I have chosen to write this response here because in the OP, in a response to one person who read and commented on his article he wrote

 Most comments from atheists are sent to spam. I have a lot of atheists that attempt to “refute” articles on my website on a daily basis. I simply do not have time to debate all of you through comments on my website. If you must know what I thought of your response, I thought it was crude, logically incoherent, and highlighted some of the glaring issues in the atheist worldview.

and since we are most of the time quite generous and polite, we will have no problem if he chooses to respond to us. However, we will not allow an insult on the host or his friends. That would be against house rules.

On this blog atheism means the lack of belief in god[s]. We spend time once in a while reading posts by theists to just to get to know what new argument they have developed in their arsenal of non arguments for  god. We are here pleased to present to you the existential argument against atheism. If you have never come across it, don’t worry, we too had not heard about it till a few days ago. And here is why you may not have heard it

The Existential Argument is an argument that I developed, and it focuses on how the atheist must borrow from the Christian worldview in order live their own lives.

Let us pause for a while here. The Muslim must borrow from the christian, the Buddhist, the Hindu, the Baha’i, the adherent of Africa Traditional religion! You see what happens when we close our eyes and minds? But let us read on, he tells

I have developed this argument to bolster the Transcendental Argument for God, and I consider it to be an extension of Van Tillian and Clarkian philosophy. This argument can be used by Van Tillian presuppositional apologists, Classical apologists, and Clarkian presuppositional apologists

in the name of all that is reasonable, who are these people and why are several arguments needed to justify  an omnipotent god. Please tell me and tell me clearly, what part of omnipotence requires apologetics. The universe is, nobody argues against its existence. The philosophical question that I have heard is

how do we know that what we see around us is the real deal, and not some grand illusion perpetuated by an unseen force?

More on this for a future post.

We are told the argument has two aspects

These two aspects are meaning(anthropology) and morality(axiology)

and we are told

The argument shows the atheist that they have to borrow from the presuppositions and implications of the Christian worldview in order to live a coherent lifestyle

in a short while we will hopefully be told what these are. Just be patient. However, we will digress just a moment to clear things up. A delusion is defined as

 a belief held with strong conviction despite superior evidence to the contrary

and we must ask for a justification for

The Existential Argument is a deductive argument that falsifies the atheist worldview by demonstrating that it is a delusion.

The argument has been formulated thus

1. If a worldview is true then you should be able to live consistently with that worldview.

2. Atheists are unable to live consistently with their worldview.

3. If you can’t live consistently with an atheist worldview then the worldview does not reflect reality.

4. If a worldview does not reflect reality then that worldview is a delusion.

5. If atheism is a delusion then atheism cannot be true.

Conclusion: Atheism is false.

Each of these premises are problematic. Premise #1, a worldview must not be true for one to live consistently with it. My grandfathers believed there were spirits everywhere, good and bad, who needed appeasing and they lived consistently with such a worldview. It wasn’t true. So the premise falls on that point.

#2 unless one is an atheist, this premise is open to disproof. If atheism is a lack of belief in gods, what are these presuppositions it makes?

#3 falls with two.

#4 delusions deal with beliefs. We could grant that 4 is correct

#5 it is this that is in need of proof. It cannot be the argument and at the same time a premise.

There is no way in getting to the conclusion using the above premises. They are weak, poorly formulated and tell us nothing.

A spoiler, the arguments you are yet to see read like WLC copycat maybe it is a clone, we can never know, can we? He lists these as the starting point for Christianity

1. Axiology-There are moral values that have prescriptive value. That is to say, there are things we are morally obligated to do or not do.

2. Metaphysics- Nature exists, but there are also things that exist beyond nature.

3. Epistemology-In the Christian worldview, God is omniscient. Thus, knowledge must be possible, for if an all knowing being exists, then it is necessary that knowledge also be possible, or else the being could not really be all knowing. You can’t have a description of reality where knowledge isn’t possible and still have an omniscient being.

