no evidence

November 12, 2011

When confronted with the question of why they don’t believe in a god, atheists of all kinds have become used to declaring that they don’t because there’s no evidence for it. The response has become a hackneyed, automatic formula.

Well, as I’ve said in a previous post, I don’t define myself as an atheist. I’m a proscient. This means I define myself from what I know, not from what I believe. So it almost goes without saying that I have a very different take on the need for evidence of gods and/or other assertions of supernaturalism.

I need no lack of evidence not to believe that Mickey Mouse is not a real being. I’m an adult, that is, a human with a more complex and coherent view of reality than that of a child. No adult needs to say “There is no evidence for Mickey Mouse’s existence, therefore I don’t believe in him.” An adult can see through the drawing and clearly perceive that it’s man-made.

Similarly, I look at the Bible, the Koran and any number of other assertive stories, and I can see that they’re man-made. The simpler eye of a believer can’t see this; it can’t see through the elaborate and often contradictory narratives and perceive their casuistry or the human purpose sewing behind the scenes.

Every time I hear an atheist talk about evidence, I see a line going straight back to Bertrand Russell, to David Hume. Though they certainly contributed enormously to rational thinking, I suggest it’s time we updated some of their notions.