My Humble Plea to the Smug Atheist

ImageGrowing up, science was a great passion of mine. I graduated with a bachelor’s in Applied Science with an emphasis in Aviation Technologies. I’ve studied biology, chemistry, physics, and geology just for fun.  But something happened along the way to the cockpit. I became a Christian and devoted my life to teaching life to the living and bringing hope to the dying. And in the last few years, I have seen a shift in the perception of “people of faith.”

I experience this shift when people find out I am a follower of Christ and the discussion turns toward ultimate questions. It usually manifests itself with a phrase something like, “That’s great that you have found something that works for you (and kids and hairy-legged old ladies) but I’m a person of science. You have faith, but I need evidence. I am a person of rational thought, I cannot live by blind faith.”

I want to address this attitude by helping anyone who thinks along these lines because, well, you need help. First, you present a logical fallacy called the false dilemma – you are either a person of faith or evidence. No, you can be both, in fact every rational person is. Second, to further the point: everybody has faith. Even if you deny the existence of God, you must accept key presuppositions by faith because you cannot have ultimate knowledge about the ultimate questions of life. Otherwise you could say, “By virtue of my infinite knowledge, I declare that there is no being out there with infinite knowledge (God).” Anyone catch the internal contradiction?

The question isn’t whether or not you have faith, the question is the veracity of the OBJECT of your faith. This is where many commit another fallacy. They say, I have faith in science. They reify science as though it has causal properties. Science is simply a philosophy and a methodology of answering the “what?” questions of life but it cannot answer the “why?” questions. Like “Why are we here?” or “Why is there something rather than nothing?” There are often two ways to answer the questions of life. For instance, if I asked you why the water is boiling, you could scientifically tell me that when water is heated to a specific temperature, it boils. But you could also answer, “Aunt May is making a pot of tea.” Science couldn’t answer the latter question without personal revelation of Aunt May’s motives. Therefore, true revelation is a legitimate system of gathering knowledge. Science isn’t the only game of knowledge in town. It’s a useful tool, a wonderful tool, but not the only one.

And lastly, when one says they don’t believe in God because they aren’t people of faith, they are affirming what they DO believe by default:
•    That everything came from nothing. Oh, I know that people will go through all manner of contortions to avoid this conclusion but it ends up being an equivocating shell game of words that don’t mean nothing (vacuum fluctuations, multi-verse theories) but they desperately want them to mean nothing. Nothing means nothing – NO THING. And nothing comes from nothing, nothing ever will.
•    That an undirected non-thinking process is responsible for thinking. Illogical on its face.
•    That an undirected process working on non-living chemicals caused life. A process that even the father of chemical predestination refuted over 20 years ago. (See Dean Kenyon). They hope that one day life will be formed in a lab. But will brilliant scientists, working with very precise, intelligently-designed laboratory equipment, really prove that no purposeful intelligence was required when they ultimately create life? Actually, it will prove the opposite.
•    That, love, hope, morality, will, and purpose all came from the periodic table of elements, which came from nothing, which birthed life and minds so we could all ponder the meaning of this.

So here is my humble plea to the smug atheist:
Don’t condescend to people of faith, because I will just tell you, the objects of your faith are not just evidence based but are also large, unproven leaps of faith. I recognize that Christianity has some faith bridges that one must cross, but these are not bridges of blind faith. They are under-girded by logic, science, and the historical person of Christ. So be careful when playing the “evidence” card, for the ice you are standing on is not that thick. As philosopher Ravi Zacharias puts it, “God has put enough into this world to make believing in him reasonable, but he has left enough out to keep us from believing in him by sheer reason alone.” Get off the ice and onto the Rock, it is a surer foundation from which to explore the wonders of the universe!

34 thoughts on “My Humble Plea to the Smug Atheist

  1. Would it be fair if God only reached the educated who could “prove” his reality? The poor and simple would be unable to hear him. He chose to be unavailable to the wisdom of man but available to discern the honestly repentant. I didn’t come to him because I am good (or smart) but rather because HE is good. He invited me. You may not believe there is an iron horse until you set your tepee on the tracks. I propose space travel but provoke scientists with some of my blogs. Check out all three for radical proposals!

  2. Would it be fair if God only reached the educated who could “prove” his reality? The poor and simple would be unable to hear him. He chose to be unavailable to the wisdom of man but available to discern the honestly repentant. I didn’t come to him because I am good (or smart) but rather because HE is good. He invited me. You may not believe there is an iron horse until you set your tepee on the tracks. I propose space travel but provoke scientists with some of my blogs. Check out all three for radical proposals!

  3. Coming from an Atheist/Agnostic that is trying to believe, take this for whatever it is worth:

    Interesting, albeit somewhat disappointing. You started out fine, but the same smugness and overreaching you’ve accused atheists of litters parts of your post. One example, to avoid nitpicking. You don’t have to positively affirm that no God exists, you can simply choose not to believe that God exists, pending sufficient evidence to convince you otherwise. I don’t know how the universe came to be, I’ve read various theories, but have found nothing that I find sufficient. I appreciate your efforts to reach out to the spiritually dead/dying, I sincerely hope that someday I’ll again feel as you do.

