I was browsing some christian forums when I found this piece. I didn't see any atheists actually reply to it though. (The site allows members of other faiths - or lack of) Well the guy who posted it really wanted to have atheists read it and respond (or, even better- convert). So I thought I'd post it here to gather the intended audience's thoughts/reactions/answers.

Having once been an atheist, I understand the mindset pretty well. Empirical evidence is the best thing to use in dialogue with an atheist or an agnostic. Educated atheists and agnostics will, for the most part, be utterly unresponsive to the gospel so long as intellectual barriers to faith remain. So in this thread I'd like to brainstorm some of the most effective arguments to use when dialoging with educated unbelievers. I'll start with a few and you can all add to them.

1. Fine tuning - the universe is highly finely tuned for the existence of intelligent life. The initial conditions of the big bang, which are not physically necessary but are simply given, are so utterly precise that to alter them by a tiny fraction of a percent would make life and even stars impossible. The fact that the universe just so happened to be finely tuned to allow for life, when it could have in theory been otherwise, points to an intelligent mind behind natural design.

2. The beginning - at a finite point in time, 13.7 billion years ago, the universe began to exist. The universe came to be, out of nothing, exactly as Genesis 1:1 declares. Something must be eternal, otherwise you run into the problem of an infinite regress. Either matter/energy is eternal, or something else is eternal. Matter/energy is not eternal, because it began to exist at the moment of the big bang. Therefore something else is eternal. Working with the evidence of fine tuning in the universe, we can infer that the eternal cause behind the universe must be intelligent, powerful, and intentional. Intelligence is needed to explain the ordered design of the universe, and power and intentionality are required to explain the creation of the universe. An eternal cause that is intelligent, powerful, and intentional is, by definition, God.

3. Human uniqueness - Human beings, though genetically very similar to other organisms, are vastly different from the rest of the animal kingdom. Unlike other animals, human beings posses a reflective and introspective self-awareness. Even if we allow for a purely Darwinian explanation for the development of life, the vast complexity of our unique human consciousness cannot be adequately explained. The bible, however, declares that we are made in the image of God and, hence, posses some of his attributes, albeit in drastically minimized form. If we accept this biblical premise as true, we would expect to find the human cognition utterly unique in the animal kingdom, which is exactly what we find. Even though we share 98% of our genes with chimpanzees, our cognition is dramatically more complex and is in fact indicative of transcendence. Add to all of this the omnipresence of spiritual belief in human societies throughout all of recorded history, and you have good empirical evidence for the uniqueness of the human mind. Given all of this, the biblical explanation for the novelty of the human consciousness has the best explanatory power and ought to be accepted as true.

4. Existence of Aesthetics - Humans are also unique in our recognition of and perception of beauty. When we look at the earth and the larger universe we are struck by a sense of wonder and an appreciation of beauty. What is beauty? Why is it that nature, as perceived through our senses, is pleasing to us? Certainly there is no Darwinian reason for the existence of aesthetics, for what differential reproductive benefit can such a thing bestow? The universe, it seems, is objectively beautiful, a fact that is hard to explain in a purely naturalistic and non-theistic framework. However the bible makes the claim that the universe declares the glory of God. Given this premise we would expect that our perception of nature would evoke feelings of wonder and awe, a sense of beauty and majesty, to point us toward the creator and a recognition of some of his attributes. Once again the biblical worldview explains the phenomena better than a naturalistic framework.

Tags: Arguments, Darwinian, atheist, beggining., bible, christian, evolution, genetics, science

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1. pure BS, anthropomorphic principal is absurd.  2.  universe has always existed in some form, big bang is akin to a phase shift.  3. Get real!  4. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

1. This is actually a great argument against an omnipotent god, since the cosmological values of our universe must be precise for the existence of life. this means that god had no choice in the outcome of our universe, ergo: god cannot be omnipotent.

2. From a deistic standpoint, possibly. But theists must fly under their true flag of faith, it all goes back to the f word. I have no qualms with someone being a deist, though i think the universe will work without it. They do still have much work ahead of them to declare with certainty that jesus was a real person, that he was a god, and resurrected. If science speaks of christ, then where is the cross?

