How to treat of books on apologetics

Hume writes,

Does it contain any experimental reasoning concerning matter of fact and existence? No. Commit it to the flame: for it contain nothing but sophistry and illusion

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what are we?

My friend keithnoback has always advised me to leave the faitheads alone. I promised to not bother with them, but you all can indulge me this one time and many more to come.

Katherine asks

Can anyone believe that the differences between humans and chimpanzees are simply biochemical? I have a few questions:

  • Why don’t drugs fix problems such as depression, schizophrenia and bi-polar disorder? Maybe all the causes are not known. 
  • Why do humans insist on going beyond the need for nutrition and prefer food with flavor, color and artful presentation? Custom
  • Why do humans need relationships beyond a partner for sexual intercourse and some association for personal safety? There are birds and a few other animals that keep their partners. Should we promote them to human beings
  • Why do humans have aspirations that transcend their need for food, clothing and shelter? In other words, why are humans never satisfied with the way things are? Because the mind can conceive of anything once it has the raw material for it.
  • Why do humans change the space around them in so many ways when other animals hardly leave footprints? Maybe because we are wasteful
  • Why don’t all homo sapiens make identical sounds for purposes of gathering crowds, finding sex partners or warning of predators? In fact, why do humans have so many ways to express language, laws, government, art, philosophy and religion? Why does no other creature even bother with these things? (Please refrain from the temptation to tell me that an elephant or a cat has produced real art.) Different birds have different sounds for danger, for catcalls and so on. Your comparisons are such that a fish would die thinking itself stupid for not riding a bicycle.
  • Why does every human culture include a religious element? Even the most atheistic, secularized humans on earth worship something—themselves. Because most human societies have generally been ignorant.

We may want to be more than just animals, it is understandable. A little reflection should however dissuade the intelligent from such illusions. Our behaviour is mainly a matter of custom. The things we know or claim to know are so by custom and not by any special effort on our part.

why Christianity?

And not because I converted.

This is a response to why choose Christianity and not something else or nothing else? It is an exercise in special pleading, appeals to authority and a case of ignorance.

The author starts by telling us most other religions are explicable without appeal to the supernatural. In his words

The naturalistic explanation, saying “men came up with myths about Zeus and others” fits all the data we have available much better than an appeal to a supernatural explanation; “men spoke about Zeus and the rest because those gods were real.”

and I ask where is the difference between this and Christianity. All the data we have point to the bible and its god[s] being a work of humans. They are created and dressed in human language and given human character just as the ancients did, except in their case, people could surpass the gods. The christian has created a monster that no matter how much effort, you can’t outdo it in cruelty and pettiness.

The author even has the mind to tell us

In this sense, atheism is a powerful ally to Christianity for the atheists help us make the case for why we reject the vast majority of religions.

The atheist rejects all gods. All includes the middle Eastern god to whom billions of Muslims, Jews and Christians around the world genuflect. To think yours is an exception is to me, the height of blind ignorance.

To make his case for Christianity, he gives, what he calls supernatural pseudo explanations. I call them pseudo explanations because they have not been shown to be true. The reasons he alludes to are

  1. coherency in the biblical message- while here, forget that there are two creation stories, that the story of Jacob and Isaac [?] look like cardboard copies, that we don’t know, from the supposed biographers of J. Hubris Christ his correct genealogy
  2. People willing to die for the claim Jesus is risen- the people who willingly died in Uganda following the advice of the cult leader must make it true
  3. Sudden birth and rise of christian theology- anyone who reads history would know this is not the case. Maybe he should have said the slow and violent rise of Christianity. This would be close to the facts.
  4. Many indoctrinated people have remained Christians. I thought if he had any sense he would see this is true of all other religions.
  5. His last point is so absurd I have to put it here in its entirety for prosperity –
    • The supernatural explanation accounts for the big questions like “Why is there something rather than nothing? Why is there life when the odds are against there being such? How did the universe get started? Why is there something startlingly different about humans compared with other animals? Why is there such a strong yearning for purpose among humans? Why do humans reflect on morality so much? Why is there evil and what can be done about it?” Naturalism struggles to explain what Christianity simply and  profoundly answers.

From here on, he goes of the rails in so complete a fashion that only a brain replacement would restore him. In the example of Paul, where there are many plausible explanations, he sticks with a pseudo explanation because it is good for his script. Facts be damned.

You would expect this fellow is going to make a serious case for his religion only to repeat the trope of Jesus rose from the dead and why? It is in the bible.

