What atheists can't refute -

What atheists can't refute -

There are 455 comments on the Baltimore Sun story from Oct 28, 2007, titled What atheists can't refute -. In it, Baltimore Sun reports that:

Religion has faced formidable foes in its history. But atheism hasn't generally been one of them - until today.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Baltimore Sun.


Dallas, TX

#21 Nov 1, 2007
The debate for the belief in a God or higher power is all good and well for the most part but I would ask the author to please refrain from confusing religion and God.
Religion is invented by man and has very little to do with one's belief in God. Thank you.

a non-theist.
Ramon the rational

Urbana, IL

#22 Nov 1, 2007
I find it fascinating that we are still after the last 500 years are still arguing about this. Which deity (as if there is one) should we worship? We are now down to one deity (generally) but why pay homage to any deity? The entire concept is without merit and should be abandoned by mankind in favor of ethical and moral standards (yes, many based on former religious principles) embraced by all. To embrace one religion is to buy into a set of pre-constructed beliefs, most of which are totally ridiculous. Have you not learned of mankind’s struggle through history? There are no gods out there. We stand as an intelligent creature in a minor spot in the cosmos. Are we to continue to be burdened by the ignorance or our forefathers or move ahead, taking with us what wisdom they indeed had understanding human relationships? Have we not learned of religious oppression and ignorance? Did not one theology (Judaism) almost go extinct through the construction of factories for mass extinction? Intolerance is born of prejudice caused by arrogant thoughts of “my deity is right – ergo I can kill others.” We need to rise above all of this nonsense. All religions are a problem Mr. D'Souza - including atheism. Fight dogmatic thinking - the ultimate foe of liberating thought.
NeoProhibitionis t

Massapequa, NY

#23 Nov 1, 2007
Bahahaha! Since you cannot prove that I do not have an invisible second penis, then I really do have an invisible second penis!

This is horrible argument, and besides, you can't use reason and logic to change the mind of someone who just decided, sans proof, to believe in something.

Madison, WI

#24 Nov 1, 2007
Belief is a choice. It's as simple as that. Anyone who says "God exists" is obligated to provide evidence. Those who say he doesn't are under no obligation to provide proof of his non-existence. So far, no one has produced evidence for a diety. So it's a choice, and it's a choice for yourself. Make it and shut up.

Baltimore, MD

#25 Nov 1, 2007
Kant's assertation is that there may be senses beyond what we know. If you came across a race of creatures that were born without the ability to see, how would you describe light to them? The only way you could do that is by comparing it to the senses they do have, like hearing or touch; but, that's woefully difficult to convey.

These creatures have never seen light. They have no way of sensing it so it's not hard to imagine that would not believe it exists without proof. Proof that's impossible to provide. Ergo there may be "senses" we lack to pervcieve various inputs. We don't have the right ears to hear or right eyes to see what's out there. That doesn't mean it's not there.

However, it also doesn't mean it is. We may be limited to a few rudamentary senses; but, that's what we have to rely on. When I'm given the choice of seeing the universe through perceptions I have or making the assumption that something exists beyond what I can excert my scientific might on, science wins every time. There may be "light" I can't see; but, there's enough stuff I can see to worry about without wondering about some invisible spectrum.

Besides, if we're completely unaware of it's existence and it has no percievable affect upon us, then it might as well not exist.

Milledgeville, GA

#26 Nov 1, 2007
I mean, really! There are plenty of atheist counter-arguments to Kant; just because the one author couldn't come up with any names doesn't make it false.

Besides, Kant's idea of enlightment ('Enlightenment is man's emergence from his self-imposed immaturity') resonates very strongly with the atheist claims you're trying to refute.

We'd be remiss to take Kant for a bad Plato, arbitrarily dividing the world into a real and a simulation. We are not dealing with a model and a copy. For scientific and religious enlightmenment alike, the issue is not that just need new models for cognitions or sensations; we need the strength to evaluate, to make real decisions on our own terms as we understand them.

Atheism is about solidarity, not inclusion. What you're dealing with in dogma is a repetition without the possibility for difference. Opening up the religious text for analysis is just the first step. We need to open up the whole world for analysis and transformation. Religion has a part to play in this just like science.

Columbus, OH

#27 Nov 1, 2007
Clearly, the Flying Spaggeti Monster created the universe. I know he exists because you can't prove he doesn't exist.

Seriously, why do theists keep bringing up the same tired arguments?

Lloydminster, Canada

#28 Nov 1, 2007
Someone, somewhere, will eventually reach heaven while a loved one goes to hell. It is certainly possible to love someone who is deserving of going to hell. We see it all the time. Multiple homicides conducted by an unforgiving and unrepentant street thug gets a lethal injection yet all the while, his mother still loves him and is a good woman. She goes to heaven, he goes to hell.

But here's the crux... by definition, spending eternity in a wonderous place where I may never see my sons again? To me, that is hell. I would suffer the pains of your hell if going to heaven meant never seeing them again.

If the notion of heaven and hell can be so easily fallable, then why do I need to look any further in religion. ANY religion?

For your God to give mankind the capacity for hate, destruction, rape, murder... crimes against defenseless and innocent children... and for that same God to wash his hands of it, stand back from afar and presume to judge us? How is that any different than giving a four year old a loaded handgun? When the gun goes off and people die, we blame the parents, right? And justly so!

And thus, by proxy, we have already tried and convicted your God for the exact. same. offence. We are, after all, His children, aren't we? And He has given us a loaded gun by giving us these powers of intellect, reason and sense.

