Top 10 Most Common Atheist Arguments—Do They Fail? (4 of 4)

Top 10 Most Common Atheist Arguments—Do They Fail? (4 of 4) August 2, 2019

Let’s conclude our critique of Eric Hyde’s analysis of atheist arguments, “Top 10 Most Common Atheist Arguments, and Why They Fail.” (Begin with part 1 here.)

“8. History is full of mother-child messiah cults, trinity godheads, and the like. Thus the Christian story is a myth like the rest.”

There’s a lot of straw-manning with the formulation of this and other arguments. I’ve never heard an atheist talk about supernatural story elements seen in other mythologies and then conclude that, because Christianity has them too, it must be a myth. Rather, we conclude that Christianity springing from a culture suffused with stories of dying-and-rising gods, virgin births, and other miracles suggests that Christianity is no more historically accurate than they are. Remember that Palestine was at the crossroads of Egypt, Persia, Greece, and Rome. The early Christian authors would be quite familiar with the supernatural tales from surrounding lands.

A counterfeit coin does not prove the non-existence of the authentic coin, it proves the exact opposite.

Counterfeits always follow the real thing. The resurrection of Jesus followed the resurrection of Dionysus. Any questions? (More here and here.)

At this point in the argument, other apologists usually yield as little as possible and emphasize the differences between the Jesus resurrection and the rebirth of Dionysus, the Jesus virgin birth story and the godly parentage of Alexander the Great, and so on. (Of course the stories are different! If the Jesus story were identical to that of Dionysus, we’d call him “Dionysus.”) But Hyde admits that many of the supernatural story elements are common.

It seems only natural that if the advent of Christ was real it would permeate through the consciousness of mankind on some level regardless of their place in history. One should expect to find mankind replicating these stories, found in their own visions and dreams, again and again throughout history. And indeed, that is what we find.

Is he declaring that all roads lead to God? When a Hindu is told something by Krishna in a dream, that was actually the Christian god?

He imagines that the key elements of the Jesus story magically suffused through cultures, long before the Christian era. That’s a rather desperate attempt to salvage the story, and I’d like to see some evidence for this. But why grope for a supernatural explanation when the natural one leaves nothing unaddressed: Christianity broke away as a new religion just like countless others do, and it took on elements of the surrounding culture. Remember that the entire New Testament was written in Greek, and it couldn’t help but take on elements of the wider culture as it was passed orally for decades in Greek culture before being written down as the gospels.

“9. The God of the Bible is evil. A God who allows so much suffering and death can be nothing but evil.”

This is the Problem of Evil, and Hyde agrees that it’s a powerful argument. He responds with the popular appeal to objective moral truth.

The argument takes as its presupposition that good and evil are real; that there is an ultimate standard of good and evil that supersedes mere fanciful “ideas” about what is good and evil.

He imagines that objective morality—morality that is true whether or not there’s anyone here to appreciate it—exists, and the atheist knows it. The tables are turned, and the atheist must acknowledge God as the grounding of his morality.

Nope. I need evidence for this objective morality, and Hyde provides none. He just asserts it with his reference to an “ultimate standard.” Hypothesizing objective morality is unnecessary to explain human morality. Look up “morality” in the dictionary to see that the concept works fine without an assumed objectivity.

It’s weird for someone who does not believe in ultimate good and evil to condemn God as evil because He did not achieve their personal vision of good.

Who decides what my moral beliefs are but me? I’ll grant that I’m an imperfect judge, but the buck stops here. I’m all I’ve got, and that’s true for everyone else.

The same goes for claims of God’s existence. When you consider the evil that God does in the Old Testament, does this look like the actions of an all-good god? We don’t presuppose God and then hammer the facts to fit; we evaluate the claims to see if the evidence points there. And Christianity fails with this mismatch between the claims of an all-good god versus reality and their own holy book.

“10. Evolution has answered the question of where we came from. There is no need for ignorant ancient myths anymore.”

He says that the evolution vs. Creationism debate is where we see the Christian challenge to science most clearly played out. His strawman version of the atheist argument is that science will eventually answer all questions about reality. This isn’t my position; I simply say that science has a remarkable track record for teaching us about reality, while religion has taught us absolutely nothing. Religion makes claims—that there is life after death, for example—but these are always without sufficient evidence.

Hyde declares that he has lost all interest in the debate and says, “Usually both sides of the debate use large amounts of dishonesty in order to gain points.” What’s dishonest about the evolution side? It’s the overwhelming scientific consensus. As laymen, we can gnash our teeth about that consensus, but we’re still obliged to accept it as the best provisional explanation that we have.

(Incredibly, I’ve come across Creationists who claim that evolution isn’t the scientific consensus. Just to put the final nail in that coffin, I’ve included an appendix below of many sources, both from within the scientific community as well as from evolution deniers, making clear that evolution is indeed the consensus.)

Hyde goes on to get confused about what evolution claims and doesn’t claim. In the interest of time, I’ll give my responses and let you imagine the claims: there are no serious objections to evolution; evolution doesn’t claim to explain the origin of life—that’s abiogenesis; the Big Bang is also well-established science, though it doesn’t overlap evolution at all; and yes, science unashamedly has unanswered questions—working on those is where new knowledge comes from.

Since science has the track record, I suggest we look to it for answers, not religion.

Hyde wraps up with something of a Non-Overlapping Magesteria kind of argument:

Science is fantastic if you want to know what gauge wire is compatible with a 20 amp electric charge, how agriculture works, what causes disease and how to cure it, and a million other things. But where the physical sciences are completely lacking is in those issues most important to human beings—the truly existential issues: what does it mean to be human, why are we here, what is valuable, what does it mean to love, to hate, what am I to do with guilt, grief, sorrow, what does it mean to succeed, is there any meaning and what does ‘meaning’ mean, and, of course, is there a God?

Yes, religion does have answers to “What is my purpose?” and “Is there an afterlife?” and other existential questions. But take a look at a map of world religions and you’ll see the problem: religion’s answer depends on where you live in the world! Religions are local customs. Sure, they have answers, but why think they’re any more objectively true than the local customs for when a gentleman should remove his hat or which utensil to use to eat your salad?

And science does have answers to many of these questions: there’s no evidence of a transcendental purpose to your life, so you’d better get busy assigning your own; there’s no evidence of an afterlife, so you might want to get used to that; and so on.

Science has answers; it’s just that the Christian doesn’t like them.

You either have a god who sends child rapists to rape children
or you have a god who simply watches and says:
“When you’re done I’m going to punish you.”
If I could stop a person from raping a child, I would.
That’s the difference between me and your god.
— Tracie Harris, The Atheist Experience

.

(This is an update of a post that originally appeared 7/3/15.)

