I’ve heard some real doozies in my time as a vocal non-believer. For the most part, the arguments people make for their religion are pretty standard and easy to refute. But any atheist will tell you that occasionally you’ll get an argument so stupid and so wrong, that you can only stand in awe at the senseless vacuity of it.
Below are some of these arguments, all of which are copy-and-pasted verbatim except for the ones that came from an actual conversation (which are paraphrased as closely as possible).
Argument #1: The Argument from Complete Lack of Comprehension of Probability (source: facebook message)
you can’t be sure theres no god 100%
at best its 50%
why then would u preach that there is no God.
That’s right. Apparently, unbeknownst to every scientist, mathematician and statistician on Earth, there’s a coin-flip chance that God exists. Not just a god. His god.
I would also like to declare that there’s a 50% chance that my keyboard is made of the dreams of bridge trolls and melted G.I. Joes.
If you don’t understand why this argument is laughable on an unprecedented level, please re-take 6th grade arithmetic.
In short, just because you can define two mutually-exclusive alternatives (i.e. Yahweh exists vs. Yahweh does not exist), it in no way implies that you can immediately give each alternative equal likelihood of being true.
Argument #2: The Argument from Made-Up Studies (source: facebook comment)
You are right about one thing, I shouldn’t have presumed that all atheists have the same reasons for their beliefs. Although various studies have shown that moral depravity, division in the church and a secular education are the prime causes of atheism.
Wow. Needless to say, I was astonished to find that the most likely reason I became an atheist was because of either moral depravity, division in my church and/or secular education. And here I thought the reason I didn’t believe in any gods was because I’d never been given a good reason or been shown any evidential support for any god. Who knew?
This should smell a bit funky to anyone who isn’t desperately clinging to a presumption of moral superiority. At least it did to me. So I looked it up and… surprise, surprise… I was unable to locate any of these “studies.” Not one. The only “source” I found that even made reference to these things as causes of atheism is (*fanfare*) Conservapedia.
And if you’re so deluded that you sincerely count Conservapedia as a reliable source of credible information, you should definitely consider a line of work that doesn’t involve any heavy machinery or dangerous fumes.
Argument #3: The Appeal to a Complete Lack of Authority (source: Office Communicator convo)
I would never let a fancy college education blind me to the truth. The truth is available to anyone who’s Lord is Jesus Christ. Secular education will not reveal what’s true, so your education means nothing.
Leave it to a Christian to go on a tirade against education.
Whether it’s lambasting evolutionary science, disputing historical facts that contradict the bible, or simply making excuses for their complete lack of evidence (more on that later), Christianity and scientific knowledge have been at odds for quite some time. Since the dawn of science, in fact.
For a humorous example of this, check out the biblical tract “Big Daddy” by Jack T. Chick and its straw-man portrayal of a “typical” college biology professor. Apart from the complete lack of intellectual honesty, I especially enjoy the conclusion reached at the end: that atomic nuclei are held together by Jesus. I am not making that up. Read it for yourself.
As long as creationism and other pseudosciences exist, there will be people convinced that “secular” knowledge is bad. That would include… well, pretty much every branch of scientific knowledge out there. That empirical observations, testable, repeatable results and scientific experimentation are misguided. Who knows why. The best response here is an eye roll or a facepalm.
Argument #4: The Absence of Evidence is Evidence of Existence (source: lunchtime conversations)
“Of course there’s no evidence of Jesus’ existence outside of the bible. The Roman government and the local authorities saw to it that he wasn’t mentioned because they were frightened by what happened. When you look at it, the explosion of Christianity when combined with the fact that no sources outside the bible mention him is proof that something supernatural was going on.”
“There’s no record of Moses or the Exodus in Egyptian records because the Egyptians would have gone out of their way to cover up something like that. Think about it. A million slaves managing to escape slavery under the Pharaoh. That would have embarrassed them, and they never would have recorded it. He would have ordered that Moses and the Hebrews been erased from existence. So really, the absence of evidence is proof that Moses existed.”
I’m willing to bet a month’s salary that none of the people that said either of these quotes would allow this kind of reasoning in defense of Islam or Mormonism.
Seriously, this logic can be used to reasonably justify the existence of anything from Bigfoot, to bridge trolls, to an invisible pink unicorn inside the ATM that prints the money and pushes it out the slot. If you’re going to cite a conspiracy theory to explain away any objections and even count it as evidence supporting your initial assumptions, then I can no longer expect reasonable arguments from you.