Steven Novella’s Smackdown

via the skeptics’ guide.

Dr. Steven Novella responds to a popular essay entitled “Strategies for Dialoguing with Atheists”.

a part i thought interesting was on human suffering as proof for or against god. Steven says:

As I stated [previously], this is not a serious argument against God in any case. But since Rhodes is throwing the challenge out there, I can think of some ways to drastically reduce human evil that should not violate anything. Human nature can be tweaked without violating any notion of free will (whatever that means, but that’s a different post). Perhaps humans can become a bit less tribal and blood thirsty, for example. Also, much crime and evil comes from desperate situations. How about a moratorium on natural disasters for awhile, and stop throwing new diseases at us. Anyway, that’s a good start. I’m sure given eternity an omniscient being might just have a few more ideas at their disposal.

another interesting thing steven brings up here is free will. many of the religious believe that god does not stop evil or natural disasters from happening because this interferes with free will. well what is a miracle, if not an interception with one’s free will or the natural course of nature?

Rhodes ends his article inviting his theist defenders to stick with “demonstrating the logical impossiblities of atheistic claims”. Dr. Novella’s response:

Wow, this guy needs to get out more. I may suggest that it is a flawed strategy for the faithful to confront non-believers with logic. That is not a field of combat they wish to take – as evidenced by Rhode’s effort. Talk about bringing a pea-shooter to a gun fight.

To be clear, I have nothing against people of faith – as long as they keep their faith, faith. But “logical evidence for faith” is an oxymoron. Once you enter the arena of evidence or logic – prepare for a smackdown.

the only other time i have heard steven novella talk about religion and agnosticism is on the reason driven podcast, episode 10. listen for a great discussion on agnosticism vs. atheism and steven’s own critiques of faith.


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