Every once in awhile, theists decide to ask atheists a series of questions. Here's another batch I'd like to address. The discussion is a bit more meta than usual, which is interesting.
First, I'd like to address the author's introduction, then (next article), we'll start looking at the questions themselves.
Last week I put together a list of twenty questions that, in my experience, atheists either won’t or can’t answer and invited coherent responses.
This is already a red flag.
I understand from our side - we'll ask creationists questions,and as this author would put it - the questions aren't answered or are answered incoherently. The problem usually arises in two ways:
- The person is answering with a framework that you don't recognize, or value.
- The person is answering a different question, due to misunderstandings and miscommunication
I try to give people the benefit of the doubt. It can take a number of rounds, as you negotiate communication protocols, as it were, before you're both on the same page. There's a number of these questions that are candidates for these problems, which we'll get to.
I'm not detecting that the author is allowing for these misunderstandings.
I was not, in posting these, saying that atheists have no answers to them, only that as yet in over forty years of discussion with them I am yet to hear any good ones.
I don't doubt that - however, it depends on how one gauges "good". For all I know, "good" means "how well it aligns with the Bible" (going back to #1 above).
The nice thing about science is that we have a set of epistemic standards that we can independently establish the effectiveness. My question to the author would be "by what standard/framework are you evaluating the answers?"
Although, it's certainly possible that many people actually gave incoherent answers. That's a thing.
By the same token, I've yet to hear any good answers to atheistic questions posed to theists. I'm sure upon hearing that, the author would take issue with my statement.
Finally, author says,
Those atheists who responded in general seemed to think that the questions were very easy to answer and accused me either of advocating ‘God of the gaps’ or of posing ‘loaded’ or ‘meaningless’ questions.
I have to say that I am not convinced but see what you think.
I agree with some of that. Skimming down through the questions, many are loaded (including a premise that's not actually established). I'm not going to say that there's "God of the Gaps" happening here (plugging in a god as an answer to anything we don't currently know) .. but that's mostly because this article doesn't claim anything. The context of the questions, however, is dubious.
It'd be like asking, "Why doesn't the dog stand for the pledge of allegiance? I'm not suggesting anything, I'm just asking questions. I've never been given any good answers why the dog doesn't stand. I'm just saying." - with all answers being disregarded for unknown reasons as "bad".
Atheists have been down this road before.. many times. The theist will pose a loaded or unknown question, and then crow about how the theistic case is demonstrated by a lack on an answers. This isn't logical. Who knows - maybe this person isn't doing that?
So here we are again, with the same cliches and tropes, and some of us may be jumping the gun a little.
My question to an author like this would be - suppose atheists can't answer any of these questions. So what? Do you have a point? Or were you "just asking questions?" If atheists can't answer the question, "how much wood could a wood chuck chuck if a wood chuck could chuck wood?", what conclusion do you draw from that?
Stop beating around the shrubbery and just say what's on your mind.