This short and entertaining debate between Celebrity Atheist Ricky Gervais and Christian Stephen Colbert demonstrates the logical problems with atheism. It also shows how ignorant atheists are of the logical contradictions inherent within their own religious beliefs.
I use the terms “ignorance” and “religious beliefs” in the above sentence intentionally. I use them because an accurate understanding of belief vs knowledge lies at the very heart of the logical problem with the religion of Atheism. And yes, I called it a religion, too, very intentionally.
See why below. The fun starts at 1 minute, 44 seconds into the video. Give it a whirl. We’ll discuss.
Atheists have been improving western civilization since before the time of Socrates, and in Eastern civilization since before the time of Buddha. Their contributions to human knowledge, philosophy, and science throughout history have been immeasurably valuable. There’s nothing like an atheist to spot and call out the religious idiocies and spiritual abuses committed when human ideology runs wild.
Atheism’s worship of science, and Atheism’s reliance upon a factual foundation for belief, has beneficially influenced my whole life. And I know that I’m not the only human in history who has benefited from studying and thinking about what atheists have to say.
But the basic problem with atheists is that they continually confuse knowledge with belief, and belief with knowledge. This confusion invalidates the philosophical position of atheism, and renders it untenable.
To see what I’m saying, you only have to read one wikipedia article on the subject of epistemology – that branch of philosophy which sorts out the definitions and differences between knowledge and belief.
- Knowledge – familiarity, awareness or understanding of someone or something, such as facts, evidence, information, or skills, which is acquired through experience or education by perceiving, discovering, or learning.
- Belief – the state of mind in which a person thinks something to be the case, with or without there being material or empirical evidence to prove that something is the case with factual certainty.
Once these two concepts are clearly distinct in your mind, you can see that a person who believes in atheism is a person with a massive logical contradiction right where his brain should be.
I am writing this on AlanzosBlog because atheists dominate the Ex-Scientology landscape right now, and they are all too eager to convert Ex-Scientologists to their religion. Ex-Scientologists are people who have just had their former belief system, and thus their lives, collapse on them. Atheism, as a new religious choice for Ex-Scientologists, is totally fine by me after Scientology and, all tolled, is probably a step up.
But if you don’t want to take on yet another dodgy religion after Scientology, you should at least be a little skeptical about Atheism and ask a few questions before diving right in.
So let’s look at atheism within the context of this Stephen/Ricky debate. I think the logical problems with atheism will become completely clear to you.
You’ll see that:
- The logical problems with atheism are idiot-simple, philosophically untenable, and are of the “game-over” variety.
- Atheists are believers who deign to call themselves “non-Believers”. They say they value knowledge and fact-based reasoning, and yet they still can’t recognize when their claims to knowledge are actually fact-free religious beliefs.
Watching atheists wallow in the “certainty” of their beliefs can be an enlightening discovery about human folly for everyone. Believers and
non-believers alike can benefit, and laugh.
The following is my transcript of the debate in the above video. Be sure to check if I’ve missed a point or if I’ve gotten anything wrong.
Ricky: I’m an agnostic atheist, technically. Agnostic means no one knows whether there’s a God, or not. As no one does.
Right out of the gate, here’s the “Agnostic Atheist’s” first logical contradiction:
“Agnostic” means “without knowing”
“Atheist” means “without God”
Someone who calls himself an agnostic atheist is saying at once, “I don’t know if there is a God” AND “I do know there is no God”. One term claims /no knowledge/ and the other term claims /knowledge/. How can you have no knowledge, but also have knowledge?
The atheist’s claim that there is no God is a claim of knowledge that there is no God.
No one can be an “Agnostic Atheist”.
Stephen: So you’re not convicted of your atheism then. You’re not sure.
Ricky: No, I am, I am. Atheism is only rejecting the claim that there is a God. Atheism isn’t a belief system.
God, and so much else in human thought and experience, can not be measured. Thus, science can not measure God, and thus there are no facts which support the philosophical/religious position of both “God” and “no God”. The existence or non-existence of God is an issue which can not be addressed by science at all.
So – the claim that there is a God has no evidence to support it.
And – the claim that there is no God also has no evidence to support it.
Thus, the claim that there is no God is a belief. It is not knowledge.
These classes of thought which have no evidence to support them are, perforce, beliefs. Classes of thought about the existence or non-existence of God are religious in nature, therefore Atheism is a set of religious beliefs about the non-existence of God.
The kicker here is that Christians, for example, know that their religious beliefs about God are beliefs and not knowledge. Whereas the Atheist does not know his religious beliefs about God are beliefs. He thinks they are knowledge.
Ricky: So this is atheism in a nutshell: You say there’s a God. I say “Can you prove that?” You say, “No”. I say I don’t believe you then.
