Well, here I go again. I first want to make it clear that I’m not reposting all of this stuff on my blog in order to insert myself into the middle of a debate. The simple reality is, WordPress isn’t built to carry out a serious debate in comments. It’s very difficult to do multiple quotes, links and graphics in a comment which typically has a set number of characters. Therefore, it’s done here for function, ease and fullness of features, even though it requires a bit of link jumping to read all the various commentary. I am going to attempt to keep links between comments at the bottom of posts so anyone who is interested in following along can do so easily.
We’ve had a couple of new comments made in this ongoing debate, but once again, I’m going to analyze the post made over at Atheism Analyzed, simply because it contains such a wealth of fallacies and errors. It’s really difficult to know where to begin, so I guess we’ll start at the beginning.
And that thought stops right there. Atheism is dangerous because it operates outside of logical processes and it is open to any belief no matter how irrational. The moral void adds considerably to the danger element. Atheism removes any stable foundation from supporting the worldview which Atheists build for themselves. Atheists seem to think that this is a plus, giving them the freedom to think up their own morality and their own version of reality. And it does give that freedom, which is entirely different from the subjection to principles, which are never absolute in their minds. And it erodes any dedication they might have had to disciplined logical principles. Atheism is dangerous because it excuses the Atheist from known, disciplined logical processes.
There are multiple problems with this single paragraph, in fact there isn’t a sentence that I can see which isn’t fallacious. So let’s attack them one by one. First off, Stan states over and over that atheism operates outside of logical processes. Alright, if that’s so, then it should be quite simple for Stan to present which logical processes atheism violates. Any of them. Go ahead Stan. Let’s see what you’ve got. Heck, here’s a short list of recognized logical fallacies, let’s see you explain how any of them is necessarily present in the disbelief in gods. Further, he says that atheism is somehow open to any belief no matter how irrational. Since we’ve already established that atheism is a lack of belief in gods and nothing more, it’s absurd to say that it’s open to anything beyond that because anything beyond that is, by definition, not atheism. It’s like saying stamp collecting is irrational because it’s open to any other belief no matter how ridiculous. What Stan is really doing here is called a “straw man“. By the way Stan, that is a logical fallacy and a sure sign that, when you engage in it, your argument has no rational basis. In fact, the next few sentences are nothing but straw man claims, none of which are true. Morality has nothing to do with atheism. Atheism is not a worldview. It goes on and on. Now Stan claims he was an atheist for 40 years but I find that harder and harder to believe. Maybe he was just a bloody ignorant atheist but what he’s doing is about as credible as claiming to have been a doctor for 40 years, yet know nothing whatsoever about medicine. What Stan actually seems to be doing, and this is an old apologist trick, is presenting a theist caricature of atheism. It has nothing to do with the reality, but his readers aren’t interested in reality, they just want to see a silly satire version that their pre-existing beliefs can swoop in and battle victoriously against. It’s no different really than what racist Christians did in the 1800s, depicting blacks as ignorant sub-human savages.
Both of those sentences are false. First, Atheism is the rejection of theories of deity. Denying that is now a popular pastime amongst the internet Atheisti, and they are oblivious to how dishonest that makes them appear. The Reductio Ad Absurdum contrary is that Atheists do, in fact, reject deity theories. What is more reasonable to believe, that the Atheist does not reject deity theories, or that the Atheist does reject deity theories? While Atheists might have convinced themselves of the former, the latter is self-evidently the case. This is a demonstration of the inherent danger of the voids of Atheism: believing their own fabrications.
This is in response to something I said, but again, Stan is wrong. The word atheism is made up of two parts: a – without and theos – god(s). It literally means “without gods”. Do the Greek. If you want to construct a word that does what Stan suggests, you’d have to use the prefix “anti”, which means against. That would give you antitheist, or “against god(s)”. Once again, Stan trots out a strawman, but that’s not what lots of people call themselves so he doesn’t want to argue against it. His audience would just scratch their heads. Therefore, he misuses a term, claims it means something that it doesn’t, in an attempt to rally the troops. Don’t feel bad Stan, apologists do it all the time.
Then I have to ask myself, what the heck is a “deity theory”? I did a Google search and couldn’t even find a Wikipedia entry on that term. It means nothing. Therefore, let’s break it up and examine it’s compontent parts. “Diety” seems pretty straightforward, I don’t think there will be any argument what’s intended there, but “theory” is potentially problematic. For those of us who have a background in science, and in debating theists, we understand that there are two possible meanings to that word. It can be a wild-assed guess about a particular idea or, in the scientific sense, it can be a well-formed, well-tested, evidenced explanation that explains demonstrable scientific facts. You know, like the Theory of Evolution. Judging between the two, I would assume Stan has to mean the former definition because there simply is no objective, demonstrable evidence for the factual existence of any god. In the interest of clarity then, I’m going to rename his term “deity hypothesis” as that is closer to what science uses to discuss the same sort of idea. A scientific hypothesis, simplified, may be a wild-assed guess made to explain an observed phenomenon. Something happens, people don’t understand why it happens, they propose various ideas which might explain it. Then they go and test these various hypotheses to see which, if any, are supported by experimental data, evidence and known scientific principles. Those that are not, those that fail the test, are rejected. So yes, if we’re talking about a “deity hypothesis”, I very much admit to rejecting “deity hypotheses” because none, so far, have ever stood up to the tests that have been thrown at them.
Before Stan objects and says we can’t do that, that’s how we all live our lives every single day. If someone ran up to you on the street and insisted that Godzilla was attacking the city, would you accept the claim? Almost certainly not. First, you understand that Godzilla is a movie monster, made from rubber, and isn’t real. Secondly, if Godzilla was actually destroying the city, he would leave physical evidence. Buildings would be in ruins. You’d be able to hear Godzilla’s cries. Certainly, the media would be all over it. Lacking any of this corroboratory evidence, a rational person would have to reject the claim as unsupported and unjustified, pending better evidence in the future.
