If You Believe Atheism Is True, Then Atheism Is False

by Tom Gilson

I wrote briefly last night about Alex Rosenberg, the atheistic philosopher who ended his debate with William Lane Craig by admitting he believes that no thoughts are about anything.

He meant exactly that. No thought is about anything.

This may come as rather a shock to some readers. It’s strange. It’s really strange. One consequence of it (if Rosenberg is right) is that if you believe atheism is true, then atheism is false.

(The sort of atheism to which I’m referring here and in the title is Rosenberg’s. If there’s another version for which this is not true, I’ll be glad to know about it.)

Let me explain where this comes from. It starts with scientism, then it goes to physics, then to a view of the brain that demands we believe that way about it.

Scientism
In his book The Atheist’s Guide to Reality, he defends a form of scientism that he defines this way (p. 17-18, Nook edition):

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This is the conviction that the methods of science are the only reliable ways to secure knowledge of anything; that science’s description of the world is correct in its fundamentals; and that when “complete,” what science tells us will not be surprisingly different from what it tells us today…. Science provides all the significant truths about reality….. Being scientistic just means treating science as our exclusive guide to reality, to nature—both our own nature and everything else’s.

Physicalism
Now obviously there’s nothing wrong with regarding science as a guide to reality, and in its sphere of inquiry, by far the best. There’s nothing wrong with recognizing how superb it is in that domain. But Rosenberg doesn’t stop there…

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