I read an opinion piece today called “The Logical Christian” in the Lake Country Now out of Wisconsin, written by an Al Neuhauser. Al thinks very highly of himself, which makes the entire piece even more amazing. Neuhauser presents fallacy after fallacy after inaccuracy after fallacy, to the point that its almost hard to read. Al provides so much to respond to. He begins:
“I have been accused of being illogical because I am a Bible-believing Christian. Some of my atheist commenters are particularly incensed because, one, I am quite intelligent–I have the numbers to prove it–and, two, I have a scientific background. Both of these characteristics are considered irreconcilable by the atheist community with belief in God.”
Perhaps you have been accused of being illogical not because you are a Bible-believing Christian, Al, but because you are in fact being illogical. But Al really wants us to know how smart he is.
I’m curious what “numbers” you have to prove how smart you are, Al. Are you referring to like a score on an IQ test? You might be surprised to learn that IQ tests are not actually very good at measuring intelligence. But telling people how smart you are is always a great way to when you intend to lay out an argument.
And Al, I don’t actually know of any atheists who think that having a “scientific background” is irreconcilable with belief in God. There are plenty of brilliant scientists who are also believers. Francis Collins, founder of the Human Genome project, comes to mind. This just shows how good the human mind is at compartmentalizing. And it doesn’t mean that intelligent people are believers for good reasons. Like Francis Collins. Here is him describing the moment he became a convinced Christian:
“On a beautiful fall day, as I was hiking in the Cascade Mountains during my first trip west of the Mississippi, the majesty and beauty of God’s creation overwhelmed my resistance. As I rounded a corner and saw a beautiful and unexpected frozen waterfall, hundreds of feet high, I knew the search was over. The next morning, I knelt in the dewy grass as the sun rose and surrendered to Jesus Christ.”
An important thing to add is that Collins has later clarified that the frozen waterfall had three streams. Because, you know, the trinity. You see, Al, being smart and being scientific does not mean that one is necessarily always logical, or that one’s thinking is always free from error. But continue.
“I have the perhaps somewhat unusual conviction that there is no inconsistency between religion and fact-based science. Unfortunately, much of what today passes for science is theory, much of it almost completely devoid of corroborating evidence.”
I’m assuming “fact-based science,” in this instance, refers to the parts that agree with the faith-based worldview you’ve already chosen to believe in, correct? And Al, you seem to lack a basic understanding of what “scientific theory” means, as do most believers who argue this point. A scientific theory is not just a synonym for a “hypothesis.” It is the graduating point of knowledge where all of the available facts and evidence is assembled into a model that has explanatory and predictive power. It’s not something “devoid of corroborating evidence. Are you sure about this “science background” you claim to have?
“I was a sophomore in Engineering School when I was exposed to the Big Bang Theory, an early version. I judged it to be scientifically ridiculous. My thinking gravitated to Evolution and found it to be equally improbable.”
The line “I judged it to be scientifically ridiculous” actually made me laugh out loud. Yes, Al. Some scientific concepts are hard to fathom. But that doesn’t mean that they are incorrect. And not understanding them doesn’t mean that you are “judging them to be scientifically ridiculous.”
“This created a dilemma. Simply, there are only two options when considering how we and everything else got here: Big Bang/Evolution or Biblical Creation. So, I began to drift back to religion, specifically Christianity. It was a fairly long process, but I gradually came to fully embrace the Faith…..So, In a way, I came back to Christian belief through science.”
I’m sure that you’ve heard of something called a “false dichotomy,” right Al? So you do realize that even if every bit of big bang cosmology and evolutionary theory were demonstrated to be completely false, this would not make Biblical Creation true. That would have to be demonstrated, just as the claim “The universe was created by magic pixies” would have to be demonstrated. But Al continues on into the realm of physics.
“The significance of the Higgs bosun is that it is the “missing link” in string theory, sometimes referred to as “The Theory of Everything.” If we account for gravity, then we have essentially removed God from the equation, hence the somewhat facetious appellation, the “God Particle.”
