2 Basic Types of Atheist (arguments)

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:

  1. 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
  2. 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.

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One thought on “2 Basic Types of Atheist (arguments)

  1. I’m wondering if duals (e.g. particle vs wave) would provide good examples for talking about paraconsistency? It seems reasonable to be able to say that: A = a photon is a particle, B = a photon is a wave, and C = a particle is not a wave. Hence, (A^¬A) is true. But the problem is that every consequence relation is defined in terms of some language. So, what we’re really doing is switching from the particle language to the wave language and the language where a photon is a dual is yet a third language. And saying that photons are duals is not asserting a contradiction.

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