HOME   People do good because they are human, not because they are religious! 

Do not give God any credit for the good they do, they did it!

 

REVIEW: FRANK TUREK STEALING FROM GOD

This book claims that atheists are using arguments that belong to and with belief in God to argue against God.  In a nutshell that is not enough to prove atheists wrong.  Contradictions are when one argument is against another so what if the reason atheists find themselves contradicting themselves is that the concepts of God and morality are incoherent?  If atheists are actually trying to talk coherently about what is inherently incoherent then they succeed in vindicating atheism for they prove that God is self-contradictory confused nonsense.  Turek like all self-styled believers keeps away from any prime and successful arguments against God and the wisdom of believing in God.

Quote: Thanks to fellow atheist Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins now appears to affirm objective morality while maintaining his atheism. In his book The Moral Landscape, Harris takes the position that objective moral values really do exist, and they can be explained without invoking God. He claims that if we just use our reason, we’ll see that “human flourishing” is the standard by which we determine something is good or bad. Anything that helps humans flourish is good. Since reason and science can tell us what helps humans flourish, there is no need for God to ground objective moral values. If Harris is correct, it seems that he has successfully shot down the moral argument for God.

My comment: Christians say that this account does not explain why we should care about the flourishing of others.  They say that morality gets its authority from God.  God is just and loving and so morality is grounded in his nature – the kind of God he is.  This does not fit the doctrine that we must love sinners and hate their sin as if their sins say nothing about them as a person.  If you cannot say your badness says something about you then it is the same for good.  You are denying that bad or good deeds say anything about anybody.  Thus you cannot say that God’s goodness reflects on him.  You are only being saccharine and fake.  But back to how moral principles are valid because God is good and just and loving.  What is that saying?  It is saying God is flourished.  If God being flourished grounds morality then us being flourished and being able to be grounds morality as well.  If there is no God then morality is indeed grounded in us.  So the believers accidently prove Harris right!

Quote: I asked Christopher to identify the objective standard by which he judged something to be evil. He kept avoiding a direct answer, so I finally just blurted out, “What is evil?” Without missing a beat, he quipped, “Religion!”

My comment: It takes guts to be evil.  Even being cowardly has risks.  You fail to protect yourself.  It takes faith.  It is the case that you think something supernatural is protecting you and you are made magically powerful and safe through the evil.  You may not realise it.  That is a form of religion for it is a strong form of religious faith.

Quote: Idols don’t really exist!

My comment: So to worship God if he is not real or any unreal god is to waste worship.  It is worshipping nothing.  Christianity says that God is the one realest thing so it follows that if he is worshipped and he is not real then that is the worst idolatry of all.  Worshipping Zeus is less risky!

Quote: Don’t Atheists Just Lack a Belief in God? It’s been fashionable lately for atheists to claim that they merely “lack a belief in God.” So when a theist comes along and says that atheists can’t support their worldview, some atheists will say something like, “Oh, we really don’t have a worldview. We just lack a belief in God. Since we’re not making any positive claims about the world, we don’t have any burden of proof to support atheism. We just find the arguments for God to be lacking.”   That is why the argument: "Christians are atheists towards all gods but one" is not only a good point but proves it makes less sense to argue there is one true all-powerful God than to argue that a god like Odin is real.

Turek thinks that this is not saying anything about God’s existence but only saying that the atheist “I’m not psychologically convinced that God exists.”

His point is that you thinking there is no case for God is not proof or evidence that you are right.  But it is extremely weak evidence.  It is still evidence.  Evidence can be a hunch that you cannot put your finger on.  The hunch is telling you that something is not right even if you do not know what it is.  And if God is truth he is by definition bigger than any errors you make so thinking there is no case for God is a sign that he may not exist.  It does not need to be good evidence to be evidence.  Thinking there is no God is evidence that there is none.  It is not the same thing as thinking Australia does not exist.  Australia is not able to influence your mind and make sure you get information.

