Monday, January 31, 2011

Blog Wars! Round 3: The Cross-Examination

Here is the third round of my debate with theology student and Christian blogger, Cody Cook.  In this round, Mr. Cook presented me with three questions, which I answer below.  His questions were in response to my opening statement and rebuttal, both of which can be found below:

Question 1)  A question sometimes considered by medieval theologians was whether God could create a rock so heavy that He couldn't lift it. Assuming for a moment that God had physical characteristics, this would be a paradox involving God's omnipotence. If God is omnipotent, the objector asks, why couldn't He make a rock so heavy that even He couldn't lift it; and if He couldn't lift it, how could He be omnipotent? Most Christian theologians would answer by saying that God's omnipotence only extends to doing those things which are not irrational to do (and since God would be the source of rationality, this means that God is consistent with, and does not deny, Himself). So, for instance, God could not draw a square circle. Do you think that your argument regarding God's omnipotence and necessity being in conflict is based upon making a straw man of the Christian doctrine of omnipotence? If not, why not?

  1. Your question assumes that god would be the source of rationality, which he could not be even if he did exist.  Rationality, or logic/logical absolutes exist transcendentally and necessarily.  Rationality would apply to god (as you admit) and therefore could not come from god. 
  2. The difference between my paradox and the Paradox of Omnipotence is that mine contrasts two qualities that contradict one another and therefore cannot exist in the same being.  The Paradox of Omnipotence makes the assertion that omnipotence is inconsistent with itself. 
  3. God cannot draw a square circle because it would violate the law of self-contradiction.  There is no such violation if god were to choose to end his own existence.  In fact there is an entire branch of Christian theology that contends that god did just that at the crucifixion—that god literally died.  As Thomas J. Altizer writes in The Gospel of Christian Atheism: 

“Every man today who is open to experience knows that God is absent, but only the Christian knows that God is dead, that the death of God is a final and irrevocable event, and that God’s death has actualized in our history a new and liberated humanity”

Question 1)  You argued that logical absolutes exist necessarily, but that thoughts are the unintended product of chance (evolution). You also argued that necessary beings cannot help but exist, but that the universe began to exist, so I take you to be saying that the universe is contingent. If the universe begins to exist with nothing before it, then it would seem that the laws of logic also would have begun to exist alongside the universe. If the laws of logic are dependent upon the universe (because they would have nothing to refer to, nor could principles hold, in nothingness), but the universe is contingent, it would seem that the laws of logic are also contingent, meaning that they could be different. So the law of non-contradiction, for instance, does not have to be true. Thus, logic would be arbitrary. As an atheist, would you argue that there is grounding for these laws of rational thinking, or are they simply standards of protocol that humans, who were not intended to think rationally, use to attempt to explain the activity of the material universe? 

  1. Your use of the terms unintended/unintentional when referencing logical thought in humans is a form of begging the question. 
  2. Logical absolutes exist necessarily not contingently, and would exist regardless of whether or not a universe exists.  They would exist even in a perpetual state of nothingness.  For instance, a state of nothingness would not also be a pink unicorn (law of non-contradiction.)  Therefore, the premise of your question completely fails. 
  3. Human perception of these laws is the result of the nonrandom cumulative process of evolution by natural selection.  The hunter who was able to think coherently enough to assemble a plan to take down a wooly mammoth was able to survive and reproduce more than the ones who were not.  This is the grounding for logic in human thought. 
Question 3)  Is it correct that Hawking and Dawkins, both of whom I referred to as atheists who would obviously not agree that the evidence supports theism, made statements pointing out that there is a striking appearance of design in the universe? If so, did I do any more than make the accurate claim that they did so, or did I go further than what they said by claiming that they were “puzzled” or that they had no atheistic interpretations of this data?

I would not agree with your assessment.  The way both of these authors construct their books is generally like this:  “It does seem like X was the product of design by a god.  However, we know that natural process Y explains this without invoking a god, so we shouldn’t believe that a god exists for that reason.” 

What you did in your opening statement was take the “It does seem like X was the product of design by a god” part, remove it from the explanatory part, and present it as if it were a legitimate problem for which these scientists have no explanation

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Blog Wars! Round 2: The Rebuttal

The following is a response to Cody Cook's opening statement in this debate, which can be found here:


In his opening argument, Mr. Cook explains the question, “Why is there something rather than nothing?” by postulating a dichotomy between things that exist necessarily and things that exist contingently, or as a result of a cause.  I will grant that this is a true dichotomy.  However, my objection to his conclusion is two-fold:

  1. Mr. Cook claims that a god exists necessarily, but this is not true or consistent with the description of that god. 
  2. Mr. Cook claims that the cause of the universe must be a conscious decision by a being capable of decision-making, which is not consistent with what we know about Big Bang cosmology. 

Why god does not exist necessarily

That a god exists necessarily is a major assertion, but Mr. Cook provides absolutely no evidence to support it.  Why is the existence of god a necessity, like numbers, logical absolutes or the laws of physics?   There is no reason to suppose this is so.  That which can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence, and I am tempted to do this.  However, while there are no good reasons to believe Mr. Cook’s assertion, there are at least two good reasons to dismiss it:

  1. God has traits that do not exist necessarily
  2. Something that is omnipotent cannot exist necessarily

God Has Traits That Do Not Exist Necessarily

Mr. Cook and I agree that certain things, such as numbers and logical absolutes, exist necessarily.  So how can I assert that a god could not be also counted amongst those things?  Simply because no other thing that exists necessarily has a mind.  The number seven, lucky though it may be, possesses no thoughts, emotions or instincts.  Anything that does possess such attributes also possesses a causal explanation for them.  Human and animal thoughts, emotions and instincts are explained by neurology and evolution.  Because thoughts, emotions and instincts are contingent rather than necessary in every instance that is available for us to examine, Mr. Cook takes on the burden of proof to demonstrate how this rule could be violated.  So far, we have heard just an assertion with no evidence. 

The Logical Paradox Necessity and Omnipotence

Furthermore, in the conclusion to his opening statement, Mr. Cook asserts that “god exists because He must. He can’t do otherwise.”  Of course, this statement presents a stark contradiction with the omnipotent nature of a god.  Allow me to present it like this:

  1. Anything omnipotent would have the power to cease its own existence.
  2. Anything necessary cannot cease to exist.
  3. Nothing omnipotent can exist necessarily. 