    1. Thanks for your comment. While I’m sure smugness can be in the eye of the beholder, the point I was trying to address is simply that whenever one denies or chooses not to believe something, one cannot help but affirm or assume something else. It seems I’m running into a lot of folks who will paint people of faith as dumb or unreasonable. While they themselves “believe” by faith a number of unproven assumptions. Peace.

      1. I agree that some atheists have unreasonably painted people of faith as dumb, I in no way intend to defend that practice. Further, I agree that some, but definitely not all atheists overreach and claim that they know God doesn’t exist. Where I disagree is that I don’t think that a binary resolution of faith is sufficiently nuanced. I can choose not to believe one thing without believing the opposite. On many topics I hold a neutral position, “I don’t know”, until I’ve been sufficiently persuaded.

  4. Coming from an Atheist/Agnostic that is trying to believe, take this for whatever it is worth:

    Interesting, albeit somewhat disappointing. You started out fine, but the same smugness and overreaching you’ve accused atheists of litters parts of your post. One example, to avoid nitpicking. You don’t have to positively affirm that no God exists, you can simply choose not to believe that God exists, pending sufficient evidence to convince you otherwise. I don’t know how the universe came to be, I’ve read various theories, but have found nothing that I find sufficient. I appreciate your efforts to reach out to the spiritually dead/dying, I sincerely hope that someday I’ll again feel as you do.

    1. Thanks for your comment. While I’m sure smugness can be in the eye of the beholder, the point I was trying to address is simply that whenever one denies or chooses not to believe something, one cannot help but affirm or assume something else. It seems I’m running into a lot of folks who will paint people of faith as dumb or unreasonable. While they themselves “believe” by faith a number of unproven assumptions. Peace.

      1. I agree that some atheists have unreasonably painted people of faith as dumb, I in no way intend to defend that practice. Further, I agree that some, but definitely not all atheists overreach and claim that they know God doesn’t exist. Where I disagree is that I don’t think that a binary resolution of faith is sufficiently nuanced. I can choose not to believe one thing without believing the opposite. On many topics I hold a neutral position, “I don’t know”, until I’ve been sufficiently persuaded.

  5. Excuse me if I reject this plea, if only for the reason that I don’t trust the person making it. He has a bachelors in applied science (emphasis in Aviation Technologies) and has dabbled in four different scientific disciplines “for fun,” and yet claims to have clearer insight into the workings of the universe than people such as Lawerence Krauss and Richard Dawkins, people who have devoted their careers to studying the origins of life and the universe. And yet I am to believe that the “humble” author knows how everything really started, thanks to his hobby and personal revelation from the creator himself. To describe the plea as “humble” is at best, duplicitous.

    Furthermore, I claim the right to not believe in something and to do so without having the religious tell me what options remain. I have made a thoughtful and purposeful effort to come to a definitive decision, now please get over the fact that it’s not the same one that you came to. The religious can tell their own flock what they must believe, but they may not tell me. For the religious to claim humility in this regard would be laughable if not for the fact that so many people honestly believe theirs is a humble belief. Instead, it is pathetically deceitful.

    1. Dear Smug Atheist,
      It seems you are committing the genetic fallacy here. Rejecting the argument because of the author’s background instead of interacting with the argument at hand. You also appeal to the authority of those like Krauss and Dawkins while rejecting the conclusions of others who are equally educated like Meyers, Dembski and Ross. You can have faith in your priests and buy into what they preach, but you must believe by faith certain presuppositions. Just don’t look down upon us poor theists for having faith. You say that the religious can tell their own flock what to believe but you have chosen your own priests and you seem to want to preach your ideas (as evidenced by your comment). So at best, you don’t even live up to your own standard. You say that those who have a religious belief are pathetically deceitful, I guess we’ll see in the end. You have the power to chose, but once you chose the choice has power over you. Peace!

  6. Excuse me if I reject this plea, if only for the reason that I don’t trust the person making it. He has a bachelors in applied science (emphasis in Aviation Technologies) and has dabbled in four different scientific disciplines “for fun,” and yet claims to have clearer insight into the workings of the universe than people such as Lawerence Krauss and Richard Dawkins, people who have devoted their careers to studying the origins of life and the universe. And yet I am to believe that the “humble” author knows how everything really started, thanks to his hobby and personal revelation from the creator himself. To describe the plea as “humble” is at best, duplicitous.

    Furthermore, I claim the right to not believe in something and to do so without having the religious tell me what options remain. I have made a thoughtful and purposeful effort to come to a definitive decision, now please get over the fact that it’s not the same one that you came to. The religious can tell their own flock what they must believe, but they may not tell me. For the religious to claim humility in this regard would be laughable if not for the fact that so many people honestly believe theirs is a humble belief. Instead, it is pathetically deceitful.

