Why Take a Stance on God?

(redjar/Flickr/CC license)
(redjar/Flickr/CC license)
(redjar/Flickr/CC license)

Gary Gutting, THE NEW YORK TIMES

 

(The New York Times)—This is the 10th in a series of interviews about religion that I am conducting for The Stone. The interviewee for this installment is Keith DeRose, a professor of philosophy at Yale University and the author of “The Case for Contextualism: Knowledge, Skepticism, and Context.”

Gary Gutting: You’ve made the following statement: “Since atheists’ only real hope of knowing that God doesn’t exist would be through some kind of philosophical argument (perhaps some argument from evil), their knowing that God doesn’t exist doesn’t seem to me a very serious possibility.”

I think many atheists would object that it’s wrong to require them to have an argument showing that God doesn’t exist. They’d claim their atheism is justified simply because there are no good arguments in favor of theism. After all, it’s theists who are making an extraordinary claim. Isn’t the lack of evidence for the claim that God exists sufficient grounds for denying it?

Keith DeRose: I think you can sometimes rightly claim to know that something doesn’t exist even if you don’t have a good argument for your claim. This is the situation with the currently infamous Flying Spaghetti Monster: We all find it bizarre and literally unbelievable and so reject its existence without any argument.
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