I recently engaged some atheists on their website into a discussion on atheism and their defense for it. All of them were responding to an article one atheist wrote called “Debunking Christianity.”
I opened one discussion with the following:
“This article is full of straw man arguments (or should I say accusations without merit) and false attributions while offering not one defense FOR atheism. Each point always refers to another site, which turns out to be a non sequitur. If the author really raises a true argument on its face, it would present it without references to other cites. This is very poor argumentation. In fact it is a non-argument.”
One atheist decided to reply with the following:
“if this site fails to make its point as you suggest, then just show us that theism is true.
PhD’s in Christian stuff regularly visit here, but they offer no evidence at all that Christianity or any other theism is true.
The inference to the best explanation for all the theisms and all the differences among them is that everybody is making it up. It’s not possible for all of them to be true, but believers of a particular theism claim it is true and all those that are different from it are wrong.
So, …here you are, I suspect with your own version of a theism – probably one of the Christian ones – that you like and you want to think of as true. If you think it is true, then that means there must be evidence to support it. Well, show us the evidence.
If the Christianity you like is at least as true as gravity, you should be able to provide evidence that is as clear as that we have for gravity. The evidence you provide us should show us that your god and only your god must be the cause of the evidence. That is, the evidence must point only to your god. If the god you like is the Bible character called God, then what you want to give us as evidence must be explainable only by that God. Note that ignorance does not point to the Bible’s God character.
So, have at it, I promise you this, if you provide evidence that is as good as the evidence for evolution, atomic theory, germ theory of disease, quantum mechanics, or relativity, most of us who visit DebunkingChristianity will become followers of your god in a snap.”
I replied with the following statement:
“Since this website posits assertions against the Christian faith (and not a defense for atheism), that the burden is where the presumptions should be? I stated that the article here does not make its point for atheism through the cited logical fallacies. Ridicule and personal assaults are not defenses for atheism. To use logical fallacies demonstrate the defenselessness of a position. Now if a Christian were to write like this on that person’s cite, the burden would shift to that person required to defend one’s position.
Your first statement is a head-shaker: “if this site fails to make its point as you suggest, then just show us that theism is true.” It begs the question (another logical fallacy) or onus probandi. You are on a roll with logical fallacies. Logic does not work in that fashion, because it is not an argument on the merits. Rather, it is simply an attempt to shift responsibility for a failed argument.
Logically, it is deception to attempt to pass on a burden of proof while using ridicule and logical fallacies against a position while requiring the same burden of proof from those you oppose. If this writer takes the view that there is no God, then the author must shoulder that person’s share in supporting the claim. Clearly, the author has not done this in any rational way by setting forth specific undeniable premises and concluding from them that God does not exist. The author has not offered any evidence, as clear as gravity, that God does not exist and he cannot do so. Your gravity example is no more than another logical fallacy of “false analogy.” Did you ever study logic and reasoning? You cannot have it both ways.
The author and you attempt to shirk your epistemic responsibility through logical fallacies and ridicule. That does not work and is an anti-intellectual approach. This author’s approach is worse than that of the philosophical and psychological sciences, which deal in hypotheses and theory. Even the physical sciences approach the real world with hypotheses and theories. Theory is not proof. Therefore, your position and demand is anti-science. Do you demand that they show proof when all this article ask for is ridicule and logical fallacies? Think again, because you are not doing so.
You can promise all you want about accepting theism when in fact you would not even accept Him if He appeared before you and spoke with you personally. You have ensconced yourself so firmly in your position and against God that you would not budge for anything. So tell the truth and rise from deception. Again, logical fallacies do not support a claim. Rather they work against it and show the bankruptcy of your thinking. You pick up the same bankrupt thinking as Bertrand Russell. Remember his book “Why I Am Not A Christian.” Note, his book was not titled “Why I am An Atheist.” He could not defend his atheism but his lifelong claim was what he was against. That is not meritorious.
So now, if you adhere to the author’s claim, support it through reason, logic, and evidence and not by ridicule, logical fallacies, and assault. Do not try the “burden of proof” shift of responsibility. That one misfires like an unkept rifle.
Now if you wish to dialog on worldviews, then cease with logical fallacies, because I will call them out when I detect them. Defend your position and do not do so from the position of what you are against. That is a failed argument and an onus probandi. I would be happy to present my position. However, once I read a logical fallacy presented against it, then your essentially end the dialog, because your argument fails.”
The atheist continue on with the same line of reasoning – personal attack on the Christian faith and continuous opposition to it. There was no defense FOR atheism proposed. The following is the reply. It offered the same line of reasoning as the prior responses.
“No theism has ever shown that the object of its groveling and affections is real, so no burden of proof exists to demonstrate the non-existence of any of the tens of thousands of gods mankind has invented over its history. Today’s Christianities have hundreds of gods, none of which is anything more than a social construct maintained through ignorance and wishful thinking.
Until someone produces something that looks like legitimate evidence for some gods existence – and no one ever has – it is not incumbent on anyone to show the non-existence of gods. All of us proceed through life merrily ignoring all of everyone else’s gods.
If you are a theist as relates to a specific god, like Yahweh or Satan or Baal or Allah, you implicitly are an atheist regarding all the gods you do not believe in or actively reject. Lots of us reject your version of a god or gods in the same way that you, without evidence, without research, without a moment’s consideration, feel free to reject so many other gods.
Did you develop a proof that Vishnu does not exist before deciding to reject its godliness? I thought not. Did you work out all the details of a slick little syllogism about why Thor does not exist before you were convinced that it does not exist? I didn’t think so. So, you give yourself license to be an atheist without proof, but you imagine that you have put up a defense for the god you imagine to be real by insisting that others disprove its existence.
A billion Hindus really can be(and are) wrong, even though the non-existence of all 300 million of their gods have not been demonstrated explicitly.
A billion Muslims can be(and are) wrong, and you disbelieve in good old Allah with nary a second thought. How unphilosophical of you. And before you go off on a “Allah is the same as the Christian gods” diversion, remember that Muslims(just like the Jews) to not believe the “no man come unto the father” crap associated with the Bible’s Jesus character.
You, FloydAT, are every bit the atheist that everyone else is. Nobody believes the other guy’s god malarkey. Get over it. All of us reject other people’s god gobbledegook because no one has ever produced evidence showing the god they like is any more real than fairies, pixies, gnomes, leprechauns, unicorns, elves or any other imaginary creature.
I am just a very agreeable atheist who agrees with everyone who rejects the other guys gods. I reject them all.
Although the atheist provided new examples by citing other faith, he misrepresented them and the Christian faith. It contains more logical fallacies of false attribution, straw man, and ad hominem. It also offered no defense for atheism.
In forthcoming articles, I will quote from the four horsemen of the New Atheism (Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchins, Daniel Dennett, and Sam Harris) to show how others lay claim to their means of argumentation – that of logical fallacies and their failure to provide an argument for atheism.