Saturday, January 22, 2011

Responses to “Reason for the Season”—Part 2

Here are more responses to my recent newspaper article from the Salt Lake Tribune. Except for one, all of these are written by people who call themselves atheists or agnostics. My responses are found in the bold type with parentheses.)

Scratchphd: “I feel like I am talking to a high school student, who has no "clue". If this is the best you can do then I feel sorry for your students. You are determined to argue for the point of arguing. Please do us all a favour (sic) and try not to write anything else. It was inane at best.”

Melospiza:  “A previous blogger wrote, "'Therefore, go where the evidence leads.' This statement at the end of your article sir, is curious. As you do not follow the evidence at all. You follow theology."  Perhaps more precisely, he follows faith, which can be defined as belief without evidence-- the exact opposite of the quoted statement.” (A common argument used against my article was that there is no evidence for the existence of God, yet I carefully used design, kalam, morals, and my personal testimony in the short 700 words that I was allotted in the 1/1/11 article. Honestly, few to no atheists specifically went after my arguments, settling for generalizations.)

Scratchphd: “You follow theology. Which we all know is riddled with holes and pits. And that is the best case. “ (If this fellow really possesses a Ph.D., I’d love to know in what.)

Uranakedemperor: “Eric: Your arguments are correct and valid, but you are not dealing with rational atheists here. These are 2nd class wantabees, who are so caught up in their own concepts that no other alternatives are acceptable for their consideration. So, discussing the possibility of a truth beyond their rigid mind-set, is a little like bringing up the benefits derived from moderation, in a bar room setting.” (The only theist—out of more than 40 people who posted—who wrote on the site.)

Denrex: “uranakedempeor: you and eric sharing the same bottle of shampoo? let me know when you are running on empty...i will spot you a refill...”

Cosmopolitan: “You wrote a letter to the paper so that you could drone on in public about your religiosity. Such hypocrisy!” (So, I defend my position in a newspaper and I’m labeled a hypocrite? Is this blogger a hypocrite who “droned on in public” about his lack of religiosity make him a saint?)

Cosmopolitan: “"Theistic" logic is no more compelling to me than some guy yelling "I swear to God, it's true!" It's as reliable in guaranteeing truth as a hand placed on a bible. In the end, you just have to take some person's word for it.” (A straw man logical fallacy—nobody is saying you have to take our word for it. Rather, consider the evidence and then reject the belief in God based on the evidence.) )

Cosmopolitan: “you remind me of the religious fanatics who tried to control every aspect of my life until I was old enough to take control over it for myself. And as for "chicks," I've got nothing on the religious authorities of my childhood who liked to keep underage girls in their harems. And mush-brained people usually drop out of my classes in the first week and I never see them again.” (Here lies the reason for this person’s atheism: Because it appears he was forced into religion at an early age, therefore God does not exist. This is a non sequitur.)

Scratchphd: “Egad Zooks! Is the good Mr. Johnson still going on about this? He waxes and wanes as the moon does? As so often happens when people try to save their argument by contrived and ad hoc additions. You might as well postulate the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus et al, all exist. This really flies in the face of rational thinking. But you should know that. But then again perhaps you do not? which would not surprise me at all. You truly remind me of the people at FARMS.” (FARMS is a Mormon apologist group based in Provo, UT. I certainly don’t consider this a compliment.)

Digitalbath: “This has to be one of the worst essays I've ever read in my life. A ballpoint pen? Seriously?” (Can the atheist rebut irreducible complexity, as explained by Michael Behe in Darwin’s Black Box? After all, something as simple as a ballpoint pen required great design from a higher source, naturally, the pen-maker.)

Cosmopolitan: “Well, if he'd used a watch for an example, the plagiarism would be rather obvious. Using a ballpoint pen instead of a watch seems to be the extent of this writer's creativity.” (What we call ad hominem. Go after the creator of the proposition rather than the proposition itself.)

Digitalbath: “What I also find troubling about this silly essay is that there's no mention of Christians usurping various holidays, particularly Christmas, from the Pagans. Nothing set forth above can be taken even remotely seriously.”

Conclusion: I’m left scratching my head, wondering why the existence of God causes what appears to be intelligent people into such onerous, angry responses.


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