Why You Can’t Argue With God – Part 2

Once again I have been doing what I said I wouldn’t, arguing with those who cannot be argued with. I really should stop commenting on posts by people who have no interest in listening to my point of view. It’s normally quite clear from the post how strongly their opinions are held and how loosely they are based in factual knowledge, I don’t know what it is but once I click the ‘atheism’ tag and scroll through looking at some of the utter rot that is being spouted, despite the underlying knowledge that my attempts at education will be futile, I simply cannot help myself.

Having said that, if you’re able to not comment, there are a lot of posts out there with a high comedic value. One of the best logical arguments I heard recently was this (paraphrased) :

  1. All universal physical laws must be the equally applicable, regardless of space and time.
  2. Humans have not visited and checked these laws everywhere in space and time, therefore:
  3. All universal physical laws do not exist.

I really didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. I understand the philosophical argument about whether or not a falling tree makes a sound if nobody hears it but this is based on the definition of sound. If one defines sound as the electrical signals from the ear causing a sensory perception of sound, clearly there must be a hearer for a sound to exist. If one defines sound as a wave of varying atmospheric (or another medium) pressure, all actions produce a sound regardless of who or what is present to experience the sensation. Going back to the reasoning above, one can assume from this reasoning that gravity did not exist before Newton and is different on Mars. Does water flow uphill on the moon? Would it also be reasonable to suggest that all medical knowledge of internal anatomy is rendered obsolete due to our being unable to check before surgery? It goes against the inductive reasoning on which so much of modern science (since the renaissance) is based. Inductive reasoning is not perfect, far from it, the classic ‘white swan’ example emphasises that point but without it we have to act as though we are entirely without knowledge. The argument above would suggest that anything that is yet to be disproved must be incorrect, by this reasoning we can assume that all religious belief is wrong (at least we agree on something) and also that atheism is wrong and that all future religious theories will also be wrong. This is quite a bleak post from a Christian!

Another post I commented on recently contained a curious form of circular reasoning to justify my atheism in his eyes. His piece ended by telling his readers that god was available to anyone who would ‘let him in’ but would not enter uninvited, thus would not be available to the unbeliever. When I pressed him on the difficulty of believing in a god who refuses to show itself to anyone who does not already believe, he told me that my actions and thoughts would determine whether or not god would choose to ‘show himself’ to me. This of course raises the question of all those who have either so little knowledge of the Christian god as to be unable to ‘let him in’ or who have been taught about Christianity in a way that did not indoctrinate them into blind faith, leaving the possibility of god’s non-existence open. How could a person who was ignorant of god or another who was sceptical of his existence ‘let him in’? In short, one cannot believe in god unless one already believes in god.

There have been a number of others:

  1. Finches turning into finches doesn’t prove that apes turned into humans. No it doesn’t but it does show that time, separation and differing selection pressures cause species to change, if you allow this, why not speciation given tens of millions of years? Surely the argument is not different in scope but merely magnitude?
  2. The lack of a known census during the time of Herod in Judea is merely a problem with archaeology not with the accuracy of scripture. So one book written decades after the event is true and all other contemporary sources missed something as important as a census requiring some citizens to travel hundreds of miles to their birthplace? Very credible.
  3. You can’t judge the actions of god or anyone doing his bidding in the Old Testament because you only have a human mind and cannot begin to understand the bigger picture, also you are only using your own sense of morality which cannot be used to judge a being as great and good as god. The ‘bigger picture’? Are you having a laugh? Every single part of the bible takes place within several hundred miles of Jerusalem and is almost entirely centred on an insignificant semi-nomadic tribe who decided to segregate themselves from their neighbours by mutilating their young boys and refusing to eat certain food types. There is no ‘bigger picture’, the bible is about a very small picture in global terms, let alone the galactic scale. I don’t have to use my own sense of morality to judge the actions of god because that would be unfair to god, I can use his as laid down in his book. By his own standards, the ones he expects us to live by, god is a nasty, vindictive, spiteful character who jealously demands total reverence without giving anything in return. A god who sees fit to let his ‘chosen people’ become invaded, conquered and enslaved or murdered on more than one occasion. All things that he explicitly tells people not to do.

