Author Topic: looking for atheist responses to "the folly of atheism"  (Read 4627 times)

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Offline relativetruth

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Re: looking for atheist responses to "the folly of atheism"
« Reply #29 on: October 29, 2010, 10:59:58 AM »
2 gods cannot exist if both are omnipotent.  :P
Why not?
God(s) exist and are imaginary

Offline kcrady

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Re: looking for atheist responses to "the folly of atheism"
« Reply #30 on: October 29, 2010, 11:03:28 AM »
hullo everyone,  :)

i stumbled upon this article today: http://www.christiancourier.com/articles/687-the-folly-of-atheism.

Translation: I don't approach the issue of my god's existence with a desire to know the truth, carefully selecting what sources and arguments best represent the views of the various sides.  Instead, I just stumble around, and if something confirms my previous beliefs, then YAYZ!

to make myself clear,
1. i may not agree with everything this writer says.

Translation: If you guys punk him with facts and logic, I can just goalpost-move and say, "HA-HA!  I didn't agree with that part anyway!"


2. i am not an expert in cosmology, abiogenesis, or evolution (which are all disputed by this guy).

Translation: I don't know shit about the scientific fields this guy is attacking, and I am not curious enough to use Google or Wikipedia to even get a basic idea, much less actually visit a library or Amazon.com.  I'm just stumbling around here, remember?

3. i do not plan to argue for or defend what this writer says.

Translation: I'm not gonna stand behind this cut-and-paste BS, because then it would be my ass getting handed to me instead of some stranger's.  Cowardly?   Noooooooo, I'm just, er....stumbling in a different direction...

i'm just curious to see how atheists would respond to the 6 points that he makes in his article, and i've noticed that there are many impressively intelligent and knowledgable atheists on this forum, so i thought i'd pick your brains.

Translation: Hey, who knows, maybe you guys won't have an answer for some of this, and I'll get to do an end-zone dance and shout "Christianity FTW!"  Worth a shot.  Cut'n'Paste takes, what, a minute of my time?  And dozens of combined person-hours for the lot of you to respond?

for your convenience, i copy and paste his 6 points here:

Translation: For my convenience, that is (see above).

==============================
1. In defiance of one of the most elementary principles of logic,

Because Christians are all about logic!  Until we're trying to explain how Yahweh is simultaneously One Person and Three Persons at the same time and in the same respect.  Or explaining how all those Omni-attributes work, or pretty much anything else about our own world-view.

the atheist suggests that “something” (e.g., the Universe) came from “nothing;” that zero plus zero equals something greater than zero.

Zero minus ten trillion = -10 trillion.  Zero plus 10 trillion = 10 trillion.  So, if you put the zero in the middle and start counting up and down from it, you get a shit-ton of numbers, but if you add up the pluses and minuses it still equals zero.  Likewise for the matter-energy of the Cosmos minus the gravitational potential energy created during cosmic expansion.  Or you could do it Pythagorean-style, draw out a Tetraktys and learn to count to ten.  Of course you have no idea what I'm talking about because you Did Not Do The Research.

If you want to be an atheist, you must put your “common sense” on the shelf!

ZOMG!  Man, those atheists are a crazy, silly bunch, I'm tellin' ya.  We fundies never put our common sense on the shelf, no sireee!  It makes total sense that snakes can talk, or maybe Adam and Eve were Parselmouths.  Oh, and donkeys too.  We go to hear an ass talk every Sunday morning, so yeah.  Our theory of origins says that there was this really, really big guy, kinda like a genie, and he made people by speaking them into existence (Genesis 1) and sculpting them out of clay with his hands (Genesis 2), probably both at the same time.  Never mind the contradiction, as long as Somebody made us, it's perfect common sense!

3. Atheism contends that the marvelously ordered Universe, designated as “Cosmos” by the Greeks because of its intricate design,

You mean, the intricately designed Greek Cosmos of the Almagest, with its perfect crystal spheres and heavenly bodies (planets and Sun) orbiting the Earth in perfect circles, and all those equants and deferents and epicycles, all put together like a Swiss watch?  Yes, of course that would be a product of intelligent design.  Except that we don't live in that Cosmos.  We still use the word, but it doesn't have the same shades of meaning for us that it did for the Greeks.  Like pretty much any other 2,500 year-old loan-word in the English language.

Does a contractor pile lumber, brick, wire, pipe, etc., on a building site, blast it with dynamite, and expect a fine dwelling to result? Is that the way atheists build their houses? To so argue is to reveal a truly “senseless heart” (cf. Rom. 1:21).

Yes, atheist hearts are quite senseless.  They pump blood.  Of course, your heart is senseless too, since you're the one who's "arguing so."  You will strive in vain to find any scientist who would accept this as a valid summation of the Big Bang theory.   

4. In spite of millions of examples in nature, which suggest that biological life can only derive from a living source,

Trick question: Is a virus alive?
Extra credit: In your view, are viruses something that must have been designed by an Intelligent Beingtm?

skeptics are willing to abandon logic and opt for the myth of “spontaneous generation,”

Yeah!  Abandoning logic for myths is just so wrong!  What kind of idiot would ever do something like that?!

Can a proton “feel” guilt?

They're too small to eat magic apples, but they could have if there'd been an electron-sized talking snake... 

The notion that morality has developed merely as a survival factor (cf. Hayes, 174), is asinine in the extreme.

The "we got it from eating a magic fruit" theory is so much more scientific!
« Last Edit: October 29, 2010, 11:08:34 AM by kcrady »
"The question of whether atheists are, you know, right, typically gets sidestepped in favor of what is apparently the much more compelling question of whether atheists are jerks."

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Offline Cyberia

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Re: looking for atheist responses to "the folly of atheism"
« Reply #31 on: October 29, 2010, 11:24:36 PM »
Quote
1. In defiance of one of the most elementary principles of logic, the atheist suggests that “something” (e.g., the Universe) came from “nothing;” that zero plus zero equals something greater than zero.

0+0=0

but..

3-3=0

So as long as I balance the 'something' with a 'negative something', I haven't broken any rules.  In our universe, the 'negative something' is Gravity.


Quote
Victor Stenger, an atheistic professor at the University of Hawaii, admits that “everyday experience and common sense” supports the concept that something cannot come from nothing. Nevertheless, he suggests that “common sense is often wrong, and our normal experiences are but a tiny fraction of reality” (26-27). If you want to be an atheist, you must put your “common sense” on the shelf!

If you want to be SCIENTIST you must do this.  General Relativity defies “common sense”, as does Quantum Mechanics, and many other fields.  Welcome to life on Earth.  Things aren't as simple as they seem from the armchair are they?


Quote
2. Atheists contend that the entire Universe, estimated to be 20 billion light years across (the distance light could travel in 20 billion years at the rate of 186,000 miles per second) accidentally derived from a submicroscopic particle of matter. As one writer expresses it: “Astonishingly, scientists now calculate that everything in this vast universe grew out of a region many billions of times smaller than a single proton, one of the atom’s basic particles” (Gore, 705). This is totally nonsensical.

Truly an astounding refutation.  No, seriously, his ENTIRE argument is: "This is totally nonsensical."  Um, ok.  And again, armchair quarterbacking.


