Free Will: Evidence for God

Does atheism entail determinism?  Jerry Coyne seems to think so.  He makes it quite clear how his views of determinism follow from his acceptance of atheism/materialism:

The best answer I can give (besides reading Sean Carroll’s “The Big Picture”) is to say that our brain is made of matter, and matter follows the laws of physics. Insofar as our neurons could behave fundamentally unpredictably, if affected by quantum mechanics in their firing, that doesn’t give us a basis for agency either.

Since our behaviors all come from our material bodies and brains, which obey the laws of physics, which by and large are deterministic on a macro scale, then our behaviors at any one instant are determined as well by the configuration of molecules in the Universe.

All you have to do is accept that our bodies and brains are made of stuff, and stuff on the macro scale is deterministic in its behavior. Even compatibilists accept these points as well the fundamental determinism (though often unpredictability) of our behavior.

And when one of his commenters wrote, “we aren’t billiard balls”, Coyne replied:

Yes we are, but we’re billiard balls made of meat.

What I am sensing here is that atheism is incompatible with free will.  And if you ask me, that poses a serious problem for atheism.  While the truth of determinism seems to be dependent on acceptance of an atheistic, materialistic worldview, the truth of free will is dependent on ….. a lifetime of lived experience. And it’s not some shallow, “live in the moment” type of experience that’s preoccupied with the dramas of life.  It’s an experience coupled to much introspection and self-awareness. I’m not quite sure why I am supposed to believe this is all an illusion when it’s the deterministic word salads that appear far more likely to be an illusion.

Thus, from where I sit, my experience with free will counts as evidence for the existence of God.  That is, if free will is incompatible with atheism, it would seem to me that atheism is false.  Meaning, that theism is true.  The evidence for God is not some writing in the sky.  It’s with me each and every moment.

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Social Justice Determinists

As I have argued before, atheistic determinism and social justice ideology complement each other very well.  Thus, it is rather amusing to watch a hardcore determinist like Jerry Coyne engage in his constant battles with various social justice atheists and the Regressive Left.  After all, deep down, Coyne too is a social justice atheist.  Let me show you.

Jerry Coyne just recently lashed out at Richard Dawkins and Lawrence Krauss over the issue of determinism:

One thing that’s distressed me a bit is the unwillingness of my Big Name Atheist Friends to speak frankly about free will…..I challenge my atheist colleagues like Richard and Lawrence to go beyond the statements they make below, and come to grips with what accepting determinism really means for how we treat others. That’s not a philosophical question but a psychological and societal one.

Whoa!  Deja vu.  Remember when the social justice atheists were challenging Dawkins and other Big Name atheists to speak out in support of feminism?  They argued that atheism entails feminism (the Reason that led to atheism also leads to feminism, they claimed) and mocked the atheists who did not see this Truth as “dictionary atheists.”  Well, here we have Coyne challenging Dawkins and other Big Name atheists to speak out in support of determinism.  Coyne likewise argues that atheism/materialism entails determinism and mocks those who don’t agree (“many compatibilists are fuzzy, and certainly contradict each other”).

Remember how PZ Myers and other social justice atheists argued it was important for atheists everywhere to embrace feminism and tone down the criticisms of Islam?  Well, Coyne too thinks it is important for atheists everywhere to embrace determinism:

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Posted in atheist activism, atheist wars, free will, secular values, Social Justice, social justice atheism, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 18 Comments

Social Justice Laughs

Activist Jerry Coyne points to an example where a book which received a positive prepublication review had the review downgraded because of complaints from the social justice crowd.  Here’s a brief description of the book:

The setting is the Midwestern United States; the time is the not-too-distant future. A Muslim registry is in effect, and Muslims are being bused to detention centers called “safety zones” en masse. This doesn’t bother Sarah Mary, a strong-minded, fiercely loyal, and protective teenager whose mother has abandoned her and her younger brother, Caleb, to their ultraconservative Christian aunt. (The whole family appears to be white.) Her indifference is forced to change when Caleb’s compassion for Sadaf, a Muslim in hiding, gets her involved in a plan to help this Iranian woman escape. Together, Sarah Mary and her new companion face extreme dangers, prejudices, disappointments—and unexpected kindnesses from their fellow Americans as they fight nearly impossible odds to get Sadaf through several states and over the border undetected.

