It is Why They are Called Atheists: By Greg Koukl

Atheists no longer believe there is no God, apparently. Instead, they merely lack belief in the divine. They are not un-believers. They are simply non-believers. And non-belief is not a claim, so it requires no defense.

This, atheists think, makes their job easier by relieving them of any responsibility to provide evidence for their view, er…their non-view. After all, no one is obliged to give evidence for the non-existence of fairies. Thus, atheism secures the inside lane as the default view for reasonable people. Or so atheists claim.

If I were an atheist, I would never take this route. I’d fear people would think I was cheating with words, betraying weakness, not strength. This, as it turns out, is exactly what’s happening. Yes, there is a difference between non-belief and unbelief, but there is no refuge here for the atheist.

For example, if you asked me which rugby team was the best in England, I wouldn’t know where to start. Since I have no interest in the question and no information on the issue, I cannot form a belief one way or another. Because I have no beliefs about the quality of rugby competition in the U.K., I am truly a non-believer regarding the question. I am neutral.

This is not the case with atheists. It’s true, atheists have no belief in God, but they are not neutral on this question. If they were, they wouldn’t be writing books or accepting invitations for debates. No one debates about non-beliefs. There would be nothing to talk about.

For an atheist to enter a debate, he has to take a position. If he takes a position, he asserts a belief. And when he asserts a belief, he makes a claim. When he advances an argument, presumably he believes the conclusion that flows from his own reasoning. Theists say there is a God, and atheists argue they are wrong. This is not neutrality.

To say you do not believe in God is very different from saying you lack belief about God. Anyone who has a point of view has a belief. And atheists have a point of view. This makes them believers of a very particular stripe: They believe God does not exist.

There’s another problem, though, that apparently has escaped the notice of those atheists who claim the high road of reason as their own. Given any point of view (e.g., “God exists”), there are only three possible responses to it. You can affirm it (“God does exist”), you can deny it (“God does not exist”), or you can withhold judgment (“I don’t know”), either for lack of information or lack of interest.

In the God debate, the first is called a theist (of some sort), the second an atheist, and the third an agnostic. The alleged non-believers in question here are neither theistic nor agnostic. Only one logical option remains: They deny God exists, which is why they are called atheists. An atheist (a = not, theist = regarding God) is a person who holds there is not a God. That is an active claim, not a passive non-belief.

The only way out of this logical trilemma is to simply stand on the sidelines and not participate, either for lack of interest or for lack of information. However, neither apathy nor uncertainty seem to characterize those who say they “lack a belief in God.”

Now, whether or not atheists are obliged to offer evidence for their denial is a different question. This brings us back to fairies. Atheists are not neutral on the question of fairies, either. They deny their existence, as do I. In my view, though, neither of us is obliged to give evidence against fairies because no plausible evidence of any kind has ever been advanced for them, as far as I know.

That is not the case with God, however. Since 99% of the people in the world believe in God, then rejection of that which seems self-evident to virtually everyone on the planet requires some rationale, especially in light of the cogent arguments in favor of God’s existence.

The atheist’s unwillingness to step up to the plate on this smacks of intellectual dishonesty. Since they claim to be champions of reason (the “brights,” to use Daniel Dennett’s euphemism for his kind), then they ought to live according to its rules, it seems to me.

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23 thoughts on “It is Why They are Called Atheists: By Greg Koukl

  1. Dale Pittman September 30, 2011 / 9:26 pm

    “Since 99% of the people in the world believe in God” Now where do you get this number? Buddhism do not believe in “God” and do not have any divine creator gods. Since you use “God” which typically denotes the Judeo-Christian god your statement reeks of “intellectual dishonesty” and according to Adherents 16% of the worlds population is considered to be non-religious. I guess by this post I’m an a-bigfootist as well since I don’t believe in Bigfoot since I see no evidence that it exists so I’m making a positive claim that Bigfoot doesn’t exist.

  2. Pensive_Gadfly September 30, 2011 / 9:28 pm

    Amoral means indifferent to moral stricture. So why would a-theist mean “no” god. It should mean no theism, or indifferent to existence of God.

  3. Robert Tobin September 30, 2011 / 11:35 pm

    As usual with ‘believers’ Mr. Koukl falls into the trap of assuming “belief” as well assuming there is a ‘god’. Atheists like myself ACCEPT the truth of Science which rejects any ‘gods’ and the supernatural.

  4. chab123 October 1, 2011 / 1:15 am

    Pensive, I didn’t say 99%. Greg did. So you can take that up with him.

