Atheism and epistemology
Epistemology is the analysis of the nature of knowledge, how we know, what we can and cannot know, and how we can know that there are things we know we cannot know. In other words, it is the academic term associated with study of how we conclude that certain things are true.
The Christian apologist Jason Petersen wrote:
|“|| The atheist’s foundation for reasoning must be inductive. The reason being is because in the atheist worldview there is no ultimate starting point for knowledge. It has to be induced. If atheism is true, there can be no universal values - nature is all there is. But nature itself provides no benefit for knowledge. Nature itself is not knowledge. Thus, because there would be no ultimate universal standard for reasoning , there would be no starting point for knowledge. When humans came into existence in an atheist worldview, there wasn’t an embodiment of knowledge in which they could deduce the possibilities, rather, they had to build possible inferences while starting from nothing.
Most atheists agree that their foundation for reasoning is inductive. However, what a lot of people are unaware of is that inductive reasoning does NOT deal in absolutes. It only deals with what is possible or what is probable. This means that given that all of the premises in an inductive argument are true, the conclusion can still be false.
If an atheist agrees that their foundation for knowledge is inductive, then they must live consistently with that implication in order to have a self consistent foundation for knowledge. But if the foundation of knowledge is no more than induction, then it entails that one can not be ultimately certain about anything. If the atheists say that their foundation for knowledge is inductive, but yet they make absolute claims, then the atheist is contradicting their own epistemology. This is because the atheist, who uses inductive reasoning as their foundation for knowledge, has limited themselves to what they believe is probable, but they can’t make absolute claims due to the limitations of inductive reasoning.
Atheism and evidential standards
See also: Atheism and irrationality
Atheists demand proof and evidence for other worldviews, yet there is no proof and evidence that atheism is true. Also, despite the abundant evidence for Christianity and the lack of proof and evidence for atheism, atheist reject the truth of Christianity. Atheists refuse to go where the evidence clearly leads.
In addition, when atheist make claims related to naturalism, make personal claims or make accusations against theists, they often employ lax evidential standards instead of employing rigorous evidential standards.
Atheist community requested to provide proof and evidence that atheism is true
The popular Christian YouTube Christian Shockofgod likened atheism to a clown due to its hypocritical and foolish evidential standards. Shockofgod repeatedly asked the YouTube atheist community, "What proof and evidence do you have that atheism is accurate and correct?".
The YouTube atheist community became flustered and upset by his question. Shockofgod declared concerning their reaction to his question: "The hostility I am getting over this question is unbelievable...It's like..picture this...Atheism is a clown and it didn't know it. And then I got the clown and I walked it over...I forced it to look itself in the mirror. And it sees itself in all its red hair, big nose, big shoes, polka dot glory."
Atheism and extraordinary claims
Western Atheists often claim that "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence", yet they have no proof and evidence that the extraordinary claim of non-life becoming the first life solely through natural processes is true (See: Origin of life).
Atheism and presuppositional apologetics
There are number of arguments that Christian apologists employment to rebut atheism (see: Atheism and presuppositional apologetics).
- Can Epistemology Be Saved? by Paul Pardi
- Atheism by Matt Slick
- Putting the Atheist on the Defensive by Kenneth R. Samples, Christian Research Institute Journal, Fall 1991, and Winter 1992, page 7.
- Atheists don’t own reason by Tom Gilson
- Why the Burden of Proof is on the Atheist by Professor Ralph McInerny
- Theism, Atheism, and Rationality by Alvin Plantinga
- The Irrational atheist: Dissecting the Unholy Trinity of Dawkins, Harris, and Hitchens by Vox Day, Benbella Books, Dallas, TX, 2008 , ISBN 1933771364; ISBN 978-1933771366
- "1", A Christian's Guide to Critical Thinking. Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock Publishers, 336. ISBN 1-59752-661-4. Retrieved on 16.2.2012.
- The Epistemological Argument against Atheism
- Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence
- Do Extraordinary Claims Require Extraordinary Evidence?
- William Lane Craig debunks the atheist's "Extraordinary Claims Require Extraordinary Evidence?
- Presuppositional Apologetics CARM. 5 May 2008