Mr. Lonovy is a persistent atheist. I suspect that Mr. Lonovy is zealous for his faith of atheism and will attempt to defend it accordingly. But since this can go on forever and because I have other things to do on CARM, I'll probably stop responding after this paper.
Mr. Lonovy's original paper is in black text, and my response is in green. I have again received permission from him to quote him in his entirety for this work. Also, I have left his typos and grammar errors intact. -------------------
I refuted everything I felt needed it in my first essay, but Matt has either misunderstood the whole essay or dodged every point I made. He acts like he doesn't understand what I was saying, but I know Matt has a brain. He couldn't misunderstand everything in my essay . . . I'll leave it to the reader to decide why he responded the way he did. Was it really THAT hard to understand?
Of course, Mr. Lonovy mistakenly thinks that he refuted everything in his paper. He did not, and he made several errors in judgment as well as in logic, which I pointed out. Nevertheless, Mr. Lonovy continues to defend his position.
I'd also like to inform the reader that I specifically asked Mr. Slick to inform me if he replied to my essay, so that I could defend myself. Here is the exact, quoted request for that: Matt: If i decide to do so, may I have your permission to copy your paper so that I may reproduce it on carm with my answers to your criticism? I would like to answer it and it is much easier to do if I can reproduce your paper. Myself: Sure. Just don't change my words or take anything out of context. I'd like to be informed if you do that, too, so I can defend myself. Thanks.
I never received any notification about his new papers. I found out about them by checking his site. Thanks alot, Matt. I informed him of my original essay right after it was put up on InfidelGuy.com. He obviously thought he wouldn't have to deal with anything else from me if I didn't know.
To be honest, I had completely forgotten about informing Mr. Lonovy about my refutations of his paper. I have been involved in many debates lately, and it slipped my mind. I hope Mr. Lonovy would forgive my oversight.
I'm now going to restate my two main points in an easier to understand manner so that Matt may understand me, and then deal with everything he said in his new articles. Please forgive the length of this essay. I'm going to be thorough this time.
One of the issues Mr. Lonovy needs to work on is his condescension. If he wants to be taken seriously as an atheist, then he needs to learn how to address the issue and not the individual. His attacks on my person is known as ad hominim attacks. Unfortunately, far too many atheists adopt this tactic, and it is not productive.
What is atheism?
First, let's define atheism. Atheism is a "lack of belief in a deity or deities." The word itself literally means 'a': basically 'no', and 'theism': basically 'god belief'. Without, or "lack of", belief in gods. This is the generally accepted definition among atheists as far as I've seen, and the definition Matt and myself were talking about. Matt states in "I lack belief in God" that this is becoming a common position among atheists. No, it isn't. It's the definition of atheism, and Matt was trying to say that "lack of belief" isn't a position, yet he calls it a position. That doesn't make sense.
Mr. Lonovy defines atheism a little differently from the dictionaries I have read. Though these dictionaries include the "lack of belief" idea, they also add that it is a denial of God or a doctrine that there is no god or gods. Therefore, atheism is not always defined as "lack of belief" in God but also as the belief that there is no God since some who call themselves atheists believe there is no God(s).
I said on my section on Atheism under definitions and terms that atheism is "the lack of belief in a god and/or the belief that there is no god." Following are some definitions offered by dictionaries:
- "Disbelief in or denial of the existence of God or gods b) The doctrine that there is no God or gods." (American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, fourth addition, 2000).
- "Disbelief in, or denial of, the existence of a god." (Oxford English Dictionary, Second Edition).
It seems that my definition is more consistent with the dictionaries than is Mr. Lonovy's since I include his definition as well as the other. Therefore, should I restrict my definition to "lack of belief," or should I also include in it "the belief there is no god(s)"? Both are offered in dictionaries, and both are held by atheists. Therefore, I will use the broader definition.
Furthermore, I suspect Mr. Lonovy actually believes that no God exists. But, that is just my opinion.
A point in my original essay was to show that "lacking belief" can and is a position with the right qualifiers, which most every human who calls themself an atheist fit. These three qualifiers are:
1) The atheist must be able to understand the concept of a deity. You can't make a decision or have an intellectual position on something you can't understand. Matt has a whole section called "Is my cat an atheist?" about how atheists are no different in position than animals or non-animate objects, his cat in particular, in that they have no position concerning their lack of belief. I think he would agree with me about this qualifier, because we are obviously talking about human atheists who can understand this.
I would like to add that the definition Mr. Lonovy offers above, "Atheism is a 'lack of belief in a deity or deities,'" logically includes my cat since he also lacks belief in god(s). Rocks also lack belief in god(s). But, I applaud Mr. Lonovy for clarifying the definition to include the understanding of a concept of deity. So, if we were to modify the definition that Mr. Lonovy originally gave according to this additional information, we might say, "Atheism is the position held by a person or persons who 'lack belief' in god(s)."