3. I'm not an animal, i dont sleep like animals do. I dont eat like animals do. I dont bleed like animals do. I dont kill like animals do. I dont shit like animals do. I dont see as animals see. I dont feel pain as animals do. I dont reproduce like most animals do. I dont age as animals age. I dont fight as animals do. The author of this says that we are "vastly diffent" yet can only cite a mere instance of two that separate us from other organisms. Throw in some irreducible complexity arguments with some proselytizing for christianity and viola! An apologetic argument!

4. There doesnt necessarily need to be a need for a particular evolutionary trait, Vestigal organs for example. Our sense of wonder, kindness, curiosity, courage, empathy, joy, sense of duty, sense of fun, all of these things came from and evolved within the mind of an ape. Religion tries to hijack all of the good traits within us and gives them willingly to an omnipotent cheat that says that love means kneeling before him.

Enough ranting, thats just one of the things i hate about religion. Onto the argument. Why is it beyond the realm of possibility that a sense of wonder can evolve naturally along with a higher cognitive function that gives us a means to interact socially? When it comes down to it, the only thing really differentiating ourselves from other animals is that we have a highly ordered communication functionality, very developed social skills, and a larger than average brain.
Sorry i couldnt go back and edit to make it clearer, im using an ipad :p

The fact that the universe just so happened to be finely tuned to allow for life, when it could have in theory been otherwise, points to an intelligent mind behind natural design.

Pure bullshit.  Consider that our galaxy is comprised of over 100 billion stars, and the universe of over 100 billion galaxies.  Then, consider that the only life that we know of is on a tiny film of atmosphere around a tiny rock orbiting one of those stars.  That tells me that the universe is not finely tuned for life.  It is mostly cold space, sprinkled with blobs of burning gas that are orbited by dead matter.  Oh, and eventually our sun will go nova and we’ll be fucked.

The beginning - at a finite point… …An eternal cause that is intelligent, powerful, and intentional is, by definition, God.

The ‘Argument from Ignorance’.  We don’t know how the universe came into existence, so an imaginary guy in the sky must be the answer.  I’m sorry, but superstitious nonsense is not the default, and the claim speaks volumes about the intellectual laziness of the claimant.

Even if we allow for a purely Darwinian explanation for the development of life, the vast complexity of our unique human consciousness cannot be adequately explained.

Evolutionary theory has developed beyond ‘purely Darwinian explanation’.  Your argument here is nothing more than a God of the Gaps argument which brings us back to the claim that since science doesn’t currently have a full explanation, then the imaginary guy in the sky is the default answer.

The bible, however, declares that we are made in the image of God

God is supposed to be omnipresent and immaterial.  In the bible, man is created from dust and has the breath of life blown into him (Genesis 2:7)  I fail to see how an infinite celestial presence is similar to a dirt golem.

What is beauty? Why is it that nature, as perceived through our senses, is pleasing to us?

As above, since science doesn’t currently have a full explanation, then your imaginary sky pal must be the cause.  This is getting tedious.

the biblical worldview explains the phenomena better than a naturalistic framework.

It explains nothing.  The bible also claims that you can cure leprosy by getting two birds, killing one, dipping the live bird in the blood of the dead bird, sprinkle the leper seven times with the blood, then let the live bird fly away.  Kill a lamb and wipe it’s blood on the leper’s ear, thumb, and big toe.  Wipe the leper’s ear, thumb, and big toe with oil twice.  Repeat the whole bird thing.  The leper should be cured  (Leviticus 14:2-52)
The bible talks of giants, and cities of giants, yet no evidence has been found of them.  It talks of satyrs, dragons, talking donkeys and snakes, cockatrices and unicorns.  It says bats are birds.  It says that if you have goats mate in front of a striped or speckled stick, then they’ll bear striped or speckled goats.

The bible is nothing more than a poorly written collection of ignorant scribblings by superstitious bronze & iron age primitives.  Studying science and having the intellectual honesty and courage to say “I don’t know” once in a while is far more stimulating and liberating, and opens broad vistas of wonder that your pathetic little book could never hold a candle to.

