The Supercilious Atheist Strikes Back

Over at The American “Thinker”, Alan Roebuck has written a little piece for the benefit of theists, ostensibly all about “How to Respond to a Supercilious Atheist

Let’s put his advice to the test by taking his scribblings and putting them up against a supercilious atheist — me.

Ok, Alan Roebuck, let’s see what you’ve got. Presumably, the same old toothless arguments as everybody else, in which case, prepare yourself to experience a rhetorical ass kicking beat down, because I have really had it with all that weak shit being shoveled out time after time, and I’m not going to pretend you’re not an idiot if you write like an idiot.

Hmm, quick google shows you’re a fan of D’Souza. Ok, then it’s no mercy. The gloves are off. You’re fucked.

You start out your argument with this little appetizer:

The natural response would be to start giving evidence for God: the origin of the universe in the Big Bang requires a cause that is beyond matter, energy, space and time, the design of life requires an intelligence to account for the information that it contains, the many accounts of miracles and the supernatural cannot all be fabrications, and so on. Entire libraries have been written on the evidence and arguments for God.

Ah, entire libraries of evidence and arguments for the existence of God, you say? And from these libraries you choose to put forth these wormy rotted chestnuts? The first cause argument? Everything must have a cause, … except your posited god, no, of course that needs no cause. Argument from design? So, life is too complex to have evolved on its own, to exist without some higher cause, so you posit the uncaused existence of — wait for it — something even more complex, but not so complex that it requires a cause, and, oh yeah, it’s invisible and untestable. How convenient for you, and how incredibly stupid of you. And now comes the simple assertion that the claims of miracles cannot all be fabrications (nor presumably, hallucinations, honest mistakes, etc.) — some of them must be “real” miracles. Simply asserting that these miracles are real is not an argument that they are real.. What wonderful libraries filled with arguments for the existence of God you must have at your disposal, if these are among the best arguments to be found within them.

But before you start showing them the evidence, consider: Most aggressive atheists say “I would be willing to believe in God if there were any evidence that He exists, but no such evidence exists, so I don’t believe.” No matter what evidence you give, the supercilious atheist finds a way to dismiss it. To him, it is not the case that your evidence for God is valid but nevertheless is canceled out by his superior evidence against God. No, in the atheist’s mind your evidence does not even count as evidence. And therefore your reasoning has no effect on his thinking, other than to confirm to him that you are irrational.

Well, when you define God to be a magical invisible being, omnipotent, and omniscient, and you have defined this posited being in a such way that there cannot be any test for evidence of his existence, it should hardly come as a surprise when people complain that there’s no evidence. Perhaps you’re unfamiliar with the word evidence?

What’s going on here? Does the atheist have superior insight that allows him to see the errors that invalidate the arguments for God that seem valid to us theists? Or is it the atheist who is missing something?

The theist is missing the fact that he has defined God in such a way that there cannot be evidence for him. Like Sagan’s invisible dragon, whatever test you devise to see if it’s there, the dragon evades the test. You, apparently are not aware of what constitutes evidence, or a falsifiable hypothesis.

But the atheist refuses to expand his mental universe by also believing in the transcendent things that the theist believes in: God, souls, angels and demons, for example. The atheist restricts himself to a sort of tunnel vision.

Because there’s no evidence for any of that crap. You complain that we fail to simply accept your absurd, idiotic assertions for which there not only is no evidence, but cannot be any evidence.

And this is where atheism becomes vulnerable. The atheist does not disbelieve in God because he has neutrally examined all the evidence, and drawn the proper conclusion that there is no God. On the contrary, the atheist radically misconstrues the plentiful evidence for God,

WHAT fucking evidence, you fucking moron? You keep going on about evidence, but haven’t presented an atom of evidence. You apparently do not even know what the word means.

and he does this because of his false worldview, which tells him that only the physical really exists. Before he has examined the evidence, the atheist thinks he knows that nothing non-physical actually exists, and this assumption governs how he responds to the evidence.

