I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist

February 8, 2009

CrossExamined.org presents:

I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist

Featuring:
Dr. Frank Turek
TV Host and Award-Winning Co-Author of:
I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist
(Monday’s at 7 P.M. on DirecTV Channel 37 8)

Guest on:
The O’Reilly Factor,
Hannity & Colmes,
Politically Incorrect

Among the Topics Addressed:
 How Can it Be True That There is No Truth?
 Three Arguments That God Exists
 Einstein’s Evidence for The Greatest Miracle
 Dawkins and Hitchens Exposed
 Your Questions (The Presenter on the Hot Seat!)

When: Saturday, February 7, 2009
9:00-4:00 pm

Where: Grace EFC

2005 Estates Parkway, Allen, TX 75002

Info: CrossExamined.org

Don’t Miss this Unique Opportunity to Find out Why it
Takes More Faith to Be an Atheist than it does to be a Christian.

*If you would like Dr. Frank Turek to speak at your church or school then email me at ntapologetics@yahoo.com

 

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I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist

October 22, 2008

CrossExamined.org presents:

I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist

Featuring:
Dr. Frank Turek
TV Host and Award-Winning Co-Author of:
I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist
(Sunday’s at 6 P.M. on DirecTV Channel 378)

Guest on:
The O’Reilly Factor,
Hannity & Colmes,
Politically Incorrect

Among the Topics Addressed:
 How Can it Be True That There is No Truth?
 Three Arguments That God Exists
 Einstein’s Evidence for The Greatest Miracle
 Dawkins and Hitchens Exposed
 Your Questions (The Presenter on the Hot Seat!)

When: Saturday, November 1, 2008
7:00-9:00 pm

Where: Collin County Community College – Spring Creek Campus
Conference Center – Room AA135
2800 E. Spring Creek Parkway, Plano, TX 75074

Tuition: Free

Info: CrossExamined.org

Don’t Miss this Unique Opportunity to Find out Why it
Takes More Faith to Be an Atheist than it does to be a Christian.


Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed

April 20, 2008

I just saw this movie yesterday and it was absolutely incredible.  I believe it is one of the most important movies of my generation.  I highly encourage everyone to go and see it and let others know about it.

See details on the movie below from Answers in Genesis.

Excited about Expelled!

I urge you to go to one of the 1,000 movie theaters that will be showing the excellent and entertaining documentary Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, which starts tomorrow.

I have already attended two previews of Expelled, and I look forward to seeing it again—that’s how great this film truly is. It exposes how radical evolutionists will persecute those who don’t accept evolution. It gives many examples of scientists and others whose careers have been ruined by the “evolution police”—yet at the same time manages to be humorous, thanks to its witty host (actor Ben Stein) and the insertion of funny movie clips.

Although Stein is not a biblical creationist and comes from a Jewish background, we have found some common ground with him, as he does a masterful job of exposing the scientific problems with Darwinian evolution as well as the ruthlessness of its defenders in suppressing academic freedom. It’s not a Christian film, but it is very much worth your time because you will get a better understanding of the creation/evolution battle and how it is on the front lines of the culture war. Plus, you will see compelling evidence for design in the universe.

To find a showing, go to the film’s website, and if you don’t see one of your local movie houses listed, call the theater’s manager and urge that it be shown. Your recommendation can go a long way to getting the film played and having your community see it. Or ask your pastor to call and ask how the church can book a showing of Expelled and then fill the theater with church members and guests.

Previews of the film have been met with standing ovations. Go see it for yourself and be prepared to stand up and cheer. (By the way, look for the scene in the film where protestors are picketing our Creation Museum!) For the moment, watch a trailer, endorsements, and video clips of Expelled at:

http://www.wingclips.com/cart.php?page=expelled

Remember: Expelled comes out tomorrow, April 18. Your support for the movie could help ensure that millions more people see the powerful evidence for design and learn about the loss of academic freedom at the hands of evolutionists.

Thank you,

Ken Ham

President, Answers in Genesis–U.S.


I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist

April 17, 2008

From Frank Turek and crossexamined.org.

 

Because of your support:

 

Since November, I’ve had the opportunity to present I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist to over 6,000 students between seven college seminars and three high school events.  We are currently scheduling multiple events for the fall.  

 

Atheists at UNC Wilmington had difficulty answering questions about the source of objective morality.  Click here to read about it: Atheists Have No Basis for Morality.

 

I’ve challenged atheists to provide causes for ten known effects (such as the origin of the universe out of nothing, the origin of life, objective morality, etc.).  To see the challenge, their responses, and a fascinating discussion, click here: Darwinists Have a Lot of Explaining to Do.