4. Teleology- The universe and its inhabitants have a purpose in life.

5. Theology-God exists.

6. Anthropology-All individuals have purpose in life.

7. Cosmology-God created the universe.

and these

1. Axiology-There can be no objective moral values in atheism, they must be relative to each individual.

2. Metaphysics- Nature is all that can exist.

3. Epistemology-Nothing can ultimately be known because we don’t have perfect knowledge.

4. Teleology- There is no purpose for humanity.

5. Theology- God does not exist.

6. Anthropology- There is no ultimate purpose for the universe.

7. Cosmology-Evolution is the only game in town for atheism.

and these for atheism. In order to refute those  listed under atheism, in no particular order, we contend here that theology being the study of god has offered no results. We are where we were in 212 BCE with Tertullian. Anthropology is the study of humankind, past and present, that draws and builds upon knowledge from social and biological sciences, as well as the humanities and the natural sciences and has nothing to do with whether the universe has purpose or not. And while here, why must things have ultimate purposes. What is the theist’s obsession with absolutes, ultimate-s and infinites? Cosmology  is the study of the origins and eventual fate of the universe and has nothing or little to do with the beginning and progress of life. Naturalistic evolution, the only game in town, deals with the progress of life in the universe and ID or creationism isn’t an alternative theory.  The theist as we have said elsewhere must first tell us what god intended to arrive at the conclusion that the universe is designed. Moral values are subjective but have an objective appearance because of our shared humanity. Nature is all that is. Show me that which is non nature and I will change my mind. Our knowledge is infinite in the extent that we are always able to discover something new about the universe but this is provisional. There can always be a better explanation.

One more point that I need to add; I plead guilty to the charge of nihilism. This doesn’t mean I can’t find things that give my life meaning, on the contrary the realization that life is absurd calls for a revolt not suicide. And to not commit suicide, I have to create meaning or look for those things that would make my days worthwhile. If the theist thinks there is an ultimate purpose in the universe, please tell me what this is. I need to know it.

He tells us about the absurdity of life without god[how he knows this is still unknown] and writes

Loren Eisley writes, “Man is the cosmic orphan. He’s the only creature in the universe who asks, ‘Why?’

He’s the only creature we know asks why, we don’t know whether baboons do. We have no way of telling.

Apart from reading Craig, is lying also part of the deal for apologists? We are told

 Ever since the period of Enlightenment there has been a part of humanity that has been trying to shake off ‘the shackles of religion.’ They began trying to answer the questions in life without God.

which is not true. The Greeks several years before the christian era started questioning the existence of deities. Democritus was a thorough going materialist and determinist. To say the question of a godless universe started with the enlightenment demonstrates that one is either ignorant of the facts, a liar or both, you decide.

He tells us this about the answers, and it is good to hear it from him

the answers that came back were not at all exhilarating, rather, they were dark and terrible: You are nothing more than the unintentional bi-product of matter, plus energy, plus time, plus chance. There is no ultimate reason for your existence, all you face is death.

There is nothing dark about the answers. That they are dark is a subjective judgement of one individual and is not true for all. It is a great mystery being alive considering we are just atoms combined just slightly different from the combination in the stone. This is not a terrible or dark thing, at least I don’t find it so.  It is terrible to think you are the product of a god who is jealous, angry and vengeful. A god who punishes up to the fourth generation and has decided in his great wisdom that a great percentage of our race will be punished for eternity [and that’s a long time] for not believing in him, when there was never evidence for his/ her/ its existence. Please tell me which is darker!

I could be wrong, but Christians have been telling for a long time now we live in the end times. Science in talking about the eventual death of the universe doesn’t anticipate a divine destroyer waiting to pass judgement, it makes a prediction based on mathematical models of what would happen in different scenarios and not so with the theist. Their god is waiting on the day of judgement to try us for mind crimes. He makes no argument against atheism by writing

The universe also faces a death of its own. The universe is expanding, galaxies and other heavenly bodies are growing farther apart. As the energy dissipates the universe will grow colder, stars will become dark, all matter and will collapse into black holes and there will be no light. There will be no heat, no life, but only the corpses of dead stars and galaxies, ever expanding into the darkness. The entire universe is moving irretrievably to its grave. There is no escape, no hope.

I will go with Dante when he said if god did not exist, one had to be created. I will also agree with the philosopher who said with god everything is permitted. I disagree with anyone who argues that without god there is no morals. The universe is ultimately absurd consider the things you do daily; you eat, shit, eat again an endless cycle just so you don’t die from hunger or showering every so often and still having to repeat the exercise, all absurdity. In the dialogue between Socrates and Euthyphro, we learn that introducing gods in the discussion about piety/ good does not solve the problem. In fact looking at the argument, it is immediately obvious that good and bad are independent of gods.

When the author tells us

The Christian worldview is the only worldview that is logically consistent when you take all seven presuppositions into account

he ignores the question of their truth. An argument can be logically sound but still invalid. The above presuppositions for the christian worldview though consistent with it are utterly false when checked against reality.

The author anticipates some of the objections and one I already mentioned here. But then he writes

Atheists, like Christians, have a theological portion of their worldview; however, their particular presupposition is that there is no god.

