“Nothing New Here”

After posting my previous entry, “Who Made God?,” I went to Twitter and tweeted about the blog (I’m @AnswersAuthor, and there’s a “follow” button at the bottom of this page). Here’s a typical message I tweeted: “#Atheists like #ChristopherHitchens ask, ‘If God made the universe, who made God?’ Find the answer to that question at https://thetruthwillmakeyoumad.wordpress.com.”

I got a wide range of responses, both complimentary and otherwise. The uncomplimentary tweets included: “Claptrap. Self-devolving prose.” “What a pathetic specimen you are, clinging to your superstition for dear life.” “I feel ever so slightly dumber after reading some of that.”

To the twitterer who felt “ever so slightly dumber,” I replied, “Sorry my blog made you feel dumb. That was not my intent. Reread two more times—I’m sure you’ll feel smarter.” He tweeted back, “I’m afraid if I read more the result will irreversible.” To which I replied, “Then, by all means, avoid exposure to new ideas and information. I wish you well.” Ah, but we weren’t quite done. He tweeted back: “Nothing in your writing was new.”

At that point, I knew exactly how this thing would play out. I’ve spent the past 25 years studying the evidence and assembling my own case for God. I know for an absolute fact that I’ve put together a case (especially the “Who Made God?” argument) that is not in print anywhere else. I know how groundbreaking these ideas are. So for this twitterer to say there’s nothing new here is so obviously false that I knew he was bluffing. He either hadn’t read the blog, or he didn’t understand the blog, or he was pretending to have knowledge he just didn’t have.

Well, it was time for him to put up or shut up, so I tweeted back: “Excellent. You can cite for me which ideas in the article you’ve seen before and where you read them?” And, as I knew he would, he tweeted back: “Or I could waste no more of my time on you.” To which I replied, “That’s fine. As I said a few tweets ago, I wish you well.”

And I meant it. I do wish him well. I wish nothing but the best for all of my critics on Twitter and elsewhere. I hope they find the truth they are so strenuously, belligerently trying to avoid and suppress.

For some reason, my atheist critics on Twitter are usually angry and hostile, and their attacks are disproportionately personal and vindictive. I don’t know why that is. Is it the atheist mindset itself that makes people so hostile? Or is it something about Twitter, and its 140-character limitations, that makes people behave badly? I really don’t know.

One twitterer attacked my Twitter profile bio, saying, “Even his bio is a self-aggrandizing word salad.” My bio reads: “Skeptical believer, Christian anthropicist, Hayek-Friedman-Reagan small-gummint classical liberal, post-partisan author.” A word salad is defined as a string of incomprehensible words having no apparent connection to one another. But my Twitter bio is a highly succinct and accurate summation of who I am. It describes me.

So I replied (in a series of tweets), “You are kidding me! Attacking my bio, dude? Really? A rational response would be: Examine my sources, confront any faulty logic, and show me the error of my ways. I don’t know why my humble little blog is so threatening to you, but feel free to simply avoid new ideas and reject new information. Ad hominem attack is so weak and anti-rational.”

The twitterer replied, “But so apropos in this case and so enjoyable, Skippy!”

Now, here’s a weird thing I’ve noticed: For some reason, atheists on Twitter like to call their opponents “Skippy.” I’ve encountered that multiple times. I replied (over several tweets): “Atheists’ Handbook, p. 37: ‘When out of intellectual ammo, call the other guy Skippy.’ You’re the third atheist to call me that. Weak, irrational ad hominem attack is never logically apropos, but when that’s all you’ve got . . .”

I didn’t hear back.

Another atheist looked at my blog and tweeted, “An ignorant response which fails horribly. The atheist Hitchens’ question still stands, even though you word-play. Pathetic.”

So I responded, “Know what’s really pathetic? Asserting that something ‘fails horribly’ or is ignorant wordplay without backing up the assertion. Christopher Hitchens said, ‘What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.’ Where’s your evidence? #Weak”

The atheist replied, “What do #atheists need evidence for? When Hitchens said that, he was speaking of theists and their assertions. Pay attention.”