    1. Dear Smug Atheist,
      It seems you are committing the genetic fallacy here. Rejecting the argument because of the author’s background instead of interacting with the argument at hand. You also appeal to the authority of those like Krauss and Dawkins while rejecting the conclusions of others who are equally educated like Meyers, Dembski and Ross. You can have faith in your priests and buy into what they preach, but you must believe by faith certain presuppositions. Just don’t look down upon us poor theists for having faith. You say that the religious can tell their own flock what to believe but you have chosen your own priests and you seem to want to preach your ideas (as evidenced by your comment). So at best, you don’t even live up to your own standard. You say that those who have a religious belief are pathetically deceitful, I guess we’ll see in the end. You have the power to chose, but once you chose the choice has power over you. Peace!

  7. Actually, what I did was implicitly suggest that you (and those who believe as you do) apply the Ancient Greek maxim, “know thyself.” My argument was that your claim of humility is at odds with the actual message.

    I won’t duck your assertions, though. First, the genetic fallacy would apply if your (and in the context of my statement, people of faith in general) virtue, character, and history were irrelevant to the plea. I don’t believe that is the case. You claimed that your plea was humble. I demonstrated that not only was your claim arrogant, but that your message suggests you are as well.

    As for the argument at hand: Could you please show me how I appealed to Dawkins’ and Krauss’s authority? I compared their scientific background to yours, and I used them because their background is generally well-known in both faith and non-faith communities. I fail to understand how this could be described as an appeal to their authority. If I had instead chosen to compare your background to a less-distinguished, but equally qualified evolutionary scientist or physicist the point would have been just as valid, but not nearly as clear. I agree that your scientific background probably appears equally lackluster when compared to that of Ross, Dembski, and Meyers. I don’t see how that would be a blow to my argument.

    Your game of semantics seems to suggest a position of weakness rather than one of strength. You can equate evolutionary scientists with religious priests all you want, that doesn’t make the comparison valid, or even relevant. You strike me as someone who doesn’t value the meaning of words. You apply religious terms such as “faith,” “priest,” and “preach,” in places where neutral terms would be more precise. I think you sacrifice credibility for cleverness when you do this.

    You also list several presuppositions that you claim atheists must have. I really think they can all be boiled down to one: There are scientific questions that we are unable to answer at this time, but future advancements in our understanding will make those answers known. That is not a far-fetched presupposition given the history of scientific study. A “god of the gaps” argument is implied when you list those in support of your argument, and it’s worth mentioning that the argument is considered to be a fallacy closely related to the argument from ignorance fallacy.

    Earlier I mentioned that you don’t seem to value the meaning of words. You also don’t seem to value fair representation of an opponent’s position, which I find similarly distressing. I have answered all of your contentions, even though none of them related to my initial comment. The ability to accurately present an opponent’s position in a debate is often a reflection of the strength of your position. This leaves much to be desired from you. Conflict.

    1. Nice reply! So your claim is that I’m not humble? Ok, so you have your opinion. Perhaps the claim just rubbed you the wrong way. It’s more of a literary device than a claim to perfect humility on my part.

      As far as my history being relevant to the argument, I assert that just because someone doesn’t have a Ph.D in physics doesn’t meant they cannot know truth in a realm of study. Information is information. If a high-school senior get’s it right, he get’s it right no matter what his educational level. Hiding behind “experts” is not an argument. As it relates to the value of words such as priests and faith and preach. I assure you, I know the meaning and while they may be clever, they describe these men very well. While you may say that science will discover the “unknown” one day, you’re like a gambler so far in debt hoping your number will come up. The scientific evidence is heading in the wrong direction. The current “evidence” points to a universe with a beginning, an impossible miracle for a naturalistic origin of life and organized information within biological systems that no “known” natural processes can account for. Hope is not science. The evidence points to a designer. Either you follow the evidence where it leads or you must believe your priest’s on faith. What sacrifices credibility is when so called learned men posit things like “multi-verses” when there is not ONE SHRED of scientific evidence to point to it. As far as representing an opponents position, you mention a “god of the gaps” argument as position. I said no such thing. I am not positing God to fill a gap. I am pointing to EVIDENCE that points to a designer. If anything, you are looking at a lack of evidence for things like a multiverse, or a naturalistic explanation for first life and positing “science of the gaps.” I don’t have a gap here, you do, that’s why I wrote the OP. It’s smug of you to ignore the evidence while decrying the faith of the theist. It’s pretty comical actually.
      Conflict.

      1. You seem to be used to arguing with people who hide behind the words of others. You have a happy way of assuming that you know every hidden meaning behind what I say. But that is fine, I’m up for it. I’ll reassert what I really said and then answer the points as you presented them.

