The Faithful do themselves a disservice whenever they try to logically and rationally support their beliefs. Even though they’ve had thousands of years to find evidence to support their extraordinary claims, they’ve failed, so instead they develop premises, arguments and even wagers to hang on to their beliefs, and more importantly, to hang on to the flock of believers they need to continue to be relevant.
The latest spokesman for the Faithful is Dr. Ben Carson who is among the top contenders for the GOP nomination for President of the United States. Because he is a doctor, and a respected one at that, the logical fallacy of appealing to authority gives him false credibility when he speaks on issues outside his area of expertise. I’d also like to add that there are no authorities when it comes to the Faith of which Dr. Carson speaks because the entire basis for it comes from personal revelation. The only person who can speak on what was revealed to them is that person, and the poor sap has no way of knowing if what was revealed to him was true, a hallucination, or even a trick by a wicked jokester from beyond. But I digress…
Dr. Carson’s arguments for why his chosen faith is true are as old as the faith itself, and have been debunked for just as long. For example, Carson doesn’t accept the Big Bang Theory and here’s why:
“You have all these highfalutin scientists, and they’re saying that there was this gigantic explosion and everything came into perfect order. Now, these are the same scientists who go around touting the second law of thermodynamics, which is entropy, which says that things move toward a state of disorganization. So, now you’re going to have this big explosion, and everything becomes perfectly organized. When you ask them about it, they say, “Well we can explain this based on probability theory, because if there’s enough big explosions, over a long enough period of time, billions and billions of years, one of them will be the perfect explosion”…. What you’re telling me is, if I blow a hurricane through a junkyard enough times, over billions and billions of years, eventually, after one of those hurricanes, there will be a 747 fully loaded and ready to fly.”
Now if you’ll notice, there’s nothing in Carson’s statement that provides evidence that the Israeli Tribal God created the Universe from the sheer power of his imagination. Instead what he does, is use an argument commonly called the Argument from Improbability. The argument basically states that since something seems improbable, it can’t be true. There are multiple reasons why this argument fails because it’s intellectually dishonest. It leaves out all the critical knowledge attained by the painstaking work of mankind, ignores all the evidence that points directly to the Big Bang as the best explanation for the early Universe, and comes to the ridiculous conclusion that since something seems improbable to our mammalian brain, the only other explanation is Yahweh.
Also implied in Carson’s argument from improbability is another common argument for the existence of a god and that’s the Argument from Design. Because something in the natural world seems to be perfectly adapted to its environment, or because as Dr. Carson said, the Solar System is so orderly that we can predict when a comet will pass 70 years into the future, it all must have been designed. This argument is most easily refuted by just taking it to its logical conclusion. If something seems so perfect in its existence that it simply must have been designed, then the same argument applies to the designer themselves. If the Solar System seems too perfect to have just come about without a designer, then the designer is clearly too perfect to have just come about without a designer. Who designed the designer? The Faithful get around this obvious problem by simply making a statement: The Designer has always existed. Well that’s very convenient, but as always, the Faithful provide no evidence for this claim. They just make it. I can just as easily state that the Universe has always existed, in one form or another, and I’d argue that since there is evidence that the Universe actually exists I am much more likely to be correct in my claim than anyone who claims that the Designer has always existed, since we don’t have any evidence that the Designer exists at all.
As I wrote about in my book, the theory of evolution is one which the Faithful attack mercilessly because it destroys their worldview of not only a creation of all life by their chosen god, but because it removes the special place in the Universe the creator gave mankind, according to the books mankind themselves wrote. I could make a pretty decent argument that modern humans are pretty special when it comes to life on Earth, even if we are only half a chromosome or so from a Bonobo chimp, but let’s stay on topic. Dr. Carson has made a particular claim about evolution:
“I personally believe that this theory that Darwin came up with was something that was encouraged by the adversary, and it has become what is scientifically, politically correct.”
The statement stands on its own lack of merits and doesn’t require debunking. Anyone can personally believe whatever they want: it doesn’t make it true. I can personally believe that Ben Carson was sent here by the adversary to make us all more gullible, but my belief is just as stupid as Carson’s. Well, actually Carson’s is still more stupid because there’s overwhelming evidence that Darwin’s theory is actually true and there’s no evidence that Carson’s not an imp of Satan.
But Carson didn’t stop with his one nonsensical statement about an immortal evil deity whispering in the ear of Charles Darwin. His position is that he just doesn’t have enough faith to believe in it:
“I don’t believe in evolution… I simply don’t have enough faith to believe that something as complex as our ability to rationalize, think, and plan, and have a moral sense of what’s right and wrong, just appeared.”
If you’ll notice, this is basically another melding of the same two old arguments for the existence of gods: Argument from Improbability and the Argument from Design (something as complex as us couldn’t just appear). But there’s also a patronizing and condescending attempt to bring those who look at evidence and draw logical conclusions from it down to his own level: suggesting it takes faith to accept evolution. If you just think about this for a moment or so, you’ll realize the folly of that position. Evolution or any other scientific theory can be disproven. That’s actually a part of the process. Something doesn’t rise to the level of a scientific theory unless the evidence for it is overwhelming, and that it hasn’t been disproven. If scientists can disprove a hypothesis by showing evidence that it’s incorrect, they will. Not only can Dr. Carson’s belief not be disproven because he just believes it, it can’t be proven in the first place. So on the face of it the two positions clearly cannot be equal. It is clearly not the same to just believe something because you want to, and to draw logical conclusions from a study of the evidence. His statement is not only absurd, but it’s misleading in its attempts to take the credulous down a false road. He should be ashamed of himself.
The religious need to stick with believing their chosen doctrines based on faith, rather than trying to make arguments for why believing what they do is logical or rational, or worse, making these arguments to try to indicate that people who don’t believe are wrong. They embarrass themselves with every attempt. There’s a reason it’s called faith and if the faithful just remember that, they won’t step into the illogical minefield and blow their credibility as thinking people sky-high. If you need further convincing that these ancient premises and arguments for the existence of gods fail to make a compelling case, I’ll give you one:
Even if we grant Dr. Carson and those who think like him that their arguments are valid; even if we agree and say “Yes, the best possible explanation for the existence of Life, the Universe and Everything is a Creator being,” that statement would be true of any Creator being. Dr. Carson could be making the claim that Zeus is the Creator of all things seen and unseen. Even if the observable Universe is not best explained by the Big Bang, but instead is best explained by specific creation by a god, that doesn’t mean Jesus died for our sins. It could mean that Ra, the Sun God from ancient Egyptian civilizations is the Creator. Or worse, that The Adversary is the Creator. For more on that, I direct you to my Evil Deity hypothesis.
Allow me to close with a shameless plug for my book; The Biblical God Doesn’t Exist. I do more than just debunk old arguments for the existence of God and make my own arguments for why He doesn’t exist: I provide evidence that He doesn’t exist. If you’ve purchased and read my book, I thank you and hope it has helped you in some way. If you haven’t, give me the opportunity to show you that belief in that particular God is misplaced and you can discard it, breathe easier and be a happier person, and not allow the Faithful to sway you with their duplicitous attempts at sounding reasonable.