Regarding number 1 fine tuning:

The narrow ranges are measured attributes of our physical universe. The fact that we are here is evidence that the universe that we live in supports life therefore the narrow ranges must exist in our universe.

This doesn't imply that all univer
ses must be like this, only that the one that we are in must be like this. If a universe cannot sustain life we will not be in it. It follows that of all the possible universes that may exist or could have existed in all of infinity and all of eternity, we can only expect to find ourselves in one that we can live in.

This is not evidence of design, it is expected.

Regarding number 2 - The beginning:

This hypothesis exempts god from the same rules that are applied to the known universe and yet it only applies to the known universe.

I could assert that the universe that we see is *a part of, or an artefact of a natural entity of which we can only see a small part*, but I don't, because although I'm open to the idea I don't know anything about what might or might not exist outside of the known universe and I don't pretend to know.

There is no need for a god in the scenario where the known universe is a part of, or an artefact of a natural entity of which we can only see a small part.

How can anyone claim that an intelligent eternal god capable of creating universes arose from nothing or is eternal but it is not possible that a universe sustaining non-intelligent natural entity could arise from nothing or be eternal?

We do not know period.  There is no reason to invent gods.

This is all lame hogwash.  What I am concerned is what, pray tell, do they say to the uneducated atheists/agnostics?  This person grossly underestimates us as a whole.  He'l;l have to do a LOT better than that.

1. Fine tuning - the universe is highly finely tuned for the existence of intelligent life. The initial conditions of the big bang, which are not physically necessary but are simply given, are so utterly precise that to alter them by a tiny fraction of a percent would make life and even stars impossible. The fact that the universe just so happened to be finely tuned to allow for life, when it could have in theory been otherwise, points to an intelligent mind behind natural design.

LOL... If the universe is so fine-tuned for intelligent life, then out of the trillions of stars, why is it that we know only one with intelligent life on it? As for the rest of your argument, have you considered that impossible things simply don't happen. Look, I might think I'm incredibly lucky to have been born in the United States (vs. being born into Ethiopia, Syria, Chile, Cambodia, or many other places I might have been born). I guess the universe is so fine-tuned as to put me in this prosperous and politically stable country. I know you can see the absurdity of that. The earth is special...TO US, but we are prejudiced.


2. The beginning - at a finite point in time, 13.7 billion years ago, the universe began to exist. The universe came to be, out of nothing, exactly as Genesis 1:1 declares. Something must be eternal, otherwise you run into the problem of an infinite regress. Either matter/energy is eternal, or something else is eternal. Matter/energy is not eternal, because it began to exist at the moment of the big bang. Therefore something else is eternal. Working with the evidence of fine tuning in the universe, we can infer that the eternal cause behind the universe must be intelligent, powerful, and intentional. Intelligence is needed to explain the ordered design of the universe, and power and intentionality are required to explain the creation of the universe. An eternal cause that is intelligent, powerful, and intentional is, by definition, God.

Science is telling us that "nothing" doesn't exist. Even so-called empty space is alive with sub-subatomic activity. Space is like a foam. And before our universe existed, there seems to have been something called "membranes" or "branes" that can create universe by interacting with each other.


3. Human uniqueness - Human beings, though genetically very similar to other organisms, are vastly different from the rest of the animal kingdom. Unlike other animals, human beings posses a reflective and introspective self-awareness. Even if we allow for a purely Darwinian explanation for the development of life, the vast complexity of our unique human consciousness cannot be adequately explained. The bible, however, declares that we are made in the image of God and, hence, posses some of his attributes, albeit in drastically minimized form. If we accept this biblical premise as true, we would expect to find the human cognition utterly unique in the animal kingdom, which is exactly what we find. Even though we share 98% of our genes with chimpanzees, our cognition is dramatically more complex and is in fact indicative of transcendence. Add to all of this the omnipresence of spiritual belief in human societies throughout all of recorded history, and you have good empirical evidence for the uniqueness of the human mind. Given all of this, the biblical explanation for the novelty of the human consciousness has the best explanatory power and ought to be accepted as true.