This paradox is something that Mr. Cook must own up to if he continues to assert that a god exists necessarily. 

Why the cause of the universe does not have to be personal

Mr. Cook demonstrated that the universe must exist as a result of a cause.  I agree.  However, Mr. Cook also invokes the Leibnizian Cosmological Argument to explain that god is the only possible cause.  This is where he is mistaken.

Mr. Cook justifies Premise 2 of the Leibnizian Cosmological Argument (“If the universe has an explanation of its existence, that explanation is God”) in the following way:

“Big bang cosmology has shown us that the universe began to exist at a finite point in time, which suggests that it could have not come into existence at all. In other words, it does not have to exist.”

Mr. Cook goes on to explain that, since the universe began to exist at a certain point in time, and therefore had not existed at some point in time, it requires a decision-making agent in order to bring it into existence.  If the premise that the universe did, in fact, begin to exist at a certain point in time, and time passed during which the universe did not exist, then Mr. Cook may have been justified in asserting the necessity of a decision-making agent in order to bring the universe into existence at some point in time.  

However, a simple understanding of the nature of time itself completely destroys this line of thinking.  The Big Bang most definitely was not an event that took place at a certain point in time.  It was the explosion of both space and time into existence.  Einstein demonstrated this—it is one of the things he is best known for.  Time is not an absolute that exists before the universe; it is something that exists only as a feature of a universe that has space.  The equation that we all learned in high school physics demonstrates this:

Therefore, Time=Distance/Speed 

Time requires distance to exist.  Distance requires space.  Space did not exist before the Big Bang.  Time, therefore, did not exist prior to the Big Bang.  Since this basic piece of science completely destroys the notion that the universe began to exist at a certain point in time, a decision making agent is no longer necessary in order to cause the universe.  A choice is not necessary, because no time passed before the universe began to exist.  A god, then, cannot be considered as the only potential cause for the universe. 

We can now see that Mr. Cook’s assertion that god is the best answer to the question “why is there something rather than nothing?” completely falls apart.  Since I have some extra space, though, I will go on to discuss the less relevant claims Mr. Cook made in his opening remarks. 


As I said in my opening statement, the position most atheists will take is that the universe was not designed for life—life emerged as the result of the universe being the way it is.  If traits of the universe had been different, the features of it would have been different, too.  Perhaps there would not have been planets on which life as we know it could have formed, perhaps something similar to life would have formed in some other way, or perhaps something far more interesting and beautiful would have emerged.  We will never know.  But for Mr. Cook to assert, in light of this position, that the universe has the “hallmarks of design” with one species of primate on our pale blue dot in the mind of the designer, seems as ludicrous as someone taking a pair of sunglasses, noticing how well they fit on the human face, and then calling this evidence for the idea that the human face was designed by Sunglass Hut!  It is completely backwards.

Furthermore, as I explained in the first point of my opening argument, while the Earth may seem moderately hospitable to us, the universe as a whole definitely is not.  Most of it is constructed of empty space, which is deadly to us.  The vast majority of planets in the universe, even if any of them are hospitable to us, are simply too far away to reach in a human lifetime.  Any planets within our reach are also deadly to us.  If Mr. Cook and I were having this debate on either of our two closest planetary neighbors, Venus or Mars, I imagine the first (and only) thing Mr. Cook would say would be something to the effect of, “well, this place is not very well designed for me at all” before we were both promptly melted into puddles by sulfuric acid rain or frozen in place, respectively. 

The fact of the matter is the universe is decidedly poorly designed for life.  Life is rather well-equipped to survive only on our tiny planet, and that can be attributed to evolution by natural selection. 


In his opening statement, I was surprised to see Mr. Cook quote Stephen Hawking and Richard Dawkins out of context in a way that misrepresents them as puzzled about the supposed “fine-tuning” of the universe.  In fact, anyone who reads either of their works will know this is far from true.  While this point is largely irrelevant to the debate, I would like to make sure it is acknowledged because this technique is used frequently by Christians seeking to discredit science. 

Anyone who has read a popular book on science will know the typical structure of a chapter:  The author lays out a common question or misunderstanding (called a Problem Statement) and proceeds to explain the solution to the problem in the rest of the chapter.  Mr. Cook takes the problem statements given by both Hawking and Dawkins in their respective works and presents them as if they were genuine problems that neither scientist understands.  This is called quote-mining and it is widely regarded as an intellectually dishonest rhetorical device, but (or, dare I say, so) it is characteristic of religious writers.  I was disappointed to see Mr. Cook implement it in this debate.  I encourage everyone reading to look up the context of these quotes for themselves.   


As I have explained here, Mr. Cook fails to establish his basic premise in two major areas:

  1. A god cannot exist necessarily, because aspects associated with a god, like a mind and omnipotence, are in contradiction with necessary existence. 
  2. A decision-making agent is not necessary as a cause for the universe because the Big Bang did not occur at a specific point in time—it was the explosion of space and time into existence. 

These two main points, along with the other, dubious claims made by Mr. Cook in his opening statement, demonstrate that his case is too weak for him to be considered the winner of this debate.  Thank you for reading.

My opponent's rebuttal to my opening argument can be found here:

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Reflections on the debate.

I have mixed feelings as I publish my piece for the first round of my blog debate against theology student and Christian blogger, Cody Cook.  I have formulated a strong, three-point argument that establishes that an atheistic worldview is better suited to answer the question, “Why is there something rather than nothing?” than a theistic worldview.  I am quite pleased with how it turned out, although I wish I was not constrained to the word limit (which I actually proposed myself).  I was unable to go as in-depth into the physics around the early universe as I wanted to, which was very disappointing.

The thing to keep in mind for me is that Cody is very good.  The last time I sat down with him and talked in person was the first time I had ever walked away from a debate with a Christian thinking I had lost.  Of course, this is to be expected, since he is training to be a professional theologian and I am just some guy who has read a handful of popular-level books on religion.  After all, there are no schools for atheology (unless you count physics or biology).  Plus, I think he is more intelligent than I am.   But in the end, he is trying to prove a falsehood, so even if he is more informed and intelligent than me, I have the advantage of being correct, which makes the playing field about even.  This means the debate should be a good one. 

I also found out after posting that I had mistakenly adhered to the word limit for Round 2 instead of Round 1 and exceeded the agreed upon word limit by 400.  Fortunately, one of the contrived virtues of Xianity is forgiveness, so Cody didn’t get mad, but I was still annoyed at myself.

