Low-hanging fruit

I have a few points to make about this post. The basic allegation of the post is that Christianity is not intellectually defensible.

1. Well, to pick on people like Ray Comfort and Ken Ham is picking on low-hanging fruit. They don’t represent the cream of the crop in terms of the best “logical defense of Christianity”. They’re not intellectuals. I, as a Christian, don’t find their arguments compelling either.

2. Jason Lisle (PhD, astrophysics, University of Colorado-Boulder) and Georgia Purdom (PhD, molecular genetics, Ohio State University) are a cut above. You allege Lisle “has not published one paper” and that “they hide in creationist magazines”. I’m not a young Earth creationist. However, it’s easy enough to look up that both Lisle and Purdom have published in peer-reviewed scientific journals. For example, Lisle has published in the Astrophysics Journal (here) and Solar Physics (here), while Purdom has published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research (here), the Journal of Leukocyte Biology (here), and the Journal of Chromatography A (here), among others. Again, this isn’t to suggest I necessarily agree with Lisle’s or Purdom’s arguments, but I’m just responding to your indication that they lack publications in peer-reviewed scientific journals. (Just don’t move the goalposts and suggest they haven’t published in prestigious peer-reviewed scientific journals like Nature or Science. However, if you do, it’s worth noting most secular scientists haven’t either.)

3. I myself am in a scientific discipline and have a scientific degree. I have published scientific research. I’m currently at a reputable academic institution. Moreover, I’ve met many intelligent Christians in scientific and other fields who have degrees from and who have worked at prestigious academic institutions too. I don’t say any of this for my own sake, let alone to brag. I don’t really think degrees and titles and names and so on are worth bragging about, though atheists often do, as if science is the be-all and end-all of scholarship or even knowledge in general (scientism). Rather, I say this to point out that even in my small or limited experience I’m aware of many intelligent Christians who can make a “logical defense of Christianity”. For instance, take Neil Shenvi (PhD, theoretical chemistry, UC Berkeley).

4. Far removed from the confines of my small circles or spheres of influence, it’s still quite evident the “logical defense of Christianity” is very much alive and well. See the booklet of interviews with intelligent and intellectual Christians called Love the Lord with Heart and Mind for a start.

5. Scientists aren’t the only scholars who have made a “logical defense of Christianity”. There are many other scholars who would be relevantly or appropriately involved in a “logical defense of Christianity”. Such as historians, linguists, textual critics, theologians, philosophers. In fact, if you want “logical”, the experts in logic tend to be philosophers and mathematicians since philosophy and mathematics involve logic at their very hearts. Personally, I’d prefer to say a “reasonable” defense of Christianity rather than a “logical” defense of Christianity, but I’m just employing your terminology for the express purpose of your post.

6. I realize there’s some irony in my replying to clubschadenfreude, because clubschadenfreude represents the yokel or fundamentalist wing of atheism, not the more intellectually sophisticated wing of atheism. Nevertheless I thought I’d address her allegation that Christianity isn’t intellectually defensible because it has some popular appeal in a secular society like the United States and it’s worth addressing popular notions from time to time.

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25 thoughts on “Low-hanging fruit

  1. hmmm, just as I suspected, dude uses the “sophisticated theology” claim. It’s always great fun to see Christians like dude insisting that their fellows are wrong and ae “low hanging fruit’ and aren’t the “cream of the crop”.

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    • hmmm, just as I suspected, dude uses the “sophisticated theology” claim. It’s always great fun to see Christians like dude insisting that their fellows are wrong and ae “low hanging fruit’ and aren’t the “cream of the crop”.

      1. Nah, all I’m saying is, if you want to criticize Ray Comfort and Ken Ham’s arguments for Christianity, then I would agree, though I’m a Christian too. I mean, I don’t think anyone took the banana argument seriously – least of all Christians like me! It was silly. Anyway, while Ray Comfort and Ken Ham may be sincere Christians, while they may be far more moral people than I am, nevertheless, they don’t have very good arguments for Christianity.

