On previous articles, I was attempting to "answer" 20 questions posed to atheists. Today I want to address some of his comments. I'm not concerned so much about his/her thoughts on atheist responses, as even if all 20 were answered with "We don't know", his theistic position is advanced precisely 0%.
I'm more concerned about his thought process on a higher level. Let's look at what the author says.
First, atheism and theism are mutually exclusive world views which both deserve careful consideration.
Atheism is not a world view. I wouldn't even argue that theism is a world view. Believing or disbelieving that Santa Claus exists is not a world view. It's a part of my world view, but my world view also includes things like science, skepticism, etc.
They cannot both be correct ...
Yes, they can.
I'm already getting the impression that this person things atheism is a positive absolute assertion that a god definitely does not exist. That's not the definition held by the vast majority of atheists. Instead, we hold that the god claim is not yet justified to rationally believe that it's true.
It's possible that a god does exist, but hasn't been demonstrated yet - so yes, both can be true.
... and yet each world view is held by a large number of leading academics and scientists and large proportions of the world’s population (there are 3.9 billion theists and 1.1 billion atheists).
A nitpick - so there's only 5 billion people in the world? You either believe in one or more gods, or you don't. Those positions are mutually exclusive... and must add up to the total population of the planet.
Keep in mind that there's also a lot of capacity for things like compartmentalization. Academics in the fields of engineering, for example, don't need to investigate reality. They only need to use the equations and rules discovered by the scientists. Society has his chronic tendency to equate engineers to scientists. Many are both, but being an engineer does not automatically make you scientifically minded.
Ultimately, the numbers game doesn't really matter. It doesn't matter how many people believe the Earth is flat - the question is, what rational basis do we have to accept a claim?
Atheists are materialists, believing that physical matter is the only reality and that everything, including thought, feeling, mind, and will, can be explained in terms of physical phenomena.
Well, not completely false - it's false on the important details. We believe (but not from being atheists) that the physical reality exists, but is the only reality we can currently investigate. We haven't ruled out other realities a priori. Therefore, whatever we believe is "real" is bound to be supported by materialistic evidence, at this time.
As an analogy, we're not saying that building metal houses is impossible and don't exist anywhere. It's just that our current technology only allows for us to construct stone houses.
My offer still stands that if a theist wants me to adopt an alternative epistemology, they can go ahead and define it, and show it works. You have my blessing.
They accordingly believe that God and the supernatural do not exist and that there is therefore no judgement and no afterlife.
The majority of us do not hold these positions. We hold that the case for them has not been justified and demonstrated. That is, the rational, skeptical atheists do. I know one could find plenty who are vocal about these positions, and I'd take just as much an issue with them.
There's an increasing number of us dropping the term "supernatural" entirely, as a useless term. The only relevant questions are whether phenomenon are manifesting, and whether they can be investigated. It could be that there's 17 different "realities" intersecting with our own, and each needs to be independently investigated. We're not there yet.
Your major problem here, author, is that you're wrongheadedly casting us as a single monolithic group. The only thing you'll find as common among us all is that we all lack a belief in any god.
Both physical and biological complexity (including both the universe and human beings themselves) are simply the product of chance (random processes) and necessity (the working of physical laws) over time.
It's not that they're "simply" the product of... they're complexly the product of. We're not trying to download the complexity of reality. It's just, when we actually examine what's examinable, the trend is that the amazing complexity of "this reality" always seems to be the product of natural mechanisms. We find something that's complex, therefore, it means that - most likely - nature did it.
Second, I find it odd to call the physical working laws "necessity", but that may be semantics.
But yes, snowflakes exist due to some random-ish initial conditions, plus the rules of the universe.
Then, on top of all that, throw in selection, and nature can layer on complexity.
The author talks about the theistic position, which I have no comment on, as I'm not trying to correct him/her. The author moves onto the second major observation.
I actually didn't intend on addressing the article sentence-by-sentence. It's just that virtually every sentence uttered, at least with respect to atheists, has major misconceptions and errors.