The New Atheism’s Leap of Faith

There is on the rise something called the new atheism. It has come on the scene thanks to books like Daniel Dennett’s Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion, Sam Harris’ Letter to a Christian Nation and of course our friends the rational responders. Though there really is nothing new in the atheistic belief system itself, since most of them are naturalists, nor in the arguments they are presenting, what seems to be new is that these preachers of atheism have become much more dogmatic in their stance. Some of them are even preaching doom and gloom if religion or belief in God is not eradicated. Most of them though center in on one thing, and that is that they simply want to know the truth, instead of buying into some myth, and this is what everyone ought to be doing.

This idea that everyone ought to be doing this raises a problem though. Putting aside the question for a moment of whether or not there is a God; let us look at this claim of “oughtness” from within their naturalistic worldview. As Ravi Zacharias has so aptly pointed out, “wherever one finds “oughtness,” it is always linked together with a believed purpose in life. Purpose and oughtness are inextricably bound.”

What he is getting at is that the only way we can ever say that something is not as it ought to be is if we know what its purpose and function is. For example, the only way anyone can say that a watch is not working correctly, is if they know how it is supposed to work in the first place, or in other words how it was designed to work. If the watch has no purpose or proper function assigned to it, than there is no way to say that it is functioning incorrectly.

But this is exactly the problem that the naturalist runs into. Since naturalism cannot account for mankind’s purpose or proper function, it has no way of saying how it ought to be. Within the naturalistic worldview, mankind was not designed for any specific purpose; we are the product of a “blind watchmaker” which has no purpose in what it is doing. This lack of purpose makes any real statement of what ought to be, absolutely groundless.

These new atheist with their strong focus on reason and being logical seem to be making blind leap of faith from a purposeless creation to what they think ought to be. It seems like the responders are not being as rational as they had hoped.

-Doug-

47 thoughts on “The New Atheism’s Leap of Faith

  1. Certainly no unqualified “ought” can come naturalism or atheism, that doesn’t preclude atheists from having an opinion on what one ought to do though.

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  2. I think it is important for Christians to counter atheist arguments, such as the ones you quoted, and counter them well. Unfortunately, you are attributing an argument that it is not clear they are making. The argument for intelligent design or “purpose and oughtness are inextricably bound”, is a very very weak one. At least one of the authors you quoted are aware of that, which is why they do not use it as an underpinning of their belief system. You are using a foundation that they consider irrelevant and untenable to judge the validity of their arguments, which is shortsighted. If you really want to challenge the atheists, you might want to learn how to play in their ballpark.

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  3. Well, if that is the stance you wish to take, then you should be able to understand why the atheists do not take your responses seriously. And you cannot hope to actually convert any atheists. It seems to me that you are writing to the people who already believe as you do; which is certainly o.k.. But you should not be surprised as to why this sort of talk is not horribly effective in anything except making Christians feel better about their own beliefs.

    Which again, is perfectly fine and it has it’s place.

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  4. Aikaterine,

    All this post is really asking, is how do you justify “oughtness” for mankind without a design or purpose for mankind. If the atheist cannot provide one, then they have no grounding to tell any theist that they “ought” or “ought not” do something, but this is exactly what the writers for the new atheism are doing. The argument is quite simple really, and your answer is that the argument is irrelevant and untenable, but calling an argument names is not the same as answering it.

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  5. It looks like I should have worded my thoughts more clearly. First, when I said that the argument was irrelevant and untenable, I was trying to speak from the perspective of an Atheist. And I was making a point about how one should go about a debate if the goal of the debate is to convert the opponent to your side. In my experience, the best way to convince someone of your point is to attack their arguments from within their ‘language’ if you will. Christians cannot expect to convert intelligent atheists by using arguments that atheists consider to be irrelevant. Regardless of the validity of the argument.

    As far as your questions about justifying “oughtness” there are many arguments that answer your question. A freshmen level philosophy of religion class would have introduced you to them. And it seems to me that you are intelligent, so I imagine that you are aware of them. I have no idea why you pretend that they do not exist.

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  6. It is interesting, I agree. Of course, these discussions never have scientific data, neither the Atheist nor the Religious side. Because we are not talking about science. So, if the Atheist arguments are less than useful because they do not have hard scientific backing, then the Christian ones are not any better.

