RE: [asa] scientism question

From: Jon Tandy <>
Date: Thu Jan 08 2009 - 18:50:36 EST

"There is no reasonable justification for the idea of God." That sounds
like a belief to me. Can he justify that belief with only objective facts?

The idea of God was around (and almost universally accepted) prior to the
modern "Enlightenment". Thus, the idea that there isn't a God is the "new
idea" that is being introduced, that needs to be justified. He is making a
logical fallacy, something like, "Every assertion must be questioned except
for this one."

A belief that "there is no life after death" is NOT a non-assertion of a
non-belief. It's a whole set of beliefs that: "We are nothing but physical
entities. When we die, that's the end of us; our bodies go in the ground
and simply decay. There is no spirit that transcends this physical life.
There is no 'place' or 'condition' to which such spirits could go anyway."
These are the beliefs that he must espouse, if he's going to take a positive
stance on this. How does he prove that there is not a spiritual component
to us? How does he prove that there is no place or condition to which
spirits could go? How does he justify introducing these new ideas, against
the backdrop of almost universal belief in life after death through most of
recorded human history?

I realize that bringing in beliefs of other religions as a "universally
understood" concept over time is part of the stumbling block for
non-believers. How can we justify that our belief is more correct than
others? There are some compelling arguments for a Christian belief, but the
point is that his assertion is just one more alongside all the other
religious beliefs. He can't say that it's truly a lack of any sort of
belief, or that lack of any beliefs (if it could be obtained) doesn't need
to be justified itself.

Jon Tandy

-----Original Message-----
From: [] On
Behalf Of Dehler, Bernie
Sent: Thursday, January 08, 2009 3:42 PM
Subject: RE: [asa] scientism question

Jon said:
" A trivial question to ask someone with "no beliefs" is something like, "Do
you believe the sun will come up tomorrow?""

I thought of that and tried it a little, but instead I wanted to focus on
issues of science and religion- therefore life-after-death and abiogenesis,
for example.

He's definitely an atheist and not agnostic. His position is that if you
want to introduce something, like the idea of God, you have to justify it...
and there is NO reasonable justification (it is so clearly obvious in his

As I wrote the above paragraph, it came to me... maybe the correct approach
is not to argue "do you have beliefs or not" but instead challenge, more
directly, his idea that there's no valid/reasonable justification for the
"God hypothesis."


To unsubscribe, send a message to with
"unsubscribe asa" (no quotes) as the body of the message.
Received on Thu Jan 8 18:51:17 2009

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Thu Jan 08 2009 - 18:51:17 EST