He argues that everything lacks belief in God. Are squirrels atheists then?  Why not?  They are conscious beings – not as smart as us but they must have a degree of intelligence!

Are atheists who say that atheism is a lack of belief in God thinking of belief as in trust?  The difference between defining atheism as a lack of belief in God and as a lack of trust in God is that belief is about theory and trust is a personal assurance that God will deal fair with you and look after you.  The latter is a denial that God is God so it is atheism in that sense.

Quote: If atheists merely “lacked a belief in God,” they wouldn’t be constantly trying to explain the world by offering supposed alternatives to God.

My comment: Atheists giving alternatives to God does not mean they just care about finding alternatives to God.  Atheists give alternatives to atheistic theories about how the universe and life began.  God is one alternative suggestion among many for testing and thinking.

Quote:  Atheism is a worldview with beliefs just as much as theism is a worldview with beliefs. (A “worldview” is a set of beliefs about the big questions in life, such as: What is ultimate reality? Who are we? What’s the meaning of life? How should we live? What’s our destiny? etc.)

My comment: Atheism is simply about God.  The consequence of that belief follow from atheism but are not atheism.  How we should live? is the main part of a worldview but it does not follow that God or atheism helps with that question.  It is the now that we have to work with - our future destiny if any is not what we are working with and in now.  For more than a thousand years Judaism got by without worrying about us having any destiny other than death.  Concern about the afterlife was only made part of the faith much later.  There is no reason to agree with Turek that a worldview is about the things he lists.  For some it is just about how we live.  For gnostics it is just about our destiny.  For theists it may be just about cherishing God - Jesus said to love God for his own sake and to love others only to please God so it is really only God who is loved.  This doctrine makes other things pale into virtual nothingness.  We should speak of worldviews not worldview.  Each thing Turek lists is a worldview.  He cannot call a collection of worldviews a worldview.

Quote: No one created something out of nothing?  To doubt the law of causality is to doubt virtually everything we know about reality, including our ability to reason and do science. All arguments, all thinking, all science, and all aspects of life depend on the law of causality.

My comment: If no one created the universe out of nothing who cares?  Something did.

Quote: There are good reasons for positing God. If space, time, and matter had a beginning, then the cause must transcend space, time, and matter. In other words, the cause must be spaceless, timeless, and immaterial. This cause also must be enormously powerful to create the universe out of nothing. And it must be a personal agent in order to choose to create, since an impersonal force has no capacity to choose to create anything. Agents create. Impersonal forces, which we call natural laws, merely govern what is already created, provided agents don’t interfere.  For example, gravity as an impersonal force can’t decide anything. It blindly does the same thing over and over…

Comment: The cause does not need to transcend space and time and matter.  A different kind of space time and matter or energy can cause what we have.  And an impersonal force can choose in a sense.  A person who is insane with drugs still acts like there is enough of a faculty there to choose.  What can Turek do to refute the suggestion that our personalities and brains are comprised of countless regularities that blindly do the same thing over and over but we cannot notice for it is so complicated and works as if we are not blindly doing things?

Quote: The cause must be beyond nature, which is what we mean by the term “supernatural.” John was quick to charge me with committing the “God of the gaps” fallacy. When we can’t figure out a natural cause, we plug God into that gap in knowledge and say that He did it. That’s not only wrong, it’s “lazy,” as many atheists assert. But that’s not what’s going on here. I explained that we are not basing our conclusion on a mere “gap” in our knowledge. Those of us who conclude that a theistic God is the cause of the universe are not arguing from what we don’t know (a gap), but what we do know. Since space, time, and matter had a beginning, we know that the cause can’t be made of space, time, or matter. In fact, the conclusion that there is a spaceless, timeless, immaterial, powerful, personal first cause flows logically from the evidence itself. If anyone is committing a fallacy, it is the atheist. Call it the “natural law of the gaps fallacy”—having faith that an undiscovered natural law will one day explain the beginning of the universe.

