Assumptions, Part 2

As I mentioned, I am participating in an online discussion with Nick Rogers, a theist, over at Religious Dispatches on the article called “Atheist Monument: Proof of Unintelligent Design.”

Nick came back with more questions he wants me to answer before he actually gets around to providing evidence for his god (I’ll get to that later), but he starts off with this:

“(o)ften times when I see Atheists and Theists arguing about this stuff I say, well its all just nonsense beacuse they can never hope to change each others minds until they’ve cleared away the core cause of disagreement between the two, which is belief or lack thereof. So, what the hell, I’ll jump through your hoop.”

Here Nick gets it wrong again. The core disagreement isn’t belief or lack, it’s actually whether his god exists or not.

Then he goes into the whole mess of word salad:

“Just a word of caution, the size and scope of my answer is big. Because, while simple on the surface, your question, what evidence do I have, requires allot of complexity in response. This shouldn’t be surprising. Either way, your question basically concerns the fundamental nature of the entire universe, so it sure as hell aint gonna be simple. Rather you believe in god or not, arguments in favor of his existence and arguments in favor of his non existence necessarily depend on assumptions stacked on assumptions stacked on assumptions. Maybe then you’ll see why I do not always engage on this territory first, simply beacuse it is so nightmarishly vast…almost but not quite as vast as the entity it concerns. So, you have been warned. If you can’t handle the heat, don’t go into the kitchen.”

First problem: I’m not interested in his complexity of response. I’m interested in the evidence he has that his god exists.

Second, my question has nothing to do with “the fundamental nature of the entire universe.” Nick and I already agreed that the universe exists but we disagreed on the existence of his god. And he promised the evidence for his god. Since, by our agreed upon definition, his god is separate from the universe, he’s just blowing more smoke instead of actually giving up the evidence.

Third, he spends the whole paragraph wasting time by telling me how complex and vast it is, reminding me of the Monty Python Meaning of Life sketch where a priest goes on and on about how really big god is, to comedic effect. Nick, not so much.

Then Nick wants me to agree to things:

“Before I dive right in I think there’s one thing we need to agree on. We must agree that //snip//”

“I just think that its important that we agree that //snip//”

“So In order to have an argument about anything at all,and to believe anything you have to assume that what I just said is absolute truth //snip//”

“So, assuming you believe in //snip//”

Now, I snipped a bunch of his stuff (if you want to read the whole thing, use the info at the top paragraph and your favorite search engine) because he promised to give me evidence but then goes down several rabbit holes thinking that I’m dumb enough to agree to anything.

I’m not.

Simply put, we’re at this impasse because he has yet to evidence his god. That evidence does not require me to participate in any way except to review the evidence and judge whether it is sufficient or not.

So I’m waiting for him to give some.

Amidst all this, Nick claims that he has:

“arguments based on scientific discoveries that point to gods existence BUT I prefer logical arguments, and I’m going to start with one of those.”

If he already has scientific evidence, why bother with a logical argument? Simply put, why contort this existence from a purely argumentative place when science will do it for him? Because he’s a liar and, no, he really doesn’t have any scientific evidence.

He also sets the stakes on whether I agree or not:

” if you found yourself disagreeing about what I just said, well, simply put, GTFO, beacuse there’s no point in us arguing.”

I’m tired…so tired. All I wanted was the evidence his god exists and he spends several paragraphs with demands and obfuscation and no evidence. He claims to have the scientific evidence but doesn’t go straight to that, preferring more blah, blah, blah.

Next, Nick can’t actually do what he promised to do (reminder: evidence of his god) unless I agree to more things and answer questions:

“But before I can even get to the meat of my first argument for the existence of God I have to ask you a number of questions, beacuse this is what my entire argument depends on.

1 )Do you know you //snip//

2) So, the second question is, do you //snip//

3) So lets move on to my third question. Do you recognize that //snip//”

Again, I snipped Nick’s crap, which included him answering for me by assuming my agreement to these three questions. Look it up if you’re really interested (top paragraph, search engine).

I snipped it, gain, because my participation in setting up his logical argument of the existence of his god is not necessary.

He made a positive claim to the existence of his god and it’s his job to provide the evidence.

I am under no obligation to agree to anything until he’s fulfilled his part of the bargain.

In my response to him asking him to give me the evidence he promised, I said he was engaging in philosophical trickery. And that’s exactly what it is.

Nick repeats his demand that I accept his answers:

“For my argument to mean anything, you have to first answer yes to all those questions. Now, if you really want to say no to any of those, you can…. If you say no to either of the first questions, I know you are a liar.”

Nick, sadly, doesn’t realize (or prefers to obscure) the fact that my participation on setting up his argument is not my responsibility.

He sets up the questions and the answers and expects me to agree, all while failing to complete his part: giving evidence for his god.

Nick is a liar.

More word salad follows that I don’t want to waste time covering because he fails to do what he promised.

His second-to-last paragraph concludes his set-up:

“To be continued, depending on your response. Like I said, argue with what I’ve said here if you must, but as far as I’m concerned, with the exception of my last question, everything I stated is things both Atheists and Theists, indeed, all of Humanity, must assume and have been assuming since time began.”

To recap: no evidence to support his claim that his god exists, questions he set up that he already answered, and if I don’t agree, I’m going against accepted things.

Bullshit. All of it that he wrote, complete and utter bullshit.

He ends with:

“PS. If, as you probably do, you already accept most of those things as true, I apologize if it seems like I’m lecturing you…. I love him to death, but my metaphyiscal conversations with him have made me extra sensitive about ironing out these basic assumptions before investing abunch of time in an argument like this”

Frankly, I feel sorry for his friend.