I recently heard a Christian argue against the Theory of Evolution on the basis that they find conflict between the notion that humans are descended from non-human animals, and the idea that we are made in the image of God.

I hate to break it to you but the Genesis narrative says we were descended from… DUST.

Do you prefer this? Really, how is this better?

I would’ve thought that one of the overarching themes of Christian scripture is that the origin of something needn’t have any bearing on that thing’s identity, or its future. Matthew’s Gospel highlights that Jesus was descended from a prostitute. And he turned out alright.

A little atheist myth about science.

Myth: Even when scientists believe in God, they become practical atheists whenever they do science; they never bring God into the laboratory.

FALSE

That is neither true historically nor conceptually.

Let’s consider the great pioneers of modern science – the scientists of the scientific revolution (who produced modern science as we know it). Believe it or not, they were not looking for “naturalistic” explanations of things. They simply looked for consistent explanations of things. The reason they believed that nature would behave consistently is because they believed that God ruled nature.

Atheists often tell us that that bringing God into the laboratory (bringing the theistic worldview into scientific endeavours) will lead to lazy inferences: that is, supernatural explanations. It is as if God becomes a conceptual crutch – an escape clause in every difficult anomaly whereby they can simply say, “God did it,” while atheists, who must assume nature causes everything, are left to do the hard work of figuring out the natural patterns and causes of things. (This is all part and parcel of the broader atheistic myth, that science and theism are essentially opposed.)

Of course, this would entail on the theist’s part an inconsistent model of nature – a nature that lacks the resources to produce the systems around us. For a scientist to invoke supernatural explanations for things would be to assume that nature, unaided by God, is unable to behave in the way that it has been observed to.

But the mistake this makes is not that it brings the theistic worldview into the laboratory; it is that it fails to consider the way in which God governs nature: rationally, consistently, and uniformly. The scientific revolutionaries – almost all of them Christians – didn’t make that mistake. They assumed that nature would behave according to intelligible patterns and laws, because they believed in a divine intelligence as nature’s lawgiver.

Thus when they came across an anomalous piece of data, rather than calling it a miracle, their way forward was not to suspend belief in a divine intelligence, but to invoke their belief in God by assuming that the anomaly must be a consistent part of a divinely designed pattern that had yet to be discerned.

Then they searched for the pattern. And the rest is history.

This myth does not seem to pass the test of history, let alone pure reason.

I note a statistically significant difference in language between the way theists and atheists describe their beliefs. While theists say they “believe in God,” atheists often so cunningly say “I don’t believe in a god.”

And I think this subtle difference in language is a product of a profound difference in thinking – a signal to us that two people are not talking about the same thing.

It can get hard to tell the difference between being angry at people’s bad reasoning and being angry at the lies, being angry at the truth teller, or angry at the truth.

People can make it so hard to find the truth when they offer it to me in such an arrogant, offensive way, or offer me such bad arguments for their beliefs. Painfully I have to look past their shortcomings, because I know that people can argue badly for true things.

It’s this aching desperation for the truth itself that forces me to rise above the surrounding flames of error, foolishness and confusion. But haunting me the whole journey is the question of what really drives me. What if the truth is more frustrating, more aggravating to me than all this human folly? What if it’s the prospect of accepting this particular proposition that I find so intolerable, more than the behaviour of its proponents? Do I really seek the truth?

How can I ever reach it if I don’t seek it?

That thing called evidence.

It is remarkable how often I hear it said that there is no evidence for the existence of God. Of course this is uniformly said by atheists – not that remarkable – but what is truly jaw-dropping is when they say it in the middle of a debate against a theist, as if to bring to the table some agreed-upon axiom.

This is a fascinating speech by celebrated atheist, Sam Harris.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F6BxzA3hbGc

If you watch the whole thing you’ll hear a lengthy, and challenging, moral criticism of the Christian faith. But if you were watch this in its entire context, you’d see that this was one of Harris’ speeches in a debate against William Lane Craig, about whether or not morality can truly exist without the existence of God. And then you would hopefully realise the futile irrelevance of Harris’ entire speech here, because rather than justifying the existence of morality in an atheistic universe, he simply presupposes his own atheistic moral law, and uses it to attack the moral standing of Christianity, making its God out to be a monster, and his followers out to be psychopathic – all the while unable to actually justify the reality of his moral categories without reference to a deity. In short: a disgusting, fat, greasy circular argument.

