More fun and games with Challenge My Church

Over the last few months, I’ve engaged with @ChallengeChurch on twitter, and on this blog about varying subjects, but mostly entertaining logical failures and god of the gaps fallacies. I’ve also taken to mocking and pointing out the obvious flaws in their religious statements. But mostly mocking. It amuses me to no end that an organisation (possibly one person), who has so little understanding of “things”, actively invites challenge.

This occasional “debate” and mockery at the hands of myself and fellow atheists has prompted them (possible him/her) to address it in a new blog entry here, entitled CMC VS Athiests (Yes, they are still spelling it wrong).

Normally this type of “argument” would not warrant a response, but what it lacks in valid points, it compensates for un-unintentional humour. It’s worth pointing out before I address some points individually that @ChallengeChurch bases every single argument on a fallacy of “You can’t explain X, therefore God”. There is never any attempt to present evidence for the claims made, but rather questions and false assumptions about out current scientific understanding of the natural order.

I don’t need to go into detail how this argument doesn’t stand up, except to say atheists accept science doesn’t explain everything, but they also accept that stating “god did it” explains nothing.

Also, if people seriously feel this argument provides credibility for a god, it can equally be responded to with “But you can’t explain X either, so therefore Elvis”. Both arguments carry precisely the same weight of evidence and logic. None. And at least we have evidence that Elvis existed (or exists depending on your denomination).

Religious ignorance breeds in the gaps in our current scientific understanding. Those gaps are shrinking by the day. I will attempt to address some points made by the CMC organisation (probably one person).  I will try my best not to bore you.

We have also learnt they (atheists) have no idea what modern science is, some say it is from the time of Greek Mythology, others seem to look at the dark ages

This demonstrates no attention was paid to what was being said to them about modern science, the scientific method and Christianity. Your claim was , modern science as we know it was invented by Christianity. No-one, and that is no-one suggested to you the Dark Ages had anything to do with the advancement of science. The dark ages, brought on by Christian belief has set scientific understanding back by some considerable time. It is not entirely facetious to suggest that if it wasn’t for Christianity I could be enjoying this conversation from my moon base.

You believe in bronze aged myth, authored by people who had less knowledge than the average 10-year-old today. Science is not your friend on these matters. No claim in the bible stands up to rigorous scientific investigation, nor any claim it makes which appears to be accurate was gained through any scientific enquiry. A vague passage here or there, which can be twisted and interpreted to fit with our current understanding, is not science.

If I wanted to make a case for God, I’d avoid all mentions of the word “science”. It is the salt to your ignorant slug.

It is only now in this time and in this place that the extremist secular groups think Christians only stick with what is in the Bible and that is it. I think that there is a group of Christians called Creationists that work that way, but not all Christians do

Firstly, you yourself have made an argument for genesis previously, specifically “archalogical evidence for the Garden of Eden”. You are a creationist, and thus part of an alarming embarrassment to any progressive nation. Secondly, what do you understand to mean by “secularism”, and describe how this can be an extremist position? Secularism protects people’s faith, and lack thereof from any state interference. It ensures no government may dictate to you what you believe, nor marginalize your faith, in favour of another. In this modern and religiously diverse culture, this is the only fair way of protecting the rights and freedoms of all faiths, or non-faith. Secularism is not atheism. Also, to say “militant secularism” is to say “militant fairness”. Is it possible to be militant about being fair? Explain yourself.

Lastly, if you can simply choose which parts to believe in your holy book, then why the need for one at all? Please explain how you decide which parts should be adhered to, and how that interpretation is more valid than the literal one adhered to thousands of years ago, given those people where closer in time to the “events” depicted.

The Bible is the blueprint, it gives the basics. To live by faith you need to research

I don’t think you are in any position to preach about research when you previously made the statement  “Maybe God decided to kill the dinosaurs as they were too dangerous to be around a later creation”.

I’m contemplating getting that printed on a T-shirt. The line between comedic genius and hernia inducing stupidity is often blurred.