Comment: You don't need a miracle to explain the puddle on your floor.  You don't know how it happened.  Saying its supernatural fills a gap or saying it is natural does.  Which one is based on what we know?  The natural.  Filling it with a natural explanation is better than just leaving the gap.  Leaving the gap is better than filling it with magic.  Any other set up is just illogical.

Quote: Krauss says the cause of the universe is not God—it is “nothing.” He cites happenings at the quantum level to dispense with the need for God. (The quantum level is the world of the extremely small, subatomic in size.) “One of the things about quantum mechanics is not only can nothing become something, nothing always becomes something,” says Dr. Krauss. “Nothing is unstable. Nothing will always produce something in quantum mechanics.”

Comment: Seems to be saying that nothing is not really nothing.  The idea that God made all things denies that there is simply nothing.

Quote: While it is true that one can use bad philosophy, it is impossible to use no philosophy. In fact—and this is the essential point—Krauss, Dawkins, and the like can’t do science without philosophy.

Comment: Good.

Quote: For monotheism, the starting point is an unexplained God. For science, the starting point is the unexplained laws of nature.

Comment: Both sides hold that it all boils down to unexplained laws.  Even God didn't and couldn't make a law that he must exist and he didn't make himself the way he is.

Quote: God’s relationship to the law of causality is like that. It’s often misunderstood. Contrary to what many atheists seem to believe, the law of causality does not say that everything has a cause. The law of causality says that everything that has a beginning has a cause, or every effect has a cause. But not everything can be an effect.

Comment: If something did not have a cause that does not mean it is a God. 

Quote: Human beings change, but logic doesn’t change. The laws of logic provide an unchanging independent measuring stick of truth across changing time, culture, and human belief. They are true everywhere, at every time, and for everyone. In fact, that’s why we call them laws—the laws of logic apply equally to all of us as do the laws of physics and math. Second, if we each had nothing more than our own private conceptions of the laws of logic, how could communication be possible?

Comment: Life cannot work and we cannot co-operate without principles to agree on.

Quote: If they say, “All truth changes,” ask them, “Does that truth change?” If they say, “All truth depends on your perspective,” ask them, “Does that truth depend on your perspective?” If they say, “You’re just playing word games with me!” ask them “Is that a word game? Why is it that when I use logic, you say it’s a word game, but when you use logic, you assume it’s gospel truth?”

Quote: The absolute truth is that it’s impossible to deny the laws of logic without using them. They are the self-evident reasoning tools we need to discover everything else about the world. They are self-evident in the sense that you don’t reason to them, you reason from them.

Comment: Good!  All who oppose morality as an objective truth are in fact assuming it is!  Everybody has a logic or morality or philosophy even if they do it badly.

Quote: If Crick is correct, we’re not free creatures—we’re just molecular machines. We’re not really reasoning; we’re merely reacting.

Comment: Computers can think!  Reason is a reaction of a certain kind.  The dog may have no reason but it acts as if it knows not to jump into the fire. 

Quote: Thoughts can change brain chemistry. In researching “cognitive therapy,” several studies confirm that psychotherapy patients can use their thoughts to create metabolic changes in their brains to overcome depression. So there’s some truth to the saying, “you can become what you think about.”

Comment: Another proof that the fundamental Christian doctrine that you can love the sinner and hate the sin for the sin is not the sinner is a lie. 

Quote: Neuroscientist Mario Beauregard and his coauthor Denyse O’Leary observe that, “placebos usually help a percentage of patients enrolled in the control group of a study, perhaps 35 to 45 percent. Thus, in recent decades, if a drug’s effect is statistically significant, which means that it is at least 5 percent better than a placebo, it can be licensed for use.”  In other words, in some cases, merely thinking you are getting medicine is almost as good as actually getting medicine. This makes no sense if materialism is true.

