If Atheists Had Faith

post by Bound_up · 2016-11-29T15:13:00.715Z · score: -4 (5 votes) · LW · GW · Legacy · 12 comments

I posted this as just a link and found to my surprise that it was misunderstood(people have said they thought it was anti-atheism) and downvoted to oblivion.

 

I'm risking it again, with an explanation this time, though.

https://atheistkit.wordpress.com/2016/11/27/if-atheists-had-faith/

 

The point is that a theist's accusation of an atheist's "faith" is just that, an accusation. They imply that, on some level, they KNOW that faith doesn't work.

 

In this dialogue, by going along with it, the atheist gets the theist to lay all the epistemological groundwork for reason, science, no "separate magisteria,"and so on, at which point, the theist's position is vulnerable to a straightforward analysis of the evidence.

 

I think this is more realistic than you might think. If you told theists that your atheism was faith-based, they really would start thinking about and presenting reasons why faith shouldn't overpower reason and evidence, and then you could win based on reason and evidence (hence Dawkins stepping in to do so at the end of the dialogue).

12 comments

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comment by Val · 2016-11-29T15:37:03.298Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I'm not surprised Dawkins makes a cameo in it. The theist in the discussion is a very blunt strawman, just as Dawkins usually likes to invite the dumbest theists he can find, who say the stupidest things about evolution or global warming, thereby allegedly proving all theists wrong.

I'm sorry if I might have offended Dawkins, I know many readers here are a fan of him. However, I have to state that although I have no doubts about the values of his scientific work and his competence in his field, he does make a clown of himself with all those stawman attacks against theism.

comment by Bound_up · 2016-11-29T15:39:32.632Z · score: -1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

What do you mean by straw man, exactly?

This isn't meant to be the most philosophically defensible theist. Closer, perhaps, to the most common kind of theist.

comment by Lumifer · 2016-11-29T15:53:39.719Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Basically, your theist is stupid.

comment by username2 · 2016-12-01T00:36:27.366Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

What do you mean by straw man, exactly? This isn't meant to be the most philosophically defensible theist.

Using a less defensible characterization of an opposing viewpoint is literally the definition of a strawman.

comment by RowanE · 2016-12-03T19:29:27.073Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Since my comment was vague enough to be misunderstood, I'll try to clarify what I thought the first time.

The dialogue reads as a comedy skit where the joke is "theists r dum". The atheist states beliefs that are a parody of certain attitudes of religious believers, and then the theist goes along with an obvious setup they should see coming a mile away. It doesn't seem any more plausible than the classic "rabbit season, duck season" exchange in Looney Tunes, so it's not valuable.

comment by ChristianKl · 2016-12-01T12:36:54.065Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

If you told theists that your atheism was faith-based, they really would start thinking about and presenting reasons why faith shouldn't overpower reason and evidence

How much empirical evidence do you have for that claim? With how many theists did you try it?

Did you just believe that claim based on faith without any empirical evidence?

comment by bbleeker · 2016-11-30T10:50:45.822Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I thought it was meant to be a parody, and I didn't find it very funny.

comment by korin43 · 2016-11-29T19:07:14.940Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I downvoted the original post because I think arguing about definitions is boring, and doubly so when it's about theology. I also didn't like the format of the post since it just seemed to be an argument with a straw man.

comment by Bound_up · 2016-11-29T19:45:36.552Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Who's the strawman, atheist or theist? And, whoever it is, what about them seems unrealistic? What would they be too smart to say?

comment by korin43 · 2016-11-29T19:47:14.646Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

The problem isn't what they say, it's that it's an argument with a fake opponent. What's the point?

comment by entirelyuseless · 2016-11-29T15:45:20.446Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I did not downvote the original, but I downvoted this post because it kind of seems like you're judging the people who downvoted the original, rather than just assuming they did that because they did not find it useful.

comment by Bound_up · 2016-11-29T15:47:14.889Z · score: -1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Perhaps I'll make it clearer in the post that I have good reason to think it was misunderstood. Both the comments here and in other places have had people thinking I was saying atheists really do have lots of faith, and that the theist side has reason on its side.