is it rational to believe in god

Well, who knew scientists were polled and their verdict was it is rational to believe in god. So Brian and Jeff, find the nearest church near you and ask to join.

Will Jones opening salvo is a fallacious argument. The bible says there is a god and the bible says it is rational to believe in its god. You can see where there is going. Downhill all the way! Jones calls as his witnesses Plato and Aristotle but unfortunately this doesn’t help his cause. To Aristotle, the number of gods could be 47 or 55. This is not all for Diagoras and Theodoras flatly denied that there were any gods at all and many other ancient philosophers did not agree on the nature of god(s).

Had the being of god been obvious, there would have been no need for apologetics. Jones tells us

However, Bible-believing Christians have generally stuck by the classical and biblical view that the existence of God is something for which sufficient reasons are supplied by the light of nature.

which is interesting because humanity have managed to explain things that were believed to belong to the domain of the gods but Christians have stuck to their old conceptions as if time has remained static and we have collectively as a race done nothing towards knowledge acquisition.

Jones disagrees with Spufford whom he quotes as having written

No, I can’t prove it,’ Spufford says. ‘I don’t know if there’s a God (and neither do you, and neither does Professor Dawkins . . . it isn’t the kind of thing you can know. It isn’t a knowable item).’

and calls the above anti-rational idea which tells me he would disagree also with Pascal who in his Pensees argues reason can help you make the ascent to the being of a god. You must forget reason. And have faith. While we are here, I don’t know of anyone who became a believer because he heard Francis Collins is a believer. In fact, this post by Ark might be helpful on this point.

Seeing that his arguments lack substance, Jones then calls as a witness to his god the fine tuning argument. Any argument that depends on an inference of design a posteriori was dealt a blow by Hume many years ago. Maybe if Jones had read Hume, he might not have called this witness to the stand. This is the only fine tuning argument I am willing to get behind.

In a world with an omni god as the Christians claim their god is, free will is not possible. While Jones want us to believe that without his god, we can’t have morals, he forgets that eons passed before some desert goat herders dreamed their religion and some European missionaries decided to spread this nonsense around the world.

While I agree with the first part of this statement

Ultimately, Francis Spufford is wrong about human beings: we are not entirely controlled by our feelings, and reason is not and ought not to be, as David Hume had it, ‘the slave of the passions’. Whatever else we are, we are rational animals, possessed of a reasoning mind, capable of recognizing and responding to truth when we see it, including the truth of God.

it shouldn’t be lost on us that Jones intended to demonstrate that belief in god is rational. This he has failed to do.

This

Seasoned apologist John Lennox spoke at Coventry Cathedral recently on the evidence for a Creator, and a colleague of mine went along with an atheist friend. Afterwards the friend turned to him and said: ‘I now believe in a Creator God.’ That is the power of truth.

is funny. Who would believe such drivel really?

Sunday disservice

The author of this post in making a case for Jesus H Christ tells us there were five hundred witnesses to the resurrection, and some of them famous. I for my case, would want to know the name of one eye witness among the five hundred.

He also says there were witnesses to the resurrection. Now, all my reading of the bible tell me all the people who went to the tomb found an empty tomb and Mary Magdalene did not observe the resurrection event.

He also claims as support for the resurrection story, that several names are given. How this builds the case for the resurrection when we don’t have independent accounts of these various witnesses I don’t see.

I am not a lawyer, but I think the claim that

The life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ would stand up in a court of law.

Is untrue. There are few Bible stories, if any, that would stand in a court of law. Unless of course, that court was one that ruled based on miracles.

Happy Sunday everyone.

On stupidity and evidence

The author of the post in her generosity sought to teach atheists some basic facts. She writes

They (and all atheists fall into this category) make the claim that objective truth does not exist (everything is relative.) And by doing so, guess what? They are making a truth claim – that truth does not exist.

Maybe some atheists argue this but it would be more right to say all TRUTH, whatever truth maybe is subjective. Matters of fact, for which the claim a god exists are such that a negation doesn’t involve a contradiction. There is no contradiction in the statement there is no god. So that the argument? below

  • Everything is relative
  • Man is the result of evolution
  • There is no God

which is first poorly constructed with all unrelated premises do not imply a contradiction.

Answering none to the two challenges below

That truth absolutely exists, or that you there is definitely, absolutely no transcendent source of truth?

also do not lead to a contradiction. I am afraid this theist need more education in logic than he/ she realizes.

I may add that the glass of water example she uses doesn’t give support to her thesis. Without prior knowledge that what is in the glass is water and it is portable, there is no way one could, through reason alone, come to the conclusion the author is claiming.

This loving christian tells us

One Atheist said that he’d be sorely disappointed if he found God to be real.

and I want to meet this atheist. I, too, would be very disappointed. The goddites tell us their god is all powerful, all loving and all-knowing and we have babes raped, people bombed in the name of god and omnipresence and omnibenovelence does zilch. If you are not disappointed, there is definitely something the matter with you.

