Over at sandwalk.blogspot.com the familiar challenge is issued once again: produce evidence for God. Apparently irritated both by the argument that other's beliefs should be respected (accommodationism), as well as by someone who promised some sort of tight proof for the existence of God but didn’t come through in the clinch, Laurence Moran, the sandwalk blogger, is demanding that the proof be forthcoming, and has made the challenge to produce it.
” This brings me to my challenge. I challenge all theists and all their accommodationist friends to post their very best 21st century, sophisticated (or not), arguments for the existence of God. They can put them in the comments section of this posting, or on any of the other atheist blogs, or on their own blogs and websites. Just send me the link.Theists, it is asserted, have the burden of proof. As I have demonstrated before, burden of proof is a debating term referring to the party making an assertion at the start of a debate. That person makes the case for his point. Then the opposing side has the burden of rebuttal, being required to refute the case being presented using the same standards for acceptance and rejection as are used for the original case; then the rebuttor makes a counter case, the validity of which is, again, subject to the same standards for acceptance and rejection.
Try and make it concise and to the point. It would be nice if it's less than 100 years old. Keep in mind that there are over 1000 different gods so it would be helpful to explain just which gods the argument applies to.
I don't care where they post the argument, just get on with it. I'm not interested in any other details about theology. Those points only become relevant once you've convinced this atheist that you have a rational argument for the existence of God.”
What the Atheists at sandwalk demand (I read only half of the comments) is a theodicy that can pass scientific evidentiary standards, or if not a theodicy, then actual material evidence of God. While Moran made the challenge in terms of “proof”, there is no logical proof that would ever pass the Atheist ability to charge it with fallacy. This is because, minimally, the premises will be declared non-valid due to lack of actual evidence, meaning material evidence.
Also ironically rejected are theodicies which are based on scientific hypotheses, because the science can never be finalized (which is a characteristic of science). Yet it is scientific evidence, material in nature and experimental under the rules of empiricism which the band of Atheists resident at sandwalk demand of evidence for God.
Arguments of an experiential nature – experiencing the deity or a spiritual experience – are rejected as “brain farts” in the words of one Atheist. All experiences are explainable in terms of brain states and / or brain chemical imbalances. Correlation is causation it is presumed. Another claims that experiences cannot be trusted because the cause of the experience cannot be correlated with the content of the experience(!)
By labeling all intuitive knowledge as fallacious, chemically imbalanced, brain farts, the Atheists have Poisoned the Well, and have used that tactical fallacy to shut down any argumentation of personal experience as delusional.
So the demand is reductively focused on material evidence of a non-material being, one that would exist necessarily outside space-time and mass-energy, a being whose non-material characteristics we cannot even imagine, much less measure using devices that do not apply in any way, being designed to measure material things.
Thus the demand itself is self-contradictory, self-refuting, and Atheists who have any logic in them at all know this. A non-coherent demand, being irrational, does not merit a response, of course, in spite of some theists attempting to respond (with arguments which cannot possibly satisfy the non-coherents making the non-coherent demand). Because the demand is non-coherent, no answer can suffice, so there is the spectacle of theists being chewed up in their attempts to match rational arguments to an irrational question, and Atheists sneering at their failures. Rationally speaking there is no rationality involved.
But more to the point, Atheists must respond with a rebuttal that adheres to the same restrictions, same rules. And that is the Challenge to Atheists:
Prove that there is no God. Place your proof here or wherever you wish to post it. But make certain that your rebuttal follows your own rules: The proof must be coherent and material; after all material is all there is under your Materialist rules.
Nothing less is acceptable. Go ahead. Face the challenge.
Now I will narrow the challenge by giving a basic view of what constitutes the term “God”, thereby hopefully eliminating the Atheist confusion of “many, many gods”:
There are two levels available for Atheists to attempt to refute.
First is the perceived necessity of an originating cause of the universe; for example, the cause of the original quantum field from which Hawking’s (fallacious) “spontaneous creation from nothing” theory derives. In terms of Cause and Effect, such a cause would be expected to be larger, more powerful, totally coherent, able to construct coherent structures (i.e. rational), necessary and sufficient, able to implement causation at a distance (per quantum mechanics). Note that a story such as that of “infinite universes” does not defeat the need for an original cause, it merely moves the cause back a step by using imaginary, unfalsifiable stories of unobserved objects or processes; the logical need for an originating cause persists.
Second is the theist notion of a personal relationship with the deity described in the First level. The occurrence of the relationship is internal to the individual person; is not a scheduled event; is not empirically, experimentally replicable; and most importantly it is not falsifiable using Popper’s criterion for separation of non-empirical from empirical entities. Such an event cannot be experienced by anyone other than the targeted individual, but it can be related in muted terms that are insufficient to describe the event(s) with accuracy and completeness due to their non-material, independent nature.
These two levels are necessary and sufficient to justify theism. Refuting these levels would refute the existence of a deity. However, the only refutation allowed to the materialist (Atheists are materialists) is a material refutation. Arguments without material support for their premises are incapable of containing meaning within the constraints of materialism; this is the Atheist requirement for argument as exemplified by the demand for material evidence to support an argument FOR a deity.
So refuting using anything other than material evidence is meaningless in terms of supplying any rational deniability for the existence of a deity, under the conditions set out by Atheists themselves.