Well, of course, Hitchens was speaking of theists and their assertions. But the Hitchens principle cuts both ways. If a theist makes an assertion without evidence, it can be dismissed without evidence. And if an atheist or anti-theist makes an assertion, it too can be dismissed on the same basis.

My atheist friend on Twitter asserted that my blog was failed, ignorant wordplay. Okay, that’s an assertion. Now, back up your assertion with facts. What did I write that demonstrates ignorance? Where does my logic fail? Where does my evidence fail? If you just flatly assert that I’m wrong, yet you can’t tell me why I’m wrong and where I went wrong (especially when everything I’ve written is sourced and footnoted), then frankly, you’re the one who looks pathetic.

So I replied: “Hitchens was stating a broad principle: If you make a claim, back it up with fact. And yes, atheism makes assertions.”

The atheist tweeted back, “#Atheism doesn’t make assertions. You seem confused.”

I replied, “Atheism is your dogma. It blinds you to new information and new ideas.”

The atheist replied: “Why are you confused over the definition of #atheism? It’s very clear. There is no mistake. I can help you if you want. #Atheism is the position where one lacks belief in a god. Therefore, it’s not dogma. To say it’s dogma makes you look ignorant.”

Rather than reply within the 140-character restraints of Twitter, I decided to write this blog entry. I understand why my atheist friend thinks only theists need to provide evidence. I understand why he thinks that atheism makes no assertions. I understand why he denies that atheism is dogma. And I can explain why he’s wrong.

Atheist philosopher Antony Flew (who, late in life, converted to theism) divided the atheist community into two camps, “strong atheism” and “weak atheism.” Strong atheism asserts that no deities exist. Weak atheism is lack of belief in a deity without an explicit assertion that no deities exist. So my atheist friend on Twitter claims to be (by Flew’s definition) a “weak atheist.”

An assertion that is common to both strong and weak atheism is the assertion of materialism. This assertion states that the entire universe consists of nothing but matter and energy, and all phenomena in the universe, including human consciousness, result from material interactions. Science fiction writer Isaac Asimov typified the materialist view when he wrote:

The molecules of my body, after my conception, added other molecules and arranged the whole into more and more complex form. . . . In the process, I developed, little by little, into a conscious something I call “I” that exists only as the arrangement. When the arrangement is lost forever, as it will be when I die, the “I” will be lost forever, too.

And that suits me fine. No concept I have ever heard, of either a Hell or of a Heaven, has seemed to me to be suitable for a civilized rational mind to inhabit, and I would rather have the nothingness.

In my blog entry, “Who Made God?,” I present what I consider to be a compelling case that this atheist assertion is FALSE. The evidence shows that there is more to the universe than materialism, and that Mind is the ground of all reality. Any fair-minded, objective reader would have to agree that I have presented ideas and evidence that are AT LEAST worthy of consideration.

If, however, you are blinded by your dogma, if you are closed to new ideas and new information and your mind is set in stone, you will not give my ideas fair consideration. You’ll dismiss those ideas in knee-jerk fashion as “claptrap” and “ignorant wordplay.” You’ll mock the author of those ideas as “a pathetic specimen clinging to superstition.” You’ll claim that reading it actually makes you dumber. You’ll say it’s nothing new.

The one thing you will not do is actually examine those ideas and consider the evidence. You won’t even try to challenge the author’s reasoning, because to actually think about these ideas would threaten your dogma. It would mean honestly and objectively asking yourself, “What if the author is right?”

Many people assume the word dogma applies only to religious belief and doctrine. Not true. A dogma is a set of opinions or beliefs that are held with such tenacity that one becomes closed to new ideas and new information. If you find yourself feeling angry or annoyed by the ideas I presented in “Who Made God?,” there’s a good chance you are blinded by your dogma. A non-dogmatic person might disagree and calmly challenge those ideas. Or a non-dogmatic person might simply shrug and walk away. But only a dogmatist becomes hostile and insulting in response to a reasonably expressed viewpoint.

And these comments aren’t directed only at atheists. I have found that there are two groups of people who are hostile to the scientific evidence for God. One group, of course, is dogmatic atheists. The other group is dogmatic Christians. For some reason, extremely dogmatic Christians tend to hate the idea that the existence of God might be provable. They seem to think there is something noble about “blind faith,” belief without evidence.

