NOVEMBER 7, 2020 BY CAPTAIN CASSIDY
Hi and welcome back! Before we swing back into our schedule, I wanted to show you this silly thing I saw online. Its smugly-grinning author calls it his ‘10-second argument for God.’ I, however, call it over-baked trash that doesn’t at all demonstrate what its author thinks it does. Today, let me show you this guy’s rewarmed, regurgitated, and poorly-understood cosmological argument, and then why it doesn’t fly at all — and then, we’ll cruise way on ahead of him to wonder why he doesn’t bring up real evidence to support his claims.
Analyzing the 10-Second Argument for God.
There’s something so quaint and 2010s about lay fundagelicals offering up PROOF YES PROOF that their god does so exist, so shut up.
It feels like it’s been just years since I last saw a smug, grinning fundagelical white guy crowing about his supposedly slam-dunk apologetics argument that totally and utterly destroys everyone who doesn’t already believe the same nonsense he believes.
And yet here we are, with a smug, grinning fundagelical white guy, Robin Schumaker, crowing about something he calls “a 10-second argument for God.”
His bio says he’s “an accomplished software executive and Christian apologist.” I truly hope that he concentrates much more on software sales than on apologetics, considering how bad he is at it. Then again, I’ve never encountered an apologist who was any good.
Robin Schumaker will not, I’m afraid, be the c-c-c-combo breaker there.
Get Ready for Your Checkmate, Atheists.
Robin Schumaker writes:
My way of stating the position is a little more personal / informal, and is something I call my “10 second argument for God”:
1. I exist.
2. If I exist, something must have always existed because you don’t get something from nothing.
3. There are only two possible eternal ‘somethings’: (a) The universe; (b) God.
4. The universe is not eternal.
5. Therefore, God exists.
When I read it, I head-desked a few times. This really is pathetic, even by apologists’ standards. Schumaker’s gloating afterward about how he talks very quickly, so mayyyybe it’d take a normie “15 seconds” to read that stuff aloud, doesn’t help him.
As far as he’s concerned, the literal only pushback anyone can make is “to contend you don’t exist.” He also offers up a strawman from “some atheists” who’ve “surprised” him in the past by bringing up the idea that we’re all living in a simulation or something “much like the Matrix.”
But we need not go to these strange levels to utterly tear apart his silly apologetics argument.
A 10-Second Preliminary Analysis.
Almost immediately, we see that Robin Schumaker’s slam-dunk PROOF YES PROOF suffers from a whole lot of .
- This doesn’t matter. Our existence has nothing to do with a god’s existence. He needs to show how he makes that non sequitur leap from “I exist” to “OMG JESUS.” But he can’t. (However, he does make a very good argument for Christians having completely invented their own god.)
- He doesn’t know this. Unfortunately, most fundagelicals think they can use science to PROVE YES PROVE their ideas. However, he has no support for this claim, so we dismiss it.
- He doesn’t know this either. There could be a bunch of “eternal ‘somethings’.” Or none. Without solid, credible, objective, reproducible support for this assertion, it must also be dismissed.
- He doesn’t know this either. Gee, he sure makes a lot of assertions he can’t demonstrate. Even if the universe was eternal, that doesn’t mean that a being exists in it like the Christian god. Dismissed.
- His conclusion doesn’t follow at all. This leap is completely unjustified by anything he’s offered already — even if he could have demonstrated a single assertion’s validity, which again he did not manage.
- Addendum: This numnuts also doesn’t understand what “nothingness” means to real scientists. Instead of referring to real scientists for a definition, he goes to Aristotle. Apologists’ intellectual cowardice knows no bounds.
Schumaker’s basic problems include (but are not limited to) a serious misunderstanding of science generally, an unwillingness to shoulder his own burden of proof, and a dealbreaking lack of critical thinking skills.
An Attempt to Be Coy That Utterly Fails.
Toward the end of his short post, Robin Schumaker plays pinky-to-the-corner-of-his-mouth coy.
Note that this argument for God doesn’t go so far as to try and prove the God of the Bible, but rather seeks to establish the reasonableness of an eternal mind that exists beyond this physical universe. However, the fact that logically ascertaining the attributes of this creator from its effects produces a list that matches up quite well with the God described in Scripture certainly lends support for the idea of the Christian God.
OMG! Y’all! He didn’t say “therefore, Jesus.”
But tee-hee! Who else could his leading arguments possibly be leading up to? Tee-hee!
Whooooooooooooooooo else, indeed!
Nope, only Jesus fits this description!
Hooray Team Jesus!
Why the Coy Act Doesn’t Fly with Non-Christians.
We saw the same twee coy act from those Creationists who tried to rebrand themselves as “Intelligent Design” proponents back in the early 2000s.
