Intelligent Design

Why Atheism Fails: The Four Big Bangs

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Why Atheism Fails: The Four Big Bangs
By Frank Pastore
Sunday, May 6, 2007

Their titles sound so confident:

• The Atheist Manifesto: The Case Against Christianity, Judaism and Islam by Michel Onfray.

• God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything by Christopher Hitchens.

• Letter to a Christian Nation: A Challenge to Faith by Sam Harris.

and of course, • The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins.

Yet, like all atheists before them, they still can’t answer the fundamental questions of origins.

1) What is the origin of the universe? Why is there something rather than nothing? How do you get matter and energy from nothingness? How do you get a rock out of nothing?

2) What is the origin of life? How do you get life from non-life? How do you go from a rock to a tree?

3) What is the origin of mind? How does a living thing become a self-conscious being? How do you go from a tree, to an animal, to a human?

4) What is the origin of good and evil? How does an amoral being become morally aware?

Atheists respond to all these types of questions with essentially the same style answer. “We know God doesn’t exist. Therefore, since we’re here, though, it had to have happened this way. Thus, like the universe itself, life, mind, and mo-rality all ‘just popped’ into existence out of nothingness.”

I call them the Four Big Bangs:

1’) the Cosmological (the universe “just popped” into existence out of nothingness).

2’) the Biological (life “just popped” into existence out of a dead thing).

3’) the Psychological (mind “just popped” into existence out of a brain).

4’) and the Moral (morality “just popped” into existence out of amorality).

For their many obfuscating words, the authors still don’t improve much beyond the “just popped” thesis, if at all.

I was an atheist for 27 years. I used to play on that team. I used to pick on religious people too. I knew the arguments to press and those to avoid.

Attack with how unscientific theism is, how religious people aren’t very smart because they don’t chair any departments in the hard sciences at the right schools (it’s really called censorship). Raise the problem of evil: How could an omnipo-tent, loving God allow evil? Either God is not all powerful and can’t destroy it, or He doesn’t want to. Either way there can’t be a God because evil exists (don’t bring up the existence of good though, it’s too problematic). And, finally, go for the jugular with the hypocrisy of religious believers (You know, mention “all the wars in the name of religion,” and “all the fallen pastors” and especially, “the founders owned slaves” stuff, it’s really a good distraction.)

Avoid the pesky problem of freewill. If atheism is true, if all that exists is mere matter and energy, then I don’t have a brain, I am my brain. But if the brain is exhaustively physical, then it is just as incapable of acting freely as a computer or any other machine. Which is why the idea of Artificial Intelligence makes for such fun science fiction – the more peo-ple believe that a computer can become a person, the less likely they will have need to believe they were created in God’s image. Thus, more AI, less theism – that’s the game plan. Same with the search for ET. Find life elsewhere so we can dismiss Genesis.

But, above all, avoid being cornered and forced to answer the questions of origins. Throw out lots of words that people can’t understand. Talk over them. Blind them with science. Talk about the details of the leaves on the trees but don’t allow them to bring it back to “Why the forest at all?” Assert the fact/value distinction. Claim that only science deals with knowledge. Drop in some postmodern gobbledygook. Distract them with how science deals with the “what, where, how and when” and not the “who and the why.” Especially avoid people who have had training in the philosophy of science – they’re dangerous because they see through us and know who we are – they don’t see the shimmering lab coats that everyone else sees. They don’t see any clothes at all.

Since the pre-Socratics, atheists have been intellectual parasites living off the host of Western Civilization. Able to con-struct so very little of their own that is either true, good, or beautiful, they live on the borrowed capital of their believing intellectual parents. Atheists have been asserting the same basic mechanistic worldview, and with roughly the same suc-cess, for centuries. They sell books and win converts from time to time, sure, especially among those gullible enough to buy the “just popped” thesis. Don’t be gullible.

