Six Improved Arguments for Atheism!

six-ways-of-atheismThere are extremists and egotists in every religion, philosophy, hobby, and yes, even non-belief. Geoffrey Berg is a kind of Ray Comfort of atheists, making outrageous claims to try and help his cause, but in reality hurting it and making it look foolish.

Berg has a new book called The Six Ways of Atheism. Sounds bland enough. But the subtitle is what got my attention: “New Logical Disproofs Of the Existence of God.”

Bullshit. People have been hashing out the logic of God’s existence or non-existence for centuries. It is extremely unlikely he would have new logical “disproofs” for God’s existence, especially if they are “simple.”

The press release for the book is even more absurd and outrageous:

For the first time in human history multiple, absolute, valid, logical, simple disproofs of God’s existence have been published. The new logical disproofs of God’s existence have been published today….

On Monday 1 June Geoffrey Berg will be initiating consideration of these new disproofs of God’s existence by holding press conferences….

I hope he fired his publicity agency for making him look like a self-important moron. This is exactly what Ray Comfort would say, but reversed. Ray Comfort insists he has absolute, scientific, logical proof for God’s existence, and anyone with half a brain knows it is bullshit. Geoffrey Berg claims the same thing, and it’s bullshit too.

You can’t prove the non-existence of God any more than you can prove the non-existence of Zeus, the Invisible Pink Unicorn, or the Flying Spaghetti Monster. We can say there is no evidence. We can say that logically we see no reason for their existence. But I don’t think it’s possible to disprove the existence of God, especially through the word games of logic, any more than theists can prove his existence through word games.

Regardless, here is the summary of his “disproofs.” They don’t seem new to me. What do you think?

Argument 1: The Aggregate of Qualities Argument

1. If God exists, God must necessarily possess all of several remarkable qualities (including supreme goodness, omnipotence, immortality, omniscience, ultimate creator, purpose giver).
2. Every one of these qualities may not exist in any one entity and if any such quality does exist it exists in few entities or in some cases (e.g. omnipotence, ultimate creator) in at most one entity.
3. Therefore it is highly unlikely any entity would possess even one of these qualities.
4. There is an infinitesimal chance that any one entity (given the almost infinite number of entities in the Universe) might possess the combination of even some two of these qualities, let alone all of them.
5. In statistical analysis a merely hypothetical infinitesimal chance can in effect be treated as the no chance to which it approximates so very closely.
6. Therefore as there is statistically such an infinitesimal chance of any entity possessing, as God would have to do, all God’s essential qualities in combination it can be said for all practical and statistical purposes that God just does not exist.

Argument 2: The Man And God Comprehension Gulf Argument

1. Man is finite (in time, space and power etc).
2. God if he exists is infinite (in time, space and power etc).
3. Therefore mankind cannot possibly recognise God or even know that God exists.

Argument 3: The ‘God Has No Explanatory Value’ Argument

1. God if he exists must be the ultimate being and provide the answer to all our ultimate questions – otherwise he is not really God.
2. Yet even supposing as a hypothesis that God exists the questions that God was supposed to finally answer still remain (though in some cases God is substituted in the question for the Universe).
3. Therefore hypothesising God’s existence is only unnecessarily adding an extra stage to such problems and has no real explanatory value.
4. Therefore according to Logic (Occam’s Razor Law – ‘that entities are not to be multiplied beyond necessity’) we should not postulate God’s existence and there is no adequate reason to suppose that God exists.
5. Therefore we should suppose that God does not exist.

Argument 4: The ‘This Is Not The Best Possible World’ Argument

1. God if he exists must be omnipotent, supremely good and our ultimate creator.
2. Therefore an existent God (being supremely good and competent) would have created the best possible world (if he created anything).
3. As the world is inconsistent (between ages and people) it cannot all be the best possible world.
4. Therefore as the world is not the best possible world, God cannot exist.

Argument 5: The Universal Uncertainty Argument

1. An uncertain God is a contradiction in terms.
2. Everything in the Universe must be fundamentally uncertain about its own relationship to the Universe as a whole because there is no way of attaining such certainty.
3. Therefore even an entity with all God’s other qualities cannot have the final quality of certain knowledge concerning its own relationship to the Universe as a whole.
4. Therefore God cannot exist because even any potential God cannot know for sure that it is God.

