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10 Reasons Why I Hate Arguing with Most Atheists14 min read

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I am commonly on facebook groups seeking to test my ideas and engage with intellectual people on the topic of faith. Unfortunately, as we all know, civil and clear communication with people of good will is not the norm for online interactions. Perhaps we should be using Hedge’s Rules of Honorable Controversy. But here’s 10 reasons I am tempted to quit talking with atheists. The reasons I don’t? I like a fair fight, I like to think, and I like cantankerous people (like myself ;).

1. Failure to recognize Pragmatic and Integrational Epistemology

In addition to the empirical method, we also use reason, intution, and authority to determine what is true. 1

Atheists, however, often refuse to admit evidence other than empirical. They might accept historical data and its interpretation, but only if they conflate it with empirical testing and observation, preferring to call both approaches “empirical.”

Failing to recognize the distinction between empiricism and historical science is in part motivated by a need to only respect repeatably generated data from controlled experiments. Unfortunately, history does not work like that. Historical science has empirical data and even testable processes, but the actual events, like evolution or abiogenesis, are not observable, and so the other half of historical investigation involves assumptions, logic, and reasoning, which is less sure.

Since atheists don’t trust the less testable  historical evidences but recognize their value, they try to pull them into the safe corral of empiricism, not realizing that they are already on the slippery slope of subjectivism. They then often dismiss the functions of reason, e.g. inference, pragmatics, and integration, as well as the even more subjective epistemological methods of intuition and authority.

This rejection of inference and reason as “non-empirical sophistry” is often witnessed in atheists’ refusal to discuss the logical, perhaps inescapable implications of atheism, as well as the congruent areas of inquiry logically associated with atheism, like communism, social Darwinism, subjective morality, materialism, etc. This looks like, and perhaps is, an evasion of facts, logic, and intellect.

2. Doggedly sticking to a reductionist “lack of belief” definition

It’s annoying how often atheists wrangle about how no one underdstands that atheism is “merely a lack of belief.” While I support their self-definition, and their taxonomy of knowledge v. belief (agnostic v. atheist) is helfpul in some of their self-conceptions, in common usage, agnostic means someone who is uncommitted to a decision, and anything else like atheism is an intellectual comittment – that is, the common use of “atheist” means a hard atheist who claims positively that God does not exist. No one cares if you believe or not, it’s the argument re: God’s existence that matters.

So to say “I’m an agnostic atheist” may mean you don’t know and don’t believe in God, and while this may be true, it is just a distraction from the real issue, which is that agnostic atheists make hard atheist arguments then hide behind their agnosticism. This may be a quibble on my part, and I am willing to cede to atheists the more defined taxonomy they seek, but I would like to see them admit that a positive disbelief is a step of faith, not something proven, and that this is atheism proper. 2

3. Claiming that standard philosophical arguments for God have been refuted

Claiming that the standard philosophical arguments (cosmological, ontological, moral, and teliological) have been “totally refuted” and refusing to discuss them is nonsense. 3 Rebutted, yes, refuted, no.

4. Evolution and Genetics

Failing to discuss the genetic evidence against evolution, which of course has only come in the last 30 years, is a huge failure. Claiming that “evolution is a fact” is failing to recognize the development of evolution within the scientific communities, the controversies, and the gaps.

4.1 “You don’t understand science”

Typically, the first puerile response I get to a comment is “you obviously don’t understand science.” There are a few motivations for this ad hominem response. The first is a psychological need to dismiss others as less intelligent than you in order to buttress your own confidence. This is just a question of maturity.

The second possible motivation for dismissing others is due to a superficial understanding of science themselves, not recognizing alternate verbiage and perspectives within the scientific community. I once had a commenter tell me Stephen J. Gould was an idiot because his evaluation of the fossil records did not support Darwinian gradualism.

Third and most importantly, many evolutionists who ARE educated on the subject presume that anyone who doesn’t use the exact, specific language of the most esoteric and detailed recent science, or their own preferred taxonomy, does not understand science. Worse, their dogmatism often makes them unable to meaningfully engage with the sometimes radically challenging data for evolution or the presentation of ideas outside of their box.

