Disproving the existence of God

As I said before, I am delighted to have a thoughtful and intelligent Christian reviewing my posts about Geisler and Turek’s book, I Don’t Have Enough FAITH to Be an ATHEIST. Though she makes it fairly plain that she would like to believe that my posts are nothing more than “the very atheistic fear of the truth that Geisler and Turek… predicted as a response to their book,” she seems to be honest and sincere enough to look at the evidence. It gives me great pleasure, therefore, to explain to her exactly why I believe that Geisler and Turek are misrepresenting the facts of the matter, and how she herself can verify whether or not I’m saying things that are consistent with real-world truth. Let’s start with her presuppositions.

It is an all-too-common fallacy to presuppose the nonexistence of God and miracles, call it all “superstition” and interpret the evidence from there. However, it is a fallacy. To be truly, honestly objective requires admitting the possibility of God until that possibility can be ruled out. And we have yet to find ANYTHING that rules out the possibility of God.

This is a common misconception, and one that can be addressed without resorting to the obvious parallels regarding the “possibility” of a real Santa, a real Vishnu, or a real Flying Spaghetti Monster.

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Retiring the Professor

I think it’s time to retire the Professor. It was a fun pseudonym back when this was a completely unknown and unread blog, but now that I’ve built up a little bit of readership, it seems a bit, I don’t know, ostentatious. I have therefore retired the Professor, and replaced him with Deacon Duncan, my new pseudo. This one’s just as fun, plus I have served as an officially elected deacon in a conservative evangelical denomination, so I actually have some legitimate claim on the title.

 
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Busted

This should be fun. Apparently Vox Day has not only noticed one of my posts about The Irrational Atheist, he has re-posted it, verbatim, on his discussion forum. The whole thing. With no reply. Apparently, it’s up to his minions to “deal” with me, and the replies have already started coming in. Like this one:

Never mind that the quote he used states explicitly that Vox “will convince” us “that this trio of New Atheists, this Unholy Trinity, is a collection of faux-intellectual frauds utilizing pseudo-scientific sleight of hand… “. Nowhere is seen the word God among these. Not only he screwed up big time, he took a big dump on his critique even before writing it all.

Shhhhh, everybody. We’re not supposed to notice any connection between the idea that “people who doubt God’s existence are wrong,” and the idea that God exists. We’re not supposed to think about the implications of what Vox is writing. Vox explicitly said that he was not trying to prove God’s existence, and we’re only supposed to look at the surface appearances.

Or perhaps the commenter meant to raise a different possibility: that, whatever else atheists might be wrong about, they’re not wrong about God’s existence. Maybe TIA is just Vox’s spiteful sour grapes over the fact that, as atheists, they’re right about the one thing that makes them atheists. The one thing, in other words, that makes the issue important to theists like Vox and his fans. It’s certainly peculiar that, in a book dedicated to proving atheists wrong, Vox specifically bails out on the single most significant point which would prove atheism false.

Ah well. Let’s hope that Vox continues posting my step-by-step analysis of his book. I, for one, would be delighted.

 
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Infallibility is not the answer

Daylight Atheism has another excellent post up. Here’s just a real brief excerpt:

[T]rust in inerrancy is not a solution to the problem: it is a refusal to face the problem.

Recommended reading!

 
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Welcome new reader(s)

My XFiles Friday series seems to have attracted the attention of a thoughtful and intelligent Christian reader named Jaya, “a girl on the brink of the rest of her life,” as her blog heading says, so I’d like to say first of all how delighted I am to welcome her to Evangelical Realism. Regretfully, I seem to have offended her with one of my posts.

He continues, “A lot of Christians seem naturally prejudiced against scholars and other highly-educated people, and the opening anecdote plays straight to that prejudice.” The implication to this argument is, of course, that Christians are not highly-educated, nor are they scholars, and as such have a sort of sour-grapes attitude toward them.

This I find highly ironic. Many Christians, myself included, recognize some of the flaws and biases which have invaded our educational system – but not all those who feel this way are Christian (just look at Indoctrinate-U). And not all who feel this way are “naturally prejudiced against scholars and other highly-educated people” – in fact, many of us ARE “scholars and other highly-educated people.”

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TIA: The Good Old Dark Ages

Still in Chapter 2 of Vox Day’s The Irrational Atheist, we come now to his section on the history of religion and science, in which Vox tries to debunk the idea that reason and religion have ever experienced any significant conflict. He begins by setting up a straw man.