You are not interested in Truth. You have your “blue print” and everything must conform to it, or it is rejected. Rather than observing the beautiful and wondrous natural world, and gaining a fuller understanding by what you find out, you are held prisoner, constrained by fables and myths. That is what “to live by faith” means. It is simply a different way of spelling ignorance, and the most overrated of the virtues.

At least a Christian will have the decency to answer question, and if they can’t they will say so

This is incredible hypocrisy, bordering on fantasy. You will never gain the upper hand in an exchange with an atheist, whilst you claim to know things no primate can possibly know.

An atheist (usually) will never claim to know something they don’t. This is the key strength of their position. Let’s take a simple question:

Where did everything come from?”

Any honest individual would admit they do not know. The only intellectually honest answer is “I don’t know”. This honesty seems to be something that is beyond a theist, as they will not only have you believe it was a supernatural creator, but one that knows your thoughts, cares what you do, and with whom, in what position. Countless and increasingly bizarre claims are made about the desires and instructions of this unproven creator, on zero evidence what so ever. You can’t know there is a god, nobody can. Which means you can’t know what he wants. This demonstrates you do not have the humility and honesty to admit when you cannot answer a question. You arrogantly claim to have access to knowledge it is not possible to have. You don’t know the answers to every question, neither do atheists. But which one of us pretends to have the answers? At least we say “We don’t know, but we’re still looking”.  We are happier to have questions that can’t currently be answered, than to have answers that can’t be questioned.

Our friends feel however they need to prove nothing, so don’t need to answer any questions just keep repeating themselves, which gets kind of boring and tedious.

This will be the third time I have attempted to explain to you the Burden Of Proof, and how a claim works, and who is making the claim.

If you claim something as fantastical as a creator, ESPECIALLY one who intervenes, and is interested in how you live your life, and will severely punish you if you do not live by his “rules”, then it is your responsibility to prove it, not atheists to disprove it. An atheists position is “I am sceptical of your claims, due to you being unable to provide any evidence”.

This is perfectly reasonable position, without making a claim at all. Making such an extraordinary claim as yours, then asserting “you cannot disprove it” is not reasonable. I could equally assert I have an invisible alien in my garden called Dave, who grants wishes if you believe in him, or murmur to him quietly on your own, or in a group. If you refuse Dave’s love however, upon death you will be transported to his home planet where you shall be subjected to anal probing for all eternity. I trust this is sounding ridiculous to you already. But wait. You cannot disprove it. All hail Dave.

There is a reason science journals are not filled with every claim imaginable on the strength that “it cannot be disproved”. If the burden of proof is too difficult for you, that you have to go to such great lengths to attempt to shift the responsibility, this is all the indication you need that your claim is weak. Also, you cannot disprove the countless other faiths/creation myths that exist. You don’t except every one as truth on that strength do you? Why not? You must be able at least be able to agree that ALL religions cannot be true. It is not possible. What is possible, however is for them ALL to be wrong.  This is also likely to be the case.

There’s a fear of God yes, but that is what being a Christian is about.

Yes, being told you must love someone you fear. The essence of sadomasochism. Fear is a prominent theme in your chosen cult. I have lost count of the number of times I have been threatened with hell from a Christian. Threatened. Not once have they come from a position of compassion, with concern that something horrible may happen to a fellow-creature. It always comes from a position of smirking, taunting, pleasure in the thought of someone not believing as they do being tortured by fire in some imaginary dungeon for all eternity. This tells you a lot about motivating people via fear, and the tickling of the ego, which occurs with the egotistical belief of being “chosen”. Nowhere on the planet would you find such a disturbing, graphic and violent wish for a fellow primates demise, simply for not believing as you do, were it not for religion.

Most Christians have more questions later on in their faith then when they have started; it doesn’t make their faith weak

Agreed. It is their faith that makes their faith weak.

Jesus knew the answer to question but he wasn’t going to give it away. Without the answer to Peters questions it meant both him and John went on to be great evangelists. Peter was martyred and John died peacefully in his sleep at the age of about 84. Do you think Peter have been so faithful if he knew John was going to be the only disciple not to be martyred?