But, for me, the real value of atheism lies in bolstering belief in God. When I doubt, I can begin to doubt my doubts by returning to the Four Big Bangs. And, I eventually fall to my knees and worship, “In the beginning, God.”

18 Replies to “Why Atheism Fails: The Four Big Bangs

  1. 1
    bornagain77 says:

    If materialists (atheists) say Theism is unscientific, point these predictions out to them.

    1. Materialism did not predict the big bang, Yet Theism always said the universe was created.
    2. Materialism did not predict a sub-atomic (quantum) world that blatantly defies our concepts of time and space, Yet Theism always said the universe is the craftsmanship of God who is not limited by time or space.
    3. Materialism did not predict the fact that time, as we understand it, comes to a complete stop at the speed of light, as revealed by Einstein’s theory of relativity, Yet Theism always said that God exists in a timeless eternity.
    4. Materialism did not predict the stunning precision for the underlying universal constants, for the universe, found in the Anthropic Principle, Yet Theism always said God laid the foundation of the universe, so the stunning clockwork precision found for the various universal constants is not at all unexpected for Theism.
    5. Materialism did not predict the fact that the DNA code is, according to Bill Gates, far, far more advanced than any computer code ever written by man, Yet Theism would have naturally expected this level of complexity in the DNA code.
    6. Materialism presumed a extremely beneficial and flexible mutation rate for DNA, which is not the case at all. Yet Theism would have naturally presumed such a high if not, what very well may be, complete negative mutation rate to an organism’s DNA.
    7. Materialism presumed a very simple first life form. Yet the simplest life ever found on Earth is, according to Geneticist Michael Denton PhD., far more complex than any machine man has made through concerted effort. Theism would have naturally expected this.
    8. Materialism predicted that it took a very long time for life to develop on earth, Yet we find evidence for photo-synthetic life in the oldest sedimentary rocks ever found on earth (Sarah Simpson, Scientific American, 2003). Theism would have expected this sudden appearance of life on earth.
    9. Materialism predicted the gradual unfolding of life to be self-evident in the fossil record, The Cambrian Explosion, by itself, destroys this myth. Theism would have expected such sudden appearance of the many different fossils in the Cambrian explosion.

  2. 2
    Michaels7 says:

    Well, nice follow-up. Reality is like that, truth be told.

    That and little things like scientist cannot even determine the oxygen levels of our own star accurately, but they dare to tell us the oxygen levels of other planets in distant systems provide proof of life….

    LOL, boy, did they ever miss the boat, 50% off and what does 50% less oxygen in our little piddlin star do to all astrophysic calculations of interstellar mass, including from the very creation?

    http://www.physorg.com/news97326842.html

    I love science and the scientist who are curious, the discoverers of this world and those so far from us. Problem is, much like global warming, macro-evolution, origins, a few scientist get excited, tell stories and voila, the tabloid-esque media today runs with it, not questioning a thing, because why? Well, they’re scientist, demi-gods and goddesses, Mars and Venus.

    But every once in awhile, reality “pops” back in to say, uhuh, think your so smart? Check out your local star again, there aint so much oxygen as you thought.

    Truthers will say that Bush/Cheney did it. They stole it and gave it to Haliburton 😉 heh, couldn’t resist.

  3. 3

    I just read the full article over at a popular site for such things, and I agree with the author that Dawkins is getting predictable in his child like take on God as a big mean guy who hates people and Moses is a criminal, etc. and so it goes.

    Christopher Hitchens is a disappointment. He should know better. His haunt is not the hard sciences, as is Dawkins’, but politics, philosophy, and similar insights. You’d think he’d have more appreciation of subtle differences among differing kinds of faith rather than lump everyone together. Worse, he dosen’t understand the very HUMAN (RE” the politics of power and avarice)element in current or past conflicts like the Irish situation. Or the war among Zionists and Palestinian radicals.

    More likely he just dosen’t WANT to…

    -Wakefield Tolbert

    Atlanta Ga.

