I’ve debated Richard, who writes the “Therefore God Exists” blog quite a few times over on Twitter (@AChristianWord) and each and every debate ends the same way. He gets outmaneuvered and simply stops responding, but he doesn’t stop tweeting the same old tired nonsense over and over, regardless of how badly he fares in the debates. Now, he’s tweeting about “5 Reasons Atheism is Stupid” and I think he’s looking at things entirely backwards. Since Twitter is such a restrictive format, I decided to show exactly where Richard fails here, not that I expect him to be capable of accepting my refutations. As I’ve maintained for a long time, theists are clueless.
At issue, as usual, is that he has already accepted these five positions on faith and therefore cannot imagine having to actually defend or support any of these claims. In fact, all he attempts to do is get from here to there, not to demonstrate that there is actually a valid destination in the first place. That’s typical theist 101 and one of the major reasons they fail in virtually all debates with atheists is because they assume, a priori, that their beliefs are correct and they never bother to actually demonstrate that they really are.
It’s like debating the existence of Bigfoot. No one is going to be convinced if someone proclaims their faith in Bigfoot. They actually have to produce evidence and logical reasoning why anyone ought to suspect that Bigfoot is actually out there. The person making the claim has the obligation to back it up and, in failing to do so, their argument falls. The same is true of anyone making claims for the existence of gods. It rests solely on their heads to back up their claims, not from the position of their own faith, but from the position of those with whom they are debating: the non-believers. If you cannot demonstrate, to the satisfaction of people who don’t already believe your position, then you’ve really done nothing to support your claims.
So let’s look at his five purported reasons that atheism is stupid:
1 – The existence of the universe.
“Look around us” is not a sufficient reason to believe in a god, it only demonstrates that stuff is around us, it says nothing about the specific entity, if such exists, that caused it all. As I’ve shown in the past, it simply is not possible, using the traditional arguments, to get from “the existence of the universe” to “the Christian God.” Therefore, the existence of the universe really proves nothing about any specific deity, even if it could be shown that some creative entity was required to explain how the universe got here. Of course, that’s not the case, this is an appeal to ignorance on the part of Richard. He doesn’t understand how the universe could be the way that it is without his God, therefore he asserts that his God must have done it. I suspect that, based upon our discussions, Richard has very little experience in the hard sciences or rational philosophy and, unfortunately, it shows. The fact remains, whether he wants to admit it or not, that we do have demonstrable evidence that shows how the universe started and none of it requires the existence of a supernatural entity to explain. We may not know, at the moment, what came before the Big Bang, but that’s only because we haven’t developed a method to peer back before the Big Bang yet. We’re still left with a total absence of objective evidence for the factual existence of Richard’s God and without it, even if we were justified in simply asserting a cause, there’s no reason his God is any better of an explanation than any of the other 3000 gods that man has invented for himself, or any number of natural explanations that may or may not exist outside of our universe. Lacking a definitive explanation right this second is not license to make something up because it makes you feel better than admitting ignorance.
2 – The Big Bang.
It’s always confused me how theists can say that the universe isn’t eternal (and can’t be eternal), yet has no problem believing in a God that they think is. Of course, the one thing that they fail to recognize, and this is again something I’ve pointed out several times, is that whatever might exist outside of our universe is almost certainly very different than what we experience within it. That means that regardless of the cause, natural or supernatural, we cannot assume that it exists within a universe that functions like ours. Even the oft-claimed “infinite regress” claims made by theists really have no application outside of our universe because, for all we know, in whatever universes exist beyond ours, infinite regress may not violate any physical laws. It’s entirely possible that our universe has gone through an infinite cycle of expansions and contractions, each starting a new universe with the death of the old. It’s entirely possible that there are an infinite number of universes out there in a multiverse and more are born all the time. Some have suggested that every supernova or black hole in our own universe represents another universe created elsewhere. In our own galaxy alone, there are an estimated 100 million stellar-mass black holes and the universe contains tens of billions of galaxies. That’s a lot of universes. Imagine if every universe did the same thing, hundreds of trillions of black holes, each creating a new universe that spawns hundreds of trillions of black holes. The human brain isn’t very good at handling numbers that large or concepts that complex, unfortunately and I think this is another case of Richard, not having a grasp on the other possibilities, simply asserting his own favored explanation as the only one that is possible.
3 – The design of the universe.
