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Does God Exist?

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This is a TV commercial from the New Moment, New Ideas Company for the Government of the Republic of Macedonia, Ministry of Education and Science. This is part of a social campaign (series of commercials) aimed at promoting education.

Headline of commercial: “Religion is knowledge, too. Bringing religion back to school.” Headline of campaign: “Knowledge is power.”

Whether Einstein as a student really answered in this way is probably urban legend. Regardless, the point is made. Read this article from Stand to Reason called “What Science Can’t Prove.”

22 Comments

  1. Yeah never let the truth get in the way of making you feel good about religion right?

    http://www.snopes.com/religion/einstein.asp

    In their defense as I said on another blog when they posted this.

    “And the people who made weren’t necessarily lying or deliberately being dishonest. They could have been quite genuine.

    Just no one thought to actually check. It’s one of those ‘too good to be true’ things, so lets not look to closely.”

    I do wonder if this is in response to Ray frantically trying to defend himself from claims he is deliberately misrepresenting Einstein who was best described as a Deist and would probably be disgusted at Ray’s attempts to use him to sell YEC Fundamentalism which is pretty much the exact opposite of his actual beliefs.

    It’s hilarious to see Ray quote mine Einstein after requiring his Cancer book be looked at in context. And then quote mine Dawkins for an extra boot in.

    Perhaps it’s all just distraction so he doesn’t have to answer questions about the plagiarism.

  2. Steve wrote:

    Whether Einstein as a student really answered in this way is probably urban legend.

    It’s not a “probably”, but more of a “so obviously so that it makes you wonder why NO ONE involved did any research whatsoever on this issue.”

    http://www.snopes.com/religion/einstein.asp.

    Secondly, is the government of the Republic of Macefreakingdonia really the country that we should listen to, especially with regards to religion in the public square??

    Steve also wrote:

    Regardless, the point is made.

    Only, in my opinion, if you want it to be. If you’re not already accepting of the conclusion, and especially the delivery, this argument fails in many ways. If you would like my reasoning, I can explain (I just don’t have the time to do so now, since there are many problems with this argument), but I encourage you to start with the information at this link here.

  3. Bathtub: That’s why I said “probably urban legend.” I checked out Snopes or Truth or Fiction too before posting this. Thank you!

    Nohm. On your link is this statement from the “Professor.” :
    Professor : According to Empirical, Testable, Demonstrable Protocol, Science says your GOD doesn’t exist.

    Did you read my link from Stand to Reason?

  4. Isiah 45:7 I form the light , and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these (things).

  5. By the way, I thought of you guys when I posted this. I was curious to see what your responses would be.

  6. Steve,

    I have checked out http://www.str.com . Was there a particular page on that site that dealt with this particular issue?

    As for the fake professor in the story saying, “According to Empirical, Testable, Demonstrable Protocol, Science says your GOD doesn’t exist.”

    Again, I see this as a part of the story, like bowling pins, for the Strong Christian Child to knock down.

    Until “God” is defined in a way that is testable, the fake professor’s claim is silliness, invented in the story to make him look like a elitist jerk.

  7. For the record, when I first heard this story as a Christian, years ago, it was simply a nameless child; the “zomg the kid is Einstein!!” part didn’t get added until later.

  8. Steve,

    To be clear, that link is not claiming that the statement made by the Professor is true.

    That link is simply laying out the full story before answering it, and that line by the Professor is in (at least most versions of) the story.

  9. Hi Steve,

    Ok, now I see that you added the link to the Stand To Reason article.

    It begins with:

    I often hear the comment, “Science has proved there is no God.”

    Right off the bat I ask, “You often hear that comment… from whom??”

    The only people I ever hear making that comment are places like the Stand To Reason site. I haven’t heard any scientist, including Dawkins, make this claim.

    In fact, the claim is often that “God is not disprovable”, which the article agrees with to a point, but not for the same reason that I think so.

    Until there exists a test, the failure of which can be agreed upon as “God does not exist”, then God is not disprovable. Also, just like the article explains, you cannot prove a negative.

    Here’s the thing, though… if I said, “You owe me $100,000, Steve!”, and you rightfully say, “No, I don’t, Nohm.”, and I respond with “Prove that you don’t owe me the money, then!”

    What would be your response?

    Steve, I, and the vast majority of atheists that I know, do not claim “there is no God”, for the reasons I just explained above. We just don’t accept the claims that there is a God.

    The article goes on to say:

    So when people try to use science to disprove the existence of God…

    Seriously, Steve… I dare you to name a couple of people who do this. I don’t know of anyone who does this.

    In short, the Stand To Reason article (and the video, for that matter) is one big straw man fallacy.

