Evidence and other atheist fallacies

In my brief journey into the unguided and purposeless world of atheists, the most common question I get is, “Where’s your evidence for God?” Or, more blatantly, “There is no evidence for God,” as if they are even addressing the question of God. They’re not because what they seem to be asking for is scientific evidence, and science is incapable of answering the question.

Demanding scientific evidence for God is a fallacious category error. And the fact that many don’t like this answer only shows how profoundly they don’t understand what is meant by “God” in classical theism.

Don’t get me wrong. Science has the goods when it comes to testing things in nature. But science cannot help us with the question of God. Besides, scientific evidence is only one kind of evidence. For instance, there’s also logical evidence that’s just as valid, like with mathematical theorems. And theist philosophers have developed robust and logically deductive arguments for the existence of God over the last 2,300 years. The problem is, many scientists and even philosophers who are atheists have shown that they really don’t understand the classical theist’s arguments, only a vapid caricature of them.

Another fallacious category error stems from what is meant when we use the word, “God.” It seems that many atheists and skeptics (even some theists) think of God as a “thing” in the universe. But God is not a being in nature, nor is He some “supreme being” among beings. (See my post, “God is not a god“.)

However, while God is not material or part of the cosmos, He certainly could interact with it if He created it. This would be similar to a builder interacting with his building’s construction or on-going maintenance. Now, you certainly wouldn’t go down to the construction site and look for the builder in the concrete or glass. That would be absurd. Likewise, the Builder of the cosmos won’t be found in the cosmos.

So, while we won’t find God Himself by looking in the universe, we will find His workings everywhere and every moment of every day we exist. As Paul said, His invisible attributes are clearly seen in our world:

20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse (Rom.1:20 NKJV, emphasis added)

In fact, the most ubiquitous evidence of all is that we continue to exist. And if this is so, we must have an explanation for our continuing existence, otherwise we succumb to ontological incoherence. We violate the principle of sufficient explanation. As David Bentley Hart points out concerning the inescapable absurdity of naturalism:

“It is at the very point where physical reality becomes questionable, and reason finds it has to venture beyond the limits of nature if it is to make sense of nature, that naturalism demands reason turn back, resigned to pure absurdity, and rest content with a non-answer that closes off every avenue to the goal the mind necessarily seeks. The question of existence is real, comprehensible, and unavoidable, and yet it lies beyond the power of naturalism to answer it, or even to ask it.” (“The Experience of God,” p.95)

We will look at what classical theists mean by the existence of God in the next couple of posts. While it may take a little thought to fully comprehend the depth of their arguments and understand some of the metaphysical terminology, once you do you’ll see why the atheist’s arguments for a God-less reality are all non-starters.

About Mel Wild

God's favorite (and so are you), a son and a father, happily married to the same beautiful woman for 41 years. We have three incredible adult children. My passion is pursuing the Father's heart in Christ and giving it away to others. My favorite pastime is being iconoclastic and trailblazing the depths of God's grace. I'm also senior pastor of Cornerstone Church in Wisconsin.
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349 Responses to Evidence and other atheist fallacies

  1. violetwisp says:

    I think the issue is that there’s lots of evidence that the human imagination created all these supernatural myths to fill gaps in our knowledge and understanding. In every culture, in every society. Wouldn’t you agree? Or do you follow the teachings of Pachamama? No, you’ve simply adopted the superstitious belief system closest to hand.

    • Mel Wild says:

      You are talking about a “god of the gaps.” That is not at all what I’m talking about and it has nothing to do with the classical argument for God.

      • violetwisp says:

        Of course you’re not talking about that. You’re compartmentalizing ideas so you can rehash ages old arguments without having to think about reality in context.

        • Mel Wild says:

          Yes, I’m not talking about that because it has absolutely nothing to do with what we describe as God. No serious student of classical Christian theology ever described God that way. This is a straw man that gets tossed around by people who have little or no understanding of the argument.

        • violetwisp says:

          There is evidence that no gods exist, as you’ve agreed. Yet you wish this one particular god into reality and then claim there needs be no evidence because….’beyond evidence’. It’s not coherent. I agree that magic gods could well have their own rules humans can’t fathom, but if everything suggests they are all fictitious, it seems obvious evidence of some kind is required to separate any one from the clump of nonsense.

        • Mel Wild says:

          You misunderstand. I do not wish any one god into existence. It’s a logically deductive conclusion one must make in order to avoid ending up with an ontological incoherency.

        • violetwisp says:

          You have to subscribe to classic Christian theology to avoid understanding what religion really is and essentially stick your head in the sand. I understand. Separate it all and insist it’s not up to your rigorous academic standards. It’s all you’ve got. 😀

        • Mel Wild says:

          What? Your comment is incoherent. How can I stick my head in the sand about Christianity if I subscribe to classical Christian theology?

          Possibly, you’re talking about certain types of religion, and even Christianity, and what they believe, I might even agree with you there. But I am not sticking my head in the sand about anything. And I would add that a naturalist worldview is not only untenable but myopic and narrow-minded as a worldview. So, I would argue about who’s actually sticking their head in the sand. 🙂

        • violetwisp says:

          It’s the notion that it’s acceptable to corral certain arguments that I object to. The premise of this post is that atheists can’t demand evidence for your god, yet you want to the reduce the grounds for discussion to a tiny droplet. I want to open it up to the full picture of human development and the place of the Christian religious story and god within that context. It’s the only way it can make sense or be in any way a coherent discussion.

        • Mel Wild says:

          I want you to explain your own continuing existence before you can say there is no God (or Subsistent Existence, or Ground of Being, if you prefer). Otherwise, your whole position is based on incoherency.

        • violetwisp says:

          I suppose so, if your head is plugged in the sand. I’m content to accept that a reason may not exist, may exist and never be understood by humans, or may exist and have nothing to do with gods. I’m rational enough to evaluate how human thoughts have evolved on these subjects and conclude that any appeal to an outside force is based on gaps in knowledge. I know it’s scary if you’ve been clinging to a magic security blanket, but actually it’s easier to live with reality once you drop the pretence that gods (or your god) are inevitable. Your position starts with a conclusion that has no basis in reality.

        • Mel Wild says:

          My head is plugged with sand? How so? You seem to be the one with no explanation for your own existence. And bringing up a “god of the gaps” straw man and other desperate attempts to dismiss me is just more fallacious argumentation. You are arguing against some person in your own imagination, not me.

          I could just as easily say you are clinging to your magic security blanket of scientism. It’s just modern superstitions for people who don’t want to think about God.

        • violetwisp says:

          God is your starting point. Observation of actual life around me, and the collective facts from human experience are mine.

        • Mel Wild says:

          Actually, every moment of every day of our continuing existence is my starting point. And then we must logically follow it to its ultimate conclusion. You just stop at the biological level and say you don’t know.

        • violetwisp says:

          I stop at the point where things still make sense. If your starting point was genuinely your existence, it could only be by exploring the physical reality around you, yet you jump immediately to stories from thousands of years ago about a particular creator god.

        • John Branyan says:

          “If your starting point was genuinely your existence, it could only be by exploring the physical reality around you…”

          Nope.
          The ‘physical reality around you’ needs an explanation too. That’s the whole point of the post. Dismissing the arguments as ‘stories from thousands of years ago’ is lazy and inaccurate. You really should try to understand an argument before you reject it.

        • violetwisp says:

          I replied with a link to creation myths on your other comment, it’s in moderation. Nothing ‘needs’ an explanation but we can certainly attempt to explain as far as we can. That doesn’t involve creating rules about everything needing to be here from an eternal source of existence … just because. Or then leap to make this absurd notion of an eternal source be connected to the god depicted by the Jews. It’s all fantasy, but curious how people convince themselves these are ‘truths’. No more curious than believing Scientology I guess, just interesting how many of us are sucked into these systems and can’t see the glaring sunlight of reality.

        • John Branyan says:

          The glaring sunlight of reality also needs an explanation as does our ability to see it.

          Can you explain Mel’s argument?

        • Aetheism is the highest level of ignorance. Full of arguments. Carnal. Judgemental and believe that all and sundry should be dragged into mundane ways of thinking by philosophy, science, myths or ancient facts. It’s a pity.

    • Mel Wild says:

      Btw, I forgot to mention, I do agree with you on the “gaps” part. 🙂 These ancient superstitions were based in mythology about pagan “god(s),” but not in the logically deductive metaphysics I’m referring to in this post.

  2. john zande says:

    The Middle Eastern god of the Pentateuch, Yhwh, writes on a wall, in human words that can be seen by human eyes and read. As matter has been rearranged (forming words on a wall), that event is measurable. Science measures and describes changes in matter and energy. What are the letters made of, what caused them? Something, after all, caused matter and energy to rearrange itself into human words written on a wall that could be seen by human eyes and read.

    Self-evidently, evidence is not only possible, but available.

    • Mel Wild says:

      Not evidence for seeing God Himself though, only His workings, as you didn’t seem to understand when I tried to explain this to you several times before.

      Measuring changes in matter and energy are only describing contingent things, things in nature going from some state of potentiality to actuality, not God Himself.

      • john zande says:

        Not evidence for seeing God Himself though

        Not quite. Not only are the letters seen, but so too is the hand writing them.