But without evidence, how can you know what to believe?

Elton Trueblood said, “Faith is not belief without proof, but trust without reservation.” I agree. And once you’ve seen the evidence, once you’ve experienced the proof, then you can trust unreservedly. Whether believer or atheist, we must have the courage to follow the evidence. Bart D. Ehrman put it this way: “The search for truth takes you where the evidence leads you, even if, at first, you don’t want to go there.”

Dogmatic people invariably get mad when the truth pokes holes in their dogma. That’s why this blog is called, “The Truth Will Make You Mad.” Instead of getting mad, set yourself free. If you really want to know the truth, you owe it to yourself to open your mind and examine the evidence.

Who knows? If you actually THINK about my ideas and evidence, you just might find a way to prove me wrong.

______________________________________________

Postscript, September 3, 2012:

The atheist twitterer responded to my blog entry about as I expected. I’ll take the liberty of translating Twitterspeak to English—for example, changing “u” to “you,” “ur” to “your,” and so forth—for the sake of clarity. He tweeted:

“Your blog fails because you continue to be confused over what atheism means. Strong/weak are not real subcategories either.”

“An atheist is one without belief in a god. Strong/weak merely define what view atheists have in addition to atheism.”

“I refer you to my blog in response to your ignorance about atheism.”

His blog delves into the origin of the word atheism to explain the difference between “without belief in a god” versus “a belief that there is no god.” Yeah, I get that. And I explicitly acknowledged that distinction above.

As to whether strong/weak atheism (also called positive/negative atheism) are real subcategories, his argument is not with me but with atheist scholars like Antony Flew and Michael Martin. In the glossary to The Cambridge Companion to Atheism (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007, pages xvii and xviii), Martin writes:

Negative atheism: absence of belief in any god or gods. More narrowly conceived, it is the absence of belief in the theistic God. Cf. positive atheism. . . .

Positive atheism: disbelief in any god or gods. More narrowly conceived, it is disbelief in the theistic God. Cf. negative atheism.

Okay, enough hair-splitting. My atheist friend’s next tweet:

“Until you can come up with actual evidence for a god, you will continue to have the burden of proof, and we will sit, point and laugh at you.”

That burden began to shift as far back as September 1973 when physicist Brandon Carter presented a paper (“Large Number Coincidences and the Anthropic Principle in Cosmology”) at the Copernicus symposium in Kraków, Poland. Carter described some of the odd coincidences in the universe—a multitude of seemingly unrelated laws of physics that appear to be coordinated and fine-tuned to produce life. Carter called this concept “the anthropic principle,” also known as the “fine-tuned universe” concept. I address it in greater detail in “Is Our Universe ‘the Ultimate Artifact’?”

In the years since Brandon Carter delivered that paper at the Kraków symposium, the evidence has been steadily growing that the universe seems to have been deliberately fine-tuned to produce life, and that Mind is essential to the existence of the universe. That is the foundation of the case I have assembled in my blog entries, “Is Our Universe ‘the Ultimate Artifact’?” and “Who Made God?” 

Is the fine-tuned universe proof of the existence of God? Some scientists find it convincing. Others do not. Those who are convinced include theoretical physicist Freeman Dyson, physicist Frank Tipler, astronomer Alan Sandage, and Francis Collins, former head of the Human Genome Project and President Obama’s head of the National Institutes of Health.

Even scientists who are unconvinced recognize that the anthropic evidence is powerful and at least gives the unmistakable appearance of pointing to God. Atheist physicist George Greenstein wrote:

As we survey all the evidence, the thought insistently arises that some supernatural agency—or, rather, Agency—must be involved. Is it possible that suddenly, without intending to, we have stumbled upon scientific proof of the existence of a Supreme Being? Was it God who stepped in and so providentially crafted the cosmos for our benefit? …

It is a matter of taste how one deals with that notion. Those who wish are free to accept it, and I have no way to prove them wrong. But I know where I stand. . . . I reject it utterly.