Here Ricky says he doesn’t believe Steve because he has no proof there is a God. Yet Ricky has no proof that there is not a God, and he believes that.
Is Ricky aware that his claim that there is no God is a belief, only, and not knowledge?
Again, no. He is completely unaware that he is spouting beliefs here. He thinks he is spouting knowledge. This is the ignorance part I mentioned above. He has beliefs, and not knowledge, and he thinks he does not have beliefs.
This is ignorance.
Ricky: So, you believe in one God I assume?
Stephen: Uhhh, yes. In three persons… But go ahead.
Ricky: OK, but there are 3000 to choose from. So you believe in… you deny one less God than I do. You don’t believe in 2999 gods, and I don’t believe in just one more.
This is a rhetorical trick that is popular among atheists right now. The logical problem with it is that it avoids all the rest of these other problems and is, logically, pure fluff, if not a straw man. It’s just a distraction used to convince a believer in God that the atheist’s position is “more reasonable” because the atheist believes in only one less God than the believer does. The atheist completely avoids the problem that his belief in no-God remains just as unsupported by facts as the person who believes in God.
Stephen: Do you ever have a feeling of great gratitude for existence?
Ricky: Of course, I know the chances are billions to 1 that I am on this planet as me and never will be again.
Ricky just made two claims to knowledge:
1. I know the chances are billions to 1 that I am on this planet as me”
2. And “that [he] never will be again”
Where’s Ricky’s evidence that the chances are billions to 1 that he is on this planet?
Where’s his evidence that he “never will be again”?
He has none. Therefore, these are his religious beliefs, not his knowledge. Ricky Gervais has just espoused the central beliefs of the atheist for which he has no evidence. And yet he is completely unaware that he has done this. He thinks he knows these things, and yet he has no facts to back them up.
He has no more knowledge in his atheistic religious beliefs about God than a Christian has in the virgin birth of Jesus. For all epistemological intents and purposes, Stephen Colbert and Ricky Gervais are both religious nutjobs.
But then again, so am I.
And so are you.
If you really understand what a belief is, you find out very quickly that human existence is 99.9999% belief, and NOT knowledge. Humans live in their own little worlds, rarely, if ever, perceiving the actual universe around them. People who realize this are closer to reality than those who don’t realize it. People, like atheists, who think they are looking at knowledge when they are only looking at beliefs, are simply delusional.
There’s more good stuff in the video, but I think I have proven my points.
If you don’t think so, and can find a hole in my reasoning, let me know about it in the comments.
Good luck out there.
17 thoughts on “The Logical Problems With Atheism”
he did say in the beginning he was a agnostic atheistic.
Yes he did.
Did you see how I showed that “agnostic atheist” is a logical contradiction?
no I don’t. You’ll have to explain more.
‘Agnostic atheist’ was funny to me. Because I often identify as an ‘agnostic believer’. I believe in God but I don’t know that there is a God. For me, in defense of God; ‘The Big Bang theory’ does not explain an absolute source point. What went bang, where did it come from? I’m a fan of Robert Thurman(Tibetan Buddhist scholar). He has an interesting twist on Pascal’s wager. It’s something like: Reliligious fundamentalists and atheist/materialists have the same potential flaw. The belief in ‘going to eternal heaven or the belief in an eternal oblivion can result in a lack of compassion and responsibility for beings and the world we live in.
P.S. GOD IS LOVE!!!
I like Robert Thurman, too. Did you know that he’s Umma’s dad?
agnostic means without knowing, or I don;t know.
Atheist means without god, meaning I do know and what I know is that God does not exist.
Therefore, “Agnostic Atheist” is a label that says both “I don’t know” and “I do know.”
These two contradict each other.
But Ricky does not notice that because these are his religious beliefs, and he’s got them all rationalized – Just like every other religious nutjob on the planet. 🙂
I guess it all depends on your definitions, when I googled “Agnostic Atheism” it came up with this:
Agnostic atheism is a philosophical position that encompasses both atheism and agnosticism. Agnostic atheists are atheistic because they do not hold a belief in the existence of any deity and agnostic because they claim that the existence of a deity is either unknowable in principle or currently unknown in fact.
Agnostic atheism – Wikipedia
It does say philosophical, not religious. I’d say a agnostic atheism is somebody who wishes (hopes) it were true, a god, but yet no proof, so let’s continue to research and talk about it?
I believe that the “agnostic atheist” label came about because prominent atheists like Michael Shermer began to write about how a strictly atheist viewpoint is not logically sustainable. It pretends knowledge of something (God not existing) for which there is no evidence.
In fact, the only position that is sustainable is the agnostic view. If you look at all the religions on Earth and see how they all contradict each other, and how there is no evidence for any of them, then that is evidence that we do not know.
