Friday, February 18, 2011

Remember this guy?

Any PSU alums who attended the University Park campus will fondly</sarcasm> remember the Willard Preacher. It turns out he has a website! Yes, it is every bit as bad as you probably expect.

Here's a tidbit on atheism from the "Musings" section, topic "Atheism":

Introduction

The best evidences[sic] for the existence of God proceed from human nature. The way man naturally thinks and acts consistently points to something akin to the Christian God.
Really? Why? You'd better back that up later. Also, the plural of 'evidence' is 'evidence'. You do your thing on a college campus?
On the contrary there are no evidences for atheism. The atheist can try and give alternative explanations for the arguments given for God, but he cannot put forth any positive evidences[sic] of this own.
Atheism requires no evidence. It is the default until you produce your evidence.
In what follows we will consider whether human nature, as it has always been, is more consistent with a world in which there is no God, or one in which there is a God consistent with Christianity.
Okay, let's go.


Man has Always Believed
So what?

As far back as we have written records man has always believed in God, Gods, and/or the supernatural. There is no evidence that man has evolved these beliefs. By all accounts it seems to be inherent in him.
What is inherent in humanity is a tendency to make shit up to fill gaps in knowledge. The scientific method (the only reliable tool for gaining accurate knowledge about reality) is a pretty recent development.
Most atheists will acknowledge that as far as written records are concerned man has always believed.
Yes, humans throughout history have believed all kinds of nonsense. You do realize that xianity is barely 2000 years old, right?
They may say that man evolved such beliefs before he learned to write, and so we have no record of such an evolution, but it is impossible to discuss non-evidence. Some atheists will claim that we can glean evidences from the remnants of pre-historic man, but such evidence would be speculative and fragmentary at best, and so for our purposes would come under the category of non-evidence.
Once again, atheism does not require evidence. It is the default until you produce your evidence.

The atheist will also say that before man could understand certain natural objects or events such as the sun, moon, eclipses, lightning etc. he explained them by resorting to the supernatural. This may be true, but it doesn't explain why man, being a product of atheistic evolution, found it so natural and easy to believe in the supernatural.
B.F Skinner would like to have a word with you. So would these two.
The question that the atheist must try and honestly answer is whether it would it be more natural for man to believe in God in an atheistic world or in an theistic one.
It doesn't matter. Belief (easy or not) does not make your god real. Clapping won't bring Tinkerbell back to life. So far you've just produced empty rhetoric, no evidence.


Objective Morals
this should be good...

Man has always had what I would call objective morals. In other words, he has always pointed away from himself to someone else and declared him to be morally right or wrong.
Not the commonly accepted definition, but as long as you stick to it, okay.
Subjective morality would be to declare that something would be right or wrong for oneself but not necessarily for someone else.
Again, not the commonly accepted definition, but as long as you stick to it, okay.
Morals become objective when one declares morality for others in addition to oneself.
Sure, that follows from your definitions
As soon as we do this we are assuming an inviolable law to which we are all subjected.
Does not follow. Replace 'assuming' with 'agreeing on' and get rid of 'inviolable'. Anyway, when did laws come into it? I thought we were talking about morality.
Only God could provide such a law.
Also wrong. Laws are made by anyone with the power to enforce them, and may or may not be considered moral by those subject to them.

A knowledgeable atheist will agree that in a godless world there are no objective morals,
I think most would be fine going by the definition above. Have you changed your definition without telling us?
but he will claim that man evolved such an idea in order to best survive.
Humans evolved as a social animal, that is where morals come from, though I think it's more conditioning than evolved instinct. However the idea of objective morality is not a direct product of that.
Why man would need to act as if there is a God in order to best survive in an atheistic world is a question for which I have never heard a good answer.
Need to? I doubt it, but see the links above. Or google "evolution of superstition".
In any case there is no evidence that man evolved such an idea. As far as we have written records man has always thought this way. For an atheist to counter this he has to once again go back to the non-evidence of pre-history.
Again, you need to provide the evidence. Default position, remember? You still haven't shown any evidence that your god exists. Is this entire thing going to boil down to "You can't prove God doesn't exist, therefore God."?

