New Atheism and its Challenge to Prove the Existence of God
by Daniel Mann
New Atheist and physicist, Victor Stenger, laments that most atheists don’t challenge and ridicule religious belief. Therefore, he lays out several put-up-or-shut-up challenges for theists. (However, he seems to have Christians in mind.):
“Many of the attributes associated with the Judaic-Christian-Islamic God have specific consequences that can be tested empirically [scientifically]. Such a God is supposed to play a central role in the operation of the universe and the lives of humans. As a result, evidence for him should be readily detectable by scientific means. If a properly conducted experiment were to come up with an observation that cannot be explained by natural means, then science would have to take seriously the possibility of a world beyond matter.”
However, Stenger has already stacked-the-deck against the theist and has retained for himself the trump cards. For one thing, science is unable to directly detect or measure transcendent causation. Let’s just start with miraculous causation as opposed to “non-miraculous,” everyday, formulaic, transcendent causation.
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Science is based on experimentation and replication. However, by their very nature, miracles are delivered upon demand into the laboratory. Instead of phenomena amenable to laws and replication, they are isolated one-time events. Therefore, while they are highly amenable to anecdotal attestation, they allude science.
Nevertheless, Stenger cites intercessory prayer studies, claiming that “they should have shown scientifically that some god exists.” As he lays down his trump card, he exults that “They did not.”
However, he never asked God if He is amenable to this form of testing. Of course the New Atheist confidently asserts that if god exists, surely, He would want to provide this kind of evidence to prove His existence. This assertion, however, refuses to acknowledge that He has already proved Himself in so many ways that humanity is “without excuse” (Romans 1:20) for denying His existence…
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