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Thread: Debunking Daniel Smartt' Atheism Article.

  1. #1 Debunking Daniel Smartt' Atheism Article. 
    Moderator Moderator Cogito Ergo Sum's Avatar
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    After I attempted to debunk an article concerning astrology from conspiracy theorist Mike Adams, I thought it was time to refute a creationist.
    Apart from writing articles that have the purpose to prove the divine creation of the universe as described in Genesis, they are also keen on attacking atheism, secularism, humanism and any other "-ism" that is not in line with the Holy Bible.

    Daniel Smartt is a creationist who wrote an article for the Creation Ministries International, titled "Atheism: A religion".
    We read:
    "Atheism will be defined in the contemporary western sense: not just the lack of belief in a god, but the assertion about the non-existence of any gods, spirits, or divine or supernatural beings. Atheists in this sense are metaphysical naturalists, and as will be shown, they DO follow a religion."


    In order to demonstrate that atheism is a religion, he uses the seven dimensions of religion, as put forward by Roderick N. Smart.

    The first dimension is narrative:
    "Evolution is an explanation of where everything came from: the cosmos (came out of nothing at the big bang—nothing exploded and became everything); humans evolved from non-human creatures, hence humanity’s place in the cosmos is being just another species of animal."


    Using equivocation and straw-man arguments to prove your point? You might want to admit it, you are not surprised.
    Besides, it is quite ironic that his misunderstanding of the Big Bang is more or less ridiculing creatio ex nihilo as put forward in the first chapter of Genesis.

    The second dimension is experiential (e.g. faith):
    "On the other hand, Atheism requires “faith” (using their own definition) that the laws of chemistry, physics and biology were once violated and life arose from non-life via chemical evolution."


    Smartt tells us that faith (as defined in the Bible) is logical and is not "blindly believing the impossible" (as is the case with abiogenesis).
    It is difficult to refute this argument, because there is no argument due to the severe misunderstandings.
    Besides, it is humorous to note that the author states that laws were violated if abiogenesis occurred, as if "poofing" things into existence does not.

    The third dimension is social.
    It was quite difficult to pick a few statements to summarize this point.
    In essence, it states that atheism tries to convert people (via teaching evolution) and to remove religion (as stated by Marxism, which is "a sect of (...) Atheism"). I told you that everything with "ism" is attacked, didn't I?

    The fourth dimension is doctrinal:
    "In 1933, some prominent Atheist philosophers realised the effects the lack of a belief in a god would have on the morals of society and wrote what they believed would be a suitable set of beliefs and goals for a secular society in the 20th century. In doing so, they formed the branch of Atheism known as Secular Humanism. (...) In 1973 however, the Humanist Manifesto was updated because of the atrocities that humans inflicted upon other humans during the intervening years (specifically mentioned are Nazism and communist police states)."


    The document Mr. Smartt is referring to, is the Humanist Manifesto I. Yet, its intent was to elucidate the ideas of religious humanists. The term "secular humanism" is nowhere mentioned in the document. The successor of the Manifesto, the Human Manifesto II was the secular update.
    Quite the opposite of what the author tells us.

    The fifth dimension is ethical:
    "Atheism is a morally relativist religion. Most Atheists adhere to one ethical system or another, but in Atheism there is ultimately no foundation for morality(...). Some people have taken a further step by creating ethical systems based on the evolutionary narrative and the principle of “survival of the fittest”. People who have lived by such principles include the perpetrators of the Columbine Massacre, the Jokela School Shooting in Finland, and on a much larger scale, the Nazis. (...) A world governed purely by Atheistic, evolutionary ethics has been shown by history to be a horrible place to live. Most Atheists recognise this and choose to live by the ethical systems of other religions instead, or at the very least, live by the laws enforced by the government."


    Mr. Smartt, you must make up your mind if you want to convince your audience. Are atheists secular humanists or relativists?
    Oh, and you forgot to include the killings of millions and millions of Native Americans. No, wait, that were the Christians. My bad.
    Again: Nazis.