  4. 4
    Michaels7 says:

    Another reason atheism fails is it is built upon mans reason that has yet to fully understand all the processes around him and has defaulted to great lengths of time to explain all they see. By automatically rejecting a creator, or the bible, scoffing at recent or rapid creation they refuse to even look at remote possibilities in comparison to what is taught today.

    I am open minded to rapid geological and catastrophic processes. I do not have the scientific capability and time to read all relevant material on geology, rock formation, chemistry, pressure, thermodynamics, etc.

    However, being skeptical on all sides helps and being open to possibilities. Sometime ago I talked about manufactured diamonds, pointing to a process that made diamonds in 1-3 days depending upon carat size. I stated it may shed light on rapid diamond formation. Most ignored this, some scoffed. Afterall, we’ve been taught billions of years from 1st grade thru PhD.

    The reason we should pay attention I thought, is if man can create diamonds under high pressure, temperature, or vaccuums, then we should ask a legitimate question. Are diamonds developed rapidly in the past under similar circumstances, but what we consider natural? Seems like a reasonable question, yes? I mean, all scientist are doing is providing a catalyst, or replicating conditions. If so, why is their duplication of the process happening so fast?

    So, two men set out to create diamonds along different paths, with varying methods making differing diamond quality. An article follows, but scan to the bottom left for process to save time if you don’t want to bother reading entire article:

    http://www.wired.com/wired/arc.....topic_set=

    Now, published in Nature, there is an interesting article about rapid fissures in the mantle at Nature related to Kimberlite pipe formations deep below the surface that formed by eruptions.

    hattip: creationsafaris.com
    http://creationsafaris.com/cre.....#20070507a

    The scientist surmise the following important statements regarding the catastrophic process…

    “The termination of the eruption immediately after diatreme formation, probably within at most a few tens of minutes of the onset of eruption, is a direct consequence of the extreme cooling of magma during the large pressure reductions that occur on venting to the atmosphere.”

    What is interesting is one must think of the colours associated with diamonds and the two different processes done by the entrepreneurs in the article above. Research should pan out that shows similar processes in nature conform to manmade or vice versa.

    “The subsequent very rapid pressure and temperature fluctuations lead to the formation of a diverse suite of rock types in the intrusive deposits that characterize these eruptions.”

    The eruptions, the Kimberlite they talk of are what diamond hunters look for in their search to find “diamond mines”.

    Note: this is all rapid, within minutes and hours. Not billions, not millions, not thousands, not even one year.

    Why draw manmade vs natural together? Because, question informational laws giving way to rapid creation. Does increase of information lead to an increased rate of production? Of course it does in manmade items, like cars, computers, etc., the production process speeds up as information increases and “refines” how things are made efficiently. So, lets reform the question.

    Does information increase lead to increased rate of production in “any form natural or manmade?”

    Why ask it that way? Another example, a clinical trial by Dr. Anthony Atala at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center and Institute for Regenerative Medicine created a bladder in a matter of weeks that is successful.

    Here we go… rapid formation of diamonds and human organs within days and weeks. What took billions of years, takes a day, 9 months, just weeks(and it will no doubt in future be sped up).

    So, informational law = increase of recreating what we see around us in rapid production, either “natural” or manmade is exponential. As information increases the increased production of former “natural” processes increases. As a kid, I made a volcano experiment for class all cool with erupting lava flow. If we think down the road to the future, information increase of what is around us, becomes what we can produce. Diamonds, garnets, pearls.

    Just how fast will science be able to recreate all objects? And now that we see catastrophic events formed within minutes where diamonds are found, does it teach us anything at all? On the one hand, we think of these processes as natural, to be feared as uncontrollable. But in the future, we would just create a planet for diamonds based off of knowledge gleaned on this planet.

    Are there other examples. Yes, instead of waiting for our discarded waste products to sit for “millions of years” we now convert it into biofuels. But wait, how do we know for sure oil took millions of years to form? Well, by the same way that scientist have said those same catastrophic eruptions formed over billions of years, right?

