Sunday, October 09, 2011

Bad questions with good answers

I was helping someone think of some common questions to toss out at an apologetics training course, and this is what I spit out on the fly. I think that all but one I've heard in the past week alone. It's amazing how easy it is to parrot stupid atheist arguments.


ARGUMENT FROM AUTHORITY
Do you really think you're right and pretty much all the scientists, professors, and scholars who study this issue are wrong? Isn't that pretty arrogant?

ARGUMENT FROM ASSUMED UNIFORMITARIANISM
We know that the Earth is really old, from radiometric dating, from drilling into ice cores in Antarctica, from geological strata. the evidence that the Earth is old is overwhelming. How in the world could this possibly be fit into the Bible myth?

ARGUMENT FROM FAITH IN ASSUMED EXTRAPOLATION
We know that organisms evolve. We see it around us all the time. What is stopping the little changes you admit take place from becoming big changes, say, from ape-like creature into a homo sapien?

ARGUMENT FROM ASSUMING TO KNOW GOD'S MIND
How is it possible, if the Earth is less than 10,000 years old, that we are seeing light beams from stars that are far more than 10,000 light years away?

ARGUMENT FROM BAD THEOLOGY
Why would God make all the evidence look like evolution is responsible for our evolution from a common ancestor?

ARGUMENT FROM AGGRESSIVE BELITTLING
Do you really think man co-existed with dinosaurs? What evidence do you have of that?

GOD OF THE GAPS
Why do we even have to think that God was involved, when natural processes like evolution are perfectly adequate explanations for what we see and the history of this planet and life? Aren't you just trying to insert a God where you don't understand something?

ARGUMENT FROM BAD ANALOGY
Why do you think God is responsible for creation? Why not Thor, or Zeus?
I think that if I were to ask you why you don't believe in either of those gods, you'd say it's because there's no evidence for them. And that's my exact same answer to you about Jesus. You're an atheist with respect to those other gods. I just disbelieve in one more god than you do.

17 comments:

zilch said...

Hey, that's a nice summation of good arguments for naturalism. I'd put different titles on them, but that's just me.

Anonymous said...

i have never seen such idiotic arguments about god in my life. you suck!

zilch said...

Here's a more nuanced critique of the "good answers" you presented in the form of "arguments":

ARGUMENT FROM AUTHORITY

Actually, I agree: authority should always be questioned. Even Nobel laureates can be wrong. But for many things in life, I must trust authority, because I don't have the time, the talent, or the opportunity to judge for myself. For instance, I must take it on faith in the authority of the FAA, the airline industry, and others, that the pilot of the plane I'm in is qualified. Luckily, with science, there are ways of corroborating findings, at least theoretically. With theology, there are no such ways, since they are not based on the real world.

In any case, you are not the one to be casting stones about the "argument from authority". Do you question the authority of the Bible?

ARGUMENT FROM ASSUMED UNIFORMITARIANISM, ARGUMENT FROM FAITH IN ASSUMED EXTRAPOLATION

This is just basically saying "we expect the world to keep going more or less as it has so far", as opposed to "miracles and/or special desires of God can interrupt at any point with inconceivable effects". Uniformitarianism is the necessary basis of any world we can hope to describe, and it also has a great track record. Miracles not so much.

ARGUMENT FROM ASSUMING TO KNOW GOD'S MIND, ARGUMENT FROM BAD THEOLOGY

In other words, "SINCE MY PARTICULAR GOD EXISTS, THESE ARGUMENTS ARE FALSE". This is simply assuming the truth of what is to be proved here. I can do that too: I'M RIGHT AND YOU'RE WRONG. Not an argument.

ARGUMENT FROM AGGRESSIVE BELITTLING
Do you really think man co-existed with dinosaurs? What evidence do you have of that?


What evidence do you have of that?

GOD OF THE GAPS

If God is not in the gaps, where is He? Can you show me one bit of knowledge about the real world that Christianity has given us?

ARGUMENT FROM BAD ANALOGY

It's only a "bad" analogy because of special pleading. You were raised in a Christian culture- thus, you think Christianity is special. Why do you suppose most Afghans are Muslims?

cheers from overcast Vienna, zilch

Rhology said...

I must trust authority

I know.
1) You thus disclaim empiricism.
2) Will you be consistent and refuse to cry foul when I appeal to my ultimate authority - God?
3) You thus show -again- that you are in line with what the Bible says about you. You trust other people, but not God.


Luckily, with science, there are ways of corroborating findings

Through other appeals to authority, as if piling multiple weak arguments together form a strong argument rather than a sieve.


"we expect the world to keep going more or less as it has so far",

Which is an assumption of blind faith.


Uniformitarianism is the necessary basis of any world we can hope to describe

That's just an assertion, and is blatantly false. The Christian WV handles it just fine.


it also has a great track record

If you assume it, yes, it has a great track record, b/c you throw out any counterevidence on an a priori basis.



What evidence do you have of that?

You'll just dismiss it out of hand. I'm not up for wasting my time today. Do some googling.





If God is not in the gaps, where is He?

That question made me dumber just now. I felt it.





Why do you suppose most Afghans are Muslims?

Don't know what that had to do with what I said.

Alex B said...

Alan, you dismiss evidence if it doesn't chime with your Bible. And you believe your Bible is true because the Bible says it is.

You're a man who doesn't even understand what evidence is, and you lack the cognitive ability to even realise this - you are a living breathing example of the Dunning Kruger effect.

Alex B said...

"Why do you suppose most Afghans are Muslims?

Don't know what that had to do with what I said."

If you can't see why Zilch asked that then you are even less on the ball than I previously thought.

Rhology said...

you dismiss evidence if it doesn't chime with your Bible.

