1/11/10

ITS NAME IS DOOM — PZ Myers’ A Priori Presuppositional Presumption of Atheism

Martin Buber on the “deactualized self”:
The capricious man does not believe and encounter. He does not know association; he only knows the feverish world out there and his feverish desire to use it…

When he says You, he means: You, my ability to use!...

In truth he has no destiny but is merely determined by things and drives, feels autocratic, and is capricious.
He has no great will and tries to pass off caprice in its place….

But the unbelieving marrow of the capricious man cannot perceive anything but unbelief and caprice, positing ends and devising means. His world is devoid of sacrifice and grace, encounter and present, but shot through with ends and means: it could not be different and its name is doom.

For all his autocratic bearing, he is inextricably entangled in unreality; and he becomes aware of this whenever he recollects his own condition. Therefore he takes pains to use the best part of his mind to prevent or at least obscure such recollection.[1]

Having endured and digested the death knell which PZ Myers authored it seemed relevant to dissect certain portions.

Some people seemed to be honestly taken, in a good way in their estimation, by PZ Myers’ materialistic, mechanistic, reductionist, view of life. When that is all you think you have then, that is all you think you have. Sadly, they do not seem to stop, dissect his statements and note that they are premised upon an a priori presuppositional presumption of atheism.

Certainly, this is nothing but what one would expect, that an atheist to presuppose atheism, but one must nevertheless connect the dots of one thoughts and ask how PZ Myers reached such conclusions.

Let us glean from his essay Happy Wary Vigilance Day! about which we ought be wary and vigilant as it is a very, very confused text. This is because he attempts to weave together theism with materialism; a theistic concept with a materialistic application. Since this rather odd arrangement does not work, he takes pleasure in pointing out that it does not work and yet, it is a fallacious concoction of his own.

Let us note that within the text PZ Myers offers a Mosaic-mosaic as he promulgates four positive and six negative commandments all premised upon a positive atheism spiked “get over it”:

1. Sit at that table and contemplate the threats to your existence

2. Thank [helpful people] them personally

3. Share human feelings with other human beings

4. Have a grand old day off

5. Don't sit at your table and think you're being good

6. Don't beam happy thoughts

7. Don't be hypocritical and radiate gratitude

8. None of this nonsense

9. Don't waste your time praying

10. Forget this silly business of feeling blindly thankful

Thus saith PZ.


He begins by stating “Sorry, I don't believe in Thanksgiving Day” which is not surprising since whether you consider the Pilgrims or George Washington’s declaration; both reveal the Judeo-Christian, or generically theistic, premises upon which the USA is based.

PZ Myers presupposes positive atheism in the following terms:
1. “there is nothing out there that can be aware of just how glad you are to be alive” – please prove it.
2. “there's no agent out there who will feel pleased that you noticed” – please prove it.
3. “Also, gods don't exist, so they haven't done squat for you. Don't waste your time praying to them, either” – please prove it.

Based upon this unproven, unevidenced, a prior worldview adherence he states “This whole notion that one should have vague and aimless feelings of gratitude for the nature of one's existence is just too weird” which is an arguments from personal incredulity; what seems weird to PZ Myers has no relevance to what is factual, true, moral, etc. Also, he is injecting the concepts of “vague” and “aimless” into the act so that it is easier for him to discredit. Yet, when I am grateful for my existence it is not “vague” and “aimless” but specific and aimful.
He makes the same fallacious presumption again in stating, “None of this nonsense of bland, undirected, unfocused, smug gratitude”; fine, none of that, but he is presupposing that they, we, are being bland, undirected, unfocused and smug. And again “forget this silly business of feeling blindly thankful” done; but who is being blindly thankful? He only thinks this as it is a logical conclusion from his illogical atheism.

He continues by stating that the “bow-your-head-at-the-table and radiate-blessings-at-the-cosmos tradition is pointless and silly.” I fully agree, even though what he or I think is pointless and silly is irrelevant. Since he presupposes positive atheism he thinks that people are “bow-your-head…radiate-blessings” aka praying “at-the-cosmos” but they are not; they are addressing God.

He states, “The universe is cold and uncaring” with which I fully agree. Yet, when we bow-our-heads radiating blessings we are not addressing the universe but its creator. Likewise with the statement, “don't sit at your table and think you're being good by warmly thanking an indifferent universe for whatever. It doesn't care”; true but who is doing any such thing? He also states, “Nature is not appeasable, get over it” done; it is gotten over, but who thought to appease nature, Pagans?