        First, a high school senior (or freshman, it doesn’t really matter) could know a truth about the study of Physics that a physicist with a Ph.D. and a nobel prize doesn’t. However, when the student challenges the teacher, it cannot be described as humble. That was my only point. To your accusation of hiding behind experts, I would once again ask you to show me where I “hid” behind Dawkins and Krauss (or any other experts)? What words or ideas of theirs did I claim countered yours? On this subject you seem to be having an argument with someone other than myself.

        Since a priest is someone ordained within a specific religious tradition who has been granted authority to administer certain religious rites and sacraments, could you please clarify how “these men” fit that description? Or perhaps you are using a different definition of the word “priest,” in which case my original assertion stands.

        I’m not sure how a presupposition is similar to gambling; your metaphor appears fallacious. But very well! I accept your challenge on the point of the “known” and “unknown.” I have to think that every scientific truth was “unknown” before someone made it “known.” It doesn’t seem to be so much of a gamble as it is a fact. Your claim of something being “impossible” is a non-starter for scientific discovery, and I’m sure millions of researchers owe a “debt” of gratitude to the fact that people such as yourself aren’t in charge of research funding. The evidence points to a universe that has a beginning, not a designer. It’s your presupposition of a “first cause” that you “hide” behind when you assume that counts as “evidence” for a “designer” (see, I can play the semantics game, too).

        As for your disdain of “multi-verses,” I once again find myself in a debate that seems intended for someone else. But since I’m here…I’m guessing your hostility towards theoretical physics is due more to a lack of imagination than anything else. That would be your problem, not mine. For what it’s worth, I find it fun, and history has found it enlightening. Moving on.

        Thank you for clarifying in regards to “god of the gaps.” Of course you didn’t explicitly make that claim, since that would have made you look like a piffling idiot. However, when you make a list of presuppositions atheists must have, and that you think are impossible to find a natural explanation for, I believe that you are implicitly stating that you believe there must be a supernatural (i.e. god, or “designer” if you prefer) explanation. Would it be less contentious if I rebranded it as a “designer of the gaps” argument? This word game is amusing.

        “Science of the gaps?” Do you even read what you write? I honestly have no idea what you are suggesting. However, I will attempt to expound on the nature of scientific study since I feel like clarification may be needed. There are immense gaps in science. In fact, those gaps grow every day. The science section of google news is a great place to start if you’re looking for scientists who are confounded by the new things they’ve discovered. You know what that’s called? Job security. Nearly scientist I’ve ever talked to or read seems to be more excited about the things they don’t know than the things they do. You seem to count it against us that everyday we learn more and more about just how much we don’t know. I would say that it is instead the fundamental starting point of a person’s education.

        I’m glad you recognized that I’m staying away from evidence against your position. This is intentional. What evidence would you suggest disproves god (or a designer)? It’s an unfalsifiable position to take, and therefore, at best, it’s pseudoscience. The court case “Kitzmiller vs. Dover Area School District” is worth looking into if you disagree with me.

        I’m curious to know what other literary devices you employ to add force to your arguments? Is this merely a literary exercise for you? Are you ever confronted with the horrible conundrum of sacrificing a statement’s accuracy for a poetic turn of phrase? As an amateur literary critic, I most eagerly await your response.

        1. You keep referring back to your original OP and that may be a good starting place again. You said you don’t accept my original plea because you don’t trust me. You assert that I don’t have the qualifications to make such statements and others with more education in their fields know more so you believe them. So if I had a Ph.D in an area of science you would accept my plea? Is that what you’re saying?

          You also claim the right to not believe something and to do so without having the religious tell me what options remain. Well, I reserve the right to tell you the opposite. If you don’t want the religious like myself to tell you what we believe, don’t read (and especially respond in the comment section) the blog in the first place.

          To your comment regarding the student challenging the teacher not being humble. Humility and inquiry are not mutually exclusive. I have good reasons to believe that Kraus and Dawkins are wrong. The evidence points to a designer. Do you disagree with people with Ph.D’s in the hard sciences like Dembski, Ross, Lennox, Myers and so forth? If so you seem to be committing the same challenge as me. One can be humble and challenge dogma.

          I use the word “priest” to point to the religious “faith” commitments of evolutionists. Those that lead the movement are “like” priests of their people.

          I use the multi-verse as an example of the a priori commitment the naturalist must have to their faith in order to deny the evidence that has found no such thing exists. These goofy theories are not scientific, they are religious in nature and must be taken by faith. I realize you didn’t bring it up in your original post but I use it as an example of the types of faith commitments atheists must make to believe their position against God.

          Of course science has gaps. This is not my complaint. My complaint is that when science points to an intelligent cause, many don’t want to go where the evidence leads. They have arranged a structure of meta-physical naturalism to guard their positions. This structure serves well in most areas of science, however, when discussing origins and historical or forensic science it doesn’t. I again point out that the atheist must believe by faith that the universe did not have a beginner, life came from non-life and minds came from a mindless process. If you disagree with this, what experiments can you point to show otherwise? It seems the weight of evidence points to a designer. You may say we will find a naturalistic cause at some point. OK, will you then admit until that happens the evidence currently points to a designer?