You apparently think it’s perfectly sane to believe in arbitrary assertions for which there is no evidence. If you claim the supernatural exists, you need to show why you think so, but you seem to completely fail to grasp why your utterly pathetic arguments fail to be convincing.

Of course you can’t see the non-physical; it’s invisible. Imagine a man, blind from birth, who is skeptical of the existence of color even though he frequently hears other people talking about it. Just as it would be foolish for the blind man to conclude that color does not exist simply because he is unable to detect it with his senses, it is foolish for the atheist to dismiss God because he cannot detect God with his senses.

This is complete bullshit. There is a world of difference between the atheist and the hypothetical blind man who doesn’t believe in color. It would be trivial for the blind man to devise a test to find out if sighted people really were able to perceive and distinguish colors.

  1. Find a sighted person and a box of crayons.
  2. Ask the sighted person to give you the red crayon, then tell him to go away.
  3. Make some marks on a piece of paper.
  4. Find another sighted person and ask him what color the marks are. If he can distinguish one color from another, that corroborates the hypothesis that sighted people can distinguish colors. Repeat the experiment until you are either convinced that color perception is a real phenomenon, or convinced that it is not real, to whatever level of certainty you require.

Or perhaps you will find results inconclusive. Myself being a sighted, non-colorblind person, and knowing many others like myself, I’m confident that the experiment will conclusively show that color perception is a real phenomenon, and the blind man would be convinced of this by the experiment. Other more elaborate experiments could be devised to rule out the possibility of the hypothetical color perceivers from communicating with one another during the test.

The same sort of experiment replacing sighted people with theists and some non-material aspect of this posited non-physical world would not likely show that theists had some real perception of the supernatural. I think it would likely show that they don’t know what the fuck they’re talking about. For instance, it is often claimed by theists that they can communicate with their God. Now if one theist communicates a number between one and a billion to God, and God communicates this number to a second theist under controlled circumstances (to rule out the kind of parlor tricks used by mentalists), this would be evidence of some real phenomenon. Surely such is within an omniscient, omnipotent being’s power. This kind of thing doesn’t happen. Theists will protest, “you can’t use God as a telephone.” Really? Why not? Oh, that’s right, God doesn’t like to be tested. How convenient for the argument I am making. Once again God is conveniently defined to be indistinguishable from something which does not exist, rather than permitted to fail the test, as the blind man would fail the color perceivers if they failed to be able to identify the correct colors with significantly more accuracy than what would be expected by merely guessing.

There is only one effective way to respond to the supercilious atheist’s question: Speak his language, the language of evidence and reasoning, of logic and proof. Challenge him to give his reasons for disbelieving.

Sure. You’ve defined God to be untestable, indistinguishable from something which does not exist. Your god is nothing but an assertion, like the flying spaghetti monster, the invisible dragon in the garage, and Russell’s teapot. That is really the whole problem, in a nutshell.

But that’s not enough. You have to challenge his assumptions, which are the real impediment [1] to his believing.

Here is what the footnote says, by the way:

Intellectual impediment, that is. The more fundamental reason he disbelieves is probably emotional: he hates God. But one cannot deal with emotions intellectually, and one’s intellect does influence one’s beliefs; man is not a prisoner of his emotions.

Nice, eh? This Alan Roebuck is a real first-rate jackass. We disbelieve in God, because we hate him. So, we hate something which we think doesn’t exist? Is that your assertion? Well, your mind reading skills leave much to be desired, and, did I mention you’re a jackass?

Say something like the following:

“I believe in God because that’s what the evidence shows. But before you try to debunk my evidence,

What evidence, jackass? You haven’t presented any to debunk.

we have to ask, what are your criteria for deciding whether a God exists, and how do you know that these criteria are correct? Until you can have confidence that you have the correct criteria, it is useless to begin investigating God’s existence.”

Ah, I didn’t know you were an agnostic. Oh wait, you’re not. Well, there should be at least one atom of evidence. If there is not one atom of evidence, as there appears not to be, then this God is indistinguishable from something which doesn’t exist. Which means you’re asking me why I fail to believe a rather elaborate assertion about something which is indistinguishable from something which does not exist? Do you sound crazy to yourself yet? You should.

