Atheist arguments waxing
For the last few years I’ve noticed (and it may just be that I’m just now noticing, but I don’t think so) a number of atheist arguments that I’ve been making for a long time, years before I began this blog, gaining in popularity, being made more frequently.
Back in 2003-2005, I rarely used to see these made by people other than myself, but nowadays, they seem to be made quite commonly. Now, I don’t claim that I’m the originator, or even the popularizer of these by any stretch. They’re fairly obvious, and I presume they’ve been realized independently by many people, many times, it’s just that they seem to have gained some mindshare as of late, and I’m seeing them here and there around the net much more frequently than in years past.
1. When confronted with a line of thought like: “If God doesn’t exist, then life has no meaning,” I used to consistently see a response in which atheists enumerated the various ways they might find some meaning without God, the line of thought being, “There is too meaning without God, for example, blah blah blah” Now, it is much more likely than used to be the case to see a response along the lines of: “Yeah? So? Who says life has to have a meaning? You’re making an appeal to consequences, which btw is a logical fallacy. You may as well say something like, ‘if it’s raining outside, then you won’t stay dry! So it can’t be raining!'” This is in addition to the responses about how an atheist might find meaning, which still do appear. I think that pointing out the “appeal to consequences” fallacy being made is the stronger argument though, so I’m glad to see it being used more frequently.
2. Attacking the very concept of faith directly, and the notion that faith is a virtue. When confronted with an argument like: “I don’t have enough faith to be an atheist.” I am now seeing people pounce on the implication that a person making such a statement clearly views faith as an inferior means of acquiring knowledge, since they think that a) the atheist is wrong, and b) the atheist has arrived at his “incorrect” conclusion by means of an excess of faith. Given a and b, clearly faith is worthless as a means of arriving at a correct conclusion. A few years ago, the main response I would see would be something like “it does not take any faith to be an atheist because…blah blah blah…” or, in other words, trying to push back the argument by refuting the notion that atheism requires faith instead of the judo sidestepping move of using the momentum of the argument to attack the concept of faith directly. The refutation of the notion that atheism requires faith becomes a secondary line of argument, rather than the primary line.