Thursday, December 21, 2017

If atheism is true, does truth matter?

Maybe not.



jdhuey said...

The question is inverted. It should read:

If the truth matters, then it is important that atheism is true.
If the truth doesn't matter, then believe what you like.

Legion of Logic said...

If atheism is true, then truth matters to the extent that one wants to accomplish his goals. Knowing what is true helps to develop strategies that will assist in obtaining the desired outcome.

Is it important to believe what is true as some sort of virtue, if atheism is true? Nope. That's just a matter of opinion, and one for which there is no evidence beyond the circular reasoning of pointing at goals that are asserted to be the "correct" ones due to whatever cultural values are held at the time (so long as it doesn't include God, of course).

So the answer would appear to be, if theism is true, then the truth is important regardless of one's personal opinions or goals, whereas if atheism is true, then believe what you like.

jdhuey said...

"...he was raised in a culture that values truth and that is largely because of its theistic history."

This is a total misread of history. The struggle to assert that "truth" is paramount was a struggle by Enlightenment thinkers against the Church (churches, actually).

Hugo Pelland said...

It is an interesting article as it shows once again how theists have it backward when it comes to addressing Atheism, because Atheism is, and only is, the answer to Theism. So when the author says the following, the confusion is obvious:

"But is atheism itself a survival truth? Of course not. One can live a happy, healthy, long life without acknowledging that atheism is true. Millions and millions have done it.

So we have a problem. If atheism is true, only survival truths are important. Atheism is not a survival truth. Thus, atheism is not important."

Of course Atheism isn't important, because Theism isn't. Whether one believes in gods or not has never been relevant to whether their views on reality are correct. The only thing it does is, sometimes, make Theists believe obviously false things. But it doesn't work the other way around.

Rejecting Theistic propositions, embracing Atheism, means just that, and nothing else. Of course, we can get involved in more complex discussions where one can attempt to prove Theism wrong, to prove that certain types of gods do not exist. But at the end of the day, these attempts are still just responses to theories that Theists advance to try to justify their belief in something more than objevtive reality.

Moreover, there's always a huge irony here: if God exists, he can do whatever the heck he wants to us, to our reality. This essentially make reality something subjective; it depends on what that special mind wants. Hence, truth would actually be less meaningful in a God-controlled universe. But that's not what we appear to live in, as nature is consistently behaving as expected, based on prior observations. The minds we do know of, human minds, on the other hand, are really hard to predict... cows, milk, cheese, hum, tasty. See what I mean?

SteveK said...

If atheism is true then we wouldn't exist to ask the question.

Hugo Pelland said...

SteveK, what you write simply means: we exist therefore God. Not very convincing. And millenia of disagreements over the question proves you wrong. (Wrong on the simplicity, not the truth, which none of us can know for sure.)

SteveK said...

It's not a proof statement. It's a statement about what Christian's believe. There are philosophical arguments involving necessary beings that attempt to show that this is true.

David Brightly said...

Exemplifying atheism's slippery relation with the truth, StoL tells us of the determinist caste for whom what you believe to be true was something your genes and environment made you believe to be true. Strange then that just after the Dawkins clip he should say that you have to wonder if Dawkins believes this simply because he was raised in a culture that values truth and that is largely because of its theistic history. Not so much a slippery idea as a sticky one, perhaps?

Victor Reppert said...

One could make this argument:

1) People ought, in areas of religion, to form beliefs in accordance with truth only if there are objectively correct moral values.

2) If naturalism is true, there are no objectively correct moral values.

3) Therefore, if naturalism is true, then we have no moral obligations to form beliefs in accordance with truth.

But this wouldn't be a response to all forms of atheism, only naturalistic ones. An atheism that allowed for the existence of the Form of the Good, or a Law of Karma, or an inherent purpose for human life, could avoid this conclusion without difficulty. But such views are dismissed as so much woo my typical atheists of the present day.