A Discoveroid’s Proof of the Existence of God

The Discovery Institute just posted something that is absolutely astonishing. It’s at their creationist website, titled Theists vs. Atheists: Who Has the Burden of Proof?, and it was written by Michael Egnor — that’s his write-up at the Encyclopedia of American Loons. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]:

A common refrain from those atheists who are willing to debate theists is that theists, not atheists, have the burden of proof in the debate over God’s existence. [That sounds reasonable!] Internet atheist Matt Dillahunty made this claim in our recent debate. [Links omitted.] Regrettably, it looks doubtful that Dillahunty and I will debate again. He didn’t fare well — he had no real understanding of any of the ten classical proofs of God’s existence — and in the wake of his confused and rambling attempts at exculpation he refuses to debate me again.

Then Egnor says:

His reluctance is understandable — he was clearly shaken by the revelation that his rejection of the proofs of God’s existence isn’t based on any actual understanding on his part of the arguments. Like all other Internet atheists I’ve encountered, Dillahunty is ignorant of the overwhelming evidence for God’s existence [Gasp!] and is unwilling to admit his ignorance or correct it.

Are you ignorant of that “overwhelming evidence,” dear reader? Then this post is for you! Egnor tells us:

Dillahunty said: “Normally I point out in these debates that I’m not here to defend a no because the burden of proof is on those who say there is a yes. It’s not up to atheists to prove that a God doesn’t exist.”

Does that sound reasonable to you, dear reader? Then keep reading. Egnor informs us:

Atheists’ own arguments against God’s existence are actually few and weak — for example, Dillahunty’s favorite argument against God is the argument from Divine Hiddenness, which I discuss here [link omitted]. The argument boils down to this: if God exists, He would make atheists believe in Him. Atheists don’t believe in Him, so He doesn’t exist.

By this logic, atheists could make God exist by agreeing to believe in Him, and they could make Him go into and out of existence on alternate days if they believed and disbelieved in unison.

Powerful stuff, huh? Let’s read on:

In order to elide the obvious conclusion that they don’t have any good arguments [Hee hee!], atheists claim that, in a debate, the burden of proof is always on the “yes” side, not the “no” side. Their argument is that it is difficult to prove a negative. But that is irrelevant to the question of God’s existence because both theists and atheists make positive assertions. The fundamental question is, “Why is there something rather than nothing?” Theists say God is the ground of existence and atheists say Nature is the ground of existence.

That‘s the fundamental question? Okay, if Egnor says so. Here’s another excerpt:

A negative claim by atheists — “We have no idea why there is something rather than nothing” — is a proclamation of ignorance, not an immunity idol. That is, it confers no “tribal immunity” from responsibility to provide evidence and reason in support of the view that the universe exists without God. “I’m ignorant” is no substitute for a reasoned argument supported by evidence.

Egnor’s argument is looking better and better! And now we come to the end:

Ordinarily, both sides in a debate have an obligation to present evidence and logic to support their views. Under what circumstances would a participant in a debate really have no burden of proof?

If you can’t refute Egnor’s arguments, and yet you continue to reject creationism, then you, dear reader, are a fool!

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27 responses to “A Discoveroid’s Proof of the Existence of God

  1. Theodore Lawry

    Egnor really is stupid. He doesn’t understand that saying “God created everything” is no answer to the question of “Why is there something rather than nothing?” That’s because if God exists, then God becomes part of the “something” whose existence needs to be explained. Surely if God exists, then God is not nothing! So the question “Why is there something rather than nothing?” becomes “Why does God exist?” Theists don’t have an answer to that question other than “I want to believe in God so bad!”

    It may be true that the world exists because God created it, but how do you prove it? The fact that atheists “have no idea why there is something rather than nothing” is not a problem for atheists because theists don’t know either. Duh!

  2. Derek Freyberg

    Whoever referred to Mikey’s ramblings as “invincible Egnorance” had it right.

  3. Stephen Kennedy

    Egnor seems to be claiming that an individual can choose what to believe and are even capable of changing what they believe if it achieves some goal. The fact is that one can not choose a sincerely held belief. Something either has credibility for you and you believe it, or it does not have credibility for you and you can not help but not believe it.

