an atheist viewpoint

thoughts from a non-theist

Please Convince Me Misrepresent Me

There’s a new blog post at Please Convince Me, called ‘Weighing the Evidence‘, and it claims to be a response to something I’ve said.

Here’s their post, and my thought on it….

Alex B., an atheist recently posted, “You keep saying that your god doesn’t have a beginning, but what evidence do you have of this? (other than Bible verses of course).”

Not unreasonably I was asking for evidence to support the notion that the Christian god has no beginning, no end, and is infinite. Personally I think it’s quite a leap to jump from claiming to know that gods exist to claiming to know the nature of those gods, but that’s just me.

And then replied to my comment, “The preponderance of scientific evidence now points to a Big Bang cosmology that BEGAN the universe.” by saying, “Correction – began OUR universe. We have no idea what was there before.”

That’s exactly what I said, you’ll get no argument there. That was also as far as my comment went – we don’t know what existed before our Universe, nothing more was said.

But what’s this?

What Alex means is that he can’t be sure what happened “before” the Big Bang, but it sure wasn’t God!

What!? That’s not what I meant at all! I said what I meant, but for some reason the writer at Please Convince Me seems to think I said something else. I’m bemused that the writer claims to know what I’m thinking….

This misrepresentation of what I said seems to form the scaffolding for the rest of the post.

I think that we have some idea by using reason. I think that we can reason that it cannot be the case that nothing has existed eternally.

It clearly isn’t the case, as we’re in a Universe that obviously exists (or does it?), I’m not sure what point AL is trying to make here

If nothing was all there always was, then nothing would be all there is now. Since something cannot come from nothing, something had to exist eternally. 

This is an argument from incredulity, it seems that AL is incapable of comprehending that there may have been something before our Universe existed, and has to fill the gap in his comprehension with the Christian god.

Every effect has a cause, but because this eternal something is not an effect; it does not need a cause. This something then is an eternal, uncaused cause. Because time, space and matter begin at the Big Bang, we can reason that time, space and matter are not eternal, but caused by this eternal, uncaused cause that is not dependent nor consisting of time, space and matter. So we have reasoned to an immaterial something (mind? spirit?) that is an eternal, uncaused first cause of OUR material universe in space and time.

We don’t know what the larger picture is, but that lack of knowledge doesn’t automatically mean we should default to appealing to the supernatural. “So we have reasoned to an immaterial something (mind? spirit?) that is an eternal, uncaused first cause of OUR material universe in space and time.”, no, AL has ‘reasoned’ to that, using thoroughly circular logic.

Because this corresponds with the biblical revelation of God and disagrees with other religious/non-religious descriptions, this lends credibility to the Bible and takes away authority from other religions and worldviews. 

Again Please Convince Me leaps to a conclusion without making any case whatsoever beyond a very basic pleading based on incredulity. The fatal flaw in the point of view of the writer is that he can’t see how flawed his logic is.

This is but one reason that weighs heavily on the scale of reason for God/Christianity. 

It does nothing of the sort.

Imagine a balance scale that weighs out the reasons for and against belief in God. One side is “for” and the other “against.” Some ideas are small pebbles, others are larger rocks. As an idea is weighed, the rocks can be moved from one side to the other and even on and off of the scale. An agnostic might have a very balanced scale. A Theist has tipped the scale in favor of and an atheist in favor against. The person who has not examined these ideas might have a very empty scale. The point is that Alex and other non-believers often seem to indicate that if one “proof” is not a slam dunk, that should be reason to place the rock on the other side (the default side of non-belief) when it could be that this evidence only left the viewer unsure or in favor of the argument, but have given it less weight. It would seem from the comments of many atheists that they think in this analogy that there is only one large rock to be placed.

No, what I’m asking for is for apologists to start at the very first principles – begin by showing that gods can exist, then show that they do, then show that theirs is the right one. Once they’ve done that, they can then begin to make claims about the nature of the unknowable, unprovable being that they place their faith in.

Someone could take my evidence that God does not have a beginning and place it for, against or set it aside while they contemplate it. I think that Alex would say that because it is insufficient to “prove” that the God of the Bible and the uncreated creator outside of time, space and matter are the same, we should all take the only large rock and move it to the against side until a time when Theists can prove without a shadow of a doubt and according to the requirements of the atheist’s personal bar of proof that the one large rock can be placed on the other side. This is simply not the way in which decisions are made. 

Again, the writer is putting words into my mouth, I’ve said nothing about proving that the Christian god and the supposed creator are the same being, in fact I think that doing so would be akin to trying to sprint when you’ve not even mastered crawling. Being unable to prove that the Christian god and the creator are the same being adds no weight to the atheist view, it is an irrelevance when there are bigger issues to be dealt with first.

It’s funny that AL finishes his post by claiming that weighing up the evidence is not how decisions are made, when that’s EXACTLY how they’re made by most people!

Yet again Please Convince Me has left me thoroughly unconvinced.

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One thought on “Please Convince Me Misrepresent Me

  1. Because time, space and matter begin at the Big Bang, we can reason that time, space and matter are not eternal… If "eternal" means "exists for all time" then how is it not eternal. but caused by this eternal, uncaused cause that is not dependent nor consisting of time, space and matter.They haven't explained why a cause must be eternal or how if every cause is caused by something as they claim, why this cause can be uncaused.

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