Consumptions In Michael Scriven's The Presumption Of Atheism

2556 Words 11 Pages
In The Presumption of Atheism , Michael Scriven argues that when arguments for the existence of God are unable to provide the evidence required to maintain this conclusion (and Scriven believes this to be the case for all such arguments) the only position that one can rationally maintain is atheism. I will first elaborate the salient points of Scriven’s reasoning in arriving at his conclusion and then attempt to challenge some of the assumptions that Scriven makes in the course of his argument, and provide what I believe to be an example of a case where there can be a retrospective justification for having an arbitrary presumption of theism despite an absence of what would be conventionally considered to be evidence.
Scriven begins by addressing
…show more content…
Though Scriven accepts that you cannot directly disprove the existence of God, he holds that when a claim is entirely unsupported, it is sufficient reason to warrant a position that denies this claim. When you grow up to realize that your belief in Santa isn’t substantiated by any evidence and is in fact, contrary to it, the proper response is not only to defer belief in his existence but to abandon it entirely. Scriven argues that we should be motivated to act similarly when met with an absence of both general and specific evidence for the existence of …show more content…
Until he can justify holding them, and it seems as though it would be just as hard for him to do this as it is for the theist to provide justification for his belief, both the theist and the atheist have an equal burden of establishing the truth of their assumptions, and therefore neither can establish that their conclusions are true. I argue that when one cannot establish that either conclusion is true or the evidence for both conclusion is the same, as would be in the case of deism, you are entitled to an arbitrary choice between the options and only what you are trying to achieve with a belief will determine whether it is reasonable to hold it. If we define theism as a belief in the existence of a God, I can endorse that a deistic God exist with retrospective justification for the belief in a deistic God, and therefore

Related Documents