Atheist Philosophy

Here is a paper that I wrote for a Philosophy class. Hope you all enjoy!

One of the most fought over and debated question in history is how did we come to exist? There have been thousands of answers to this question; however, I will explore the philosophy behind two main sides of the debate, Theistic explanation and scientific explanation. For the last two thousand years God has been the most accepted explanation for our existence with science in the background. However, with the growing acceptance of scientific fact in society we can now see that it has been correct all along. Science can, and has, been disproving the likelihood of God with each new discovery. Religion has had a few main claims that many people still believe today. The claims and arguments I will explore are the immorality of Atheism, the unchanging God, Intelligent Design, the Cosmological Argument, God’s will, the Fine Tuning Argument. I will explore these arguments and systematically disprove each and every one of them using science, history, and archeology and bringing it into a philosophical argument.

One argument that is levied against Atheists, in an attempt to discredit them, is that they are immoral because they do not have absolute moral ethics that are grounded in a personal God. This sort of thing implies that Atheists will lie to you and that Atheists cannot give you good answers to questions like the origin of the Universe or of man’s origin. They ask how one can be moral if their morality is not grounded in a personal God. This statement is basically saying that the only reason that one would not steal, lie, or kill is because they believe in a personal God rather than because those things are wrong. It is important to make sure that my arguments cannot be dismissed because I am somehow immoral for not having a personal God. It is not necessary for Atheism to be true for Atheists to be moral, it is just necessary to prove that one does not need a personal God to act in a moral way. The Theistic argument can be summarized as (1) It is impossible to have a high moral character without a belief in God. (2) It is more probable than not that a person without a belief in God will not have a high moral character. (3) It is more probable than not that a person without a belief in God will not have a high moral character than that a person with a belief in God will. To refute (1), Jainists, who are Atheists, follow strict ethical codes that forbid injuring living creatures and David Hume has been described as the saintly infidel, which clearly refutes thesis 1. Thesis 2 entails that most Atheists do not have high moral characters. However, the Atheist can levy a counter argument (2’) It is more probable than not that a person with a belief in God will not have a high moral character. It is difficult to know if either one is true, or they could both be false. If (2’) is true then that would make (3) false. However, there is no proof to say that either one is true or false. We do not know if (3) is true, or why it would be true. Without better evidence than we have, the criticism of Atheists having no morality is unwarranted. William Clifford said, “It is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence.”

One claim Theists make is that God is unchanging. Augustine says, in his “Confession,” that God is unchanging. Most people agree with this, however in order to be unchanging God cannot have emotions. In the Bible we can clearly see that God displays human emotion. If this is the case the argument follows:

1. In order to be unchanging God cannot have emotions.
2. God has emotions.
3. Therefore, God is changing.

This is an important place to start because it will later disprove biblical morality. How do we know that God is changing? In the Bible when Moses is receiving the Ten Commandments and God is dictating them to Moses the very first one is “Thou shalt not have strange Gods before me.” (Exodus 20:3). Right after this he says (Exodus 20:5) “I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me.” Jealousy is an emotion that God explicitly says he has. Given this information I can make another argument against the word of God as dictated by the Bible.

1. If the Ten Commandments are true, then God is changing.
2. If God is changing, then His word is not eternal (by ‘eternal’ I mean his word/teachings are always relevant).
3. If God’s word is not eternal, then all the lessons from the Bible can be disregarded.
4. God’s word is not eternal because God is changing.
5. Therefore, the biblical lessons can be disregarded.

Given this argument then we should not regard what God tells us in the Bible as moral because they do not reflect what is moral in modern society. For example (Exodus 35:2) “Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day there shall be to you a holy day, a Sabbath of rest to the LORD: whosoever doeth work therein shall be put to death.” What does all this mean? It means that God’s lessons can change and are not necessary to modern life. Why is it important that God is changing? For centuries Christians and Catholics have based their faith on God being an unchanging perfect being. However, we can see that God is indeed changing. If God is changing then is he perfect?

1. If God is changing then he is not perfect.
2. God is changing.
3. Therefore, God is not perfect

If God is not perfect then what else has God gotten wrong? We can say, from this argument that belief in the perfect God is irrational. I will explore what else God has gotten wrong, and why it is that way by disproving other claims of God. Furthermore, if God was perfect, then he would not contradict his divine word. However, in the Bible, God contradicts himself. One example is the case of condemning homosexuality.

