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At Mind Matters News: Atheist spokesman Matt Dillahunty refuses to debate Michael Egnor again

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From neurosurgeon Michael Egnor: Although Dillahunty has said that he finds debates “incredibly valuable,” he is — despite much urging — making an exception in this case. Why?:

In my presentation of the classical arguments for God’s existence, I presented about a paragraph on each argument but didn’t go into meticulous detail with any of them.

I did this deliberately. I had watched Dillahunty debate this question previously. I’ve had plenty of experience with New Atheists and it was clear to me that Dillahunty, like every New Atheist I’ve encountered, had no genuine understanding of the arguments for God’s existence. Of course, for meaningful debate, both debaters must understand the arguments and I thought a good place to start would be to see if Dillahunty did indeed understand any of the arguments that he claimed to reject. He admitted that he didn’t. His ignorance of the arguments for God’s existence became even more clear as the debate went on.

I was amazed (but not really surprised) that Dillahunty would devote his life and his career to debunk arguments that he didn’t understand, and that he knew he didn’t understand.

Dillahunty has summed up his debating philosophy elsewhere as “Take the opponent seriously: The audience has to sense that I can perfectly understand their views, and have rejected them.”

The irony is remarkable.

Michael Egnor, “Atheist spokesman Matt Dillahunty refuses to debate me again” at Mind Matters News

Takehome, from Egnor: For millennia, theists have thought meticulously about God’s existence. New Atheists merely deny any need to make a case. That’s partly why I dumped atheism.

You may also wish to read:

Editor’s note: In the current debate which is already taped, it’s Mike Egnor’s turn to rebut Dillahunty… so stay tuned for Egnor’s rebuttal: No, the burden of proof is on all of us…

The debate to date:

  1. Debate: Former atheist neurosurgeon vs. former Christian activist. At Theology Unleashed, each gets a chance to state his case and interrogate the other. In a lively debate at Theology Unleashed, neurosurgeon Michael Egnor and broadcaster Matt Dillahunty clash over the existence of God.
  2. A neurosurgeon’s ten proofs for the existence of God. First, how did a medic, formerly an atheist, who cuts open people’s brains for a living, come to be sure there is irrefutable proof for God? In a lively debate at Theology Unleashed, Michael Egnor and Matt Dillahunty clash over “Does God exist?” Egnor starts off.
  3. Atheist Dillahunty spots fallacies in Christian Egnor’s views. “My position is that it’s unacceptable to believe something if the available evidence does not support it.” Dillahunty: We can’t conclusively disprove an unfalsifiable proposition. And that is what most “God” definitions, at least as far as I can tell, are.

You may also wish to read: COVID-19: Atheism went viral as well. Atheists are uniquely unsuited to accuse others of devaluing human life. Professor Steven Pinker’s quickly deleted tweet provides a window into anti-religious hate. In health and medicine, he is entirely mistaken. (Michael Egnor)

5 Replies to “At Mind Matters News: Atheist spokesman Matt Dillahunty refuses to debate Michael Egnor again

  1. 1
    zweston says:

    I read the article on mind matters…helped me understand the full story behind this. I’m not at all surprised that this is the case with MD.. he doesn’t even need to prep for a debate, just show up and cross his arms and say, “not good enough” when someone presents their arguments. The “lack theist” stuff is getting old, but it is just now really getting traction to the online trolls. “I lack a belief” is just a way to cowardly duck the burden of proof. Because theists could do the same thing to their beliefs if they claimed God doesn’t exist….

    Debates have limited usefulness in all contexts I believe because it is just about winning, not really the content. Dillahunty said it himself, it’s all about appearing to know what you are talking about and still not being convinced. This is probably why WLC doesn’t have time for MD.

  2. 2
    Seversky says:

    Public debates are a form of entertainment or spectator sport. The only “winner” usually is the participant who is felt to be the more persuasive public speaker.

