Today’s letter-to-the-editor was brought to our attention by one of the most covert agents in our far-flung network of secret operatives. It appears in the San Diego Union-Tribune of San Diego, California. The title is A matter of belief and Part Two is here. We’ll give you a few excerpts, enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary, and some bold font for emphasis. As we usually do, we’ll omit the writer’s name and city. Okay, here we go:
Why do atheists get so upset at the mention of God? Are they afraid of something? Only after sharia law comes to the U.S. do they need to worry. From my Catholic schooling of many decades ago, we were taught that belief is ultimately a matter of faith, as logically is disbelief, since neither point can be absolutely proven.
Aaaargh!! Belief in an unevidenced proposition is not as logical as disbelief. We thought everyone knew that. The letter continues:
Catholics can also believe in evolution. All you have to believe is that God gathered the stuff together and lit the match. After that; it is all physics and chemistry.
Yes, that’s about it. Let’s read on:
I offer $1,000 and rejection of my belief to any atheist who can prove from where the universe came. I’m not very worried that I will ever have to pay off.
That’s probably a safe bet. But it doesn’t have any probative value as to whether a deity created the universe. And if there ever were evidence as to the ultimate source of the universe, it won’t necessarily be an atheist who discovers it. Theists can also do science if they want to, and many do. The letter continues:
If believers are wrong, nothing happens when they die. Atheists could be in big trouble if they are wrong. But at least they might be toasty warm for all eternity.
Charming. The letter-writer has invoked Pascal’s Wager, which is utterly fallacious. Okay, that’s where Part One ends, so let’s move on to Part Two. The formatting at that newspaper is utterly chaotic, and this may be a letter by someone else, but they were titled together and the mindset is similar so we’ll include it anyway:
I’ve had to chuckle this past week reading letters from atheists who think it is believers in God who are the ones with faith. Let’s get real.
Huh? Faith is defined as belief in something without proof or strong evidence. Here’s more:
To be an atheist you have to believe that the universe came into existence from nothing and by nothing. You don’t have to be a scientist to recognize the faith it takes to believe this silliness.
It gets tiresome to see the assertion that cosmology is identical to atheism, but we’ll try to overlook it. Anyway, no scientist has to believe that “from nothing by nothing” stuff. It’s sufficient to say that we don’t yet know. Contrast that with the faith of the letter-writer, who claims that somehow he does know. Whatever it is that he regards as “knowledge” comes only from faith. Moving along:
But atheist’s beliefs go even further into irrationality. We now know that the universe appears to have been designed for life. The odds against such a universe occurring by chance are absolutely overwhelming.
Aaaargh!! What we know is that life exists in the universe, albeit precariously and definitely not in most environments. We don’t have a clue that the universe was designed for life — indeed, most of it is hostile to life. As for “the odds” against the universe being overwhelming, we must ask: Compared to what? This is the only universe we know. We can’t compare it to others to learn whether it’s an outlier. It is what is is. Here’s the end:
So what are atheists forced to believe? That there have been literally millions or billions of universes and that ours happens to allow for life. They can’t explain how to get one universe but they are forced to believe in vast numbers of them. Atheists are people of profound faith.
No one, regardless of his religious beliefs (or unbelief) is forced to believe in the multiverse, and the multiverse concept isn’t logically related to atheism. As with evolution, theists can also believe it. However, this universe is the only one we’re ever likely to know, and for us it’s entirely sufficient. Why is reality so difficult for people to accept?
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