      2. There are intelligent and intellectual arguments in “defense of Christianity” that are far better than Ray Comfort and Ken Ham’s arguments. For example, see this post titled “Evidence for God“.

      3. As for you, I’d recommend you stop listening to and following other village atheists. Escape your village atheism for the big city where there are big ideas! Get out of your little provincial echo chamber: all the arguments get boring after a while because they all sound the same and they’ve all been effectively dealt with…by your fellow atheists! You should use better arguments for atheism. More intelligent arguments. Otherwise, as you might put it, you wouldn’t have a very good “logical defense of atheism”. Otherwise, you’re just the atheist version of Ray Comfort and Ken Ham. Otherwise, you’re Ray Comfort and Ken Ham’s goatee-sporting mirror image in a Star Trek mirror universe.

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    • Ah, still failing at basic reading comprehension? 🙂

      Anyway, I never said anyone has to agree with me let alone agree with me to be intelligent.

      In fact, I even pointed out that there are intelligent atheists (e.g. “the more intellectually sophisticated wing of atheism”). Obviously atheists don’t agree with me on atheism vs. theism!

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    • 1. Regardless of how you wish to re-frame the debate, the fact is there are better and worse arguments for atheism. And there are more intelligent and less intelligent atheists.

      2. That said, I likewise said the same applies to Christians and arguments for theism. That’s why I’m not guilty of the “sophisticated theology” charge. After all, it wouldn’t make sense to apply the charge to everyone, to hold everyone to the same standard, if my true agenda is to discredit atheists alone.

      3. To cut to the chase, it’d be best to focus on the arguments themselves. Take Richard Dawkins’ Boeing 747 argument. That’s an intellectually deficient argument. It’s been criticized by many others (and, no, not all are Christians). Just Google.

      4. I notice you have a bad habit of using labels to do the hard work of making an argument. Nothing wrong with labels per se, but if a person constantly substitutes labels for reasoned argumentation, then it reflects (one might say) an “unsophisticated” mind. 🙂

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    • “To cut to the chase, it’d be best to focus on the arguments themselves. Take Richard Dawkins’ Boeing 747 argument. That’s an intellectually deficient argument. It’s been criticized by many others (and, no, not all are Christians). Just Google.”

      nope, not many at all. But keep lying.

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    • nope, not many at all. But keep lying.

      1. Actually, it only takes a single good argument to refute a bad argument. “Many” aren’t need, just one – one good one.

      2. However, Dawkins’ 747 argument had many critics. For example, take the atheist H. Allen Orr. Orr is a professor of biology at the University of Rochester. In fact, Orr co-authored the book Speciation with Jerry Coyne, who was also one of Orr’s advisors. In any case, Orr wrote a scathing and highly critical book review of Dawkins’ The God Delusion in which Orr likewise criticized Dawkins’ 747 argument. Orr is just one example. Again, Dawkins’ argument had many critics. Just Google.

      3. So far your comments here (and elsewhere on my weblog) haven’t exactly made you seem like very reasonable or sophisticated thinker, to put it mildly! 🙂

      Short of this, keep lying to yourself, I guess! It doesn’t bother me, though it does hurt you and your brand of atheism.

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    • gee, one whole person you can cite. and now you back off your former claim. How not surprising at all. Do you understand what the term “many” means? And hilarious to see you trying an appeal to authority with that one.

      do you really think your opinion matters, “dude”? again, all you define “reason” and “sophistication” by is if someone agrees with you.

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    • gee, one whole person you can cite. and now you back off your former claim. How not surprising at all. Do you understand what the term “many” means? And hilarious to see you trying an appeal to authority with that one.

      1. To paraphrase a great authority (at least in fencing and swordplay): you keep using words, but I do not think they mean what you think they mean! 🙂

      2. I never made an appeal to authority in my response to you. Since my point was that there are many people including atheists who criticize Dawkins’ 747 argument, I cited an atheist. That’s logical. That’s not an appeal to authority.

      3. A fallacious appeal to authority would be if I said: atheism is true because Prof. Dawkins said so.

      4. As far as Dawkins’ 747 argument, his argument against God, as I’ve already mentioned to you, just Google and you’ll find tons of criticisms.