  10. More comments on silliness from the Stand to Reason article:

    The way many try to show God doesn’t exist is simply by asserting it,

    Again, who, besides the imaginary atheists (that is, the incorrect concept of atheists that many religious fundamentalists seem to have), does this?

    but that’s not proof.

    As they say, “proof only exists in math and alcohol”. Regardless, I agree; that’s not proof. Considering that this is only a straw man argument, I can’t say I’m bothered.

    It isn’t even evidence.

    Ditto here… I would agree if people actually made this claim.

    Scientists sometimes get away with this by requiring that scientific law–natural law–must explain everything.

    This is a distortion; a caricature. And a set-up for a false dichotomy with “supernatural”.

    If it can’t explain a supernatural act or a supernatural Being then neither can exist.

    I met a young kid on a message board once who wrote the following:

    “If the supernatural exists, doesn’t that make it natural? If the paranormal exists, doesn’t that make it normal?”

    If something that we call “supernatural” turns out to exist, then that means that it’s just a natural part of the universe, and simply one that we didn’t understand well before.

    This is cheating, though.

    If people did what he claims they do, I would agree with him here.

    Since I don’t see them making the claims that he says that they do, this is irrelevant.

    Scientists haven’t proven God doesn’t exist;

    We’re all in agreement here.

    they’ve merely assumed it in many cases.

    Again, again, again… who who who does this?

    Names and quotes, please.

    They’ve foisted this truism on the public,

    I’d like to see support for this assertion.

    and then operated from that point of view.

    Again, I’d like to see some support for this assertion.

    They act as if they’ve really said something profound,

    Well, Steve, you know how much I enjoy it when people talk about how others think… although I’ll give STR credit here: their use of the weasel word “acts” keeps them sorta in the clear.

    when all they’ve done is given you an unjustified opinion.

    Pot? Please meet kettle. I think you have something in common. 😉

  11. It’s always ironic when atheists appeal to moral absolutes in their judgments when they subscribe to a worldview that denies the existence of the Giver of moral absolutes.

    For example, BT said, “Perhaps it’s all just distraction so [Ray Comfort] doesn’t have to answer questions about the plagiarism.”

    I certainly don’t believe that Comfort committed any sort of plagiarism. But, a consistent atheist would never be able to make the pronouncement that plagiarism is wrong. The only consistent position for an atheist is moral relativism. BT borrows from the Christian worldview to say plagiarism is wrong.

    BT declares the existence of God with every moral pronouncement he makes.

    Thanks,
    Bill

  12. Bill’s argument, as I see it:

    1. Atheists are moral relativists.
    2. ?
    3. Therefore, an atheist cannot say that something is wrong.

    Bill, I think you’re missing step #2.

    Also, Bill, do you understand why people think that Ray Comfort plagiarized Dr. Stan Guffey? What do you see as the main problem with their argument that Ray plagiarized Dr. Stan Guffey?

    Lastly, Bill wrote:

    t’s always ironic when atheists appeal to moral absolutes…

    Bill, would you please show where an atheist did such a thing?

    Here’s a quick question: Bill, do you view plagiarism as being a wrong thing to do?

  13. In addition, Bill, the first mistake that you make is assuming that “atheism” is a “worldview”.

    For the record, if someone asked me to explain my “worldview”, I would not answer with “atheism” (and I call myself an atheist).

    To me, the word “atheist” describes the lack of a particular worldview (i.e., theistic… that there is a God), but it does not describe the existence of a particular worldview named “atheism”.

    I have a feeling that most atheists, and certainly the atheists who post to Steve’s blog, would agree with me here.

    So, Bill, my point is that you claim that we have a worldview named “atheism”. We do not think that. Therefore, you are telling us that we think something that we don’t actually think.

    And anyone here can tell you my opinion on THAT. 🙂

  14. Link not allowed for some reason?

    I should add that it’s just a really weird thing for Ray to have done. It’s not something he’s known for doing before, and he already had like 103 other footnotes in the intro. He could have rephrased the material and credited Dr Guffey. It’s just strange he didn’t. Perhaps he was given the material by a third party and thought it was public domain.

    • I believe the best about my friend, Ray. I’m sure something was overlooked somehow. We all make mistakes. But I don’t want to make these discussions about him; you can do that on his blog. So, I won’t approve any more comments that denigrate him. Is that okay? Shoot me down all you want, (thankfully, most you have been very gracious, though.)

  15. Hi Nohm,

    I think you misread my comment. The vast majority of atheists aren’t moral relativists, at least that I’ve talked to. Almost no one is really a moral relativist when it really comes down to it. Who, after all, would really admit that they think everyone has to decide for themselves about murder or rape?

