Friday, May 13, 2011

Wherein I Prove There Is No God

I have a confession to make.

I've gradually moved into a position that is quite similar to Strong Atheism. My reason for this is my multiple discussions with religious folks over the last few years, and the fact that their cases for their religions are weaker than most conspiracy theories. You guys have had literally centuries to perfect your arguments, and the best you have can't withstand any serious investigation. If the case for any god is so weak, why should I believe it at all? How is it possible that such a concept can be true and yet not proved after millennia of people trying to prove it?

Which brings me to this video:



This is one of several videos Shockofgod, formerly ShockAweNow, posed asking the same question: "What proof and evidence do you have that atheism is accurate and correct?" Plenty of people have dismissed the question (and rightfully so, as this dude proves). That said, I think I can answer it pretty well. Click the link to read more.
Now, I'd be foolish to forget this video, which is the only time I've seen someone try to address the question. This attempt actually fails due to the fact that some god can make up a "new body' in the afterlife for his or her believers. Essentially, it would be like saving all data from a computer (to continue the computer analogy) and putting it on another computer. In fact, that idea is prevalent in christian thought.

No, my disproof is based on the idea of "intelligent design". Now, before we start, we should define our terms.

THEISM: Belief that there is at least one creator god that is also a personal god.

DEISM: Belief that there is at least one creator god, but no personal god, specifically, no personal god that cares about life in this universe, human or otherwise.

ATHEISM: Lack of belief in any deity. This includes self-described atheists, agnostics, people who have no opinion either way, and pantheists. After all, if everything is god, then nothing is god.

As Neil Degrasse Tyson pointed out in his halfway-serious-halfway-joking tirade about Stupid Design, there is no way that there is a designer that cares about life, and if there is, s/he is an idiot. The most important parts are at the beginning.

If you can't view the video, the basic gist is that if any god existed and created this universe in order to house life, then they could have done a much better job. In addition to the things pointed out about the inefficiencies of star creation and the human body, he pointed out that life simply can't exist outside of the planet earth. Clearly, if any deity exists that cares about or likes life, there would have been either less space, or more life in that space. If any theist can counter this, then I invite them to do so, but this does seem like a slam dunk against mainstream theism. Unless you believe that earth (and humanity in general) is special, in which case I have 2 questions, that you need to answer:
1: Why is there so much uninhabitable space?
2: Why is the earth so inhospitable to life, especially human life?

I have anticipated the "fall of man" as an answer from christians. Look up Genesis 3, where that story takes place (NASB version here) The consequences of these actions are:
  • Snakes lose their legs and have to drag themselves on their bellies
  • Childbirth will hurt for women (humourously mocked here)
  • People will have to farm food
  • Thistles and thorns will grow, meaning that we created several plant species by eating fruit
  • We will die
So, it doesn't account for the creation of disease, not being able to breathe under water, not being able to survive in extremely cold or hot areas, etc. That's what I'm talking about.

This leaves deism and atheism. This choice is almost literally pointless. Neither suggests an afterlife, rules for life, or any other difference in anything aside from the beginning of the universe. However, using Occam's Razor, we can eliminate deism for adding an unnecessary step. There is no need for a deist deity to exist, and if there is, it's totally irrelevant.

So, now that we've eliminated theism as a viable possibility, and since deism is at best, an irrelevant option, we're left with atheism. As the greatest thinker of all time, Sherlock Holmes, once said: "
When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth."

I fully expect this to end all debate on this issue.

4 comments:

  1. Shockofgod is not a pro, check out how crazy Alvin Plantinga's arguments are:

    http://youtu.be/eU-wpNOyuas
    http://youtu.be/oSjRRp_3SSI

    It's the best that professional, philosophically educated apologists can do.

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  2. Hi Ben,

    Several things I'd like to comment on here:
    How is it possible that such a concept can be true and yet not proved after millennia of people trying to prove it?

