Monthly Archives: August 2011
I have taken GodandSociety’s original post and made my comments basically in the margins, more so at the end of each paragraph, so that people know what I am referring to when I talk about something in his post. Sorry for subjecting my readers to Christian idiocy such as this which tries to masquerade as intelligence and just comes off as a pseudointellectual that mocks people to make it seem like he’s somehow smarter than them. You may say that was an ad hominem; no, it was just an insult.
Re: Refuting God and his fan club
Taking pride in my orthodox Christianity means many things, and the call to defend it is one of those things. Before you can even begin to defend what you consider truth, you must first, subject yourself to dissenting viewpoints. Some of these viewpoints may raise good objections, while others may fail miserably – in this case they fail, and rather spectacularly at that. However, sometimes you just have to get these things done no matter how bad they are [; I wonder if I could be considered a masochist for putting myself through reading these viewpoints?]. So in my attempt to clear up a few problems I have with Daniel’s [TheBarkingAtheist] post – Refuting God and his fan club – I will split my response into some categories: theology, Christian theology, philosophy, science and general errors.
To begin with, I would like to congratulate Daniel on realising there is more to theology – especially natural theology – than what one; who is lacking the basics, may first think about the subject. Over and over again, Daniel makes the comment about which god – Allah, Yahweh, Zeus, Jupiter etc. – the god arguments are trying to prove, and the simple answer may be confusing. The god arguments are not trying to prove a particular deity, but instead the general concept of god – so the attempt to use the, which god [non]argument is rather futile to all but the most uneducated.
I don’t see how you think my question is “futile.” I am asking the question, if a god or gods exist, which one is it? How do you know it is Jehovah/Yahweh? It could be Allah. It could be Vishnu. It could be Zeus. How do you know which one it truly is? Saying, “It just is my god, because I believe in this one god,” means nothing to nonbelievers or believers of other faiths, because it offers nothing other than to assert something without evidence, and it can be just as easily dismissed without evidence. All religions say that their holy book is the one true holy book handed down by the one true god that is their god and that all others are wrong and that they have the advantage over all other faiths. How do you know which one is really the right one when they are ALL mutually exclusive and seem just as (in)valid as the next one?
So onto my first grievance with Daniel’s rendition of the cosmological argument – I am not criticising the reasoning, though that will come – because without even naming the argument it may cause future grievances over the changing of ideas being discussed. Thankfully, I do know who originated the argument that Daniel is quoting; and the basic ideas being used to support it (which I am sure that St. Thomas Aquinas would approve). If you didn’t catch on with my subtle clue to who originated the argument that Daniel quoted, then let me be clear; Saint Thomas Aquinas first originated the argument in his five ways.
Here is a simple version of the Cosmological argument that I found on the website Philosophy of Religion.
(1) Everything that exists has a cause of its existence.
(2) The universe exists.
(3) The universe has a cause of its existence.
(4) If the universe has a cause of its existence, then that cause is God.
(5) God exists.
First thing is first, the first three are correct. Everything has a cause, but we don’t know the cause to everything. The universe does indeed exist. So yes, the universe had a cause of some sort; we just don’t know what that was yet.
Number four is downright false, because it makes an assertion without evidence or just cause. It just throws a god into the equation for no reason other than the belief without evidence that a god exists. Just because we don’t know the cause to everything does not mean that you can randomly throw in a god or gods because you feel like it. You might as well say that the universe has a cause of its existence, then that cause is aliens. Therefore, aliens exist. Both are unfounded claims that lack any evidence and have zero validity behind them.
Christian theism has always concluded that God has always existed, – without a cause – this was first established with the story of God in the Old Testament telling Moses that I am was the one who sent you – at the time, something like that would have been revolutionary compared to the surrounding beliefs. So the question: who created god is ultimately a futile one. It is meaningless to a Christian; it is like saying, who caused the thing to exist that has always existed.
“God has always existed,” is an unproven assertion, so your argument fails right off the back. Again, if you assume that a god or gods exists, specifically the Christian one, then you must prove that assertion somehow. Saying “the bible says so” is not proof, because the bible is not proof. A demotivational that I once saw said, “Trying to prove God with the bible is like trying to prove Superman with a comic book.” It is meaningless to anyone with some common sense to say that something that has yet to be proven to exist has just always existed, because you believe that it exists without any evidence.
I am one of those not so strange Christians that accept there are errors in the Bible, but doesn’t throw it away – that would be like me saying: ‘Your reasoning is flawed, I am going to stop listing to you now’ [and then never bother to listen to you ever again]. I personally think these contradictions actually make the Bible stronger, this may seem strange but, those contradictions arise from the retellings of different people, so where they converge it is a good indication that you should give it more credit to those areas. The Christian is in a catch-22, no differences [in manuscripts] and it is evidence that it was some master forgery; if there are some differences [in the manuscripts] then the authors don’t know what they were talking about (and the atheist 2000 years later do!).