After reading Cody’s opening statement, I was very impressed.  He is a very good writer.  Clear, concise, and to-the-point.  He presents the Cosmological Argument in two different forms, one that supports the other.  I was a little annoyed that he used an intellectually dishonest but typically Christian technique of quote-mining from the books of both Richard Dawkins and Stephen Hawking, so I will have to call him out on that severely in my response.  I also caught a couple of assertions, one scientific and another philosophical, that are false.  Happily, he did not construct a “God of the Gaps” argument that I was expecting in reference to the beginning of the universe, although he did touch on the Teleological Argument (sunglasses fit the human face perfectly, therefore Sunglass Hut designed the human face) briefly.

All-in-all, I am feeling confident as the debate moves forward into Round 2.  Cody has given me a lot of ammunition to work with and the next round should be even better than the first! 

Monday, January 24, 2011

Blog Wars! Round 1

Why is there something rather than nothing?  Mankind has never had to answer a more difficult question than this, and I have been given a space of only 1600 words in which to do it.  I am not qualified to answer this question, but I am qualified to demonstrate that a worldview which conforms to the principle of Occam’s Razor is.  My opponent and I will be debating whether theism or atheism is better suited to answer the previously stated question.   

I shall erect a case that demonstrates the existence of the universe can be explained without invoking a god and that a theistic worldview is incapable of answering the question “why is there something rather than nothing?”  I shall support this case with three arguments:

1.       A theistic worldview cannot account for many features of our universe that an atheistic worldview can account for. 

2.       There are natural explanations for why a universe would exist instead of nothing.

3.       There is no explanation for why a god would exist instead of nothing.

 A Theistic Worldview Cannot Account for Many Features of Our Universe

Let us examine the universe that we live in.  Our planet, Earth, is one of eight (get over it, Pluto lovers) orbiting a medium sized star.  That star is just one of half a trillion stars in our own galaxy.  Many of those others are suns with planets of their own.  The nearest of them are only a few years of travel-time away from us—if you are a photon that is!  Traveling at the fastest speed humans have ever gotten a vehicle up to, your ETA is closer to 2 million years.  In fact, ever physically traveling to anywhere outside of our solar system seems almost impossible, because the speeds needed to get to any other stars within a human lifetime are disallowed by certain laws of physics.  Not to mention the fact that our galaxy is just one amongst a collection of over 100 billion in the universe! 

An atheistic worldview has no trouble whatsoever accounting for a universe of this size.  The heavy elements forged in the first generations of stars after the Big Bang were formed by gravity into planets upon which complex chemistry eventually produced life on (at least) one of a hundred billion trillion planets in existence.  Life is not the goal of the universe, just a quirk of it, like the storms on Jupiter or the methane lakes on Titan.  Easy.  

The theistic worldview, however, provides no such easy answer.  The Christian claims the universe was created for the benefit of us, the creation.  So why the excess?  Why, if the universe is a gift to us, are we limited to just one of a hundred billion trillion planets?  Why is most of the universe constructed of empty space that is deadly to us?  Why are all of the planets within our reach also deadly to us, with their crushing gravity, sulfuric acid rain or freezing temperatures?  Why is everything outside our solar system kept off-limits to us by overwhelmingly vast distances and the laws of physics?  The idea of a god creating this universe for a species limited to just one planet seems like renting out all of Disney World for just one child then telling that child she can only ride the Tea Cup merry-go-round.  And nothing else. 

Genesis tells us that the stars exist so that we can mark the seasons.  Well, most stars in our own and other galaxies are not visible with the naked eye, so that can’t be it.  Maybe god was giving us something pretty to look at for when we invented telescopes?  Or perhaps god has other projects going on on distant planets, each with their own E.T. Jesus, nailed to some kind of extraterrestrial cross? 

I am being facetious, of course.  There is no good reason for the universe to be so large and so hostile if it was designed for us.  There is a very good reason for it to be this way if it was not.  When considering the universe, atheism clearly has greater explanatory power than theism. 

There Are Natural Explanations for Why a Universe Would Exist Instead of Nothing

Due to a series of recent advancements in scientific knowledge, we now have a very well-established explanation of why the universe exists and why it is the way it is.  This narrative could not possibly be further from the one given in genesis. 

We now know that the spontaneous creation of matter does actually happen; particles pop into existence for brief moments in time.  In his book, The Grand Design, Stephen Hawking explains how this fact converges with certain naturally emergent properties such as gravity to inevitably create a universe. 

“Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist. It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the universe going.”

A brief explanation for why the universe exists as it is as follows.

  1. From the Big Bang, energy—and therefore antimatter and matter—are created. 
  2. Matter and antimatter are created in unequal amounts, with more matter than antimatter; therefore our universe becomes ‘matter dominated'. 
  3. Initially, most of this matter exists as hydrogen, which collects into pockets across the universe.
  4. These pockets form the first generation of stars, which cook the hydrogen into heavier elements, like carbon, oxygen, and iron.
  5. When the first generations of stars go supernova, they seed the universe with the heavier elements which allows future generations of stars to also create planets, upon which complex chemical reactions take place.    
  6. On (at least) one of these planets, a reaction causes a molecule to become self-replicating.  Because that replication process is flawed, evolution by natural selection, given billions of years, develops the distant progeny of that molecule into complex life forms like us.  

None of this requires divine intervention—just naturally emergent properties like gravity. 

Unfortunately, due to special constraints, I cannot elaborate on this further.  Suffice it to say that these assertions have all been demonstrated by the scientific method to the satisfaction of the vast majority of the scientific community. 

There is No Explanation for Why a God Would Exist Instead of Nothing

Now I will proceed to establish the most important point in my case—that there is no reason why a god would exist instead of nothing. 

This point is important because of how the topic question for this debate is structured.  The question is decisively not “why is there a universe instead of nothing?”  Rather, it is “why is there something rather than nothing?”  This distinction is a small but significant one, because while I am proposing that only the universe exists Mr. Cook is proposing that something exists outside of the universe.  He is proposing that there is an intelligent being, capable of monitoring every movement of every particle at every point in time, capable of orchestrating the dance of 100 billion galaxies across empty space, capable of manipulating evolution in order to create one very specific species of primate, and capable of feeling human emotions like love and sadness.  Such a being requires an explanation for its existence, just as the universe does (perhaps more so.)  

If Mr. Cook cannot provide an explanation for why such a being should exist instead of nothing, then he cannot be considered the winner of this debate. 