        Suddenly the fingers of a human hand appeared and wrote on the plaster of the wall, near the lampstand in the royal palace. The king watched the hand as it wrote. — Daniel 5:5

        So, you do admit, though, that evidence is, in fact, possible and available.

        Why did you write this post then if you knew it was fallacious?

        • jim- says:

          Aah, the finger of god. Sounds physical to me, but I’m sure he just “became” part of the physical world, but is separate from it. I smell a contradiction.

        • john zande says:

          Photons bouncing off something solid…

        • jim- says:

          “If”. The writers could not foresee the advances of science. Seems god is less concealed than Higgs Boson. I think we’d have already found him if he was real, but we’re still young at this.

        • Mel Wild says:

          If it’s photons bouncing off of something solid, you are not detecting God. Dan. 5:5 is using phenomenological language to describe the event anthropomorphically. No one actually saw or detected God! That’s nonsense.

          No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him. (John 1:18)

        • john zande says:

          That’s what *seeing* is, Mel… Photons bouncing off something and into our retinas. Photons bounce off physical things, solid things, things that have mass and therefore are made of atoms.

          So, what you’re saying then is that verse in the bible is a straight up lie. It didn’t happen. It couldn’t happen. The author of Daniel was lying.

          Is that correct?

        • Mel Wild says:

          No, I’m saying that they were employing anthropomorphic and phenomenological language, which was common in ancient writings. If you don’t understand this, you won’t understand Scripture.

        • john zande says:

          Did they see something, words written on a wall, as described?

        • john zande says:

          Mel, did they *see* something?

          Yes or No?

        • john zande says:

          Mel, did they *see* something?

          Yes or No?

          Is this question too hard to answer?

        • Mel Wild says:

          Probably yes. I answered you the first time you asked. But it doesn’t mean they actually saw God. Is that too hard for you to understand?

        • john zande says:

          Right, so photons were bouncing off something solid. In this particular story, the Middle Eastern god of the Pentateuch, Yhwh, was interacting with matter… and that interaction, Mel, could by all accounts be measured. That’s what science does, and it does it very well.

          We cannot see wind, but we can see its effect on, say, trees. We can determine it exists, and the same principle applies here. We’re told Yhwh (akin to the unseen wind) was interacting with solid objects (a wall/ink) to create an observable effect (written words).

          This either happened or it didn’t. You say they weren’t lying, so you’re saying it did, in fact, happen.

          So, as stated earlier: You admit, therefore, that evidence is both possible and available.

          So, seriously, why did you write this post if you knew it was completely fallacious?

        • Mel Wild says:

          No, photons were not bouncing off of God! That is just stupid and ridiculous. I suppose if I told you that the mouth of the river swallowed up a ship, you would insist that rivers have literal mouths and swallow things. You’re just wasting my time now.

        • john zande says:

          I didn’t say they were bouncing off God… Why do you keep trying to put words in my mouth?

          Please stop it. It’s disingenuous.

          I said: photons were bouncing off *something* solid. What they were bouncing off was the effect of Yhwh interacting with matter.

          The EFFECT, Mel, could be measured, correct? That means you acknowledge evidence (albeit it secondary evidence, like trees bending in the wind) is possible.

          Why, then, did you waste so much time writing this post when you clearly understand it’s patently false?

        • Mel Wild says:

          Did you actually read my post or just fire off your typical knee-jerk reactions? It seems the latter. I said we CAN find evidence of God’s workings, which is all you’re saying here. What we cannot find is physical evidence for God Himself. Why do you waste so much of my time when you could’ve just read my post?

        • john zande says:

          I believe letters and words suddenly appearing on a wall, at the end of a moving hologram hand, would be quite convincing PHYSICAL EVIDENCE of a god…

          Or don’t you think that would be “physical evidence”?

        • Mel Wild says:

          We have evidence of God’s WORKINGS, just like we do for our continuing existence. But I don’t have time to stay on this inane merry-go-round with you. Again, I’m glad you believe in God now.

        • john zande says:

          No Mel, we have evidence of the natural world’s WORKINGS… and we have an unbroken line of material explanations answering our questions.

          Has magic explained anything, at any time? Has a supernatural explanation ever supplanted a natural one, at anytime, anywhere?

          So, sorry, but no. Your allusion to evidence is nothing but wishful thinking wrapped in an awful lot of willful ignorance.

        • John Branyan says:

          “No Mel, we have evidence of the natural world’s WORKINGS… and we have an unbroken line of material explanations answering our questions…”

          As I suspected, Zande doesn’t have the vaguest idea of what Classical Theology is about.

        • john zande says:

          Did Yhwh physically write on a wall or not?

        • John Branyan says:

          I don’t know.
          That question has nothing to do with Classic Theology. Your statement about the “unbroken line of material explanations” demonstrates that you don’t understand Mel’s argument.

        • john zande says:

          Yes, it makes Classical Theology quite untenable, doesn’t it?

          Awkward, that damn bible is.

        • John Branyan says:

          What is untenable about Classical Theology?

        • John Branyan says:

          The Bible is unrelated to Classical Theology.
          Awkward!

        • john zande says:

          Oh, so it’s not the primary (and only) source document for Yhwh?

          That’s a novel approach.

          Good luck with that.

        • John Branyan says:

          Yhwh is also unrelated to Classical Theology.
          Christianity is unrelated to Classical Theology.

          You’re out of your depth. When you don’t understand what you’re arguing against, it is wise to stop arguing.

          Good luck with that.

        • john zande says:

          Ah, so you’re not a Christian, you don’t believe in Yhwh, and the Bible is bunk.

          Got it.

        • John Branyan says:

          LOL!
          You should go back to ignoring me.
          You’re not ready to step back into the ring, Tiger.

        • John Branyan says:

          Classical Theology determines God’s existence via reason, logic, and science. It is independent of specific religious dogmas.
          Remembering this one thing will help keep your ignorance from being so blatantly obvious.

        • John Branyan says:

          You like Science.
          It’s full of evidence!

        • john zande says:

          OK… What you got?

        • john zande says:

          Branyan, did Yhwh physically write on a wall, be it actual, or as secondary effect?

          Suddenly the fingers of a human hand appeared and wrote on the plaster of the wall, near the lampstand in the royal palace. The king watched the hand as it wrote. — Daniel 5:5

        • John Branyan says:

          Again, I don’t know.

          The only certainty is that you don’t comprehend what Mel’s article is about.

        • john zande says:

          You don’t know.

          I see.

          Run away from the bible, run away!!!

        • Mel Wild says:

          Exactly. He doesn’t. But Zande is brilliant at not understanding a concept, then doggedly arguing irrelevant points. I guess he has nothing better to do. I am glad we can give his life meaning and purpose though.

        • John Branyan says:

          Apparently, there are no Ph.D. students in need of his expertise at the moment.

        • john zande says:

          What’s irrelevant about using the evidence for Yhwh’s existence as detailed in Yhwh’s primary source document?

        • John Branyan says:

          I explained that to you already.
          Classical Theology doesn’t require a “source document”.

        • john zande says:

          Mmmmm, burt there *is* a source document.

          Awkward.

          Honestly, it’s impossible not to see just how much you guys despise the Bible. It does nothing but get in the way of what you *want* to believe.

        • John Branyan says:

          Classical Theology is independent of my opinion of the Bible too. You’re not catching on very quickly.

        • john zande says:

          Exactly. You reject the bible.

        • John Branyan says:

          And you reject reason.

        • john zande says:

          So you admit you reject the bible.

          Thanks for being halfway honest for once.

        • John Branyan says:

          So you admit you reject reason.

          That disqualifies you from rendering judgment about me.

        • john zande says:

          Oh, you paint yourself in your own judgement every comment you write.

        • john zande says:

          And Mel, I could have sworn you were arguing once, not that long ago, about strong and weak panentheism.

          Have you given that up in favour of Classical Theism… Or is that just your flavour of today?

        • Mel Wild says:

          This is just another straw man fallacy and a total misunderstand of who God actually is. God does not have fingers, nostrils, arms, wings or feathers, and He doesn’t cluck like a chicken either! These are anthropomorphisms. So, whatever they saw was not God Himself. They saw phenomenon and described it with human language they could understand. Only the most absurd literalist would believe these people actually saw God’s hands! That’s just vacuous nonsense.

        • jim- says:

          “And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.”
          ‭‭Genesis‬ ‭32:30‬ ‭KJV‬‬
          “The Lord talked with you face to face in the mount out of the midst of the fire,”
          ‭‭Deuteronomy‬ ‭5:4‬ ‭KJV‬‬
          “And there arose not a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face,”
          ‭‭Deuteronomy‬ ‭34:10‬ ‭KJV‬‬. It’s pretty compelling that you are wrong Mel, if any of it is true

        • Mel Wild says:

          Obviously, not literal language. No one ever literally saw God. God is Spirit, not some being you literally wrestle with!

        • jim- says:

          Except for Jacob. Why the insistence that god isn’t made of the same elements he created with. Sounds like an imagination when you consider the evidence against you. Why does the god have to be so abstract. It’s not believable.

        • Mel Wild says:

          No, Jim. Not Jacob! That turns the Scripture into a convoluted mess. It’s hermeneutically impossible. God is NOT visible, He does not have body parts, He is not part of matter. God is Spirit, not material. Ontologically speaking, He cannot be part of matter. That is a logical impossibility. This has been understood by philosophers and theologians for over 2,300 years.

