The delusion of Richard Dawkins’ “The God Delusion”

Posted on December 5, 2018 By

Dawkins' The God Delusion

But where did God come from?

Atheists allege that if one cannot explain where God came from, theism cannot be viewed as a legitimate explanation for such things as the origin of life and the origin of the universe. 

The more time one spends debating atheists online, the more one will realize that this is likely the most prominent argument in favor of atheism present on the internet today. It is also the self-described “central argument” of atheist Richard Dawkins’ now famous book The God Delusion

If every explanation required an explanation, science would be impossible.

But, unfortunately for atheists, this is a particularly weak argument. If every explanation required an explanation of its own, we would immediately be caught in an infinite regress of explanations, and science would be impossible. 

Imagine the following dialogue between two scientists:

Scientist 1: “Traits are passed down from a parent to its offspring through genes.”

Scientist 2: “But where do genes come from?”

Scientist 1: “I don’t know.”

Scientist 2: “Then your explanation is invalid.”

Please note that, even if scientist #1 could produce an explanation for where genes come from, scientist #2 could then ask for an explanation for that explanation, and an infinite regress of explanations result, thus rendering science impossible.

William Lane Craig notes:

 …In order to recognize an explanation as the best, one needn’t have an explanation of the explanation. This is an elementary point concerning inference to the best explanation as practiced in the philosophy of science. If archaeologists digging in the earth were to discover things looking like arrowheads and hatchet heads and pottery shards, they would be justified in inferring that these artifacts are not the chance result of sedimentation and metamorphosis, but products of some unknown group of people, even though they had no explanation of who these people were or where they came from.

Similarly, if astronauts were to come upon a pile of machinery on the back side of the moon, they would be justified in inferring that it was the product of intelligent, extra-terrestrial agents, even if they had no idea whatsoever who these extra-terrestrial agents were or how they got there. In order to recognize an explanation as the best, one needn’t be able to explain the explanation. In fact, so requiring would lead to an infinite regress of explanations, so that nothing could ever be explained and science would be destroyed. So in the case at hand, in order to recognize that intelligent design is the best explanation of the appearance of design in the universe, one needn’t be able to explain the designer.

Dawkins’ commits circular reasoning

Further, as Dean Overman notes in A Case Against Accident and Self-Organization, Dawkins’ argument amounts to circular reasoning (circulus in probando):

Assumed contradictions are often hidden premises in arguments. For example, the question, “If a designer designed the universe, who designed the designer?”, assumes the contradiction by asserting that the designer was designed. Such an assertion is an assumed contradiction hidden in the question. This is similar to asking the question: who or what made triangles circular?

One may argue that if everything has a cause, then a designer must have a cause. Given the assumption in the dependent clause, the conclusion follows logically. If the assumption, however, was modified to: if everything that has a beginning has a cause, the conclusion would not follow if the designer was defined as something that does not have a beginning. If this modification was made and applied to the universe, the argument could be stated:

Everything that has a beginning has a cause.

The universe had a beginning.

 

 


  1. If you’re interested in an atheist’s response, I’ve summarized that here:

    https://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2016/12/created-god-atheist-fallacy/

    • God Evidence says:

      Bob,

      What in your article responds to my point about how requiring an explanation for every explanation immediately leads to an infinite regress of explanations, thereby rendering science impossible? Your article doesn’t respond to this at all.

      Further, the universe (which includes the properties of time, space, matter, and energy) began at the cosmological event known as the Big Bang. Since the property of time had an origin, whatever is responsible for the creation of the universe necessarily exists outside of time. Something which exists outside of time does not have a beginning, and therefore does not require a cause. Your example of the physicist and the dairy cow does not address this key point. With regards to this point, physicist George Stanciu and philosopher Robert Augros comment in their book The New Story of Science:

      “In the New Story of science the whole universe–including matter, energy, space, and time–is a one-time event and had a definite beginning. But something must have always existed; for if ever absolutely nothing existed, then nothing would exist now, since nothing comes from nothing. The material universe cannot be the thing that always existed because matter had a beginning. It is 12 to 20 billion years old. This means that whatever has always existed is non-material. The only non-material reality seems to be mind. If mind is what has always existed, then matter must have been brought into existence by a mind that always was. This points to an intelligent, eternal being who created all things. Such a being is what we mean by the term God.”

      Physicist Richard Conn Henry from Johns Hopkins University explains why theism is the only rational conclusion which can be drawn from modern physics:

      “Why do people cling with such ferocity to belief in a mind-independent reality? It is surely because if there is no such reality, then ultimately (as far as we can know) mind alone exists. And if mind is not a product of real matter, but rather is the creator of the illusion of material reality (which has, in fact, despite the materialists, been known to be the case since the discovery of quantum mechanics in 1925), then a theistic view of our existence becomes the only rational alternative to solipsism.” [“Solipsism” is defined as “the view or theory that the self is all that can be known to exist.”]

      Similarly, theoretical physicist and string theory pioneer Michio Kaku writes:

      “I have concluded that we are in a world made by rules created by an intelligence. Believe me, everything that we call chance today won’t make sense anymore. To me it is clear that we exist in a plan which is governed by rules that were created, shaped by a universal intelligence and not by chance.”

      • Matt says:

        When you say, “Further, the universe (which includes the properties of time, space, matter, and energy) began at the cosmological event known as the Big Bang”, you are aware that this a tired assertion with no evidence to back it up, right? I’ve pointed it out to you several times before if I remember correctly.