2) The atheist must then actually understand the concept of the deity in question. You can't have a position on something if you don't even know what it is. Matt's part about cats, rocks, etc. has no bearing on if a human atheist has a position or not. We know what a "god" is, even though it is true that there is no real definition of what one is among theists, esspecially one that isn't full of contradiction, but we still have a general concept of it, so we can come to a decision and have a position.
Actually, my original point was precisely relevant and demonstrated the insufficiency of Mr. Lonovy's original position on what atheism was. He has demonstrated its insufficiency by clarifying what he means by atheism. However, there is a problem. Mr. Lonovy claims to be an atheist. Others make that claim, too. But, some atheists believe there is no god(s). Therefore, the definition of atheism must be sufficient to include those atheists as well. I offer the following definition to cover all the bases: "Atheism is the position held by a person or persons who 'lack belief' in god(s), and/or deny that god(s) exist." I believe my definition is far more sufficient than Mr. Lonovy's.
3) The atheist must make the CHOICE to be an atheist. Once someone understands what a "god" is, then he must come to a decision about it: to believe in it or not. Matt did understand that when you have been exposed to such a concept, you have to make a mental decision about it, and THAT is where the fact that you have taken a position comes in.
Now, let me explain what I mean when I say it is a position. If you "lack belief" in something, then you don't "believe in" it. To "believe in" a deity, such as the Christian God, who I will use as my example here, is to believe it exists. If you lack this belief in God, then you don't believe He exists, right? Now, if you don't believe He exists, then it is only logical that you believe He doesn't exist. He must either exist or not, so there's no middle ground there. Let me make an example . . .
atheism=no belief=no existance
Isn't that clear enough? When an atheist CHOOSES to be an atheist, knowing what he's choosing not to believe in, it is the position that he believes it doesn't exist. Please remember the quealifiers for this. It isn't a way out of having a position or an excuse not to defend yourself. It's just being a human atheist.
Now, Matt claims he didn't understand this point in my original essay. It's all too clear this time. I apologize if I wasn't thorough enough the first time. I was relying on the reader to put it together and do the logical math themselves so I wouldn't have to write a very long essay.
I agree that the atheist must make a choice to be an atheist. Logically, this is a position--the position of atheism. Can you have a position of "lack"? The point I was trying to make in my original paper was that "lacking belief" in something, if it means to have no position on something, is only possible for people (or cats) that are unaware of a concept. Once you are made aware of the concept, then you adopt a position whether it be rejection, acceptance, or waiting until more data comes in. Either way, you categorize the concept, and you have a position.
If someone takes "lack of belief" in God to be a neutral, non-committed position, then why do so many atheists who "lack belief" behave as though they believe there is no God? That is the question I have been asking. It would seem that a non-committed position would be held by those who are objective but that does not appear to be the case with atheists who claim their position is "lack of belief in God" because they sure are actively trying to demonstrate that there is no God.
Atheistic proof against the Christian God
What? I can prove a negative? Yes, actually. I can do this by proving a positive that will contradict the positive claim of Christianity, and therefore render it false . . . as I said before, in my first essay.
As we all know, the Bible is the only record of the Christian God's existance. Now, what if you prove something extremely important in the Bible to be false? That would mean that the Bible is not reliable as divinely inspired truth. That would mean there is no reason to trust it and base your "eternal fate" on it.
I do not believe that the Bible is the only record of the Christian God's existence. I believe that the creation of the universe, its order, logical absolutes, etc., are also evidences for the God of Christianity. Nevertheless, let's see what Mr. Lonovy's proof is.
It would also mean that the Christian God doesn't exist. Why? Because God can only be defined as being the "God of the Bible". What the Bible says He is, is what He is. What the Bible says He did, He did. Or the "God of the Bible", the Christian God, doesn't exist, even if some other god exists. But I'm only dealing with Christianity right now.
This is not logically necessary. You have not declared what the "extremely necessary" thing is. If the truth of the Bible were based on this "extremely necessary" thing, then perhaps you might be correct. But that is yet to be established.
So, what is my proof against the Christian God? There are so many logical and philosophical problems and contradictions in the very concept of this God that I refer you to the Infidel Guy's Questions About God page. The other evidence is scientific. Let's see about that evidence . . .
Hold on. Proof that the Christian God is not true is that it is found on an anti-Christianity website? I would hope that Mr. Lonovy is able to provide this proof here instead of pointing to someone else's work.
Also, though there are indeed Bible difficulties, they are not without answers. It seems Mr. Lonovy is only studying one side of the issue.
There is a section of the Bible, perhaps the most important part of the Bible, actually, that has been proven false: The Genesis creation account. Anyone who has really researched it knows that the Earth is not 6,000-12,000 years old. Evolution is as close to being a proven fact as it could ever be, and the evidence keeps on rolling in. There is evidence that abiogenesis could have occured, which means that it most likely did occur, and there's no reason to invoke the supernatural when it isn't needed. We're not even in an important part of the universe. We're a crappy little planet with a yellow star. Not the center of the universe or God's attention. Genesis doesn't fit with the scientific explanation of how the Earth was formed. The Big Bang is also as close to being a proven fact as it could ever be. We just don't know how it happened yet. We only know that it did happen.