    You asked when an atheist has made an appeal to a moral absolute. I quoted BT as one example, and the examples are endless. Anytime an atheist says the God of the Bible is evil for having caused the flood or whatever, that is an appeal to an objective standard of right and wrong.

    Do I think plagiarism is wrong? Of course, I believe everything is wrong that God says is wrong. He is the only one with the authority to establish moral standards.

    Thanks,
    Bill

  16. You asked when an atheist has made an appeal to a moral absolute. I quoted BT as one example,

    But BT did not appeal to a moral absolute.

    BT said that it was wrong. That is BT’s opinion.

    and the examples are endless.

    I doubt that you would be satisfied if I gave that as an answer to a contentious point.

    Anytime an atheist says the God of the Bible is evil for having caused the flood or whatever, that is an appeal to an objective standard of right and wrong.

    Please explain why that is an appeal to an objective standard, because I definitely do not see it as such.

    Also, you wrote in one comment:

    the vast majority of atheists aren’t moral relativists

    But in a former comment you wrote:

    The only consistent position for an atheist is moral relativism.

    So… I’m confused. Which is it?

    Also, what exactly do you mean by “moral relativist”?

    Who, after all, would really admit that they think everyone has to decide for themselves about murder or rape?

    Let’s say that I agree with you that this is a description of a moral relativist. I don’t see the problem with saying that people should decide for themselves about murder and rape, because I’m convinced that all sane people will reach the same reaction:

    “hey… I wouldn’t want that to happen to me, or any of the people I care about… therefore, it makes sense that I shouldn’t do that to others… and would I even actually enjoy doing so? Gah, no.”

  17. Well it’s not cool that you would delete my post that backed up my claims after approving it since the issue is still a topic of discussion.

  18. Nohm,

    When someone says, or implies that a certain behavior is wrong for someone besides themselves, much less, all people at all times, that is an appeal to an absolute moral standard. A standard that everyone is held to.

    Why is saying God caused the flood wrong an appeal to a moral absolute? In order to say something is right or wrong, there must be an objective standard. You’re saying there is a standard beyond yourself which you expect other people to agree with. When someone says something is wrong they’re appealing to that standard. A moral relativist should say something like, “Right and wrong are relative to each individual, there is no absolute standard for right and wrong. I don’t know whether God was right or wrong to cause the flood.”

    I said most atheists aren’t moral relativists, yet a consistent atheist is a moral relativist. What did I mean? I meant that most atheists aren’t consistent. When they say something that someone else does is right or wrong, they’re appealing to an objective standard, which is inconsistent with their worldview. Who can establish an objective moral standard other than God?

    You said that all sane people will determine that murder is wrong. You have your definition of sanity (I would guess that your definition ends up being circular in this context) but you’re still appealing to an objective standard for right and wrong. Who are you to say murder and rape aren’t the correct actions for someone else? You have your reasons for behaving in a certain way, and others have their reasons for behaving their way.

    What human authority do you believe has the power to establish an objective moral standard?

    Thanks,
    Bill

  19. When someone says, or implies that a certain behavior is wrong for someone besides themselves, much less, all people at all times, that is an appeal to an absolute moral standard.

    So you say.

    This is an unsupported assertion.

    I claim that when someone says that a certain behavior is wrong, that they’re expressing their opinion. If it’s a law-maker, then they have the power of law enforcement on their side. Also, when I say something is “wrong”, what I mean is “it doesn’t work”.

    Regardless, please show how when BT expresses his opinion that something is wrong, that he’s appealing to an absolute standard, because I don’t see it.

    A standard that everyone is held to.

    Yes, exactly. BT has a standard that he expects other people to be held to, usually because those other people also claim to have that standard… such as “plagiarism is dishonest”.

    Why is saying God caused the flood wrong an appeal to a moral absolute? In order to say something is right or wrong, there must be an objective standard.

    Again, this is just an unsupported assertion by you. When I say something is right or wrong, I’m appealing to my subjective standard. It’s just that I try to make those declarations align with what other people agree upon as “right” and “wrong”.

    You’re saying there is a standard beyond yourself which you expect other people to agree with.

    Nope, I’m not. Please don’t tell me what I’m saying, because it appears that you don’t understand how other people think. This is not the first time you’ve made this mistake.

    Actually, slightly off-topic, but I noticed on your site, in the “Cult Quotes” page, that you have a comment where you claim that there are six types of evolution. I assume that you borrowed this either from Kent Hovind or the “Big Daddy” Jack Chick tract, right? I’m just curious if you’re still of the opinion that there are “six types of evolution”.

    Are you?