We are now broadcasting I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist into 15 million households every Sunday night at 6 pm ET (3 pm PT) on DirecTV channel 378 (rebroadcast 2 a.m. Monday morning, 11 pm PT).   Click here to see a clip from the TV show about how the New Testament is too embarrassing to be false.

We have also been invited to air the TV program on a cable station into another 10 million households.  Please pray negotiations go well.

CrossExamined.org is getting national attention.  After referencing us in a couple of columns, Mike Adams recently devoted an entire column to CrossExamined.org and how we are trying save this next generation from atheism and to Christ.  It’s called “Forward this Column or Get Stuck on Stupid.”   This article alone has brought us several invitations for next semester on campuses and churches all over the country!

We are now gearing up for two major events this summer (click here for the complete calendar):  The first is the CrossExamined Instructor Academy (CIA) from August 13-15 where we will train other apologists to conduct the seminar.  That way we can blanket campuses across the country with I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist (there will be an e-mail with details on CIA coming soon).  Please pray that those who will be most effective will apply to the program.

The second major event is a parent-student I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist conference to equip entire households with a defense against atheism and a positive case for Christianity (times and places to follow soon).  Please pray that the details fall into place so that a maximum number of families are impacted. 

In addition to conducting seminars next fall, I’ll be debating atheist Christopher Hitchens on September 9, 2008 at Virginia Commonweath University .  Mr. Hitchens, author of God is Not Great:  How Religion Poisons Everything, will be a formidable opponent.  I treasure your prayers.

 

At our campus events we’ve gotten several small unsolicited donations from students.  It is a blessing to   them to be part of the body wanting to give a ready defense – and a joy to us to know that they thought the program was so effective that they wanted to make sure we continued on to the next campus, and the next, and the next.  Will you help us get to the next campus?  Since we charge the students nothing for campus events, we rely on your support.  Please click here to donate.

 

Thank you for forwarding this message to your friends or relatives who would enjoy supporting this critical mission!

 

 

Blessings,

 

 

 


Desecrating Darwin’s Cathedral

January 21, 2008

From Dinesh D’Souza and Townhall.com.

“If you haven’t yet seen my Cal Tech debate with atheist Michael Shermer—a debate held December 9 before an audience of more than a thousand—you can watch it at michaelshermer.com. I want you to make up your own mind about the debate, so I’m not going to try to settle arguments here that were fully aired in the Beckman auditorium. One point I did make was that the new atheists–people like Richard Dawkins–who use science to promote atheism are in fact an embarrassment to science. They are abusing science for ideological ends. Although I was in a generally hostile crowd, my comment drew a spontaneous and surprising burst of applause.

Why? Part of the answer can be found in a remarkable article in the current issue of Skeptic magazine. Note that the magazine is published by none other than my debate adversary, Michael Shermer. Authored by David Sloan Wilson, the article is subtitled, “Why Richard Dawkins is Wrong About Religion.” Wilson is the author of several books including the acclaimed study Darwin’s Cathedral in which he examines the evolutionary basis for religion.

Wilson begins, “Richard Dawkins and I share much in common. We are both biologists by training who have written widely about evolutionary theory.” Moreover, “We are both atheists in our personal convictions.” Then Wilson gets to his point. “When Dawkins’ The God Delusion was published, I naturally assumed he was basing his critique of religion on the scientific study of religion from an evolutionary perspective. I regret to report otherwise. He has not done any original work on the subject and he has not fairly represented the work of his colleagues.” Rather, Dawkins has subjected his atheist readers to “sleights of hand.” He has produced a “diatribe against religion” that is “deeply misinformed.” Indeed he is “just another angry atheist trading on his reputation as an evolutionst and spokesperson for science to vent his personal opinions about religion.”

Devastating stuff. Wilson examines Dawkins’ central claim that religion is an obvious “delusion.” On the contrary, Wilson writes, religion is in general more adaptive for human communities than atheism. “On average, religious believers are more prosocial than non-believers, feel better about themselves, use their time more constructively, and engage in long-term planning, rather than gratifying their impulsive desires…They report being more happy, active, sociable, involved and excited.”

Wilson gives a telling example: The Jains of India seem to have bizarre religious habits. They won’t kill any creature, even cockroaches. They sometimes fast virtually unto death. They have been known to refuse contact with non-Jains. The Jains would easily satisfy Dawkins’ view of religion as a senseless delusion. And yet Wilson points out that the Jains are basically the Jews of India: they are one of the most successful economic communities in the world. The reason, he suggests, is that religious practices that seem weird and impractical to outsiders actually cultivate deep bonds of trust between Jains. This economic solidarity is crucial for a diaspora trading community that has built economic networks throughout Asia and around the world. What seems like a pointless delusion turns out to be eminently practical. From the evolutionist’s perspective–and in terms of the only currency that counts for a biologist–Jain practices have demonstrated “survival value.”