So when the atheist asserts that there is no evidence that any miracle has occurred, ask him: “What sort of evidence for a miracle would you regard as being valid? And how do you know ahead of time that any miracle not validated by this type of evidence must not have occurred?”

I already outlined it above when I explained how your hypothetical blind man who didn’t believe in the phenomenon of color perception was not a good analog of the atheist. And because you theist types would have latched onto that shit like white on rice, and you haven’t got anything like that. And every time you guys claim to have evidence of these things, it turns out to be incorrect, or too often, outright fraud, or best case, simply something which is not explained. Lack of an explanation doesn’t mean your pet wild guess of an explanation is correct.

And when he says that naturalistic (that is, atheistic) science provides the more plausible explanation for the entire history of the universe since the Big Bang, ask him: “How do you know that a super-naturalistic explanation, involving a God who intervenes from time to time, cannot be the correct explanation? Wouldn’t one have to be, for all intents and purposes, omniscient in order to know that God could not have been involved?”

I don’t have to be omniscient to know that the obvious wild guesses contained in the holy books of the world’s religion are a load of crap. Are you a deist now? Didn’t think so. You want to defend Noah’s dumbass flood? You want to defend the notion of a talking snake? You want to defend the tower of Babel story? You want to defend the notion of Balaam’s talking ass? The Bible is full of ridiculousness, and you can’t figure out why people don’t just eat it up?

At this point, the atheist may respond by asserting that it would be a logical contradiction for the God of the Bible to exist, and since contradictions do not occur, there must not be such a God. For example, the atheist may declare that God cannot be omnipotent, because then He could create a rock so big that even He cannot lift it, which would contradict His alleged omnipotence: If God is omnipotent, then He is not omnipotent; therefore no God. Q.E.D.

This argument, unlike the previous ones, actually has a chance of being valid. If God were contradictory, then He would not exist. But unfortunately for the atheist, this argument only proves that a God who can create a rock so big that He cannot move it is not literally omnipotent in the sense that he can do anything that can be conceived of. But once we admit that there are some things God cannot do (e.g., create a square circle), the contradiction disappears. A God who is omnipotent in the sense that He can do anything that can be done may indeed exist.

Similar comments pertain to the atheist’s argument that God cannot be both omnipotent and all-loving, because evil does occur. After all, says the atheist, if God were all-loving, He would want to eliminate all evil, and if He were all-powerful, then He would be able to do so. And since evil persists, then God must be either not all-powerful, or else not all-loving. But once again, this argument only proves that a God who eliminates all evil does not exist. Some other sort of God, one who for some reason allows evil, may very well exist.

Really, a God who for some reason allows evil to exist? Where did you ever get that idea? Perhaps you got it from the Bible, the word of this supposed God? What does he say?

Isaiah 45:7 “I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.”

Ever look for the word “laughter” in the Bible? It’s mostly contained inside the word slaughter, except sometimes when the laughter of God follows the slaughter, or some other calamity God has supposedly arranged to bring down upon his laughingstock.

It’s a rather silly, but violent book.

Good thing I never made any such argument for God’s non-existence, though, eh? That argument is merely the argument against an omnibenevolent god. If you concede god isn’t omnibenevolent, which, given the contents of the Bible, it’s hard to see how a believer wouldn’t concede that, then such an argument doesn’t come into play. But then again, believers are well known for failing to concede the blatantly obvious, as well as, in the case of the Christian believer, for failing to have read the Bible, in fact failing to concede the blatantly obvious is pretty much the believer’s chief distinguishing trait.

Arguing Presuppositionally

You’re a presupper? Oh, barf. You’ve managed to squeeze in some extra stupid. I’d have hardly thought it possible.

It is not the purpose of this essay to give an exhaustive account of the arguments against God; that would take an entire library.

Yes. You’ve mentioned about the libraries. So presumably you’re just presenting the best arguments. Right-O. Gotcha.

