God is real! Because SCIENCE!Posted: 03.11.12
Last night, I saw someone engage with a fellow atheist on Twitter, and for some reason, I felt the need to jump in. Oh, I remember–they had said, “Suppose God is real, just a hypothetical.” My digital acquaintance replied, “Which god?”; I felt, though, that this was an irrelevant question. The hypothetical made me itchy. I sent a reply of my own:
And that got the ball rolling on a conversation that made me moan, groan, and wish I didn’t feel the need to interfere with such things.
First, he asked me what I would consider “evidence” of God’s existence. I said, the same evidence that lets us know anything else exists. The majority of people must have the capacity to experience the evidence; it can’t be something that can be explained away naturally (it can’t be a regular guy with no Godlike powers pretending to be God, it can’t be pointing to a perfectly natural phenomenon and saying “The sky is blue–because God!”, it has to be measurable, concrete evidence). I tried to cover the bases as well as I could, because really? Anybody who has to ask you what kind of evidence you need is someone who is looking for a loophole. Pro tip: IT IS ALWAYS THE KIND OF EVIDENCE THAT IS EVIDENCE. I need the same kind of evidence to convince me that God exists as I do to convince me that the couch I’m sitting on exists, or trees exist, or my car exists, or India exists, or anything exists.
That having been said, he makes his opening volley: “Have you ever heard of Anthony [sic] Flew?” Immediately, I am suspicious. Because I have not heard of this person, for one thing. So I go to look him up, browse Wikipedia and some of the source sites, and laugh.
“Are you mentioning him because he was an atheist who changed his mind?”‘
I guessed this first because I have seen a number of theists argue this as though they’ve just put one over on us. With Dawkins’ recent admission that he doesn’t “know” that there’s no god, I’ve actually seen it a lot lately. Another tip: one atheist shifting or revealing a hidden or new opinion about the origins of life means . . . nothing. It means nothing at all regarding the existence of god if Richard Dawkins explains that he doesn’t know for absolute certain if god exists or not. Pointing at these occurrences and saying “ha-HA! One of your own tribe changed his/her mind, so I must be correct!” is like me pointing at all of the people who grew up Christian and became atheist and saying the same. This argument is unconvincing because it’s based on nothing but someone’s opinion and not on actual evidence. Please stop using this stupid non-argument.
I was wrong, though–that wasn’t the reason. Dude shot back: “no that he found scientific data that there must be a creator”
I laughed. I can’t help it. I laughed so much. Not to be unkind, just at the absurdity of it. You’re asking me to swallow a lot of things when you say this:
- You’re asking me to believe that someone found actual, undeniable scientific proof that God exists and it hasn’t been cross-verified by every scientist forever and put on the cover of every magazine, newspaper, news site, copy of the Left Behind series, and episode of the 700 club.
- You’re asking me to believe that someone found actual, undeniable scientific proof that God exists and certain theists that frequently battle us on Twitter haven’t been rubbing our noses in it and screaming “IN YOUR FACE!”
- More often than not (and this was the case here), you’re asking me to believe that a non-scientist found actual, undeniable scientific proof that God exists, and that scientists didn’t find it.
- You’re asking me to believe that such proof even could exist.
I explained to the gentleman that Flew was not a scientist, so his theories about the complexity of DNA were about as helpful as a painter’s theories about neurosurgery. My new friend said, no, Flew was a scientist. I said, no, he studied philosophy, Japanese, and humanities, and was in the Royal Air Force; he did not have a degree in biology, nor could I find any information in various bios that stated that he did any kind of work at all in the field of biology–or any other scientific field, for that matter. I said, this is a classic “god of the gaps” argument and the logic is clearly flawed. My new friend went away rather suddenly.
I was sort of baffled that a person could throw out a name and a backstory as an “argument” and not bother doing a shred of research. It took me about 5 minutes of looking at various things Flew said and did in his life to break what he said about god and the “complexities of DNA” down into the garbage that it is. I’m baffled, but I know that religious belief–faith–is by its own nature irrational, so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. Still.