Christian Defense: The Straw Man and Ad Hominem

Friday, April 25, 2008 | Labels: , , , , | |

In a world filled with intellectuals, defense of the Christian faith and principles can become both a difficult and emotionally exhausting task. This is especially true when Christians are attacked with what are known as 'Straw Man' or 'Ad Hominem' arguments that aim to do three things: place the original arguer in a ridiculous position never taken, attack that position, and destroy the character of the arguer.

It is likely many individuals use the straw man or the ad hominem arguments by incident, and it is without a doubt that I have used them without even realizing it. This is why it is important to understand the structure of these arguments so they can be captured and corrected before the argument turns into an attack on each arguers character rather than addressing the true substance of the argument.

The straw man argument is the single most commonly used argument against the Christian faith and apologist. It is second to the ad hominem and is defined as:

"To "set up a straw man" or "set up a straw man argument" is to describe a position that superficially resembles an opponent's actual view but is easier to refute, then attribute that position to the opponent (for example, deliberately overstating the opponent's position). A straw man argument can be a successful rhetorical technique (that is, it may succeed in persuading people) but it carries little or no real evidential weight, because the opponent's actual argument has not been refuted." - (

For example:

Arguer 1:
Proposition I: The Christian faith can be defended by legal-historical evidences
Proposition II: Logical Evidences A, B and C defends their position.
Proposition III: Therefore the Christian faith can be defended by legal-historical evidences.

Arguer 2:
Proposition I: Those who argue the Christian faith can be defended cannot prove the existence of God using the scientific method.
Proposition II: Logical evidences D and E are often used to attempt to prove God using the scientific method.
Proposition III: Logical evidences D and E are clearly invalid because of logical evidence F and G
Proposition IV: Therefore, The Christian faith cannot be defended by legal-historical evidences.

As one can see, in the straw man argument, the second arguer often times completely ignores the logical evidences or arguments put forth by the initial arguer and instead discuss an entirely different argument. In this case the second arguer brings up logical evidences D and E, which were not argued by the initial arguer, he then dis-proves an argument never made, then concludes the initial argument made is false.

Many times, the argument the second arguer places the first arguer into is easily refutable and emotionally based. Doing this places the readers or viewers of the argument emotionally against the first arguer so they are more inclined to disagree with the original argument.

For example, an initial arguer may state they believe God exists due to the complexity of the universe and cite their evidences of unexplainable complexities. The second arguer may, in response, argue those who believe in God must also prove there is no 'flying spaghetti monster' or no 'Zeus', they then set up the argument from the position of those who believe in God to dis-prove a 'flying spaghetti monster' and prove 'Jesus Christ'. Finally, with the scientific method, they illustrate how this argument is false, and therefore conclude the other individuals belief in God must be invalid.

As one can see, the initial arguer cited evidences of unexplainable complexities, but these logical evidences were completely ignored. The second arguer then placed the first arguer into an argument he did not make and proceeded to defeat that argument. It looks great from those doing the reading and looks great for the second arguer, but it does not address the real substance of the initial argument.

The ad hominem argument is defined as:

"An ad hominem argument, also known as argumentum ad hominem (Latin: "argument to the man", "argument against the man") consists of replying to an argument or factual claim by attacking or appealing to a characteristic or belief of the person making the argument or claim, rather than by addressing the substance of the argument or producing evidence against the claim. The process of proving or disproving the claim is thereby subverted, and the argumentum ad hominem works to change the subject." (

For example:

Arguer 1:
Proposition I: Homosexuality is a behavioral choice.
Proposition II: Logical evidences A, B and C defends their position.
Proposition III: Therefore homosexuality is a behavioral choice.

Arguer 2:
Proposition I: Christians also believe homosexuals should "burn in hell".
Proposition II: Cases A and B illustrate instances where this is true.
Proposition III: Logical evidences why cases A and B are harming other people.
Proposition IV: Therefore any argument put forth by Christians are rubbish.

The ad hominem is much easier to spot. When these come up it often illustrates a vilification of the initial arguer or the group the initial arguer may be a part of. In this case it was Christians. The second arguer used extreme cases to emotionally draw the readers or viewers into their position. Finally, they proceeded to attack the initial arguer as if they had been a part of the extreme cases cited, then concluded the initial arguer lacks credibility to establish any logical evidences.

The ad hominem is one of the most commonly used arguments against those who defend the Christian faith. One will find many times they are being vilified as if they committed acts or atrocities performed by Christians they have both never met and would never had been a part of. After they are accused of these atrocities, they will find themselves discredited as a reliable source of logical evidences.

As stated above, there are likely cases where I have done this without the realization of doing so. Many times the ad hominem and straw man are used as a defense mechanism when others test or question principles one holds dear. It is likely that many times the use of them is unintentional, but the aim is to remove them as much as possible to clear the way for a logical and reasonable debate of ideas. Modern society has entered the war of ideas, it is important that Christians are properly equipped with the logical tools necessary to defend their faith.

Craig Chamberlin

Related Articles:
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Modern Man has "Educated Himself into Imbecility"
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Sex Change Therapy Offered to Children

Thursday, April 24, 2008 | Labels: , , | |

With the mass confusion caused by the "sexual discovery" movement a recent story revealed sex change therapy as an option to children as young as ten years old. When individuals perceive they are not designed uniquely as God has created them, they begin to believe change is necessary in who or what they are, or in this case, who or what their children are.

"The Boston Globe recently published an article on Dr. Norman Spack, who last year started a new clinic at Children's Hospital that, among other treatments, performs sex-change therapy on "transgendered" children. The Gender Management Service Clinic, as it is called, defines that group as "patients with no known anatomic or biochemical disorder who feel like a member of the opposite sex." - Sex-change therapies on children 'beyond the pale'

It is interesting that the very definition offered by this clinic is for those who 'feel' like a member of an opposite sex. As the modern generation has consistently done over these past ten years, they begin to let their feelings alone, instead of feelings in parallel with truths in reality, guide their decisions of who they are, what they are, and who or what they ought to be.

As we all know, however, feelings can be truly deceptive. If an individual finds another person so irritating that they feel they should hit them, it obviously doesn't mean pounding another individual is the right thing to do. Yet, the modern generation continues to let their perceptions of their feelings guide them blindly into the future.

"In the Globe article, Spack details how he prescribes hormone therapy to halt puberty in children as young as ten years old, and then uses further hormone therapy to change children to the sex of their desire. Spack also lauds how he changed one transgendered child who was "destined to be a 6-foot-4 male" into a 5-foot-10 girl." - Sex-change therapies on children 'beyond the pale'

The wish is that this could be illustrated as madness, but in a culture that is driven to believe feelings are the ultimate test of truth and reality, this is simply a logical deduction made by those who follow this philosophy. These are not madmen, they are intelligent human beings who embrace an idea that if a man feels like a woman then he ought to be changed into one.

