Atheists Only Use Science? Don’t Fool Yourself

Every Christian who is interested in argument should learn from this example. Atheists and other non-Christians argue in this way all the time, and if we want to be effective in answering them, we must be able to spot it in action.

What I’m talking about is the hypocritical and contradictory arguments used in defense of atheism, and in offense against Christianity.

I was talking with a commenter called “RJ”, and our conversation hit a few different topics from morality, to Bible, to science.  RJ is a cordial, intelligent fellow who recognized that we are at a fundamental impasse in our conversation due to how differently we view things.  However, what RJ doesn’t realize is how contradictory the very structure of his arguments are to his stated positions.

Remember, the point here isn’t that RJ is wrong (it’s obvious that I think he is) and that I’m right (again, obviously I think I am).  The point is that RJ’s arguments are contradictory and hypocritical in their very structure, and the proving of this has nothing to do with our mutually opposite opinions.

RJ’s Standard of Belief

It’s a popular position among atheists to claim that only they have science on their side.  Truly, they believe they are the only ones who use science, especially in comparison to us crazy Young Earth Creationists.

RJ makes this point very clearly.  We were discussing a particular passage of Scripture.  When I explained my view, RJ rejected my explanation based upon the fact that he could not empirically verify my explanation:

That’s interesting. Show me your evidence to support your assertion that “this is no broad commandment from god”? Can you produce falsifiable evidence to support this claim? You’re issuing a conclusion based on what?

The point RJ is making is that since I cannot provide scientific (observable and testable) evidence for my claim about what Scripture is and is not saying, therefore my statement holds no water.

RJ goes on:

The problem here is that you are claiming absolute knowledge of the meanings of scripture.

The implication is that since reading and interpreting Scripture is not a scientific endeavor, then it is inherently flawed and untrustworthy.  RJ is pointing out the inherently unscientific nature of my Christianity which stands in stark contrast to his scientific position.  In fact, RJ makes this point more blatantly:

Ignorance of science, and knowledge in general, is a tactic used by all religions. The less the flock knows, the easier it is to convince, convert and control.

and . . .

If you argue for creation, then we reach an impasse. You rely on “faith”, a rationalization, blind to fact, and posited from a “backed into a corner” mentality.

and . . .

The ONLY way that a creator can make sense to the believer is if they ignore evidence and embrace “faith”.

The part that RJ explicitly left out, but is no less obvious, is that RJ doesn’t rely on faith, and his “no faith needed” belief system is superior because it is supported by science.

The Atheistic Hypocrisy

RJ does us all a favor and defines what he means by faith for us. 

Faith: Belief that is not based on proof

By proof he means logical proof or scientific evidence.  In fact, that is how the American Heritage Dictionary defines “faith”.

RJ’s standard of belief is scientific evidence, and RJ’s reason for rejecting my argument is that it’s based on “belief that is not based on logical proof or scientific evidence”.  That means any theological or metaphysical position that I have is inferior to his scientific position.

This is where RJ’s hypocrisy comes in.  And the worst part is, he is blind to it. 

Regarding Christianity in general, RJ says:

“Which one of the 33,800+ denominations is the right one?” You fail to address this question, BECAUSE in your mind, YOUR VERSION is the right one.

RJ’s position here is that in order for God to be a viable option, there must a be a clear “right one”.  Right or wrong, this is a theological argument. 

More importantly, it is a theological argument in support of RJ’s atheism, an atheism that is supposed to be “all science” and “no faith”.  That there must be a single “right” version for Christianity to be viable certainly falls into the category of a belief unsupported by logical proof or scientific evidence.

The hypocrisy of RJ’s position is much greater than this, however.  He says:

The problem here is that you are claiming absolute knowledge of the meanings of scripture. . .you are doing EXACTLY what EVERY believer does to RATIONALIZE your position.

RJ’s powerful argument against Christianity, that since no interpretation of Scripture is right, therefore Christianity can’t be right, is a theological and metaphysical argument.  Certainly no scientific experiment told RJ that there is no correct interpretation of Scripture.  Ironically and hypocritically RJ doesn’t allow any metaphysical or theological rebuttals because he pretends and deludes himself that he only believes what can be empirically verified. 

Since science didn’t tell RJ that there isn’t a correct interpretation of Scripture, where did he get the idea?  The idea falls directly into the definition of something that RJ takes on faith.

This hypocrisy is no where more blatant than in this statement:

You apparently don’t follow science. This is where we can easily reach an impasse.

As I’ve shown, our impasse is not due to the fact that I don’t follow science, but from RJ’s willful self-delusion that he does. 

