Tuesday, April 30, 2013

"Atheism Dilemma – Should We Even Respond to Arguments This Bad?" - Critique

A tweeter with the handle "8-bit Atheist" informed me of his response to my Atheism Dilemma 4 post.  I will refute his comments here.  My words will be in black and his will be in blue.  Any of my content he quoted from will be in italics.

<<Atheism Dilemma – Should We Even Respond to Arguments This Bad?

I’ve found a new theist, Sacerdotus, that tries to engage in theological sophistry.  One of his latest posts is part of his “Atheism Dilemma” series where he responds to atheist arguments.  The only dilemma I see is if time should be wasted by addressing the responses, but the responses are so bad that, while they don’t deserve much time, they also don’t require much time to address.  So I see no harm in it.
This post is how atheists are guilty of the fallacy of appeal to assertion.  The claim is atheist arguments are only accepted because they’re stated repeatedly.  However, I’ll show the obvious that there are reasons, and calling it an appeal to assertion makes as much sense as the theory of gravity is an appeal to assertion because it’s stated often.>>
Sacerdotus replies:
There is no theological sophistry here, only a refutation of particular arguments atheists use which pertain to the appeal to assertion fallacy.  Atheists who read my blog posts always claim them to be bad and what not; however, not one offers to refute them.  We are left to believe that solely because they did not like them, they are bad.  Moreover, the connection between the theory of gravity and appeal to assertion is a non-sequitur.  We cannot assert that gravity exists and functions in the universe, we can detect it.  However, assertions made of God by atheists cannot be tested.  Like with the verbal critiques from atheists of my posts, we are left to merely accept them without evidence.  

<<God is Imaginary

The first assertion is god is imaginary.  Sacerdotus states that the assertion that god is imaginary must prove that god exists in the mind and states that has not been done.
This is patently ridiculous because of course the thought of god exists in the mind.  It is there if god existed.  It is also there if you are wrong and he doesn’t exist.
Atheists say god is imaginary because theists think he is real when he doesn’t actually exist.  That is what it means to be imaginary.  Atheists say he doesn’t exist for various reasons, which I won’t go into here as that’s not the point of this post.
Sacerdotus also says being imaginary would mean god couldn’t affect the real world.  I agree completely, and that is exactly what we’ve seen to be the case.  Miracles don’t happen and prayers aren’t answered.
Moreover, this argument can be applied to any deity and religion.  Atheists think Odin and Osiris are imaginary.>>
Sacerdotus replies:
There is nothing ridiculous with requesting evidence that a said concept is imaginary or not.  No one is disputing that thoughts of God exist in the mind; however, are those thoughts based on a sense of the reality or are they pure thoughts developed by the mind?  This is where atheists fail to provide evidence.  The writer states, "atheists say god is imaginary because theists think he is real when he doesn't actually exist."  This is an example of appeal to assertion.  The writer states that God is not real.  What is his proof?  Where is his evidence?  One cannot make a blanket statement denying existence without providing evidence to support that statement.  Again, we are left to just believe this writer's statement.  This is intellectually dishonest.  If God is indeed not real, the writer must provide evidence that led to this conclusion.  
Moreover, the writer again repeats another appeal to assertion by claiming that prayers are not answered nor are miracles real.  Despite millions of prayers answered daily throughout the world and evidence of miracles, this writer still insists to assert that they do not occur.  I invite the writer to visit Catholic Churches in his area and poll the people to see the numbers in regards to prayers and/or miracles that have occurred in their lives.  
The argument can be applied to any deity; however, a scholar can distinguish between folk gods and a revealed God.   