[George Greenstein, The Symbiotic Universe (New York: William Morrow, 1988), pp. 27 and 87.]

So Greenstein clearly states that the anthropic evidence appears to point to God, though he himself rejects that notion. The evidence Greenstein refers to is essentially the evidence I present in “Is Our Universe ‘the Ultimate Artifact’?” I take those ideas even further in “Who Made God?”

Those two blog entries contain about 4800 words of rational scientific evidence, yet they form just a brief introduction to the mountain of evidence that exists. Even so, they dismantle the ignorant atheist canard that there’s “no evidence” for God.

If my atheist friend is correct and the burden of evidence is on me, then hey, no problem, I have delivered the goods. It’s there in those blogs. He and his fellow atheist twitterers are either unwilling or unable to deal with that evidence, because over the past few days, not one of them has challenged or refuted a single word in those blogs.

My atheist friend can continue splitting hairs about the definition of atheism if he likes, and he can “sit, point and laugh” at the evidence and the truth. But the burden is now on my atheist friend to put up or shut up—and to come up with some facts and intelligent reasoning to counter what I have presented.

The atheist twitterer concludes:

“There is no ‘scientific evidence’ for your god. Atheists appear hostile to your irrational beliefs, not your invisible evidence.”

You, the reader, can judge for yourself if these blogs begin to build a case for a Cosmic Designer, as I claim—or if they are nothing but “irrational beliefs” and “invisible evidence,” as my atheist friend claims.

Oh, and one more thing: Christopher Hitchens, author of God is Not Great, has acknowledged that the fine-to universe evidence is “intriguing” and “not trivial.” You can hear it from Hitchens’ own lips at “Christopher Hitchens Makes a Startling Admission.”  Here’s the essential part of Hitchens’ statement [note: when Hitchens says “we,” he means leading atheists such as Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and himself]:

At some point, certainly, we are all asked which is the best argument you come up against from the other side. I think every one of us picks the fine-tuning one as the most intriguing. . . . Even though it doesn’t prove design, doesn’t prove a Designer . . . you have to spend time thinking about it, working on it. It’s not a trivial [argument]. We all say that.

If Christopher Hitchens, the atheists’ atheist, acknowledged that the fine-tuning evidence is “not trivial,” that it is “most intriguing,” that “you have to spend time thinking about it, working on it,” then anyone who says there is “no scientific evidence” for God is either intellectually dishonest or ignorant.

______________________________________________

Post-postscript:

The atheist twitterer in question has asked that I give out his Twitter username (@TedTheAtheist) and the link to his blog reply. Done.

A person with a fixed idea will always find some way
of convincing himself in the end that he is right.”

Mathematician Atle Selberg

Advertisements
Previous Post
Leave a comment

6 Comments

  1. I find it funny that you link someone saying: “A person with a fixed idea will always find some way of convincing himself in the end that he is right.”

    Throughout your post, you give opinions and references to what appear to be authority in order to base your claim that a god exists. However, these are not proper ways of substantiating claims of a god’s existence. Thus, the above quote, of which you reference, perfectly suits due to those facts.

    Reply
  2. The meaning of the Atle Selberg quote should be pretty obvious. ANY opinion or belief can become a dogma if held with such tenacity that one becomes closed to new ideas and new information. It doesn’t matter if the dogma is true or false. If you are so committed to your dogma that you can’t even examine opposing ideas, if it makes you angry that other people think differently than you do, if you assert your personal opinion as incontrovertible fact, then you are blinded by your dogma.

    People usually associate dogma with religion, but people can also become dogmatic about politics, philosophy, social policy, and yes, atheism. When I post 4800 words jam-packed with scientific evidence, and an atheist tells me I haven’t presented ANY evidence whatsoever, it’s clear that I’m dealing with a dogmatic individual.

    Here’s a brief survey of the evidence I presented in those two blogs:

    In the piece called “Is Our Universe ‘the Ultimate Artifact’?” I talked about the fact that the laws and constants of nature HAD to have been laid down at the moment of the Big Bang and I briefly examined the fine-tuned characteristics of the Big Bang; the fine-tuning of the electromagnetic, gravitational, strong nuclear force, and weak nuclear force constants; the fine-tuned balance between those forces; the fine-tuned proton-to-electron mass ratio; the fine-tuned properties of water; and more; and I talked about why these fine-tuned properties are crucial to the existence of life in the universe.