        Try not to respond with a bunch of opinion quotes from scientists or philosophers with no actual evidence in support, as is your usual habit. Nobody much cares what any physicist says, but what they can demonstrate in some way so we know it holds weight.

        You actually can’t demonstrate that anything you said there was true, especially your claim that minds can exist without matter or time. Good luck with that!

        • God Evidence says:

          Matt,

          I think we have been here before. One can allege that the Big Bang was not the actual beginning (and that is fine with me). But what is undeniable is that the universe had a beginning at some point.

          Janna Levin, from the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics at Cambridge University writes, “The universe had a beginning. There was once nothing and now there is something.”

          In 2003, physicists Borde, Vilenkin and Guth corroborated to formulate a proof that demonstrates that an eternal universe is not possible, and that the universe therefore had a beginning. It is known as the BVG theorem. Alexander Vilenkin is very blunt in regard to the implications of this proof:

          “It is said that an argument is what convinces reasonable men and a proof is what it takes to convince even an unreasonable man. With the proof now in place, cosmologists can no longer hide behind the possibility of a past-eternal universe. There is no escape, they have to face the problem of a cosmic beginning.” (Many Worlds in One [New York: Hill and Wang, 2006], p.176).

          The BVG theorem is a MATHEMATICAL PROOF, and not “a bunch of opinion quotes from scientists or philosophers with no actual evidence in support,” as you put it.

          It should be noted that this proof applies to any proposed “multiverse” or “oscillating universe,” etc. in which our universe may be situated. Astrophysicist Robert Jastrow (the founder of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies) echoes Vilenkin’s above comments:

          “The lingering decline predicted by astronomers for the end of the world differs from the explosive conditions they have calculated for its birth, but the impact is the same: modern science denies an eternal existence to the Universe, either in the past or in the future.“

          If you deny that the universe had a beginning, then you are very transparently trying to shoehorn the facts to fit your beliefs.

          • Matt says:

            I have the paper in which Borde, Vilenkin and Guth lay out the BVG theorem, and so I can say with complete confidence that you are wrong. Speaking of the boundary which you’d like to claim is the beginning of time, in the original paper laying out the theorem they state:

            “What can lie beyond this boundary? Several possibil-
            ities have been discussed, one being that the boundary
            of the inflating region corresponds to the beginning of
            the Universe in a quantum nucleation event [12]. The
            boundary is then a closed spacelike hypersurface which
            can be determined from the appropriate instanton.
            Whatever the possibilities for the boundary, it is clear
            that unless the averaged expansion condition can some-how be avoided for all past-directed geodesics, inflation alone is not sufficient to provide a complete description of the Universe, and some new physics is necessary in order to determine the correct conditions at the boundary.”

            They then go on to say, “This is the chief result of our paper. The result depends on just one assumption: the Hubble parameter H has a positive value when averaged over the affine parameter of a past-directed null or noncomoving timelike geodesic.”

            You’ll notice they don’t say that they have shown mathematically that the Universe has a beginning, or that ‘nothing’ came prior to this boundary at the start of the inflationary period. Nor do they claim to have proven their one assumption to be correct. They also do not say that their model of the Universe has a cause, nor that the cause would have to be spaceless, timeless and immaterial.

            It is very clear that you are the one trying to shoehorn the facts to fit your beliefs, and not the other way around.

            • God Evidence says:

              Matt,

              Your copied and pasted text is the perfect example of a smokescreen argument. I really don’t think that you understand the material which you have copied and pasted.

              As your copied and pasted excerpt says, “Whatever the possibilities for the boundary, it is clear that unless the averaged expansion condition can somehow be avoided for all past-directed geodesics, inflation alone is not sufficient to provide a complete description of the Universe, and some new physics is necessary in order to determine the correct conditions at the boundary.”

              Because we don’t yet have a quantum theory of gravity, we are not able to provide a physical description of the first split second of the physical universe. BUT, the BVG theorem is independent of any such description of that early moment of the universe. Their theorem implies that the quantum vacuum state of the very early universe (which some popularizers have misleadingly and incorrectly characterized as nothing) cannot be eternal in the past, but must have had an absolute beginning. For example, even if our universe is just a tiny part of a so-called multiverse, composed of many universes, the BVG theorem requires that this multiverse itself must have a beginning.

              So, with a speculative model such as a multiverse model, our universe’s beginning was not necessarily the ultimate beginning, but the multiverse of which our universe is a part DID have an ultimate beginning. All that speculative models (multiverse, loop quantum gravity models, string models, and closed time-like models, etc.) do is push the beginning back a step! What makes the BVG proof so powerful is that it holds regardless of the physical description of the very early universe.

              Borde, Villenkin, and Guth were able to mathematically prove that any universe which is on average in a state of cosmic expansion throughout its history (Hubble parameter H has a positive value) cannot be infinite in the past, and must have a past space-time boundary. And we know that our universe is in a state of cosmic expansion as a result of observations such as redshift, and other galaxies moving away from us.

              Alexander Vilenkin is very blunt in regard to the implications of this proof:

              “It is said that an argument is what convinces reasonable men and a proof is what it takes to convince even an unreasonable man. With the proof now in place, cosmologists can no longer hide behind the possibility of a past-eternal universe. There is no escape, they have to face the problem of a cosmic beginning.” (Many Worlds in One [New York: Hill and Wang, 2006], p.176).