      However, since you’re evidently too lazy to do that, here’s a few:

      Moshe Averick
      Jordan Cooper
      William Lane Craig
      Richard Deem
      Steve Hays
      Ernie Laskaris
      John Lennox
      Alister McGrath
      Ben Mines
      Tim O’Neill
      H. Allen Orr
      Nick Peters
      Alvin Plantinga
      Richard Swinburne
      VJ Torley
      Bill Vallicella

      do you really think your opinion matters, “dude”?

      Since you keep coming back and making comments directed at me or asking me questions, I guess my opinion matters to you! 🙂

      again, all you define “reason” and “sophistication” by is if someone agrees with you.

      1. I don’t think you’re unreasonable and unsophisticated because you disagree with me. I think you’re unreasonable and unsophisticated because you continue to make one poor “argument” after another after another after another ad nauseam…and in the face of many honest attempts to reason with you.

      2. By the way, that’s being fairly generous because you don’t make many “arguments”, but you do make many “assertions”! (If you’re not sure what “many” means, I’d recommend checking a dictionary like the Merriam-Webster dictionary here.) 🙂

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    • and more false claims from “dude”. that’s quite a pile of Christians who want to pretend their god is ever so special but then have to claim that it is such a simple thing to exist. And you still have no idea of the definition of “many”.

      Your opinions are lies. I am quite happy to keep you making lies to demonstrate just how Christianity fails. I love to see you lie repeatedly to show that you have no more belief in your god and your bible than I do. You seem to confuse ridicule and entertainment with being concerned with your opinion.

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    • and more false claims from “dude”. that’s quite a pile of Christians who want to pretend their god is ever so special but then have to claim that it is such a simple thing to exist. And you still have no idea of the definition of “many”.
      Your opinions are lies. I am quite happy to keep you making lies to demonstrate just how Christianity fails. I love to see you lie repeatedly to show that you have no more belief in your god and your bible than I do. You seem to confuse ridicule and entertainment with being concerned with your opinion.

      1. I’m quite content to let the record show clubschadenfreude has no counter-arguments in response to what I’ve said. It’s just a lot of emoting, a lot of huffing and puffing. By contrast, I’ve provided her reasonable responses to her statements time and time again.

      2. I’m also quite content to let the record show clubschadenfreude keeps lying about me lying – which, of course, makes her a liar. Not to mention she continues to argue in bad faith. In short, it’s such a shame clubschadenfreude behaves so unethically. On the plus side: Heb 9:27.

      3. This is consistent with clubschadenfreude’s atheism inasmuch as clubschadenfreude has said she believes morality is ultimately subjective, meaning is ultimately subjective, etc. Hence an atheist like her behaving unethically isn’t a surprise given her atheistic subjective “morality”. As Dostoevsky is said to have said: if God does not exist, then anything is permitted. Evidently, it would appear, clubschadenfreude heartily agrees based on her unethical behavior.

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    • alas, reality again nips a TrueChristian(tm) in the tuchus. Oh well. And wonderful to see you again try to claim you have an objective morality, “dude”. It’s a shame that you don’t.

