Isaac Newton On Atheism

Of Atheism

Atheism is so senseless & odious to mankind that it never had many professors. Can it be by accident that all birds beasts & men have their right side & left side alike shaped (except in their bowells) & just two eyes & no more on either side the face & just two ears on either side the head & a nose with two holes & no more between the eyes & one mouth under the nose & either two fore leggs or two wings or two arms on the sholders & two leggs on the hipps one on either side & no more? Whence arises this uniformity in all their outward shapes but from the counsel & contrivance of an Author? Whence is it that the eyes of all sorts of living creatures are transparent to the very bottom & the only transparent members in the body, having on the outside an hard transparent skin, & within transparent juyces with a crystalline Lens in the middle & a pupil before the Lens all of them so truly shaped & fitted for vision, that no Artist can mend them? Did blind chance know that there was light & what was its refraction & fit the eys of all creatures after the most curious manner to make use of it? These & such like considerations always have & ever will prevail with man kind to believe that there is a being who made all things & has all things in his power & who is therfore to be feared.

Source: Keynes Ms. 7, King’s College, Cambridge, UK

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37 thoughts on “Isaac Newton On Atheism

  1. I’m not sure Richard Dawkins meant “evil does not exist”, he probably meant (I couldn’t swear it though, and even if he said it, he’s not a “atheist theologian” non-believers have to follow) that out there, in the Darwinian world, there’s nothing nice…the leopard eating the gazelle, the spider slowly feasting on its pray…

    • Probably not:

      “In a universe of blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, and other people are going to get lucky; and you won’t find any rhyme or reason to it, nor any justice. The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is at the bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good. Nothing but blind pitiless indifference. DNA neither knows nor cares. DNA just is, and we dance to its music.” (Out of Eden, Richard Dawkin page 133).

      Justice, Reason and other properties mention here are not for the “out there” namely leopard, gazelle, and spiders.

      • “The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is at the bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good.”

        That’s precisely what I meant…he’s talking about the universe, about some force for good and evil out there, arguing that such a thing doesn’t exist…that does not imply that good and evil themselves don’t exist…as soon as we define what evil means, it automatically exists and we can determine what is evil and what is not…you can even make it absolute while you’re at it…

  2. I watched the “Is God Good?” video, it’s ok up to when they say that God cannot allow free will without choice, I thought they were going to say all suffering comes from our choice (which would be false), then they do and bring up the myth of Adam and Eve to support the claim…and even if they hadn’t brought up mythology, what about natural disasters? Did my compatriots from Haiti choose the earthquake, the cholera?

    So our ancestors ate a piece of fruit and we’re still paying for it…in some (twisted) way, their choice was ours…that’s as free as your choice gets, you’re bound to the choice of your parents…I don’t know, but that doesn’t seem that free to me…maybe it’s a fallacy or something, I don’t know philosophical jargon too well, I’ll leave that to you…

    • Dear Hehe,

      The Problem of Evil, is not argument against Existence of God but for because If God did not existence then there is no evil, not good, no just, nothing but blind pitiless indifference as Dawkinian will say.

      The problem of evil presupposes the existence of a perfect loving God who will not allow evil.

      How does God(if he exist) be refuted by existence of evil? I may argue If true(God allowing evil) the following logical conclusion is not he does not exist but he is a god who care nothing about his creation or he receive pleasure(joy/glory) in the existence of evil in the world.

      Read these debate between Alvin Plantinga, the philosophy professor who brilliant refute the atheist argument on Evil as present by a brilliant atheist Dr. Michael Toole

      Tooley, Plantinga and the Deontological Argument from Evil Part I Part II

      • We perceive evil in our minds…the fact that we perceive it may very well have a naturalistic explanation, evolutionary biologists (again, believe it or not, it’s actual science) are working on that…the existence of absolute good and evil, independent of human societies, presupposes the existence of absolute good and evil, I don’t see why an All-Powerful Being is required…maybe they stem from somewhere, maybe they don’t…(maybe we can derive them scientifically, as Sam Harris suggests)…

        Of course all gods can’t be refuted by evil, I talked about Deism above…the God of Christianity can, though…He is supposedly All-Powerful and All-Loving…

      • 1. But if God does not Exist, Evil does not Exist(Derived from Richard Dawkins)
        2. But Evil does exist,
        3. Thus God does exist.