              • Matt says:

                Why continue lying when you’ve obviously been rumbled? Why paste something that does not say what you claim it says? That quote from the paper is again:

                “Whatever the possibilities for the boundary, it is clear that unless the averaged expansion condition can somehow be avoided for all past-directed geodesics, inflation alone is not sufficient to provide a complete description of the Universe, and some new physics is necessary in order to determine the correct conditions at the boundary.”

                If the GVB theorem (not proof, as you just tried to claim!) is true, it only applies to this present Universe if on average it has been expanding. Since we don’t know what preceded the expansion phase at this point, we have no idea if this condition is met or not. If this condition is met, all the theorem states is that inflation alone cannot provide a complete description of the Universe.

                Where does that say that this Universe had a definite beginning? Nowhere! Lying for Jesus is still lying, so if your theology is correct you will burn in the lake of fire. The Universe, as far as anyone knows, may have been contracting far longer than it has been expanding, rendering the BVG Theorem irrelevant in reality. Again, you are guilty of trying to shoehorn reality in to fit your preconceived notions. Stop lying and condemning yourself in the unlikely case you happen to be correct!

                • God Evidence says:

                  Matt,

                  I’m lying? I’ve been “rumbled”? This is a very very strange assertion considering the facts at hand.

                  Please recall YET AGAIN what Alexender Vilenkin said with regards to the implications of the Borde, Vilenkin, Guth theorem:

                  “It is said that an argument is what convinces reasonable men and a proof is what it takes to convince even an unreasonable man. With the proof now in place, cosmologists can no longer hide behind the possibility of a past-eternal universe. There is no escape, they have to face the problem of a cosmic beginning.” (Many Worlds in One [New York: Hill and Wang, 2006], p.176).

                  Have you rumbled Alexander Vilenkin? Is he lying also? Since you are not even convinced by a mathematical proof, you are beyond “unreasonable,” in Vilenkin’s words. Perhaps “incorrigible” is a better term for you.

                  You write, “Since we don’t know what preceded the expansion phase at this point, we have no idea if this condition is met or not.” But you completely misunderstand. The BVG theorem applies to any inflationary universe, regardless of what happened prior to this point. And our universe is an inflationary universe. This is why Vilenkin says, “With the proof now in place, cosmologists can no longer hide behind the possibility of a past-eternal universe. There is no escape, they have to face the problem of a cosmic beginning.”

                  Every known conceivable model of the universe has a Hubble (expansion) value of greater than zero. Non-expanding universes do not connect well with our expanding universe. I gave the example of the multiverse model. If our universe is just a tiny part of a larger multiverse, then the beginning or our universe may not have been the ultimate beginning. But the BVG theorem demonstrates that this multiverse must then have had an ultimate beginning.

                  • Matt says:

                    In another article*, Vilenkin says something rather different in the quotes you cherry picked:

                    “The answer to the question, “Did the universe have a beginning?” is, “It probably did.” We have no viable models of an eternal universe. The BGV theorem gives us reason to believe that such models simply cannot be constructed.

                    When physicists or theologians ask me about the BGV theorem, I am happy to oblige. But my own view is that the theorem does not tell us anything about the existence of God. A deep mystery remains. The laws of physics that describe the quantum creation of the universe also describe its evolution. This seems to suggest that they have some independent existence.”

                    How is it you are so certain the Universe had a beginning, thanks to the BVG Theorem, when all one of the originators says is ‘it probably did’?

                    The claim in the peer-reviewed paper at the heart of this discussion is more modest still stating only that, “inflation alone is not sufficient to provide a complete description of the Universe”, as the major conclusion.

                    I’ll help at this point and tell you why they are making such statements – they are modelling the Universe, and that model includes unproven elements known as assumptions. As I pointed out above, their one assumption is that “the Hubble parameter H has a positive value when averaged over the affine parameter of a past-directed null or noncomoving timelike geodesic.” If this had been proven, rather than still up in the air as at present, the authors could justifiably and emphatically claim the Universe really did have a beginning. All the BVG shows, without the wishful theistic thinking thrown in, is that it is highly likely the expansion phase of the Universe must have begun a finite time ago.

                    I do wonder if you’re going to be such an ardent follower of science when a quantum gravitational model of the Universe is completed and it proves there was no cause for its existence ;)

                    *Published on October 23, 2015 in Volume 1, Issue 4 of ‘Inference: International Review of Science’.

                    • God Evidence says:

                      Matt,

                      I never cited Vilenkin as believing in God. As with all people, ideological and psychological factors play a role in determining a scientist’s belief system. I very deliberately construct my arguments for God based on the facts presented by a people of a variety of belief systems. If I only cited Christian scientists (and the vast majority of the founders of the various branches of science were devout Christians, as I demonstrate in Without Science, There Would Be No Christianity), it would be easier to claim bias.

                      Your citation of Vilenkin states, “A deep mystery remains. The laws of physics that describe the quantum creation of the universe also describe its evolution. This seems to suggest that they have some independent existence.

                      So, apparently Vilenkin believes that natural laws created the universe. This brings to light an important issue: Who or what enforces natural laws? This question can NEVER be answered by atheism, and is therefore one of atheism’s fatal explanatory failures.

                      How can an inanimate thing be made to follow a law (or “regularity,” or whatever term you prefer)? How can such a structure of laws (or “regularities,” if you prefer) that govern the universe exist in a truly random world? Please note that this is a question that science can never answer because it is not a scientific question. Rather, it is a meta-scientific, or ontological question.

