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The subtitle would be: "or the inevitable arguments which follow said refutation."

Almost all of the work in the atheist department is by pop-culture philosophers like Christopher Hitchens or Sam Harris, neither of which were/are well-respected philosophers in theological circles or in the usually corresponding field of ethics.

Other more famous works are things like David Hume's Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion, Nietzsche's Antichrist, and Baron d'Holbach's Christianity unveiled.

Is there an ongoing academic sector of anti-religious philosophy, in the same way that there is a huge theological presence in still many circles? It is not the same thing to be an atheist philosopher, of which there are innumerable examples, but I am looking for those who actively refute the existence of God(s) in academic papers. I'm not sure if I count Dennett's books or not.

An example would be works which examine the morality in the absence of a creator.

  • Hi Sermo. I edited your question adding the "philosophy of religion" tag. Feel free to undo this if you think it's inappropriate. – Adam Sharpe Jun 3 at 21:37
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To obtain a refutation one needs a logical argument. One area where logical arguments appear against the existence of God is in the problem of evil. Assume as premises the following:

  1. God is omnipotent, omniscient and benevolent.
  2. Evil exists.

The expected conclusion is that these two statements are somehow contradictory. One or both of them have to be rejected. A recent attempt to make this argument is by J. L. Mackie, "Evil and Omnipotence". The challenge for the believer according to Mackie is the following:

He must now be prepared to believe, not merely what cannot be proved, but what can be disproved from other beliefs that he also holds.

Although Alvin Plantinga refuted Mackie's claim based on the Augustinian Free Will Theodicy, this could still be challenged by attempting to show that Plantinga's model is not consistent.

This would be one place to look for academic refutations of God.


J. L. Mackie, "Evil and Omnipotence," Mind, New Series, Vol. 64, No. 254. (Apr., 1955), pp. 200-212.

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I can think of a few notable atheist philosophers of religion and the arguments they're famous for formulating/refining:

John Schellenberg presents the argument for divine hiddenness in Divine Hiddenness and Human Reason, arguing that the existence of non-resistant non-belief counts as evidence against a God that cares about us personally, since God could and would reveal himself to us.

Then there's the perennial problem of evil which comes in two flavors. Frank Hubeny mentions The logical problem of evil, which claims that God's omnipotence, omniscience, and omnibenevolence are literally incompatible with the existence of evil and suffering in the world. J.L. Mackie is famous for arguing this.

There's also the evidential problem of evil, formulated notably by William Rowe. In Rowe's version, ignoring any prior evidence we may have for the existence of God, the existence of evil and suffering in the world makes atheism more probable than theism.

(Since you mention morality in the absence of a creator, you might be interested in the debate between Christian philosopher and apologist William Lane Craig, and atheist philosopher Shelly Kagan. They debate the question Is God Necessary for Morality? This is one of the few debates where Craig, who's normally very well-spoken and prepared seems (to me at least) a bit flustered and out of his depth in the conversation part of the debate. Even though my own view is probably closer to Craig's, I think he "lost" this debate.)

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