Note: Stated as a logical paradox this argument is ‘God cannot exist because God cannot know for sure that it is God’.

Argument 6: The ‘Some Of God’s Defining Qualities Cannot Exist’ Argument

1. God must have certain characteristic qualities (such as providing purpose to life), otherwise he would not be God.
2. But it is impossible for any entity to possess some of these qualities (such as providing purpose to life since we can find no real purpose and therefore we in practice have no ultimate purpose to our lives) that are essential to God.
3. Therefore since some of God’s essential qualities (such as being the purpose provider to life) cannot possibly exist in any entity, God cannot exist.

  • Reginald Selkirk

    I hope he fired his publicity agency for making him look like a self-important moron.

    After looking over the material, I suspect he is his own publicity agent.

    • Reginald Selkirk

      I suspect he is also his own publisher and his own web site designer.

  • claidheamh mor

    I would not have thought I’d say “yawn” to atheist arguments. They can be useful and I agree with most* of them, but no, they’re not new.

    *I think a supreme being could be uncertain and evolving.

  • LRA

    Many of his premises need proof themselves! I found myself saying “huh???” on more than one occasion.

    • Elemenope

      These arguments are truly terrible, aren’t they?

      • LRA

        fo realz g

  • Daniel Florien

    It seems this is an

    ATHEIST FAIL

    We don’t get those too much around here… :)

  • John

    #1, 2, and 3 aren’t logical proofs anyway, and all of them only relate to very specific conceptions of “god”.

  • Reginald Selkirk

    Argument 3…
    5. Therefore we should suppose that God does not exist.

    I can agree with this one. But “we should suppose God does not exist” is not an “absolute, valid, logical, simple disproof of God’s existence.” It is simply a statement of lack of evidence for said existence.

  • http://10plusyears.blogspot.com/ 10plus

    You pretty much summed it up when you said,
    ‘People have been hashing out the logic of God’s existence or non-existence for centuries. It is extremely unlikely he would have new logical ”disproofs” for God’s existence, especially if they are “simple.”’

  • Siberia

    *facepalm*

    • Devysciple

      My first reaction indeed. Now we finally experience how it feels for a moderate christian to be on the same team with pompous asses like Comfort.

      Hey, I have an idea: Why not scrap together all the counter-arguments to the existence of gods on the various atheist websites, edit them a little, and release “101 Simple Irrefutable Proofs That Gods Do Not Exist” and write a press release that claims
      For the umpteenth time in human history multiple, absolute, valid, logical, simple disproofs of God’s existence have been published. The proven and tested logical disproofs of God’s existence have been published today….
      We could be RICH!!! :D

  • Roger

    But…but…but Daniel! You’ve just attacked another atheist! Heresy!

    • Daniel Florien

      I figure I pick on theists so much it was time I picked on an atheist. It’s slim pickings though, since we tend to be a more logical and thoughtful bunch and don’t have quite as many kooks since we’re a minority.

      • Roger

        But you found a doozy! Congratulations, Daniel. Since there are dozens of crazy atheists out there, I figure a simple web search and a few hours reading blogs may turn up a few. Maybe you’ll find the atheistic equivalent of a John C or dwade. Who knows?

  • Demosthenes

    Well Mr. Florien, I’m sorry to tell you, but your contemptuous disregard of the athiest doctrine has given us no choice but to excommunicate you from the athiest movement. May empirical reasoning have mercy on your soul.

    • Elemenope

      May empirical reasoning have mercya positive therapeutic effect on your soulconscious mind.

    • Daniel Florien

      NOOOOOO! I renounce it all! Let me back in, I beg of you!!

  • DarkMatter

    “woo woo atheism”

  • Joe B

    Anyone else while reading this guy and the Ray Comfort comparisons think of Mrs. Garrison in the Go God Go double episode of South Park.

    http://www.southparkstudios.com/search/?search=Go+God+Go&x=0&y=0

    • LRA

      omfsm! My favorite part of that episode in the Buck Rogers intro! lol!

