Today, via myatheistlife, I came across Eric Hyde’s blog; which, I promptly began following. I did some glancing through a few of his posts, and I came across one to which I wanted to provide a quick response. Eric’s post is from late October, so my response is a little late.
Eric wrote about the Argument from Reason, which he describes as the “finest argument against atheism“. I recommend reading his post, as it lays out the argument well. The reason I would disagree that this is the “finest argument against atheism” is that it has nothing to do with atheism, per se. To some degree, Eric acknowledge’s this when he says:
It should be noted that this is not an argument “for” Christianity, but rather an argument against atheism, specifically that of materialism and/or naturalism. An argument for Christianity would follow a very different set of rules.
However, even in this caveat, Eric skirts the line of equivocation pretty strongly. At best, The Argument from Reason is an argument against reductive physicalism. As such, one is probably safe is using terms like ‘materialism’ or ‘metaphysical naturalism’ as a substitute for reductive physicalism. However, simply saying ‘naturalism’ is to falsely equate less-robust forms of naturalism with the strictly physicalist forms of naturalism. (In another post, Eric calls this “strict philosophical naturalism,” but this seems to be risky wording as well.)
More to the point, none of this speaks to the existence or non-existence of a god. Therefore, none of this speaks to atheism. This cannot be an argument against atheism. Atheism’s veracity is dependent upon whether or not a god exists. If an argument against reductive physicalism is not an argument for theism, it cannot be an argument against atheism. At best, it can be an argument against an atheism grounded on the assumption of reductive physicalism.
So, there’s no reason for an atheist to be troubled by the Argument from Reason.
For those interested, here is a response, from Richard Carrier, to Reppert’s defense of the Argument from Reason.