It is true, however, that if a God designed each and every individual one cannot simply say he made a mistake in the design of a particular individual. If it was intended for a man to be a woman, he would have been - to argue he wouldn't have been is to argue God did not know what he was doing when he created the man. If this is true, he is simply not God. God creates each and every individual with their strengths as well as their weaknesses to compromise a truly unique human being.

Many times in an individuals life they 'feel' a desire to do many things. For example, a husband may 'feel' a desire to cheat on his wife. A teenager may 'feel' sleeping with someone is a sign of true love. A man may 'feel' like never working and providing for his family. What these individuals feel does not govern the reality that each and every one of those actions, if acted upon, would lead to devastating consequences.

"Spack was asked by the Globe interviewer to identify the most difficult ethical issue he faces in performing these treatments. His response: Telling a 12-year-old that they will probably be infertile for the rest of their life." - Sex-change therapies on children 'beyond the pale'

So as the modern generation allows it's feelings to govern its decisions the true victims of such a misleading philosophy begin to emerge. The children, who have no full understanding of gender roles, let alone sexuality, are placed into circumstances outside of their own control and understanding. Their lives are permanently transformed because they were not embraced as beautifully and uniquely designed.

"Spack was also asked how his Jewish faith impacts his work. He replied that his rabbi said it best when he said that "the transgendered are also created in the image of God."" - Sex-change therapies on children 'beyond the pale'

It is important not to forget religion can be used to justify destructive purposes. Let me be the first to point out the atrocious flaw in what this man's rabbi has told him. "The transgendered" is an initial assumption that God has made a mistake in the selection of that individual soul's sex. He has placed "a man's soul in a woman's body" or "a woman's soul in a man's body". If this is true, he has made the flawed assumption that God, who is a perfect creator, makes mistakes in the placement of souls.

These individuals have made the mistake of letting their feelings of being a man in a woman's body be a governing truth. In other words, if one feels they are a man in a womans body, it must be true that they are a man in a woman's body.

Craig Chamberlin

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C.S. Lewis, 'mere' Christianity, Law of Human Nature

Wednesday, April 23, 2008 | Labels: | |

The following is a commentary of The Law of Human Nature chapter of C.S. Lewis' book entitled 'mere' Christianity. The purpose is to elaborate C.S. Lewis' arguments to both the causal reader and the readers who have a curosity in his writings. If one finds this intriguing they should look into picking up the book 'mere' Christianity for themselves or visit the book in its entirety as linked below and looking into the ideas further.

Part I, Chapter 1: The Law of Human Nature

"Everyone has heard people quarrelling. Sometimes it sounds funny and sometimes it sounds merely unpleasant; but however it sounds, I believe we can learn something very important from listening to the kind of things they say. They say things like this: 'How'd you like it if anyone did the same to you?' - 'That's my seat, I was there first' - 'Leave him alone, he isn't doing you any harm'...

...Now what interests me about all these remarks is that the man who makes them is not merely saying that the other man's behaviour does not happen to please him. He is appealing to some kind of standard of behavior which he expects the other man to know about. And the other man very seldom replies: 'To hell with your standard.' Nearly always he tries to make out that what he has been doing does not really go against the standard, or that if it does there is some special excuse."

Commentary: C.S. Lewis draws some interesting illustrations here at the beginning of his book. For those who have not had the opportunity to read 'mere' Christianity the beginning sets up an argument for the existence of a moral law based upon simple logic and reason. The purpose for this establishment is because it does two very important things. First, it establishes that people all tend to behaviorally acknowledge that which they cosider a moral right, and in placing the moral expectations on others self-divulge the idea of a moral law. Secondly, it opens up the reader the self-discovery of their own behaviors and adherence to some sort of standard. These two purposes allow for a framework of establishing to another individual about the existence of a moral lawgiver.

In other words, what good would it do to try and convince another individual God exists if their perceptions are such that morality is relative. Relative morality suggests that each individual and culture can decide for itself their own perceptions of moral right and wrong and without a standard, they are all morally justified. Our behavior, as C.S. Lewis discusses, expresses quite the contrary - we often place a standard of moral expectations on others that we place upon ourselves.

Main Discussion:
"This law was called the Law of Nature because people thought that every one knew it by nature and did not need to be taught it. ...And I believe they were right. If they were not, then all the things we said about the war were nonsense. What was the sense in saying the enemy were in the wrong unless Right is a real thing which the Nazis at bottom knew as well as we did and ought to have practised? If they had no notion of what we mean by right, then, though we might still have to fight them, we could no more have blamed them for that than for the colour of their hair."

Commentary: This idea is not discussed enough in modern day society. The universal acceptance between most cultures about the atrocities performed by the Nazi's does actually illustrate something universal in the hearts of mankind. When evil unveils itself in the most obvious of forms the universal moral law speaks louder than when evil is not as clear cut. The world is much more proned to unite together for a common cause amidst the most obvious of evils because the moral law screams loudly into the hearts of each and every individual when they exist.

This uniting illustrates that something is shared between all of mankind when faced with true evil - and that within the hearts of men that unity illustrates some form of standard that all men ought adhere too.

He makes a second, even more compelling point, that if this moral law or standard of right behavior did not truly exist - then it was the Nazi's who were truly oppressed when their freedom of expressing their own moral laws were destroyed. He illustrates that we could not possibly accuse them of being evil unless there actually existed within their hearts some way to differentiate between good and evil. If someone argues that this conscience, or moral law within the hearts of men does not exist - then how could one have blamed the Nazis for the evils they committed? They simply may not have known any better.

"I know that some people say the idea of the Law of Nature or decent behavior known to all man is unsound, because different civilisations and different ages have had quite different moralities.

But that is not true. There have been differences between their moralities, but these have never amounted to anything like a total difference. If anyone will take the trouble to compare the moral teaching of, say, the ancient Egyptians, Babylonians, Hindus, Chinese, Greeks and Romans, what will really strike them will be how very like they are to eachother and to our own...

I need only ask the reader to think what a totally different morality would mean. Think of a country where people were admired for running away in battle, or where a man felt proud of double-crossing all the people who had been kindest to him. You might just as well try to imagine a country where two and two made five..."

Commentary: The simplistic illustration C.S. Lewis gives here contrasting what we often perceive as good behavior drives an important point. Imagining a world where murder were encouraged, adultery was applauded and lying or stealing were considered positive character traits is almost a ridiculous notion.

However, it is only a ridiculous notion because everyone knows within their hearts that these behaviors violate a standard that all people ought to adopt, it further illustrates that we all have an image in our minds and in our hearts that places expectations on both ourselves, others and society. These traits commonly carry over not just within our own cultures, but within other cultures as well - the only difference is often how violation and adherance to each moral standard is dealt with.

"...the most remarkable thing is this. Whenever you find a man who says he does not believe in a real Right and Wrong, you will find the same man going back on this a moment later. He may break his promise to you, but if you try breaking one to him he will be complaining 'It's not fair' before you can say Jack Robinson...