That’s just how people operate. Anything without evidence, we reject. We do it for Bigfoot, we do it for alien abductions, we do it for giant monsters and we do it for gods. Want us to believe? Bring us evidence. To reject the utility of doing this with gods is to necessarily reject the utility of doing it for anything. You don’t get to pick and choose which fantasy things you want to believe and which you want to reject based on your emotional comfort.
Second, Atheists who are dominant in the Atheist culture do, loudly, claim logic and evidence for their position. This is a new trend in Atheist denialism, claiming that Atheism is not actually claiming logic or evidence for itself. Talk with Dawkins about that.
You want to talk to Dawkins, feel free. That’s not who you’re talking to now though. However, even Dawkins himself says you’re wrong. He came up with a Belief Scale of 1 to 7, with 1 being a strong believer and 7 being a strong disbeliever. He places himself at 6 on the scale.
“On a scale of seven, where one means I know he exists, and seven I know he doesn’t, I call myself a six. That doesn’t mean I’m absolutely confident, that I absolutely know, because I don’t.” - Richard Dawkins
Do you even bother looking this stuff up?
I submit that this is a distinction without a difference, a nit picked bald. The fact is that those who write about Atheism, those who do think about it, have always until now claimed logic and evidence as the key to the choice of Atheism as the rational choice. Now they deny it, apparently implying that Atheism is no longer the rational choice. If Atheism is not logic and evidence based, then what is it based on? Pure rebellionism? Ignorance of Theist arguments? Just don’t care?
Then you should have no problem providing evidence that everyone, until now, who has written about atheism has claimed logic and evidence as the key to the choice of atheism. I’ll tell you something, I’ve been writing about atheism for 25+ years and I’ve never said that. However, now you’re changing your argument. You initially said that atheists demand logic and evidence as the sole province of atheism, as though we forbid anyone else to use it. When I showed that was blatantly untrue, now you want something else, a declaration that atheism is not rational. That has nothing to do with your original claim. The fact is, no one is forbidding you from using evidence to support your claims, people are begging you to, you’re simply refusing to do so. That’s on you, not on us. In all the decades I’ve been debating theists, I have yet to ever see a single one present a wholly logical, evidence-based argument for the existence of any god. Ever.
If you’d like to come up with one, I’ll applaud you. Keep in mind that requires objective evidence, things that anyone can see without having to have faith in it first. Keep in mind that it requires logic and critical evaluation of statements and facts. If you think you can do it, let’s see it. We’re going to check every single statement you make though.
I don’t know if that’s really a victory for you because logic and evidence cannot prove unicorns don’t exist either. That’s the funny thing about non-existent things, they don’t tend to leave behind evidence of their non-existence. That’s why rational people only accept the existence of things for which evidence actually exists.
When are you going to get around to providing evidence for gods again?
Absolutely false to the point that I must call Bullshit yet again. Atheists constantly and in this very series of conversations demand that Theists produce “objective” evidence, because Atheists are evidence-based. And that is specifically called “logical”, despite the Scientism and Category Errors which are pointed out, and pointedly ignored.
I no more have to prove gods don’t exist than I have to prove unicorns don’t exist. The burden of proof is always on the positive claimant. You claim a god is real, it’s your job to prove it. If you cannot, then I have no responsibility whatsoever to take your claim seriously. To demand otherwise is shifting the burden of proof, yet another logical fallacy.
Funny, you seem to appeal to those a lot.
And I submit that Dawkins et al are dishonest in this regard. Dawkins, especially, shows that he is not the least bit in doubt or agnostic in his vitriolic attacks. This is yet another escape hatch which Atheists think lets them off the hook for their Atheist system of voids. Dawkins, last I heard, claimed a 6 out of 7 probability of no God. That’s roughly a 14.4% probability of God? Then he absolutely berates anyone who is not Atheist, wishing to eradicate them from society. No. Dawkins is not the least agnostic; his behavior belies his words.
You clearly don’t understand what the scale means, go back and look at the link I provided otherwise. Seriously, Dawkins refers to himself as a cultural Catholic. Sure sounds like he wants to eradicate them from society.
I will repeat this:
Atheists have an obligation to give reasons in the form of logic and evidence for rejecting Theist theories.
You can repeat it all you like, it doesn’t change the fact that we reject “theist theories” because they have not met their burden of proof. It’s the same reason we reject unicorns. The unicornists haven’t provided sufficient evidence that unicorns exist. You already know that but you’re miffed because people won’t accept your blind faith that something for which you can provide no objective evidence factually exists. If you propose something is real, whether it’s gods or Godzilla, unicorns or Bigfoot, and you can’t demonstrate that it’s real, nobody has any obligation to take you seriously. You already know this. I propose that you have no means to prove that unicorns aren’t real. Therefore, you cannot, by your own position, claim that those who believe in unicorns are wrong. In fact, you must adopt a positive belief that unicorns actually are real.
Anyone think Stan does?
Honestly, everything else he has to say is just rehashing the same old crap. I have no illusions that Stan is going to change his mind, just because his nonsense is discredited. He’s got faith. That’s all he needs. Too bad he has no logic or evidence. To be honest, people like Stan do far more damage to religion than anything atheists could do. They make anyone with an ounce of common sense and an inkling of interest in reality take one look at it and shake their heads, wondering if that’s the best they can do. There’s a reason non-belief is the fastest growing demographic worldwide and I think we can thank people like Stan for at least some of that growth.
So sure Stan, keep it up. We’ll all be laughing all the way away from the church.