  5. chab123 October 1, 2011 / 1:18 am

    Robert, science doesn’t say anything. But scientists do. And to assert that nature creates itself and then goes onto to do all kinds of clever little things its own is a belief and takes alot of faith. Three more things: 1. And you are confusing mechanism and agency. 2. Science is built on philosophy. 3. Science is dependent on pre-existing natural laws. Hence, you wouldn’t have science apart from God. I have written more about that here. https://chab123.wordpress.com/2011/09/18/whats-wrong-with-god-of-the-gaps-argument/

  6. chab123 October 1, 2011 / 2:09 am

    Robert, you may want to consider the following: science cannot prove ANYTHING. This is basically the view promoted by Karl Popper’s “The Logic of Scientific Discovery,” and it is the reigning view of science amongst scientists today. See my friend Dr. Jay Wile’s post on this here-http://blog.drwile.com/?p=5725

  7. Lee Myers October 1, 2011 / 12:45 pm

    chab123, on October 1, 2011 at 1:15 am said:
    Pensive, I didn’t say 99%. Greg did. So you can take that up with him.

    So you didn’t lie, you just posted an article by a liar. Don’t post lies if you don’t want them corrected. The honest thing to say here would be “Yes, he did indeed make a mistake. Thank you.”

    “to assert that nature creates itself and then goes onto to do all kinds of clever little things its own is a belief and takes alot of faith.”

    Indeed such an assertion would require faith. I’ve never seen or heard any atheist make such an assertion nor has anyone done so here. This straw man never gets old.

    We have science due human inquiry. Science is not dependent on natural laws. Scientists simply record their observations. There is no logical justification for asserting “you wouldn’t have science apart from God.”

    “Proof” is generally a term best applied to logic or mathematics. One can use it to a lesser degree for science or even law, but it doesn’t mean the same thing. And again, you are the only one to mention “proof.”

    The author of the article knows full well you can’t logically prove a negative without an inherent contradiction. For some models of “God,” such contradictions can and have been demonstrated (such as the paradox of the omnis and/or perfection). For other more vague models, they are simply too vague or otherwise empirically and philosophically unfalsifiable. When Greg or yourself can logically prove the non existence of leprechauns, vampires, minotaurs, Godzilla, King Kong, unicorns, werewolves, fairies, Frankenstein’s monster, talking lampshades, orbiting teapots or invisible dragons then perhaps you might have an argument. I won’t hold my breath

  8. chab123 October 1, 2011 / 1:57 pm

    Lee, I will contact Greg and see what he means by that. So let’s not get into calling people liars. Second, you don’t seem to understand the natural laws/science issue. Read my God of the Gaps post that I left for Robert to read. And comparing the God of the Bible’s existence to fairies, etc… is just plain silly. Do you have any evidence at all for any of those on that list? No, you don’t. Of course, we are not going to say that we can verify God as a material object. If we did, that is a category mistake.

  9. Lee Myers October 1, 2011 / 6:54 pm

    “Do you have any evidence at all for any of those on that list? No, yoiu don’t. Of course, we are not going to say that we can verify God as a maerial object”

    I included invisible dragons for a reason. but you have no evidence for ghosts, spirits, souls or anything of the like. To put it bluntly, you have no evidence of any kind whatsoever. And the whole “god is immaterial” thing is modern theology shifting the goal posts. The point still stands.

    “you don’t seem to understand the natural laws/science issue.”

    Yes you don’t seem to understand natural laws or science at all. That was obvious from reading your article and what you said above about ““you wouldn’t have science apart from God.” We do have science. It is a human achievement. No gods required 😉

  10. chab123 October 2, 2011 / 8:47 pm

    Lee,

    You say: “included invisible dragons for a reason. but you have no evidence for ghosts, spirits, souls or anything of the like. To put it bluntly, you have no evidence of any kind whatsoever. And the whole “god is immaterial” thing is modern theology shifting the goal posts. The point still stands.”

    No, this doesn’t stand. And now you have tried to sift the goal posts by jumping to souls, spirits, etc. So let’s go back to the problem with fairies and goblins, etc…. It is a false analogy to compare goblins and fairies with the God of the Bible. There is zero evidence for any of them. Also, these imaginary beings are analogous to created gods. They are not, however, analogous to our uncreated God. God is, by definition, uncreated. Until we agree to that definition, we are talking about two different things.

    You say “And the whole “god is immaterial” thing is modern theology shifting the goal posts. The point still stands.” To say God is immaterial is a “modern theology” thing is a case of the genetic fallacy. Now if you are trying to use logical positivism as a verification test for God’s existence, that was dropped several decades ago because it failed to meet its own criteria. So the insistence of making God into a material object is a category mistake. It is like asking what the color green tastes like. This is only ONE of the fallacies of Dawkins central argument in The God Delusion. See my post here– https://chab123.wordpress.com/2011/08/15/did-you-know-the-central-premise-in-the-god-delusion-is-logically-flawed/

    Also, are you holding to strong scientism? In other words, are you saying you believe a proposition can only be trusted if it can be formed and tested by the scientific process? If so, you end up committing the reductive fallacy by taking one area of study and reduces all reality to this one area alone. Furthermore, for those that assert that all truth claims must be scientifically verifiable end up making a philosophical assumption rather than a scientific statement.

