Thomas S. Kuhn
Atheist trade constantly upon their lack of belief. It's the absense of a belief sothey have no burden of proof, they are merely sketpically asking questions, they have nothing to prove. But Derrida shows us that absence is a form of presence. In tendeing their lack of beliefs as an unassailble world view pradigm they forge a posative beilef system out of doubt.
Atheists are always saying we can't prove God, there's no reason to believe in God, ect. There is a particular atheist on a message board that I frequent, who is fond of saying that he was so disappointed when he realized there was no basis for belief in God. But when one trys to make arguments for God, of course like most atheists, he resists them no matter how logical they seem. Well that's fair enough and to be expected. But he does on other thing that used ot drive me up the wall, but now I understand it. He moves the bar further and further until there is no meaning left in even considering the question of God. Let me give an example:
He demanded scientific proof of miracles. I gave him the Lourdes evidence which was once published on this blog. Best doctors in Eroupe, strict rules, nothing but the best medical evidence, rules control for remission. but that not only was this not good enough but he says "you only show curing cancer and things. That's what I would expect form some sort of placebo or mental powers. But why can't you show restored limbs?"
I say well here's a case in a saint making miracle. The saint making miracles have the same rules and the same sort of committee that the Lourdes miracles have. They are just as well documented and studied scientifically. In this case a man grew back a lung. He had a form of black lung, his lungs were collapsing and used up. Over night the tissue all regenerated and became like new again. That does not happen. But the guy only says "it's not a leg or an arm." So I find this book where a minister in Africa reports that whole people dead for years were restored not only to life but flesh and blood after being skeletons. He says "you believe that?" Actually no I think the book is bs and its' probably not very well documented. To be honest I haven't read it. But i prefaced the material by saying this and saying "I don't believe this but since you claim one never hears of it, here, now you have at least heard it said." But see, even when he get's what he wants, he doesn't believe it. I dont' blame him in this case, but he didn't believe the lung and that's backe dup by the best miracle documentation machine in the world.
The point is this kind of theist just keeps raising the bar until its so high he knows it will never be met. He actually said only empirical evidence would count for proof of God. So now he doesn't have to contend with the ontological argument or any form of deductive argument. What of empirical proof? As it turns out it's like this.He proposes a test that would prove God and that test is this. Pray that God will bring back from the dead everyone who died before 1980. When we see all people walking around we will know. They can also be given their memories of heaven and of hell so we will know about it. But one wonders why not just end the world? Then we all know for sure. In fact why create one at all, then there would no need to know. We can discuss all kinds of reasons why God is not going to raise the bar to that level. My argument on soteriolgocal drama explains it pretty well.
The point is he knows this bar will never be met. It's a totally unreasonable standard of proof, and is of course justified by the bogus er zots dictim "extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof." But the fact is while this amazing height goes begging real evidence that would supply a rationally warranted belif is totally ignored merely because it's not amazing enough.
What I realized was that what he's doing with the rational evidence, that he totally ignores, is nothing more than Kuhn says science does with anomalies. He's absorbing them into the paradigm. Thomas S. Kuhn (1822-1996)was a historian of science. The popularity of his theory has subsided over the last ten years, but at one point,in the early 90's, he was considered the major thinker in philosophy of science.. He also gave us the phrase "paradigm shift."
Kuhn said that science works like learning models of child psychologist Pierge. OR rather, science works like political revolution. We make a model of how we think things work, we absorb contradictions into it until we can no longer do so then we change it. When the paradigm shifts we are in a totally new conceptual universe. Thus the idiotic wacky ideas that were snubed in the old paradigm, the contradictions, the half backed speculations, become the new facts. When the paradigm is assailed the faithful do damage control. when the paradigm shifts it's just a revolution, a new regimen takes charge.
The atheists are treating evidence for God in the same manner. Kuhn says that every paradigm has anomalies. The anomalies are absorbed into the paradigm until it can no longer absorb them, then the paradigm shifts and we get a whole new conceptual universe. The atheist I speak of above was presented with my 300 studies which show that religious experience is transfomative, life long, and makes for better and mental and physical health and self authentication. This this is just water off a duck's back to this guy. It means aboslutely nothing. He merely absorbs it into the paradigm by saying "its all psycholgoical" and that's that. But the real proof would be if God would re arrange the starst to spell out "I am really here." Like that's really goning to happen. No, of course he knows it wont. Thus he has absorbed the anomalies into the paradigm and set up a situation in which no amount of anomalie will ever turn the paradigm.
This last move is just the atheist version of a non falsifiable beleif system. That is exaclty right, this is merely the atheist version of the fundie who says "I can't prove God, but you can't disprove him." So nothing will ever count against the belief Since atheism is the absence of belief, although it works out as Derrida teaches us, absense is presence. So the absense of a belief becomes a posative belief. The paradigm of anturalism is formed and becomes the materialist project that must be defended. This atheist inslulates himself in such a way that he will never have to deal with paradigm shift becasue all the anomilies in the world wont make the stars sepll out anything. Yet, a beilef stystem that cannot be falisified or veified cannot mean much either. The system is obviously just contrived.
What's with the crockadile tears about "I was so shattered when I found I had no basis to bleieve any longer?" Maybe thats' what he's seeking, a system that cannot be assailed. But it has yet to dawn upon him that such a system is not proven either. In short, he's building a faith. This is the athiesm of faith, not of reason. This is actaully the diametical oppossite of what atheim is suppossed to be about.
(orignally published on Metacorkc's Blog as Atheist Absnese of Belief is presence of Beleif)
William Provine, RIP: Noble in His Honesty
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