I have decided not to offer a formal rebuttal to your posting, but rather a concluding summation. This summation shall be my last word in this continuing discussion, although I promise to read any response you might offer. One of the reasons I have chosen not to formally respond is I think your most recent posting is unhelpful and only serves to obscure the issues upon which we have hit. In the posting, you repeatedly pluck single sentences from my composition and then demand they be justified or explained. The problem, of course, is that you intentionally do not quote the very justification and explanation I already have provided in the composition to which you are ostensibly responding. I do not care to repeat myself ad infinitum. So, most of the answers to your questions can be easily found by reading my previous response.
More broadly, as it relates to your objections to my worldview, your line of questioning has grown increasingly hairsplitting, venturing dangerously close to absurdity. As “blacksun” (a commenter on my blog) wrote, “Forcing you to defend the term ‘evidence??’ … That's like arguing over what the definition of the word ‘is’ is.” The commenter continued, “Wow. I know there are loonies out there, but I haven't run into a discussion this absurd in ages.” While “garbage in, garbage out” is an accepted truism, I shall expand that to “absurdity in, absurdity out.” Your most recent line of questioning spectacularly exemplifies that, and I shall not fall into your well-laid trap.
Another problem with your most recent round of questions is that it presupposes your own worldview, which you have utterly failed to substantiate. [Note to readers: Go back to my 3636-word, three-part response a couple rounds back. Of all Rhology’s truth-claims that I called into question, which has he substantiated?] You believe there must be “grounds” for logic, reason and induction? OK, then explain what you mean by “grounds” and explain why those things demand such a foundation. Explain why your god character represents sufficient “grounds” while competing god characters (Vishnu, Enlil, Brahman, Ammon-Ra, Zeus) represent insufficient “grounds.” To this point, your contention is completely unsupported, devoid of evidence or explanation, and hardly coherent because you have failed merely to define your terms. What is more, you continue to presuppose the Bible is a perfect vessel of truth, which is another woefully unsupported truth-claim. In fact, looking back through all our interactions, I struggle to find a single instance in which you provide convincing evidence to substantiate the wild presuppositions upon which your worldview depends. By contrast, in my previous composition, I comprehensively defended my truth-claims and an evidence-centric worldview.
Overall, I am completely happy with the results of this discussion, and I eagerly would invite theists and atheists to read it. Among my achievements are
1. Presenting the case against “unlimited attributes,” which I convincingly argued represent an absurd contradiction of terms. If you posit a god character possessing “unlimited attributes,” and I have proved “unlimited attributes” are absurd, then your god character also is proved absurd.
2. Getting you to admit (sans prodding, no less!) that god and the supernatural are beyond the bounds of knowledge (and, thus, nobody can offer any descriptor in relation to the deity or its native realm).
3. Making the case that human language is only functional in its proper context—that being the natural world. When human language is wrenched from the natural world and shoved into a supernatural one (for example, trying to use the descriptor “infinitely powerful” to characterize your god invention), it ceases to be meaningful because it ceases to be in its context.
Of course, as already referenced, arguably my greatest achievement in this engagement has been demonstrating that, no matter how many times you are asked, you refuse to provide evidence to substantiate your presuppositions. You operate from an entirely presuppositional stance and, when asked to justify it, you instead choose to repeat the fantastical presuppositions being questioned. Once again, in stark contrast, my last composition was a thorough defense of my worldview, addressing every question you raised in a comprehensive, convincing manner.
Finally, I now shall explain how I could be convinced of god’s existence. In short, the only way to defeat atheism’s challenge (the challenge of a lack of theistic belief) is to support theism convincingly. You cannot tear apart atheism’s worldview because atheism, in itself, presents no worldview to tear apart. Atheism is a wholly negative stance, proffering no positive foundation.
Here is a systematic breakdown of an experiment that would transform me into a Christian:
1. Noted atheists Christopher Hitchens, Dr. Richard Dawkins, Dr. Daniel Dennett, Dr. Sam Harris, Dr. James Randi, Penn Jillette, Dr. Michael Shermer and Dr. Victor Stenger scour the country’s morgues to find a dead body on which they would like to experiment. The only absolute requirements are that the corpse must have been of average intelligence whilst alive, with no retardation of any type, and an adult. Other variables are irrelevant. Each atheist chooses a cadaver of his liking. Through a competitive coin-toss tournament, one atheist’s selected corpse is chosen for the experiment.
2. The corpse is brought to an examining area, wherein three doctors (all exhaustively trained in the human brain) study it and judge whether it has suffered brain death. The experiment can only continue when all three doctors agree that the corpse is dead and brain death definitely has occurred.
3. The corpse is brought to a church for the next step, and a holy man is chosen to perform the miracle still to come.
4. Inside the church, with no medical equipment present, the holy man is to say, “By the power of Jesus Christ, the son of god, let this person return to life and full vitality! Do this in the name of the lord!” Then, for no more than ten minutes, all parties involved wait.
5. The corpse would come back to life and then be returned to the hospital from whence it came.
6. Three different doctors (all exhaustively trained in the human brain) perform thorough testing on the newly vibrant corpse. The experiment can only continue when all three doctors agree that the corpse is now alive and brain death has been reversed.
7. A relatively simple examination is administered to the dearly resurrected, to judge whether its brain is working properly. For example, 7th grade algebra would be of representative difficulty. An examination score of less than 50% would indicate a faulty brain and yield a negative result for the experiment.
8. The complete experiment—beginning to end—is broadcast live on television, both nationally and internationally. The production crew (composed of atheists and religionists in roughly equal numbers) must be professional, boasting considerable experience in live broadcasting. Finally, the earlier-referenced atheist cabal must be present for every second of the experiment. No funny business.
Admittedly, lesser evidence might make me question my atheism. Lesser evidence might cause me sleepless nights. However, after giving the issue considerable thought, I have concluded that only an experiment of this rigorous nature could utterly convince me of Christianity’s veracity.
It has been a pleasure.