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Sunday, March 24, 2013

Isn't It Romantic?

Inspired by Four Horsemen identified by Greg Epstein (2007), Darwin, Marx, Nietzsche and Freud, in Good Without God: What a Billion Nonreligious People Do Believe and Massimo Pigliucci's (2010) exposition of the Pre-Socratic philosophers in Nonsense on Stilts How to Tell Science from Bunk, Here I identify four Horsemen of the Romantic Era. I use four classic ontological arguments as my basis of comparison.

The argument from inconsistent revelations- All religions can't be right, so they're probably all wrong. Sectarian religions are mutually contradictory, internally inconsistent and incoherent. Schopenhauer observed that the scriptures did not square with reason.

The argument from evil- If the gods are real, they have a lot of explaining to do. Shelly reformulated the problem of evil with his variation on the Epicurean trilemma.

Lack of empirical evidence- Discovery trumps revelation. The incorporeal is immaterial. Frances Wright urged readers to trust what they could observe for themselves.

The argument from reasonable nonbelief- If the existence of the gods were self-evident, everyone would believe. The burden of proof is on religion. Heine saw religion as a provisional explanation that has since been discredited.

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