When confronted with the idea that God is the only possible authority for objective morality some atheists will claim that society is an alternative authority.
Sure.
The problem is, if one takes society as his moral authority, then he must be willing to submit to whatever morals his society declares.
Or leave (many do), or work to change society (many do), or just take the consequences (many do)
If he does not, then morals go back to being subjective.
Your definition of subjective was "right/wrong for me, but I can't say for anyone else". What you have just claimed is not the same. You seem to be shifting your definitions here. Better be careful.
When an atheist is asked whether, if he had lived in Nazi Germany he would have accepted the slaughter of the Jews as being morally acceptable, or if he would have accepted the enslavement of black Africans in 19th century America, he invariably answers no.
Because your hypothetical atheist is conditioned to modern (American, I assume) society. An atheist conditioned in societies that accept those things may well have agreed.
Obviously then society is not a violable option from which to obtain objective morals.
Not obviously at all. You haven't provided any evidence, just failed arguments.

If the atheist is not willing to accept the moral authority of society the only authority left is the individual, but if the individual is his own authority then there is no objective morality. Once again all morality becomes subjective.
Such an individual is a sociopath. And, society does have means to enforce its authority.

Some atheists contend that there is no such thing as objective morality because different societies have different morals, and there is no particular moral which is accepted by all peoples. Whether or not this is true is debatable, but irrelevant to the present argument.
I agree.
When we are talking about objective morality we are only speaking of man's seemingly natural propensity to declare something to be right or wrong, not only for himself, but also for others. For the sake of this argument the particular moral is irrelevant, as we are dealing with man's general tendency not with his specific choice.
Yes, and you still haven't given any evidence that your god is necessary for this.

All of this, by the way, is consistent with Christianity which says that man was created by God who declares rights and wrongs for all of mankind.
It is also consistent with all other religions with similar claims. That really means nothing.
As a result we all have an intuitive sense that there are objective morals, but since we are fallen, estranged from God, and on our own, we often times disagree as to what those morals should be.
Myths are made up to explain things, so I would kind of expect the situation being explained to be real.
This is exactly what is seen in the world in which we live, and exactly what Christianity would predict that we should see.
See my last comment.


Life Has Meaning
this should be good...

As far back as we have written records man has always believed that life has meaning over and above merely meeting his biological needs.
What humans have historically believed is not evidence. Humans have been wrong about a lot of things for a long time.
It can be anything from loving God, to helping others, to enjoying himself, conquering the world etc.
Interestingly, none of those require that your god actually exist.
As with objective morals the specific meaning does not matter. We are simply concerned here with man's propensity to believe that life does have meaning.
Then I think you are just waffling. If gods (especially yours) exist, the meaning of life isn't a general, feel good idea. It would be very specific

Animals seem to be content to follow their instincts while fulfilling their biological needs.
Are you a pet psychic? Anyone who works with (or closely observes) animals (mostly mammals and birds) will tell you this isn't true.
Man on the other hand acts as if life has meaning over and above these instinctual drives.
Highly developed brain
But life can only have meaning if an intelligent being gives it such.
A highly developed brain will do that
If there is no intelligent being at our origin, which I guess in this case would be the Big Bang, or maybe the formation of the first cell, then there can be no inherent meaning to life.
Where did this "inherent meaning" crap come from. You were saying humans tend to believe their lives have meaning. Oh yeah, bait-and-switch is a staple of xian argument

Man as an intelligent being can and does give meaning to his life, in fact, it seems to be natural for him to do so.
Yeah. Humans give their own lives meaning. This doesn't seem to support your thesis
The question the atheist must answer is why, if man's life is inherently meaningless, does he naturally find the need to give it meaning? He will most likely say that it evolved in man to help him to better survive.
We all need a reason to get out of bed in the morning
But once again he must ask himself why man must act as if there is a God to best survive in a godless world.
I call shenanigans. Giving your life meaning is not "acting as if there is a God". That would be following the specific meaning your god is supposed to have given. (But you weren't going to talk about specific meaning. Ahh, xian bait-and-switch, again.)

If on the one hand there is a God, then life has meaning and man would naturally act as such, and this is exactly what he does.
No. There would be a specific meaning and your imaginary psycho would be smiting anyone who didn't toe the line left and right, which is exactly what doesn't happen
On the other hand if there is no God, man should be perfectly content to live a meaningless life in a meaningless world, and he has never been able to do this.
How do you reach that conclusion? Just saying it doesn't make it true.


Free Will
nnnggghhh...

In an atheistic world all thoughts would be produced by the interaction of the mind with the environment.
Yep
There would be no mechanism, such as, an independent soul to supersede this interaction and come up with independent thoughts.
Yep.
All of our actions would be mapped out for us by which thought produced by this interaction presents itself to the mind in the most favorable light.
Pretty much.

