It's quite clear you are a little fuzzy on the terms in play in this thread. True Atheism is not the belief that there is no god. It is the rejection of theistic arguments
Traditionally, people have recognized three sources of knowledge: Revelation, Reason and Experience.
Revelation can be defined as God's disclosure of his own nature and his purpose for mankind, especially through the words of human intermediaries.
Revelation presupposes faith, so this source of knowledge has no persuasion to atheists.
Simple inclusion of this in your post is not sufficient merit to include it as a 'source of knowledge.' What are the criterion for determining the source of said revelations ie: how do you prove they aren't solely dependent upon the agent? This 'source' differs from empirical fact or logic inasmuch as the latter two are at least partially separable from the agent exercising them.
Reason, can be defined as the power of the mind to think, understand, and form judgements logically.
Atheists tend to absolutize this source of knowledge above others, often they even consider this the only reliable source of all knowledge. This is especially visible in their claim that the scientific method is the only method for obtaining objective knowledge of reality. They discard other methods of reason, like philosophy and theology, as subjective and unreliable. (And indeed, atheists are often poor philosophers (think of Dawkins and Hitchens)).
Philosophy is often the precursor to scientific theory, and it uses logic in the fundamental creation of its arguments. The scientific method is separate from but dependent on logical consistency, but not vice versa.
I think that the reason why atheist tend to cling so much to the hard data of the natural sciences, is because the atheist position is philosophically and intellectually weak. But that is another debate.
Since when is atheism dependent on the scientific method? Atheism is a lack of acceptance of philosophical arguments for theism and nothing more. Come up with a good, logically consistent argument for the existence of a deity and I will change my position.
Not only that, but I would argue atheism is the default position. It doesn't require intellectual or philosophical arguments. The burden of proof is solely on the theist.
The interesting thing is that this presupposition, that science is the only tool for obtaining reliable knowledge of reality, is not derived from science itself. It is therefore self-refuting. Because if the legitimizing of science as the only criterion for objective knowledge has to be sought outside science, than science is no longer the only criterion for objective knowledge.
It might not be the only way of obtaining empirical knowledge that there is, but it's the best one we have, and the only reliable one. Are we supposed to throw it all out and rely on weak philosophical arguments that say Goddidit instead of trusting our eyes and minds? Don't be absurd. Credulity will not make your life better or more truthful. This is the inherent draw of atheism and naturalism.
The same holds for materialist philosophies on reality in general. Scientism (the belief that the investigative methods of the physical sciences are applicable or justifiable in all fields of inquiry), empiricism (the doctrine that all ideas and categories are derived from sense experience and that knowledge cannot extend beyond experience, including observation, experiment, and induction), and other related philosophies, are philosophies that are not justified and legitimized by their own standards and criteria.
First of all no one in this thread as far as I can tell is saying that the scientific method is the only way of obtaining information, but without question it's the best one we have. Logically, how do you expect to experience anything except through your five senses? If you had no sight, hearing, touch, smell or taste you would cease to experience anything except your own thoughts. Also, over a short period of time your brain would actually start making things up for you to experience. It would hallucinate, smell things and hear noises that aren't there. If you don't believe me, just look up what happens when people go through sensory-deprivation experiments.
The scientific method simply takes our sensory experiences and attempts to control them...removing observer bias, and as much possibility for error as we can. Then we repeat the observation in an attempt to disprove our expected observation, readjust, re-hypothesize and retest.
The scientific method is an extension of sensory experience based in logical apparatus.
That makes it all the more evident that they are belief systems, based on presuppositions that are not logical, self-evident conclusions of reason itself.
Are you claiming that logic is inherently tautological?
You can believe in these philosophies as being true, you can bring forth good, reasonable arguments in favor of them, but they are still belief systems. That means that, in order to be intellectually honest, you have to be open to the possibility that these belief systems are untrue and that other belief systems, religious or not, can be true.
How exactly are they belief systems? Are you attempting to meander your way around with epistemological skepticism?
One poster in this thread said he could not understand how people can claim that empiricism is a belief system. I think he does not realize that he is biased, that his own presuppositions and assumptions are based on belief and not on self-evident logical truths.
Obviously this is a dig at me, but I'm still curious why you think objective fact is either unobtainable or that we as agents are so fallible that we cannot determine objective fact? Are you an epistemological skeptic? What are your arguments?
Self-evident logical truth? Are you attempting to argue theism now, without an argument?