But putting that issue aside, if you watch the first 30 seconds of this video, you will hear him say in passing, “now happily there is no evidence that the Christian Hell exists”, and then if you watch the whole thing you’ll hear him repeatedly make very similar remarks. And thus the main reason I bring this video to your attention is that it is a classic example of an atheist, mid-debate, blurting out loud his assumption that there isn’t any evidence for God; just putting it out there in passing. This is wrong on many levels: it’s circular, it’s arrogant, and most importantly, it’s false.  Continue reading

Atheist, unimpressed with Dawkins

“As a sceptic, I tend to agree with Dawkins’s conclusion regarding the falsehood of theism, but the tactics deployed by him and the other New Atheists, it seems to me, are fundamentally ignoble and potentially harmful to public intellectual life. For there is something cynical, ominously patronising, and anti-intellectualist in their modus operandi, with its implicit assumption that hurling insults is an effective way to influence people’s beliefs about religion. The presumption is that their largely non-academic readership doesn’t care about, or is incapable of, thinking things through; that passion prevails over reason. On the contrary, people’s attitudes towards religious belief can and should be shaped by reason, not bile and invective. By ignoring this, the New Atheists seek to replace one form of irrationality with another.”

This is the conclusion of an article about Dawkins’ newly given reasons for refusing to debate William Lane Craig.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/belief/2011/oct/22/richard-dawkins-refusal-debate-william-lane-craig

friendlyatheist:

The foundation of morality, reason.

—————————————————————————————————

Dawkins makes a staggering number of mistakes in this argument.

First, he doesn’t actually answer the question that he’s asked. He is asked about how it is that an atheist would establish a framework within which to decide between right and wrong without believing in any sort of divine moral law giver who can bring rational basis to concepts of right and wrong.

Instead of answering that, Dawkins simply critiqued the specific moral lawS that certain religions have apparently suggested, and said that our modern ones are superior. But he has failed to give any rational account of what makes something right or wrong. By saying that modern morality is superior to ancient morality, he presupposed the very thing he was asked to prove – that there is such a thing as right and wrong. He was asked a metaethics question, and provided a normative ethics answer. It wins applause. But that’s it.

The other main one is that he doesn’t seem to understand what absolute morality really means. He says that because the specific religious moral laws are unsatisfactory, he doesn’t want absolute morality. He seems to think that absolute morality means a moral law that you are not allowed to question and reason about. And if that was what was meant by ‘absolute morality’, I think I wouldn’t want it either. But that is not what absolute morality means – not when philosophers talk about it, and I highly doubt it was what the questioner meant by it.

Absolute morality simply means that there is an absolute truth (not relative truth) as to whether something is right or wrong. It means that you can reason and debate about it as much as you want, but in the end there IS a truth about whether or not it is wrong to rape someone; that the truth about it is not relative to people’s opinions. It is this type of moral reality that he was asked to give an atheist’s rational account for. Instead he presumed this type of morality exists in order to blast religious people.

I find it strange that he would do this considering that I’m pretty sure, on other occasions, he has admitted that there is no rational basis for morality under atheism.

This is some pretty dodgy rhetoric on Dawkins’ party I must say.

Conversations with “Friendly Atheist” (Part 2)

If you take the “delusion” part from my argument it will still hold. The fact that you did not even try to show what is the difference between belief in god and belief in unicorns just understates my point.The fact that no one has tried to convince you of the existence of unicorns (or Zeus or Osiris) is owed to the fact that the majority of people today have been indoctrinated since birth to believe in the monoteistic god of the middle east. Not because there is any difference between them. They both have the same degree of verifiable evidence, ZERO. And you know it. I’ve heard apologists who notably exceed the likes of you and some of them realize openly that there is no evidence for god. They just have faith, which it is nothing more than asserting belief while lacking evidence.Convincing me that an invisible being exists will not make such a being real my friend. I am irrelevant, don’t give me so much credit. I don’t do it myself so why would you? The whole arrogance canard is so old and tiresome. It has been well said:”Religious people often accuse atheists of being arrogant and of placing ourselves in the position of God, but really it is the theist who has all the vanity. He can’t stand to think that he will ever cease to exist. As Freud said, Christianity is the most egotistical of the religions. It is based on the premise ‘Jesus saves me.’”If you actually have a passion for truth I suggest you try to look at belief in god from an outsiders perspective. Put belief in god to the test and see what happens. I was a true believer for over 25 years. When one has a passion for truth it is never to late to reconsider one’s positions and beliefs. To live according to reality and not some bronze age myths.In reason:-FA


Dude, if you read back on your message, you should notice that you haven’t actually offered me any arguments that refute what I’ve said. To me it looks like you’ve really just asserted your disagreement with me without much backing.