Instead, my goal has been to indicate to the believer that the atheist’s arguments are, in fact, much weaker than they may appear to someone who is untrained in the art of defending the faith. These arguments are not the result of dispassionately and scientifically examining the evidence, and discovering that it clearly shows the absence of God. On the contrary, the atheist’s position is the result of several highly questionable assumptions about how reality operates; assumptions that cannot be proved without violating the atheist’s way of thinking.

Consider: all knowledge [2] must ultimately be based on other knowledge that is not proved, in the ordinary sense of the word “proved.” For to prove a proposition, [3] we must appeal to other propositions that are already known to be true: X is true because Y and Z are true. And therefore if we demand that every proposition we know must be proved, then we will have an infinite regress of proof: Y and Z are true because A, B and C, are true, and A, B and C are true because etc…

Proof? We aren’t talking about proof. We aren’t anywhere near proof. We haven’t even gotten to evidence yet. You haven’t presented any, remember?

But such an infinite regress, combined with the demand that everything must be proved in order to be known, means that we know literally nothing. Some postmodernists may be content to say that they know nothing, but normal people will recognize the necessity that some knowledge be unproved if we are to know anything.

Nice strawman you got there. Have fun knocking it down?

In mathematics, the fundamental propositions that are accepted as true in order to begin the business of validating knowledge are called either “axioms” or “postulates.” Although these axioms are not always explicitly articulated in discussions of mathematics, they are always there, and sometimes making progress in a particular field of mathematics will require clarifying the axioms.

But the same is true about any field that claims to be knowledge rather than just speculation or ego assertion. If anything is to be regarded as known, it will have to be based ultimately on true propositions that are not proved, because the process of proof must always terminate somewhere. Taking these axioms as the starting point, we then combine them to prove the other propositions that make up the particular field of knowledge we are working with. In most cases, and taking science as an example, we will also make use of empirical data that will give us additional truths that we can include in our system of knowledge.

To say that we do not prove the most basic propositions does not mean that we must choose what to believe by a purely arbitrary “leap of faith” that is unaccompanied by any evidence or reasons. There are, in fact, two basic ways that we test the system of axioms that create the particular field of knowledge we are studying. First, does the axiom, at least as far as we can understand what it asserts, agree with what we know by intuition? “Intuition” means the mind’s ability to know something immediately, without engaging in a process of calculation or reasoning.

In a relatively (logically) simple field such as mathematics, intuition is often enough to validate the axioms. For example, the axiom “through any two distinct points there is only one (straight, infinitely long) line” is self-evident, once we understand what the words mean, and as long as these words have their everyday meaning.

But outside of well-defined fields such as mathematics, two people do not always have the same intuitions. Fortunately, there is a second way, more important and fundamental than the first, of testing a system of axioms: Is the system logically, morally, and existentially consistent?

And here we go off the rails into crazy land. Are you going to try to treat a bunch of gibberish as if it were a mathematical formal system?

Logically consistent means that the axioms, and the propositions we can prove from the axioms, do not contradict each other. For example, the naturalistic worldview of atheism holds that all knowledge must be based on empirical data. But this belief about the nature of knowledge cannot be validated empirically, and therefore naturalism contradicts itself.

Bullshit. The claim is not that all knowledge must be based on empirical data, the claim is that there is no evidence for a non-empirical means of acquiring knowledge. (Here, “empirical data” means, so far as I am concerned “sense data” that is, all knowledge a person has resides in his brain. How did it get there? Ultimately, via one or more of the senses — sight, hearing, taste, smell, touch, (perhaps preprioception — how we know what position our limbs are in without looking, and maybe a few other oddball senses like that — all material in nature.) So, non-empirical means of acquiring knowledge would include things like revelation. The claim is that there is no evidence that a person’s perception of having acquired knowledge by non-empirical means actually corresponds to being in possesion of real imparted knowledge. What the person who claims to know by non-empirical means generally cannot be demonstrated to be actual knowledge, as opposed to a fabrication.

