New Atheist Logic

According to New Atheists, religion is evil.  In fact, it is one of the greatest evils on the planet.  The Gnus love to quote Steven Weinberg , “With or without religion, good people can behave well and bad people can do evil; but for good people to do evil — that takes religion.”

Yet the same atheists also tell us that the existence of evil disproves the existence of God.

So what do we have?

According to New Atheist logic, the existence of religion, which is evil, proves that God does not exist.

Which means, I suppose, that if God did exist, we would all be secular atheists.

Such is the Wisdom of Gnu.

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28 Responses to New Atheist Logic

  1. Kevin says:

    Richard Dawkins said there was no such thing as evil, so that really adds a complexity to their logic which is beyond my ability to grasp.

  2. GeoffSmith says:

    Their logic is so labyrinthine because their IQs are high enough to handle it.

  3. Michael says:

    Nice catch, Kevin. So there is another contortion to New Atheist logic:

    There is no good and evil.
    Except that religion is not only evil, but one the Greatest Evils in the World.
    But that’s okay, because the existence of evil disproves the existence of God.
    Meaning that if God existed, we would all be secular atheists.
    Since we are not all secular atheists, God does not exist.
    Since God does not exist, there is no good and evil.

    If you were as smart as a Gnu, you would see the brilliance of this thinking.

  4. Kevin says:

    I think I understand now.

    There is no such thing as evil, which is what we would expect if there was no god.

    However, the fact that evil exists disproves God.

    In fact, this logic is mathematical in its faultless simplicity, as demonstrated by the following deductive constructs:

    Premise: God does not exist.
    Premise: There is no such thing as evil.
    Conclusion: God does not exist.

    Premise: God does not exist.
    Premise: God would not allow such evil as we see.
    Conclusion: God does not exist.

    It’s brilliant…magnificent. Just like how all factors multiplied by zero equal zero, all logic from New Atheists concludes that God does not exist! I must buy The God Delusion at once!

  5. TFBW says:

    A citation, which I assume is what Kevin was referring to in the first comment.

    The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference. (Richard Dawkins, River out of Eden, Ch.4)

    And yes, I’m not sure how to square this with The God Delusion, a central theme of which was “theistic religion is evil”. It seems that in River out of Eden, Dawkins had some sort of grasp of the idea that a materialistic universe held no place for “good” and “evil” in any real sense; in later writings and presentations, he seems to implicitly assume that they are real, or at least real enough to base arguments on, without ever explicitly repudiating his earlier position.

    Very logic. Such rational. Wow.

  6. Doug says:

    Allow me to (attempt to) speak for the New Atheists to clarify their position…

    Christian apologists are continually asking what evidence one would expect to see if God were. In response, one would expect to see:
    1. a lot of good in the world.
    2. a concentration of good where God might be expected to be.
    Since death has existed for billions of years, 1. is easily refuted. After all, there could not possibly be any higher good than life. Moreover, there could not possibly be any reason to consider animal life of any less value than human life.
    Similarly, given the demonstrable facts (TM) that Mother Theresa was a horrible human being, that Religion poisons everything, and that Religion is in mortal combat with the One True Value (i.e., Science), 2. is also easily refuted. After all, lying about God as if He existed is evil.

    The pretensions of this combox’s denizens are thus destroyed: we clearly do not see 1. and certainly not 2.; therefore, there is no evidence for God.

  7. In what context did he say that? Can you provide the paragraph or quote in full?

  8. The existence of evil proves that God doesn’t exist? Which atheist has ever said that?
    The existence of evil should make you question whether God is either too incompetent to tackle evil or that he is fine with it occurring. This is anti-theism and not atheism.

  9. Michael says:

    The existence of evil should make you question whether God is either too incompetent to tackle evil or that he is fine with it occurring.

    Translate: The existence of religion should make you question whether God is either too incompetent to tackle religion or that he is fine with it occurring.

  10. Dhay says:

    religionerased > The existence of evil proves that God doesn’t exist? Which atheist has ever said that?

    One prominent atheist — or at any rate a very prolific atheist, apparently posting a long-term average of ten posts a day to the Religion News Service website alone — is Atheist Max, who in this early post on his website does indeed seem to have concluded that the existence of evil proves that “There is no God!” “The clarity rang like a bell”, he wrote.