Image from Herbert Rudeen, CC license

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Appendix: Evolution is the scientific consensus

  • Evolution is one of the most robust and widely accepted principles of modern science.Source: American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2006
  • There is no longer a debate among scientists about whether evolution has taken place.Source: National Science Teachers Association
  • “Evolution is not only universally accepted by scientists; it has also been accepted by the leaders of most of the world’s major religions.” Source: National Academy of Sciences, 1999.
  • “Based on compelling evidence, the overwhelming majority of scientists and science educators accept evolution as the most reasonable explanation for the current diversity of life on earth and the set of processes that has led to this diversity.” Source: Joint statement of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, National Academy of Sciences and National Research Council, and National Science Teachers Association, 2001
  • In response to “Don’t many famous scientists reject evolution?”: “No. The scientific consensus around evolution is overwhelming. Those opposed to the teaching of evolution sometimes use quotations from prominent scientists out of context to claim that scientists do not support evolution. However, examination of the quotations reveals that the scientists are actually disputing some aspect of how evolution occurs, not whether evolution occurred.” Source: Science and Creationism: A View from the National Academy of Sciences, 1999
  • “Darwin presented compelling evidence for evolution in On the Origin and, since his time, the case has become overwhelming. Countless fossil discoveries allow us to trace the evolution of today’s organisms from earlier forms. DNA sequencing has confirmed beyond any doubt that all living creatures share a common origin. Innumerable examples of evolution in action can be seen all around us, from the pollution-matching pepper moth to fast-changing viruses such as HIV and H5N1 bird flu. Evolution is as firmly established a scientific fact as the roundness of the Earth.Source: NewScientist magazine, 2008.
  • “…Our magazine’s positions on evolution and intelligent design (ID) creationism reflect those of the scientific mainstream (that is, evolution: good science; ID: not science).” Source: the editor in chief of Scientific American, 2008
  • “When theories about chemical & biological evolutions (to produce life & complex life) are examined and evaluated, in the scientific community we see a majority consensus and a dissenting minority.” Source: American Scientific Affiliation: A Fellowship of Christians in Science
  • “Research!America supports the scientific community’s unanimous position that intelligent design does not meet the criteria of a scientific concept and thus should not be presented as one in the classroom. Evolution is backed by a substantial body of scientific evidence, whereas intelligent design is a matter of belief and not subject to proof.” Source: Research!America

Even the evolution deniers at least admit that evolution is the scientific consensus.

  • “If there is so much evidence for creation and against naturalistic evolution, why do the majority of scientists believe in evolution? … A number of young and old alike seem perplexed that the creation evidences presented seem so easy to understand—so logical, so obvious—and yet the majority of scientists still profess that the evidence ‘obviously’ fits with evolution.” Source: Ken Ham, Institute for Creation Research.
  • Evolution-rejecting scientists are in a minority.” Source: Jonathan Sarfati, Creation Ministries International.
  • “You are claiming that the church should adopt the scientific consensus today (on evolution and long ages)” Source: Jonathan Sarfati, Creation Ministries International.
  • “It is clear from U.S. Supreme Court precedents that the Constitution permits both the teaching of evolution as well as the teaching of scientific criticisms of prevailing scientific theories.” Source: Discovery Institute
  • “Of course, the ‘scientific consensus’ now holds that Darwinian evolution is true.” Source: Discovery Institute

 

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  • Lex Lata

    As best I can reckon, morality is a protean, often cloudy consensus that both emerges from and contributes to a messy feedback loop involving cultural expectations, familial habits, legal norms, and the like. The philosophical utility or appeal of a system of objective, transcendent morality (something like classical natural law) makes provisional sense to me, but I’ve seen little evidence that such a morality actually exists, and even less that its author is the God of Abraham.

    Is it objectively moral to slaughter prisoners of war and take women and children as plunder? To deal with a rapist by having him marry his victim and pay compensation to her father? To permit chattel slavery? To punish same-sex intimacy, or Sabbath-breaking, or adultery, by stoning the offender to death?

    • Michael Newsham

      Is it objectively moral to slaughter prisoners of war and take women and children as plunder? To deal with a rapist by having him marry his victim and pay compensation to her father? To permit chattel slavery? To punish same-sex intimacy, or Sabbath-breaking, or adultery, by stoning the offender to death?

      Christian: “It depends on the time and place and who’s giving the order.”
      Atheist: “It’s wrong.”
      Christian: “That’s the problem with you atheists- no objective standard of morality.”

      • JustAnotherAtheist2

        LOL!

        This reminds me, I watched a video recently where some idiot was chiding evolution for having not given us 100% efficient natural sunscreen or the ability to survive while nude in frigid weather….and then went on to talk about how our design reflects god’s glorious nature!

        • It’s like “Naturalists think that the universe came from nothing. How stupid! In fact, it came from God … who made it out of nothing.”

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          Lol, quite.

          This one is even worse, though. At least a god offers some superficial “extra” that might allow nothing to do something. With the evolution example, however, the lack of 100% effective natural sunscreen supposedly refutes the theory by itself…. Yet it’s not even a black mark against something more powerful and more intentional.

          It may be the apex of backward thinking in my short time having these discussions.

        • Greg G.

          It doesn’t matter how many times you observe a cause acting on something to produce an effect, it is a non sequitur to infer that a cause acting on nothing will have an effect. Yet it is one of the few arguments they have.

        • Pofarmer

          But it’s really worse than that . Christians are arguing that a non material(nothing) agent acted on nothing to produce something.

    • I remember to have seen justified the OT massacres (Amalekites, Canaanites) as the slaughter of demons, even if it’s debatable the cattle, etc. would be also demonic (and even the killing of the latter is justified by some)

      • Greg G.

        The Amalekites, and another group whose name escapes me ATM, were the offspring of Lot’s ince‌stual se‌xcapades. That justifies slaughtering them though God could have caused each daughter to have a spontaneous abortion without anyone even knowing they had conceived, one would think.

        • Does that have Biblical justification or it’s just yet another Fundie PIDOOMA?. I’m much more for the latter.

        • Greg G.

          Oops. My memory wasn’t even half-baked. I was conflating Amalekites with Ammonites.

          Genesis 19:36-38 (NIV)36 So both of Lot’s daughters became pregnant by their father. 37 The older daughter had a son, and she named him Moab; he is the father of the Moabites of today. 38 The younger daughter also had a son, and she named him Ben-Ammi; he is the father of the Ammonites of today.

          So much imaginary genocide in the OT that one would have to be omniscient to keep track of it all.

        • Well, it’s still unfair to call demons. Oh, well, Fundies and their PIDOOMAs.

        • Moabites and Ammonites (Genesis 19:36–8).

          Curiously, the Ammonites fossilize like this. I’ve not seen Moabite fossils, however.

          https://www.bgs.ac.uk/discoveringGeology/time/fossilfocus/images/ammonites/asterocerasObtusum.jpg

        • Illithid

          Those are their horns. Demon horns are really hard and dense, that’s why we find so many of them in lower strata after the Flood.

          Edit: Yes, the slaughter of the Ammonites is recounted after the Flood. God’s ways are mysterious.

  • ThaneOfDrones

    A counterfeit coin does not prove the non-existence of the authentic coin, it proves the exact opposite.

    What a poorly-thought-out argument. It didn’t take me more than 10 seconds to come up with two counter-examples.

    1) Three dollar bill with the face of (president you don’t like) on it. Not modeled after any real $3 bill.