Theology is the study of the nature of god and his interaction with the world/ universe. Atheism is a lack of belief in gods. How, tell me, does a person come up with such a ridiculous statement?

In conclusion he writes

 From the very time that an atheist begins to try to engage us, they end up losing the debate because they had to presuppose ideas that are not kosher with an atheist worldview

A statement that has been shown to be false every time we engage theists. They scatter to the nearest hole to bring up Craig, Platinga and CS Lewis or at worst Lee Strobel.

Am done here, if there is anything we have learnt from this argument, it is a rehash of WLC bullshit and makes not a stride against atheism.

As a bonus

Atheism epic fail

Epic atheism fail

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On this blog we make no claims that we know more than the rest, no, that isn’t how we do it here. On this blog we try to sift through a lot of material just to give you an inspirational post and we also know you are pressed for time to check out all the god stuff so we do it as a way to contribute to the knowledge base that the human race has been gathering till this point in time.

Today we came to this a post that we thought would be very promising but left us a tad disappointed. It is all the same story, but told differently. The author starts

it takes more faith to not believe in the existence of God then it does to believe that God does exist.

and here we ask ourselves did the meaning of faith change over night? We lack a belief in gods because there has been insufficient evidence to warrant a belief and the word god is so ambiguous that it’s almost if not impossible to have a debate about it.

So when we read

where did God come from?

we thought for a moment that we will get a difference answer from the one we have in mind. Shock on us. We are told

I believe that God has always existed. He did not come from anywhere (He wasn’t created).

And we were like which god was this for we are certain if it is the christian one, he wasn’t known to the Sumerians, the Chinese till some Hebrew herdsmen concocted him from among the pantheon of deities they worshiped. However, our bigger question is how does he know this?

The author admits and we agree that

this may seem like a copout answer, and it kind of is

and we could have ended our post here had he not gone beyond this point. But he proceeds to tell us

My faith starts and ends (in this argument) on two pillars:

1)      God exists
2)      He created the universe

Premise one is the question we are need of an answer to. To say the universe was created and by the particular deity is to float in sea of ignorance from where one can’t be rescued. There are several problems here. One has to demonstrate the universe was in need of a creator, why the named creator created the universe, how and from what and besides we would like to be told how one moves from a creator of the universe to a personal god. We are patient so we will wait for the answer.

The author tells us

I am sure that there is not simply one doctrine that all those who do not believe in the existence of God accept

but we are in no need of doctrine. Is there a code book for non stamp collectors?

My friends now we get to the one doctrine that you and me believe or follow

For the sake of this post, I am choosing one example of why it takes more faith to believe the universe exists without God creating it. Whereas a Christian believes that God exists outside of time and space and therefore He can have always existed without having a physical world; an atheist would have to believe that matter (in some form) has always existed.

I would want to know anyone who believes matter can be created or destroyed. If on the other hand all of us are in agreement that matter can neither be destroyed nor created, we arrive at a single conclusion that it has always existed. My understanding is limited and as such I would want help with understanding existence out of space and time.

I honestly do not and cannot tell how we get to

If matter has always existed, then there would have to be an infinite number of days in the past; the clock would have always been running, in which case we would never have arrived at today (there would always be one more day to get through before today).

and I ask for help in understanding why this should be so. It does not follow that if matter has been eternal we should be a day behind today- if this isn’t an oxymoron then I need a refund from my teacher of English plus interest.

And if we grant this

This would take faith because we have never observed the world without time being in the equation.

as true for the purpose of argument. The question we must ask here is who has observed god out of time and space. I will wait for the answer, am not in a hurry on this one I promise.

We are given two conditions. That either we accept

1)      God exists
2)      He created the universe

or

1)      There is no God
2)      There is a universe

then we are told

the latter takes more faith because my mind is always trying to figure things out, so “just because” is seldom an acceptable conclusion.

Please tell me how the second set of arguments require faith?

To make this a little bit easy for our christian, I have a set of questions

  1. which god exists? If you dismiss Apollo or Isis what criteria did you use to invalidate the belief of the countless people who believed and worshiped them?
  2. what evidence leads you to the belief that the universe was created?
  3. and granting for a moment the universe was created, how do you know it was by your particular god?
  4. how can you tell the difference between an always existing universe and a created one?

The author tells us in conclusion we have to

We are left with the choice to believe, by faith, one way or the other (or we could sit on the fence and be agnostic)

which is not true. We don’t have to have faith that matter has always existed. We don’t need faith that there, has been to the present, no evidence for god[s] other than the claims of priests, charlatans and mystics. There is no faith required in knowing the universe exists. There is no contradiction in the second premises and they don’t require faith.