Yes, the bible has errors. It has multitudes of mistakes that contradict everything that we know about: biology, taxonomy, genetics, archaeology, geology, anthropology, mathematics, and other fields of science. It says that bats are birds (Leviticus 11:13-19; Deuteronomy 14:11-18). That whales are fish (Jonah 1:17; Matthew 12:40). That rabbits chew cud (Leviticus 11:6). That snakes and donkeys can talk (Genesis 3; Numbers 22:1-35). That pi is a round number (1st Kings 7:23; 2nd Chronicles 4:2). It says that if you use bird blood you can cure someone of leprosy (Leviticus 14:4-7) and even your house of “leprosy” (Leviticus 14:52). The bible says that if you present striped patterns to a flock of animals and they mate in front of the patterns that they will have striped offspring (Genesis 30:37-43). How could a supposed omniscient being make such huge mistakes about science that not even a five-year-old would make? Why does the knowledge of the Judeo-Christian deity fit perfectly in with what the people of the time and area thought of the natural world?
According to the bible, all living animals, which is about two to five million different species of animals, lived within walking distance of Noah’s Ark, could fit inside the Ark without killing or eating each other, and could get somehow to where they all now inhabit, even though oceans, mountains, and much more lie between Mount Ararat, the place where Noah’s Ark supposedly landed after the flood, and Australia, North America, South America, and Antarctica. How did all the marsupials make it all the way to the land down under?
What about the other species of animals that have existed throughout the 3.4 billion years that life has existed on Earth? Today’s two to five million are only 1% of all life that has ever existed on this hunk of rock that is hurtling through space. How does the flood account for them? Were they wiped away in the flood? Then why does it say that Noah had two of EVERY animal? Did Noah just forget them? Did they just miss the Ark by a few close minutes?
However, I almost forgot to mention that in the first place Noah’s Flood has no evidence for itself. No evidence in the geological strata can be found that would suggest a world-wide flood. Also, if it was a world-wide flood, how come civilisations at the time of the flood, which according to the Answers In Genesis website was about 2300 BCE, in India and China that were a couple hundred years old at that point not affected one bit?
What about the Tower of Babel? No historian or linguist that knew anything about history or the origin and evolution of language could ever honestly say that the Tower of Babel, one, ever existed, two, is the explanation for why there are so many different languages in the world and still be taken seriously by their peers.
These alone are enough to discredit most, if not all, of the bible, which is supposed to be the inherent word of a supreme being that is supposed to know everything!
If you simply say, “Well, things like the Tower of Babel and Noah’s Flood are metaphors and parables, or they aren’t to be taken literally,” then what in the bible is supposed to be taken as literal? Who decides what is taken literally and how literally to take it? You would think that if a supposed omniscient being wanted something to be taken as literal or metaphorical, he would have said something beforehand.
In the field of science, which I’m sure you know nothing about, if someone presents something and their reasoning is flawed and their evidence is lacking, then you don’t listen to them anymore until they can prove themselves and their assertions somehow. That’s how science works. It weeds out the stupid ideas and promotes those that have evidence to support them. That’s why a god, gods, ghosts, unicorns, and other supernatural things have yet to be proven in any way, shape, or form, because there is no substantial evidence that would suggest their existences.
I fail to see why contradictions somehow make a story stronger. If you have three witnesses to the same crime, and one of the witnesses says the murderer was a black man with a pistol, another says he was white using an Uzi, and the last says it was actually a woman of unknown race, do you think any of them have any real validity behind them? Maybe one of them does at the most, or all could be utterly wrong. How can you be sure if any of them are right when all of them disagree on key facts like race, gender, and the murder weapon? Sure, they all say that there was a murder that happened with a gun, but which of them are correct? It can’t be all of them. And yet, we are told to take all four of the Gospel accounts as equally true and accurate, and if we are not told that, then people who believe in the bible as the word of God are trying to discredit certain parts of it, because simple logic is getting in the way.
Look at the Gospels and how they contradict each other over the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection.
Three of the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke) argue that Jesus was crucified on the Passover in the early morning, while the Gospel of John says that it was the day before the Passover at midday. Which was it?
All of the Gospels tell of supernatural events occurring immediately after Jesus’ crucifixion (this is in no particular order). One says an earthquake. Another says a mass of people rising from the dead and heading into Jerusalem. Another says that there was a darkness that covered the lands. The last says that the temple in Jerusalem magically split in half. Which was it? All of them? Then why don’t any of the other Gospels mention any of these other events occurring? None of them? Then why are they in there? Some of them but not all? Which ones then and why don’t they all just mention those select few?
