QuestionsI’ve answered tons of questions from Christians in the past, today I was out looking for any questions from other religious groups, such as Muslims, but came up empty, at least so far.  I did, however, come across this list of questions that I wanted to take on, plus he asked a couple of other questions to agnostics and Muslims that I will handle in another post.

Considering the never-ending list of questions that Christians want to ask atheists, I was expecting an equally unending list from other religious groups.  If anyone knows of a Muslim list or any other non-Christian list, could you please point me in the right direction?  Christians claim that we never address Islam, I’m trying, I just haven’t found anyone asking any questions that I can address!

And so, on with the show.

1. Are you absolutely sure there is no God? If not, then is it not possible that there is a God? And if it is possible that God exists, then can you think of any reason that would keep you from wanting to look at the evidence?

No, I am not absolutely certain there is no God any more than I am absolutely certain there are no unicorns. Absolute certainty is not a factor in skepticism.  Skeptics do not accept anything to any degree of absolute certainty.  We look at the available evidence and make the most rational call based on what we see right now.  If that evidence changes tomorrow, we will look at the new evidence and evaluate it rationally and we may change our minds.  What makes you think that we haven’t looked at the evidence for God?  In fact, most rational atheists are far more knowledgeable with regard to the supposed evidence for gods, both Christian and other gods, than the overwhelming majority of theists are.  In fact, we’ve not only looked at the evidence, we understand what the evidence actually means, where it came from and why it isn’t actually evidence for the factual existence of any god.  Theists can’t say that, they just believe it blindly.  And here’s a counter question for you, that I know no theist will ever answer:  Are you absolutely certain that there is a God and how do you know?  Not believe.  Not have faith.  How do you know.

2. Would you agree that intelligently designed things call for an intelligent designer of them? If so, then would you agree that evidence for intelligent design in the universe would be evidence for a designer of the universe?

By definition, something that is intelligently designed must have an intelligent designer, but there’s no evidence that the universe is intelligently designed so this question is no more than begging the question.  Show that the universe actually is intelligently designed, don’t just assert it.  This comes straight from the argument from ignorance.

3. Would you agree that nothing cannot produce something? If so, then if the universe did not exist but then came to exist, wouldn’t this be evidence of a cause beyond the universe?

Define “nothing”.  Most theists don’t understand the concepts involved in their apologetics.  For science, there is no such thing as “nothing”, in the sense that it is a complete absence of all matter, energy, etc.  Theists would have to show that such a claim has any application in reality. Further, this is just an assertion that the universe came into being from absolutely nothing, yet we have no way of showing this to be the case. It’s not only possible, but likely, that something outside of the universe was responsible for the universe springing into existence and that our universe is but one in a virtually infinite number of universes.  We’re not special.  Theists need to get that through their heads.  Ego trips are not impressive.

4. Would you agree with me that just because we cannot see something with our eyes—such as our mind, gravity, magnetism, the wind—that does not mean it doesn’t exist?

There are lots of things that we can’t see with our eyes, yet we know exists.  However, we can detect them in other ways.  Those things that we cannot detect by any objective means, we have no reason to think they exist.  However, I will head off this objection at the pass and point out how rational thinking works.  There was a time, not that long ago, that we had no clue that atoms existed.  We couldn’t see them, we couldn’t measure them, we couldn’t detect them in any way.  Still, they existed, our knowledge of them has no bearing on their actuality.  Some theists say that just because we can’t prove God exists, that doesn’t prove that God doesn’t exist.  I will agree with this wholeheartedly.  However, because we can find no reason to believe that God exists, there is no reason to believe that God exists, any more than people should have believed in atoms before they had evidence for them.  The lack of belief in something is not a belief in the non-existence of that thing.  It is rejecting unsupported claims until they are, in fact, supported.  If you want rational people to believe in your gods, pony up the evidence.  We won’t believe it until you do.

5. Would you also agree that just because we cannot see God with our eyes does not necessarily mean He doesn’t exist?

Looks like I jumped the gun, I answered this in #4.

6. In the light of the big bang evidence for the origin of the universe, is it more reasonable to believe that no one created something out of nothing or someone created something out of nothing?

