The Unquestioners

anti-intellectualismIn getting back into a habit of posting, I thought I’d jump in on the recent buzz about the Dawkins/Krauss film “The Unbelievers”. Reporters seem to be throwing these men a lot of soft-balls over this, but I personally find it hard to believe that this will be good for their movement in the long run.

That is to say that nearly all of the energy in this movement is focused on promoting the stereotype that intelligent people who think for themselves are atheists, and thoughtless people are religious. While that makes for great PR, an actual study of the relevant issues tells a very different story.

In fact, while there are individuals who are trying very hard, atheists as a group are failing to keep up their end of the conversation Dawkins and Krauss say they want to have. The dismissal of philosophy, science, and even logic itself is fairly common at the moment, and I suspect that future atheists will have a great deal of damage control in trying to deal with the obvious responses this film (and the movement in general) sets itself up for.

Perhaps the most obvious is the fact that Dawkins and Krauss are so disinterested in questioning their own cherished assumptions. If one even asks the question, “Why think that science and scientists are the relevant experts on whether or not God exists?” their entire position begins to collapse. More destructive still would be a public that ventured to ask, “What is the evidence in support of your materialism?”.

Simply repeating the mantra that religious beliefs are false and encouraging the use of ridicule to “promote reason” does nothing to support the demonstrably false view promoted by these men. In fact, the group seems to be resorting to an anti-intellectual approach that will, if it continues, make it increasingly easy for people to dismiss what this group has to say.

As to a response to the film itself, I doubt I could do better than Craig.

16 responses to “The Unquestioners

  • Mark Hamilton

    Welcome back! I missed your posts.

  • paarsurrey

    Paarsurrey says:

    Quoting from the post:
    “If one even asks the question, “Why think that science and scientists are the relevant experts on whether or not God exists?” their entire position begins to collapse.”

    It is a valid question which the atheists should answer.

  • Anonymous

    It is prophetic. There are more unbelievers than believers. The bible states this clearly throughout. Relying upon my finite human mind in considering the existence of an all powerful infinite creator I come up with faith in science and I’d just wait to see what the “experts” come up with for a ‘ first cause’ of the universe, and pick which ’cause’ sounds best to my thinking mind.
    People can believe whatever they want. I don’t get the reason for debating. The truth is that, it really isn’t debate. It is trying to get others to believe as ‘you’ (plural form) do. Then it becomes sarcastic and mean spirited. I get why atheist believe believers must be stupid.
    John 6:44 Jesus states that no one can come to him unless God draws them to him. Jesus reiterates it again in John 6:65, prefacing it with; “That is why I said, no man can come to me unless God draws him to me.”
    This is my understanding, as the bible tells us not to lean upon our own understanding; as to why many people just don’t ‘get it’.
    They really don’t have a choice in the matter. Even many who do believe that there is a God and claim faith in Him, do not allow God to direct their step as the bible also states that it isn’t in man to be able to direct his own step.
    Clearly, science is what most people base their disbelieve in God on. The majority do not know that it is beyond their choice to believe.
    Don’t argue with unbelievers, Proverbs 4: 23; “Safe guard your heart.”(the atheist sees this as having a closed mind, not recognizing it is the unguarded figurative heart that can lead a believer into apostasy) Continual exposure can and will harden the heart. Stop pleasing the intellect. You can’t count on being ministered to and it blocks the holy spirit because it is self-will to be critical of others.
    Here are the scriptures to base my ideas on, so as to show I have not leaned upon my own understanding. Proverbs 3:5,6; “Trust in Jehovah with all your heart and do not lean upon your own understanding.In all your ways take notice of him, and he himself will make your paths straight. ”
    Jeremiah 10:23; ” I well know, O God, that to earthling man his way does not belong. It does not belong to man who is walking even to direct his step. ”
    And long before man new the earth was round, Isaiah had this to say in Isaiah 40: 22; “There is One who is dwelling above the circle of the earth”
    Isaiah was completed in 732 B.C.E.
    Luke 6:37,38; ” Moreover, stop judging, and ​YOU​ will by no means be judged; and stop condemning, and ​YOU​ will by no means be condemned. Keep on releasing, and ​YOU​ will be released. Practice giving, and people will give to ​YOU. They will pour into ​YOUR​ laps a fine measure, pressed down, shaken together and overflowing. For with the measure that ​YOU​ are measuring out, they will measure out to ​YOU​ in return.”
    I would question why it is not in a man’s mind to pray to see if their is a God. No one can change a made up mind except the ‘made up mind’. It is not what others EVER said to me that gave me pause to consider; it IS what I heard that caused me to consider new ideas and actions. Pain is the touchstone to ALL spiritual growth.

  • Arkenaten

    “Why think that science and scientists are the relevant experts on whether or not God exists?” their entire position begins to collapse.”

    What is the alternative? Christians?
    Oh, my goodness, god(sic) preserve us.

    An atheist will tell you straight there is no way to prove one way or another.
    But by merely positing a god…any god in the blank space is dishonest and disingenuous.