Unfortunately for modern apologists, the ancient Hebrews neglected to write a “back-story” for Yahweh, the way the Greeks, for instance, did for their better thought out mythologies about Zeus and company.  Genesis gives no account for Yahweh prior to his creation of the Earth other than to say his spirit floated on some great body of water. 

Now, I am going to be very careful here because I am flirting with an Argumentum ad Ignorantium and I want to make sure no one can read a fallacy into this argument.  What I am not saying is that because Mr. Cook cannot explain the existence of a god, one cannot exist.  That would be fallacious.  What I am saying is that if parts of the theistic worldview require inexplicable phenomenon, a theistic worldview cannot be have greater explanatory power than an atheistic worldview.  That is a key distinction to keep in mind, least Mr. Cook charge me with constructing an Argument from Ignorance.  Remember, we are not debating whether or not a god exists—we are debating which worldview is better able to answer the question “why is there something rather than nothing?” 


In conclusion, you have heard here three good reasons to believe that an atheistic worldview is more capable than a theistic worldview of answering the question, “Why is there something rather than nothing?”  Those reasons are: 

1.       A theistic worldview cannot account for many features of our universe that an atheistic worldview can account for. 

2.       There are natural explanations for why a universe would exist instead of nothing.

3.       There is no explanation for why a god would exist instead of nothing.

If Mr. Cook wishes for you to believe that he has won this debate, he will have to tear down all three of these arguments and erect a case of his own in their place that establishes how a theistic worldview answers the question “why is there something rather than nothing?”  Good luck to him—he will need it.

My opponent's opening argument can be found here:

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Aliens and Apologetics

***NOTE:  Some of my posts are serious rebuttals to serious arguments given for the existence of a god.  This is not one of those posts. 

In my view, there are four very important questions that fall upon the shoulders of science to answer.  Those questions are:

  1. How did everything that exists get to where it is today?  
  2. What will probably happen to everything that exists in the future?
  3. Are we alone in the universe?
  4. Does the universe have a creator? 

In some ways, questions 3 & 4 are similar but the answers to those questions, based on the currently available evidence, would be very different.  We have good reasons to entertain the possibility that an alien civilization may exist somewhere in the universe.   

We have found that life can survive and even flourish under harsh conditions.  Life forms called extremophiles have been found in the coldest and hottest places on Earth.  Some have even been found to survive on vessels that have traveled through space.   Animals and plants are composed of four of the five most abundant elements in the universe, so we know the ingredients for life are not difficult to find.  We know that any self-replicating molecule that makes slight errors in its replication process will undergo the process of evolution by natural selection and we know that human beings are very successful animals because of our intelligence, so we can imagine intelligence developing independently on some distant planet the way, for instance, the eye has developed independently forty times here on Earth because of its utility.  Finally, we know that stars and planets are abundant in the universe—one could estimate upwards of 160,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 stars altogether, so there are LOTS of potential chances for life to get started and develop. 

We have no such reasons to entertain the possibility that a creator may exist.  Any being sufficiently intelligent to create a universe would require an explanation for its own existence and no such explanation has ever been postulated for the existence of a creator that is credible.  Furthermore, there is no mark of design in our universe, and no argument for the existence of a creator has ever been formed which does not rely upon a fallacy or a false premise. 

However, there is one key similarity between the two questions:  We can have an intelligent discussion about the possibility of the existence of both an alien civilization and a creator, a conversation informed by all available evidence.   But anyone who claims to be in constant, personal, telepathic communication with either thing should be immediately removed from that conversation.

Think about it.  We do discuss the possibility of alien life at the highest levels of science.  NASA employes ‘astrobiologists’—individuals who study what alien life might be like, despite having no alien life to study.  The Keplar Space Telescope surveys planets in distant solar systems, hoping to find one that may be “Earth-like” and home to other life forms.  A robot is being built by a private company that may one day be sent to the icy Jovian moon, Europa, on an “ice-fishing” mission into the liquid oceans that exist miles beneath its surface, hoping to find something swimming around down there. 

However, there are many people in our society for whom these endeavors are a waste of time.  They will tell you that they already know the answer to the question of whether or not aliens exist—yes!  How do they know?  Why, because they are communicating with those aliens of course!  But it is a telepathic communication, so only the select few individuals who the aliens choose to communicate with are able to hear what the aliens want.  Some of those individuals don’t want to communicate with the aliens, so they construct hats out of tin foil to protect their thoughts.  Every once in a while, someone will come along and claim to actually be an alien, just in human form. 

All of these people are immediately discounted from the conversation about the existence of alien life for obvious reasons.  

However, we seem to allow the same class of people to enter into conversations about the existence of a creator.  Most apologists and theologians will freely and willingly admit to being in constant, personal, telepathic communication with the creator.  They are actually proud of this fact.  They tell you exactly what that creator wants you to do, who he does and does not want you to sleep with and what days of the week he wants you to eat fish instead of meat.  We put these people in charge of large congregations of eager followers, who also want to be able to engage in telepathic communication with the creator.  We even put these people on television, on news shows, and let them discuss matters of morality and public policy.  In recent memory, we have elected at least one of these people to the office of the Presidency!  And the extra-crazy person who claims actually be the creator in human form?  Well, instead of locking him up and throwing away the key, the way we do with people who claim to be aliens in human form, people all over the world now worship that guy, thousands of years after his death! 

Why the dissonance?  I honestly cannot figure it out.  Yes, let’s have a conversation about the possibility of alien life.  Yes, let’s have a conversation about the possibility of a creator.  Let’s hear all the arguments for both and let’s hear all the counter-arguments.  But we should also make a rule of immediately excluding anyone who claims to be in direct, personal, telepathic conversation with either an alien civilization or the creator of the universe from that conversation.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Hitting the Off-Switch For Your Brain

What is Faith? 

In my discussions with Christians, I have found that the average Christian will, when pressed, make an appeal to faith.  To the Christian, faith seems like the ultimate Get-Out-Of-Jail-Free card.  Whenever they run up against a wall, whenever they notice the failure of their reasons for belief, they fall into this mindset—that it is noble for them to continue believing that their religion is true in the face of compelling evidence to the contrary. 