1. If the Bible is the inspired word of God, then it cannot contradict itself, or it would just be works on man.
2. The Bible contradicts itself.
3. Therefore, the Bible is just the works of man and is not inspired by God.

Where does the Bible contradict itself? When it talks about homosexuality it says that homosexuality is condemnable by death. Why would God want to condemn homosexuals to death?

1. If God hates homosexuals, then he would want them to be condemned to death.
2. God wants homosexuality to be condemned to death (it is in the Bible, Leviticus 20:13).
3. Therefore, God hates homosexuals.

This proves that, if the inspired word of God is the Bible, then God hates homosexuals, however God is supposed to love all his creations (1John 4:16 and John 3:16). However, if everything is God’s creation then homosexuals are God’s creations too.

1. If the Bible did not contradict itself, then God would love homosexuals.
2. God does not love homosexuals (according to the Bible).
3. Therefore, the Bible contradicts itself.

Thus, we have shown that the Bible is not a good source for information regarding science or history. It has also shown us that the Bible, which Theists believe to be the inspired word of God, contradicts itself which would be an impossibility if it were the divinely inspired word of God.

​ The origin of human life has been a thoroughly debated question among human beings for hundreds of years. Where do we come from? How did we originate? These are intrinsically important questions for human beings to know the answer to. However, science has come up with an answer that has been tested and proven, but unaccepted. It is the theory of Evolution through Natural Selection as proposed by Charles Darwin. It says, “This preservation of favourable individual differences and variations, and the destruction of those which are injurious, I have called Natural Selection, or Survival of the Fittest.” However, this is not accepted by some Theists. Instead, a Theist would say that we exist due to Creation, or Intelligent Design. These are the theory that humans were created by an intelligent being. This intelligent being, although they will avoid saying so, is the Judeo/Christian God of Abraham. The reason that I feel it is important to disprove this untested theory is because this is now being taught to kids in biology classes in 4 states (Alabama, Georgia, Kansas, and Arkansas). Intelligent Design is not science and has no room in a science class room. To make it more obvious, in a geology class you wouldn’t teach kids that the earth is flat.

1. Intelligent Design is true science, if and only if it can be scientifically tested and render the same results each and every time it is tested.
2. Intelligent Design cannot be scientifically tested because it is based on God.
3. Therefore, Intelligent Design is not true science.

Most people, when refuting my argument, would reject the second premise. However, there is a reason that Creationists made up the term Intelligent Design. They created this term so as to get this put into curriculum in science classes; however it does not change the fact the Intelligent Design is based on God, or the supernatural. This cannot be tested in a scientific context because science is supposed to give us answers to natural phenomenon, which God would not be. Take for example 3 Biblical miracles:

1. Exodus 14:21 – God parting the Red Sea for the Israelites.
2. Exodus 3:2 – The burning bush. “He looked, and behold, the bush was burning, yet it was not consumed.”
3. Matthew 28:1-6 – The resurrection of Jesus.

These are but 3 of many miracles in the Bible, from which Intelligent Design is based on. These miracles are supposedly from God, then how can we test these things in a scientific context? It would be impossible to test this. The burning bush, for example, would be difficult to test in a lab. Assume that we were able to get a bush that was grown in Egypt, around where the myth took place and we brought it to a lab. If we set fire to it, it would be consumed by the flame and turned into ash. However, the response to this would be that it was a miracle of God which we cannot test. Intelligent Design/Creation would also be a miracle of God, therefore we cannot test it scientifically. Therefore, even if Intelligent Design were true, it still would not be science because it cannot be tested scientifically. Therefore, a similar argument can be made:

1. Intelligent Design is scientifically true, if and only if it can be tested.
2. Intelligent Design cannot be scientifically tested.
3. Even if Intelligent Design were true, it would not be scientific, because it is based on supernatural phenomenon.
4. Necessarily, Intelligent Design cannot be science.

Similar to human origin, the origin of the Universe is another intrinsically important question for human beings to answer. It further helps us understand where we came from and how we came into being. This origin of the Universe has been discussed ever since human kind has been able to peer into space. Science has offered up the explanation that is called The Big Bang. The Big Bang is the theory that the Universe started as an infinitesimally small dot of energy that rapidly expanded into the Universe that we live in today. However, there is another theory that is similar to Intelligent Design. It can be explained through the Kalam Cosmological Argument which goes as follows:

1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause of its existence.
2. The universe began to exist.
3. The universe has a cause of its existence.

