This one is guaranteed to give you a brain-ache. It’s at the website of Answers in Genesis (AIG). That’s the creationist ministry of Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo) — the ayatollah of Appalachia, the world’s holiest man who knows more about religion and science than everyone else.
The title is Are Atheists Right? Is Faith the Absence of Reason/Evidence?, and the author is Simon Turpin, described as “the executive director and speaker for Answers in Genesis–UK.” Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]:
Atheists often accuse Christians of believing things or having “faith” without evidence and like to remind them of the old adage: “faith is believing what you know is not true.” In the eyes of many atheists, “faith” has become a buzzword for putting your intellect out of gear and for believing something without any reason or evidence for it (i.e., blind faith).
Throughout Simon’s article, he uses the word “atheist” to mean “anyone who isn’t a creationist.” But that’s not his only word-game. His article is mainly about mangling the word “faith.” That takes a lot of creationist gyrations, because the only meaning of “faith” in this context is beyond controversy. Any dictionary will tell you it’s belief not based on logic or evidence. There are secondary meanings, usually synonyms for “confidence,” as when someone says: “I have faith that the pilot will get this plane to its destination.” As you might expect, Simon plays all kinds of games by quoting various people using the word “faith” in various ways. He gives us lots of bible quotes too. We’ll skip all that — which is more than half of his article — until it gets interesting. Ah, here we go:
How should we respond to the demand from atheists that in order for them to believe something they need evidence or reason for it? [Why not produce some evidence?] The reality of the matter is that for many atheists no evidence will ever be enough to convince them of God’s existence or the truth of who Jesus is, as they will always explain it away because they have a prior commitment to the philosophy of naturalism.
[*Groan*] We discussed all this years ago in Bring Me An Angel Detector! No need to do it again. But Simon is just getting warmed up. He says:
However, what they don’t seem to realize or want to acknowledge is that naturalism itself is a self-defeating worldview [What?] as it undermines the very facilities it takes in order to affirm reasoning. If humans are just the result of random, chance evolutionary processes, and our brain is also the product of random chemical reactions, then there is no basis to trust our reasoning facilities (as the brain would be controlled by physics and chemistry).
We are the result of billions of years of evolutionary experience, during which every generation weeded out organisms that didn’t react properly to stimuli. By this time, it’s reasonable have confidence in our ability to deal with the external world. Those occasional individuals that can’t will drop out of the gene pool and be given the Darwin award. Oh wait — Simon deals with that:
From a naturalistic evolutionary perspective “our brains were shaped for fitness, not for truth,” [footnote to something allegedly said by Steven Pinker in How the Mind Works] which means that a person’s beliefs do not have to be true: they just have to grant survival value. If atheistic naturalism were true, then there is no objective reasoning and freedom to our thoughts and therefore no reason to trust the thoughts that our brains produce because they were not designed to obtain truth.
That’s not worthy of a rebuttal, but Simon is so pleased with it that he carries it to an extreme:
In fact, if the brain is not designed [by You Know Who], then for the atheist all their thoughts and beliefs become rationally unjustified when it comes to asserting or evaluating truth claims. Therefore, if naturalism were true, how can atheists call on Christians (or anybody) to be reasonable or rational?
What else does Simon have for us? Here’s one more horribly mind-warping excerpt:
Atheists [Remember, that’s his word for “non-creationist.”] are emotionally committed to an underlying worldview that undermines the very reasoning processes that they need to account for intelligibility. Under atheist presuppositions, you cannot intelligibly account for reason. In other words, atheists may believe in reason, but they have no foundation to support that belief. Atheism is an arbitrary and irrational blind faith (i.e., without evidence) all the while dressed up as being reasonable.
And he finishes with this:
The Christian worldview is the only one that can give an account for faith and reason as all reasoning itself depends upon faith.
In your Curmudgeon’s humble opinion, that was an essay with absolutely no redeeming value whatsoever. But hey — it’s great creationism!
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