An especially well-worded comment from the blog:http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/blog/?p=472#comments
The logic of the Atheist Belief (at least within the framework of this website: “Why Wont God Heal Amputees”)
(An interesting 2:48 minute clip. Not comprehensive in the arguments put forward but I understand it was only a brief clip. I will think through and investigate her position.)
I have been on a bit of a journey through the website to get an idea of its underlying presuppositions and premises. I am a Christian who is attempting to use logic and reason as the website exhorts me to. I am not going to put forward my arguments FOR God here to meet every point in the “book” presented on the site. I simply do not have the time. If I did have the time I honestly would, since I find the discourse fascinating. Moreover, many of the non-theists who blog here strike me as very intelligent (at least within a western intellectual framework) who presumably have access to all the literature and arguments I would put forward. It really is up to them to assess the evidence. My stance is more on the offensive (I am not assuming an arrogant posture here, just applying reason to the websites own propositions) than defensive, specifically looking at the literature of the website.
The literature is profoundly normative, absolute and puts forward an authoritative posture. It, in places, is almost creedal and dogmatic in its propositions for no god. Here are some of the absolute claims. Textually and grammatically these are not proposed as opinions but foregone conclusions.
• “There is neither heaven nor hell. These two places are fairy tale worlds that spring from the human imagination.”
• “You do not have an “everlasting soul.” The concept of a soul is completely imaginary.”
• “People do not have “eternal life” after their deaths. The whole notion of eternal life is a fantasy.”
• “People do not meet back up with dead friends and family members in the afterlife, nor is there any reincarnation.”
• “There are not 72 virgins waiting for you in heaven if you martyr yourself in a suicide bombing.”
• “All of it is imaginary. The truth is this simple: When you die, you die.”
Indeed, so convinced is it (it = the website and its proponents) of its proposition of “Truth”, it seeks to engage in discourse, not as an exchange of ideas to come to truth, but to bolster and confirm its predetermined Truth. This is not open discourse (note the underlined portion, added by me): “It is time for Americans, both religious and non, to openly discuss the evidence showing that God IS (capitals added)imaginary.”(the discussion is not open here. The conclusion has already been reached that God is imaginary)It does in places imply a certain “canon” bound up in scientific research and literature, which constitutes this “evidence”. However, as I put forward below, the “evidence” pronounced by the website is grounded in a methodology that is, by its very nature and process, ill-equipped to demonstrate the metaphysical thesis of “no god”.
Furthermore, the website cleverly sets a up a dichotomy between the non-theist who rationally trusts in science, and the theist who irrationally trusts in an imaginary god. It is clever, because the website recognizes the power of lexical choice in discourse and rhetoric. Very persuasive but when deconstructed, is benign. Within a western cultural epistemology (at least within a tertiary educated framework) vocabulary such as “science” and “rational” are valued entities, whereas “irrational”, “imaginary” and “faith” are less valued as means to ascertain truth claims within this same framework. I am asserting below, however, that the non-theist view presented in the website literature is not the “logical” outcome of scientific inquiry, but a faith-based presupposition imposed on the scientific data.