Our good christian tells us we shouldn’t ask for evidence. God is hiding because he loves us. He writes

However, over the years, I’ve come to realize it’s because of His love for them that He remains silent when this question is asked.

and you realize a person will believe anything they can convince themselves is true regardless of what reason would dictate in a similar scenario. I am sure this apologist would not take my word for it if I told him there is a beautiful woman, who I haven’t seen or met nor talked but I know loves him. He would call me a liar or worse and here he is telling us, an imaginary being is hidden because he loves us so much!

The arrogance and ignorance some apologists display leave me asking which planet did they come from. Lucas writes

What began the movement to disprove God and believe in something that is unfavorable? (i.e. death is the end, life is meaningless, etc.) I believe this comes from the view of Christianity being a law giving system, rather than a relationship.

and I ask has he had of Solon, Lycurgus, Buddha, Confucius and other law givers of antiquity. And why would anyone think asking questions about the gods started with Christianity? Is their knowledge so limited?

And if, as Lucas says, we are broken, it is not our making. We cannot be expected to be better than we were made. The responsibility to change us lies with the maker, if there was one.

As I have said many times, if theists want to write about atheism, it is better to get to know what it is and we believe or do not before venturing to make a fool of oneself.

Happy weekend everyone.

 

 

Blog break 5: Bad apologetics

Folks, a christian apologist claims in one of his posts that we atheists are not any different when it comes to cherry picking bible verses. I think I need help here, when is using a bible verse cherry picking? The accuser claims further that we [atheists] never venture out of the OT for fear of finding some teachings of Jesus we may not like for their moral value like when he curses a fig tree out of season or calls others brood of vipers or even worse in the sermon on the mount when he preaches it is blessed to be poor? Well, I got news for you. We don’t cherry pick.

Your accuser is here

In this post he claims talking about evidence with us is a waste of time. Last time we had the discussion on evidence with theists, it came down to see around you that is evidence of god and look at the bible it says it is the word of god and the bible is true because god says so in the bible. Beyond that all other evidence involved is quoting William L. Craig and Platinga, two apologists that it is my opinion their beliefs are far removed from the beliefs held by most other christians.

You know you are reading bad philosophy when you see an argument presented thus

. Matter cannot create itself
. Matter cannot preexist itself
. Matter cannot be eternal nor infinite
the author fails to mention the premise that matter can neither be created nor destroyed. In his argument he has created a strawman and so he is on a roll through and through, there is no beating him. He knows mentioning this important premise puts into question his other premises.
To make his case, he presents the Cosmological argument presenting it as evidence. He writes
. Everything material that begins to exist has come into existence because of an external cause.
. Matter is not eternal
. An infinite regress of cause does not exist
. Matter requires an eternal immaterial Creator
In his first premise, this can’t be said of the universe. He nor me simply do not know and will never know. The premise is also not true because radio-active decay occurs without a discernible cause and the same is true to quantum fluctuations.
I don’t know what evidence he has to support premise two. As far as we can tell if matter can’t be destroyed the only option is it is eternal.
Premise 3 is wrong on two counts. Infinity is a place holder, a term we use to represents large numbers to say it doesn’t exist then you must have performed poorly is mathematics or you attended a creationism school. The second thing that is wrong with this assertion is it can’t be applied to the universe, we can apply to human constructions but when we want to apply it to the universe, we are way out of our depth.
The conclusion in 4 above does not follow from the premises. A case hasn’t been made to warrant a creator and while we are it at it, how does an immaterial creator create what is material? At what point do they interact?
I have seen ridiculous statements, but this will get the trophy as the most ridiculous of the week!
As things stand right now, atheists have no basis for the world-view that they hold.
Atheists are simply believing what they believe on blind faith. And in this case, faith would mean, believing something in the teeth of the evidence to the contrary.
I don’t think this statement requires further comment from me.
For those of you who have time, you can visit his site for entertainment, the link is provided in the body of the post.

What is evidence?

It has not occurred to me that the meaning of evidence was ever in contention until a few days ago. The great antagonizer has asked this question on his blog.  Debilis, who we have already met and Mark Hamilton have also written articles on the same and the two of them ask what do we want as evidence for god.

I know this post will not deal completely and exhaustively with this question but will attempt to answer some of the questions the three bloggers have raised and hopefully help us in moving the conversation forward.

To deal with this problem, I am going to start by giving definitions then proceed to point out where I think they are wrong.