But he is correct when he says

we exist and exist on a planet that works for us

and whereas the question of

How did we get here?

is important, god did it is not an answer to the problem and we are better of looking for answers from nature instead of creating phantoms in an attempt to answer such an existential question.

We are disappointed for we expected to be told where gods originated but that was not to be the case. In order then to offer a plausible answer to the question, we proffer an explanation that gods were created by our ancestors when they were ignorant of causes and were fearful of things that everywhere around them threatened to devour them whether disease or other calamities as earthquakes, famine and so on. They populated their world with spirits, good and bad, in constant warfare with each other.

I end this post here by answering our questioner that gods came from ignorance and that is why as man grows in intelligence in the same proportion does gods relevance and influence become smaller. I am however aware of those smarts who hold onto to a belief in gods and spirits. These I must say are a fringe group and it is the work of social scientists to explain how such a phenomena is possible.

Have a nice weekend everyone.

where did god come from?

Where did god come from?

Lamu and other stories

Hello friends.

The last few days yours truly was away on a business trip and that explains the conspicuous absence. I hope I wasn’t missed a lot :-P.

Lamu, rather, Amu town is one of the seven islands in Lamu County others being Faza, Pete and I can’t remember the rest.It’s a two street town, both streets running parallel to the sea front. The only car in this town is for the district commissioner. To move around the town the mode of transport is donkeys[ there is a lot of donkey shit] or foot.

The food, or rather the few places I managed to sample their food had very good food.

I was disappointed with my hotel, not that it was bad, far from it but I noticed they discriminate based on colour. I don’t whether it is the hotel policy or the mistake of one of the workers. As I have mentioned elsewhere, there is a lot of donkey shit in this town so the hotel asks its guests to leave their shoes at the door which I readily obliged. From there on, they tell you to proceed bare feet as they offer no sandals. These white couple came in and were allowed to get in with their shoes. Am not sleeping there when I go back.

There are young men who though a little bit helpful are a serious menace. They almost follow you everywhere and shaking them off is quite some work.

The bar was quiet, the DJ played not so good music but the atmosphere was very relaxing.

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God does exist!

I don’t know Professor J. Lennox and I am not going to check that out since that isn’t relevant for our purposes. We will take him at his word that he is a scientist and a christian and from there proceed to look at what he tells us as evidence for his god. The clip will just take 15 minutes of your time and I beg that you listen to it then read my comments below.

The good professor tells us about his Alma mater and the writing on the door to the laboratory. At my Alma mater founded by the colonialist is written Unitate et Labore, whether they believed in this unity is a question of another day. Whatever is written on the door or the focal wall of a hall is not proof of the truth of a belief. Granted that in the infancy of science most of those who studied it were believers, it is not strange to expect such a writing on a door. If these men believed they could find god in the study of science, it appears to me they failed miserably. No one scientist that I know of, religious or non-religious has come up with a god /divine constant to be applied to his formula. Science has in all ages given us atheistic results with no indication whatsoever of the divine. It must be Laplace who told Napoleon god is a hypothesis we don’t need, and I reckon he was right.

We are asked to believe because Sir Isaac Newton believed in god. Now I agree that Isaac the scientist was a brilliant man but let us hear a bit of Isaac the theologian and ask ourselves if we should take him as an authority on theology, commonly known as the study of nothing. He conceived god as

one and the same for ever, and everywhere, not only by his own virtue or energy, but also in virtue of his substance–Again, ‘All things are contained in him and move in him, but without reciprocal action.’  God feels nothing from the movements of bodies; nor do they experience any resistance from his universal presence.

and elsewhere he tells us

He is called the Lord God, the Universal Emperor–that the word God is relative, and relates itself with slaves–and that the Deity is the dominion or the sovereignty of God, not over his own body, as those think who look upon God as the soul of the world, but over slaves

and lastly

that god exists necessarily- that the same necessity obliges him to exist everywhere and always- that he is all ears, all eyes, all brains, all arms, all feeling, all intelligence, all action- that he exists in a mode by no means corporeal and is totally unknown to us. [Apology for Atheism by Charles Southwell]

How many of you are still with Newton the theologian who tells us his god has ears, brains, feeling, arms and eyes but isn’t corporeal. Pause for a minute dear friend and tell me whether what the good scientist has told us is comprehensible. And if by his admission this god is totally unknown to us, how does he know anything about him/it? I don’t known whether the theist is going to let Newton be the defender of his faith or not.