    As for the christian god, and basing such a silly assumption of a creator on biblical text one would have to be plainly psychotic.

    • Hank

      There is so much physical evidence to prove that the God of the bible doesn’t exist. The physical evidence is clear to me.
      I was 14 when a friend of mine posed the question; “If there is an edge, barrier or border, to the universe, than what is beyond that border ?
      I can think of no better reason to believe that space is infinite; at 50. Obviously I can’t prove that. I can’t prove it the way one can prove that the shortest distance between 2 points is a straight line. Only a measure of experience and thoughtfulness can prove it. If I told you I loved my mother, you may believe me, or you may not. If you spent time with me and my mother for a period of time, if you were intelligent and thoughtful, you would conclude I was either lying or stating a fact.
      I don’t know why some men find it unavoidable to argue the existence or non-existence of an intelligent creator. It’s as if what they believe is somehow threatened by another person’s belief being in complete contradiction to their own.
      I get being passionate about one’s philosophy of life. I get being passionate about God. I get being caught up in trying to convince someone they are wrong and I am right. It is human to be a dick sometimes.
      None of it comes from a place of concern for another. It is all self seeking. It is the actions taken when one has told them self a lie. People don’t get angry first, in arguing. First they have to be thinking something about what the other person said or did. It is usually a lie. Not many people are insightful when in comes to their own self, as they are able to see the incorrectness of others. It’s natural, and the reason why mentoring or guidance works well, when it works.
      Dishonesty is not the lie we tell others. It is the lie, or story we tell ourselves. We believe something that isn’t true to begin with. Otherwise, why would I take offense to what anyone else says?
      MOST people cannot or will not see it in themselves. People are afraid that they are not enough. Some people will argue over any view in opposition to their own.
      There root of the problem is that people place too much importance on how they are perceived by others. It’s ironic that the ones that say they care the least about what others think of them are the most afraid of not being seen as enough. People aren’t so afraid of dieing as they are nobody taking much interest in it.
      MOST people act like nothing around them has much influence on them. Most people believe that they are making their own decisions in life, free of the opinions and ideas of what other people think.
      There is no government on earth that can imprison a person more than fear can. People equate fear with feeling afraid. It is so tied up into the thinking of a person’s mind long before they recognize their own intellect. How many times have you heard it said ; ” I didn’t want you to think…..” or, ” I was afraid you would think….”
      They say it as if it were a rare occasion happening, or perfectly benign and really considerate part of their character. It just more trying to control what other people think about them.
      This really is just the tip of the iceberg. It IS in our capacity to be truly free. I used to think freedom meant me being able to do what I wanted. MOST people cannot become conscious of a God even if they do believe there is such an entity.
      I hope my words are useful to you, and that you do not take offense to them. That would suck. My life is dependent on my usefulness to others. No body need spend many years to understand the real mysteries that people spends thousand in tuition to come close to understanding.

      • Arkenaten

        This is a huge comment and I struggled to find the actual point. Forgive me, but i began to tune out after the first paragraph.
        I don;t relate well to heavy philosophy.

        ”There is so much physical evidence to prove that the God of the bible doesn’t exist. ”
        If you are saying you are an atheist and agree with my first comment,then good for you.

    • Debilis

      “What is the alternative? Christians?”
      Philosophers, actually.

      “An atheist will tell you straight there is no way to prove one way or another.”
      Nothing is certain, but that doesn’t mean that some ideas aren’t much more reasonable than others.

      As to the rest, no one is suggesting the things you’re arguing against.

      Otherwise, and in spite of the fact that we disagree on so much, I hope all is well with you.

      • Arkenaten

        ”Nothing is certain, but that doesn’t mean that some ideas aren’t much more reasonable than others.”

        Like evolution for instance. Much more reasonable than say….creation.

        That the resurrection is pure fiction. Very reasonable and a lot more reasonable than any miracle claim.
        As are Noah’s Ark, The Exodus, Garden Of Eden, Virgin Births, a Talking Donkey, Walking on water, laying on hands, other people coming back from the dead, etc ad nauseum.

        All of the above examples are unreasonable and implausible.

        To allow any credence to such nonsense requires unquestioning acceptance – delusion in other words.

    • Debilis

      This is a long series of non-sequiturs.

      If you have no reason at all to offer in support of either materialism or the idea that scientists are the people to seek for answers to philosophical questions, then my argument has gone unanswered.

      In fact, given the lack of response to the actual topic, I’d say that the evidence weighs strongly in favor of the theist here.

      Attacking distorted versions of Christianity does nothing to defend materialism from the myriad problems it faces: not the least of which is that there is no evidence for it.

      When that is settled, we’ll move on to the other topics you mention, and why they are not a threat at all to belief in God.

      • Arkenaten

        I refuse to approach theism from a philosophical POV, as this is the only way you are able to do so: your scripture is useless thus you resort to running down science.
        You have to justify your reason for believe in theism, I don;t.
        You believe in the big sky daddy, not me. This clearly demonstrates that believers are suffering under some sort of collective delusion.
        Justify your belief with common sense then we can move on to other topics.
        And everything I mentioned is a threat to your god, as they are all in the bible. Which is hokum. And this is being borne out as we speak…the decline in numbers of believers.
        Get used to it.

