26 March 2009

The New Atheism (Ho-Hum)

My comment on this great essay, by Edward Feser, about the new atheists
Great post. I just ordered your book (from the library :). I used to listen to a lot of atheist audio in my mp3 player in an attempt to find intellectual stimulation--Point of Inquiry, Atheist Experience, Free Thought Radio. Recently, though, I gave it up because their infallible inability to get theistic arguments correctly turned from mere frustration into crushing boredom. They are so self-congratulatory in their intellectual superiority while they TOTALLY misunderstand that which they deride as beneath them. After countless hours of this, I just couldn't go on. I don't know how atheists live and breath in such an environment. As a former atheist, I also purchased the God Delusion, hoping for some semblance of intellectual stimulation. This uneducated union laborer was shocked at how a man of Dawkins reputation and learning can fill a book with fatuous rants and call it argument. He appears to be pathologically incapable of properly characterizing the opposing view. My 12 y/o daughter could out philosophize Dawkins. "If one gives answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame." -Proverbs 18:13
BTW, I'm interested in finding some arguments for atheism that are rigorous and compelling. If you know of any, or have some yourself, speak up in the comments.

10 comments:

Tony said...

Well, I'm an atheist and to be honest what made me become one (i was raised catholic) was the inability to find spiritual and political guide (yes the catholic church is very political in Italy) from people who should represent God. Also history teaches us that every most religious theorys have been disproven. Science gives lots of proof for evolution and religion gives us...the bible? Try asking yourself questions like what real proof that heaven exists and work your way towards other religious questions and the answer will always be "no proof". Also i'd like to add that science is never going to disprove God because it is impossible to disprove that which does not exist. It would be like saying disprove the existance of the Yeti or Harry Potter etc...

Keith said...

“Nobody can imagine how nothing could turn into something. Nobody can get an inch nearer to it by explaining how something could turn into something else… An event is not any more intrinsically intelligible or unintelligible because of the pace at which it moves. For a man who does not believe in a miracle, a slow miracle would be just as incredible as a swift one… The ultimate question is why they go at all; and anybody who really understands that question will know that it always has been and always will be a religious question; or at any rate a philosophical or metaphysical question, and most certainly he will not think the question answered by some substitution of gradual for abrupt change.”
—G. K. Chesterton, The Everlasting Man

mathyoo said...

For most of us atheists, it's not so much an issue of arguments for atheism as it is an utter lack of valid arguments and evidence for any gods. You theists are the ones making the extraordinary claims-where's your extraordinary evidence?

I was raised Catholic, and I never found the answers presented satisfying in any way. The utter lack of evidence and the fallacious arguments presented for Christianity just didn't hold up when I started to examine them and I just couldn't hold on to my beliefs any longer.

You claim that Dawkins arguments are fallacious and his presentation of the theist arguments and positions are wrong, yet you fail to provide any examples or your own counter-arguments. What are your counter arguments?

Jeff Woodward said...

Keith --

The lackluster quality of the current celebrity atheists' arguments has been a theme of mine for some time. One of the many reasons I'm glad not to be an atheist nowadays is how embarrassed I'd be by the guys on my side if I WERE.

Back when I was initially flirting with Christianity (or maybe it was the other way around?), I kind of panicked and read Bertrand Russell's *Why I Am Not a Christian* to reassure myself that unbelief was intellectually respectable. I still think he is the best of the bunch -- head and shoulders above the Dawkinses and Dennetts and Harrises. If I were an atheist, I would rather have Russell on my side than any of the current lightweights.

Since you asked....

Keith said...

Jeff. Privileged to have your comments. I didn't know you came from a background of unbelief. I went from fundamentalism almost to unbelief and when I started my journey back I also read Russell's Why I Am Not a Christian. I found it totally unconvincing. Of course he had way more class than the current celebrity atheists, but I found that he violated the moral argument all throughout his book. It was a constant refrain of how horrible it was that Christianity does this and that and this and that; but he never demonstrated where this standard of Justice was to be philosophically grounded.

Eva said...

Dad, great quote! I seriously have to start reading Chesterton... He rocks! :)

Keith said...

mathyoo, I responded to your challenge here.

Susannah said...

Gentlemen: I'm obviously not as adept at these philosophical debates as you folks are. However, mathyoo raises an interesting point: 'utter lack of valid arguments & evidence for any gods'. Interesting. (Keith, may I pursue a line of thought here?)

Mathyoo (clever moniker - ought to be on a license plate!), I raised some questions @ your blog's 'Ignorance' post, which you haven't addressed. Rather than pursuing the evolution/creationism line that you & Cristina were taking (that's such an easy target), I really do want to know what you think about the questions I asked. I've posted parts of my comments here again:

"I've studied 'what science says about the origins of the universe'...I find it extraordinary & fascinating. Indeed, it's 'a completely natural process.'

Here's where we differ: it's more plausible in my mind to believe that there exists an Architect of this 'completely natural process' than to deny it...

Here's my question: what or who do you believe, as an atheist, is responsible for the organization of any molecule, for the exquisite structure of the double helix? For the mathematic perfection of the circle, the sphere? Who or what do you think is responsible for the mind boggling nature of pi? What about the absolutely astounding creativity & variety of animals/plants in the rainforests? or deserts? I suppose your hypothesis might be that it all arose out of the natural qualities of molecules, etc...I'm not trying to be argumentative. I'm curious.

Even if you look at an atom, the mind blowing structure of protons, neutrons, electrons. Who decided how these things would function & interact? Laws of matter or antimatter? Perhaps. But what or who is/was the Organizing Force of such 'laws'? Nature? Of course. I read here: God.

I'm not one who believes that sincere, evangelical Christianity & science are mutually exclusive... In my mind, all-the-above is all the 'evidence of such an entity' anybody ever needs..."

I do, respectfully, wish that you could address these thoughts. I'm not trying to start an argument. I'm not angry. Just curious. Thanks.

And thanks, Keith, for the forum here. Looks like you've got a good thing going!

mathyoo said...

Actually, I did address your comment on my blog, but the comment seems to have disappeared. I'll work on a response when I get some free time. Essentially, you completely missed the point. I was not saying Cristina was ignorant for believing in any gods, but that she was ignorant about what science says about the origin of the universe and evolution, and ignorant about what atheists claim.

Susannah said...

Mathyoo~ No, no. I got your point about 'ignorance,' I was just moving on to another one.

Actually, friend, you could've made that point to Cris in a kinder, more generous way. Then she may have been willing to hear you. She may have even been willing to learn from you. But because she was so stung by the insulting way you phrased your comment (as I was), it seemed her only choice was defensiveness.

I did a post @ my blog on our exchange (don't worry, I didn't name you), b/c I was inspired by our discussion. I missed the comment in which you responded to my questions (the comment that got away), but I look forward to further discussion when you can carve out time.

Oh, I almost forgot. Aside from the C.S. Lewis titles I mentioned, you may also enjoy "Mathematics - Is God Silent?", by James Nickel, if you're in the reading mood.