At the time of the Dover trial, Creationists all tried very hard to pretend they were not pushing the Bible’s Creation myth as real trufax. Instead, they pretended they had no idea at all who might possibly have zapped the Earth, universe, and humans into existence about six thousand years ago. No idea! They just happened to have bought into that exact Creation myth, but really it could be anybody who’d done the zapping. Maybe even space aliens! Who knew? Coulda been anyone! Sure, whoever this “intelligent designer” was, he perfectly matched the Bible’s description of their particular version of the Christian god. However, they weren’t saying that….. Tee-hee!
And we all rolled our eyes.
They were behaving like toddlers trying to get out of trouble by shifting blame to Martians, ghosts, nonexistent siblings, imaginary friends, and even elderly pets for a missing box of sugar cookies, and we knew it and they knew it.https://03eb2c8514fa5f5a0d0578b41cce946b.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html
It’s not that such Christians think we’re all idiots, though many of them do think that. Rather, this coy act actually works in their tribe. When someone with power asserts something wackadoodle or even patently untrue, like Donald Trump has for four years, everyone else just pretends that everything’s copacetic.
This coy song and dance was already tiresome to everyone else in the 2000s, which is why we all had fun mocking them as “cdesign proponentsists” for a while.
Again, the intellectual cowardice of apologists knows no limits.
Review of the Cosmological Argument.
As I mentioned in the intro paragraph, this guy’s just mangling a very old apologetics routine called the Cosmological Argument. Fundagelicals love this argument because it’s old and it sounds really cerebral and official. In fact, uber-apologist William Lane Craig has made this argument his thang. In his pretentious work, he calls it the Kalam cosmological argument. Indeed, Robin Schumaker references Craig twice in his post.
[I am super-simplifying the argument’s history here.]
As La Wiki tells us, pre-Christian philosophers Plato and Aristotle actually came up with this argument’s basic ideas. Theirs left out #4, of course; instead, their #4 leap was just asserting that something had to have made everything. Plato called the something a “demiurge,” while Aristotle thought several somethings had to have been involved.
Around the 10th century, an Islamic philosopher developed it a little further as a Muslim apologetics argument. Some time later, in the 13th century, big name Catholic leader Thomas Aquinas latched onto it.
But I don’t think it was actually created or honed as a persuasive tool to help recruiters find new converts.
By then, Christian leaders did not need to persuade potential recruits to join up. They could just threaten their targets’ lives, freedom, health, possessions, relationships, and social standing. (To a large extent, many of ’em still retaliate as hard as they can when they get rejected.)
Instead, I strongly suspect that this whole argument was used to train Christian philosophers. Way back in Ye Olden Tymes, Christian philosophers developed arguments that they could use to hone their debate skills and maybe hash out conclusions to conundrums. Such debates became part of their educational system, sort of like Socratic questioning.
Have you ever heard about medieval philosophers arguing for ages over “how many angels can dance on the head of a pin?” That’s similar to what I mean. And the whole Thomist school goes for this mental masturbation.
The Cosmological Argument simply isn’t persuasive, but maybe it wasn’t meant to be. If I’m right, this sure wouldn’t be the first blatant misuse of history from aspiring soulwinners.
Burden of Proof.
The hilarious part here, of course, is that if any Christian claims were actually true then Robin Schumaker wouldn’t ever even need to reach for pseudoscience and philosophy wankery to make his case.
Here’s the stuff I’d absolutely expect to see at a bare minimum if Christianity’s claims were true:
- We would be able to reliably and consistently test Christians’ various assertions. But their assertions either cannot be tested at all, or fail those tests.
- Christians’ relationships would be better and more harmonious, from nations down to marriages. Instead, evangelicals divorce more often than any other religious group. They produce misery and dysfunction in every venue that they dominate.
- Christians would face demonstrably less misfortune than non-believers. Instead, Christians face just as much misfortune as others do, from natural disasters to crimes to unexpected health problems.
- Miracles would happen constantly and in a way that no non-believer could possibly refute or reject. Instead, not one miracle has ever been credibly and objectively verified as real. Miracle claims always turn out to be hoaxes, coincidences, or just mistaken perceptions.
- Prophecies would actually come true as dictated by Judaism: quickly and without error or ambiguity. Instead, Christians’ prophecies are always hilariously off-base. Luckily, the tribe long ago hand-waved away the Bible’s prescribed penalties for false prophets.
- The stuff Christians keep saying Jesus totally told them would always be correct. Instead, Jesus seems to be trolling Christians constantly.
- Most of all, Christians would act like they actually believe their own claims.Instead, Christians are known for their hypocrisy more than anything else — if not for much worse than hypocrisy.