Why should one become a christian? Because the bible says there is an afterlife and you may have a chance with angels if that is your kind of thing. Really? Can’t we have apologists who are reasonable and who tell us reasonable things? Or is their target audience the already damned deluded?

Answering atheism: Not really

It seems every theist is trying to answer atheists and each of them think they have the one argument that is going to make atheists convert to their chosen brand of belief. Well, maybe atheists are doing the same thing as am doing here now. Believers, and especially Paulines and Katliks have heard enough time to make their arguments. Am not saying atheists haven’t heard the same opportunity, well, there was a time not so long ago when heresy was punishable by death or something close and still is if you live in a country where they follow Mohammed[please be onto him] then the punishment for apostasy is death.

And since yours truly is feeling lazy, take twenty minutes of your time and listen to this trope. Someone tell me, how many WLCs exist or are there clones?

Am hoping this fellow will tell us what god is before they can tell us why a god is a necessary being.

The argument that god is a necessary being tells us nothing about what god is or its nature. Further as Hume rightly points out in dialogues of natural religion

The words necessary existence, have no meaning; or, which is the same thing, none that is consistent.

The PSR that this fellow quotes does not help his case. The first rule can be stated as

everything must have a reason or cause.

and to come from here to my god is uncaused is first to be involved in special pleading and also to contradict the PSR which the person started with as his argument. We say, you can’t have your cake and eat it.

Since we have discussed Divine Command Theory, we will not talk about morality in this post. We however will say that theists need to really start reading sophisticated atheist arguments before they can comment on it… no we don’t mean that at all.

Now go and waste your time listening and you can use the comments section to express your anger at my making you listen to such trope 😀

Blog break 14: Other news

Fellow sufferers here are two blogs that should leave you either entertained or depressed. I am sure it will be mostly depression.

While lurking [it has lately become a pastime] I came across this post, the atheist’s dilemma; a journey from atheism to Christ, which is a story of a young girl who was an atheist and went to Harvard, yes, and found god, which is all good. As I have said before in other posts where I write about belief that I believe a person believes as they are most convicted and not any other way. That being the case, I can’t hold it against anyone for believing in superstition, ghosts, phantoms and fairies. I think, however, that a person who has an opportunity to explore nature, to study it and understand it is being irresponsible when they say they found C.S Lewis convincing. Without committing the fallacy of No True Scotsman, one wonders whether the only atheist literature available is the God Delusion and the Koran :-P? I sincerely would want to know what other atheist literature she read, whether she considered other extant religions and how she found Christianity and specifically Catholicism to be the truest of all the man-made religions. Am more interested, especially so, since I became a non believer in adulthood having grown up religious, I find all the religious stories to be BS. How does one who has grown up godless and with the ability to tear apologists arguments to shreds all over sudden find the fairy tales so convincing and of all the places in Harvard, where I thought only the brightest of our lot go?

In this next post, will atheism survive the internet, would want us believe that atheism will not survive the internet. He tells us

Back to atheism and the internet. . . the problem with the net is that there is so much mis-information that our young surfers don’t know what is true anymore. They are looking for answers and are clearly not wholly satisfied with google. It will take more than ‘ string theory’  to fool the youth of today.

Yet the Bible has stood firm for over 2000 years. It is rock solid. It does not lie. Isn’t it comforting to have a source of wisdom and Truth that you can just feel in your bones is the right Way?

And these atheists are evil in their intent. They will pick any verse and twist it around. The other day they went on about talking donkeys, trying to trap me into asking if I believe a donkey really spoke to Balaam in the famous story. They wanted to know details, like did his lips move like a humans, did he bray as he spoke. . . was he like the donkey in Shrek. . . it always gets insulting when atheists are involved.

which yours truly found to be not only ridiculous but wishful thinking. I on the other hand believe, and strongly so, that whereas d’Holdbach said knowledge of nature will be the end of gods, I want to add that the internet is where all the religions may die.

Fellow sufferers, visit the blogs and have fun but if you are depressed, at least I warned you 😛

The naturalists fairy tale! Which one?

Our resident apologist, whose main occupation, it seems to yours truly, is to misrepresent atheists and their arguments while at the same time claiming superiority of a christian world view. Those who have visited his site, by now know that he claims to love science, well when it seems to lend credence to his religious opinions and denigrate it as soon as it challenges the religious authority.

