Six Ways of Atheism
Geoffrey Berg has written a book with six new or improved arguments against God. I disagree — not one argument is new and nothing is improved. In fact, even atheists make fun of this guy (see Daniel Florien’s post here).
Before I get started dismantling this piece of crap, I want to address one of Berg’s comments in the introduction. He said:
Nor do I really wish to deal with my own personal status. Essentially the arguments I put are valid or invalid irrespective of whether they are original to me or not. It is the arguments I want to be considered, not the person putting the arguments. (p. 12)
He then goes on to complain about intellectual elitism in philosophy, and how you can succeed in business with no degree, but for philosophy, you need a Ph.D. or they won’t take you seriously.
Well, not surprisingly, I disagree. It all depends on the arguments. If you make good arguments and do your homework, people will take you seriously — even academics with tons of letters after their proper names.
Take me. I have an associate’s degree in business. That’s it. I have no training in theology or philosophy, not even a 101 class. However, I’ve had opponents ask what academic journals I’ve published in. Once, I made a silly (but logically valid) argument to get out of doing something at work, and my boss said snidely, “I can tell you have a degree in philosophy.”
Despite my lack of formal training, I have been recognized as a thinker in philosophy of religion. I have my detractors — most famously Austin Cline of atheism.about.com said I do not possess the intellectual honesty to even claim the title of “armchair philosopher.” A hit-and-run commenter on this blog said that were I to publish a book on philosophy of religion or Christian apologetics, it would be an insult to people who actually bothered to go to school to get degrees.
As I frequently say, any idiot can start a blog. Any dummy can self-publish a book. But, it doesn’t matter where the argument comes from as long as it is a solid argument. If it’s good, people of all stripes will take notice. Your book will sell. Your blog will gain a following.
So in that spirit, I am not going to consider Berg or his qualifications, only his arguments. If the arguments stand, then the source won’t matter. As it happens, I don’t feel any of them are valid arguments and we shall see why each one in turn is a train wreck.
Following are links to individual replies with summaries of why each argument fails:
- Aggregate of Qualities Argument. This argument is really good at defeating pagan gods that are part of the universe, but a transcendent creator wouldn’t fall into probability categories.
- Man and God Comprehension Gulf Argument. This is on shaky ground from the get-go: it is easy to identify if something is greater than you. You won’t know by how much, but you can know it is greater than you.
- God Has No Explanatory Value Argument. God doesn’t explain anything because he himself requires explaining? Doesn’t work. I don’t need to explain an explanation.
- This is Not the Best Possible World Argument. God created the best possible world, then man messed it up.
- The Universal Uncertainty Argument. This only applies to created entities who have no real certainty about their creator or their place in the world they find themselves. The one who created the universe wouldn’t suffer from uncertainty about his relationship to it.
- Some of God’s Defining Qualities Cannot Exist Argument. The argument fails because it doesn’t adequately explain why any of God’s defining qualities cannot exist.