Atheists who “know” there is no God but realize that they have no proof of that then tack on the agnostic part to make their position look tenable.
It’s still not tenable. There is no such thing as an agnostic atheist.
There are atheists.
And there are agnostics.
But it’s impossible to be an agnostic atheist.
I’m a atheist from the viewpoint that I just don’t know. That’s not a belief, I just do not know.
I’m agnostic also because https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agnosticism
Hubbard was very clever to call his stick “a applied religious philosophy”.
An atheist is not an agnostic.
An atheist takes a position that claims to know that there is no God.
An agnostic takes the position that he does not know if there is a God.
In terms of what the person claims to know, these two concepts contradict each other. Anyone who calls himself an “agnostic atheist” is ignorant about the difference between knowledge and belief. And for an atheist, who’s whole schtick is to avoid unfounded or contradictory beliefs, it is particularly stupid to call himself that.
You’re an agnostic, Gib.
Per what you’ve written above, you are not an atheist.
Plus, you don’t sneer enough to be an atheist. You have sneer more, and look down on people from an altitudinous position of high scientific superiority – which is the most exalted and highly superior position of all. You have to swell your head with the idea that beliefs are for delusional idiots, and you don’t have any.
I suppose you are correct which is probably one of the reasons why I got involved in scientology, because it, scientology, did not include the 8th dynamic or god or infinity. I recall in the beginning I had such a hard time with the religion angle, but I soldered on with hopes of “clear”. Back then, we always said are you coming into the “org”, or are you going to the “org” tonight, things like that. We never said are you going to the “church” tonight. My oh my how things have changed thru repetition of a saying or meme or catch phase..
What Stephen Colbert should have said when Ricky said:
“You say there is NOT a God.”
I say “Can you prove that?
You say “No.”
I say I don’t believe you then.
I’m not a Catholic, but many years ago I experienced what I would describe as “The Presence of The Holy Spirit.” That Presence was neither male nor female, yet very real, very there. That presence was with me for two days before gradually receding. It gave me sense of comfort and protection. It might have been entirely a mental construction, yet that in itself would be rather “miraculous”. laughter
I just now came across this in a column called Small Talk in a Smithsonian magazine. It’s from David Bodanis, an Einstein biographer.
Question – The biggest misconception about Einstein?
Answer – People think he was nerdy. Not so! He had a zillion affairs and treated his partners remarkably well. He was really good-looking and even into middle age people noted how muscular he was.
Question – Did he have a role model?
Answer – He kept portraits of Isaac Newton, James Clerk Maxwell and Michael Faraday above his desk. But he revered the Dutch philosopher Baruch Spinoza. Their views-strongly rejecting atheism, yet not conventionally religious-were very similar.
Wow! – I have an “Einsteinian” view of religion!
Obviously, even after Scientology, you remain in the upper 10% of the upper 10% of the most aware homo saps on Teeagak. 🙂
Laughter! “Homo Novis – but just don’t know it”
Here’s where most atheists I know would be very quick to dismiss this experience of yours.
1st, your description of how it made you feel would be proof to them that you are a weak-minded and emotionally needy person whose brain made you experience that to make you feel better. Do they have proof or scientific evidence for this belief of theirs about your experience?
None. But they feel like they do. It is very rare, in my experience, for an atheist to be aware that this is a belief of his which has absolutely no evidence to support it.
2nd, the need to believe in anything supernatural is a weakness that you have. You are too ignorant to just know, like Ricky does, that the chances you are here are billions to one, and that you will never be here again. You can’t just accept the reality that when you die, there will be nothing – total blackness and no consciousness of anything at all.
How does Ricky know this? Where’s his evidence for it?
He has none. It’s a belief of his. And it’s a belief of his that he believes about you, and your beliefs as well. But he thinks he knows it.
Even he does not see that science itself is continually teaching us that “There are more things in heaven and Earth, Ricky, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”
Now here’s where hanging out with Atheists without questioning them enough is bad for a person who has had an experience like yours:
That experience can give great meaning, and joy, and many profoundly positive and constructive things to you. But when you become too influenced by atheists without realizing it, you will dismiss that experience of yours and invalidate it. And you can invalidate yourself for even having that experience. All such experiences can go onto “automatic dismissal”, and a sneering and arrogant negativity can take the place of wonder and joy.
That’s what makes atheists destructive, in my opinion. If you don’t question them, and become just as skeptical of their view as they are of yours, then you will darken your own life with their blinkered and shallow ignorance.
I’m not saying you are doing that, Richard. It was just a great opportunity for me to write about what I’ve seen happen to Ex-Scientologists who are not sufficiently skeptical of atheism.
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