The complexity of human consciousness is explained by our brain, which is part of our uniqueness. However, every species has a uniquess, otherwise it wouldn't be a species (I'm thinking of the linguistic relation between the words "species" and "special"). If our cognition sets us apart, other creatures possess much sharper senses as well. Our cognition allows us to know certain things lost on other animals, but those animals have senses allowing them to sense things lost on us. An eagle may see a rabbit a mile away. A fox may hear a mouse moving beneath a cover of snow. Having a special sense and special abilities is, paradoxically perhaps, nothing special.


4. Existence of Aesthetics - Humans are also unique in our recognition of and perception of beauty. When we look at the earth and the larger universe we are struck by a sense of wonder and an appreciation of beauty. What is beauty? Why is it that nature, as perceived through our senses, is pleasing to us? Certainly there is no Darwinian reason for the existence of aesthetics, for what differential reproductive benefit can such a thing bestow? The universe, it seems, is objectively beautiful, a fact that is hard to explain in a purely naturalistic and non-theistic framework. However the bible makes the claim that the universe declares the glory of God. Given this premise we would expect that our perception of nature would evoke feelings of wonder and awe, a sense of beauty and majesty, to point us toward the creator and a recognition of some of his attributes. Once again the biblical worldview explains the phenomena better than a naturalistic framework.

Buddhists are well-known for their appreciation of aesthetics. Especially the Zen sect. The Zen sect is an atheist sect. They have no god. They may revere The Buddha, but as a teacher, not a God. Are you claiming that the aesthetics of the Christian world is superior? How so? You revere The Bible because it is the religion where you are. That's why you're not worshiping Shiva or Ahura Mazda.

These are not very good "arguments", imo.  Each of these depends on the Bible, which, imo, is 99.99% utter nonsense.  And, imo, Christianity and the Bible perpetuate and promote ignorance and scientific illiteracy (and the association is very clear these days, imo).

Besides a basic education in science, especially biology, philosophy, and logic and critical thinking, the following may also address the "arguments" above:

1. The Fallacy of Fine Tuning, Stenger; Atheist Universe, Mills

2. Atheist Universe, Mills; The Origin of the Universe, Barrow; all modern cosmology literature

3. The Complete World of Human Evolution, The 10,000 Year Explosion, Talk.Origins; all literature pertaining to sentience in the animal kingdom (besides humans)

4. All literature pertaining to human and animal cognition; Atheism, the Case Against God, God- the Failed Hypothesis, Stenger

The fact that the post began with...

I was browsing some christian forums when I found this piece

… is telling.  How many times have we seen these posted by somebody who hasn’t bothered to study the arguments and refutations?  It is simple ad nauseum regurgitation of poorly constructed pseudo-science propaganda.

I think you got the wrong impression on that. The Original Poster is asking our opinion on how to respond to something he read somewhere else. The quoted text is form the other site.

I understand that, but a post is a post.  Regardless of whether the source for the post was the OP or 'the guy', the content is still the same regurgitated nonsense that has been refuted more times than I care to count.

I may not have brought it up if he had only stayed with;

I was browsing some christian forums when I found this piece. I didn't see any atheists actually reply to it though...  So I thought I'd post it here to gather the intended audience's thoughts/reactions/answers.

But, there is also this little bit;

the guy who posted it really wanted to have atheists read it and respond (or, even better- convert)... Having once been an atheist, I understand the mindset pretty well.

Which leads me to the following questions:

1- Did 'the guy' just regurgitate these from a different 'christian forum'?  (thus my post)

2- Why didn't the OP have 'the guy' post here, instead of doing it for him?  Also, why hasn't 'the guy' engaged here since he was evidently amped for discussion?

3- If the OP was at one time an atheist, and had knowledge of the arguments, why didn't he discuss them with 'the guy' there and point out the flaws?

4- Which leads me to, is the OP also 'the guy' and this is the same old thing that I mentioned above, with the added wrinkle that the OP is playing some kind of "my buddy was wondering" game?  The facts that the OP has converted back to theism, and that he posted here, would indicate that he has the same agenda as 'the guy'.

I'm not stating that the OP is 'the guy', but I think it is a valid question to ask, and I think that's what's making me a little cranky regarding this post.  And again, a post is a post, and content is content.

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