    Since you haven’t read The God of the Gaps post, let me respond to the natural laws/science issue.

    In his book Who Made God: Searching For A Theory Of Everything? Edgar Andrews has given us some things to ponder here:

    1. It is important to understand that science can explain nothing except in terms of the laws of nature. Science works by first discovering (by observation) laws that describe the workings of nature and then using this knowledge to seek out further explanations — beginning with hypotheses and then confirming these hypotheses by various tests, the chief of which must always be repeatable experimental verification. To offer a scientific explanation of anything one must always appeal to existing laws (or at very least plausible hypotheses). No laws, no science; it’s as simple as that.

    2. To explain the origin of the universe scientifically, therefore, requires an appeal to laws of nature (established or hypothesized) that pre-existed the universe. But laws of nature are nothing more than descriptions of the way nature operates. No one has ever proposed a law of nature that does not involve existing natural entities, whether they be matter, energy, space-time or mathematical systems. (Note that mathematics are arguably philosophical rather than scientific in character and are only scientifically relevant when applied to natural realities — that is, the world as it exists).

    3. This creates a dilemma; the laws of nature cannot exist without nature itself existing but the origin of nature cannot be explained scientifically without pre-existing laws. The logical conclusion is that science cannot, by its very nature, explain the origin of the universe.

    Let me add to Edgar’s points. I think Edgar’s points tie in with what Paul Davies says when he says “science may explain the world, but we still have to explain science.” He continued by saying, “The laws which enable the universe to come into being spontaneously seem themselves to be the product of exceedingly ingenious design. If physics is the product of design, the universe must have a purpose, and the evidence of modern physics suggests strongly to me that the purpose includes us” –Paul Davies, Superforce (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1984), 243

    So am I to assume that the laws of nature create themselves and then go to work to do it all on alone without any agency? That is a gigantic leap of faith. We must not forget that natural laws (gravitation, magnetism, etc) do nothing and set nothing into motion. So when someone such as Richard Dawkins ( I am not automatically lumping you in with him), and other atheists appeal to “the blind forces of nature” as being able to do everything on their own makes no sense.

    It is true that a law of gravity, or the strong and weak nuclear forces don’t have minds or are conscious. However, while they may be blind, what Dawkins and others forget is that these laws are mechanisms. And the mechanism requires an agent. Mind or intelligence is the only known condition that can remove the improbabilities against life’s emergence. It is hard to see how a blind, naturalistic, undirected process can account for something coming from nothing.

    You keep saying “gods.” Just a little tidbit about this issue. If God is infinite, there can’t be more than one infinite Being. To distinguish one being from another, they must differ in some way. If they differ in some way, then one lacks something that the other one has. If one being lacks something that the other one has, then the lacking being is not infinite because an infinite being by definition, lacks nothing. So there can be only be infinite Being. Also, is it more simple to posit that there are many gods instead of one God? It seems to violate Ockham’s Razor.

  11. BionicDance October 3, 2011 / 1:43 am

    Except it’s not true…I do NOT believe god doesn’t exist; I only believe that religious people who claim god exists are full of crap.

    They’re full of crap because they insist on faith over facts; they’ll never PROVE god exists, and they think they don’t have to. I am an atheist not because I believe god doesn’t exist, but because I have no reason to believe god exists. As I see it, there are those who believe god exists, and those who don’t; theists and atheists. The strength or reason for being among those who do not believe is irrelevant; you’re still an atheist because you’re not a theist. Even the ignorant are atheists, because belief is something they don’t have; being an atheist most certainly CAN be a passive position one holds.

    The distinction that Greggie-pooh here is TRYING to make is between “strong atheists” and “weak atheists”, between “explicit atheists” and “implicit atheists”. It’s an important distinction…but it does NOT make one not an atheist if one is not a strong and explicit disbeliever. Being a theist requires BELIEF; obviously being an atheist requires lacking that belief; how one lacks it or the strength of that absence is irrelevant.

    And trying to claim that because 99% of the world believes, you have to have an explicit rational for not being among their number? HORSE FEATHERS! A majority does not the truth make, and I will NOT bow to peer pressure when the facts are simply not there to prove the majority’s bogus claims of existence!

  12. chab123 October 3, 2011 / 3:16 am

    Bionic, there are really no reasons for God’s existence and Christians are full of crap?

