Monday, January 4, 2016

On Truth, and Who Seeks It

I was amused to read this post in Shadow To Light, where the host Mikey tries to take issue with every single word uttered by Richard Dawkins, no matter what he says.  This particular rant was in response to Dawkins making the outrageous claim that the truth is what matters.  It seems that Mikey wants his followers to believe that truth only matters to theists, and that an atheist has no reason to value truth, apparently because he decides for himself what is right and wrong.
If God exists, then we exist in a reality that exists because of Him. He brought it into existence and sustains its existence. We exist because of Him. My meaning, my purpose for existence, is tied to these truths. Truth matters very much.  But what if there is no God? There universe exists for no reason. My existence is a fleeting, contingent fluke. I am the one who gives my life the meaning I want, all in the context of being the one who gets to decide what is right and what is wrong. It’s hard to see how truth always matters in this reality. It this reality, it would seem, truth can often take the back seat.
If you don't quite follow the logic of this, it's only because you have the silly notion that a logical conclusion should follow from the premises.

But for theists like Mikey, all you have to do is say the magic word "God", and then anything you can connect to that automatically has the status of "Truth".  And conversely, any statement that is not connected with the magic word "God" automatically has the status of "Not Truth".  Mikey is arguing:
1. If I am a theist, God gives my life meaning.
2. Therefore, truth matters.
I see no logical connection between statement 1 and statement 2.  He might just as well have said:
1. If I am a theist, God gives my life meaning.
2. Therefore, the moon is made of green cheese. 
This would be equally valid from a logical standpoint.  He also says:
1. The atheist decides what is right and wrong.
2. Therefore, truth takes a back seat.
Again, there is no logical connection between statement 1 and statement 2.  This is just muddled thinking on the part of a theist who is so intent on showing that Dawkins is wrong, he thinks any incoherent nonsense is good enough make his point.

In fairness, Mikey did attempt to make an argument to the effect that atheists reject reality in favor of fantasy, but this supporting argument is just as incoherent as the main one.  He uses the movie The Matrix as an example of the choice between Truth and Fantasy.
In the movie, Cipher must make a choice. Shall he choose Truth, which involves a seemingly futile fight against the machines as a hardworking, unnoticed grunt whose big thrill of the day is to eat gruel? Or, shall he choose to live a Fantasy, where he gets plugged back into the Matrix to enjoy a life of immense sensory stimulation, existing as a man with great power and wealth, adored by all? And all the time, he would believe it was all true.
He then goes on to reason that the theist would choose to live as a grunt, because the theist cares about truth, while the atheist would choose to live the fantasy, because the atheist values physical stimulation more than truth.  But why should we think this would be the case? 

In case you didn't notice, Mikey is engaging in circular reasoning.  His main argument concludes that truth matters to the theist, based on the assumption made in his subordinate argument that truth matters to the theist.  How profound.  Likewise, he simply asserts that the atheist would choose the fantasy.  Is there any basis for making that assertion, Mikey?

Excuse me, but the last time I checked, atheists believe that our ordinary earthly human life is the reality, and Christians believe in the fantasy that they get to spend eternity in heaven.  So Mikey has the situation exactly backwards.  The theistic worldview is one of fantasy, and the atheistic worldview recognizes the objectively observable reality of our existence - otherwise known as truth.

This is consistent with my own observations.  As I noted in my previous post, it makes no difference to the theist what is indicated by objective evidence, or what the truth is.  The theist will always stick to his theistic belief.  Whether God exists or not, the theistic view requires that the believer continue to believe.  That fact is independent of any truth regarding the existence of God.  Therefore, it is not truth that forms the basis of his belief - it is the theistic ideology.  It is difficult to understand how anyone can be so obviously impervious to evidence, and at the same time, claim that truth matters to him.  What really matters to the theist is his theism.

For someone who is a truth-seeker, objective evidence is the basis of belief, not ideology.  Many atheists have stopped believing in God because that's what the evidence led them to.  For them, it was the evidence as they saw it that resulted in their accepting an atheistic worldview.  It is this kind of person who can rightly be described as a seeker of truth - someone to whom the truth matters, and is willing to base his beliefs on what the evidence indicates.  For the truth-seeker, truth comes before ideology, and if the evidence should indicate a different truth, that would dictate a different ideology or belief system that follows from it.

Many theists think that there is an objective duty to seek the truth, and this is an argument for the existence of God.  As stated by a commenter in Mikey's post:
1) If men have an objective duty/purpose to pursue and believe the truth above other considerations, then God exists (for God is the best explanation of such an objective duty to seek the truth).
2) Men do have an objective duty/purpose to pursue and belief the truth above other considerations.
3) Therefore, God exists.
This argument supposedly includes a tough dilemma for atheism, because if the atheist accepts statement 2, God's existence is entailed, but if he rejects it, he can't criticize a Christian for not seeking the truth.  I do reject statement 2, and as you may have noticed, I also accuse Christians of not seeking the truth.  So what gives me the right to do so? 

First, I note that despite having no objective duties to live my life according to supposed requirements imposed by God, I do set my own requirements by which my own life is governed, and that is a higher obligation than any imaginary obligations that theists think they have.  Second, I note that Christians stubbornly refuse to seek the truth, choosing instead to seek only validation of their beliefs, while refusing to listen to any evidence to the contrary, and therefore they don't even follow the obligation they claim to have.  Finally, I note that it is ridiculous for them to claim that a lack of objective obligations entails that I have no right to express my opinion.  As long as they continue to push their hypocrisy and their illogical ranting, I feel it is my obligation, self-imposed and freely accepted, to point out the truth about these people.


  1. Mikey says: "Yet I would argue what matters is what’s true….as long as there is a God."

    Bang! The ubiquitous conversation stopper. The rest of Mikey's post is sophomoric ad hoc rationalisation, a babbling stream of consciousness, dislodged straight from the top of his head like dandruff.

    1. Stream of consciousness. Hmmm... On could make a case that this is nothing more than gibberish produced by a robot - random words liberally interspersed with "God".

    2. Perhaps a babbling stream of untutored consciousness. :o)

    3. Perhaps a babbling stream of untutored consciousness. :o)