But what is faith?  Should the connotation of the word faith even be a positive one?  Do we all have faith?  Should we really make a virtue out of this characteristic?  In this post, I hope to answer these questions   

Well, first let us define faith.  There are several available definitions, but the one I am referring to when I talk about appeals to faith is the Oxford English Dictionary’s definition:

3.  A belief in a proposition or claim without proof, a belief that is not based on evidence. 

On a side note--it makes me positively gleeful to observe that the term faith is used to refer both to beliefs that are not based on evidence and religion.  As Martin Luther famously said, “reason is the greatest enemy that faith has.”  I wonder if he was referring to faith as in belief without proof or faith as a synonym for religion.  Either way, this statement is very telling.   

Now, before I continue let me clarify a point here.  I am not arguing in this post that religion is not supported by evidence.  That is my position, but I am not defending that position here.  If you believe that the evidence supports the existence of a god, then this post is not for you.  This post is addressing the idea that is commonly held amongst the religious that one is admirable for continuing to believe something even if the evidence does not support that belief.  This is a hideous little meme and I hope to do my best to dispel it here.   

Why Faith is Bad

This should be fairly obvious.  If one wants to discover the truth, then one should examine all available evidence and use good logic to come to the most likely conclusion.  If new evidence comes to light that shifts the balance of evidence into another direction, then one should be willing to adjust ones beliefs accordingly.  This is called open-mindedness. 

Faith is the opposite of this.  Faith involves choosing a belief for whatever reason (perhaps you feel at the time the evidence does support that belief, perhaps your parents held it, perhaps it comforts you in a time of distress) and then deciding to hold onto that belief no matter what.  If new evidence comes to light that casts doubt on the belief, you either ignore that evidence or ad hoc your way out of adjusting your belief.  You gather together with people who share your belief to provide confirmation to one another.  Essentially, you are shutting off your critical thinking process.  You are hitting the off-switch for your brain.  This is called closed-mindedness. 

Faith involves acting as if you have more certainty than you do.  If our goal was to understand reality, we would in fact act as if we have less certainty than we do.  It is one of the great hallmarks of science that scientists are always willing to throw out their old assumptions to accommodate new evidence.  It is one of the great hallmarks of religion that churches are always willing to throw out new evidence to accommodate their old assumptions. 

We All Have Faith In Something .  I Have Faith In Christ, You Have Faith In Science

I think that all atheists will agree, this is probably the most annoying thing we hear from Christians.  And we hear it so much!  Every believer who uses this line thinks they are being clever or original, but it is the most tired platitude the religious have.     

In one of my conversations with a believer, an elder at a fundamentalist evangelical church in my area, he asked me why I would trust science over Christianity when the two came into conflict.  Christianity, after all, had been saying the same thing consistently for 2000 years, but science is constantly changing what it says.  I first asked him if his church preached the need to burn witches and, when he said no, I pointed out to him that Christianity had therefore not been saying the same thing for 2000 years, as not burning witches (or heretics, necromancers, homosexuals, and others) was a big change from what Christians used to do.  After my facetious statement, I went on to tell him a story that Richard Dawkins recounts in his book, The God Delusion (mandatory reading for anyone interested in the topic of religion). 

Dawkins tells us of a professor he had in his college days who had spent his career arguing against the existence of a cell wall in plant cells.  One day, one of that professor’s former students came in and gave a lecture on how he had demonstrated conclusively that the cell wall does in fact exist.  The professor stood up and walked to the front of the room, shaking his former students hand vigorously and sincerely declaring, “Thank you, my dear boy, I have been wrong these fifteen years.”  Dawkins and his classmates stood up and clapped their hands red. 

This is what the scientific method looks like at its best.  Does every individual scientist work with this mentality?  No, some get attached to their ideas and ignore the evidence against them.  But what happened with Dawkins’ professor is what science admires.  It is what science aspires to. 

What does Christianity aspire to?  Well, imagine that someone were able to put together a philosophical and scientific case that completely disproved the existence of god.  Every argument that supports the existence of a god is dispelled by this case and the evidence against the existence of a god is so compelling as to leave no question as to its truth. 

Imagine the person who compiled this case going to the Vatican and presenting it to the pope.  Could anyone honestly imagine the pope throwing down his pointy crown and shaking the presenters’ hand, thanking him for showing him the error of his ways?  You are probably laughing at the very idea, which proves my point.  Religion aspires to the exact opposite of what science aspires to—religion demands acceptance of the conclusion, regardless of the evidence,  science demands acceptance of the evidence, regardless of the conclusion. 

In another conversation with a different believer, a Baptist minister, I used a different allegory to illustrate my point.  I was meeting the minister at a Starbucks for coffee and he told me that I exercised faith every day.  I had faith, he said, that when I sat in my chair that the chair would not collapse underneath me.  So why would I not have faith in god? 

I responded that I actually didn’t exercise faith every day, and neither did he.  We exercise the opposite of faith every day—reason.  Reason is what we use when we sit in a chair without expecting it to collapse.  It would be unreasonable to assume that that chair would collapse based upon the available evidence.  The chair appeared sturdy.  I have never had the experience of a chair breaking when I sit in it.  All the other chairs in that Starbucks were capable of supporting the other patrons sitting in them.  I did not expect the chair to collapse because the evidence told me it would not.  Granted, this was mostly a subconscious analysis of the evidence, but it was an analysis nonetheless.

If, on the other hand, I had entered the Starbucks to the sight of several customers sitting with shocked faces on the floor, surrounded by the wooden shards of collapsed chairs and spilt coffee, then approached my friend the minister at the table where he sat to find the chair I was about to sit in held together loosely with masking tape, and yet still sat down heavily and confidently in that chair, then I would be exercising faith.  I would be suspending my reasoning process and sitting in the chair despite an absence of evidence that the chair could support me.  And I would be very foolish to do so.  Likewise, I would be very foolish to suspend my reasoning process when examining other questions, particularly ones like “how did the universe get here?” and “does a god exist?” 

Faith in a-Zeusism

One other annoying way that the religious phrase their platitude is to say that atheists have faith there is no god.  The especially irritating former-hapless-journalist-turned-wealthy-best-selling-creationist Lee Strobel has a characteristically irritating bromide that he “does not have enough faith to be an atheist.”  Strobel and those like him often say that it takes faith to believe that the universe and everything in it came from nothing. 