Actually, that has nothing to do with why the Higgs-Boson is referred to as the “God particle.” Higgs actually wanted to call it the goddamn particle, because it was so maddeningly hard to find, but his editor wouldn’t let him.
And I don’t see how being able to account for gravity removes God any more than every other aspect of reality we have yet to fully explain. Is that the only reason you’re holding onto your belief in God, Al? Because we haven’t otherwise accounted for gravity? If we do, will you suddenly become an atheist? I highly doubt it.
“Big Bang theory postulates uniform distribution of stuff throughout space. However, there are dark spots in the firmament. The explanation, entirely concocted from nothing, is that a star that dies–burns out–collapses in on itself creating such an intense field of gravity that it captures light. Hence, dark spots. (No, a black hole could not have swallowed up the Malaysian airliner.) This despite no evidence that gravitational force can bend light. There is also some stuff about bending space which is far to messy to go into here.”
Concocted from nothing? Have you ever said that to a cosmologist? We can observe the effects of black holes, Al. Light travels in a straight path through space, so when space bends, so does the path of light. But this is all too messy to explain, right? We should just remember that you’re really smart, so we should take your word that you’ve worked it out, and it’s all wrong. Because reasons.
“O.K., one more. The universe is expanding. Don’t ask me how we know this. It involves things like “red shift” that I don’t care to go into. (I do understand it, though.)”
Again, I’m smart. I understand this stuff, and it’s stupid. Seriously, Al. Why even write this article if you don’t care to explain your reasoning.
“This variation in speeds coupled with the calculated mass of the heavenly (sorry!) objects create a momentum discrepancy: not enough mass to explain the speed variations. Thus, we need more mass. Solution: we make up something called “dark matter” which supposedly permeates space between the heavenly (!) objects. It, of course, is entirely invisible and undetectable, and devoid of any corroborating evidence whatsoever. It simply has to be there for the whole mess to work.”
Uhhh, we can detect dark matter, Al. We have plenty of evidence for dark matter, Al. Your lack of understanding of these topics does not equate to a lack of scientific evidence. It just equates to a demonstration of your ignorance. But continue, Al. It looks like you have problems with evolution, too. Color me surprised.
“The major problem with this, in my opinion, is something called “irreducible complexity.”
You know, Al, a smart guy one said “opinions are like assholes.” I’m sure you’ve heard that one. Irreducible complexity is an intelligent design apologetic. There has never been something which has actually been demonstrated to be irreducibly complex. You say that the reproductive system is an example. Do you plan on demonstrating why? Or do we just have to take your word for it. Because, you know, you’re really smart. It doesn’t present a problem for evolutionary biologists. But it does for you. I’m sure this isn’t just because you just lack a sufficient understanding…
“So, in possesion of a God-given scientific snd skeptical mind, I was and am unable to believe in any of this illogical and phantasmagorical claptrap….The Bible is true and Creation was the miraculous work of God. The first chapter of Genesis is a beautiful, poetic and concise description of how it all came to be. The rest includes the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, in loving substitution for, and expiation of, our sins.”
Al, you really only seem to be skeptical of things which contradict your supernatural beliefs. You claim to be skeptical and scientific, yet you also think that Genesis literally explains how the universe began? Do you even understand how science works?
“It’s all very logical.”
As I’m sure you understand Al, being so smart and all, is that logic refers to the system or principles of reasoning applicable to any branch of knowledge or study. Logic requires one to reason free from fallacy, and to build arguments that are both valid (meaning that if the premises are true, the conclusion must be true) and sound (relying on true premises). You don’t actually explain why the Bible is true, Al, or why creation occurred as the Bible describes even though all of our scientific understanding of reality shows that it did not. Asserting otherwise is the opposite of being logical, Al. It is a perfect example of the irrational mental gymnastics that Christians have to jump through in order to make their worldviews jive with reality. And claiming that the scientific method is somehow flawed because you don’t agree with the parts of our knowledge which contradict the claims of your religion is not only dishonest, but it is harmful. It encourages people to accept superstition over an evidence-based worldview.
And, being the science-minded, skeptical guy you are, I’m sure you wouldn’t want that.