      This was bouncing around in my head while I couldn’t sleep last night.
      The claim that atheists *must* be nihilists or aren’t being atheists “correctly” – this fails since “dude”, and WLC (William Lane Craig, a very inept conservative Christian apologist and philosopher), have yet to show that subjective morality or meaning in life is somehow not as good as claims of “objective” morality. It also fails since Christianity has no objective morality either. The idea of good and bad is not separate from their god, which it should be to be objective. They only have might equals right.
      The claim that Jesus Christ must be historical – There is no evidence for magic/supernatural/divine events or beings. WLC fails hilariously at this when his entire basis for his claims is that an empty tomb existed. He can’t show that the tomb exists nor that it was ever magically empty. The possible itinerant deluded rabbi is not the being that Christians claim to worship. “dude” and conservative Christians are so desperate for any evidence that their magic friend exists, “dude” et al accept claims that do a fair job in showing that their magic being never existed at all. Something else entirely did, like every other supposed magic event in the bible.
      The claim that complex things must have creators but that this god doesn’t need a creator – this one is great since it’s again nothing more than special pleading. “dude” and his fellow believers have to claim that this god is intelligent, can affect this world, has to exist outside this world, cares about each and every believer, controls the universe in detail, but somehow this being is “simple” to fit the definition conservative christians invented in their need to have a job for their god (Plantinga’s argument that God is simple because his god has no “parts” and is a ghost is one of the most ridiculous). This is why Dawkin’s ultimate 747 works; it shows the utter contradiction in what theists claim. This is where claims that Dawkins and other atheists don’t study the “sophisticated theology” correctly fail so well. Those claims are nothing more than the desperate moving of goalposts by Christians who fancy themselves more intelligent and intellectual than their fellow Christians and anyone who doesn’t agree with them.
      The claim that philosophy, aka a baseless opinion usually started as “what if people were like this, then “x” should be true”, reflects reality – This is a belief that a lot of freshmen in college fall into when they find someone who agrees with them and they seem to be an authority figure. Occasionally a philosophy does get something right. However, how many philosophies have died because reality doesn’t reflect them? Most, and new ones keep being invented, like that anti-natalist nonsense. And what evidence do the philosophers have that their claims are true, for instance WLC’s philosophy about atheists must be nihilists? Very little if any at all; but they sure hope that people will agree with them and give them the external validation they crave. There are atheists who are nihilists but there is nothing to show that atheism causes nihilism or requires nihilism.
      Indeed, my very existence and the existence of happy atheists all over the world, shows that these Christians’ philosophical navel gazing is simply wrong. It seems that since many theists try to claim that anything that can be imagined has to exist e.g. the ontological argument that if their version of a creator god can be imagined it must exist, that they believe that their thoughts *all* have to be true. That they don’t seem to understand that human can imagine many things that are not real is rather bizarre version of solipsism aka anything I can think of is real and everyone else has to be wrong.
      In the end, all theists like “dude” has is that he wants to believe something. He’ll accept anything he thinks supports the idea that he has the secret to how the universe works, and he is best friends with its creator.

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    • 1. Anyone detect any argument or counter-argument above? For example, anyone see a counter-argument against one or more of the premises in Alvin Plantinga’s criticisms of Richard Dawkins’ ultimate Boeing 747 gambit? Or anyone notice a counter-argument against the premises in William Lane Craig’s argument that atheism entails, implies, or is consistent with nihilism? That’s because (surprise, surprise) there are no arguments or counter-arguments above! 🙂

      2. Rather, it’s just another long-winded and highly opinionated rant or diatribe from clubschadenfreude. It’s nice she provides lots of her opinions, but too bad she doesn’t provide any arguments against either Plantinga or Craig. To say nothing of the many other critics I’ve previously cited. That includes clubschadenfreude’s fellow atheists who criticize Dawkins’ ultimate 747 gambit as well as who argue that atheism can entail, imply, or be consistent with nihilism. As can be seen in their arguments, these atheists are far more “logical” (to use clubschadenfreude’s own terminology) than clubschadenfreude is.

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    • 1. Well, I’d be more than happy to attempt to “rebut” your points, but you first have to provide an argument for your “points”. Not just go off on a long and opinionated rant without providing a single argument. For example, you have to demonstrate how Plantinga’s argument fails using some logic or evidence. Not just give your unargued but vociferously asserted opinion about its alleged failure. Any reasonable-minded person can see that’s the case with your earlier comment above.

      2. Otherwise you’re just preaching to the choir. The only people who will agree with you are those who already share your opinion on the topic. Sadly, there are a lot of people in our culture today who don’t care about good arguments. Rather, they only care about which side you’re on. If you’re on “our side”, then yay! If you’re on “their side”, then boo! That’s about as “logical” as it gets for them. And this is true among both the religious and the irreligious. Meanwhile, reason dies a thousand deaths.

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