Well, this is just inanity, pure and simple.  It does not take a suspension of reasoning faculties to dismiss a claim on the grounds that poor evidence exists to support it.  Furthermore, Christians willingly admit to taking a leap of faith when it comes to believing their own god exists, but rarely will you hear a Christian admit to taking a leap of faith when it comes to rejecting the existence of a rival god, like Zeus for instance.  No Christian will ever say that they have to take it on faith that Zeus does not exist.  Nor would they accept that not believing in Zeus would be silly because then we would have to believe that lightning just happens randomly as a result of a random configuration of molecules.  How ridiculous does the claim that denying the existence of a god requires faith sound when phrased like that! 

Ultimately, Christianity is faith-based and atheism is not.  Atheism is simply the rational response to an irrational claim.  While some Christians may attempt to rationalize their belief by providing reason for it (reasons that fall apart when analyzed), if you press the average Christian, they will almost always make an appeal to faith.  This is because the Christian world view is so incoherent, so inconsistent with reality, so blatantly ludicrous that it can only be justified by a suspension of rational thinking.  That is what faith is.  The antithesis of contemplation.  Without making a virtue of faith, Christianity would not be able to survive. 

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley--a Hero for Atheism?

On Tuesday, January 18th, the newly inaugurated governor of Alabama, Robert Bentley made some controversial remarks regarding religious faith during a speech at Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church, the Montgomery church once led by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.  The speech was addressed to a group of religious supporters and the comments that drew the criticism and scrutiny of non-Christians from all over America were these:   

“But if you have been adopted in God's family like I have, and like you have, if you're a Christian and if you're saved, and the Holy Spirit lives within you just like the Holy Spirit lives within me, then you know what that makes us?  It makes you and me brothers. And it makes you and me brother and sister.

“Now I will have to say that, if we don't have the same daddy, we're not brothers and sisters. So anybody here today who has not accepted Jesus Christ as their savior, I'm telling you, you're not my brother and you're not my sister, and I want to be your brother.”

These sentiments were very discomforting for me to hear from an elected official, and people from all walks of life who also believe in the importance of secular government share my view.   The Jewish Defense League regional director Bill Nigut said Bentley’s statements raise concerns that Bentley may be using his position as governor to advocate for the Christian faith.  "If he does so, he is dancing dangerously close to a violation of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which forbids government from promoting the establishment of any religion," said Nigut.

This type of language, however, is common among Christians in the pews of churches although it is shocking to many to hear it expressed by a public official.   After receiving heavy criticism from the JDL and other groups, Governor Bentley issued an apology earlier today.  

"What I would like to do is apologize, should anyone who heard those words and felt disenfranchised, I want to say, 'I'm sorry.'...I promise to be a governor of all the people.” 

Now, what should atheists read into this whole situation?  Well, it may surprise some of you to hear that I am personally encouraged by it!

The downsides are obvious—we have another delusional religious fanatic in public office in America.  The governor of Alabama thinks that his personal faith should play a role in the people’s government.  His apology was obviously just an insincere attempt to regain some political points that his statements had lost him. 

But we would be remiss not to notice the less obvious upside—that Bentley felt the need to apologize at all!  It should be great news to us that he felt he would gain more political points by apologizing than by standing by what he said.  After all, it would not have been controversial if he were, for instance, a pastor talking to a congregation.  In fact, those kinds of statements are normal to the ears of church-going Christians. 

Candy Gunther Brown, an associate professor of religious studies at Indiana University in Bloomington, said Bentley was making a "theological statement" to a church crowd. She called Bentley's statements a "classic altar call" from an evangelical.

"He's saying I want to be your brother. That's an invitation. But basically the way it's heard is as an exclusionary statement.  My guess is that expressions of shock and concern by critics are even perhaps disingenuous because this can scarcely be the first time they've heard a similar statement. If they're in Alabama, they've heard this before, they've heard it many times before and maybe even by political leaders."

Bentley made statements that, for a Christian audience, are noncontroversial.  However, for the general public, they were shocking.   This tells us something very important about the tide of public opinion—it is turning decisively towards secularism. 

The fact that Bentley had to apologize for his statements shows that mainstream America no longer identifies with basic tenets of the Christian faith.  So much so that when one of our leaders expresses belief in some of those tenets, there is a public outcry.  Essentially, the events of today show that Christian leaders have to apologize for certain aspects of their religion because mainstream America finds those teachings offensive. 

Now, I am no advocate for political correctness, but I find it very satisfying to know that some Christian beliefs are considered inappropriate for public officials to express.  Granted, this is a long way from what should be our ultimate goal—to have the crucifix become a scarlet letter for anyone running for public office in America. 

I think of this instance as a stepping stone along the path to a purely secular society, where religion is a peculiar habit that only peculiar people engage in.  If we can chip away at Christianity, one silly notion by one, it would not be hard to imagine a day when admitting a belief in any kind of deity would have the same effect on a politicians career as admitting a belief in UFO abductions does today. 


A De-Convert

There is nothing more satisfying than knowing that you truly helped someone else improve their life.  That is the feeling I had when I woke up this morning to find a truly heart-warming note in my inbox on Facebook.  I am keeping the friend who sent me this note anonymous, but I felt so touched by the fact that I was able to help this guy that I had to share his story.  Here is the message he sent me:

"Hey man, just wanted to send you a thanks. Since we became friends on here, idk how long ago, I have read your posts on religion. Having been raised by a strict southern baptist mother, i was a bit brain washed growing up. Although i never really practiced religion after middle school, if you would have asked me i would have said i was a Christian, because that was the only acceptable answer as far as i was concerned(did i say brain washed). About two years ago i started to let my mind become open and unbiased, and so started my reality check. I finally looked in the mirror one day and it was like POOF! i cant believe i actually fell for this bullshit. Now i could go on forever about why my mind was changed, but you already know the answer to that. Anyway thanks bro, keep it real."
Like I said, very touching.  This is exactly what I have hoped to achieve by discussing religious irrationality on both this blog and my Facebook account, so to know that I have done it even just for one person makes it all worthwhile. 

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Blog Wars! Coming soon...

An atheist/Christian debate by Ben Doublett and Cody Cook taking place on and
beginning January 24th at 11 p.m. EST


The Rules

Both debaters will post on their respective blogs an opening statement making a positive case for their viewpoint not exceeding 1,200 words.

Within 72 hours, both debaters will post rebuttals not exceeding 1,600 words.

Within another 72 hours, both debaters will post a three question cross-examination they have done of the other debater, questions not exceeding 50 words and answers not exceeding 200 words.

Within another 72 hours, 400 word conclusions will also be posted by each debater.

