Friday, May 15, 2015

Paul Copan on the New Atheists

Paul Copan
Here's a good description of the "New Atheists" by Paul Copan:
The Neo-atheists' arguments against God's existence are surprisingly flimsy, often resembling the simplistic village atheist far more than the credentialed academician. The Neo-atheists are often profoundly ignorant of what they criticize, and they typically receive the greatest laughs and cheers from the philosophically and theologically challenged. True, they effectively utilize a combination of emotion and verbal rhetoric, but they aren't known for logically carrying thoughts through from beginning to end. Their arguments against God's existence aren't intellectually rigorous—although they want to give that impression. Yes, they'll raise some important questions concerning, for example, the problem of evil, but again, their arguments are a collage of rhetorical barbs that don't really form a coherent argument. I've observed that while these men do have expertise in certain fields (biology and evolutionary theory in the case of Dawkins and Dennett), they turn out to be fairly disappointing when arguing against God's existence or Christian doctrine. And a quick check of Dawkins's documentation reveals a lot more time spent on Google than at Oxford University's Bodleian Library. (Paul Copan, Is God a Moral Monster?, p. 17)

1 comment:

  1. Acts17, why are you posting these empty swipes at atheists? Paul Copan makes no actual arguments on acts17, with his statements adding up to little more than ad hominem attacks such as “simplistic village atheist”.

    Well, I got this little gem from Paul Copan's article
    "the standard Big Bang theory affirms that the universe — physical time, space, matter, and energy — came into existence roughly 13.7 billion years ago."

    To begin, Mr. Copan commits the fallacy of equivocation. "the universe" is not the same as "the stuff of existence". Just because we live in a big bang remnant that appears to have expanded from a tiny object of some kind in no way demonstrates that all time, space, matter, and energy came into existence at that point. The simple fact is nobody knows what happened or how it happened at t=0.

    We do, however, have vast evidence that the stuff of the universe is eternal. Every physics and chemistry experiment confirms the eternal nature of the stuff existence is made of. Stuff cannot be created, stuff cannot be destroyed, stuff exists, therefore stuff is eternal.

    Paul then goes on to commit a non-sequitur fallacy by attempting to define god as an uncaused necessary being. Even if a god made our universe that does not mean that god is necessarily uncaused since one can speculate one, two, or an arbitrarily large number of causes that brought our vaunted creator into existence.

    Then he seems to be rather self-satisfied in his begging the question fallacy by declaring "The question answers itself."

    Mr. Copan goes on to make a number of other ad hoc assertions, non-sequitur fallacies, and other incoherent arguments, but rather than refute them all one by one, I will close with simply:

    Pot, meet kettle.