    • Debilis

      It’s a philosophical question. Refusing to look at it within the appropriate topic is as wrong-headed as refusing to do addition from a mathematical point of view.

      Second, I’m not “running down science”. I love science. The only thing I’m “running down” is the pseudo-science that Dawkins and Krauss are hawking. There isn’t a shred of scientific data in support of the claims I’ve challenged.

      Third, avoid the strawman. I don’t believe in anyone in the sky: daddy or otherwise. All these kinds of quips prove is that some don’t understand what it is I’m actually saying.

      Claiming that the things you mention are “in the Bible” doesn’t mean that you, personally, are the authority on what is being claimed by the Bible. In fact, it betrays a lack of reading on that subject. But, even if that were entirely true, it doesn’t do the slightest thing to support materialism. It always seems to betray a lack of a real defense.

      To your demand, my claim is based on common sense. Overwhelmingly, people realize that it’s just common sense that we should trust our experience until we have a reason not to. It is this idea that only our physical experience counts that is the arbitrary dogma.

      • Arkenaten

        Firstly, and above ALL else, you are a christian. In essence one should say, ’nuff said.
        However, as you lot struggle to agree on doctrine one is always obliged to point out the ridiculous nature of your faith.
        That you ridicule Dawkins and Krause stating they have nothing to back up their claims is unbelievable. You are a damn christian and you are unable to see the irony in this?

        And then you go and wet your pants when anyone points out how stupid believing in the resurrection is.
        Archaeology has PROVEN that Moses and the Exodus is nothing but fiction.
        Most of the sane world accepts this. Why don;t you?
        The nativity narrative is all fiction. Normal sane people accept this as well. As they do every topic I listed. Why don;t you?

        I reiterate. First you demonstrate the veracity of your god claims including the biblical stories and them we can move the topic forward.
        Until then you are merely whining like a spoilt child, pointing fingers at the nasty scientists for ”not playing fair”.
        What pseudo science? Are you for real? This from a christian who believes in the super natural?

        Truly…boo hoo.

        Demonstrate the truth of the bible…then you will have a respectful audience.

    • Debilis

      Claiming that I am wrong, or that everything I’ve said should be dismissed on the ground that I am a Christian is sheer prejudice. That is completely insulating one’s thoughts from any possible counters.

      Whether or not I’ve backed up my claims is simply irrelevant here. Ask yourself, do you really think that, if you could prove that I’ve not backed up my claims, that would excuse Dawkins and Krauss?

      As a matter of fact, I agree that I should support what I say when we’re on that topic, but none of this has anything at all do to with the point. In fact, could I not equally say “Dawkins and Krauss ridicule Christians, saying these claims haven’t been backed up. Can’t they see the irony in this”?

      But, no. I’m not terribly upset about it. I’ve neither seen this proof that you claim regarding the falsehood of the Exodus. Nor do I remember taking any specific stance on it. Martin Luther King Jr. did not believe in a literal Exodus, but did believe in God. Why do you assume I am different from he?

      As for “most of the world”, it is theistic, not atheist. I have no idea why you would appeal to that as your authority (not to mention the fact that it is fallacious anyway).

      The same goes for the nativity claims. Show me your evidence, and I’ll respond. But, for now, the fact that you don’t seem to want to discuss anything other than overstated attacks on the Bible doesn’t mean that my criticisms of Dawkins and Krauss are wrong. They are completely different points.

      Nor am I “whining” at scientists. I happen to love science. Instead, I pointed out, rather calmly, that Krauss and Dawkins aren’t willing to question their own beliefs. Trying to change the subject from this to attack my beliefs seems like more attempts to avoid questioning the beliefs I raised.

      But, whether or not you respect my personal beliefs–or are inclined to have any compassion at all, their claims are still pseudo-science. Again, completely different topic.

      I want some kind of demonstration that these men have any kind of clue what they are talking about. Quick as many are to rush to their defense, no one seems to be able to actually defend them. Instead, most end up changing the subject to attack their critics.

      But, really, if attacks and unsupported claims about off topic issues is all the defense that Dawkins and his fans can muster, I see no reason to accept their completely unsupported claims.

      • Arkenaten

        You are stating their claims are unsupported?
        Sigh….. Oh my goodness. Well …here goes.

        You can start by reading this post…and please, read it all.
        Follow the relevant links.
        Read, study,, open your mind and try to understand.

        You can skip the comments; no problem, but read the post, especially what Rabbi Wolpe and other eminent Jewish scholars and archaeologists have to say about Yahweh and all things pertaining to the Old Testament.
        About the Exodus, Abraham, Moses etc.

        These are FACTS.
        There is no argument any longer, it is merely a case of opening meaningful dialogue to rid society of the nonsense that is religion and god belief.

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