Now to the next issue which is that “Gratitude is to be shared between sentient beings” with which I again agree: I am grateful to a sentient God. His point is “Don't get me wrong: I can be appropriately and happily grateful to people who have gone out of their way to do good for me…for the most part, our existence is not the product of selfless altruism.”
From here he explains that even the people you may imagine thanking are not worthy since they are merely greedily serving their own needs as he references “the machineries of profit…the market forces” thus:
Then a gang of people who were mostly concerned with trudging through another day and making a living wage decapitated it, gouged out its guts, stripped off its feathers, and wrapped it in plastic so you could thoughtlessly stuff fragments of its carcass into your hungry maw…If you're eating tofurkey, you aren't off the hook, either. Think of the soybeans!...Don't beam happy thoughts at the farmers who stocked your larder — they can't hear you, and they did it for their own personal profit anyway…you probably do have people who have done good things for you, at personal cost, and without carrying out the calculus of profit. If you want to have a day of thankfulness, thank them personally.
This is a false dichotomy as during my Thanksgiving Day supper, and I imagine that of many others, we thanked both God and humans. We rendered to Cesar that which is Cesar’s and to God that which is God’s.

Note that he references “luck” in the following terms, “We're all doomed. We are currently survivors by luck, sustained by selfish processes, and I don't thank luck” since it is fickle and asks if we would be “resentful of nonexistence, or place blame for random bad luck?”
Well, I, for one, do not believe in luck—good, bad or indifferent. But in the worldviews of PZ Myers and, as a prime example Richard Dawkins, “luck” replaces “miracle” but offers the same results, occupies the same station: the luck-of-the-gaps that can accomplish anything whilst filling the gaps in our knowledge. This is how Dawkins states it:
It is as though, in our theory of how we came to exist, we are allowed to postulate a certain ration of luck (The Blind Watchmaker, p. 145).

Explain[ing] how the complex, improbable appearance of design in the universe arises...makes heavier demands on luck(The God Delusion, p. 121).

Is it any wonder that he concludes,
We don’t actually need a plausible theory of the origin of life (The Greatest Show on Earth, p. 421)

If we are just here and that’s all, we need not bothersome explanations.

Thus, PZ Myers is overall confusing a theistic premise with a positive atheistic application, basing his comments on prejudicial presuppositions of that which people are doing during Thanksgiving and only accurately representing the doom, gloom and hopelessness which is the logical conclusion of atheism.



[1] Martin Buber (Walter Kaufmann, trans.), I and Thou (New York: Scribner’s, 1970), p. 111

This essay is copyrighted by Mariano of the “Atheism is Dead” blog at http://atheismisdead.blogspot.com.
It may be republished in part or in its entirety on websites, blogs, or any print media for whatever purpose—in agreement or in order to criticize it—only as long as the following conditions are met:
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9 comments:

  1. Mariano wrote the following: this is nothing but what one would expect, that an atheist to presuppose atheism

    Atheism is not presupposed, ever. Not ever. Depending on the definition of the term you favor, atheism is either a default condition (re. lack of belief) or a conclusion (re. belief of lack).

    http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/presupposition

    An effect presupposes a cause. Atheists do not assume prior to knowledge that God doesn't exist.

    Your intent in misusing this word, by my estimation, is to equate Christian theology with atheism (re. both are belief systems, both are religions, both require faith, etc ad nauseum). If you would only consult a dictionary, you'd discover why people here often reject your arguments out of hand.

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  2. Same lame arguments, Whatev-man? Really? I've dealt with this and you're still peddling it around. You know the claim "there is no God" is as much of a truth claim as "there is a God." The former assertion requires as much justification as does the latter. The default position, therefore, is not atheism.

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  3. I'm "peddling it" for no other reason than it being correct. Atheism in general requires no faith, although the same can't be said for Strong Atheism.

    Atheism, a lack of belief in God, is never presupposed/assumed prior to acquiring knowledge. You know this, Mariano knows this, but both of you are too deeply buried in the pride of your own opinions to be capable of admitting it.

    If atheism requires faith, then every statement of knowledge / opinion requires faith - rendering "faith" a meaningless term.

    Really, you should consult a dictionary more often. Understanding the words you're using is a skill lacking in nearly every fundamentalist I've ever met, and your comments (and Mariano's blog in general) illuminate this fact without hesitation.

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  4. Here comes the usual schtick of internet atheism. The fact is that most "strong atheists" tactically try to pass themselves off as "weak atheists" because they're patently afraid of having to defend a positive statement on the subject. Precisely because they know that not only will such an argument be damn hard to make, it's going to come out worse than the arguments for theism.

    It's amazing how many supposed "weak atheists" - people who only lack belief when it comes to God - have a knack for talking about the likelihood of God existing, that certain things were or were not an act of God (note: Something being 'natural' does not rule out it being done by God or according to God's desires), etc.

    In other words, whateverman: Please cut the bullshit. Stop trying to pass off agnostics as "atheists". What's more, stop confusing the acquisition of knowledge as rendering faith void. Unless you have knowledge that actually demonstrates God's non-existence, then believing God does not exist is a faith position. And if your position is merely that you have no belief in God and therefore don't believe God does not exist or believe he does, then "knowledge" just isn't what you have on hand. My lack of belief in martians cannot rightly be called "knowledge". My belief that there are no martians perhaps can be, but still requires some measure of faith, however well-grounded.

