Sunday, March 11, 2012

Dawkins Not Sure if God Doesn't Exist

Infamous Atheist spokesman Richard Dawkins has done it again.  He has once again demonstrated to the world why the religion Atheism - that presents itself as rational - makes no sense.  During a debate at Oxford University with Dr. Rowan Williams, Anglican archbishop of Canterbury, Dawkins states that he is not sure if God doesn't exist.  

This goes to show that Atheism is nothing more than a contrarian presupposition which posits that there is no God without empirical evidence to support that claim.  It is a placebo for the one who is indignant at God and/or religion.  

Science has recently shown that the human being is "wired" to believe in God.  Some say this is a survival mechanism; however, that argument is not strong.   Suppose God is not real and is imaginary.  How can this figure of the imagination help humanity survive?  How can evolving man survive being hunted by larger animals, survive diseases without immunity and so on with the notion of an imaginary being called God?  It makes no sense.  It is like believing in a genie in a lamp.   

A more rational hypothesis is that we are "wired" to believe in God because there is a God and that is how He programmed our physical minds and bodies to seek Him.  Think about it.  When we are hungry and smell food, just the smell of food gets the digestive system going.  We salivate, our gastric pumps get busy.

Biologically speaking, our sense of smell is working alongside with the digestive system.  It tips off the stomach by letting it know food is around.   Now would it not be the same with this "wired" belief in God?  Since it is there, then it is there to serve a purpose of contact or awareness just like the sense of smell with food and the stomach.  

Philosophy reminds us that we have the rational capacity to question everything, even whether or not we are real.  It reminds us that we can think beyond the perceivable and try to find objective truth that eludes the senses which are subject to perception and malfunction.  Ratio and intellectus exist for a reason.     

Dawkins deep down knows there is a God, but he in his arrogance refuses to accept it.  He is an Agnostic.  Most Atheists are really Agnostics.  They do not comprehend the difference between the two.  



  1. Here, there are a couple of items I take issue with. First is the idea that atheism is, in your words, a "contrarian presupposition." Indeed, atheism literally means the non-belief in a diety or dieties. However, I think you've missed the reason why people such as Richard Dawkins label themselves as atheists. First, it's because most people will refer to them as atheists just because they don't believe in their particular diety. The term has evolved, in particular in the United States, to reflect anyone who opposes the belief in that culture's god (Christianity). Secondly, atheism is a much stronger word than agnosticism - a word which connotes indifference. The new atheism movement is more than indifferent; it is a display of strong opposition to religion. Lastly, Richard Dawkins says he does not believe in god, but he doesn't rule the idea out. As he would say, it's kind of like fairies. I don't think there are any fairies, but I can't absolutely rule them out. Now, that doesn't make me agnostic towards fairies, does it? I'm not saying it's just as probable for there to be fairies than for there not to be. All I'm saying is I don't believe in fairies because there is a strong probability that there aren't any fairies. This is the same for god. The letter "a" as a prefix for "a"theism means not theistic or without theism. So, there's nothing contradictory about people who are open-minded enough not to rule god out who prefer to be acknowledged as atheists.
    The second thing I take issue with is your idea that belief in god is not a potent survival mechanism. Belief in god is a strong coping tool for those who suffer tremendous hardship. Primitive Man would have, no doubt, found great comfort, strength, and inspiration from belief in a god. There are people, to this day, that would give up on life if they found out there is no god. It's one of the main reasons some atheists question whether the world would be better off without religion; some say the world would be worse. Regardless, this is a very viable argument for the reason why humans are "wired" to believe in god and shouldn't be so readily dismissed.

    1. Check out my debate post with "atheist crusader" regarding the word Atheism. I break it down to the Greek.

      I wrote: "Atheism is not a lack of belief. The word comes from the Greek "a- Theos" which means "without god or gods" and is used in the negative in that it is a rejection of gods. The "a" means "without" for example: asexual or "without sex." This is also used in the word Agnostic which means "without knowledge" which is in turn translated as someone who doesn't think anything is knowable. So the word "Atheism" cannot mean lack of belief in anything. A word that would better fit your definition is "Apisteuo" which literally means, "lacking belief, without belief." So you're an Apisteo not an Atheist." -

      Moreover, if you are no certain of something, that is Agnosticism. So literally you described yourself as an Agnostic in regards to fairies just ask Dawkins did regarding God.

      I disagree regarding your point about god as a "coping tool." In my experience both as an Atheist and now a believer, I have found that people lost faith when they encountered a hardship. For example, being from New York I know well the impact 911 had on us. I know of heavily religious families who destroyed their Rosaries and other items because of the death of their loved ones. Moreover, even today I know of people who lost faith and want nothing to do with God because of personal tragedy or scandals among Christians. Where was God as a "coping tool?" God became the object of their anger.

      I don't think anyone will kill themselves if there were no god. It will probably inspire them to live life to the fullest since there is "nothing else afterwards." The saying, "live your day as if it were your last" would be taken to the extreme. If you only have 70-80 years or 120 of life and afterwards nothing, wouldn't you want to enjoy those years instead of putting a bullet through your head?