    Silly thoughts? Can there be more than 4 great pillars against atheistic thought and might that be Time? If events formed fast, catastrophic, diamonds, rocks within minutes, why not oil? Then how does this reflect on the main pillar of evolution – time?

    Just some thoughts…

  5. 5
    OhioJoe2 says:

    I never ceased to be surprised at what all three of you are doing here. I shouldn’t be surprised, but you are spending many minutes trouncing an argument you made up, not what atheists claim. That is what is called a “straw-man argument”. I.e., you make up a horridly illogical argument that your opponent supposedly claims, and then proceed to tear it apart. Thus, you look as if you are correct in the matter.

    There are very few atheists, relative to the amount of atheists, who say there was no creator. We usually say it is unknowable, and possible, but our position doesn’t speak to whether or not a creator created everything. We simply do not believe in a specific one, or even one at all, until we get information stating such. All your points above have been answered umpteen times over and over and over again, that it starts feeling absurd to keep responding to them. But most of us agree (not with theists, but with logic) that SOMEthing could have started the process of the universe. But we also agree that, so far, 100% of your ‘proofs’ that God exists and created the universe are horridly and demonstrably flawed. They don;t ‘prove’ a darned thing about your god, and only indicate that there likely was SOME creator. But defining that creator beyond that one characteristic is ludicrous, and gets into a different realm such as the Bible and then we have all the issues with using the Bible as your source of ‘proofs’ of the world. Over and over again, I keep hearing “Atheists can’t answer where we came from”.. as if this is a bad thing.. we KNOW we can;t, we never shy from that answer, and boldly state it knowing it is the most intellectually honest answer to give about that question, UNLIKE theists, who arrogantly use the Bible first to get their answer, then adjust rationalizations all around the Bible claims to assert they ‘know’. So for the last time, atheists don;t claim to know how we got here, nor is it a ‘slam dunk’ that you have a book that tells you how we did. Further, Micheals7 is committing a horrid epistemological flaw when he sees there there could be conditions upon which materials that were once thought to take years are now *possibly* able to be created very quickly in the earth system, and equates that with his God, Adam, Eve, and snake story being true??? Even *IF* this is true that diamonds can be created, it still doe snot make your creation story true. Raise some eyebrows, sure, but suddenly validate creationism??? That, my friend, is about as unscientific as you can get.

    You say that “scientists do this” and “scientists do that” but I assure you, if you find a few examples of such a wacky person, they are not a scientist (or at least not practicing science at that given moment), and are not any of the scientists I know.

    There are so many straw-man arguments in the above comments that I can’t go into them all, but one example is the ‘tactic’ or ‘mistake’ that Michaels7 made when he said:

    “…but [scientists] dare to tell us the oxygen levels of other planets in distant systems provide proof of life….”

    First, who is “they”, and why is it “daring”? Science doesn’t have sacred cows, first of all, so they can ‘dare’ all they want. Second, I know of no scientists who says anything in the universe ‘proves’ life elsewhere. But even so, there you said it, right there in black and white, for others to read and assume you know what you are talking about… but you are wrong when you say imply ‘they’ say ANYthing is “proof” of life elsewhere. Even if you could find a few here and there, I assure you, the scientific community would reject their claim if they tried to publish it, since that scientist can’t ‘prove’ anything about ‘life elsewhere’.

    The above comments are chock full of this kind of irresponsible publishing, and if you don’t care, you should be ashamed. It is irresponsible, unethical, and many times simply jejune to imply ALL scientists (“they”) “dare” to say there is “proof” of life elsewhere.

    But I do \, once again, see that theists are once again talking to each other, making up things, and saying pretty much whatever they want, since no other theists is going to take them to task for the straw-man arguments, mistakes, or outright lies claimed about the opposition.

  6. 6
    apollo230 says:

    Atheists know too little to be making conclusive judgments about God’s existence. On the other hand, most theists do not have any advantage-they don’t know for sure that God exists because they haven’t seen Him. Direct experience is the only thing that confers genuine knowledge worth respecting.