Commentary: Also an intriguing point, as one cannot argue moral right and wrong are not a standard and then lend a complaint to an offense against their standard without bringing the other individual into their own. For example, If I argue there is no moral standard and someone says "Alright" and pops me in the nose, I cannot possibly argue that he shouldn't have hit me in the nose without first establishing that he ought to adhere to a standard of behavior. I lose the argument by the very sake of arguing.

"It seems, then, we are forced to believe in a real Right and Wrong. People may sometimes be mistaken about them, just as people sometimes get their sums wrong; but they are not a matter of mere taste and opinion any more than the multiplication table. Now if we are agreed about that, I go on to my next point, which is this. None of us are really keeping the Law of Nature..."

Commentary: How very true this often is. There was always the insightful idea that we tend to see the flaws in other people that we have in ourselves. Many times when one struggles with alcoholism they can be the first to see the alcoholic. These inadequacies tend to make us much quicker to judge others for their own flaws than to see our own. We very often violate that which we expect other people to do.

For example, one may argue another individual ought to always be honest, but when confronted on a lie many times that very same individual will rationalize himself into lying once again.

"... I am just the same. That is to say, I do not succeed in keeping the Law of Nature very well, and the moment anyone tells me I am not keeping it, there starts up in my mind a string of excuses as long as your arm. The question at the moment is not whether they are good excuses. The point is that they are more proof of how deeply, whether we like it or not, we believe in the Law of Nature. If we do not believe in decent behaviour, why should we be so anxious to make excuses for not having behaved decently? The truth is, we believe in decency so much - we feel the Rule of Law pressing on us so - that we cannot bear to face the fact that we are breaking it, and consequently we try to shift the responsibility. For you notice that it is only for our bad behavior that we find all the explanations. It is only our bad temper that we put down to being tired or worried or hungry; we put our good temper down to ourselves. "

Commentary: What many may find interesting is that when they begin to look at the reason they make excuses for themselves it is because often times they have done something that has violated what they perceive as a standard of right conduct. As Lewis points out, if we didn't feel so strongly about keeping with the standard of moral right and wrong why is it we go so far out of our way to make excuses for ourselves when we violate it?

He then discusses the idea that when we do something that adheres to the standard of behavior we expect from others we are quick to praise ourselves. There is definitely something going on in our hearts and minds that demands both excuses and praises - for if no kind of standard existed within ourselves or within societies - perpetual excuses and compliments would not make sense to exist. Why is it we exhaust ourselves with a moral standard if this moral standard does not truly exist? It is quite interesting because our reactions to the adherance and violation of this standard clearly illustrates that this moral standard does exist.

"These, then are the two points I wanted to make. First, that human beings, all over the earth, have this curious idea that they ought to behave in a certain way, and cannot really get rid of it. Secondly, that they do not in fact behave in that way. They know the Law of Nature; they break it. These two facts are the foundation of all clear thinking about ourselves and the universe we live in."

- C.S. Lewis, 'mere' Christianity (Part 1, Chapter 1, The Law of Human Nature), 1943

The above excerpts are from 'mere' Christianity, the emphases are my own and the attempt is posit commentary towards C.S. Lewis' arguments to interest the reader in his works.

Craig Chamberlin

The 'mere' Christianity text is available for free online at:

Video: Proof of Christianity: Challenging Skeptics

Tuesday, April 22, 2008 | Labels: , , , | |

VenomFangX (Shawn) is one of the many popular young individuals on YouTube who openly discusses criticisms and skepticisms of God. In this particular video, he provides strong logical proof of Christianity by challenging skeptics to fully understand their position when they say the prophecies and historical contexts of the Bible are a man-made fantasy.

(Shawn 0:01) "Hey there, today's video is basically going to be a case for Christianity. I am going to present an argument to you that I believe is so irrefutable that you will not be able to call yourself a rational thinking person and not convert to Christianity."

(Shawn 0:15) "Now many people actually already believe in God they just don't know which religion to turn to in order to find the true and living God. Well, I am here to say to you God does not want a religion, he wants a relationship. It was a religion that crucified Jesus and I believe Jesus is God. We're not going to get there yet.

(Shawn 0:32) "The Bible is actually the most unique book in all of antiquity in fact in the whole history of mankind. It is not actually one book written by one ambiguous guy that we know nothing about, unlike the Koran and other supposed "Holy books". The Bible is a compilation of many books, around 66 books written over a period of many thousands of years. These books within the Bible are actually written by over forty different authors who lived lifetimes apart and often in countries apart."

(Shawn 1:00) "There's no way they could have corresponded with each other being so far apart in both geography and just in time. These various authors progressively revealed a God who, going by the name of Yahweh or "I Am" in English. This God revealed the plan of redemption for mankind going right back to the book of Genesis, the first book in the Bible, all the way to Malachi."

(Shawn 1:24) "Now, if you don't believe God is big enough to use man as a tool in his hand to write a book to get it to you then you need a bigger God. Basically, if I was to write a letter in a red pen, did I write the letter or did the red pen? You wouldn't say the red pen wrote it, you'd say I wrote it, likewise God wrote the Bible over many thousands of years using men as his instrument in so doing.

(Shawn 1:43) "So, what can we find within the text to say that this is not just of a human origin, that it is clearly of supernatural origin. Let's talk about that. Now I know that I am speaking as if I have already proven the existence of God to you, and... I have other videos about proving the existence of God and you can consult those if you want too, but lets talk about the Bible and how it itself is proof of God.

(Shawn 2:08) "Now, lets just go with the hypothetical that God is real and he wants us to worship him and know him. Just looking at the very texts that we use today [that] are all around the world for the various Gods we have such as Hinduism, Buddhism, the Koran for Islam, the Bible for the Christians and the Torah for the Jews. There are other lesser scriptures but it seems to me if God is really concerned with human affairs, then he would want us all to have his word. The Bible is not only the most printed book in the history of mankind, it is also the one book that has been translated into the most languages. So just by the sheer numbers and the sheer amount of people that have the Bible in their hands it seems God has been using that book uniquely more than any other book. That alone should point you in the Direction, if there is a God, that's an if, although I've proved it in other videos but if there is a book that God is circulating for us to know his will for us it seems the Bible is the one."

(Shawn 3:04) "Now lets talk about the contents of the Bible and why we would be able to open it up and say "Hmm, there's no way a man could have wrote that." And that is exactly what we would expect if God indeed wrote that book right? And, of course, I have already said it's not just one book, it's many books. God wouldn't exactly make us just rely on what one person said and I'm not even asking you to rely on what I said, pick up the Bible and look for it yourself I am not making up stuff. The greatest miracle and the greatest proof in the Bible's favor is actually Jesus Christ himself and the spreading of the gospel message. Yes the Bible is reaching every nation in the world, and the amazing thing is the prophecies given by the old prophets of the Torah of Israel, they all said the messiah to come would bring the entire world into the knowledge of the God of Israel.

(Shawn 3:51) "Jesus is no doubt the single vessel in which this has become a reality, now there is a timeline given by the prophets before Jesus was born and if you don't believe these texts were written before Jesus was born look to the discovery of the dead sea scrolls, they were discovered in 1948 or 1947, and they have all of the Old Testament books in them. These old testament books contain the prophecies of the messiah to come and they were written before Jesus came. They said the messiah would come, die and then the temple would be destroyed. This messiah had to bring the whole world into the knowledge of Israel before his death and before the destruction of the second temple in 70 A.D. which happened right after Jesus died.

(Shawn 4:31) "So either Jesus is the messiah or there is none and every evidence in all reality points to the fact that he is because look at the whole world, it knows now the God of Israel. All the gentiles of the world now worship the God of Israel, who was simply the God of the Israelites until Jesus was known. So, imagine then, I mean if you're being completely skeptical here and your saying you still don't believe it. Basically here is what you believe, you believe that a book was written about a fictitious God who gave a timeline of when someone would come along, born in Bethlehem, born of a virgin, give great miracles, die, be resurrected from the dead, people actually believe in him, spread the message to the whole world. You believe that was to happen, given the exact timeline that you've given, because you believe this was fictionally written by some fallible men. So this fictional God that just someone made up, came up with all that stuff and then it came to pass.

(Shawn 5:20) "I mean, what are the odds of that? Why don't you try it? Go ahead and try it. Write about some fictional messiah, and then some people actually have to meet him, believe in him, then spread the message to the whole world and the whole world has to believe it and then on top of that, you have to have people like me who are of Jewish background come to the realization and recognition of this messiah who was then foretold in your scriptures above all else when I actually pray to this God he actually answers me. So uhh.. yeah you've got a heavy task at hand.

(Shawn 5:47) "What's even more incredible than that simply ludicrous hypothetical that the Bible could have been just made up and happened to fulfill all the prophecies that it made about itself. If you look at Isaiah 49 it talks about the redeemer of Israel coming and being a light to the Gentiles and being abhorred by the nation of Israel. So, tell me, what are the chances of this? You have this holy text, which the Israelites, which are the Jews, they believe... they believe every word of it. Within their own text it says that they would abhor the redeemer to come and that the whole Gentile world would receive the messiah, the redeemer, and then at the same time they would still continue to reject him even though he has fulfilled their own prophecies. Do you see how incredible that is?

(Shawn 6:30) "And then on top of that you have the Muslims which are a fulfillment of prophecy as well. For you see, Jesus said, and all throughout scripture we see, that the anti-Christ, who is anyone who rejects that Jesus is the messiah and the son of God, would come in to seed the whole world. We all know that the Muslims, or Islam is a very progressive religion. It is spreading. Jesus said that the deception of the anti-Christ would be over the whole world and I have said in an earlier video that Muslims are very proud that their religion is growing so fast and it just is a fulfillment of what Jesus said that the anti-Christ would come, and that the deception would be over the whole world.

(Shawn 7:05) "Now, lets do another hypothetical. What are the chances of a fictional religion coming up with a messiah figure who would come, be foretold to be rejected by the very believers of the messiah, then be accepted by the whole world and then, right after that, a anti-Christ or an anti-Messiah like figure would come and then have the whole world reject this messiah. I mean, it's just layer upon layer upon layer and all of them are coming to pass. Now if you believe that's just a blind chance or coincidence, umm, that's ridiculous."

(Shawn 7:38) "So, lets just do a recap of everything we talked about. In fact were going to do a little bit of history of the Bible. Let's start back from the very beginning when God revealed himself. So God, Yahweh, "I Am" revealed himself to Moses... he gave his ten commandments and started giving prophecies about the redeemer to come. So, all throughout scripture we can look at Isaiah, who spoke I think more than any other of the prophets of the messiah to come.

(Shawn 8:05) "If you look at Isaiah 7:14 it talks about the virgin birth. If you look at Isaiah 9:6 it talks about how this child would be called God. If you go to Isaiah 53 it talks about how the messiah would suffer and die for our sins. If you look at Isaiah 49 it talks about how this redeemer would come and be rejected and abhorred by the nation but be a light to the Gentiles.

(Shawn 8:23) "So, here we have this, I'm looking at it from an atheistic point of view, I'm trying to, you know, help you guys out here. Basically you believe that these Israelites made up their religion and... made up this savior figure who then, did come, or you say they made [him] up as well, this Jesus of Nazareth who is documented in history but lets say, for the sake of argument that he is made up. Okay so, he comes in fiction. So people start writing stories about this messiah who then fulfilled prophecies from an Atheist point of view.

(Shawn 8:52) "So, people then accept it and say "Yeah, okay, he fulfilled scriptures" and then there is the people of the old faith who then reject this messiah according to prophecy, or according to what their fictional story said. ...Then, this new fictional story about Jesus says within it's scripture that then there would come a point where someone else would come and then have all of the world reject this new belief. So then Islam comes around, and you have them fulfilling exactly what these other fictional writers are saying about the anti-Christ.

(Shawn 9:23) "So, it seems to me that... this is not just a coincidence after coincidence after coincidence. This is simply the greatest hoax or the greatest... what's the word I am looking for... Basically I don't even think there is a word for it, it's so astronomically impossible that I simply cannot believe that ... there's any other explanation than the Bible is true. There's just nothing, I mean, come on, let's be serious.

(Shawn 9:49) "How can you possibly believe that all of that, I mean, and that's just scratching the surface. The Bible's a real thick book and every prophecy in it has come true except the ones that are about the last days which are coming true now. So, if you still want to maintain... a Naturalistic world-view and believe the Bible is just written by man you're giving a lot for men, to men, for coming up with such an ingenious story and having it all fulfilled. So, if you're still an Atheist or you're still completely skeptical check out my other videos and just really ask yourself, how can everything I just mentioned be possible if there is no God if what is being written is simply fictional. It transcends any fictional writing in the history of mankind."

This video has been typed out so others can view Shawn's argument in the written form, allowing for further research into the subject.

Be sure to visit Shawn's other works at:

Craig Chamberlin

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Six Things Expelled Critics Don't Want You to Know

Saturday, April 19, 2008 | Labels: , , , , | |

After just leaving the theatres to review Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed I carried with me a sense of relief. The fearful expectation going into the film was that it might hold gaping flaws and little perspective from the opposing viewpoint. Despite what critics are saying, however, some of the biggest names in the film were Darwinists and it did quite a good job gaining perspectives from scientists of different religious, non-religious and historical backgrounds when establishing its arguments.

I will, for the sake of balance take from one of the most popular posted criticism of the film Expelled 6 Things in Expelled that Ben Stein Doesn't Want You to Know and make simple counter-points.

1) Expelled quotes Charles Darwin selectively to connect his ideas to eugenics and the Holocaust.

"When the film is building its case that Darwin and the theory of evolution bear some responsibility for the Holocaust, Ben Stein's narration quotes from Darwin's The Descent of Man thusly...

...The producers of the film did not mention the very next sentences in the book...