It’s funny how you advocate faith in such proud and affectionate terms, as if believing without evidence is somehow a strength, or a wise way to live your life as a human adult. Maybe see how wise living by faith is next time you cross a busy street instead of looking both ways. Perhaps, next time you’re leaving a tall building, rather than taking the stairs, take the window of whatever floor you happen to be on.

There is a reason you don’t do these things. Facts, logic and reason. There is no reason why these shouldn’t be applied to matters of God and the nature of the universe, yet you choose to discard them when it suits your beliefs, which coincidentally seem to mirror your own personal desires.

We can prove that God exists and we can fully explain the resurrection for Christ.

This is an outright lie. If that were true, it would just become part of our scientific understanding and no longer faith. Science is constantly in a state of flux, and adds to its body of knowledge as more observation is made, and as new evidence becomes available. There is no scientific agenda to disregard god, or your particular god related myth, “Christ”.

It just so happens there is NO PROOF. At all. There is also a large quantity of evidence to the contrary. If you could prove the claims of the Bible, I would be as Christian as you, but you can’t, so I’m not.

All you need to do is answer the following two questions with indisputable scientific evidence (No theories please).

Another fundamental misunderstanding of science and words. Theories, in science are the strongest case you can make for anything. Theory does not mean “guess” as sometimes used in the common vernacular. Theories are supported by an abundance of evidence and are generally regarded as fact. Nothing in science attains a higher status than “theory”. This includes “gravity” and “germs”. Do you doubt them? This lack of education on the meaning of words is sometimes used to discredit “The Theory of evolution”, as “just a theory”, well if you feel a theory can be disregarded as you wish, attempt to apply that logic to gravity and have a good float around. Evolution is as strong as gravity.  We are evolved African primates.  Some people don’t like the truth of it, but that is irrelevant. It simply “is”.  Deal with it.

which has given scientist the common theory that human came from the monkey,

It hasn’t. Please point me towards one evolutionary biologist/scientist who claims that “the human came from the monkey”. If you don’t even understand the science you are attempting to discredit, how do you expect to be taken seriously? I’m assuming you are from the UK due to your domain address and use of the word “tosh”. They teach evolution in the UK to children at GCSE level. Are you less than 16 years old or are you less informed than a high school student? Google is your friend. If you are an adult, it is not the job of others to educate you on scientific fact. Ask yourself, what is more likely?  a)The majority of the global scientific community are lying about evolution, b) The global scientific community are less informed on such matters than you are c) You have simply failed to grasp the scientific fact of evolution. 

I think you know the answer.

Every area of scientific understanding backs evolution. It is embarrassing that this conversation still goes on. I reiterate, it is the same as arguing against gravity.

The sad thing is, even if your understanding of evolution and natural selection (scientific fact) was competent enough you would still reject it. Why is this?

You have an unwillingness to learn. I recently wrote an entire blog post mocking uneducated religious folk who mistakenly think evolution means “coming from monkeys”.

I cannot begin to describe to you the damage done to the laws of Irony, when I checked the comments section to see a question posed by the one and only Challenge My Church: (click the image to enlarge/read)

Click image to enlarge/read

Quite

However none of these things will ever happen on their own again outside of a science lab

Wrong. Evolution is happening as we speak. We are all transitional forms. We are nothing like our ancestors were a million years ago, and we are likely be ancestors to something which does not resemble us in the future.  People fail to grasp this concept, due to the extraordinary lengths of time involved. Dogs are a perfect example of observable micro evolution.  Every dog that exists today descended from a wolf. In just this short space of domestication, we have had Shih Tzu, grey hounds, bulldogs and numerous other shapes, sizes and breeds that do not resemble a Wolf in the slightest. Yet, these are still the very same species and would still produce offspring. Observable, micro evolution. Imagine how much species can change over millions of years, as opposed to a few thousand.

  1. If for millions, possibly billions of years where there was just space, how can two things all of a sudden be on course to collide?

And we’re right back to where this post started. Your entire argument for God, is based not on presenting evidence FOR the god, but rather asking questions of the gaps in our current scientific understanding. This is a fallacy, and carries no weight. It matters not if I cannot answer it, or even if I can present a credible theory. It does not imply a creator, nor validate your ancient text.