  8. Actually, what I did was implicitly suggest that you (and those who believe as you do) apply the Ancient Greek maxim, “know thyself.” My argument was that your claim of humility is at odds with the actual message.

    I won’t duck your assertions, though. First, the genetic fallacy would apply if your (and in the context of my statement, people of faith in general) virtue, character, and history were irrelevant to the plea. I don’t believe that is the case. You claimed that your plea was humble. I demonstrated that not only was your claim arrogant, but that your message suggests you are as well.

    As for the argument at hand: Could you please show me how I appealed to Dawkins’ and Krauss’s authority? I compared their scientific background to yours, and I used them because their background is generally well-known in both faith and non-faith communities. I fail to understand how this could be described as an appeal to their authority. If I had instead chosen to compare your background to a less-distinguished, but equally qualified evolutionary scientist or physicist the point would have been just as valid, but not nearly as clear. I agree that your scientific background probably appears equally lackluster when compared to that of Ross, Dembski, and Meyers. I don’t see how that would be a blow to my argument.

    Your game of semantics seems to suggest a position of weakness rather than one of strength. You can equate evolutionary scientists with religious priests all you want, that doesn’t make the comparison valid, or even relevant. You strike me as someone who doesn’t value the meaning of words. You apply religious terms such as “faith,” “priest,” and “preach,” in places where neutral terms would be more precise. I think you sacrifice credibility for cleverness when you do this.

    You also list several presuppositions that you claim atheists must have. I really think they can all be boiled down to one: There are scientific questions that we are unable to answer at this time, but future advancements in our understanding will make those answers known. That is not a far-fetched presupposition given the history of scientific study. A “god of the gaps” argument is implied when you list those in support of your argument, and it’s worth mentioning that the argument is considered to be a fallacy closely related to the argument from ignorance fallacy.

    Earlier I mentioned that you don’t seem to value the meaning of words. You also don’t seem to value fair representation of an opponent’s position, which I find similarly distressing. I have answered all of your contentions, even though none of them related to my initial comment. The ability to accurately present an opponent’s position in a debate is often a reflection of the strength of your position. This leaves much to be desired from you. Conflict.

    1. Nice reply! So your claim is that I’m not humble? Ok, so you have your opinion. Perhaps the claim just rubbed you the wrong way. It’s more of a literary device than a claim to perfect humility on my part.

      As far as my history being relevant to the argument, I assert that just because someone doesn’t have a Ph.D in physics doesn’t meant they cannot know truth in a realm of study. Information is information. If a high-school senior get’s it right, he get’s it right no matter what his educational level. Hiding behind “experts” is not an argument. As it relates to the value of words such as priests and faith and preach. I assure you, I know the meaning and while they may be clever, they describe these men very well. While you may say that science will discover the “unknown” one day, you’re like a gambler so far in debt hoping your number will come up. The scientific evidence is heading in the wrong direction. The current “evidence” points to a universe with a beginning, an impossible miracle for a naturalistic origin of life and organized information within biological systems that no “known” natural processes can account for. Hope is not science. The evidence points to a designer. Either you follow the evidence where it leads or you must believe your priest’s on faith. What sacrifices credibility is when so called learned men posit things like “multi-verses” when there is not ONE SHRED of scientific evidence to point to it. As far as representing an opponents position, you mention a “god of the gaps” argument as position. I said no such thing. I am not positing God to fill a gap. I am pointing to EVIDENCE that points to a designer. If anything, you are looking at a lack of evidence for things like a multiverse, or a naturalistic explanation for first life and positing “science of the gaps.” I don’t have a gap here, you do, that’s why I wrote the OP. It’s smug of you to ignore the evidence while decrying the faith of the theist. It’s pretty comical actually.
      Conflict.

      1. You seem to be used to arguing with people who hide behind the words of others. You have a happy way of assuming that you know every hidden meaning behind what I say. But that is fine, I’m up for it. I’ll reassert what I really said and then answer the points as you presented them.

        First, a high school senior (or freshman, it doesn’t really matter) could know a truth about the study of Physics that a physicist with a Ph.D. and a nobel prize doesn’t. However, when the student challenges the teacher, it cannot be described as humble. That was my only point. To your accusation of hiding behind experts, I would once again ask you to show me where I “hid” behind Dawkins and Krauss (or any other experts)? What words or ideas of theirs did I claim countered yours? On this subject you seem to be having an argument with someone other than myself.

        Since a priest is someone ordained within a specific religious tradition who has been granted authority to administer certain religious rites and sacraments, could you please clarify how “these men” fit that description? Or perhaps you are using a different definition of the word “priest,” in which case my original assertion stands.