If, for example, a person claimed to be able to tell the future by non empirical means, let’s say he claims that God tells him about the future, and this person was able to, with a high degree of accuracy, predict the out come of a coin flip performed by any person you cared to put in front of him, over many trials, this would be pretty convincing evidence of some non-material (or at least, very mysterious) means of gaining knowledge. Funny thing — stuff like that doesn’t happen — and when it appears to happen, it generally turns out to be tall tales or outright fraud.

Put up or shut up. What evidence do you have that there are non-empirical means of acquiring knowledge? If you make the claim that there are, then present evidence to support it. I have seen no such evidence. If you make an extraordinary claim such is this, you have to present some extraordinary evidence. You have presented no evidence at all. And if you cop out and say non-empirical means of acquiring knowledge can’t be demonstrated by empirical means, you lose, as I’ve explained how an experiment might show just that, were such claims of non-empirical knowledge acquisition true.

The requirement of moral consistency only applies to systems (unlike mathematics) that make moral demands on individuals and groups. This is basically the requirement that moral precepts not contradict each other. Naturalists, for example, generally assert that morality is made up by the group. But if morality is whatever the group says it is, then nobody has the right to say that the group is wrong,

Uh, no, everybody has the right to say the group is wrong. If the group says they don’t have that right, this doesn’t, in any realistic notion of how people live, entirely stop them from speaking — they can take the right by just opening their mouth. They may well be punished for it by the group. How do you think groups change their ideas about what is right and wrong over time?

and so reformers such as those who fought against slavery are always wrong:

Are you always this stupid? You’re like a 5 year old.

If our ancestors said that slavery was acceptable, then it was acceptable. This sort of naturalism is thus morally contradictory, at least over time.

Ok, this is fun. You deliberately misrepresent the materialist position as the absurdity that “the group” is always right, and nobody can disagree with “the group”, when “the group” is made of the very same individuals who supposedly cannot disagree with the group. Are you retarded? Seriously? Are you? Your other choice is dishonest.

I will say slavery’s a good topic though. Show me where in the Bible it says a word against this institution. I’ll give you a hint:

Leviticus 25:44-46, your most favorite notion of God speaking:

  • 44 Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves.
  • 45 You may also buy some of the temporary residents living among you and members of their clans born in your country, and they will become your property.
  • 46 You can will them to your children as inherited property and can make them slaves for life, but you must not rule over your fellow Israelites ruthlessly.
  • 54 … I am the LORD your God.

According to your god, slavery is A-Ok. And you want to talk about morality?

Finally, a system such as atheistic naturalism also can be judged existentially, that is, by judging whether individuals and groups can live within its dictates. As an example, naturalism, strictly speaking, declares that there is no such thing as “the meaning of life.” To the strict naturalist, your life means whatever you say it does.

If so, then your life can mean X, and my life can mean non-X, and both our answers are equally valid. (X could be, for example, “Always putting my desires above the desires of all others.”) But this means that both our answers are also equally invalid, in which case I have no reason to believe that my life really should mean non-X. And if there is no reason why my life should mean non-X, it will be impossible for me to keep to my professed non-X ideal: if it’s all made up, why stick to it when the going gets tough? Naturalism is unlivable.

Sigh, this drivel again. What you have presented is not an argument. It is just complaining. Let’s assume for the sake of discussion that your assertion that a life without meaning is unlivable, and that atheistic naturalism means that life does in fact, have no meaning.

What bearing does this have on whether atheism is actually true or not? None. It has no bearing whatsoever. You are like a man who looks at his bank statement, sees a balance of $5.00, and says to himself, “If this is true, it means that I am next to broke. But, if I’m broke, that means that I’m not a millionaire! And, oh, I ever so want to be a millionaire, I shall just die if I am not a millionaire! Aha! Therefore, since I ever so want to be a millionaire, this bank statement must be false! What a brilliant one of them logic-talking guys I am!” In other words, you’re an idiot. Besides being “just complaining”, your argument has another name: “Appeal to consequences,” and it is a logical fallacy. You might want to look that one up, Mr. Brilliant Logic-Talking guy.

