The Falsity of Religion: Twelve Indisputable Arguments

The following is from http://www.thebirdman.org/

The Falsity of Religion: Twelve Indisputable Arguments

By John “Birdman” Bryant

Religion today hangs on the horns of a dilemma: On the one hand, it is false in the scientific sense, as we shall demonstrate below; but on the other hand, because religion in one form or another has been around as long as recorded history – and in fact has played a central role in man’s social and personal life – it is almost certain that religion is useful in the sense that it has helped men to survive. The real dilemma of religion, however, is that it must be believed in order to be useful, yet this is impossible when people know that it is false.

The obvious solution to this dilemma – if indeed there is a solution – is to discover what is useful about religion, and to try to make use of this knowledge. This I have attempted to do in my book The Most Powerful Idea Ever Discovered. But we will be stymied in our attempt to accomplish this task – or at least to bring it to fruition in the sense of teaching others – if we do not first and finally sweep away the foolishness of religious belief by making a plain and clear statement as to religion’s literal falsity. Accordingly, we cite below what we view as twelve compelling reasons why a rational person must regard religion as false.

Complete text at http://www.thebirdman.org/Index/Relig/Relig-Atheist.html

I’m sure this’ll be popular. I’ll let other people handle some of the more philosophical arguments, but number 12 is just absurd.

This is a false dichotomy. It’s entirely possible that God exists, hears the epithets, and chooses not to, either out of benevolence or apathy. Surely the author of the article and those who cite it don’t think that anyone but a five year-old would fall for this.

So he just summarizes much of the reasoning behind why people become atheists. There is religious dogma that could refute every one of those, I’m sure someone will be here shortly.

This debate isn’t likely to be resolved by sound logic, because strong religious people don’t believe logic to apply to religion.

Sorry, but I find this 'page generally uncompelling and unconvincing. Reason #12 epitomizes my problem:

This is absolutely, positively, 100% wrong, IMO. Hell, I’m little trained in philosophy or debate, and even I can think of counterarguing, “well, God not only doesn’t want to reveal Himself in that way, He also wants you to fulfill His plan by having you continue to live, and He loves mankind too much to kill even his most wayward children this way. Not only that, He’s too even-tempered, not to mention that He knows what you’re trying to do, to rise to your baiting Him.”

Even a child could poke a hole a mile wide in that one. The fact that he even proposes this point and seems to believe so much in it makes me wonder about the rest of his theses. Maybe he counters my counter in his book in detail, but the simplistic description on the website makes me think not. It just strikes me as incredibly bad reasoning, flavored with so much contempt for what he’s arguing against that he blinds himself to the simplest of logic.

Is there one of these “irrefutable” points you wanted to discuss in particular?

Reasons 5, 6, and 7 are simple ad hominems, so you may not want to bother with them. In other words, I could be the worst person on earth, and this is not evidence that God does not exist, any more than it would be evidence that my parents did not exist.

The argument that claims God does not exist because it has changed some of its beliefs is also a little weak, especially since it mentions Newtonian physics as an example of why science is irrefutably right. And Judaism, Islam, and Christianity never taught that animals could be tried for crimes. The author needs to distinguish religion from other aspects of culture.

Reason 4 claims that religion is invalid because it “knows what is right and wrong”. Reason 6 claims religion is invalid because it does not have a consensus on abortion or homosexuality - in other words, because it does not know what is right and wrong.

Reason 11 is plain stupid -

How much is four times sixteen? Keep in mind that the number of wrong answers to that question is literally infinite. Is the “only reasonable conclusion” that all answers to the question are false?

And so forth.

Let me guess - you are in college, and never encountered atheism before.

It is late for me, and I have to be off to bed. Perhaps Libertarian or someone on an equal intellectual level will be along to tear your post into confetti.

Regards,
Shodan

You are hereby sentenced to read the complete works of Thomas Aquinas, after which you can move on to more contemporary theologians.

The author of the piece hits on all the standard sorts of reasons that many people don’t believe in God but it doesn’t really falsify anything in an absolute sense. Trying to disprove God is a futile exercise. You can’t falsify a hypothesis which has no fixed definition and which makes no predictions.

Who was it that said “you can’t reason people out of a position they were never reasoned into?”

That’s pretty much what “disproving religion” amounts to.