As Dawkins himself admits, the overwhelming majority of scientists throughout centuries in which the scientific process was developed were religious, or at least claimed to be:

Newton did indeed claim to be religious. So did almost everybody until—significantly I think—the nineteenth century, when there was less social and judicial pressure than in earlier centuries to profess religion, and more scientific support for abandoning it.

What’s significant about this statement is the way it contradicts the notion that the Catholic Church had been dogmatically opposing Science, as evidenced by its notorious trial of Galileo Galilee, all throughout the Dark Ages and the Renaissance and well into the eighteenth century.

Notice, the contrary position is set up as being the view that the Church was opposing science, and not just trying to assert ultimate authority over science (including veto power over any conclusions deemed heretical). The conflict between religion and reason has always been over the issue of authority, and has not been (until recently) an attempt by religion to openly oppose scientific facts. Even in the Dark Ages, they weren’t that dumb.

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Dinesh D’Souza on government accommodation of religion

Dinesh D’Souza has some interesting commentary on the notion that religion is an important factor in people’s lives, and that consequently the government should not merely permit freedom of religious belief, but actually make religious practices an official part of how the people are to be governed. Surprisingly, D’Souza is against it.

What we are getting… is not religious craziness but liberal craziness, not theological error but multicultural reductio ad absurdum. The multicultural premise is that classical liberal rules that apply equally to everyone nevertheless discriminate against racial and cultural minorities that don’t want to play by those rules. Consequently equality of rights for individuals must give way to equality of consideration for groups. Otherwise minorities will feel disenfranchised even in a society where there is equal treatment for individuals under the law.

Having written so much about how the secular government is “oppressing” the Christian minority by refusing to allow them to incorporate their religious views into our nation’s laws and policies, what has happened to convince D’Souza that government accommodation of religion is “liberal craziness”?

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“The Predictive Power[lessness] of Intelligent Design”

Via afarensis, Bill Dembski’s list of ID “predictions,” intended to demonstrate that ID is too a scientific theory, so there.

(1) ID predicts that although there will be occasional degeneration of biological structures (both macroscopic and microscopic), most structures will exhibit function and thus serve a purpose…

(2) ID predicts that the cell would have such engineering features [as nanotechnology, machines, etc]

(3) ID has always predicted that there will be classes of biological systems for which Darwinian processes fail irremediably, and conservation of information is putting paid to this prediction.

Let’s look at these more closely and see how they differ from actual scientific predictions.

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XFiles Friday: Good science versus bad faith

(Book: I Don’t Have Enough FAITH to Be an ATHEIST, by Geisler and Turek, chapter 5)

Geisler and Turek are really hitting their stride now, and as I read over their section entitled “Good Science vs. Bad Science,” two words come to mind: bad faith.

It is commonly believed that the so-called creation-evolution debate (now often called the intelligent design vs. naturalism debate) entails a war between religion and science, the Bible and science, or faith and reason…

Actually, nothing could be further from the truth. The creation-evolution debate is not about religion versus science or the Bible versus science—it’s about good science versus bad science. Likewise, it’s not about faith versus reason—it’s about reasonable faith versus unreasonable faith. It may surprise you to see just who is practicing the bad science and just who has the unreasonable faith.

Do tell. If there’s anything surprising about the creationist screed that follows the above intro, it’s the degree to which the authors are willing to distort the facts, appeal to fallacious reasoning, and in general try to deceive and mislead the reader into concluding that good science is bad science and that naive superstition is good science. They’re not even trying to get it right; they’re presenting their arguments in bad faith.

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Christianity and Black History Month

In “honor” of Black History Month, Chuck Colson would like to remind us of the Christian faith of many famous African Americans.

Stories like these are a reminder of what a central role the Christian faith has played in the lives of many great Americans. We Christians need to reclaim our cultural heritage from those who seem intent on deleting it from history books?and from Black History Month celebrations. So I urge you: Before the month ends, make sure your own kids learn about the abiding faith of Sojourner Truth, Rosa Parks, Jackie Robinson, George Washington Carver, and, of course, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. And consider donating some of the good biographies written about these people to local schools and libraries-biographies that tell the whole story.

Is Colson correct in assuming that the credit should go to Christianity rather than to the men and women who made their lives such an inspiring example?

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