Friday, May 10, 2013

Rebuttal, Part Four

For this to make sense, please check out my post exchange with Dr. Luke Conway here and here. You might as well check my Rebuttal, Part OneRebuttal, Part Two and Rebuttal, Part Three also.

Dr. Conway’s wraps-up his post venting his frustrations on a misconception about Christians--that they are stupid. I feel his pain. I spend much of my time correcting generalizations and perverse stereotypes about atheists. Christians, as a whole, are no more stupid then atheists are amoral. That said, it is also a generalization to say that atheists think Christians are stupid. No atheists I know think Christians are stupid (well, maybe Cephus.) More common is the belief that Christians are intelligent people who accept a relatively small set of stupid beliefs. This doesn’t sound like a charitable assessment, but when I hear someone say that a forgiving God is still blaming us for something a distant ancestor did at the dawn of time; or that one guy built a planetary-flood-worthy vessel to house two samples of all life on earth; or that morality is woven into the fabric of the universe--it’s all I can do to not assume that person is stupid.

Christians are not stupid. They didn’t come up with this crap on their own. They are gullible. This tradition of delusions has been passed down and added upon from pagans to Jews to Christians--so it’s obviously hard to shake. Many atheists like myself take care to not be overly hard on believers, seeing how we were once one of you. I don’t want to be stupid retrospectively, but I recognize that I was certainly gullible. As alluded to before, I had a child’s trusting instinct, but this isn’t about me. Let’s assess the Apologetic Professor’s claims directly.

Secular historians credit Christianity with creating the very icon of intellectualism, the modern university system.

They do? If so, great, but lemme guess, in the cases that Christianity is credited, they closely tied religious education to the program. The university system is a by-product of what is ultimately organized indoctrination. I’m glad the more secular landscape of academia took over.

A large number of intellectual disciplines (e.g., chemistry, a lot of mathematics, genetics, existential philosophy) were founded (and understood by everyone to be founded) by Christians.

No examples are made so we’ll just have to take your word for it. Again, this shows Dr. Conway isn’t used to a skeptical audience. There are significant problems with this kind of claim in that these alleged Christians are no longer with us to clarify their beliefs. Hell, Christians and atheists still argue about who can claim Einstein when he wrote more clearly about his religious beliefs then most other academics or scientists of which I’m aware. Regardless, if Dr. Conway’s claim is true, I’m not surprised. Most of the people in the developed areas at the time when these disciplines could be developed were Christian. It’s a numbers game--odds are Christians would do a lot of the developing if the intelligence of the people belonging to various religions and secular belief systems were roughly the same, which I imagine is the case.

Christianity has spread literacy and education pretty much everywhere it has ever taken root.

Christianity gaining popularity and staying popular in the last 2000 years just happens to coincide with all kinds of advancements in modern civilization. I see it as hitting the sweet spot between cultures ignorant enough to seek religion for answers and cultures advanced enough to not need religion for answers. For whatever reason, Christianity has been the preferred faith for cultures valuing equal rights and freedom than, say, Islam. I suppose it deserves a little credit (but, really, look at the competition.)

Contrary to the idea that “faith” is unintellectual, all thinking people recognize that some elements of their most cherished beliefs require faith in something unseen that cannot be directly proven.

Faith is firm belief in something for which there is no proof. Depending on your requirement of proof, I have faith that the rotation of the earth will make the sun appear to rise in the morning. Since I can't see the future, I have no proof. I do, however, have extraordinary evidence--I have personal data for over 30 years; eye witness accounts with a sample size of the planet's population; historical records going back to cave paintings; and the knowledge that if the earth's rotation ever did stop, we'd all be dead or never born. It's a far cry from faith in the bible--which, coincidentally, does mention the sun rise being delayed at some point. Look it up. Faith in the sun rising is in no way unintellectual. Faith in the bible, well...


  1. "A large number of intellectual disciplines (e.g., chemistry, a lot of mathematics, genetics, existential philosophy) were founded (and understood by everyone to be founded) by Christians." - the Dr.

    No kidding. It wasn't too healthy to admit being anything else there for a long time. Think auto de fe.

    Hey Grundy - been reading your blog for a long time - not a big commenter but couldn't let this slide. Your presentations are very cogent.

    1. Thanks for commenting, I've been getting a lot of positive feedback from this exchange with the Apologetic Professor.

  2. I don't think Christians are necessarily stupid, I think that Christianity, the belief system, is stupid. There are tons of studies demonstrating clearly that IQ and religiosity are negatively correlated though. The more intelligent you are, the better educated you are, the less likely you are to be a theist, especially a fundamentalist theist. That's really not under any disagreement, except by theists who want to pretend it isn't so.

  3. A large number of intellectual disciplines (e.g., chemistry, a lot of mathematics, genetics, existential philosophy) were founded (and understood by everyone to be founded) by Christians.

    I think exrelayman sums thi up well, at the time there was no other way to be unless you wanted to be strung up. However, I may add that in terms of chemistry the ancient Chinese (i.e.gunpowder) who did a lot of chemistry would disagree about being christians.