    As for Egnor’s ten proofs, every single one of them can be and has been rebutted. Not that it was likely to make any difference. People have deep-seated personal needs which are met by religious beliefs and which atheism cannot address. Unfortunately, the truth is not always what we would like it to be.

    However, I’ll offer you one difference between a believer like Egnor and an atheist/agnostic/naturalist/materialist like myself. I admit I could be wrong. There could be a God. I cannot rule out the possibility. And, if there were a God, I would not have a problem with it because I prefer to know what is actually the case, not just what makes me feel good. Could Egnor say the same about the reverse? Could he contemplate the possibility that there is no God with the same equanimity?

  3. 3
    jerry says:

    Could Egnor say the same about the reverse? Could he contemplate the possibility that there is no God with the same equanimity?

    I believe Egnor lived much of his life as an atheist.

    In the best of all possible worlds, is anything relevant to God known for sure? In such a world would this be by design? Would it be necessary for a meaningful world? Are Doubting Severskys necessary?

    Is irony is one of the best debate techniques? It is a good one!

  4. 4
    bornagain77 says:

    Seversky at 2,

    Seeing that Matt Dillahunty clearly lost the debate, and that he even refuses to ever debate Michael Egnor again, I guess I can see why Seversky would try to downplay the importance of debates.

    As to Seversky’s false claim that, “As for Egnor’s ten proofs, every single one of them can be and has been rebutted.”

    Funny that Seversky could not be bothered to link to any succinct rebuttal to any of the ten arguments. Dillahunty certainly did not rebut any of the arguments in the debate. Shoot, as Egnor pointed out, Dillahunty didn’t even really understand the arguments against his position (although he has been defending Atheism, in a high profile manner, for quite a while now).

    Directly contrary to what Seversky claims, the ten arguments “have certainly never been “refuted” although they have been the topic of discussion for many centuries.”

    “Dillahunty’s invocation of fairies and leprechauns demonstrates his ignorance of the arguments for God’s existence. The classical arguments – Aquinas’ Five Ways, the Thomistic proof, the neoPlatonic proof, the Augustinian proof, the Rationalist proof, and the proof from Moral Law – don’t invoke fairies or leprechauns. They are rigorous detailed arguments that demonstrate God’s existence based on ubiquitous evidence in the natural world and impeccable logic. The arguments were developed by some of the best thinkers in human history – Aristotle, Augustine, Plotinus, Aquinas, and Leibniz, and they have been a mainstay of natural theology for over two millennia. They have certainly never been “refuted” although they have been the topic of discussion for many centuries.”
    – Egnor

    Seversky then states, “People have deep-seated personal needs which are met by religious beliefs and which atheism cannot address.”

    That is an interesting honest confession from Seversky that, ironically, sounds very similar to C.S. Lewis’s ‘Argument from Desire’.

    Made for Another World: C.S. Lewis’s Argument from Desire Revisited – Feb 3, 2020
    Excerpt: Though C. S. Lewis is better known for the Trilemma, the Moral Argument, and the Argument from Reason, his most characteristic argument may actually be the Argument from Desire. It was, after all, the experience of “joy,” the intense longing aroused by inexplicable beauty, that drove Lewis to his conversion, (from atheism to Christianity), in such a way that he calls it “the central story of my life.”1,,,, atheism was never able successfully to explain the fullness of his aesthetic and emotional life.,,,,
    (The argument from desire) is given in its simplest form in Mere Christianity: “Creatures are not born with desires unless satisfaction for those desires exists. A baby feels hunger; well, there is such a thing as food. A duckling wants to swim; well, there is such a thing as water. Men feel sexual desire; well, there is such a thing as sex. If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.”5
    https://www.equip.org/article/made-for-another-world-c-s-lewiss-argument-from-desire-revisited/

    C.S. Lewis Song by Brooke Fraser – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V4RzmlWZ5fU

    Seversky then states, “Unfortunately, the truth is not always what we would like it to be.”