<<God is a Myth

Atheists make the claim that religions are just myths, the Christian one just as much as any other one with Zeus or Odin.
Sacerdotus responds that myths have authors and atheists haven’t pointed to a particular author of the Christian myth.  If that’s valid, then I guess Zeus, Odin, and Osiris are real.  Or in all cases, they started as oral traditions from several sources that coalesced into religions.
Given that each is a personal god that reflects the people that invented them and has powers to explain what they didn’t understand at the time, it’s pretty easy to see they’re man-made.>>
Sacerdotus replies:
I understand that atheists make claims that religions are myths; however, the problem here is that their blanket statement is not evidence.  Why are they myth?  How do you know?  What is the criteria for a religion to be a myth?  These and other questions are left in the dark, so to speak.  
The difference between Zeus, Odin etc, is that we know they are myths due to their sources.  The writer himself supported my point by stating that, "they [religions] started as oral traditions from several sources..."  This is the point of the argument I made.  Christianity is different in that there is evidence that a man named Jesus who lived, preached, died on a Cross existed.  Not only do we have the Gospels and accounts of early Christians, but also of secular and Jewish historians.  
Not all folk gods are personal.  In fact, many are not concerned with the welfare of man.  Christianity is the only religion where God Himself comes to man to rescue him from himself.  He continues to interact with the Church.  

<<Which God?

The next claim of atheists is to ask which god the Christian is arguing about.  Sacerdotus says atheists are just trying to equate the Christian god with “folk” gods.
Atheists certainly do know the difference between different gods and religions.  What they’re arguing for with the “Which God?” question is which deity does your argument apply to and only applies to?
Most theist arguments only argue for vague deism (and not well at all.)  We need a god to give us morals.  How do you know it must therefore be the Christian god?  The world can’t come from nothing, so it must have been created by a god.  How do you know it must have been created by the Christian god?
Most of that last argument is one big begging the question, from dismissing everything else as “folk” religions, to just assuming there is a god but all those other gods are just attempts at humans trying to describe the ultimate reality of the Christian god.  (How do you know Christians got it right this time and aren’t just as wrong as those other religions because they still can’t accurately describe this supposed ultimate being?)
With the many fallacies including begging the question, burden of proof, and the whole claim these are just appeals to assertion being one big straw man, the only dilemma to atheists is if it’s worth even reading them in the first place.>>
Sacerdotus replies:
The writer is falling for the "which God" assertion in his very reply.  I understand that atheists are inquiring about which god a specific argument is referring to.  However, had the writer read my reply, he would have noticed that God exists independent of how man describes or names Him.  Whatever argument is made in favor of God, is for God even if the God is named differently.  What is being defended is the existence of God, not a particular designation.  
Naturally, a particular person of a particular religion will defend the concept of God via his/her understanding within a said religion.  This does not take away from the fact that there is ONE God.  The difference between Christianity and other religions is that God actually became one of us and founded the Catholic Church.  No other religion can claim this, not even Islam.  All religions that have a god or gods have the right idea - there is a God.  The rest of the religion is just man's attempt to organize his belief around that God by applying experiences of living as a human in the natural worlrd.  This is no longer needed since God came as Jesus Christ and revealed what it is that we must do in order to win favor with Him.  This is why the "Christian God" has authority in the world among billions.  This God is the only one that actually came to us.  This is because this God is God.  Other gods are man's attempt to describe the "Christian God."  In reality, He is simply God and does not belong to any religion.  When a Christian, Jew, Muslim, Pagan, Hindu and so on prays, only One God is listening.  
The writer makes many claims of fallacies, but fails to address them.  Until he addresses each and provides logical refutations, his arguments do not hold.  He succumbs to intellectual sloth. 

<<[Update 2013-04-30 0714 (like a minute after initial post)]
I just noticed a comment from Sacerdotus on his post that the burden of proof is on atheists because they’re the ones making the claim of god being imaginary or a myth.  This is shifting the burden.  The atheist saying that as a result of their argument that there hasn’t been proven to be a god.  The original burden is still on the theist.
Sacerdotus replies:
My comment must be read in context.  Yes, in this case where atheists make these claims/assertions, the burden falls on them.  If an atheist asserts that God does not exist, God is a myth and so on, those claims must be supported with evidence.  Even in debates, Hitchens and others offer their arguments in support of atheism, why can't common atheists do the same?  Why do they hide behind the shifting of burden?  

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