        If God does not exist, then Dawkins is very right, there is no evil, no good.

        Can you read first the article I gave you above, thus avoiding echoing the same mistakes and then present a case/argument how is a Christian God refuted by Evil?

  3. Faith is harder to fight then reason, I think it’s much easier for a Christian to stick to faith…I’ll read the article about how Good God is (I’ve heard William Lane Craig talk about a “greater good” and such, I wonder what’s new about these articles), but I am not infinitely good and I wouldn’t allow people to be tortured, permit genocides or any type of suffering if I had such immense power…I actually wish there were a benevolent God, seriously…but the God of Christianity isn’t such a God…

    I’m sure you would agree to this yourself, though I’m not sure you would admit it…if Paul is alone in a room with a cat and has unlimited power (can do absolutely anything conceivable -> or inconceivable) and the cat gets its tail cut off, then Paul can’t be infinitely good, given that the cat’s suffering in itself is bad (I hope you would agree that it is)…even if the tail’s slicing was for a greater good, with his unlimited power Paul should be able to find a way to attain that greater good without having the cat suffer. It’s as simple as that…héhé, I meant “layman” up there, not “laid”…what the hell was I thinking!

    • I’m replying under my own comment because there’s no “reply” link under yours…

      I’m sure we commit a logical fallacy, héhé…but we NEED to do so all the time…why is it that we don’t let the random person on the streets teach astronomy and conduct research? Why do you have to have a degree? Honestly, would you be afraid to go to your brother’s place because your nephew told you there’s a murderer roaming in the area, while your brother told you that it’s only his son’s imagination talking? Would you have the same attitude if the roles were reversed (your brother warned you about the murderer and your nephew told you he was wrong?)…who would you listen to about your own health, your doctor or me? It’s nice to use those philosophical ideas often enough (equivalents are used in math), but there are some instances where APPLYING THEM is illogical…

      • Not some instant, but all instants applying them is illogical(namely wrong reasoning).

        “I’m sure we commit a logical fallacy, héhé…but we NEED to do so all the time”

        Claiming that we need to do wrong reasoning(commit logical fallacies) all the time is sad anti-intellectual.

        “Faith is harder to fight than reason” Did you mean Faith is harder to fight than wrong reason?

        Christian Faith is define as confidence in the truths, values and trustworthiness of Historical Jesus which is rested on logical proofs and material evidences. Brilliant book to read is Reasonable Faith

        I will recommend Introduction to Logic by Irving Copi, and Nonsense: Red Herrings, Straw Men and Sacred Cows: How We Abuse Logic in Our Everyday Language by Robert J Gula. You can also take classes for Critic Thinking(Free from University of Hong Kong Online)

        We ought to have correct reasoning if we are to know about important or any truths.

      • Héhéhé…I’m answering the comment below, there’s no space…I’ll take those classes in due time, héhé…ok, ok, seriously…why take everything I say literally? You said that what I claimed was a logical fallacy, I explained why we have to follow that rule…why we do have to judge statements according to the identity of those making them…I accepted your accusation (your labeling of my utterances as a “logical fallacy”) without accepting their nature…I don’t think it’s an error in logic for you to trust your vet’s opinion about your dog over mine…if you want to call that a logical fallacy, you can always do that…I’m not really saying 2+2=5 and pretending it’s ok because I said it, read my statement…I definitely won’t have time to read those books, héhé…

  4. Héhéhé…not so fast, you did misunderstand (I hope)…those are nice philosophical terms, but I said “probably”, “I think he would”, I never spoke of certainty, I usually don’t…it’s always possible that Newton wouldn’t accept evolution, but I think it’s very unlikely…you have to accept this (without the philosophical terms and such, I hope that’s ok with you)…:
    1. Most dogs hate cats.
    2. Pluto is a dog.
    3. Pluto probably hates cats.