    And neither Atheists nor Christians have hard and fast answers to any of these questions, that is the beauty of these type of talks. They just go on and on.

    But, I will say this. You do not seem to have a good grasp of the Atheist perspective. Their arguments are considerably more varied than the one or two horribly weak ones you have listed.

    I am not Atheist, so I do not know them all. But I am a philosophy student and had to take more than enough philosophy of religion classes. I know that your synopsis of the atheist arguments is well..disappointing and shortsighted.

    Again, fine if you are preaching to the believers. But utterly useless if you are trying to convert an intelligent atheist.

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  7. Doug wrote: “If the atheist cannot provide one, then they have no grounding to tell any theist that they “ought” or “ought not” do something, but this is exactly what the writers for the new atheism are doing.”

    I’ve only read Dennett and Harris so can’t speak for the others, but D & H would say we ought not to pretend to know things that we don’t. i.e. we don’t know that God exists (we don’t have any good evidence that a God exists) so we ought not pretend that we do.

    I find this “ought not” to be perfectly reasonable within any worldview – naturalistic or not.

    n

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  8. aikaterine,

    That the new Atheism insists upon considering our arguments “irrelevant and untenable to judge the validity of their arguments” is exactly the issue. Recognizing this and bellying up to the bar of epistemic justification and metaphysical explanation is directly on point. That an atheist might not want to play in our ballpark is understandable, but we can’t play in theirs because it is not the real ballpark. The presumption that we Theists should grant non-theistic presumptions in dealing with non-theistic presumptions, is itself a non-theistic presumption. We can’t play our game by the rules of theirs specifically because theirs are by their own exposition the arbitrary construct of accidental relationships of matter in space or a mere sociological construct that does not apprehend reality. Therefore the position that an “ought” or an expression of normativity needs a certain kind of an understanding of the nature of reality in general seems true whether or not the atheist wants to play ball.

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  9. Nick,

    It would be even more reasonable not to employ something provided by the existence of God, namely “oughtness” to argue that no one knows He exists.

    Clever red herring, but the question was left unanswered. On what grounds can there be “oughtness” for mankind if there is no purpose to mankind?

    Doug

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  10. “you cannot hope to actually convert any atheists”

    You shouldn’t be so worried about me. I do fine. But you should take more seriously the fact that antithetical, or at least contrary, understandings of the world can never really be asking exactly the same questions or meaning the exactly the same thing by the answers. The fight is about what we really are and the world really is in the context of our experiences as intelligent beings. The idea that, whatever the subject, we could subject ourselves to the arbitrist understanding of the self, the world, and everything is not only to fail to convince someone else of a certain truth, but to fail in ourselves to be able to know anything at all. Atheistic methods do not lead to truth nor can the necessary presumptions like the validity of the laws of logic and the contours of normativity be explained in the somber dark of their self imposed anti-personalistic interpretations.

    Does this convince atheists? All the time. More everyday. The new atheism is becoming notoriously melodramatic and moody. It’s mainly about arguments that are inherently irrational, like that because people that called themselves religious did evil things, there is no God. What kind of person doesn’t see a lack of basic reasoning involved here? It’s not the good old fashioned hardy atheism of Russell anymore. It’s cute now, and hard to take seriously. Some people find that they can’t live a rationally consistent life within a philosophical imposition that precludes a theistic understanding of everything. And it is a “horribly effective” way to think about the hard questions; the real questions. The one’s atheists can’t even admit to the discussion because of the irrationally narrow limitations of their preferred understanding of themselves and the world.

    And your kind references to the need for freshmen level PhiloReligion classes aside, you should remember, that there is no commonly accepted answer to these questions in antitheistic circles, only a hodgepodge of theories none of which have the backing of hard scientific data, which makes them all opinion, and guesses, and so less than useful. So it might be that you are pretending that that kind of answer really does exist, but there is no need.

    Interesting discussion.

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  11. You’re making the claim that “oughtness” is provided by the existence of God…to argue the existence of God. That’s circular logic. As another commenter said earlier, theists are no better off than atheists in that case. So…we have to pull the argument in a level or two. Simply starting with cause-and-effect might be a good place to start.

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  12. Or maybe we could look at the existence of “oughtness” for mankind and how it can be grounded in a naturalistic worldview when there is no known purpose for mankind. If you will notice, I never argued for the existence of God. I was arguing that the naturalistic worldview is inconsistent when it claims to know “oughtness.”