The Ultimate Test of Truth

According to what has been said so far, a system of axioms must be judged collectively, as a system, and not individually, on an axiom-by-axiom case. This is one of the key points of this essay, so I will explain it carefully:

To prove that an individual statement is true will require that we already know the truth of other statements that, taken together, imply the truth of the statement we are trying to prove. (That’s what the word “prove” means: giving reasons.) But these statements that we already know to be true, like all statements that we know to be true, will ultimately be true because of the system of axioms that we accept without proof. And therefore our proof will never be any stronger than the system of axioms that grounds our worldview. These axioms, by definition, cannot be proved by appealing to other statements that we know to be true. Since they are axioms, they are not proved.

Here we go, you’re talking about proof again, when you haven’t even got any evidence, nor do you have any formal system in which it would make any sense to talk about axioms and proofs. You have the fucking Bible. You can’t treat the Bible like a fucking math book and set about proving things like you’re Whitehead and Russell. When you talk about doing things like that (and that’s all you do is talk about it, you don’t actually attempt any proofs — because that would be insane) you make yourself look like a fucking idiot.

Furthermore, we are not referring to a relatively straightforward field of knowledge such as mathematics. We’re talking about a comprehensive worldview, a system of that will describe the nature of all reality, answer the big questions (such as the existence of God), and provide a code of conduct. Therefore, our axioms will not be known simply “by intuition.” Intuition cannot be counted on to answer correctly subtle and cosmic questions.

In fact, what you have are not axioms, nor a formal system, so all this nonsense about proofs is just that — nonsense. Fuck, you’re retarded.

Since none of these individual axioms can be proved, our only recourse is to judge the system of axioms as a whole. This act of “judgment” is less precisely defined than the act of proving a statement by deduction. If, for example, we know that the proposition “If A, then B” is true, and also that A is true, we can deduce with 100% certainty that B is true. But the act of judging a system of axioms by checking it for the forms of consistency mentioned above is less certain than formal logical deduction. However, it is the only means available for us to make what is in fact the supreme test for truth, namely, to test our worldview.

Summary of above paragraph: “I know that this isn’t a formal system, and trying to do proofs is nonsense, but I’m going to forge on anyhow, like a moron, and hope you forget about this paragraph in which I undercut my own argument.”

Is it true that the supernatural does not exist? We can only answer this question by judging the system of axioms of which it is a part, because intuition is not a reliable guide to that which goes beyond our senses and our ordinary experience.

And therefore the proposition “God exists” cannot be judged except from within a complete worldview. Everyone has some sort of comprehensive system of thought that they use to judge true and false, right and wrong, and beautiful and ugly, and this system always seems right to the one who holds it. But if the atheist says, “The supernatural does not exist,” his statement is not true just because he says it. It must be judged true or false in light of what we already know to be true, and what we already know always boils down to the overall worldview we possess.

When we judge the atheist’s naturalistic worldview, we find it wanting. Some of the reasons have been indicated above,

And I’ve shown that those reasons are full of shit.

and more details can be found in my online essay The Scientific Leftists of the Center for Inquiry. Therefore there is no good reason to believe the atheist’s assumption that the supernatural does not exist. This assumption is part of a faulty system of thought, which must be abandoned.

Uh, what? Nice assertion there, but an assertion isn’t an argument. You have given exactly zero evidence for the presence of any supernatural domain, much less any evidence for any particular properties it might have, nor have you given any evidence at all for any of the various entities asserted to reside in this posited supernatural domain, nor any evidence for any properties those entities might possess. In short, you have nothing but assertions. The atheist simply says there’s no evidence to support these assertions. And these assertions are not of a very ordinary sort, they are generally akin to the dreams of an opium addict. Yet you find it unreasonable that some people don’t just swallow them whole.

It is always possible to have a belief that is true, that is, in accordance with the way things really are, even though your reasons are faulty or even nonexistent. Furthermore, some people are content to believe without having any proof of their beliefs, and you can’t argue with someone like that.

The hell you say. I do it all the time. Once or twice even convince them they’re wrong. Maybe you’re not up to the task, but speak for yourself.

But this essay is intended for those who care about giving, and having, reasons. And if you are such a person, the conclusion is inescapable: Naturalism fails.