    The sixth dimension is ritual:
    "Because Atheism denies the existence of gods and spirits, it doesn’t have the second type of ritual either. Many Atheists do practice “secular rituals” such as their birthday celebrations, or the ‘ritual holidays’ of other religions such as the Christmas and Easter public holidays of Christianity, but this is usually to simply maintain the tradition of a public holiday, and the original meaning of the celebrations are rejected."


    Christmas is derived from many, earlier European pagan cultures (e.g. Scandivian and Roman influences).
    And what has the celebration of one's birthday to do with rituals?

    The last dimension is material:
    "While Atheism by its nature of denying the divine can’t have objects that represent the divine (such as icons or idols), nature is treated as sacred by some Atheists in and of itself."


    Evolution, Darwinism, Materialism. It summarizes the whole paragraph and it demonstrates that Mr. Smartt is very fond of "-isms".
    But it does not demonstrate anything else than the fact that Mr. Smartt is a proponent of quote-mining.


    To conclude, it is true that atheism is a religion. People convert daily to atheism, we have a book with atheistic dogmas that cannot be questioned, we have faith in non-existing deities, we have constructed buildings to practice our religion, we have tried to push our non-beliefs into many secular constitutions, ...
    Convincing evidence, don't you think?


    Source:
    Atheism: A religion
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christmas


    PS: The footnotes are left out. They mostly refer to other CMI articles.


    Last edited by Cogito Ergo Sum; April 6th, 2014 at 08:45 AM. Reason: PS required.
    "The only safe rule is to dispute only with those of your acquaintance of whom you know that they possess sufficient intelligence and self-respect not to advance absurdities; to appeal to reason and not to authority, and to listen to reason and yield to it; and, finally, to be willing to accept reason even from an opponent, and to be just enough to bear being proved to be in the wrong."

    ~ Arthur Schopenhauer, The Art of Being Right: 38 Ways to Win an Argument (1831), Stratagem XXXVIII.
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    "Atheism will be defined in the contemporary western sense: not just the lack of belief in a god, but the assertion about the non-existence of any gods, spirits, or divine or supernatural beings. Atheists in this sense are metaphysical naturalists, and as will be shown, they DO follow a religion."

    In other words, strawman time.

    At this point, I don't care to even listen to people who do that. Any argument they make will be invalid because it isn't against their opponent's argument, but against a made-up version of their opponent's argument.


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    ▼▼ dn ʎɐʍ sıɥʇ ▼▼ RedPanda's Avatar
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    I also read 10 dangers of theistic evolution. Sheesh.

    Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him. Proverbs 26:4
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    "And, behold, I come quickly;" Revelation 22:12

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    Genius Duck Dywyddyr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cogito Ergo Sum;456416[I
    ][/I]"Atheism will be defined in the contemporary western sense: not just the lack of belief in a god, but the assertion about the non-existence of any gods, spirits, or divine or supernatural beings. Atheists in this sense are metaphysical naturalists, and as will be shown, they DO follow a religion."
    In other words "In order to make my point I'll use only my narrow definition".

    "Evolution is an explanation of where everything came from: the cosmos (came out of nothing at the big bang—nothing exploded and became everything); humans evolved from non-human creatures, hence humanity’s place in the cosmos is being just another species of animal."

    Unfortunately for him, this doesn't even tally with his own definition of atheism.
    There is no "requirement", in life OR in his definition, that evolution is taken as the answer.

    "On the other hand, Atheism requires “faith” (using their own definition) that the laws of chemistry, physics and biology were once violated and life arose from non-life via chemical evolution."
    Or, possibly, the "arheist" could just say "I don't know".

    "In 1933, some prominent Atheist philosophers realised the effects the lack of a belief in a god would have on the morals of society and wrote what they believed would be a suitable set of beliefs and goals for a secular society in the 20th century. In doing so, they formed the branch of Atheism known as Secular Humanism. (...) In 1973 however, the Humanist Manifesto was updated because of the atrocities that humans inflicted upon other humans during the intervening years (specifically mentioned are Nazism and communist police states)."
    Regardless of what "some prominent atheists" get up to the simple fact is that atheism is not a movement, nor is it organised in any way.
    I.e. there are no tenets of atheism, there is no "ruling body" etc. What "some prominent atheists" get up to is their own decision and is not a policy of "atheism".

