I share with my friend Peter the idea that organized religion and contemporary beliefs about God are not credible, but I think he still possesses some of the elements of a "seeker." He recently expressed excitement after learning about neuroscientist David Eagleman's "possibilianism." After listening to one of Eagleman's talks, it seemed to me that he made an argument from ignorance when he concluded that "our ignorance of the cosmos is too vast to commit to atheism." What does "ignorance of the cosmos" have to do with atheism? I think he does not understand what atheists actually think. Simply stated, we think that there is no evidence to support the supernatural in general or God in particular. It seems that Dr. Eagleman has created a straw man, but unfortunately many people, including my dear friends, are impressed with his presentation. Nothing about the astronomical information he cites refutes the idea that there is no evidence for God or the supernatural. Indeed, if anything, that information reinforces that science and reason offer the only possible hope that we will ever understand the cosmos.
Published on the Secular Web
"When anyone tells me that he saw a dead man restored to life, I immediately consider with myself, whether it be more probable that this person should either deceive or be deceived, or that the fact, which he relates, should really have happened."
The group of people commonly referred to as Nones includes atheists agnostics, secular humanists and a variety of other skeptics and freethinkers all of whom have one thing in common--they are not affiliated with any organized religious group. Although some of them do believe in a Creator or some form of Supreme Being, most are nonbelievers, albeit with varying degrees of conviction. But they also have one other characteristic in common. If they reveal their disbelief--especially if they use the word "atheist," then they become targets of criticism, victims of ostracism and charges of "anti-Americanism."
Apophatic theology is yet another attempt to explore the meaning of God, in this case, by negationâ€”to speak only in terms of what may not be said about the arcane being that believers call God. At first blush this doesn't seem like too bad an idea, since all previous attempts to explain God by telling us what He is and how He does operate leads most intelligent people to roll their eyes in disbelief at the twisted logic in which the explainers engage.
It is one thing to examine the effects of a person's belief system on illness when there is a plausible connection between the belief, including prayer, and the body's systems, but another to seek to investigate an effect that lies outside the known laws of science.