      • Custador

        I thought it was the fact that the whole episode is a parody of Buck Rogers :-)

        • LRA

          Yes! But my favorite part is the intro– with the circles and the spinning! lmao! So great…

  • wintermute

    To be fair, it’s only impossible to prove the existence or non-existence of a non-interfering deist god. If specific claims are made for a god (like their followers being able to drink poison without harm, for example), then we can demonstrate that a god with those specific attributes does or does not exist.

    I suppose, technically, with the example I gave above, the best you can say is that said god doesn’t actually have any followers. But the point stands.

    We know that no entity answers prayers (but that might just be because they’re improperly addressed), which is a pretty major claim of any theist, other than the white-tower theologians, who exist soley to provide a smokescreen by pointing out that it’s impossible to disprove a religion that no-one actually subscribes to.

    But, that said, the arguments listed above fail on several levels, yes.

    • Logan

      I agree with you wholeheartedly. I, for one, enjoy going around saying that it is logically provable beyond a doubt that god does not exist, but when I say that, I’m referring to the biblical yahweh and not to any other god in particular.

      When it comes to the non-interventionist deist god, I say that if god DOES exist, he must want me to think that he doesn’t, and I’m happy to oblige.

      Back to the original topic of the post, I never thought I would find arguments against the existence of god for which I’d actually want to submit a rebuttal. It’s a little embarrassing.

    • rodneyAnonymous

      We know that no entity answers prayers [...] which is a pretty major claim of any theist, other than the white-tower theologians, who exist soley to provide a smokescreen by pointing out that it’s impossible to disprove a religion that no-one actually subscribes to.

      Hm, good point.

    • Phrankygee

      “I suppose, technically,[...] the best you can say is that said god doesn’t actually have any followers.”

      That is a great way to put it. I like arguing, not that God doesn’t exist, but that the people who claim to believe in him actually don’t believe what they think they do. You can’t worship an Almighty God who loves you, and still buy Fire Insurance. Praying for God’s healing, while Paying for Human Healing, etc….

  • Custador

    Hmmm. I dislike logical chains which try to slip in steps that don’t necessarily follow each other at all, and that seems to be the sum total of this guy’s ability. I imagine he probably saw how rich and famous Richard Dawkins is and thought “I’ll have a bit of that”. but neglected to realise that Dawkins is also extremely intelligent – a quality that Geoffrey Berg does not posses. That’s right Berg, even atheists think you’re a dick.

  • Custador

    Also, he doesn’t know Occam’s Razor properly. Pluralitas non est ponenda sine necesitate is all very well, BUT there are proven exceptions to that rule – correlation not always being causation springs to mind.

  • http://thisisallyouhave.blogspot.com Mike

    Good. But, nothin’ new.

  • mr fixit

    there is no more need to disprove god than there is to disprove the tooth fairy and peter pan. nobody has to prove anything that you merely pulled out of your stupid ass.

    theists are hypocrites who demand atheists disprove their god, while the theists themselves do not live up to their own standard and disprove the gods of their competing religions.

    put up or STFU, you lying sack of shit hypocrites.

    • Custador

      Angry at theists much?

    • http://img.4chan.org/b/ Anonymous

      TlTS or GTFO

      • Phrankygee

        TITS? Ummm… I hope that is an acronym for something….

        Anyone Care To Elighten Me On This Point? [ACTEMOTP?]

        • claidheamh mor

          In piloting, it stands for Tune, Identify, Test, Set: setting up your navcom before takeoff, and for Turbine Inlet Temperature. Since that doesn’t match the topics here, I want someone to ‘Identify” this acronym.
          Provided it is one; if not, then its *still* doesn’t match the topic.

          • Joe B

            especially since it’s a reply to mr fixit

          • rodneyAnonymous

            Pretty sure it’s chat-room slang like asl… “tits or gtfo” means “post a picture of your breasts, or leave”…

            • Phrankygee

              HA!

              Does that work anywhere in the real world?

              “Excuse me, miss, you don’t know me, but you need to show me your breasts, right this second, or GET OUT OF MY FACE!”

              Stay classy, internets!

            • rodneyAnonymous

              I think it’s not used in the real world, just message boards, more like “I don’t believe you’re really a girl…”, but in this context it was just a non sequitur thing to say. And I don’t think classiness was a goal :)

              yay urban dictionary

            • rodneyAnonymous

              (like “screenshot or it didn’t happen”)

            • Phrankygee

              I’m more like “screenshot, then MAYBE it happened.”