                      In the theistic model, it is immediately obvious why matter follows natural laws: The same mind that creates matter (God’s mind) also directs it. As Robert Boyle, the founder of modern chemistry (and a devout Christian), put it:

                      “The nature of this or that body is but the law of God prescribed to it [and] to speak properly, a law [is] but a notional rule of acting according to the declared will of a superior.” [italics added]

                      Or, as James Joule, the propounder of the first law of thermodynamics (also a devout Christian), for whom the thermal unit of the “Joule” was named, put it:

                      “It is evident that an acquaintance with natural laws means no less than an acquaintance with the mind of God therein expressed.”

                      Or, as the knighted mathematician, physicist and astronomer Sir James Jeans put it in his book The Mysterious Universe:

                      “There is a wide measure of agreement which, on the physical side of science approaches almost unanimity, that the stream of knowledge is heading towards a non-mechanical reality; the universe begins to look more like a great thought than a great machine. Mind no longer appears as an accidental intruder into the realm of matter. We are beginning to suspect that we ought rather to hail mind as the creator and governor of the realm of matter.” (italics are mine)

                      What answer does the atheistic model provide to the question of how an inanimate thing can be compelled to follow a law? Only various versions of “matter follows laws because it just does.”

                      But “it just does” is not an explanation. Rather, it is an explanatory failure. The Christian apologist Nancy Pearcey points out that atheism amounts to “just-so storytelling.” To suggest that natural laws are enforced because “they just are” amounts to “just-so storytelling.”

        • I had the same objection–the response was little more than a big pile of quotes from various people, as if these authorities should shut up any objections.

          Unfortunately, it looks like GodEvidence has made up his mind and isn’t interested in learning anything new.

          • Matt says:

            Hi Bob,

            Time and time again I’m struck by the dishonesty of theists in defense of their views.

            Revelation 21:8 says, “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and *all liars* , shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

            Then we have Mr. GodEvidence above knowingly using all manner of deceptive behaviours in order to support his religion. It makes no sense to me at all. The latest pointless deception above about the BCG Theorem is particularly egregious, since anyone with an internet connection can easily download and read a copy of the paper for themselves.

            How, other than by outright lying, have Mr. GodEvidence and WL Craig made the leap from “inflation alone is not sufficient to provide a complete description of the universe” to suggesting that the BGV Theorem has proved “the universe began to exist”? Even Borde, Guth and Vilenkin clearly suggest that a “beginning” is merely one possibility that might correspond to the boundary condition.

            Anyone who has any knowledge of physics can tell you that, since it doesn’t yet exist, a theory of quantum gravity is not taken into account in the BVG theorem, and is very likely the piece of the puzzle missing from inflation needed to describe the Universe fully. It’s probably a waste of time to point that out to one who has his mind already made up, as I think you correctly observed.

            • God Evidence says:

              Because we don’t yet have a quantum theory of gravity (as you mention) we are not able to provide a physical description of the first split second of the physical universe. BUT, the BVG theorem is independent of any such description of that early moment of the universe. Their theorem implies that the quantum vacuum state of the very early universe (which some popularizers have misleadingly and incorrectly characterized as nothing) cannot be eternal in the past, but must have had an absolute beginning. For example, even if our universe is just a tiny part of a so-called multiverse, composed of many universes, the BVG theorem requires that this multiverse itself must have a beginning.

              So, with a speculative model such as a multiverse model, our universe’s beginning was not necessarily the ultimate beginning, but the multiverse of which our universe is a part DID have an ultimate beginning. All that speculative models (multiverse, loop quantum gravity models, string models, and closed time-like models, etc.) achieve is push the beginning back a step! What makes the BVG proof so powerful is that it holds regardless of the physical description of the very early universe.

              Borde, Villenkin, and Guth were able to mathematically prove that any universe which is on average in a state of cosmic expansion throughout its history (Hubble parameter H has a positive value) cannot be infinite in the past, and must have a past space-time boundary. And we know that our universe is in a state of cosmic expansion as a result of observations such as redshift, and other galaxies moving away from us.

              Alexander Vilenkin is very blunt in regards to the implications of this proof:

              “It is said that an argument is what convinces reasonable men and a proof is what it takes to convince even an unreasonable man. With the proof now in place, cosmologists can no longer hide behind the possibility of a past-eternal universe. There is no escape, they have to face the problem of a cosmic beginning.” (Many Worlds in One [New York: Hill and Wang, 2006], p.176).

  2. Terry says:

    LOL. We know where god came from. The same place all the gods come from. Man’s fantasy land. In fact the story of Jesus was created (plagiarized) from many previous fantasy stories. The most popular being Hercules. Lets see: A god makes a baby with a human female. Old news. Not even entertaining anymore.

    • God Evidence says:

      https://www.gotquestions.org/Jesus-myth.html

      The claim that Jesus was a myth or an exaggeration originated in the writings of liberal German theologians in the nineteenth century. They essentially said that Jesus was nothing more than a copy of popular dying-and-rising fertility gods in various places—Tammuz in Mesopotamia, Adonis in Syria, Attis in Asia Minor, and Horus in Egypt. Of note is the fact that none of the books containing these theories were taken seriously by the academics of the day. The assertion that Jesus was a recycled Tammuz, for example, was investigated by contemporary scholars and determined to be completely baseless. It has only been recently that these assertions have been resurrected, primarily due to the rise of the Internet and the mass distribution of information from unaccountable sources.