          You are simply arguing against a vacuous literalist caricature that no serious theologian would ever argue for. This is what I mean by straw man arguments by people who don’t understand theology.

          God is “so abstract” for the very reason He is God. He is completely other-than. He is not the demiurge of mythology that you seem to be insisting on.

        • jim- says:

          I bought this too for years Mel, And it is all an unapproachable rationalization for excuses. Make it so big no one can understand it. That is a line of “you know what”, when the Bible itself, the writers would never put that in if it weren’t true, or if it was ill conceived of their knowledge. Why are you making god more than he needs to be?

        • Mel Wild says:

          So, if God is totally understandable then you can accept it? What you want is a demiurge, not someone who is infinite Subsistent Existence Itself. So I ask you, why do you wish to dumb God down to your level?

          And while fully understanding God is a mystery for our finite minds to understand, it doesn’t mean we can’t know Him. Mystery doesn’t mean never knowing, it means ever knowing and growing in our understanding. Otherwise, God would be pretty boring, don’t you think? And we can know this transcendent God through Jesus Christ. He gave us a true grid for God and for ourselves.

        • jim- says:

          Philosophy of men with very little scripture and even less evidence piled on through the ages to keep God out of reach, to empower the teachers of religion. A real god would make himself known to all by recognizable, clear instruction. 45,000 regional religions based on human construct, and Christians want so desperately to set themselves ahead, they have created something neither the poor, nor the learned can comprehend, but must take the preachers word. Very little of what you say, comes from the Bible anyway, as the tale must get bigger to stay ahead of common sense. All you add on is human construct. The reason religion has to change, is it is flawed from its beginnings. If it wasn’t, why is everyone still searching Mel? If Jesus had the disciples “handle me and see, for a spirit hath not flesh and blood as you see me have” who says, besides religious philosophy that it is any different than that?

        • Mel Wild says:

          Thanks for your opinion. You may be right in some cases but to paint it all with the same brush is just prejudicial nonsense. And it has nothing to do with my argument here.

          The importance of philosophy is that it keeps one from having an incoherent worldview. To dismiss it is just ignorant foolishness of ontologically lazy people who don’t want to actually know the truth.

        • jim- says:

          “No one has seen God at any time” is obviously not literal language.

        • Mel Wild says:

          No, because, first, Jesus explains God to us, not the Old Testament. This is central to Scripture. Secondly, because it’s also said over and over in the Old Testament. No one has ever seen God’s face and lived. Not even Moses. “Face to face” is obviously figurative language. So, Jacob’s experience, like all other experiences in the Old Testament, must be subsumed within the greater understanding of God. This is hermeneutics 101. Just like we know God doesn’t have wings, feathers, arms, nostrils, etc. And He never changes. The language clearly employs anthropomorphisms or phenomenological language to give us a grid for relating to God in a way we can understand as human beings. No one has seen God because He is Spirit, not material. Of course, Scripture also reveals that Jesus gave us an incarnational representation of God. Otherwise, we would have no way of being sure what God is really like. That’s the significance of Christology.

        • jim- says:

          So his spirit could mingle with earthly flesh, which is contradiction in your court again.

        • Mel Wild says:

          How so? God’s spirit mingles with us and actualizes us. There is no contradiction here. The only unique thing about Jesus was He was fully God and fully man (hypostatic union). But now we can also know God through Christ.

        • Ben says:

          I’m curious as to why God cannot be explained by scientific methods as he exists outside of such things, yet the Bible can be accepted using such methods? The Bible is a physical document that consists of actual parchments that have been studied since it’s inception. How is it that the Bible is verifiable by Christians as a true piece of history documenting God’s actual words, yet God himself is outside of that type of verification?

          Christians put their faith in those ancient documents that actually exist and say that they prove God is real. However, since they actually exist, we can observe their changes (additions and omissions as well as errors). God’s words exist on those pages and we accept them or reject them based on what we can read. His words are not still passed down by word of mouth or by divine intervention which would be outside of scientific observation. His words are accepted or rejected based on written down words. Without the Bible (which exists in a state that can scientifically be observed) we have nothing to go on as far as what God said or didn’t say. We are not given his instructions in other ways that only God knows. We know him only by words that man wrote down. Why is God outside of science and observation, yet his words are not? Why does he not instruct us in ways that don’t involve what us mere mortals can comprehend? He relies on a medium that is corruptible and has been proven to be corrupted? It would seem that if God were truly only knowable by means that defy logic and science (faith) then his words would also defy logic and science. Instead, they have man’s fingerprints all over them.

        • jim- says:

          A+ Ben. Amen to Avery single word.

        • Ben says:

          I was just curious, you know? God is outside science, yet the Bible which is our only source of his existence, is not. Seems contradictory to me, but hey, I’m not a theologian. The almighty exists in a place so amazing that we cannot fathom it, but he needs ancient scribes to tell us about it. Hmm…

        • jim- says:

          It seems contradictory because it is contradictory. No one should ever be afraid to analyze and scrutinize the rationalizations for religion. It has gotten so convoluted that only elite scholarliness can sift through the miles of doctrines. When if you just read the Bible, it’s pretty clearly a mess of immoral contradiction that requires very little to see. If one were to only look before faith, instead of after.

        • john zande says:

          Ben, this is Mel Wild Apologetics: Yhwh is undetectable when being undetectable suits the conversation (ie. when evidence is being discussed)/Yhwh physically interacts with the world when physical interaction with the world suits the conversation (ie. miracles/meddling in evolution).

          Use either/or liberally and as required, and accuse anyone identifying the contradiction as being either 1) incoherent, 2) not addressing the subject, or 3) committing a category error.

          Wave hands about, rinse and repeat.

        • Mel Wild says:

          No, This Zande sarcasm and ignorant ridicule, throwing up irrelevant questions, straw men, and wasting people’s time.

        • Ben says:

          I’m still amazed at how some parts of the Bible are literal and some are figurative but only when problems or contradictions become obvious. “This really happened!” Okay, well what about this part that contradicts that part? “That’s figurative. Poetry even. No one could ever take that literally.” I see. So who has the key which decodes the Bible and separates fact from fiction? Those in charge? Those who excelled in seminary? I see. The average person needs these people to keep them in line because we cannot understand the words before us. What a brilliant system God created for us. God is obviously made plain to us as described in Romans 1:19-20. No one could deny him. That’s why we aren’t actually having this debate, right? We are all in agreement? Good. We are without excuse. Amen. 🙂

        • Mel Wild says:

          Ben, this is because you have a fundamental misunderstanding of the Bible. It was written over a thousand year span by various groups, in different languages, by cultures very different than ours. It must be interpreted. Hermeneutics is the science of interpretation. It is not a modern book, a science book, or a history book, or anything like that. But what it says about us is unlike anything ever written.

          As far as the question of God, that is a different story. You must have an ontological explanation before you can even debate a particular theology.

        • Ben says:

          I see. So we should all read our Bibles to know God, but we need someone to interpret them for us because we don’t have the ability to interpret it for ourselves? This is the system God implemented for us? Only the religiously learned can know it and explain it to us? A book compiled of stories written over a thousand years is how God chose to communicate with us? A book he knew would be disputed and rejected by most? A God who grieves over the loss of even one of us is okay losing about 7 out of 10 people in the world? Yes, only about 30% or so of the world’s population is Christian. A book that is so confusing that only properly trained can understand is not the way to go if God wanted to save every last one of us. It has the power to save if we believe, yet Christians are leaving the faith in record numbers. Why is that? We’re not true Christians? Satan? Oh wait, am I off topic again? Logically incoherent? I was a Christian for 25 years. I prayed for guidance and to keep my faith. God was silent whenever I prayed and all I had left was this book.

        • jim- says:

          What we are seeing is confusion. The particles are bouncing around disconnected from the source. I think you’ve seen this already, but take another look https://jimoeba.wordpress.com/2018/03/20/dissipated-energy-the-collapse-of-religion/

        • Mel Wild says:

          That is incoherent nonsense. Talk about hand-waving! Particles bouncing around are contingent on some source that is causing them to bounce around. You are still not addressing the existence of God.

        • jim- says:

          That’s easy. There isn’t one. We just have to use science, and sometimes your own words to get the point across.

        • Mel Wild says:

          Haha. That’s called incoherent nonsense. Or maybe you’re suggesting that your faith-based opinion based on no evidence? 🙂

        • jim- says:

          I have plenty of evidence that there is no evidence for something no man “has seen at any time”. Rightful conclusions for the obvious. Who has even heard god that isn’t duplicated in a dream or brain injury, or a stressor in life? Nobody!

        • Mel Wild says:

          We have no scientific evidence to test for God, nor can we for methodological reasons. But we have logically deductive evidence to prove there must be a “ground of being” and other types of evidence to infer God.

          You are still not arguing against God at all, but I have not been able to explain the argument yet, which will be in the next few posts.

          And the point about delusion goes both ways. If God does not truly exist, then we are the deluded ones. If He does exist, then you are one with the delusion. 🙂

        • jim- says:

          Not delusions Mel. Some minds are not so easily convinced, especially as so many gods have come and gone. But requiring faith before knowledge in order to know, is just a lot of hope. Faith takes nothing to acquire, and nothing to maintain, yet people act gutshot if you question its validity. Nothing but religion, in the entire universe, plays on the mind of human nature that way. Masterful

        • Mel Wild says:

          Actually, it would be a delusion, either way.