Comment: It makes perfect sense when a placebo is less effective than you'd expect.  The score is not very good and ignores the fact that if a person is given a placebo and gets better that it still may have little or nothing to do with the placebo. 

Placebos are compatible with materialism for if thoughts are material powers then good thoughts might help.  Placebos are evidence for materialism.

The evidence is that despite the placebo's good name it is over-emphasised and opens the door to charlatans.

Quote: Theists are just advocating common sense. There really are immaterial realities that are intuitively obvious and that we use continuously, such as the laws of logic, the laws of mathematics, objective moral values, consciousness, and free will. In fact, some of those immaterial realities you are using right now to read and understand this sentence.

Comment: But logic and mathematics are not things.  They are not spirits!  They are abstract not immaterial!

Quote: To be fair, Dawkins actually means chance, but that’s hardly better. Chance is not a cause. It’s a word we use to describe mathematical possibilities or to cover our ignorance when we really don’t know what the cause is. There is no causal force out there known as “chance” or “luck.” Dawkins certainly wouldn’t accept a Christian citing “chance” or “luck” as a reason to believe in God or the Resurrection.

Comment: A Christian who says that he believes Jesus rose from the dead is saying he believes first of all that it was an act of God but as belief is not knowledge the implication is that its a belief selected for primacy among a range of beliefs.  The scale is that principally you think God did it and secondly that it was supernatural but not down to God and thirdly that chance did it like magic and so on.  A belief only excludes what you select as your chief belief but the other ones are there graded according to what you think is possible and probable.  Belief is not choosing one thing and nothing else but the preferable belief from the menu that seems to fit the facts and evidence best. 

Quote: The absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence of absence. Maybe we’ll find evidence someday that natural laws can do the job. After all, isn’t Meyer just committing the “God of the gaps” fallacy? As you remember, that’s the fallacy where you plug God into your gap in knowledge, only to find later that a natural cause is really responsible for the effect in question. That’s exactly what Dr. Marshall charges Meyer with. But Meyer is in no way guilty of the “God of the gaps” fallacy. As Meyer explains repeatedly, he’s not interpreting the evidence based on what we don’t know, but what we do know.

Comment: It seems to be a natural cause of the gaps as well as a God of the gaps here.  But the fact is that in daily life we always fill gaps with natural causes even if we don't know that they are.  We are scientists too!

Quote: [With regard to suffering and the way things are done etc] complaining that God should have done it differently is a judgment for theology, not science.

Comment:  He says that science does philosophy without realising it and as theology and philosophy are inseparable it follows that you cannot rule out science having the right to judge.  Something based on testing surely would have the biggest right!  And that is what science is about.  Despite himself Turek agrees with us, "The definition of science (which we’ll investigate later) is a philosophical question."

Quote: This is not a debate about evidence. Everyone is looking at the same evidence. This is a debate about how to interpret the evidence, and that involves philosophical commitments about what causes will be considered possible before looking at the evidence. If you philosophically rule out intelligent causes beforehand—as the Darwinists do—you will never interpret the evidence properly if an intelligent being actually is responsible. Notice that how one defines “science” is not science itself.

Comment: That is like saying a dice that falls and brings up 6 is evidence but saying somebody threw it or did not is interpretation.  Either way it is the case that it fell and why not leave it at that? 

Quote: “Evolution is ultimately random,” say the atheists. True, the mutations may be random in the sense that they do not have any goal in mind, but the natural forces that produce the mutations are not random. Living and nonliving things continue to exist because the foundation of the entire material world is goal-directed, not random. Atoms continue their regular goal-directed operations, which are held together by the four fundamental forces, which are held together by . . . . Oops, sorry. We’re not supposed to go any further. When we go further, we land at an uncaused, completely actualized intellect with the attributes of a theistic God. Another problem for atheists is that there is no way to detect randomness without the backdrop of order and goal-directedness evident throughout the universe. So when atheists say evolution or life itself is random, they are implicitly admitting the [agency of God].