Quote
3. Atheism contends that the marvelously ordered Universe, designated as “Cosmos” by the Greeks because of its intricate design, is merely the result of an ancient explosion (the Big Bang). Does a contractor pile lumber, brick, wire, pipe, etc., on a building site, blast it with dynamite, and expect a fine dwelling to result? Is that the way atheists build their houses? To so argue is to reveal a truly “senseless heart” (cf. Rom. 1:21).

1) The universe is a MESS, have you seen some of the Hubble pictures?  Gas clouds here, rocks there, ice over here, black holes randomly scattered about, In our solar system, we have THOUSANDS of chaotically drifting asteroids and several dozen planetoid size objects, many of which have collided at some point in their history.

The only 'order' is that imposed by Gravity (galaxies, solar systems, and sphere-shaped planets)

But he really means Earth, in a sort of Blind-Watchmaker + Fine-Tuning combo-argument.  Well, life is adapted to Earth, not the other way around.


Quote
4. In spite of millions of examples in nature, which suggest that biological life can only derive from a living source, atheists believe that billions of years ago, life was accidentally generated from inorganic materials. Common sense and experimentation argue otherwise, but skeptics are willing to abandon logic and opt for the myth of “spontaneous generation,” because the only other alternative is “special creation.” To atheists that simply is not a possibility. Why? Because the fool, for emotional reasons, has already decided: “There is no God.”

Experimentation EXPLICITLY disagrees.  Reality is on my side.  Urey-Miller Experiment.


Quote
5. Atheists believe that blind, unintelligent forces of nature, via genetic mutations and the process of natural selection, produced the myriads of delightful creatures that inhabit Earth’s environment. The skeptic can see that a simple pair of pliers, with only four components, must have been designed by an intelligent being, yet he argues that the human body, with its 100 trillion constituent elements (cells), organized into ten magnificent systems, is merely the result of a marriage between Mother Nature and Father Time.

Blind-watchmaker attempted and failed.  Overwhelming evidence for Evolution, none for God.


Quote
How very stupid such ideology is!

Says the guy promoting an invisible, intangible, untestable, undetectable, unprovable, ILLOGICAL, magic sky god.


Quote
6. Atheists believe that from a tiny speck of inorganic, self-created matter, human consciousness and moral sensitivity evolved. That is utterly ludicrous; can a rock decide to “think”? Can a proton “feel” guilt? The notion that morality has developed merely as a survival factor (cf. Hayes, 174), is asinine in the extreme. Plants have survived; do they possess a moral code? And what if one decides that he doesn’t care about the “survival” principle? Can he do any “wrong”?

You're...an...idiot.

Are plants social?  Are they capable, physically, of harming each other and thus in need of a moral code?

How about rocks?

Protons?
Soon we will judge angels.

Offline siehjin

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Re: looking for atheist responses to "the folly of atheism"
« Reply #32 on: November 18, 2010, 08:16:37 AM »
hullo everyone,

thank you for all the responses so far. :)

i did not appreciate wayne jackson's insulting and offensive tone, using words like 'asinine' and 'stupid' with abandon.

i apologise for being too lazy to Do The Research, as KCrady said. i'll look into some of the things that have been mentioned, e.g. the urey-miller experiment, the matter-energy of the Cosmos minus the gravitational potential energy created during cosmic expansion (i don't really know what this means). at least that's given me some starting points for research.

for the record, the part about "impressively intelligent and knowledgable atheists" was not empty flattery. i am honestly impressed with a lot of the posts i've read here, and am humbled by the realisation that i really have a lot to learn.

and yes, when putting up the OP i did try to stack it so that i wouldn't look too silly if all his arguments were torn apart (which they were), but apparently everyone saw through that ruse... so...  :-[

anyway, at the risk of embarrassing myself again, i'd like to try reiterating wayne jackson's first point. the one about something coming from nothing.

this is actually the oldest argument for theism, if i'm not mistaken. the cosmological argument. it is also the one that convinces me that God exists. not necessarily the God of the bible, but some kind of God.

here's one version of the cosmological argument (this is copied from http://www.saintaquinas.com/philosophy.html)
1. The existence of something is intelligible only if it has an explanation.
2. The existence of the universe is thus either:
a. unintelligible or
b. has an explanation
3. No rational person should accept premise (2a) by definition of rationality
4. A rational person should accept (2b), that the universe has some explanation for its being.
5. There are only three kinds of explanations:
a. Scientific: physical conditions plus relevant laws yield the Event explained.
b. Personal: Explanations that cite desires, beliefs, powers and intentions of some personal agent.
c. Essential: The essence of the thing to be explained necessitates its existence or qualities (for example, if you ask why a triangle has 3 sides, I would respond that it is the essence and necessity for a triangle to have 3 sides by its definition.
6. The explanation for the existence of the whole universe can’t be scientific because there can’t be initial physical conditions and laws independent of what is to be explained. Event the Big Bang theory fails to explain the existence of the universe because modern science cannot explain where the original Big Bang singularity came from. The universe as a sum total of all natural conditions and laws cannot be explained unless we have an Archimidean reference point outside the system.
7. The explanation for the existence of the universe can’t be essential because the universe cannot exist necessarily. This is because, it could have been possible for the universe not to have existed (if the Big Bang had been slightly different it is possible for large-scale structures to not have existed). Thus the universe is not something the must necessarily or essentially exists.
8. Thus a rational person should believe that the universe has a personal explanation.
9. No personal agent but God could create the entire universe.
10. A rational person should believe that there is a God.

i appreciated xphobe's examples of how Universe behaves in ways often contradictory to what we would expect. because of this, i agree that i have to keep an open mind that it's possible that something (the Universe) came out of nothing. but intuitively, the cosmological argument makes much more sense to me... am i being irrational here?
1. if God does not exist: we are a meaningless cosmic accident.
2. if God exists, but is Evil: we are screwed.
3. but if God exists, and is Good: we have meaning, purpose, and hope.

Offline William

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Re: looking for atheist responses to "the folly of atheism"
« Reply #33 on: November 18, 2010, 08:34:19 AM »
1. The existence of something is intelligible only if it has an explanation.
2. The existence of the universe is thus either:
a. unintelligible or
b. has an explanation

Uum ... what happened to the option of: "We're working on it?"  :shrug  Not only is that option missing from the argument, but also there is no acknowledgement of the enormous amount of intelligence we've already gathered on the problem.

EDIT: And look at the track record of science in overturning religious myths.  Pretty good eh?  And picking up speed.
What has religion ever explained that has made science stop and say: "Oh shit we were wrong!?!"
Just because science can't explain something completely right now does not mean science will NEVER explain it.
« Last Edit: November 18, 2010, 08:56:53 AM by William »
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Offline pianodwarf

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Re: looking for atheist responses to "the folly of atheism"
« Reply #34 on: November 18, 2010, 09:13:57 AM »
The explanation for the existence of the whole universe can’t be scientific because there can’t be initial physical conditions and laws independent of what is to be explained.

Why not?  We certainly don't see that being the case in any other field of investigation... in fact, far from it, the only reason such fields came up is that there were natural phenomena that required explanation.