      This leads us to the next area of investigation—do the mythological gods of antiquity really mirror the person of Jesus Christ? As an example, the Zeitgeist movie makes these claims about the Egyptian god Horus:

      • He was born on December 25 of a virgin: Isis Mary
      • A star in the East proclaimed his arrival
      • Three kings came to adore the newborn “savior”
      • He became a child prodigy teacher at age 12
      • At age 30 he was “baptized” and began a “ministry”
      • Horus had twelve “disciples”
      • Horus was betrayed
      • He was crucified
      • He was buried for three days
      • He was resurrected after three days

      However, when the actual writings about Horus are competently examined, this is what we find:

      • Horus was born to Isis; there is no mention in history of her being called “Mary.” Moreover, “Mary” is our Anglicized form of her real name, Miryam or Miriam. “Mary” was not even used in the original texts of Scripture.
      • Isis was not a virgin; she was the widow of Osiris and conceived Horus with Osiris.
      • Horus was born during month of Khoiak (Oct/Nov), not December 25. Further, there is no mention in the Bible as to Christ’s actual birth date.
      • There is no record of three kings visiting Horus at his birth. The Bible never states the actual number of magi that came to see Christ.
      • Horus is not a “savior” in any way; he did not die for anyone.
      • There are no accounts of Horus being a teacher at the age of 12.
      • Horus was not “baptized.” The only account of Horus that involves water is one story where Horus is torn to pieces, with Isis requesting the crocodile god to fish him out of the water.
      • Horus did not have a “ministry.”
      • Horus did not have 12 disciples. According to the Horus accounts, Horus had four demigods that followed him, and there are some indications of 16 human followers and an unknown number of blacksmiths that went into battle with him.
      • There is no account of Horus being betrayed by a friend.
      • Horus did not die by crucifixion. There are various accounts of Horus’ death, but none of them involve crucifixion.
      • There is no account of Horus being buried for three days.
      • Horus was not resurrected. There is no account of Horus coming out of the grave with the body he went in with. Some accounts have Horus/Osiris being brought back to life by Isis and then becoming the lord of the underworld.

      When compared side by side, Jesus and Horus bear little, if any, resemblance to one another.

      Jesus is also compared to Mithras by those claiming that Jesus Christ is a myth. All the above descriptions of Horus are applied to Mithras (e.g., born of a virgin, being crucified, rising in three days, etc.). But what does the Mithras myth actually say?

      • He was born out of a solid rock, not from any woman.
      • He battled first with the sun and then with a primeval bull, thought to be the first act of creation. Mithras killed the bull, which then became the ground of life for the human race.
      • Mithras’s birth was celebrated on December 25, along with winter solstice.
      • There is no mention of his being a great teacher.
      • There is no mention of Mithras having 12 disciples. The idea that Mithras had 12 disciples may have come from a mural in which Mithras is surrounded by the twelve signs of the zodiac.
      • Mithras had no bodily resurrection. Rather, when Mithras completed his earthly mission, he was taken to paradise in a chariot, alive and well. The early Christian writer Tertullian did write about Mithraic cultists re-enacting resurrection scenes, but this occurred well after New Testament times, so if any copycatting was done, it was Mithraism copying Christianity.

      More examples can be given of Krishna, Attis, Dionysus, and other mythological gods, but the result is the same. In the end, the historical Jesus portrayed in the Bible is unique. The alleged similarities of Jesus’ story to pagan myths are greatly exaggerated. Further, while tales of Horus, Mithras, and others pre-date Christianity, there is very little historical record of the pre-Christian beliefs of those religions. The vast majority of the earliest writings of these religions date from the third and fourth centuries A.D. To assume that the pre-Christian beliefs of these religions (of which there is no record) were identical to their post-Christian beliefs is naive. It is more logical to attribute any similarities between these religions and Christianity to the religions’ copying Christian teaching about Jesus.

      This leads us to the next area to examine: the logical fallacies committed by those claiming that Christianity borrowed from pagan mystery religions. We’ll consider two fallacies in particular: the fallacy of the false cause and the terminological fallacy.

      If one thing precedes another, some conclude that the first thing must have caused the second. This is the fallacy of the false cause. A rooster may crow before the sunrise every morning, but that does not mean the rooster causes the sun to rise. Even if pre-Christian accounts of mythological gods closely resembled Christ (and they do not), it does not mean they caused the Gospel writers to invent a false Jesus. Making such a claim is akin to saying the TV series Star Trek caused the NASA Space Shuttle program.

      The terminological fallacy occurs when words are redefined to prove a point. For example, the Zeitgeist movie says that Horus “began his ministry,” but the word ministry is being redefined. Horus had no actual “ministry”—nothing like that of Christ’s ministry. Those claiming a link between Mithras and Jesus talk about the “baptism” that initiated prospects into the Mithras cult, but what was it actually? Mithraic priests would place initiates into a pit, suspend a bull over the pit, and slit the bull’s stomach, covering the initiates in blood and gore. Such a practice bears no resemblance whatsoever to Christian baptism—a person going under water (symbolizing the death of Christ) and then coming back out of the water (symbolizing Christ’s resurrection). But advocates of a mythological Jesus deceptively use the same term, “baptism,” to describe both rites in hopes of linking the two.