I could go on, but I’d rather link you to something that explains this to save myself some time. I think two examples is enough anyway for now. http://www.skepticmoney.com/the-ultimate-easter-quiz-jesus-gets-nailed/
So are those “some differences”? This supposed catch-22 that you speak of does not exist. No one has ever said that if they all said the same thing then it is proof of forgery, because if they all said the same things and actually were written through independent accounts of these events and could be verified as such, then that would be proof that the bible has some validity behind it. If it really was written or inspired by a supreme being that knew everything, then the bible would not contain ANY of the things it currently does, but because it claims to be inspired by an all-knowing being and yet contains such obvious mistakes and contradictions, that is the proof that it is a forgery, or at least that it is not what believers claim it is.
While I am interested in how you rationalise the Catholic Church editing the Bible hundreds of times because honestly I think Daniel is talking out of his ass. I would like to raise your attention to some faulty reasoning, how can it be safe to assume that Jesus wasn’t the son of God? The attacking of the gospels – which the claim that they were written 100 years after the death of Jesus is utter nonsense, because the first fragment we have of John’s gospel is dated to 125AD, five years before the date Daniel claims – doesn’t even establish that the Christian story is wrong. St. Paul’s letters were some of the first Biblical documents, far earlier than the gospels and they affirm Jesus’ death and resurrection. As far as I can see, that assumption – that Jesus was just an average Joe – is unfounded.
“Pulling it out of [my] ass” you say? Have you ever heard of the Council of Nicaea? The Catholic Church left out entire books for no reason other than “no one was using them.” Nearly twenty different Gospels were rejected by popular vote at the council. Apparently majority rule of humans decides what people are going to listen to and be taught as the inherent word of God. The church even had arguments within itself at the council as to whether Jesus was who he said he was, which was the son of God, if he was merely a prophet for God, or if Jesus was actually God in disguise. By a show of hands, the idea that Jesus was part of some trinity with God and the Holy Ghost was the majority rule, and all other interpretations were banned and those who preached them were deemed heretics by the church because they were in the minority.
You yourself have just admitted that the Gospel of John is nearly one-hundred years after the supposed death of Jesus, so my point remains. Again, with the dating of the Gospels to be around 60 CE – 130 CE, then the people who wrote them were still so old that they probably couldn’t even hold a pen, let alone remember things that happened decades ago. Even if it was being written down by others being told the story or trying to remember what they had been told about the story years ago, then there is still the problem of ambiguity, mistranslation, memory loss, and memory distortion, which really hurts the reliability of any claim.
As well, scholars generally agree that several of the Pauline epistles were not actually written by Paul, these are: 1st Timothy, 2nd Timothy, Titus, and Hebrews. Some are disputed as to whether or not Paul wrote them, but most of them are agreed to be written by Paul after his conversion to Christianity when supposedly the resurrected Jesus just appeared to him one day while he was travelling to Damascus with two companions, which both heard (Acts 9:7) and did not hear (Acts 22:9) the voice of Jesus.
So even if all the Pauline epistles were written by Paul, it doesn’t mean that he knew anything about Jesus’ life, death, or resurrection other than what others may have told him, which again leaves room for so many mistakes, so they are not proof of Jesus’ existence, let alone allow you to assume that he is the son of some deity.
Very quickly into the attempt to refute Paley’s watchmaker argument – an argument that I consider rubbish – Daniel erects a straw man. When you decide to refute an analogy (Paley’s watchmaker argument is really an analogy used as a prelude to the teleological argument) why change it to form the weakest possible argument and then proceed to nock it flat? This can be show in the jump between (3) and (4) in Daniel’s amended watchmakers argument, because it doesn’t allow for discourse – as can be show by the money tree argument directly below – but still allows the atheist to outright deny without the need to rationalise their decision. A much better amendment to the argument would be to allow the ideas of design by necessity, chance or design (as in Dr. Craig’s teleological argument) into the mix which would cause all parties to make a case.
Straw man? Where?! Oh, the one you erected in an attempt to paint my argument as a straw man, when it is clearly not.
Paley’s Watchmaker says that complex things, such as a watch, have a designer. Organs, such as the eye, are complex, biological structures, therefore they must have a designer; the universe is complex, therefore it must also have a designer, and that designer is God.
That is what Paley’s Watchmaker says. If you want to say it says anything different, please do tell. I’m dying to know what you think it says. And if you think that Paley’s Watchmaker is “rubbish” then why do you follow, I assume, the teleological argument? Paley’s Watchmaker is an argument from design, and so is the teleological argument, so why do you value one over the other when they are both basically the same thing, just different names and time periods?
Assumptions allow you to get away with almost anything, so assuming that the universe has always been there is rather lazy. So what happens if you call into question this particular axiom that Daniel holds [which wasn’t supported in the original post]?
Assumptions allow you to get away with almost anything, so assuming that a god has always been there is rather lazy.