4.2 “Are you smarter than the experts?”

The second response I often get, if the evolutionist decides to actually engage at the level of science instead of demeaning ad hominems, is an appeal to authority. “Are you smarter than the majority of experts?”

This is still a personal attack, perhaps an admission that I am not stupid but definitely not as smart as those who do science for a living.

4.3 “Where are the peer reviewed papers?”

The fallacy here, beyond an appeal to authority and to the majority opinion, is it the assumption that the hegemony of Darwinism in science allows alternate views to be discussed without censure. 4 5

While there are a decent number of peer reviewed publications that support intelligent design or seriously question Darwinism 6, the narrowness of funding and the corruption of the current peer review process is bemoaned by many, not just Darwin’s critics. 7 8 9 10

When there is significant dissent that is suppressed, the dissenters often are forced into self-publication, since the outlets and funding managed by the majority shut them out. Journals that shut out on well-written  and researched contrary ideas, then beg the question “where are your published papers?” are lying to themselves about the voracity of the dissent.

4.4 “If you’re so smart, make your case. Where’s your Nobel prize?”

When I want to discuss the particulars, I inevitably get an atheist backout accompanied by “I’m not a genetecist, and neither are you. I just trust the scientific authorities.” Then when I tell them I do have a BS in the Biochemistry of genetics, I get “you should publish your conclusions and get your Nobel prize.” Both are evasions at best. But they really are an appeal to authority and an admission that they have not looked at the evidence at all.

4.5 Why Evolution Won’t Be Easily Falsified

But the larger problem with disproving evolution is twofold. First, it’s definition is so plastic that there really is no meaningful set of conditions that evolutionists would accept as falsifying it, in part because, like faith in the Bible, it is assumed true, and those defending it just look for harmonizations of the data, never considering falsification. Lack of intermediate forms? “Not enough data” or “punctuated equilibrium.” Lack of experimental evidence? “It takes too long to observe.” Genetic trees don’t match those based on morphology? “Convergent evolution.”

Second, the truth is, there are only two models for origins – one where all starts out as soup and by some law organizes into higher physical and living complexity and forms, and another where things start out organized by an intelligent designer and progress via thermodynamics and entropy towards disorder (which looks more like reality? Dawkins confession of “the appearance of design” looks very naive). Being without faith in the latter model, unbelievers MUST believe some form of evolution. So they won’t seriously consider any contrary evidence as falsification, just another chance to “improve the model.”

5. Wooden Biblical literalism

Often, when atheists want to prove that the Bible is nonsense, they handle the Bible, and especially Genesis, more woodenly and literally than the worst fundamentalist, then claim such things are ridiculous. And they are ridiculous because not even the fundamentalists ignore the rules of hermeneutics like these parodies. Often, for the sake of argument and out of intellectual laziness, atheists assume a black or white approach (“you either have to read it literally or figuratively”) and know nothing of the nuances of interpretation within genre, history, or context. 11

6. The Science v. Faith Myth

Often, atheists are unaware of the fraudulent history of this myth, as well as the contribution of Christianity to science, the great Chrsitian scientists (the majority of the founders of most branches of science), the real story of Galileo, and the many ways in which evolution has slowed scientific progress. This blindness is a huge time waster for Christians seeking a meaningful discussion.

I won’t defend all of those here, but the basic Christian position is that William Draper’s book started the myth, and it defies history. Galieleo insulted the Pope and published prematurely in defiance of what he promised his Catholic Church sponsor, who was paying for his research. And don’t get me started on junk DNA and vestigial organs. 12 13 14 15 16 17

And in fact, Christianity seems to have founded the modern university, hospital, and may have formed the ideological foundation for modern science in general. 18 19

7. Christian Atrocities

Atheists routinely group all faiths together  for two reasons. The first is a desire to promote guilt by association with Islam. They have not looked at the numbers, as I have, nor have they realized that communistic atheism has killed thousands more people. They fail to understand that the Crusades were a justified war to take back lands after 400 years of Muslim aggression.

