Hi,
In my class that has turned out to be more of a catechism than anything, the following was posted and I am currently crafting a reply. Any suggestions on things to include? Thanks! (I should mention that the class is in law and that the professor seems to think all law should be based on Thomas Aquinas).


"Those who do not believe in a creator often default to arguments focused on why those who do believe things they can't explain. Faith. True atheists profess no feeling of faith based on the supernatural--what is simply is and what I'm experiencing now is all there is. It's a false argument in that they do have faith in abundance in many things unseen and unknown to them (remember there is no requirement that atheists have Ph.D.s). They fly in aircraft but who can see air? They have faith the pilot knows how to fly under this condition based on laws of areodynamics. Where did they originally come from? This is but one example. Now, faith is NOT required in a supernatural being. This is where the faith they have has reached its limit. Yet, applying strictly an evolutionary view for everything cannot explain the origin of the last origin of the last origin of a species or thing back to its very FIRST appearance. It a true rabbit hole. Dr. Bebe at Leigh University goes with an irrducible complexity explanation to highlight this. There are other views as well.

Concerning why nonbelievers benefit seems rooted in God's pleasure in all things He created. He created nothing in error, imperfectly. So as to earthly things, He gives all the opportunity to share in His perfection. I was a skeptic when I knew not of this and came to my present state slowly over time with reflection, prayer, and a genuine need to know more of my purpose (it comes often, as it did for me, when we reach a time of confusion).

Divine law is a guide for Christian right living, as well as a connection back to its roots in eternal law. General revelation--that there is everywhere everything that came into being by some first order--a creator. Chance cannot explain everything for everyone for all things. I suspect some can pass through the divine law of general revelation in the Bible without seeing it as religion and trace the bridge from eternal law to natural law to human law. Isolating it would not be acceptable to Aquinas."

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Replies to This Discussion

Just reply with explaining the difference between things that produce a known provable physical effect (the air comment) and a made up concept that isn't original and has changed constantly throughout history and has no known physical effect and the very concept itself has no evidence for it. It requires faith to believe in the supernatural because there is no evidence for such. It doesn't require faith to fly a plane when the pilot has training and is also trained to know how it works. If the pilot has faith that he won't crash, so what? Faith does not influence reality in any way, shape or form.

And as for his "we all share God's perfection" list to him/her all of our vestigial organs, and lethal birth defects, nature etc, that we have no control over, that is just the result of stupid faulty "design". Oh and explain how we choke to death because of the one hole in our body, and how if we had two like Dolphins, we wouldn't choke to death.

You can't make sense of the infinite regression. If you assume a creator, then you automatically defeat your own argument with infinite regression. Tell him, that you know it's tough to accept, that God is a self contradicting, self refuting, and impossible idea, but doesn't change the fact that it is. Then explain that due to that simple fact, people have to constantly change their concept of God, showing it isn't about truth, but comfort, and that he/she cannot be comforted by his faith unless others believe it as well.

P.S: Call him out on being a Skeptic. No skeptic would do what he did, because he changed his opinion without evidence, which defeats the purpose of being a skeptic.
Also mention the strawman here, that Atheists require faith for many things, which is blatantly not true and is just ignorant. And then explain to him that one of the definitions of faith is the one that he used. Believing something without evidence, which is purely a choice, and a bad, and unnecessary choice that contradicts skepticism entirely. Call him out and say that if he were a Skeptic, you would have never became a Christian. To be Skeptical is to only accept something based on evidence, not faith, and to see the evidence 'for yourself' never taking the word of someone else. If he says we take the word of Scientists, respond with Scientists would never have us take our word for it, they always give us a way to see the evidence.
Technically you don't have faith the sun will rise tomorrow, you know it will rise. There's belief, then their's unquestioning belief, but they aren't the same as knowledge.
Thanks. I realize maybe it wasn't 'offensive' but 'unreasoned' of him to write this. But that has always been my observation--people 'come to' this 'revelation' in a time of confusion or during some difficult circumstance. Then they 'believe' because they think it is their only, last, hope. Then when things naturally happen, as they would have anyway, they credit/blame 'god' and hold up 'faith' as the reason. It is so absurd---how does anyone with an intellect think in this way? This guy is no dummy. He's intelligent, and yet gauges everything in his life by some imaginary yardstick. I am quite the newbie at these arguments. Which is quite odd, because I have 2 degrees from a catholic university. I always experienced acceptance and never had to defend my non-belief and never required anyone to defend their belief. I have taken classes from priests who had less of an agenda to push than this professor! I've always been of the mind that as long as people don't require me to believe as they do, they are free to delude themselves as much as they want. Just keep it out of my government, schools, court rooms, etc... This is a class for future legal professionals. It is a huge disservice to them and to the system if all they learn about in the core class on ethics is Aquinas. The kicker is that the prof is the chair of the department. I will not be able to avoid him or his classes if I am to finish the program. This is his book (required reading) and a review of it. You will see what I am talking about.
http://www.cclibrary.org.au/bookaic.html
It's not faith to believe that I will arrive safely after a flight. It's trust, knowledge, and experience. I KNOW that air is not *nothing* because it can be shown to have volume and weight. I *trust* that my pilot is capable and knowledgable. That mechanics have ensured the plane is sound. My experience tells me that a great majority of planes arrive at their destination safely. Trust without knowledge or experience would come close to faith but taken together they do not = faith.

