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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Stupid 'Atheist' Tricks VI

The blogger ‘Shadow to Light’ has a recent post concerning just how weak-vaporous are Jerry Coyne’s “powerful arguments for atheism”. I have some comments --

Shadow to Light: "This [the sixth "argument"] is a nonsense question. We inquire about the origin of something if we have reason to think that thing came into existence. Treating God as if He is supposed to be one more thing that is part of contingent reality means you have not seriously considered the question of God’s existence, which is probably why this is a favorite argument among the pre-teens and young teens."

Also, as an "argument", it is blatant straw-manning and question-begging built upon an equivocation. Consider it again --

Jerry Coyne: "6. Who made God? Secularism provides the best explanation for the idea of God, for we have ample reason to think (and in fact have often witnessed) that gods are created by the human mind."

The equivocation: no "idea of God" is God himself. Conceptions of 'god' may or may not be accurate -- they may or may not actually refer to the actual God -- but even accurate conceptions of God are incomplete. And none of them is God himself: no more than is one's understanding of one's father one's father himself.

The strawman: as 'Shadow to Light' notes, "[t]reating [the Biblical Judeo-Christian conception of the Creator-]God as if He is supposed to be one more thing that is part of contingent reality means you have not seriously considered the question [and arguments] of God’s existence"

This strawman contains another equivocation -- Coyne is treating the Biblical Judeo-Christian conception of the Creator-God -- the uncreated/non-contingent Necessary Being who is the "ground of all being", who is "being itself" -- as being logically equivalent to any of the various the pagan conceptions of their gods, all of whom were conceived as being contingent, all of whom were conceived either as having been born of some pre-existing deity, or as having spontaneously "arisen" from some pre-existing state of affairs.

It is a favorite strawman of atheists to knock down Zeus and then triumphantly proclaim that they have knocked down The Ancient of Days.

The question-begging: by equivocating between conceptions of God and God himself, this atheist "argument" begs the question whether the term 'God' refers to anything other than this or that conception of 'god'. That is, this "argument" *begins* with the assumption that the terms 'God' and 'god' refer ever and only to ideas and never to what those ideas are believed to concern. So, of course, by *assuming* that the Judeo-Christian use of the term 'God' refers *only* to the Judeo-Christian concept of what God is like, and never to God Himself, he is able to "conclude" that God is merely an idea "created by the human mind."

Well, d'oh!

Keep in mind, Gentle Reader -- this is the *best* that the militant God-haters (and would-be murderers of his people) can do.

6 comments:

NJ said...

Most of these atheist crusaders are embarrassing. Richard Dawkins comes to mind. Too few atheists, however, are embarrassed by many of their arguments or unnecessary hostility to religious believers, and instead cheer them on.

Ilíon said...

But, Nick, the same sort of should-be-embarrassing crusading and cheering-on goes on at *your* blog.

NJ said...

Does it? I'll try to work on fixing that if you're right :)

Not sure if you think any atheist arguments are not embarrassing, though.

Michael Martin wrote a decent book called "Atheism: a Philosophical Justification", but even he made what I thought were stupid and embarrassing arguments. I'm not a trained philosopher, though, so maybe they just went over my head.

Ilíon said...

"Not sure if you think any atheist arguments are not embarrassing, though."

I don't think there ever has been, or ever will be, a good atheist argument. But, whether an argument is a good argument is a different issue from whether it is embarrassing.

Ilíon said...

"Does it? I'll try to work on fixing that if you're right :)"

Well, admittedly, even though I link to it, I rarely visit your blog ... but that's because so many of the OPs are so unfair toward Christianity that it's just too depressing to ret to interact you you all. I'm not compaining that you guys are hostile to Christianity -- of course you are, just as I'm hostile to atheism (and especially the Village Atheist With an Ethernet Cable manifestation I mock in these 'Stupid Atheist Tricks' posts) -- but rather that so many posts don't even attempt to honestly present what is being criticized.

Take this, as a recent example: "Homosexuality is an abomination ... unless both chicks are hot"
Christianty does not condem 'homosexuality' -- the condition of having a same-sex attraction -- it condemns homosexual acts, regardless of whether the persons involved are "gay" or "straight", and it makes no exception for "hot chicks".

Ilíon said...

... hmmm ... concerning "to [ret] to interact" -- shifting each letter to the right by one keyboard position, yields 'try'. I'll bet that's what I meant.