Ah, yes.  The not-to-distant future with Muslim detainment camps in a land filled with “ultraconservative Christian aunts” and “prejudices.”  Sounds like a social justice fantasy narrative to me.  So why did the social justice crowd object to a story about Muslim-Victims being persecuted by the Christian oppressors?

Struggling to grasp how this [plot] could possibly be offensive? Well, struggle no more. On Goodreads, reviewers take issue with the fact that Sarah-Mary decides to help. This, they argue, is reflective of an offensive “white savior” narrative by which Moriarty suggests that minorities such as Sadaf need someone white to save them.

LOL.  So a social justice author writes a book to help promote the social justice narrative and she is blind-sided by social justice activists who don’t think the book is social justicey enough!  One wonders if the author will have to apologize for her racism.

And while we’re on the topic of social justice warriors gone wild, Coyne also complains about The Friendly Atheist blog.  Yes, you heard me.  Coyne actually mocked the The Friendly Atheist blog by likening it to HuffPo.  The best line is Coyne’s last one:

Well, we’ll see when the peer-reviewed article comes out, but it would behoove those at The Friendly Atheist to avoid this type of premature clickbait.

That’s an odd warning given that clickbait is what The Friendly Atheist is all about.

 

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The Healing Profession?

Lisa Marchiano is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and recently wrote an article about transgenderism that you can read here.

Included in her analysis is the story of a young woman with a history of mental health problems who spent a lot of time online one summer and began to think she is a man.  After a mere 30 minute consultation, a physician assistant confirmed this belief and wanted to schedule for testosterone injections and a double mastectomy.  When the parents were concerned the physician assistant was moving too quickly, he told them they needed to see a therapist to become better support people.  When they eventually sent their daughter to college, it looks like she got involved with the social justice crowd.  So she started to get testosterone injections and, two weeks later,  had to be admitted to a psychiatric ward because of violent and erratic behavior in her dorm.  She must have eventually been released, as later the doctors cut off her breasts.  She returned home to heal for the summer and became more anxious, withdrawn and paranoid and now refuses to leave the house, spending most of her time online.

It looks to me like the medical profession harmed someone.  See what you think.

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Mythcon and the Friendly Atheist

As we all know, the Mythcon debate between Sargon of Akkad and Thomas Smith generated a lot of buzz in the atheist community.  But I don’t seem to recall The Friendly Atheist blog weighing in on this.  Did I miss something?  It’s possible, as I have been quite busy.

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Wishful Denial

We are often told that Christians believe in God simply because they want to believe in God.  Such belief is supposed to be comforting and reassuring.  Wishful thinking.  The atheist, in contrast, is said to be strong-minded, with the ability to follow the evidence, even if it leads to the denial of God and an afterlife.

But maybe things are a bit more complicated than this.  We’ve seen the subjective aspect of evidence, such that while Christians can be guilty of confirmation bias, atheists can be guilty of disconfirmation bias.

Well, consider how Richard Dawkins views the God of the Bible:

a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully. 

Now, I think it safe to assume most Gnu atheists would share in this perception, given that many have applauded this description while I can’t seem to find one who has objected to it.  So what would that mean?

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Hypocrisy and The Disdain for Freedom

Here’s the video of the debate between atheist Sargon of Akkad and atheist Thomas Smith.

I actually watched most of it, although I gave up half way through the Q&A.   In my opinion, neither speaker was all that impressive and made me feel like I was watching a dorm room debate between roommates who didn’t like each other.  In fact, it was a good thing they were constantly sipping water and not beer.

But there were certain points where Smith just reeks with the stench of hypocrisy.  For example, at around 8:40, Smith is complaining about a video Sargon made where he accused feminists of being mentally ill.  Smith is oh so offended and ineffectively rips into Sargon.  Please. It was always okay for the atheist community to accuse religious people, especially Christians, of being mentally ill.  That’s been a traditional talking point in the atheists’ anti-religious rhetoric for decades.  But now that one faction of atheists has turned this tactic on another faction, suddenly it is wrong!

Then at about 16:00, Smith is complaining that Sargon cherry picks the “worse people on the other side” to mock and uses those extreme examples to “straw man” the social justice community.  Er, Thomas, that just happens to be the very standard approach atheist activists have long used against religious people for decades.  In fact, it’s the very approach that defines activist Hemant Mehta’s daily blog contributions.  Once again, the social justice activist squeals when the standard anti-religious approach is turned on them.