This goes back to #4 as well.  We know for an absolute fact that the Big Bang happened, there is so much evidence that supports it that it would be absurd to claim otherwise.  We have no idea what caused the Big Bang, therefore we cannot simply attribute causes because someone is uncomfortable saying they don’t know.  That’s really the important point here, your discomfort in not having an answer does not give you license to simply make something up that’s emotionally comforting.  The options aren’t  between something came from nothing or something came from God, that’s a false dichotomy.  The only option we have right now is that we don’t know and we will have to keep looking.

7. Would you agree that something presently exists? If something presently exists, and something cannot come from nothing, then would you also agree that something must have always existed?

How many times can the same question be restated?  This has been answered.  Move on.

8. If it takes an intelligent being to produce an encyclopedia, then would it not also take an intelligent being to produce the equivalent of 1000 sets of an encyclopedia full of information in the first one-celled animal? (Even atheists such as Richard Dawkins acknowledges that “amoebas have as much information in their DNA as 1000Encyclopaedia Britannicas.” Richard Dawkins, The Blind Watchmaker (New York: WW. Norton and Co., 1996), 116.)

And again.  Move on.

9. If an effect cannot be greater than its cause (since you can’t give what you do not have to give), then does it not make more sense that mind produced matter than that matter produced mind, as atheists say?

And again.  Besides, you’re just making a personal value call here that somehow mind, which is an emergent property of the physical brain, is more valuable than the matter from which it emerged.  Who determines value? Back it up with evidence.

10. Is there anything wrong anywhere? If so, how can we know unless there is a moral law?

There is no such thing as moral law, morality comes from people, more specifically, from human society.  We determine what is right and wrong subjectively.  Some people are not comfortable with this simple fact, they want morality simplified such that there is no debate between people of varying opinions who is correct and who is incorrect in their moral assessments.  Sorry, it doesn’t work that way.

11. If every law needs a lawgiver, does it not make sense to say a moral law needs a Moral Lawgiver?

There is no moral law.  Move on.

12. Would you agree that if it took intelligence to make a model universe in a science lab, then it took super-intelligence to make the real universe?

Nope.  We know what human-created things look like and we have multiple examples of what an intelligently designed model would look like.  We have no examples of an intelligently designed universe to compare against what we see when we look around us.  You *WANT* intelligent design, you have yet to demonstrate intelligent design.

13. Would you agree that it takes a cause to make a small glass ball found in the woods? And would you agree that making the ball larger does not eliminate the need for a cause? If so, then doesn’t the biggest ball of all (the whole universe) need a cause?

Restatement of #12.  Move on.

14. If there is a cause beyond the whole finite (limited) universe, would not this cause have to be beyond the finite, namely, non-finite or infinite?

Let us know when you actually demonstrate that there is a cause of any sort.  In fact, I wouldn’t argue this at all. There are some people who believe, rightly or wrongly, I use this only as an example, that every black hole in the universe is the spawning point of a new universe.  Somewhere beyond the event horizon, according to some, there is a new universe which came into existence solely because a super  massive star imploded.  So, is that cause beyond the finite?  No, it is not.  Again, let us know when you actually can show us what created this, or any, universe.

15. In the light of the anthropic principle (that the universe was fine-tuned for the emergence of life from its very inception), wouldn’t it make sense to say there was an intelligent being who preplanned human life?

The anthropic principle is inherently flawed, it’s wishful thinking, not objective observation.  The universe is not fine-tuned for the emergence of life, life is fine-tuned for the existence of the universe.  Creationists are like a puddle who seems self-assured that the hole it inhabits is perfectly made for it, therefore the puddle must have been pre-planned.  Nothing can be further from the truth.  The universe exists.  Life on our planet evolved to fit the conditions on our planet.  If the conditions were different, life would have arisen differently, if at all.  If life did not arise, no one would be here arguing that the planet is so perfectly tuned for it’s existence.

I am always surprised that these sets of questions contain so many re-statements of the same idea over and over and over again.  Maybe they can’t think of any other questions, maybe they never re-read their articles before they post them, maybe they’re just copying from a variety of sources with the same questions, but when something is asked once, it really does not need to be asked again.  Please try to do better, Christians.

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