            • Anonymous

              Rodney got it. I was making fun of mr fixit’s “put up or STFU.”

            • Japanther

              Its a 4chan.org meme that has spread to the rest of the interbutts. Sometimes ‘camwhores’ will actuaully post tits. And to prove it’s them, they’ll write something on them in marker.

              btw: Sup anon (:
              (im from 7ch)

      • Sunny Day
  • Mark C.

    Daniel said:
    You can’t prove the non-existence of God any more than you can prove the non-existence of Zeus, the Invisible Pink Unicorn, or the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

    This sounds very strange to me. As wintermute said, we can disprove the existence of specific gods. This includes one with the standard omni properties. The very fact that the Invisible Pink Unicorn possesses mutually exclusive properties (invisibility and pinkness) implies that it doesn’t exist, and the same goes for specific gods.

    There are actually two ways to show that a thing does not exist: either show that it logically can’t exist (e.g. by demonstrating a contradiction in the definition) or show that necessary conditions of its existence do not obtain in reality. The Problem of Evil is an example of the latter type (though an argument I don’t like to use).

    wintermute said:
    We know that no entity answers prayers….

    Well, we know that when we test for the effectiveness of intercessory prayer, the results don’t show that anything special is going on. However, I don’t know how this could be used to provide support for the claim that prayers aren’t answered unless the entity claimed to be doing the answering has no choice but to answer all such prayers (or, of course, if it’s already been shown that no such entity exists). If it does have a choice, and if it knows prayer is being tested, it may very well choose to not answer the prayers for whatever reason.

    • DarkMatter

      “This sounds very strange to me. As wintermute said, we can disprove the existence of specific gods.”

      Did wintermute really say that?

    • Custador

      “e.g. by demonstrating a contradiction in the definition”

      Which is why it’s impossible to disprove the Abrahamic God – because nobody can agree on a deffinition.

      • Mark C.

        You’d have to make that same claim for anything which is defined more than one way by people, and I don’t think you want to do that.

        Every definition of the Abrahamic god that I’ve come across fails for one of three reasons: its existence is disproven by one of the two ways I mentioned, or it is impossible to discern a reality with the god to one without.

        • Mark C.

          (Well, in one of two or three ways, depending on how you look at it.)

    • wintermute

      Well, we know that when we test for the effectiveness of intercessory prayer, the results don’t show that anything special is going on. However, I don’t know how this could be used to provide support for the claim that prayers aren’t answered unless the entity claimed to be doing the answering has no choice but to answer all such prayers (or, of course, if it’s already been shown that no such entity exists). If it does have a choice, and if it knows prayer is being tested, it may very well choose to not answer the prayers for whatever reason.

      Or when said entity knows that such prayers, while offered without any ulterior motive, will, at a later date, be assembled into a retroactive statistical analysis.

      For example, we know that Christians who regularly pray for a long life and good health die of painfully debilitating diseases exactly as often as people who don’t pray.

  • Francesco Orsenigo

    Wow!
    Even us atheist are starting to have frauds, idiots, cooks and quacks!
    We are mainstream!
    YAY!

  • ArchangelChuck

    Lawl @ Argument 2. “Internally inconsistent,” anyone?

  • http://www.houseofzot.com Zotmaster

    Am I the only one who immediately thought of the link Daniel posted a while back to a really large list of “proofs” that God exists?

    • rodneyAnonymous
      • http://www.houseofzot.com Zotmaster

        That’s the one. Thanks :)

        But yeah. This sort of made me think of the logical opposite of that…and yet they’re both equally inane.

  • Skizac

    It seems to me that the only problem with the book author’s arguments is that he uses the word “God” in the title without qualification. It is indeed impossible to disprove the existence of a general god, but specific gods can certainly be disproven. If he had instead subtitled the book

    “New Logical Disproofs of the Common Conception of the Christian God”,

    I would have no problem with the arguments. Of course, that’s not nearly as catchy…

  • rodneyAnonymous

    I am immediately skeptical of anyone who uses the word “proof”.

  • http://soundsfamiliar.blogspot.com Swimmy

    I think #4 is especially funny in its badness. The author shows his bias in the type of god he’s thinking of. I can imagine a supreme good creator god who would want to create any and all worlds that are “good enough” or have some amount of goodness above a certain threshold, invalidating the whole damn thing entirely. Some foolproof logical argument there.

