Sunday, July 22, 2012

Unfalsifiable atheism

If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead (Lk 16:31).

The point is not these [naturalistic] explanations are indeed the correct ones; it is that someone who has naturalistic preconceptions will always in fact find some naturalistic explanation more plausible than a supernatural one. The words “in fact” in the previous sentence are important. I am talking about the world as I believe it is. Suppose that I woke up in the night and saw the stars arranged in shapes that spelt out the Apostles’ Creed. I would know that astronomically it is impossible that the stars should have so changed their positions. I don’t know what I would think. Perhaps I would think that I was dreaming or that I had gone mad. What if everyone else seemed to me to be telling me that the same thing had happened? Then I might not only think that I had gone mad–I would probably go mad.

J. J. C. Smart & J. J. Haldane, Atheism and Theism (Blackwell 2003), 45-46.

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