    And there’s a lot of scientific evidence that, for the sake of brevity, I didn’t even discuss—such as the fine-tuned nucleosynthesis of carbon (as discovered by Fred Hoyle), and the nuclear resonance that enables life-giving oxygen to exist in abundance, and on and on.

    (This is the same evidence, by the way, that persuaded atheist philosopher Antony Flew to convert to theism.)

    Next, in the piece called “Who Made God?,” I talked about the importance of having our consciousness raised not once, but twice—first, by the principle of natural selection and second, by the anthropic principle (cosmic fine-tuning). I talked about the moment that physicists and cosmologists call t = 0, the Big Bang instant, and why (once we’ve had our consciousness raised by the anthropic principle) the moment of t = 0 suggests that Mind, not space-time, is the ground of existence.

    I didn’t take time to go in-depth into the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum physics, but I did talk about its implications, and the fact that actual laboratory experiments (such as the double-slit experiment [see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Double-slit_experiment]) prove that the behavior of subatomic particles is entangled with the choices made by conscious observers. This is not mysticism. This is basic, well-established, high school level textbook physics.

    As I said in the blog post, quantum physics shows (according to physicist Erwin Schrodinger) that Mind interacts with the material world but is not part of the material world. If you’re not familiar with quantum physics, you probably think I’m spouting mysticism. But if you are well-acquainted with science, you know that this is Quantum Physics 101.

    I also talked about the ideas of Nobel prize-winning neurophysiologist Sir John Carew Eccles (an expert on consciousness and quantum processes within the brain synapses) and the views of physicist Nick Herbert on consciousness and quantum mechanics.

    Did I PROVE the existence of God in two brief blog entries? Puh-leeze. Of course not.

    I provided some of the evidence (and there is much, much more) that points to the conclusion that the universe was deliberately fine-tuned to produce life, that the odds are trillions to one against such a delicately balanced life-giving system arising by random chance, that the evidence shows meaning and purpose in the universe, that the purpose is to produce life, that the universe is the product of a conscious mind, and that the scientific evidence of quantum mechanics supports the view that the ultimate ground of reality is not space and time, matter and energy (which were all created in the Big Bang), but Mind itself.

    This is a scientific concept of God, not a concept that arises from any particular religious text or tradition. Based on the evidence I have discussed here, the Cosmic Designer might be a single vast intelligence along the lines of the Judeo-Christian God. Or the Cosmic Designer might be a committee of scientists from another universe. Or the Cosmic Designer might be something completely unimaginable.

    I don’t expect anyone to be persuaded by a couple of blogs. But I do expect reasonable people to behave in a rational fashion and acknowledge that I’m not just blowing smoke. And that’s all I’m going to say, because the evidence speaks for itself. When critics are unwilling to acknowledge the existence of the evidence I spread before them, when all the critics have to offer is weak mockery and pathetic denial, there’s really nothing more to discuss, is there?

    Reply
  3. You said: “The meaning of the Atle Selberg quote should be pretty obvious. ANY opinion or belief can become a dogma if held with such tenacity that one becomes closed to new ideas and new information. It doesn’t matter if the dogma is true or false. If you are so committed to your dogma that you can’t even examine opposing ideas, if it makes you angry that other people think differently than you do, if you assert your personal opinion as incontrovertible fact, then you are blinded by your dogma.”

    -Entertaining your ridiculous “ideas” is not important. What’s important is what you can prove. If you can’t show there is a god, because that’s the assertion you make, then your belief in one is irrational. Whining about how you personally think that someone isn’t “listening to your ideas” doesn’t change that fact.

    You said: “People usually associate dogma with religion, but people can also become dogmatic about politics, philosophy, social policy, and yes, atheism.”

    -Sorry, but atheism is a lack of belief in a god. You can’t be dogmatic when there is no dogma. O_o This is an obvious expression of your continued ignorance about what atheism is.