Nope. You still don't understand where I'm coming from.

ON CHRISTIANITY there is no higher standard of evidence and truth than God. What He says goes. So I might think X about Y, but if God said Z about Y, I am wrong and God is right. Z is true about Y even though I previously thought X.

ON ATHEISM I don't see a good reason, beyond viciously circular blind faith, to think that our senses can accurately observe the world around us, that we can know that the outside world or other people exist, that our cognitive faculties can properly receive those sensations, and that those faculties are reliably aimed at producing true beliefs.
In fact, there are fine arguments against those very things, so...

Alex B said...

"ON CHRISTIANITY there is no higher standard of evidence and truth than God. What He says goes. So I might think X about Y, but if God said Z about Y, I am wrong and God is right. Z is true about Y even though I previously thought X."

Or, to put it another way 'I believe the Bible, because the Bible says it is true' - which is what I said. Weird that you've just repeated that.

As for the rest, Google 'the primacy of existence' and maybe learn something.

I'm starting to realise that you're not very bright, though eloquent. Basically, you're Joe Cienkowski if he were able to string a coherent sentence together.

Rhology said...

I believe the Bible, because the Bible says it is true'

A large segment of the podcast was on that very topic. A pity you either don't remember or are unwilling to interact with my real position honestly.

It's crazy - I'm sure you remember how to take a shower, make coffee, fix eggs, etc. Why can't you remember these things at which you spend so much time?

Alex B said...

i remember full well, your position is that you believe the Bible to be true because the god of the Bible tells you it is true, in the Bible.

You use the knowledge you are able to gain via your senses to claim that you can't know anything unless your god exists, which you know because you've used your senses.

Then you claim to 'know' Jesus.

Have i missed anything?

Rhology said...

Yes, quite a lot. But again, no reason for me to repeat what's already been said numerous times, when you show no evidence of any inclination to learn and have also shown you don't care about misrepresenting my view.

Alex B said...

No, I think that about covered it. Unless you want me to mention your parroting of the TAG?

Alan, really, you're laughable - and that's why people were laughing at you on the podcast.

zilch said...

z: I must trust authority

r: I know.
1) You thus disclaim empiricism.
2) Will you be consistent and refuse to cry foul when I appeal to my ultimate authority - God?
3) You thus show -again- that you are in line with what the Bible says about you. You trust other people, but not God.


Perhaps I didn't explain this well. I trust other people, as I must, and as you must too; but you also trust a gaseous invertebrate, and there's no way to check up if your trust is warranted.


z: Luckily, with science, there are ways of corroborating findings

r: Through other appeals to authority, as if piling multiple weak arguments together form a strong argument rather than a sieve.

Er, no, the "other appeals to authority" would be what you religious guys do, since authority is all you've got. Scientific authorities can be checked by duplicating their work; gods cannot. In the end, it's the facts that count, not the authorities.

z: "we expect the world to keep going more or less as it has so far",

r: Which is an assumption of blind faith.

We've had this too, rho. If this is what you call "blind faith", that the sun will rise tomorrow, then you've just rendered the expression meaningless, because by your usage, everything is blind faith.


z: Uniformitarianism is the necessary basis of any world we can hope to describe

That's just an assertion, and is blatantly false. The Christian WV handles it just fine.

How is this false, blatantly or otherwise? If we can't rely on the sun rising tomorrow, or on gravity holding us down, how could we know anything about the world?


z: it [uniformitarianism] also has a great track record

r: If you assume it, yes, it has a great track record, b/c you throw out any counterevidence on an a priori basis.

I don't have to "assume" uniformitarianism: I observe it, and it accounts for the data. If you've got any counterevidence for uniformitarianism, I'd love to see it.

ON ATHEISM I don't see a good reason, beyond viciously circular blind faith, to think that our senses can accurately observe the world around us, that we can know that the outside world or other people exist, that our cognitive faculties can properly receive those sensations, and that those faculties are reliably aimed at producing true beliefs.
In fact, there are fine arguments against those very things, so...


This has been dealt with at length on other threads here. If you characterize the atheistic belief that the sun will rise tomorrow as "viciously circular blind faith", then I guess you should be happy you have a worldview where God tells you that the sun will rise.

Me, I don't see the point, or what you get: you don't know anything about sunrises that science doesn't know, and you don't make money from knowing "for certain" that the sun will rise- what advantage do you have here? All you've got is a bald assertion that you can be sure of stuff we atheists can't be sure of, nothing more.

Alex B said...

The most telling thing is Alan (and his role model Sye Ten Bruggencate) haven't succeeded in converting a single non-believer with their arguments. Not a single one.

All these arguments are designed to do is shore up the faith of those who already believe, by applying a superficial layer of (fallacious and thoroughly faulty) 'logic' over the whole thing.

Then they crow about how clever they are.

It's very unattractive.

Rhology said...

Wow, yet another comment that lacks any insight!

1) You don't know whether "we've" converted anyone with our arguments. What's your evidence for that?
Oh, you don't have any? Maybe you should withdraw it.

2) And where have either of us ever expressed that such was our goal in these interactions?

3) We don't have to crow about how clever we are. Your non-answers do plenty of that.

Alex B said...

"Wow, yet another comment that lacks any insight!

1) You don't know whether "we've" converted anyone with our arguments. What's your evidence for that?
Oh, you don't have any? Maybe you should withdraw it.

2) And where have either of us ever expressed that such was our goal in these interactions?

3) We don't have to crow about how clever we are. Your non-answers do plenty of that."


AAHHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!!!

You're PRICELESS!!!

I'd almost be tempted to think you were a Poe!

Rhology said...

My answers.