          But you seem to assume that Christian philosophers and theologians haven’t thought about these things deeply and logically. That would be a gross misunderstanding. Many were atheists who became believers after having fully understood it.

        • jim- says:

          That’s why stories like Paleys watch and Paschals wager have been so popular. It’s called acquiescence. Then spend your life trying to prove it.

        • Mel Wild says:

          Paley’s watch just shows the failure of naturalism for an ontological explanation. I think even science has proven that the cosmos is not a closed system that runs like a watch. Pascal’s wager is interesting but I doubt it would convince anyone today. The culture was more attuned to the after-life in Pascal’s day than they are today.

        • john zande says:

          From time to time I do work with a PhD. students, overseeing their thesis structure and language, and before I take on a student I like to meet with them and run a whole series of odd questions by them just to see where their head’s at. One question is “If you were God, capable of anything, would you choose to communicate to humans via a book—the bible, for example?”

          Not one person, not even the very religious, said that would be their preferred method.

        • Ben says:

          We are weak and unrighteous. We are born as sinners who have evil in our hearts from the moment of conception. Why would God ever think we were the best means to convey his message? Seems an all-knowing entity could think of a better method. The fact that none of it makes any sense, now makes perfect sense to me. It was a man-made creation using methods known by man written in a way that man could understand.

        • Mel Wild says:

          First, I would disagree with your premises. We are not born sinners, we are born into a world in which we will sin. I think I have indisputable empirical evidence for that.

          And now we’re getting into specific theology which is not the topic of this post.

        • Ben says:

          I am beginning to see a pattern with the comments people leave on here. We’re either off topic or just wrong.

          Being born sinful or being born into a world in which we will sin is splitting hairs. We’re still sinful or Jesus wouldn’t be necessary. Are there some who resist sin? No. The Bible says there is none righteous. Not one. So born into sin or born to sin are basically the same thing.

          Thank you for at least responding to my comment…even if you dismissed it for being off topic. After reading so many comments on so many of your posts, I can see I am not alone. At least I am not being singled out. It’s your blog. Feel free to ignore or reject anything contrary to your views. Maintain control. Well done sir.

        • Mel Wild says:

          Thanks Ben. We’re off topic. We can talk about splitting hairs about sin another time.

          Btw, I obviously don’t reject anything contrary to my views since I allow them here. I just reject a view that is logically incoherent.

        • Mel Wild says:

          @ John Z.

          So what.

        • john zande says:

          If you were God, would you slect the “bible” as your preferred method for communicating with human beings?

        • Mel Wild says:

          John, for most of the ancient history people couldn’t read anyway. Besides, written language wasn’t developed until much later. God’s primary evidence has always been our continuing existence. It’s self-evident.

        • john zande says:

          That didn’t address the question:

          If you were God, would you select the “bible” as your preferred and primary method for communicating with human beings?

          And I also asked above: So, did they *see* something, Yes or No?

  3. Amanda says:

    Only a religious person would call evidence a fallacy. Haha the irony

    • Mel Wild says:

      The fallacy is with expecting a type of evidence that’s a category error, not evidence itself. Possibly, if you would’ve actually read or understood the post you would understood this and not made such a vacuous remark.

      • Amanda says:

        It’s more demanding than expecting though.

        We don’t literally expect evidence, we know there isn’t any.

        The reason we demand evidence is because bold claims require bold evidence.

        • Mel Wild says:

          Of course. But, again, I assume you’re talking about physical evidence? Is that the only kind you allow?

          Because, then, how you even explain your continuing existence? (That will be the subject of my next post, btw.)

          There are a lot of things in the world that we believe about our reality that science cannot test or prove, and never will be able to test, and they are arguably not physical in nature. So, you have to define what you mean by evidence. And that demand cannot lead one into ontological incoherency.

        • Amanda says:

          I’m talking about verifiable evidence.
          Usually when we talk about evidence we’re talking about anything that’s a solid reason to accept a hypothesis or theory (which is what religion/spirituality primarily consist of, theory).

          And when we’re talking about a solid reason, it means the gaps or lack of information/knowledge should not outweigh what’s already filled in and what we know.
          If it cant be seen, heard, or felt by people (other than in a “spiritual” way by those who believe it exists), how do we test it’s existence?

          And why would we just accept it’s existence anyway, other than out of fear?

          We shouldn’t, we should keep doing research and not accept it’s existence until we are sure.

          The problem with this for most people is that they’re afraid of their souls being damned to hell for using such logic, so they dismiss it by the age old argument that “You can’t prove there isn’t a creator! So there must be one!”

        • Mel Wild says:

          I would agree with you. But I’m not making a claim that can’t be supported by logical deduction or actual experience.

          The point is, if God does exist, science is incapable to testing for Him for methodological reasons because He could not possibly be in nature. I will make that argument in subsequent posts.

        • Amanda says:

          Logical deduction wil have us know that theism is one of several existential theories.
          And again with the “personal experience”. Spiritual experiences are not verifiable evidence.

          And if the theory of creationism does turn out to be true (and most of us burn in hell for trivial reasons), why do you assume the creator is a male ?

          How could the one who invented genders have a gender ?

        • Mel Wild says:

          Not quite. Logical deduction, ontologically speaking, can only lead us to a ground of being, or Subsistent Existence Itself. Otherwise, you have infinite regress, which is a logical absurdity. You are still just talking about things in nature that are distal to the source and in constant state of moving from potential to actual.

        • Amanda says:

          How can accepting the unknown as the unknown lead to regress?
          If anything I think it helps us stay humble and seek truth through science even more.

        • Mel Wild says:

          Sure, you can certainly say you don’t know, but then you’ve lost the right to say the theist is wrong. The point is, if you have no primary fully-actuated fundamental cause at the bottom of it, the whole chain collapses into non-existence.

        • Amanda says:

          I’m not saying the theists are necessarily wrong in their theory I’m saying their acceptance of it as fact is wrong.

          Atheists aren’t suggesting there is no cause of the universe’s existence, we’re saying we don’t know the cause.

        • Mel Wild says:

          No one is saying that it’s a proven fact beyond debate, but it is logically provable.

  4. This is well said, Mel. It’s a bit like someone demanding scientific evidence of love. We can only show you the results of love. We can also try to reduce the whole thing to a few random oxytocin misfirings, but that’s just sad and inadequate and doesn’t begin to explain it. The problem is love must be experienced and received, felt and known, in order to be understood. It requires a leap of faith in order to be made manifest in your life, and there really is no logical argument for why you should take that leap of faith. In fact, logically love should be avoided at all costs, since it makes you half crazy and it’s bound to be painful at some point. To not know love however, would be to not live life fully, to be separate and alone, to be deprived of a great joy.

    • Mel Wild says:

      Very true, IB. The irony is, as you have listed here, the most important things that makes us a living and sentient being cannot be reduced to chemical reactions in the brain. They really try! But neuroscience is still infinitely far away from what it means to be a conscious being.

    • violetwisp says:

      ‘Love’ is simply a label in English we give to a commonly understood emotion that most of us experience. We describe it and everyone is aware what it is – either feeling it personally or seeing how it affects other people’s lives. ‘God’ is a label we give to another shared experience – the experience of terror and ignorance and joy in a poorly understood world. The hope that nature and existence are under control and not random, for fear of pain and disappointment. We don’t need a leap of faith to understand this definition, just a leap of faith to accept it could be true in 2018, when we understand that every culture invented its own weirdly imaginative stories to account for human ignorance and fear.

  5. Amanda says:

    And I explain my continued existence on the fact that my body and brain are alive, its basic biology.

    • Mel Wild says:

      Ah, but you’ve explained nothing. All of those things are contingent upon something else. What sustains the continuing existence of biology? All biology is in a constant changing state from potential to actual. It cannot be what is referred to as the “ground of being.”

      • Amanda says:

        Biology is not something that exists that needs an outside engine to sustain it, rather a cycle that we are part of.

        The earth and it’s abundance is what sustains life.
        The universe is what allows the earth to exist as it does at this time.
        And we are currently unsure the origins of the universe.

        That, is an honest answer.

        • Mel Wild says:

          Sorry, this is a logical absurdity. Biology cannot explain its own existence. Now, you are making a faith statement that no basis in reality.

        • Amanda says:

          Biology IS the explanation.
          The origins of the universe are simply unknown and it’s best for everyone to accept that so we can continue making new discoveries and learning about the cosmos and the universe.

        • John Branyan says:

          How would you answer the question, “Why is there biology?”

        • Amanda says:

          I’d say because the laws of nature result in it

        • John Branyan says:

          How do you think the immaterial laws of nature resulted in living material?

        • john zande says:

          How do you think the immaterial laws of nature resulted in living material?

          Branyan, can you identify a what, exactly, in a “living cell” is actually “alive”?

        • john zande says:

          And you’ll never be able to.

          Nothing in a cell is alive. Not a single thing.

          It is a protein based robot hosting millions of chemical reactions every second, yet it is nothing but dead matter simply being moved chemically or mechanically by the business-like laws of interaction. At each individual function it is no more “alive” than a mechanical hole puncher performing the same task every second is alive. However, put all those parts and systems together (one working off another, affecting another still) and we get the appearance of a living thing. Indeed, we call it a “living cell.” And yet, nowhere in this contraption is anything that is actually “alive.” Not a single thing.

