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Hip and Thigh: Smiting Theological Philistines with a Great Slaughter. Judges 15:8

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Epistemically Out-of-Touch

The day after the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, I posted an article asking the question,

Why Should Atheists Care About Japan?

My contention is that one's philosophical worldview must be able to engage and explain the real world with reason and coherence. So, when a major disaster happens like what happened in Japan, according to the values of atheistic philosophy, why should they care?

Atheists are evangelists of sorts. Evolution is their religion. They insist they have the correct understanding of how life came to be on the earth. A person like me, the biblical creationist, is considered an ignoramus for rejecting reality. According to the atheist, humanity is a product of time and chance, and we live in a materialistic world subject to raw, uncaring natural forces.

But if their views of the world are correct, as I noted in my first article, is not a tsunami another extinction event that shapes the course of the evolutionary river every now and then? According to the atheist view of earth's history, those events are good things. I mean, a comet wiping out the dinosaurs was good for us, right?

As I predicted, I had a handful of atheists wander onto the blog and leave their comments. However, none of them, and I mean none of them, even attempted to deal with the question I raised. One atheist was even inclined to write up a post, but he's dishonest, refusing to post my challenge in his combox. Only one commenter of mine flat out admitted the obvious. He/she didn't care and didn't feel a need to.

The others who did leave comments tried to offer pragmatic explanations. Such things as other animals show altruistic behavior, so we will too as humans. But when it boiled down to specifics, no body could say why any one should care. Just that we do and we don't need any God to justify our compassion.

Honestly, if you reject the divine and believe evolution made all there is, what is the point with me caring for our fellow man except made when doing so selfishly benefits me.

Take a look at this video: Evolution Made Us All. It's just over two minutes.

It plays like a parody, right? But it was made to be a serious representation of evolutionary philosophy. All things wise and wonderful, all things big and small, from Mother Theresa to lamprey eels, Osama bin Laden and tyrannosaurus rex, evolution made them all. Amazing. Mother Theresa is no different really than a lamprey eel when all things are considered. And those atheists who insist on showing compassion when natural disaster strikes want me to take them seriously?

What about atheist philosophers and scientists? They, too, don't really offer any justification for caring about Japan, either.

For example, Dr. Anthony Cashmore, UPenn biology professor, argues any genuine choice or volition is an illusion and mankind is nothing more than a bag of chemicals. Why do bags of chemicals need to help other bags of chemicals? I take it then, that any altruistic motive to help other humans are also an illusion?

Or how about Cornell professor, Dr. William Provine, who wrote in a 1994 edition of Origin Science ,

Let me summarize my views on what modern evolutionary biology tells us loud and clear … There are no gods, no purposes, no goal-directed forces of any kind. There is no life after death. When I die, I am absolutely certain that I am going to be dead. That’s the end for me. There is no ultimate foundation for ethics, no ultimate meaning to life, and no free will for humans, either.

And let us not forget the current messianic prophet of atheism, Dr. Richard Dawkins, who famously wrote in the November, 1995 edition of Scientific American,

The total amount of suffering per year in the natural world is beyond all decent contemplation. During the minute that it takes me to compose this sentence, thousands of animals are being eaten alive, many others are running for their lives, whimpering with fear, others are slowly being devoured from within by rasping parasites, thousands of all kinds are dying of starvation, thirst, and disease. It must be so. If there ever is a time of plenty, this very fact will automatically lead to an increase in the population until the natural state of starvation and misery is restored. In a universe of electrons and selfish genes, blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won't find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice. The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference.

Atheists may not like it, but these are the mouth pieces of their beliefs, and nothing they say offers any reason why any human ought to act out of self sacrifice for other humans.

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8 Comments:

Blogger Tom said...

Yeesh. I like this one poster's comments:
Maybe I am missing something, because this seems obvious to me...maybe if I actually use the word "ought"?: "We OUGHT to care about others because we want them to care about us." There's lots of variations of what you might call the golden rule. It's just logical to treat others the way you want to be treated (so we OUGHT to).

It's just logical! So we that's why an atheistic worldview allows for compassion!

