In what follows I use the term God to refer to an entity that has at least one of the following properties:
- Has created the universe
- Is omnipotent
- Is omniscient
Approaches to Atheism
A great many philosophers and scientists have put together their efforts to form what today is known as rationalism; from Socrates in ancient times to Kant in the 18th Century. Rationalism is the underlying foundation in science nowadays as any claim is not valid unless - simply put - no logical contradiction accrues from its acceptance. However, in my humble opinion, this principle has not been extended to apply in religion as - to the best of my knowledge - the following two trends prevail amongst atheists today:
- Historical scepticism
- Scientific omnisciency
The first amounts to rejecting the idea of an "almighty God" because the Holy Bible as well as other religious books contain historical inconsistencies. First of all this approach requires the concept of religion to define itself therefore cannot form a rigid basis and any discussion or inference on this basis is doomed to fail. The debate on this basis boils down to the acceptance of the dogma "I'm right because you're wrong" (from all sides).
The second trend is more or less the approach that people like Richard Dawkins use. Dawkins in his book titled The God Delusion concludes that one should not believe in God because science provides all necessary tools to reach the truth and leaves no place for the existence of an omnipotent and omniscient entity. The problem is that this very last sentence is not scientifically sound. Was it like that there would be a proof (in scientific terms) that there is no God for example or - at least - there would be a chance that we have such a scientific proof. Science unfortunately does have its limits and this is not something to demean its value; on the contrary... Science should be aware of these limits. This is something one can learn studying statistics. Many say statistics is a big lie in science. This is a glorious manifestation of ignorance! Statistics is science because it knows its limits and its domain of applicability.
Playing devil's advocate I say that the theory of evolution does not imply that there is not God. God created the species as described in Genesis and also the laws of Nature as a control mechanism that guarantees sustainability blah blah... Evolution is about the maintenance of the species; it does not explain how the first cell appeared on Earth. Therefore, evolution to me is not the proper tool or basis to talk about God.
So my question is whether there is some better structured and systematic approach to the question of the existence of God or some interesting atheist treatise published.
I would like to clarify a few things about the term rigor here. A statement in science or philosophy is said to be rigorous if (i). Someone made certain assumptions that do not contradict one the other (ii) they used rules of logic to arrive at this result. Different assumptions lead to different results all of which are correct with respect to the initial set of assumptions. Also, more rarely, different logic systems may lead to different results. But, again, a logic system is itself built up on non-contradicting assumptions.