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 IAmAnAtheist » Faith in Materialism

Faith in Materialism

The below item is part of my "Conversations" series.

Two people in an antique store

Danny: Don’t make a big deal about it, but look at this table. The price is four figures, but I’m pretty sure it’s a reproduction.

Easton: Why?

Danny: Look at the nails. If it was really two hundred years old, would it have metal nails? I thought they used dowels for everything back then.

Easton: I don’t know, but don’t be so suspicious all the time. This is a reputable place. Have a little faith.

Danny: I’m not exactly big on faith.

Easton: Oh, please. I’ve seen your tweets about materialism and rejecting supernatural explanations. You’re full to the brim with faith.

Danny: What? That’s the exact opposite of faith. I try not to believe in anything that I don’t have evidence for.

Easton: Except materialism. The only reason you say that science explains everything is that you refuse to even consider other explanations. If you didn’t have faith in materialism, you’d at least admit the possibility of God, miracles, and other supernatural things as explanations for things that science insists are purely material.

Danny: I don’t have faith in materialism, except in the sense that you have faith in something that you trust because it always produces good results.

Easton: You have faith in the sense that you assume it’s true.

Danny: But I don’t assume materialism; I’ve concluded that materialism is true. It’s an entirely different thing.

Easton: It boils down to the same thing. You don’t even consider the possibility of the supernatural.

Danny: Only because after lots of thought and investigation I’ve ruled it out as a useful concept. It’s like you’re asking me why I keep saying people have been to the moon when the moon landing could have been an enormous hoax.

Easton: That’s different. The moon landing really happened.

Danny: Have you read anything by people who thought it was a hoax?

Easton: Yes, and it’s ridiculous.

Danny: So you rightly concluded it was wrong. If someone came up with new evidence that the moon landing was a hoax, would you look at it?

Easton: I suppose, but it would have to be pretty significant evidence. But why are you bringing that up as an example? The evidence for the supernatural is much stronger than the evidence for a moon hoax. It’s an entirely different thing.

Danny: It’s different in quality, maybe, but the reasoning is exactly the same. I’ve looked at piles of evidence for the supernatural, and none of it is compelling to me at all. Not in the slightest. I can’t see any supernatural explanation for anything that isn’t inferior to a purely materialist explanation for something. Sure, if you had new evidence for the existence of supernatural things I’d look at it, but there isn’t any new evidence.

Easton: What about the mind? That’s immaterial.

Danny: I’ve been over all the arguments about the mind being immaterial again and again, and none of them are compelling to me.

Easton: Maybe you should take another look at them.

Danny: Are you going to reconsider the moon landing hoax?

Easton: No, but that’s different. The moon landing really happened so I don’t need to look at the arguments against it again. The supernatural, though, is real, so you should really consider taking another look at the evidence.

Danny: Someone who thought the moon hoax was real would say the same thing to you.

Easton: But they’re wrong.

Danny: Exactly.

Easton: Are you saying I’m wrong?

Danny: I’m trying to be nice about it.

Easton: How can you say I’m wrong? Where’s your evidence?

Danny: Where’s your evidence that you’re right? I’ve been over all of it and I still don’t agree. I’ve concluded that materialism is the best explanation for the universe, so I’m going to go ahead and ignore supernatural explanations. They aren’t worth my time.

Easton: That isn’t very skeptical of you. If you’re such a good skeptic, how can you not be skeptical of your own conclusions? You should keep an open mind.

Danny: Have you ever heard the quote that you should be open minded but not so open minded that your brain falls out? In any argument there has to come a point where you either decide that you don’t have enough information or that you’ve reached a conclusion. Once you’ve reached a reasoned conclusion, you don’t have to revisit the argument in its entirety over and over every time something comes up that refers to it. If you did, then that’s all you’d be doing for the rest of your life. Sure I’m skeptical of my own beliefs, and I completely admit that I make mistakes, but if a skeptic is someone who never reaches firm conclusions about anything, then a skeptic is someone who won’t be able to convince themselves to get out of bed in the morning.

Easton: I’m just saying you shouldn’t rule out any options, that’s all.

Danny: You’re saying I shouldn’t rule out any options that you think are correct. If anyone has bias here, I think it’s you. I don’t mean that in a mean way, I just think you’re projecting a bit when you say that I’m taking things on faith.

Easton: Maybe. You just seem so closed minded sometimes.

Danny: I’ll try not to say things so harshly. Maybe that will help.

Easton: It might. So, do you want me to ask the lady about the table?

Danny: I suppose. I’m interested to know if I’m right to be suspicious, even though I couldn’t afford the thing either way.

Easton: Like with supernatural things. You couldn’t afford them to be true, could you?

Danny: What?

Easton: Oh, never mind. Let’s go ask about the table.


If you have a conversation that you’d like me to consider publishing on this blog or in an upcoming book, please see the conversation guidelines.

Posted on September 9, 2013 at 7:44 pm by ideclare · Permalink
In: Conversations

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