Evaluating atheistic reponses to scientific arguments for theism

I thought that I would take a serious look at a couple of recent comments from the atheists who have been traipsing through looking for debate summaries. Normally I don’t allow these kinds of comments through to dirty up the blog, but these ones were clean. So, I thought I would post them for all to see how atheism compares to Christianity.

First, let’s take a look at commenter Jason R.

First post by Jason R

First of all, commenter ECM, who is a deist, writes that the scientific arguments “make the painfully obvious case for deism”.

Jason R. writes in response:

“painfully obvious case for deism”

As soon as that case exists then I’m sure Hitch will debate against it. So far the case doesn’t exist. Every argument for deism has been debunked, the supporters of which just need to perform a bit of due diligence and research it.

Here is my reply to his first post

Can you give a list of the arguments for a deistic God that have been debunked?

Here is his reply to my question

Every single one that I am aware of.
http://www.google.com is good starting point.

What we learn about atheism from this exchange

It is a bad idea for atheists to insinuate that they have disproved the case for theism without citing logically valid arguments with premises that are supported by specific evidence. Because people like me are going to ask you: “what is your reason or evidence to support that assertion?” And you need to be ready to answer that before you make your assertions.

If you cannot even list the arguments for theism, then you don’t know that they have been refuted. If your refutation of my scientific arguments is “Google it”, then maybe you should reconsider your assertions. You’re not helping your team when you cannot list arguments on the other side. Let me be clear: I can argue your case better than you can, and that should concern you.

Commenter ECM adds:

Traditionally, in a debate, one will attempt to at least refute the points laid out rather than falling back on “Google it” and then offering the standard boilerplate materialist reply that ‘it was all one big accident’ but not before, of course, taking a gratuitous whack at theists a la Hitchens.

…Furthermore, if you do not wish to do so (and when your response is ‘Google it’ you clearly do not or cannot), then why waste everyone’s time with the same hollow argument that at least Wintery and I have heard a thousand times?


Second, let’s take a look at commenter Arthur S.

Hist first post

Arthur S. writes:

Everyone of the scientific arguments from the Christian posts site (see list below) has been refuted time and time again as you well know (seek and ye shall find vs. ignorance is bliss) but christians persist in claiming them as being valid. The same is true of the philosophical arguments which are really more about word play than useful proofs of anything.

Now ask yourself a question. What has he really said here? Well, nothing. He makes an assertion that my arguments have been refuted time and time again. What we have here is just an assertion without any evidence, followed by an insult, followed by an unabashed confession of ignorance regarding the construction of philosophical arguments.

His “refutations” of my scientific arguments

1) Creation of the universe out of nothing. (Refuted over and over. In addition the “how, who, what, when, where, why was god created?” are questions that can never be satisfactorily answered. How can a christian be satisfied with the shallow answers provided by the bible?)
2) Fine-tuning of physical constants and ratios to support the minimal requirements for life (see response to 4 below).
3) Origin of biological information in the simplest living organism (please read up on evolution before using this tired argument again).
4) Galactic, stellar and planetary fine-tuning to support the minimal requirements for life (Conditions for life exist throughout the universe. Christians fall into these kinds of traps all the time. Once contradictory evidence is demonstrated, they fight it for a few decades and then have to modify their belief system to accommodate the new findings. Kind of like how christians defended slavery in the U.S. in the 1900’s based on the bible until they developed some morals that were in opposition to the bible which contradicts the claim that our morals come from the bible).
5) Sudden origin of all animal phyla in the Cambrian explosion (”Sudden” if you consider 50 to 100 million years sudden and have an incredulous attitude).
6) Natural limits of biological change (again study up on evolution before making these kinds of nonsense arguments)

A critical evaluation of his responses

Let’s take a look at his replies point-by-point.

  1. No evidence is cited.
  2. No evidence is cited. There is a long-winded personal attack against Christians, which is irrelevant to the science.
  3. He says that evolution can explain the origin of the simplest living system. But evolution requires that replication already be in place, it cannot be used as an explanation of the first replicator. So citing evolution here is no defense to the explain the origin of the first replicating organism.
  4. No evidence is cited, but there is a long-winded insult.
  5. No source was provided for his “50-100 million years” number. The correct number according to the University of California at Berkeley is 5 million years. So that could just be an outright lie. And more insults, of course.
  6. No evidence is cited, but we do get yet another insult.

