Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Atheist Test: Test One

My personal life has prevented me from working on any posts lately.

But this "Atheist Test" pamphlet has continued to stay on my mind.

I will preface my commentary by pointing out the layout of the pamphlet. The pamphlet is structured in such a way that the reader is presented with various arguments which attempt to refute atheism. Mixed in with various arguments are short multiple choice "tests". These "tests" are given to "assess" the reader's "understanding" while reading through the pamphlet.

This post will deal with the first set of arguments surrounding "Test One".

To see a sample of the pamphlet for yourself, you can visit the following link: The Atheist Test

Now for my rebuttal.

The theory of evolution of the coke can

Ah, here is my first problem with this pamphlet.

The misuse of the word theory:


1. a coherent group of general propositions used as principles of explanation for a class of phenomena: Einstein's theory of relativity.

2. a proposed explanation whose status is still conjectural, in contrast to well-established propositions that are regarded as reporting matters of actual fact.

3. Mathematics. a body of principles, theorems, or the like, belonging to one subject: number theory.

4. the branch of a science or art that deals with its principles or methods, as distinguished from its practice: music theory.

5. a particular conception or view of something to be done or of the method of doing it; a system of rules or principles.

6. contemplation or speculation.

7. guess or conjecture.

Before you get excited about definitions two, five, six, and seven, the same entry takes time to clarify the usage of the word theory:

1. Theory, hypothesis are used in non-technical contexts to mean an untested idea or opinion. A theory in technical use is a more or less verified or established explanation accounting for known facts or phenomena: the theory of relativity. A hypothesis is a conjecture put forth as a possible explanation of phenomena or relations, which serves as a basis of argument or experimentation to reach the truth: This idea is only a hypothesis.

(Only the bold emphasis is mine)
A theory explains natural phenomena. Evolution, for example, is a theory-- not a wildly cooked up idea that Darwin pulled out of his . . . well, you know. Darwin had reasons to think that evolution was occurring. Natural phenomena in the form of fossils is only one supporting fact that supports the theory of evolution. Darwin's theory in a sense predicted findings in other sciences such as geology, genetics, and physics. Darwin was before his time in many ways.

Consider the Big Bang theory. Natural phenomena supports the idea that a huge explosion happened before the known universe formed. Microwaves still linger in space that seem to be the consequence of a really big explosion. The heavenly bodies seem to be cooled material from coalesced particles.

How did all that hot lava get deep inside the earth's belly, anyhow?

Studying natural phenomena leads us to build a reasonable idea of how things might have happened. That becomes a hypothesis. After more evidence is found and the hypothesis is proven to be consistently true, we have a theory.

Otherwise, we have a bad hypothesis. Time to go back to the drawing board.

Now, the pamphlet goes on to suggest that a coke can evolved directly from a big bang event billions of years ago and evolved into the coke can we see today.

Of course, the author knows that this idea sounds silly. And the author then attempts to take that silliness and pin it to the Big Bang and Evolution theories.

And even if you are only satisfied with calling the Big Bang theory a hypothesis, such a hypothesis has more merit to it than a coke can evolving from it's own big bang event.

Regardless, scientific theories and hypothesis are not comparable to the pamphlet's "theory of the coke can". Why? Because natural phenomena tells us someone designed and created a coke can. And at the same time, natural phenomena seems to say that life in our universe happened through Evolution. The known universe came about from a massive explosion. An accident? Serendipity? Intelligent design? Honestly, science can't say for certain. And based on the evidence, theologists can say for certain, either.

While one can assert that god exists without beginning, the same can be said about physical matter in general. This leaves room for the idea that matter could simply exist without beginning, like the notion of an eternal god. And furthermore, matter could exist independent of a necessary being referred to as god.

The Evolution and the Big Bang theories don't disprove god's existence. But given natural phenomena, god seems to operated very differently from what the Bible claims.

Perhaps agnosticism is more intellectually honest when compared to theism and atheism.

So, god could be out there. Maybe. But, I don't think the evidence supports the traditional god of the major Abraham based religions.