    But in Newtown a young man drove up to this school with a gun. And the question arose.

    Why God, did you let this killer find a parking spot?

    But who am I that God should answer me, if he cannot answer the children first? And in that instant I saw the immorality of a god who would listen to me, but not listen to little children as they are being shot. I could not square the immoral circle, and I could not justify the immorality of a God that would attend to my prayers while children were dying! Desperate for an honest answer, an answer not for myself but a true answer for those dear children – I allowed my thoughts to cross over some invisible line in my head – a line I hadn’t quite known was there. And I found myself on the other side! The clarity rang like a bell.

    “There is no god.” It startled me.

    … the obviousness of his nonexistence was amazing.

    https://atheistmax.wordpress.com/2014/10/14/dangerous-thought-2-oh-my-god-there-is-no-god/

    Ditto Jesus:

    Is Jesus real? Why say so? He isn’t protecting anyone.

    No. Jesus couldn’t be real. Not possible.

    You make the anti-theist / atheist distinction, but although I can certainly acknowledge that one can be an atheist without being an anti-theist, Atheist Max is very clearly both a virulent anti-theist and a self-declared atheist. So yes, an atheist has said that.

  11. Dhay says:

    Just in case any of his readers — though he seems to be an away-game guy, with far more posts on other websites than views of his — in case any of his readers were unclear, Atheist Max repeated it all in his next post:

    It seemed completely out of place to bring god into any of the story of Newtown. For anyone who ever prayed for a parking spot, one had to wonder why God would have provided one to the killer in Newtown who found one so easily at Sandy Hook Elementary.

    But that is what Christians did. They saw a God behind all of it.

    And it struck me as zombie-headed and cold to so glibly use these sweet little lives this way. Using their dead bodies, destroyed and cut short as they were, and to force their little sweet lives upon an altar for the worship, glory and benefit of a do-nothing god who should have (and would have) intervened to stop this crime had he truly existed!
    [My emphases.]

    https://atheistmax.wordpress.com/2014/10/19/dangerous-thought-3-the-crazy-people-are-not-misinterpreting-their-religion-they-are-following-it/

    Got it? Had God existed he would have intervened to prevent evil — he didn’t intervene, so he doesn’t exist.

    So yes, an atheist has said that the existence of evil proves that God doesn’t exist.

    Hmm, arguing vigorously with your God, complaining loudly; it sounds like one strand of Jewish practice to me. Has anyone seen “Fiddler on the Roof” — dooby dooby dooby dooby dooby dooby dooby do.

  12. And what do you say to that?

  13. Michael says:

    And what do you say to that?

    It’s laughable to insist that if God existed, we would all be secular atheists.

  14. dognillo says:

    Describe heaven and hell. Then prove that what you described actually exists. If you can do that then I would have to take your conception of God seriously.

  15. TFBW says:

    Hello, dognillo. I see that you have chosen to taunt instead of responding to Michael’s characterisation of New Atheist logic. Is that because you can find no flaws in it, or is it because “I know you are but what am I” type responses are your first resort?

  16. dognillo says:

    I don’t care about the New Atheist logic, TFBW. I’m not a New Atheist. I’m just a basic nonbeliever with a question that I would like to see someone try to answer or admit that they can’t. It’s not a taunt. You guys asked me a few posts back what evidence would convince me, and Doug brought up that issue above to someone else. So my comment was meant to respond to the question about what would convince me.

  17. Doug says:

    @dognillo,
    I think you misunderstand. Perhaps we weren’t clear. The question is not “what would convince you?” The question is “what would you count as evidence? We hope that you see the difference.

  18. Kevin says:

    I’m not a New Atheist. I’m just a basic nonbeliever with a question that I would like to see someone try to answer or admit that they can’t.

    I can neither describe Heaven to any meaningful length, nor prove its existence. However, the acceptance of peripheral things like Heaven, angels, etc are entirely secondary to, and contingent upon, the reality of God’s existence. If the Christian god exists, those things exist. If he does not, then any Christian concept of Heaven or angels would be automatically invalidated.

    This is why the question is one of God’s existence, and not Heaven’s existence.

  19. dognillo says:

    Doug, perhaps I misunderstood you in your comment above, but if you look back you’ll see that TFBW’s original question to me, in the Open & Close Minded post, was to ask what evidence would convince me. That’s why I assumed above that you were referring to Christian apologists asking the same question.