Richard Dawkins was given a chance to respond to Wilson’s article. How does he counter one of the most trenchant challenges to his book, one that is all the more crushing as it comes from a fellow atheist in an atheist publication? Dawkins concedes that “religious belief may have a positive survival value.” He sheepishly notes that his book is not about religion and evolution, and that the Darwinian perspective is tangential to his theme.

Now he tells us. Essentially this evolutionary biologist is confessing that in his recent work he has ventured to write about subjects in which he has no expert knowledge. When Dawkins tackles history, philosophy and theology, he usually makes a fool of himself. Not that his atheist admirers recognize this: many of them are even bigger fools. But it is Dawkins who is their leader, and that’s why writers like Wilson and I take the trouble to point out his blunders. As I put it during the Cal Tech debate, “This is what happens when you let a biologist leave the lab.”

Bestselling author Dinesh D’Souza’s new book What’s So Great About Christianity has just been released. D’Souza is the Rishwain Fellow at the Hoover Institution.


The Atheist Leap of Faith

December 31, 2007

From Chuck Colson and Breakpoint.“In a recent issue of Scientific American, arch-Darwinist Richard Dawkins and physicist Lawrence Krauss discussed the relationship between science and religion.

Dawkins, whose latest book, The God Delusion, is only one of a slew of recent books attacking religious beliefs, prefers an “in your face” approach. He once wrote that “if you meet somebody who claims not to believe in evolution, that person is ignorant, stupid, or insane.” He then added “or wicked, but I’d rather not consider that.”

In his discussion with Krauss, Dawkins stood by his statement, calling it “a simple and sober statement of fact.”

For his part, Krauss prefers to “reach out” to people and “understand where they are coming from”—not so that he might learn from them: Like Dawkins, he assumes that the people in question have little, if anything, to teach him. Rather, his goal is to “seduce” them into “understanding” and accepting scientific truths.

Thus Krauss says that “telling people . . . that their deepest beliefs are simply silly—even if they are” is counterproductive.

As you may have inferred from the “even if they are,” Krauss does not deny that religious belief is “irrational.” He simply thinks that religion is too deeply ingrained to be done away with. Better to help people “moderate” their beliefs and “cut out the most irrational and harmful aspects of religious fundamentalism.”

All of this begs the question: “Is faith, in particular, Christianity, irrational?”

Neither Dawkins nor Krauss comes close to proving this. Instead, Dawkins and Krauss simply assume that materialism—the idea that there is nothing besides matter—is true. Thus, what makes a faith “rational” is whether it can be proven empirically.

Dawkins and Krauss do not offer any arguments to justify their assumptions. They do not tell us why materialism is true: Instead, they ask you to take its truth as a given—in other words, on faith.

Speaking of faith, what Dawkins means by the word faith is, to put it politely, idiosyncratic. His technique, on display in the Scientific American piece, is to find the most extreme, fringe Christian positions and ascribe them to all Christians. He then cites these beliefs as proof that all Christian faith is irrational.

Reading their discussion or anything else associated with Dawkins and what is being called the “New Atheism,” you would not know that many of the greatest scientific discoveries were made by people of faith—not scientists who happened to be Christians, but people whose faith inspired and informed their scientific endeavors.

The work of physicists like Krauss would not be possible without Michael Faraday‘s work in electromagnetism. Faraday was a devout Christian who believed nature to be intelligible because it was created and upheld by a God who made Himself known in both His Word and in nature.

Rodney Stark, the eminent sociologist, writes that Christianity rescued reason. Christians saw reason as a gift of a rational God, and it could, therefore, be used to explore the universe and world that God had made. This belief made modern science possible.

If you meet someone who says your Christian faith is irrational, ask him to explain the basis of his faith.”


Q&A With the Great Philosopher Dr. William Lane Craig

December 28, 2007

Another excellent Q&A with the great philosopher Dr. William Lane Craig at his website Reasonablefaith.org.

Subject: Our Grasp of Objective Moral Values

Question:

Dear Dr. Craig:

In one of your papers (“The Indispensability of Theological Meta-Ethical Foundations for Morality”), you argue that the existence of objective morality leads logically to the conclusion that God exists. The argument seems powerful but not totally clear to me.