  7. 7
    Robo says:

    Thanks 4 that article Dave!

  8. 8
    DaveScot says:

    OhioJoe

    When you describe someone unsure of whether or not there is a God as an atheist I feel insulted by it as I fall within that definition. At least call it weak atheism or preferably the proper term agnostic.

    You’re also quite wrong about the majority of atheists being the weak variety at least among the most accomplished scientists. In this 1998 survey of NAS scientists:

    Believe in God – 7%
    Disbelieve in God – 72%
    Doubt or Agnosticism – 21%

    Since this is the most influential body advising the U.S. gov’t on Science and Policy I find it a bit disturbing that its membership is 180 degrees out of sync with the public it ostensibly serves. There’s an A missing in the name – for truth in advertising it should be NAAS for National Academy of Atheist Science. With percentages like that one wonders if applicants have to give a secret atheist handshake or something in order to be voted in.

    Atheist societies love to claim their membership includes agnostics but that’s untrue. Just to make a point I described myself as an agnostic to the Atheist Community of Austin and asked if I could join. The answer was an unequivocal NO. Only positive atheists need apply. The mission statement at the top of the web page shows why: “Promoting Positive Atheism and the Separation of Church and State”. I wish to promote neither. I’d promote weak atheism but think the current separation of chuch and state goes far overboard. The constitution guarantees freedom OF religion not freedom FROM religion.

  9. 9
    StephenA says:

    “…[Theists] don’t know for sure that God exists because they haven’t seen Him. Direct experience is the only thing that confers genuine knowledge worth respecting.”

    Seen him? No. Heard and felt him? Yes, although not with my ears or hands. I rather suspect that most theists actually do have the advantage of direct experience.

  10. 10
    tb says:

    Hi DaveScott from the ASA page I read:

    We define atheism as the lack of belief in gods. This definition also encompasses what most people call agnosticism.

    Strangely enough.

  11. 11
    mike1962 says:

    Especially avoid people who have had training in the philosophy of science – they’re dangerous because they see through us and know who we are – they don’t see the shimmering lab coats that everyone else sees. They don’t see any clothes at all.

    You got that right.

  12. 12
    JT75 says:

    apollo230: “Direct experience is the only thing that confers genuine knowledge worth respecting.”

    I don’t know what you have in mind by “direct experience”? Would you then devalue historical knowledge or knowledge based upon reflection, can one have “direct experience” of the laws of thought? Do you deny any knowledge obtained based upon the authority of another? This phrase “direct experience” is too broad (if it includes the above) or too narrow (if it does not). Either way the statement is false.

    OhioJoe2: “There are very few atheists, relative to the amount of atheists, who say there was no creator. We usually say it is unknowable, and possible, but our position doesn’t speak to whether or not a creator created everything. We simply do not believe in a specific one, or even one at all, until we get information stating such…But we also agree that, so far, 100% of your ‘proofs’ that God exists and created the universe are horridly and demonstrably flawed. They don;t ‘prove’ a darned thing about your god, and only indicate that there likely was SOME creator. But defining that creator beyond that one characteristic is ludicrous, and gets into a different realm such as the Bible…

    I don’t understand how to take this. On the one hand you seem to be saying that the theistic proofs are horrible arguments, while on the other you indicate that they show the likelihood of some First Cause. You seem to grant one’s ability to obtain this information but no more. What I don’t see, however, are any arguments for the above. Namely, you don’t offer a counter argument to a theistic proof or for the position that one could not possibly have more than one piece of information about the possible Creator. You imply that we can know His bare existence but that’s all we can argue for. Should we simply accept your position on faith? Should we give up our arguments for a theistic God because of your bare assertion of their incongruity or invalidity? I don’t see why that should be the case.