Of course, this hypocritical stench is not new.  I noticed it over five years ago when I discussed social justice atheist Jen McCreight’s decision to abandon atheist activism because of the way she was being treated by her fellow activists:

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Posted in atheist activism, atheist wars, Hypocrisy, social justice atheism, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 39 Comments

The Collapsing Escape Hatch

Modern day atheism is built on a simple claim – There is no evidence that God exists.  But how does the atheist know this?  It’s one thing to claim, “I don’t see any evidence for God” or “What you consider evidence for God is not what I consider evidence for God.”  But to proclaim “There is no evidence for God” is to make a truth claim about all of objective reality – wherever you look, whoever you are, how ever hard you look, you will not find any evidence for God.  Because “there is no evidence” to be found.  And that’s supposed to be true for all of us.

Yet this is nothing more than empty posturing.  We’ve seen how easy it to completely neuter this claim – simply ask the atheist what would count as evidence for God.  After all, when the atheist insists “There is no evidence for God,” this question is a perfectly legitimate way to get the atheist to clarify what he is saying.

And what have we found?  First, many atheists will point to some miraculous event, perhaps writing in the stars.   In other words, some event that could not possibly be explained by natural causes; something that would present itself as a Gap in our current understanding by natural causes.  But if that is the case, those events could only be evidence if we agreed that the God of the Gaps approach is a valid and legitimate way of determining whether God exists.  If we are to count a Gap as evidence, we necessarily assume the validity of the God of the Gaps logic.  Yet atheists everywhere have insisted that the God of the Gaps approach is NOT a valid approach.  Thus, all these examples of miracles that would supposedly count as evidence for God truly would not count as evidence for God as far as the atheist is concerned.  The atheist is engaged in deceptive hand-waving.

The honest approach is for the atheist to admit that nothing would count as evidence for the existence of God.  But then the atheist is simply admitting his/her closed mind and the pronouncement that “There is no evidence for God” becomes vacuous.  If nothing can count as evidence for the existence of God, then of course the atheist is going to believe there is no evidence for God.

Of course, not wanting to be seen as closed-minded dogmatists, some atheists have been looking for an escape hatch.  Atheist activist Matt Dillahunty offers up one such attempt that I have seen elsewhere.  Since he takes over 27 minutes to make a two minute point, I’ll focus you to 26:16 in the video:

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Always the Victim

Apparently I missed this over the summer, but the twitter storm by trans activist Zinnia Jones provoked a backlash that then allowed the activist to posture as The Misunderstood Victim.  Noah Berlatsky offered up a softball interview of Jones and posted it on the Playboy site (yes, the link will take you to the Playboy site, so keep that in mind if you are at work).

Berlatsky sets it up as follows:

Jones wasn’t saying that straight men have a moral duty to date trans women; she was pointing out that who is and isn’t considered attractive is often tied to social or cultural prejudices.

Nice spin.  But while she was not necessarily claiming straight men have a moral DUTY to date trans women, she was saying that men who don’t want to date trans women should be considered part of an odd, fringe, transphobic community who have issues they need to work through.  Consider her own words:

 

See?  Not wanting to date a trans person is supposed to be an outlier and marginal position.

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Transgender Madness

Did you know that if you are a straight man, and don’t want to have sex with a trans “woman,” you are transphobic?  That’s what transgender activist Zinnia Jones wants us to believe:

Well, one transgender activist insists that straight men who don’t desire transgender women simply have an issue they “should try to work through.”

In fact, check out this tweet.

The article also notes:

“I also don’t believe the blanket claim of ‘straight men don’t want to be with someone who has a d***!’” Jones adds before getting into stats without citing any stats.

Two thoughts emerge from this transgender madness.

1.Straight men are not be asked to merely tolerate, or even accept, transgender women. Oh no, that’s not enough.  That’s not good enough.  You have to desire transgender women.  Otherwise, you are a hateful bigot.

2. This leads to a question that needs to be addressed.  If it is transphobia for a straight man to not want to have sex with a trans woman, doesn’t it follow that it would likewise be homophobia for a straight man to not want to have sex with a gay man?

Posted in post-modernism, Social Justice | Tagged , | 21 Comments