    The Theory of Evolution has credibility for me and I therefore accept it. Why something has credibility for me but does not for somebody like Egnor or Hambo is not something I have any understanding of. It could be genetics, education, life experiences or a hundred other things. This is likely a problem for the Behavioral Sciences to unravel. Since my background is in Physical Sciences I do not think I can add much to the topic of why people have wildly different beliefs.

  4. Ross Cameron

    If you`re too lazy to Google it, here are the irrefutable ten laws of hogwash. Any challenges?
    https://mindmatters.ai/2021/09/2-a-neurosurgeons-ten-proofs-for-the-existence-of-god/

  5. Atheists’ own arguments against God’s existence are actually few and weak — for example, Dillahunty’s favorite argument against God is the argument from Divine Hiddenness, which I discuss here [link omitted]. The argument boils down to this: if God exists, He would make atheists believe in Him. Atheists don’t believe in Him, so He doesn’t exist.

    By this logic, atheists could make God exist by agreeing to believe in Him, and they could make Him go into and out of existence on alternate days if they believed and disbelieved in unison.

    Wow that escalated quickly didn’t it. Pretend like you don’t get why atheists would be skeptical of a hidden savior god, Michael.

  6. Frankly Michael Egnor, I agree with Laplace and have no need for a sky fairy hypothesis. And, as a rabbi once told me, if someone tells you there’s a golden calf dancing in the air in front of you, and you see no evidence of it, you are entitled to say “I don’t believe you”. Physics pretty well describes how the universe is, without any need for magical mystery gods.

  7. This guy is hilarious he’s like the Peter Doocy of neurosurgeons.

  8. Most of the arguments for God seem to me to be arguments from ultimate causation. The choice appears to be between an ultimate cause and infinite recursion. I cannot choose between them. But if there is an ultimate cause, what is it? Must it be an intelligence? Must it even be self-aware? Again, I don’t know. It seems to me that those two layers of imponderability have to be negotiated before even deism becomes possible.

    I would argue that the above is the classical atheist position. It makes no assertion as to the existence of God. The only assertion it makes is a personal lack of belief in His existence, because there is no acceptable evidence. That is, if it is asserting anything, it does not relate to God, but to the mind of the arguer – which they can be reasonably expected to actually know. So Egnor’s attempt at equivalence – that both sides are making assertions about the existence of God – is simply wrong.

    Of course, if the atheist steps beyond a statement of personal belief, and asserts positively that God does not exist, the terms of the argument change.

    Theists have a powerful counter: that there is no possibility that a skeptical mind could ever accept any evidence for God. There is no evidence that could not be dismissed as hallucination, delusion, fraud or simple mistake. Prating about evidence is therefore pointless.

    For me, it circles around an unresolvable conundrum. I don’t know. What I do not know, I do not know. No knowledge. A gnosis.

  9. Charles Deetz ;)

    From Ross’s link, part of proof 5: ” the fact that inanimate things don’t know what to do but do it anyway implies that there is a mind guiding things. ” Rocks falling proves God, seriously, that’s his example.

  10. @Charles Deetz 😉 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Five_Ways_(Aquinas)

    Matt says Aquinas made philosophical arguments and then Egnor says nuh-uh they’re scientifical arguments. And then Matt says something is scientific and Engor says nuh-uh they’re philosopical. This is what Matt was up against.

  11. The “Five ways (Aquinas)” has a Wikipedia article. (Btw, Aquinas, in his exposition of the fourth way, says that the greatest heath exists in fire. If you accept that as a scientific truth, that is an exception to the following.)
    I see nothing in the Five Ways which has anything related to the motion of the Earth, common descent of all life on Earth over billions of years, or the Big Bang, among other commonplaces of 21st century science.

  12. “A negative claim by atheists — “We have no idea why there is something rather than nothing” — is a proclamation of ignorance” Ignorance that I’m proud of, since it’s warranted. (But I expect Lawrence Krauss would disagree)

  13. @Paul Braterman
    Why is there something rather than nothing?
    I am not sure that that is a meaningful question. It might just be an example of the fallacy of generalization. Why should I expect an answer for everything? There are countless kinds of things, each for. a different reason, why expect a catch-all reason?