        I’m not sure how a presupposition is similar to gambling; your metaphor appears fallacious. But very well! I accept your challenge on the point of the “known” and “unknown.” I have to think that every scientific truth was “unknown” before someone made it “known.” It doesn’t seem to be so much of a gamble as it is a fact. Your claim of something being “impossible” is a non-starter for scientific discovery, and I’m sure millions of researchers owe a “debt” of gratitude to the fact that people such as yourself aren’t in charge of research funding. The evidence points to a universe that has a beginning, not a designer. It’s your presupposition of a “first cause” that you “hide” behind when you assume that counts as “evidence” for a “designer” (see, I can play the semantics game, too).

        As for your disdain of “multi-verses,” I once again find myself in a debate that seems intended for someone else. But since I’m here…I’m guessing your hostility towards theoretical physics is due more to a lack of imagination than anything else. That would be your problem, not mine. For what it’s worth, I find it fun, and history has found it enlightening. Moving on.

        Thank you for clarifying in regards to “god of the gaps.” Of course you didn’t explicitly make that claim, since that would have made you look like a piffling idiot. However, when you make a list of presuppositions atheists must have, and that you think are impossible to find a natural explanation for, I believe that you are implicitly stating that you believe there must be a supernatural (i.e. god, or “designer” if you prefer) explanation. Would it be less contentious if I rebranded it as a “designer of the gaps” argument? This word game is amusing.

        “Science of the gaps?” Do you even read what you write? I honestly have no idea what you are suggesting. However, I will attempt to expound on the nature of scientific study since I feel like clarification may be needed. There are immense gaps in science. In fact, those gaps grow every day. The science section of google news is a great place to start if you’re looking for scientists who are confounded by the new things they’ve discovered. You know what that’s called? Job security. Nearly scientist I’ve ever talked to or read seems to be more excited about the things they don’t know than the things they do. You seem to count it against us that everyday we learn more and more about just how much we don’t know. I would say that it is instead the fundamental starting point of a person’s education.

        I’m glad you recognized that I’m staying away from evidence against your position. This is intentional. What evidence would you suggest disproves god (or a designer)? It’s an unfalsifiable position to take, and therefore, at best, it’s pseudoscience. The court case “Kitzmiller vs. Dover Area School District” is worth looking into if you disagree with me.

        I’m curious to know what other literary devices you employ to add force to your arguments? Is this merely a literary exercise for you? Are you ever confronted with the horrible conundrum of sacrificing a statement’s accuracy for a poetic turn of phrase? As an amateur literary critic, I most eagerly await your response.

        1. You keep referring back to your original OP and that may be a good starting place again. You said you don’t accept my original plea because you don’t trust me. You assert that I don’t have the qualifications to make such statements and others with more education in their fields know more so you believe them. So if I had a Ph.D in an area of science you would accept my plea? Is that what you’re saying?

          You also claim the right to not believe something and to do so without having the religious tell me what options remain. Well, I reserve the right to tell you the opposite. If you don’t want the religious like myself to tell you what we believe, don’t read (and especially respond in the comment section) the blog in the first place.

          To your comment regarding the student challenging the teacher not being humble. Humility and inquiry are not mutually exclusive. I have good reasons to believe that Kraus and Dawkins are wrong. The evidence points to a designer. Do you disagree with people with Ph.D’s in the hard sciences like Dembski, Ross, Lennox, Myers and so forth? If so you seem to be committing the same challenge as me. One can be humble and challenge dogma.

          I use the word “priest” to point to the religious “faith” commitments of evolutionists. Those that lead the movement are “like” priests of their people.

          I use the multi-verse as an example of the a priori commitment the naturalist must have to their faith in order to deny the evidence that has found no such thing exists. These goofy theories are not scientific, they are religious in nature and must be taken by faith. I realize you didn’t bring it up in your original post but I use it as an example of the types of faith commitments atheists must make to believe their position against God.

          Of course science has gaps. This is not my complaint. My complaint is that when science points to an intelligent cause, many don’t want to go where the evidence leads. They have arranged a structure of meta-physical naturalism to guard their positions. This structure serves well in most areas of science, however, when discussing origins and historical or forensic science it doesn’t. I again point out that the atheist must believe by faith that the universe did not have a beginner, life came from non-life and minds came from a mindless process. If you disagree with this, what experiments can you point to show otherwise? It seems the weight of evidence points to a designer. You may say we will find a naturalistic cause at some point. OK, will you then admit until that happens the evidence currently points to a designer?