And if they want to paint the sins of the Spanish King and Queen in the Inquisition on Christianity rather than seeing it as an abuse, then they need to own communism’s sins. 20

BTW, the second reason atheists fail to distinguish between religions is because of the anti-intellectual and self-limiting use of empiricism to evaluate religious claims, not realizing that there are other epistemelogical methods, not least of which are the use of historical sciences and reason to eliminate poser religions like the FSM. 21 22

8. Failure to acknowledge atheism’s role in the evils of communism

This is a specific example of item #1 above, that atheists attempt to keep atheism hermetically isolated from its real-world affects and uses. As indicated in point #7 above, if Christianity can be blamed for its comparatively low number of killings in arguably justified wars (sometimes), atheism should own its own use or abuse in the world. You can’t have it both ways.

Even more, I think it can be argued that the heinous applications of atheism are congruent with and logically flow from the implications of subjective morals, which is germaine to atheism.

9. Failure to acknowledge Darwinism’s role in eugenics, racism, and Nazi ideology

While atheism could support any naturalistic theory of origins, let’s face it, the only one out there is evolution. Atheism has no choice but to rely on evolution, and new atheist Richard Dawkins confirmed such by saying of evolution, “Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist.” 23 24 25 26 27

10. Angry, Arrogant Atheism

The complete lack of respect in most discussions with atheists is par for the course. They quickly and commonly regress to ad hominems, sarcasm, and profanities when rebuffed with plain ideas that they are “too smart” to seriously entertain. While good character is rare among all humans, atheists often fulfill their reputation for being angry, arrogant, and self-righteous (as bad as religionists).

Summary List

1. Failure to recognize Pragmatic and Integrational Epistemology
2. Doggedly sticking to a reductionist “lack of belief” definition
3. Claiming that standard philosophical arguments for God have been refuted
4. Evolution and Genetics
5. Wooden Biblical literalism
6. The Science v. Faith Myth
7. Christian Atrocities
8. Failure to acknowledge atheism’s role in the evils of communism
9. Failure to acknowledge Darwinism’s role in eugenics, racism, and Nazi ideology
10. Angry, Arrogant Atheism

  1. Does God exist? Why empiricism must take a back seat to reason and intuition ([]
  2. Is atheism merely a “lack of belief in God”? ([]
  3. Philosophical Arguments About God’s Existence ([]
  4. Contemporary suppression of the theistic worldview ([]
  5. Intelligent Design Advocate Denied Tenure ([]
  7. ]Neo-darwinism still haunts evolutionary theory: A modern perspective on Charlesworth, Lande, and Slatkin ([]
  8. Lynn Margulis: Evolutionist And Critic Of Neo-Darwinism ([]
  9. Jerry Fodor’s Enduring Critique of Neo-Darwinism ([]
  10. Critiques of Darwinism ([]
  11. 12 Hermeneutical Principles ([]
  12. Debunking the Galileo Myth ([]
  13. Famous Scientists Who Believed in God ( []
  14. 34 Great Scientists Who Were Committed Christians ([]
  15. Bible-Believing Scientists of the Past ([]
  16. 13 Misconceptions About Evolution ([]
  17. GUIDE: Books on Christianity and Science ([]
  18. The Christian Contribution to Medicine ([]
  19. How Christianity Led to the Rise of Modern Science ([]
  20. Which religion or ideology has killed more people? ([]
  21. Pascal’s Wager 2: Debunking the ‘all religions are equally improbable’ ruse ([]
  22. REVIEW: Knowledge and Christian Belief by Alvin Plantinga ([]
  23. Chapter 1 Explaining the Very Improbable (p. 6) – The Blind Watchmaker (1986)[]
  24. Darwinism’s history of racism ([]
  25. Evolution and Social Darwinism in Civil War Reconstruction ([]
  26. Examining the historical and logical links between Darwin and eugenics ([]
  27. Darwin Understood the Social Application of his Theory ([]