Comment: This contradicts Turek's claim that chance is not a thing or force but merely describes how we do not know what caused something.

Quote: [Regarding Sam Harris' book, The Moral Landscape, which says that science not God grounds objective morality which is about wellbeing - he says morality is just another word for wellbeing].  The problem with Harris’s approach is that he is addressing the wrong question. The question is not what method should we use to discover what is moral, but what actually makes something moral? Why does a moral law exist at all, and why does it have authority over us? The Moral Landscape gives us no answer. It’s a nearly three-hundred-page-long example of the most common mistake made by those who think objective morality can exist without God. Harris seems to think that because we can know objective morality (epistemology), that explains why objective morality exists in the first place (ontology).  You may come to know about objective morality in many different ways: from parents, teachers, society, your conscience, etc. (Harris talks about brain states.) And you can know it while denying God exists. But that’s like saying you can know what a book says while denying there’s an author. Of course you can do that, but there would be no book to know unless there was an author! In other words, atheists can know objective morality while denying God exists, but there would be no objective morality unless God exists. Science might be able to tell you if an action may hurt someone—like if giving a man cyanide will kill him—but science can’t tell you whether or not you ought to hurt someone. Who said it’s wrong to harm people? Sam Harris? Does he have authority over the rest of humanity? Is his nature the standard of Good? To get his system to work, Sam Harris must smuggle in what he claims is an objective moral standard: “well-being.” As William Lane Craig pointed out in his debate with Harris, that’s not a fail-safe criterion of what’s right.   But even if it was, what objective, unchanging, moral authority establishes it as right? It can’t be Sam Harris or any other finite, changing person. Only an unchanging authoritative being, who can prescribe and enforce objective morality here and beyond the grave, is an adequate standard. Only God can ground Justice and ensure that Justice is ultimately done.

Comment: Okay so we are told that morality is related to wellbeing but is not wellbeing.  If that is so then that in fact does not matter.  If you were forced to choose between wellbeing and asking why morality has authority you would have to choose the first.  Morality would demand you do so for morality has to be practical.  Authority is no good for morality if morality is not practical.  Thus morality is incoherent when you bring in authority and God.  By a process of elimination, Harris is vindicated.

Quote: [Some] either make God subject to objective morality or an arbitrary source of morality. The supposed dilemma goes like this: Does God do something because it is good (which would imply there is a standard of Good beyond God), or is it Good because God does it (which would imply that God arbitrarily makes up morality)? But this is not an actual dilemma at all. An actual dilemma has only two opposing alternatives: A or non-A. We don’t have that here. In this situation we have A and B. Well, maybe there is a third alternative: a C. There is. When it comes to morality, God doesn’t look up to another standard beyond Himself. If He has to look up to another standard, then He wouldn’t be God—the standard beyond Him would be God. Nor is God arbitrary. There is nothing arbitrary about an unchanging standard of Good. The third alternative is that God’s nature is the standard. God Himself is the unchanging standard of Good. The buck has to stop somewhere, and it stops at God’s unchanging moral nature. In other words, the standard of rightness we know as the Moral Law flows from the nature of God Himself—infinite justice and infinite love.

Comment: Turek is saying that God is subject to objective morality because it is his nature - it is him!  He denies there is a dilemma.  Notice how he says the buck has to stop somewhere.  The question, "Why should I do this?" stops with, "Because God is infinite justice and love"  But what has the infinite have to do with it?  And it is about getting a parking spot and stopping the questions.  That is using God not respecting him.   Why are we not saying we all know we have justice and love in us and could live by a better standard and stop there?  How could it matter if it is God's justice or love?