Quote
Event the Big Bang theory fails to explain the existence of the universe because modern science cannot explain where the original Big Bang singularity came from.

Rewind to about two hundred years ago, and you'd be saying something like this: "Even the theory of combustion fails to explain why the sun puts out far more energy than any chemical reaction ever observed.  Therefore, the reason that the sun puts out so much energy cannot have a scientific explanation."  That's just because nuclear physics hadn't been discovered yet, that's all; the reason the sun puts out the amount of energy that it does is now well understood.  Of course, when science discovers what caused the Big Bang -- and they will -- theists will simply move the goalposts a step back and say that science can't explain the cause of the cause, etc etc.  This isn't really the Cosmological Argument, it's more like the First Cause Argument.

Quote
The universe as a sum total of all natural conditions and laws cannot be explained unless we have an Archimidean reference point outside the system.

Again, why not?  Can you name another discipline where this is the case.
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Offline Omen

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Re: looking for atheist responses to "the folly of atheism"
« Reply #35 on: November 18, 2010, 09:34:46 AM »
I find this statement mind boggling.

i did not appreciate wayne jackson's insulting and offensive tone, using words like 'asinine' and 'stupid' with abandon.

Out of all the crap in that post, your only concern is the use of asinine and stupid ( which is presented as arguments from personal incredulity ) rather than the rhetoric that is used both to demonize and to notably obscure.  For example:

Quote
Victor Stenger, an atheistic professor at

How does one specifically become an 'atheistic' professor? 

Are there some 'atheistic' formal studies I seemed to have missed in my college education?

What is the purpose of identifying a physicist who is a professor of physics, as an atheistic professor? 

Is physics atheistic?

What audience is the appeal being made too?

What kind of notion is it that an author feels the need to negatively stereotype based purely on the perceptions of a target demographic that would want to believe the worst about others not like them anyway?


Quote
the atheist suggests

We do?

Quote
Atheists contend..

Really?

Quote
Atheism contends that the marvelously

Is that so?

Quote
atheists believe ..

But I don't really..

Quote
Atheists believe that blind,..

Are you talking about someone else?

Quote
Atheists believe that from

:sighs:

These are not 6 points that deserve a response, because not one of these points can be reasonably agreed as an accurate portrayal or even a logical step by step follow up to the conclusions drawn against them.  Each and every single point is snared in so much outright ignorance of basic science as it is simple philosophy, or even the logical conundrums suggested from either.  The author, which you seem patently unaware of, uses little more than obtuse rhetoric and targets an ignorant audience of individuals all to willing to believe it.

Do you really believe that atheists 'accept' any of these points as an accurate portrayal of the logical conclusions of atheism?

Did you bother to ask?

Why didn't you ask?

Seeing as it has already been pointed out, do you have any explanation as to why someone would construct such an egregiously dishonest portrayal of others for the express purpose of belittling them?

Why was it so easy for you to believe that it had enough credibility as to be suggestible to a group of atheist as proper reading material on any level?
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Offline Anfauglir

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Re: looking for atheist responses to "the folly of atheism"
« Reply #36 on: November 18, 2010, 09:58:55 AM »
6. The explanation for the existence of the whole universe can’t be scientific because there can’t be initial physical conditions and laws independent of what is to be explained. Event the Big Bang theory fails to explain the existence of the universe because modern science cannot explain where the original Big Bang singularity came from. The universe as a sum total of all natural conditions and laws cannot be explained unless we have an Archimidean reference point outside the system.

7. The explanation for the existence of the universe can’t be essential because the universe cannot exist necessarily. This is because, it could have been possible for the universe not to have existed (if the Big Bang had been slightly different it is possible for large-scale structures to not have existed). Thus the universe is not something the must necessarily or essentially exists.

8. Thus a rational person should believe that the universe has a personal explanation.
9. No personal agent but God could create the entire universe.
10. A rational person should believe that there is a God.

Ah....but then:

11. The explanation for the existence of the god can’t be scientific because (from the above) it exists outside of science and the ability to test.
12. The explanation for the existence of god can’t be essential because god cannot exist necessarily. This is because, it could have been possible for god not to have existed. Thus god is not something the must necessarily or essentially exists.
13. Thus a rational person should believe that god has a personal explanation.
14. No personal agent but Bigger God could create god.
15. A rational person should believe that there is a Bigger God.
16. Repeat until bored.

The problem with positing that a god HAD to exist to create the universe merely shifts the argument back a step, and asks the question "but if things cannot self-create or always be, what created that god"?

To get around that requires the assumption that at least one thing did not have to be created by any other.  Once that is accepted, it therefore needs to be explained why that one thing cannot be the universe.
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?

Offline Petey

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Re: looking for atheist responses to "the folly of atheism"
« Reply #37 on: November 18, 2010, 10:06:41 AM »
anyway, at the risk of embarrassing myself again, i'd like to try reiterating wayne jackson's first point. the one about something coming from nothing.

this is actually the oldest argument for theism, if i'm not mistaken. the cosmological argument. it is also the one that convinces me that God exists. not necessarily the God of the bible, but some kind of God.

here's one version of the cosmological argument (this is copied from http://www.saintaquinas.com/philosophy.html)
1. The existence of something is intelligible only if it has an explanation.
2. The existence of the universe is thus either:
a. unintelligible or
b. has an explanation

I actually find this to be one of the oldest arguments against theism.  The entire argument, as Anfauglir has pointed out, leads to an infinite loop of explaining the existence of god...with each iteration becoming more powerful and more complex.  And if you look around at nature, what we see is complexity coming from simplicity, not the other way around.  Take evolution and the life cycle of stars as a couple examples.
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Offline relativetruth

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Re: looking for atheist responses to "the folly of atheism"
« Reply #38 on: November 18, 2010, 10:39:17 AM »
anyway, at the risk of embarrassing myself again, i'd like to try reiterating wayne jackson's first point. the one about something coming from nothing.

this is actually the oldest argument for theism, if i'm not mistaken. the cosmological argument. it is also the one that convinces me that God exists. not necessarily the God of the bible, but some kind of God.

here's one version of the cosmological argument (this is copied from http://www.saintaquinas.com/philosophy.html)
1. The existence of something is intelligible only if it has an explanation.
2. The existence of the universe is thus either:
a. unintelligible or
b. has an explanation

Why should there exist ONE entity that 'understands' everything.

The universe may be unintelligible to everything that exists.

Why is that a problem? 
God(s) exist and are imaginary

Offline Alzael

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Re: looking for atheist responses to "the folly of atheism"
« Reply #39 on: November 18, 2010, 11:42:29 AM »

the cosmological argument makes much more sense to me... am i being irrational here?

Simple answer. Yes.

More detailed answer. The human brain is woefully unsuited for the purposes of looking at reality. We prefer to think of things as being the way we want them as opposed to the way in which they clearly are. Even though religion doesn't make any sense on any sort of a rational level, there are people who will swear on their lives that they've talked to god, seens angels, or done any number of things that somehow validate their faith. However every religious person of every religions claims the exact same thing.

The reason that science exists is because there is so much bias in human observation. Just noticing something and jumping to a conclusion is not the way one gains knowledge about anything.