  9. I want to clarify something because I appear to have hurt your feelings and I would like to make sure that they were the ones I was aiming for, and you seem to be confused. I was exceedingly clear in my previous comment (as well as the two before) that qualifications are irrelevant when one chooses to make assertions. A person may make any assertion they want, regardless of their qualifications. I am not arguing against your qualifications. I am arguing against your credibility. You claimed false humility in your original post, and later retracted it as a “literary device.” Fine. You claim to value the meaning of words, but have since substituted your own definition in place of the commonly recognized definitions for the sake of your own argument. That is your right. Twice now you have accused me of either “appealing to” or “hiding behind” experts, yet, despite my repeated requests, you fail to demonstrate how I have used the words or ideas of others to add force to my claims. Okay, you are allowed to make false accusations and dodge questions. It speaks nothing to whether or not you are qualified to argue a particular proposition. It does, however, speaks volumes about your credibility. Am I making this clear? I am feeling a bit testy because you have misrepresented this point three times now (this, by the way, also speaks to your credibility), and I’m beginning to think you are doing this on purpose since you seem too smart not to understand this elementary distinction.

    Your post was addressed to me, a smug atheist (self-ascribed, to be sure, but generously confirmed by you in previous comments), and you seemed to be itching for an argument, which I am only to happy to oblige. Unless you are suggesting that you are like the many other charlatans who like to belittle their opponents in the echo chambers of their own like-minded communities. If that were the case, perhaps you should have addressed the post to those people. As it is, I believe your post was intentionally provocative and I enjoy being provoked. If you choose to attack me (as a smug atheist) in a public forum, than I reserve the right to respond in like manner.

    It takes a certain level of arrogance (dare I say “smugness?”) to challenge dogma. That’s great! It makes for healthy debate in the market place of ideas. History is full of famous thinkers who were lowly nobodies before they arrogantly challenged dogma. Challenge away, just don’t cloak yourself in false humility when you do, it’s disingenuous.

    Could you please explain how evidence that the universe had a beginning is evidence for design? You ignored my point about the first-cause presupposition. There is clear evidence that the universe had a beginning, that life had an origin, and that at some point higher-order life forms developed consciousness in a way that lower-order life forms don’t seem to possess. That is what the evidence shows. I say that to claim that as evidence of god (or a designer) requires that you hold to the presupposition of first-cause, which is a reductionist argument.

    I cringed at your callous use of the scientific term “theory.” Surely someone with even a rudimentary science education would know that the scientific community doesn’t use “theory” the same way as the layperson. To describe the multiverse hypothesis as a scientific theory borders on criminally negligible in the scientific community. And of course some of these hypotheses sound silly, but so did Einstein’s thought experiment that imagined one could chase a photon of light, but it did ultimately lead to his theory of relativity. These hypotheses are often proposed as the basis for arguments to see where the discussion leads. Sometimes they are quickly dismissed as lunacy. Sometimes they end up leading to monumental scientific breakthroughs. It’s all part of the process. I fail to see how this could be considered “religious in nature.” You appear to be ascribing much more significance to them than is warranted.

    You ask what evidence I have against a designer, while ignoring my previous point that it’s an unfalsifiable position, therefore evidence can’t be provided against its existence. My point is that it’s not a testable hypothesis, which makes it pseudoscience. This is reassuring for you because it means that you will likely always have means of employment. How do you reconcile the unfalsifiability of your argument with your claim that it’s a scientific? The burden of proof clearly lies on you.

    Just quickly, I would like to say that so far the greatest threat science must “guard against,” as evidenced in this discussion, seems to be the casual mistreatment of its vocabulary and processes.

    Please note that I have tried to be thorough in my rebuttal. I trust that you will let me know if I have overlooked anything.

      1. You have been more than tolerant of me so far, but I hope that you will allow me one more point in closing. You may consider it my own personal plea:

        Don’t condescend to us atheists. Challenge us on our methods of thinking, not on who you assume we might be following. Recognize that every atheist you meet will inevitably fall into one of two categories: those who have given this topic less thought than you, and those who have given this topic more thought than you. Seek out the latter, because if nothing else at least you will have learned something new. This discussion is always worth having, but the goal should be a challenge to one’s thinking–not their conversion. And above all: know thyself. Let your arguments be your own, let your voice be your own, and let the ideas you put forth be your own.

        And of course, thanks for playing the role of agitator. I had fun.

        1. I would suggest a few points for you. Keep in mind that for a Christian, the goal to challenge one’s thinking is too small. We don’t play for the now, we play for forever. Death is real, and there is a real possibility that the Christian is right in their worldview. So for a Christian simply to challenge another’s thinking without the goal of conversion would be disingenuous and unloving. Hopefully I care enough about you to challenge your thinking not as an end in itself but rather a means to an end — an introduction to the God you deny. I believe you will meet God one day, better sooner than later. Forever is a long time to be smug. I do enjoy these conversations but it seems you dismissed my plea based on your characterization of my character (non-humble) which seems to me simply an ad-hominem argument especially when one doesn’t know me. I didn’t intend to agitate but perhaps I did anyway, I will continue to learn. These ideas are the stuff of life, they matter to you and I. Cheers