So, there is popular atheism. No evidence, one probable lie, and tons of insults. I am not saying all atheists are like this, but many of them are like this. And I am talking about people with good degrees, good careers and good jobs. They really have never bothered to look into these issues. The creed of atheism is these ignorant, hateful diatribes.

And that’s why they love people like Christopher Hitchens, and why many atheist web sites think he is a great debater. Because he is good at hating and insulting people he disagrees with. And that makes him the best atheist. On the other hand, Christians love people like William Lane Craig, because arguments, evidences and truth matter more to us.

Our bestselling books are Lee Strobel books, in which scholars with one or more PhDs are interviewed about their academic research publications. Their bestseller is “God is not great”, in which an uneducated journalist goes on a hate-spree, without making a single formal argument against the existence of God. These are two different sets of values.

And that is why when we have debates between William Lane Craig and Christopher Hitchens, all the militant atheists like Common Sense Atheism and Debunking Christianity have to award the victory to Craig.


My advice for atheists

My recommendation is that you proof-read everything you write and remove all the personal attacks and insults. Then, for every assertion, you need to reference some data from a book published by an academic press, or a peer-reviewed research publication. That way, you will be able to sustain your arguments when you try to debate Christians.

I know it feels good for you to hate and insult those with whom you disagree. And since morality and rationality unjustificable on atheism, since atheism cannot ground objective morality and free will, I am not surprised at your tone. But we were all created in God’s image. At least try to treat your neighbors with respect and tolerance.

You can read see a list of arguments for and against Christianity in my post here.

3 thoughts on “Evaluating atheistic reponses to scientific arguments for theism”

  1. I am not sure how one can practically distinguish deism from atheism, in that deism as I understand it posits that God does not intervene in human affairs. The deistic God then simply sets the machinery of physical law a-whirring and then blows town. As an atheist, I have no argument against deism, but nor do I think it functionally different from atheism.

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  2. First off, it’s obvious that an atheist believes there is nothing ‘there’ and, no matter how much reason is brought to bear, no intelligence–nor even any hints or signs of it–will be found, and that anything perceived to be part of a higher purpose/order/intellect is merely the subjective projection of a limited intellect groping for meaning in a hostile universe.

    As for deists, what they actually believe is that such a being/intellect/law not only exists (instantly vaporizing any common ground an atheist can find with a deist and why Hawkins et al went after Flew with such vehemence) but that it can be detected via the faculties of human reason, reaching exactly the opposite conclusion of the atheist who sees nothing but nature, red in tooth and claw.

    Now, knowing that atheists think there is no hope of ever finding this intellect (in fact, that there is literally no point in trying to find it or comprehend it because its objective existence is as possible as Santa Claus or the Great Pumpkin), and that deists believe that such a being/law is out there, indeed that it must exist and that it is knowable in some fashion, you tell me how there isn’t a massive, gaping, unbridgeable gap between atheism and deism.

    My guess is your conception of deism stems springs from a basic comprehension of Paley’s blind watchmaker, but even he did not posit that this god was undetectable, simply that he did not interfere in a personal way–this does not mean its presence is not detectable, however, just that it doesn’t interfere in the day to day running of this extraordinarily complex, mind-boggling, construct we find ourselves contained within. Thus, it hardly matters if he just wound it up and let it go, since his/its fingerpritns are all over creation and, as far as a deist is concerned, eminently detectable.

    (This is a thumbnail but I think it’s safe to say that it gets the point across that deism and atheism do not have any common ground–the only ‘philosophy’ that shares any common ground w/ atheism is agnosticism and, if I had to guess, most agnostics, should they care to give it a second thought, would be just as comfortable as a deist.)

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  3. I’m an atheist. I have been an atheist for 17 years. Prior to that I was a fundamentalist Christian for almost 10 years. I’m now 44 years old.

    I know precisely why I’m an atheist.

    Perhaps if I get time in the not too distant future I’ll contribute more (assuming that you’ll let my atheistic comments get through, of course). For now I just want to point out that just as many Christians never having considered why they believe doesn’t stop you thinking, the fact that many atherists have never thought their position through doesn’t mean that none of us have.

    Cheers,

    Stuart

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