    2) Hitler’s diary. Proved absolutely nothing as to the existence or contents of any real diary of Hitler’s.

    So, while a counterfeit indeed does not prove that a separate item is also counterfeit, it most certainly does not “prove the exact opposite”. And in this case, it proved that Eric Hyde does not think through his arguments before publishing them.

    • nice examples.

      • ThaneOfDrones

        ‘Paranormal’ evidence, such as ectoplasms and manifestations.

    • Ficino

      Can’t Hyde counter that counterfeit by definition is an unauthorized copy of an authorized original? So if a counterfeit coin existed/s, then original existed.

      If Hyde so argued, it would be typical apologists’ sophistry, for it would beg the question when it defines “counterfeit” in this special way.

    • Maltnothops

      I’ll quibble. The three dollar bill would not exist without the real paper currency of one, five, ten, etc dollars. There need not be a real three dollar bill to create a counterfeit because the reference is to paper currency generally.

      Similarly, the reference for Hitler’s diary is Hitler and not an actual diary by Hitler. In the absence if Hitler, there would not be a counterfeit diary of Hitler.

      • ThaneOfDrones

        If you want to play semantic games, you can find excuses for anything. But stretch it too far, and the only reaction you get will be laughter.

        Alleged evidence for Bigfoot, aliens and chupacabra.

        Religious relics such as pieces of the “true cross”, nails used to crucify Jesus, the various shrouds, etc.

        • Greg G.

          More examples:

          A counterfeit coin light saber replica does not prove the non-existence of the authentic coin light saber, it proves the exact opposite.

          A counterfeit coin real DeLorean does not prove the non-existence of the authentic coin time traveling automobile, it proves the exact opposite.

          In Orlando, I saw counterfeit Harry Potter wands. If there are counterfeit magic wands, it proves the existence of real magic wands.

        • Maltnothops

          Did I stretch too far?

        • ThaneOfDrones

          The one about “the reference for Hitler’s diary is Hitler and not an actual diary by Hitler” was definitely too far. The incident did not involve introduction of a counterfeit Hitler.

        • Maltnothops

          I don’t understand. I didn’t suggest a counterfeit Hitler. My point was that no one would have produced a counterfeit Hitler diary if Hitler had been a nobody.

  • ThaneOfDrones

    The argument takes as its presupposition that good and evil are real;
    that there is an ultimate standard of good and evil that supersedes mere
    fanciful “ideas” about what is good and evil.

    You correctly note that Hyde has provided no evidence of any “ultimate” nor “objective” morality. But Hyde went one step further: he implies that if good and evil are not “ultimate” then they do not exist at all. This is dumn*.

    * By dumn, I mean dumber than dumb.

    • if good and evil are not “ultimate” then they do not exist at all.

      Dude needs a dictionary.

      • ThaneOfDrones

        aka “Why were adjectives invented?”

    • TheNuszAbides

      i.e. damn dumb.

  • 8. Post-Babylon exile Judaism and what came from it owe a llt to Zoroastrism, where those very same ideas are laid. Even being already full of doubts at the time, it was quite a shock.

    9. Just see “the Book”. The claims of God never changing, and especially that Jesus as member of the Trinity was around when all those massacres happened -heard to Fundies- do not help at all.

    10. “Evolutionism”, as Fundies ignorant of even the most basic science love to call it, has far more abundant evidence supporting it that something that has its origin in Bronze Age legends. If you want to believe what religion has to say, so be it. But do not attempt to impose your ways on others and insult scientists who are far wiser than you

    • ThaneOfDrones

      The OT has surprisingly few references to an afterlife, Heaven, Hell, and Satan. Mostly the OT message is “obey YHWH or He will smite you right here in this world.” The change in the message had to come from somewhere.

      • Very true. It’s quite telling when Yahweh expels both Adam and Eve of the Garden does not tell them the Fundy mantra of “corrupt, wicked creatures doomed to eternal damnation”, nor there’s a foreshadowing of Jesus.

      • NS Alito

        The change in the message had to come from somewhere.

        Maybe when they realized that enemy technology (iron chariots) was good at smiting, too. “Oh, yeah? Well our god can smite you in the afterlife!

      • Mostly the OT message is “obey YHWH or He will smite you right here in this world.”

        Huh? That’s works, not faith.

  • ThaneOfDrones

    Science is fantastic if you want to know what gauge wire is compatible with a 20 amp electric charge

    FEkkin idjit. An amp is a measure of current, not charge. And you would need to know more stuff to get your answer; such as the length of wire to be used and what metal the wire is made of.

    National Electrical Code: Allowable Ampacities of Insulated Conductors Rated 0-2000 Volts

    • 2.5mm2 for copper, at least here. It varies depending on the way you’ve installed the conductors but it can be used usually.

    • NS Alito

      Don’t be so narrow-minded. An amp can also be something you kick off the stage during your guitar riff finale.

      • sandy

        Reminds me of the story…what do you throw to a bass player who is drowning? His amp.

        • Kuno

          And what do you call the guys who travel around with touring musicians? Drummers.

        • Greg G.

          What’s the difference between a musical band and a steer? A steer has the horns in the front and the as‌sho‌le in the back.

  • (((J_Enigma32)))

    It’s weird for someone who does not believe in ultimate good and evil to condemn God as evil because He did not achieve their personal vision of good.

    This is such a bad argument I want to beat my head against a wall to make it go away. Not only does it miss the point, it smugly and self-assuredly misses the point in a way that would make Donald Trump stop and go, “hey, don’t you think that’s a bit arrogant?”

    A lot of this is rooted firmly in Divine Command Theory, and, well . . . DCT has problems. Big ones. Namely, the Euthyphro dilemma: “Is the pious loved by the gods because it is pious, or is it pious because it is loved by the gods?”

    Now, some thinkers have objected to this, calling it a false dilemma and maintaining that there are mechanisms that deal with it. But here’s the problem: ans answer outside of rejecting an objective morality still has to present good and evil as if they’re opposing elements, because God has to be the ultimate good in the end. So let’s do a thought experiment to demonstrate how good and evil are not separate elements but can instead be the same outcome, at the same time, of the same action:

    Let’s say that you’re walking and you see a drunken man. He’s about to get hit by a car; the driver of the car isn’t paying attention and the man is so sloshed that he doesn’t realize it. You act quickly, tackling the man, shoving him out of the way, or whatever. The car doesn’t hit him, you aren’t hit, and you saved his life. Unfortunately, in the process, you injured the man. Let’s say he fell and broke his arm, or his wrist. Good Samaritan laws will almost certainly protect you from any lawsuit he could file, since you acted with the best of intentions to save the man. We’d consider this “good.” But you broke the man’s arm.