    Seversky is apparently trying to claim that Christians are rejecting the ‘truth’ of atheism, not because atheism is not true, but simply because Christians don’t like the nihilistic implications of atheism

    That is a very interesting claim for Seversky to make seeing that atheistic materialism/naturalism cannot even ground ‘truth’ in the first place. And thus, since atheistic materialism/naturalism cannot possibly ground ‘truth’ in the first place, then that, obviously, prevents atheistic materialism/naturalism from ever being true in and of itself.

    Though it may hurt Seversky’s feelings to know this, the entire concept of ‘Truth’ is an abstract property and/or definition of the immaterial mind that cannot possibly be reduced to any possible materialistic/naturalistic explanations. i.e. How much does the concept of Truth weigh? Does the concept of Truth weigh more in English or in Chinese? How long is the concept of Truth in millimeters? How fast does the concept of Truth go? Is the concept of Truth faster or slower than the speed of light? Is the concept of Truth positively or negatively charged? Or is truth etc.. etc.. ?..

    As John_a_designer explains, “Obviously, these questions are absurd because propositions, (truth claims), are not physical. But if the physical or material is all that exists as the materialist claims, which is by the way a propositional truth claim, how can such a proposition be true? How can something that doesn’t really exist, as the materialist claims, be true? Obviously that is self-refuting.”

    “Truth claims are propositional. That is, truth claims are stated in the form of a proposition. But what is a proposition? Where do propositions exist? What do they look like? Where are they located? How much space do they take up? How much do they weigh? How long have they existed? How and where did they originate? Obviously, these questions are absurd because propositions are not physical. But if the physical or material is all that exists as the materialist claims, which is by the way a propositional truth claim, how can such a proposition be true? How can something that doesn’t really exist, as the materialist claims, be true? Obviously that is self-refuting.”
    – John_a_designer
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/eric-holloway-a-philosopher-explains-why-thinking-matter-is-impossible/#comment-693655

    And since Truth is obviously immaterial in its foundational essence then, as John_a_designer pointed out, it necessarily follows that Darwinian materialism can not possibly be true., (And this falsification of Darwinian evolution as being true comes way before we even start evaluating the myriad of falsifications of Darwin’s theory from empirical science).

    You don’t have to take my, (or John_a_designer’s), word for the fact that Darwinian evolution undercuts itself with its implicit claim that objective, immaterial, truth does not actually exist.. Postmodern pragmatists, via their Darwinian presuppositions, have been, basically, claiming that objective truth does not actually exist for over a century now, ever since Darwin’s theory first made it to the shores of America.

    As Professor Nancy Pearcey explains in this following excellent article, (an article which traced the progression from Darwinism to postmodern pragmatism), “If all ideas are products of evolution, and thus not really true but only useful for survival, then evolution itself is not true either,,,, In short, naturalistic evolution is self-refuting.”

    How Darwinism Dumbs Us Down by Nancy Pearcey
    Excerpt: I once presented this progression from Darwinism to postmodern pragmatism at a Christian college, when a man in the audience raised his hand: “I have only one question. These guys who think all our ideas and beliefs evolved . . . do they think their own ideas evolved?” The audience broke into delighted applause, because of course he had captured the key fallacy of the Darwinian approach to knowledge. If all ideas are products of evolution, and thus not really true but only useful for survival, then evolution itself is not true either–and why should the rest of us pay any attention to it?
    Indeed, the theory undercuts itself. For if evolution is true, then it is not true, but only useful. This kind of internal contradiction is fatal, for a theory that asserts something and denies it at the same time is simply nonsense. In short, naturalistic evolution is self-refuting.
    https://www.namb.net/apologetics/resource/how-darwinism-dumbs-us-down/

    The denial of the existence of objective, immaterial, truth, (besides undercutting any claim that Darwinian evolution itself can be true), also, (unsurprisingly), undercuts rationality altogether. As John C Wright succinctly explained, “A statement that there is no truth, if true, is false. We know this truth is basic because without it, no question can be answered, not even the question of whether or not truth is true.”