    "Atheism is a morally relativist religion. Most Atheists adhere to one ethical system or another, but in Atheism there is ultimately no foundation for morality(...).
    Apart from the biological one?

    "Because Atheism denies the existence of gods and spirits, it doesn’t have the second type of ritual either. Many Atheists do practice “secular rituals” such as their birthday celebrations, or the ‘ritual holidays’ of other religions such as the Christmas and Easter public holidays of Christianity, but this is usually to simply maintain the tradition of a public holiday, and the original meaning of the celebrations are rejected."
    And maybe they go along with it because it's the social convention.

    "While Atheism by its nature of denying the divine can’t have objects that represent the divine (such as icons or idols), nature is treated as sacred by some Atheists in and of itself."

    Oh goody, all atheists are druids!
    Just thought I'd add this: atheism is a religion because some atheists treat nature as scared? By that reasoning we can claim that Christians are murderers, Catholics are left-handed corporate CEOs and Buddhists are 5' 6-1/8" tall females with a squint 1.


    It's quite funny how many theists spend their time attacking "atheism" rather than providing evidence for their own claims.
    If they managed to actually support those claims there'd be a damn sight fewer atheists around and thus less of a "problem" for theists.


    1 I'm taking a wild guess here, but statistics are on my side.
    Last edited by Dywyddyr; August 31st, 2013 at 11:14 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    It's quite funny how many theists spend their time attacking "atheism" rather than providing evidence for their own claims.
    If they managed to actually support those claims there'd be a damn sight fewer atheists around and thus less of a "problem" for theists.

    It seems to be case that some outspoken Christians have had strong critiques about atheism.
    However, there is difference between critique and condemnation. I have seen numerous articles describing what atheism is and what its consequences are, going from criminals and suicidal individuals to existentially devoid creatures without morals. Quite logical, if you read some verses from their source material:

    "Everything is pure for someone whose heart is pure. But nothing is pure for an unbeliever with a dirty mind. That person’s mind and conscience are destroyed. Such people claim to know God, but their actions prove that they really don’t. They are disgusting. They won’t obey God, and they are too worthless to do anything good."


    (Titus 1:15-16, CEV)

    "Only a fool would say, “There is no God!”
    People like that are worthless! They are heartless and cruel and never do right."


    (Psalms 53:1, CEV)

    Quote Originally Posted by TheUnknowable View Post
    At this point, I don't care to even listen to people who do that. Any argument they make will be invalid because it isn't against their opponent's argument, but against a made-up version of their opponent's argument.

    In essence, he is setting up distorted representations of certain concepts in order to refute a distorted representation of his opponent's view.
    Talk about fallacious reasoning.

    Quote Originally Posted by RedPanda View Post

    I am not planning to debunk that any time soon. I have seen enough erroneous claims for today.
    "The only safe rule is to dispute only with those of your acquaintance of whom you know that they possess sufficient intelligence and self-respect not to advance absurdities; to appeal to reason and not to authority, and to listen to reason and yield to it; and, finally, to be willing to accept reason even from an opponent, and to be just enough to bear being proved to be in the wrong."

    ~ Arthur Schopenhauer, The Art of Being Right: 38 Ways to Win an Argument (1831), Stratagem XXXVIII.
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    I've heard of nominative determinism but isn't this the complete opposite?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daecon View Post
    I've heard of nominative determinism but isn't this the complete opposite?

    "The only safe rule is to dispute only with those of your acquaintance of whom you know that they possess sufficient intelligence and self-respect not to advance absurdities; to appeal to reason and not to authority, and to listen to reason and yield to it; and, finally, to be willing to accept reason even from an opponent, and to be just enough to bear being proved to be in the wrong."