It is my assumption here that the science put forward is based on a western empirical, scientific method. This scientific inquiry hypothesizes based on observable phenomena, tests the hypothesis for physical verification and forms a hypothesis for the cause of the previously discovered physical event and so on…. Necessarily, it is an epistemological framework which operates on “seeing is believing”. Natural causes, then, are the only causes this framework can address. It is internally ill-equipped to test for “supernatural” or “metaphysical” causes (or non causes-if I can state it like that) and phenomena. To assert in absolute terms that there is god or no god (as this sight asserts) is by its nature a metaphysical or philosophical proposition. Such a proposition can be imposed on the scientific data, but the data itself neither proves or disproves the metaphysical claim. The methodology cannot do this. Nevertheless, this is used by the website as one of its fundamental groundings for its claims of the non existence of a deity. In this sense it moves from science to “philosophical naturalism” which is an abstract construct, not a scientific phenomenon. Again, it is not a considered approach (based on reason and logic) to use science (which the website does)to then assert these tenets below(content in parentheses are added by me to confirm my assertions in this paragraph):
• “ There is neither heaven nor hell. These two places are fairy tale worlds that spring from the human imagination.” (metaphysical proposition and “leap”, NOT a scientific finding)
• “You do not have an “everlasting soul.” The concept of a soul is completely imaginary.” (metaphysical proposition and “leap”, NOT a scientific finding)
• “People do not have “eternal life” after their deaths. The whole notion of eternal life is a fantasy.” (metaphysical proposition and “leap”, NOT a scientific finding)
• “People do not meet back up with dead friends and family members in the afterlife, nor is there any reincarnation.” (metaphysical proposition and “leap”, NOT a scientific finding)
• “There are not 72 virgins waiting for you in heaven if you martyr yourself in a suicide bombing.” (metaphysical proposition and “leap”, NOT a scientific finding)
“All of it is imaginary. The truth is this simple: When you die, you die.” (metaphysical proposition, NOT a scientific finding)
“You are a collection of chemical reactions (finding based on a modern, empirical, scientific methodology). When these chemical reactions cease, you die(finding based on a modern, empirical, scientific methodology). When you die, “you” cease to exist (metaphysical proposition and “leap”). Imagining eternal life and creating a fantasy called “heaven” does not change anything. When you die (physical, observable event), you are dead (metaphysical proposition and “leap”).”
“We can look at all of this evidence (these evidences are grounded by the website in two foundations: the Christian canon (which the site claims are deficient, deceptive and fallible to start with), and the western scientific method) and we can see that God is imaginary. Christianity is a delusion. Religion in general is a delusion (metaphysical proposition, NOT a scientific finding).”
Please remember, I am not attempting here to put forward the case FOR god. I am endeavoring to put forward the case that the methodology used by the writer of the text is not compatible (indeed flawed) in terms of his/her absolute conclusions. The scientific process and methodology cannot necessarily show “there is no god”, however, the website explicitly sites this methodology as its driving framework. The above dot points are extraordinary claims which imply a comprehensive (metaphysical and physical) knowledge of the cosmos (in terms of what is seen and unseen), asserted in a dogmatic, absolute nature, and are not, necessarily, borne out by scientific method. Indeed, the non-theist position, as presented by the website is exclusive, absolute and implies an omniscience possessed by the non-theist observer. So, (in my reasoning) unless the non-theist observer is positioned outside the cosmos, he/she necessarily cannot make the omniscient claim of “no god” through a temporal, restricted scientific methodology. The positions held by the website are philosophical hypotheses. By extension (I wouldn’t go so far to say that they are “imaginary” , there is a closed reasoning here) they are human constructs being implied as Truth with a capital “T”.
It is for the above reasons that I am not convinced by this website that there is no god, at least through the western scientific framework. My reasoning, therefore, informs me that it is a leap of faith (or indeed doubt).
In conclusion, for me, the western scientific method cannot by its very nature demonstrate god or no god. Moreover, the proponents on this website (although they cleverly attempt this) cannot use the Christian canon of scripture to refute the existence of a deity in absolute terms, since by the site’s own admission it is fallible, indeed, “imaginary” and not compatible within the current western construct of morality and ethics (which themselves could be considered cultural constructs).
Therefore in terms of (my) faculty of reason, if both these methodologies (the Christian canon (as depicted by the website’s proponents) and scientific method) are deficient, my inquiring mind requires that the burden of proof lies as much with the atheist to demonstrate the absolute claim that there is NO deity. Since such a claim is indeed as metaphysical, “extraordinary” and “supernatural” as that of the theist.
Ultimately, if the methodology is deficient, one necessarily has to reconsider his/her foundational hypothesis (i.e. “there is no god”) or seek another methodology. That is of course if one works within this western epistemological framework, which this site seems to. This website does not logically or rationally convert me to belief in no god. It is not logically or rationally convincing for the reasons outlined above.
I hope the above makes sense. If not my apologies. I am not presuming to know everything on the issue (I am only finite). I am simply taking the implied challenge of the website to employ my finite reason and logic and not operate as anancient “primitive” man(again the lexical choice of “primitive” is a clever, emotive employment in the website’s rhetoric).
Thank you sincerely for the opportunity this site affords in terms of a free discourse and exchange of ideas. I have really found it thought provoking. However I am not converted to its thesis based on the exercise of reason.