Usually when you can’t articulate something well, you stop right there and pull out a book about the topic, because clearly it is a good indication of much needed education. So when instead of refuting the argument, you go on to prove it – by saying this: “nothing can be great or perfect that does not first exist…” – I can not help but giggle like a thirteen year old school girl. To make a complex argument short; all the ontological argument is saying is that if god exists, he would be a necessary being (all or nothing). There would not be a contingent god. On a side note, replacing words on the ontological argument is not a good way to refute it; unless of course the word is red herring.
Much needed education? No, I just turned to someone who has already refuted the ontological argument. It doesn’t mean that I lack an education. It was using a resource to help make my case, so your attempt to mock me fails.
Here is another big one – like question begging and favouring own position big – and it is a common ploy done by atheists. Here Daniel makes an off cuff remark: “believe that there is some magical man in the sky than to look at the evidence and sees where it points you.” So what do we have here? Daniel has just begged the question about his ability to look at evidence [go check out the YouTube user CartesianTheist, he does a few videos on the topic], and favours his own position by thinking if theist would “look at the evidence” we would come out any differently. Honestly, grow up.
Yes, that is what I am saying. Look at the evidence and for evidence to support your claims, because without evidence you are making statements that mean nothing to the scientific community and are not worth even mentioning, let alone taking seriously enough to consider them. There exists no evidence for your god or any other supernatural being. I don’t see how you think I have a bias. Because I actually am using evidence unlike you when you assume the existence of a god without ANY evidence to support you? Honestly, grow up.
There was only one scientific error that I cared to address, and in my note taking I simply put: You can’t jump from Texas to Alaska, don’t be stupid [with another word somewhere in there that rhymes with trucking]. The first time I have heard an absurd claim like this was in Richard Dawkin’s book The God Delusion; where instead of jumping thousands of kilometres cross country, it is a cow jumping over the moon [as the nursery rhyme goes]. Sorry to burst your bubble, there is a thing called gravity; that I dunno, delivers a constant force causing you to fall back to the ground. I do not know what is worse, a person who doesn’t know better but acts like a fool; or one that does but still acts like a fool nonetheless.
It is possible. Anything is possible. Now probable is a different story, and I believe I explained this distinction when I said that it is so improbable to do things such as jumping from Texas to Alaska that it is considered impossible, because no evidence whatsoever exists that would support that claim whatsoever. It is possible that aliens came down millions of years ago and genetically altered our ancestors in the African savannah to have their brains grow at an extremely accelerated rate (I actually know a person who believes this, which is kind of sad) for some unknown reason. However, the probability is so low that it is considered impossible, because of the lack of evidence. Still possible. Just not probable.
It is possible that a god or gods exist, but the extreme lack of evidence makes it very improbable. What is even less probable is choosing the right god, if one exists that is. As was the case in my original post, if there is one true god and one true religion, you have the same odds of picking the right deity as if you had 60,000 playing cards and told to find the right one. That is not even a hyperbole; in the course of human history there have been over 60,000 different faith systems that have existed, including the over 4,000 that still exist today, and that is not including the 34,000 different denominations of Christianity, all of which are still mutually exclusive. So take your pick of really about 90,000 different playing cards and find the one true Ace of Spades. As well, you have to take into account, not only did you pick the right card, but also if you truly believed that you had picked the right card before you had known what it was and if you had followed that one true card in all that it preached. You have basically the same odds as being a nonbeliever, who choose just not to play, for they see no point to these silly games that contribute nothing to society other than scientific oppression, hatred, and war and don’t even really guarantee any reward in the end. So yes, still possible. Very improbable.
At first I wasn’t sure where to put the next annoyance in, but as I thought about it, a simple reading error can not be filed in under as a philosophical error. The third sentence in the cosmological argument explicitly states that not everything has a cause, the “unmoved mover.” So when Daniel then forgot what he just copied and pasted about a minute ago to claim that “if every thing had a cause” it calls into question your general understanding of the topic he claims to be refuting.
I call into question your understanding of anything really. How can you have an “unmoved mover”? You can’t just say that “God did it, because God has always been there, because God said that he has always been there!” and really expect to be taken seriously by anyone except the most uneducated.
Another general error I find common within the debate, is the appeal to Zeus done by atheists. Honestly, I do not care about Zeus or Santa for that matter. The debate is between a Christian and an atheist, not some pagan and an atheist. The exact same appeal can be flipped directly back onto an atheist; maybe they should share why they don’t believe in Zeus?
The point made with figures such as Zeus or Santa is that none of them have ever been proven to be real, yet people used to really believe that they were real at one point, just like how any Christian today believes in the existence of Jehovah and Jesus. What makes a belief in Zeus or Santa any less valid than a belief in Jehovah? What proof do you have that your god and fairytales are real and theirs are not? I don’t believe in Zeus for the same reason, hopefully, that you don’t, because there is no evidence for their existence. I don’t believe in ghosts, unicorns, leprechauns, Ra, Odin, Vishnu, or Jehovah for the same reason.