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  13. Basically what you are doing is attacking a straw man. The atheists you refer to would never say anything like “Atheism is true therefore you ought to do X” or the equivalent statement regarding naturalism.

    In fact since many atheists come to their unbelief after a dogged personal pursuit of truth, it would certainly be reasonable to presume that the value they place on truth came before their atheism. It certainly did for me.

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  14. Can we back up to your foundational statement?

    “Since naturalism cannot account for mankind’s purpose or proper function, it has no way of saying how it ought to be.”

    Who said we had to have a purpose? Perhaps raising this question was just a way to keep unemployed theologists and philosophers doing busy work.

    Atheists are perfectly capable of understanding that there are meaningless questions. For example, mathematicians don’t try to divide by 0. We should not get hung up on “ultimate” questions that only serve to create problems when the priests step forward claiming they know the answers.

    Perhaps our “purpose” is to revel in the near unimaginably unlikely string of contingencies that resulted in our birth on a marvelous planet with gorgeous vistas, plenty of light and air and for many of us plenty of food. I refer you to Breaking the Spell and The God Delusion for the mind blowing details.

    Perhaps our purpose is to see that the rest of the planets inhabitants also have plenty of food, clean water and schools. Why can people not be satisfied with this secular answer? Why do believers insist on reeling off into the supernatural, which will never provide a legitimate answer to these “ultimate” questions?

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  15. I’ll echo Richard Collins comment, and put it a different way: why couldn’t our purpose simply be to grow and have children. When you ponder that for more than a few minutes it actually makes a lot of sense, on a lot of levels. Certainly more so than any supernatural reason for “purpose”.

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  16. Thank you, Richard, for making a point that I could not find the words to make. And for making it so eloquently.

    Doug –

    I did want to say that I think you are doing a very good thing here. At least it seems like it. And I want to be clear that I am separating you from Neiswonger, who took half of one of my sentences and posted it on his blog with this response. As though his response actually addressed the questions that I had. It is that kind of blatant misrepresentation and avoidance that has; unfortunately, soured me on modern Christianity.

    You; however, do seem to be giving a fair shake to people’s questions. Although your view is at odds with some of the people who have posted on this topic, myself included, you seem to be responding in a better way than I am used to seeing from Christians in general. I will never buy into the concepts of original sin or the necessity of the church; so I am a lost cause. But I do think that the lessons that Jesus taught were amazing and I would love to see Christians be a little less defensive and a little more open to the difficult arguments that atheists propose. Instead of attacking the weakest ones and calling it a day.

    My mom and dad are southern baptist and we have enlightened open debate on these topics fairly regularly. We are all the better for it and we respect each other’s positions even when we disagree. It can happen.

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  17. Richard and Nick,

    I enjoyed your take on what our purposes perhaps may be.

    -Marveling in this planet with vistas and plenty of light and air.

    -Taking care of the poor making sure they have plenty food and water.

    -Growing and having children.

    I would say these seem quite reasonable since being created by God all three are in fact some of what we are designed and commanded to do, that is why they resonate so deeply.

    From within the naturalist’s worldview I have to ask why these seem so reasonable. For what purpose did the universe come into existence, if there is no purpose or you do not know what it is, how can you say you know what our purpose is since we are part of the universe?

    Aikaterine,

    Thank you for the kind words you directed my way. Though you do not believe in God, I am certainly praying for you and others I encounter on this site. And who knows, maybe God is using this to begin to call you home.

    As far as attacking the weak arguments and calling it a day, it is interesting how most of the weak arguments tend to be foundational ones like “oughtness” which are employed in the other arguments they make. But if the foundation is weak, it makes the other arguments weak also.

    God Bless,

    Doug

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  18. Why ask the question “what is our purpose?” Because our minds are question generating machines and evolution has shaped us to require answers to every question, as a matter of survival. If you think about our ancient forebears out on the African plain 200,000 years ago and all the natural dangers they faced you can easily see why we humans have to have answers for everything, even those “ultimate” questions.

    It does not matter if the answer to a question we pose is good or bad, we are simply unable to live with the anxiety caused by not having an answer. We struggle with questions until we have an answer that puts our anxiety to rest. It may be a good answer, it may be a bad answer. Doesn’t matter, really.