Take your own words as an example of this. You say that the cosmological argument makes sense to you on an intuitive level. Notice that you specifically felt the necessity to point out that it was a matter of intuition, as opposed to reason or research that leads you to this conclusion. As has been pointed out by others there is no reason to think that a god even exists, much less that one created the universe. The points of the cosmological argument that you copied all rely on biased assumptions of one kind or another. It states that a rational being should not accept that the universe has no explanation for it's existence. However this is untrue, and as has been noted, an asssumption. A rational and intellectually honest person must always be prepared to consider the possibility that something has no explanation or reason. However just because we do not have an ability to explain it doesn't mean it is anymore reasonable to just assume a god did it.

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Offline Historicity

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Re: looking for atheist responses to "the folly of atheism"
« Reply #40 on: November 18, 2010, 01:04:07 PM »
I'm overwhelmed!  I'm converted!  I'm convinced!

No doubt about it, the universe was created by

Pangu!!!

(Well, any abstract argument that there is a Creator can't jump the non-sequitur that therefore it's Biblegod.)

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Re: looking for atheist responses to "the folly of atheism"
« Reply #41 on: November 18, 2010, 01:30:38 PM »
Guys, don't be insulting siehjin. He hasn't given us anything of his own yet, so we've no idea how much of a head-over-heels god-fearing atheist-hating and self-righteous being he actually is.

I've got my suspicions, but it would be highly immoral to apply them to him without evidence. No idea why I'm thinking morally, being an atheist and all. It just doesn't feel right.

I'd express someone else's opinion here but I too lack the time to google stuff. Coincidence? I think not.
Not everyone is entitled to their own opinion. They're all entitled to mine though.

Offline Vivisectus

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Re: looking for atheist responses to "the folly of atheism"
« Reply #42 on: November 18, 2010, 02:25:29 PM »
ooo I love these. Really. They are not a bit stale.



==============================
1. In defiance of one of the most elementary principles of logic, the atheist suggests that “something” (e.g., the Universe) came from “nothing;” that zero plus zero equals something greater than zero.

Victor Stenger, an atheistic professor at the University of Hawaii, admits that “everyday experience and common sense” supports the concept that something cannot come from nothing. Nevertheless, he suggests that “common sense is often wrong, and our normal experiences are but a tiny fraction of reality” (26-27). If you want to be an atheist, you must put your “common sense” on the shelf!

2. Atheists contend that the entire Universe, estimated to be 20 billion light years across (the distance light could travel in 20 billion years at the rate of 186,000 miles per second) accidentally derived from a submicroscopic particle of matter. As one writer expresses it: “Astonishingly, scientists now calculate that everything in this vast universe grew out of a region many billions of times smaller than a single proton, one of the atom’s basic particles” (Gore, 705). This is totally nonsensical.

3. Atheism contends that the marvelously ordered Universe, designated as “Cosmos” by the Greeks because of its intricate design, is merely the result of an ancient explosion (the Big Bang). Does a contractor pile lumber, brick, wire, pipe, etc., on a building site, blast it with dynamite, and expect a fine dwelling to result? Is that the way atheists build their houses? To so argue is to reveal a truly “senseless heart” (cf. Rom. 1:21).

4. In spite of millions of examples in nature, which suggest that biological life can only derive from a living source, atheists believe that billions of years ago, life was accidentally generated from inorganic materials. Common sense and experimentation argue otherwise, but skeptics are willing to abandon logic and opt for the myth of “spontaneous generation,” because the only other alternative is “special creation.” To atheists that simply is not a possibility. Why? Because the fool, for emotional reasons, has already decided: “There is no God.”

5. Atheists believe that blind, unintelligent forces of nature, via genetic mutations and the process of natural selection, produced the myriads of delightful creatures that inhabit Earth’s environment. The skeptic can see that a simple pair of pliers, with only four components, must have been designed by  an intelligent being, yet he argues that the human body, with its 100 trillion constituent elements (cells), organized into ten magnificent systems, is merely the result of a marriage between Mother Nature and Father Time. How very stupid such ideology is!

6. Atheists believe that from a tiny speck of inorganic, self-created matter, human consciousness and moral sensitivity evolved. That is utterly ludicrous; can a rock decide to “think”? Can a proton “feel” guilt? The notion that morality has developed merely as a survival factor (cf. Hayes, 174), is asinine in the extreme. Plants have survived; do they possess a moral code? And what if one decides that he doesn’t care about the “survival” principle? Can he do any “wrong”?
==============================

thank you in advance for your responses and your input.  :D

1: Indeed. There is a theory that explains how the universe could have started. Whoever came up with this objection does not understand it. For that matter, neither do I, but my son the astrophysicist can fill whole evenings talking about the events the would expect to happen in the first micro-micro-micro seconds of that event. It goes very deeply into the when and hows of it, and has already yielded a lot of other useful information. It is no different from any other scientific theory.

Christians also have an explanation, which makes far less sense but is at least easily understood even by very small children. It can be paraphrased as "god did it, by magic. He can do it because he is God and he can do anything." They do not chose to share how God did it, what the processes involved were, etc. etc. etc. and does not gibe us any useful information. It is not different from any other creation story by other religions.

As for common sense not always giving you the right answer, common sense dictates that if something is on fire, you can extinguish it with water. However, there are several chemical substances that will actually burn in water. The author apparently advocates ignoring this, as common sense does not agree.

2: Like in point 1, I totally agree that the Author does not understand astrophysics. An argument from lack of scientific acumen is hardly very compelling though. I don't fully get it myself - but I do have faith in the scientific method, in that even should the theory be wrong, we will find this out one day, and scientists will be generally happy about it, as it leads to interesting new things.

Christians also accept that the universe exists, and must have started at some point. They think it was made by a magical invisible man in the sky, in seven days, out of nothing, and that he created light first, then the earth, and then the entire rest of the universe. This theory must be true, they say, because A) it was written down in a very old book, B) Lots of other Christians have believed it and believe it at present, and C) they do not understand the (possible) answer that science has come up with.

3: This is a repeat of the argument from ignorance. The only order in the cosmos I can see is the kind you get when you throw matter from a single point and they then start to interact with each other based on their specific gravity.

4: We have a working theory about the beginning of life, and if we strike a mix of intert chemicals that we would expect on the ancient earth, we find some simple amino acids have formed. So experiment is actually on the side of the scientific explanation here. This statement is not just ill-informed, it seems downright mendacious.

5: We have a fossil record that actually illustrates how this happened. We have described and investigated the mechanism of selection that we believe to be responsible. We use it ourselves - todays domestic animals are radically different from their ancient forebears, because we selected the ones we liked best. There is a huge amount of supporting evidence leading us to believe this.

6: The development of the brain, while still sketchy in the detail, is clearly observable in the fossil record. You can also see a clear correlation between brain size and sociability in most animals - brain size and complexity seems to enable us to live in a group and make use of the opportunities for cooperation.

We also see that a brain can certainly evolve - from a simple nervous system with a very limited amount of possible reactions, to a far more complex one that can react in complex ways. Some organisms survived fine without them and are still there for us to study.

