Four Problems in Atheist/Theist Discussions
by Eric Chabot
In this post I want to point out some of the problems with the discussions with atheists and theists. I am by no means saying that all atheists succumb to some of these issues. So please don’t accuse me of using straw man arguments. I am speaking from first hand experience.
#1: The issue of evidence and proof
First, I want to bring up the issue of equivocation which is both a formal and informal fallacy. It is the misleading use of a term with more than one meaning or sense. Terms like ‘evidence,’ and ‘proof,’ all need clarification. Some atheists (mostly popular atheists and not necessarily academic atheists) like to set the ground rules in that unless you can produce some sort of airtight argument for God’s existence, He just doesn’t exist. And then they call the shots as to what qualifies as evidence. So in many of the discussions between atheists/theists, the following topics come up:
- How do you explain the Origin of the Universe?
- How do you explain the Mathematical Fine-Tuning of the Universe?
- How do you explain the Terrestrial Fine-Tuning of Planet Earth?
- How do you explain the Biological Fine-Tuning of Complex Life on Earth?
- How do you explain the Informational Fine-Tuning of the DNA molecule?
- How do you explain the Origin of Mathematical Laws?
- How do you explain the Origin of Logical Laws?
- How do you explain the Origin of Physical/Natural Laws?
- How do you explain the Origin of the First Cell?
- How do you explain the Origin of Human Reason?
- How do you explain the Origin of Human Consciousness?
- How do you explain the Origin of Objective Morality?
- How do you explain Ultimate Meaning in Life?
- How do you explain Ultimate Value in Life?
- How do you explain Ultimate
Purpose in Life?
In regards to these questions, any attempt by theists to give scientific data (a peer reviewed document or book) is cast off as a “God of the Gaps” argument. Granted, I think we have provided answers to the “God of the Gaps” charge. And in return, the atheist just punts to a “nature and chance of the gaps” argument. In other words, whatever God explanation is given, some atheists assume that science (which is not a search for natural/material causes alone) will be able to show that eventually we will arrive at naturalistic explanation. The same goes for historical arguments. For some, any resurrection claim about Jesus will always have a naturalistic hypothesis. I think this has problems…
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