    Um, well over 90% of all humanity that has ever existed has believed in one or more gods. Atheism is not going to win any popularity contests.
    Besides, proof is not the same as persuasion.


    there is no way that there is a designer that cares about life, and if there is, s/he is an idiot...the basic gist is that if any god existed and created this universe in order to house life, then they could have done a much better job.

    1) Prove it. Do it yourself and let's see how far you get.
    2) How do you know what trade-offs the Creator had to make during the creation?
    3) Once you've accounted them (I'd guess they'd be in the quadrillions, so you better drop everything and get started soon. Pack a lunch, too), how would you do better?
    4) Once you've figured how you'd do better, could you produce a prototype for the rest of us to examine? You know, subject it to peer review?
    5) Make sure to use your own raw materials, by the way. Don't use God's.
    6) How do you know the purpose of the Creator in creating the given "stupid design" that way, that you know that it was "stupid"? Do you know His mind such that you can know He had a good idea but implemented it poorly, or had a bad idea?
    7) If naturalism is true, to precisely what standard, what teleology, do you compare this? There is no designer, therefore no design. There is no "good" design and therefore no "bad" design. If the designer had _____-ed the _____, who are you to dictate that that would definitely be better than the way it is now?
    8) Maybe the designer tried really hard and managed to design life more or less as it is but couldn't get all the minutiƦ down pat, like he wanted. (Not a Christian view, but you can't overturn it.)



    Clearly, if any deity exists that cares about or likes life, there would have been either less space, or more life in that space.

    But, again, to what standard are you comparing?
    How do you know this is true?
    What if the Creator wanted humanity to multiply of their own actions and fill up more space gradually?
    How do you know how much life would be required to "like" it sufficiently for you? You're really reaching with this one, and so is Christopher Hitchens,.



    1: Why is there so much uninhabitable space?
    2: Why is the earth so inhospitable to life, especially human life?


    1: B/c God wanted there to be.
    2: It's not - you may have noticed that there are 6+ billion people on Earth right about now.
    Your objection flies in the face of the typical leftist whine these days anyway, that people are too numerous. How is that possible if "the earth" is "so inhospitable to life"?



    Snakes lose their legs and have to drag themselves on their bellies

    That particular serpent, specifically. No word is given about ALL snakes.


    (the Fall) doesn't account for the creation of disease, not being able to breathe under water, not being able to survive in extremely cold or hot areas, etc. That's what I'm talking about.

    If there's no death, how could there be disease?
    And the others are accounted for easily by remembering that Adam and Eve had to leave the paradisical Garden of Eden, such that now they'd have to run more risks with their physical environment. Water deep enough to be submerged in, cold and hot areas, etc.



    I fully expect this to end all debate on this issue.

    Then you haven't thought about this very much.

    Peace,
    Rhology

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  3. Rhology,

    Most traditional definitions of God include the possession of infinite intelligence. So neither Ben nor I nor anyone else has to present an alternative design to the universe that is better for human life than this one. The burden of proof is on you, to demonstrate that the current universe is the best possible universe that could possibly exist for humanity for a being that has infinite resources and infinite intelligence at its disposal.

    You asked Ben to come up with something better. He can't. But he doesn't need to come up with something better to prove God does not exist. He only needs to come up with the possibility of something better - and for an infinitely intelligent God, the possibility exists.

    -Mike

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  4. Hi Mike,

    Yes, I accept that God has infinite intelligence.
    Let me explain this a little more to you.

    IF CHRISTIANITY IS TRUE
    God has infinite intelligence, and what He says goes, ultimately.
    If you think that you have an improvement over what He did/said, you're wrong. This is because you're sinful and in rebellion against God, and b/c you don't actually know better than an omniscient being. You're just being foolish.


    IF ATHEISM IS TRUE
    There is no design to the universe.
    This means that there is no "better" or "worse". There just IS. Thus saying "this could have been better" is meaningless.

    So, on either view, your statements make no sense.

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