Someone called a recent Atheist Experience and said that that they didn’t understand Matt’s position that science cannot prove the supernatural. In fact, he argued that science could and gave an example. What if, he said, we found out that people could pray and invoke magical words that would make their wishes and dreams come true. Of course, such a thing is absurd, but what he was hoping for wasn’t rational and clearly he never thought out the fact that even if such a thing happened, it still wouldn’t prove the supernatural, it would only prove that something happens, not what caused it to happen. This is the eternal problem with theists and supernaturalism: it’s never well defined and can never be proven.
A lot of this goes back to a recent post of mine about knowledge. Unless we can actually show a direct causal link between an event and a claimed cause, we can never determine whether or not that cause is actually responsible for the event. In almost all cases, the best we can say, at least at the moment, is that we just don’t know what caused it. Our lack of knowledge is not license to just make something up. Until we can demonstrate that the supernatural exists in any meaningful way, we cannot simply attribute things we don’t understand to supernatural causes, any more than we can simply decide that any answers we can’t immediately answer were actually caused by leprechauns.
But theists don’t get this no matter how many times you explain it, even in the simplest terms. I’m beginning to think that most of them are simply incapable of setting aside their blind faith for even a moment so they can step back and look at their beliefs rationally.
This reminds me of a recent discussion I had with a fundamentalist who was only too happy to explain exactly what God wanted and how God thought. How he knew any of this, I had no idea and he was loathe to explain it, except to say that it says some things in the Bible. Well how did the people who wrote the Bible know these things? Where did they get their information? And how did this theist know things that God wanted that didn’t appear in the Bible? Of course, he was just translating his own wants and dreams into “God wants this” but he’ll never admit it. These people “just know” that God is real but can’t back up their supposed knowledge with anything resembling critical thinking, skepticism or rationality. It “just is” and they’ll never change their minds.
That’s one thing that really confuses me. How are these things so easy for atheists to see, yet so impossible for theists to acknowledge about their own beliefs? Are they so totally self-deluded that they are blinded to what’s right before their eyes? You get theists who will scream up and down that they are rational, yet seem to have no clue what the word actually means. They will pretend to approach their beliefs logically but once you point out all of the fallacies in their faith, they will explode and become an emotional wreck. I had one theist recently redefine the word “correct” to mean that it “accurately reflects the beliefs of the religion in question”. That makes the word “correct” totally meaningless because everyone’s beliefs are automatically accurate to what they believe, it’s a circular proposition. How do they not get any of this?
It’s just more frustration with the theistic human species for me. I don’t get how these people operate. Can someone please shed some light for me?