    You use the opinionated phrase of “fine turning” a *LOT*, and you even refer to specific people that have become theistic, according to you. However, neither of these references are evidences of any god whatsoever. Who cares who became theistic? Who cares about your opinion about what’s “fine tuning”? What matters is what you can show scientifically – something you cannot do, so your belief remains irrational.

    You said: “As I said in the blog post, quantum physics shows (according to physicist Erwin Schrodinger) that Mind interacts with the material world but is not part of the material world.”

    -We have much to learn about the world, I agree. However, what you just said above does not help you give support for the existence of any god.

    You said: “Did I PROVE the existence of God in two brief blog entries? Puh-leeze. Of course not.”

    -And that’s all we care about. Until you can show evidence for a god, you continuing to assert one is true is an irrational, ridiculous belief to hold.. no matter how much you try to point out that we are ignorant, your opinions or your attempts to refer to an authority. This is something you don’t get.

    You said: “I provided some of the evidence (and there is much, much more) that points to the conclusion that the universe was deliberately fine-tuned to produce life,”

    -You have provided no such evidence whatsoever. The mere fact that you used “fine-tuned” is just an expression of your opinion – not backed by science in any way. Your opinion != fact/evidence.

    You said: “that the odds are trillions to one against such a delicately balanced life-giving system arising by random chance,”

    -Yet here we are! Well what do you know! And there is no such thing as “chance”. There is a cause and effect.

    You said: “that the evidence shows meaning and purpose in the universe, that the purpose is to produce life, that the universe is the product of a conscious mind, and that the scientific evidence of quantum mechanics supports the view that the ultimate ground of reality is not space and time, matter and energy (which were all created in the Big Bang), but Mind itself.”

    -Sorry, you’ve given no evidence at all, remember?
    Meaning/purpose is relative. There is no universal of either.
    Sorry, you’ve given no evidence of the universe being a “product of a conscious mind”, blah blah.. you’ve only attempted to assert it did, without any scientific foundation whatsoever.

    You said: “I don’t expect anyone to be persuaded by a couple of blogs.”

    -People are persuaded by evidence. You haven’t given any. You’ve told us your opinions, your interpretations which aren’t supported by science and also you’ve attempted to argue via authority, which never works out if your favor.

    You said: “But I do expect reasonable people to behave in a rational fashion and acknowledge that ”

    -Reasonable people behaving in a rational fashion would dismiss your ridiculous claims in gods until you can come forth with evidence in support – not your dreamy obfuscation talk.

    You said: “And that’s all I’m going to say, because the evidence speaks for itself.”

    -Remember, you have given no evidence, as I have clearly pointed out. You might come back with: “Yes I have!” Yet, when asked, you will just refer to your opinions and references to what you feel is an authority figure. Neither of which is evidence. So no, sir, you haven’t given us any evidence that “speaks for itself”. The real problem here is that you don’t know how to think correctly, which put you in the gullible/ignorant position that you’re in.

    You said: “When critics are unwilling to acknowledge the existence of the evidence I spread before them”

    -Translation: “When critics are unwilling to buy into the garbage that comes out of my mouth…”

    You said: “there’s really nothing more to discuss, is there?”

    -Well, we can talk about why you’ve never learned to think properly (was it bad parenting?), and why you continue to remain willfully ignorant (too brainwashed? Fear of offending your parents/relatives?).

    Reply
  4. I didn’t think it was necessary to define basic English terms, but here goes: EVIDENCE: Facts that are helpful in forming a conclusion or judgment. PROOF: Evidence that compels acceptance that an assertion is true. Please note the distinction. Finally, as Karl Popper wrote in The Open Society and Its Enemies, Vol. 2, “No rational argument will have a rational effect on a man who does not want to adopt a rational attitude.”

    Reply
  5. Well, when you actually DO have evidence for your imaginary sky-daddy, we’d love to hear about it.

    Reply
  6. If atheism is just the atheist’s lack of belief in God, then it is very clear that it is perfectly consistent with the existence of God.*

    * after all, consider whose belief we are talking about, and what they want.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: