Saturday, May 16, 2009

You can't spell "apologetics" without "apologize."

It's always amusing to watch Christian apologists bob, weave, duck, tap dance and engage in a furious relocation of goalposts whenever they're called on to observe the very same conditions they've laid down for their intellectual opponents. Here's my favourite:

Apologist: "Logically, everything that exists has to have a cause. There are no uncaused causes. Therefore, the universe must have a cause. Hence, God exists."

You: "Um, well, OK, but if everything has to have a cause, what caused God?"

Apologist: "Sorry, but that irrefutable axiom doesn't apply to us. What luck, eh?"

It happens all the time, particularly when you attempt to use the apologist's own argument against him. For example, one is constantly assaulted with the argument against natural evolution by way of probability, along the lines of, "Do you know the chances of an amino acid just reorganizing itself out of nothing? It's like a tornado blowing through a junkyard and building a 747! Oh, man, that's like, a hundred, million, skillion, bajillion to one! Ha ha! Stupid evolutionists!"

To which one, when hearing an argument that insipid, is tempted to respond thusly:

In that case, Mr. Ball, what do you think is the chance that an omniscient, omnipotent deity popped into existence by chance?

at which point, well, it's pretty much inevitable:

1. Probability has to do with chance and contingency. I see the universe as a contingent reality; one which need not exist, and which need not exist in the particular form it takes. So, both its existence and its particular form are both contingent.

2. Because the universe exists, it requires an adequate cause. Since time, matter, and energy all came into being as a result of the Big Bang, the sufficient cause of the Big Bang must be immaterial, exist outside of time, and be extremely creatively powerful.

3. Because of point 2, a being existing outside of time, i.e., eternal being becomes exceedingly likely. This being, in order to effect an ordered, mathematical universe which includes conscious, moral beings, must be a) eternal, b) personal, i.e., not impersonal, c) creative, d) moral, and e) powerful. All this becomes probable, because the universe requires a sufficient cause.

No, no, don't nod off, stay with me here, because we finally get to the gold standard of Christian apologetics relocation of goalposts (emphasis tail-waggingly added):

4. As a second point, probabilities apply to contingent realities. They do not apply to a being that exists outside of contingency, i.e., a necessary being. Therefore, the use of the logic and science of probability is inapplicable to the existence of God, who exists outside of time, chance, and contingency.

I'm going to do Blogging Tory Richard Ball a huge favour and supply him with the only Christian apologetic he will ever need, in any situation and under any cirsumstances:

"In order to prove the existence of the Christian God, I am going to propose some logical axioms that you have to obey but I get to violate whenever the fuck it suits me."

Really, that's pretty much the substance of it, isn't it? And it'll save everyone just buckets of time.

You're welcome.

AFTERSNARK: I've always loved how the vast majority of Christian apologists start off their fundamental axioms:

"I am now going to prove the existence of God. First, assume the existence of a necessary, perfect, infinite, immaterial, eternal, all-powerful, non-contingent being that exists outside of space and time, and for whom the basic rules of logic, physics and probability do not apply. The rest follows naturally."

Yeah, it would, wouldn't it?

1 comment:

KEvron said...