So now we are onto a double package: “The nonbeliever is not weighed down by dogma and superstition.” – Atheistic new speak aside; let’s have a look at this claim. Taken at face value, everyone has dogma [when defined as: A principle or belief or a group of them] because dogma may come in other forms than religious dogmas. (Just open the “you really want to know me tab” on Daniel’s blog, and you will find he is Democratic socialist; I wonder what dogmas they hold? Does anti-capitalism ring a bell [, what is extremely funny is that anti-capitalism is a belief against the evidence, capitalism works, and works well it does]). So now onto superstition, [superstition can be defined as a belief sprung from ignorance or ignorance of the natural laws]. How can someone honestly say that we are superstitious – do we believe the rain is a god? We quite well know how the natural laws work, and the mechanics of them are not attributed to the constant upholding of a god.
My political “dogma” can be changed. I am willing to change my beliefs in economics and politics if given enough reason to do so. Religious dogma does not allow for that, because most religions, including Christianity, say that if someone leaves the faith or is not of that faith at all then they should be killed or that they are damned to an eternity of torture. I have definitions too you know. This is the first one that comes up when you type “dogma” into Google, “A principle or set of principles laid down by an authority as incontrovertibly true.” What about Democratic Socialism, communism, capitalism, anarchism, or other socio-economic theories are incontrovertibly true? Nothing. The only reason I even call myself a Democratic Socialist is because that is the socio-economic views that I most agree with.
As for capitalism working or not working or socialism working or not working, that is completely subjective. What do you mean by “capitalism works” exactly? I look at America today, and I think that capitalism has failed miserably, because the rich are getting richer at the expense of the lower and middle classes. You see this as a good thing; I don’t. Now, I could change my beliefs about this, but again only if I am given enough reason to. Same with Christianity. I am more than willing to believe in Jesus, God, and talking snakes if there is enough evidence to do so. So far, nothing has convinced me, because all arguments in favour of capitalism fail to convince me, all arguments in favour of communism fail to convince me, all arguments for the existence of a god fails, all arguments for creationism/intelligent design fail, all arguments for Jesus’ existence fail, etc. because of facts and reality.
Next up is your superstition claim. Christians used to attribute rain to God, and some Christians still do, such is the case here in the state of Texas where Governor and presidential hopeful Rick Perry told Texans to pray for rain. I can’t make this shit up; he actually told people to pray to God and Jesus for rain, and then he asked for people to come to Houston to pray to help the economy, because apparently enough faith in Jesus allows you to absolve all your responsibility as a publicly elected figure and just turn it over to something that has no proof for its existence.
They also used to attribute rainbows, thunder, earthquakes, tornadoes, and most other completely natural things to God until they figured out that they weren’t his doing but that of nature, and we used science to figure that out. You are playing a “god of the gaps” argument throughout your entire response by saying that we don’t know what caused the universe, therefore it must be the god I choose to worship, but I know now because of science that these things that used to be attributed to my god are not actually their work. If you can gladly accept the things science has to offer about things like the weather, medicine, or the computer you used to type up your tripe of a response, why can’t you accept certain aspects of it when it conflicts with your dogma, such as evolution? Because you lack an understanding of the theory of evolution, biology, and science in general and desperately want the preconceived notions that are clouding your perception of reality to be real.
As I look back over what I have wrote, thinking, do I really need to do this? Shouldn’t ex-Christians know these mistakes that they making; but then honestly who am I kidding? While to me it seems a lot, this response is actually smaller than what I was planning to make, but I simply became bored with typing out response to criticisms that would fail my first year of secondary Christian education class. As I see it, Daniel hasn’t done much refuting and his ability to rest on the usual atheist quip: there is no evidence, is so wrong he might as well go jump off the flat earth.
As I look back over what I wrote, I think to myself, “Why don’t Christians see the mistakes that they are making? Why do they believe in anything really that has no proof for its existence?” But then who am I kidding? This person wouldn’t pass a second grade science course. You might as well take a space shuttle and go hit the firmament that was put in place over the Earth by God.
Paley’s Watchmaker is the argument that says that complex structures require a creator, because such intricate parts working together to form such an intricate design require a designer, and therefore the universe and life were designed by, whom else, a god. The problem with this is that it is comparing organic, or living, things to inorganic and machines. Living things have three intrinsic properties: everything dies (whether it be an accident, old age, being eaten, etc.), organisms unsuited to their environment are very unlikely to survive (natural selection), and life reproduces with variation (how fathers and sons look like one another, but not exactly). Does a watch die? Does a watch reproduce with variation? A better example would be an analogy for the watchmaker:
- A watch is complex.
- A watch has a watchmaker.
- The universe is also complex.
- Therefore the universe has a watchmaker.
The last step is wrong, because it assumes something that is not supported by the criteria.
- Leaves are complex cellulose structures.
- Leaves grow on trees.
- Money bills are also complex cellulose structures.
- Therefore money grow on trees (which, according to the idiom, they don’t).
And, every watchmaker has a father. So if God is the watchmaker, who’s God’s daddy? If you come back and say that God has always been there, then it is the same if I assume that the universe has always been there as well. Another thing, Paley’s Watchmaker is not an argument for the existence of the Christian God; it is the argument for a god. It very well could be Zeus, Ra, Odin, or Allah.
To finish off, I have a quote from The Blind Watchmaker by Richard Dawkins.
“Paley’s argument is made with passionate sincerity and is informed by the best biological scholarship of the day, but it is wrong, gloriously and utterly wrong. The analogy between telescope and eye, between watch and living organism, is false. All appearances to the contrary, the only watchmaker in nature is the blind force of physics, albeit deplored in a special way. A true watchmaker has foresight: he designs his cogs and springs, and plans their interconnections, with a future purpose in his mind’s eye. Natural selection, the blind unconscious, automatic process which Darwin discovered, and which we now know is the explanation for the existence and apparently purposeful form of all life, has no purpose in mind. It has no mind and no mind’s eye. It does not plan for the future. It has no vision, no foresight, no sight at all. If it can be said to play the role of watchmaker in nature, it is the blind watchmaker.”
“Everything had a cause, and every cause is the effect of a previous cause. Something must have started it all. God is the first cause, the unmoved mover, the creator and sustainer of the universe.”
This I refuted only a few paragraphs ago. If everything had a cause, what caused God? How do you know that God was the first cause? And even if this god was the “uncaused cause,” how do you know that it is the Christian God, or the Muslim God, the Jewish God, the Hindu God(s), the Wiccan Gods, the Greco-Roman Gods, the Egyptian God(s)?
Pascal’s Wager is the idea that having faith is better than having no faith, because it’s covering all the bases. The wager is that if the atheist is right, then there is no afterlife and no punishment or reward, but if he’s wrong, then he will get eternal hell fire for not believing in God. But if the believing man is wrong about there being a god, then big whoop, but if he’s right then he gets eternal bliss, therefore the believing man has nothing to lose in believing.
What if the God Pascal believes in, the Christian god, is not real? What if another deity exists, like the Pagan gods or the Muslim one? This reflects my argument in another post I made a while back before my WordPress days where I mention that getting to Heaven is like playing a game of guessing where the right card is, but there are thousands of cards to represent every religion, ideology, and deity that has ever existed in the history of man. The odds are so slim that any one will go to Heaven, that it is mathematically impossible. I say impossible, not in the sense that it couldn’t happen, but in the sense that it is so unlikely, that it probably won’t happen. It is possible that I could jump from here (Texas) to Alaska, but there is no evidence to support that claim, no one has ever done it, the majority of humans cannot jump more than a few metres. It is totally possible for me to do it, but the odds of me doing that are so unlikely, it is considered impossible. The same goes for getting to Heaven when there are an infinite number of different possibilities, the odds just aren’t that great. For it is completely possible that the Christian god exists, as well as the Muslim one, the Hindu god(s), the Pagan gods, the Norse gods, the Greco-Roman gods, $cientology, the Flying Spaghetti Monster, etc. etc. I digress. The wager simply plays on the fear that people have of being unsure of whether or not there is something beyond this life, so some people who were on the fence may have turned to religion, just to be safe. But why not believe in every god then just to be completely safe? Well, if every other religion says that every other religion is complete bullshit, then you are just as safe in believing in every religion as you are in believing in one religion or no religion at all.
However, there are things to lose by believing. The nonbeliever is not weighed down by dogma and superstition. In Christianity and most other faiths, it is better to go on blind faith and just believe that there is some magical man in the sky than to look at the evidence and sees where it points you. The believer loses all sense of intellectual freedom. The believer’s dogma tells them that certain things are bad, such as being gay. A gay believer feels guilty for being born a certain way that was not understood by primitive, fearful men, and often other believers will harass, beat, and kill gay people, as is instructed in the Christian holy book. Being a woman is also bad. Women in most faiths are considered second-class citizens and not worthy of the same rights, freedoms, and protections as a man has. Women are seen as housewives and home keepers and nothing more, which is why they were denied the right to own land and vote in America up until the early twentieth century. Contraceptives are another thing, especially in the Catholic Church, where the Pope Benedict XVI has said himself to the African people, which is about one-third Catholic, that condoms do not protect against AIDS. The believer has to believe what their holy men tell them, or risk eternal damnation, even at the cost of their own health and safety. Belief is detrimental to this life, the believer, and those around them, even if the believer thinks that they are somehow saving themselves for the second life by doing these things.