    When someone says something is wrong they’re appealing to that standard.

    Another unsupported assertion.

    When I say something is wrong, I’m appealing to both my standard and what I think the standards of other people are.

    A moral relativist should say something like, “Right and wrong are relative to each individual, there is no absolute standard for right and wrong.

    I certainly wouldn’t phrase it this way, but I’ll tentitively agre with you here, for the sake of discussion.

    I don’t know whether God was right or wrong to cause the flood.

    And now I don’t agree. It is my opinion that God was not only wrong to cause the flood, but that it was useless and solved absolutely nothing. In other words, it did not work.

    I said most atheists aren’t moral relativists,

    And I say that speaking for other people is probably not a wise decision.

    yet a consistent atheist is a moral relativist.

    Says who? You? Thank goodness you’re not the arbiter on what a “consistent atheist” has to think.

    What did I mean? I meant that most atheists aren’t consistent.

    So you say. I’m willing to bet that what you think an atheist is, is not the same thing that people who call themselves atheists (myself included) is.

    When they say something that someone else does is right or wrong, they’re appealing to an objective standard,

    You keep asserting this without any kind of support.

    “When theists say something that someone else does is right or wrong, they’re appealing to a subjective standard.”

    Did that persuade you? No? Because it’s an assertion I made without any support?

    Exactly.

    which is inconsistent with their worldview.>”

    I said it above and I’ll say it again: atheism is not a worldview. That you think it is shows how that you don’t understand our various points of view.

    Who can establish an objective moral standard other than God?

    Why would you even assume that God would be able to establish one? That too would be an unsupported assertion. Is something good simply because God says it is? Or is God Himself held to a standard? I assume you’ve seen this dilemma before.

    I don’t believe that there is any such thing as “an objective moral standard”, but I do believe that humans are very much able to come to agreements on subjective moral standards.

    You said that all sane people will determine that murder is wrong.

    Yup.

    You have your definition of sanity (I would guess that your definition ends up being circular in this context)

    So you say.

    Nope, I’ll happily use the scientific definition of “sane”.

    but you’re still appealing to an objective standard for right and wrong.

    You continue to assert this, completely unsupported, as if I’m supposed to agree with you.

    I don’t agree with you. I disagree with you. Therefore, please support this claim that you keep making.

    Who are you to say murder and rape aren’t the correct actions for someone else?

    I’m me, Nohm. Therefore I can say that they aren’t the correct actions for someone else.

    But really, again, it goes back to what works. What happens to someone who rapes people? Society kicks their rear end. What happens to someone who murders people? Society kicks their rear end.

    Therefore, as a member of society, I am saying that rape and murder are not the correct actions.

    You have your reasons for behaving in a certain way, and others have their reasons for behaving their way.

    For once, we agree.

    What human authority do you believe has the power to establish an objective moral standard?

    No one. Again, I do not believe that an objective moral standard exists.

    As for what authority has the power to establish a subjective moral standard, my answer is: society. In other words, you, me, BT, Steve, etc.

  20. Nohm,

    You said, “As for what authority has the power to establish a subjective moral standard, my answer is: society. In other words, you, me, BT, Steve, etc.”

    First of all, even that is inconsistent with atheism. How do you know that societies have the power to establish a subjective standard? The power to enforce a standard isn’t the same as having a righteous standard. Many people have gone to prison for doing the right thing.

    If our society says that murder is wrong, that’s fine. If another society says that murder is acceptable, as many have, that’s fine with you as well?

    How do you define a society? Is a country a society? Is western civilization a society? Is a family living in rural seclusion a society?

    Did David Koresh and his followers have their own society? Why did our society have the right to force our moral standard on their society? Is it because their geographic location was inside of our society? If they didn’t have a society, is it simply because they were unable to resist the force of the outside society?

    Do you think it was immoral for the Aztecs to sacrifice people at their temple? Do you think they had their own society. Do you think it was acceptable for Hitler to kill Jewish people? You can’t judge them by your societal standards. In order to maintain consistency with your beliefs, don’t you have to judge them by their societal standards, and not your own?

    Do you think that it is immoral for everyone, past, present and future to rape children? If you say yes, we have found one moral absolute. If you say no, then, I think you have bigger fish to fry.

    The truth is that there are many moral absolutes, because the Creator has established them. Lying is wrong; having false gods or no god is wrong; stealing is wrong, etc. You’ve done those things, and you’ve broken the law, and just like any guilty criminal you must be punished.

    Thanks for the conversation. I truly appreciate your time. Unfortunately, I doubt that I’ll be able to continue it, as I’ll be traveling.

    Bill

  21. Nice post & nice blog. I love both.

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