    If an atheist believes in intelligent design, he’s not an atheist (but I trust you meant “former atheist”, héhé, I won’t outline the contradiction that would occur, I’m sure you could do that much better than me)…unless you’re talking about aliens…

    Of course not all scientists (or even biologists) accept evolution, I didn’t say “all”…the word was “most”…there are possibly scientists who still believe the Earth is flat…but most of them don’t…I do read about evolution, it’s fascinating, and the general idea is obvious (in hindsight), but I’m not a biologist, as you probably aren’t either…as a laid person, I can try to understand to the best of my abilities and accept what scientists, who actually look into things and are eager to contradict each other, think is reasonable…

    Richard Dawkins cites the geographical distribution of species as an important piece of evidence, greater than fossil evidence…his book “The Greatest Show on Earth” seems interesting, I just started it…I didn’t read this, but here’s an article I found as a top result upon a google search…:

    Talk Origins site

    As I understand it, macro-evolution is just micro-evolution on a huger timescale…small changes over huger periods of time change you into a new species…

    Again, while I do know some things about evolution, I’m not an expert…I can’t defend it properly, or discuss the molecular evidence you speak of…a non-believer isn’t forcibly a scientist (I only study math)…I’ll look into your links…

    Look, I know evolution goes against the ideas in Christianity (despite what William Lane Craig will say…why would God prefer us to other animals when we are exactly like them, are their cousins?)…If we’re going to believe in Christianity against the evidence (which I think is the case for most informed Christians, one of whom I take it that you are), we can do so without pretending that we have evidence against evolution…take it from father Cogne, who told Richard Dawkins that evolution, the best explanation for the complexity of life, doesn’t go against Catholic teaching…at least his denial stops there, he doesn’t pretend that evolution is flawed or go looking for the tiny minority that thinks agrees…if it really doesn’t go against religion, isn’t it peculiar that that’s it’s the only accepted scientific discipline that’s under attack by the religious? Isn’t Einstein’s relativity younger and even stranger? Why does William Lane Craig doubt evolution while constantly using the Big Bang to support his ideas?…

      • Craig is not a scientist. I wouldn’t listen to him over genuine scientists who repeat countless times that the evidence for evolution is overwhelming, and who also list it: the DNA evidence (massive), the geographical distribution of species, the fossil record (which one should expect to be small, but which confirms the theory)…I’m a simple non-biologist, I side with the majority, maybe I’d think otherwise if I were qualified…

      • Hehe 🙂 If we reason that way we commit ad hominem (Latin: “to the man”) Fallacy.

        A theory is discarded not because of any evidence against it or lack of evidence for it, but because of the person who argues for it.

  5. It’s not really a position…most scientists accept evolution, the evidence for it is overwhelming…Newton was a scientist, I think he would comply to evidence instead of surrendering to wishful thinking (unless I hold him in too high esteem, I think he was brilliant, though maybe an asshole, héhé)…
    We might have been designed without being cared for, and if I have it right, deism is simply believing in a conscious and powerful being who decides to create everything and design everything without forcibly caring for us…there’s nothing about making birds and people and such that implies liking them, with all the suffering in the world the deity could have just decided to sit back and watch for fun, the way some cruel people would watch dogs kill fight other…personally, I’m a nonbeliever, not a 100% certain atheist…

    • Dear Hehe,

      Thank you for your comment. We make a logical fallacy if we reason that way:

      “It’s not really a position…most scientists accept evolution, the evidence for it is overwhelming…Newton was a scientist, I think he would comply to evidence instead of surrendering to wishful thinking”

      1. Most scientists accept evolution(Major Premise)
      2. Newton is was scientists(Minor Premise)
      3. Therefore Newton would accept evolution.(Conclusion)

      This is fallacious because the major premise is not Universal.

      1. Most dogs hate cats.
      2. Pluto is a dog
      3. Therefore Pluto hates cats

      But that is may or may not be true, since Pluto may not be in the group of most dogs. Unless we say All dogs hate cats.

      If it was all scientist accept evolution,
      then it will follow that Newton also would have accepted evolution.

      It is not true that all scientist accept evolution, as a matter of fact, due to Molecular discovery, many scientists are skeptical about Evolution. Read a growing list here , and also Atheistic scientist are abandoning evolution theory for Intelligent Design, read here.

      What are the overwhelming evidences for Macro-evolution?