    Now, because he’s injured he has to get involved in our medical system. He goes to the hospital, and this drunken man suddenly gets a huge medical bill for both painkillers and getting it cast. His job required him to work temporary physical work, so now he can’t work, and because it was temp without a union, he gets fired (the company finds some excuse to do it; hell, he might have come into work drunk. If the man suffers from addiction problems, then we’re looking at a whole other prong here, because your choice to save him broke his arm and opened the door to a brand new addiction for him: opiates). Now he can’t pay his medical bills, he’s living in pain because our medical system is absolute garbage, and he doesn’t have a job anymore. It doesn’t take a lot to assume he’ll start abusing painkillers and alcohol, if he wasn’t already, and his family really begins to suffer for it. If he’s abusive, then his kids and wife are now in for a very rough time; arguably even worse than before. Eventually, it spirals until he becomes a statistic of the opiate crisis, and now his wife and kids have had their life ruined as a result of your choice to save his life: because make no mistake, you broke his arm. This is in part your fault.

    And what if the driver wasn’t going to hit him? You can’t know that, but there’s a chance the driver would never have hit him at all. So what happened here is that you caused injury that didn’t need to happen and in doing so, outright caused, needlessly, this man’s mental and physical decline. Or perhaps in breaking his arm and throwing him into our system you sped up his decline, which was going to happen anyway, and saved his wife and kids the real pain and suffering (and perhaps even saved their lives from him coming home very violent and killing them).

    Was your action “good,” “evil,” or “neither?” Some may argue that you can’t possibly know the consequences of your action and so it’s “good,” but that’s precisely my point. You can’t know the consequences of your action, and since “good” and “evil” are generally determined by the consequences, not intent (although intent certainly plays a role), then it’s absolutely pointless to pretend that any one choice can be either when there’s a high probability of it being both. Think of it as something like Quantum Morality; the chaotic randomness of reality means that the fallout from your choice can’t be predicted until it happens, at which point people will label it based off how it affected them personally as opposed to any sort of universal standard. This is how you wind up with people arguing that a universal healthcare system, which would dramatically benefit small businesses and help lift millions out of poverty, is “bad” — because they think it’ll affect them negatively.This, coincidentally, is also why I despise black and white thinking like the kind that the Abrahamic deity requires to exist. It leads to silly, sloppy thinking like the kind that perpetuates a belief things are wholly or universally “bad” and “good” because of how they affect you.

    • wannabe

      Oedipus was deemed morally culpable for killing his father and marrying his mother, even though he didn’t know he was doing these things and in fact went out of his way to avoid doing them. So the Geek concept of morality and guilt at least differs from the modern. So, which, if either, is “objective”?

      • Michael Neville

        Two hundred years ago in much of Western Civilization dueling was considered legal, honorable and moral. Nowadays it would be either murder or attempted murder. Morality is mutable.

        There are certain actions which are almost universally condemned as immoral, child rape is certainly one. Except that Catholic bishops don’t seem to think so because they support and protect child-raping clergy.

        • wannabe

          But that’s done in every denominaton, every religion, even in secular places like colleges and national sports programs. It’s all look the other way then CYA.

        • Honor was a useful guide in a lawless (or less law) community. Now, we have strong laws, and honor gets in the way. Each has its place, but they don’t coexist well.

        • (((J_Enigma32)))

          I’d argue honor is better at serving the intention of the wealthy and powerful than an impartial system is (in theory. In practice the track record is a lot more mixed). See, “honor” is simply whatever gives the powerful an advantage in whatever situation we’re talking about, and secures their power beyond question. Did you question your parents? Your besmirched their “honor.” Did you gainsay your superior, even though they were wrong? You attacked their “honor.” Did you have sex with a powerful man’s daughter even though she was clearly into it and there’s a strong sense of mutual affection between the two of you despite not being married? It’s time to wheel out that old “honor” excuse. Did you send an assassin to poison your rival, so you wouldn’t have to face him in a field of battle because honestly, war is destructive and not at all profitable? Guess what, you dishonorable coward?

          Honor is whatever the powerful in society deem it to be. It’s little different than any other authoritarian system; the only reason it seems to be is because honor gets wrapped up in toxic masculinity, and masculinity is often the thing that shapes society and is seen as the “default.” Not always, but I struggle to think of more than a handful of examples where it isn’t the case.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          I saw an interesting article that posited that the Civil War caused the death of dueling in the US. Apparently, a *lot* of the dandies who would demand ‘honor be satisfied’ in a duel *also* bought their way out of military service (oh, the parallels!). After the war, when such a dandy ‘demanded satisfaction’, the one challenged would just say the dandy HAD NO honor, having shirked his war duties, and thus was unworthy of the ‘field of honor’.

        • I would think that the Civil War veteran would also be more skilled at using guns.

        • Brian Curtis

          Morality evolves and continues to improve. God doesn’t. That alone is enough reason to kick him to the curb.

  • Michael Neville

    When a guy doesn’t know the difference between abiogenesis and evolution then I can’t take any objections to evolution that he might have very seriously.

    Sure religion has answers to the “most important” questions, but what evidence do we have that those answers are true? As Dara O’Briain put it, “Do you have any evidence for that?” “There’s more to life than evidence.” “Get in the fricking sack.”

    • Lex Lata

      Aye. The religions of the Assyrians, Egyptians, Greeks, Incas, Persians, etc. all had answers to life’s “most important” questions. That religious answers furnish a sense of narrative and emotional certainty doesn’t make them accurate descriptions of reality.

    • Castilliano

      “When a guy doesn’t know the difference between abiogenesis and evolution
      then I can’t take any objections to evolution that he might have very
      seriously.”
      Exactly.
      It’s one of the warning signs that your interlocutor has been fed an apologist’s errant variant, not one aimed to teach or empower, but rather to corral in the flock. Other signals are when they equate atheism with science, naturalism, or worst yet, nihilism. Or they juxtapose Christianity w/ evolution even though most Christians worldwide accept evolution.
      Evolutionism, sciencism, Darwinism, quote marks around “theory”, and so many other signals tell me it’s going to be a long slog past nowhere just to get them to accept some facts that they’ll later dismiss because their thinking’s corrupted, not just their data.

      At this point it’s often better to step back and ask about sources and epistemology rather than details that they can’t keep straight. The Socratic method and “What if?” questions can lower defenses and help their thinking if you can discuss in a safe venue.
      If in an ornery mood, I’ll admit to them I regard Creationists & IDers on the same level as Flat Earthers which is true. Evolution may be a less intuitive concept, but all those science deniers are using the same warped methodologies.

      Cheers

      • Evolution may be a less intuitive concept, but all those science deniers are using the same warped methodologies.

        Quantum physics is a less intuitive concept, but you don’t see them agitating against that. Their religious agenda shows.

        • NS Alito

          I always had to roll my eyes when Creationists used thermodynamics to “disprove evolution”. They’re trying to disprove something they can’t understand with something they understand even less.

        • epeeist

          I always had to roll my eyes when Creationists usedto “disprove evolution”.

          Try to get them to define what they mean by a “closed system”. Then point out that the Earth is a dissipative rather than a closed system due to that rather large and hot yellow thing that can be seen in the sky.

        • MR

          If they even mention the term “closed system.”

          Every mother who has ever screamed at her child to “Shut the god damn door!” can understand the basics of thermodynamics and yet Christian apologetics seems to struggle with this concept.