Essentially commenting on some posts is not only pointless, its counter-productive because you will be outnumbered by other commentors and it is impossible to properly answer questions put to you in such a small space. There is no hope for persuading them round to your point of view anyway, if they made their judgements based on evidence and reason you wouldn’t have to argue with them about the existence of god.

I have determined a few rules for my comments in the future. Never comment on any posts where the writer speaks about or clearly believes strongly in any of the following:

  • Creationism, both Young and Old Earth
  • Intelligent Design (ID)
  • Original Sin
  • Human Souls
  • Heaven & Hell
  • Any form of Contraception being comparable to Murder

Also, avoid commenting on any posts attempting to refute the validity of or denying the existence of these:

  • The Big-Bang Theory
  • Darwinian Evolution by Natural Selection
  • Climate Change
  • Inalienable Human Rights Regardless of Sexuality or Gender

If you can give me any tips in my quest to reduce my (self-inflicted) frustration by telling me of any other topics I should avoid I’d be glad of the advice.

Thanks for reading



21 Responses to Why You Can’t Argue With God – Part 2

  1. ubi dubium says:

    I would agree about not commenting on those posts. I’ve seen too much concentrated stupidity on threads like that, and it just makes my head ache. I prefer to use such stuff as blog fodder, just as you did here.

  2. Nate says:

    Great (and entertaining) post! But I would encourage you to drop your new resolutions. I know it seems hopeless to take time commenting on blogs by people who believe such nonsense, but every once in a while, you’ll actually come across a truly open-minded individual. You may not get them to come to your side immediately, but you may cause them to begin to question. Plus, your comments are always so well thought out and articulated, it would be a shame not to share them. 🙂

    I used to be a young earth creationist that believed in a literal heaven and hell. You can check out my oldest blog posts and see just how fundamentalist I was. One of the things that helped me question my position was a comment left on one of my posts by a guy named Andrew. It’s here, if you’re interested.

    • Larry says:

      Wow, I never knew that you were a Creationist! Nate, everything I hear about you amazes me even more.

      • Nate says:

        Haha! Not sure if that’s good or bad… 😉

        But seriously, thanks.

  3. cgosling says:

    Rowan – I agree with your thesis, but still enjoy the intellectual gymnastics involved. Please don’t give up on your comments, they’re good and may influence believers and nonbelievers more than you think. They may be the straw that broke the camel’s back. Your comments are good examples of logical reasoning. They will not influence hard-core religionists but may influence religious folk who have doubts and are reachable. Congratulations!

  4. Tafacory says:

    Reblogged this on Tafacory Ideas and commented:
    Humourous yet truthful article.

  5. imbrocata says:

    Really enjoyed this as well – I think we all understand the frustration. Scrolling through the same topic (Atheism), one can find a lot of low-hanging fruit to grab at or comment on. It’s never easy for me to just keep moving along; so many times I’ve written some response and decided against it.
    What it really feels like to me, is the same regurgitated arguments, again.. and again.. and (ad infinitum). As the majority of people (who happen to be believers in the US) blog, and start exercising their viewpoints, I don’t think they realize how many times their ‘new discovery’ or ‘GOTCHA!’ argument has been, at least treated, if not altogether debunked.
    Monday, one of my mexican co-workers asked me why I never said, “Gracias a Dios”. I told him I didn’t believe in god to which he replied, “So where did you come from?”. I’m really tired of this lol. Yeah, /headpalm.
    But I agree Nate – one never knows what little word will catch in a listening ear; something we may have heard a million times before, but to that listener, it could well be the first time.

  6. Whatever I may say, I know deep down that I won’t stop reading the blogs that drive me mad. I also know that when someone shows a clear lack of knowledge or understanding that I think I can inform, I lalmost always find it irresistible, I have to put my two pennies worth in. I’ll probably keep doing it, keep getting wound up and keep blogging about my experiences.

    Nate, I’m also surprised that you were a creationist, 2006 isn’t that long ago, I hope that I can help somebody question their opinions like you questioned yours.

