In studying atheism, and their attempts to co-opt Darwin’s theory of evolution and science in general, I have encountered twin logical fallacies so often that I have come to coin two terms to describe them: the fallacy of validation by projection and the fallacy of validation by regression.
This parsed essay essentially picks up where
Look Both Ways Two Atheistic Logical Fallacies concluded.
[I should clarify that while I actually thought that I was coining clever terms I subsequently discovered that “validation by projection” and “validation by regression” are terms already employed with reference to documentation analysis, etc. Yet, since I was employing the terms within the context of logical fallacies I am progressing as is. I will define what I mean by their use below].
This parsed essay consists of the following segments: Part 1: Basic Layout Part 2: Miscellaneous Examples Part 3: Richard Dawkins’ “Faith” and “Luck”: Part 4: Richard Dawkins’ Wasps and Bees: Part 5: Richard Dawkins; The Wizard of Biomorph Land Part 6: Sam Harris Part 7: Misia Landau Part 8: Samuel Melser and Examples of Reconstructions
Part 9: Roger Lewin
It is important to note that when someone believes in something that is not true they cannot live in the real world. That is to say; they must talk themselves into believing in things for which there is no evidence. They have to talk themselves into believing the stories about reality that they have concocted. Surely, atheists will claim that this is precisely true of theists. Yet, nevertheless, let us consider ample evidence that supports this assertion made against atheism.
In order to validate their beliefs atheists look both ways, up and down, the corridors of time: to the inaccessible past and future. When, for example, atheists appeal to quaint Victorian Era concepts of abiogenesis in order to explain life’s conception they must deal with the fact that abiogenesis (abiotic synthesis) is not observed anywhere and is not producible in any experiments (and if it was it would be evidence of intelligent design). What is their answer? They can imagine a time, long, long ago in the Earth’s past, when everything happened just so and abiogenesis was possible.
What about filling the various gaps in our knowledge? They can imagine a time in the distant future when their beliefs will be proven true: in other words they think that eventually material causes will be discovered for all material effects including the universe itself.
Thus, the sorts of atheists who hold to these views consider that their particular, and peculiar, atheism is validated by projection and regression. Herein lies the fallacies: they merely regress to an unknown past in which they can imagine thing occurring that do not occur today (what happened to uniformitarianism?) and they can project into an equally unknown future at which time we will discover that absolute materialism is true. Atheists of this sort appeal to inaccessible, unobserved, un-experimented upon, ideal and self-service concepts and replace evidence for imagination.
As long as they can imagine it, it must be true: this appears to be what Richard Dawkins meant by being an intellectually fulfilled atheist.
I have referred to atheism’s co-option of Darwin’s theory of evolution and they have actually attempted to co-opt the whole scientific enterprise. Here we encounter another of atheism’s logical fallacies: first they claim that science does not deal with the supernatural but then they claim that science disproves the supernatural.
What atheists attempt to do is to remove the supernatural from the realm of possibility. Granted, they are, after all, atheists—absolutely committed to materialism. But note the nature of this particular view: they have closed the door to any evidence to the contrary because this view calls for it—demands it—and so their thinking is restricted (we explored this in the post Atheism and Science – The Magus).
Their assertion leads them to believe that since there is no supernatural there can be no evidence for the supernatural and since there is no evidence for the supernatural there is no supernatural. Yet, peradventure any evidence of the supernatural is uncovered it is to be ignored because it does not fit the materialistic view and because that view promises that all things will, some day, be explained in accordance to materialism (or, even if they are not all explained thusly, even sans evidence, it is the only logical and scientific conclusion).
Some scientists, such as Scott C. Todd from Kansas State University’s Department of Biology, have taken their belief in materialism to such an extreme that they openly proclaim that they will purposefully exclude any evidence that interferes with their theory from the realm of science,
“Even if all the data pointed to an intelligent designer, such a hypothesis is excluded from science because it is not naturalistic.”1
Rather, if all the data pointed to an intelligent designer science would evolve in order to accommodate the new evidence.
One example of validation by regression is clear in hypothesis concocted by A.I. Oparin and J.B.S. Haldane (and many, many others) who “…envisioned an ancient world with the chemical conditions and energy resources needed for the abiotic synthesis of organic molecules.”2
They envisioned a time when something that is now impossible could actually occur (incidentally, all experiments in this vein have failed as evidenced in the post John Horgan, “In the Beginning…” – Scientific American).
In the next segment we will commence considering various fanciful interpretive tales about how life came to be and evolved.