“Five Flaws in the Thinking of the New Atheists” by Peter S. Williams

A special thanks to my friend Wintery Knight for bringing Peter Williams’ blog to my attention. See Peter’s blog here.

This is an excellent little video from Williams that outlines five flaws in the arguments posed by the “new atheists” (Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, et al).

3 thoughts on ““Five Flaws in the Thinking of the New Atheists” by Peter S. Williams

  1. Several problems with this.

    Point 1:
    Williams’s definition of faith as trust does not at all prove the “new atheistic” definition. “Trust” in God still requires a blind faith in God in the first place. He merely says trust can be based upon good reasons. I agree. HOWEVER, just because trust CAN be based on good reasons doesn’t mean it always is. He does not explain how “trust” in God is different than blind faith, but merely says it is supported by reasons. Perhaps if he were to give specific examples of how they are different, I would not be so harsh.

    Point 2.
    The first problem I have with this one is that Williams is bordering on strawman with his faux quote. Atheists don’t necessarily think that way about “belief.” Generally when we talk this way, we are referring to taking beliefs as facts. For instance, I could believe in aliens, but since it is a personal belief, I have no right to say my belief is justified or not unless i have proof or logic to back my claims up. When we say things like Knight says we do, we simply mean that you have no right to tell anyone what you believe is true, unless you can logically show that it is justified to believe it is.

    Correct me if I am wrong, but I think the next part of Section 2 is talking about the proof behind the proof. He says that the claim that beliefs need factual basis to be reasonable is not empirical or scientific. That is because the claim is logical. There is no reason to believe something there is no reason to believe in. Perhaps Mr. Williams should have given an example where is is LOGICAL and HOW IT IS LOGICAL to believe something without evidence, logical, mathematical, scientific, or otherwise empirical.

    Point 3.
    “Atheists have contradicting views on morality.” I daresay that Christians have contradicting views on morality. I’m sure many Christians would like to agree that we are a Christian nation, despite the first amendment which guarantees the freedom of an individual to free speech and to choose the religion of their choice, despite being CONTRADICTED by Deuteronomy 13:6-10 which tells one to kill their family if they follow a different religion CONTRADICTING Deuteronomy 6:17 which happens to read “Thou shalt not kill” and also CONTRADICTING today’s preached gospel which speaks (for the most part) against violence. This is just the tip of the iceberg.

    Honestly, to go into any detail on the rest of this on, I’m going to need to hear specific quotes of Dawkins talking about “objective moral obligations” in comparison to claims against the presence of good and evil.

    If you want my two cents on the matter, good is defined as the doing of actions that are of benefit to those you interact with as well as the world itself. Evil is the opposite: causing harm to people and the world. A neutral would be the abstinence from either; essentially meaning “not doing anything to benefit or hurt the world around oneself.” I also do not believe in objective morality. Example: A white man is robbed by a black youth at gunpoint. The man shoots the boy in self defense. The boy dies. Is the man guilty of murder? No, he was protecting himself. But what if he shot to kill? My point is that morality can and often is subject to debate in the real world.

    Point 4.
    Please source the Dawkins quote or I have no reason to “trust” what you are trying to prove.

    Point 5.
    Dawkins critiques the arguments of Thomas Equinus without even quoting him? I am utterly shocked and appalled that Williams can talk about this with a straight face in spite of perpetrating this several times during this very video (see “Point 3” and “Point 4” above). He is a hypocrite, preaching against not sourcing quotes meanwhile not sourcing quotes.

    1. Point 1: You said: ” He does not explain how “trust” in God is different than blind faith, but merely says it is supported by reasons.”

      Seems you answered your own question here.

      Point 2: There are other types of philosophical justification in addition to deductive proof and logic. Belief in Christianity, at least for the evidentialist, is based on abductive reasoning, which is a completely legitimate system of justification. Just because someone else doesn’t agree with the strength of the justification doesn’t mean the believer “has no right” to say what they believe is true. Here I would refer to to Dr. Alvin Plantinga of Notre Dame. He uses perfect logic to show how naturalism defeats itself. The title of the essay is “Naturalism Defeated.” Here’s a link to his most famous essays: http://philofreligion.homestead.com/papersbyplantinga.html

      Point 3: This is a caricature of morality theology. The examples are taken out of context, as well. Here I would refer you to Paul Copan’s book, Is God a Moral Monster. Excellent book.

      You cannot even use the concepts of “good” or “evil” without objective morality. You also cannot justify the fact that certain actions are universally considered to be “bad” and others universally “good.” The claim that morality is relative is the single largest fallacy promoted by non-theists. Here I would refer you to Relativism by Greg Koukl.

      Point 5: (Nota Bene: It’s Thomas Aquinas, not Equinus. He was not a horse.) The point about Dawkins is that he does this OVER and OVER. He pretends to know early Church history and he pretends to understand Christian theology. In fact, he does not; he has shown that repeatedly. References? Take your pick of any book or video he’s created and you’ll find a stellar example.

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