Today’s letter-to-the-editor appears in the Daily Lobo, the student newspaper of the University of New Mexico. It’s titled The beliefs of many atheists are based on unscientific presuppositions. The newspaper has a comments feature.
This letter has two authors, but because they aren’t politicians, preachers, or other public figures, we won’t embarrass or promote them by using their full names. Their first names are Marshall and Ringo, described as “Daily Lobo readers.” Excerpts from their letter will be enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary and some bold font for emphasis. Here we go!
We would like to present the results of the Atheist Survey collected on the UNM Albuquerque campus in April-May 2015. Of the 56 self-proclaimed atheists and agnostics who completed the survey, 45 (80 percent) have at least one parent who believed in God, 35 (63 percent) believed in God as a child, and 42 (75 percent) began to doubt God’s existence prior to leaving high school.
That’s probably not a remarkable result. What caused their unbelief? Marshall and Ringo tell us:
Regarding what caused them to disbelieve in God, 41 (73 percent) answered study of science, philosophy or personal research and 15 (27 percent) cited life experiences. 39 (70 percent) believe in the Big Bang theory and 55 (98 percent) believe in evolution. To the question about what might convince them that God exists, 24 (43) said that adequate evidence or miracles might convince them.
Aha — it’s the usual suspects: science, the Big Bang, and evolution. Let’s read on:
Perhaps the least surprising result of this survey is the universal belief in evolution, since, if there is no God, the existence of life on Earth must have a natural explanation, of which the theory of evolution is the only one accepted by scientists.
Since most atheists and agnostics began life as believers in God, having parents who were theistic, it is very likely that understanding the theory of evolution contributed to their conversion to atheism. Only 70 percent believe in the Big Bang, so the rest likely believe in an eternal universe, thus avoiding the Kalam Cosmological Argument for the existence of God.
The Kalam cosmological argument is a “modern” version of an old Muslim argument that can be traced back to Aristotle’s unmoved mover. The Discoveroids like it — see Three from William Lane Craig. Marshall and Ringo continue:
The most surprising result of the survey was that 40 percent suggested they might believe in God if adequate evidence were presented: either scientifically verifiable evidence or palpable miracles.
Yes, of course. Verifiable evidence is what’s always been lacking. But look what Marshall and Ringo say about that:
Of course, they have already consigned the existence of life and the universe itself to the category of “not evidence for God,” or else they would be theists. Any physical, scientific evidence offered for the existence of God could be easily consigned to the same category.
BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Just as creationists dismiss evidence for evolution. The difference is that evidence for evolution does exist. Here’s more:
These 40 percent of the atheists who think new evidence might convince them of the existence of God seem to be unaware of the presuppositions on which their worldview is founded, and perhaps unaware that they even have any presuppositions.
Presuppositions? Like logic and the scientific method? Yeah, well, it’s rather difficult to do any science without them. But Marshall and Ringo deal with that at the end of their letter:
They seem to think that it is a scientific fact that the existence of the universe and life on Earth are not evidence for God. They fail to understand that they have a worldview based upon presuppositions, which by definition are not scientific facts.
So there you are. Marshall and Ringo are convinced that atheists and agnostics are blind to the facts. Perhaps they are. What do you think, dear reader?
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