I only believe that which I can see is that which is real
By Atheist Answers (Facebook Page)
People will often dismiss (Christian) Theism with a statement like "I only believe that which I can see is that which is real", but does this statement actually hold any water?
What the person has done here is setup an epistlemology (theory of knowledge) and implied Theism does not fit their epistemic (theory of knowledge) criteria, thus Theism is false and they do not need to hear anymore about it.
Well lets examine deductively what is happening in this statment and then review the premises:
(1) "My theory of knowledge (epistlemology) is reality is only what I can see" (paraphrased)
(2) I do not see God (Theism)
Conclusion: Thus Theism is false
REVIEW OF THE PREMISES
Premise 1 is a false and broken epistemic criteria; I would say the ultimate and true epistmeic criteria for what people believe is true about reality is not just what they can see but is in actuality that which is rational (or what they perceive to be rational - either way rationality is the actual barometer of reality they use, not a single physical sense called sight which is what is claimed they use as a barometer of reality. For example to even make this argument against God from sight they are not using sight to do it, but rather rationality and sight is merely an input in which to induct evidence for interpretation of the mind - but it is the mind classing what is real not sight).
Lets look at some implications of this epistemic criteria they have made:
(A) If they are saying the only things which exist are those things that their best physical sense (i.e. sight) can detect, then does that mean if they went blind they would not know what is real anymore and what reality actually is?
Imagine if a blind person from birth resisted Theism because they trusted their best physical sense and said "I only believe that which is real is that which I can hear"; this would seem ridiculous would it not?
(B) Imagine for example if this person saw zombies walking around but everyone else told them those zombies did not exist and they could not see them; also the zombies did illogical things. Would this person really say "well I see them so they are real" or would this person actually use their highest faculty which all those things are truly measured by (whether they know it or not) which is their reasoning mind and then conclude their eyes were wrong?
Surely they would usurp their physical sense as a delusion because their rational faculty has precedence over knowing anything about reality and their rational sense would conclude their sight was false (this is basically to say sight can be broken but logic can never be broken; thus the measurement of reality has to be that which is steadfast).
(C) We do not see thoughts, love, intelligence, intentional states, moral properties, other minds etc... yet would this same person say none of these exist because they do not see them?
I assume not, thus their epistemic criteria does not make sense of reality and judging Theism's integrity by it is valueless...
The faculty which is actually weighing what is real about reality (their actual epistemological foundation) is their rational faculty of the mind; this rational faculty is taking the synoptic experience they have (whether that be physical, emotional and\or existential input) and interpreting a world view as to what is real based on logical thought.
So premise (1) is false as a true epistemic criteria of reality, and thus is valueless in judging Theism by it...
Here is the biggest problem in the argument; even if the epistemic criteria of premise (1) was true that criteria does not prove the metaphysics of Theism false, because in order to do that it would have to prove the metaphysics of atheism to be true (which is the negative of Theism).Their epistemic criteria of premise (1) does nothing to prove which metaphysical position is true, Theism or atheism; so if premise (1) was true premise (2) does not follow and thus the conclusion is false...
Lets review these two metaphysical positions of Theism VS atheism.
The two positions of Theism and atheism (atheism being the absence of Theism; that is what the "A" means, just like Asymmetrical means the absence of symmetry on a specific aspect of reality) from an ontological stand point basically look like these two categories below:
(11) The belief that the fundamental forces and processes of reality are Intention-less, Meaning-less, Purpose-less, Unguided, Unaware and lack teleology. This is atheism (as obviously the opposite to the list would be Theism), atheism is basically just the removal of our anthropomorphic perceptions from the fundamental processes and forces of reality, thus denying any personification of the fundamental nature of reality.
(22) The belief that the fundamental forces and processes of reality are Intentional, Meaningful, Purposeful, Guided, Aware and are teleological. This is Theism (basically the belief of Mind as the fundamental nature of reality), Theism is basically the interpretation of our anthropomorphic perceptions into the fundamental core of reality. From a philosophical perceptive Theism is then understood by analyzing Theism for sufficient causation and an explanation of reality in light of this causation (one of the core etiological principles being an effect can never be greater than its cause).
Often I find atheists will erect a straw-man argument of position (22) (Theism), in that they attack a type of god which does not fit position (22). They will erect a type of yeti god, and look for him like he is hiding somewhere in the universe and then claim a lack of evidence for his existence. This type of yeti god by definition can not be GOD, and the atheist has a category fallacy and is mixing up a Divine Being with a contingent\created Being; as by definition GOD is the author, source, foundation and sufficient cause of reality it's self, the type of god the atheist is erecting is a Being who is subservient to reality and not the author of reality.
So again even if their epistemic criteria of premise (1) was correct it does not prove the metaphysical position of (11) to be true and the position of (22) to be false; thus premise (2) is fundationless (because under premise 2 even if they do not see the metaphysics of Theism they also do not see the metaphyics of atheism either) so the conclusion does not follow and is false (so the argument fails)...