    If we take Aritotle and St. Thomas Aquinas as examples, there seems to be quite a lot one might deduce about the First Cause (by via negativa and analogy). At least the existence of these philosophies make it conceivable that one might deduce attributes (Pure Actuality, Simplicity, Eternality, etc.) given a certain philosophical perspective. Further, these deductions are available to natural reason without reference to any special revelation (the Bible). Philosophers have been speculating on the nature of the Divine for millennia without confusing this speculation with a specific religion. The bottom line is in order to affirm that the only possible knowledge of the First Cause is its existence needs more support/explanation.

  13. 13
    jerry says:

    OhioJoe2

    Will you join us in our efforts to promote valid science in the science curriculum in the country. You seem to be hold the opinion that scientists follow the data where it leads. We have that objective too, following the data to where it leads. That is the main purpose of this site.

    Atheism and theology are side issues and we can agree to disagree on that. But will you join us in promoting valid science?

  14. 14
    Rude says:

    There are, one supposes, phlegmatic souls lacking any passion for the Big Question. But that’s not all of us. Some of us are motivated by the hope that we are here for a purpose and that death therefore doesn’t end it all, and just as assuredly others are motivated by the hope that there is no purpose and therefore we can design our world as we wish. One imagines that the bright, young, healthy, good looking college student finds purposelessness more tempting than the critically injured guy lying on the gurney does. Thus the greater virtue of the bright, young, healthy, good looking college student who defers pleasure and faces reality and grapples with the Big Question.

    Why do doubters never doubt their doubt whereas believers wrestle with their belief? I think it’s because you have to work for the facts and logic which bolster belief, but the doubter has only to register scorn. The believer wants to know and the atheist wants not to know—the two approaches require different strategies—the one searches for the truth and the other hides from it.

    אָמַר נָבָל בְּלִבּוֹ אֵין אֱלֹהִים
    The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.
    Psalms 14:1; 53:1

  15. 15
    Borne says:

    OhioJoe: ditto Dave Scot. I couldn’t have stated it better. An atheist is not a doubter. An atheist is not an agnostic. An atheist is one who denies the existence of God or gods.

    “someone who denies the existence of god”
    wordnet.princeton.edu/perl/webwn

    “Atheism is the state either of being without theistic beliefs, or of actively disbelieving in the existence of deities.”
    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atheist

    Period. Your response won’t fly here. If you are a doubter then call yourself an agnostic not an atheist.

  16. 16
    CJYman says:

    apollo230:
    “Atheists know too little to be making conclusive judgments about God’s existence. On the other hand, most theists do not have any advantage-they don’t know for sure that God exists because they haven’t seen Him. Direct experience is the only thing that confers genuine knowledge worth respecting.”

    You seem to be explicitly connecting direct experience with observation [through our five senses] especially of sight, then claiming that genuine knowledge produced through such methods is the only knowledge worth respecting.

    However, have you ever directly observed the Big Bang, the evolution of bacteria to man, and even electromagnetic waves themselves? No, you’ve only observed their EFFECTS within this world and you are aware of their existence because of the logic of math, inference, extrapolation, etc., and because of the effect the phenomenon has on nature.

  17. 17
    crandaddy says:

    Especially avoid people who have had training in the philosophy of science – they’re dangerous because they see through us and know who we are – they don’t see the shimmering lab coats that everyone else sees. They don’t see any clothes at all.

    My favorite part. However, I would refrain from applying this to all atheists and would carry it over to people of other metaphysical faiths. Some of the most aggravating, unreasonable people I’ve encountered in this regard are theists.

  18. 18
    Rude says:

    Crandaddy you’re absolutely right. Every group is afflicted by missionaries and grand inquisitors (every group, of course, except for ID … ). The first aren’t necessarily bad—depending on whether they’re promulgating that which is good and whether they harass you. If it gets to where you can’t spread the word—whatever it is—then we’re way down the road to tyranny. Grand inquisitors, however, can be very dangerous and this whether they are atheists or theists. We need pluralism and we don’t need coercion and we must be able to spread the word.

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