    Okay, well, let’s do a little exercise here:

    First principles undeniably apply to reality. Without basic first principles of reality, nothing can be known. Everything we know about reality is known by them. Let’s look at twelve basic first principles:

    1. Being Is (B is) = The Principle of Existence.
    2. Being Is Being (B is B) = The Principle of Identity.
    3. Being Is Not Nonbeing (B is Not Non-B) = The Principle of Noncontradiction.
    4. Either Being or Nonbeing (Either B or Non-B) = The Principle of the Excluded Middle.
    5. Nonbeing Cannot Cause Being (Non-B > B) = The Principle of Causality.
    6. Contingent Being Cannot Cause Contingent Being (Bc > Bc) = The Principle of Contingency (or Dependency).
    7. Only Necessary Being Can Cause a Contingent Being (Bn → Bc) = The Positive Principle of Modality.
    8. Necessary Being Cannot Cause a Necessary Being (Bn > Bn) = The Negative Principle of Modality.
    9. Every Contingent Being Is Caused by a Necessary Being (Bn → Bc) = The Principle of Existential Causality.
    10. Necessary Being exists = Principle of Existential Necessity (Bn exists).
    11. Contingent being exists = Principle of Existential Contingency (Bc exists).
    12. Necessary Being is similar to similar contingent being(s) it causes = Principle of Analogy (Bn — similar → Bc)

    Given these principles of being, one can know many things about reality; they relate thought and thing. Knowing is based in being. By these principles, one can even prove the existence of God as follows:

    Now having put forth these 12 principles, there is an argument by Aquinas that has been more developed by Thomist Norm Geisler. Given these principles of being, one can know many things about reality; they relate thought and thing. Knowing is based in being. By these principles, one can even prove the existence of God as follows:

    Let’s take a look at it:

    1. Something exists (e.g., I do) (no. 1).
    2. I am a contingent being (no. 11).
    3. Nothing cannot cause something (no. 5).
    4. Only a Necessary Being can cause a contingent being (no. 7).
    5. Therefore, I am caused to exist by a Necessary Being (follows from nos. 1–4).
    6. But I am a personal, rational, and moral kind of being (since I engage in these kinds of activities).
    7. Therefore, this Necessary Being must be a personal, rational, and moral kind of being, since I am similar to him by the Principle of Analogy (no. 12).
    8. But a Necessary Being cannot be contingent (i.e., not-necessary) in its being which would be a contradiction (no. 3).
    9. Therefore, this Necessary Being is personal, rational, and moral in a necessary way, not in a contingent way.
    10. This Necessary Being is also eternal, uncaused, unchanging, unlimited, and one, since a Necessary Being cannot come to be, be caused by another, undergo change, be limited by any possibility of what it could be (a Necessary Being has no possibility to be other than it is), or to be more than one Being (since there cannot be two infinite beings).
    11. Therefore, one necessary, eternal, uncaused, unlimited (= infinite), rational, personal, and moral being exists.
    12. Such a Being is appropriately called “God” in the theistic sense, because he possesses all the essential characteristics of a theistic God.
    13. Therefore, the theistic God exists.

    Can you please refute this?

  13. Lee Myers October 3, 2011 / 5:49 am

    “And now you have tried to sift the goal posts by jumping to souls, spirits, etc”

    Nope. I include those also as creations of mythology and imagination and you don’t have any evidence for any of them.

    “these imaginary beings are analogous to created gods”

    Exactly, all gods are created. You can claim there exists an uncreated god which is real, but this is just a baseless assertion again without any evidence whatsoever. We are talking about the same thing, you just want to go ahead and assume a god exists and that won’t fly.

    ” To say God is immaterial is a “modern theology” thing is a case of the genetic fallacy.”

    No it isn’t. A genetic fallacy is saying an idea is a bad idea because of how it originated. I’m simply drawing your attention to the point that “god is immaterial” is an invention of modern theology and that was not how the concept of gods originated.

    “So the insistence of making God into a material object is a category mistake”

    I don’t insist. The immaterial and the non existent are identical. Again, you have no evidence for any material or immaterial gods.

    “are you saying you believe a proposition can only be trusted if it can be formed and tested by the scientific process? If so, you end up committing the reductive fallacy ”

    Nope. Add that to your list of fallacies you don’t understand. The reductive fallacy is an attempt to explain a complex effect through a simple cause.

    ” No laws, no science”

    Yes I did read this terrible article, but since you seem to think otherwise I’ll tell you what’s wrong here. First off, science can still be conducted without “laws.” There don’t necessarily have to be predictable outcomes for basic observations.

    “No one has ever proposed a law of nature that does not involve existing natural entities”

    Doesn’t have to be a “law,” which is just a scientific term applied to particular constants. There is, however, an entire branch of science that deals with quantum mechanics.

    “So am I to assume that the laws of nature create themselves and then go to work to do it all on alone without any agency? That is a gigantic leap of faith.”

    You love those straw men don’t ya. The laws of nature may be infinite. They may be the result of some other event at the moment of the big bang. There are plenty of hypotheses, but it’s always better to actually have evidence for an accurate response rather than just make things up and call it a day. You want to work backwards until you get to point completely unsupported by any evidence and then make a god claim, but there’s no need to go that far. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=34-1W_9BhoU

    “natural laws (gravitation, magnetism, etc) do nothing ”

    ” these laws are mechanisms. And the mechanism requires an agent.”