    Think about a hypothetical family of proto-homosapiens from 200,000 years ago — ma and pa and the kids sleeping out there on the African plain at night. Suddenly, there is a loud snapping sound like an animal that is creeping up on the camp stepped on a dry twig. Do you think ma and pa take a quick look around and then quickly settle back in to sleep some more? No, they are driven to find out what made the sound. In situations like this, the incurious will be quickly routed out of the gene pool. It pays to be curious and so that trait is passed on. It is a foundation brick in our nature. This is why we ask questions that don’t really have answers, or have answers that are far off in the future.

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  19. Joe,

    You asked about the “leap of faith”. Here is the key part of the Wikipedia entry for “leap of faith”.

    “It is important to understand that Kierkegaard felt a leap of faith was necessary in accepting Christianity due to the paradoxes that exist in Christianity. In his book Philosophical Fragments, Kierkegaard delves deep into the paradoxes that Christianity presents. One of these is the fact that there existed a being (Jesus) who is both 100% man and 100% God. Since neither logic nor reason can reconcile this, one must have faith that it is true in light of the paradox. So, when a person decides that he/she will have faith that it is true that a being existed who was both god and man, he/she makes a qualitative change from non-belief to belief, he/she makes a ‘leap of faith’ that it is true.”

    The “leap of faith” is just one more of the illogical schemes Christians resort to when they are confronted with the obvious. The definitions of God and Man simply do not allow a reasonable person to conclude that these two things are simultaneously possible, leap of faith or no leap of faith.

    This goes to the crux of Sam Harris’s argument that faith per se is the problem. Simply having faith is not bad enough, worse yet, people who claim to believe based on faith are lauded and praised. This is simply wicked and perhaps we can trace a lot of the harmful irrational beliefs we see all around us to just this source. Ghosts, for example just about every major city in the US has a city tour of their “haunted” houses, astrology, aroma therapy, quack cancer cures, miraculous avoidance of death, — the list is endless. I will not belabor the point. Faith is the central problem.

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  20. Thanks Richard and I essentially agree with you.

    I was asking Doug, since he concedes that atheists do not presume any “oughts” from atheism or naturalism, where atheists are making a leap of faith when they express their opinion that one ought to value the truth?

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  21. Richard,

    Your continuous insistence on what we “ought” to be doing has yet to be established since you have no idea what the purpose of man is. Your understanding of faith is not found in the Scriptures by the way, regardless of what the massively confused Kierkegaard thought.

    If you are looking for a true understanding of God and logic, here is quote that might help.

    https://christiantheology.wordpress.com/2007/08/07/on-god-logic-and-propositions/

    Doug

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  22. Joe,

    I did not reply to your question because this has been what the entire discussion has been about and I have stated several times. Here are a couple of them.

    “All this post is really asking is how do you justify “oughtness” for mankind without a design or purpose for mankind. If the atheist cannot provide one, then they have no grounding to tell any theist that they “ought” or “ought not” do something, but this is exactly what the writers for the new atheism are doing.”

    “For what purpose did the universe come into existence, if there is no purpose or you do not know what it is, how can you say you know what our purpose is since we are part of the universe?” Tie this in with the point made in my original post… “Purpose and oughtness are inextricably bound”

    In simple fashion, the naturalistic atheist is trying to tell others what mankind ought to be doing, but because they do not know what the purpose of mankind is, they have no reason to claim to know what mankind ought to be doing. Yet they continue to take that leap of faith.

    Doug

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  23. Doug,
    This is not a leap of faith, because atheists do not claim that any “ought” is an inherent property of the universe or humankind. The atheists are simply stating what they think humans should do for our own best interests.

    They do not claim that it is an ought that can be derived from anything other than themselves. No purpose for mankind is implied. No leap of faith is required for a person to have an opinion on what is in their best interest.

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  24. Joe,

    “The atheists are simply stating what they think humans should do for our own best interests.”

    Exactly my point… They take a guess but they do not know what man’s best interest is. Their attempt is based on their made up meaning and purpose for mankind that they try to impose on others.

    It is ultimately baseless yet they act as if this is really what mankind should be doing. Some even call people who have faith wicked.

    Doug

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  25. “Exactly my point… They take a guess but they do not know what man’s best interest is. Their attempt is based on their made up meaning and purpose for mankind that they try to impose on others.”
    Ah so again there is no faith involved. Their “ought” is based on their opinion on meaning and purpose. Where are they trying to impose it on others?