The Christian response is: Thats way to hard, God must have done it. Which teaches us nothing, and yields no new, useful insight.

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Offline TalibanDan

Re: looking for atheist responses to "the folly of atheism"
« Reply #43 on: November 18, 2010, 02:26:58 PM »
I think I'll try my hand at this.

Quote
1. In defiance of one of the most elementary principles of logic, the atheist suggests that “something” (e.g., the Universe) came from “nothing;” that zero plus zero equals something greater than zero.

Atheism != Scientific understanding of the universe. Atheism is the claim that there is no god. The two are not necessarily related.

I personally think that the way the universe functions is sort of a heartbeat pattern. The matter that is now expanding will eventually contract back to a single point and then expand again. There is *almost* enough matter to make this happen that we've been able to detect, and we fully admit that our detection methods aren't going to pick up everything. New crap in space is found pretty much every day.

Something need not have come from nothing, and it's an interesting question as to what came before, and what happened in the early moments of the big bang.

Sure, something may have come from nothing, which would be pretty cool in my arrogant opinion. There's still no evidence that god did it, though.

Quote
2. This is totally nonsensical.

No it isn't. Gravity affects space. There's a lot of space between particles. If all the gravity in the universe pulled everything together at one point, that point would be pretty small. From what I understand, a black hole is about the size of a basketball, but it contains the mass of an entire sun.

Quote
3. Atheism contends that the marvelously ordered Universe-

You mean the marvelous order that throws rocks at us? The one that's allowing a supervolcano to grow in the yellowstone caldera? The marvelous order that includes diseases we can't treat like AIDS and Cancer? The one which makes it so that the one universal constant is change and chaos?

That marvelous order? Yeah, if god did that, he's not a nice guy.

Quote
4. In spite of millions of examples in nature, which suggest that biological life can only derive from a living source-

Wrong. With the right ingredients in a completely sterile non biological environment, biological material forms.

This is a natural law. With the right ingredients, you get life.

Quote
5. Atheists believe that blind, unintelligent forces of nature, via genetic mutations and the process of natural selection, produced the myriads of delightful creatures-

If I step in a hole I break my ankle. I have no protective fur to help me in the wintertime, and I was not "created" with the tools I need to catch my own food. If I eat my food raw, most of it will kill me. My female counterparts without the aid of medecine will die in childbirth.

My privates are on the outside. They are easily damaged.

This seems like a good idea to you?

I could have designed me better.

Quote
That is utterly ludicrous; can a rock decide to “think”? Can a proton “feel” guilt? The notion that morality has developed merely as a survival factor (cf. Hayes, 174), is asinine in the extreme. Plants have survived; do they possess a moral code? And what if one decides that he doesn’t care about the “survival” principle? Can he do any “wrong”?

Plants don't have nuclear weapons.

We do.

Our survival more than ever is determined by our ability to make the right decision. A plant doesn't need to make those decisions.

We do.

Online screwtape

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Re: looking for atheist responses to "the folly of atheism"
« Reply #44 on: November 18, 2010, 04:58:20 PM »
Atheism is the claim that there is no god.

Very close.  Atheism is the rejection of the claim there are gods.  It is not a claim.  It is a reaction to a (preposterous) claim. It is a subtle but important distinction.


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Offline TalibanDan

Re: looking for atheist responses to "the folly of atheism"
« Reply #45 on: November 18, 2010, 07:34:50 PM »
Atheism is the claim that there is no god.

Very close.  Atheism is the rejection of the claim there are gods.  It is not a claim.  It is a reaction to a (preposterous) claim. It is a subtle but important distinction.


A rejection of a claim, rather than a claim in and of itself.

I like that.

Offline JeffPT

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Re: looking for atheist responses to "the folly of atheism"
« Reply #46 on: November 18, 2010, 09:40:07 PM »
Atheism is the claim that there is no god.

Very close.  Atheism is the rejection of the claim there are gods.  It is not a claim.  It is a reaction to a (preposterous) claim. It is a subtle but important distinction.


A rejection of a claim, rather than a claim in and of itself.

I like that.

I love the way Sam Harris puts it...

"Atheism is nothing more than the noises reasonable people make in the presence of unjustified religious beliefs."
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Offline ksm

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Re: looking for atheist responses to "the folly of atheism"
« Reply #47 on: November 19, 2010, 07:41:28 AM »
1. The existence of something is intelligible only if it has an explanation.
2. The existence of the universe is thus either:
a. unintelligible or
b. has an explanation
3. No rational person should accept premise (2a) by definition of rationality
4. A rational person should accept (2b), that the universe has some explanation for its being.

No on point 3, and 4. Without evidence it would be irrational to accept either 2a or 2b.

It is a mark of Irrational behaviour to jump to conclusions without evidence.

Offline Noman Peopled

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Re: looking for atheist responses to "the folly of atheism"
« Reply #48 on: November 19, 2010, 07:53:48 AM »
a. unintelligible or
b. has an explanation
c. is partly intelligible
"Deferinate" itself appears to be a new word... though I'm perfectly carmotic with it.
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Offline Historicity

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Re: looking for atheist responses to "the folly of atheism"
« Reply #49 on: November 19, 2010, 11:51:43 AM »
ARGUMENTUM AD IGNORANTIAM

A syllogism of this form:

Term 1There are 2 theories, yours and mine.
Term 2You supplied evidence but your evidence is defective
Conclusion   I WIN!!!

Examples are in order.

In The Quest for the Historical Muhammed Ibn Warraq summarized some theories.  One is that the earliest non-Moslem sources do not mention the Koran.  Several state that the Moslems are Jews.  The 2 biographies of Mohammed are based partly on the Hadiths.  Some of the Hadiths must be forged even tho all of them cite an original source who swore he heard Mohammed say this or that.  It is impossible to say with absolute certainty which Hadiths are real.  Therefore you can't say any of the Hadiths are real. Therefore none of the Hadiths are real. The 2 biographies were written about 100 years later anyway.

Therefore, Mohammed never existed.  Let me explain.  The Ulama (religious court).  They were Jews.  Whenever they wanted to change the Sunna (=the customary ways of doing something) they would invent another prophecy of a fictional prophet, Mohammed.  Why do the biographies of Mohammed have such agreement?  Because they were issued piecemeal by knowing frauds.  Each one was scared to bring up the idea of fraud so they had to incorporate the others' stories into their subsequent retellings.  There was a minor king named Mohammed -- that's where they got the name.

Boy, that raises a lot of questions. And the evidence supplied to support this? 


"As we have shown..." is one of my favorite phrases to see when someone has talked and talked around a subject and hasn't shown anything.

I could give another example but I will save space.  Norman Peopled spotted how the first term in such a construction is liable to false dichotomy.

So summarizing Siehjin's syllogism:

1Either the universe is scientific or it is driven by emotions
2The scientific[1] explanations have gaps.
Con.  Emotions like ones humans have, created and rule the universe.

He said, personal, but all his examples were of emotions.

A friend of Spinoza who had converted and become a Catholic priest urged him to abandon his skepticism citing such "facts" as there were books with magic spells where you could draw a symbol and recite the spell and horrible things would happen.  This was logically consistent.  Human thought and emotion had provable results, as bad as nuclear terrorism.