    Another baseless claim. There is no evidence whatsoever the laws of nature are “mechanisms” in the way you would like to think, requiring an agent.

    “the improbabilities against life’s emergence”

    This is an all time favorite of mine. There are no statistics on the probability of life. This is one of the most absurd claims a theist can make. Luckily someone did a pretty good video on this a while back. I was getting tired of pointing out the absent math for such claims

    “It is hard to see how a blind, naturalistic, undirected process can account for something coming from nothing.”

    Well quantum fluctuation is only one model. You’d have to demonstrate there was nothing before the something. But…

    ” If God is infinite […] If they differ”

    If, if, if….

    Somebody flunked science class

  14. Lee Myers October 3, 2011 / 6:08 am

    These two statements were supposed to go together but got screwed up somehow.

    “natural laws (gravitation, magnetism, etc) do nothing ”

    Somebody flunked science class

    And without going into great detail regarding your long winded version of Kalam

    Yes I’m lazy and I’ll just throw out some vids or articles for arguments that have been debunked ages ago

  15. Lee Myers October 3, 2011 / 6:10 am

    But just to help you out a little, 6 and 7 form a non sequitur. You came from your parents and so on and so forth through over three billion years of evolution.

  16. chab123 October 3, 2011 / 1:49 pm

    Lee,

    No need to try to use quantam mechanics as an attempt to try to say nothing can come from something. Do you have a background in quantam mechanics? I don’t. But my friend Dr. Neil Shenvi does. See his articles on the topics. http://www.shenvi.org/index.htm

    Heisenberg’s principle is not a principle of uncausality but a principle of unpredictability. Second, it is only the position of a particular particle that cannot be predicted, not the overall pattern. Third, since the subatomic realm cannot be “observed” without bombarding it, the scientist cannot be sure what it is really like. Not all physicists agree with Heisenberg. Furthermore, If the principle of causality is not valid, and causality is foundational to the discipline of science, then wouldn’t all scientific conclusions be questionable? Including quantum physics? How could it be that the only time science can be certain about its conclusions is during the experiments that confirm uncertainty?

    Futhermore, Quantum explanations only work at sub-atomic levels, and do not apply to anything at the level of molecules or larger. No where has quantum explanations been shown to apply at the level of normal Newtonian physics. Everything is either caused by another, self-caused, or uncaused. This exhausts the possibilities. Self-caused existence is absurd, for one would have to exist before one existed; so the only alternative left is that something is uncaused.

    To say that particles can come into existence out of nothing is incorrect. These particles arise as spontaneous fluctuations of the energy contained in the sub-atomic vacuum which constitutes an indeterministic cause of their obligation. So the vacuum is not “nothing” but it is sea of fluctuating energy endowed with rich structure and subject to physical laws.

    You say “Exactly, all gods are created. You can claim there exists an uncreated god which is real, but this is just a baseless assertion again without any evidence whatsoever. We are talking about the same thing, you just want to go ahead and assume a god exists and that won’t fly.”

    So you get to define what evidence is and evidence isnt? I don’t think so Lee. You still seem to be punting to some sort of logical positivism which doesn’t meet it’s own criteria.

    You say: “So am I to assume that the laws of nature create themselves and then go to work to do it all on alone without any agency? That is a gigantic leap of faith.” You say these laws may be infinite or eternal?

    How do you come to this conclusion Lee? How are they inifinte? This doesn’t line up with the Second Law of Thermodynamics. One of the most well-know physicists today is Paul Davies. I will quote him again: Davies says,

    Today, few cosmologists doubt that the universe, at least as we know it, did have an origin at a finite moment in the past. The alternative-that the universe has always existed in one form or one another-runs into a rather basic paradox. The sun and the stars cannot keep burning forever: sooner or later they will run out of fuel and die. The same is true of all irreversible physical processes; the stock and energy available in the universe to drive them out is finite, and cannot last for eternity. This is an example of the so-called second law of thermodynamics, which, applied to the entire cosmos, predicts that it is stuck on a way slide of degeneration and decay towards a final state of maximum entropy, or disorder. As this final state has not been reached, it follows that the universe cannot have existed for an infinite time.

    And even if they are infinite, these laws don’t do anything. They are descriptions of what happens in nature. Did they create themselves? What sets them in motion? Do they have a mind? So it is by blind chance that they ended up being tweaked just right? As Davies continues to say,

    “It is hard to resist the impression that the present structure of the universe, apparently so sensitive to minor alteration in the numbers, has been rather carefully thought out….the seemingly miraculous concurrence of [these] numbers must remain the most compelling evidence for cosmic design.”

    So are you saying these laws then go to work all on their own to create life from non-life and the genetic code? Since these laws laws describe highly regular, repetitive and periodic patterns, how do they generate complex sequences, whether specified or otherwise?