2)      13.5 billion years of dead material, how can dead material become living without intelligent intervention? Give an example of today’s world where this has happened.

Same principle as the above. More questions about the gaps in our knowledge rather than putting forward your evidence for god.  You are saying “I don’t know, so god!”.  Plus, abiogenesis is a fascinating scientific look into how inorganic matter can become living.  It is a good place to start if you would like to “know” something, rather than “assume”.

You ask these questions in the arrogance of thinking they lend credibility to your position, when the truth is:

  1. You cannot answer them either.
  2. Saying “I don’t know”, should not logically be followed with “therefore It was a supernatural omnipotent deity”. Occam’s Razor put this naïve thinking to bed quite some time ago. Invoking the supernatural only serves to raise more questions than answers, and doesn’t begin to explain the original question posed.

Now, in order for any response to be taken seriously you need to have a think about what credible evidence there is for your beliefs and present it.  Asking a question, is not presenting evidence for God.  Inserting God into gaps in our current understanding is not presenting evidence for god. Pointing out what we both don’t know isn’t evidence for god.  I think what I’m trying to say is, look up the definition of evidence.

GS

10 comments

  • Thank you for writing this! I hope more theists read & try to truly understand what you (&many of us) have repeatedly tried to explain. Its wonderfully written and easily understood by those of us who can ‘admit we don’t know’. Socrates was right about that.

  • Wonderfully written response. The only shame is CMC won’t be able to acknowledge any of the points made. Logic and reason don’t register with him. And the irony is that he clearly isn’t interested in hearing anything that ‘Challenges His Church’.

  • Brilliant 🙂

    I used to blanket-hate Christians, because of people like @ChallengeChurch. Although I still think religion is wrong, even dangerous on occasion, I have now revised me view on individuals – some are very reasonable, lovely people, and respect my right to disagree with them (as I do in return). Some even believe in evolution in tandem with their book!

    @ChallengeChurch is not just an affront to common sense, but to members of his own flock. His blog posts are so ill-informed and poorly constructed that you’d think he was a parody. Maybe he is..? Can anyone really think that such nonsense as that dinosaur comment is credible?!

    And he’ll answer questions, while us lot refuse to?! That made me literally laugh out loud.

    I’ve loved your interactions with CMC 🙂

  • The feeling of pride I get when a fellow atheist is so articulate in getting important points across is all too often, as in this instance, followed by a terrible feeling of despair that it is all just a waste of time. Surely @ChallengeChurch/CMC is just a parody, a troll of deliberate obtuseness not worthy of attention.

    But then again, it would be terrible not to try at all wouldn’t it?

    Thank you for a great read, and keep up the good work!

    DK

    PS – a small typo I think: “and we are likely be ancestors” should be “and we are likely to be ancestors”

  • So, I came late to your twitter and blog, thanks to Ricky Gervais (who also amuses me greatly). I haven’t seen such wit/stupidity since my Logic class in freshman year of college (“But I thought the sky was blue BECAUSE water is wet!”). All I can say at this point is, I now have a conundrum regarding Dave: if one HOPES for an eternity of rectal probing on his home planet, how can one be skeptical enough to achieve such? Food for cerebral meltdown…

  • Recently started following on Twitter and only just seen this and CMC’s blog posts. Excellent work Sir! I note they haven’t replied after your comment.

    You have a gift for writing and answering folks on Twitter. If you ever write a Blog on why we (atheists) are free to celebrate Christmas it would be much appreciated. I know why but don’t seem to be able to explain as well as you – so I’d lazily love to link to that post on facebook (as I cannot put your pictures in comments) if you did it.

    Merry Christmas

    Steve – @stevegrant2129

  • Dave (not the deity, Dave, mentioned above.)

    I love that last argument. I’ve told people before that atheists and theists share a common problem: How did everything begin & what was before that? Science freely admits that it doesn’t know. Religion says that is proof of a god who has always existed and who created everything. But if something (a god) has always existed, then why couldn’t the stuff of matter and energy have always existed without need for a god? Perhaps it is simply that we don’t understand infinity and eternity.

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