I do wonder sometimes if the point is just completely lost on some folks. You know, not their fault they don't have spiritual eyes and all. Can't blame a duck for quacking.

Tom

1:33 PM, March 30, 2011  
Blogger Larry, a.k.a. The Barefoot Bum said...

Oh, that was *you*? I didn't realize.

For the record, dishonesty consists of telling lies. Merely not printing some egregiously stupid comment is not by itself dishonest.

Comment again, include a link so I remember who you are (I tend to not spend a lot of memory space on idiots) and I'll print it for the lulz.

6:11 PM, March 30, 2011  
Blogger Fred Butler said...

Larry writes,
For the record, dishonesty consists of telling lies.

Generally it does. But it also has the notion of untrustworthiness, or deceptive, which is what you are when you ignore criticism, pretending your position is unassailable.

Merely not printing some egregiously stupid comment is not by itself dishonest.

Ah yes. The ole poison the well fallacy. I don't agree with the opposition, so anything they print is automatically "egregiously stupid."

So as not to bother you too much on your heavily traffiked blog, I am sure you are a busy man filtering all those comments and all, do you want to try and provide a meaningful justification for why atheists should care about Japan? Your article was heavy on the bombast, light on substance. Enlighten us poor egresiously stupid people.

Oh wait, unless you can't because that would imply I had some volitional choice and according to that one atheist biologist, freewill and emotion is an illusion.

7:17 PM, March 30, 2011  
Blogger thomas4881 said...

Romans 1:21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.

10:51 PM, March 30, 2011  
Blogger DJP said...

Fred, this whole area is one of many which, to atheists, is like the "then why can't someone marry his toaster?" argument to "gay" "marriage" advocates. Confronted, they respond with dramatic exasperation and a game effort at bluffing. Why? Because their position simply is incapable of producing a coherent answer.

Well, more unwilling than unable. An atheist who said "Absolutely right: there is no real reason for me to choose compassion over exulting mockery. I just choose it — although, to be honest, the notion of 'choice' is also an illusion," would earn a sort of admiration. As would the "gay" "marriage" advocate who said "Absolutely right. But I'll have to leave that argument to the toasterphiles; all I care about is the re-branding of my perversion."

But honesty among those with unlivable worldviews (atheists, homosexuals) is a rare commodity indeed.

5:32 AM, April 01, 2011  
Blogger Sir Aaron said...

The problem, Fred and Dan, is that Atheists have deceived themselves and so what they offer is the truth from their self-deluded minds. Atheists just refuse to do any serious self-reflection because if they did, they'd come to the same conclusions as Leonardo DiVinci and Fyodor Dostoevsky came to. Namely, "If there is no God, everything is permitted."

10:48 AM, April 01, 2011  
Blogger Brian Kinley said...

I work in the sciences (biotech research) and I see this constantly. When I was an atheist (and a huge Dawkins fanboy as well) in my more honest and introspective moments I could see some serious inconsistancies with my worldview. In short I just didn't live like a Darwinian. It really became a challenge when my son was born. Here was this little creature who I dearly loved and he certainly didn't seem like a tiny sack of sophisticated chemicals produced by billions of years of chance, selection, and mutation...he seemed like so much more. Yet I surpressed these truths for years. I run into this with all of my atheist coworkers in our conversations. We can have lengthy discussions on ethics or issues such as love, or beauty and I will often push them as to "why" they feel so passionate about certain things that from a darwinian standpoint simply shouldn't matter and when the conversation is taken in this direction my very intelligent and very articulate coworkers immediately begin stammering and shut down, they are at a loss for words. Some simply haven't really thought about the "why's" of their ethical system and worldview or perhaps they have but like me they have surpressed those inconsistencies and when they are brought up in conversation they are quick to want to stop that line of thought and reasoning quickly!

On another note, I attend Grace Church in Santee, and our Pastor Steve Lamm just let us know that you will be teaching a Sunday school class on defending the Christian faith in a few weeks Fred. Looking forward to it!

Brian

8:11 AM, April 04, 2011  
Blogger Fred Butler said...

Brian,
I am looking forward to the time. You'll have to introduce yourself. I would love to hear your story if we get a chance.

8:28 AM, April 04, 2011  

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