    No, the cosmological and fine tuning argument have not been debunked. See Blackwell’s Companion to Natural Theology. It’s really not going to do any good to punt to some youtube video with someone who you think is an authority on these topics. I have all my authorities and you have yours. Just like I am sure you will not like what Davies says. They start with a different set of presuppositions. And by the way, Craig, Robin Collins and others have all responded to Guth’s theories. Nothing new there at all.

    No, I am not trying to give any straw man arguments. But if you are positing a naturalistic worldview… this is generally how it is laid out: In his book An Atheist Defends Religion: Why Humanity Is Better Off With Religion Than Without It, author Bruce Sheiman gives a general outline for us: Human Life = Laws of physics X chance + randomness+ accidents+ luck X 3.5 billion yrs. The laws of physics for our present universe arose by chance (from a multitude of possible universes); the first forms of life developed by chance (arising by primordial soup combinations that resulted from the laws of physics plus accidents); the first concept of life developed purely by chance (genetic mutations and environmental randomness); and humans evolved by more improbable occurrences.

    Is this what you are saying Lee?

    As far as the reductive fallacy…Scientific reductionism attempts to take a complex topic like the existence of God and say unless He can be proved by the scientific method, he doesn’t exist. As I already said, to say something can only be proved by science is a philosophical assertion.

    You say you didn’t commit the genetic fallacy. But you tried to say God’s immaterial nature is false because it originated in the “modern” period. You seem to be trying to go for some sort of evolutionary view of religion. Not that you will look at it. But my friend Jill Graham’s power point goes over the problems with the evolutionary theory of religion called Origional Monotheism. http://grahamapologetics.com/Main%20Pages/power_point.htm

  17. Lee Myers October 3, 2011 / 3:21 pm

    There is no causal mechanism known of in quantum mechanics. Something does come from nothing all the time. It is possible, albeit not definitively known, this is how the universe came about

    “Heisenberg’s principle is not a principle of uncausality but a principle of unpredictability. Second, it is only the position of a particular particle that cannot be predicted, not the overall pattern”

    You’re talking about superposition. I’m not. It is now obvious you are simply incapable of having this conversation at this time. You do not possess an adequate knowledge of either science or logic. This is the third straw man so far. Watch the above video and the video on the origin of mass again. Causality is not an observed property of quantum physics. This says nothing regarding other branches of science.

    “To say that particles can come into existence out of nothing is [an accurate statement based on observed empirical evidence].”

    Fixed it for ya. A vacuum is absent all matter and energy.

    “So you get to define what evidence is and evidence isnt?”

    No I would evaluate any evidence you put on the table and thusfar you have only put up a mangled biological version of Kalam which fails as evidence. According to your model and your concept of god, your god created nitrogen. Nitrogen has no consciousness and thus your god has no consciousness. You seem like one of those kids who read a few books or articles on logic and now think you know something about it. As someone who has studied logic in college, let me just suggest you might want to take a few classes.

    The laws of nature may be eternal, meaning not created. Or they may be the result of some event at the time of the big bang. There are multiple hypothesis. There is no need for a first cause. You fail again.

    “that violates the law of causality”

    No such thing

    “How do you come to this conclusion Lee?”

    I never stated any conclusion. You have, and without sufficient evidence to backup your claim.

    Thermodynamics applies to closed states. Watch the “Debunking Kalam” video again for other current cosmological models.

    “It’s really not going to do any good to put some youtube video with someone who you think is an authority on these topics”

    I don’t put any authority on the person, but upon the evidence and the sound arguments. Watch them again and pay attention this time.

    “Is this what you are saying Lee?”

    No but I’m not surprised at another straw man.

    “As far as the reductive fallacy…Scientific reductionism attempts to take a complex topic like the existence of God and say unless He can be proved by the scientific method, he doesn’t exist”

    That’s not a reductive fallacy. An example of a reductive fallacy would be.saying Arab Spring was caused by honor killings, or the Civil War was caused by slavery, Or Occupy Wall Street was caused by the bailouts. A reductive fallacy is reducing a complex effect down to a simplistic cause. Furthermore, no one but you is saying “unless He can be proved by the scientific method, he doesn’t exist.” Chalk up another straw man there buddy.

    “But you tried to say God’s immaterial nature is false because it originated in the “modern” period”

    And another straw man. I said no such thing. I simply pointed out modern theology had shifted the goal posts. I made no such claims regarding it being false because of this and the point was that was not how the god concept had originated.

    You need some college courses in biology, physics and philosophy. You’ve gotten some bad information from apologetics websites. I’ll let you have the last word since you haven’t really said anything of substance here (you tried with the logical argument you made without realizing you were making a logically positive argument while you had before correctly mentioned logical positivism is dead. Apparently this is just a catch phrase for you and you don’t really know what it means. Your argument was full of non sequiturs.)

    Good luck to you.

