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Lulu is right

I read a very fun item yesterday, thanks to a reader who sent me the link. It’s on a site called, with disarming simplicity, Atheism is False. It has a long list of names under the title “Answering Critics”; I look forward to reading each one, because they should be entertaining. “Answering Critics” is an oddly misleading title, since it implies that each item actually answers critics when in fact, judging by the one I’ve read so far, each item disagrees with people who wrote something that has nothing to do with Atheism is False or its author, David Reuben Stone. The one I’ve read so far is about Me, and my essay in 50 Voices of Disbelief. It’s not very convincing.

Benson’s brief discussion is misplaced from the very beginning.  Benson claims that the definition of “God” includes the belief that God is a supernatural being about whom no one knows anything (p. 23).

No, that’s not quite right, I say that’s a tacit part of the definition of god. The claim is also, of course, slightly facetious, in the way the whole essay is. I think that aspect may have escaped David Reuben Stone’s notice. He goes on earnestly to explain that I have it all wrong.

In response, there is no reason to accept that all theists believe that no one knows anything about God.  Quite the contrary.  Most theists appear to claim to have knowledge of the nature of God, at least to some extent.

Oh I know that – I know most theists appear to claim to have knowledge of the nature of God, at least to some extent. Notice all the qualifications, and how they inadvertently agree with exactly what I said (or implied): people claim to have knowledge about god, sort of, but in fact they don’t. That.was.the.point.

Benson fails to respond to the compelling basis for justification of theistic belief as outlined in my latest updated defense of theism in David Reuben Stone (2010), The Loftus Delusion: Why Atheism Fails and Messianic Israelism Prevails, Morrisville, NC: Lulu Press.

I laughed when I read that, but figured it was a mistake in phrasing – he didn’t actually mean to say I failed to respond specifically to his latest updated defense of theism. Reading on, though, I realized he meant exactly that. He’s right: I failed to respond to it, on account of how I hadn’t read it. (Not surprisingly, since I wrote the essay in 2008.)

…the Benson quote in the above paragraph might even more accurately be interpreted such that Benson chooses to reject God not due to insufficient evidence, but due to Benson’s frustration that God has chosen to reveal Himself with a measure of hiddenness.  It’s like this: “God, you didn’t do what I wanted you to do, so even though you exist, I reject you anyway.”  In response, it’s not our place as creatures to tell the Creator what to do or how to do it.

Oh yes it is. That too is my point. Yes it damn well is. Yes if god made us and made everything the way it is, it damn well is our place to tell god, “hey this sucks in a million ways, you fiendish bastard.” This business of saying “god is god because god is god and we have no right to say the service stinks” is slavish and anti-human, and I despise it. Stone’s response is the very idea I’m attacking.

Also, is God really hidden?  It could be that God is actually maximally revealed, given the nature of the reality of our world.  In fact, my ACPO metaphysics establishes that all physical events (including all physical events described by the laws of physics) not caused by human persons are caused by God.  It folows that we see evidence of God’s existence every day, with every rising of the sun, with every falling rain drop, with every beat of one’s heart.  God’s existence is plainly evident to those willing to see it.  Sadly, light has gone out into the world, but those who are evil choose to reject that light and remain in darkness.

One, sure, it could be, but there’s no reason to think so, and plenty of reason not to. And nothing follows from a “could be” like that, so it certainly doesn’t follow that we see evidence of God’s existence every day, with every fart of the dog. Two, note that he called me evil.

Benson assumes God makes no personal appearances (p. 25).  No proof of this claim is provided.

Benson assumes God sends no authenticated messages (p. 25).  Again, no proof is provided.

Burden of proof, amigo.

Benson thinks it is “too convenient” that a limited measure of knowledge of the nature of God could be possessed by those who do not fully understand God’s ways (p.25).  In response, there is no reason to presuppose a possibly existing God would not choose to reveal Himself such that a limited measure of knowledge of the nature of God could be possessed by those who do not fully understand God’s ways.  Thus, we should not immediately reject this possibility because it is “too convenient”.  Rather, we should investigate the nature of the case for possibly existing Gods who might choose to provide divine revelation in this way.  Benson’s “too convenient” response is a poor excuse for failing to properly analyze the case for theism as justified in my latest book.

