An atheist explains the implications of adopting an atheistic worldview

If you love to listen to the Please Convince Me podcast, as I do, then you know that in a recent episode, J. Warner Wallace mentioned a blog post on an atheistic blog that clearly delineated the implications of an atheistic worldview. He promised he was going to write about it and link to the post, and he has now done so.

Here is the whole the whole thing that the atheist posted:

“[To] all my Atheist friends.

Let us stop sugar coating it. I know, it’s hard to come out and be blunt with the friendly Theists who frequent sites like this. However in your efforts to “play nice” and “be civil” you actually do them a great disservice.

We are Atheists. We believe that the Universe is a great uncaused, random accident. All life in the Universe past and future are the results of random chance acting on itself. While we acknowledge concepts like morality, politeness, civility seem to exist, we know they do not. Our highly evolved brains imagine that these things have a cause or a use, and they have in the past, they’ve allowed life to continue on this planet for a short blip of time. But make no mistake: all our dreams, loves, opinions, and desires are figments of our primordial imagination. They are fleeting electrical signals that fire across our synapses for a moment in time. They served some purpose in the past. They got us here. That’s it. All human achievement and plans for the future are the result of some ancient, evolved brain and accompanying chemical reactions that once served a survival purpose. Ex: I’ll marry and nurture children because my genes demand reproduction, I’ll create because creativity served a survival advantage to my ancient ape ancestors, I’ll build cities and laws because this allowed my ape grandfather time and peace to reproduce and protect his genes. My only directive is to obey my genes. Eat, sleep, reproduce, die. That is our bible.

We deride the Theists for having created myths and holy books. We imagine ourselves superior. But we too imagine there are reasons to obey laws, be polite, protect the weak etc. Rubbish. We are nurturing a new religion, one where we imagine that such conventions have any basis in reality. Have they allowed life to exist? Absolutely. But who cares? Outside of my greedy little gene’s need to reproduce, there is nothing in my world that stops me from killing you and reproducing with your wife. Only the fear that I might be incarcerated and thus be deprived of the opportunity to do the same with the next guy’s wife stops me. Some of my Atheist friends have fooled themselves into acting like the general population. They live in suburban homes, drive Toyota Camrys, attend school plays. But underneath they know the truth. They are a bag of DNA whose only purpose is to make more of themselves. So be nice if you want. Be involved, have polite conversations, be a model citizen. Just be aware that while technically an Atheist, you are an inferior one. You’re just a little bit less evolved, that’s all. When you are ready to join me, let me know, I’ll be reproducing with your wife.

I know it’s not PC to speak so bluntly about the ramifications of our beliefs, but in our discussions with Theists we sometimes tip toe around what we really know to be factual. Maybe it’s time we Atheists were a little more truthful and let the chips fall where they may. At least that’s what my genes are telling me to say.”

In his post, Wallace comments on the statement above, but for more, you should listen to the podcast.

This fellow is essentially expanding on what Richard Dawkins has said about atheism:

In a universe of blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won’t find any rhyme or reason in it, or any justice. The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference… DNA neither knows nor cares. DNA just is. And we dance to its music. (Richard Dawkins, River Out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life (1995))

And Cornell University atheist William Provine agrees: (this is taken from his debate with Phillip E. Johnson)

Let me summarize my views on what modern evolutionary biology tells us loud and clear — and these are basically Darwin’s views. There are no gods, no purposes, and no goal-directed forces of any kind. There is no life after death. When I die, I am absolutely certain that I am going to be dead. That’s the end of me. There is no ultimate foundation for ethics, no ultimate meaning in life, and no free will for humans, either.

And what about Florida State University atheist Michael Ruse:

“The position of the modern evolutionist is that humans have an awareness of morality because such an awareness of biological worth. Morality is a biological adaptation no less than are hands and feet and teeth. Considered as a rationally justifiable set of claims about an objective something, ethics is illusory. I appreciate when someone says, ‘Love thy neighbor as thyself,’ they think they are referring above and beyond themselves. Nevertheless, such reference is truly without foundation. Morality is just an aid to survival and reproduction, . . . and any deeper meaning is illusory.” (Michael Ruse, “Evolutionary Theory and Christian Ethics,” in The Darwinian Paradigm (London: Routledge, 1989), pp. 262-269).

I see a lot of atheists these days thinking that they can help themselves to a robust notion of consciousness, to real libertarian free will, to objective moral values and duties, to objective human rights, and to objective meaning in life, without giving credit to theism. It’s not rational to do this. As Frank Turek said on the latest episode of “Cross Examined”, atheists have to sit in God’s lap to slap his face. We should be calling them out on it. I think it’s particularly important not to let atheists utter a word of moral judgment on any topic, since they cannot ground an objective standard that allows them to make statements of morality. Further, I think that they should have every immorality ever committed presented to them, and then they should be told “your worldview does not allow you to condemn this as wrong”. They can’t praise anything as right, either. This is not to say that we should go all presuppositional on them, but if the opportunity arises to point out how they are borrowing from theism in order to attack it, we should do that in addition to presenting good scientific and historical evidence.

Positive arguments for Christian theism

6 thoughts on “An atheist explains the implications of adopting an atheistic worldview”

  1. “Some of my Atheist friends have fooled themselves into acting like the general population. They live in suburban homes, drive Toyota Camry’s, attend school plays. But underneath they know the truth. They are a bag of DNA whose only purpose is to make more of themselves. ”

    That is precisely where I was 10.5 years ago: I really “knew” I should be “moral,” but equally well “knew” that I could not be objectively so under naturalism. I think that is the tipping point for atheists. Which “knew” will they follow in their pursuit of truth? (Assuming that they are sincerely seeking objective truth, that is. Many are.)

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  2. I’m not a debate veteran, but I have seen quite a few, and I’ve never seen atheists be this transparent about this point. In fact, I’ve only ever seen them try to sidestep the moral argument and insist the opposite of what these quotes show.

    I’m actually also surprised Craig hasn’t trotted out these kinds of quotes to demonstrate the kind of position on the moral argument that atheism leads many of its rational thinkers to hold.

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    1. I could have sworn I heard WLC read two of these quotes (or something along the same lines) during the Millican debate, but perhaps it was during the Georgia Tech lecture?

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  3. So atheists go around cheating with other atheist’s wives? But you can’t call it cheating. It’s just doing what the DNA tells you to do. If there’s no morality, try telling that to a woman (or her friends and family) whose husband cheats on her; it’s all just a biological imperative.

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  4. “My only directive is to obey my genes. Eat, sleep, reproduce, die.”
    Irony abounds.I used to be an atheist, but I was not foolish enough to claim that morality was a by product of genes. That stance leads to several difficulties.
    Roman Catholics also have a similar directive to be fruitful and multiply, as well as a directive to avoid the use of contraceptives.
    I have not heard of any atheist obeying his genes and avoiding the use of contraceptives as a fixed principle of atheist morality.
    I certainly have heard of no atheist obeying the die command, which I assume here means committing ritual suicide if and when it would be statistically beneficial for the flourishing of one’s progeny and relations.
    I wonder why this is. Is there a second gene, an unselfish one, commanding them to disobey the first gene, the selfish one?
    And if your gene commands you to die when you prefer to live, or to eat when you would rather fast, or to copulate and reproduce when you would rather be chaste or even abstinent — why heed the gene? Is there a morality gene that give the command-giving gene its moral stature?

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