Hal Lindsey in Satan is Alive and Well and Living on the Planet Earth gave his own mythology.  The rebellion of Satan is a prequel to Genesis, or maybe in the First or Second Days.  Satan rebelled and the War of the Angels had lots of collateral damage.  His evidence was the torn up looking nebulae the astronomers see.  Then God made a new playing field -- he created and prepared the Earth and created Adam and Eve.  The whole point is to prove who's the better man god.  (This is the only Hal Lindsey book I've read.)

So, is there any evidence for emotion (aka magic) causing anything in the universe?  Lacking that, are volcanoes evidence of Anger but the pretty parts like the Veil Nebula or the Evening Star evidence of Love.  There is now evidence that a star that went nova in the 1980s is now hauling back some of its ejected material which means it became a black hole and is now eating up material.  An astronomer, Kim Weaver, likened it to the Planet Eater on Star Trek:TOS.  Is this evidence of Gluttony being a force in the universe?

The stars, continents, species of life are scattered every which way.  Is there evidence of Thought?

So recapping

1There is a lot of evidence for scientific causes operating in the universe.
2There is very weak evidence for personal, emotional, magical causes operating in the  universe.
Con.  Therefore it is reasonable that human-like emotions magically created the universe.

Not.

 1. I used the colloquial definition of scientific to mean natural function, esp. the ones found in physics.

Offline Omen

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Re: looking for atheist responses to "the folly of atheism"
« Reply #50 on: November 19, 2010, 12:03:13 PM »
Guys, don't be insulting siehjin. He hasn't given us anything of his own yet...

The material is well outside honest and reasonable context as to beg the question of why.  Not to mention that even in acknowledging it to be faulty, he/she still doesn't understand the complete context of how/why it is the most contemptible presentation one could imagine.  Why list a series of outright falsehoods ( strawmen ), then only be perceptive enough to recognize the words,"stupid" and "asinine" as being at fault?
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Offline Hatter23

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Re: looking for atheist responses to "the folly of atheism"
« Reply #51 on: November 19, 2010, 01:48:42 PM »
what utter crap.  The usual misinformation and lies adn I don't believe for a moment all of siehjin's protestations of innocence.  It's just more thowing s**t at the wall and seeing if it sticks while trying to avoid responsiblity for it. 

I know, right?  I raised two kids... Sometimes you just have to be patient, keep cleaning the shit off the walls, and explaining to them that it's not appropriate...  Eventually hopefully it sinks in. :)


The problem is it never will sink in; because new kids are cycled in every two- three weeks after the old ones leave because we keep correcting them.
An Omnipowerful God needed to sacrifice himself to himself (but only for a long weekend) in order to avert his own wrath against his own creations who he made in a manner knowing that they weren't going to live up to his standards.

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Offline Graybeard

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Re: looking for atheist responses to "the folly of atheism"
« Reply #52 on: November 19, 2010, 04:09:09 PM »
So, Victor Stenger, an atheistic professor at the University of Hawaii, thinks that there is some invisible, timeless sky-fairy who defies the laws of Physics and created the universe from nothing, despite thinking that creating something from nothing is impossible.

I hope he has tenure.
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Re: looking for atheist responses to "the folly of atheism"
« Reply #53 on: November 19, 2010, 04:30:10 PM »
6. The explanation for the existence of the whole universe can’t be scientific because there can’t be initial physical conditions and laws independent of what is to be explained. Event the Big Bang theory fails to explain the existence of the universe because modern science cannot explain where the original Big Bang singularity came from. The universe as a sum total of all natural conditions and laws cannot be explained unless we have an Archimidean reference point outside the system.

There are a few oddities in explaining this, but to put it bluntly; you're thinking about it wrong.

The big bang is meant to explain what happened to shape the universe as we know it, what happened "before" then, as well as the existing conditions at that "time" could very well explain it (I put "before" and "time" in quotes because time as we know it may not have existed, but I digress).

You subsequently make the mistake that because science "Has Not" explained something means it "Can Not" explain something. Just because I "Have Not" taken out the trash yet does not make me incapable of doing so, it simply means that I have not reached that point in time where I do.
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I do not have "faith" in science. I have expectations of science. "Faith" in something is an unfounded assertion, whereas reasonable expectations require a precedent.

Offline Science Fan

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Re: looking for atheist responses to "the folly of atheism"
« Reply #54 on: November 19, 2010, 04:37:01 PM »
@ Siehjin

There is something you should understand by now of science. Just because science can't explain something at the present time, does not mean it never can and we are free to draw an explanation from the top of our head and call that explanation valid.

Bob was at a candy store. He strolled through the store with a suspicious look on his face. He sneaks up to the exit and makes a run for it. The store keeper chases after him and catches him accusing him of shoplifting. Bob didn't actually steal anything, but his behavior was enough of a proof for the shopkeeper to alert authorities. Should bob be punished on account of shoplifting and sentenced to death for murder? No. We can't make a baseless judgement just because we don't have reasonable evidence of any crime being committed. That'd be absurd.

6.”The Big Bang theory” cannot explain the physical laws at the time of singularity because there isn't evidence to support claims of what those laws would be. This doesn't lead to a conclusion that God and his roomate were high on pot in their college dorm when God lit up his fart and hence the universe was born[1].

7. The universe DOES have to exist necessary, otherwise you wouldn't be here copy pasting on this forum. This is the mother of all observations. We are here to observe so the universe must exist by these exact laws. As you said, if the laws were different, we wouldn't exist. But guess what? We do.

i appreciated xphobe's examples of how Universe behaves in ways often contradictory to what we would expect. because of this, i agree that i have to keep an open mind that it's possible that something (the Universe) came out of nothing. but intuitively, the cosmological argument makes much more sense to me... am i being irrational here?

Yes you are. We can't decide to favor the argument that we like more or what seems to make more sense. Ultimately it boils down to what evidence we have to prove a prediction of a theory. "The Big Bang theory" does explain how the universe came into existence after the singularity and we have facts as evidence to prove that[2].

Just because we don't know what happened before the big bang, doesn't mean we can discard the theory. Just as well we can't dismiss the theory of evolution by natural selection because we don't know for certain how the first amino acids formed into a protein.

The reason your proposed personal explanation isn't valid is because you fail to present any natural cause that would serve as evidence. Science starts with observation. You haven't presented any evidence of a phenomenon that could possibly not occur in a natural way.

I grant you that if this proposed god, higher power or being outside our space-time would exist; it could effect our universe in some unobservable way[3]. But since he/she/it apparently doesn't affect the universe or at least we cannot observe it doing such, we can never gain any proof of him/her/it. Therefore all natural explanations within our space-time and all present cosmological constants remain the most plausible explanation for the nature of our universe.