That’s the part where I realized he really did mean I hadn’t responded to him, specifically, not just to claims that he and others make. So something I said is a poor excuse for not responding to something written after I wrote the piece in which I didn’t respond. (Plus the part about not responding because I’d never heard of him or his book.)

Benson refers to lack of evidence for God’s existence (p. 26), but fails to respond to my case for theism. Thus, we may conclude that Benson’s analysis is now obsolete and unjustified.

HAhahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha.

I love that.

(And who’s “we,” bub?)

We may agree with Benson that it is good to reject a God who wants us to reject proper methods of critical inquiry (p. 26).  However, the case for theism may be made consistent with this rejection.  That is, we may establish the existence of God via critical inquiry.  So, Benson has failed to justify rejection of theistic belief.

Benson claims a possibly existing God has no right to blame people who reject theism (p. 27).  In response, proponents of Benson’s position now have no right to blame God for a lack of theistic evidence, given their knowledge of my case for theism justified in Stone (2010).

Wheee!

See why I look forward to reading more?

Comments

  1. Moewicus says

    1) Every non-human action is caused by god.
    2) There are non-human actions.
    Conclusion: god exists.

    Well, that was easy. Who knew, all you had to do to find god was apply a little old-fashioned circular reasoning?

  2. Gnumann says

    Ah – the good old typical intellectual theistic honesty (possibly related to “sophisticated theology”).

    I could see how you had some problems countering his “arguments” before he made them, perhaps this is easier for the theistic mind.

    Fortunately, it’s quite easy to test. If he hasn’t already written a defence to my claiming he’s a senseless git of the worst kind, we’ll know… (and if he has, well – that would surprise the heck out of me).

  3. TV200 says

    Well, if it’s any consolation, under answering critics, they don’t seem to have gotten much further than you. All the other people I checked seem like their pages are under construction.

  4. says

    HAhahahaha – that’s hilarious. He also says, after “This page is under construction,” “Please email me, if you would like it completed with high priority”

    Hahahahaha – yes sir, please sir, would you complete the Julian Baggini page with high priority please sir? Also the A C Grayling page please sir?

  5. says

    (laughing)
    Oh, c’mon, OB, admit it: you *are* evil!
    (absoluteing *hooting* with laughter here)

    Oh — wait a sec while I wipe my eyes — it really is too bad, though, that these people have no command of logic. The world would I’m sure be a happier place if these people didn’t spew drivel in what they *think* is logical argument, when it’s clear they don’t know what logic is.

  6. Ken Pidcock says

    Does anybody know what ACPO metaphysics refers to, or do we have to buy his book? And I won’t do that because, having read Ophelia’s summary and the critique of Russell, I’ve concluded that this is a really annoying and unvarying line of bullshit.

    Blackford seeks to reject every possible theodicy (p. 8). However, since Blackford has failed to establish that the ways of all possibly existing Gods are not inscrutable, it does not follow that the nature of evil entails that no God exists.

    That reminded me of the intelligent design argument that we cannot reject ID until we have accounted for every evolutionary event in the history of life.

  7. Kiwi Sauce says

    Atheism 3rd law:
    For every atheist action there is a stupid and opposite xtian reaction.

    Bonus points awarded for the all caps page name, and title, on his webpage.

    Can we mute the theists by taking away their caps lock keys?

  8. Ken Pidcock says

    See why I look forward to reading more?

    Ya mean more from “David Reuben Stone’s book-length critique of Richard Dawkins (This page under construction), Victor Stenger (This page under construction), Theodore Schick Jr. (This page under construction), Quentin Smith (This page under construction), Nicholas Everitt (This page under construction), Michael Ikeda (This page under construction), Bill Jefferys (This page under construction), Wesley C. Salmon (This page under construction), Michael Martin (This page under construction), Bruce and Frances Martin (These pages under construction), William L. Rowe (This page under construction), Thomas Metcalf, (This page under construction) Theodore M. Drange (This page under construction), Victor Cosculluela (This page under construction), Walter Sinnott-Armstrong (This page under construction), and J. L. Schellenberg (This page under construction)?”

