One of the things I like to do on this blog, is pick apart articles written by apologists, claiming to have evidence for their beliefs or who claim to have questions designed to show atheists like me where we’re wrong or how atheism is somehow an erroneous position. Usually, these articles are just a rehash of claims that have been repeated ad nauseam with little new to offer. This post is in response to an article entitled “5 things atheists can’t prove” on the Inspired Walk website. As expected, it is the same kind of sad affair.
Right of the bat, the author(?) gets it all wrong. Claiming that “atheism requires faith” and “atheists can’t admit their self-deception that atheism is a faith or belief system”, he or she is already completely mistaken. Atheism is a faith in the same way that bald is a hair colour.
Perhaps an example will clear this up once and for all but I’m not holding my breath. Suppose I go to my neighbour and tell him that I’m Batman. Most likely, my neighbour is going to say something like “I don’t believe you.” That reply, that is what atheism is, nothing more.
If you’re going to say that God is real, my answer will be that: “I don’t believe you”. Not believing something does not need faith. Is that finally clear?
I’m afraid not.
Let’s dive into these things that will leave all atheists stumped, out of words and clutching for the nearest Bible, shall we?
1. Atheists cannot prove there is no god
Absolutely correct. It is however, completely useless as a refutation of atheism (or anything else). Nothing can be proven to not exist since it is impossible to find evidence of non-existence. It is equally impossible to prove there are no fairies, Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny or Russell’s teapot. This is a weak attempt to shift the burden of proof. It is not the atheist who needs to disprove God, it’s on the theist to come up with proof for God.
Thing 1: dismissed.
2. Atheists cannot prove that non-life can create life
No, atheists can’t do that. It’s true that science hasn’t worked out exactly how life got started though there are working models and very promising lab results. That doesn’t matter though because theists don’t even have that. All they have is their claim that “God did it”. That is not an explanation at all, it’s simply pretending that a statement such as that is the answer. Like all faith, it’s pretending to know what you can’t know. This is basically the old and tired “God of the gaps” argument, where God is carted in when science doesn’t have a definitive answer. As Neil deGrasse Tyson puts it so well: “If that’s how you want to invoke your evidence for god, then god is an ever-receding pocket of scientific ignorance.“
Thing 2: dismissed
3. Atheists cannot prove that evolution is occurring in the present, that it occurred in the past and that it will occur in the future
A wrong statement. Evolution is an accepted scientific theory and a scientific fact but some theists don’t want to understand that, it seems. Theists love to attack evolution though they seem not to understand that even if they were to succeed in completely destroying evolution as a theory, they would still be no where nearer to getting their “God did it” claim scientifically accepted.
That aside, atheism and evolution have nothing in common. It’s true that most atheists accept evolution because they tend to value reason, logic and evidence but this is by no means a given.
Thing 3: dismissed
4. Atheists cannot prove what will happen when we die
Actually, this sounds more like a job for someone with a medical degree. The process of what happens when we die, is fairly well understood. The body begins to shut down, organs fail due to lack of oxygen and nutrients and eventually all brain activity ceases. We’re dead. It’s what happens after we die where things become interesting, or not. No one has any proof of what happens after we die. No, the Bible doesn’t count as proof. This is simply an argument from ignorance.
Thing 4: dismissed
5. Atheists cannot prove that they know about all things spiritual
Another attempt to shift the burden of proof. Not believing in a god or gods does not require someone to know about “all things spiritual”. All it takes is for someone to say “I don’t think there is sufficient evidence to support belief in a god”. The same person may in the next sentence go on to profess a belief in reincarnation, astral projection or the effectiveness of dowsing rods.
What the author forgets is that all of us are atheists about most gods. How can he or she dismiss Thor without knowing about “all things spiritual”? Again, the burden of proof is on you to prove that your God is the one, the real deal. Atheists are simply saying that we don’t believe you.
Thing 5: dismissed
As expected, this article about 5 things atheists can’t prove is another one of those easily picked apart pieces of apologists’ drivel. I find it hard to imagine how such people convince themselves they have produced something resembling an argument or are “equipping” Christians to talk to atheists. Most atheists I know are simply going to roll their eyes at this and point the Christian to the nearest public library or the Internet. Tip: if your piece of apology quotes scripture, prepare not to be taken seriously.