William Lane Craig on Historical Adam


(Guy Coe) #44

So, are you claiming that you do, in fact, understand the means by which abiogenetic origins took place, or have we stumbled across an area of amicable agreement, without conceding the larger arguments?
I can’t tell which of those is the case from your reply.

(Mikkel R.) #45

If by “intellectually satisfied” you mean “have a platitude answer for everything”, then sure I agree with that. There are many things we don’t know, and many questions for which the only intellectually justifiable answer is “we don’t know”. And “god did it” is not an intellectually justifiable answer, it’s a platitude.

(Mikkel R.) #46

What makes you think atheism entails a lack of wonder? In a way I take that statement to be strangely revealing of your psychology. Atheism could be true, and you’d be inclined to deny it because you find it emotionally impoverished? I just have to keep being surprised that there are people in the world who thinks that how things feel to them, or what consequences it would have to humanity if it was true, is some sort of guide to what is true.

If atheism is true, there’d be no wonder to life and no purpose to existence, we are told. And I could sit here as an atheist and in principle agree with it (I don’t, though), and it would not have done any work to show that atheism is false or that theism is true.

There are the way things are, what is true, what is actually the case, and then there are the things we like, the things we want, and the things we hope for, and those frequently don’t align. This should go without saying, but it’s like every theist I have a discussion with make statements that essentially are appeal to consequences fallacies.

All this talk about purpose, morality, and intellectual fulfillment is irrelevant. Our emotions don’t dictate reality. Who here who isn’t a young child haven’t at some point experienced the death of a loved one, or friend of a loved one or something similar, and thought to themselves that it would be nice to some day get to meet them again and reminisce about all that has happened since they “left”? Part of growing up is realizing that’s just a comforting fantasy, and we have to make the most of the fleeting moment we get.

(Guy Coe) #47

Atheism claims to know that which cannot be proven, and is in fact unlikely, and which provides no explanation for the most basic questions of life. It is a deadening of wonder.
Agnosticism is least honest about what cannot be “proven” in the converse.
Belief in God is no platitude; at times it’s even somewhat “inconvenient.” But it rings true with the way the world is, whether you or I like it or not.
Glad to know that you’re at least trying to psychoanalyze this mindset. The thing that troubles me is how quickly you’ve adandoned the wisdom you possessed as a child, which wasn’t merely based on emotion, but on the harsh realities of life and death. Hardly irrelevant, as a sense of deadened wonder might seem to indicate.
[ed. --I should have clarified, “proven false.” As such it is a claim to positively know what cannot be ruled out, logically.]


You have a completely wrong definition of what atheism is, it seems.

(John Harshman) #49

@Guy_Coe, it’s hard to discuss anything with you when your “argument” consists mostly of testifyin’ for your beliefs and distortion of those of others.

Atheism doesn’t claim anything; atheists may claim something, but different ones claim different things. My view is that most gods are extremely unlikely and that the sorts of gods not ruled out by observation are few, mostly those that don’t interact much with the universe and have no interest in human beings. The absence of a god explains very little, in fact only our ability to observe one’s effects. The presence of a god explains — in the scientific sense of “explain” —nothing about the most basic questions of life. You can “explain” anything by appeal to such an entity, especially if you keep your expectations nebulous, and so you explain nothing.

That’s your assertion. I see no evidence for such a claim.

That sounds like the elevation of wishful thinking to a principle of logic. The reality of life and death is that we live, and then we die and don’t live any more, so far as anyone can tell. It’s not something I’m in favor of, but there it is.

Every atheist or non-theist around here would recoil at that insult, with reason. That’s one of those distortions I was mentioning at the start.

(Neil Rickert) #50

That’s news to me. I have no idea what those alleged claims are supposed to be.

Yes, some atheists make claims that are unsupportable. So do some Christians. Let’s not blame atheism for what is basic human nature.

Some of the atheists that I know seem to express a lot of wonder. The alleged deadening doesn’t seem to work.

And yet I am often told that agnosticism is dishonest, and that I should become an atheist to avoid that dishonesty.

I guess some folk are hard to please.

(John Mercer) #51

Guy, if this is true, why is it that atheist (and non-creationist theist) scientists are the ones doing virtually all of the actual learning of new things in science, while creationists and ID proponents issue primarily rhetoric?

Why is your own wonder so deadened that you are uninterested in learning more about the wonders of biology, in favor of second- and thirdhand platitudes from creationists?

(John Mercer) #52

How can you possibly know that He is morally consistent if He is not easy to understand?