  9. Your Name's not Bruce? says

    How does Mr. Stone know that his god is a “Him”? Does this god possess a male sex organ and if he in fact does, what need would he have of it?

  10. Pierce R. Butler says

    postman @ # 12/14: Agent-Caused Physical Occasionalism, whatever that means.

    Darn! Are you sure it isn’t American Christian Patriot Orgasm?

  11. sailor1031 says

    “…all physical events (including all physical events described by the laws of physics) not caused by human persons are caused by God”

    Well that explains it. I’ve been wondering how the kitty-litter gets scattered all around the back porch. Now I know – magicMan dunnit! Summer-the-little-stripey-cat is cleared of all charges.

  12. ernie keller says

    Also, is God really hidden?

    Nope, it’s not hidden at all, just nonexistent. “Hidden” carries the implication that there’s something to hide. But what could “hidden” mean in this context? Is a god hiding a better explanation than a god not existing and therefore not needing to hide? The problem with all of the arguments for hiddenness or special exemptions from evidence or nature is that they are extravagant and ad hoc. They have no justification apart from the dubiousity of the thesis, none. There’s no evidence for a god and no evidence that exemption arguments have any reason beyond the motives of the proponent. It would be an insult to reason to give any consideration to argument as bad as this.

  13. says

    Ya mean more from “David Reuben Stone’s book-length critique of Richard Dawkins (This page under construction), Victor Stenger (This page under construction), Theodore Schick Jr. (This page under construction), Quentin Smith (This page under construction), Nicholas Everitt (This page under construction), Michael Ikeda (This page under construction), Bill Jefferys (This page under construction), Wesley C. Salmon (This page under construction), Michael Martin (This page under construction), Bruce and Frances Martin (These pages under construction), William L. Rowe (This page under construction), Thomas Metcalf, (This page under construction) Theodore M. Drange (This page under construction), Victor Cosculluela (This page under construction), Walter Sinnott-Armstrong (This page under construction), and J. L. Schellenberg (This page under construction)?”

    I bet not one of these authors has bothered to respond to Stone’s as yet unwritten critiques, which thereby proves atheism is false, and what lazy barstards atheists are.

  14. julian says

    Dr. Dan Streetmentioner’s Time Traveler’s Handbook of 1001 Tense Formations would probably help out with any future, past or current discussions with Mr. Stone.

  15. kevinj says

    having scanned a few of those responses which have been completed i am not sure what is taking so long to write the rest. It seems to be roughly:

    The atheist [insert name] in their book [name] argues [insert misunderstood position]. However [s]he or their supporters has not responded to my ACPO metaphysics therefore god exists.

    I am wondering whether to use the same tactic. Invent some argument, perhaps involving the fact marmite exists, and then insist because the pope hasn’t personally argued against it my case is solid.

  16. says

    …proponents of Benson’s position now have no right to blame God for a lack of theistic evidence, given their knowledge of my case for theism justified in Stone (2010).

    Wait, er, what……I mean…what?

    [steps outside for a moment, breaths nice, fresh spring air, sees beautiful horse pulling a wagon trot by, re-establishes a sense of reality]

    That is one Titanic ego charging full steam ahead through the icebergs of reality. Unfortunately, I suspect this one truly is unsinkable.

  17. Chris Lawson says

    It’s also worth pointing out that Lulu Press is a self-publishing company. It is a very good self-publishing company, and friends of mine have published professional fiction anthologies through it, but the fact remains that anyone can print anything using Lulu, there is no editorial input from the company.

    So what DRS is saying is that God exists because Ms Benson did not specifically reply to the contents of his self-published book that was printed 2 years after her essay (even though her essay already addressed all of his arguments anyway).

  18. deanbuchanan says

    due to Benson’s frustration that God has chosen to reveal Himself with a measure of hiddenness

    …that had me giggling non-stop for a few minutes and reaching for a Dan Dennett book. Deepity-Doo-Daaah. I can’t quite figure out why this strikes me as so funny.