Links to the post responded to and the response posted (when they are submitted) will be placed in text of each post.

The Debaters

Ben Doublett is the owner of a small business and a British citizen living in the United States. He spends his free time volunteering with the business program at Mason High School, mentoring aspiring entrepreneurs and, most relevantly, as an amateur atheist and rationalist polemic.

In his new blog, Fool of Psalms, he criticizes all kinds of irrational belief, including alternative and faith-based healing practices and (coming soon) astrology, but mainly he focuses on dispelling the reasons given for religious belief and providing reasons for disbelief. This blog has attracted nearly a thousand unique visitors from all over the world in less than three weeks.

While he is definitely not reserved in his criticisms of beliefs he considers irrational, Doublett always tries to remain as respectful as possible in debates with the faithful. He is a strong advocate of the notion that one should attack the belief and not the believer.

To read more about Doublett’s positions on religious faith and other issues, check out his blog at

Cody Cook is a theology student specializing in apologetics. He seeks to follow the biblical command to, "sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence" and seeks to dialogue with non-Christians about the truths of the Christian faith. He believes that since reason and morality come from God, they cannot be consistently used against Him by the atheist/agnostic/skeptic. As a result, he seeks to demonstrate circular reasoning, unfounded assumptions, and faulty reasoning in atheistic thinking, while at the same time seeking to maintain a friendly and generous spirit. He has two blogs which he uses to encourage dialogue with fellow Christians as well as non-Christians: and

Saturday, January 15, 2011

God, Free Will and Bunny Rabbits

In this blog, I will be posting rebuttals to the various arguments given for god’s existence by believers and apologists.  My intention here is to prove a single point:  There is no good reason to believe a god exists.  There are plenty of reasons, but there is not a single one that relies on premises that are true and/or logic that is not fallacious (see my previous post, “The Wrong Way to Argue” for details on logical fallacies.)   Today, I shall be addressing the Argument from Free Will. 

The argument is constructed as follows:

Premise 1) Free will can only exist in a universe with a god.

Premise 2) Free will does exist

Conclusion) God exists   

This is a favorite argument of Christian apologists, but it is, as with all their arguments, inherently flawed.   While its logic is not fallacious, it contains untrue premises.  Before I explain, it would be useful define free will and then to explain the justification for both premise one and two. 

Free will (as defined by is Philosophy.  The doctrine that the conduct of human beings expresses personal choice and is not simply determined by physical or divine forces.

Premise one of the Argument from Free Will is justified by a Newtonian understanding of an atheistic universe.  A causes B, B causes C, etc.  The ultimate understanding of the universe being that it is a series of inevitable, predictable chain reactions going back to the very instant of the Big Bang.  It has been suggested that if one knew the position and velocity of every atom in the universe at any given time, it would be possible to predict everything that had happened previously and everything that would take place after.  Everything would unfold like a shot on a pool table-- knowing the direction and velocity of the first movement can tell you everything that will take place after. 

Because the firing of every neuron and the mutation of every cell in every living creature are all simply reactions to previous actions, the author of this argument claims that, with enough knowledge, it would be possible to predict the state of every living being, human or otherwise, at every point in time, as well as the state of every other atom in every non-living construct.  Essentially, every action we take is determined by the action that preceded it, which is determined by the action that preceded that, going back to the moment of the Big Bang.  The author then claims that this is a completely deterministic universe, all unfolding on a schedule from Big Bang to entropy. 

The author of the argument then claims that a god is capable of imbuing human beings with an immaterial soul, which has free will.  Because the soul is not physical but controls the physical body of the human it inhabits, it can cause that physical body to make choices that are not dependent upon the physical forces that cause a purely materialistic universe to be deterministic.   Therefore, the author claims, only in a universe with a god can living things have free will. 

Premise two, that free will exists, is justified by the inherent conception of free will that all humans have.  Essentially, we feel like we have free will.  We feel capable of making decisions, and it appears to us that we do make decisions, on a regular basis.  We do not feel like those decisions are determined by any outside forces. We do not feel like pool balls bouncing around a table, simply reacting to what has happened.  We feel like we are in control of how we react, taking many different paths that can affect our future every day.   

Therefore, if free will is something that can only exist if a god exists, and free will does exist, the conclusion that a god exists does in fact follow.  Superficially, the argument seems plausible and could effectively establish the existence of a god.  If not too closely examined.  However, in order for an argument to establish its conclusion, it must have both non-fallacious logic and true premises.  The Argument from Free Will, while containing non-fallacious logic, fails to establish both of its premises. 

Premise 2) Free Will Does Exist

For this post, I shall be working backwards, since the flaw in the second premise is easier to explain than the flaw in the first premise.  The second premise of the argument—that free will does exist—has never been conclusively demonstrated. 

It is actually quite easy to see how—the author of the argument only claims that we perceive ourselves as beings with free will, which is quite different than actually having free will.  It is entirely possible that free will is just a useful illusion, bred into our brains by the process of evolution by natural selection, like the illusion of color (which actually does not exist—colors are just useful devices our brains use to distinguish the different wavelengths at which light is reflected.  It is possible that bats hear in color and that dogs smell in color.)  It does not follow from the fact that human reason—a faulty data processing program—perceives something that that thing exists in reality.  The author of the argument, essentially, does not satisfactorily demonstrate the truth of this premise. 

However, this alone is not a satisfying rebuttal to the argument.  What would be more satisfying is if the first premise were proven wrong and it was demonstrated that free will, whether or not it does exist, could exist in a universe without a god and could not, in fact, exist in a universe with a theistic god.  This is a more interesting proposition and I shall spend the rest of this post justifying it.