  14. Like all other Internet atheists I’ve encountered, Dillahunty is ignorant of the overwhelming evidence for God’s existence

    Why is he pretending like Dillahunty and all other atheists never heard all of that before.

  15. Atheists’ own arguments against God’s existence are actually few and weak

    I mean, what do you want? Not much can be said besides pointing out how stupid your specific god is. But that never works because people frekin love stupid gods. It’s like their favorite thing ever.

  16. At my age, “advanced” by most measures, I find it amusing that anyone bothers taking either side regarding the existence of any kind of god. Is there nothing better to do with one’s limited time here?

  17. @TomS, as I understand it Krauss ould say that the laws of quantum mechanics made the origin of a universe (? of an endless stream of universes) inevitable. Egnor might reply that the laws of quantum mechanics are something, not nothing, and where did they come from? FWIW, I think the question is set up to be unanswerable; if X is proposed as an answer, X is itself something and requires an explanation. Aquinas, as I understand it, says that if X did not have a beginning, it did not need a cause (is Aquinas assuming a time dimension extending infinitely backwards? The idea of time as itself part of nature, rather than as a framework against which nature plays out, is not much more than a century old). At this point, I wish I could agree with Russell, who in 1913 denounced the concept of cause as an damaging muddle.

  18. @Pstachowski, I think the issue is not the existence of God but the pretensions of those who claim to have proved His existence

  19. For some of us, the concern is that one’s belief in God or the supernatural is dependent on a denial of well established science.

  20. bewilderbeast

    “There’s lots of evidence for God” – Right!
    “The election was stolen from me” – Right!
    The last thing “followers” need is evidence.

  21. @Paul Braterman
    I believe that Augustine considered that time might have a beginning.
    That space-time has a geometry, is that original with Einstein? That there is such a thing as non-Euclidean geometry is, of course, 19th century.

  22. @TomS, I don’t really know but think Einstein was original in suggesting that the space-time framework was distorted by matter, and that our actual 3 + 1 space-time was non-Euclidean, although ofc non-euclidean geometry as a concept was older, and indeed the geometry of the 2-D surface of a sphere embedded in Euclidean 3-D space was recognised as an example

  23. The Egnorance is quite the pile of ear wax, isn’t he? He thinks he’s a starred Michelin chef but in reality his serving of pancakes, eggs, sausage, bacon and hash browns is only a Denny’s grand slam; he’s a hack short-order cook in a run down Denny’s off of I-40 in Joplin, Missouri.

    Been there. In my student years. The waitress was 100 if a day and probably still works there.

    Anyway, I was never impressed with Aquinas, but who gives a rat’s what I think. I know my place. The guy was doing his level best in the 13th Century, no quibble there. What I find laughable to the point of being offensive, though, is pulling out poor old Thomas and saying, “Ta da!” as if you discovered something new and profound. Aquinas is neither.

    It’s not even worthy of debate. Just say “Nope” five times and you’re done. The Egnorance, a mind-brain dualist (of course he is!) once likened Yaw-Weh to ATT and your brain as a cell phone, or something like that. Yeah, just jaw-droppingly stupid.

  24. Derek Freyberg

    As I understand it, Aquinas did not even claim that his proofs of the existence of God were in fact proofs of a kind that could convince an unbeliever, rather that they were “proofs” of a kind that would reinforce the beliefs of a believer.
    And that seems indeed to be the case; though it does not stop some people, like Egnor or Edward Feser, from proclaiming Aquinas as the ultimate authority.

  25. Puck Mendelssohn

    It’s usually a sign of something awful when these people start talking about “burden of proof.” What an odd thing to fixate on; it’s a purely procedural issue on a question of substance, more useful in a legal dispute than in a live dispute about facts in the real world.

    But what that says to me is this: “I haven’t got good evidence for my position. So what I will do is insist that if there isn’t good evidence, we should assume I am right!” Sure, Bucko. Go for it. But be unsurprised when others point and laugh.

    The proposition that a thing exists is defensible only through evidence. If the best you’ve got on your side is an argument that, in the absence of evidence, your position is presumptively true, that’s about as weak as weakness gets.

  26. Puck Mendelssohn

    Argh. Typo time. Should have said “”if the best you’ve got on your side is an argument that…”

  27. Puck Mendelssohn, all is well.