In that paper, you make the following claims:

To say that there are objective moral values is to say that something is right or wrong independently of whether anybody believes it to be so. It is to say, for example, that Nazi anti-Semitism was morally wrong, even though the Nazis who carried out the Holocaust thought that it was good; and it would still be wrong even if the Nazis had won World War II and succeeded in exterminating or brainwashing everybody who disagreed with them.

But then you later make the following claims.

And could anything be more obvious than that objective moral values do exist?

The fact is that we do apprehend objective values, and we all know it. Actions like rape, torture, child abuse, and brutality are not just socially unacceptable behavior—they are moral abominations.

First, I understand that if objective moral values are rules that are right or wrong independently of whether anybody believes them to be so, then Nazi atrocities were morally wrong even though the Nazis thought they were good. But then how can you say that “we do apprehend objective values, and we all know it”? How could we “all know it” if the Nazis didn’t know it and if they destroyed or brainwashed all who disagreed with them?

Second, if we indeed do apprehend objective values, and we all know it, how can we be sure that evolution is not just making it seem to us that these values are objective? For example, most people see a young female model as more beautiful than an elderly woman. Why is that the case? A likely reason is the young model is at the peak of reproductive fitness. Her appearance (a proximate factor) is linked to her reproductive fitness (an ultimate factor) as our recognition of beauty evolves. We respond to beauty, but it is the underlying reproductive fitness that ultimately directs evolution. In the same way, our moral values (proximate factors) could be linked to our or to our group’s reproductive fitness (ultimate factors) as our recognition of moral values evolves. We respond to morality but it is the underlying reproductive fitness that directs evolution. I cannot see how one can ever recognize morality as objective if our perceptions have been colored by the inevitable link between proximate and ultimate evolutionary factors.

Carmine
Dr. Craig responds:

The article you cite, Carmine, was originally a paper I presented at a meeting of the American Academy of Religion. So with respect to your first question, my phrase “we all know it” was intended to include my listeners, not any imagined Nazis. Even so, since there’s doubtless a number of folks in the AAR who give lip-service to relativism, it’s a rhetorical flourish, intended to elicit some commonality with one’s audience. It’s as if I were to say, “We all know that we must guard against terrorism”—even though the terrorists themselves would dissent from this statement!

As a matter of fact, however, I don’t think the Nazis would dissent from the statement that there are objective moral values. They would just disagree on what they are. That was the point of the quotation I read concerning Peter Haas’ book Morality after Auschwitz:

. . . far from being contemptuous of ethics, the perpetrators acted in strict conformity with an ethic which held that, however difficult and unpleasant the task might have been, mass extermination of the Jews and Gypsies was entirely justified. . . . the Holocaust as a sustained effort was possible only because a new ethic was in place that did not define the arrest and deportation of Jews as wrong and in fact defined it as ethically tolerable and ever good.

Haas’s point is precisely that the Nazis were not moral relativists or nihilists but rather objectivists who had a different value system than those of us who see all persons as intrinsically valuable. Something similar could be said of Islamic terrorists today.

So while there are nihilists around, I think you’ll have to look very hard to find them. People may give lip-service to relativism, but you’ll find that if you ask a few penetrating questions, like “So do you think child abuse is just fine morally?,” you’ll discover that people do believe in objective moral values.

Now your second question—“if we indeed do apprehend objective values, and we all know it, how can we be sure that evolution is not just making it seem to us that these values are objective?” —is somewhat misstated. For if we DO apprehend objective values and we KNOW this, then it follows automatically that we know that evolution is not just making us believe that these values are objective. (Otherwise we don’t really apprehend them or know this.) You might say, “Yes; but how can we be sure?” But it’s no part of my argument to claim certainty about these matters. There are very few matters in life about which we can be certain. All that matters is that, after thoughtfully reflecting on the question of moral values and weighing the alternatives, we come to the conclusion that, yes, objective moral values probably do exist.

What you’re really asking, I think, is, “Why should I think that objective moral values exist rather than that evolution has made me believe in the illusion that there are objective moral values?” And the answer to that question is, “Because I clearly apprehend objective moral values and have no good reason to deny what I clearly perceive.”

This is the same answer we give to the sceptic who says, “How do you know you’re not just a body lying in the Matrix and that all that you see and experience is an illusory, virtual reality?” We have no way to get outside our five senses and prove that they’re veridical. Rather I clearly apprehend a world of people and trees and houses about me, and I have no good reason to doubt what I clearly perceive. Sure, it’s possible that I’m a body in the Matrix. But possibilities come cheap. The mere possibility provides no warrant for denying what I clearly grasp.

