For those of you that read the Huffington Post, A rabbi has sent out a message for us. I wrote a lovely response but I guess it wasn't approve :( oh well.
A friend sent me the link and I thought I'd share it:
In my response, I told him that he was never really an atheist. Atheists cannot trick themselves back into believing in something that doesn't exist because no matter how hard I try, I can't believe in Santa anymore, neither can anyone else. So atheists that come to an intellectual conclusion that there is no god will likely never return to a belief in a god, unless they suffer some severe head trauma.
Feel free to discuss here!
What I found more intriguing was the article linked by Adam Jacobs, this by Moshe Averick. He arrogantly argues that nature must have a creator, and people who disagree are essentially lacking in humility. Hypocrisy is typical amongst vocal theists, of course.
Averick also has a book out there, entitled Nonsense of a High Order: The Confused and Illusory World of the Atheist. In other words, a theist exercise in projection.
All I have learned from this is a new word: incontrovertible.
I don't know if he is try to persuade himself or us.
And I have never trolled a religious blog or ever will.
And he thinks that, like every other theist, that we are obsessed with Darwin, which, at least, I am not.
I am obsessed with Darwin, i go home everyday and roll around in hundreds of pictures of Darwin! Its the beard that does it...
But more seriously, this letter filled me with a sense of Déjà vu. Weve all heard all of this before, same arguments, same misconceptions, same ploys, same use of mechanisms to counteract thier personal stake ("I was an atheist once" etc). Doesn't seem to be too many new arguments or refutations coming our way.
The problem with Santa is that his existence is contingent on magic -- on a phenomenon outside of any conventional knowledge, logic or understanding of the natural universe. The possibility of Santa always exists somewhere in the giant region of things unknown. The reason it's a problem is that magic is often held as something with mechanics that are intrinsically unknowable. If the mechanics were knowable, we'd stop calling it 'magic'. Santa is intrinsically magical. You don't have to go to the North Pole, or wait up all night on Christmas Ever to realize his existence defies all reason; that's already built into his very definition.
You cannot possibly know, in absolute terms, that Santa does not exist. You can, however, know that Santa's description defies our current understanding of the natural universe, rendering him an anomaly at best. We can know that there is currently no compelling evidence suggesting that Santa exists. We can know that there is compelling evidence for Santa being an anthropogenic myth. This is why I, for one, have never scoured every inch of the North Pole in an attempt to disprove Santa.
It is also why I don't plan on scouring every inch of the universe trying to prove that God doesn't exist. To say that I cannot know that God doesn't exists isn't a heavily weighted statement for me. It refers to an abstract epistemological problem that could be applied to any facet of reality or non-reality alike. It has a certain theoretical value, but almost no practical value in pursuing an accurate description fo the universe. God is possible in some obscure sense, but not probable, or rather there is no way to apply probability to God.
"but, as rabbi adam eloquently states, you choose to view the "astounding complexities and improbable fine-tuning" of life and the universe as a result of random chaos, great... i admire your faith."
Where does random chaos factor in? Whose argument is that? Things have properties and limitations. Things with properties and limitations will be subject to patterns and constants; they will be subject to causality. Even a random number generator is subject to causality; it is not truly random in any absolute sense.
Furthermore, 'astounding' and 'complexities' are relative terms. They require context, and if that context is simply a human perspective, sorry, but human perspective seems to have infinitesimal impact on the nature and order of the universe.
Improbability is also a strange word to use. By what means are you generating this probability? In order to have probability, do we not first need to have a set of knowns and a functioning model for predicting a given outcome? Where is the math behind this "improbability"?
As for 'fine-tuning', what, exactly, has been fine-tuned? I feel like I already know the answer to this question, but it would be wrong of me to make assumptions and arguments on your behalf.