    The Self Evident — A Reminder – John C. Wright – 2019
    From time to time it is useful for sane men in an insane world to remind themselves of basic truths.
    The first truth is that truth is true. A statement that there is no truth, if true, is false.
    We know this truth is basic because without it, no question can be answered, not even the question of whether or not truth is true.
    Truth is a subtle and complex topic, but what we mean by the word can be said in a short sentence using words of one syllable: Truth is when one says ‘it is’, and it is as one says.
    The second conclusion springs immediately from the first. We know that truth is true because to say truth is untrue is illogical. A statement that truth is true is a self-evident statement, hence a true one. A statement that truth is untrue is a self-contradiction, hence false.
    http://www.scifiwright.com/201.....f-evident/

    In fact, the existence of truth, besides refuting atheistic materialism/naturalism, turns out to be, (also unsurprisingly), an argument for God’s existence, (and which is an argument for God that finds its origins with St. Augustine)

    11. The Argument from Truth
    This argument is closely related to the argument from consciousness. It comes mainly from Augustine.
    Our limited minds can discover eternal truths about being.
    Truth properly resides in a mind.
    But the human mind is not eternal.
    Therefore there must exist an eternal mind in which these truths reside.
    https://www.peterkreeft.com/topics-more/20_arguments-gods-existence.htm#11

    Seversky then claims that, “However, I’ll offer you one difference between a believer like Egnor and an atheist/agnostic/naturalist/materialist like myself. I admit I could be wrong. There could be a God. I cannot rule out the possibility. And, if there were a God, I would not have a problem with it because I prefer to know what is actually the case, not just what makes me feel good. Could Egnor say the same about the reverse? Could he contemplate the possibility that there is no God with the same equanimity?”

    That is a funny claim coming from Seversky seeing that Egnor was an atheist for a large part of his life. Thus, as an long-time atheist Egnor obviously did contemplate “the possibility that there is no God with “equanimity” and found atheism to be severely wanting on several different ‘logical’ levels.

    Moreover, far from Seversky contemplating the existence of God with ‘equanimity’ and/or ‘logical detachment’ (as he falsely claims to be doing), anyone who has ever debated Seversky for any length of time knows that Seversky’s main argument against God, (especially against God as He is portrayed in the Old Testament), is the very emotionally charged ‘argument from evil’, which is a logically self-refuting argument. (i.e. if Good and evil exist, then Good necessarily exists),

    In short, Seversky is guilty of the very thing he accuses Christians of, i.e. Seversky is guilty of emotional bias and not evaluating the evidence and arguments for God in an unbiased, detached, manner!

    If only Seversky would ever truly be as emotionally detached from his atheistic beliefs as he claims to be. i.e. equally critical of the claims of atheism as he is critical of the claims of Christianity, then it would be very easy to steer Seversky away from the ‘errors’ of his atheism. But alas, his “tendency towards stubbornness makes this completely impossible.”

    “The freethinkers (atheists) have yet to produce any objections that have not long been refuted most thoroughly. But since they are not motivated by the love of truth, and since they have an entirely different point of view, we should not be surprised that the best refutations count for nothing and that the weakest and most ridiculous reasoning, which has so often been shown to be baseless, is continuously repeated. If these people maintained the slightest rigor, the slightest taste for the truth, it would be quite easy to steer them away from their errors; but their tendency towards stubbornness makes this completely impossible.”
    – Leonard Euler – considered one of the greatest mathematicians to have ever existed

  5. 5
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Seversky

    I admit I could be wrong. There could be a God. I cannot rule out the possibility.

    The concern here is if we say: “in some possible way God could exist” — that causes us to look at how the possibility for God aligns with what God is and how much “space (resources, ideas)” we have to evaluate the possibilities.
    We start with the most basic concepts – cause. change. potential.
    If it is possible for God to exist, what criteria have to be met in order for that possibility to be realized in reality?
    Causes exist. Changes exist. Potentials turning to actuality exist.
    Now we need to think about the origin of all of those existing things – over infinite duration.

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