"I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forego their use." - Galileo Galilei
Sam Walker

Madison, WI

#29 Nov 1, 2007
Of course atheism and theism are "on the same plane". Anyone who "believes" something for which there is no evidence, and in fact, CAN be no evidence, is using faith. Whether it is the existence or non-existence of God.

Anyone who claims to know either way is wrong. They may _feel_ strongly one way or the other, but there is no proof at all. Agnosticism is the only intellectually honest response to such questions. I say "I don't know, and neither do you."
Randolph Duke

Saint Petersburg, FL

#30 Nov 1, 2007
I interpret Kant's critique on reason more in line with Gorgias. In that, ones reality is difficult if not impossible to communicate.

Seattle, WA

#31 Nov 1, 2007
OK, create a series of experiments that would prove that some undetectable being exists.

If your experiments prove the existence of something that is undetectable, and the experiments are rationally repeatable, then I will accept it.

However based on Kant's own argument currently God =~God , and without Occam's proposition that only God can be a contradiction of God, none of this can work.

Minneapolis, MN

#32 Nov 1, 2007
But we are not limited to our five senses, as we have access to the senses of any machine we create. Since we could theoretically create a machine to measure any aspect of reality, we can theoretically be able to find evidence of anything within reality.
redundant Roger

Seattle, WA

#33 Nov 1, 2007
I do not believe that Elvis is alive
I do not believe in Fairies, Santa or such. I feel no obligation to prove they do not exist even though many people believe that they do.

But because I do not believe in your invisible undetectable being, you think I am a bad person?
Christopher Garvey

Raleigh, NC

#34 Nov 1, 2007
Perhaps Mr. Dennett could not debunk your assertion on the "Fallacy of the Enlightenment", but allow me. The flaw in the assertion that the senses cannot or are not able to see all there is of reality flies in the face of a basic tenant of religion (primarily the big 3) that man (or mankind) is made in the image of their creator. How would we know we were in his image if we did not perceive the universe much as he does. The gist of this editorial and its take on Kant suggests that we are formless intellects, shoved into a simulation of a reality wherein our creator "walled off" a portion of it from us to keep us, what? Honest? Guessing?

Using the "logic" of this editorial, we not only prove that God could exist, but that purple dinosaurs roam the surface of Mars (but only on the far side where we cannot see them). I believe that if there were an intelligent creator, of which there is not, he would not be Monte Hall and hide the real truth behind curtain number three. As smaller versions of Monte, Curtain Number 3's contents would be comprehendable.

San Francisco, CA

#35 Nov 1, 2007
So, if we don't know, and we won't know, because we can't know, then why are we building multi-million dollar temples and whatnot? Presumption? It is no better for a theist to say "I know God and God exists." than it is for an Atheist to say "I know God does not exist." I am, personally, of the opinion that God as it is and has been described probably doesn't exist, but I won't ever know, so I don't really worry about it much. Do I believe what was written in the bible 6 or 7 thousand years ago? Not really. I also don't believe in the Sumerian faith which said everyone went to hell. I have no idea, but those possibilities don't seem likely. I do believe that I could write a much more compelling religious tome, but that would be deceitful, so I would never do that. I am content in not knowing what I will never know. I don't really understand why you would want to know things that shouldn't and won't ever be known. I believe in goodness, but not in God.
Man On Pink Corner

Seattle, WA

#36 Nov 1, 2007
"We learn from Kant that within the domain of experience, human reason is sovereign, but it is in no way unreasonable to believe things on faith that simply cannot be adjudicated by reason."

So, what you're saying is, it's in no way unreasonable to believe that there is an invisible unicorn hiding in my basement, just because I can't adjudicate the question by use of reason.

When you understand why I dismiss all other possible unicorns, you will understand why I dismiss yours.
Gareth Fox

Auckland, New Zealand

#37 Nov 1, 2007
That's a cute little philosophy (which has merit), but if you apply to existance of God you run into a little snag.

Every person who has ever found God has done so by using those five senses, no more, no less. Which means that evidence of God belongs in the reality we can perceive.


So what was your point again?

And just because our senses are limited does not mean we cannot detect the universe. Remind me, is infra red detectable by our eyes? The tape/sound analogy fails to take into account that we can understand far more than we can touch, taste, see, hear and smell. And we do these things by scientific method - repeatable, reproducible observations that fit a theorised mechanism.

Your god of the gaps is shrinking. If you can tell me how the flightless nocturnal Kiwi got from the Ark to New Zealand, then we can talk. Until then, stop using valid philisophy to support invalid fairytales.

Miami, FL

#38 Nov 1, 2007
This article is stupid. We also can't prove that the universe isn't riding on the back of a giant turtle, but it is obviously smarter to believe in what we know versus believe in made-up gods.
Another Atheist

United States

#39 Nov 1, 2007
"...while theism at least knows that there is a reality greater than..."

Knows? You mean believe, right? What a joke. Please proceed to fatten the ranks of the growing Atheist community.
Where is the harm

Daly City, CA

#40 Nov 1, 2007
This is such an easy argument to refute I can't believe you wrote this article. Even if there are "other" realities, we either can't or don't experience them, and even if some people do, there's no way to prove or disprove their anecdotal experiences, but regardless, these other realities have little or no influence on our reality. All we can do is base our lives on that which we do experience. This is the essence of reason. Besides that, in no way does recognition of other realities or the limits of our own senses lend any credence to the existence of supreme beings of whatever sort, purely imaginary and arbitrary human inventions. No atheist is saying "this is all there is," all we are saying is, "this is all we have to go on" and your mysticism doesn't hold up under the criterion of reality and the senses.

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