Dear Stan – A Reply By Jake Farr-Wharton
A Guest Post by Jake Farr-Wharton
Martin S Pribble
This post is written in response to a blog post, “Atheist De-conversion Evangelism,” written by “Stan” of Atheism-analyzed.blogspot.com.au, which was responding to my recent guest blog on MartinSPribble.com.
Before I set about refuting your individual claims, I thought it necessary to state a few assumptions that I will draw upon later. Firstly, I assume that you a human, (specifically of the genus Homo sapiens sapiens, descendent of those who left central equatorial Africa c. 100,000 – 85,000 years previously), and not a sex robot with theistic delusions of grandeur. If, in fact, you are a sex robot with theistic delusions of grandeur, please report to the nearest secret government facility for your next rendezvous with Bill Clinton’s cigar.
The second assumption is that you are able to read and write English. I have evidence for this as you both read my post on Marty’s blog (for which I am forever grateful – being a former atheist of 40 years I’m sure you’re aware that the only reason we atheists speak up are to end inequity and inequality, get famous, champion social justice causes, annoy theists, stop female genital mutilation, and, most importantly, get attention) and wrote a pithy reply.
Lastly, I’ll assume that you’re familiar with standard argument structure, i.e. premise and conclusion. Obviously, being so familiar with said argument structure, you would be aware that if a premise is faulty, or fallacious, the standard response from an intelligent person would be to state the following, “sir/madam, your argument premise is faulty, thus your argument is invalid. Please retract it at your earliest convenience.”
Now that I’ve stated those assumptions, I will commence rebuttal sequence in the most orderly manner I can think of; to rebuke in the order you presented your statements.
On the contrary, every field of study attributing their findings to the scientific method (i.e. we made a prediction and tested it, then repeated it, then put it out for everyone else to test it, and it remains valid until proven invalid or improved upon) finds that we live in a natural universe without any influence from outside (supernatural) forces. Based on the ongoing findings supporting a natural universe, atheism, (i.e. the lack of belief in god(s) and the supernatural) is an evidence based and logical position. As such, sir/madam, your argument premise is faulty, thus your argument is invalid. Please retract it at your earliest convenience.
The premise above, which posits that all scientific findings support a naturalistic universe without any requirement or evidence of any of the millions of gods and supernatural deities that humanity has believed in since our ancestors gained an enormous cortex capable of introspection, concludes that atheism is indeed an evidence based position. As such, no blind faith is necessary. Furthermore, if one wishes to understand the quantum underpinnings of this magnificent universe, blind faith would be a supremely inhibiting hindrance. As such, sir/madam, your argument premise is faulty, thus your argument is invalid. Please retract it at your earliest convenience.
While I am unsure of what is meant by the term “escalating scepticism”, chiefly because you made it up, I can indeed speak to the idea of an asymmetrical approach to dealing with multifaceted issues.
If you told me that there was a white chair in my office, I could walk into my office and check your claim. In a metaphorical way, this could be described as a symmetrical or linear way to address your claim. If, however, you told me that there was a white chair orbiting the distant star Betelgeuse, I would, metaphorically speaking, have to take a multifaceted approach to counter your claim. Such an approach, again, metaphorically, could be considered asymmetrical.
With that stated, your claim is an ad hominem, and thus not considered an argument. As such, sir/madam, your argument premise is faulty, thus your argument is invalid. Please retract it at your earliest convenience.
The first premise of your argument, that “atheism presents no morals” is correct. Around 2.5 million years ago our ancestor, Homo habilis began congregating in ever larger groups, as evidenced by the remains they left behind. Due to the fact that the ability to congregate, an ability which we take for granted (if you question this, please experiment by placing a foreign mature male gorilla in an established group), confers such an immense advantage in survival, those who were able to stay in groups passed on their sociable genes and propagated the remainder of the Homo genus with that trait.
Today, we call this trait “morality” (the elements that make up morality we call “ethics”), despite the fact that theists give it an absolute value, it is a continuously evolving socially derived mechanism. Evidence of this is the fact that slavery is abhorred in the West, yet continues in the East (and is both justified and endorsed in the New and Old Testaments of the bible). Further evidence of this is feminism and equality in the West and honour killing, segregation and subjugation of women in the East.
The remainder of your argument is objectively invalid because, as explained in the above two paragraphs, atheists do not make up morality, morality, an evolved trait, exists as a social construct independent of any religion or ideology. As such, sir/madam, your argument premise is faulty, thus your argument is invalid. Please retract it at your earliest convenience
If you will consider reading my first response, you will find that I have already addressed this claim. As such, sir/madam, your argument premise is faulty, thus your argument is invalid. Please retract it at your earliest convenience.
The premise of your first statement suggests that when atheists converse with theists they “rarely” do so “nicely”. As the atheist son of theist parents, the atheist husband of theist wife, the atheist sibling of several theist brothers and the atheist friend of multiple theist friends, I vehemently deny the consistency of this argument premise.
While I acknowledge that the following is anecdotal, (which I’m sure you’ll have no trouble with considering the distinct lack of evidence supporting every single one of your claims) I am yet to meet a single atheist who has been unable to hold a civil or “nice” conversation with a theist. What I do notice, however, is that both sides are rarely able to find common ground due to the theist’s inability to move past the inherent cognitive dissonance and into the evidence refuting their belief system. The inherent cognitive dissonance I speak of is summed up in the first point I made above. As such, sir/madam, your argument premise is faulty, thus your argument is invalid. Please retract it at your earliest convenience.
The remainder of this argument/claim is the reason I felt it necessary to state my first assumption. You’ve gone from making inconsistent and fallacious claims bereft of all evidence, to ranting. As such, I assumed you were low on batteries, though I fully acknowledge that you could be a diabetic, in which case, please, for the appeasement of the 10,000 gods of the Hindu pantheon, eat some sugar!
We have demonstrated above that atheism is an evidence based, logically coherent and rational position to hold. We have demonstrated that morality is an evolved trait and the values, or ethics, that comprise this trait, are societal and culturally derived. Lastly, we have seen that each of the, rather pithy, claims you made fall over like a metaphorical house of cards. As such, sir/madam, your argument premise is faulty, thus your argument is invalid. Please retract it at your earliest convenience.
Warmest and most sincere regards,