      With the problem of suffering, I have a great article call Is God Good or read a master piece of a brilliant Philosopher who refute the Argument of Evil, Alvin Plantinga God, Freedom and Evil.

      Please let me know were I can explain more, or misunderstood you.

      In Christ,
      Prayson

  6. If Newton had known about evolution (that he would probably have accepted), he would not have written such thoughts…anyways, said thoughts imply deism, not forcibly theism…
    Ignorance can cause people to say many things: remember Newton was also an alchemist!

      • I think Newton would have enjoyed “The Blink Watchmaker” because it answers so many questions (or misconceptions) he had about how the various species on planet earth came to be (evolution, which he probably never considered), which in turn explains the similarities referred to in the quote above. I think any scientist who lived before Darwin’s era would be utterly fascinated by what we know about evolution today.

        As I recall (it’s been several years since I read it), the chapter on the eye, for instance, discusses examples of animals living today that have what could be equivalent of various intermediate stages in the evolution from no eye to the human eye. The complexity of the eye is commonly touted as an example of an organ that must have a myriad of pieces in order to function at all, none of which have any use without the others, therefore it could not have evolved from something simpler. This book thoroughly refutes that claim.

      • Can you summarize,how the eye evolve from the book, thus from there we can either agree or disagree with Dawkins’ The Blind Watchmaker'(Evolution synthesis)

        Ponder each step from both molecular level:

        From your summary, I would like if you can show how The Blind Watchmaker answers the following in the evolution of an eye:

        1. How is Lilliputian challenge to Darwin Anatomy offered by biochemistry being answered?

        2.How can 11-cis-retinal and rhodopsin(trans-retina), transducin and phosphodiesterase; interact and be develop step-by-step?(Can we see this in the fossils?)

        If you seek both side of story read both “How Blind Is the Watchmaker” by Neil Broom and “Darwin’s Black Box” by Michael J. Behe after Richard Dawkin’s The Blind Watchmaker.

        “It is time we think, not just absorb without reasoning”

      • To the best of my recollection, “The Blind Watchmaker” does not answer the Lilliputian challenge to evolution, but instead primarily discusses microevolution (minor changes in physical appearance or function) and explains how those changes result in macroevolution over long periods of time and thousands of generations. (I’m sure there’s more.) A quick internet search can bring up plenty of “reviews” of Behe’s book written by people more knowledgeable than I am in the area of biochemistry who answer his claims about irreducible complexity, including references to papers on biochemical evolution. Here are a couple:

        FAQ Behe

        Universaldarwinism

        I haven’t read either of the suggested books, but I’m wondering if they are similar to Stephen Meyer’s “Signature In The Cell,” which I did read recently. It seems to me like the positions of Meyer and Behe (and the rest of the ID crowd) can be summarized thusly: Irreducibly complex implies an intelligent designer. To me, the phrase “irreducibly complex” is used to describe things that we don’t yet know how they evolved, which is basically the same thing as saying if we haven’t figured it out yet, then God did it. But there have been so many things we have figured out over the course of history, most of which seemed unknowable at one time, that assuming “we don’t know” means “God did it” doesn’t seem like a safe bet. That theory has never been proven correct, and has instead been proven incorrect time and time again.

      • Claiming not knowing how it evolve, Brap, assumes that Evolution theory is true to which a growing world wide list of scientists are skeptical with.

        If Darwinian Evolution could answer Lilliputian challenge, then I will agree with Dawkins “The Blind Watch Maker” premises, but I can not.

        I accept Micro-evolution, which is Science, It is the Macro-evolution I have problem with which I believe is Sci-Fi.

        More over it is not about what we do not know, but what we know. And from what we know from Philosophical and natural theology angle is that God is the metaphysically necessary, self-existent, beginningless, uncaused, timeless, spaceless, immaterial, personal, omnipotent, omniscient Creator and Designer of the universe, who is perfectly good, whose nature is the standard of goodness, and whose commands constitute our moral duties.

        It is not a god of the gap, sadly no! Please do read the two books and we take it from there.(It is not academical health to read one side books/or sites) We have to read them both, argument for and against

      • “Claiming not knowing how it evolve, Brap, assumes that Evolution theory is true to which a growing world wide list of scientists are skeptical with.”

