May 15, 2014

Neurotheology, Part II: Atheist Brains are Defective

[Continued from Part I. Please go back and read first half or this post will make little sense]

To briefly surmise my premise from my previous post I will offer a syllogism. It is offered to explain the atheistic mindset behind dismissing God through some quirk of genetics or some weird disorder of the brain. It is as follows:
(1) Any belief with a purely genetic or otherwise biological origin is false.
(2) Religious belief has a purely genetic or otherwise biological origin.
(3) Therefore, religious belief is false.

Yes, militant atheists want the steps to discredit the existence of God this this simple. Why? Because at times many of their followers are not really that well-researched or academically inclined, merely emotionally charged. Besides, to spread propaganda, it is easier to spread if said propaganda is simple and easy to memorize requiring less thought. That being said, many atheistic beliefs are primarily emotionally driven and sometimes are downright logically incoherent.

So the question then becomes this for a Christian: Do these studies show that religious belief is the by-product of genetic influences in the brain overriding rational brain centers? More importantly, is religiosity a visual manifestation or symptom of a mental disorder or genetic disability which some lucky atheists do not suffer? I posit no. As I have just said, the atheist logic in these arguments is fraught with error and leaves cogent reasoning at the doorstep and it never enters the building.

As Christians we cannot and should not fall into the trap set by the atheist baiting and propaganda that says we have to refute their premise. This assumes they would have not only moral and ethical high ground, it also attempts to assume the high ground in the academic, intellectual and logic categories too. To refute a premise is to assume a premise is even valid. Atheists in these situations attempt to stand solely on their premise or accusations here with virtually no hard evidence…only faulty theory and conjecture. These premise based on so-called academic credibility are assumed be valid enough to support their errant conclusions. The flaw in logic is that a premise alone barely (or not) supported leads nowhere.

Ironically, the genetics argument for the “disorder of religiosity” is actually a textbook case of (amusingly) a logic fallacy called a genetic fallacy. A genetic fallacy occurs when someone explains the origin of a belief and thereby contends they have demonstrated the truth or falsehood of that belief because of its origins. The genetic fallacy is committed when an idea is either accepted or rejected because of its source, rather than its merit. In this case it comes from a scientist or a college institute. This fallacy entails the use of an Appeal to Authority also. An example of this fallacy is…

(1) The scientist from a science institute said religion is a disorder.
(2) Institutionalized science is never wrong
(3) Therefore religion has to be a disorder because science said so.


(1) Christians are viewed as uneducated, disordered and hypocritical people by the culture.
(2) Christians have religious experiences
(3) Therefore religious experiences are only in disordered or uneducated people.

Never mind the fact that science deals with only empirical and a posteriori evidences and the knowledge of God is a priori and spiritual. This ends up making the statements from anti-theists epistemologically schizophrenic. In other words natural or worldly evidences cannot prove the spiritual in a conclusive manner. They are two different types of studies of knowledge (epistemology). Anti-theists and many that want physical evidences for God believe that religion can be subject to scientific scrutiny. These are two totally different fields concerned with two different types of knowledge.

So...back to the genetic premise. Christians believe Jesus was resurrected from the dead. What if there was a gene that allowed people to believe that? Does having that gene that allows you to believe that statement make the statement untrue? No. The burden of proof is still upon the atheist to evaluate the facts based on whether they believe there is sufficient physical/empirical evidence to the contrary. Otherwise, to say God does not exist is not even a valid scientific statement by their own standards of experimental truth and evidence…it is only their unsubstantiated opinion.

As I said before, perhaps certain activity in the brain is a sign of spiritual interaction with God. It stands to reason that if God is another person(s), those centers would indeed be activated. Would this brain activity based on genetic markers disprove the existence of God? Hardly. If anything it should prove just the opposite. Data is data. It is only after we begin to interpret the data that it becomes information or facts. How we perceive that data or what presuppositions we bring to the data affects how we will interpret it. Christians will see brain activity when praying as interaction with God. Atheists will see brain activity during prayer as a disorder because they do not believe in God. The will see the brain activity during prayer as people talking to themselves (schizophrenia) or as imaginary friends. This is the old chicken and egg argument. The atheists are confusing correlation with a causation.

Did the interaction with God or a true spiritual experience cause the brain activity?

Did the brain activity cause the religious experience or show evidence that a person was interacting with an imaginary god?

Pure scientific observation will not work in this situation because the data gleaned becomes purely subjective or relative to the observer. Furthermore, anti-theist logic in this situation can be turned against the atheistic mindset. What is to say that there is not a gene or genetic abnormality that causes the disorder of atheism? Atheism that is often prone to a near religious zeal of denial of the supernatural. A zeal that is often so intense that the individual becomes emotional and irrational to the point that they completely miss the fact that they are violating rules of logic and are pursing logical fallacies. What is worse is their disorder prevents them from rationally acknowledging that their logic is in error. At times ad hominem attacks are then used to compensate (my personal experience). Perhaps the lack of stimulation in these atheist brain centers is actually the disorder? Perhaps, the atheist mind (or genes) suffers from a form of theological brain damage? Perhaps the atheist’s inability to acknowledge God is a mutation in their genetic code? If genetics is indeed responsible for theism, then there is an element to it that is also responsible for anti-theism/atheism as belief is a two-way street folks.

This genetic argument could also be seen as a form of circular reasoning. A genetic theological disorder assumes that which it seeks to prove.  In attempting to advance a neuro-theological premise, an atheist assumes that the genes and/or portions of the brain that correlate to religious belief are acting improperly when they lead a person toward belief in the divine (same as above). Their claim assumes that a properly functioning brain is non-religious. In this way atheists are allowed to define the rules of data interpretation here and that is biased reasoning. Biased presuppositions, biased conclusions. Therefore if a religious brain points to God or religion, it is pointing away from truth or logic, evidence and reason according to a person that wishes to exclude God or the supernatural from "normal thinking". How could an atheist assume that brain activity accepting God is wrong? Simple, they would need to decide in advance (bringing their own presuppositions into the argument) that their conclusion is true. To me this appears to be a textbook case of circular reasoning.

To end this post I will state the following. An anti-theist or neuro-scientific oriented attempt to fabricate an argument against God is based in a quite a few violations of standard logic. Atheists have the burden of proof on them to show that a man is wrong (through evidential means) before they start explaining why he is wrong. When forcing an argument based upon neuroscience, atheists attempt to show why the Christians or the religious people are wrong without first demonstrating that we are actually wrong.  They must play by their own rules of engagement or they only end up looking like hypocrites and discrediting their own arguments. Anything else is just an illogical distraction form the truth and is completely unscientific and non-academic. They very things they pride themselves on.

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...