          As you can see, your question is absurd.

          Mater organises itself. It cannot help but organise itself. Take a bottle of water, oil, and sand. Shake it up, and then watch. Organisation. And when something becomes sufficiently organised (sufficiently complex) it takes on the appearance of what we call a living thing. All that is, though, is just a dance of things like lipid metabolism, nucleotide and protein metabolism, carbohydrate metabolism, amino acid metabolism, citric acid cycle, fatty acid synthesis and elongation, and Beta oxidisation all mindlessly working off each other.

        • John Branyan says:

          “Nothing in a cell is alive.”

          How do you know?

        • john zande says:

          Show me what in a cell is alive.

        • John Branyan says:

          What do you mean by “alive”?

        • john zande says:

          Exactly.

          As you can see, Amanda was correct.

        • John Branyan says:

          Amanda was indeed correct.

        • john zande says:

          Yes, and your question demonstrably absurd.

          Glad we cleared that up.

        • John Branyan says:

          Your answer was absurd.
          Everything is cleared up now.

        • john zande says:

          Show me where I’m wrong…

          I’ll wait.

        • John Branyan says:

          You didn’t define what you meant by “alive”.
          You then claimed nothing in a cell is alive.
          Absurd.

        • john zande says:

          Show me what’s “living” in what *you’re* calling “living material”

          It’s a simple question.

        • John Branyan says:

          I already told you I don’t know.
          Your error is concluding that nothing in a cell is alive because we can’t describe how it works.

        • john zande says:

          If it’s an “error” then by all means show me where the error is.

          You called it “living material.”

          So, show me what’s “living” in what YOU’RE calling “living material”

        • John Branyan says:

          I called it “living material” because that’s what it is. You wisely refused to define what it means to be “alive”. I’m doing the same. The essence of life is a mystery.

          And you are WAAAAAAAAY off the point of this post.

        • john zande says:

          If “that’s what it is” then show me what’s “living” in what you’re calling “living material”

          You say I’m wrong, well here’s your chance to demonstrate where i’m wrong.

          I’m not interested in your pathetic dance routine. Answer it, or fade away.

        • John Branyan says:

          LOL!
          Attaboy!
          If I can’t explain the essence of life then it must not exist. Just go with that, Zande. Life doesn’t exist.

        • john zande says:

          OK, so you can’t show me what’s “living” in what YOU’RE calling “living material”

          Makes one wonder why you asked such a retarded question then, doesn’t it.

          Don’t reply. You’ve bored me enough already.

        • John Branyan says:

          “You’ve bored me enough already.”

          You misspelled “embarrassed”.

        • Mel Wild says:

          And Zande is yet to give us an explanation for the cell’s continuing existence. He just wants to play around with biology and other irrelevant subjects he thinks he know about. Just more fallacious red herrings.

        • John Branyan says:

          I hope he says stuff like this to Ph.D. students. I bet they marvel at his brilliance.

        • Mel Wild says:

          I hope he says stuff like this to Ph.D. students. I bet they marvel at his brilliance.

          True. It would certainly make me question atheism.

        • john zande says:

          And Zande is yet to give us an explanation for the cell’s continuing existence

          Homeostasis.

        • john zande says:

          Just more fallacious red herrings

          Curious comment. Was it I who asked: “How do you think the immaterial laws of nature resulted in living material?”

          Well, was it?

        • Mel Wild says:

          Curious comment. Was it I who asked: “How do you think the immaterial laws of nature resulted in living material?”

          Exactly. Thank you for proving my point. Your question has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with this post. It only proves that you don’t even understand the concept being talked about here. And immaterial laws of nature cannot produce anything. Laws are not beings or entities or causal agents. They can only describe regularities in nature in a logical fashion.

        • john zande says:

          Your question has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with this post.

          I would agree… so best you direct that sentiment to Branyan, as it was HIS question.

        • Mel Wild says:

          John B, Zande cannot even explain his own existence so I think you’re asking too much here. But in typical fashion, we can count on him not being able answer the subject of the post and go off on absurd and fallacious red herring rabbit trails like this one. And we won’t hold our breath waiting for him to be able to give us any ontologically cogent statements either.

        • John Branyan says:

          Zande’s purpose is showcasing the futility of atheism for the onlookers who might be seriously seeking truth. Despite his intentions, JZ brings glory to God every time he comments.

        • Mel Wild says:

          Exactly. That’s why I let him prattle on. 🙂

        • john zande says:

          Did I ask How do you think the immaterial laws of nature resulted in living material??

          If you’re going to be absusive to someone Mel, it’s often best if your argument is actually first coherent.

        • John Branyan says:

          Hey Mel,
          How do you think the immaterial laws of nature resulted in living material?

        • Mel Wild says:

          Hmmm…let me guess. They don’t. First, the sentence structure makes my head hurt. Second, laws of nature cannot “result” in anything in living material.

        • John Branyan says:

          Bingo.

          My question was posed to Amanda when she commented that the “laws of nature” resulted in biology. She chose not to respond. I’m not going to speculate as to why.

          The point is, as you articulated, the laws of nature have no creative force. They cannot “result” in anything, let alone living organisms.

        • john zande says:

          The “laws of nature” DO result in biology.

          Hydrogen fuses into the heavier and more complex helium, helium fuses into the heavier and more complex carbon, helium and carbon combine to make the heavier and more complex oxygen. Single atoms come together to form simple compounds, simple compounds bind to produce double compounds, double compounds bond to fashion simple molecules, molecules marry to create amino acids, amino acids coalesce to model catalysing proteins and enzymes, and proteins and enzymes experiment to prototype self-replicating systems where, according to the accepted paradigm of evolutionary biology, there is a continuum from simple to more complex organisms.

          What part of that are you having trouble with?

        • John Branyan says:

          Do you think the laws of nature existed before there was nature?

        • john zande says:

          So you admit the laws of nature do, in fact, result in biology.

          Don’t you ever get tired of being corrected?

        • John Branyan says:

          I admitted no such thing.
          Do you ever get tired of lying?

        • john zande says:

          You didn’t?

          OK, so which part of my explanation didn’t you understand?

        • John Branyan says:

          The part where you said laws DO bring about physical manifestations.

        • john zande says:

          I explained how an autocatalytic (meaning it catalyses its own replication), carbon-based Nano machine was/is born.

          Do you need to see the chain again?

          Hydrogen fuses into the heavier and more complex helium, helium fuses into the heavier and more complex carbon, helium and carbon combine to make the heavier and more complex oxygen. Single atoms come together to form simple compounds, simple compounds bind to produce double compounds, double compounds bond to fashion simple molecules, molecules marry to create amino acids, amino acids coalesce to model catalysing proteins and enzymes, and proteins and enzymes experiment to prototype self-replicating systems where, according to the accepted paradigm of evolutionary biology, there is a continuum from simple to more complex organisms.

        • John Branyan says:

          Matter creates itself.
          That’s incoherent.

        • john zande says:

          So you admit the laws of nature do, in fact, result in biology.

        • John Branyan says:

          Do you speak English?

          The laws of nature DO NOT result in biology.
          The laws of nature DO NOT result in any physical reality.
          The laws of nature DESCRIBE how physical reality behaves.

        • john zande says:

          Yes, the laws of nature do result in biology. Biology is complexity. That is what the laws of interaction produce… quite naturally.

          Do you know of some other reality?

        • John Branyan says:

          So, you admit the laws of nature existed before there was nature.
          Glad we settled that.

        • john zande says:

          There was never not-nature.

        • John Branyan says:

          Nature is eternal?
          Is that what you believe?

        • john zande says:

          Eternal is not the right word as it’s defined by temporal notions.

          It’s non-contingent.

        • John Branyan says:

          You believe nature is a necessary object?

        • john zande says:

          It’s non-contingent. It’s aseitic.

        • John Branyan says:

          Do you know of any other philosophers who believe nature is not contingent?

        • john zande says:

          Sure there’s many. I’ve never looked into it.

        • John Branyan says:

          If you’ve never looked into it, you can’t know there are many.
          You will find it difficult to locate contemporary philosophers who agree with you.

        • john zande says:

          Well, as most philospher’s are atheists/agnostic, I think it’s safe to say most philosophers don’t hold to a belief that a non-contingent superbeing created the material universe.

          Regardless, it doesn’t change the argument.

        • John Branyan says:

          You should look into the argument before you make it. You might decide it’s a bad argument. Then you can avoid looking foolish.

        • john zande says:

          It’s a brute fact.

        • John Branyan says:

          You won’t find many contemporary philosophers that agree with you.

        • john zande says:

          I’d say I would, in one shape, form, or another.

          Hume and Bertrand Russell said it was a brute fact, but I’m not into appeals to authority. Philosophers are not authorities on anything. Philosophy has yet to produce a single fact.

          So, from a philosophical platform I can say the universe is a brute fact, but I would be right to add “presently” a brute fact. Presently, we’re observing this world from the perspective of (flawed) Newtonian physics, and that models the baryonic world, which comprises a grand total of just 4.6% of this particular universe, interacting with just 3 of anywhere from 11 to 26 dimensions.

          As we presently only really understand 4.6% of the workings of this particular universe, it takes an astonishing degree of intellectual recklessness (hubris) to even think you could make a statement on the capacity, and capacities, of this particular universe.