Yours truly is not a physicist, astrophysicist or cosmologist, no he is none of those things but tries to keep up to date with what they say about the universe. I have heard none of them speak of the creation of the universe and I know, to the best of my knowledge, that the BB does not tell us anything about the earlier state of the universe if we can say something of that kind. It doesn’t tell us whether the universe was/is eternal or was in need of a creator. Moreover, if the theist accepts the big bang cosmology, could he/she tell us why a supposedly powerful god would chose such a long winded way to achieve such a result when we are told all he needed to do was to say

let there be. And there was!

When Lennox tells us the universe is fine tuned, the question we must ask is compared to what other universe? The universe is as is and nothing else can be said beyond that. There is nothing to which the universe can be compared with. It borders on lunacy to observe a quality of the universe and attribute it to a being that is sometimes said to be out of the universe and sometimes within it. If the professor wants to call this rational, I truly don’t know what irrational is.

The is no irony in a mathematician being able to make calculations that are representative of nature. To understand nature, one must study her and when this is done, it is no rocket science when we discover that it is to a certain extent knowable.

He quotes Platinga as saying there is a conflict between naturalism and evolution to the extent that we have developed brains and a desire for truth and that if atheism is true, which it is, we have no reason to trust our cognitive facilities. I know of no other theory that explains the progress of life on earth other than evolution. Nature though without intelligence has through its many processes made it possible for sentient beings to exist. The claim that nature needs external agency to accomplish this is just absurd and contrary to all evidence around us.

If ethical behavior as he says doesn’t require religious belief, its tautology to go ahead and say that it is proof of god. The good professor set out to prove that god exists. To claim that morality or rationality is proof of this god I think is fallacious. You cannot use an unknown set to explain another unknown entity without running into absurdities.

I find it strange that the good professor tells us that his friends in Russia told him the reason they were able to kill so many of their countrymen was because they had forgotten god. Please tell me, how can this be true? History tells us when god reigned supreme, people were killed for being witches because god’s word had these infamous statement

thou shalt not suffer a witch to live

the same god who in the OT has fits of rage and goes on murdering sprees. How this god can be a model of how to live with each other is quite beyond my understanding. A tribal god who kills innocents to free his chosen tribe. How can anyone say he is the god of all. Who was the god of the Egyptians, who was the god of the Canaanites, and all those tribes that it is narrated this god oversaw their massacre? Tell me something else but don’t tell me the Judeo- Christian god is our model and if it is, then it explains many things as to the state of affairs in our world today.

I don’t need to be a baker as to know why bread was baked. As I have said elsewhere, Paley’s watchmaker argument or any other argument that attempts to show the universe is designed by a benevolent maker cannot make any strides. To infer design, one must know the end to which something was done. What then is the purpose of the universe, to what end was it designed by its maker? If the theist cannot tell us this, he must stop using this tired argument.

The professor 09:45 onward goes to the deep of total irrationality. First he believes that the narrative of the fall of man as told in genesis 3 is true and that the supposed dying and resurrection of Jesus is a restoration of the fractured relationship between man and his creator. Then he gives us the evidence as Jesus. If Jesus could with five fishes feed 5K people, why are people still hungry? Why if he could cure one blind person did he not end blindness in all? Was it for show off? To claim the few miracles attributed to Jesus as evidence of his divine power is to close our minds to reason. We must ask what did these miracles, if they did happen, achieve? I venture nothing, people are still starving, blind, lame, and so on.

If Jesus existed, he taught a slavish morality where the poor were told they will be rich in the next life and the rich poor. He tells them blessed are the poor, blessed are those who mourn, blessed are those who are persecuted! His victory, if it can be called that was to establish a morality of the poor in the next life. To tell them to suffer because they will enjoy in the future, to live in servitude because the next life abounds with goodies for them. For the professor to tell us this was a great moral development is again bordering on lunacy!

The supposed suffering of Jesus on the way to and on the cross is nothing compared to the pain of childbirth that many if not all women undergo, it is incomparable to those suffering from cancer and indeed if he knew his actions would save mankind why did he at the final moment wail asking his father

why have you forsaken me?

There is nothing noble, nothing grand, nothing extraordinary in the claim that Jesus suffering redeemed the world. The world is still at war. The christian is at war with one other, the Muslim at war with one other and with the christian. Everywhere, even in christian dominated areas, there is still strife. In which way then did their Jesus save them?

The writers of the story of Jesus just as those who made up the Koran, with a stroke of genius told us the empty tomb is evidence of the resurrection. This is, for those who watch crime documentaries, a cold case. With no body, it is a Herculean task to prove or disprove that a crime was committed. It is this piece of innovation that Christians of all ages have relied on as proof of their resurrected Jesus. One must ask, did Jesus fear he would be killed a second time if he appeared to the officials at Rome? By appearing only to those who already believed this story, how can anyone interested in truth believe this thing happened?