      Another problem I see which I didn't mention in my post is that human beings learn through interaction with nature. We learn through our senses. So a child cannot know what something is until he/she experiences it and then the mind attaches memory and a label to it. So for primitive man to have "god" as a mechanism is strange. He/she would have had to experience this "god" first by means of the senses in order to be aware of it and label it as being "out there" as a survival mechanism upon which to rely upon.

  2. I want to briefly respond to this in the spirit of continuing this as a discussion instead of some kind of argument or debate. I will refrain, to the best of my ability, from using any type of deceptive debate tactics, and I will expect the same in return. The reason I am adding this disclaimer is because your response feels a bit disingenuous.
    The reason I wanted to address the term “atheism” is because you stated in your article that, “Most Atheists are really Agnostics. They do not comprehend the difference between the two.” We both know Richard Dawkins knows the difference, and I bet as an atheist you knew the difference as well. The modern definition of “atheist” is indubitably a person who does not believe in God. If we cannot agree on living in the same reality, our discussion may as well stop right now. We look at the Greek and Latin etymological roots of languages in order to gain a better understanding of their meaning – NOT to look at root words and apply them literally in the word’s application. I’ll entertain this etymological ploy only to point out that it is inconsistent with your statement, “Dawkins deep down knows there is a God, but he in his arrogance refuses to accept it. He is an Agnostic.” According to your translation, this says “Dawkins deep down knows there is a God, but he… [is without knowledge of god].” So, which is it? You can put whatever figurative spin you wish on this statement, but my real point is this type of nonsense adds nothing to – what should be – an intelligent discussion. Your ostensible use of an ad hominem tactic (something I’ve noticed you are very quick to call others out on) against someone unable to defend himself really doesn’t advance any purpose; not to mention you completely ignored the rest of my statement. New atheism is about being hostile towards organized religion (and their gods). Agnosticism would be inadequate because it does not capture the true essence of what Dawkins and new atheism represent. Regardless of all this etymological buffoonery, I believe it is completely justified, and consistent with modern usage, for Dawkins and others to be open-minded enough to not rule out God’s existence and in the same breath call themselves atheists. Apisteuo seems to be an adequate replacement, but why change something that doesn’t need fixed? Atheism seems to work just fine for everyone else.
    I would just like to make a very quick note about or discussion of a god as a coping tool. You don’t think the belief in god can bring comfort to people in hard times, yet you’re a man of the Church who promotes belief in God and prays for people who are suffering? That’s just something I thought was a bit odd is all. Feel free to opine if you like. As for people turning away from God in times of turmoil, I think we were both wrong. A more honest answer is probably somewhere in-between. Regardless, I think it’s something that needs more consideration.
    I’ll respond to the other post when I get the chance. Oh, and please stop capitalizing atheist; it is not a proper noun. In the words of Bill Maher, “atheism is a religion like abstinence is a sex position.” 

    1. Most Agnostics or so called "atheists" will resort to the "disingenuous" or "dishonest" card when confronted with facts that dispute their claims. This is nothing new. I myself have done it years ago when I debated Christians and Muslims. You can see this in my Twitter chats and in my critique of online Atheist blogs. They attack me instead of my points.

      Atheists really do not comprehend the difference between Atheism and Agnosticism. If you COMPLETELY reject the concept of God, then you are an Atheist. If you are not sure whether there is a God or not, then you are an Agnostic. If you hold no belief at all, then you are an Apisteo. It is as simple as that. What you understand and label as the "modern" definition is merely colloquialism. I prefer to stick by the actual meaning of the word, not what others apply to it.

      For example, some in the United States of America believe "Christian" refers to Protestants only. Catholic is interpreted as something different. We all know that Catholics are Christian. We are part of Christ's original Church. The same is done with the word "Atheism." People apply definitions to them in order to make the word more suitable to describe what they want.

      You write: "“Dawkins deep down knows there is a God, but he in his arrogance refuses to accept it. He is an Agnostic.” According to your translation, this says “Dawkins deep down knows there is a God, but he… [is without knowledge of god].” So, which is it?"

      My comment must be understood alongside the blog post which is highlighting Dawkin's claim that he is not sure if there is a God.

      A) He does not believe in God
      b) He is not sure there is a God

      So therefore, he is an Agnostic.

      Regarding the Ad hominem accusation, I fail to see this. All I do is reply to each point without attacking the person. What statement did I ignore? I answered your "coping tool" claim.

      I understand your concern regarding the terms Atheism etc; however, I bring them up because as an Atheist I realized I was living a lie. Many self proclaimed "Atheists" are not aware that words have real meanings. They see a chic movement and blindly follow it without question.

      In order to be an Atheist, one has to completely reject the idea of God as hogwash and an impossible concept to rationally hold. Anyone who calls him/herself an Atheist, but leave the door open for the possibility of the existence of God is an Agnostic, not Atheist.

      To some, belief in God might help, but to others it may not. Many saints doubted God during hardships! This is often called the "Dark night of the soul." It is part of Spiritual maturation. As a Christian, we put value to suffering. This concept sounds strange to those outside the Church but it makes sense. Suffering puts things into perspective. It humbles us and reminds us that we are not be all end all. However, not everyone has the discipline to withstand it and doubt or begin to hate God.