EDIT: Ps. "The Big Bang theory" does not say something came out of nothing, it says something came out of we don't yet know what. We're working on it.
 1. Family Guy reference.
 2. i.e. the cosmic background radiation, the expansion rate of the universe..
 3. He/she/it could possibly be omnipotent.
« Last Edit: November 19, 2010, 04:41:25 PM by Science Fan »

Offline Odin

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Re: looking for atheist responses to "the folly of atheism"
« Reply #55 on: November 19, 2010, 07:34:16 PM »
1. In defiance of one of the most elementary principles of logic, the atheist suggests that “something” (e.g., the Universe) came from “nothing;” that zero plus zero equals something greater than zero.

Nothing in the Big Bang theory says that something came from nothing.  Based on scientific theory, all matter and energy in the universe once existed in the same point in the past.  Therefore, no matter or energy have been created or destroyed.  Atheists don't say this, scientists say this.  Einstein and Hawking say this.

Quote
2. Atheists contend that the entire Universe, estimated to be 20 billion light years across (the distance light could travel in 20 billion years at the rate of 186,000 miles per second) accidentally derived from a submicroscopic particle of matter.

See 1. above.  

Quote
3. Atheism contends that the marvelously ordered Universe, designated as “Cosmos” by the Greeks because of its intricate design, is merely the result of an ancient explosion (the Big Bang).

See 1. above.  Energy and matter have been preserved, but have changed form.  These questions are being posed by folks who never really studied science.  Their theories must have come from the Bible or the Koran.

Quote
4. In spite of millions of examples in nature, which suggest that biological life can only derive from a living source, atheists believe that billions of years ago, life was accidentally generated from inorganic materials.

Atheists don't believe this.  Scientists believe this.  Google "abiogenesis."

Quote
5. Atheists believe that blind, unintelligent forces of nature, via genetic mutations and the process of natural selection, produced the myriads of delightful creatures that inhabit Earth’s environment.

Atheists don't believe this.  Scientists believe this.  Again, posed by someone who has never studied science, and specifically evolution.

Quote
6. Atheists believe that from a tiny speck of inorganic, self-created matter, human consciousness and moral sensitivity evolved. That is utterly ludicrous; can a rock decide to “think”?

Consciousness and moral sensitivity are a result of chemical reactions in our bodies.  Google "abiogenesis."  Study biology, genetics and evolution.  Read something besides the Bible and the Koran.  

Odin, King of the Gods
« Last Edit: November 21, 2010, 01:36:22 PM by Odin »

Offline kcrady

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Re: looking for atheist responses to "the folly of atheism"
« Reply #56 on: November 20, 2010, 12:26:50 AM »
anyway, at the risk of embarrassing myself again,

First Rule of Holes: If you find yourself in a hole you're having difficulty getting out of, stop digging. :)

i'd like to try reiterating wayne jackson's first point. the one about something coming from nothing.

this is actually the oldest argument for theism, if i'm not mistaken. the cosmological argument. it is also the one that convinces me that God exists. not necessarily the God of the bible, but some kind of God.

here's one version of the cosmological argument (this is copied from http://www.saintaquinas.com/philosophy.html)
1. The existence of something is intelligible only if it has an explanation.

This applies to gods as much as it does to universes.  We know Universe exists.  It is self-evident.  The existence of gods and goddesses is not evident at all, otherwise believers would no longer be using arguments from medieval theologians, any more than naturalists employ medieval bestiaries or astronomers search the Almagest for information on the structure of the Cosmos.  Therefore, since we must ultimately arrive at some "brute fact" which lies at the root of all explanation but is self-existent and has no explanation for its own existence, the default starting point is Universe, in some form or other.[1]

2. The existence of the universe is thus either:
a. unintelligible or
b. has an explanation

"Having an explanation" may make something intelligible, but the explanation is only valid if it is accurate.  It is the accuracy (or lack thereof) of an explanation that counts, not its intelligibility or how "intuitive" it is to us.

3. No rational person should accept premise (2a) by definition of rationality

Why?  This assumes that "intelligibility-to-humans" is some kind of cosmic principle that can be used to determine what does, and does not exist.  "Universe is unintelligible if there is no god, therefore, god exists."  In other words, human consciousness is so powerful that it can conjure God into being if, apart from that, Universe would not make intuitive sense to human consciousness.  And what is "God?"  Oh yeah.  A really big, super-powerful  human consciousness.  And a male one to boot. 

This is a bizarre sort of hubris, to assume that all of Existence must bow to the limits of "intelligibility" and "intuitive feel" set by human consciousness.  Philosophers and theologians can sit in their armchairs and derive the nature of reality[2] without needing to bother with any silly experiments or observations.  In the pre-scientific age in which Aquinas lived, this sort of thinking could be excused because humans at that time were so completely ignorant about the actual nature of Universe.

Since Aquinas' time, we have discovered that Universe often isn't intuitive or intelligible to the human mind.  Can you really imagine "a billion light-years?"  Can you get an intuitive feel for it the way you can for the distance between your house and the store, or even between New York and Los Angeles?  No.  We can throw out Really Huge Numbers (<Sagan>Billllllions and billlllions</Sagan>) but our minds can't really grasp distance and time on the cosmological scale.  Nor can we really wrap our brains around something like quantum tunneling--the way a sub-atomic particle shot at a barrier can appear on the other side of the barrier without penetrating it.  Or the two-slit experiment.  Or curved space.


4. A rational person should accept (2b), that the universe has some explanation for its being.

As with the other "sophisticated theological" arguments for the existence of deities, this one relies on special pleading.  If the "Principle of Human Intelligibility" requires that Universe be intelligible to humans and have an "explanation," this would apply to Aquinas' god too, would it not?  Oh, wait, no, you see, God is an exception to the Principle.  He can be unintelligible if he wants.  Three Persons and one Person simultaneously, present in the Eucharist so that it "is" his flesh even though to any possible test or measurement it would be just a wafer of ground wheat.  And eating it isn't cannibalism even though it "is" human flesh.  Possessing omni-attributes that conflict with one another.  Etc.  Oh, and Aquinas!God does not require an "explanation."  He "just is."

5. There are only three kinds of explanations:
a. Scientific: physical conditions plus relevant laws yield the Event explained.
b. Personal: Explanations that cite desires, beliefs, powers and intentions of some personal agent.

No, "personal agents" are not exempt from the realm of science.  They live and move and have their desires, beliefs, powers, and intentions within the framework of "relevant laws."[3]


c. Essential: The essence of the thing to be explained necessitates its existence or qualities (for example, if you ask why a triangle has 3 sides, I would respond that it is the essence and necessity for a triangle to have 3 sides by its definition.

This "essentialism" is a metaphysical assumption prevalent in Aquinas' time that has no evidential support.  There is no reason to propose the existence of an "essence of triangleyness" that makes triangles three-sided.  A more parsimonious answer is that spacetime has shape which constrains the range of possible forms that can exist within it.  You cannot, for example, make a three dimensional polygon out of only hexagons.  They will always tile flat.  There can be five, and only five regular polyhedra.  The explanation that spacetime itself has properties is simpler than adding in a whole, separate World of Forms and a metaphysics of "essences."  This idea that "empty space" has properties turns out to be a sound basis for cosmic origins (see below).

6. The explanation for the existence of the whole universe can’t be scientific because there can’t be initial physical conditions and laws independent of what is to be explained.