"The aid which we feel impelled to give to the helpless is mainly an incidental result of the instinct of sympathy, which was originally acquired as part of the social instincts, but subsequently rendered, in the manner previously indicated, more tender and more widely diffused. Nor could we check our sympathy, even at the urging of hard reason, without deterioration in the noblest part of our nature. The surgeon may harden himself whilst performing an operation, for he knows that he is acting for the good of his patient; but if we were intentionally to neglect the weak and helpless, it could only be for a contingent benefit, with an overwhelming present evil."

Darwin explicitly rejected the idea of eliminating the "weak" as dehumanizing and evil. Those words falsify Expelled's argument. The filmmakers had to be aware of the full Darwin passage, but they chose to quote only the sections that suited their purposes."

This accusation is representing the context of the film Expelled incorrectly. The film does not make a blatant obvious attempt to connect Darwin's personal philosophy to the holocaust nor does it attempt to establish causation such as "If one believes Darwinian theory, then they will become Nazi's". In fact, it mentions two times explicitly in the movie that "It is true if someone embraces Darwinism it does not imply they will become like the Nazi's"

The context of this quote is illustrating that destroying the weak in society can and has historically become a logical deduction for someone who embraces survival of the fittest to its full extent. The quote establishes that Darwin foresaw this as a possibility. The fact that Darwin's next quote strongly discourages anyone from doing so is irrelevant, because if man came from mud then why ought someone even listen to Darwin's attempt to discourage murdering the weak?

The reality is if there is no moral law or no God then Hitler's perception of Darwinian evolution and eugenics (the murdering of the lame and genetically "less superior") is a completely reasonable conclusion to draw for a society to remove them as a burden. This quote, within the context it was illustrated in the movie, illustrates that even Darwin saw the logical deduction that could take place. This is not a flaw in the film.

2) Ben Stein's speech to a crowded auditorium in the film was a setup.

"public venues in support of ID and against "big science." But if he has, the producers did not include one. The speech shown at the beginning and end was staged solely for the sake of the movie. Michael Shermer learned as much by speaking to officials at Pepperdine University, where those scenes were filmed. Only a few of the audience members were students; most were extras brought in by the producers. Judge the ovation Ben Stein receives accordingly.

Of course it was staged. There is an artistic principle professionals in the film industry like to call symbolism. The reality is not a full speech was even given. If you look at how it was filmed in context the entire speech in the auditorium is a symbolic backdrop to establish a target audience. He begins by opening the ideas in a college campus auditorium establishing two very important points:

1) This speech (or symbolic of the film itself) is intended for students who have a genuine interest in Science and participate in college academia.

2) The war between intelligent design and evolutionary theory is taking place on the grounds of academia.

In the closing commencement it symbolizes a hope for the future, such that the audience themselves embrace the truth's of scientific inquiry, and when the 'walls' separating intelligent design inquiry from evolutionary inquiry come crumbling down, it will be a glorious day for academia.

The speech, as a portion of the film was clearly not intended to make any direct points other than to establish a target audience and symbolize a possible transformation for the future. This also, is not a flaw in the film and actually was beautifully artistically executed.

3) Scientists in the film thought they were being interviewed for a different movie.

"As Richard Dawkins, PZ Myers, Eugenie Scott, Michael Shermer and other proponents of evolution appearing in Expelled have publicly remarked, the producers first arranged to interview them for a film that was to be called Crossroads, which was allegedly a documentary on "the intersection of science and religion." They were subsequently surprised to learn that they were appearing in Expelled, which "exposes the widespread persecution of scientists and educators who are pursuing legitimate, opposing scientific views to the reigning orthodoxy," to quote from the film's press kit."

This is completely and utterly irrelevant. The questions these gentleman were asked were not deep nor should have been unexpected. Richard Dawkin's crumbles under a question regarding the 'probability' of his disbelief in God and his take on the origins of man. For a gentleman who wrote an entire book on how God is a delusion these questions shouldn't even break him a sweat. He then theorizes a possibility of an intelligent design, but that intelligent design couldn't possibly be a God, it must be something of higher intelligence, such as an alien race. Another scientists even suggests the absurd notion of life beginning on the back of crystals.

As for the other scientists who were asked questions, you find in documentaries that people have a much better propensity to be honest when they are comfortable answering questions. Explaining the exact context of the film would further encourage them to simply fall under scripted answers instead of giving genuine ones on the spot. This is a strategy used by many who create documentaries and for good reason.

I would, for sake of argument, accept it was unreasonable for them to "mis-represent" the purpose of the film if the questions Ben Stein had asked were actually difficult ones, but they were not. Instead, these gentlemen used their opportunity in the film to call intelligent design "idiotic" and "preposterous" (even though Dawkin's then later suggests an intelligent designer that may be aliens). Of course, now that they know what the film was about they want to take back their statements. If they didn't mean what they had said, then they simply wouldn't have said it, no matter what the title or purpose of the film was.

This is not a flaw in the film, in fact, it is a strength. It reveals genuine perspectives from some of the most world renowned Darwinian scientists.

4) The ID-sympathetic researcher whom the film paints as having lost his job at the Smithsonian Institution was never an employee there.

"One section of Expelled relates the case of Richard Sternberg, who was a researcher at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History and editor of the journal Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington. According to the film, after Sternberg approved the publication of a pro-ID paper by Stephen C. Meyer of the Discovery Institute, he lost his editorship, was demoted at the Smithsonian, was moved to a more remote office, and suffered other professional setbacks. The film mentions a 2006 House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform report prepared for Rep. Mark Souder (R–Ind.), "Intolerance and the Politicization of Science at the Smithsonian," that denounced Sternberg's mistreatment...

...Sternberg was never an employee of the Smithsonian: his term as a research associate always had a limited duration, and when it ended he was offered a new position as a research collaborator. As editor, Sternberg's decision to "peer-review" and approve Meyer's paper by himself was highly questionable on several grounds, which was why the scientific society that published the journal later repudiated it...

...The report prepared by Rep. Souder, who had previously expressed pro-ID views, was never officially accepted into the Congressional Record. Notwithstanding the report's conclusions, its appendix contains copies of e-mails and other documents in which Sternberg's superiors and others specifically argued against penalizing him for his ID views. (More detailed descriptions of the Sternberg case can be found on Ed Brayton's blog Dispatches from the Culture Wars and on Wikipedia.)"

It is true that the Sternberg case is controversial - it doesn't change the reality that there are evidences of this controversy on both sides of the spectrum. The reality is many sites have sprang up offering conjecture regarding the scientists who came forth in "Expelled" in an attempt to state, "What really happened was such-and-such" or "He didn't get tenure because of this-or-that".

The reason this is interesting is because the minute a film is released (or weeks before) suggesting intelligent design as a possibility, a machine has begun its work to instantly discredit it as propaganda. These sites aim to establish that the film, the people who partook in it and those of whom it discusses lack credibility (or they were victims in the case of the pro-Darwinists).