Definition from Merriam Webster

1 a : an outward sign : indication

b : something that furnishes proof : testimony; specifically :something legally submitted to a tribunal to ascertain the truth of a matter

: one who bears witness; especially: one who voluntarily confesses a crime and testifies for the prosecution against his accomplices
From oxforddictionaries.com
the available body of facts or information indicating whether a belief or proposition is true or valid
and from dictionary.reference.com

noun

1.that which tends to prove or disprove something; ground for belief; proof.
2.something that makes plain or clear; an indication or sign: His flushed look was visible evidence of his fever.
3.Law. data presented to a court or jury in proof of the facts in issue and which may include the testimony of witnesses, records, documents, or objects.

verb (used with object)

4.to make evident or clear; show clearly; manifest: He evidenced his approval by promising his full support.
5.to support by evidence: He evidenced his accusation with incriminating letters.
First, we look at Debilis’ claims
When the statement is made, it would seem to mean that there is no scientific evidence that God exists. Whether or not that is true, the idea that there is no physical evidence for the non-physical is hardly mind-blowing. Rather, it is a simple category error. It has no more weight than saying that there is no mathematical proof that Winston Churchill was the Prime minister of Great Britain, or that there is no grammatical evidence of cosmic expansion.
There are historical records, photographic records and video reels that confirm a Winston Churchill was Prime Minister of Great Britain. These information can be corroborated independently from newspaper articles, magazines and books on British or World History. The same can’t be said of Debilis’ god. No one is asking for physical evidence, that would be a bonus though, all we ask is for any evidence. You must be all aware of a study done a few years back to study the efficacy of intercessory prayer, whether this can be proof for god is for you to decide. What non-physical has the theist offered as proof that their god exist? I think there are many reasons to believe we live in an atheistic universe than a world managed by an all-powerful benevolent master. The presence of any form of natural evil is evidence against the existence of a god that is absolutely benevolent!
He[I hope am correct on this] goes on to say
But, taken more broadly, the claim is simply false. That is, if the claim is taken broadly enough to be relevant to metaphysical issues such as God’s existence, then the metaphysical arguments for God’s existence is such evidence.
This statement makes no sense. The use of metaphysical here is to make the arguments look more than just arguments which they are. The metaphysical arguments, I believe this are the logical arguments for the existence of god, have been refuted and any one keen on apologetics would know this unless they present new arguments and we will be waiting to refute them. The theist has not defined god coherently so that to prove that such a thing can exist is even problematic. The discussion collapses even before it can lift its ass off the ground.
We can debate whether or not the evidence is sufficient, but the bold declaration that there is no evidence for God’s existence is simply out of touch with the facts.
What facts could these be? Is it that atheists have chosen to be blind to these facts. Why then do we still have apologists? In fact, why would we need apologists to defend god, an all-powerful and all-knowing being/non being [I don’t know the one theists prefer]? Don’t any of you think that if this god is what is claimed of it, we would have at least have had an appearance to answer the doubting Thomases once every so often. Any theist claiming this would not be good for us has not read Genesis where god visits with Abe for BBQ and clean up but find nothing wrong with it. If it was fine then, it must be more than urgent now!
Mark on his part starts by asking a question
Can you prove that I have a liver?
Yes, all mammals have been found to have livers so we don’t need to operate on you to confirm this and should you be found to not have one, it would be a serious birth defect and everything will be done to get you one. So this is what the Buddha would call a useless question.
He continues to argue
For many people this is the kind of evidence they want when asking “Is there a God?” They want something they can see and smell and experiment on.
This is simply not true. I can’t experiment on Cicero but I have sufficient reason/evidence to believe he existed. Empirical evidence is just one type of evidence. Looking at the definitions of evidence I gave at the beginning of this post, is there any where the theist has passed the test? Maybe I missed this evidence, whoever has it could be kind enough to share 😀
Mark proceeds to tell us
And it’s true, I do take it on faith that God exists. I don’t have empirical evidence for God. I also don’t have empirical evidence for the existence of my liver.
Then am accused of hypocrisy when I point out that faith requires belief even when one has no evidence. He would be dead if he didn’t have a liver. So to compare the two is to commit a fallacy of false analogy.
From here, our apologist jumps to the cosmological arguments for god and argues as William Lane Craig that an infinite regress of creators is logically impossible and then presents the statement of his argument thus

1. All things that come into existence have a creator.

2. Things exist.

3. Therefore, something must exist that has always existed.

After saying this he proceeds immediately to tell us

Now this does not prove the existence of God. But it does show that somewhere there must be an eternal and uncreated Something that everything else is based on.

Even if this were true, it does not answer whether it was one god, a bazillion gods and whether such gods are still alive today.

Nobody has ever observed, weighed, measured, or tested something that by necessity has always existed. It would be impossible to observe something to have always existed unless the observer has also always existed as well.

I don’t know, but how does this statement support his cause? He claims to have evidence for god, has he [Mark] always existed or how did he come by this evidence?

He ends his piece thus

 However we still can reasonably believe in it’s existence despite the impossibility of ever finding empirical evidence for it. I have faith in God’s existence the same way I have faith in my liver’s existence: confidently and reasonably without need of empirical evidence.

I definitely need help here. What is reasonable here, I must have missed it somewhere so friends please help. No your having faith in having liver is supported by many things, for example that you can take a piss, that you are not dead and more specifically because you have seen that all mammals have liver, you don’t have comparable evidence for god and so again you commit a fallacy.

I apologize for the long length of the post but I hope that I have been able to answer some of the questions concerning evidence, and specifically evidence for god.