I’m not trying to convince you of a very revolutionary proposition.

“there is some evidence for God”

It’s really won’t harm you atheistic beliefs if you accept this idea. There is SOME evidence for the flatness of the Earth just as there is (a lot more) evidence for the sphericality of the Earth.

There is some evidence for string theory just as there is some evidence against string theory.

The fact that I didn’t even try to show you the difference between God and unicorns is a testament to the fact that I don’t think you’ll be hearing anything new. You’ve been told time and time again why God and unicorns are a fundamentally different things, and why there is much more evidence for God than for unicorns; I just don’t think you’re paying attention.

Your problem is probably that you think science is the only valid type of evidence. It’s a very common misconception that I see a lot in scientists (and interestingly a staggering number of atheists). But reason and rationality are so much more all encompassing than just science. You can’t forget the role of history and philosophy when your searching for any truth. Science is important but if it were the only thing that brought knowledge we wouldn’t know very much at all, and what we had would be quite shallow knowledge.

Most of the arguments for the existence of God employ the disciplines of philosophy or history, very little of them employ science. That’s because science is a study of the laws of nature. It’s main objective is to predict the ways the universe will behave under certain conditions. It’s objective is NOT to tell us what happened in the past in society, and certainly not to tell us what exists in the supernatural. But history and philosophy do do these things.

Basically my point is, arguments have been made for the existence of God. You’ve heard them. And while you don’t like them, and you’re not convinced by them, many extremely intelligent and sane people are convinced by them. And the fact that any arguments have been made that have convinced anyone means that there is SOME evidence for the existence of God – however good or bad that evidence is. The question is NOT whether or not there is any evidence for God, the question is how much of it there is and whether or not it outweighs the evidence for the alternative.

Now, any apologist who tells you that there is no evidence for God doesn’t sound like much of an apologist to me. The definition of an apologist really is someone who provides a defence of their faith by the employment of reason. As the Bible says in 1 Peter 3:15, Christians should be prepared to give anyone a REASON for the hope we have. Now, keep in mind that you are NOT a Christian, and thus are in no position to tell me what I mean when I use the word faith. I assure you that I don’t know a single Christian (and I go to a big church) who considers it virtuous to believe something without evidence. Not one. The Bible, as I have told you in the past, uses faith in a way which means something much closer to “trusting in the truth that you have come to believe in (by reason)”.

See, if I my faith in God meant my belief in him without any evidence, then it would be impossible to give you any reason for the hope I have in Jesus (which the Bible commands me to give to you). Faith, by your definition, has no engagement in the realms of reason at all. It is completely detached from whatever evidence there is. But a real Christian apologist will tell you that they have reasons for what they believe. If they really believed, as you say, that they believed in God “on blind faith” then they would not be in the business of trying to convince you by reason that God is real. They would have nothing to tell you but the mere fact that they believe in God. Yet instead we sit here and we employ our reasoning skills to try to communicate and engage with you through some medium by which people come to believe and disbelieve things.

Really, it just wouldn’t make any sense for you to assert that there is not a shred of evidence for God. If you do that you’d have to actually disarm the arguments I’ve given you somehow – that is ideal procedure for rational discourse – rather than simply assert that I’m wrong because of my cultural conditioning. It would probably need to involve you telling me what you think evidence is (because in order to say there is no evidence for God, I’d say you need a very narrow conception of evidence).

If you really want me to tell you why belief in God is different to belief in unicorns then I’ll go into that. But I’m not currently convinced that you need to be shown.

And you can trust me, I’ve put my belief in God thoroughly to the test, but like it or not, it’s just resulted in a stronger, much more rationally fuelled belief. I believe that’s because it is the truth.