I never understand how theists can confuse the acknowledgement of cosmological constants with design. That’s two things that just make no sense whatsoever together. The physical laws in our universe work uniformly across the whole of the universe, with some very notable exceptions. This doesn’t really prove anything, it simply is. The problem is that theists seem overly impressed with this for some reason when it really isn’t that impressive. This becomes even more clear in his next point so I’ll leave it until then. However, I did want to touch on the really rather silly concept that the universe was somehow designed for man. Clearly, only a lunatic would consider it so. The overwhelming majority of the universe is deadly to mankind. There are countless light years of empty space where man could never hope to survive, trillions of burning hot stars which would fry man to a crisp if they got too close and only a very tiny range of temperatures in which man can exist, yet the overwhelming majority of the universe exists outside of that range. Even our own planet is hostile to man. An unprotected human would die if left on the majority of the planet. The oceans are not conducive to human life. Neither are the polar regions. Neither are huge portions of the land. It’s taken human invention and ingenuity to come up with ways to make such climates livable, for the majority of human existence, even at the supposed time of Jesus, it just couldn’t be done. So where is this magical “design of the universe” again? I just don’t see it.
4 – The design of mankind.
Once again, Richard shows he really has no clue what he’s talking about. The reason is that theists like Richard work backwards, they begin with the conclusion, that humans exist, and then work backward toward the beginning, assuming that humans were the goal all along. Nothing could be further from the truth. I’ve used this example before but it seems to work. Richard exists. In order for Richard to exist, his parents had to meet, two people out of many billions on the planet. They had to get together and have sex and only one very specific sperm and one very specific egg had to join to make Richard’s DNA. That’s statistically difficult enough, but it gets worse. Richard’s parents had to survive long enough to breed, but so too did their parents, who also had to meet out of all the people on the planet and have their specific gametes join at a specific time. What are the odds that Richard could ever exist now? You can continue to go back dozens or even hundreds of generations, each individual had to survive injuries and disease, meet exactly the right person and have sex at exactly the right time and have exactly the right gametes combine and if any of these things didn’t happen exactly as it was supposed to, Richard couldn’t exist. In fact, the odds of Richard being born, just to his parents, are 1 in 225 billion and going back just ten generations, the odds exceed the number of grains of sand on the planet by a wide margin. There are an estimated 700,500,000,000,000,000,000 grains of sand and if that’s not enough, there are an estimated 7,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 atoms in your body alone. The odds are even worse than that that you would ever have been born.
And yet, there you are.
This demonstrates the absurdity of the belief and the backward nature of the assumption that humanity was intended from the beginning to appear on this little nondescript planet in the middle of a generic galaxy among tens of billions of galaxies in our universe. We were not planned, we were not intended, we are the product of the universe that spawned us, not the goal of a designed universe.
5 – The resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth.
It consistently amazes me just how dense theists are. Regardless of what Richard claims, historians have come to no consensus about the existence of Jesus. We do not have a single contemporary, demonstrably-eyewitness account of anything Jesus did. We know that the Gospels were not written by the men for whom they are named, in fact, higher scholarship strongly suggests a pre-existing book from which the Gospels copied their information. Historians don’t agree that Joseph of Arimathea buried Jesus, we have no record of Jesus crucifixion in existing Roman records, nor do we have any records whatsoever of Joseph. The four Gospel accounts each describe him differently and he appears in the apocryphal Gospel of Nicodemus. There isn’t any agreement among scholars that Arimathea even existed, there is no other mention or documentation of such a place except in Luke 23:51 where he calls it a “city in Judea”. It is more closely tied to other ancient cities like Ramleh or Ramathaim-Zophim. Therefore, we have no evidence for Jesus, we have no evidence for Joseph of Arimathea and we have no evidence for anyone matching the description of Jesus ever having been executed by the Romans. We’re left with a myth that is totally toothless and Richard wants us to think this is something that makes atheists look stupid? No, it’s something that makes Christians look gullible.
Of course, nothing Richard has said here is new, I just find it absurd that anyone could buy into any of this. It’s all faith, blindly believed, and wishful thinking. There’s no evidence for any of it and the second one looks at any of it objectively and critically, it’s clear what the intention is. The theist wishes to push their particular emotional beliefs without actually having any evidence that they’re true. They want to start at a conclusion, held for emotional reasons and only point out evidence that supports that conclusion, while ignoring all the evidence that shows the conclusion to be entirely false. Then they want to criticize atheists who dare to point out what they are doing?
Ha, it isn’t atheists that are stupid, it’s Christians.