regret all the way through. Look, the fact that it is possible for something to happen or be the case, that never implies in any coherant set of rules that a possibility exists that something happened. The two do not translate, no matter how much people wish they did.
If an individual is going to take the religious road, she better be willing to just accept that it's not a rational belief. The value judgement is also theirs to make - but trying to deny the nature of a presumption doesn't change the truth of it. Sometimes, acting erratically or accepting irrational beliefs is a rational action if favorable consequences come from it - but it doesn't make those beliefs or actions any more reason-based.
*= besides, I guess, spend time with the seven someodd people downstairs from me... or watch the Rose Bowl... or anything else.
cranked out at 7:06 PM | |
|template © elementopia 2003|