Ironically, in the act of blatantly attempting to discredit or victimize the scientists, filmmakers and participants in the film, they only further illustrate the point of the movie that any opposing viewpoint will be publicly discredited and squandered.

There is another big flaw in this argument. Discrediting the "accuracy" of the film does not explain why thousands of other scientists not in the film have discredited the ideas of Darwinian theory as a reasonable explanation to the origin of species.

"The reasons for rejecting Darwin's proposals were many, but first of all that many innovations cannot possibly come into existence through accumulation of many small steps, and even if they can, natural selection cannot accomplish it, because incipient and intermediate stages are not advantageous." - Embryologist Soren Lovtrup

"But how do you get from nothing to such an elaborate something if evolution must proceed through a long sequence of intermediate stages, each favored by natural selection? You can't fly with 2% of a wing..." - Paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould

"Darwinism is claiming that all adaptive structures in nature, all the organisms which have existed throughout history were generated by the accumulation of entirely undirected mutations. That is an entirely unsubstantiated belief for which there is not the slightest evidence whatsoever." (emphasis added) - Molecular biologist Michael Denton

"About 150 of the world's leading evolutionary theorists gathered at a Macroevolution Conference in Chicago to consider the question, "Are mutation and natural selection enough?" Evolutionist Roger Lewin sums up the conclusion of the conference:

The central question of the Chicago conference was whether the mechanisms underlying micro evolution can be extrapolated to explain the phenomena of macro evolution. At the risk of doing violence to the positions of some of the people at the meeting, the answer can be given as a clear, No." (Ray Comfort, How to Know God Exists, 2007)

Michael Ruse, a preeminent evolutionist wrote in New Scientist:

"An increasing number of scientists, most particularly a growing number of evolutionists... argue that Darwinian evolutionary theory is no genuine scientific theory at all... many of the critics have the highest intellectual credentials."

"Jerry Bergman, Ph.D., has compiled a list of almost 3,000 scientists and professors who reject evolution, most of whom hold Ph.D.s in science. He believes, given the time and resources, he could easily complete a list of 10,000 names."(Ray Comfort, How to Know God Exists, 2007)

These are only a few of a long list. The reality is many of the premises and 'critiques' put forth to discredit and backlash the scientists in the film are an attempt to try and illustrate they are part of some conspiracy to teach 'creationism' in schools or are part of some 'intelligent design' propaganda machine. As one can see above, however, there are thousands of scientists who look at evolution as an inadequate scientific explanation of the origin of man.

5) Science does not reject religious or "design-based" explanations because of dogmatic atheism.

"Expelled frequently repeats that design-based explanations (not to mention religious ones) are "forbidden" by "big science." It never explains why, however. Evolution and the rest of "big science" are just described as having an atheistic preference.

Actually, science avoids design explanations for natural phenomena out of logical necessity. The scientific method involves rigorously observing and experimenting on the material world. It accepts as evidence only what can be measured or otherwise empirically validated (a requirement called methodological naturalism). That requirement prevents scientific theories from becoming untestable and overcomplicated.

By those standards, design-based explanations rapidly lose their rigor without independent scientific proof that validates and defines the nature of the designer. Without it, design-based explanations rapidly become unhelpful and tautological: "This looks like it was designed, so there must be a designer; we know there is a designer because this looks designed."

A major scientific problem with proposed ID explanations for life is that their proponents cannot suggest any good way to disprove them. ID "theories" are so vague that even if specific explanations are disproved, believers can simply search for new signs of design. Consequently, investigators do not generally consider ID to be a productive or useful approach to science.

This argument is a scripted and often repeated response to individuals who attempt to explain away intelligent design because it violates the purpose of science and doesn't hold any 'validity'. The reality is evidences do indeed exist to illustrate that simple chance based methods for the origins of the species are probabilistically impossible. There still is no evidence that explains how information can be gained through mutations, and any basic engineer will tell you complex systems cannot simply come into existence by sheer chance.

The idea that a system as complex as the human cell was formulated by natural selection is completely and utterly un-scientific. There is no scientific basis for a claim of something with such complex design coming into existence without there first being a designer. Even more-so, when one looks at the design of the cell they find it is far more complex than any system ever engineered by the human mind. To suggest such a complex system came into existence without some form of intelligent intercessor is a claim with no scientific basis.

On the other hand, it can be clearly demonstrated that complex systems can be assembled by an intelligent designer. This, in fact, can be recreated in a lab, hypothesized and tested.

The argument then makes this statement: "By those standards, design-based explanations rapidly lose their rigor without independent scientific proof that validates and defines the nature of the designer. "

The nature of the designer is irrelevant, what is clearly evident (and can be demonstrated) is the designer must have been more intelligent than what is designed. As many know, any computer system or artificial intelligence system is only as efficient or intelligent as the one or ones creating the system. The real question science tries to answer is how the designer actually designed it, not the nature of the designer itself, that task is often better left with philosophers and meta-physicists.

6) Many evolutionary biologists are religious and many religious people accept evolution.

"...Nevertheless, the film is wrong to imply that understanding of evolution inevitably or necessarily leads to a rejection of religious belief. Francisco Ayala of the University of California, Irvine, a leading neuroscientist who used to be a Dominican priest, continues to be a devout Catholic, as does the evolutionary biologist Ken Miller of Brown University. Thousands of other biologists across the U.S. who all know evolution to be true are also still religious. Moreover, billions of other people around the world simultaneously accept evolution and keep faith with their religion. The late Pope John Paul II said that evolution was compatible with Roman Catholicism as an explanation for mankind's physical origins..."

This argument also mis-represents the context of the film that there is a direct causation link between evolutionary theory and Atheism. It actually illustrates that some individuals have lost their belief in God because of the theory of evolution. It does not, however, attempt to prove a causation - such that if someone believes in evolution they must not believe in God.

It is illustrative that the theory of the origin of man as an evolution based argument can lead to the potential loss of belief in God. It is the same idea that individuals begin to demand natural explanations to everything because scientifically no supernatural intercessor can be allowed to intervene. The fact that individuals in the film openly admitted their belief in evolutionary theory led them to dis-believe in God is enough to illustrate the possibility of it occurring to others. This was the point the film was driving, and it is hardly a flaw in the film.

Craig Chamberlin

Related Articles:
Analyzing: Christian Bill O'Reilly vs Atheist Richard Dawkins
Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed vs Evolution
3 Reasons Christians Don't Need Scientific "Proof" of God
Science Assumes the Natural, Therefore Concludes the Natural
Naturalists Use Faith to Argue Against God and Creationism

Jesus Christ's Sacrifice as the Ultimate Act of Love

Friday, April 18, 2008 | Labels: , , | |

Many have probably given some thought to Jesus Christ's commandment to "love your neighbor as you love yourself". When looked at in detail, this is a profound and almost impossible commandment to live up too - Jesus Christ's sacrifice illustrated this love in it's purest form.

