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Sunday, March 31, 2013

Horsemen 1872-1939




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 Horsemen of 1872-1939.

Lack of empirical evidence- Discovery trumps revelation. This is the skeptical or naturalistic argument. As Sigmund Freud observed, religion is inconsistent with objective observation.



The argument from inconsistent revelations- Sectarian religions are mutually contradictory and internally inconsistent. George Bernard Shaw observed that the religious will cherry-pick indefinitely rather than abandon the notion of divine revelation altogether.




The argument from evil- If the gods are real, they have a lot of explaining to do. Emma Goldman rejected the notion of a capricious god with the inclination to force subjects into submission.




The argument from reasonable nonbelief- If the existence of the gods were self-evident, everyone would believe. The burden of proof is on religion. As Bertrand Russell famously observed, there are any number of absurd propositions that we do not take on faith.






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