More Straw Manning of the Opposition

Over at He Lives, David Heddle provides another example of a theist straw manning the opposition. He writes:

Intellectual atheism in the 21st century:

• If God made everything, who made God? (Dawkins)

• Religion poisons everything! (Hitchens)

• Science and religion are not compatible! (Coyne)

• I’m a genius and can use Bayes’s Theorem to show Jesus didn’t exist! (Carrier)

• Menz suck! Theists is dumb! (Myers)

• If I were god, I’d make a small universe, ergo no god! (Loftus)

The problem with this list is that, with the possible exception of John Loftus* (see below),  Heddle doesn’t list atheists who are professional philosophers of religion, such as Draper, Oppy, Le Poidevin, Parsons, Martin, Schelleneberg, Rowe, Drange, Rundle, Philipse, Quentin Smith, Stephen Law, Pigliucci, Maitzen, and so forth. It is little surprise, then, that he does not fairly or accurately represent the best arguments for atheism, i.e., the arguments developed by those authors.

Furthermore, Heddle portrays Loftus and Carrier as uncharitably as possible. Loftus has much stronger arguments against theism than the size of the universe. Furthermore, Heddle caricatures the actual argument Loftus does make about the size of the universe. Likewise, Carrier has defended numerous arguments for atheism that have nothing to do with the historicity of Jesus.

Is it really so difficult for people to fairly and accurately represent the best arguments of their opposition?

* I am not sure if Loftus should be classified as a “professional philosopher,” but he clearly has the most formal academic training in philosophy of religion and apologetics out of the individuals in Heddle’s list.

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