          I went to a religious seminar where they went on about entropy and how the law of thermodynamics predicts that everything should be descending into chaos and yet…, “look at all this LIFE!” and we were subjected to a five minute montage of flowers opening and frogs leaping and all manner of life in the act of living, while in virtually every frame there was the sun beaming brightly down, or glinting off a stream, or its rays penetrating into the depths of some pond.

          I mean, the first thing you learn in high school when they talk about thermodynamics is that the earth is not a closed system!

        • Maltnothops

          “Every mother who has ever screamed at her child to “Shut the god damn door!” can understand the basics of thermodynamics and yet Christian apologetics seems to struggle with the concept.”

          So you reminded me of a Christmas card I sent out some years ago to carefully selected friends(and I did mention this a few weeks ago so I apologize for the repetition.) Jesus is standing in an open doorway in the winter and Mary is yelling at him, ‘Jesus Christ, shut the door! Were you born in a barn?”

        • MR

          That’s awesome. I’ll have to look for those.

        • Greg G.

          I had some Christmas cards made for 2012 with a Bizarro cartoon (thank you Dan Piraro) of a Mayan sitting at the bar looking sad and the bartender says, “Cheer up, pal. It’s not the end of the world.”

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/cbdb29cb9793af894f920fd59c7d2979a987b5b4f5c8400139cd232317878054.png

          Dad said my step-mother needed that because she had been worried.

        • NS Alito

          Been there, done that, got a talk.origins howler monkey avatar.

        • Greg G.

          Those were the days! I learned a lot from John Harshman, John Wilkins (he is to blame for my addiction to pun cascades), and PJ Maierz, Steven J. always had well written posts. I remember when Aron Ra first started posting there while he was learning about evolution.

        • Michael Murray

          So why are there still howler monkeys ! Explain that !

        • Illithid

          I remember Jim Merritt was always devastatingly erudite, and a guy called Celsus had reliably well-researched (and long) posts. And there was Ted Holden, the first absolutely impenetrably insane creatard I’d ever encountered. This was in ’88-’90, I guess. Usenet.

        • Greg G.

          I came along around 1995, or so. The name “Ted Holden” was still used as a comparison to the densest creationists.

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          I like asking about snowflakes. If entropy was as they misinterpret it, water molecules coming together in such organized structures would be impossible. This seems to penetrate their defenses more for me.

        • Greg G.

          Making ice in a refrigerator is an intelligently designed process, therefore snowflakes are intelligently designed, therefore covering my driveway with snow is an intentional act of vandalism.

        • Rudy R

          And evolution is not possible without thermodynamics, as Sean Carroll has so elegantly explained in his book, The Big Picture.

        • NS Alito

          Creationists are not known for reading books, including the Bible.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Especially because their go-to argument, the 2nd law of thermogoddamnics, only applies to *closed* systems.

        • eric

          That’s just a matter of time and ignorance. QM is like relativity – it subtly and with some technical complexity undermines the faith. The few YECers who realize this, object to it (example: Jason Lisle). The reason you don’t see all YECers object to it is that they simply don’t understand how it hurts their position. [With relativity, it implies God intentionally deceives everyone about the age of the universe. With QM, it undermines the whole “only God could create something from nothing” defense.]

        • Some I know of have mixed QM with the Bible -Faith moves mountains, or whatever-. Not to mention the mess of a “portal to a dark Universe discovered with the help of the heavy quark”, also mixed with the same.

          Nothing credible can come from people both totally ignorant of even the most basic science, especially when they admit it, and mixing stuff of a book written by even more ignorant people. Especially when it ends inviting you to accept Jesus, etc.

        • epeeist

          Some I know of have mixed QM with the Bible -Faith moves mountains, or whatever

          “So, what’s the Hamiltonian for that?” or “What are the Hermitian’s that correspond to the observables?” tend to work wonders.

        • Same for New Age woo-pushers, who offer “Free Courses of Quantum Physics”.

          I’d really like to see what you mention, knowing the man who talks about that admits to be ignorant of science -despite other similar epic fails and insisting again and again evolution is BS-. Then again sheeps are worse -said man says to have been a philosophy teacher at the University, and at least shows to know about not science-related stuff-

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          This is true for some, but for a host of others it married nicely under the banner reading “god is strange, QM is strange, how about that!”

    • eric

      It’s partially because the word “evolution” has multiple meanings. It can refer to the biological process, or it can just mean “how something changes over time”. It’s perfectly legitimate to use the latter meaning to talk about stellar evolution or cosmic evolution or even the evolution of simple organic molecules into self-replicators.

      However, that’s only part of the reason. That explains, for instance, why 10th graders might get confused. The other part of the reason is that fundamentalist grown adults don’t seem to want to attempt reading comprehension if it might interfere with their preconceived notions.

      • Creationists imagine all sorts of confusion when the word “evolution” enters the conversation, but I don’t see it. I suppose you could contrive a situation, but I can’t think of any typical situation where someone mentions evolution, and someone else says, “Hold on now, is that biological evolution or stellar evolution you’re talking about?”

        And I also wonder if they delight in squeezing in the D-word somewhere (like “the Darwinian synthesis,” as I’ve heard more than once from Greg Koukl), rather than simply saying “evolution” because any -ism sounds evil (Stalinism, Marxism, etc.).

        • Maltnothops

          FWIW, I’ve almost never seen “Darwinian”. It is almost always “Darwinism”.

        • al kimeea

          heh heh, auto-correct maybe…

      • TheNuszAbides

        When The Devil is ostensibly so devious that only divine intervention can supposedly help one see clearly, it’s far too easy to be selectively paranoid about The Details …

    • Rudy R

      And when a guy states evolution is just a theory, I can’t take him seriously either.

      • I’m waiting for one of these clever Creationists to take on Germ Theory. C’mon–tiny bugs make you sick?? Oh, please.

        • MR

          Be careful of what you wish for. The anti-vaxxers are chipping away at that.

        • Touche.

        • Michael Murray

          It would fit in nicely with some Australian right wing commentators who like to go on about that “harmless trace gas”.

        • al kimeea

          they’ll leave that to the Celebrities

        • epeeist

          they’ll leave that to the Celebrities

          Jenny McCarthy, Gwyneth Paltrow?

        • al kimeea

          Plus Mahr, Timberlake & Biel, Nipsey Hussle, Schneider,… Kennedy,…

  • NS Alito

    He says that the evolution vs. Creationism debate is where we see the Christian challenge to science most clearly played out.

    As someone taught about evolution in Catholic school (and they still have faith in God), I always thought that the Christian fixation on the Creationism argument was a red herring: The true scientific threat to supernatural beliefs is the easily replicable cognitive science research into human brain’s propensity to delude itself into absolute certain belief about things without evidence. Before that, there was basic anthropology with its examples of local religious beliefs that do not align with the storytelling back in the Middle East.

    • Pofarmer

      Yeah. I kinda lost my shit over the “evolution” taught in the Catholic schools. This one taught special evolution for humans.

      • Michael Neville

        I was taught evolution, including humanoid evolution, in Catholic schools. I don’t remember the biology teacher mentioning ensoulment or anything of that nature. I do remember him talking about H. erectus and H. Neanderthalus.

        The proper name for humans’ genus is on the Patheos Naughty Word List™.