Quote: [Today we have] absolute rights to abortion, same-sex marriage, taxpayer-provided health care, welfare, contraceptives, and several other entitlements. But who says those are rights? By what objective standard are abortion, same-sex marriage, same-sex adoption, taxpayer-provided health care, and the like, moral rights? There isn’t such a standard in an atheistic universe. So atheists must steal the grounds for objective moral rights from God while arguing that God doesn’t exist.

Comment: So these rights which many see as not being rights at all but just evils are also treating God as real despite themselves!  This is ammunition for say the pro-life atheist who says that faith in God is bad for morality.

Quote: Evil is like rust in a car: If you take all of the rust out of a car, you have a better car; if you take the car out of the rust, you have nothing. Evil is like a cut in your finger: If you take the cut out of your finger, you have a better finger; if you take the finger out of your cut, you have nothing. In other words, evil only makes sense against the backdrop of good. That’s why we often describe evil as negations of good things. We say someone is immoral, unjust, unfair, dishonest, etc. So evil can’t exist unless good exists.

Comment: This is very black and white.  A good healthy finger is not that good  - it is ageing and vulnerable and produces toxins.  There is no proper good as such.  Its all shades of grey.  Good and evil are just rubbish practically speaking.  This is just Turek trying to be so pious that you think he only sees the good.

Quote: Hitler was anti-traditional religion because he didn’t want anything to transcend his authority. Moreover, his disdain for the Jews seemed more focused on their ethnicity rather than their religious beliefs. As Dinesh D’Souza points out, “A Jew could not escape Auschwitz by pleading, ‘I no longer practice Judaism,’ ‘I am an atheist,’ or ‘I have converted to Christianity.’ This mattered nothing to Hitler because he believed the Jews were inferior racial stock. His anti-Semitism was secular.” Hitler justified the Holocaust by citing evolution...

Comment: Hitler did use religion, unorthodox yes but still religion, to hurt the Jews.  He gave no hint that he did not believe his version of religion.  Evolution was abused as an excuse for eliminating the Jews for science did not support any alleged inferiority.  At the back of Hitler's head was the idea that God was using evolution to eradicate bad strains of human beings.  Faith was to blame not evolution.

Quote: More Pain, More Gain.

Comment: Turek says the more you suffer the better - since when did he go among the lepers?

Quote: Most philosophers agree that the existence of evil is not incompatible with the existence of God. In fact, as we have seen, the existence of evil actually establishes the existence of God! “But are you saying that the ends justify the means?” No. God is not doing evil so that good may result. In fact, God is not doing evil at all—we are.  We are the rebels. While God holds all things together and is responsible for the fact of freedom, we free creatures are responsible for our acts of freedom. Even God can’t force free creatures to make free choices—that would be a contradiction. Therefore, God allows us to do evil and allows natural laws to run their course, knowing that, although there will be pain along the way, good will come from it. As parents, we do this with our children, even though we don’t know the future for sure. We allow our children to make some bad choices, knowing that, although pain will result, it’s the only way to accomplish the good of maturity. If we can allow bad choices with limited information, God can do it with complete information.

Comment: If I do evil nobody can change the past not even God so God tries to turn it to good.  This is not the end justifies the means or is it?

Quote: Two types of science: operation science, which investigates repeatable questions, and origin science, which investigates historical questions. Sometimes these two types of science are called empirical and forensic. Choose whatever name you like as long as this main difference is clear: Questions involving operation or empirical science involve repeatable events that you can observe in real time. Questions involving origin or forensic science involve historical events that cannot be repeated. For that reason, operation science is usually more certain than origin science.

Comment: Good!