Premise 1) Free Will Can Only Exist in a Universe with a God

As previously stated, this premise relies on a Newtonian view of the universe.  It is entirely dependent on the notion of causality—A happens, which causes B, B causes C, etc.  For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.  This was an effective way of understanding the universe for a long time, until the advent of quantum mechanics.  However, with quantum mechanics we began to find that the universe does not work within Newton’s nice, organized laws all the time.  At the quantum level, there is chaos and randomness.  Therefore, the claim that a purely physical universe is deterministic can be said to be conclusively debunked by modern science.  (This is an area of advanced physics where I freely admit to being over my head, but I have been assured by a friend, who is an astrophysicist, that this statement is supported by the current understanding of quantum mechanics.)
Furthermore, in the Argument from Free Will, the author claims that if it were possible to know the position and velocity of every atom in the universe, it would be possible to extrapolate backwards or forwards the position of every atom at any given time in the future or the past.  However, this is a huge ‘if’.  In fact, it is an impossible ‘if’.  It is rendered impossible by the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, which states that due to the inherent nature of microscopic systems, the more accurately you know an objects location, the less you know of where it's going.  I won’t go into any more detail about it in this post, but it is a binding natural law, and you can read more about it here 

In order to establish that free will cannot exist in a purely physical universe, the author of the Argument from Free Will requires knowledge that is impossible (not just impractical) to attain.  In addition to being incredibly infeasible, it is simply not consistent with the laws of physics that any being existing within the universe could ever know the position and velocity of every atom in the universe.  In order to establish this argument, the author requires unattainable knowledge.   

But if the universe were deterministic (again, generously setting aside the randomness and chaos that exists at the quantum level) but knowledge of its fate was unattainable, would free will still exist?  If limits exist upon our freedom, but knowledge of those limits is forever unattainable, would they be limits at all?  For this, it might be useful to engage in a brief thought experiment (something regular readers will now know I am quite fond of.)

The Rabbit and the Cage

Imagine if you will a bunny rabbit in a 2’ by 2’ wire cage.  The little rabbit can move about freely within the cage, but if she moves more than a few small steps in any direction, she bumps into the edge of the cage.  No matter what direction the bunny rabbit looks, she sees the cage that keeps her prisoner. 

Everyone would agree that this poor creature has no freedom to determine where she goes. 

Now imagine we make a larger cage that includes about ten acres and put a different bunny rabbit in there.  The bottom of the cage is buried ten feet under the ground and the roof of the cage extends high above the ground, so that it is only visible when the bunny is sitting on the highest hills in his ten acre plot of land.  Anywhere within the ten acre cage, the bunny rabbit can travel freely.  There are certainly places in the cage where the bunny rabbit cannot see the walls or the roof of the cage.  Indeed, he cannot see them from most of the places in the cage.  However, when he runs up against one of the walls, he cannot get past them.  He has free range to roam around within his 10 acre cage, but he can never leave it.

I think most people would also agree that this bunny rabbit lacks the freedom to determine where he goes, too.    

Finally, imagine a truly tremendous cage around a third bunny rabbit.  This wire cage extends around the entire solar system, out past the orbital path of Neptune.  If the bunny were ever to hop out to the far reaches of the solar system, it would not be able to get past this cage.  However, as with the previous bunny, this bunny has the ability to move about anywhere it likes within its cage.  If it wanted to hop from Moscow to Paris, no obstacles would be put in its path.  If it somehow could travel to Mars, it could do so.  Of course, no realistic situation could be imagined whereby the bunny would ever actually see the fence that imprisoned it.  It could never reach the cage walls in its lifetime and, barring human intervention, it could never travel past the orbital path of Neptune.  In theory, the bunny may be limited, but in practice it would not. 
I think most people would agree that this third bunny would live an entirely free life (assuming no outside forces conspire to limit its freedom.)

So, a bunny trapped in a cage that it can always see lacks the freedom to determine its situation, as does a bunny trapped in a cage it can only sometimes see.  But the bunny trapped in a cage that it could never see does not.  What conclusions can we draw from this? 

If you agree that the third bunny has the freedom to determine where it goes but the first and second bunnies do not, then you have acknowledged the truth of my objection to the first premise of the Argument from Free Will.  That objection is this:  If a being has limitations placed upon it, but those limitations are impossible to perceive, in practice that being does possess free will.  Because the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle makes it impossible to attain the knowledge that the author of the Argument from Free Will requires in order to justify his first premise, his argument fails. 

Free Will With a God?  The Free Will/Triple-O Paradox
Okay, so I have made a case for how free will can exist in a materialistic universe.  But I’m not done yet.  I am now going to justify how free will is actually rendered impossible by the existence of a theistic god.  Remember our definitions here—a theistic god is a god who intervenes in human affairs, like Zeus or the god of the bible.  It is different from a deistic god, who simply acted as a prime mover at the origins of the universe and then ‘retired’, and very different from the pantheistic god of Einstein and Hawking, which is just a metaphor for the universe itself. 

If a being exists that has a plan for all of us and has told us exactly how that plan will unfold in the Book of Revelations, then any possibility of free will humans have goes out the window.  Think about it.  If god believes that I will post this piece to my blog at 8pm on January 15th, would I be able to decide not to do so and post it to my blog at noon on the 16th instead?  If the answer is yes, then god is not in possession of omnipotence, omniscience and omnipresence.  If the answer is no, then I am not in possession of free will. 

But this may fall under the same protection I have carved out for the atheist with my allegory of the three bunnies.  Since we cannot perceive the mind of god, any limits placed on us by god’s mind are functionally not limits on free will.  This protection would apply to the theist if they were not burdened by the Book of Revelations.  Believers must accept the fact that god has informed us exactly of how the experiment of humanity will play out.  Basically:

  1. There is a time of great tribulation on the Earth which combines natural disasters with war on an unprecedented scale.

  1. The "Lamb" saves his people from the tribulation, destroys the wicked, and ushers in an age of peace; after the age of peace, there is a second, brief time of trouble which results in the permanent banishment of the wicked.

  1. A new heaven and a new earth replace the old, and the people of God go to live in the presence of God and Christ in a heavenly city described as the "New Jerusalem."

We can see the fence that traps us in the Revelation of John.  If the believer acknowledges that, no matter what action humans take, the preceding events are inevitable, free will goes out the window.  Our future is not determined by our choices.  We cannot end the human race in any way except the way god has revealed to us.  If the believer claims that the events John predicts can be averted, then he casts doubt on the omniscience of god—or at very least on the biblical cannon. 

One cannot accept the premise that an omniscient, omnipresent and omnipotent god has revealed the fate of humanity in the Book of Revelations, and the premise that humans have free will.  It is paradoxical.  The two premises inherently contradict each other. 

Essentially, the Argument from Free Will fails on four levels.

1.      It does not establish that free will exists

2.      It does not allow for the chaos and randomness that exist at the quantum level

3.      It requires knowledge that the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle has demonstrated is impossible to attain

4.      It claims that the god of the bible can give humans free will, which he cannot. 

Hopefully this post has completely debunked the Argument from Free Will as it currently stands.  If anyone believes they have anything to add, please let me know in the comments section.