Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Atheism Is Wish Fulfillment

In a recent Twitter debate with an atheist (now a pair - the first called for reinforcements), we established that the atheist had no theory of free will or self nor any clear idea how they were going to arise from science. And yet, he knew that such things existed. I told him that he was describing faith. His response was that he hated the word "faith" as it implied weak-mindedness.

My response was that I had come to see non-nihilist atheism as lazy and weak-minded. None of them had thought their position through at all. Just like this character, they ended up with Tooth Fairy Atheism, where they believed in free will and believed in themselves as independent, thinking entities despite not having anything solid from materialism to back it up. His last response to me was pitch-perfect.

He said I believed in "no-evidence magic" and he wasn't weak-minded at all. No evidence, no refutation, no chain of deductions, just that. He had just gone back and forth with me over and over showing that his logical constructs were identical to mine, but with no hope of any path to get to where he needed to go - free will - and could only come back with, "No, you're a dummy!"

It's not that he doesn't believe in God, it's that he doesn't want to. Everything he has constructed in his world-view is designed to disprove God. Whether it disproves his own existence in the process is irrelevant. This isn't logic or philosophy, it's simple wish-fulfillment. He doesn't want there to be a God, so he sticks his fingers in his ears and hums.

His ally, by the way, turned out to be less than useful. Last night he came at me with this one. 'Maths (sic) and chemistry are different. In science there are no "facts" only strong evidence.' If any of you can figure out where they're going with that nonsense, let me know.



B-Daddy said...

KT, admirable stuff. I don't know where they are going either, because chemists and physicists always attempt to describe their theories with mathematics. Chemistry, physics and mathematics are attempts to describe the world with manipulable symbology in the hopes that new insight will be revealed, which often happens. However, new insight that ascribes meaning to human existence can not arise from such disciplines.

With respect to your atheist friends, they did not use the more sophisticate argument that free will is an illusion that arises because at the atomic level precise prediction of outcome is not deterministic. The result is that we appear to be choosing outcomes based on our actions, as in the Schrodinger cat experiment. The quantum mechanical theory is that solutions "coalesce" due to the act of observation. While that seems ridiculous, the alternate multiverse explanation also seems ridiculous. While I do not ascribe to a theory that there is no free will, it is more defensible.

K T Cat said...

B-Daddy, thanks for the kind words. My friend on Twitter tried the subatomic uncertainty angle. The problem with that is it results in animism. Everything has subatomic particles, so everything is similarly self-aware.

IlĂ­on said...

"If any of you can figure out where they're going with that nonsense, let me know."

From experience, I expect something like this -- "I, being all scientistical, and all, don't have/believe Big-T Truths, like you do (you poor sap). All 'Science!' can offer are small-t 'truths' (which are, of course, subject to change) ... THEREFORE, my position (and I, myself) is intellectually (and morally) superior to your position (and to you)"