  19. F says

    That is, we may establish the existence of God via critical inquiry.

    Then do it, buddy. You’d be the first.

    Benson fails to respond to the compelling basis for justification of theistic belief as outlined in my latest updated defense of theism in David Reuben Stone

     blah blah blah.

    The infantile egocentrism is striking. Wow. It’s everyone’s job to find this guy and refute him, so he can prove you wrong to yer face.

  20. F says

    Looking up ACPO in a search engine yields some amusing possibilities to be paired with “metaphysics”.

    Association of Combat Against the POPs metaphysics. Ah. Wait. Is that like “The Boston Pops”?

  21. Iain Walker says

    In fact, my ACPO metaphysics establishes that all physical events (including all physical events described by the laws of physics) not caused by human persons are caused by God. It folows that we see evidence of God’s existence every day, with every rising of the sun, with every falling rain drop, with every beat of one’s heart.

    In fact, my ISVCPO metaphysics establishes that all physical events (including all physical events described by the laws of physics) not caused by human persons are caused by invisible singing velociraptors. It follows that we see evidence of invisible singing velociraptors’ existence every day, with every rising of the sun, with every falling rain drop, with every beat of one’s heart.

  22. Svlad Cjelli says

    Apparently what Blackford has failed to do is: “establish that the ways of all possibly existing Gods are not inscrutable”

    “the ways of all possibly existing Gods are not inscrutable”

    “the ways of all possibly existing Gods are [scrutable]”

    “all possibly existing Gods are [scrutable]”

    So Blackford should establish that “all possibly existing Gods are [scrutable]”?
    Meaning that Blackford can be shown to be wrong if at least some possibly existing Gods aren’t scrutable?

    The argument against Blackford, then, is the possibility that some Gods could be hiding? Even if we’re vewwy, vewwy quiet?

  23. says

    He’s got a *great* response to the problem of evil. See his reply to Peter Adegoke (yup, he’s one of the “50 Voices”), where he writes: “In response, if God exists, then theism is true regardless of whether God is able to rid Africa of poverty. Therefore, poverty in Africa does not constitute evidence against theism.” If p, then p regardless of whether q. Therefore, q does not constitute evidence against p. Awesome! Nothing is evidence against anything.

  24. says

    He’s got a *great* response to the problem of evil. See his reply to Peter Adegoke (yup, he’s one of the “50 Voices”), where he writes: “In response, if God exists, then theism is true regardless of whether God is able to rid Africa of poverty. Therefore, poverty in Africa does not constitute evidence against theism.” If p, then p regardless of whether q. Therefore, q does not constitute evidence against p. Awesome! Nothing is evidence against anything.

    [Apologies if this appears twice. My first attempt to submit it didn’t report any sort of error but also didn’t appear to do anything.]

  25. Aquaria says

    The infantile egocentrism is striking.

    It’s not a bug, but a feature of theism. What do you think happens when a bunch of gullible people are led to believe they’re special because they have an all-powerful genocidal scumbag at their beck and call? The scumbag created them, especially, to to be who he can “count on” as the person the all-powerful one can go to for ass-kissing</strike hand-jobs bukkake a special friend to always believe in him and tell him how wonderful he is.

    They’re the call girls to Charlie Sheen, and they don’t realize that it’s not exactly something to be proud of.

  26. roland72 says

    I had no idea that the Association of Chief Police Officers had its own metaphysics. Might explain some of the shenanigans we’ve recently had at the Met…

  27. Iain Walker says

    g (#32):

    “In response, if God exists, then theism is true regardless of whether God is able to rid Africa of poverty. Therefore, poverty in Africa does not constitute evidence against theism.”

    That’s hilarious. And it means that he can never be convicted of any crime:

    “If I am innocent of the murder, then I am innocent regardless of whether I was recorded making death threats against the victim and was found standing over the body with the murder weapon in my hand. Therefore my making death threats against the victim and my being found standing over the body with the murder weapon in my hand does not constitute evidence against my innocence.”

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