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I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist, Part 2

So, we're going to take a new approach to this book.  While looking into things about the Anthropic Principle, I discovered this blog, written by an atheist who seems to be an intelligent sort of person, at least on the surface.  This person, whose pseudonym is "The Professor," is going through the book chapter by chapter, tearing the arguments of poor Geisler and Turek limb from limb.

Or is he? (As a disclaimer, I have no idea regarding this person's gender, so the generic "he" will have to suffice until that time when I discover otherwise, if any.  I can't believe I have to put that, but I've learned well the consequences of doing otherwise...)  I'd like to go through what posts he has made and see whether or not his argument is actually valid, or in fact the very atheistic fear of the truth that Geisler and Turek (henceforth G&T) predicted as a response to their book. 

To begin with, we have the argument linked above, a response to the very first pages of G&T in which Turek tells a story about his days in college, when he was still a seeker.  In a particular class on the Old Testament, his professor explicitly told the class to leave their religious biases at home as they would be evaluating it as objectively as possible.  However, part of the way through the semester, one student protested that the professor was not being objective, but rather too skeptical (much like many of mine have been, I would imagine), as he was teaching that much of the OT was false.  At the end of the semester, Turek went to the professor and asked if there was a God, and the professor replied, "I don't know."  Turek was frustrated with this reply, as the professor had spent the entire semester confidently pointing out all the problems and flaws he perceived in the Old Testament.

Our blogging "Professor" identifies two purposes to this anecdote. The first is ostensibly to show that "'all them edjeekated college folks don’t know nuthin’ worth knowin’.'" He continues, "A lot of Christians seem naturally prejudiced against scholars and other highly-educated people, and the opening anecdote plays straight to that prejudice." The implication to this argument is, of course, that Christians are not highly-educated, nor are they scholars, and as such have a sort of sour-grapes attitude toward them.

This I find highly ironic.  Many Christians, myself included, recognize some of the flaws and biases which have invaded our educational system - but not all those who feel this way are Christian (just look at Indoctrinate-U).  And not all who feel this way are "naturally prejudiced against scholars and other highly-educated people" - in fact, many of us ARE "scholars and other highly-educated people."  I certainly would not be at CSU if I had such a problem with scholars or highly-educated people.  My father would not have a DVM if he had a problem with scholars or highly-educated people.  My mother would not be going back to school to get a master's degree right now if she had a problem with scholars or highly-educated people.  Andrew Davies would not be going back to school next semester in Chicago if he had a problem with scholars or highly-educated people (and he's not exactly conservative, either).  In fact, you can take anybody at the Source, CRU, Navs, The Rock, or any of the other campus ministries out there for an example.  This includes the authors.  Geisler holds a Ph.D. in philosophy (albeit from a Jesuit-established, Catholic university; however, the Jesuits have always been well-known for their dedication to learning and education) and is the president of Southern Evangelical Seminary (which, by the way, is one of the seminaries to which I was initially really attracted, and although people have tried to talk me out of it as it's newer and less-established, this makes me reconsider my decision not to apply there).  Turek has two master's degrees, one from George Washington University (a secular institution), and at the time he wrote this book, was pursuing his doctorate at Southern Evangelical (he has since completed the program).  We certainly don't have a problem with "edjeekated college folks," or even educated college folks, for that matter.

Furthermore, the story is meant to illustrate that, for all his bluster and big talk, this professor didn't actually KNOW whether or not God existed, and therefore whether or not the Old Testament was really factual.  It was his unfounded skepticism with which Turek took issue, not his educated (or educational) status as such.

The other implication that The Professor finds in this anecdote is that
Gosh, if these highly intelligent and highly educated guys can’t figure it out by studying the real world, what chance do the rest of us have? The real world is a complicated and scary place. It’s to difficult for mere mortals to understand by reason alone. We have to turn to superstition for answers! There’s no alternative. Scholars and scientists try their best, and they still fail! It can’t be done. We need to invoke religion to tell us the real truth. Otherwise, we’ll never be able to make sense of it all.
Laying aside the snarkiness of the whole post (which I can't fault, having been rather snarky myself, at times), that's exactly NOT what Turek is saying.  The entire premise - of the WHOLE BOOK - is to show that, by studying the real world, one comes to the rational conclusion that God does, in fact, exist.  By reason alone.  Imagine that.  The first 8 chapters don't even mention the Bible as a "proof" of ANY of the conclusions reached, and the first 6 chapters involve nothing but the rules of logic and the discoveries of scientists - both atheists and theists, but nothing that is not accepted by most of the scientific community.  The difference is, G&T interpret these discoveries, through objective logic, and follow the evidence where it leads: to God. 


It is an all-too-common fallacy to presuppose the nonexistence of God and miracles, call it all "superstition" and interpret the evidence from there.  However, it is a fallacy.  To be truly, honestly objective requires admitting the possibility of God until that possibility can be ruled out.  And we have yet to find ANYTHING that rules out the possibility of God.  If we are going to cite lack of tangible evidence, as many atheists do, we must also rule out the existence gravity, electromagnetism, and the strong and weak nuclear forces (by the way, those are the four fundamental forces which dictate the way our universe operates, according to the current physics theories).  Those, like God, are not directly observable - we can only observe their effects, direct or indirect, and infer from that the forces behind them.  To a truly objective mind, the scientific evidence laid out in this book points pretty clearly to God.

But, sadly, "[t]he natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned." (1 Cor. 2:14, ESV)  So, no matter how clear the evidence is, there will always be some who cannot see it - and there is nothing that we can do to change that.  Only God can grant a person the spiritual discernment to see the truth before his eyes.

-Jaya-

P.S.  As a semi-related side note, since I don't want to forget to mention this, later on The Professor will object to one of G&T's arguments because they mention that the argument is intuitive to anyone who looks at the universe (it's the Anthropic Principle they are discussing).  I can empathize with their assertion - anyone who knows me knows my delight in space, galaxies, the universe... I find it very difficult to argue using the Anthropic Principle simply because I get so wrapped up in wonder and delight at the clear, obvious, amazing, gorgeous, beautiful design of it all that I tend to wax poetic and forget about the logical part.  That doesn't make the argument from the Anthropic Principle less valid, but it does make it harder for me to stay on topic when discussing it! :)
-J-

Comments

(Anonymous)

Just wanted to say

Thank you

Re: Just wanted to say

You're welcome! Glad you enjoyed it - I need to get back into doing these because it was a good exercise to work on these arguments. :)
-Jaya-

(Anonymous)

well done

thats it, dude

Re: well done

Thank you!

(Anonymous)

thanks much

omg.. good work, man