    • Nate says:

      Obviously, there were several factors involved in my de-conversion. But that one comment was definitely part of it. I didn’t even respond to him at the time, because I realized his assessment was completely right, even though I hadn’t started questioning the larger aspects of Christianity yet.

      Anyway, thanks for the reply. And keep up the great work! I really enjoy your blog as well as all the comments I see you leave in other places. 🙂

  7. Allallt says:

    You and I have the same problem: if there is a God then by the time of our death we will be too exhausted by this argument to defend ourselves.
    The other argument I’ve found that no one ever budges on is the “Morality is grounded in God” argument. Once a person has committed to that line of thought then they seem to be entirely unchanging on whether or not Godless world can be a valuable one (SPOILER ALERT: they think the answer is no).
    So perhaps that’s another one to steer clear of (even though it’s one of the more personal ones, to me anyway).

  8. Phil says:

    In general I take most of your points, except I do like arguing against the protagonists of religion and all the other bunk spouted by morons, however I do not accept what I am interpreting to be your view points in respect of two of the last items upon which it appears 1. You accept the Big Bang Theory as fact – the clue is in the title – it’s a Theory and nothing has been proven. (Apologies if I have misinterpreted). and 2. Climate Change. Am I to assume you take the view that climate change is not the cause of us humans?

    • When it comes to any scientific Theory, I cannot claim to be an expert. I have no formal scientific education beyond GCSE (age 16) and can only rely on those who have a far better understanding of the evidence for my knowledge. On certain points (evolution, big bang, climate change, etc) almost all the experts with decades of experience in their fields believe a certain Theory to be correct. This does not make it necessarily true but it would be folly for me to attempt to oppose an almost unanimous scientific consensus on the basis of my own lack of understanding.

      Just to clear up, I believe that the big bang theory fits all the evidence we have : 1 – the universe cannot be eternal as stars do not stay alive forever and the 2nd law of thermodynamics pushes everything toward a state of higher entropy, meaning there must have been a point with lower entropy before. 2 – We know the universe is expanding, which would lead us to a point when it satrted as a singularity. This is known by the doppler effect of the light of far away galaxies and the knowledge that gravity would eventually force all matter together without an original expansion. Also the CMBE gives us evidence of violent expansion in the universe at just the right time to be caused by the inflation of the young universe.

      I also think that the world is getting warmer and climate patterns are shifting. This is not really in doubt or disputed by anyone taken seriously in climate science. That this is happening much faster than at any other time we know of is evidence that we are causing it. It is impossible to know exactly how much would have happened without us but at best we are sitting in a house as the sun rises on a summer’s day, refusing to turn our central heating down because we like having it on.

      • Phil says:

        Rather than interrogate the facts it looks to me like you have blind faith! You might want to read my piece about the IPCC Deception:

  9. jakedaltonius says:

    Christians believe the Bible is infallible because it says it’s infallible. Why bother with people who are so open to believe such circular logic? Sometimes I think if they started to question scripture, their brains would cease to function (I think about it like a Window’s blue screen).

  10. aynway says:

    My old friends and acquaintances from my days as an evangelical Christian are more than willing to engage in argument with me when I post on my own blog…I don’t need to go out looking for fights with people I don’t even know!

  11. Robert Moores says:

    Although you’re absolutely right about the follies of commenting, you know as well as I do that there’s something inexplicably addictive about it, and we’re never going to stop. It’s okay to vent, but don’t pretend you’re going to quit. 😉

    Seriously though, nice post, and dead right.

    • You’re right, I’m not about to stop but I do need to be a bit more selective and learn when to stop. Its not uncommon for me to be arguing with 3 or 4 commentors on the same post! Its frustrating but I quite enjoy it really, especially learning how people justify their own beliefs.

  12. I enjoy arguing with Christian apologists (though I do it more for sport than the hope that much will change) as well as Creationists. Perhaps with time I’ll better understand what makes them tick.

  13. Amanda S. Moores says:

    God is available to anyone who will let him in but will not enter uninvited… God sounds a lot like a vampire to me. 😉

    • maybe thats where the drinking of blood comes in!

      • Amanda S. Moores says:

        Ha! That’s great! 🙂 Sucks the life out of you and leaves you unable to exert your own free will… Hmm. We might be on to something here!

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