    And thanks to the blog authors for continuing to expose New Atheist nonsense.

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  5. Ah, here comes the usual schtick of anonymous Christian conservatism...

    More seriously, "Anonymous" wrote the following:

    Unless you have knowledge that actually demonstrates God's non-existence, then believing God does not exist is a faith position.

    I have such knowledge: unsubstantiated believer claims.

    * Jesus returning to judge the non-believers (and failing to do so, despite this claim being made for the last 1900 years)

    * Claims of natural disasters being the hand of God, when every single event examined can ultimately be attributed to Natural causes

    * "Jesus" being invoked in prayer for every petty desire known to man, and no evidence of that prayer being effective, etc.

    * Christians themselves disagreeing upon the nature, behavior and desires of the very being they claim to know.

    These things constitute strong evidence that God does not exist as he is described by faithful Christians.

    And for what it's worth, I'm not an atheist. You'd like to impose a dogmatic definition for atheism, and the sad fact is that you have to ignore reality in order to do so. Although there are variations, atheism at its core is a lack of belief in God(s).

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  6. Jesus returning to judge the non-believers (and failing to do so, despite this claim being made for the last 1900 years)

    Not evidence of no God.

    Claims of natural disasters being the hand of God, when every single event examined can ultimately be attributed to Natural causes

    Not evidence of no God.

    "Jesus" being invoked in prayer for every petty desire known to man, and no evidence of that prayer being effective, etc.

    Not evidence of no God.

    Christians themselves disagreeing upon the nature, behavior and desires of the very being they claim to know.

    Not evidence of no God.

    Huh...still don't have the evidence there, bra.

    And you're fudging with your definition of atheism as well. Atheism is the positive belief that there is no God. Agnosticism is the stance that can have a 'hard' or 'soft' application.

    Hard Agnosticism: "I don't know if God exists and no one else can know either."

    Soft Agnosticism: "I don't know if God exists, but it's possible for someone to know."

    The definition you have contrived isn't asserting anything. It's making no claim and denying no claim. It's simply stating your psychological state.

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  7. Me: Jesus returning to judge the non-believers (and failing to do so, despite this claim being made for the last 1900 years)

    Bossmanham: Not evidence of no God

    Me: Yes, it most certainly is. Consult the history of the religion you identify with: predictions of Jesus' return have been made for the last ~1800 years. Here we sit in the year 2010, marveling at the abject failure of such predictions to have been realized.

    The Christian God does not exist as he's described by believers. That's evidence for his non-existence; for you to pretend otherwise is dishonest but not entirely unexpected.

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  8. well if you start from the powers of the brain that could happen to human, you can see that the human being himself is so powerful till he can do miracles: mind reading and predicting : jesus saying to his fellowers: one that he will cheat him and one that he will say that he dont know him, if you go deep in yourself and if you look that the shocks happen to human make their brain abnormal and you can have it whenever in whatever age : it happen with jesus as Jewish tradition was to circumsize their children when they born and it happen to any one so who ever can happen to him he can see the brain power.

    so the brain power could happen to everyone, so if jesus say he is GOD as he had powers so whoever have this circumstances like power in his brain can say to himself he is GOD so who is GOD everyone can be GOD.

    from other side, if you look on this life, you find if NO RELIGION (NO GOD) THERE IS NO WAR, WAR results is always the development of humanity that with his story so they say at first, RELIGION IS FOR DEVELOPMENT. well i can say Meditation in yourself is also development so results if NO RELIGION NO WAR , than these Religions appreciate killing and povertiy etc... cause if it dont happen (War , poverty etc...) all is happy and no one goes and pray, so if no conspiracy to HUMAN BEING on earth and leave them alone, RELIGION is USELESS to exist and GOD IS USELESS TO EXIST.

    Other point, the FEAR & the Guilt, the religion is created to give the two feeling The FEAR & THE GUILT those are two main tactics if you go and google mind control you will find those two tactics are the main ideas so you can control someone, so being in guilt and to fear what will happen to me after i die as GOD will punish me makes us living as they call it civilized (no free will killing and no etcc.....) where they legalize (the religions) the killing to army of each country as is defending for countries.

    finally i will stop here, my small experience, what i believe is what i believe, what i read is what i read, what makes me think of what i think and believe now is for me, SO relax guys and stop posting comment is just loss of colories when you are pissed off, my advise GO AND MEDITATE!!!! NO ONE IS WATCHING US (from sky side)

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  9. Back in my day aetheists were burned at the stake! Them no-god likers, I hate every last one of them, my grandsons are atheist, I hate atheists! Religion is the number one for me. Nothing makes me more happy than praying to the good lord for my acceptance into heaven. I hate heathens but love the lord for his forgiveness. I hope all the other brothers and sisters of Christanity support my belief. I hope all the sinners die in hell.

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