Mr. Lonovy has demonstrated his lack of understanding concerning what is most important in the Bible. It is not the alleged age of the earth. It is, to be sure, the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus (God in flesh, John 1:1, 14; Col. 2:9) from the dead (1 Cor. 15:1-4)--that is most important because by that we are saved from damnation.
Furthermore, the Bible does not teach that the earth is 6,000-12,000 years old. There are Christians who hold that position, and there are other Christians who do not. Quite simply, the Bible does not tell us for sure how old the earth is. I hold to a very old earth position as do many Christians, and we interpret the "days" of Genesis to be periods, particularly since the days mentioned were before the creation of the sun and the sun and earth rotation together determine day length. Of course, there is debate on this within Christianity, but the point is that the Bible is not explicitly clear on this issue here. Therefore, Mr. Lonovy is making an assumption he has not qualified. Second, to say that evolution is a fact also assumes something to be true that has not been qualified. Micro evolution is a fact (minor variations in concentrations of extant genetic material in a gene pool), but macro (new speciation through mutation) is not. Macro evolution has not been observed. It has only been inferred by analogy from micro evolution . . . and that does not make evolution a fact. But, Mr. Lonovy simply believes, by faith, what some scientists say concerning evolution. Furthermore, abiogenesis is wrought with problems, i.e., mathematical permutation problems when dealing with the spontaneous generation of life. The complexity of DNA is so great that random formation of it is exceedingly small. Please consider these following quotes.
- "The probability of life having originated through random choice at any one of the 1046 occasions is then about 10-255. The smallness of this number means that it is virtually impossible that life has originated by a random association of molecules. The proposition that a living structure could have arisen in a single event through random association of molecules must be rejected." [Quastler, Henry. The Emergence of Biological Organization, New Haven and London, Yale University Press, 1964, p. 7.] Note, there are approximately 1080electrons in the known universe. This should help give an idea of the insurmountable odds against abiogenesis.
- "The more statistically improbable a thing is, the less we can believe that it just happened by blind chance. Superficially the obvious alternative to chance is an intelligent Designer." [R. Dawkins, "The Necessity of Darwinism". New Scientist, Vol. 94, April 15, 1982, p. 130.] 1
If the Big Bang is true, then how did it happen? Would Mr. Lonovy say that out of nothing came something--that when nothing existed, somehow something came into existence? Or would he assert that the Big Bang has no explanation "yet" but that, by faith, some scientist in the future will prove how it happened . . . even though it violates the laws of known physics?
The Big Bang is the only place left for a god to have done anything important, and the intellegent "Christians" have realized this and taken to saying that's how "God" made the universe, and then directed the formation of life through evolution. But they have made up their own religion. They must contort the Bible to fit reality. It's common knowledge that the Genesis story was to be taken completely literal until science showed that it was actually false in the literal state. It was even talked about later in the Bible in a very literal way that God made Adam and Eve, rested on the Sabbath, and so forth. Now people have gone crazy about interpreting it right so that they can hold onto their religion.
So according to Mr. Lonovy, if a "Christian" does not accept the Big Bang and evolution, then he isn't intelligent? Also, how do the Christians "contort the Bible to fit reality"? Mr. Lonovy may not like the fact that some Christians believe in a literal 6-day 24-hour day creation scenario, but their belief or "lack of belief" in this does not bear on the validity of the Bible or not. Furthermore, if there is a God, why can't He create the earth in 6 literal 24-hour days? But, we digress.
For clarification, I absolutely believe God made Adam and Eve and that they were in a garden and that they sinned.
To the "Christians" who do this reinterpretation the Bible: Just because some parts of the Bible are to be taken metaphorically, that doesn't mean the rest is. Why can't people accept that it's just a false myth? I don't get it. If God wanted it to be a scientifically accurate book, He would have made it that way. There was never anything more than moral commandments and small philosophical points to make the Bible even worth having unless you believed the stuff in it to be true. It didn't have any new, divine scientific knowledge in it. It's really crazy when people say the Christian God used evolution when there's no way you can make Genesis mean that even if you take it metaphorically. This is just my opinion, but I believe a religion recently made up [or "reinterpreted"] by humans is no religion to trust.
Mr. Lonovy fails to understand that the Bible is not intended to be a book on science. Also, he simply offers several opinions as if his opinions matter in establishing the validity of atheism.
Now, I'm sure there are alot of people who're going to argue that none of these scientific things ever even happened and that they have some "proof" that they didn't. If you disagree with me, I'd like to ask you to do something: Please, go research all of these subjects. Seriously read up on them. Don't rely on your religious propaganda. Always be skeptical of things, nomatter what side it's from. The evidence for each of these things, especially evolution - which alone would be enough to falsify Genesis, is overwhelming. Look at it with an open mind, but question everything. The facts will show you what is true and what is not. Anyways, why should you be afraid to accept science? If God told the truth, then science will only reveal that fact. If God didn't, then either you shouldn't be worshipping Him, or He doesn't exist.
