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Meditation 957
Weak arguments are not proofs

by: JT

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I wrote briefly a few years ago about a web site, God is imaginary, which proclaims:

It is easy to prove to yourself that God is imaginary. The evidence is all around you. Here are 50 simple proofs:

I only bring it up again as I have recently seen it recommended several times by atheists as being worthwhile. It is time to thoroughly debunk this embarrassment to non-believers.

The fact is that the site proves nothing, except perhaps to demonstrate that a non-believer can argue as irrationally as a believer. The site, contrary to its claim, does not give a single proof. It consists primarily of argumentation against a Christian interpretation of God. That's pretty well it. And the argumentation is incredibly weak. Instead of 50 simple proofs, we find a number of repetitive simple-minded arguments, assertions, and unwarranted conclusions. Essentially, most of the proofs can be summarized as:

"Here are some problems with certain verses in the Bible, particularly in the New Testament, therefore God is imaginary."

The God is Imaginary site seems, based on its design elements and content, an outgrowth of the Why Won't God Heal Amputees web site. Now that web site started out as a pretty basic question designed to challenge the supposed power of prayer. With its original narrow focus, it did pose a challenge to believers. It was something to make them think. I once thought it was a worthwhile addition to the side of non-belief. But it too now asks its visitors to "assume God is imaginary." It is the logical fallacy of assuming your conclusion.

I suppose I should not be bothered by this sort of thing, but it does bother me a lot. It bothers me particularly as I keep seeing these sites offered up in discussions as if they actually did prove something.

If you visit the God is Imaginary site and click on "Join us." you are taken to a page which opens with:

How will we change the world, so that it becomes rational rather than religious?

That is a good question. But the answer is not to be found in their recommendation to spread the word about their web site. By calling what they have done 50 proofs that God is imaginary, they are not working in the world of the rational. It's that simple. Any intelligent believer will recognize that not one single proof is presented. And an intelligent non-believer would not waste time presenting the case for disbelief using the irrational methodology of the site.

We on the disbelief end of the spectrum like to think we are more rational and logical than believers. We like to think we have a better understanding of science. I suggest that the God is imaginary website serves only to undermine those ideas. The website sets a lower standard for proof than do some so-called proofs for the existence of God. And that's bad. And highly irrational.

In addition, the site claims throughout that science supports the positions taken. Regrettably, the level of scientific knowledge displayed is abysmal. Take for example this statement from Proof #4 Think about Science.

In other words, it is only by assuming that the belief in prayer is a superstition and therefore God is imaginary that science can proceed.

That is an absolutely false statement. No such assumptions are made or are necessary in real science. If the writer believes it, then the writer is ignorant about science, about the scientific method, and also ignorant of logic.

Let us look at a section from the other "scientific" proof, Proof #25 Understand evolution and abiogenesis.

The scientific principle that describes the origin of life is called abiogenesis. In the same way that there is no supernatural being involved in evolution, there is no supernatural being involved in abiogenesis.

First of all, abiogenesis is not a scientific principle, it is the name for the study of the origins of life. And it remains a study. Science has not yet found the answer. To suggest that science has established the origins of life is either a deliberate falsehood, or pure scientific ignorance.

And that is why I despise this particular site. It claims to be rational and logical. It is neither. It claims to be scientific, yet it shows a thorough misunderstanding of science. It claims to provide 50 proofs that God is imaginary. It provides not a single proof, just repetitive unwarranted assertions leading to unsupported conclusions.

The site is contrary to everything we stand for.

It serves to discredit the position of non-believers rather than support our position. It is an embarrassment.

For my brief review of each of the 50 so-called proofs, see the Appendix: Examining and Rejecting the 50 simple proofs.

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