You’ve shown no such thing. Not even close. In fact, the main thing you’ve shown is that you’re not very bright when it comes to philosophical matters. Seriously. You suck at this.

Some other worldview, one that is consistent, must be found. Although it would take another essay to even outline the argument, a theistic worldview is more consistent and does a better job of accounting for the facts of reality. And in any case, the supercilious atheist has no ground to stand on. So where does the rubber meet the road? You probably cannot deliver an off-the-cuff lesson on the necessity of judging worldviews by their consistency when the supercilious atheist challenges you. So do the next best thing: ask him how he knows that atheism is true (or probably true), and then ask him how he knows that his criteria for deciding the question are the correct criteria. He has probably never been asked these questions, and in any case, it is impossible to prove that his naturalistic criteria are correct without violating naturalism itself. In any case, then, you’ve defeated his challenge.

Will your strong response to his challenge cause the atheist to rethink his position? Probably not. But making a strong case against atheism will nevertheless be valuable for at least two reasons. For one thing, the uncommitted onlookers will probably be impressed; like the atheist, they may very well have never encountered an intellectually rigorous defense of theism. A strong argument will often impress people far more than they let on, so don’t be dismayed if nobody seems to respond positively.

But let’s not overlook the benefit to you of vigorously defending theism. By learning the arguments against atheism, and using them (even if only in your mind) against its strongest defenders, you increase your confidence and trust in God. And this isn’t just self-esteem gobbledygook; “trust and confidence in God” is another name for what the Bible describes as the indispensable requirement for being saved: faith. Of course, just believing a God exists is not enough; you also need to know about, and have faith in, the correct God. But that’s a subject for another day.

hahaha! Saved. Saved from what, pray tell? All you have is a load of assertions, and zero evidence for those assertions. The cream of the crop of your “libraries” full of arguments and evidence for God amounts to the same old shitty, long debunked collection of nonsense you shovelers have been shoveling for centuries. Some nerve you’ve got, putting this garbage out under the masthead “American Thinker.” You fucking suck at this. You just can’t beat us, you just can’t. Stop trying, give up. I’m serious, We are going to kick the living shit out of your arguments every time, game over, lights out.

Supercilious enough for ya?

~ by scaryreasoner on January 29, 2008.

9 Responses to “The Supercilious Atheist Strikes Back”

  1. i’m still curious to know what atheist tirades are accomplishing except to convince everyone that atheists are the new brand of fundamentalists. enlighten me, O seer of atheism. are evangelical atheists just trying to carve out their own little niche? somewhere they can live comfortably without having to hear about religion? or is atheism only meaningful if they have theism to bash on?

  2. As if I never heard that question before.

    I’ll write a blog entry on that topic soon.

  3. There are a few other beat downs of this American Thinker article around the net:

    http://atheocracy.wordpress.com/2008/01/26/how-to-respond-to-responses-to-supercilious-atheists/

    http://richarddawkins.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=20&t=34984&start=0&st=0&sk=t&sd=a

  4. I eagerly anticipate a response that I’ve probably heard before.

  5. Another response to Roebuck’s piece is here:
    http://www.opednews.com/articles/opedne_kelly_o__080213_how_to_respond_to_a_.htm

  6. Dear Scary Reasoner:

    You said:

    “…the claim is that there is no evidence for a non-empirical means of acquiring knowledge. (Here, “empirical data” means, so far as I am concerned “sense data” that is, all knowledge a person has resides in his brain. How did it get there? Ultimately, via one or more of the senses — sight, hearing, taste, smell, touch…

    Put up or shut up. What evidence do you have that there are non-empirical means of acquiring knowledge?”

    You assertions are clearly wrong. For example, you know all of the following non-empirically:

    • That the Pythagorean Theorem is always true. If it were known empirically, then we could not say that it is always true, and there would be a chance that it would turn out to be false, which is absurd. And don’t refer to Non-Euclidean geometry; the Pythagorean Theorem only applies to Euclidean geometry, where it is known non-empirically to be always true.

