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Saturday, February 2, 2013

Renaissance Horsemen

In Good Without God: What a Billion Nonreligious People Do Believe, Greg Epstein (2007) presented Darwin, Marx, Nietzsche and Freud as the "Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse" of their time.  Massimo Pigliucci characterized the Pre-Socratics as a "intellectually wild" bunch in his (2010) book Nonsense on Stilts How to Tell Science from Bunk.

Here are four core arguments against God's existence that have persisted since ancient times. Using these four arguments as an organizing principle, I present for your consideration the Four Renaissance Horsemen.

Lack of empirical evidence- Discovery trumps revelation. Heliocentrism challenged older notions of a Heaven above the earth and a Hell below. Bruno challenged the view of a universe created for mankind.

The argument from evil- The problem of evil is easily resolved by removing divine will from the equation. Montaigne understood that the world is only as good as we make it.

The argument from inconsistent revelations- All religions can't be right, so they're probably all wrong. Bruno saw the absurdity of a sectarian god governing a vast universe.

The argument from reasonable nonbelief- If the existence of the gods were self-evident, everyone would believe. The burden of proof is on religion. Galileo understood that credulity isn't a virtue.

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