And Schumaker doesn’t even try to make any of these cases.
That’d be because he can’t.
Worse, he knows he can’t.
The Sad Truth About Apologetics.
Christians reach for apologetics when they know they lack real evidence for their claims.
If any of Christians’ claims were true, they would not need apologetics. They’d just reach for the evidence created on a daily basis by the truth of those claims, and they’d show it to any skeptics.
They can’t, and they know it.
The second a Christian like Robin Schumaker reaches for an apologetics argument, he’s just admitted he knows that he lacks real evidence for his claims. He might not even realize that’s what he’s declared. But that’s still what just happened.
Because of their nature, apologetics arguments can’t convince or persuade anybody outside of the sheepfold of the validity of Christians’ claims, unless those targets are already primed through emotional manipulation to accept unpersuasive arguments.
My ex Biff is a great example of that priming. He was a straight-up frustrated tin-pot dictator who saw the unearned, unwarranted power he could wield in evangelicalism — and went right for it.
Motivated reasoning can, indeed, be a helluva drug. But there is one group that benefits grandly from apologetics as an industry.
The Truth About the Purpose of Apologetics.
Apologetics exists mostly to reinforce the beliefs of existing, already-believing Christians who mistake it for real evidence.
Their Dear Leaders have taught them for years that this is so. I’m sure they only had the best of intentions.
Along the way, Christians’ purchase and consumption of apologetics materials makes a lot of money for apologists — like William Lane Craig.
It doesn’t do anyone else any real good.
Let me be very clear here: there is not one apologetics book, video, or argument on the market right now that actually does what its creators swear it can do. Go to the bookstore. Look at all those apologetics books on the shelves (or imagine them, if you’re on lockdown). Thinking of them all, know this:
None of that dreck PROVES YES PROVES that anything about Christianity is true. All of it is flawed, almost all of it fatally. It’s all there to make money from gullible Christians.
The Irony of Religion’s Divergence From Reality.
At the end of the post, we get another twee, pinky-to-the-corner-of-the-mouth, tee-hee coy question from Robin Schumaker:
Over 300 years after Leibniz reached his conclusion that God is the best explanation for why everything exists, today’s scientific discoveries and rational thinking are proving him right and take only about 10 seconds to describe why. But then, good science, good philosophy, and good religion should always eventually arrive at the same conclusions, shouldn’t they?
I laughed-snorted, at least, so there’s that. He’s funny.
No, “today’s scientific discoveries and rational thinking” are not proving Christian apologetics correct. In fact, real scientists are steering humanity further and further from the self-limiting, pathetically small-minded, authoritarian, blinkered version of Christianity that Creationists like best. Nothing scientists have discovered in many centuries has supported a literalist vision of the Bible.
As for the question at the end, yes, you’d think so, wouldn’t you? I’ve heard several non-Christian religious leaders say that if science says one thing and their beliefs say another, that the beliefs need to shift to account for reality.
But Robin Schumaker hasn’t been acquainted with reality for a long time, if ever. His religious beliefs are so divorced from reality that he gets his info about modern-day physics from Aristotle, who was dead long before Christianity came along.
Over the centuries since Christianity’s invention, I must add, Christians haven’t even been able to “eventually arrive at the same conclusions” about their own doctrines and beliefs. They’ve never even agreed on exactly who and what Jesus is. They only splinter further and further apart.
And the Sad Truth About Robin Schumaker’s Post.
Now we stand amid the wreckage of a once-venerated bit of philosophical wrangling in medieval Christian history. And I start asking myself why Robin Schumaker even bothered writing his post in the first place.
Dude was very obviously feelin’ himself; the post brims with smugness and perceived superiority over the poor widdle heathens who jus’ don’ get it like he does.
He published his post on an evangelical Christian site that probably doesn’t get a lot of heathen readers. Maybe he hoped to push his silly reworked cosmological argument onto other evangelicals, in hopes they’d go out and use it on skeptics.
(Don’t get me wrong: I hope they do. Having my own apologetics arguments refuted and torn to shreds in front of me did a lot to make me seriously question my beliefs back in college.)
But we needn’t go so far to wonder why on earth this particular guy’s written this particular terrible apologetics post.
The Bottom Line.
Remember how I mentioned that apologetics materials make a lot of money for apologists?
Well, Robin Schumaker’s written a whole bunch of apologetics books. In fact, one of those books came out just a month before his awful apologetics post. When I saw its publishing date, I laughed.
His post probably functions as marketing for his latest book.
In that case, I say:
Good. I hope he sells a whole lot of books.
After all, the world could use more ex-Christians.
NEXT UP: Back in the saddle! Sexual sin ahoy!
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