September 15, 2015

In Their Own Words XXXVII: Quantum Nihilism -or- Faith To Believe In Nothing

To all the atheists that will go apoplectic or tend towards hysterics every time someone says that atheism is a religion I present to you a statement from George Klein (an atheist)…

“I am an atheist. My attitude is not based on science, but rather on faith. . . The absence of a Creator, the non-existence of God is my childhood faith, my adult belief, unshakable and holy.” - George Klein ‘The Atheist in the Holy City.’

At least Klein is being philosophically and intellectually honest with his statement. Atheism is nothing new, and yes, it’s a religion. It is a belief system or a religion of "no God". A religion being defined as a set of beliefs that dictate a person’s worldview or perception of reality that can include the following characteristics: A material dimension/aspect, ritual/rituals, ethics/virtue, doctrinal beliefs of philosophies, a social dimension, a logical basis and a narrative or meta-narrative.

When confronted with the statement that their belief is a religion an atheist's retort is usually along the line of: "If atheism is a religion, then not playing baseball is a sport." Although this is an adroit and ingenious response, it is telling of the mindset of the atheist. They view atheism as an ontological negative or absence of belief not an actual belief. They are in error intellectually. One of the prerequisites for being a religion does not require that a deity be affirmed or believed in. It requires that one have a set of beliefs that are adhered to (in most cases in a dogmatic manner...just like atheists do). A case in point similar to atheism is Buddhism. Buddhism is non-theistic. For all basic purposes, Buddhism is atheistic yet it is considered a religion. Atheists therefore believe there is no God and that takes a leap of faith just as much as believing that God exists. Operative word: Believe/Belief. No empirical facts to back up the claim. Denial of something does not make it not exist. It is just a shifting of the burden of proof.

Furthermore, many of the attributes of religion are also manifested in atheism. Included in the list:

They have a worldview--they are naturalists or materialists. They believe that the physical universe is all that exists. They have a dogmatic orthodoxy---If you step outside of it you are mercilessly beat down. They believe that science (scientific method) can explain everything and that no other source of information is acceptable to glean objective data/information from. As mentioned previously they believe it is possible for an adherent of their belief system to apostatize---If you digress from the naturalist explanations you are considered apostate and ostracized from scientific ranks similar to excommunication. They have a meta-narrative: Evolution and mutation and in some really eccentric cases Panspermia (again, a belief or theory, no empirical data). They even have prophets and messiahs: Marx, Engels, Darwin, Nietzsche, Russell, etc.  They have fundamentalist preachers and evangelists too: Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris, etc.

When we view atheism in light of the last paragraph we see that atheism is not just the lack of belief in a god, but an outright assertion about the non-existence of any gods, spirits, divinity or supernatural beings. It indeed is a worldview or philosophy devoid or nearly devoid of metaphysics. Atheists in this sense are fundamentalist in their physical naturalism
Sola Fide Scientia! They make overarching claims to things they cannot know for sure, therefore they can only arrive at their conclusions through (imagine this)…a faith or belief in something not provable through experimentation or observable. They make just as much of a Kierkegaardian "leap of faith" as any religious person does. As long as there has been a man around arrogant enough to deny God exists, there has been atheism. When they make the leap of faith to proclaim no God, they are also making an epistomological leap leaving the physical realm and firmly planting a foot into the realm of theology and metaphysics. Atheists making theological statements. How novel.

Atheism in the truest sense is a philosophical position which asserts that no supernatural beings or forces exist. Yet they have no proofs for said assertions. Instead, atheists contend that all phenomena in the universe, including human thought and morality are products of either nature, evolution or mutation. They cannot possibly have no divine origin. To atheists we are nothing but the sum product of atomic and chemical reaction slowly drifting through the darkened cosmic void (stellar wasteland). Because of this, most hard atheists do not believe in the existence of a human soul that survives death nor a “life spark” that makes a person more than the sum of their atom, molecules or cells. In theological terms they are Annihilationists.

How utterly depressing and nihilistic.

Interestingly, modern atheism has been inexorably predisposed and manipulated by the writings of the atheist prophets Marx, Freud, and Friedrich Nietzsche. All of these secular prophets saw Judeo-Christian religion/values as a socieo-cultural human creation. For the most part they saw religions as being created out of evolutionary necessity. In the end they all saw religions as vestiges of the past and were now holding humanity back from advancing.  Marx believed religion functioned like a drug to keep people enslaved to the ruling class. He called it the “Opium/Opiate of the Masses”. Freud more boldly asserted that "religion was an illusion". Nietzsche ignorantly proclaimed that "God was dead".  All of them believed in atheism and a focus on the self/humanity in some form believing this was necessary to overcome human suffering and to reach a climax of human potential. This of course is strangely akin to Saṃsāra commonly known in Buddhism as the wheel/cycle of suffering. Samsara being the move away from ignorance characterized by suffering and anxiety and towards liberation. Yet never once did these educated men see their belief systems for what they were: A tired and true religion. 