        • Pofarmer

          Yeah. I don’t remember about ensoulment, i do know they taught “Special Creation” for humans.

      • NS Alito

        I think it depended upon the teacher, but the biggest problem I had with evolution in school was that the curriculum was too packed to cover much (competing with cell biology, Krebs cycle, botany, etc.). We mostly got the Mendelian genetics, population equations, equus → horse example (1970s). I took genetics in college, but my personal education was reading everything by SJGould, The Selfish Gene, and later talk.origins.

  • eric

    The argument [“I wouldn’t worship a God that did such evil things”] takes as its presupposition that good and evil are real;

    This is, as you say, sheer nonsense. The nonbeliever is simply saying “I won’t worship a being who does things like kill massive numbers of people for reasons I think are not good enough, because that’s what I consider to be evil.”

    There is zero, nada, zilch, zip need to posit an objective morality in order to render a personal opinion about some other being’s acts.

    But this whole thing is a dodge. Because in point of fact, the believer and nonbeliever in such arguments almost always share their opinion (mostly) of what is good and what is evil. They both consider genocide evil. They both consider slavery evil. And what the believer is doing by bringing up the objectivity issue is attempting to avoid having to say why they worship a God who does these things.

    • Castilliano

      It’s even worse if it’s not a dodge and they’re willing to corrupt their own moral sensibilities by advocating for Yahweh’s goodness in the light of such horrendous deeds. Divine Command Theory breaks their whole moral system apart, especially since their objective morals have a subjective exception (Yahweh). And if Yahweh’s nature defines what’s good, that corruption metastasizes.

      • Michael Neville

        Exactly. William Lane Craig claims that everything his favorite god does is good and moral, even if some action done by his god would be universally denounced as evil and immoral if done by anyone else.

        • Michael Newsham

          What Christians are complaining about is being judged by their own standards.

        • So God has different rules? OK, not problem–what are they?

          It’s hard enough figuring out the correct moral rules for people today (slavery was OK in the OT, but it’s wrong today, but morality truths are objectively true and so don’t change…). And now we’ve got to figure out how God operates?

          Sure, you can say, “God can do whatever the hell he wants, cuz he’s God,” but (1) they’ve turned him into a cosmic bully, and (2) what does it say that you can’t find any rules that would characterize his morality. “Whatever the hell he wants” isn’t a rule, it’s a license for chaos.

        • NS Alito

          So God has different rules? OK, not problem–what are they?

          Stick ’em in the fMRI when they answer that and see if they answer from their personal opinion or third party lookup. 😉

        • They’ve already done that experiment, haven’t they? IIRC, “God’s” voice comes from the same place in your brain as self-talk.

        • NS Alito

          Yep. Theoretically, they should be referencing the part of the brain that lights up when asked what other people believe about something.

  • Ficino

    My cousin knows a guy whose son, a Bible- believing biologist, went to an academic conference. All the big name biologists admitted over drinks and laughter afterwards (the son was sipping a Mountain Dew) that the ToE is a fraud but that they are scoring big grant money off of it. Checkmate, atheists. /s

    • MR

      Oh, great. Thanks for starting that urban legend. We’ll be battling that for decades to come.

      • Ficino

        Variants of it have already been floating around.

      • Michael Neville

        I heard that years ago. Sometimes a name biologist like Stephen Jay Gould or Francis Collins is supposedly the guy admitting that Darwinism is fake.

        • Ah, so that’s why I always see biologists driving around in Lamborghinis.

        • Ficino

          TOT: Bill Russell had a Lamborghini, but even that car didn’t have enough leg room for that immortal center.

        • Greg G.

          Haven’t you heard? Gould admitted it on his deathbed, same as Darwin and Hitchens.

        • Ficino

          Someone in the cash register line down to the Walmart told me Richard Dawkins admitted on his deathbed that evolution is a lie, and that he was just a young man with a lot of unformed ideas when he started debating and making videos and scoring the big bucks.

          /s

        • Someone in the cash register line down to the Walmart told me Richard Dawkins [fill in televangelist’s name here] admitted on his deathbed that evolution is a lie, and that he was just a young man with a lot of unformed ideas when he started debating and making videos and scoring the big bucks.

          FTFY

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          /s

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          something, something, something…….ALBERT EINSTEIN!

        • Ficino

          I thought you were going to follow up with the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

          Or maybe with the second Albert Einstein who would have existed but was aborted.

        • al kimeea

          ya know, all that relativity stuff’s just conjecture

        • TheNuszAbides

          I finally started consciously tuning my skepticism apparatus about 15 yrs ago after a foolish online attempt to defend the received folk wisdom that Einstein ever said anything like “we only use 20% of the brain”. The pushback was just patient enough to avoid triggering the angry-double-down reflex. It definitely helped that there are two levels to the nonsense: the false science and the false attribution. Harder to shrug off both at once: “okay, so he didn’t say that … Let’s try to find out who did …”

    • RichardSRussell

      Ptooey, mere biologists! That’s nothing. You should see all the big bux the physicists are raking in by supporting the theory of gravitation, to say nothing about the gargantuan haul the medical community is making off the germ theory of disease.

      • Michael Murray

        Climate change, that’s where the real money is. I know someone who works at the Swiss Bank where Greta Thunberg has all her money stashed. How else does she afford to cross the Atlantic in a racing yacht.

        • RichardSRussell

          Yeah, she’s totally in the pocket of Big Environment!

      • Illithid

        What about those mansions the cartographers live in, off their Big Globe payouts?

      • Not to mention those luxurious yachts cosmologists have thanks to their support of the Big B**g theory -the damned Patheos filter-.

        • testing: Big Bang theory

          I think enough holes have now been poked in the filter so that conventional conversation can resume.

        • RichardSRussell

          Thanks, Bob! Thank you for treating us like adults who understand how language works. You are one of the responsible page owners under the Patheos banner who actually gives a shit about what the user experience is like, and it’s appreciated!

        • I’m glad we’ve found a workable situation. (I wish it hadn’t taken so long.)

        • Jack the Sandwichmaker

          They don’t have to slum it in a cheap Private Jet. Only the best for them!

  • MR

    The God of the Bible is evil. A God who allows so much suffering and death can be nothing but evil.”

    And I think as atheists we like to throw that in their face for effect, but we don’t tend to follow the logic through for them. Sometimes they need to be held by the hand in order to understand the obvious. What they hear the atheist saying is, “God exists and he’s evil,” not “The actions ascribed to God in the Bible are considered evil. You claim God is good. If God actually existed, this makes no sense. It only makes sense if the stories in the Bible are nothing but stories.” Shouting at them, “Your God is evil. I would never worship such a monster,” only activates their cognitive dissonance force field and gets us nowhere.

    • TheNuszAbides

      I just wish I had a better persuasion kit to use on the “yeah, but I’m right, so … [getting nowhere feels good!]” camp …

  • RichardSRussell

    A quibble over terminology. Evolution is a fact. That it happens via natural selection is the theory that explains the fact.

  • Ficino

    OK guys, enough f-rting around. Here is the 100 proof proof of God. Have at it.

    https://www.catholic.com/magazine/print-edition/a-proof-of-the-existence-of-god

    • Greg G.

      4. The nature of esse is actuality.

      Now that we have established that esse is an entity, we must ask: What is the nature of this entity? What is its definition?

      To answer these questions, we must consider existence by itself, apart from everything else.

      What do we mean when we say that something exists? We mean that it is actual. For example, an acorn is actually an acorn and potentially a tree. A tree is actually a tree and potentially lumber. Lumber is actually lumber and potentially a desk. A desk is actually a desk and potentially firewood. Firewood is actually firewood and potentially ashes.What do we mean when we say that something exists? We mean that it is actual. For example, an acorn is actually an acorn and potentially a tree. A tree is actually a tree and potentially lumber. Lumber is actually lumber and potentially a desk. A desk is actually a desk and potentially firewood. Firewood is actually firewood and potentially ashes.

      12. Esse must be omniscient.

      Even if you’re a brain in a vat, you can perceive that you have the capacity to know. Because you are only partly actual, and esse is purely actual, esse must know all there is to know. That is, esse is all-knowing, or omniscient.

      Do people really fall for this? A desk is at least partly actual but it has no capacity to know anything so it does not follow that esse has the capacity to know anything. Animals and plants have mechanisms for memory and anticipation but those are not properties of esse.

      Those mechanisms require dynamic interactions to be sustained so they are always in a state of flux. Rather than esse, actuality, and potentiality, there would just be flux.

      • Ficino

        Yes, I think this runs off the rails at the outset by repeating the ancient, confused notion that existence is a predicate (I leave out disputes over what sort of predicate). The outcome of such thinking is as though here is you, and there’s your existence, or your act of existence.

    • MR

      It doesn’t bode well when you start laughing at the very first sentence.

      Even if you’re just a brain in a vat, your own existence can be verified simply by the fact that you perceive—that is, you see, hear, smell, taste and touch things.

      Um…, if you’re a brain in a vat, then you most certainly are not seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting or touching things. Brains in vats don’t perceive things, they imagine things. How do you even begin to take things seriously with that howler?

      From there it quickly got knee deep in unsupported, assertions of loaded assumptions and ambiguous, muddy woo words. Who really buys this &#8203crap? And what is the apologists fascination with speaking things into existence?

      This act of being must itself exist; it must be an entity.

      Er…, why? So, then, the act of &#8203fucking must also be an entity, right?

      • Ficino

        As to the act of – ooh la la – for Aristotle actions are things that have being but they are “said in a substance,” not “said of a substance.” The ram and the ewe are substances; “sheep” is said of them. Their actions and relations are said to be in them, not independent of them.

        But yeah, talk about you and your act of existence as though your act of existence is some other thing is confused all the way down.

        • MR

          but they are “said in a substance,” not “said of a substance.”

          I always felt that Aristotle got that part right when he eschewed Platonic Forms of something “out there” and said “form” was in the thing itself. He couldn’t, of course, have known about DNA, but I’m down with such an explanation for his time. What makes a leaf is not that all leaves mirror some “leaf form” out there in some “form dimension,” rather they mirror a past leaf form that is coded in their DNA. &#8203Fucking is encoded, too, in a way in that DNA, but no one would consider it an “entity.” Likewise, things like “tables” and “homes” don’t reflect some “table form” or “home form” out in the ether, rather they reflect an idea, a meme, that gets handed down from the first table and first home that some dude created and that got passed down and evolved over time from one generation to another. These things don’t reflect something out there, they reflect past history.

        • Michael Neville

          To got along with that, when something new is created, then it becomes the meme and future examples will reflect it. For instance, from the 1920s to the 1980s telephones came with dials. Today this meme continues and we talk about “dialing a number” even though telephones no longer have dials.

      • Michael Neville

        In David Eddings’ Elenium and Tamuli stories there are five troll gods: The God of Eat, the God of Kill, the God of Fire, the God of Ice and the God of Intimate Personal Relationships.

      • Greg G.

        Um…, if you’re a brain in a vat, then you most certainly are not seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting or touching things. Brains in vats don’t perceive things, they imagine things. How do you even begin to take things seriously with that howler?

        A brain in a vat receives nerve impulses from outside the vat much the same as a brain in a skull receives nerve impulses from outside the skull. A brain in a vat receiving the same impulses that a brain in a skull would receive would perceive it was inside a skull rather than in a vat.

        • al kimeea

          A brain in a vat conjures an image of just that, a brain, alone in a vat, floating in some medium that imparts viability. Sensory inputs would be quite limited in that case.

        • Greg G.

          The scenario I heard long ago was a brain in a vat being fed sensory inputs.

        • Michael Murray

          When used as a thought experiment the idea is it is connected to things

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brain_in_a_vat

          Of course we could all be in a simulation created by beings who are in a simulation … with simulations all the way up.

          https://www.simulation-argument.com/simulation.pdf

        • MR

          Except the whole point is that the impulses are manipulated by someone else. You’re not seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting or touching things in the conventional sense. Someone else is feeding false impulses, Matrix style.

          [Edit to add: I know what they were trying to say, but what they said is not what is happening. It would have been more correct to say, believe that they are seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting or touching things. It’s sloppy when you’re trying to make a logical proof. Equally and just as sloppily, I shouldn’t have said “Brains in vats don’t perceive things, they imagine things,” because they may perceive (be fed) false things (as well as imagine things).]

        • Greg G.

          You’re not seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting or touching things in the conventional sense.

          How do you know that is not the conventional sense? Maybe we are brains in vats connected by the Matrix.

          The point is the Problem of Solipsism. How do you know you are not a BIV, a subroutine in the Matrix, or part of the Dream of Vishnu? Or part of the Dream of Vishnu who is a BIV connected to the Matrix?

        • MR
        • Michael Murray

          Or perhaps you are in a simulation and only simulated walking away.

        • MR
      • TheNuszAbides

        the act of fucking must also be an entity

        You didn’t get the memo? “The beast with two backs” is more than just a Hermetic Metaphor!

    • Here is the 100 proof proof of God.

      Since pure alcohol is 200 proof, I think your qualifier may have been closer to the mark than you expected. With a quick scan, it does look to be roughly half words that mean things and half bullshit.

      • With just a cursory glance -they talk about something named “esse”-, it looks like a philosophical argument that as usual is projected over theirs and not an equivalent entity totally unrelated.

    • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

      I lost track of the logic gaps around step 6.

      • ThaneOfDrones

        You got farther than me. I had to stop and laugh when he referred to Aquinas as the “Angelic Doctor”.

        • Greg G.

          I caught myself doing an involuntary eye roll at that.

      • Pofarmer

        It actually makes some degree of sense under A/T metaphysics.

    • ThaneOfDrones

      Now when we say that something exists, we normally refer to actuality
      rather than potentiality. For instance, if I held up an egg and said,
      “This egg exists,” you would understand me, because what I am saying is
      “This egg is actual” or “This is actually an egg.” But if I held up the
      egg and said, “This chicken exists,” that would not make sense to you,
      because even though the egg is potentially a chicken (that is, the
      chicken exists potentially), the concept of existence applies primarily
      to the egg’s actual state and only secondarily to its potential state.