(Guy Coe) #53

“Grace, mercy and peace will be with us, from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.” - 2 John 1:3 NASB
Perhaps you mistake me for someone who denies common descent? My sense of wonder is still very much alive, including the wonder of how nature comes to be so powerful, while still not being the whole answer.
“You keep using that word; I do not think it means what you think it means.”

(John Mercer) #54

Presuming that you were replying to me–it would help if you used the quote feature–I don’t see any sense of wonder in you given your obvious lack of interest in how biology works. That must be the case, since you employ the false claim of “both sides are looking at the same evidence.”

My sense of wonder is most stimulated when I learn about biology. Why isn’t yours?

(Guy Coe) #55

Glad to know there’s still hope. Hope your holidays have been filled with wonder, as well!

(Guy Coe) #56

There are, by the way, different types of wondering.
Sometimes the wonder of it all is sufficient to drown out other types of wondering. E.g.,
“At last I fell asleep on the grass & awoke with a chorus of birds singing around me, & squirrels running up the trees & some Woodpeckers laughing, & it was as pleasant a rural scene as I ever saw, & I did not care one penny how any of the beasts or birds had been formed.” --Charles Darwin, letter to his wife, April 28th, 1858
(as quoted in “Futility Closet, An Idler’s Miscellany of Compendious Amusements” by Greg Ross, (2014) Futility Closet Books, Raleigh NC)

All the Best for the Coming New Year!

(Retired Professor & Minister.) #57

I’m hardly a spokesman for atheism (if such a position could logically exist at all!) but I too found your comments surprising. How do you define atheism and what do you think it claims to know?

And if claiming things “which cannot be proven” is a bad, unfortunate, or problematic state, I suppose my affirmation of God’s existence and many other theological ideas would be labelled similarly—because I cannot prove them.

Meanwhile, I’m baffled as to why atheism (no matter what the definition) would be “a deadening of wonder”. Can you explain that?

(I’ve known and worked with plenty of atheist scientists and humanities scholars—and among those who happened to tell me about their reasons for entering their chosen field of scholarship, all expressed a sense of wonder. I noticed none of the “deadening” you speak of. Can you provide more of the specifics of some of the atheists you have known who exhibited a “deadening of wonder”? You don’t have to identify them by name. Perhaps you could provide general descriptions of them and your experiences discussing such topics with them.)

(Guy Coe) #58

Claiming to know that no God exists is, in and of itself, a “deadening of wonder,” since such a claim cannot be proven, and it greatly reduces the possibilities.
Nothing any more sinister than that.
But, there are consequences for denying that God exists, including the “deadening of wonder” to the issue that things seem to be tailor-made for the possibilty of advanced life on the planet we “happen to” inhabit, vis-a-vis the resources available on other planets.
This “pale blue dot” truly is a “privileged planet.”
I can revel in gratitude to God for that, or, as an atheist, shrug my shoulders at the happy accident, and soldier ahead.
Nothing more “sinister” than that implied in my comments.
Happy New Year!


Very few atheists claim to ‘know’ that no God exists, most just say that they don’t believe that God exists.

(Guy Coe) #60

Really? What statistics or other information do you have to back that up? You may be, inadvertently, insulting most atheists. A danger I’m prone to, as well, since there seems to be very little common ground to mutually affirm, but I, like you, look for it anyway, because “there but for the grace of God, go I” and “Love your neighbor as yourself.”


@nwrickert , @Dan_Eastwood , @Mercer and (reluctantly :laughing: ) @Patrick , care to answer his question?

(George) #62


In the pecking order of thread topics… surely the category of lesser value even to the constant disputes regarding the
“prove-ability of ID” would be
the topic: “does God exist”.

(Retired Professor & Minister.) #63

I have never conducted a careful survey of atheists. However, I can simply report anecdotally that of all the many atheists I’ve personally known in my lifetime, I can only think of one atheist for certain (and perhaps a second, but I’m not as sure) who claimed that he was sure that “God does not exist.” Instead, all of the others simply stated in one way or another, “I don’t personally affirm the existence of God or other deities.” and/or “I don’t find the arguments and published evidence for God compelling.”

Perhaps my experiences within the academy are atypical but I don’t think so. Meanwhile, I am very interested in reading more details about Guy Coe’s experiences with atheists. (Have your experiences with atheist friends and colleagues been radically different from mine?)

[Even though we have gone off on a tangent from the OP topic, I think it is a fascinating and worthwhile discussion.]