I agree with all of you, John Bryant uses ad hominem, but then, so does virtually all debaters now-a-days, so given the fact that most humans are genetically irrational and require emotional appeals instead of pure rational ones, I have to agree with John Bryant’s methods of fighting fire with fire.

Science Girl

Aquinas uses logical method only in a conditional manner. he starts with certain faith-based predicates and builds from there. he does not actually start at ground zero and and soundly argue his way into Christian theological conclusions.

In the end, Aquinas was just another apologist, abeit a good one.
To the OP:

Really, from an empiral standpoint, the strongest argument against theism is the utter lack of proof as well as it’s total dependence on the word of other humans. It isn’t necessary to try to build a positive case for atheism since theism has yet to make even a shred of a case in its own right.

Is that an ad hominem attack? Just like I said, virtually EVERYONE uses ad hominem in debates because we are not a rational species, but an emotionally driven one.

Woops, sorry, my mistake, I got your post confused with another.

Oh yes, by the way, I am a college student right now, and have recently converted to agnosticism.

Regards,

Science Girl

Which puts you in something of a logical pickle, doesn’t it? If John Bryant is just engaging in ad hominems and illogcal arguments (and boy, is he ever) then why should anyone think he is correct? If you can’t tell the difference between the atheist and the theist, how can you say atheism is the superior position?

John Bryant uses logic for the most part, but then colors his posts sparingly with sarcasm. He in fact wrote popular books on logic which have been praised by noble prize winners, or so he says on his main site: http://www.thebirdman.org/ Anyway, he is just one of dozens of authors I like, so I am not “placing all my eggs in one basket.”

Science Girl

A very professional scientific study he has done, I’m sure. First of all, he is basing 99% of his discussion on Christianity, with very little study in the other 75% (pulled out of my butt, but you get the idea) of the world’s history of religion. I see this as an attack on Christianity, not on religion itself.

Second of all, the above quote could just as easily apply to many scientists holed up in their labs. It isn’t like scientists are known for their immaculate hygiene or sex lives. In a debate, that is a rather immature personal attack, and makes me question the validity of the author’s points. For someone arguing the religion of science, he certainly doesn’t seem to care much for his own case.

In fact, many pagan religions involved both ritual cleanliness and ritual sex. Does that mean they are right?

I understand that this point is not to be taken literally, but if we are to take this discussion seriously, we have to define the mindset of the author.

Once again, he references only Christianity. This is like studying only chemistry and declaring that physics doesn’t exist.

So? Scientists “knew” the earth was flat, they “knew” about the 4 elements, they “knew” about the humors… what is the point here? Science and religion both grow and change over time, as more knowledge is gained and more study is done.

Ridiculous, in the same vein as claiming that science is wrong because there are so many wrong scientists. Theories are proven and disproven daily, and some make such hairbrained guesses that they are called “psuedo-scientists.” Similarly, you have events like the Protestant Reformation, where pious individuals rebelled against an increasingly secular church. I don’t see how this makes all religion wrong.

The author here displays a clear lack of comprehension of the concept of “time.” Because the Christian bible does not address the issues that were not around at the time (in some of those cases, it is debatable that it DOES cover them), all religion is suspect? Is all science suspect because it doesn’t produce nuclear fussion yet?

So? Even his points here are still in debate. Because Christianity itself adopted local customs as it spread through other cultures, all religion is questionable in basis? Maybe Christian ritual can be, yes, but neither did the Christian god not say, “Don’t celebrate the birth of Christ except on this specific date.”

Again with the equating Christianity to all religion. What about pagan religions, that easily allow for this type of “the earth is small” type thinking? What if the Christian god created the earth as part of this pre-existing system? What if he created it along with the earth? I would say that, in the least, this is FAR from “indisputable.”

sigh Is his goal to make people so tired of the same misconceptions by the time they reach the end of this article that they get bored and assume he is right? Is he completely oblivious to the rest of the world? Does he not realize that a large number of religious people view the creation myths as metaphors?

Here we have the mistaken assumption that superstition = religion. I dunno, “Birdman,” in my religion I don’t have a cause-effect relationship, since I don’t pray to a god for something. Not only are these assumptions absurd, ignoring the greater part of the purpose of religion in general, he shoots himself in the foot. In the Skinner experiments, there IS a god - the experimenter. Also, science functions in much the same way - performing experiments to get a result, and comparing this to other experiments to arrive at a conclusion.