Paul who did not meet Jesus is made to say that if Jesus did not resurrect then Christianity is false is evidence enough that even then the validity of this claim was being questioned. We can safely say now with hindsight that Christianity is false. Its supposed founder is in need of proof. There isn’t reliable evidence to confirm that he lived and walked among us.

The professor tells us god is a person. The question one must truly ask is what type of person is this god?

He tells us the belief in a deity allows him to explain away the problem of evil, that the belief in next life offers ultimate hope that things will better. It is a case of madness to belief that a god who was incapable of making things better in this life that we know of is capable of making it better in another borne of imagination and incredulity. The atheist says there is this one life here and we all have a duty to make it as pleasant as humanly possible, that we be just, we end wars and all cruelty. The good professor tells us justice is for god, we can suffer war but he will offer us recompense in future! Let us all go out there and tell those starving people not to worry, god will give them food in the next life, that they should be happy in their hunger! How ridiculous will we sound! Let us be reasonable. Let us all together join hands in making life worth living for each of us. I plead guilty to charges of nihilism but I believe each of us is capable of creating meaning in their short lives.

Who wants a suffering god? What does being told that god is on the cross help the believer? And if god is on the cross, what happened to the one that resurrected?

I end here in the hope that I have been able to at least demonstrate, albeit briefly, that the good professor has failed to provide proof for the existence of his god but has instead relied on old arguments that have been discarded, arguments from authority and begging the question to prove his case.

I would appreciate so much to hear your comments on what you think of the professors short lecture and my analysis of it. Thank you very much.

Evidence of god

why naturalism is false [or irrational]

This is a follow up post to the five challenges to the atheist I wrote a while back. I want to first make an amendment to the previous post to add that a secularist can be religious to the extent in which she believes church and state should be separate. It appeared to me the word secular and atheist were used almost alternately as if they mean the same thing.

I have been asked why do I keep writing about atheism and gods since I already lack a belief. I have given different answers to this question and today I will add another one. Why does a human rights activist write about FGM and they already know it’s bad? One is to create awareness and to be an agent of change. I write to create awareness and to offer an apology as to why I know atheism is true.

Having said all that, I will start by commending Carson in this instance for he seems to me to either have done his research well or did an extensive quote mining in order to explain what naturalism is and I think all of us can agree that we can use those definitions as starting points for our discussion on the matter. It saddens me that his post was a talk presented to student organisations of Harvard! and Boston Law School as fact. I have not seen any comments on the posts, I don’t know if he allows any so it is hard for me to asses how the talk was received and the opinion of the general public that have since read the post.

One wonders how after getting the definitions or the general idea of naturalism right, he ends up with his conclusions. We shall briefly look at his claims and attempt a refutation of each.

First and foremost, I don’t have to provide new arguments for naturalism in the same way I don’t have to find a new argument for the non-existence of gods. It is sufficient to show that arguments for theism are false or unsatisfactory and my work here will be done.

He gives as his first point against naturalism as

There are no good arguments for naturalism

In the beginning of this post, I had given Carson for doing some good work in looking for definitions of naturalism. In order to deal with his first premise, let us look at the definitions of methodological and philosophical naturalism once more to see why there need not be any arguments beyond the statement of what naturalism is:

Philosophical naturalism is the doctrine that the observable world is all there is.

Methodological naturalism is the label for the required assumption of philosophical naturalism when working with the scientific method.

and then consider this

If a philosopher or social scientist were to try to encapsulate a single principle that yoked together the intellectual process of civilization (sic), it would be a gradual dismantling of presumptions of magic. Brick by brick, century by century, with occasional burps and hiccups, the wall of superstition has been coming down. Science and medicine and political philosophy have been on a relentless march in one direction only — sometimes slow, sometimes at a gallop, but never reversing course. Never has an empirical scientific discovery been deemed wrong and replaced by a more convincing mystical explanation. (“Holy cow, Dr. Pasteur! I’ve examined the pancreas of a diabetic dog, and darned if it’s NOT an insulin deficiency, but a little evil goblin dwelling inside. And he seems really pissed!”) Some magical presumptions have stubbornly persisted way longer than others, but have eventually, inexorably fallen to logic, reason and enlightenment, such as the assumption of the divine right of kings and the entitlement of aristocracy. That one took five millennia, but fall it did.