    • What you are thinking right know. I defy you do describe how you know by your senses what your thoughts are.

    • That murder is wrong. Sense perception does not validate this, because it is about what should be, not what is.

    So you have two choices: assert that you do not know any of the above (which is absurd), or admit that one can know things non-empirically.

    And if one can know things non-empirically, naturalism is necessarily false.

  7. I suppose I have used the word “empirical” in rather too loose a way. Looking it up, I see it is used to mean by “direct observation under controlled conditions.” But even direct observation involves thinking in memory. If you look at an experiment, then turn to write down what you saw in your notebook, how do you know what to write? You remember what you just saw, that’s how.

    All evidence involves memory and thinking. If consulting one’s own memory makes evidence non-empirical, then you deny that any empirical evidence exists.

    That murder is wrong is an opinion. A very widely held opinion, but an opinion nonetheless.

    If I allow that some mathematical proofs may be arrived at by non-empirical means, by thinking alone, I fail to see how this disproves naturalism, as you have asserted without explanation.

  8. This is how my examples point to the falsehood of naturalism:

    Although there is no single, comprehensive, universally agreed upon definition of “naturalism,” almost everyone takes it to mean basically “nature, i.e., the physical world, is all there is. So supernatural things like God or human souls, do not exist, except perhaps metaphorically speaking, and there is no non-physical means of knowing.”

    Naturalism, then, is negative: it says that certain things do not exist.

    But how, in general, do you know that something does not exist? Simply being unable to locate it is not enough, because it may be elsewhere, or it may not be detectable through sense perception (in which case it would have to be detected intellectually, by drawing valid inferences from what we already know.)

    No, you have to use reasoning to test whether naturalism is true: is it rational to assert that no non-physical realm exists, or that only knowledge originating in the senses can be valid?

    My examples show that it cannot be the case that we can only know what we can validate with the senses. This does not, by itself, prove that there is a God, but such a proof takes many steps, and I don’t have the time to present them all. What these examples do prove is that at least some things can be known non-empirically. (Either that, or they show that we don’t really know most of what we think we know, which is the conclusion reached by some naturalists. I think their position is absurd, we obviously can know the facts of mathematics and logic, so they’re wrong.)

    If, then, some things obviously can be known non-empirically, you cannot just defeat theism by saying “all your evidence is non-empirical, therefore it is invalid.” Since some things can be known non-empirically, you need some sort of criterion for deciding which non-empirical evidence can be summarily dismissed, and which must be given a fair hearing, so to speak.

    What these examples also show is that there are some things that we can know by a direct intuition; e.g., what I am thinking, that murder is wrong, and the more mundane facts of mathematics and logic. (You say it is just an opinion that murder is wrong. That would mean that if you and I were the only two people in existence, and I decided to murder you, then it would not be wrong unless I said so. Do you really want to assert such a position?) Knowing something by “intuition” does not mean that we just believe, without any evidence. It means that once we grasp the situation to which it refers, it is obviously true, and no formal proof is needed.

    And if we can know some things by intuition, not by sense perception, then it is at least possible that there exist, and we can know about, real non-physical things (“substances,” not just properties, to use the language of philosophy). These things would be known not by sense perception, but either by drawing logical conclusions from what we know about the more mundane world, or, in the case of supernatural intelligent beings such as God, they could be known if they tell us truths about themselves and we believe them.

    At any rate, you cannot just say “the non-physical does not exist, because it cannot be detected with the senses.” That is circular reasoning: “The non-sense-detectable does not exist, because it is non-sense detectable.” Since my examples show that some real things that are not sense detectable do exist, the onus is on you to actually prove that the non-physical does not exist. It cannot just be assumed.

    I have given a more detailed (but certainly not comprehensive) refutation of naturalism at:

    http://www.intellectualconservative.com/2007/12/21/the-scientific-leftists-of-the-center-for-inquiry

    Much more could be said, but that’s enough for now.

  9. […] Return of the Supercilious Atheist In the comments of my Supercilious Atheist post was something which requires a little more elbow room than the cramped wordpress comment […]

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