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Do there exist non-religious or non-christian writers or philosophers that analyse Atheism from a skeptical point of view?

  • Perhaps you might describe what you mean by "sceptical" or "analyse", unless you're happy to hear about philosophical advocates of atheism — that doesn't sound like what you're looking for, but what sort of thing are you looking for? – Niel de Beaudrap Dec 17 '14 at 17:03
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    i think Paul is wondering if there are authors, without a religious axe to grind, that can (and do) critically analyze Atheism as a philosophical position. i've always thunk that such folk may be what we call "Agnostic". – robert bristow-johnson Dec 17 '14 at 21:06
  • It almost sounds like you are asking for theology rather than philosophy -- is there any chance I might be able to persuade you to draw this out a little further? It will help optimize the chances of getting a great answer if you explore the context and motivations of the problem you're encountering (and even just paraphrasing yourself a few times can help ensure that potential answerers can clearly understand what exactly it is you would like an explanation regarding.) – Joseph Weissman Dec 17 '14 at 22:31
  • @robert: To play Devil's Advocate (so to speak): what is "atheism as a philosophical position"? Is it similarly a philosophical position to believe, within the context of a technical education, that there are no perpetual motion machines, and that antimatter exists? Are we considering a question any more pertinent than any other application of epistemology? – Niel de Beaudrap Dec 18 '14 at 8:12
  • "Is it similarly a philosophical position to believe, within the context of a technical education, that there are no perpetual motion machines,...?" ya, sorta. i have to confess that i have too much of a religious axe to grind (nor am i a published author in such) to answer the OP's original concern. – robert bristow-johnson Dec 18 '14 at 13:38
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Is it even possible to skeptically analyze something that (at it's core) is a rejection of a non-evidence based assertion?

Typically, the thing to be skeptical of is the positive assertion (i.e. "there is a god"). The rejection of an assertion due to a (perhaps perceived) lack of evidence is rationally the default position. You don't start off believing everything you're told until someone disproves it, otherwise you totally NEED to paypal me $100 right NOW or the world is going to end. I'm not even kidding! Quick, or it's all your fault!

Really, though, you can find some skeptical discussions on "hard atheism" (e.g. "there is no god"), but that's pretty light work. Being an atheist myself, I have trouble even imagining what absolute proof that there is no god would consist of. There are so many definitions of "god" that ruling them all out is effectively impossible.

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    Some atheists make non-evidence based assertions, e.g. that removing religion would make the world less violent (I have to admit I'm rather skeptical in that regard). So one can at least be skeptical about things that purportedly follow from atheism. Inasafar as atheism is simply the absence of belief it sounds like you're right (but then I'm afraid this comes down to semantics, i.e. how the OP defines "skeptically"). – Eike Pierstorff Dec 18 '14 at 20:27
  • Agreed, but I believe skeptical commentaries surrounding such "follow on" ideas is generally common. I'd say it naturally follows from there being evidence/statistics to parse and debate, as opposed to the evidence-lite "there is no god" assertion. Specifically concerning your example: csicop.org/si/show/… atheists-for-jesus.com ted.com/talks/alain_de_botton_atheism_2_0 – immortal squish Dec 18 '14 at 22:46
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    a "hard athiest" also makes non-evidence based assertions. string theory makes non-evidence based assertions. so is any belief in a Multiverse. if one is even-handed, it is definitely possible to skeptically analyze atheism just as it is for solipsism or theism or whatever other -ism that is out there. – robert bristow-johnson Dec 18 '14 at 22:55
  • You have to be careful there. Certainly, some individuals may hold some all sorts of incorrect/non-evidence based views, but there is a LARGE difference between the hard atheist stance of "there is no god" and a scientific hypothesis such as String Theory. String Theory is not a scientific theory (yet), is not thought to be "definitely true", and is not held to be a better model for the universe than the "Standard Model". Proponents of String Theory aren't saying "this is definitely how the universe funtions," they're saying it may be a better model for describing the universe. One day. – immortal squish Dec 18 '14 at 23:37
  • Same for any of the (many) multiverse hypothesis. You can believe your hypothesis is correct, without saying you "know" it is correct. I believe you are not some complex AI impersonating a human, but I don't KNOW it. buzzle.com/articles/… – immortal squish Dec 18 '14 at 23:41
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Yes. A Hindu philosopher by the name of Gaudapada. He wrote a commentary on the Mandukya Upanishad called Gaudapada's Karika. It is a defense of the Hindu Advaita (non-dual) philosophy. Chapters 2, 3, and 4 specifically are arguments defending the non-dual Brahman using reasoning and logical argumentation alone, no scriptural references. In those chapters he gives opposing arguments of nihilists and materialists and defends his arguments against those opposing views.

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Probably the classic skeptical treatment of atheism is T.H. Huxley who coined the word 'agnostic'.

You will also find a fair number of scholarly articles critiquing certain kinds of atheism if you search for pairs of terms like "soft atheism" and "hard atheism" or "weak atheism and "strong atheism" or "negative atheism" and "positive atheism". The weak/soft/negative position is that person x lacks a positive belief in God while the strong/hard/positive position is that person x believes that God does not exist. The latter is a far more sweeping claim. Michael Martin has a number of writings discussing the difference.

  • Seeing that one can not prove there is no afterlife , using the word 'proof' in whatever logical or philosophical way one can use to demonstrate anything in a communicate-able and rational fashion ; then isn't atheism and agnosticism a matter of belief just like any other belief. Until someone actually proved there is no afterlife , if that's possible. – 201044 Feb 15 '15 at 6:39
  • One can be skeptical about ANYTHING , right? – 201044 Mar 20 '15 at 16:38
  • Are there any rational nonreligious reasons to be skeptical about atheism? – 201044 Aug 15 '15 at 12:35
  • Are there any rational reasons to not believe atheism is correct? – 201044 Dec 20 '15 at 23:25

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