Notice when we investigate plane crashes we never start with the premise that a divine being cause it? If we didn't understand why planes work we might resort to a call to the mysterious. When it comes to origins there is a lack of understanding. We have ideas but we can't truly be certain unless we witness life beginning somewhere else. Even if when that happens we might say it's very probable but not 100% certain that's how it happened on Earth. But! Lack of understanding NEVER means we conclude that a divine being did it. Don't forget to ask who created the divine being!

He's also assumes that each of us has a divine purpose without offering any evidence for that premise. I was confused, so I reflected and then I found my purpose. Therefore...God. Each and every one of us has come to our present state (of mind) over time with reflection and confusion. So what? How does that = god?

Whether he was once a skeptic or not he is starting from an assertion that a divine being exists and then working backwards using our lack of understanding to confirm that indeed, god must exist. We don't do science that way because it doesn't work. It's not an either/or proposition, why not assert that we were terraformed by aliens? Isn't that just as likely (and maybe MORE likely) than a divine being?
Atheists don't have faith; they use inductive reasoning.

http://goodatheistarguments.blogspot.com/2010/11/do-atheists-have-f...

As they so often do, this theist is deliberately using his or her own semantic confusion to muddle the conversation. "Faith" has more than one meaning and she is trying to pretend that the different meanings are all the same. Well, one of those definitions, faith meaning belief without proof, is decidedly different from the others in its logical import.

The argument is rank intellectual dishonesty.

Besides, everyone can feel the air on their skin and in their lungs and see its effects on things, like leaves, sails, clouds. To argue that we have to have "faith" to think the air is a physical thing capable of exerting a physical presence is nothing short of a lie.
things that I spotted:
"True atheists".
No true scotsman fallacy.

"True atheists profess no feeling of faith based on the supernatural".
That's wrong too. Atheism means a lack of belief in a god and not in the supernatural. So atheists can believe all they want in the supernatural, including ghosts, bigfoot, souls and what not and many do.
So; strawman.

"It's a false argument in that they do have faith in abundance in many things unseen and unknown to them"
Strawman again.

"They fly in aircraft but who can see air?"
Air can be detected with instruments, the supernatural can't (as for documentation goes). Air is not invisible - the atoms that make up air can be seen and is therefore not invisible - but according to online definitions then the supernatural is beyond the visible universe.
So he can't make parallels between those 2 things.

"They have faith the pilot knows how to fly under this condition based on laws of areodynamics."
Why is it that atheists automatically have faith in the pilot knowing how to fly? What makes atheists distinquishable from theists or agnostics on this? And how does the laws of aerodynamics ensure that a pilot knows how to fly?

"... based on laws of areodynamics. Where did they originally come from?"
Im presuming he is questioning where the laws came from and no one really knows. But i'd imagine he is begging the question that they had to come from somewhere, or more specifically 'someone'.

"Now, faith is NOT required in a supernatural being."
He is dead wrong.
Here is some definitions of the supernatural

1. Of or relating to existence outside the natural world.
2. Attributed to a power that seems to violate or go beyond natural forces.
3. Of or relating to a deity.
4. Of or relating to the immediate exercise of divine power; miraculous.
5. Of or relating to the miraculous.

If we are talking about something that exists outside the natural world, something we cannot detect nor look at the pawprints off, then you've got to have faith that it does exist. And no, nothing we have seen yet points to an intelligent designer.

"Yet, applying strictly an evolutionary view for everything cannot explain the origin of the last origin of the last origin of a species or thing back to its very FIRST appearance. It a true rabbit hole."
Here he is confusing evolution with abiogenesis when it comes to the first species.
As for the origin of a 'thing' - that is not really being specific. He might want to elaborate on that.
And then of course we have the infinite regression; if he implies, of which it seems he does, that since science cannot explain how something originated and that a designer is therefore required then he is merely asserting that as a fact and not backing it up. He is making a False Dilemma logical fallacy.
Just because 'A' might not explain how 'Z' came to be then 'B' isn't necessarily the only other option left.

"Concerning why nonbelievers benefit seems rooted in God's pleasure in all things He created."
Why nonbelievers benefit? Benefit what? He needs to specify again.

"He created nothing in error, imperfectly."
This whole 'god created everything perfect' is just a wierd arguement to make.
How can one thing be perfect? there is many examples to why mankind isn't perfect and how many flaws there are with our bodies - stuff like wisdomteeth, nails, bodyhair and more that we dont seem to need at all. If we dont need it, how can we be created perfectly?

"So as to earthly things, He gives all the opportunity to share in His perfection."
So he says his god gives all the opportunity? How about stillborn children? People born retarded? People dying before reaching the age of understanding the concept of god?? What happened to their chances to share in 'His perfection'?

"I was a skeptic"
That is very doubtful xD maybe he was a lousy skeptic.

"(it comes often, as it did for me, when we reach a time of confusion)."
I am not surprised.

"Chance cannot explain everything for everyone for all things."
I agree, but that is not what everyone else are thinking. This is a strawman.

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