    “It is ultimately baseless yet they act as if this is really what mankind should be doing.”
    It is as well based as any religious tenet.

    “Some even call people who have faith wicked.”
    Good for them. People with faith aren’t “wicked” they just don’t have any good reason to believe what they believe.

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  26. Joe,

    “Ah so again there is no faith involved. Their “ought” is based on their opinion on meaning and purpose.”

    If they know their meaning is made up and ultimately meaningless why do they act like it means something?

    If you are a naturalistic atheist, your being here to argue your meaningless purpose found in this meaningless world seems strange, you have yours and I have mine. Leave me alone. Be consistent within your worldview.

    Doug

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  27. Why do you act like the word “meaning” means something? Just ask the next non-English speaker you meet, it is meaningless. We give it meaning. They give their chosen purpose meaning. Nothing has inherent meaning.

    “If you are a naturalistic atheist, your being here to argue your meaningless purpose found in this meaningless world seems strange, you have yours and I have mine. Leave me alone. Be consistent within your worldview.”
    I am not saying your purpose is wrong I am saying your facts are. I cannot determine your purpose and I have not once attempted to.

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  28. Joe,

    “I am not saying your purpose is wrong I am saying your facts are.”

    And implied in that statement is that mankind “ought” to have their facts right, but you just admitted that is your made up purpose for mankind. I’m just asking you be consistent. If you say you believe something, act like it.

    Doug

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  29. Joe,

    If you can’t give any grounding as to why we should have our facts right I don’t see any reason to continue the conversation either. Not to mention, facts are language based propositions, which according to your worldview are something we give meaning to, and are therefore not ultimately true. You are stuck in your meaningless worldview. You have neither ultimately true facts or meaning. Unless your worldview can account for these, act like you believe what you say, and don’t waste my time.

    Doug

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  30. So you do or do not value the truth? If you do why would I need to give it any grounding? If you don’t then yes I do believe we are wasting each others time.

    If you give me a straight answer we might be able to get somewhere.

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  31. Joe,

    Of course I value ultimate truth, but you do not have any. You have already admitted that you create your own meaning even in language, which we are using.

    Doug

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  32. Are you being intentionally vague?

    My point is this: Words only have meaning because we as English speakers agree on what meaning certain combinations of letters and sounds have. The meaning is entirely subjective to the education and experiences of the speakers (or typers). There is no connection between the combination of letters and the concept or object that it represents. That is the definition of subjective meaning. (i.e. words do not have an objective meaning.)

    This is the important part: Having no objective meaning is NOT the same as having no meaning at all! If you insist on stating again and again that it does than you must either belief that (a) words have no meaning or (b) the meaning of words is objective. So which is it?

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  33. Joe,

    Thank you for your time, but we are moving into an entirely new area of discussion. I will grant to you that it is somewhat related to the topic, but not directly to this post. You continually speak as if this conversation ultimately matters and that you have ultimate truth but you are arguing against both. My hope is that this will begin to spark some thought as to the absurdity of your worldview. I doubt it will but it is my prayer for you.

    At this point I am not going to start a new debate on this topic, but I will say this and let you have the last word. Words are symbols that represent mental expressions called propositions. Which are built upon the laws of logic. Though languages may differ the propositions do not. Not to mention I do not believe in your naturalist understanding of language theory. Man was created in the image of God with the ability of language and truth and spoke with God immediately. He did not develop his language through grunts and groans.

    I’m sure we at Christian Theology will post more on objective truth in the future. I hope you will continue to visit us. You are always more than welcome here even if we do disagree.

    God bless,

    Doug

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  34. Of course you don’t want to continue the conversation. You can see I am making my point. Meaning, purpose and value are things that only have meaning that is subjective, like words do. They are things that exist in the minds of humans only and have no reality in the outside world. They are essentially the judgments that we make about the way things are. Valuing the truth is a subjective value that most people share. Valuing faith is a subjective value that you and I do not share.

    What atheists value is what determines what they decide they “ought” to do. Since they do not believe it has a reality outside there own minds there is no faith involved.

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  35. 25
    Doug, if you directed this quote to me, I miss the point. What I am trying to dismiss is the very validity of the question, “what is our purpose”. I think atheists have simply discarded the question as meaningless and stopped trying to find answers in a metaphysical swamp. Or, we are simply content to make up our own answers and get on with our lives.