Once again, this is an attempt to decree what can, and cannot be real based on limited human understanding.  I do not see why there would be any need for "initial physical conditions and laws independent of what is to be explained."  Whatever our irreducible starting point and root of explanation might be, it is not going to be "independent" of what's being explained, otherwise there could be no causal or explanatory link between them.

When physicists talk about the Cosmos emerging "out of nothing," their definition of "nothing" is a bit different from common usage.  When I met Victor Stenger at last year's Skepticon, he explained that what a physicist means by "nothing" is what you have when you have removed all particles and fields from a region of space.  There is "nothing" there, but it still has properties and still behaves in accordance with the generalized operating principles we call "laws of physics."  One of these principles is that it is impossible to know the exact position and the exact energy of a quantum event.[4]  Included in this, is that the position and energy cannot be exactly zero, either. 

So this "nothing" is constantly fluctuating energetically.  Polarized pairs of "virtual particles" appear and re-annihilate.  Since the matter-energy of our Cosmos is balanced by the negative energy of gravity it, too, can emerge as a quantum fluctuation from the "nothing" of spacetime.  There is something rather than nothing because "nothing" is unstable.  This spacetime manifold is thus a highly parsimonious candidate for our irreducible "brute fact" underlying all explanations.  We know it exists.  We can perform experiments to observe its properties.  In an omnisymmetric "nothing" state, it is irreducibly simple, yet dynamic, so that when the symmetry is broken by the right sort of quantum fluctuation, it can spawn a Big Bang.  Deities are not irreducibly simple.  Far from it, if they are supposed to be anthropomorphic conscious beings. 

Event the Big Bang theory fails to explain the existence of the universe because modern science cannot explain where the original Big Bang singularity came from. The universe as a sum total of all natural conditions and laws cannot be explained unless we have an Archimidean reference point outside the system.

There are several models that do explain where the BB singularity comes from: Lee Smolin's fecund universe model,[5] M-theory, Tegmark's Infinite Sea (is that a cool name, or what?), and so on.  None of these have been conclusively validated yet, but that's what the Large Hadron Collider is for. :)

7. The explanation for the existence of the universe can’t be essential because the universe cannot exist necessarily.

To the contrary, I think Universe (as I use the term) has to exist necessarily.  Doing a little copypasta from my formal debate with "Majesty" on the Kalam Cosmological argument:

Quote
For the purposes of my argument from here forward, I will be using the term "Universe" (capital U, no "the") to refer to "everything that exists," and "Cosmos" to refer to "that which emerged from the Big Bang."  I do not intend to imply that my opponent is required to abide by this terminology.  He is using "universe" as I use "Cosmos."

Quote
By "the universe" here, my opponent refers to what I am defining as "the Cosmos" for the purposes of this discussion.  When it comes to Universe as I'm using the term, we both agree that it is eternally existent, we just disagree as to its contents.  My opponent's conception of Universe would look something like this:

   {[Supernatural realm: Yahweh + whatever else supernatural exists]----->Cosmos (or "the universe")}

where these brackets { } enclose the set of everything that exists and these [ ] enclose all supernatural existents.

So, on the level of capital-U Universe (existence as such), we have something that must exist necessarily.  The only disagreement is over its contents.  Atheists, and the scientific community in general, see no reason that Universe has to include a "supernatural" component.  The "supernatural realm" doesn't explain anything, it just demands further explanation.  What exactly is a god?  What is it made of?  How does god-stuff interact with matter and spacetime?  What equations, if any, can accurately model its behavior?  How is the "supernatural realm" connected to ours, what equations model the nature of this connection, and how do they integrate with the current equations of physics? Etc..

We know spacetime exists, and we can mathematically model a cosmic origin without any gods involved.  Click here for an explanation by Victor Stenger.  There are lots of scary physics equations there, but this does demonstrate that a cosmic origin without gods is plausible to the professionals in the cosmological field.

This is because, it could have been possible for the universe not to have existed (if the Big Bang had been slightly different it is possible for large-scale structures to not have existed). Thus the universe is not something the must necessarily or essentially exists.

This assumes what it seeks to prove.  We do not know that the BB could have been "different," or that cosmological constants are mutable.  Even if they are, we must still compare the "Goddidit" "explanation" with multiverse theories.  Multiverse theories propose that the Cosmos (as I use the term) is only one of many.  "Universe" (as I use the term) would correspond to a spactime foam of vast numbers of Cosmoses, which may or may not be like our own.  Multiverse theorists tend to use the term "Multiverse" for this, hence the term "multiverse theories."  While this does seem a bit counterintuitive, its like has happened twice before in the history of science.  Originally, we thought "the" Solar System was Universe.  Then we discovered that the stars were suns capable of having their own solar systems.  Then we came to conclude that the Milky Way was an "island universe" in the blackness of space, and it constituted all of the matter/energy of Universe.  Then we discovered, with better telescopes, that certain "nebulae" in the sky were actually other "island universes," to which we gave the name "galaxies."  So it should perhaps not come as too big a surprise that Universe is bigger than our Big Bang-emergent Cosmos.  Multiverse theories propose the existence of more Cosmoses.  We know at least one Cosmos exists.  We do not have comparable self-evidence in favor of any deity's existence.

8. Thus a rational person should believe that the universe has a personal explanation.

"Invisible Magic Person" (IMP) explanations have a 100% failure rate, so far.  So far, every single thing we have come to understand (storms, disease, lightning, etc., etc.,) has turned out to be: Not Magic.

9. No personal agent but God could create the entire universe.

Unsubstantiated assertion. 

10. A rational person should believe that there is a God.

I think I've demonstrated here that this is not the case.
 1. We know that matter and energy can change form and convert one into the other, but the total is conserved (neither created nor destroyed) and we know that spacetime can curve and warp in various ways.  The Cosmos as we know it now had an origin, but we have no reason to reject the idea that the matter/energy/spacetime it is composed of have always existed in some form or other.
 2. The planets move in perfectly circular orbits, because, being heavenly bodies they are at a higher state of perfection than earthly things, and the circle is the perfect shape, don't you know?  So Mars makes that funny retrograde turn once in awhile?  That's because it has a second circular orbit called an epicycle.  We know this because it is logical and intuitive to us that heavenly bodies have to move in circles.
 3. I prefer the term "principles," since the primary definition of "law" refers to human-made edicts, and we should not think of, say, E=MC2 as anybody's legislation unless we have evidence that it is.
 4. Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle.
 5. In this model, Cosmoses are born when a black hole forms in a parent Cosmos, so that a black hole is something like a Big Bang seen from behind.  "Baby" Cosmoses inherit the generalized operating principles of their "parent" Cosmos, so that Cosmoses that form more black holes have more "children."  This is Smolin's explanation for cosmological "fine tuning."
« Last Edit: November 20, 2010, 02:35:20 AM by kcrady »
"The question of whether atheists are, you know, right, typically gets sidestepped in favor of what is apparently the much more compelling question of whether atheists are jerks."

--Greta Christina

Offline pingnak

Re: looking for atheist responses to "the folly of atheism"
« Reply #57 on: November 20, 2010, 12:38:16 AM »

Atheists believe <STRAWMAN>.  Push over strawman.  ... ? ...  VICTORY!