  • Dan L.

    I think this is a good thing. When someone starts making asinine comments about “proof for God” we can point at this and say “You are the same kind of stupid as this book.”

  • fftysmthg

    Sometimes I think I ponder my preponderous ponders too much. Now ponder that!

    My head hurts… Good night.

  • Janet Greene

    With Yahweh’s incessant need to be worshipped, his jealousy of other gods etc. (the first 3 commandments – almost 1/3 of them – are about loving god first) you would think he would make himself known, just a wee bit, just so that a rational person believing things based on evidence would have SOME reason to believe in him.

    So far, no such evidence. Not one hint of his existence. The only historical information, suprisingly, is only contained in one Book. No witness accounts of amazing miracles; not one person documented even ONE of these miracles at the time they happened (the gospels were written much later, probably stories having been passed down through oral tradition and getting bigger and more miraculous all the time!).

    Why would the nature of god change so spectularly? From parting rivers, creating manna from heaven, people surviving in fish, dead coming to life, walking on water etc., to NOTHING. NADA. No evidence WHATSOEVER.

    To me, this is one proof that the bible, as are all “holy books”, is created only by men.

    This is

  • zach

    I do think it’s weird, however, how if God wants people to worship him so much, since he’s so vain, if he didn’t just show himself then he would get all the attention!

    I guess he’s just afraid.

    • Janet Greene

      There is a verse in the NT (I just came across it, but can’t find right now) where Jesus says that he is being deliberately confusing about salvation so certain people can’t be saved. That must be what’s going on here! I know I’m confused – an all-powerful god who performs miracles through prayer, and not one indication of his existence! (If somebody can point out that verse to me again, I’d be much obliged).

      • http://jturner22.wordpress.com Jim T.

        Janet, you are probably referring to the passages where Jesus explains why parables have a secret meaning. As Jesus says in Mark: But to those on the outside everything is said in parables so that, “they may be ever seeing but never perceiving, and ever hearing but never understanding; otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!”

        Matthew 13:10-17
        Mark 4:10-12
        Luke 8:9-10

        • Janet Greene

          Yes, that’s exactly it. Thank you. I guess I must be one of the people to whom he was referring, because even when I was a christian I was never sure which stories were parables, which were “literally true”, etc., so I just believed what I was told by other christians. I’m so glad the fog has finally cleared!

        • fftysmthg

          “they may be ever seeing but never perceiving, and ever hearing but never understanding; otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!”

          Obviously it’s just part of a power hungry ploy made up by some of the brighter individuals of the time to get the not so bright to be fearful that they’re the ones not perceiving or not understanding and therefore not amongst the chosen who are forgiven. It pacifies and paralyzes them with fear of hell fire. Allowing the small elite ruling class (bright individuals) to rule over the masses more easily.

          Either that or we’re all going to hell.

          • LRA

            Yes… notice all the talk about sheep and shepherds in the bible. Sheeple, anyone?

            • Daniel Florien

              I remember sermons where the preacher would say, “Folks, sheep are some of the dumbest animals in the world. Have you ever wondered why Jesus called us to be sheep?”

            • LRA

              LOL!!!

            • Janet Greene

              I’ll finish your thought, although it’s pretty easy to infer! Sheep don’t think for themselves; they are passive and they just do what they are told. If I controlled a religion, I would want my congregants to be sheep also.

            • Daniel Florien

              Ex-actly.

            • claidheamh mor

              In my teens’ bible study class, the teacher said, “And what is it we know about sheep?” My friend’s loose-cannon brother said, “They stink.” The teacher said, well, John couldn’t give the right answer, could he? I thought, “But it was a right answer.” Just because the teacher wanted to hear the answer that they drink only from still water, that didn’t negate John’s answer.
              For me, that was the beginning of the end.

            • LRA

              Do they really only drink only from still water??? Ew… cuz stagnant water is groooooosss!!!!!