Ignorance is almost funny. “Dozens” of religions? No shiat? That all believe they are exclusively true? Has this man ever studied religion outside of Sunday School when he was 6? Many religions do hold their “absolute truth” - but many more don’t. You can look to the pagan religions of Europe, right back to the Greeks and Romans, or to the Eastern religions, or even to Native American religions - all have room to accept each other as worshipping the same force, and an understanding that all are to be treated equally. Most creation myths rather support each other, taken as a metaphor. Most “moral scripture” is rather the same, taken generally. In fact, he admits as much, stating:

How does this lead him to arrive at this “undeniable” conclusion that religion is thus false? The fact that the same moral rules somehow applied to 99.9999% of cultures across the entire planet without communication with each other somehow disproves religion?

This is the most ridiculous argument yet. As I’ve seen others mention it, I won’t discuss it too much - but by what rights is a god supposed to take action against anyone speaking thus? Perhaps by damning them to eternal hell? In my personal religion, my god would smile and laugh at that. My god is not a vengeful god. My god is not a jealous god. My god has a sense of humor. He does not require my praise and belief. He is like a friend - he can turn his back, he can laugh it off, he can stand beside me through whatever difficulties caused me to utter such a thing, or he can do a billion other actions, which include but does not require striking me down.

This is like saying that science is wrong because you can look at a tiger and tell him to eat you if he’s such a big meanie predator, and if he doesn’t, then everything is wrong. That is absurd. The tiger may be afraid of humans, she may have just eaten and is full, her cubs might be behind her, or she may just be apathetic. There is no requirement for her to leap up and eat anyone who dares challenge her dominance in the food chain.

I’m an amateur in all ways imaginable, I’m not even a Christian, which according to the author is the only religion on the planet, and I find not one of these “proofs” to be indisputable.

Finally, I question the ethics of anyone who makes this kind of stupid statement:

You may find this next atheism article by John Bryant a little better:

Evolution: The Essential Criticisms Answered
By John “Birdman” Bryant

Take any closed system and divide it into two parts. Call one part “organism” and the other “environment”. Such a system displays the essence of life, which is simply the equilibrium-seeking of the “organism” as it responds to inputs from the “environment”. --W Ross Ashby, Introduction to Cybernetics (paraphrase)

My own suspicion is that the universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose." --JBS Haldane, Possible Worlds (1927)

If you understand something, it’s science; if you don’t, it’s magic. --J. Bryant

Some people, including most scientists, believe that evolution is a biological theory which describes factual truths about our world. Others - - mostly religious fundamentalists – believe that evolution is a false theory, usually because they believe that life forms were created by a Deity and are immutable. And yet others – mostly philosophers – believe that evolution is a tautology which maintains the truth of the doctrine of “survival of the fittest” only because, in the final analysis, the term fit is defined as that which survives. In reality, however, all three of these positions are wrong: The fact is that evolution is an organizing principle which cannot be dispensed with because events cannot be sensibly interpreted without it. To explain, it is first useful to note that evolution is much like the Continuity Principle, ie, the belief that the future will be like the past: While all natural law is justified on the basis of the Continuity Principle, it is obvious that the Continuity Principle itself cannot be justified on the basis of the Continuity Principle. Furthermore, if we were to cease to assume the truth of the Continuity Principle, then we would immediately lose the basis of our belief in natural law, and thus the basis of our belief in the regularities of everyday life. In fact, one could say that the belief in the Continuity Principle has been determined by evolution: Those who did not believe in it were eliminated in the struggle for survival, even if there is no “justification” for believing in it.

Complete text at http://www.thebirdman.org/Index/Relig/Relig-Evolution.html

Who was denying evolution?

Science Girl is definitely fitting the stereotypical college student mold.

Anyways, logical arguments about god, especially the Christian god, are fruitless.

The whole religion is based around phrases like, “Only through blind faith shall you know Him.” That right there dismisses any attempts at trying to prove or disprove the Christian religion scientifically.

“Physics proves god couldn’t exist.”

“Physics just explains processes which govern the world, God could easily have developed those processes and in fact he is the one who created the systems that govern the physical sciences.”

Or just say that God exists purely on the spiritual plane. A plane of existence 1) undectectable and unobservable from our plane of existence, 2) governed by a completely different set of physical laws and a completely different concept of logic.

How do you disprove that? You can’t. That’s why you can’t disprove religion. You can never disprove point one of the argument I just presented.