Is there need to say anything in way of argument beyond this if we are to maintain methodological and philosophical naturalism as true? Science is atheistic, whether done by a theist or non believer. There is no scientist who in his calculations or hypothesis have a divine figure to help in explaining the facts. In fact were this the method employed by scientists, we would not have progressed to where we are now for how would we know this divine fellow will act in the same manner in the future? Think about it just for a moment…. where would such a way of studying take us?

Carson tells us

 I also note in passing that naturalism cannot explain either the existence of the universe nor its design. Why is the universe law-like?

Which is as, tidleb would say OOGITY BOOGITY! How does saying god explain the existence of the universe? To prove design, one must know the end to which the designer had in mind. When I see a car, I can infer design because I know the function to which the engineer had in mind, same is true when I see a gun. To infer there is design in the universe before you can tell us the aim of the supposed designer is ridiculous in the least and outlandish at worst. We are asked why is the universe law like? But how else could it be? The universe is as is. Unless the theist can demonstrate the existence of a universe un-law like, he has no argument against naturalism.

His second point is

if theism is true, then naturalism is false.

I will just say here theism is false.

In the previous post that I link at the beginning of this post covers five areas that Carson thinks invalidates naturalism. I do not intend to cover them here and request that you look at that post for a brief coverage of each.

And isn’t Carson ingenious! He says there is a science of the gaps argument and offers five points why ‘science will answer some day’ should be refuted. Allow me to let him speak for himself. He writes

There are at least five reasons to reject the “science will explain this” response:

First, this is a “science-of-the-gaps” explanation. Structurally, it is an argument from silence. What reasons do you have that science will explain it?

Second, if science does explain some of the features I mention, that will be a self-defeating exercise

Third, many if not most of the scientific discoveries have no bearing on whether or not theism or naturalism is true

The past performance of science to validate naturalism does not imply that it will always do so

 Why not say, “one day science will prove the theists right?” We can argue, ‘Theism has rightly predicted the start of the universe, the uniformity of nature, the existence of consciousness, the trans-cultural nature of morality, and so much else, that surely science will continue to validate theism.’

These arguments are very lame. No scientists I know has ever said his answers are definitive. The method of science is definitive. We may get inaccurate answers, but the method has so far been shown to be valid. For the first argument to stand, Carson must first show where the method of science has been found wanting. The religious mind is trained to believe on absolutes. There can be no improvement to an infallible statement. God says “Thou shall not suffer a witch to live” and with an infallible bible, this statement then has to be true now as it was when it was first uttered by the deity.

How does explaining something become a self defeating exercise?

Please and be honest, list for me just three scientific discoveries that prove theism. Just three not more.

How does his fourth reason invalidate the truth of naturalism. If science fails in the future, a new method could be developed to better explain naturalism.

I laughed when I read his fifth argument. Seriously, when did theism make predictions or develop hypotheses about this current world? If so far as we can tell, science has swept the rug under theism, how would this change in future? Science as a matter of principle concerns itself with the knowable, religion with the unknowable. Where do these two things meet?

As I have said above, I don’t intend to cover the five areas he mentioned in his other post that I already covered in order that this post does not get to be very long but allow me to just mention something on morality. He writes

What is an objective moral fact? It is a truth about right and wrong that is independent of human perception.

Is there such a fact independent of human perception? Is it right or wrong in the ant perception or lion perception? Whose perception please tell!

To confirm our author is confused, he gives the following example to explain a moral fact

For example: Even if no human being thinks it wrong, it is objectively wrong, as Joseph Kony does in Uganda, to order child soldiers to bite to death another child who is trying to escape. Think about being a ten year old who is using your mouth to tear the flesh off of another child in order to kill him. To use the fear of a similar death to coerce children into committing murder is objectively wrong, even though Joseph Kony would disagree with us

In what way has he managed to show us this is wrong independent of human perception?

He writes in conclusion,

If the universal human experience of consciousness, free will, purpose, reason, and objective moral facts are all illusory, and are explained away by a deterministic, naturalistic, ‘scientific,’ explanation of who we really are, we must ask ourselves: how can we trust that our brains are giving ‘us’ the ‘true’ and ‘reasonable’ answer in this one particular domain of scientific research, but failing us in every other domain that we depend upon for all of our lives, including when we are doing science?

Our senses don’t judge, they are non discriminatory. They report to the brain what they see. It is the function of understanding employing reason to judge what data it has received. Walking in the hot sunny afternoon on a tarmac road, it appears to me there is a pool of water ahead but I never get to it. Does the pool of water keep moving or is it absent?

When I stand in the field and look about me, the world appears flat not spherical. Is it flat or spherical?