      This brings us to the subject of the truthfulness of the New Testament. No other work of antiquity has more evidence to its historical veracity than the New Testament. The New Testament has more writers (nine), better writers, and earlier writers than any other existing document from that era. Further, history testifies that these writers went to their deaths claiming that Jesus had risen from the dead. While some may die for a lie they think is true, no person dies for a lie he knows to be false. Think about it—if you were threatened with crucifixion, as tradition says happened to the apostle Peter, and all you had to do to save your life was renounce a lie you had knowingly told, what would you do?

      In addition, history has shown that it takes at least two generations to pass before myth can enter a historical account. That’s because, as long as there are eyewitnesses to an event, errors can be refuted and mythical embellishments can be exposed. All the Gospels of the New Testament were written during the lifetime of the eyewitnesses, with some of Paul’s Epistles being written as early as A.D. 50. Paul directly appeals to contemporary eyewitnesses to verify his testimony (1 Corinthians 15:6).

      The New Testament attests to the fact that, in the first century, Jesus was not mistaken for any other god. When Paul preached in Athens, the elite thinkers of that city said, “‘He seems to be a proclaimer of strange deities,’—because he was preaching Jesus and the resurrection. And they took him and brought him to the Areopagus, saying, ‘May we know what this new teaching is which you are proclaiming? For you are bringing some strange things to our ears; so we want to know what these things mean’” (Acts 17:18–20, NASB). Clearly, if Paul were simply rehashing stories of other gods, the Athenians would not have referred to his doctrine as a “new” and “strange” teaching. If dying-and-rising gods were plentiful in the first century, why, when the apostle Paul preached Jesus rising from the dead, did the Epicureans and Stoics not remark, “Ah, just like Horus and Mithras”?

      In conclusion, the claim that Jesus is a copy of mythological gods originated with authors whose works have been discounted by academia, contain logical fallacies, and cannot compare to the New Testament Gospels, which have withstood nearly 2,000 years of intense scrutiny. The alleged parallels between Jesus and other gods disappear when the original myths are examined. The Jesus-is-a-myth theory relies on selective descriptions, redefined words, and false assumptions.

      Jesus Christ is unique in history, with His voice rising above all false gods’ as He asks the question that ultimately determines a person’s eternal destiny: “Who do you say I am?” (Matthew 16:15).

      • Terry says:

        Smoke and mirrors, Smoke and mirrors. You tip-toed all around the story about Hercules. Maybe you have not heard of the Hydra slaying gentleman.

        Let’s see: Daddy was a god, Mommy was a human and Hercules was a demi-god. Let’s see how that compares to Jesus.

        Let’ see: Daddy was a god, Mommy was a human and Jesus was a demi-god.

        Looks like a dead ringer to me. And yes the story of Hercules was being told long before the bible was written.

  3. sklyjd says:

    The archaeologists and astronaut finds were explained in the light of common logic.

    The assumption that the world has a designer and creator was also a logical conclusion for ancient and primitive peoples, however those ideals have been repeatedly challenged and slowly taken apart by modern science.

    The assumption that a designer god must therefore have been designed is also a natural logical conclusion, but it is really a moot point unless it can be categorically identified that a designer of everything exists in the first place.

    If a designer was identified and defined as not having a beginning there would be another new scientific concept, however as it stands currently this claim is made through changing the natural rules of reality or the logical conclusion is that a designer does not exist.

    God is uncaused and uncreated is a romantic and emotional state of mind for those of all faiths, however, it is a predictable claim and exactly the only way any religion can explain and sustain their own gods existence.

    • God Evidence says:

      Sklyjd,

      Your comment provides us with a perfect illustration of how much of atheist belief results from mindlessly parroting back what one has heard other atheists say, rather than an actual careful and critical examination of the facts. Mindlessly accepting what one has heard other like-minded people (atheists, in your case) say, without adequate critical examination, is part of the psychological phenomenon known as “groupthink.”

      Highly intelligent people (such as yourself, no doubt) fall prey to this psychological phenomenon all the time. For example, please read the New York Times article Insights into Self-Deception which describes how the highly intelligent members of the JFK administration decided that launching the Bay of Pigs invasion was a good idea, despite having a military force which was outnumbered by the Cubans by a factor of 140 to one.

      Highly intelligent people dupe themselves into believing stupid things all the time. Please also recall the Bernie Madoff affair. Madoff duped many many wealthy, highly intelligent, and sophisticated investors into investing in his Ponzi scheme. This is despite that fact that almost anyone could have seen through his deception if they had actually engaged in critical thinking, rather than mindlessly acting on their greed. As Wikipedia notes: “In 1999, financial analyst Harry Markopolos had informed the SEC that he believed it was legally and mathematically impossible to achieve the gains Madoff claimed to deliver. According to Markopolos, it took him four minutes to conclude that Madoff’s numbers did not add up, and another minute to suspect they were likely fraudulent.”

      For example, you write, “The assumption that the world has a designer and creator was also a logical conclusion for ancient and primitive peoples, however those ideals have been repeatedly challenged and slowly taken apart by modern science.

      If you came to this conclusion as a result of a careful and critical examination of the facts, and you are not just mindlessly parroting back what you have heard other atheists say, then you should be able to cite the SPECIFIC science which brought you to this conclusion.