  10. I want to clarify something because I appear to have hurt your feelings and I would like to make sure that they were the ones I was aiming for, and you seem to be confused. I was exceedingly clear in my previous comment (as well as the two before) that qualifications are irrelevant when one chooses to make assertions. A person may make any assertion they want, regardless of their qualifications. I am not arguing against your qualifications. I am arguing against your credibility. You claimed false humility in your original post, and later retracted it as a “literary device.” Fine. You claim to value the meaning of words, but have since substituted your own definition in place of the commonly recognized definitions for the sake of your own argument. That is your right. Twice now you have accused me of either “appealing to” or “hiding behind” experts, yet, despite my repeated requests, you fail to demonstrate how I have used the words or ideas of others to add force to my claims. Okay, you are allowed to make false accusations and dodge questions. It speaks nothing to whether or not you are qualified to argue a particular proposition. It does, however, speaks volumes about your credibility. Am I making this clear? I am feeling a bit testy because you have misrepresented this point three times now (this, by the way, also speaks to your credibility), and I’m beginning to think you are doing this on purpose since you seem too smart not to understand this elementary distinction.

    Your post was addressed to me, a smug atheist (self-ascribed, to be sure, but generously confirmed by you in previous comments), and you seemed to be itching for an argument, which I am only to happy to oblige. Unless you are suggesting that you are like the many other charlatans who like to belittle their opponents in the echo chambers of their own like-minded communities. If that were the case, perhaps you should have addressed the post to those people. As it is, I believe your post was intentionally provocative and I enjoy being provoked. If you choose to attack me (as a smug atheist) in a public forum, than I reserve the right to respond in like manner.

    It takes a certain level of arrogance (dare I say “smugness?”) to challenge dogma. That’s great! It makes for healthy debate in the market place of ideas. History is full of famous thinkers who were lowly nobodies before they arrogantly challenged dogma. Challenge away, just don’t cloak yourself in false humility when you do, it’s disingenuous.

    Could you please explain how evidence that the universe had a beginning is evidence for design? You ignored my point about the first-cause presupposition. There is clear evidence that the universe had a beginning, that life had an origin, and that at some point higher-order life forms developed consciousness in a way that lower-order life forms don’t seem to possess. That is what the evidence shows. I say that to claim that as evidence of god (or a designer) requires that you hold to the presupposition of first-cause, which is a reductionist argument.

    I cringed at your callous use of the scientific term “theory.” Surely someone with even a rudimentary science education would know that the scientific community doesn’t use “theory” the same way as the layperson. To describe the multiverse hypothesis as a scientific theory borders on criminally negligible in the scientific community. And of course some of these hypotheses sound silly, but so did Einstein’s thought experiment that imagined one could chase a photon of light, but it did ultimately lead to his theory of relativity. These hypotheses are often proposed as the basis for arguments to see where the discussion leads. Sometimes they are quickly dismissed as lunacy. Sometimes they end up leading to monumental scientific breakthroughs. It’s all part of the process. I fail to see how this could be considered “religious in nature.” You appear to be ascribing much more significance to them than is warranted.

    You ask what evidence I have against a designer, while ignoring my previous point that it’s an unfalsifiable position, therefore evidence can’t be provided against its existence. My point is that it’s not a testable hypothesis, which makes it pseudoscience. This is reassuring for you because it means that you will likely always have means of employment. How do you reconcile the unfalsifiability of your argument with your claim that it’s a scientific? The burden of proof clearly lies on you.

    Just quickly, I would like to say that so far the greatest threat science must “guard against,” as evidenced in this discussion, seems to be the casual mistreatment of its vocabulary and processes.

    Please note that I have tried to be thorough in my rebuttal. I trust that you will let me know if I have overlooked anything.

      1. You have been more than tolerant of me so far, but I hope that you will allow me one more point in closing. You may consider it my own personal plea:

        Don’t condescend to us atheists. Challenge us on our methods of thinking, not on who you assume we might be following. Recognize that every atheist you meet will inevitably fall into one of two categories: those who have given this topic less thought than you, and those who have given this topic more thought than you. Seek out the latter, because if nothing else at least you will have learned something new. This discussion is always worth having, but the goal should be a challenge to one’s thinking–not their conversion. And above all: know thyself. Let your arguments be your own, let your voice be your own, and let the ideas you put forth be your own.

        And of course, thanks for playing the role of agitator. I had fun.

        1. I would suggest a few points for you. Keep in mind that for a Christian, the goal to challenge one’s thinking is too small. We don’t play for the now, we play for forever. Death is real, and there is a real possibility that the Christian is right in their worldview. So for a Christian simply to challenge another’s thinking without the goal of conversion would be disingenuous and unloving. Hopefully I care enough about you to challenge your thinking not as an end in itself but rather a means to an end — an introduction to the God you deny. I believe you will meet God one day, better sooner than later. Forever is a long time to be smug. I do enjoy these conversations but it seems you dismissed my plea based on your characterization of my character (non-humble) which seems to me simply an ad-hominem argument especially when one doesn’t know me. I didn’t intend to agitate but perhaps I did anyway, I will continue to learn. These ideas are the stuff of life, they matter to you and I. Cheers

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