“The Bible is Proof of God’s Existence”
1. God is perfect and would not lie.
2. God said that the bible is true.
3. The bible says that God exists.
4. Therefore, God exists.
This ends up being obvious circular reasoning.
However, let us allow them that and say that the Bible, a book, is proof of the Judeo-Christian God. Then The Lord of the Rings is proof of hobbits and elves. Harry Potter is proof of wizards and flying broomsticks. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is proof for the existence of aliens and UFO’s. The list goes on and on. Now one might say that the Bible was inspired by God. Well, Dianetics ($cientology) was inspired by Xenu and alien soul-catchers. It’s a book that had spiritual inspiration. Or what about the Book of Mormon? It was written with the inspiration from the angel that Joseph Smith saw and the golden tablets he found in New York.
To clarify why I use the dollar sign when referring to the cult of $cientology, that is because I don’t see them as a cult, a religion, or anything close to that. It’s used as mockery of how they are obsessed with taking the money of desperate people that don’t know any better. I don’t know why I single out $cientology, though; almost all religions are like that.
(This next one I don’t know how to articulate well without simply copying Dan Barker, so I am just going to quote Dan Barker.)
“God is a being than which no greater being can be conceived. If god does not exist in actuality, then he can be conceived to be greater than he is. Therefore, God exists.”
There are dozens of varieties of the ontological argument, but St. Anselm was the first to articulate it in this manner. The flaw in this reasoning is to treat existence as an attribute. Existence is a given. Nothing can be great or perfect that does not first exist, so the argument is backwards.
A good way to expose this reasoning is to replace “being” and “God” with some other words. (“Paradise Isle is an island . . .”) You could prove the existence of a perfect “void,” which would mean nothing exists!
The argument squashes itself, because god can be conceived to have infinite mass, which is disproved empirically. And it is comparing apples and oranges to assume that existence in conception can somehow be related to existence in actuality. Even if the comparison holds, why is existence in actuality “greater” (whatever that means) than existence in conception? Perhaps it is the other way around.
No wonder Bertrand Russell said all ontological arguments are a case of bad grammar!
“You Can’t Disprove God”
This one I could refute with my eyes closed, arms bound, and mouth gagged.
You can’t disprove Allah. You can’t disprove the Greco-Roman Gods. You can’t disprove the Hindu God(s). You can’t disprove Santa. You can’t disprove The Flying Spaghetti Monster. You can’t disprove The Invisible Pink Unicorn. You can’t disprove The Celestial Teapot.
You need evidence to have any sort of validity added to your claims. Just assuming that something exists without any sort of evidence just because that’s what you have always been told is childish and stupid. There is no reason to assume that a god exists at all in any circumstance. Even if you say that we don’t know where the Universe came from, therefore it must be a god, there is still no evidence to suggest a god, so why assume it? You might as well assume that it was Santa Claus. My claim has the same amount of validity behind it as yours.
“Jesus is Proof of God, Because Jesus Was God!”
Circular reasoning never fails to amuse me.
How do you know that Jesus was even real? How do you know that Jesus turned water into wine, or cloned fish and bread, or walked on water, or rose from the dead? There’s no proof of Jesus outside of the Gospels, whatsoever. The Gospels themselves are contradictory to the point where it’s not even funny any more. Some of them say that Jesus’ crucifixion was followed by an earthquake, some of the other Gospels don’t mention this. One of the Gospels says that after Jesus died a bunch of other dead people in Jerusalem rose from the dead and walked the Earth. Where is the evidence for this mass zombie plague outside of the Gospels, or outside of that certain Gospel? Don’t you think if hundreds, possibly thousands of people rose from the dead there would be at least one mentioning of it by the local Roman or Jewish historians, which were plenty at the time? In fact, the Gospels themselves were written nearly sixty to seventy years after Jesus died, and that is what we are told by preachers and apologists, when actually they were written more than a century after the supposed death of Jesus. However, even if they were written when Christians say they were written, this would mean that the Apostles, which were probably young men at the time, maybe twenty to thirty, would be about seventy to one-hundred years old, more than double the average life expectancy back then. That would as if a dog lived to be thirty or forty years old. And if they weren’t written by the Apostles, then the Bible lied, which could mean that all of the Gospels are just some old, poorly written, and often contradictory story book. Even if they were written by second-hand accounts to Jesus’ miracles and life, they would be inaccurate. Memory can be distorted by old age, loss of memory, and many other factors, especially when trying to remember what someone years ago said about someone else’s life. Then you have the whole problem of the Catholic Church editing the Gospels and the entire Bible literally hundreds of times, but I won’t go into that today.
It is safe to assume, that even if a historical Jesus lived (someone who inspired the tales of Jesus), he was not the Son of God, therefore not God, and therefore there is no proof of God in Jesus’ life.
