deism vs. materialism

David McDivitt david at
Sat May 7 02:55:11 CEST 2011

I heard another interesting Skepticality podcast today: Skepticality 
#057 - On being a Skeptic of Faith, Dr. Hal Bidlack, Ph.D, found at . Scroll down to number 57.

The guy starts out declaring himself a deist, saying how atheists often 
proselytize similar to religious people, ridicule, harass, and fail to 
honor freedom of thought. Following that he explains his emotionalism 
and why he has a right to it. Finally, he makes excellent logical 
statements indistinguishable from materialistic atheism.

I find his view more honest than materialistic atheism. A materialist is 
big on physical law, but a materialist is never able to say what causes 
obedience to physical law. What authority enforces it? Why does stuff do 
what it's supposed to do? Magic? Most common answers are: things are 
what they are, or things do what they do. The circular reasoning of 
materialism is no different than that of religion.

The cause and effect relationship is representative of logical, 
structured human thought, as we observe and make accurate forecasts. 
Cause and effect has nothing to do with reality for there is no 
guarantee anything must happen a certain way. For there to be a 
guarantee there would have to be "enforcement" of physical law, there 
would have to be some manner of unmitigated authority, and we may as 
well go back to before the Scientific Method when the word of god alone, 
spoken by him incessantly in the immediate sense, caused everything to 
do what it should because everything was obedient.

Physical law is necessarily limited to the human mind, only, for it is 
impossible to say how there is any enforcement beyond that. A person may 
ask, "It rains, gravity pulls things down, electrons orbit the nucleus 
of the atom, can't you see that?" Yes I can see that, but if I see it, 
that makes knowledge justified by observation and empiricism. There are 
variances in what we see, sometimes a little more, sometimes a little 
less, so we make additional observations, and we make enough 
observations to construct "rules of forecast", and as probability of 
those rules approaches acceptable levels we begin to rely on those 
rules. But, has variance gone away? The most we can do is accept 
outcomes within agreed upon tolerances.

There is no connection between physical law and reality. There is 
nothing to facilitate physical law. There is no power or presence to 
make physical law happen or enforce it. This is why I view materialistic 
atheism as an oxymoron, believing in a creation or "how things are", but 
not acknowledging a creator or authority. Materialistic atheists do not 
understand why their own assertion of materialism, plainly declares the 
existence of god to those they ridicule. A study of Platonic-Realism and 
the difference between empiricism and classical rationalism would help, 
but they don't seem to have the wherewithal to do that. Materialism is 
deism, intellectually, and even spiritually because a materialist will 
not concede to personal belief in nebulous authority.

So if there is no reality as such because there is no enforcement of 
physical law, where are we, who are we? Gee, shall we continue searching 
for the meaning of life, why we exist, and what grand purpose we're 
supposed to fulfill? Give me a break. There doesn't have to be any 
meaning, does there? It's up to us to have our own meaning, just like 
it's up to each of us to facilitate logical cause and effect thinking to 
the extent we want to.

Anyway, you might listen to the podcast and while listening think of 
some of what I wrote here. If he is wrong to be a deist, why is a 
materialist not wrong, too, and why doesn't all the impressive reasoning 
a materialist credits self with having, make that clear?

yes, I dare to be subjective!

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