Ten So-Called Fallacies of Atheism

The fol­low­ing has been passed around among a few friends of mine on Face­book, in Bible study groups and the like. It was pre­sum­ably writ­ten by a friend, alias Juan DeChris­to. Because it is the nature of the mem­bers of the Bible study groups to attack any­thing post­ed to their groups like rav­en­ous piran­ha, mak­ing prop­er dis­cus­sion dif­fi­cult to say the least, I’m post­ing my response here, where I can use prop­er block quoting. 

What fol­lows is a list of things athe­ists sup­pos­ed­ly believe, whether those things are true or false, and which log­i­cal error or fal­la­cy they com­mit. If you don’t feel like read­ing the entire response, this is what you need to know: Juan does­n’t under­stand athe­ism or sci­ence, and uses his mis­un­der­stand­ings to keep oth­ers in the dark about the real world such that reli­gion seems all the more appealing.

1. False: “I can know that there is no cause for mate­r­i­al exis­tence which is greater than any­thing found in mate­r­i­al exis­tence.” — Cat­e­go­ry Error

What we know thus far is that there is no evi­dence for any “greater cause” oth­er than that imag­ined in the assump­tions of theists.

2. False: “I can know that there is no exis­tence beyond the mass/energy, space/time exis­tence to which we humans are lim­it­ed.” — Cat­e­go­ry Error

Can we know it? No. But do we have any rea­son to believe there is? No. There is no evi­dence of a spir­i­tu­al world which tran­scends our mate­r­i­al uni­verse. Until there is, any such spir­i­tu­al world is entire­ly irrel­e­vant, the sub­ject of what can only be spec­u­la­tion and imagination.

3. False: “Sci­ence has no lim­its and is there­fore the only source of knowl­edge.” — Fail­ure to com­pre­hend the mate­r­i­al lim­i­ta­tions of sci­ence, and to rec­og­nize the oth­er types of knowl­edge com­mon­ly in use.

Sci­en­tif­ic knowl­edge is the only repeat­ed­ly trust­wor­thy way in which we can under­stand the world. It has led to more under­stand­ing and progress than has any reli­gion. What ben­e­fit is there in think­ing there is a spir­it? How is med­i­cine aid­ed by belief in a “heal­ing God”? No such ben­e­fits have oth­er been seen, except per­haps as sen­ti­men­tal ben­e­fits of those who know some­one is pray­ing for them. Med­i­cine, archi­tec­ture, chem­istry, biol­o­gy, food pro­duc­tion, and more all rely upon a sci­en­tif­ic under­stand­ing of the world and would get on just as well if no one involved in them were reli­gious. (Indeed, they may even progress more rapid­ly, with­out the all too com­mon reli­gious fear of sci­en­tif­ic progress, espe­cial­ly in medicine.)

4. It is false to reject [P] yet claim that you have no belief con­cern­ing [P]. — Claim doesn’t match action/reality.

Athe­ists believe that there are no gods. We lack a belief in gods. So we reject claims of the same. I don’t see the issue. Would you pre­fer we say “we reject gods because we ignore the non­sense repeat­ed by those who believe in them”?

5. It is false to reject log­i­cal claims of first cause deduc­tions based sole­ly on rejec­tion of eccle­si­as­ti­cism. — Fal­la­cy of Guilt by Asso­ci­a­tion, and Black and White Fallacy.

First cause deduc­tions are an illog­i­cal proof of deity; if a god is assert­ed to be the first cause of any­thing, it must be ques­tioned “What caused the god?” or “Where did the god come from?” To fur­ther assert that a god requires no first cause is fal­la­cious. All “always has been” argu­ments that can be applied to gods can equal­ly be applied to the uni­verse. There is no log­i­cal rea­son to step into the realm of fantasy.

6. False: “The­ists must show mate­r­i­al evi­dence that there is non-mate­r­i­al exis­tence.” — Cat­e­go­ry Error.

Athe­ists often assert that the­ists must show evi­dence for that which they claim exists. Because they can­not pro­vide evi­dence — mate­r­i­al or non-mate­r­i­al (not that such even exists) — their claims can be rejected.

It is pure fan­ta­sy for the­ists to assert the exis­tence of some­thing that can­not be proven and then to expect peo­ple to accept it as absolute truth. 

7. False: “Athe­ism is based on evi­dence and log­ic but needs nei­ther for sup­port in order to reject the exis­tence of non-mate­r­i­al dimen­sions because Athe­ism need not adhere to the Bur­den of Rebut­tal.” — Spe­cial Pleading.

Athe­ist does not bear the bur­den of proof because it does not make any pos­i­tive claims about the uni­verse. The­ism, how­ev­er, claims that there is a god; poly­the­ism, many gods, etc. To make a claim is to assert the bur­den of proof for prov­ing your claim.

Do Chris­tians spend their time gath­er­ing empir­i­cal proof for the non-exis­tence of Zeus, Ra, Thor, wood nymphs, fairies, and fly­ing spaghet­ti mon­sters? Why do they require such proof from athe­ists for the non-belief in the Chris­t­ian god when they them­selves have no such proof for the non-exis­tence of the gods and beings they choose to not believe in?

8. False: “Athe­ism is not a reli­gion, despite hav­ing reli­gious con­tent, beliefs con­cern­ing deity, and the propen­si­ty to evan­ge­lize, and demand that gov­ern­ment be lim­it­ed to their world­view regard­ing religion.”

Athe­ism is very sim­ply the dis­be­lief in gods and god­dess­es. It is not a reli­gion. In fact, athe­ists can prac­tice reli­gions of all sorts, such as Buddhism.

Athe­ism is not, how­ev­er, a reli­gion, as it is not a sys­tem of belief and prac­tice; it is, by def­i­n­i­tion, a lack of belief.

Reli­gion is not defined by the propen­si­ty to evan­ge­lize; adver­tis­ing is by no means unique to religion.

9. False: Athe­ism has no eth­ic or moral­i­ty attached to it, yet claim that “Athe­ists are good with­out God”. — Inter­nal­ly con­tra­dic­to­ry: non-coherent.

Athe­ists are good with­out gods and god­dess­es because moral­i­ty does­n’t require either. Moral­i­ty is a cul­tur­al­ly deter­mined thing, and while reli­gion may influ­ence moral­i­ty, it is not required for it. Athe­ism in and of itself does­n’t have moral­i­ty attached to it — it speaks only to the dis­be­lief in gods and god­dess­es — but that does­n’t mean that athe­ists can­not be good, moral people.

It also does not mean that there haven’t been immoral atheists.

10. False: “Since there are demon­stra­ble myths, then all ref­er­ences to non-mate­r­i­al exis­tence are declared to be myths by asso­ci­a­tion.” –Fal­la­cy of Guilt by Association.

Athe­ism does­n’t speak to the mat­ter of all “non-mate­r­i­al exis­tence,” only that which per­tains to gods and god­dess­es. That said, all ref­er­ences to “non-mate­r­i­al exis­tence” require the same proof as any­thing in “mate­r­i­al” exis­tence, oth­er­wise they are irrel­e­vant in dis­cussing the nat­ur­al world.

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Rick Beckman