Letter to Robert O Adair: A response concerning atheism, the cosmological argument, and irrational assumptions.

Originally Published 2010

“Does it ever occur to you that the victims of your solipsistic, nihilistic, intellectually bankrupt anti-philosophy might deeply resent it? You pride yourself on being logical, but logic, based on the rational intuitions of the human mind, is simply an accidental phenomena like having a lot of warts. You can't refute the Cosmological argument, except of curse by dishonestly misstating it as cracker barrel philosopher, Bertrand Russell did. If I ever became an Atheist, I would never admit it, because I would be so embarrassed to be in the midst of such savagery and foolishness (Adair, 2010).”  From- Robert O Adair

Robert, to answer your question as to whether it has ever occurred to me whether individuals resent my thinking, the answer is ‘no’. As well, that ‘no’ is also multilayered in the idea that I am not a nihilist, I do not believe in Solipsism, and I do not believe that my thinking is founded on intellectually bankrupt anti-philosophic contemplations. It is interesting that you pride yourself in philosophic discourse but yet make huge unfounded assumptions about my beliefs based upon the fact that I am an atheist. The assumption that as an atheist I must be solipsistic, nihilistic, and abide by an intellectually bankrupt anti-philosophy shows a true lack of critical thought. If you had read more of my articles you would realize that these assumptions are very far from the truth. I have made it abundantly clear in my articles that I do not believe in God or organized religion and I believe that it would be in the best interests of other individuals to disregard these beliefs. However, I am a firm believer in ‘freedom of religion’ and I would fight for anyone’s right to believe what they wish.

Your assumption about my beliefs only highlights your own ignorance of what atheism means. For your information, atheism is the absence or rejection of belief in a deity or deities. That is it. Atheism is not a religion, it is not a philosophy, and it certainly does not preclude an individual from being a moral or law abiding citizen.  Your assumption of atheism is based upon your own bias and personal beliefs, not on fact.

Aside from making misinformed accusations, I find it interesting that you say, “…that logic, based on the rational intuitions of the human mind, is simply an accidental phenomena like having a lot of warts  (Adair, 2010).” This is a very interesting viewpoint considering that you believe in the Cosmological argument. Specifically your logos, “In Christian metaphysics, logic is an attribute of God who made man in His own image so there is a necessary connection between logic and ultimate reality. In Atheism, logic is just an accidental development like having warts or being green rather than brown (Adair, 2010).”

This might be a view of some atheists (none that I know of) but in truth this is another assumption that you make concerning atheism. I do not believe that logic is an accident of nature. Logic as denoted from the fallacies of logic and rules of debate is the study of reason and gives methodology to argument. It is a finely crafted skill which requires study, training, and practice, to say nothing of the research involved in formulating arguments. From your standpoint, Christian metaphysics, logic is an attribute of God and because God made man in his own image then logic (in order to be correct) must be connected with God or the ultimate reality as you say. However, basic logical computations and informal logical arguments disprove what you are saying. If the premise of your reasoning is that logic must be founded in a belief in God to be correct, than how do you explain my ability to arrive at logical answers when I do not have a belief in God? In a basic argument if I have two apples and I am given a third then I now have three apples. I certainly did not need a belief in God to make that deduction. But this is simplistic; let us look at the cosmological argument. The basis of the cosmological argument type is that the cosmos must be contingent on a first mover. In specific, everything that begins or comes into existence requires a causal force for its beginning. The cosmos is constructed of temporal events preceded by other ordered temporal events. Because a series of temporal events cannot continue in regression to infinity, the cosmos must have had a beginning and a cause of its existence, specifically, God (Reichenbach, 2008). But there is a logical problem with this notion. If God was the first mover or causal force of the cosmos then what caused God? More specifically, if every event must have a causal force or first mover to bring it into existence, then following this logic, God (or the first mover) must also have a causal force in order to exist. Thus the cosmological argument becomes illogical by virtue of the fact that in order for an event to come into existence it must have a first mover, but because infinite regression is not possible, this necessitates that the first mover must exist but at the same time cannot exist (Reichenbach, 2008).  In specific, what makes God exempt from having a beginning? Although some philosophers would argue, I believe this form of argument exemplifies the special pleading fallacy.

Now the point of this is to show that if logic is an attribute of God and the cosmological argument is irrefutable as you say, Robert, then I should not have been able to use logic as a tool for poking a hole in the argument. As well, I believe that this demonstration also shows that logic, as a belief amongst atheists is not an accident of nature but is instead a tool for reasoning as it is for any individual; atheist or not.

I believe that I have also successfully refuted the cosmological argument using one of the oldest and simplest arguments. This is not to say that I have proven that the cosmological argument is false, but I certainly have shown that it has logical problems. I did this without resorting to the use of “cracker barrel philosophy.” 

Robert, in the future I would appreciate it if you could contain your arguments to logical debate and not resort to ad hominem attacks, hasty generalizations, and appeals to ridicule. I, without censorship, will publish any debate that you wish to continue. However, I will not waste my time with irrationality or unfounded claims.    

 

References

Adair, R. (2010, March 13). Metaphysics: building a foundation. Retrieved from http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/2783320/metaphysics_buildi... 

Reichenbach, B. (2008, September 11). Cosmological argument. Retrieved from http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/cosmological-argument/  

 

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Tags: argument, cosmological, creationists

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