In this post, which I think he dedicates to Rusell, is a ruse to attack naturalism and its philosophical claims while at the same time purporting to show why such a view is false. We are told,

In this world we can now begin a little to understand things, and a little to master them by help of science, which has forced its way step by step against the Christian religion, against the churches, and against the opposition of all the old precepts.

which is true. It is through advancement of science and a scientific worldview that we have come to the conclusion that we are not descended from two ignoramuses, who had conversations with snakes and had the task to name all other animals apart from working so hard at populating the earth, that was lots of work for eve! Was she having twins? Just a thought 😛

It seems that it can’t be pointed out often enough that science and theology are different subjects.

But this we already know. Theology is the study of nothing ans science deals with what is knowable.

At least, the New Atheists seem to have so much confidence in the idea that science is theology (and metaphysics) that they feel no need to give any reason for the strange conclusion that science answers questions about God’s existence.

For all the crimes we could be guilty of, we are not guilty of thinking theology is science. Metaphysics that our apologists is parroting here presents no testable evidence. It is a word game where the person who can talk the most is sure to win and in this case, the apologist hopes to carry the day. Whenever the religious makes claims about god that are in the purview of science, of course science must have a say. If you don’t like it, don’t make claims that are testable using the scientific method!

But it’s not only theology of which such people are ignorant. Any real respect for history would at least acknowledge the facts of past as it actually occurred.

This is an outright lie, and he knows it. We know Cicero was a Roman leader, that Marcus Aurelius lived and wrote beautiful meditations, that the church was Inquisition, that much of the NT was agreed several centuries after the said events, that the OT was written over a long period of time and that Jesus is a myth from beginning to end. So what history don’t we know?

 the earliest science was developed by Christians, and sponsored by the Church.

Did you read that? So Galileo was actually sponsored by the church when he was asked to recant? That Giodarno Bruno was sponsored by the church? You know this is why a great friend of mine calls these guys silly people, for this is being silly!

Almost no culture has believed that the universe would have regular patterns which could be observed by the kinds of experiments science uses as its stock and trade.

Let us grant him that theology makes observations of the universe. Could he list them, I know, you, my friends would want to know.

The west is so saturated in science that we never think to question this fact, and, therefore, never notice that most of us can offer no reason why reality would be this way.

If science involves observation, analysis and [experimenting] then there is no other way understanding reality. Don’t get me wrong, we can appreciate music and art without having to do experiments and I don’t mean to say we don’t learn from the humanities, no we do, but they also whenever applicable apply the scientific method.

Naturalists, for instance, can give no explanation as to why the universe should have this surprising consistency.

We can, but can the theologian do so? If the theologian doesn’t know about this world we inhabit, how could he know about a world only accessible to the dead?

David Hume famously pointed out that belief in science, as far as the naturalist can see, is based on a logical fallacy.

What fallacy please, do tell.

It was Christians, and other monotheists, who invested the effort in developing modern science because they held the conviction that a rational creator would make an ordered universe.

Seriously! And then we are told we don’t know history? Someone tell me the god of the Chinese, the Indians and all other men and women who didn’t believe in ghosts but helped to develop science?

For Russell to claim, four-hundred years after the fact, that the Christians who invented, supported, and sponsored science somehow have a less scientific worldview than those atheists who blindly trust this inexplicable Christian invention is simply astonishing.

For a blind man to call people with eyes blind is to me, rank madness! Those christians or god believers lived in a culture where the existence of god was taken as a given. However, great their contributions were, we can say, without fear, they were wrong to ascribe the workings of nature to ghosts, gods or phantoms, whatever your fancy! So what if they were christians. Our concern is the present crop of christians who only appreciate science when it cures them from funny ailments but denigrate it as soon as it shows a belief in god to be a delusion.

None of this precludes the idea that naturalists can be great scientists; the tools of science can be used by anyone. But to say that the success of science somehow refutes the belief that predicted it would work strikes me as deeply irrational thinking.

Is this statement strange? It shouldn’t be. We have always held that a believer in ghosts can be a good scientist so this apologist decides to use the statement in his favour.

I conclude by saying it is wrong and will be always wrong to believe anything based on insufficient evidence. And it is irrational to think belief in ghosts is rational.

 

 

The intellectual poverty of modern atheism? Really?

First of all, yours truly wishes to apologise to friends and followers for the lack of posts during the week, I have been quite busy with building the nation, though I did manage to visit most of your blogs.

I need not introduce our resident apologist, Debilis, though he hardly honours us with a visit who has made it his blogging profession to erect strawmen of atheists and New Atheist, whoever they are, whom he then manages to convince his followers that he has made a sound against the claims of atheism. In this post, where, they have a long discussion with our friend the Ark, he sets out to tell his readers that atheists are intellectually poor.