The Atheist Paints Himself into a Corner

Let’s revisit the standard that RJ sets before himself in order to believe.  Remember that “Belief without logical proof or scientific evidence” also known as “faith” is bad.  Since this is RJ’s standard, all of the statements made above must be thrown out of RJ’s belief system.  In fact, anything that doesn’t meet strict empirical standards (observation, testing, and falsifiability) can’t be included either. 

Don’t let the atheist switch between demanding empirical evidence and yet using theological and/or metaphysical arguments.  It’s hypocrisy and should be pointed out as such.

A Self-Reflective View of Science, Theology and Metaphysics

Throughout the entirety of our conversation, RJ never stopped using metaphysical and theological arguments.  Of course, doing so isn’t bad, as I do it all the time as well.  But holding your opponents to a standard of belief (only science!) that you don’t hold yourself to is hypocritical and contradictory.  Defining “faith” as something that is inherently negative and yet ignoring the plethora of beliefs you hold to that have no “logical proof or scientific evidence” is just plain blind. 

What RJ, and the rest of atheism, needs to realize is that they use negative theological and metaphysical arguments all the time, and it is only bad if you deny doing it.

Let me ask you a question atheist:  Which is more rational?  Those that recognize the metaphysical and theological structure/substance of their arguments, or those that make those same metaphysical and theological type arguments but are ignorant that they do so?

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6 Comments on “Atheists Only Use Science? Don’t Fool Yourself”

  1. B Says:

    Hawkins stated that, and I paraphrase, “evolution is a process that we do not fully understand and we are constantly changing how we see evolution.” To me, I see atheism having also multiple “beliefs” but differ from each other. Some believe in certain fossilization, others believe we came from fish, some from sludge, others through self-replicating cells. Additionally, there are have been changes upon changes to beliefs about evolution between species and within species. Some theories even contradict each other! Yet, there is no hypocrisy in his belief system?

    RJ places high authority in himself to think that “believers” can’t use, or know how to use science. I believe his atheistic narcissism is getting the best of him.

  2. Neil Says:

    His alleged commitment to only use the scientific method is a cheap debating trick.

    The demand of some atheists for scientific evidence for God’s existence or any point we make is born of either disingenuousness or a lack of understanding.

    They can’t use empirical testing to prove that only empirical testing qualifies as evidence, as that is a circular reference.

    They also make a category mistake. You don’t use a scale to weigh the color blue, because colors don’t have weight. In the same way, you don’t use methods designed to test material things if you want to determine the truth about immaterial things.

    Christians can point to all sorts of evidence for the existence of God – teleological, cosmological, historical, moral, logical, etc.

    Also consider their typically dismissive reaction to the evidence of the testimony of eyewitnesses or reliable sources. They often insist that they only trust empirical evidence and not that of eyewitnesses, but that would mean they’d have to create their own test equipment and replicate every single experiment before they trusted the results. They obviously don’t do that. They use their judgment and experience to determine who they think is trustworthy and they rely on their conclusions. We do the same thing.

    So even with their scientific evidence they are constantly relying on the evidence of eyewitnesses or what they deem as reliable sources.

    fyi – the “33,800” versions is an urban legend. I wonder if he used his scientific method to arrive at that figure?

  3. Eric Kemp Says:

    Neil

    Well done sir. I especially like, “They can’t use empirical testing to prove that only empirical testing qualifies as evidence, as that is a circular reference.” I have used this several times and I’ve never had an atheist even acknowledge the point, much less attempt to answer it. Why is that? Cause they have nothing on it.

    “fyi – the “33,800″ versions is an urban legend. I wonder if he used his scientific method to arrive at that figure?”

    Exactly. RJ demands scientific evidence for my beliefs but requires none for his own. The hypocrisy of this is so blatant that I honestly don’t understand how he doesn’t see it.

    “So even with their scientific evidence they are constantly relying on the evidence of eyewitnesses or what they deem as reliable sources.”

    You know, that’s a good point. I should use that some time. “So you’ve never seen Darwin’s finches with their different beak sizes and shapes? But those are just drawings, how do you know he didn’t fabricate them? You didn’t see them after all? Oh, so you trust the eyewitness testimony of Darwin but not of Matthew?” I like it.

  4. Eric Kemp Says:

    B

    I think narcissism might be a big part of it. I think you’re right about that.

  5. El Dood Says:

    Neil Said
    “So even with their scientific evidence they are constantly relying on the evidence of eyewitnesses or what they deem as reliable sources.”

    Eric Said
    You know, that’s a good point. I should use that some time. “So you’ve never seen Darwin’s finches with their different beak sizes and shapes? But those are just drawings, how do you know he didn’t fabricate them? You didn’t see them after all? Oh, so you trust the eyewitness testimony of Darwin but not of Matthew?” I like it.

    Nice Neil! Great points! Thanks dude.

  6. Neil Says:

    Thanks, please use it all you can!


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