      Was it Darwinian evolution? If so, please recall that Darwinian evolution begins with things which are already alive. If successful, Darwinian evolution would only be able to explain the diversification of life, and not the origin of life. Put another way, Darwinian evolution deals with the survival of the fittest, and not the arrival of the fittest. Please recall that Darwinian evolution works with the proposed mechanism of the random mutation of genes and the natural selection of reproductive offspring. This mechanism, quite obviously, only works for living things because only living things have genes to mutate and reproductive offspring to naturally select…mud does not. The simplest living thing is several orders of magnitude more complex than anything humans have ever created…computers, the space shuttle, robots, whatever.

      Was it “abiogenesis?” What SPECIFIC mechanism can you cite which demonstrates how life emerged from non-living matter as a result of unintelligent processes.

      I will lead by example and cite the SPECIFIC science which demonstrates the existence of God. You can be assured that groupthink did not lead me to believing that science proves the existence of God, because I was an atheist when I discovered this evidence:

      1) DNA, the language of life, contains codified instructions for organisms to develop. DNA is a language in the most literal (not metaphorical sense). Information science demonstrates that language can only be produced by a conscious and intelligent agent. In part, this is because what a symbol serves to represent is entirely arbitrary, and therefore must be decided upon by an intelligent agent. The letters C-A-T, for example, serve as a symbolic representation of a furry animal that purrs and meows only because the intelligent agents who created the English language arbitrarily assigned this meaning to this set of symbols.

      I delve into this topic in How Atheism Relies on Special Pleading and There’s Nothing Random About Evolution.

      2) Modern physics has demonstrated that physical things do not exist independent of a conscious observer. Rather, they only exist in what is known as a “possibility wave” or “probability wave” until an observation is made by a conscious observer. I delve into this topic in God Is Real, Why Modern Physics Has Discredited Atheism. This post also provides a video which delves into the science in minute detail.

      Ok, there. I provided my examples. Now please demonstrate that your views about science “challenging and slowly taking apart” theism are not merely the result of mindlessly parroting back what you have heard other atheists say by citing the SPECIFIC science which brought you to this conclusion.

      I am betting that you won’t, because I doubt that you have actually engaged in a careful and critical examination of the facts. Again, please cite the SPECIFIC science which brought you to your atheistic conclusions. Yes, that is a challenge.

  4. Jeff Mwangi says:

    Dear Scott,
    I have to thank you for helping me come back to faith man. You and I had an exchange quite a while back. I was wondering why you haven’t written any article close to a year. I hope your new year resolution is to write articles regularly. You and I had debates. Perhaps you can check some of our debates on your articles “Without Christianity, there would no science” and “why everybody is religious or rather nobody”. I hope you don’t stop writing articles because they are really helping in clearing out the dust of this so called theist vs atheist.

  5. Jeff Mwangi says:

    Dear Scott,
    I have to thank you for helping me come back to faith man. You and I had an exchange quite a while back. I was wondering why you haven’t written any article close to a year. I hope your new year resolution is to write articles regularly. You and I had debates. Perhaps you can check some of our debates on your articles “Without Christianity, there would no science” and “why everybody is religious or rather nobody”. I hope you don’t stop writing articles because they are really helping in clearing out the dust of this so called theist vs atheist. Cheers to many more years of writing.

    • God Evidence says:

      Jeff!!!

      So good to hear from you again! God has answered my prayers!! I have always prayed for you and the other atheists I debate. God got through to me when I was an atheist, and he decided to use me to get through to other atheists!

      What they say is true!: Steel sharpens steel. Our debates were truly epic and I am so thankful that God got through to you. It was really God working through me, and not me. I am just a messenger, and I hope my ego didn’t pollute God’s message to you very much.

      I am still writing, but at a slower pace now that I am married. I just wrote Atheist Self-Deception and The Delusion of Richard Dawkins’ “God Delusion”

      Let’s keep in touch!!

      Scott

      • Terry says:

        You were never an Atheist. An Atheist wanna-be perhaps but never an Atheist.

        • Jeff Mwangi says:

          Then I guess the theists who became atheists were never theists to begin with either.

          Scott, I’m not very good with the logical fallacies but didn’t Mr. Terry just commit the no true Scotsman fallacy. Correct me if I’m wrong.

        • Robert says:

          You are offering an unsubstantiated claim. How can your claim be logically supported?

          • Jeff Mwangi says:

            You misunderstand my point. He claims that atheists (like myself) were never really atheists but “atheist wanna be” as he puts it. I simply replied that the same argument could be used for atheists who used to be theists. If I’m not wrong, I believe he’s committed the no true Scotsman fallacy. Scott is more familiar with the logical fallacies so I was hoping he would correct me if I’m wrong. I wasn’t asking for support but a correction if I’m correct in asserting that Mr. Terry committed the no true scotsman fallacy.

            • Terry says:

              “Atheist wanna-be” was probably not the best choice of words. “Confused Theist” would have been more accurate.

              In order for there to be Atheists there must be Theists. Without Theism there would be no Atheists. Your theistic position is a choice based on your knowledge of the subject. If you are never exposed to theism you could never be a theist or atheist. The vast majority of theist are indoctrinated at an early age. An age long before they have the desire or the ability to make an informed choice. I was a theist because that is what I was taught at a very young age. I didn’t so much choose my theistic position as accepted it. When I was older. Old enough to understand theism and all that is involved. I looked at all the evidence and choose to be an Atheist. I choose to be Atheist because that is where the evidence led me. If sometime in the future I were to choose to be Theist again it would suggest my confusion or uncertainty. Unless of course the evidence were to change dramatically.

