August 26, 2011

A theists' straw man red herring attack on atheism

It's overly long, it's very rambling, and it's bloated with irrelevant remarks. And, yes, the criticism of atheism that Frank Cronin presents is both a straw man and a red herring.

He writes, "For the tools of reason and the weapons of rhetoric are indigenous to a world and a cosmos that includes intangible dimensions, that blends and harmonizes the tangible and the intangible", and the reason atheism must be wrong is because "[atheists] do not believe in the actual and factual reality of thinking or consciousness or reason" because those are "intangible" ("The Blind, Irrational Faith of Atheism", National Catholic Register, 8/25/2011).

Well, I'm an atheist, and Cronin's statement that the world includes intangible things is exactly correct. The universe includes the "intangible", such as the emotions and thoughts of the human mind, which is generated by the operation of the human brain. Cronin's argument against atheism relies on nothing more than an absurd straw man misrepresentation of atheism in the first place, pretending that our problem is that we deny the existence of the intangible.

But that has nothing to do with it. It isn't the existence of intangible things atheists have a problem with. What atheists have a problem with is people who just make things up and pretend they exist when in fact there isn't any good evidence for them. Pretending this is some kind of argument about accepting the existence of intangible things is nothing more than a red herring used to sidestep the real issue: Producing good evidence to substantiate what you claim. This is a fundamental aspect of epistemology.

Theists claim the existence of a god (or gods). Christian theists claim the existence of a particular sort of god, but the problem they have is that they are incapable of producing good evidence to back up that belief. But since they want to believe it anyway, despite the lack of good evidence, they like to fake people out, such as using rhetorical tricks to try to pretend that the problem atheists have is that they deny the existence of the intangible, despite the fact that the tangibility or intangibility of it isn't even the issue.

Nice try, Frank. Kudos on a good diversionary trick.

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