This argument basically states that the Universe cannot be infinite. However, there is another Cosmological Argument for causation by Thomas Aquinas which goes as follows:

1. There is an order of causes (of existence) in nature.
2. Nothing can be the cause of itself.
3. Hence, everything that is caused must be caused by something else.
4. There cannot be an infinite regress of causes.
5. Therefore, there must be a first, uncaused cause, which is God.

The conclusion of this argument seems to be quite random. It seems like anything could be in the conclusion, like Sun Ra or the Flying Spaghetti Monster. What is the defense of the Judeo/Christian God as the proper Uncaused Cause? One defense is based on motion. All things are moving, and planets are revolving around the Sun. These movements must be a result of the Unmoved Mover (God) being the force that moves these things. However, we now know that it is gravity that causes the planets to revolve around the Sun. Aquinas would probably argue that it is God that causes gravity to function and is the force causing gravity. We also know that this is not true when we look at the mass of the objects. There is a reason that all the planets in the Solar System revolve around the Sun, and that is because it is the most massive thing in the Solar System. The mass of the Sun causes a bend or dip in the fabric of space-time which the planets are revolving on. Think of one of those spiral coin funnels; when you put a coin into it, it revolves around the center until finally falling into the hole. Gravity is very much the same thing. The real question is what was the first cause of the Universe? If we agree with the Big Bang theory we can also assume that the ball of energy did not exist forever. Why did this ball expand into the Universe? Theists would have to say that God is the cause of the Universal expansion. However, Quantum Fluctuations could be a much better answer. A Quantum Fluctuation is when a particle and an anti-particle spawn from nothing and collide and are destroyed. It is postulated from this that Quantum Fluctuations were the cause of the expansion of the Big Bang, thus taking out any need for a personal God. The idea of something from nothing is a scary and unsettling idea, but much more plausible than a supernatural creator. Thus, my counter argument would only change the conclusion of the Cosmological Argument for Causation to Quantum Fluctuations rather than God as the first Uncaused Cause. These are things that we can, and have observed in the natural world today.

​ One argument that Theists throw out whenever something awful happens, like a natural disaster, is that it was God’s will. God has some plan for the people that were killed. This is a response to the Problem of Evil:

1. If God exists, then there wouldn’t be any gratuitous evil in the world.
2. There is gratuitous evil in the world.
3. Therefore, God doesn’t exist.

The refutation of this would in premise 2, that God has some plan for whom or whatever was killed that make the evil not gratuitous, which is God’s will. However, let us consider the Frankfurt Cases:

Case 1 – There are two men: Smith and Jones. Smith is pointing a gun at Jones and is deciding whether or not to shoot him. There is also an evil demon that could control the outcome. In this case Jones decides not to shoot Jones, however the evil demon forces Smith to pull the trigger and kill Jones.

Case 2 – There are two men: Smith and Jones. Smith is pointing a gun at Jones and is deciding whether or not to shoot him. There is also an evil demon that could control the outcome. In this case Smith decides to shoot Jones with his own free will, and the evil demon does nothing.

In these cases we see that the outcome was the exact same regardless of the intervention of the evil demon. So if God’s will is going to be done if we do it by our own freewill, or he forces us, then there is no difference. My argument follows:

1. If we have free will, then we can do other than God’s will.
2. We cannot do other than God’s will regardless of our own free will.
3. God’s will, will always be the end result no matter what we do (as shown by the Frankfurt Cases)
4. Therefore, if God exists, we do not have free will, only God’s will.

If this argument if true, then we would not have free will in the case that God exists. However, the Problem of Evil, as described above, would entail that God does not exist because of the existence of gratuitous evil in the world. If it is the case that God exists then my argument above is false and we do have free will.
​One of the best Theistic arguments for God’s existence is the Fine-Tuning argument. As described by Dr. Craig the Fine-Tuning argument goes as follows:

1. The fine-tuning of the universe is due to either physical necessity, chance, or design.
2. It is not due to physical necessity or chance.
3. THEREFORE: it is due to design.

