YEC Atheists



How does that apply here, and how is it justified?

(John Harshman) #22

If you have an advantage, then you can help me out by translating. What did @rspeir mean by all that? I presume he wasn’t serious about the claim to be trolling. But what did all that mean? Was he claiming that we can’t see evidence of God because God hides? If so, I have further questions. If not, what?

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #23

If proper basic beliefs exist that cannot be justified with evidence (and they do), then this becomes an absurd epistemology:

It means that skepticism/empericism applied consistently would lead to nihilism. Skepticism of this sort effectively dismantles nearly every important claim. You are putting forward an epistemology that epistemologists abandoned decades ago.

(Curtis Henderson) #24

I have not studied this closely, but it is my general perception that atheists, especially those with a scientific background, have trouble accepting these dual requirements for belief in scientifically-minded theists. Would you tend to agree, or disagree?

(r_speir) #25

Bertrand Russell was far dumber than we give him credit for – or, he was bluffing. I believe the latter. See, Russell cunningly and deliberately fabricated the china teapot in his argument as a mental construct only. A fantasy. If it existed at all, it was an unseen, untraceable, and unprovable by-product or member of an otherwise enormous system that surrounded it and predated it. Our burden to prove or disprove the existence of his phony teapot is therefore trite and of no consequence.

However, on the other hand, Russell knew that if there was even the remote possibility that his china teapot exhibited God-like characters and had not only predated but also created the very universe in which it was hiding, the burden then shifted to him to disprove its existence.

What he gave us to try and prove was inconsequential to his argument. What he forced himself to dis-prove was damning.

(John Harshman) #26

@swamidass, care to translate this perfectly rational argument for those of us who can only manage to see it as incoherent?

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #27

I think Russel was bluffing too.

I don’t agree with this part.

That is right. His teapot analogy is an obviously invalid analogy. I think this has been fairly well known for a while. Russel was putting forward a type of positivism that just ended up being incoherent. What ended it? God and Other Minds, by Plantinga. No serious philosopher is a positivist any more. Though, many YEC Atheists think they are!

This article gives the story correctly: Positivism and the Burden of Proof - The Veritas Forum - The Veritas Forum


Hope that helps!


That’s a big “if” at the beginning of the proposition.

How does skepticism/empiricism lead to nihilism?

Also, there are plenty of modern skeptics and positivists. I think most scientists would be stunned to hear empiricism has been abandoned.

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #29

Not really. The key example is: Other Minds. See the link I posted.


The same argument would apply to a tea pot that someone believed predated and also created the universe. The same logic applies to all claims regardless of their import.


Since we are replacing discussion with dismissal, then we can safely ignore Platinga since no serious philosopher accepts his ideas any more.

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #32

His recent work has been less accepted. I’m nor aware of anyone who still disputes God and Other Minds. That is the book that puthim in the map.

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #33

There is no way to emperically demonstrate other minds to a dedicated skeptic. Without other minds, ethics, logic, and quite a bit just collapses.

(Matthew Dickau) #34

I’m not completely familiar with the literature, but Plantinga was far from alone in dismantling the philosophy of positivism. IIRC, Quine was another major influence against it, with his paper “Two Dogmas of Empiricism”.

And yeah, as far as I can tell, properly basic beliefs are required for any consistent epistemology: science needs them too. The rules of deductive and inductive inference, for example, are not determined empirically. Neither is the belief that there is an external physical world.


Sure there is. We can observe other people behaving consistently with what we would expect to see from a person with a mind. That is what convinces this skeptic that other minds exist.

(Neil Rickert) #36

This seems to be a typical theist’s misunderstanding of atheism.

If they already don’t see any trace of God, there is nothing for them to eliminate.

If God makes his existence invisible, then there is already no reason for the atheist to believe that he exists. From the atheist’s perspective, there’s no important difference between “God does not exist” and “the world is the way that we would expect it to be if there is no God.”

(Neil Rickert) #37

Epistemology is absurd anyway.

(Neil Rickert) #38

Fair enough. However, from the point of view of the atheist, the same can be said of their alleged burden to disprove the existence of gods.

(r_speir) #39

False. You must eliminate the possibility that he is hiding from you.

(John Harshman) #40

Slightly. You at least allude to an argument and it’s possible that you even link to one. I would prefer if you would actually make the argument, but I’ll take what I can get.