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Monday, September 03, 2007

Atheism features incoherent accounts of religion, spirituality, lawyer argues

Lawyer David Opderbeck comments on the claim that babies are born 100% atheists: Apart from the fact that babies don't really either believe or disbelieve anything,
... this statement seems to contradict what many contemporary atheists believe about religious experience. Contemporary atheists such as Dawkins tell us that people have in some ways been hard wired by evolution to be predisposed to religious belief. This observation, the notion of religion as a meme, allows them to suggest that the God of religious belief isn't "real," but rather is a false belief that at one time enhanced survival value but that does not correspond to reality. They of course suggest that this belief can and should be elided now that they have supposedly explained its provenance. But then, if this account of religion is even partly correct, it cannot follow that "all babies are born 100% atheists." It would be more accurate, under the hard-wired / meme view, to suggest that "all babies are born with varying degress of predisposition towards receptivity to religion memes."

But he also notes that the atheist position tends to become incoherent at this point:
On the one hand, religion is like a malicious virus, that takes advantage of its host without benefitting the host; on the other, it is rooted in social behaviour that conferred survival advantages and became hard-wired in the hominid biochemistry; on yet another hand (yes, three hands,) it is a "meme," a mysterious, unobservable, immaterial entity that was originally incorporated into a human memeplex -- another mysterious, unobservable, immaterial entity -- because of some survival value. ... )

Of course, he means materialist atheism. Non-materialist atheism is a different matter altogether.

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