Atheism, Dark Matter, and Calvinism

In the post Not so much, mate Vox Day opined on the quality of atheistic arguments for the non-existence of God. Off the top of my head, I made a list of the top seven arguments I commonly encounter:
  1. God frowns on me sticking my penis into whatever (not necessarily female, not necessarily willing, not necessarily human) flesh whenever I desire. Therefore, God does not exist.
  2. Unless one believes in Tuesdayism, the universe was not created six or so thousand years ago in 24 hour segments. Therefore, God does not exist.
  3. My peer group does not believe in God. Therefore, God does not exist.
  4. Naturalism explains a lot of things and will, eventually, explain all things. Therefore, God does not exist.
  5. Some religious people are idiots. Therefore, God does not exist.
  6. God does things I don't like. Therefore, God does not exist.
  7. God does not exist. Therefore, God does not exist.
Before someone charges me of constructing a straw man, I used at least six of them before I became a Christian. The very next comment after I posted this list was from “Ngorongoro,” who wrote: “God can't be shown to exist, therefore god probably doesn't exist. There, fixed it for you.”

But this is just an application of #7. As proof, try to show that “God can’t be shown to exist” without first assuming that God does not exist.

The redoubtable
John Quincy Public offered reason #8: “I didn’t get what I wanted. Therefore, God does not exist.” I, too, considered that one, but decided that it was equivalent to #6, since “I don’t like God not giving me what I wanted.” On the other hand, one could argue that #1 is also a variation of #6, yet I included #1 because it’s used so often. I know I did. Taxonomy is hard.

Later in the free for all, someone injected Dark Matter, Dark Energy, and the Higgs Boson as examples of things that are “blindly” believed by “rational” people. Without getting into issue of whether Christianity, or these supposed physical quantities are based on “blind” belief (they aren’t), John Quincy Public asked me, “Do you hew to a non-belief in the existence of dark matter? Or do you hold with a non-belief that a significant increase in stars will be found? With which Faith do you walk?”

My response was that I am currently agnostic on the existence of dark matter. We observe gravitational lensing and that galaxies rotate without flying apart -- both of which may require more matter than we can account for. On the other hand, at least once scientist things that dark matter and dark energy can be better explained by a
slowing speed of light. Other theories such as MOND are offered. Since I’m not a professional physicist I’m withholding judgment pending more evidence.

And this is the argument that atheists should use: “I am withholding judgement on whether or not God exists pending more evidence.”

Dealing with evidence is a two-edged sword. On the one hand, we must attempt to deal fairly with evidence. This means we have to determine the kind of evidence that we can reasonably expect and then honestly evaluate the evidence, knowing that worldview biases how evidence is interpreted. But we also have to know whether or not we’re even capable of seeing the evidence!

I’m reminded that I need to schedule my yearly eye exam. When I wait in the examining room, I always rummage through the drawers by the exam chair. The contents don’t really change from year to year and there are always two books that interest me. One book contains a set of color prints used to test for color blindness. Numerical digits are placed inside circles, with both of various colors. I can see all of the digits so I’m not colorblind. The other book has four three dimensional pictures of a fly. The fly’s wings are supposed to look as if they are above the fly’s body. But I can never see the 3D effect. There is evidence that I just can’t process.

However, a particular historian may require additional evidence for himself before believing if the conclusion is in conflict with his horizon. But the horizon of the historian does not place a greater burden on the shoulders of another unless the criterion of consilience is affected. It is the responsibility of all historians to lay aside their biases and consider the evidence as objectively as possible. It is not the responsibility of the evidence to satisfy the biases of historians. Page 615

On the other hand, the evidence has a “duty,” as it were, to convince us.

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