OK. I have a new way of classifying atheists, triggered by the arrival of my solstice present from my sister: Foundations Without Foundationalism. As a result of skimming through that book (on second-order logic), I was forced to re-acquaint myself with Paraconsistent Logic. And, since I’m always arguing with self-described atheists (perhaps usually antitheists), I couldn’t help but notice this potential conjecture.
When an atheist asks a normal person to provide evidence for the existence of (a) god, they are effectively asking for evidence of the supernatural. The word “supernatural”, is of course non-evidential. Asking for evidence for the supernatural is contradictory. The question reduces to: Can you give me evidence for something for which you cannot give me evidence for? I.e. P^¬P?
When someone asks that question, it seems they must be implying one of two things:
- They are claiming that the logic implemented by the real world is explosive, that P^¬P is absurd and they’re trying to get you to realize that, or
- They tolerate paraconsistency, perhaps the real world does allow some contradictions to be true, at least in some sense.
Most of the atheists I argue with fall into type 1, I think, likely because they’re the ones who are most outspoken and willing to get into an argument with a jerk like me. But I do find some type 2’s out there once in awhile, usually after finding a so-called “non-theist” and scratching them in the right way to reveal an atheist underneath. (I’m delighted when I find an actual agnostic underneath a non-theist. But that is quite rare. I usually find crypto-atheists and crypto-theists.)
In any case, I’m going to start presenting paraconsistency to my atheist friends to see how they react. Most of them have no math training. But I really don’t expect that to be a problem. The idea is relatively simple once you grok it. I do need an example candidate for a true contradiction, though. If anyone actually reads this and has a suggestion, please send it my way.