I imagine it must take a lot of energy to maintain such a stalwart front of nihilistic belief in the face of such obvious natural revelation from God in the world around the atheist. It is as if one deliberately, in faith, tries insanely hard to believe in nothing. They try in vain to suppress the truth (Romans 1:18-23). It must be truly exhausting to believe in a zero-sum-game against the mounting evidences of supernatural origin in the complexity of cells, DNA and the other-worldliness of the sub-atomic or Quantum realm.

The principal and perhaps sole intellectual driving force behind the rise of the new militant westernized atheistic jihad has been the false idea that concrete, testable data is the exclusive portal to reliable beliefs. This is false and irrational. Nonsense remains nonsense; even when it is uttered by world-renowned scientists and so-called "highly educated" people.

If we look into the recent past we would've seen more rational, reasonable and logical statements from respected scientists like Max Plank (1858-1947). Plank being the intellectual equivalent of all the intellectual "titans" mentioned thus-far. He made a statement about the intrinsic role of faith. Faith not only in religion (which is sort of implied between the lines of Plank's statement) but also having faith to believe some of the things that are seen in nature and science. I'm guessing Plank would’ve known best because he was one of the first to deal with the strange world of Quanta. Plank realized that we ourselves are part of the mystery that is reality and we cannot even fully explain that, yet science tries to explain things in a conspicuous absence of God. This in light of the fact that we cannot even fully figure out the things we can see that God created which are the effect of an obvious cause.

Plank, patriarch of Quantum Theory wrote the following:

“Anybody who has seriously been engaged in scientific work of any kind realizes that over the entrance to the gates of the temple of science are written the words: Ye must have faith. It is a quality which the scientist cannot dispense with… Science cannot solve the ultimate mystery of nature. That is because, in the last analysis, we ourselves are a part of nature and therefore a part of the very mystery that we are trying to solve.” ~Max Plank

{Addendum: Sorry folks, I called the post Quantum Nihilism as a tongue-in-cheek joke. I am merely mimicking science's proclivity to ostentatiously name theories with over the top multi-syllable words to make overly simplistic theories seem important when they are nothing more than outright nonsense. The second part of the title is more in line with the context of this blog post. :) }


Anonymous said...

"Atheists therefore believe there is no God and that takes a leap of faith just as much as believing that God exists. Operative word: Believe/Belief. No empirical facts to back up the claim. [...] It is just a shifting of the burden of proof."

Do you have empirical facts to back up your disbelief in magical leprechauns?

Andy Pierson said...

We could go around and around about this online. I will try and be as clear and non-condescending as possible. It is not my intent to further alienate you even though you’ve attacked my beliefs in intolerance. I will merely reply in the following way. Firstly, you do not get to define the terms of this debate (which is what you are trying to do with the burden of proof statement). Epistemology and philosophy do. I can see from your attack on my “magical leprechauns” that you are oversimplifying this with time=worn internet straw man argument. Either that or you do not understand epistemology and realize that there are two types of knowledge when determining what reality is. There is a thing called a posteriori knowledge which is post-evidential and can require empirical data and tangible observable evidence (scientific method). There is also a priori or that which comes through intuition, pre-evidential or faith in the preponderance of a pattern…such as mathematics and metaphysical. You’re mixing apples and oranges. A posteriori evidences cannot bridge this chasm and if you brought this up you should know this…or you are being disingenuous. That being said, logic through reasoning based in millennia old philosophy can reason for the existence of a priori truths like God as can syllogisms such as the Kalam Cosmological Argument or the Teleological Argument.

It is your kind, empiricists/naturalists in general that require a posteriori scientific evidence. I geared my article to bridge the gap between the two because…empiricist and atheists tend to be ignorant of the Bible and (admittedly) Christians often tend to be ignorant of science and logic. I and all theists require only faith and revealed word of God. I only wrote this article based in absolute truths or a plausible theoretical omniscient God and empirical evidence to try and reach the lost like you to help you bridge the gap between theism and anti-theism. I also wrote it to Christians who would understand that the path to God is only Sola Fide or through faith alone but usually have not logical syllogism or reason involved in their thinking. It appears it was a fool’s errand because you seem to be content in your spiritual blindness (which the Bible ironically said you would be in Romans 1:18, John 5:5).

As for the shifting of the burden of proof. We both could claim the other is “arguing from ignorance” because you are claiming that I and my proposition are only assumed to be true because it has not yet been proved false. You on the other hand are assuming my proposition to be false because it has not yet been proved true. Either way in ends in a stalemate. My argument for God through a Cosmological or Teleological logic syllogisms would meet the general requirements for my burden of proof based on Aristotelian philosophy. This then shifts the burden of proof back to you to do the same (I’ll provide the syllogisms if you would like them). I will need to stand on this assertion since we will not agree on using a posteriori and a priori knowledge together because you appear to be content with only a posteriori knowledge. All of this then becomes a moot point because if we cannot agree on the terms or constraints of what knowledge is for a debate (Law of Identity)…there is no valid debate.

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