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Ten “Oh so clever” questions for Atheists – Part 2 January 30, 2022

Posted by Ubi Dubium in Questions, Responses.
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Continuing my responses to Herald Newman’s transcriptions of apologetic questions from a Braxton Hunter Video.

Part 1 can be found here.

4 – If it’s a lack of belief sort of atheism what is it? Is it 50/50, 60/40, 75/25, and at what point do you feel disingenuous saying that you merely lack a belief as opposed to leaning towards “I believe that God does not exist.“?

That’s a weird way to put this question.  What are these odds supposed to be for, anyway?  And again, he’s equivocating here.  We’re talking a lack of belief in “gods” in general, and he’s equating that with a lack of belief in his Biblegod.  Not the same thing.

I don’t feel disingenuous in saying that I have no belief in any god at this time, but that I am open to considering the specific definition of a god someone is offering, and evaluating the evidence they have for it.  And at the same time I can say that my assessment of the likelihood of Thor, or Zeus, or Osiris, or Biblegod or Pikkiwoki being fictional human creations is very, very close to 100%.  (And Pikkiwoki not only gives you eternal life when you die, but also all the coconuts you can carry and a pig!  Bonus!)

5 – Doesn’t it bother you a little bit that, when we come to talk about the origins of the universe, and if there’s a multiverse the origin of that too, that the only real options you’ve got besides God is a past infinite universe – which is impossible – or the universe coming to exist uncaused out of nothing, or something far less clear than even those? It seems that for any world view that includes atheism there’s a massive blind spot when it comes to the origin of the universe and all the attempts to try and circumvent that problem seem desperate and at least far less likely than theism. … Doesn’t this issue destabilize you a little bit? It seems to fit really poorly with any worldview that includes atheism.

If these are supposed to be honest questions, then starting out with “Doesn’t it bother you a little bit that…” is a dead giveaway that they aren’t.  “Doesn’t it bother you” has the clear implication that “I think this should bother you” embedded in it. The questioner isn’t interested in an honest response from a non-believer about this, that’s just an opening that says “I’m about to sermonize at you here, with a serious dose of gaslighting, don’t interrupt me.” 

If this apologist can only come up with those options for how the universe got here apart from “goddidit” then that seems like a limitation on his mental capacity to come up with alternatives, not a limitation on possibilities for how the universe got here. I can think up a bunch more, easily.  Maybe the condition of “nothingness” is unstable, and always decays into something immediately. Maybe there was never “nothing”, but just something very different than the universe we inhabit now. Maybe new universes with different sets of laws and constants are popping into existence all the time, but only a few configurations are stable enough not to collapse immediately.  Maybe when a black hole collapses, it buds off a new universe with similar properties.  Maybe it was a magic hyperdimensional unicorn that farts universes.  Maybe we perceive time as linear, but it actually is doing loop-de-loops:

As we have investigated our universe, we have found that the aspects of it that are outside the scale of our normal daily experience, such as quantum mechanics or general relativity, turn out to be far weirder than our savannah-adapted overgrown monkey brains can easily deal with.  The universe is under no requirement to be obvious or comprehensible to us. 

When it comes to the question of the origin of the universe, the typical apologist is never satisfied with the real answer, which is “we don’t know yet, but we’re working on it.”  Right now, looking as far back at the early history of the universe as we are able, we appear to arrive at a singularity which currently acts as a wall for our knowledge.  We just have no way to investigate anything back beyond a certain point.  And when you have no information, and no way of getting any information, that’s where the discussion has to stop.  (Thanks to Neil DeGrasse Tyson for that thought.)

So the apologist is here committing the classic god-of-the-gaps fallacy. He’s trying to take a great big “We don’t know the answer to this question” and insert “therefore it must have been my invisible friend.”  When he says “Doesn’t this issue destabilize you a little bit?” I can confidently answer “not in the least.”  I have gotten used to the idea that there is a lot of stuff humans don’t know yet, and some things we may not ever know. If science ever knew everything, it would stop. The fact that we don’t know everything means that there are more things still to discover.  Cool!  The human habit of making up stories and fictional characters to fill the gaps in our knowledge is a nuisance that gets in the way of actual investigation.  Nothing more.

6 – Of the arguments for God’s existence is there one that to you seems more interesting than the rest? Is there one that for you actually does weigh in favor of theism? which one?

Nope.  Not any.  None.  Presuppositionalist claptrap is probably the worst of the lot, but there aren’t any good ones.  Why?  Because you can’t argue a god into existence.  What is needed is evidence, and they haven’t got any, which is why they spend so much brain energy on convoluted sophistry.

Apologetics aren’t for converting non-believers anyway, that’s not their real purpose.  Apologetics are a way of letting intelligent people feel smart for continuing to believe in a religion, even though their initial embrace of the religion had nothing to do with intelligence or rationality.  It’s for keeping smart people in the church.  It’s about distracting them from thinking about the real problems with their religion.  And once someone has seen through all the bad arguments and logical fallacies that apologetics is full of, throwing more of the same at them is not going to bring them back into the fold.

And also, this question is asking me to do your homework for you. And to validate the field of apologetics for you as something worth pursuing.  Neither of those is going to happen.

I’ll finish this up in Part 3.

Comments»

1. Steve Ruis - January 30, 2022

Re #5 ” the only real options you’ve got besides God is a past infinite universe – which is impossible . . .” Uh, please provide proof that a universe with an infinite past is impossible. If that were true then his god would not have existed at some time. (Oh, now he is in favor of the multiverse!)

Liked by 1 person

2. Jon - January 30, 2022

I’m looking forward to #3.

Liked by 1 person

3. Daniel Digby - February 6, 2022

Hesiod had the perfect answer to questions 5 and 6 for your apologist. Chaos (the God) just popped into existence (probably from His own free will). With Him/Her, came the primordial substance apeiron, from which all the cosmos was created, including earth, wind, fire, and water (and quintessence, if that really exists). Of course with those, the rest of creation is a foregone conclusion.

That leaves the question “Where did we get Christian apologists?”. That requires some deeper digging. After Chaos came Gaia. We’re not sure whether She was born from Chaos or just decided to pop into existence like Chaos. Gaia decided She wanted a son, and along came Uranus, the first example of virgin birth. Uranus fucked His mom repeatedly to produce the 12 Titans and God knows how many other Beings. This came at a price, though. Gaia castrated Uranus with a sickle made of adamantane and threw His balls into the sea to produce Aphrodite.

One of the Titans, Iapetus, hooked up with Clymene, an Oceanid nymph, and begat Epimetheus. Is this beginning to sound like the begats in Genesis? Actually, we’re where we want to be. Epimetheus is the God of hindsight and is noted for asking the kinds of questions apologists use as a template.

I’m glad I could be of service to your apologist to give him meaning answers to his well thought-out questions. This sounds a lot like the Bible, doesn’t it?

Liked by 1 person


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