Quote: Despite that distinction, you may be surprised to learn that there is little consensus on what is or isn’t science. Those who insist that science is only about finding natural causes by using observation and repetition are excluding sciences that infer intelligent causes, such as archaeology, cryptology, and the forensic science done in criminal cases like the Simpson trial. Such a narrow definition even excludes evolution as science because life’s history can’t be directly observed or repeated in the lab.  Such a definition also prevents an atheist from saying that science could disprove God. For if science deals with only natural causes, then there is no way science could tell us anything about supernatural causes. So it’s difficult to identify the demarcation line that separates science from nonscience, as even some prominent atheists admit.  However, most agree with Sir Francis Bacon, the father of modern science, who said that “true knowledge is knowledge by causes.” In other words, at the very least science is a search for causes. When we do science, we are trying to discover what caused a particular effect. Therefore, as we saw in chapter 1, the fundamental principle in all of science is the law of causality. If we can’t assume that effects have causes, then we can’t do science. But what do we mean by causes? Logically, there are only two types of efficient causes: natural and nonnatural (i.e., intelligent). Either something was caused by a natural force (like gravity) or an intelligent being (like a person or God). For example, natural forces caused the Grand Canyon, but intelligent sculptors caused the faces on Mount Rushmore. Now, here’s where the different worldviews of theists and atheists eventually lead to different conclusions. Theists are open to both types of causes, but atheists rule out intelligent causes before they look at the evidence. This rule of the atheists—[is] known as methodological naturalism.

Comment:  The look for repetition implies that it is blind forces that are at work and nobody is governing them for if there is then they are not blind forces.  What if God changed the repetition tomorrow?  Science denies God by not needing him or looking.

Quote: “I think that there are a good number of things that cannot be scientifically proven, but that we’re all rational to accept,” Craig began. [Interrupting] “Such as?” “Let me list five,” Craig continued. “[First,] logical and mathematical truths cannot be proven by science. Science presupposes logic and math so that to try to prove them by science would be arguing in a circle. [Second,] metaphysical truths like there are other minds other than my own, or that the external world is real, or that the past was not created five minutes ago with the appearance of age are rational beliefs that cannot be scientifically proven. [Third,] ethical beliefs about statements of value are not accessible by the scientific method. You can’t show by science that the Nazi scientists in the camps did anything evil as opposed to the scientists in Western democracies. [Fourth,] aesthetic judgments cannot be accessed by the scientific method because the beautiful, like the good, cannot be scientifically proven. And finally, most remarkably, would be science itself. Science cannot be justified by the scientific method, since it is permeated with unprovable assumptions. For example, the special theory of relativity—the whole theory hinges on the assumption that the speed of light is constant in a one-way direction between any two points, A and B, but that strictly cannot be proven. We simply have to assume that in order to hold to the theory!”

... During Craig’s five examples, Atkins looked stunned. It was as if he had virtually no knowledge of philosophy or the fact that science is built on philosophical principles. His claim that “science can account for everything” is another way of saying that we get all our truth from science, which is known as “scientism.” For those of you who started in the beginning of this book, you’re way ahead of me. You can already see that scientism is self-defeating because the claim “we get all our truth from science” is not a scientific truth. That truth doesn’t come from science. It’s a philosophical claim. You can’t do science to prove that. In fact, as Dr. Craig pointed out, you can’t do anything in science without assuming several philosophical principles. But Atkins couldn’t see that because he was so enamored with the success of his metal detector.

Comment: All we need is to revise scientism a bit.  Scientism can assume the things listed by Craig and still be able to say that the best or most reliable or only truth comes from science. 

Quote: Science is often politicized. A meta-analysis of nearly twenty surveys showed that one third of scientists admitted to some kind of research fraud. The fraud included changing the design or research data to get the results they or their funding source wanted (and those are just the ones who admitted it!).[There is tremendous pressure to report results that will help facilitate the next financial grant or promotion. There are also political motivations (hence the controversy over man-made climate change) and the moral motivations that we saw in chapter 4. There is stifling ideological pressure too. Thomas Nagel writes, “Physico-chemical reductionism in biology is the orthodox view, and any resistance to it is regarded as not only scientifically but politically incorrect.”That’s putting it mildly. Many scientists who doubt Darwin and merely suggest intelligent design is possible have been the victims of ideological witch-hunts for questioning atheistic orthodoxy. They’ve been harassed, denounced, and fired.