If Mr. Lonovy wants people to always be skeptical, then is he being skeptical about his atheism? Furthermore, I do not accept the notion that the evidence for evolution is overwhelming. Mr. Lonovy essentially begs the question by assuming evolution to be true when it is still only a theory. If he were to examine the fossil record, he would see that there are many problems related to missing transitional forms. Of course, this is not a debate on the validity of evolution.There have been many books written on both sides of the discussion, but I wonder how many anti-evolution books Mr. Lonovy has read--if any. If he wants people to be skeptical, then perhaps he could list for us the titles of the books that "disprove" evolution. If he has read none, then he is not following his own skepticism, and he would not be consistent with his own advice.
Now, about other gods. When it comes down to it, we can't absolutely prove no god exists. That doesn't really mean much. A very good quote on this is: "God is just a statistic." It's a 50/50% chance when you first look at it - god, or no god. Then, you must look at the evidence so far to see which one you should choose. We have no evidence that a god has ever actually done anything. I, personally, haven't seen any reason to believe a god has ever made contact with a human. Scientifically, we have no confirmation at all that any god has ever been seen. There is a startling lack of evidence for any kind of god. All we have is the fact that people have made up false gods. Even Christians know this. Why is it so hard to think that it's all just something humans came up with?
To say we have no evidence that "a god has ever actually done anything" is an unsubstantiated claim. It is also illogical. To say there is "no evidence at all" means that all evidence has been examined. Of course, this cannot be the case, therefore, Mr. Lonovy cannot logically make his assertion. Also, a person's presuppositions will greatly influence how evidence is interpreted. If I were to present Biblical evidence of the miraculous, of God's intervention in the world, Mr. Lonovy, because of his atheistic presupposition, would not be allowed to seriously entertain the information. He would be required to negate it. He could not be objective in his examination of it. Does this lend itself towards objectivity? I think not.
Those are my biggest points. The rest will be addressed below, where I will be answering each of Matt's new points. Every space between a group of paragraphs means to skip to the next blue section on his paper. Read along in his articles so you'll know what I'm talking about, and I won't be able to take anything out of context. I'm going to answer his "I lack belief in God [response]", then go to "Is atheism viable? [response]".
If these are Mr. Lonovy's biggest points, then Christianity is quite safe.
I'll begin with his opening paragraphs, which aren't entirely in blue, and then every new set of paragraphs will deal with his blue replies:
I lack belief in God
Matt begins both of his replies by saying that he only wrote them because I had my essay on InfidelGuy.com. I'm sure he wouldn't have even cared to read it if it wasn't there, as he did with some of my emails to him. And he doesn't fail to mention that I had typos and grammar errors. Isn't that kind?
I receive a great many e-mails everyday. I cannot answer all of them. Considering that Mr. Lonovy was rather insulting and condescending in his communication with me, I am sure that I simply disregarded what appeared to be yet another obstreperous atheist. Since I had debated, if you want to collect a debate, the infidel guy, I thought it might be interesting to respond to Mr. Lonovy's attempt to refute my papers since the infidel guy thinks they are worthy of being posted. Fortunately for me, I have found his reasoning very easy to refute.
Yes, I did start off with an ad hominum attack. I meant to. Matt offended me and insulted my intellegence in his original papers. I am an atheist, and he was talking about atheists. I'm just cutting to the chase. He fluffed up the fact that he's basically saying atheists are stupid, egotistical, and denying God so they can control their lives and continue to sin. I'll just tell it how I see it. He was being an ass. I'm glad to see that he has now taken off some of those insulting parts.
As you can see, by his own admission, he was offensive to begin with. This would naturally result in my disregarding his e-mails. Of course, I never intended to offend or insult Mr. Lonovy. I have tried to be respectful in spite of his numerous personal attacks, but Mr. Lonovy misrepresents me. I do not believe atheists are stupid. However, many of them have been rude, insulting, and condescending. Mr. Lonovy is no exception in his rudeness and use of insults.
I probably shouldn't have said what I did, but I'm entitled to my opinion.
Why is it that you should not have said what you did? Are you saying there is a standard of righteousness that you must adhere to? If so, where is it? On what is it based? If you are just simply expressing remorse for attacking my character, why should that matter? After all, as an atheist, you answer to no one and have no absolute set of morals to follow.
Other than simply complaining about my ad hominum attacks, Matt uses this as a distraction against my actual points. He dares to say I should deal with the issues instead of attacking him, but he obviously only does this so he won't have to take on the issues. He should've ignored the personal attacks if he doesn't like that kind of arguing and got on with the real issues. He did not deal with any of the important points I made--if any at all.
