Tuesday, February 26, 2013

New Atheists Playing With Fire

My tastes in Apologetics run decidedly in the Van Tillian camp. For this reason I bemoaned more than most the passing of our dear articulate spokesman, Greg Bahnsen in December of 1995. If Bahnsen were around today, clearly the New Atheists (Christopher Hitchens - God rest his soul, Richard Dawkins, Samuel Harris, et, al) would not be making waves with their media-polished pseudo-scientific answers for why God simply cannot exist. Bahnsen would be eating them for breakfast each morning.

But alas, until we see a new crop of champion Apologists (be they Presuppositional, Evidentialist or a mingling of both, as the New Testament does it), we are stuck limping along (with all due respect) with the likes of Frank Turney, Samuel Craig and Ravi Zacharius (probably the best of them all).

However, in watching the full debate recently held between Dr. Samuel Craig and Alex Rosenberg on the topic "Is Faith in God Reasonable?" some things jumped out on both sides as red flags. Flags of both hope and warning

The first was the question posed by an attendee from Costa Rica who raised the question most feared among Atheists, (the flip side of the question of evil so often thrown at Theists) "if you claim this to be a purely material universe how do you account for the existence of a universal abstract entity known as evil?"


Of course Rosenberg had no answer, shifting quickly to the existence of "pain and suffering", mustering evolutionary biology (natural selection) to his side - lame to say the least. If you put a face, say Hitler, Stalin, Dahmer to the process of evolutionary biology you have just admitted to an abstract, universal entity called "evil". Then the Atheist is in big trouble. Period.

But the saddest part was the wide open door left for Dr. Craig at just this point, which he refused to even enter. Oh how we miss you Mr. Bahnsen, sir!

The second was the passion at which Prof. Rosenberg wanted to distinguish himself from Richard Dawkins and Samuel Harris. He seem to believe that the inconsistent pseudo-scientific "win-by-being-a-good-debater-or-media-man-than-by-good-argument" way of approach is ultimately counter-productive to the Atheist cause and so he wants very much to distinguish himself. He wants to be the one who actually plays by the rules - with true, consistent empirical science.

Unfortunately Rosenberg is not just a scientist playing all day in some lab with empirical data, of which tiny orb he has to draw some basic conclusions. Rather, Rosenberg is also a philosopher - a social philosopher. It happens to be his task to look at all the strands of scientific data, including but not limited to biology, physics, anthropology, humanities, history of philosophy in general and so much more. With his plate being thus full, he must do two things and do them well. He must think, and he must conclude, (at least tentatively conclude) with the highest degree of logical consistency that he can, bound inseparably to metaphysical naturalism as he is.

So he has unilaterally taken on a position in contrast to Dawkins and Harris where he proudly affirms (my paraphrase) "let science be science and to hell with the distasteful conclusions one must come to given emotions, meaning, intention, conscience, morality, objectivity, aboutness, etc"

Sounds like pure Nihilism to me. If pure Nihilism is the future of New Atheism, we're (they're) really playing with fire, but not just a fire. How about a land mine which will blow up in their faces.

If any segment of our culture, our youth especially, buy into this philosophical black hole, it will make our current suicide rates seem like a walk in the park. We better hope this guy doesn't get a hearing. We'll have a culture full of Friedrich Nietzsches walking about like a world of zombies!

In fact Rosenberg himself is a very Nietzsche-esq character himself, throwing little bombs everywhere, one went like this "did you know that 95% of physicists were atheist?".

Wonder if he took a survey of theologians? I doubt it. We're all still pre-committed to our world views and neutrality is still a myth.

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