    Please tell me why anyone has to look to a supernatural agent for an answer to the question “what is the purpose of life?” I think religions make a big deal over this “ultimate” question in order to instill discontent and anxiety. They are using the same mechanism TV advertisers use: establish a need in people so they can sell a product — toilet cleaner, deodorizers, cars, and so on. It is dishonest, but most people do not see through the trickery.

    To tell you the truth, I don’t even think the average clergyperson realizes what they are doing is debased in this way, so anxious are they to provide helpful answers. I don’t question their motives, I question their questions.

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  36. I think everyone here agrees that atheism implies that there is no ultimate objective meaning, and there is no ultimate ‘ought’. What I think Doug was calling a ‘leap of faith’ is the personal ‘ought’. For example, Richard has proposed that “our purpose is to see that [everyone has] plenty of food” is a personal reason to do things. Nick’s is to “grow and have children”. However, there is no logical reason to choose any one of these. The choice of a personal ‘ought’ is completely irrational. You could say it is a leap of faith.

    That is Doug’s point: You are being irrational, and have no logical basis to tell anyone what to do.

    Doug, if I have misinterpreted you, please correct me. Now, my answer:

    You’re right, I have no ultimately logical basis to tell anyone what to do. However, I have (irrationally) chosen a personal ought which is similar to most other people’s. When I argue that someone ‘ought’ to do X, I am actually saying ‘in order to arrive at our common personal goal, you ought to do X’. I might argue to a theist that God does not exist because of our common personal goal of knowing the truth.

    I do not think theism is any less irrational. You may say that God gives you an ultimate reason, but believing in that reason is a leap of faith, since you don’t believe it for a logical reason but because of your faith in God. (right?)

    The reason I believe atheism over theism is that atheism is closer to the truth as I measure it. Both fail equally badly at answering many of these types of ‘eternal’ questions.

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  37. “Richard has proposed that “our purpose is to see that [everyone has] plenty of food” is a personal reason to do things. Nick’s is to “grow and have children”. However, there is no logical reason to choose any one of these. The choice of a personal ‘ought’ is completely irrational. You could say it is a leap of faith.”
    But it is not irrational and it is not a leap of faith. It is a conclusion that comes from a persons subjective values. There is nothing irrational about valuing certain things. They may be non-rational, but they are certainly not irrational, and rational conclusions and though can be based on subjective values. As you say: I ought to do X, because I value Y.

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  38. I was assuming ‘irrational’ and ‘non-rational’ were the same, maybe my definition is wrong. ‘irrational: Not governed by or predicated on reason’.

    “It is a conclusion that comes from a persons subjective values.”

    OK, you are just changing where the ‘leap of faith’ occurs. It is now your subjective values that are non-rational. There is no logical reason for you to to have those subjective values. At some point, you are valuing something for no rational reason. I could define faith as ‘Not governed by or predicated on reason’. Under that definition, if you do or believe something for a non-rational reason, you are believing it on faith.

    Doug’s impression (I think) was that atheists act as if their actions are completely, totally logical. However, he is pointing out that there is no fundamental logical reason for their actions and their search for truth. However, I reply that it is the same for theists. Therefore, I think this point irrelevant in the discussion of atheism vs theism, unless the theist can prove that theistic actions/beliefs have a stronger foundation. (no offense, Doug, just my thoughts)

    Doug’s point is really a philosophical point on the nature of truth and beliefs, that I don’t think anyone has an answer to. It is like the ‘brain in a vat’ problem. It’s funny to think about, but it does not lead anywhere and is irrelevant to everything we do, since we can’t do anything about it.

    Again, once you take for granted that the truth is our goal, I think the atheist is more logical.

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  39. Allan,
    I think you have boiled it down to its essence. I suppose the word irrational has a bad connotation to me. In a sense the values we hold are axiomatic (in the Euclidean sense). They are the bases of our sense of purpose and meaning in the world around us. They certainly cannot be supported by logical argument and are based in a sense on the personal emotional desires of the individual.

    Which I believe is why personal comfort, certainty and being “right” trumps the pursuit of truth quite often. It is hard to get around the emotional stumbling blocks that we sometimes put in our own way.

    Thanks!

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