No, Mr. Lonovy, this is not a distraction. It is a simple fact that you began your argumentation with an attack on my person. This is something you should not do if you want to have a decent conversation. I have repeatedly stated that you need to stick with the issues. If you feel you have done something wrong, then you need to apologize. As far as "the issues" go, I tackled them. You can say I did not, but I did. The papers are there for others to read.
I'm entitled to my opinion of him and I'm going to state that opinion because it's MY essay. I know alot of people would disagree with my use of personal attacks, but there are still alot fine points, so just look over it if you don't like it. The ad hominum attacks are irrelevant to the actual issues.
If they are irrelevant to the actual issues, then why are you committing them? Is this an example of your logic, or is it an example of your emotionalism getting the best of you? This is a relevant point to me only in that it verifies my observations about atheists. The majority of my encounters with atheists on the internet have been met with rudeness, insults, and condescension from them. If atheism is so logical and true, then why do so many hurl insults instead of sticking to the issues? This is my observation after having encountered many, many atheists. When Mr. Lonovy began with his personal attacks, I noticed the unfortunate but typical modus operandi yet again and most probably dismissed it outright.
In my opinion, Matt now plays dumb so he won't have to take on the real issue. But he doesn't fail to mention that I acknowledged he did get some things right, but he won't do the same for me. I stated very clearly that "You have a position . . . " Matt doesn't see that I'm saying this? When it's right there in plain English? "Holding off" is not negative, either. "I am not holding off" is a fine sentence. I don't know where he got that from. The statement is quite clear.
I would hope that you will be more specific with your complaints. You seem to be addressing generalities.
The straw man I was talking about is also quite clear when you understand my point, which I restated at the beginning of this essay. He was making "lack of belief" out to be something it's not. That's the straw man.
How is it not logically necessary? The definition of atheism is "lack of belief . . . ", as I showed earlier. Matt's own paper is named after that. It's obvious what definition we're dealing with, and all things which cannot understand the concept of a deity fit into the definition. Matt's new definition of atheism doesn't even change anything. The wording is just different. Look up the meanings of the words.
I made no new definition of atheism. Mr. Lonovy had simply stated that atheism was a lack of belief in God. Fine, then my cat qualifies as an atheist since he also has a lack of belief in God. We have already addressed this issue above, yet Mr. Lonovy continues to bring it up. We can see that Mr. Lonovy has already modified his definition of atheism to restrict it to those who are able to have an awareness of the concept of God. This is an admission by him that my point about who (or what) can qualify as atheistic was valid. If it was not true, then why did he modify his definition?
I can't redefine the word atheism. I'm not the authority of what "atheism" is. I did explain the difference between a human atheist and a non-human animal/non-living atheist, though. Matt completely ignores this, and gives examples of very atheistic natural things to make atheism look stupid. Lack of belief is quite sufficient if you know that we're talking about humans. Please refer to the qualifiers I stated earlier.
So, apparently I am correct in my original statement about non-living and non-human atheists--my cat included.
I don't know where Matt got the crazy idea that "lack of belief" is a "non-intellectual commitment or non-action". Lack means to be without. Belief, which in this context would be "belief in", means to think something exists. We do not think that God exists. It's that simple. He makes up a straw man definition and then attacks it. It's rediculous.
Then perhaps Mr. Lonovy should reread my article, "I lack belief in God." It is explained there.
All Matt has done is use evasiveness to dodge all of the real issues. Either that or he truely didn't get anything I said. I believe he has more intellegence than that. You can decide for yourself if he is trying to trick people. I stated my opinion already.
I showed exactly what false claims Matt has made. He ignored everything.
I did not "beg the question". Matt is obviously unaware of the usual way to debunk a paranormal claim. If there is a scientific/natural way that something could happen, then it did happen that way. The only way to prove something supernatural actually occured is to have absolutely no natural alternative. You can still go on saying that it did happen supernaturally, but in almost any case but this one, people will know you're wrong. I showed earlier in this essay why I said it the way I did, anyways.
There are so many "goofs" in Mr. Lonovy's comments that I am not sure if I should take the time filling up the space to address each one. For example, he says that I am "obviously unaware of the usual way to debunk a paranormal claim." Considering that he has never asked me about this, he would not know. Furthermore, since I made no comments about addressing or debunking alleged paranormal phenomena, he again jumps to conclusions which have no basis. Just because I'm a Christian, does not mean that I do not consider the natural explanations for events before the spiritual. As a matter of fact, that is exactly what I do. It is only after natural explanations fail to explain a phenomena that I would then look to the supernatural. Of course, my Christian presupposition allows me to do this, that is, to entertain both the natural and the supernatural. However, Mr. Lonovy's presupposition does not allow him the breadth of intellectual openness that I enjoy as a Christian.
I established my points very clearly, but Matt completely ignored every single point.
I was originally writing in hopes of showing him what was wrong with his papers, so that he would remove them or drastically change them. I don't want anyone else to be influenced by the misleading information in them. He could at least make a decent counter to my essay to prove he's right.