Comment: Turek warns of the dire consequences should the scientist "doubt the secular religion of materialistic science".  Religious believers often let it slip that they agree with the likes of Hitchens that religion is dangerous.

Quote: Science is built on philosophy, as are all fields of study. Science is just one method of discovering truth and is limited in scope. Like a metal detector, science can only help us detect certain cause-and-effect relationships.

Comment: Good.

Quote: Is Jesus telling us not to judge? No, He’s commanding us to take the speck out of our brother’s eye—that involves making a judgment. He simply tells us to get our own house in order first so we judge rightly, not hypocritically. In other words, Jesus isn’t telling us not to judge; He’s telling us how to judge. Elsewhere Jesus tells us, “Stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge correctly.”

Comment: That most Christians think judging is immoral and that Jesus banned it is alarming.  Jesus said that you can judge the person not just the sin for he wanted you to have the person calling another raca dragged before the Sanhedrin.

Quote: Chesterton said, “Meaninglessness does not come from being weary of pain. Meaninglessness comes from being weary of pleasure.”

Comment: Interesting.

Quote: [Somebody] says, ‘I love you so much that I’m going to force you to love me.’ Can he do that? Can he force you to love him?” Everyone agreed that was impossible. You can’t force someone to love you. I went on to explain that the same is true in our relationship with God

Comment: Morality makes allowances for what you cannot help.  Somebody programmed to murder would still be entitled to the Nobel Peace Prize.  Thus there are more important things than love being free or not.  For Buddhists compassion is a better virtue.  It is not true that love alone matters - its insipid nonsense forged in the hearts of passive aggressive people like Jesus Christ.

Quote: Atheists sometimes compare their nonbelief in God to their nonbelief in Santa Claus. But the comparison fails because there is not only no evidence for Santa Claus, there is positive evidence against Santa Claus. Our knowledge of physics and the great distances involved provide positive evidence that it’s physically impossible for one human being to dispense gifts to six billion people all over the world in one night using a sleigh and reindeer. In other words, we don’t just “lack a belief” in Santa Claus; we have reasons to believe he doesn’t exist. On the other hand, as we’ll see later in this book, there is positive evidence for the God of the Bible and no evidence that would make His existence impossible. In fact, some classical theists call God a “necessary being” because His existence appears necessary.

Comment: But if Santa is like an angel or God gives him the power of miracles then this argument is wrong.  It refutes a straw man Santa.  That is not an honest approach at all.

Quote: If you are mad at me for these comments, it means that in an important sense you agree with me.

Comment: People being angry at you shows that they strongly feel you are right but only when they cannot give good arguments against you to show you that you are wrong.

Quote: Miracles have to be rare in order to be identified as miracles. So Hume rules them out simply because they are what they have to be—rare!

Comment: But how rare?  A communion wafer bleeding in every cathedral in Ireland on the feast of divine mercy annually would be far from rare.  Hume says miracles are uncommon but that is incidental to his argument.  A person saying a brick talked to him cannot have the same credibility as one who says the brick cracked.  What about the "miraculous" ability of the human mind to fool itself?  Nature does its own kind of miracle!

Quote: There’s not only no evidence for a multiverse, it’s a “dodge,” as you recall agnostic astronomer Paul Davies put it. No scientist would be imagining undetectable universes if this one didn’t appear to be so incomprehensibly fine-tuned. The multiverse hypothesis is a bald attempt to dodge the designer by multiplying the possibility that this seemingly fine-tuned universe exists by accident. That’s why Dawkins uses the word “luck.

Comment: Rubbish.  Fine tuning is made more complicated by assuming the multiverse.  And it is true that things seem to pop in and out of existence on the quantum level as if the universe is composed of minute multiverses.  Multiverse is more than an assumption.