To finish this off, I do not need to prove the non-existence of something. It is the job of the theist to provide me with the proof of their god, or any god, for that matter. Show me the proof. You are making the claim that there is something. Just like I make the claim that I have a magical sandwich that cures cancer. You probably wouldn’t believe me unless I showed you the proof for this magical sandwich, to which there is none. The same, I won’t believe in a god if I see no proof for one. The second I see that, I will stand corrected and firmly believe in a deity, with evidence to back it. Scientists/atheists/etc. believe in something, because of the evidence, theists believe in something in spite of the evidence.
Disclaimer One: I forgot to put up this disclaimer when I originally posted this!
Disclaimer Two: This was actually written more than a year ago when I had less of a grasp on science and the theory of evolution as a whole. I have not edited it from its original form, so any and all mistakes can be chalked up to my ignorance at the time.
I do not believe in evolution. Belief is defined as thinking something is true, despite no evidence backing it or denying the evidence that refutes it. I do not believe in evolution, I accept it. Evolution is a theory, but a theory is always falsifiable. Evolution could be wrong, but with the amount of evidence that supports it, it is hard to deny that evolution has occurred in the way scientists predict it has. Intelligent design is not a theory, because it is not falsifiable. It makes no claims or predictions of why things are they way they are, it simply says, “We don’t know what caused life to start out or why such and such happened, so we are going to say it was God who did it all and leave it at that.” The biggest problem with this is that this is rendering God and the idea of a deity incapable of being falsified. In order for a theory to work, it has to make claims that can be either proved or disproved. If it is simply going to the default answer of, “God did it,” that is not a theory, that is a belief that has absolutely no evidence to back it.
In a conference talking about evolution and intelligent design, a speaker/presenter asked everyone in the room to raise their hand if they were an evolutionary biologist or were getting their major in biology. The camera showed that about seventy-five-percent of the people there had their hands up. The speaker then asked for them to keep their hands up if they could think of any shred of evidence that contradicts evolution. No one in the room had their hand up after that. If you can think of one piece of evidence (EVIDENCE, not just a claim that says, “God did it”) that contradicts the theory of evolution by natural selection and random mutation, then I will award you one-thousand dollars of my own money and cease to accept in evolution.
Irreducible complexity is also not a legitimate claim, because it cannot be proved because there is no way to tell if there even is a higher being like God, but the claims made around it can be disproved, like the idea that certain organisms are useless unless they have all of their parts, by looking at specific examples like the bacterial flagellum, which I have mentioned in another note that I dedicated to refuting nothing but irreducible complexity. Things may look designed, such as the vertebrate eye or the bacterial flagellum, but there are ways that those things could evolve over time to become the complex organisms and organs that we see today like the eye. The design inference can also be disproved or refuted when it comes to evolutionary biology. It says that things with high probability are things that happen by natural causes; things with a low probability and unspecified probability, you say that it was simply chance; and those things that have low probabilities and specified are things that are designed. Let us go back to feudal Europe and we see a ring of toad stools in our field, which are called fairy rings. Is this a high probability thing? No, it wasn’t here yesterday, and it won’t be here tomorrow or next week because toad stools break down very fast, and who knows when it will come again. Is it a low probability with an unspecified or random nature? No, it’s in a circle, this looks pretty specified to me. Is it a low probability with a specified nature? Of course! And as feudal peasants of Europe we know what causes fairy rings, it’s where fairies and pixies had their little parties. Ummm… no. Unfortunately, if you look under toad stools that form a fairy ring you won’t find little beer cans or champagne bottles. Being the time it is now, we know what causes fairy rings. Fungi reproduce in a concentric manner that send out mycelium, which are roots basically, and because it is concentric, it forms a circle. And under the right temperature and humidity and many other factors, they create fairy rings. This completely destroys the design inference, because it does not account for things we have yet to figure out. We don’t know how the human eye evolved, we have some theories, but those can be disproved or proved based on evidence that we have yet to find (or that I have yet to read up on).
Evolution may be just a theory, but so is the atomic theory, does that mean that atoms don’t exist, no, we have seen them; so is the theory of gravity, does this mean that gravity does not exist, no, we see things being forced down by gravity all the time; so is the theory of a flat earth, does this mean the earth is not flat, no, but we have seen that through so many photos of the earth, through voyages around the earth, and so much more evidence that the earth is round. It may be just a theory, but we see evolution happening right before our very eyes. Evolution is occurring when you grow from a baby to an adult, your body is changing with its environment and due to genetic traits, which is why some people are taller than others or are smarter than others. Evolution occurs when you see a pond of fish evading predators, those more camouflaged into the bottom of the pond or those faster than others, are more likely to survive and pass on their genes, over time making camouflaged fish and fish who are super fast and agile.
I do not believe in evolution, I accept it.