  20. TFBW says:

    dognillo, it’s generally considered bad form to post comments which aren’t related to the article in question, and it’s definitely an impediment to communication if you do so without making it clear in the comment. Just so everyone is clear, dognillo refers to an exchange which took place in an earlier thread. He said, “I see nothing that convinces me that the Christian God is real,” and I responded by asking what would convince him. That was over a week ago in a different post, so any resultant confusion is understandable.

    Thanks for the belated response, dognillo, but it doesn’t really solve the problem: it just changes the question from, “what sort of experience or observation would convince you that God exists?” to, “what sort of experience or observation would convince you that Heaven and Hell exist (and/or that a particular description of them is accurate)?”

  21. Larry Olson says:

    “According to New Atheist logic, the existence of religion, which is evil, proves
    that God does not exist.”

    You might want to provide citations and evidence that atheists think God doesn’t exist because there is evil. God created evil with the whole apple temptation with adam and eve, and all atheists know this. what’s absurd is that christians think that eating the apple of knowledge was bad, i.e. being a lemming not reading books and being skeptical is a bad thing. It’s not good to look further into the science of the apple tree because it’s a giant secret held by God that only God can know. The whole vegan christian non meat eating movement is hilarious because as soon as you christians ate that apple from the tree of knowledge, you became sinners and started doing things like killing animals.

    Fruitarian christians are a funny bunch. It’s not that atheists think that god doesn’t exist because of evil, they just think the explanation of evil is pathetic. Really, studying an apple on a tree is bad and forbidden. How pathetic. Almost as pathetic as the talking snake. Oh but none of that you believe literally, right? That’s just symbolism and not to be taken literally. Okay so if you don’t take anything literal, then what you have left is a religion that you are ignoring 99 percent of. So it’s not a serious religion that you take seriously. Hmm. Agnostics all of you are. Not christians. And delusional.

  22. Larry Olson says:

    @dognillo “You guys asked me a few posts back what evidence would convince me, and Doug brought up that issue above to someone else.”…

    Check out Nick Bostrom’s Simulation Argument for real proof that heaven could exist scientifically…. that’s the only heaven option we have. To create one ourselves using science, and computation. While the christians do nothing and pray to an invisible fairy that doesn’t exist, scientists could create a heaven in virtual reality. Easier said than done.

  23. Dhay says:

    Larry Olson > You might want to provide citations and evidence that atheists think God doesn’t exist because there is evil.

    I just provided evidence and two citations from Atheist Max’s website, arsehole.

  24. Kevin says:

    Any evidence that God is a fairy, or are you just acting like a clown?

  25. TFBW says:

    Larry Olson blustered:

    You might want to provide citations and evidence that atheists think God doesn’t exist because there is evil.

    Picking a philosophy textbook of no particular note off my shelf, Philosophical Problems and Arguments: An Introduction (3rd ed.), by Cornman, Lehrer, and Pappas, published 1987, ISBN 0-87220-043-4, I note that pages 251–258 contain a section titled, “Evil as Evidence against the Existence of God”. It draws the conclusion that the available evidence supports the belief that God does not exist (because evil does), so it’s fairly safe to suppose at least one of these philosophy professors holds to that actual view.

    You’re just throwing hurdles at us willy-nilly, aren’t you? That way, if we don’t take the effort to jump over them, it looks like we don’t have an answer. It’s asymmetric warfare: throw out a bunch of bluster, rapid-fire, that would take far more effort to rebut than to produce. Or were you really so ignorant as to think that the Argument from Evil isn’t a thing? I suspect the former, but I can’t discount the latter. Either way, engaging you (beyond what’s required to break the illusion that you have something like a valid point to make) is clearly a big waste of time.

  26. Doug says:

    What happened to the intelligent, articulate, and at-least-somewhat-polite Larry Olsen?
    My hypothesis: he was a lonely last night, and his first line of defense became an impediment to coherent participation in his second (i.e., this site).

  27. Michael says:

    You might want to provide citations and evidence that atheists think God doesn’t exist because there is evil.

    I’ve been trying to find where Sam Harris makes the argument for atheism. So far, the best I could find is something he wrote in 2005, entitled, “There is No God (And You Know It).” It’s nothing more than the argument from evil.

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