A method for evaluating any particular system of thought for validity is to conduct a test for internal coherence, known as an internal critique. If a certain worldview is internally coherent that won’t prove it is true, but if it is internally incoherent it must certainly be false. One of the most well-known statements reflecting the atheist perspective comes from Richard Dawkins, in his 1995 tome River Out of Eden.
…if the universe were just electrons and selfish genes, meaningless tragedies… are exactly what we should expect, along with equally meaningless good fortune. Such a universe would be neither evil nor good in intention. It would manifest no intentions of any kind. In a universe of blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won’t find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice. The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference. As that unhappy poet A.E. Housman put it: ‘For Nature, heartless, witless Nature. Will neither care nor know.’ DNA neither cares nor knows. DNA just is. And we dance to its music.”
A few years back Dawkins was the keynote speaker in absentia at a Reason Rally held on the Mall in Washington D.C., A health condition had limited his travel. I can imagine a rather humorous but illustrative scenario occurring had Dawkins actually been present. After giving his keynote speech, the good professor discovers his wallet missing. He intermediately notifies the law enforcement agency handling the security detail. He wants the guilty party apprehended and his wallet returned.
The officer in charge who heard Dawkins speak tells him, “Remember, there is no good or evil, it’s merely an act of blind pitiless indifference that your wallet is missing. Whoever did this is just dancing to the whims of his or her DNA. You got hurt and someone else got lucky, without rhyme or reason.”
Do you think Dawkins would be satisfied with that answer? Of course not. This is because no atheist lives or reasons consistently with his or her claims about ultimate reality.
Not only that, but if Dawkins’ cosmic narrative is correct, there is no reason he should have shown up at all, since the event had no purpose, either. Dawkins is at least correct in articulating the ramifications of a theoretical atheist reality. Dawkins is hardly the first to posit such a grim scenario, Check out the nihilist Frederick Nietzsche’s essay “The Madman.” for the depiction of a world without God.
Nietzsche and the Madman (allaboutphilosophy.org)
The reality is that the atheist must borrow the capital and concepts of a theist reality to even argue against it. The skeptic does not and cannot live according to his or her own professed reality unless the atheist is a Psychopath.
G.K. Chesterton, was a convert to Christianity from atheism over a century ago. In his work Orthodoxy, he expounds on how the skeptic is perpetually in conflict with his own worldview.
“But the new rebel is a skeptic, and will not entirely trust anything. He has no loyalty; therefore, he can never be really a revolutionist. And the fact that he doubts everything really gets in his way when he wants to denounce anything. For all denunciation implies a moral doctrine of some kind; and the modern revolutionist doubts not only the institution he denounces, but the doctrine by which he denounces it.”
Of course, to this characterization the unbeliever will cry foul, claiming that while there is no cosmic meaning, there is existential meaning that each individual assigns to the events of life. Or said in a different way, they will say there is no ultimate meaning, but there is meaning we can invent at the personal level. This sort of contrived dichotomy always strikes me as amusing, but it really tips over a nasty can of worms. Atheists will mock theists with their pejorative characterizations of God, i.e. “Sky Fairy,” “Flying Spaghetti Monster” along with a host of other names. They insist that God is a pretended human construct, yet by denying the reality of God, given their worldview, they must pretend regarding the existence of virtually any concept in the abstract; i.e., the Dawkins manifesto above.
The ultimate proof of God’s existence is not hinged on some empirical demonstration that would need to be replicated ad infinitum. Rather, the stark fact that no atheist can live or reason without reference to the theistic perspective, demonstrates he lives in God’s universe all the while he denies it.© Robert Meyer
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