Or any other sort of religion, either.

If god is out there, he or she is being very, very quiet.

The Banana: The Atheist's Nightmare

Not quite.

Natural selection is a reasonable enough explanation for why a banana has it's shape and is easy to eat.

I can also think of a few other things shaped like a banana, but wasn't necessarily meant to go into one's mouth for eating.

Either way, the notion that evolution was an accident that happened over night is a misrepresentation. The author's outlook is misleading and he is attempting to convince his readers of his flawed outlook.

Test One

The person who thinks the Coca Cola can had no designer is:

___ A. Intelligent
___ B. A fool
___ C. Has an ulterior motive for denying the obvious

The first "test" continues the unscrupulous persuasion tactics I pointed out above. This "test" now attempts to make you feel like a dope for not agreeing with the "obviously correct" answer.

In my first post about the Atheist Test, the gentleman who offered this pamphlet started a conversation with me only as an opportunity to witness. His attempts to create a flimsy connection came across as fake.

Just like the tests in this pamphlet.

Darwin admits his theory is absurd!!!!

Huh? When did Darwin do that?

Why, Darwin denounces his whole theory in the following quote:

To suppose that the eye with all its inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different amounts of light, and for the correction of Spherical and chromatic aberration, could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest degree.

Did you see that?! Did you see that?! Darwin admits his own goofy idea of Evolution is absurd!!!
Oh, wait . . . the author conveniently forgot to cite the rest of the quote:

When it was first said that the sun stood still and the world turned round, the common sense of mankind declared the doctrine false; but the old saying of Vox populi, vox Dei ["the voice of the people = the voice of God "], as every philosopher knows, cannot be trusted in science. Reason tells me, that if numerous gradations from a simple and imperfect eye to one complex and perfect can be shown to exist, each grade being useful to its possessor, as is certain the case; if further, the eye ever varies and the variations be inherited, as is likewise certainly the case; and if such variations should be useful to any animal under changing conditions of life, then the difficulty of believing that a perfect and complex eye could be formed by natural selection, should not be considered as subversive of the theory.

In other words, Darwin says that he realizes evolution sounds absurd at first. But so did the idea of a round Earth after evidence was obtained.

Natural Selection is no different.

Einstein, the Christian Theist

The pamphlet had no problem misrepresenting Darwin. Why not Einstein, too?

Everyone who is seriously interested in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that a spirit is manifest in the laws of the universe—a spirit vastly superior to man, and one in the face of which our modest powers must feel humble.

But, Einstein also said:

I believe in Spinoza's God who reveals himself in the orderly harmony of what exists, not in a God who concerns himself with the fates and actions of human beings.
And, he also said:
The word god is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honorable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish. No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this.
Einstein may have been a theist. But his theism is watered down to near agnosticism at best.

I could go on and on with quotes that show why Einstein shouldn't be quoted within this pamphlet as a defense of a personal god. But, this post is getting long enough already.

A recent Gallup poll proves God exist!

George Gallup, a famous statistician says:

I could prove God statistically; take the human body alone; the chance that all the functions of the individual would just happen, is a statistical monstrosity.

Guess what! I agree!

The human body didn't "just happen". Evolution doesn't say or mean that. Humanity came along over time. Millions of years of small changes.

Millions of years.

That's a lot of time. Take a pen and try writing from one to 1,000.

After that, do you think you would want to write from 1,000 to one million?

Millions of years give enough time from the human body to evolve from a less complex form of life into what we observe today.

Besides, did George Gallup actually sit down and do the math or did he just pull that idea out of his . . . well, you know.

And come to think of it, to say god created man is pretty close to saying that the human body "just happened". So, does that notion make god a statistical monstrosity?

I noticed that throughout the whole pamphlet, the author suggests that anyone who disagrees with his little "tests" is unintelligent or has an ulterior motive.

But with the pamphlet's misuse of ideas, misquotes, and sleazy sales tactics, one must wonder who really has the ulterior motive.
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