Experience, as the third source of knowledge, is very interesting when debating this topic. It is my conviction that experience, especially everyday human experience, speaks overwhelmingly in favor of theism. Let me give a few examples.
1) According to theism, truth is objective. According to atheism/materialism, truth is subjective.
This is an incredibly bad generalization. What truth are you talking about? Moral truth? Physical truth? Both?
But in every day human experience, truth is objective. We may have different opinions on what is true, but when it comes to our everyday life, we all act as if there's one truth, one reality.
Huh? What do you mean truth is objective?
2) According to theism, morals are objective. According to atheism/materialism, morals have to be subjective.
This is patently wrong. There are some atheists that believe morality is objective. But even if morality is objective, there is no reason that it has to come from god, or more specifically the Christian god.
But in every day human experience, morals are objective. We may have different views on morality, but we all act as if morality is objective.
We do? Moral decisions are personal ones. I think your claim is fairly vacuous that every moral agent makes decisions because of what they think is 'objectively right.' I sure as hell don't. I make moral decisions based on what is right for me. This is not only more reasonable, it is more responsible. I personally believe murdering another human being in cold blood is wrong because their life belongs to them as much as mine belongs to me and I have no right to take it. If I agreed with murder I would by proxy agree that other people could rightfully take my life. I believe eating animals is morally neutral but some people believe it is morally repugnant. Who's right? Are we both appealing to objective moral truth? No, we aren't, and when we claim we are is when we cross the boundary of others' moral fabric and begin to be imposing...which I also think is wrong since I don't want others to impose their moral beliefs on me. Morality is based essentially in empathy.
Consider a society in which all individuals have the right to live according to the morals of their own choosing. It would never work.
You're living in one. History can clearly show that whether or not there is a law, or 'objective moral code,' it doesn't prevent people from being hurt by others. The law and justice system is in place to allow people remedy when they are hurt. That's it. It's not claiming simply by existing that there is a higher morality.
3) According to theism, life has objective meaning.
Of course you would say that, you have already pre-attached the existence of god to the meaning of life.
According to atheism/materialism, life has no objective meaning. But we all live as if life has objective meaning. We all feel that it matters whether we live or die, whether we make something of life or not. We all hope that our life matters to something or someone beyond ourselves.
Whether or not people in general want or think that their life has meaning does not mean that it actually does.
I don't feel this way at all and I think it's insulting to myself and others that you can read minds.
I think life is ultimately meaningless, and quite absurd.
In the short-term however, life is whatever you choose to make of it.
4) According to theism, we have free will.
No you don't. If god knows everything that's going to happen before he creates the universe, then your life is predestined. You only have the illusion of free will.
According to atheism/materialism, we do not have free will. But in everyday human life, we all act as if we have free will. None of us acts as if all our actions and thoughts are predetermined.
You better do some more reading. Determinism is not the same thing as predestination and determinism is not opposed to atheism.
5) According to atheism/materialism, love is nothing more than the product of chemical reactions in our brain.
What does it matter where it comes from? When you hurt me, the pain is a result of chemical reactions in my brain too, but I don't claim pain isn't real.
It is experienced by all humans as something that goes beyond our brains.
This is total bullshit. No one else can experience my love for my dog. If you destroy me, does my love remain somewhere in the ether?
The fact that if you drive a stake through my prefrontal cortex I will lose my ability to love is pure evidence that love is restricted to the brain.
Other evidence is found in the phenomena of altruism and self-sacrifice, which are very hard to explain in materialism.
They are quite easily explained, actually.
6) According to atheism/materialism, there is no supernatural reality. But all cultures, from the very beginning of mankind have had religious ideas. Even today in modern cultures, where many people are not members of organized religion, the vast majority of humans have spiritual needs. They pray, hope for an afterlife, believe things happen for a reason. Most of us pray. Why do we do that?
Because there is a God! Right?
I'm not saying this proves theism per se.
Atheist/materialist thinkers have come up with their own approaches to all these phenomena. But I find them usually not very convincing or persuading. Because, even if we could conclude decisively that all these typical human experiences have biological functions that are evolved into our behaviour, that does not mean that they do not correspond to something outside our material reality.
You're absolutely right. But there is no good reason to believe it's god.
That is why we are atheists. There is an explanation. And there is no good reason to believe it's god.
I don't get why this is so hard to understand.
It very well could be that science is total bs and there are other explanations outside of our material reality.
There is no good reason to believe it.
Of course, this is all a matter of belief. But the same holds for atheism.
Yes, only atheism is more grounded in observable reality and logic.