That’s not to say that our senses don’t sometimes deceive us or that some people don’t have physical impairments that prevent them from accurately apprehending the world. But that doesn’t justify total scepticism about the veridicality of my senses. Analogously, our moral sense is not infallible, and in some people, like the Nazis, it is terribly twisted and blunted. But that’s no justification for general moral scepticism.

Now, of course, the objector’s claim here will be that we’ve got good evidence that evolution has, in fact, determined our moral perceptions and so gives us a good reason to doubt the deliverances of our moral sense. But is that true? Two issues arise with respect to this claim.

First, to infer that because evolution has programmed us to believe in certain values, therefore those values are not objective is a logical fallacy. This was the point I made in the article against Michael Ruse, when I said,

The reasoning of Ruse is at worst a text-book example of the genetic fallacy and at best only proves that our subjective perception of objective moral values has evolved. But if moral values are gradually discovered, not invented, then such a gradual and fallible apprehension of the moral realm no more undermines the objective reality of that realm than our gradual, fallible perception of the physical world undermines the objectivity of that realm.

The genetic fallacy is committed whenever someone tries to invalidate a view by explaining how that view originated or came to be held. People commit this fallacy, for example, when they dismiss your belief in democracy by saying, “You believe in it only because you were born in a democratic society.” That may, indeed, be the explanation of why you believe in democratic government, but that in itself does absolutely nothing to show that your belief is false. (Compare “You believe that the earth is round only because you were born in a scientific age!” Does that make your belief false?)

Your example of the aesthetic value beauty is a perfect illustration of my point. Suppose we agree for the sake of argument that evolution has programmed men to see young women as more beautiful than old women because of the selective advantage to the species of mating with younger women. Does that do anything at all to show that younger women are not in fact generally more beautiful (physically) than old women, that there is no objective difference between beauty and ugliness? Obviously not! Objective aesthetic values can exist regardless of how we come to apprehend them.

Now you might say, “All right; I see that objective moral values can exist even if we’re programmed by evolution to believe in them. But, still, why should I think that they are objective, given the evolutionary story?” The answer is, “Because you clearly apprehend them and the evolutionary story gives you reason to doubt your moral sense ONLY IF naturalism (atheism) is true.” The objection begs the question because it presupposes that naturalism is true. I agree that if there is no God, then our moral experience is, plausibly, illusory. Indeed, I said as much in my defense of premiss (1) of the moral argument:

1. If God does not exist, objective moral values do not exist.

But why think that naturalism is true? To undermine the warrant which our moral experience gives to our moral beliefs much more must be done than hold out the possibility that naturalism may be true. In the absence of some argument for naturalism, I’m entirely within my rational rights to stick with my moral sense and accept the objectivity of the moral realm. The real issue, then, is not evolution but naturalism.

Secondly, there’s no good evidence that our perception of moral and aesthetic values has been programmed by evolution. Darwinists are extremely imaginative and creative in coming up with what are called “just so” stories in order to explain things via evolution for which there is no empirical evidence. Indeed, these stories are almost endlessly adaptable, so that they become almost irrefutable and, hence, unfalsifiable.

I take your example of why we find young female models more (physically) beautiful than old women to be the reductio ad absurdum of this approach. Why in the world should I believe that the reason I think Claudia Schiffer is more beautiful than Madeleine Albright is because the former but not the latter is closer to her peak of reproductive fitness? That strikes me as preposterous. What evidence is there that warrants so absurd a conjecture?

In fact, doesn’t the evidence point in the opposite direction? If reproductive fitness determined our appraisal of beauty, then why wouldn’t a young woman with a big nose and a harelip look as beautiful to me as a fashion model? Ugly young women are just as fertile as beautiful ones. So what selective advantage is there in being attracted to beautiful women rather than just younger women? Or again, isn’t it odd that you, a woman, agree with me that the young model is more beautiful than an old woman, since you as a woman could have no selective advantage from such an aesthetic judgement? Even if evolution programmed you to think that young men are more handsome than old men, why do you also find the young female model more beautiful (physically) than an old woman? Or again, how is it that we also recognize beautiful members of other species? We often admire a particularly beautiful Arabian horse or a champion in a dog show. How can such judgements be plausibly explained as due to evolutionary programming, since differential judgements of beauty in other animals has absolutely no selective advantage for us?

I’m sure that given their ingenuity for coming up with “just so” stories, Darwinists can figure out ways to explain away these anomalies. But why believe such stories? We should demand some pretty strong evidence for thinking that evolution has, in fact, determined our moral and aesthetic judgements. But there is no such evidence. Rather I suspect that these “just so” stories are accepted by many because on the assumption of naturalism it seems natural to suppose that our tastes have been determined by their selective advantage. But then the question arises once more: why think that naturalism is true?