  18. thinkingchristian October 3, 2011 / 8:46 pm

    Robert, you wrote,

    Atheists like myself ACCEPT the truth of Science which rejects any ‘gods’ and the supernatural.

    That’s just wrong, Robert. Science has no competence to judge the existence of gods. Its competence is in studying the natural world, not in making judgments concerning what else might or might not be.

    Lee,

    “to assert that nature creates itself and then goes onto to do all kinds of clever little things its own is a belief and takes alot of faith.”
    Indeed such an assertion would require faith. I’ve never seen or heard any atheist make such an assertion nor has anyone done so here. This straw man never gets old.

    Read Hawking and Mlodinow’s The Grand Design, please.

    There is no logical justification for asserting “you wouldn’t have science apart from God.”

    It is a supportable assertion, although chab123 did not support it here. Read James Hannam, The Genesis of Science.

    you have no evidence for ghosts, spirits, souls or anything of the like. To put it bluntly, you have no evidence of any kind whatsoever.

    You’ve repeated this assertion several times in different ways. What would you count as evidence, Lee? I’m guessing that you’re ruling out a priori all the evidence that could possibly be adduced. We’ll see, based on what you decide to answer.

    Yes you don’t seem to understand natural laws or science at all. That was obvious from reading your article and what you said above about ““you wouldn’t have science apart from God.” We do have science. It is a human achievement. No gods required

    “No gods required” is only true if you are indeed correct that there is no God. If there is a God, then he is necessary by definition. That doesn’t mean that belief in God is required to do science, although (see Hannam) there is good historical and theoretical reason to believe that belief in God was important to the very early launching of science in the twelfth through fifteenth centuries. (And if you play the same card with me as you have been playing with chab123 and call me ignorant, and if you do it without reading the relevant history, then you’ll make yourself pretty hypocritical and foolish.)

    I’m simply drawing your attention to the point that “god is immaterial” is an invention of modern theology and that was not how the concept of gods originated.

    Who’s talking about ignorance here? Jesus said “God is spirit.” That’s not an invention of modern theology.

    This is an all time favorite of mine. There are no statistics on the probability of life.

    Wrong. Read Meyer, Signature in the Cell.

    There is no causal mechanism known of in quantum mechanics. Something does come from nothing all the time.

    Wrong. In qm, false vacuum fluctuations produce short-lived energy/mass, yes, but the false vacuum is not nothing. It is teeming with potentiality; and potentiality is not nothing.

    According to your model and your concept of god, your god created nitrogen. Nitrogen has no consciousness and thus your god has no consciousness.

    WHAT???!!!!

    And then you go on to say,

    You seem like one of those kids who read a few books or articles on logic and now think you know something about it. As someone who has studied logic in college, let me just suggest you might want to take a few classes.

    This is so ironic! You say this after committing the most amazing logical blunder I’ve seen in seven years of blogging!

    Finally: To all atheists writing here: When you use the term “God” to refer to the God of theism, it is a proper noun. Not to capitalize a common noun is to display ignorance of English grammar. It’s a small point, but it doesn’t do your credibility any good.

  19. chab123 October 4, 2011 / 12:39 am

    Well since Lee has decided to give me the last word, I will go ahead and show where this discussion went wrong. Perhaps we can all learn a few things here. Whether he comes back is up to him. For starters, Lee took some classes in college on logic and science and he thinks I am not on this level. So he feels the need to be condescending. That is not a good tactic for these discussions and shows a major insecurity on his end. For the record I did to college and have masters as well. I am working on a second master in philosophy. But you notice I never brought that into the discussion.

    First of all, Lee never really answered the issue of natural laws. Since he is not an authority on it, he dismisses someone who is qualified to speak on it-Edgar Andrews. Natural laws are descriptions of regularities in nature. They don’t do anything. He seems to misunderstand the scientific method which depends on them.

    Btw, Lee keeps posting You Tube clips. So that means he is utterly dependent on his authorities. I don’t have a problem with using authorities ( I used some as well)… But he should not act like he is an expert in science because he took a class her and there in college. He is depending on them.

    Lee started to talk about quantum fluctuation in which I responded. I then get accused of a straw man fallacy again and that I am not competent to discuss this issue. Is Lee really competent in this area? Not really. That’s why I was humble enough to advise looking at my friend’s website who has a doctorate with a background in this area. But instead, Lee then says:

    “You’re talking about superposition. I’m not. It is now obvious you are simply incapable of having this conversation at this time. You do not possess an adequate knowledge of either science or logic. This is the third straw man so far. Watch the above video and the video on the origin of mass again. Causality is not an observed property of quantum physics. This says nothing regarding other branches of science.”