    ~ Arthur Schopenhauer, The Art of Being Right: 38 Ways to Win an Argument (1831), Stratagem XXXVIII.
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    Wouldn't creationists be better off by not using religious text as their reference? If you want to debunk atheism by showcasing a creator god then should it really matter to them which theistic religion got it right?
    Last edited by zinjanthropos; September 2nd, 2013 at 07:46 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos View Post
    Wouldn't creationists be better off by not using religious text as their reference? If you want to debunk atheism by showcasing a creator god then should it really matter to them which theistic religion got it right?
    The problem is, they are creationists because of their religion. It's kind of like asking a person who believes in aliens because they heard stories of people being abducted too many times. Their original reason for the belief can't be questioned because it is based on another, more deeply held belief. Only in this case, getting people to believe in alien abduction is kind of the point of convincing them aliens are real.
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheUnknowable View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos View Post
    Wouldn't creationists be better off by not using religious text as their reference? If you want to debunk atheism by showcasing a creator god then should it really matter to them which theistic religion got it right?
    The problem is, they are creationists because of their religion.
    By choosing a specific religion to base their claims are not creationists actually declaring all other religion's versions as debunked? How is this different from the atheist POV?
    All that belongs to human understanding, in this deep ignorance and obscurity, is to be skeptical, or at least cautious; and not to admit of any hypothesis, whatsoever; much less, of any which is supported by no appearance of probability...Hume
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    How is this different from the atheist POV?
    This one always appeals to me. Every religious person in the world is atheist about all religions but their own.

    Atheists just take one more step and believe none at all.
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    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by TheUnknowable View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos View Post
    Wouldn't creationists be better off by not using religious text as their reference? If you want to debunk atheism by showcasing a creator god then should it really matter to them which theistic religion got it right?
    The problem is, they are creationists because of their religion.
    By choosing a specific religion to base their claims are not creationists actually declaring all other religion's versions as debunked? How is this different from the atheist POV?
    Because there is one particular version of creation they refuse to let go of. It's basically a form of insanity where the person says "everyone else in this asylum is insane, but I'm not. Elvis really does come and sing me to sleep every night."
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    Quote Originally Posted by adelady View Post
    How is this different from the atheist POV?
    This one always appeals to me. Every religious person in the world is atheist about all religions but their own.

    Atheists just take one more step and believe none at all.
    Each religion debunks the others.

    I guess atheists can't debunk one belief with another like our theist friends can. Believers are better equipped at debunking other religions than atheists, because its's easier for them. Who needs evidence or facts?

    So from now on when a theistic religion screams at the atheists for attempting to debunk them, I think they should be reminded that other theistic religions long ago beat the atheist to the punch on that one.
    All that belongs to human understanding, in this deep ignorance and obscurity, is to be skeptical, or at least cautious; and not to admit of any hypothesis, whatsoever; much less, of any which is supported by no appearance of probability...Hume
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    Regarding Atheism as a belief system, I like the gumball analogy I heard explained by an atheist, Matt Dillahunty. Sort of goes like this...


    Picture a jar of gumballs. Lets all agree that the jar must either contain an even number or an odd number of gumballs. Also, the default position is that we don’t yet know if there’s an odd or even amount of gumballs, because we have yet to count them.

    Now, for this analogy, lets state that Theism is the belief or claim that there's an even amount of gumballs within the jar.


    The atheist position would then be to refute this theistic claim. However, this does not mean the atheist is making the opposite claim that there are an odd number of gumballs. The atheist is simply rejecting the theistic claim. So with that analogy, atheism not a belief system. Just the rejecting of a claim.



    I’m paraphrasing so hope that’s the jist!
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    Time Lord zinjanthropos's Avatar
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    All theists debunk theistic beliefs. A seemingly paradoxical statement and although appearing to be contradictory, it might actually turn out to be true when examined closely enough. I don't know about anyone else, but I find this to be so utterly amazing that I can't imagine why theists even choose atheists as their bad boys, just for a lack of belief. It's as if believing is more important than God Himself. Bizarre, the whole theist thing is whacky.
    All that belongs to human understanding, in this deep ignorance and obscurity, is to be skeptical, or at least cautious; and not to admit of any hypothesis, whatsoever; much less, of any which is supported by no appearance of probability...Hume
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