We have every reason to trust our reason that it can guide as to the truth about reality. What we see to be apparent might be false and it is a mistake to confuse what our senses transmit and what our reason can determine.

I hope I have managed to briefly show why the arguments put forth against naturalism don’t pass muster and must be dropped or better ones provided.

In conclusion, I have no qualms in accepting we are biological automatons not withstanding how bad this seems to be for some people.

I rest my case.

why naturalism is false or irrational

Why I am not an agnostic atheist

You will allow me to start with a very irrelevant story. Thank you. At the beginning of the year when guys were busy making resolutions, I made only one that I hoped I could remain faithful to and that was to read 53 books  so chosen because a year has 52 weeks and given that I got to work, blog, have a beer and sleep in between, this was a good number. As it stands now, I have surpassed that number by almost 10 books and am happy for it.

I must state from the onset that I do not intend to berate my agnostic friends, but to briefly demonstrate that their position is not justified. In order to do this, I must clarify that there are two applications of the term agnostic [a term I will show is unnecessary] its application in religion and philosophy. It is its use with reference to the belief in deity that interests me.  The question of whether one believes in god or not admits of only two possible answers. Either one believes[theist] or doesn’t believe[atheist]. I want to state here that between theism and atheism, there is no halfway point and if any, I will say that position is one of intellectual dishonesty or one of development or transition to the greater truth.

A small digression would suffice here. I am agnostic/ skeptic as to whether I will wake up tomorrow, but I work as fact that I will be tomorrow. I make plans, arrange for meetings and so on. If the skeptic was to suspend judgement on everything, for which they have no evidence, as they claim, life would be impossible.

Words being fluid, people have often employed them to different ends. And the same is true for agnosticism. First and foremost, there was never a need for the word agnostic. If agnostic is used in reference to existential questions, that is, as to the nature of reality or of thing in itself the word skeptic was sufficient to explain and with reference to lack of belief in gods- atheist was and is sufficient. Unless the word agnostic is used in place of atheism because of its earlier connotations, so be it, but to use it to represent a different conclusion than the atheistic one, that I contend is not warranted.

I know there are no gods, in the same way I know there is no ABRACADABRA. Anthropology has shown that the god belief originated for a practical purpose in the age of our primitive infancy and was employed as an explanation for causes to which they were ignorant. Their world was populated by spirits, good and bad, responsible for every conceivable phenomena. This idea of god/ghosts and phantoms evolved to the current conception of a monotheistic god. In essence, as man became more intelligent, so did his god but it’s function has always been the same. It is evident that the more ignorant of causes a man is, the stronger is his belief in gods and the opposite is true, that is, the more enlightened a man is, the less use he has for gods and the more abstract his conception of god becomes.

The moment the theist describes his god, it canl easily be shown that either it is contradictory in its definition or is a logical impossibility. The word god on its own, that is, if not attached to a specific belief is meaningless and does not avail itself either to refutation or affirmation.

The agnostic in attempt to look superior to the atheist by claiming skepticism on the belief in gods is being intellectually dishonest. He says the nature of god is unknown and unknowable and so he suspends judgement. The atheist says he has no knowledge of god, that is, the god-idea has not been properly defined. How in the name of all that is reasonable does one suspend judgement on what is unknown and unknowable? What would be more absurd than such a stand? Why even entertain the thought of a thing that is unknowable? Further still, our conception of a thing could be inadequate or wrong, but to say it is unknowable is to put a limit on the ability of the human capacity to wrest knowledge from nature.

On the balance of things, for one to say he is agnostic and holds this position as being halfway between theism and atheism is to imply that evidence adduced for the existence of god and against almost stand par. But is this really the case? Has even a god been properly defined, even if we put aside the matter of evidence, to permit a suspension of belief?

One is likely to say that the philosophical arguments for god make this a possibility. But does it really? It doesn’t. The god of philosophy is an abstraction that is far removed from what men mean when they talk about god. Whenever men have talked about god they have always meant a being that is personal, that listens to prayers, answers them and loves them. It is only with mental gymnastics, special pleading and dishonesty does one come from one to the other. The god of William Craig and of my grandmother don’t meet anywhere except that they are all used as explanations where we are ignorant of causes. My grandmother being ignorant of how rain is formed, prays to god for rain and William Craig being ignorant of how matter can result in consciousness says god. The common thing is they are both ignorant and the evidence for my grandmother’s god and William Craig’s god is the same, nil.

I invite my agnostic friends to do two things

  1. To describe the god of whom they have suspended judgement
  2. To enumerate the evidence they have in support of the god idea

I hope that this will help in moving the conversation forward.