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Thursday, February 7, 2013

Ontology Redux



I've just completed a series of posts demonstrating that the New Atheism isn't exactly new. I was inspired in part by Four Horsemen identified by Greg Epstein (2007), Darwin, Marx, Nietzsche and Freud, in Good Without God: What a Billion Nonreligious People Do Believe. Upon reading Massimo Pigliucci's (2010) exposition of the Pre-Socratic philosophers in Nonsense on Stilts How to Tell Science from Bunk, I set out to fill in the gaps from Socrates to Darwin.

In this post, I compress the timeline and eliminate the redundancies. The section headers links to the expanded posts comparing each set of Horsemen to their New Atheist analogues and the New Atheists among themselves.

There are four core arguments against God's existence that have persisted since ancient times. Each is crucial to a particular modern movement.

The argument from reasonable nonbelief is perhaps the ontological argument most closely aligned with Freethought. The existence of the gods is not self-evident. The burden of proof is on religion. Faith is not a virtue.

Lack of empirical evidence is an argument from Skepticism. Prophesy is hearsay. Discovery trumps revelation. The incorporeal is immaterial.

Secularism follows from the argument from inconsistent revelations. Religions are mutually contradictory, internally inconsistent and incoherent. Consensus based on religious law is impossible. Secularism is only path to peaceful coexistence in a pluralistic society.

The argument from evil is central to Humanism. If the gods exist, they have a lot of explaining to do. In an impersonal universe, there's no capricious deity dispensing punishment.


The Pre-Socratics

 The Freethinker
Reasonable Non-Belief

  The Skeptic
Lack of Empirical Evidence


 The Secularist
Inconsistent Revelations

 The Humanist
The Argument from Evil



The Animists


 The Freethinker
Reasonable Non-Belief



  The Skeptic
Lack of Empirical Evidence

 The Secularist
Inconsistent Revelations

 The Humanist
The Argument from Evil



The Greeks


 The Freethinker
Reasonable Non-Belief



  The Skeptic
Lack of Empirical Evidence

 The Secularist
Inconsistent Revelations

 The Humanist
The Argument from Evil



The Romans


 The Freethinker
Reasonable Non-Belief


  The Skeptic
Lack of Empirical Evidence



 The Secularist
Inconsistent Revelations

 The Humanist
The Argument from Evil





The Islamic Golden Age


 The Freethinker
Reasonable Non-Belief

  The Skeptic
Lack of Empirical Evidence


 The Secularist
Inconsistent Revelations

 The Humanist
The Argument from Evil



The Renaissance


 The Freethinker
Reasonable Non-Belief

  The Skeptic
Lack of Empirical Evidence



The Secularist
Inconsistent Revelations




 The Humanist
The Argument from Evil



The Enlightenment


 The Freethinker
Reasonable Non-Belief


  The Skeptic
Lack of Empirical Evidence


 The Secularist
Inconsistent Revelations

 The Humanist
The Argument from Evil




The Romantics

 The Freethinker
Reasonable Non-Belief


  The Skeptic
Lack of Empirical Evidence


 The Secularist
Inconsistent Revelations

 The Humanist
The Argument from Evil




19th Century


 The Freethinker
Reasonable Non-Belief



  The Skeptic
Lack of Empirical Evidence



 The Secularist
Inconsistent Revelations

 The Humanist
The Argument from Evil




20th Century


 The Freethinker
Reasonable Non-Belief



  The Skeptic
Lack of Empirical Evidence


 The Secularist
Inconsistent Revelations



 The Humanist
The Argument from Evil



The New Atheists


 The Freethinker
Reasonable Non-Belief


  The Skeptic
Lack of Empirical Evidence


 The Secularist
Inconsistent Revelations

 The Humanist
The Argument from Evil






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