Each and every one of us has a tendancy to live our entire lives providing for ourselves, giving ourselves food and clothing, treating ourselves to nights on the town. The commandment Jesus gives us is not an easy one, nor does it appear it was meant to be. It is quite interesting to think about this in further detail. If we are to love others as we love ourselves it means that we are to put them at the place of highest importance because we give ourselves that very same treatment.

Jesus Christ was the perfect example of this, after all, his sacrifice for the atonement of sin was the ultimate act of selflessness and love. Dying for the world illustrated that Jesus Christ was acting as he had preached - he did for us what he expects us to do for others.

The sacrifice made by Jesus and his commandment to love others as we love ourselves is often one of the most difficult issues I struggle with as a Christian. It is very difficult to put others at a higher importance than ourselves, and the few times one does succeed, it is a tremendously wonderful feeling. I, like any other Christian, contantly fail to live up to such a standard.

The standard exists none-the-less, and Jesus Christ's Sacrifice really puts into perspective to us that the small sacrifices we make to put ourselves into the position of others is really not as difficult as it must have been for Christ himself.

It is important to remember that loving others as we love ourselves is not a justification for ignoring when those who we love are putting themselves in harms way. Many times confronting individuals humbly, compassionately and with fear and reverance is the sacrifice necessary to show that we truly love them. It is painful, yes, but we would hope those that we love would do the same to bring us out of harming ourselves.

Let us also not forget that Jesus Christ's first and foremost commandment was to "Love the lord your God with all your heart, all your mind and all your soul." (Matthew 22:37 - 40)

Craig Chamberlin

Related Articles:
When the Christian Heart Fails in Sinful Temptation
When the Christian Heart Fails to Love the World
The Beautiful Fear of God
The Blessing When God Seems Distant
The Mind Cannot Change The Heart

Analyzing: Christian Bill O'Reilly vs Atheist Richard Dawkins

Thursday, April 17, 2008 | Labels: , , , | |

If individuals have not had a chance to view the short debate between Atheist Richard Dawkins and Christian Bill O'Reilly between belief or simple dis-belief they can view it here. There are some interesting conclusions one can draw from the short discussion these two individuals had.

Bill O'Reilly held his own in this discussion with who is known as one of the biggest names in atheism Richard Dawkins. In fact, both did quite well. It is important to take a closer look into this discussion as it went by quicker than the average person could possibly absorb and it is a huge issue that merits far more than only five minutes of air time.

(0:41 O'Reilly) "I think it takes more faith to be like you an Atheist than like me a believer and its because of nature. You know, I just don't think we could have lucked out to have the tides come in, the tides come out, the sun go up, the sun go down... Don't think it could have happened."

(0:54 Dawkins) "We have a very full understanding of why the "tides go in, the tides go out", about why the continents drift about, of why life is there. Science is evermore piling on the evidence, piling on the understanding."

Commentary: O'Reilly's point here is not clear - he does clarify it after Dawkins responds. It appears that O'Reilly takes the position that sheer 'chance' as the creator and designer of man is unlikely - but he parallels it with an awkward illustration of tides and the sun, leaving him at a position of needing to correct himself when Dawkins illustrates that we clearly understand why tides go in and tides go out. While it is true that science is piling on information and understanding, his response was to a poorly executed argument made by O'Reilly.

(1:07 O'Reilly) "But how did it get there? I understand... the physiology of it if you will... but it had to come from somewhere and that is the leap of faith you guys make, that it just happened.

(1:21 Dawkins) "Well, a leap of faith, you don't actually need a leap of faith, you're the one who needs a leap of faith because ... the [requirement] is on you to say why you believe in something. There is an infinite number of Gods you could believe in. I take it you don't believe in Zeus or Apollo or Thor, you believe in presumably the Christian God, Jesus."

Commentary: O'Reilly's position here is now clarified. What he is suggesting is that it doesn't quite make much sense as to how intelligence and all the beauty of nature could have come into existence by sheer chance. Everything appears to have a designer behind it, and suggesting that the universe, as complex as it is, just simply came to be is not a convincing argument. He then posits that Dawkin's must have much larger faith to believe that the sophistication of the world came by sheer chance than by a designer. Now this point does hold logically and evidently true, after all, any engineer or software designer will tell you design and sophisticated systems cannot just simply come into existence without some form of intelligent intercessor there to formulate and establish the necessary coherence to make it function. There has yet to be any evidence of an intelligent system simply being established from sheer chance, it goes against the first two laws of thermodynamics to suggest as such.

Dawkin's response here suggests that O'Reilly requires proof of the existence of God to establish what he believes in. This is an uninformed argument, as Christianity possesses one of the most powerful backgrounds of legal-historical proof of all the faiths in existence. Suggesting there are not evidences of both the existence of Christ and his miracles is simply an irresponsible statement to make and it illustrates Dawkin's lack of historical understanding of the Christian faith.

(1:40 O'Reilly) "Jesus was a real guy, I could see him. You know I know what he did and so I am not positive that Jesus is God but I'm throwing in with Jesus rather than throwing in with you guys because you guys can't tell me how it all got here. You guys don't know."

(1:54 Dawkins) "We're working on it physicists are..."

(1:56 O'Reilly) "Well when you get it then maybe I'll listen"

(1:57 Dawkins) "Yes well, I mean if you look at the history of science over the centuries, the amount that's gained in knowledge each century is stupendous. In the beginning of the 21st century we don't know everything, we have to be humble, we have to in humility say that there is a lot we still don't know."

(2:12 O'Reilly) "You know, being humble is a Christian virtue."

(2:15 Dawkins) "Well, I suppose it is."

(2:17 O'Reilly) "Alright, when you guys figure it out come back here and tell me because until that time I'm sticking with Judeo-Christian philosophy and my religion of Roman Catholicism because it helps me as a person."

Commentary: This is one of the most revealing portions of the discussion between the two gentlemen. Dawkins had stated above " don't actually need a leap of faith, you're the one who needs a leap of faith because ... the [requirement] is on you to say why you believe in something. There is an infinite number of Gods you could believe in." As one can see, Dawkin's contradicted himself - on one hand he is saying that Christians must provide the evidences necessary to establish the validity of their faith in what they believe, on the other hand when confronted with the reality that science cannot answer such a profound question of the origins of the universe his response is simply "We are working on it." Well, if it is being worked on then until the evidences are found, belief in the idea of intelligent systems coming into existence by sheer chance without the evidences necessary to establish how it occurred requires a leap of faith.

Dawkins cannot in one hand demand that Christians provide evidences for what they believe in and on the other dodge the reality that science lacks the evidences necessary to defend what he believes in. Using his test of the validity of faith, his own standing on the origins of the universe requires just as much of a leap of faith as any other. Actually, given the strength of the legal-historical evidences of the Christian faith as well as the lack of any intelligent systems spawning from non-intelligence by sheer chance, it possibly requires more faith to believe Dawkin's position than the Christians.

(2:29 Dawkins) "Now that's different, if it helps you as a person that doesn't mean it's true."