Prove to me a plane of existence isn’t out there that is absolutely undectable/unobservable. What, you’re trying to prove it by saying there is no evidence? Of course there is not, it is an absolute law that it cannot be observed.

That’s why you can’t attack religion by trying to “disprove” it. If you want to attack religion you talk about 1) bad stuff you think it is responsible for, and 2) by forcing the religious types (includes me FYI) to prove their religion, not vice versa.

As far as that answer goes, for number 1 I say:

The fact that some men distort religion and make evil out of it does not make religion evil. You will have other opinions, but it ultimately just = opinion vs. opinion so no one can ever be marked as “right.”

For number 2:

"As a Christian it is not my job to prove or disprove the existence of god. In fact, I am told to have faith, and that is what I have. "

Believe it or not SG people have been atheists for many hundreds of years and in all that time there is no “trump card” argument that just destroys religion, and I doubt there will ever be one.

Also kid, when trolling the net for info learn to look for clear cases of profiteering propaganda. People that bill themselves as “The Most Controvesial Author in the World” should start to look a bit “off” to you right from the beginning.

Really? What Nobel Prize winners? Name one.

He does write some interesting books. His book “Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Jews” sounds fascinating. And especially hilarious is his book “Better Than Shakespeare: A Modern Author Demonstrates Shakepeare’s Incompetence and the Establishment’s Corruption By Rewriting the Shakepearian Sonnets and the Poetry of Other Major Authors.” I swear I’m not making that up.

In fact, if he’s an author you LIKE, what do you LIKE about him? 75% of his writing is about how the Jews are destroying the world and need to be kicked out of Western civilization; he compares them to a “malarial swamp” that needs to be “drained.”

(Shrug) But he’s the subject of the OP, so he’s the subject at hand. You’re the one who brought him up. So, since you are the one who brought up an author who claims the Jews are trying to destroy Western civilization and caused 9/11 and got him icked off his ISP, let’s discuss him.

If Bryant is respected for his mastery of logic, he must have been drunk when he wrote that article. Of the 12 “Indisputable” arguments, not one presents a solid logical argument. He’s 0 for 12.

Argument 1 is interesting in terms of explaining why people accept religion, but does nothing to explain why religion must be wrong. IF anything, it begs the question, since his argument boils down to that religion must be wrong because people believe in it even though it’s wrong. Read it; that’s quite literally what he says. He’s an expert in logic, and his Argument #1 is logically circular?

Argument 2 is half ad hominem and wrong besides, and half, again, begging the question.

Argument 3 is the old “If there are contradictions in your story the entire thing must be wrong” argument. This is a stupid logical fallacy, the fallacy of composition; the assumption that the whole shares the traits of some of its parts.

To use an example to show how silly this is, many veterans of the Vietnam War have contradictory accounts of events that transpired there. Does this mean the Vietnam War didn’t happen?

Argument 4 is ridiculously ignorant; as has already been pointed out, it’s absurd to accuse religion of not knowing something 400 years ago and use as an example Newton’s laws of motion, which we now know were, technically speaking, wrong.

Argument 5: Ad hominem. Meaningless. It’s like saying science is wrong because Newton believed in astrology.

Argument 6: As pointed out, contradicts Argument 4. It’s also true of science, so again I’m not sure how it’s a bad thing. Why is self-examination and self-contradiction necessarily wrong? It’s how science WORKS, actually.

Argument 7: Ad hominem. Meaningless.

Argument 8: Ad hominem. Meaningless. Also circular.

Argument 9: Appears to be utterly without point.

Argument 10: No logical connection here at all.

Argument 11: Ridiculously illogical, as already explained.

Argument 12: Fallacy of the false dillemma.

Of all the authors in the world to cite as an argument against religion, I think you might have picked the absolute worst - Bryant is a paranoid anti-Semite.

It is demonstrably false that the size of the universe is ‘new information.’ Theologians and others have known for years that the earth in an infinitesimal speck in the universe. From Ptolemy’s Almagest, Book I, ch. 5 (standard astronomical handbook in the Middle Ages):

Apparently the size of the universe was completely irrelevant to Thomas Aquinas and all them fellas.

Anyway I have no time to deal with all this silliness, but I had to throw that one out there.

Science never claims to be absolute, but ever changing as better evidence is produced. But religion claims to be absolute.