Science does not have all the answers to such questions; however Theists claim to have more answers than scientists. For example, the earth being on a 23 degree tilt, or how far the earth is from the sun are evidence of fine-tuning that allowed for intelligent life to exist on earth. Theists claim that this is evidence that God has fine-tuned earth to sustain intelligent life. However, I do not think that this is very good evidence for God. In the Universe we know that there are laws that are acting around us, such as gravity, which allows for us to rotate around the sun and what keeps our feet on the ground. The fine-tuning, as described by Dr. Craig, is actually due to the laws of nature, rather than a supernatural creator. We have evidence that the laws of nature are acting around us, however we have no provable evidence for a supernatural creator. I can create an argument against an intelligent designer like such:

1. If there is an intelligent designer, then human beings and the Universe would not have design flaws.
2. Human beings and the Universe do have design flaws.
3. Therefore, they could not have been created by design.

It would seem that any intelligent designer would not have created human beings with design flaws such as the openings for breathing and swallowing are too close together, the birth canal is far too narrow, often resulting in a C-section or injury/death to the mother and child. There are similar design flaws in the Universe that we have discovered. One of those design flaws is a black hole. A black hole is a rip in the fabric of space-time; it is formed after the death of a star. It is an extremely destructive process and would be completely unnecessary in a Universe designed by any intelligent creator. Austin Dacey argued:

1. If God exists, then the world would be perfectly designed.
2. The world isn’t perfectly designed.
3. Therefore, God doesn’t exist.

​ Throughout my analysis of various Theistic arguments for God’s existence I have found there to be flaws in all of the arguments examined. I can conclude from the arguments that I have examined and from the arguments that I made, that it is more likely that God does not exist. It is more likely that the Universe, and the intelligent life on earth are due to laws of nature and science rather than a supernatural creator.

Sources

1. Michael Martin, Atheism: A Philisophical Justification (Philidelphia: Temple University, 1990).
2. Saint Augustine, The Confessions of Saint Augustine (New York: Doubleday, 1960).
3. John Perry; Michael Bratman; John Fischer, Introduction to Philosophy (New York: Oxford University Press, 2013).
4. Karen Armstrong, A History of God (Baltine Books, 1994).
5. The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Illinois: Crossway, 2001).
6. Stephen Hawking, The Grand Design (New York: Bantam Books, 2010).
7. William Craig, Reasonable Faith (Illinois: Crossway Books 3rd Edition, 2008).
8. Charles Darwin, On The Origin of Species (Empire Books, 2011)

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The Universe

The next time you find yourself outside on a warm summer’s night, look up at the sky. If you are lucky you will be able to see it lit up with tiny dots called stars. Realize that these stars are probably million of light years away, and the light you are seeing is quite ancient. Some of the stars that you are seeing may be dead by now. Allow me to explain: we can see stars that are million of light years away, but we are seeing light that the star emitted the same amount of time ago as the distance from us. For example: if we are seeing light from a star 100,000,000 light years away, the light we are seeing is 100,000,000 light years old. This may be a difficult concept to grasp, but it is beautiful and amazing that the human mind can grasp such ideas. I find this to be far more beautiful than anything religion has given us (one man’s opinion). However, lets look at history. The old teachings of the Church, in relation to the universe, said that we were living in a geocentric (Earth is the center of the universe) universe, the earth was “created” in 6 days, and all objects in the heavens (universe that we could see from looking to the sky) were perfect objects (for example they said that the moon and the sun and all the stars are perfect spheres. So lets break these down one at a time:

1. The geocentric view of the universe.
Aristarchus of Samos – 310 BCE – 230 BCE. This man figured out what causes lunar eclipses. He reasoned that the shadow of the earth caused the lunar eclipse. Why is this important? Because of his model of how it was actually the earth that moves around the sun, not the other way around. However, his works were ignored and never really came to light. However, as you cans see in the Stephen Hawking video, the inquisitive nature of human being prevailed when Galileo discovered that Venus had gibbous phases. He took from Aristarchus’ works and realized that if Venus traveled around the earth then it would not have phases. This is a very simplistic explanation, for a better one read this. Galileo, made another surprising discovery. He discovered that Jupiter has 4 moons that orbit it (for more information watch the Stephen Hawking video on my Fun Media page. This was such a revolutionary discovery that the Church ordered him to denounce his findings and they put him under house arrest. I am often quite skeptical when Church officials say that science and religion are compatible.