So despite virtually all human beings for all of history believing that we make independently free choices on a daily basis, the atheist must believe that this is all an illusion.
ARGH! What humans have historically believed is not evidence. And yes, it is an illusion.
He must believe that we only think that we have free will. In reality we are merely the unwitting slaves of the mind/environment interaction.
Yep. That amazingly complicated interaction.
Such a belief is depressing, and does not explain man's natural sense that his thoughts are independent and free.
Says you. I'm cool with it. And what part of 'illusion' don't you get?


The Idea of God
I can already see that there will be no evidence in this

As stated above all thoughts in an atheistic world are produced by the mind interacting with its environment.
Yep
An interesting question therefore arises. How does the interaction of an atheistic mind with an atheistic environment produce theistic thoughts?
Links above. or google. Your question has been answered.

An atheist will generally respond to this question by stringing a few thoughts together to show how by simply reasoning on the basis of what he sees around him he can come up with the concept of God.
Sure
The problem with such a counter argument is that he cannot show that this is an atheistic world.
Don't have to. Default position.
Therefore he cannot show that his reasoning is the result of an atheistic mind interacting with an atheistic environment. It very well could be that this is a theistic world and his ease in stringing together thoughts that lead to God is because God has created us to easily do so.
Sweet! We're livin' in the God-Matrix!

What the atheist has to do is to come up with a mechanism in an imaginary atheistic world to free him from the natural course of an atheistic mind interacting with an atheistic environment naturally producing atheistic thoughts.
Can I get bleu cheese on that word salad?
If the atheist says that it is impossible to imagine such a world, then isn't he saying that the only world possible to imagine is one in which the idea of God is easily attained?
I can imagine pretty much anything. You have totally lost me. What were we talking about?
If this is the case, then once again the atheist must honestly ask himself whether the easily attainable idea of God would be more likely in a theistic world or in an atheistic one.
Still no evidence, just obfuscating nonsense


The Desire to Live Forever
This is getting old

If this were an atheistic world there would be no eternal life.
You are implying that there is. Show me.
All life would be mortal.
It sure looks that way
If mortality were our natural state, one would think that we would be comfortable with it, but we are not.
Why? A desire to live a long as possible is clearly a selectable trait. And some of us are comfortable with the idea.

Why is it that in all other aspects of life man lives according to his nature and seems to be content to do so? When we are hungry we eat, when we are tired we rest or sleep, but we struggle with the idea of death.
When we are hungry, we want to eat. When we are tired, we want to sleep. We typically only want to die when we are suicidal. Guess what usually happens then?
We see it as an unwelcome intrusion just as Christianity says that it is.
Myth = Made up explanation for real situation = No connection with reality

Christian theology says that we were created to live forever, but because of sin we are subjected to corruption and death.
Saying something does not make it true.
This not only explains why we have a strong desire to live forever, but it also explains why we see death as such a tragedy.
Myth = Made up explanation for real situation = No connection with reality
It seems to me that once again Christianity does a better job in explaining human nature as it has always been then does atheism.
Not really. I seem to remember you saying something about evidence...?


Conclusion
Finally

In the preceding paragraphs we have considered two models - an atheistic world and a Christian world.
Well, kinda-sorta-but-not-really.
We have looked at human nature in the way it has always been for as long as we have written records.
Yeah, kind of a waste of time, that.
It seems to be clear that we as humans act in our day-to-day lives, even when we are not thinking about it, as if there is a God,
Maybe you do, but even if that were true, it wouldn't need your god to actually exist.
and we thrive best in the world in which we live when we do so.
I don't see that you've shown that, and again...
The atheist finds himself in the unenviable position of trying to explain why man must act as if there is a God to best survive in a world in which there is no God.
Only in your imagination
Our job as Christians is much easier. The reason why we as human beings have always acted consistently with the idea that God exists is because he does.
Does not logically follow. Argument failed.

So, a lot of bait-and-switch (or goal-post shifting, if you prefer), a lot of unsupported assertions, a little obfuscation, and a heaping helping of bad logic.

No actual evidence. Quelle surprise.

Oh yeah. Even if this line of argument wasn't total bullplop, he still needs to demonstrate why it has to be the xian god, and not any of the thousands of others humans have made up over the millenia.

The only good thing I can say about this is that at least he seem to understand the use of whitespace.

Later,

5 people have spouted off:

Flipt said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jackie said...

I think he's been watching Bill O. Humans believe in stuff. You can't explain that

John said...
That could be it.
2/19/11, 5:35 PM
Flipt said...

that is a terrible web design. reminds me of a high school project circa 1996

John said...
Yeah.. The truly sad part is that it's orders of magnitude better than some other creationist websites.
2/27/11, 4:57 PM