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Basic Worldview:
102 Atheism vs. Theism


Atheism: Introduction and Charges

Prelude: "Atheism/Theism" vs. "Science, the Bible, & Creation"
Atheism: Introduction and Charges
Charge 1, Deduction and Induction
Charge 2, Question 1
Charge 2, Questions 2 and 3
Charge 2, Summary and Question 4
Charges 3 and 4, Definitions
Empirical Evidence
Scientists Acting as Mechanisms, Article 1
Scientists Acting as Mechanisms, Article 2
Scientists Acting as Mechanisms, Article 3
Occam's Razor and Conclusions
Footnote 1
Footnote 2 and 3
Proof of Life
Not Theories, Unsubstantiated Hypotheses 1
Not Theories, Unsubstantiated Hypotheses 2
Not Theories, Unsubstantiated Hypotheses 3
Not Theories, Unsubstantiated Hypotheses 4
Scientists: Life on Earth Imported from Outer Space
Atheisms Circle of Reasons
Is God a White Crow?



The Charges

There are a series of charges that Atheists and Agnostics level against Theists when it comes to the prospect of logically demonstrating the existence of a creator god. Atheists and Agnostics reject the theistic notion of a creator god on the grounds that it is illogical and scientifically unacceptable. The following are a summary of the foundational reasons behind this rejection.

Atheistic/Agnostic Charge No. 1: Theistic proofs inherently rely upon inductive reasoning, which by definition, is an invalid argument form, while Atheistic/Agnostic proofs rely upon deductive reasoning, which is a valid scientific form of argument.

Atheistic/Agnostic Charge No. 2: Such logical constructs for the existence of god always start by assuming that god exists, thus, theistic proofs inherently employ circular reasoning.

Atheistic/Agnostic Charge No. 3: There is no empirical evidence to support or necessitate a theistic assumption (that god exists, i.e. that an intelligent agent was necessary to bring about the origin of the universe and life.) All the empirical evidence only necessitates unintelligent causes.

Atheistic/Agnostic Charge No. 4: Since there is no empirical evidence to suggest or necessitate the existence of a god, the assumption of god's existence is, therefore, extraneous and unnecessary to explain the universe and the origin of life and so, Theism fails the scientific rule known as Occam's Razor and must be rejected. (Occam's Razor, also known as the Law of Parsimony, will be covered in greater depth during Question No. 3 below.)

We will now show that all four of these accusations are false. First, Theism cannot be rejected on the grounds that it relies upon induction. Second, we will demonstrate that logical constructs for the existence of a creator god start, not with assuming god exists, but with atheistic assumptions. Third, we will demonstrate conclusively that all the available empirical evidence forces us to conclude that intelligent agency is necessary to bring about the existence of life in the universe. This third claim is quite a sizable boast, but it can be accomplished using a simple and straightforward approach that both lay people and scientists will comprehend and accept the obvious logical and scientific mandate for the conclusion. Fourth, Theism does not fail Occam's Razor since the available empirical evidence does necessitate the conclusion that an intelligent agent exists and is required in order to produce life in the universe.

Terminology

Before we begin, let's clear up some terminology.

-"Atheists and Agnostics"-
So far, we have employed both the term "Atheist" and the term "Agnostic." However, from this point forward from time to time, for the sake of simplicity, we will include both groups under the single title "Atheist" for the simple reason that both Atheists and Agnostics deny a theistic interpretation of the evidence. Thus, both Atheists and Agnostics have a "non-theistic" or "atheistic view" of the evidence.

-"The Origin and Content of the Universe"-
From this point forward we will be using the phrase "the universe" to refer to "the origin and content of the universe." These two words (origin and content) are chosen in order to highlight two specific aspects of the universe. The term universe, as we will be using it in this article, refers to all of material existence. The term "origin" refers to how and when that material realm began. And the term "content" refers to all of the specific, individual items and characteristics of that material universe from gravity to bacteria to natural selection to celestial bodies to DNA and everything in between, and in particular the existence and origin of life itself. Or, as The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition defines, "universe - totality of matter and energy in existence." For the sake of simplicity, from this point forward, we will simply use the term "universe" to refer to the totality of the universe including its origin and content, particularly the content of life.

-"Logical Construct"-
A logical construct, such as a logical construct for the existence of a creator god, refers to a series of logical steps leading to a certain conclusion.

-"Empirical"-
The American Heritage¨ Dictionary of the English Language defines "empirical" as follows.

Empirical - ADJECTIVE: 1a. Relying on or derived from observation or experiment: empirical results that supported the hypothesis. b. Verifiable or provable by means of observation or experiment: empirical laws. 2. Guided by practical experience and not theory, especially in medicine.

Furthermore, The American Heritage¨ Dictionary of the English Language defines the "scientific method" in terms of "empiricism."

Scientific method - NOUN: The principles and empirical processes of discovery and demonstration considered characteristic of or necessary for scientific investigation, generally involving the observation of phenomena, the formulation of a hypothesis concerning the phenomena, experimentation to demonstrate the truth or falseness of the hypothesis, and a conclusion that validates or modifies the hypothesis.

In short, "empirical" is a scientific term referring to verifiable or observable evidence, which in turn refers to those things we experience primarily through the five sense (as opposed to things like intuition and faith.) Atheists and Agnostics charge that the empirical evidence does not warrant the conclusion that a god exists. Conversely this article will demonstrate the opposite, that the empirical evidence does require the existence of an intelligent cause for the universe and life.