        A quick review of the Wikipedia article on Dissent From Darwinism is enough to tell me not to be concerned about that growing world wide list of scientists. I don’t think I know enough about biology to say the vast majority of biologists (over 99% according to some) are wrong about evolution.

        “I accept Micro-evolution, which is Science, It is the Macro-evolution I have problem with which I believe is Sci-Fi.”

        Do you accept micro-evolution because you are able to explain it at the molecular level? Do you accept it because, unlike macro-evolution, it does not conflict with your interpretation of the Bible? Or is there some other reason?

        What arguments against macro-evolution would you present to a Christian scientist such as Francis Collins, who does believe in macro-evolution and common descent, and rejects intelligent design?

        “More over it is not about what we do not know, but what we know. And from what we know from Philosophical and natural theology angle is that God is the metaphysically necessary, self-existent, beginningless, uncaused, timeless, spaceless, immaterial, personal, omnipotent, omniscient Creator and Designer of the universe, who is perfectly good, whose nature is the standard of goodness, and whose commands constitute our moral duties.”

        If the Bible and all other religious writings disappeared tomorrow, and all current knowledge about religion, God, etc. was erased from our memories, how would we know what you just claimed about God? What evidence would you have available to reach those same conclusions, other than “we can’t explain it, therefore a supreme being must be responsible for it?”

        On the other hand, if all scientific writings about evolution disappeared tomorrow, along will all of our knowledge about evolution, wouldn’t we be able to gather evidence, analyze fossils, study embryologic development and DNA, etc. and reach the same conclusions that exist today, based on the evidence? The path may not follow the exact same path it followed since the theory of evolution was initially proposed, but it would converge on the same points, which are that evolution and common descent are the best explanation for the variation in species we see today. What other competing theories exist even today, other than “we can’t explain it, therefore God did it?”

        “Please do read the two books and we take it from there.(It is not academical health to read one side books/or sites) We have to read them both, argument for and against”

        I have read books from the other side, although not all have been on this topic. In addition to the previously mentioned “Signature in the Cell” I have also read C.S. Lewis’ “Mere Christianity” and Lee Strobel’s “The Case for Christ.” (Also “Catholicism for Dummies,” but as soon as I read the section on transubstantiation I knew that book would be full of delusional thinking.) If you think those other two books make a better case for intelligent design than “Signature in the Cell” does, I might consider them. But they need to have some arguments in addition to “Irreducible complexity means we can’t explain it which means God did it.”

        “Men think epilepsy divine, merely because they do not understand it. But if they called everything divine which they do not understand, why, there would be no end to divine things.” — Hippocrates

      • Of cause the wiki edited by Atheistic Evolutionist will give you that information. But the truth remain, that a growing list of scientists are skeptical with evolution. Read the names and the fielding/University to which these scientists having PhD or MDiv in fields. Download the list and show/point out the 99% who are wrong! 🙂

        Amazing many atheist scientists have started defending ID and some theist Darwinian Evolution.

        From knowledge acquired through philosophical and natural theology we draw out a being who is the metaphysically necessary, self-existent, beginningless, uncaused, timeless, spaceless, immaterial, personal, omnipotent, omniscient Creator and Designer of the universe, who is perfectly good, whose nature is the standard of goodness, and whose commands constitute our moral duties. These attributes does not come from religious view or bible(though affirmed by the Bible).

        Natural theology is a theology outside the Scripture, thus yes if the Bible is to disappear, man will still no God from correct reasoning(Philosophy)

        Francis Collins believes in evolution guarded by God and not blind and random(in his work “The Language of God” which I do not agree with him)

        The God from reason is not a god because we can not explain but because we can explain the metaphysically necessary, self-existent, beginningless, uncaused, timeless, spaceless, immaterial, personal, omnipotent, omniscient Creator and Designer of the universe, who is perfectly good, whose nature is the standard of goodness, and whose commands constitute our moral duties to who we Christian call this being with this attribute God.