3. Ah yes, the age old story in Genesis, that God created the earth in six days and God rested on the seventh. This has been disproved time and time again. So in order that the bible doesn’t contradict itself the Vatican put a whole lot of spin on it. They said that the Genesis account of creation has to be interpreted allegorically. In other words, instead of saying that the story is wrong (which it is) they decided to put a whole lot of spin on the story, showing they are too proud to admit fault or that they were just plain wrong. Why are they wrong? Let’s take a look at it scientifically. We now know that the Universe was started with what we call the Big Bang. As it turn out the entire universe started out in a single point, smaller than an atom. It was made of pure energy that expanded into the universe (for a more in depth explanation click the “big bang” link for Stephen Hawking’s explanation). What evidence do we have of the Big Bang? As I said before, the Big Bang started as pure energy, that is reflected in the temperature of the universe. It is called the Black Body Radiation and it proves two things: 1.) the universe was once smaller and hotter, and 2.) the universe is around 14 (13.7) billion years old. What evidence corroborates this? In the 1920s and 30s a man named Edwin Hubble discovered that the Universe is still expanding. This is shown through Hubble’s Law. Hubble’s Law says that (1) all objects observed in deep space (intergalactic space) are found to have a Doppler shift observable relative velocity to Earth, and to each other; and (2) that this Doppler­shift­measured velocity, of various galaxies receding from the Earth, is proportional to their distance from the Earth and all other interstellar bodies. To better understand this think of a cup filled with water that has been turned upside down on a table (so as the contents doesn’t leave the cup). Now imagine that cup tipping over and the water spilling out on the table and the water spill becomes much more wide spread than it was in the cup. I would suggest reading on Hubble’s theory of expansion. Stephen Hawking says that before the Big Bang time did not exist, nothing existed, therefore there was no room for a creator to exist. This certainly gave me something to think about.

4. The objects of the heavens (stars and planets) are perfect spheres.
– Galileo also made quite an exciting discovery (which probably contributed to him
becoming blind). The sun actually has sunspots. This proved that the sun was NOT a perfect object AND actually rotates once every 27 (to 31 days depending on where you are on the earth). We have discovered craters on the moon from millions of years of meteor impacts. All of this thoroughly debunks the claim that the early church made that all heavenly bodies are perfect spheres.

This post is actually in response to something that a teacher of mine said. He told the that Richard Dawkins said that he has faith in science that it will answer all of our questions about the natural world. My teacher said that this was the same as having faith in religion, but I disagreed without really having an answer as to why I disagree. I specialize in studying history (although much of the information above is from an astronomy class that I took, I highly recommend taking one yourself if you have the opportunity) so I looked through history. As you can see science has proved again and again that the biblical accounts and religious views of the universe are wrong, so the conclusion that the facts point to is that Dawkins is being rational by saying that he has faith that science will eventually explain the natural world. Although, if I could talk to Dawkins I would suggest that he say that he is not faithful (because faith is believing in something without evidence) because he has historic and scientific evidence that science will explain the many quirks of the natural world. Faith really has nothing to do with it.

The other purpose of this post is to restore wonder to the Universe. The Universe is a curious place filled with mysteries that human beings have only scratched the surface of. When I contemplate the many wonders of the natural world I am filled with awe and inspiration. It is truly a wonderful feeling that I wish I could share with everyone. I think that science discovering these many intricate laws and workings of the Universe further adds to the grandeur that is life. I will leave you with this quote

“It is interesting to contemplate a tangled bank, clothed with many plants of many kinds, with birds singing on the bushes, with various insects flitting about, and with worms crawling through the damp earth, and to reflect that these elaborately constructed forms, so different from each other, and dependant on each other in so complex a manner, have all been produced by laws acting around us.” ~ Charles Darwin

Atheism

Many people are inclined to think that atheists are somehow bad human being, immoral, and full of irrational doubt. However, I don’t find this to be true. I am an atheist, a magician, a student, and many other things. Upon first meeting me I doubt that you would have any indication as to my personal beliefs or lack thereof. The point is that I am a human being just like anyone else on this majestic blue spec in the suburb of the Milky Way. I am not here to tell religious people that their beliefs are good for nothing, wrong, silly, or anything like that. I am however, trying to foster some sort of debate about the topic of religion, morality, and the existence of god in whatever form you may believe him (or her or them) to take. I am generally interested in this topic and I will be posting things by many authors and posing questions to whoever wants to take it on and try to answer it. I really hope that this is a positive and overall beneficial discussion!