Does anyone think Mr. Lonovy's statement that I "completely ignored every single point" is a legitimate statement? I read through sentence by sentence on Mr. Lonovy's paper and responded. Certainly "every single point" was not ignored.
So far, Mr. Lonovy has been less than convincing in his argumentation. I wonder what he or other atheists would say if I said, "He could at least make a decent counter to my essay." After all, I do not believe that he has done so. But, that is my opinion.
Matt has shown me that misleading people is exactly what he wants to do. Again, only my opinion.
I am actually surprised Mr. Lonovy believes in the supernatural as is evidenced in his previous statement. You see, he apparently is able to read minds. So far there is no naturalistic explanation for this phenomena that I'm aware of. Mr. Lonovy is now trying to tell us all what my desires are. So, let me simply put this to rest. Since I know myself better than Mr. Lonovy does, I can tell all the readers that it is not to my desire to mislead anyone.
I had no chip on my shoulder. I wrote the essay because I felt he was wrong, and I still feel that way. Matt could have shown me that he was right, but he did not counter anything I said. He dodged it all.
I do have a chip on my shoulder now. Matt has angered me with his evasiveness. I'm not going to let him get away with brushing off every point I made, if he did it intentionally or not. That's the point of this essay.
Well, Mr. Lonovy is certainly entitled to his emotional reactions.
I was offended because Matt was lying [if intentional or not] about atheists, as I see it, and insulting them, which was very clear. I'm an atheist, you know.
Need I comment about this statement?
Now we will go to his second article:
Is atheism viable?
I think I can judge people quite well. I admit that the personal attacks are only my opinion, of course, and I'm refraining from name calling now, but it's obvious that Matt is trying to play dumb to dodge what I said or he really doesn't have the intellegence to put it together. I believe he's smarter than that.
I cannot state whether or not Mr. Lonovy is a good judge of people. But I can confidently state that his assessments of me, my intentions, my desires, etc., have been less than accurate. Consider his comment that I am "trying to play dumb." I admit that I may miss a point or two of what Mr. Lonovy intends, but I'm certainly not trying to play dumb. On the other hand, perhaps he is correct in that I lack the intelligence for a meaningful dialogue with him.
Making atheists look bad is exactly what he attempts to do. I was a little harsh on the "negative position" part, though. He probably didn't say that to make atheists look bad, I admit, but he attempted to make atheists look bad in enough other ways for me to say this.
. . . ???
Again, he complains about me calling him an idiot. I'll attack him all I want. I make enough real points. I'm allowed to state my opinion of him.
If calling me names and insulting my character makes Mr. Lonovy feel better, I would not want to rob him of emotional satisfaction. However, I would recommend that in a debate, ad hominim attacks do not help in establishing a position.
If an atheist is stupid, I'm damn well gonna say it. I'm not siding with all atheists. I'm quite sure there are some very stupid atheists. I'm quite sure there are atheists who fit exactly what Matt portrayed them as. I'm not going to defend someone just because they're an atheist. I have seen many very intellegent atheists, though, and I believe the atheistic community is mostly made up of these kind of people. These are the atheists I would side with.
Is Mr. Lonovy telling us that he is able to differentiate between the intelligent and stupid atheists?
I dealt with all of this earlier. I'm referring to the Christian God of the Bible. I admit that I erringly stated just "God" in my first essay without making it known that I meant ONLY the Christian god. He CAN be shown to not exist by proving the Bible false.
Whether or not you have or can prove that the Bible is false is very debatable. From what I have seen of your argumentation so far, you have not shown the slightest ability to prove that the Bible is incorrect.
Again, I did not beg the question. Refer to what I just said.
The topics are too deep and varied to address here, I agree. I may just write refutations of other portions of Matt's site about these things later if I disagree with him.
Matt can attempt to define faith in whatever way he wants, but I got my definition from a dictionary. He is making up the definition he wants for faith. Why don't we look at the definitions . . .
If Mr. Lonovy is allowed to use a dictionary to define faith, then certainly I am also able to use a dictionary to define atheism . . . as I have above. Therefore, I thank Mr. Lonovy for vindicating my definition of atheism.
Faith: Belief in something for which there is no proof.
Proof: The cogency of evidence that compels acceptance by the mind of a truth or a fact.
Cogency: The quality or state of being cogent.
Cogent: Appealing forcibly to the mind or reason: CONVINCING
If you are so convinced by evidence that you are willing to bet your life or "eternal safety" on it, then that evidence is defined as proof in my dictionary.
The Bible is evidence whether you like it or not. You may not except it as evidence, but it is evidence. The issue is what you do with that evidence. There are Old Testament prophecies fulfilled in the New Testament. There are the eyewitness accounts of the miraculous and of Jesus' Resurrection. Of course, I suspect that you are not capable of an unbiased examination of the evidence since your atheistic presupposition will not allow you to consider the supernatural. Therefore, you must find a way to disregard the evidence.