(2:31 O'Reilly) "Well it's true for me, see I believe it."

(2:33 Dawkins) "You mean true for you is different from true for anyone else. How can something be true for you, something has either got to be true or not.

(2:40 O'Reilly) "No no, I can't prove to you that Jesus is God so that truth is mine and mine alone, but you can't prove to me that Jesus is not. So you have to stay in your little belief system."

(2:50 Dawkins) "You cannot prove that Zeus is not, you cannot prove that Apollo is not -"

Commentary: This was one of the most disappointing positions O'Reilly took in this entire debate. Dawkin's holds a much more valid argument, if truth is absolute then it must hold true to all people not just the individual. It is likely that O'Reilly simply wasn't prepared for this type of debate and intermixed an argument of 'perspectives' of truths with 'absolute' truths. When dealing with perspectives O'Reilly makes the point that he will likely not be able to convince Dawkin's that his position is correct - but convincing someone of the truth and the existence of absolute truth are two different things entirely.

The reality is that if O'Reilly embraces the Christian faith he must embrace that it is the absolute truth and that Jesus Christ is God. If Jesus Christ is really God then it cannot be true to only O'Reilly, it must be a universal truth that applies to all men. Truth cannot be relative, it must be absolute - and this is a position one ought to agree with Dawkin's on.

Dawkins again, however, discusses that there is no difference between the 'evidences' of Zeus and Jesus. This is a blatantly irresponsible argument - the legal-historical evidences of the existence of Christ and his works are so well documented that they hold more validity than many other historical documents. In fact, the New Testament was even used as an accurate historical perspective when looking into the History of the Roman Empire and many other A.D. historical documents. Archeologists use it as one of the primary tools in referencing historical contexts as well. Christianity is not a faith based upon no "evidences" and it possess quite a strong foothold in both philosophical and historical contexts.

(2:54 O'Reilly) "I saw Apollo man, and he was down there and he was not looking good. Now, we also differ in the sense that you feel that religion has been a bane... to civilization and I feel atheism has. I will point to the worst mass murderer in... modern times: Hitler, Stalin, Mao and Palpot, all confirmed atheists. All people who wanted to wipe out religion. Now I know you can point to the crusades and you can point to Al'qaeda right now. I mean it's there, theres no question but I say, I'm throwing in with the founding fathers of the United States [who] saw religion and spirituality as a moderating influence, as a good thing if people embrace the true tenants"

(3:35 Dawkins) "The Founding Fathers of the United States were secularists above all, some of them were religious, some of them were not but they were above all secularists who believed in keeping church and state separate."

(3:44 O'Reilly) "They had too because of the oppression in Europe."

(3:45 Dawkins) "... Precisely, I mean but - "

(3:48 O'Reilly) "Almost all of them, they all said a prayer before their deliberations. In their letters, and I have almost all their letters they all reference the Deity, our declaration of Independence references heavily but they saw it as a moderating influence because the federal government at that point couldn't control the country - "

(4:04 Dawkins) "Yeah."

Commentary: An interesting bias shows from both gentlemen during these few statements. It is clear that both want to illustrate that the founding fathers were bias in one direction or another so it can verify the position they are going to take on what they really intended for society. What one may find interesting is that the founding fathers consisted of both secularists and believers - but what O'Reilly says here is indeed true, that the majority of them did hold a belief in a Diety of some form or another.

However, the perspectives of the founding fathers is a debate that has transcended and existed since they found the United States - and it is a debate that will likely continue. It would have been more interesting to see the debate continue in the actual discussion of belief as opposed to disbelief in God.

The purpose of O'Reilly bringing up the position of the founding fathers was to illustrate the importance of religion in society and that the founding fathers agreed with him on this issue. He is taking a critical view to Dawkin's perspective that religion has been more of a hindrance on society than a benefit. As as honest opinion, the idea of all religion being harmful and detrimental to society both historically and modernly is not only a ridiculous notion, but one that barely even merits acknowledgment. The amount of lives transformed for the better through faith in Jesus Christ alone are astounding - to suggest religion as a whole is detrimental is an irresponsible and uninformed position to take.

(4:04 O'Reilly) "- and they said you know if people follow Jesus, then the country is gonna be better."

(4:09 Dawkins) "It may well be a moderating influence, as for Hitler and Stalin I mean, of course. Hiter by the way was a Roman Catholic."

(4:15 O'Reilly) "No he never was, he was raised in that home, but he rejected it early on."

Commentary: Hitler a Roman Catholic? It would do Dawkins some good to read a history book or at least obtain a basic understanding of the requirements to be a Catholic and a Christian. One could be raised "Catholic" and never ever practice the faith, go to Church or accept the truths of Christ - does that mean they are a Catholic or Christian? Not by the definition of course. If people are considered Christians by association and not by their practicing of the Christian faith or their actual proclamation that they believe in the lord Jesus Christ then one could pretty much label anyone, including Dawkins, a Christian if they so much as had a conversation or some other association with one.

(4:18 Dawkins) "We can dispute that.. Stalin was an atheist, no question... but, Stalin did the bad things that he did not because he was an atheist. I mean, Hitler and Stalin both had mustaches but we don't say it was their mustaches that made them evil.

Commentary: Comparing mustaches to a philosophy that drives a moral framework is both irresponsible and reflective of Dawkin's lack of understanding of how philosophy, morality and ethics correlate. O'Reilly also did a poor job with his illustration that Hitler and Mao were both atheists. The reason this is important is because the atrocities that were performed by Hitler and Mao can be 'justified' because they were atheists. If there is no absolute judge of right and wrong then the deeds Hitler and Mao committed can be morally justified. One cannot tell them they were being evil if there is no absolute good that they had violated.

However, contrast that with the 'Crusades'. Those who had committed the atrocities under the banner of Christianity did so violating the very laws and moral rules set forth by Jesus Christ. Through atheism, genocide can be justified because each person can establish their own laws of moral right and wrong, it needs only be justified by the person committing the acts - through belief in a God, right and wrong must first be established by God and the acts performed by individuals must be judged by God's standard. As a result, the Crusades were horrid, yes, but they were acted out against the laws of Jesus Christ. The holocaust, however, if there is no God and no absolute right and wrong can be justified because Hitler believed it to be justified.

Dawkins then makes the statement that Hitler and his kin were evil. Well, if they were evil then they must have violated some form of absolute good. If they violated some form of absolute good then a law of good and evil must exist. If a law of good and evil must exist then there must be a governor of that law, it cannot simply come from nowhere. If there is a governer of that law then as the moral lawgiver and ultimate judge of right and wrong said judge must take the form of God - of whom Dawkin's adamantly disbelieves in.

(4:30 O'Reilly) "I don't think they had any moral foundation, any of those guys -"

(4:33 Dawkins) "I don't either."

(4:34 O'Reilly) "I will say, your book is fascinating and congratulations on your success and thanks for coming in here."

Craig Chamberlin

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