          So, we know the universe exists.
          We know we have an unbroken line of material explanations answering our questions.
          We know a supernatural explanation has never supplanted a natural one, at anytime, anywhere.
          We know we know very little, but we also know biology is explained by the fundamental laws of interaction snap frozen in place when the early universe cooled from 100 nonillion Kelvin to 1 billion Kelvin.

          It is only reasonable, therefore, to assume the universe is non-contingent, that it is aseitic.

          There is nothing indicating anything else. A contingent universe is a PRESUPPOSITION repeated so often you’ve forgotten it’s a presupposition. Your position begins in imagination, and never leaves it. You start with a presupposition, only to careen off into a fanciful world of defining things into existence… and calling that ‘proof!’

          So, to spontaneously propose magic, when no evidence of magic exists anywhere, at any time, is a massive violation of Occam’s razor, and preposterous overkill as a fundamental basis of reality.

        • John Branyan says:

          “Philosophy has yet to produce a single fact.”

          “It is only reasonable, therefore, to assume the universe is non-contingent, that it is aseitic.”

          One of the nice things about your comments is that you contradict yourself which saves me the trouble of having to raise an argument.

        • john zande says:

          Non-contingency is physical reality. Aseitic simply means containing the reasons and mechanism of its own existence.

          Where’s the word games here?

        • John Branyan says:

          This is dangerously close to a description of God.

        • john zande says:

          And which god is that today? The classical theology god, the strong panentheism god, the weak panentheism god, the pantheistic god, the personal god, or the deistic god?

        • John Branyan says:

          There’s only one God.
          Which god is a stupid question.

        • John Branyan says:

          “As we presently only really understand 4.6% of the workings of this particular universe, it takes an astonishing degree of intellectual recklessness (hubris) to even think you could make a statement on the capacity, and capacities, of this particular universe.”

          Right! That’s why I’m not an atheist. I don’t possess the intellectual recklessness.

        • john zande says:

          I believe the ‘recklessness’ falls to the theist saying the universe CANNOT be contingent.

        • John Branyan says:

          I believe the recklessness falls to you for saying “we presently only really understand 4.6% of the workings of this particular universe”.

          LOL – We have no idea what 100% understanding would be so there’s no way to calculate 4.6% of it.

          You’re a riot.

        • john zande says:

          Oh, so we can’t calculate the amount of baryonic stuff in the observable universe?

          That’s quite a revelation. So you’ve discovered what dark matter and dark energy are… CONGRATULATIONS!

          You better get this remarkable discovery off to every astronomy/chemistry/physics journal in the world… and buy yourself a new tux, dear boy, because you’re going to win ten Nobel’s for this.

        • John Branyan says:

          You are completely unhinged.
          I sincerely hope you keep commenting because it makes all atheists seem like nitwits. Some atheists are decent, pleasant people and they use their likability allows them to get away with saying the stupid things you say. Your bitterness makes you the perfect spokesman for atheism.

        • john zande says:

          Project much, Branyan?

        • John Branyan says:

          LOL
          You only know 4.6% about me. You’re not qualified to render a verdict.

        • John Branyan says:

          “So, we know the universe exists.
          We know we have an unbroken line of material explanations answering our questions.
          We know a supernatural explanation has never supplanted a natural one, at anytime, anywhere.”

          All three of those statements are philosophical conjecture.

        • john zande says:

          The universe exists is conjecture?

          Can you give me an example of magic happening?

          Please provide the instances where a supernatural explantion has supplanted a natural one.

        • Mel Wild says:

          Wrong. It cannot be non-contingent. And it really doesn’t matter if nature is eternal either (which you cannot prove, so that’s an unsubstantiated faith statement). This has nothing whatsoever to do with the argument for God. Nature still needs a more fundamental cause for its continued existence by virtue of its motive reality.

        • john zande says:

          No, it doesn’t… Much like your god, apparently, doesn’t need a cause.

          It always was, and will always be.

          There was never nothing.

          You, Mel, are presenting the PRESUPPOSITION of a contingent universe as if it were fact. It’s not. It’s a presupposition that you’ve repeated so many times you’ve forgotten it’s a presupposition.

          I would suggest you try and move that presupposition from the “Presupposition File” into the “Factually Demonstrable File” if you want anyone to take you seriously.

        • Mel Wild says:

          No, it doesn’t… Much like your god, apparently, doesn’t need a cause.

          Haha. You must be referring to people like Alexander Vilenkin, Victor Stenger, or Lawrence Krauss who claim that physics has now discovered how the universe can have spontaneously arisen from “nothingness,” without divine assistance. That’s funny. It only shows that they don’t understand the incoherence of their position either.

          It does not really matter if their theoretical models may one day prove to be correct. Without exception, what they are actually talking about is merely the formation of our universe by way of a transition from one physical state to another, one manner of existence to another, but certainly not the spontaneous arising of existence from nonexistence (which is logically impossible).

          You, Mel, are presenting the PRESUPPOSITION of a contingent universe as if it were fact. It’s not. It’s a presupposition that you’ve repeated so many times you’ve forgotten it’s a presupposition.

          No, I haven’t proposed anything yet. But I am enjoying your desperate attempt to refute what you don’t know (but you think you know it). So typical. You react before you even know what the argument is! But the universe is contingent based on stone-cold deductive reasoning using the most empirical evidence we have, our everyday existence in the here and now. It’s not some crazy theoretical presupposition (like Krause and his ilk propose).

        • john zande says:

          No Mel, don’t put words in other people’s mouths. There is math, yes, which does say that. No one, NO ONE has made the claim. But it might be the case. I however don’t see the need to appeal to Poofism. It’s not necessary. A non-contingent universe is a brute fact.

        • Mel Wild says:

          No Mel, don’t put words in other people’s mouths. There is math, yes, which does say that. No one, NO ONE has made the claim.

          So, when they write books titled, “The Universe from Nothing,” they are not making a claim?

          Btw, in the book description it says:

          “Krauss describes the staggeringly beautiful experimental observations and mind bending new theories that demonstrate not only can something arise from nothing something will always arise from nothing…”

          So, that’s not a claim. Got it.

        • john zande says:

          Books with hook-names which outline the theoretical maths.

          Yes. Can’t you make the distinction?

          As I said, I see no need to appeal to Poofism. It’s not necessary. A non-contingent universe is a brute fact.

        • Mel Wild says:

          Books with hook-names which outline the theoretical maths.

          Then your science buddies shouldn’t appeal to “Poofism,” because that’s what they’re doing. Unless you’re saying they’re disingenuous and deceptive in their alleged claim.

          A non-contingent universe is a brute fact.

          Haha! That’s hilarious! Where’s your proof? This ought to be fun!

        • john zande says:

          The universe exists.

          That’s my proof.

          Got any evidence for the Middle Eastern god of the Pentateuch?

        • Mel Wild says:

          But how does it exist? You have proven nothing.

        • john zande says:

          And you’re treading very stale ground.

          It has always existed. It is non-contingent. There was never nothing. Nothing is impossible.

        • Mel Wild says:

          And you believe a fairy tale. What I’m saying that you have no basis to conclude that the universe is non-contingent. Your “just-so” statement is meaningless.

        • john zande says:

          The universe existing is a fairytale?

          Interesting.

          Tell me again what evidence you have for 1) the Middle Eastern god of the Pentateuch, and 2) a contingent universe…

        • Mel Wild says:

          No, what you believe about the non-contingency of the universe is a fairy tale. I’m getting off this merry-go-round now. You can talk to yourself if you want.

        • john zande says:

          No?

          So you have no evidence for 1) the Middle Eastern god of the Pentateuch, or
          2) a contingent universe.

          Fair enough, but you might want to be a little more careful with your use of the word “fairytale” in the future… considering you’re the one playing make-believe.

        • john zande says:

          And Kraus’s point is, at its heart, that there was never nothing because there cannot be nothing.

          So:

          The universe exists.

          Got any evidence for the Middle Eastern god of the Pentateuch?

        • Mel Wild says:

          LOL! There you go changing the subject. So, where’s your proof of a non-contingent universe?

        • john zande says:

          The universe exists.

          What else would you like?

        • John Branyan says:

          “Hydrogen fuses into the heavier and more complex helium…etc.”

          Where did the hydrogen come from?
          You see, the laws of nature DON’T create anything.

        • john zande says:

          quark-gluon plasma as it cools.

        • john zande says:

          Second, laws of nature cannot “result” in anything in living material.

          Well, as you appear to be repeating Branyan’s line, can you, Mel, tell me what, exactly, in a “living cell” is actually “alive”?

          Branyan can’t answer it.

          Can you?

        • john zande says:

          Are you confusing me for Branyan?

        • Mel Wild says:

          The origins of the universe are simply unknown and it’s best for everyone to accept that so we can continue making new discoveries and learning about the cosmos and the universe.

          Now, you are the one making faith statements, a “science of the gaps,” if you will. We won’t develop a coherent ontology; we will put our trust in science to fill in all the gaps. Well, in this area, prepare for disappointment. Science cannot answer this question for methodological reasons.

        • Amanda says:

          It isn’t a science of the gaps because it’s accepting the

        • Amanda says:

          It’s accepting the gaps for what they are.