I am NOT taking my disbelief in the Christian God on faith. I showed a lot of my reasons for this earlier in this essay. I am also not taking my disbelief in other mythical deities by faith, but I'm not digging up things about every other god for this essay. It should be obvious that they aren't real, anyways.
I cannot say that I know there is absolutely no deity anywhere in the universe, but there are reasons not to believe in them. I showed some of these earlier. Even if they exist, they have no effect on our lives, anyways. So, what would the purpose of believing in one even be? There is no proof for a deity, yet the amazingly complete lack of evidence and need for them is certainly evidence against them. Anyone who believes in them is actually in a less logically defensible position.
How would Mr. Lonovy be able to ascertain whether a deity was affecting his life or not? He simply says that there is no evidence that this occurs. I have evidence to the contrary. My evidence is my encounter with God, the profound change in my life, that "awareness" of His presence, and much more. These are subjective, but they are real. If I were of the mind to do so, I could pursue the issue of logical absolutes which exist, but no atheist I have encountered so far can logically explain them. I have used this fact of logic and its existence to demonstrate the existence of an absolute mind, but I digress.
Ha. Very funny. Do some research, Matt. You'd be surprised how much of this proof there is. And don't try to weasel out of answering that this time with saying I didn't tell you what the proof is. I said it very clearly earlier.
Actually, Mr. Lonovy, I have done quite a bit of research, and it has verified my belief in God.
Science has not shown that there is absolutely no god [not capitalized]. Science has shown that the Christian God of the Bible doesn't exist, and science has shown a complete lack of evidence for any other god. That's enough for me.
Could you please document for me precisely where science has shown that the Christian God does not exist? I would really like to have the documentation. As far as science showing that there is a complete lack of evidence for any other god, of course I would agree with you since I believe there is only one true God, the God of the Bible. Therefore, all other gods would not exist.
There are those who would say that there aren't even any absolute truths, but let's just say that there are. As far as I know, we can't prove there are no gods, so yes, atheism is a possibility, but I would definitely argue that atheism is much more than just a simple possibility. I've shown reasons for this earlier.
To say that there are no absolute truths would be an absolute truth, which would be self-contradictory and not true. To be honest, Mr. Lonovy has not shown much of anything as far as facts or evidence goes for his position.
If science explains something, that means God didn't do it. If God didn't do it like the Bible says, then the God of the Bible doesn't exist.
This is not a logical statement. The aurora borealis, for example, can be easily explained in science. But who is to say that God did not arrange it so that the aurora borealis would exist for His good pleasure?
People can believe what they want to believe as long as it doesn't hurt anyone else, but Matt is spreading things which aren't true about another religion, or lack of religion, actually, with his articles. I feel this is wrong.
I assume Mr. Lonovy is alluding to my articles on Islam, Mormonism, Jehovah's Witnesses, etc. He is stating that I am spreading things which are not true about other religions. Okay, what is it about these other religions that I'm stating that is not true? I am always open to being corrected. Perhaps Mr. Lonovy can explain to me, with documentation, where I am incorrect.
I encouraged the readers of my essay to read Matt's paper along with mine. I did not take anything out of context. I was simply showing that the ice cream factory on Jupiter was a bad illustration for Matt's religion. It's a wonderful illustration AGAINST his religion, though. That is why I said what I did.
Actually, the ice cream factory on Jupiter was used as an illustration against atheism--not religion. In it, I simply stated that atheism is viable only as a "possibility." That is, it is a logical possibility. But being a logical possibility does not necessitate that it is an actuality anymore then the possibility of an ice cream factory on Jupiter means that there is one. It is certainly possible but not probable.
I can attack Matt personally all I want, as I have already said. I didn't attack him to establish any point. I did it because it is my opinion. The points stand on their own without the insults.
Mr. Lonovy should not try to justify his personal attacks. I suggest that a better approach would be to admit he was in error and that he would not do it again. That would be fine, and then we could be done with it. Perhaps Mr. Lonovy is feeling a tinge of guilt. I do not know.
I believe I was quite logical all through that essay, and I've explained this proof already.
There is no evidence in the Bible. Nothing outside of it confirms any of the important things in it. The prophecies are the main claim of Christians, but it fullfills it's own prophecies. The people who wrote the later fulfillments of prophecy, even hundreds of years, read those same prophecies. It's not that hard to see how they were fulfilled.
Really? There is no evidence in the Bible? You mean the eyewitness accounts of the miraculous--that they were written down, they were accurately transmitted to us and that those who wrote what they saw, paid with their lives for what they said, etc.,--really is no evidence at all? As far as external confirmations, we certainly can go to the Middle East and find all sorts of cities and archeological digs that verify Biblical accounts. The Old and New Testament documents are ancient documents and, by default, are evidence. What you want to do with the evidence is up to you--and your presuppositions.
I suggest that Mr. Lonovy read some of the works dealing with the prophetic nature of the Bible accounts. He is not being lucid in his statements concerning them. Perhaps more information would help him in this area.