He starts by telling us

Every reason I’ve ever been given to reject the arguments for theism rests on one of two demonstrably false assumptions:

1. That nothing exists other than the physical, or

2. That there is no way of knowing anything except via the senses (including science, of course).

Let us ignore, who has told him this and look at his claims. I would like him to prove the existence of anything else, other than those things, which are evidently the creation of our imagination or are the result of our interactions with one another then we will have a conversation. I would want him to show me and you, dear reader, any way of knowing, whatever he means by that, that excludes the senses. What are these things he knows without experiencing, excepting concepts which are creations of our imagination and history which we read?

Our apologists continues in the same vain to tell us

Those who demand evidence for theism are, so far as I’ve experienced, never open to non-sensory evidence. And those who attack the Bible as being bad science generally aren’t willing to acknowledge that it wasn’t written as science in the first place.

Let us say we are open to non-sensory evidence, which are these and would you be kind to enumerate just a few. And no, this is a strawman, we don’t claim the bible is a science writ. All we have said it was written by ignorant goat herders over a long period of time. It makes claims about the cosmos that aren’t true such as we are told in Joshua 10

“Sun, stand still at Gibeon,
and moon, in the Valley of Aijalon.”
13 And the sun stood still, and the moon stopped,
until the nation took vengeance on their enemies.

Is this not written in the Book of Jashar? The sun stopped in the midst of heaven and did not hurry to set for about a whole day. 14 There has been no day like it before or since, when the Lord heeded the voice of a man, for the Lord fought for Israel.

unless of course our apologists wants to pretend that this is not a claim about cosmology which is a science or Balaam’s talking donkey or making wine from water.  So we grant him the bible is not a science book, neither is it a revealed word of deity, simply because such don’t exist, especially so the one claimed in the bible.

In defending his absurd position, our apologists writes

The first view is properly called “metaphysical naturalism”, “physicalism”, or (more casually) “materialism”. To believe this, one has to believe that nihilism is true, that thoughts are never about anything, that there is no reason at all why science works, that you can’t trust your own logic, and that you (in terms of your own inner life and personality) don’t actually exist.

Sad as it maybe for our apologist, life is its own meaning. To expect that there is more to it, some cosmic meaning is a fools dream. If you find nihilism too much to swallow, you are in the right profession, that of supporting superstition for fact. Here, I agree with Camus, who asks the million dollar question, what does one do after finding out that life is absurd? Does he commit suicide? He says no, rather he lives by rebelling against the absurd. He creates meaning in his life. The second claim about thoughts doesn’t make sense. I have read the post which is linked in the OP and, yours truly, was not able to make sense of it. He makes claims about free will which are absurd and nonsensical, the rest of his arguments are of like manner.

He then continues to say

This is the view that, while there might be more than the physical, we should only believe what we can test for scientifically.

which I don’t think is true. The requirement is as Hume said, not to believe anything for which we don’t have sufficient evidence and as Carl Sagan later said, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. So offer this evidence and we are good to go.

The first thing we should note here is that many of the same problems arise. This idea would force us to reject the idea that we have minds, that our morals are rational, and that our thoughts are either about anything or base their choices in logic. It is also deeply problematic that the basis of science itself is rejected by this view. “Science alone”, if one follows the logic, means “not even science”.

Minds are brain states. Unless of course the apologist thinks the mind is separate from the brain, our morals are rational because we are rational beings though this isn’t the case for a great majority of the human species and our thoughts are given by experience though we are also capable of abstract thought. And lastly am never sure what he means when he writes science. He leaves his claims so open such that it is impossible to identify what one is arguing against.

There is nothing to say about a claim such as this.

The second thing is that this view also contradicts itself. After all, there is no sensory evidence for it. So, by its own standard, it should be rejected.

Having created strawmen, he finishes by writing

The only way that modern atheism can hope to escape the absurd conclusions mentioned here is if it could offer an attack on the arguments for theism that doesn’t rest on one of those two assumptions.

which is another strawman, simply because atheism is only a claim about the existence of gods. The rest are philosophical positions which merit a different discussion each on its own to prove their falsity or truth value. The atheist says he has seen no evidence for the existence of gods, and that the theist has not proved his case sufficiently. He has no reason to provide any argument beyond that.

Some one please tell me am dreaming or I am reading what our christian want us to believe.

After years of encounters, I’ve come across no such thing. This leaves the arguments for theism on the table, with the attempted refutations having been shown to be circular reasoning.

Why are there still atheists? All you of you atheists should pack up your bags and identify a church to join, you are all wrong, the apologists have carried the day!