        • Mel Wild says:

          Btw, the “origin of the universe” is not the point nor is it even relevant to the question of God. The more important point is, what is sustaining the universe in the here and now? For everything in it is in one state or another, which requires an explanation.

        • Amanda says:

          I keep repeating the fact that we don’t have all the answers, and it’s like it isn’t registering.

          Why is the unknown so difficult for theists to accept?

        • John Branyan says:

          We don’t have all the answers.
          As a theist, I have no problem accepting that.

        • Amanda says:

          So you can understand why someone would refrain from accepting an unproven theory?

        • John Branyan says:

          Sure!
          Can you understand that we accept unproven theories every day?

        • Mel Wild says:

          Amanda, the irony is, you cannot be a naturalist or materialist and be an empiricist. It’s not possible anymore. For instance, we can mathematically “prove” much in quantum physics with theorems for which we have absolutely no scientific evidence, nor is it likely science will ever be able to prove the theorems with actual evidence. The point is, there is much in science today that we accept by logical deduction and faith, if you will, and not by natural scientific methodology. And the point is, it works even though we have no clue why it does, and we have no physical evidence for it.

        • Mel Wild says:

          My question to you, Amanda, is would you accept an airtight, logically deductive argument if it meant that God exists?

  6. Wow. I just told my best friend the other day that my faith had been shaken this past week and I was afraid I had lost my belief system that I’ve relied on all my life…. she was kind of happy about it since she is an agnostic herself, but I’m so glad I just found this post. I needed to read this. I needed a reason to re-think this. I can’t read all the comments though, because I’m in that fragile place and unable to argue any points with anyone. Simply, wanted to say thank you for this today. Just thanks.

    • Mel Wild says:

      I’m so glad you happened on my site, Carmen. Please peruse my blog if you want to know about something you have a question about. Or, just ask away here. 🙂
      Blessings to you.

      • Thank you. I will take a look. I used to say all the time that God created a masterpiece and like any artist, had walked away from it and let the work speak for itself. I like your analogy (is that the right word?) better. The builder. Either way, I needed that reminder. Okay, I will browse around and yes, if I have other questions, I will ask. I feel like this is a good thing — and seriously, came right when I needed it. Peace and blessings to you too.

    • Nan says:

      And WHY would you describe yourself as being “in that fragile place”? For believers, either God is or he isn’t. It would seem you still aren’t sure … which, IMO, is a good thing.

      My advice is to keep searching … keep looking for reasons (and evidence) so you will KNOW what you believe.

      • Mel Wild says:

        Yes, and don’t let atheists bully you with their fallacious arguments, Carmen.

        • I am okay. Thank you though. But as I mentioned earlier — I am not here to argue or debate with anyone. I know myself extremely well — I am not easily bullied or swayed by anyone. Your post(s) have been helpful to me this morning. I am thinking and excited in a way. I read your post on Stephen Hawking — when he passed – and his passing might have been the turning point for me. Of course all of his quotes where everywhere — and “timing is a thing” and it hit me hard — the idea of nothingness after this life. That this was it. It’s real hard to be on shakey ground, when life is happening…I got hurt real bad and lost hope. But today, because of your post(s) I do feel better. Isn’t that amazing? I love that, you, a stranger — doing your own thing — somehow have helped me move on through. I keep saying it — but thank you. Today has been a better day.

        • Mel Wild says:

          Well, thank you for saying that, Carmen. I’m so glad you’re feeling better. We all go through some very tough things in life, but we don’t have to go through it alone. 🙂

      • Nan, I wasn’t going to reply, but couldn’t focus on my work so here I am. When someone says they are in a “fragile place” it might be a kindness on your part to understand that in the most basic way possible. It could mean I am hurting, feeling a loss, unstable….look up the word “fragile” – easily broken or damaged. It is not up to you to decide how I describe myself, but it might be compassionate of you to be understanding of that and tread lightly. I am not here to argue or fight with anyone. But “tone” matters. And I did not ask for advice. From anyone. I appreciate you commenting, but please make note — your tone was/is not helpful.

        • Nan says:

          I apologize if I misinterpreted your comment. It came across to me that your “fragile place” was in relation to your faith in God. If you were referencing feelings more expansive than that, then I wish you peace.

  7. John Branyan says:

    I would like for one of the atheists to articulate what “Classic Theology” is. From the comments here, it doesn’t appear that the heathen know what they’re arguing against.

    • Mel Wild says:

      Exactly! But it’s fun watching them try. 🙂

      • John Branyan says:

        JZ saying he “works with Ph.D students” to “oversee their thesis structure” is hilarious! I’d love to hear him ask a Ph.D philosophy student that question about the Bible!

    • Nan says:

      Classical Theology: Classical theology conceives of God as a perfect being who is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent. God is regarded as eternal, meaning that he has always existed and has no beginning in time. Unlike created entities such as humans or the universe as a whole, his existence is not caused by anything else, a property called aseity. As God in classical theology is both perfect and not caused by or dependent on anything else, he is eternally unchanging, or immutable.

      Understanding and agreeing with are two different things.

      • Mel Wild says:

        Stating something and understanding it is a very different thing, too. 🙂

      • John Branyan says:

        That is a good definition. You are an excellent cutter and paster. I don’t believe you actually “understand” what you are disagreeing with.

        I was hoping for an atheist articulation of the philosophical position(s) of classical theology since that is what is being argued. If you can’t explain Mel’s position, you can’t argue against it.

  8. David K says:

    ““There is no evidence for God,” as if they are even addressing the question of God. They’re not because what they seem to be asking for is scientific evidence, and science is incapable of answering the question.”

    I do not believe in any god(s) because of lack of evidence, it doesn’t have to be scientific, it can be personal evidence. I understand that theists like to re-use apologetic arguments a great deal but arguments for existence that are rehashed continually, do not do it for me.

    • Mel Wild says:

      That’s fine. If you’ve already made up your mind, no argument is going to change your mind. But, still, how do you explain your own continuing existence?

    • John Branyan says:

      Classical Theology determines the existence of God from logic and nature (or ‘science’ if you prefer). Which “rehashed” arguments are you speaking about?

      • David K says:

        I wasn’t addressing Classical Christian Theology at that moment but seeing the “continuing existence” comment, sounds like an argument from contingency. Ahh, who created the creator?

        • John Branyan says:

          The creator is a necessary bring. The creator is not contingent.

          A bridge keeps you from falling into the gorge. Your continuing suspension is contingent on the existence of the bridge. How the bridge came to be is irrelevant.

        • David K says:

          and yet, the creator needs not be a god.

        • Mel Wild says:

          and yet, the creator needs not be a god.

          Sure, you can call this necessary being, Prime Mover, uncaused cause, Subsistent Existence Itself, the Ground of Being, etc., anything you want I suppose. As long is whatever you call him/her/it the following requirements are fulfilled. Each one of these has an airtight logically deductive argument required for a necessary being, which I won’t go into here because I will devote a whole post to it.

          This Ground of Being must be:
          – Pure Act (actus purus)/ unactualized actualizer (which means, must be fully actualized within itself)
          – Immutable (unchangeable)
          – Eternal (transcends time and space)
          – Immaterial and incorporeal (cannot be part of nature or matter)
          – Simple (not composite or composed of parts)
          – One, not many: the singular, ultimate source of all motion (change of states).

          The point is, it gets a bit fatuous to avoid using the name “God” just because you don’t want admit to his existence.

        • David K says:

          “The point is, it gets a bit fatuous to avoid using the name “God” just because you don’t want admit to his existence.”

          “god”, “creator” which word did you miss? Did I not capitalize it? Since I do not believe in any gods, it’s not the matter of whether I want or don’t want to admit to it’s existence. I have no evidence any god exists much less one who calls itself a “Christian” god.

        • John Branyan says:

          I’m picturing you on a bridge while typing, “I have no evidence any god exists”.

        • David K says:

          That’s wonderful. I’m glad you think of me. Some weekend mornings I go to the local state park to watch the sunrise. I’d rather take in it’s beauty rather than consider whether a god exists or not.

        • John Branyan says:

          Cool.
          And apparently, some mornings, you’d rather announce that you don’t believe God exists.
          If some morning you’d rather think about this stuff on a deeper level than Atheism (Buddhism) allows, we can chat.

        • David K says:

          Don’t forget the Tao!
          …and to clarify, I do not have evidence that any god or gods exists. I’ll be upfront with you. If a god decides to have a personal relationship with me, then I’m all ears. Until then, I won’t give it much credence.

        • John Branyan says:

          I’ll be upfront with you too.
          I’ve not given anything you’ve said much credence. Atheism is too simple to be interesting.

        • David K says:

          I enjoy the study of theism. Christians are no different than followers of Judaism, Islam and many others who want to claim there god is the truth and all others views are false. I try to be simple, just the way I like it 🙂

        • John Branyan says:

          You’re suggesting that all religious views are equal?

        • David K says:

          No, it depends on the person. There are many bad examples of people using religion in bad ways.

        • Mel Wild says:

          By evidence, you mean you haven’t successfully tested for god in a lab or have seen him like a bear in the woods. Yet you have ubiquitous evidence for “God’s” workings every moment of every day you exist. In fact, the air you breathed and cells you used to declare his non-existence ontologically shouts his very existence! It’s the ultimate irony of ironies, a fatuous denial of reality, the ultimate hubris of denying your very explanation of being.