Matt again uses a very bad example. Atheists would be the ones saying his screaming blue ants don't exist. Theists make that kind of positive claim. They're the ones who fit right in with people who see screaming blue ants.
Actually, I really liked the screaming blue ants comment.
Do some research, Matt.
I have done a great deal of research. Just take a look at www.carm.org.
Macro-evolution is obviously real and easy to understand if you do the research, and it would falsify the Christian God, as I have shown.
Two things: First, I understand the theory of macro evolution. I have done research on it. However, I'm not convinced it is true. Second, even if macro evolution were true, it would not falsify the Christian God. It would be logically possible that if God exists and He created the universe, that He would also have put in it the means by which life could have developed. If macro evolution were true, and I am not admitting it is, it would not necessitate that God does not exist because it could mean that God used it.
Most Christians I have seen refuse to accept any possibility that there is no God.
I have certainly said before that it is possible there is no God. However, I believe there is a God, and that He has saved me from the coming judgment through Jesus Christ who died, was buried, and rose from the dead (1 Cor. 15:1-4).
Matt can claim to "know" God exists all he wants . . . That's all I say . . .
Ok, a theist believes that God does exist, and an atheist doesn't, right? Now, I would recommend that both accept the possibility that they are wrong. If they do this, that does not change their position at all. Matt tried to make it seem as if an atheist says God may exist, then he's not sure, but if a Christian says He may not exist, then he's still sure. What the Hell? That's a double standard.
Mr. Lonovy's comment is not that clear. Perhaps it is my lack of intelligence getting in the way, yet again. But, I have been known to miss simple concepts.
I don't think God is even a reasonable concept. There are some Christians who are reasonable, though. I'll give him that.
Matt now decides to be an a****** for no reason. He obviously doesn't know me.
Amazing . . .
God has obviously not allowed me to have what I've asked of Him. I don't want any sin or independence from God. I don't know where Mr. Slick got that bull*** from. I've asked God to reveal Himself to me so **** many times that it's not funny. I'm just trying to find the truth and spread it to others.
He has already revealed Himself in the person of Jesus. If Mr. Lonovy or others have rejected Jesus, what should God do now?
Once again, there is no evidence in the Bible. You can write whatever you want in a book, but that doesn't make it true, esspecially if nothing else confirms what it says.
That is not logically necessary, but I understand your frustration.
How does this context change anything? This is the kind of **** that offended me, people. How many times must I say this? I DON'T WANT TO BE GOD! I WOULD LIKE FOR GOD TO SHOW HIMSELF TO ME! I WOULD LIKE TO GO TO HEAVEN!
In that case, why don't you look to Jesus. If you'd like help, we can chat on the phone.
Now Matt DARES to say I used a personal attack, when RIGHT ABOVE THAT, HE used a personal attack on ALL ATHEISTS. I believe my attacks were VERY fair.
I don't see how I used a personal attack on all atheists. I have, however, stated that many atheists are quite crass and condescending in their opposition to Christianity. That is a fact. How is it an attack on Mr. Lonovy? Whether or not he fits into the category is up to the reader to decide at this point.
Matt has ignored my attempts at friendly dialogue before. I admit that I said some things I shouldn't have in an email dialogue with him before, and this may be his reason. I was going through some bad things at the time, and I explained this, heartfeltly apologized to him, and attempted to continue with a friendly dialogue. I thought Christians were supposed to forgive and forget? Well, Matt ignored me. He would've ignored me again if Infidel Guy hadn't posted my essay on his site. I thank IG very much for this.
You do not have a friendly dialogue by beginning it with an insult. Also, I get a great many emails everyday. I cannot answer them all.
My tact is not in question here. I did refute him, and he ignored my points. I'm trying to make sure he won't get away with that.
Sorry, Mr. Lonovy, you did not refute anything.
Thank you for reading.
Donny Kay Lonovy
This paper resembles more of a chat room dialogue than a 'debate' of some sort. I am sure Mr. Lonovy will continue on with his responses, but I doubt that I will continue with this since it is unproductive and is a bit rambling. If Mr. Lonovy wishes to question me about how he might encounter God, I'd be happy to help him as I would be happy to help anyone who also seeks to have an encounter with Him.
1. May 20, 2007. Per http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/ce/3/part7.html it has been pointed out that this quote is out of context. Here it is as cited in the link above.
"The more statistically improbable a thing is, the less can we believe that it just happened by blind chance. Superficially the obvious alternative to chance is an intelligent Designer. But Charles Darwin showed how it is possible for blind physical forces to mimic the effects of conscious design, and, by operating as a cumulative filter of chance variations, to lead eventual to organized and adaptive complexity, to mosquitoes and mammoths, to humans and therefore, indirectly, to books and computers."
The issue, however, is whether or not the initial quote is still valid. Is an intelligent designer an obvious alternative to blind chance? I don't see why it wouldn't be.