      It was nice of him to throw in a pro-choice argument in a Catholic magazine. So his article may have accidentally had some good effect.

    • ThaneOfDrones

      Now a thing considered in itself contains nothing but its fullness. The
      nature (or essence) of light consists of nothing but light itself; it
      does not contain darkness.

      This is the sort of medieval BS that does not stand up to modern physics.

    • I think it’s rather embarrassing for Catholic philosophers that they think that this represents a good argument for God. So many ideas that have been discarded for centuries, yet that doesn’t stop these Thomist’s from putting forward these dead ideas.

      When I talk with a Thomist philosopher I’m left wondering how they even manage to put on their own pants in the morning, or even cross the street!

      • Pofarmer

        You mean you can’t get dressed metaphysically?

        • You can, but like the Emperor you’ll probably walk the streets naked.

        • Greg G.

          Not YOU! Nobody needs that image implanted in their mind at this time of the morning.

        • Pofarmer

          I’ll have you know that everything about me is real and spectacular!

      • LastManOnEarth

        Maybe they are somebody else’s pants.

    • Pofarmer

      Geez.

      Second sentence is a rather obviously begging the question.

      God, the origin and end of all things, can be known with certainty by
      the natural light of human reason, through the things that he created.
      (Dei Filius 2)

      And then he makes a leap there between 2 and 3 that, well, seems rather unwarranted, but I suppose it would make some sense given A/T metaphysics.

      He goes from “We exist” to “There is such a thing as existence”.

      Which, I would argue, existence itself isn’t a “thing” It’s a concept.

      I assume it doesn’t get any better after that.

      • JustAnotherAtheist2

        Have you ever had a conversation with someone who thinks “existence” must exist itself? It’s a wild ride, like a train flung miles from its track yet with a deranged engineer who is still furiously shifting levers and pushing buttons thinking he’s right on schedule.

        • ThaneOfDrones

          Yeah, that occurred to me as well. Just because things do exist does not mean that their existence is necessary.
          It is conceivable that nothing at all could exist, but we are obviously not living in that universe because we ourselves exist. Or at least I do. You might be a Russian bot.

        • al kimeea

          The code exists

        • Or maybe nothingness as in the lack of even spacetime does not exist, being a philosophical construct.

        • Pofarmer

          Where do you even start?

        • Michael Murray
    • Michael Murray

      There are 20 proofs over here

      https://strangenotions.com/god-exists/

      Gods even more existier than you thought !

      • Michael Neville

        I remember that post. I wrote a rebuttal of Pascal’s Wager (Kreeft had the audacity to put it as a legitimate argument) and got a response “Oh but our god is super-extra-special so of course the wager only refers to him”. At that point I dropped out of the discussion.

        • Greg G.

          Patel’s Wager only applies to the Hindu gods. Plato’s Wager only applies to Greek gods. Pterry’s Wager only applies to Discworld deities.

        • Jack the Sandwichmaker

          I think wagering with Pterry’s gods is a bad idea.

    • Michael Murray

      As someone with philosophical training do you find any of the arguments for God of interest?

  • sandy

    You either have a god who sends child rapists to rape children

    or you have a god who simply watches and says:

    “When you’re done I’m going to punish you.”

    If I could stop a person from raping a child, I would.

    That’s the difference between me and your god.

    — Tracie Harris, The Atheist Experience

    Seriously, what is the point of having a god that you worship and pray to that has no interest in making our world a better place to live? There has been no recorded or detected “involvement” by god (yahweh) ever in our society ever so why do people worship something which obviously doesn’t exist? Sorry but back to my old stand of the 3 c’s. Starts with childhood indoctrination, followed by cognative dissonance and then confirmation bias. It all adds up to believing what you have no idea is true. And of course there is the stigma of cultural and family pressure of bias and pressure to adhere to what you know as the “norm”. In the end, we get smart people believing in falsehoods.

  • GalapagosPete

    Brilliant comment from Tracie, as usual.

    • Yeah–the Atheist Experience has some great insights.

      I wish there were a Reader’s Digest version, though. The gems are too rare to sit through an entire show.

      • Greg G.

        How do you get your wishes to come true? How about wishing for tonight’s Powerball drawing to match my Powerball ticket? Please! Please, please, please…

        The Atheist Experience – Wikiquote
        https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/The_Atheist_Experience

        • The heavens parted … and my prayer was answered! Praise Jehovah.

      • Greg G.

        One of the quotes made me think up a new game I will call “Christian Cookies”. One of us is God and the other, me, is Satan. A batch of cookies is placed in the middle of the table. Any cookies that, of their own free will, choose to go to God’s side of the table are God’s. Any cookies that do not go to the other side of the table voluntarily are Satan’s.

        • Makes me think of Elijah vs. the 450 prophets of Baal. God has no problem being commanded like a genie.

        • epeeist

          That reminds me of a small joke made by, I think, Rabbi Lionel Blue (the only voice that was ever worth listening to on Tedious platitude of the Day about another religious minister who used to throw the contents of the collection plate into the air. Whatever stayed up was god’s, whatever fell to the earth was the minister’s.

        • Greg G.

          That reminds me of the rabbi who found a bag of gold. But since it was the sabbath, it would be a sin to carry it, so he prayed to G-d. Then a miracle happened. Everywhere within the reach of his arms became Tuesday.

  • Hyde wraps up with something of a Non-Overlapping Magesteria kind of argument:

    >> Science is fantastic if you want to know what gauge wire is compatible with a 20 amp electric charge, how agriculture works, what causes disease and how to cure it, and a million other things. But where the physical sciences are completely lacking is in those issues most important to human beings—the truly existential issues: what does it mean to be human, why are we here, what is valuable, what does it mean to love, to hate, what am I to do with guilt, grief, sorrow, what does it mean to succeed, is there any meaning and what does ‘meaning’ mean, and, of course, is there a God?

    But all of those ‘bigger’ questions come to the forefront only after you answer the earlier ones? How does agriculture work? Are we going to grow enough crops to not starve to death? Am I getting sick? How can I be cured?

    The question of how to eat or how to survive always comes first before questions of “meaning”; and religion has tried to answer these questions before! How does agriculture work? Oh, make this sacrifice to the god of fertility, or make that offering the Creator god. The Bible says creator-god told the Israelites their crops weren’t growing because they didn’t make the right sacrifices to him. Early Bible books like Leviticus and Deuteronomy contain promises that Creator-god will ensure good harvests as long as they follow his rules.

    And sickness? In the Old Testament people were supposed to sprinkle pigeon blood to cure mildew. In the New Testament people were supposed to go to the Church Elders and be anointed with oil in order to be cured from their sickness. In the gospel, Jesus told his followers that “people will know you are my disciples” because they would be able to heal sickness.

    Religion tried to answer all of those ‘scientific questions, and it failed! The only reason the Christian apologist calls them scientific questions now, is because science stepped in and worked things out after religion was tried and found useless! Why should we keep looking to religion to answer these other questions when it has failed on such major issues already?