        • David K says:

          “By evidence, you mean you haven’t successfully tested for god”….[snip]
          As another responder pointed out, this sounds like a god of the gaps argument but I’ll work with it.

          Define God. It almost sounds like “Spinoza’s God” and while I just brought up the Tao in another response, that air we breath, our cells, our everything… that could be the Tao!

          Again, I have no evidence or have never been presented evidence of such a god (although many people want to argue for what they believe). But if your definition of “God” is something beyond our knowledge… sure, that’s just as valid as “Spinoza’s God”. But once you place a religious name on that god and claim all other religions are wrong… meh!!

        • Mel Wild says:

          Exactly what do you mean by evidence? What would that look like?

        • David K says:

          I answered it already but I will expand.

          The basis for belief in Christianity is Jesus and the resurrection. The gospels claims witnesses to the resurrection but there is no testimony of the 500 witnesses. That being said, I have no way of knowing if this is a fact or fiction..

          I hear that people have a personal relationship with God, that God has come to them. This of course has not happened to me. Maybe this god doesn’t want me to believe in him/her?

          If it is so important to a god for me to believe in him/her, If it meant heaven or hell… and we better make the right decision, right? You would figure that god would reach out to the people more often.

          If such a god exists, he/she has not made it known to me,

        • John Branyan says:

          You’re not going back far enough. He’s not asking about evidence for the truth of Christianity. He’s asking about evidence for the existence of God. What would suffice as evidence for the existence of something outside naturalism?

        • David K says:

          Which God than? The God of Judaism? The Pagan Gods? Egyptian? Is this some generic god you speak of?

        • John Branyan says:

          There is only one God. That is what it means to say “God is not ‘a god'”.

          The question of “which God” is incoherent.

        • David K says:

          You haven’t explained this “God”, but it sounds as if you may be arguing that this God is not the god of Christianity, Judaism…etc, which kind of debunked those religions.

        • John Branyan says:

          Again.
          There is no such thing as “this God”. There is only “God”. You are continuing to express the notion that God is one of many options. That is not the way God is described in Classic Theology.

          Classic Theology isn’t an argument for specific religious dogma. Neither does it “debunk” those religions.

        • David K says:

          Yes, it’s taken me a while to get some background on your/Mel’s thought process. I think you are hung up on my wording. Go ahead, please, describe the concept of this god you speak of.

          You’re speaking of a god that was philosophically conceived, right? Go on…

        • John Branyan says:

          I’m pretty sure Mel is writing some more posts on this subject.

          Essentially, the point of this article is that everything in the physical universe is being sustained by something other than itself at any moment in time. The philosophical term is a hierarchical causal chain. In order for you to be suspended over the water, you stand on a bridge, which is built on stones, which rest on the ground. Each part of the hierarchy is contingent on the other parts. The parts do not sustain themselves. God is the word used to describe the “base reality” upon which every contingent thing rests.

        • David K says:

          Sounds like this could be what is referred to as “Spinoza’s God”. 🙂

        • John Branyan says:

          Correct.
          Calling the creator “a god” implies that he is one of many. It also requires the creator to have a creator. That is incoherent.

        • Mel Wild says:

          Exactly. One of many gods is a logical impossibility. But you can logically call Him “God.”

        • John Branyan says:

          You can even call Him “The Laws of Nature” if the word “God” gives you heartburn.
          It’s okay to take baby steps toward the truth.

        • David K says:

          Did the bridge builder have a creator?

        • John Branyan says:

          Bridges do not build themselves.

          Atheism stands on the bridge and denies the existence of the bridge builder.

        • David K says:

          I’ve never known an atheist to stand on a bridge and deny the existence of a bridge builder. Of course stones or a fallen tree that allows one to cross a water source needs no creator.

        • John Branyan says:

          That is a beautifully articulated dodge.
          Well done.

        • John Branyan says:

          It doesn’t matter how the bridge came to exist.
          Your continued suspension above the water is contingent on the bridge being there.
          That’s the point.

        • David K says:

          So you’re argument is that it doesn’t matter how something is created, all that matters is it is … there?

          Have you ever gone in a cave? Limestone, Drip Stone, Stalagmites, Stalactites. My continued awe is contingent on those chemical reactions being there! Good Point!

        • John Branyan says:

          Yep! You’re on the right track. Keep going!

  9. john zande says:

    Mel, regarding evolution, I asked you once:

    Do you accept that human beings are an entirely unintended product of an entirely unguided process, where mutations (and the environment in general) are random, meaning they are not adaptively directed, not goal-oriented?

    You strictly rejected this, arguing (without evidence) humans were intended, and the processes of evolution are NOT random, meaning not goal-orientated, not adaptively directed. That position, Mel, demands STRONG PANENTHEISM, which states the laws of nature are not autonomous of God, and he manipulates them (including matter), to effect his will.

    But then, in another post, you were arguing for WEAK PANENTHEISM, which states the laws of nature ARE autonomous of God, but are stitched-through with God’s ‘essence’ (whatever the hell that is supposed to mean). Weak panentheism DOES NOT permit a manipulative God, a God who directs things, guides evolution, a God who can interact with this world.

    And now here you are in yet ANOTHER post trying to state your position is, infact, *classical* theism which is completely INCOMPATIBLE with both weak and strong panentheism… your previous positions.

    As I noted in the past:

    You have a menu, picking and choosing what godly attributes you’ll serve-up depending on the subject you’re discussing and the person you’re discussing it with. Aseity here, strong panentheism there, weak panentheism over here, and just for laughs, deism [now disguised as “classical theism”] for desert… and all of it washed down with a lovely bottle of fundamentalist attitude.

  10. LOL! Reading this thread reminds me of my favorite verse Proverbs 3:5, “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.” Why do we not lean unto our own understanding? Because we have a real tendency to be illogical, incoherent, and not nearly as intelligent as we think we are. Also, really prideful. We tend to want to worship at the alter of our own alleged capacity for reason.

    • jim- says:

      If that’s what you believe about yourself, You’re right. What a ridiculous thing to say. Another biblism that denigrates our abilities.

      • “Another biblism that denigrates our abilities.”

        Aren’t you supposed to like facts and evidence? The facts and evidence clearly demonstrate that humans should not invest all of our faith and trust in our own understanding. If that truth denigrates us in some way, am I supposed to change the facts and observable evidence in order to help you feel better about yourself?

    • john zande says:

      Yes, it is stunningly incoherent to propose aseity one day, then strong panentheism on another day, then weak panentheism, then flavours of deism, and then on another day again classical theology as all being descriptors of Yhwh’s attributes… on *that* particular day, of course.

      Incoherent, but amusing nonetheless.

  11. KIA says:

    Wow. What a mess this comments section is.

  12. Anthony Paul says:

    Mel, I know you love to engage with the a-theist so as to expose the emptiness and incongruity of their argument… that would be an interesting discussion to attend. Unfortunately for all concerned, your opponents here are clearly not up to the task of sustaining a coherent and logical argument for their belief system, and so the whole exercise appears to be little more than crass argumentation. With that in mind, try to remember these priceless words attributed to that greatest of all wags, Mark Twain: “Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience.”

    • Mel Wild says:

      Good advice, Anthony. As I said before. I don’t write directly to atheists. I write to believers in order to show the incoherence of the atheist’s arguments as you mentioned. Believers need not be bullied by this nonsense. We have a solid foundation for what we believe.

      Btw, another good quote, this one from Napoleon: “Never interrupt your enemy when they’re making mistakes.”

      While I don’t consider atheists my enemies, I do let them prattle on in order to be such a case in point. 🙂

  13. Pingback: The classical arguments for God – Part One | In My Father's House

  14. Mel, the problem is you don’t understand what evidence is. Lucky for you, I just blogged about this a couple days ago. https://thespartanatheist.wordpress.com/2018/05/04/a-word-on-evidence/
    It doesn’t matter if it’s “scientific”, or math, or whatever. Evidence is simply information that points to a particular conclusion. If it doesn’t point to a particular conclusion, then it isn’t evidence. It’s just information. Once we have information that seems to point to something, we have to then determine if the evidence is tainted, if the evidence could point at any number of conclusions, thereby not ruling any of them out, and if the evidence is reliable.
    I didn’t see you provide any evidence at all, other than the attempt by stating “the most ubiquitous evidence of all is that we continue to exist.” This is “evidence” that fails to rule out other options, so is therefore not evidence for god. That we exist does not rule out the possibility that we are here by natural processes. That we exist does not rule out the possibility that we are here as a science project for an alien race. That we are here does not rule out the possibility that a giant, magical, pink, invisible unicorn farted the substance of life, and therefore we exist. Seriously, it doesn’t rule that out. Your “evidence”, is therefore merely information that could lead us on any particular wild goose chase we felt like going on.
    When I say “there is no evidence for god”, I mean that there is absolutely no information that we have currently available that is untainted, reliable, and mono-directional that supports the idea of a god. Any god. Pick a god.

  15. A great read for skeptics:
    The Cure, imagine there’s no religion.
    A novel from David Millett
    #Novel #SciFi #DMP http://davidmillett.net/Books/TheCure/TheCure.aspx

  16. gilbertyoder says:

    “scientific evidence is only one kind of evidence. For instance, there’s also logical evidence that’s just as valid” Good thoughts!

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