Geoffrey Berg: The Six Ways of Atheism

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Berg, Geoffrey. The Six Ways of Atheism: New Logical Disproofs of the Existence of God (2009)

Geoffrey Berg's apparently self-published book The Six Ways of Atheism claims to provide a half-dozen "New Logical Disproofs of the Existence of God," but I question both their utility and the uniqueness at various points. His "disproofs" are as follows:

1: The Aggregate of Qualities Argument
2: The Man and God Comprehension Gulf Argument
3: The 'God Has No Explanatory Value' Argument
4: The 'This Is Not The Best Possible World' Argument
5: The Universal Uncertainty Argument
6: The 'Some of God's Defining Qualities Cannot Exist' Argument

I really wanted to like this book more than I did, but it's more of a softcover soporific than anything else I've read since Augustine's Confessions. Although diametrically opposed to Augustine's tendentiousness, Berg's Six Ways is just as tedious; nearly the only thing missing is an explication of how many angels are not dancing on the heads of a pin. The casual reader should become acquainted with Theodicy, the Problem of Evil, the Euthyphro Dilemma, and Occam's Razor before digging into this book.

The website Six Ways of Atheism has a "Responses & Reviews" page listing Phil Groom's review at Christian Bookshops. Daniel Florin's review at Unreasonable Faith commented on the book's pretentious subtitle, New Logical Disproofs of the Existence of God:

Bullshit. People have been hashing out the logic of God's existence or non-existence for centuries. It is extremely unlikely he would have new logical "disproofs" for God's existence, especially if they are "simple."


I hope he fired his publicity agency for making him look like a self-important moron.

Reading Six Ways is far from being a wasted effort, though, as it demonstrates the need for an editor for anyone considering self-publishing a book. For example, see Berg's uncredited restatement of Euthyphro's Dilemma here,

So if there is no absolute standard of good and bad, God cannot then be a morally worthy entity because God cannot then point to standards of goodness since they ultimately do not exist and so are existentially meaningless. In that case God cannot legitimately be worshipped as a moral example, since there is ultimately no morality of good or bad to be an example for. (p. 91)

as well as this claim:

Neither the question who created God nor Occam's Razor Law is original to myself. The originality I can claim in this particular argument is in combining the two concepts and in generally questioning 'the explanatory value' of the concept of God. (p. 63)

The lack of explanatory value was perhaps most famously expressed by Laplace's reply to Napoleon, stating that he omitted god from his theories because "I had no need of that hypothesis." Later, Berg demonstrated simply laziness in this passage:

Not being a computer expert, I am not entirely sure how computers work. However I suspect that thought computers are more reliable than humans and their memory bank of events does not dim with distance in the same way that human memory does, they must hit some barrier or limit in what they can conceive of. (p. 113)

Why not find out how computers work? Berg hardly needed to become an expert in order to learn the basics, and thus improve the statement of this particular argument. The author's astounding arrogance is instructive, as being of the sort usually reserved for theists who claim to know the mythical mind of the universe's creator:

Perhaps in the end I will even be credited with helping to destroy belief in the concept of God through putting forward these logical proofs that God should not be believed in. (p. 170)

If Berg were religious, he'd probably be a cult leader; as an atheist, he's more of an eccentric crank.

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This page contains a single entry by cognitivedissident published on August 12, 2009 6:30 PM.

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