Is Atheism True? Debate, 3rd Round, 1st Post

Third round, first response with response

The original post by the atheist was in standard paragraph form. I have numbered the atheist's paragraphs and adopted an outline format to allow ease of response. The atheist's posts appear in black text. My responses follow each paragraph and are in green.

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  1. Believers in the various god or gods will frequently cite the physical and historical evidence in favor of their various deities. Unfortunately for them, under close scrutiny, this evidence is never what they truly need it to be.
    1. This is, of course, an opinion. I could just as easily say that the evidence for atheism is never what atheists need it to be. The problem would be when I said, "never." That would be quite a statement since it necessitates an absoluteness of scope which you are not capable of verifying. Therefore, you are offering a subjective statement for support of your position.
  2. Let us first examine the physical evidence for the existence of a god or gods. One of the currently popular arguments used to bolster theism is the intelligent design argument. The basis of this argument is that complex things can exhibit some signs of design; that since human beings design complex things, then complex things such as biological organisms must have had a designer. This argument fails on several fronts.
    1. Intelligent design advocates have, as yet, failed to demonstrate how to distinguish between something that was intelligently designed and something that was not.
    2. They cannot show how to quantify design.
    3. The argument assumes that some supernatural being would use design.
    4. The argument assumes that complex things must be designed. Simply put, the argument for intelligent design is based not on evidence but on assumption and presupposition.
      1. I think this is a valid point. Personally, I do not use the intelligent design approach because I have not studied it sufficiently and I suspect there is too much subjectivity in it. The whole argument is an argument of analogy; that is, a 747 is complex and has a purpose and, of course, has a designer. If it can be reasonably shown that something in the universe has characteristics of design, then the analogy would tend to apply. The problem comes when determining what demonstrates attributes of design. Many have proposed the human eye as an example of design. I am no biologist and I am not qualified to make judgments this way. But, from what I have seen, the incredible complexity of the eye, for example, cannot be explained through naturalistic evolutionary principles. If this is so, then it would suggest design. Of course, this would be another discussion for another time.
  3. Another excellent evidence in favor of atheism is the ordered universe in which we live. Frequently theists will claim this as evidence of some supernatural being. Unfortunately for them that are simply a rehashing of the intelligent design argument discussed above.
    1. I fail to see how an insufficiently examined topic of intelligent design can be considered excellent evidence in favor of atheism. I think you put too much into your conclusion.

      Furthermore, if it could be demonstrated that a biological organ(ism) exists that cannot be adequately explained through the evolutionary theory, then it must be categorized in a different manner. At this point, intelligent design would be an option. I assume you are not a specialist in evolutionary biology so I will assume you, like myself, cannot make reliable claims in this area. We would be required to resort to quoting the experts which would then become a war of quotes.

    2. How is order in the universe excellent evidence that a Creator does not exist? Are you saying that the randomness of the Big Bang and the resultant chance formation of the universe produced this order that you say is excellent evidence that there is no God? Is that logical to say that order came out of disorder and then claim it as "excellent evidence" that atheism is true?

      Of course, you could maintain that the order in the universe could be the result of the natural properties inherent in the universe. But, I could also claim that the order of the universes is due to God who gave those natural properties to the universe. Both explanations are possible. If they both are, then an ordered universe cannot be exclusively claimed as excellent evidence for atheism. If you did claim it for atheistic support, then I could likewise claim that the ordered universe is excellent evidence for God's existence.

      If you say that my theory is not valid, then why is not valid? My position can explain the universe's order quite well without suggesting that order came from non-order. If you say it isn't valid because there is no God, then you again beg the question. If you say it isn't valid because there is no evidence for God, you again beg the question. If you say it isn't valid because there is not sufficient evidence for God, then we would need to discuss what would constitute sufficient evidence for you and then proceed to see if your criteria are reasonable and your methodology of examination is objective.

  4. The universe in which we live functions according to particular patterns, which can be quantified and studied scientifically. There is absolutely no evidence of any supernatural intervention to suggest the presence of some god like being or beings.
    1. You tell us that there is "absolutely no evidence of any supernatural intervention" in the universe. Really? How do you know that? Have you examined all evidence in all places? I think not. Since you have not examined all evidences and cannot examine all of them, you cannot logically claim that there is "absolutely no evidence of any supernatural intervention" in the universe. It simply is not logical for you to claim this. Therefore, you are being subjective which is, in this case, nothing more than your opinion.
    2. The Big Bang, for example is essentially the claim that the universe came into existence spontaneously in the distant past. I assume that you acknowledge the Big Bang. If I am wrong, please let me know. Nevertheless, how would you explain the cause of this sudden initial "bang"? You cannot and no one can. Does any scientist know the physical properties of existence before the universe began? No. Can something bring itself into existence if it does not already exist? No. The universe began and it had a cause. How did it begin and why? No explanations can be offered with any evidence to explain the conditions before the Big Bang. Yet, people, scientists and atheists included, merely accept that an unknown, unexplainable cause brought the universe into existence. Isn't this faith? Where is the proof?

      Many believe that the Big Bang is evidence of an omnipotent creator. But, of course, since you presuppose that there is absolutely no evidence for God, then no evidence presented to you can be validated as supernatural evidence. You are required to interpret any evidence in harmony with your naturalist, non-God system of thought. for the sake of argument, if we were to assume the Big Bang theory, why isn't it an evidence for supernatural intervention since it is an unexplainable event that defies known naturalistic principles?

      By the way, if you assume that the universe is infinitely old, that would be an interesting side topic for us to tackle at another time.

  5. There is more I'd like to discuss, but in keeping with the limited scope of this debate I've tried to stick to the main points.

    In conclusion, human beings are not born theists but atheists. Theism is something that is learned. Despite the strong beliefs held by some there is no physical evidence to support the idea that god or gods exist.

    1. Even if it were true that people are born atheists and not theists, it would have no bearing on whether or not atheism is true. As I said earlier, infants are born without the knowledge of airplanes, but that has no bearing on the validity of airplanes whatsoever. So, the point you attempt to make is useless.
    2. Furthermore, assuming that people are born without the knowledge of God is not provable. It may be or it may not be true. But, if we were to view atheism is an active rejection of God's existence, then being born without the knowledge of God is not an open rejection of God and it would not fit.

      Of course, some atheists will say that atheism is not an open rejection of God, but a lack of belief in god(s) without rejecting Him. But, this is a meaningless statement since people who are exposed to a concept and then decide to "lack belief" in it are effectively rejecting the concept and, therefore, God. Whenever a concept is introduced to a person, the person does something with that concept: believe, disbelieve, dismiss, etc. But, something is done and that something is a position held. "Lack of belief" is a position of choice in this regard. (See my paper on the atheism section on this.)
    3. Finally, by saying that there is no physical evidence to support God's existence is an illogical claim. First of all, you do not know all physical evidence. Second, you cannot know all physical evidence. Therefore, you cannot logically defend your claim that there is no physical evidence for God.

Conclusion

The first three posts have not demonstrated the validity of atheism. They have attempted to address arguments used by theists (belief, intelligent design, etc.), but you have not invalidated all of those arguments and demonstrated that atheism is true.

 

 

 

 
 
CARM ison