              Anyway back to the confused Theist issue. To go from Theist to Atheist and back to Theist again shows mass confusion. A true Atheist could never return to Theism without a monumental shift in the evidence. What was the monumental shift in evidence that took you back to theism? What was it that caused you to think you were an Atheist? Were you angry at your god(s). A true atheist could never revert back to Theism. A true Atheist knows there are no gods. Knows that the bible and all other religious books were written by man (not gods). Knows the supernatural doesn’t exist and couldn’t exist in a natural universe. Knows that people are conditioned from birth to be pawns/puppets in whatever faith based religious cult they are indoctrinated into. So no, you were never an Atheist.

  6. Jeff Mwangi says:

    Then I guess distinguished professors like Francis Collins and Anthony Flew who were atheists came to believe in God not because of evidence but because they were never theists in the first place. While Professor Flew became a deist and Dr. Collins became a theist, the evidence suggest that they came to believe in creator God due to evidence.

    Once again, your trying to look rational but your not. You are committing the no true Scotsman fallacy. Here’s an example of the fallacy.
    Person A: “No Scotsman puts sugar on his porridge.”
    Person B: “But my uncle Angus is a Scotsman and he puts sugar on his porridge.”
    Person A: “But no true Scotsman puts sugar on his porridge.”

    According to your argument, this is how you may phrase it.
    Person A: ” A true atheist could never revert back to Theism. A true Atheist knows there are no gods. Knows that the bible and all other religious books were written by man (not gods).”
    Person B: “But my uncle Angus was an atheist and now he’s a theist.”
    Person A: “But no true atheist could never revert back to Theism.”

    Once again, you ignore the fact that these distinguished men looked at evidence and simply followed the evidence to where it belongs not just in science but in the fields of philosophy, history and theology. Your suggestion that no true atheist would claim that belief in atheism cannot be lost is thus preserved from refutation.

    • Terry says:

      Are you suggesting I am not a true atheist? Do you think all atheists are true or valid atheists? How about an atheist who is mad at his god? Or the atheist that is rebelling against the church? Or even the person who was raised an atheist and like most theists simply accepts it because that is what they are told? Are these true atheists? you apparently do not distinguish a true atheist from an atheist. Your Scotsman fallacy fails here.

      Did Francis Collins and Anthony Flew have any evidence for any gods or the supernatural? If so I would love to see it. You do know that “he said/she said” is not evidence, right?

      Do we require evidence to know the FSM doesn’t exist? Of course not. FSM = God The evidence is equal for both of these man made fantasies.

      • Jeff Mwangi says:

        They are many definitions of atheist. For example agnostic atheist. Again, whether an atheist is mad at his God or whatever, as long as he’s worldview reads that belief in God is non existent then I believe he can be defined as an atheist.

        If you want evidence, then there’s plenty of articles here in this website that show that everything didn’t come from nothing. It’s the reason I didn’t bother pointing out evidence because Scott has already taken care of that.

        Also, no the true Scotsman fallacy doesn’t fail. Your belief that no true atheist cant revert to theism proves you committed the no true Scotsman fallacy. Also, I believe you’ve committed the straw man fallacy. You write “Or even the person who was raised an atheist and like most theists simply accepts it because that is what they are told?”. You are insulating yourself from counter arguments. Ironically, this is coming from someone who says they need evidence. No where in this site did Scott say that theists just believe. This is your own argument or assumption for that matter.

        • terry says:

          Ahh, belief. I very misunderstood word.

          I am familiar with “The Case Against God” by George H. Smith. In it he claims that you can be an agnostic atheist. His claim is that gnostic/agnostic is about knowledge and theist/atheist is about belief. The masses seem to have taken this as gospel. I disagree. There is one small problem with this, “Belief” means you don’t know the truth of something but you are willing to accept one option over another. Belief and truth are mutually exclusive. If you know the truth of something, belief is no longer a factor. Do theists believe there is a god or do they know there is a god. Do atheists believe there is no god or do they know there is no god. Those who claim they believe there is or is not a god don’t know the truth. They are simply choosing one option over another.

          I am a true Atheist. I don’t believe there is no god I know there is no god. For all the same exact reasons I know there is no Flying Spaghetti Monster. People who belief there is no god as apparently you did are subject to falling prey to the lure of theism and easily change their beliefs. As easily as changing their socks. These are not atheists. These are confused theists.

          There are three theological positions. Theist, Atheist and Agnostic. The Theist believes there is a god, The Atheist knows god doesn’t exist and the Agnostic isn’t sure. When Huxley coined the term Agnostic it was because he wasn’t sure. He took it one step farther and claimed that he didn’t think it could not be known. I disagree with on that latter claim.

          “The one thing in which most of these good people were agreed was the one thing in which I differed from them. They were quite sure they had attained a certain gnosis — had, more or less successfully, solved the problem of existence; while I was quite sure I had not, and had a pretty strong conviction that the problem was insoluble.” —Thomas Henry Huxley

          You never did tell me why you claimed to be an atheist. Where you mad at your god because he let you pet goldfish die? For the record, I am not a Scotsman or a True Scotsman.

  7. terry says:

    jeff
    “It’s the reason I didn’t bother pointing out evidence because Scott has already taken care of that”

    Where? I don’s see any. Just more opinions. Please do point me to the evidence.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *