Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Doug Benscoter's Argument for Believing in God on the assumption that atheism is true

Premise 1: If God does not exist, then something like Blind Watchmaker Neo-Darwinian Evolution (hereafter just “evolution”) is a fact.

Premise 2: If evolution is a fact, then, objectively, my only purpose in life is to survive, reproduce, and spread my genes to the maximal extent (this premise is taken, essentially, from the mouth of Richard Dawkins).

Premise 3: Belief in God brings about the most health, happiness, and fecundity (after all, orthodox believers are much more fruitful than secular atheists).

Premise 4: Being healthy, happier, and more fecund increases my ability to survive, reproduce, and spread my genes.

Conclusion: Therefore, I should believe in God rather than not.


im-skeptical said...

The argument says you should believe in God because it is associated with practical benefits, not because that belief is true.

Victor Reppert said...

Yes, it says that. It's a pragmatic argument. In fact, the argument stipulates for the sake of argument, that theism is false.

Kathen said...

I looked for this argument on Doug Benscoter's blog. It is not really his argument is it? It is presented by RD Miksa. If you get rid of all the stuff about evolution and the misrepresentation of Dawkins it amounts to saying that although God does not exist it makes sense to believe that he does if believing makes you happier and/or healthier.

Fair enough. But I can think of three objections an atheist might make (all suggested on the blog btw):

1. I think it is morally wrong to believe something if the evidence is against it. (Yes, atheists can have moral principles.)

2. Believing in God may make most people happier or healthier but it would not work for me. I would be less happy and probably less healthy if I believed in God.

3. How is it done? Doug Benscoter apparently can do it. He says he has changed his mind about affirmative action simply by deciding to. But I think most people would have some problems with this. Could Doug Benscoter look out at a thunderstorm or a blizzard and make himself believe it was a fine, calm, sunny day? If he could, well most of us could not.

im-skeptical said...

This argument may mirror to some degree an evolutionary explanation of God belief. But I doubt that any theist would find it an intellectually satisfying reason to believe.

J. Paul said...

Wonderful argument, I have used a form of this many many times. I like it.