Atheism: A Philosophical Justification

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Temple University Press, 1992 - Religion - 541 pages
3 Reviews
In this book Michael Martin provides logical reasons for being an atheist. Carefully examining the current debate in Anglo-American analytic philosophy regarding God's existence, Martin presents a comprehensive critique of the arguments for the existence of God and a defense of arguments against the existence of God, showing in detail their relevance to atheism. Claiming that atheism is a rational position while theistic beliefs are not, he relies both on logic and evidence and confines his efforts to showing the irrationality of belief in a personal supreme being who is omniscient, omnipotent, perfect, and the creator of heaven and earth.
The author's approach is two-fold. By presenting and criticizing arguments that have been advanced in favor of belief, he makes a case for "negative atheism." By offering arguments against atheism and defending it from these attacks, he presents a case for "positive atheism." Along the way, he confronts the views of numerous philosophers—among them Anselm, Aquinas, Plantinga, Hick, and Swinburne—and refutes both classical and contemporary arguments that have been advanced through the history of this debate.
In his conclusion, Martin considers what would and would not follow if his main arguments were widely accepted, and he defines and distinguishes atheism from other "isms" and movements. Building on the work of religious skeptics and atheists of the past and present, he justifies his reconstruction of this philosophical dispute by citing some of the most interesting and important arguments for atheism and criticisms of arguments for the existence of God that have appeared in recent journal articles and have yet to be systematically addressed. Author note: Michael Martin is Professor of Philosophy at Boston University and author of several books, including The Legal Philosophy of H.L.A. Hart: A Critical Appraisal and The Case Against Christianity (both from Temple).
 

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God
Our earth contains the same amount of waster and air since creation I would submit, with elements that supports life in its many forms. Be it Big Bang theory or creationism something created
humans. And we can think and invent even the discovery of how vast the world is.
It would seem to me that even the denial of God is an implicit admission of same. But the logic is inverted. The universe is too large and man footprint is too small therefore God does not exit! Really.
But let me try this logic to see the fallacy of their conclusion which task credulity for me. A ruler is 12 inches long. And the king is a ruler. How tall is the king? He must be 12 inches tall!! That’s the way I read the story. It’s not important to try to disprove God. It’s more important to live. That a human cell and a stem cell can clone a person does not prove the absence of God. It proves the advancement of science. The latter is full of errors and so it was at the biginning, many errors led to many mistakes which remain with us today. The book misses the mark.
Ransome Owan,PhD
 

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I'd like to make a 1,683-word comment. First, on a certain phrase in this article: "human beings are like God". Then I'd like to put forward my hypothesis (with scientific references, of course) that the universe doesn't merely consist of trillions of galaxies, but that both the space and time of the universe are literally infinite.
human beings are like God
"Many religions, from Hinduism to Gnostic Christianity to Mormon doctrine, teach that – as impious as it may sound – it is the goal of humans to become gods." ["Pale Blue Dot – A Vision of the Human Future in Space” by Carl Sagan - Headline Book (1995, p. 382)]. A name used for God in the Old Testament is Elohim, which means the “plural majesty of the one god” i.e. the billions of earth’s inhabitants* entangled** with, and dispersed throughout, the united infinity of the universe and eternity of time. Such entanglement suggests extrasensory perception and telekinetic independence from technology are possible (and that there is truth in practices like astrology), despite modern science’s objections which appear to be based on non-unification.
* Plus the inhabitants of countless billions of other worlds that will be colonized in the past and far future as well as the present and near future by humans who have adapted to, or been genetically engineered to fit, other worlds as they explore the universe. Any complicated form of life – humanoid, animal or plant – anywhere in space would have to evolve into existence, unless human biotechnology and genetic engineering of future centuries produced it. The evolution proposed by Charles Darwin is indeed wonderful, and the Miller-Urey Experiment of 1952 made amino acids (which are relatively simple, and are the building blocks of protein) from inorganic material and by natural causes in a lab. Indeed, many molecules – including sugars and amino acids – have been found in space. But evolution appears limited. In a biological sense, the Theory of Evolution certainly explains adaptations and modifications in large forms of life. But believing it also explains their origins is unwarranted extrapolation. It takes an idea that accounts for some parts of life and, since it’s the only scientific explanation we currently have, assumes it accounts for all parts of life. Any large lifeform is far more advanced than any amino acid. It appears impossible for a collection of amino acids and other molecules to spontaneously develop into the incredible complexity of a large lifeform (even in innumerable tiny steps taken over billions of years).
** To be more specific - the existence of both advanced waves (which travel backwards in time) and retarded waves (which travel forwards in time) as admissible solutions to James Clerk Maxwell's equations about electromagnetism was explored in the Wheeler–Feynman absorber theory in the first half of last century, as well as the more recent transactional interpretation of quantum mechanics (TIQM). Einstein's equations say gravitational fields carry enough information about electromagnetism to allow Maxwell's equations to be restated in terms of these gravitational fields. This was discovered by the mathematical physicist George Yuri Rainich ("Transactions of the American Mathematical Society" 27, 106 - Rainich, G. Y. - 1925). Therefore, gravitational waves also have a "retarded" component and an "advanced" component. They can travel forward or backward not only in space, but in time too. 17th century scientist Isaac Newton's idea of gravity acting instantly across the universe could be explained by gravity's ability to travel back in time, and thereby reach a point billions of light years away not in billions of years, but apparently instantly.^
^ Instantaneous effect over large distances is known as the entanglement of quantum mechanics, and has been repeatedly verified experimentally. If it involves gravitational waves forming matter particles (which form macroscopic
 

Contents

0 NEGATIVE ATHEISM
29
The Meaningfulness of Religious Language
40
The Ontological Argument
79
The Teleological Argument
125
The Argument from Religious Experience
154
The Argument from Miracles
188
Some Minor Evidential Arguments for
210
Beneficial Arguments for
229
Atheistic Teleological Arguments
317
The Argument from Evil
334
The Free Will Defense
362
Natural Evil
391
Soul Making Theodicy
413
The Finite God Theodicy 1436
436
ATHEISM DEFINED AND CONTRASTED
463
NOTES
479

Faith and Foundationalism
249
0 POSITIVE ATHEISM
281

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About the author (1992)

Michael Martin is Professor of Philosophy at Boston University and author of several books, including The Legal Philosophy of H.L.A. Hart: A Critical Appraisal and The Case Against Christianity (both from Temple).

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