        I accept Micro-evolution because of facts, the mutation of cell, the adaptation of amoebae in different solution, breeding of animals(e.g pets) and much more. Were are the facts for Macro-evolution? Fossils? Were are the transitional stage fossils? How do we explain Cambrian explosion? For this reason I think Macro-evolution is a materialist scientific philosophy which is Science fiction.

        With the book from the other side I will recommend only one book The Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology This is one book that is the mother of all other Philosophical defense of God from Nature. Dawkins, Dennette, and other atheist work refuted by brilliant Christian thinkers(click table of content) each specialized in a given field. It is a collection of essays by top Christian philosophers

        Irreducible complex means different parties of a “machinic” object working together as a unit, thus by missing or removing one part of this “machinic” object, it stop working. Thus I am sorry, it is not we do not know, it is that we know that objects like is unlikely to be step by step evolution, and more likely intelligence.

        “Men think epilepsy divine, merely because they do not understand it. But if they called everything divine which they do not understand, why, there would be no end to divine things.” — Hippocrates


        Argument of the Beard:
        Sadly Hippocrates commits Slippery Slope fallacy in this quote.

      • “Download the list and show/point out the 99% who are wrong!”

        I didn’t say 99% of the people on the list are wrong in their views on evolution. I intended to say that the vast majority of the biologists currently living on the planet (99% of them according to some sources) believe the people on the list are wrong in their views on evolution. The majority position among biologists (pro-evolution, both micro- and macro-) makes sense to me, and I don’t think I know enough about biology to say the vast majority of those trained in and practicing the field of biology are wrong. Many other non-biologists apparently do feel they know enough to argue against the experts, much like the young earth creationists (non-geologists) who disagree with the majority of geologists.

        “From knowledge acquired through philosophical and natural theology we draw out a being who is the metaphysically necessary, self-existent, beginningless, uncaused, timeless, spaceless, immaterial, personal, omnipotent, omniscient Creator and Designer of the universe, who is perfectly good, whose nature is the standard of goodness, and whose commands constitute our moral duties.”

        Is that acquired knowledge based on any evidence, recorded observations, or repeatable experimentation? Or is it based on hundreds of years of writings and speculation about things like the nature of being, the origin of life, and the origin of the universe?

        “Were are the facts for Macro-evolution? Fossils? Were are the transitional stage fossils? How do we explain Cambrian explosion?”

        Those questions are easily answered with simple internet searches and many books. I assume you have read some of those answers and have chosen not to accept the answers provided by experts in those fields, so there is no point in me trying to convince you. One bit of information that is important to note regarding the fossil record is that for fossilization to occur after an animal dies requires specific conditions to be present and a certain chain of events to occur. Given the complexity of the process, it should be no surprise that the fossil record is incomplete.

        “With the book from the other side I will recommend only one book The Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology.”

        That book is a little pricey, and my local library doesn’t have it, so it may be awhile before I can get to it. I did see that Luke M. from Common Sense Atheism gave it a good review, though. If I could only recommend one book for theists to read, it would be Sagan’s “The Demon-Haunted World.” If someone didn’t want to read that whole book, I would recommend the chapter on witchcraft.

        “Irreducible complex means different parties of a “machinic” object working together as a unit, thus by missing or removing one part of this “machinic” object, it stop working. Thus I am sorry, it is not we do not know, it is that we know that objects like is unlikely to be step by step evolution, and more likely intelligence.”

        How do you know it is unlikely to be step by step evolution and more likely intelligence, when micro-evolution (which you agree with) occurs constantly? Could one of the parts of an irreducibly complex object evolve a small amount such that the object works a bit differently than it does now (maybe better, maybe worse)? Could multiple parts evolve, either simultaneously or at different times, such that the object works differently than it does now (maybe better, maybe worse)? Could other objects in the environment of this allegedly irreducibly complex object be evolving, such that some changes in the irreducibly complex object are more likely to get propagated than others? That’s what micro-evolution is.

        Hippocrates was simply saying “We don’t know” or “We can’t explain it” isn’t a good reason to claim something is divine. Do you agree that those are weak criteria for claiming something to be divine?

    • Thank you for being intelligent, that is a great book by the way, please email me if you could always good to talk to other atheists and see what they think

      • It is my passion to reason with anyone who to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience(1 Peter 3:15)

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