On the most recent episode of the Reasonable Doubts podcast, they talked about William Lane Craig, in his August 19th podcast, making arguments about the philosopher’s god and the resurrection of Jesus.
The RD guys argue that you can grant the philosopher’s god concept and try to catch the theist when they shift from a vague deity to the specific God they worship. Why should a god want to raise Jesus, specifically, from the dead?
To be perfectly honest, I think that far too many atheists give theists far too much rope to hang themselves with. I don’t tend to give them any. We start with an initial proposition and we move, one step at a time, and any time they don’t have evidence, reason or logic to demonstrate that their point is at least reasonable, they lose. I’m not at all interested in what might be, I’m interested in what actually is and what can be shown to be the most demonstrably valid point. Show me that your beliefs are true, or at the very least have some sort of objective evidence to back them up and I’ll acknowledge that they could be valid. If you cannot, then you lose, period.
The problem with granting more rope is that theists tend to believe that if you grant their earlier arguments any kind of credit whatsoever, if you allow them past, just for the sake of argument, they seem to think that you accept their validity and therefore they can no longer be questioned. I’ve run into this time and time again, when I’ve been very clear that I think the arguments are faulty and unproven, yet I wanted to move on, that suddenly, I acknowledge that everything they said was true!
I know this makes for very short religious arguments and I think it should. I don’t limit this to religion either, every debate starts at the beginning and stops when they cannot demonstrate their point. Why go on when their claims fail? Isn’t the point of a debate to find the truth? Isn’t it to discover the best supported side? I really see no point in prolonging the obvious, for the oblivious. I see no reason for playing along with arguments that have already failed, just to see if they fail some more. It’s one thing to hammer out details, it’s another to ignore inconsistencies. I don’t want to play a bunch of “it could have been” games, I want to deal with things for which there is actual evidence that it really happened.
And maybe that’s really the point. I ran across an old Huffington Post editorial by Frank Shaeffer, where he argues that nobody really debates about the existence of God, they debate about the things said about God in the Bible or the Qu’ran or the Vedas or whatever popular book happens to be available. Theists are so busy beating their breast over what they think their book says that they never stop to consider if any of it is real. Likewise, since atheists can only address what the theists claim, there isn’t any real value there either. It’s two groups of people, one making unjustified, emotional claims and the other responding to them, and neither side can really get to the heart of the problem.
But is there really a heart to this problem? Certainly we cannot actually discover if there is a deity out there or not, especially the way most people define their deities conveniently outside of human discovery. That doesn’t make it a rational claim or a correct claim, just a convenient one. How is it any better than defining Bigfoot outside of possible human discovery? Or the Loch Ness Monster? Or aliens? Why can’t people just arbitrarily assign a characteristic to all of these things that they can never be verified by humanity and must, therefore, be accepted on blind faith? Is that a better thing than what the religious have done with their various gods? Or does it just betray the inanity of theism? Because if our ultimate goal is to get to fact, how does blind faith get us any closer to that goal? Theists claim this is the case, how do they know it to be so? Where did they get that information? How do they support it with evidence? If they don’t, if they can’t, then why should we take any of those claims seriously? Why should we take any claims of gods seriously? Being unable to absolutely disprove the existence of gods doesn’t make them any more likely to be true, any more than being unable to absolutely disprove the existence of ghosts or unicorns or leprechauns makes any of those things more likely to exist. So is it worthwhile to believe in something for which not a single shred of objective evidence exists, on the remote chance that there might be something out there? Or should we only accept things we have a reason to suspect are real and reject everything else until there’s some good evidence that it exists?
This brings us back around to William Lane Craig and similar apologists who just assert that there’s a god, yet provide no evidence for a god, who say that we can’t prove it doesn’t exist while being totally unable to prove that it does. They think they can define this deity into existence and conveniently out of our ability to rationally examine and analyze. And then they dare to tell us that we’re being irrational if we don’t let them do all of those things?
Fuck them. There’s no point to taking their philosophical masturbation remotely seriously. They can come back when they have something worth showing us, I’m sick of listening to the unsupported nonsense they’re telling us.