            • Janet Greene

              About the sheep – obedience seems to be the greatest virtue in religion. This is contrary to free thought, creativity, and curiosity. We have never made progress through obedience. It was always those who rebelled against the status quo and tried to make this life better. Religious people benefit from this. They have access to medication, vehicles, and technology. I personally think that obedience is often a character flaw. It’s giving over personal responsibility to an outside entity. You can’t become fully mature if you do not take responsibility for your own decisions. Obedience precludes this.

          • Janet Greene

            Religion truly is the opiate of the masses. If people are sidetracked with the afterlife, and earning jewels in their crowns, they will not care about what happens here on earth. So much better for the people in power. Religion is especially strong among oppressed peoples. I guess they need to think that there is a better world after they die, or life is untenable.

            Like you said – either that or I’m going to hell for sure! lol

            • claidheamh mor

              So it seems: that the USA is still on the opiate of the masses. Only in the USA would we even have anyone even debate or question that murdering a doctor who performs abortions is anything but heinous? Only in the USA would we still actually not pass a gender Equal Rights Amendment?
              I’m ready for one of those godless countries with their more lower-crime, humane societies.

            • LRA

              And yet, we have the war on drugs. Awww-kwaard!

            • Janet Greene

              Interesting book on the so-called war on drugs – check this out!

              http://www.amazon.com/Smoke-Mirrors-Drugs-Politics-Failure/dp/0316084468

            • Janet Greene

              I’m from Canada, so we’re not as religious as the US, but give me Sweden, any ol’ day.

  • Pingback: Philosophical Atheist? Not I « skin hunger

  • Olaf

    Pfff I don’t like those logical reasoning, it is not the job of an atheist to prove that God does not exist. Just let the people that are religious come to their own conclusion by asking the right questions.

    Stuff like:
    There are 1800 religions in this world, why would your religion be the correct one?
    Why does God hate amputees?

    God may or may not exist at all, but as an atheists I have no need of a god that is more diluted than any homeopathy cure that it does not matter anymore if he exists or not.

    Maybe God created this universe and then left the building to do some other cool stuf. And we still are convincing ourselves that he is still around,whil in reality he is busy with another more cool universe? But as an atheist, reality is that at this point in time and the last few billions of years there is not any trace or evidence that this God exists except from some obscure book telling that he does exist.

    Imagine yourself that some archeologist in the year 3000 dig up a Lord of the Rings book and believe that this is our religion? And then some religious nut starts to publish this book as some conspiracy theory that the government does not want to tell the truth that a Gandalf exist that can do anything.

    • Janet Greene

      Good argument. But you are probably aware that christianity was not accidental. In 325 AD, Constantine wanted to unite the Roman Empire which was mostly pagan. The pagans and the christians were not getting along that well (nothing much changes, does it?). He and the Council of Nicea went behind closed doors and debated the divinity of christ, which gospels would be included and excluded from the bible, etc. Who would have thought that the decisions made by these people would be considered “god’s word” and the “holy bible”, without flaw, almost 2000 years later. Maybe people just unaware of the history of christianity? It baffles me, quite honestly.

  • catsnjags

    a true double-facepalm would be watching this asswipe debate ray comfort…. *if it were watchable at all… worse than the train wreck….

    • Roger

      It would be like Dumb and Dumber.

  • Eric Sherman

    Aside from his self-grandiosity, I haven’t read anything novel or new yet. I can always appreciate creative and/or new twists on old arguments against god(s) and I think the author does this to some extent, but again, his claims of being revolutionary only proves his douchebaggery and has served as an hindrance.

    I think Baron D’ Holbach’s, Good Sense, is the first and last “Atheistic Manifesto.” Everything else has been a re-hash, IMO.

  • UnfortunateSchoolKid

    Poor me. I came across this in the library. I tried to read it, but the author’s use of the english language was so horrible that I just couldn’t.

  • http://mllamberth@gmail.com LordGriggsSkepticGriggsyCarneadesHume

    Daniel, three and six are logical arguments that bespeak that God is no more than a square circle or married bachelor and thus cannot possibly exist! Google Lamberth’s the ignostic-Ockham to see the power of that double argument. Michael Martin and Nicholas Everitt disagree with you: they affirm that we indeed can delineate His non-existence. Incompatibility arguments show no God.
    For the record.

  • Rob

    What a waste of time, He purports to be an Atheist,yet doesn’t know that the onus of proof lies with those who claim god does exist.


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