      I capitalize certain words to make them stand out. For example, God, Catholic, Abortion, Gay, Pride, Contraception, Sex Ed, etc. In the blog, I want people to notice each point being made and not just read it like a newspaper.

      I wouldn't rely on a comedian as a source. Bill Maher is a confused ignorant individual who capitalizes on serious topics by making them comical.

  3. This essentially answers your question; it is from Paul Brians, Emeritus Professor of English at Washington State University:

    Neither atheism nor religion can be 100% certain. Atheism is similar to religion in the sense that they are both beliefs. Any rational atheist is obviously not going to outright reject the minute possibility of a god. That would be absurd. Atheism is based upon observation of the natural world. This observation comes through many mediums including history, science, mathematics, and so on. You're forcing upon atheism a definition that is irrational and then saying it's irrational, i.e., a "contrarian presupposition." The definition always applied to atheism is the non-belief in god. Belief does not mean certainty. Religious people are still religious even though they do not KNOW god exists. Similarly, atheists are still atheists even though they do not KNOW god does not exist because they still BELIEVE he does not exist.

    Professor Brians and I are on the same page, and I hope this helps you as well. I know little about what you believe, know, or have been through in your life. Regardless, please do not allow such prejudices to cloud your judgment. Some people turn away from religion for the wrong reason, and I believe some atheists turn away from atheism for the wrong reason. Personally, I was raised in a Baptist family. I was Christian until approximately adulthood. I attended a Methodist college where I continued to struggle with reality and scripture - eventually accepting my atheism. So, I've seen both sides and I know which one I prefer to be on.

  4. The link you provided does not expound much on the words as I have. They are merely the opinions of the author. I would have to read the book to see what sources he uses to propose these claims. The detailed explanation I gave is one I formulated based on what I learned during my English college courses, the book Anthology of Atheism and Rationalism and my own research.

    There are indeed "Atheists" who deny God's existence as fact and with an air of arrogance. However, when asked for proof of this, they begin to shift burdens. Atheism is not rational for this very reason. As you have said, it is a belief just like religion. Therefore, it cannot truly verify its claims, empirically speaking. As I have stated before, the word "Atheism" has been used in different contexts and in different situations. It is important that we stick to the original meaning of the word. I used the word "asexual" previously as an example. It means "without sex." The "a" means without and "sexual" well we all know what that means. "Atheism" is similar. "A" means without and "theism" mean God or gods. It is literally without God(s) and was used in the negative according to Stein in the aforementioned book. It is a rejection of the concept of God.

    In your last point regarding this you have contradicted yourself. You say that atheism is "non-belief in god" and then go on to say that atheists are "still atheists ... because they still believe he does not exist." So which one is it? Is Atheism "non-belief" or is it a belief that he does not exist. In light of your confusion my suggestion is to stick to what the word actually means, not applied colloquial definitions. You will see "Atheists" fight among themselves regarding how they see themselves.

    What prejudices am I allowing to cloud my judgment? I am merely stating my experiences. How can I be prejudice with personal experiences? Religious people who abandon their beliefs mainly do so because of failure to grasp or live by its tenets. Atheists who convert do so because they found a "reason" to believe that Atheism just cannot contradict. I'm sorry for your experience with the Methodist sect and I can understand why you would abandon it for Atheism. Protestantism offers many ideas regarding God, Jesus and Scripture. This plethora of ideas often leads to confusion and questioning when young people reach college years.

  5. If Richard Dawkins said he was sure gods do not exist, he would not be a very good scientist, would he? Most atheists are agnostic. An agnostic atheist says 'I cannot be sure gods do not exist but I do not believe that they do.' They have the same position on mermaids and werewolves and other supernatural beings.

    I have never claimed to know that gods don't exist. Perhaps one does. Perhaps your one does but at present there is no reason to think so and if I tried to believe in everything that large numbers of people have claimed to exist I would go insane - 30,000 gods and even more mythical creatures.

    You must do the same surely? Do you claim to know that mermaids do not exist or would you say that you can't know that for sure but there is no reason to think they do exist so you'll assume they don't until there is some reason to change your mind?

    1. Yes, most atheists are agnostics. This is why they cannot assert with confidence the non-existence of God. There is a big difference between agnosticism and atheism. Atheism posits the non-existence of God, agnosticism is not sure. This uncertainty does not automatically mean disbelief.

      There is only one God. There can only be one, logically speaking. The many gods man describes are his attempt to describe the one God. Man in his limited intelligence and language is not able to describe God. Hence, God Himself revealed His presence to the Jews under the name "YHWH" eventually preparing the way for the incarnation where the Son - second person of the Blessed Trinity - would take on flesh, become human in all things except sin. This is why Christianity is successful. God actually came to us, we did not go to Him. This appearance on Earth was so powerful that its affects still lasted centuries later.

      Well mermaids I understand to come from primitive man's confusion regarding marine life. There is an origin for the mermaid myth. No one can do this with God. My position is that if you can show the origin of a myth, then you have validated it as a myth.


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