Does God exist? What is atheism? Should the State support religion? My interview on WLRFM

by Michael Nugent on March 4, 2017

I did a wide-ranging interview with Eamon Keane of Deise Today on WLRFM today. We covered:

  • Does God exist?
  • The difference between atheism and agnosticism
  • State support for religion
  • Catholic evangelisation in State-funded schools
  • Freedom of religion, conscience, and belief
  • Atheist Ireland’s alliance for secular schools with Evangelical Alliance Ireland and the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community of Ireland
  • The wonders of scientific discoveries
  • Whether religion helps us when we are dying

The recording ends just before the interview ended, but all that is not included is the thank you at the end of the interview.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Aneris March 8, 2017 at 5:54 pm

Inspired by your forthcoming debate with William Lane Craig, I typed down my argument against gods, which also addresses a common point you make. And where I disagree.

You say early on in the interview “I strongly believe there isn’t a God […] but I don’t claim to know there isn’t a God”, but this viewpoint, as modest it seems, is not justifiable. One angle why this doesn’t work is in the argument attached above. The agnostic argument is a form of obscurantism.

Let me summarize and expand one aspect. The gods everyone is talking about are not empty concepts that can be tied to the next best entity that may or may not exist somewhere. These beliefs reference a specific celestial teapot, originate and are related to believes to that specific teapot. If nobody can show the invisible string coming out of the concept and where it is tetherred to something real, it cannot concern knowledge in any way. And in fact, we know already that it leads nowhere. Believers know this, too, for they have no way to say “this is the real god, and yours is false”.

Puting it differently, even if we find an entity that matches the description of a god, we know already right now that it’s not the God the Christians (or any other religion) were talking about. For example, god created humans. We know that whatever we found certainly didn’t create us and we already know this is a fact. We also know already that the being did not reveal itself to anyone. The god concept cannot be just anything and we should not give up all criteria, and follow the obscurantist trickery (which comes from broadening a concept, thereby artificially increasing its likelihood of existing).

The problems only get bigger once you list the features a god proper must have to be recognized as such. For example, it must know everything. But how can we ever know that this supposed god really knows everything? We run into the problem of induction at that point (we might losen our skepticism once more when this being is able to tell where the missing socks went).

Further, we already know that the concept itself is contradictory, too. Even if we allow suspension of disbelief to carry that far that we grant that some cosmic super-intelligence exists, the features a proper god must have are not just one bridge too far, but are completely impossible.

In sum, we have to go that far into obscurantism and bend the concept of knowledge such far, that it becomes entirely meaningless. I thus hope to convince you that we should not do it. I also submit to you that we shouldn’t compromise on this “not knowing” point for tactical reasons, either. All things considered, there is absolutely no god.

2 Sean March 9, 2017 at 4:10 am

What would God do to prove his existence ?
I would encode my signature within the Bible.

Go to http://www.outersecrets.com/real/biblecode2a.htm and click on the flashing words, ” Watch / Listen”.

Be sure that your browser supports Adobe Flash Player.

3 Michael Nugent March 11, 2017 at 10:16 pm

Thanks for that, Aneris.

I do broadly agree with your analysis.

My agnosticism is technical rather than tactical.

It applies to anything that I think I might know, not just gods, because I might be mistaken about anything.

I do try to stress that I strongly believe there are no gods, and that the most reliable analysis of reality supports that belief.

I’m not sure of the best way to convey that nuance without being misleading.

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