    Even though I have studied a little bit about quantum theory, etc. I wanted to make sure that Lee really understands what he is talking about with the word “superposition.” My friend Dr. Jay Wile (see his website) says that a superposition is the existence of two states simultaneously. For example, one way to explain particle/wave duality is to assume that an electron (for example) is neither a particle nor a wave. Instead, both states are…superimposed on the electron. Then, you decide how to measure the electron, the superposition collapses into one state or the other, depending on how the electron is being measured. So superposition applies to individual entities, and its collapse into a defined state depends on something measuring the entities. Obviously, the universe could not start out that way. I wonder if Lee is as studied in this area as he claims to be.

    Lee says: “According to your model and your concept of god, your god created nitrogen. Nitrogen has no consciousness and thus your god has no consciousness. You seem like one of those kids who read a few books or articles on logic and now think you know something about it. As someone who has studied logic in college, let me just suggest you might want to take a few classes”

    How does this paragraph indicate Lee has taken logic?

    Lee wants me to watch the current debunking Kalam video for the latest theories. Every one of those theories are dealt with in Blackwell’s Companion To Natural Theology..or go to WLC’s Reasonable Faith website.

    Lee says: Furthermore, no one but you is saying “unless He can be proved by the scientific method, he doesn’t exist.” Chalk up another straw man there buddy.

    No Lee, I am not saying this. Notice I originally never accused Lee of appealing to this. I asked him if he was appealing to an scientific reductionism as the way to know whether God exists. He jumped the gun and assumed I was already assuming that is what he was saying. But anyway, did I define it correctly? Scientific reductionism is one form of reductionism that says all phenomena can be reduced to scientific explanations. Since Lee originally gave the standard atheistic argument that belief in the Christian God is like belief in faries, etc.. I inferred that this worldview generally entails a scientific reductionism. Does Lee espouse to this? I don’t know. When it comes to approaching a complex topic like the existence of God, and we ask for what method to take here, it can’t be reduced to the scientific method. That was all I was saying.

    I presented a naturalistic worldview and said I wasn’t trying to present a straw man argument. I even quoted the source. And for that matter, that naturalistic outlook is quite prevalent in all the naturalistic evolutionary scenarios. So instead of showing me how his worldview explained those things, he just went ahead and said I was giving a straw man. Am I really misrepresenting the naturalistic worldview? Lee really just ignores the issue.
    In the end, Lee really doesn’t explain anything.

    Lee says I need some college courses in certain topics. Hmmmm… Lee, are you sure you want to say that?

  20. Cornell October 4, 2011 / 2:07 am

    @Lee

    If you are going to insult Dr. Craig (it seems like out of desperation), I guess I’m going to have to take a shot at the looney Lawerence Krauss (as you linked his video like it actually means something, Mr. 2 2 =5 himself). Trust me it’s not hard to clown an empiricist.

    Now since college means a lot to you, I’ll show you what I learned when I was earning my degree. May I say I smell aloooot of Logical Positivism coming out of your posts. Now that’s a big no-no as your college philosophy professors should be pointing out to you.

    First off, Positivism was ditched by philosophers back in the late 1940’s. It was French philosopher Auguste Comte who wrote the works “Cours de la Philosophie Positive” and “The system of Positive Polity” back in the 19th century, this resulted in Comte proposing a religion of humanity in which God was dethroned and humanity, ‘the great being’ was put in his place.

    Afterwards Logical Positivism came about and was an anti-metaphysical movement in philosophy.

    It had 2 geographical roots, the one English and the other Viennese.

    English root – David Hume’s empirical scepticism in the 18th century.

    Vienna root – Moritz Schlick (1882-1936) a professor of philosophy at Vienna. As well as Ludwig Wittgenstein, who wrote the “Tractatus Logico Philosophicus” that pushed forward the positivist philosophy.

    The major weapon that was used back then, is the same weapon I see a lot of the beloved laymen “brights” use today, that is the verification principle. It seems as though your brilliance is latching onto this principle in all these posts.

    Well Lee, there are a few problems with your method, and it shows in those awful rebuttal videos to Dr. Craigs KCA. Neither you or your positivist buddies Krauss and Dawkins haven’t debunked anything but your own argument.

    It seems as though you claim that statements are meaningful and genuine if they could be verified in a manner comparable to the way in which scientific hypotheses are tested by public experiment, so you think evidence for God needs to be tested right….well ok, but last time I checked.

    *There is no scientific or empirical evidence that shows evidence has to be scientific or empirical*

    Uh oh

    Well I could use your reasoning against you, I want to ask you and anyone else who follows the same method as you do this one question.

    *has the Verification Principle itself been verified?*

    Clearly it was not intended to be a tautology. Otherwise, it could not perform its exalted function of testing factual statements. On the other hand, it is equally clear that it had not itself been verified by controlled experiments.

    So what do you do now? It seems to me that your method may work for certain kinds of descriptive factual statements, but it cannot be used as a Procrustean bed on to which everything else must be made to fit.

    After all the question of the existence of God, is and always will be a “philosophical” question, just like it’s always been.

    But you knew that right? With those hard classes at whatever college you are taking you should know alot, correct?

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