“Every creation has a creator; therefore God exists.” Way to beg the question, dude!

I really ought to stop debating these people. The other day I mentioned the one person in particular who posts nothing but memes that “debunk” evolution, or at least a straw man thereof. Even though I explained the issues with this argument multiple times, and posted my counterargument, this person continues posting the same thing, phrased differently, over and over. Debating isn’t only about putting forward your argument. It’s also about considering the opposing argument, something that person is unable to do.

Then I saw a comment presenting someone else’s argument, which started like this:

Every creation has a creator.

It then went on, via a lengthy and convoluted argument which I didn’t read, to conclude that god exists. I have also pointed out the problem with circular reasoning and begging the question to these people multiple times, but they just don’t get it…

Yes, it is true to say that every creation has a creator, because that’s what a creation is. However, that’s just a rearrangement of what is being claimed. By assuming creation to be true, you also assume a creator. One does not start an argument with the assumption that one’s conclusion is correct.

Consider this statement:

I am always right. I know this to be true because it was stated by me. I thus conclude that I am never wrong.

That’s exactly the same kind of logic. You can see it’s clearly wrong. My premise was that I am always right. My conclusion was that I am never wrong. But always right means never wrong. Likewise a creation has a creator, so assuming the universe is a creation is the same as assuming it has a creator.

In case anyone fond of Tu Quoque claims that as an atheist, I am also making an assumption (of no creation?) let me make this clear: I make no claim. A theist professes belief in god, and a religious apologist argues that the claim is true. That is, the belief that god exists, and that the universe is a creation of god, is the claim. If you assume creation, you assume the claim to be true. Proving that the universe is a creation is part of the problem that needs proving. The other part is to prove the existence of the creator. The source of the claim is usually some religious text, such as the Bible. As the source of the claim, that can’t be used as the proof either. It would also be circular reasoning to claim that you know the Bible is true because the Bible says so.

Aside: There’s more to the claim that I’ve omitted because it isn’t relevant to pointing out the begging the question fallacy. But to be clear, there is more to the claim. Most religions (and I use Christianity as the example because I was brought up as such and it is the only religion I know well) claim that after we die, we live on in some other form. So they claim that we have a soul or spirit. That’s a testable claim, but nobody has ever been able to prove it. They then insist that if we don’t follow Christ, we will burn in Hell, as opposed to living eternally in Heaven. So often, people simply post memes saying that we will go to Hell, without understanding just how many claims they make in the process, claims that have no evidence.

So instead of this nonsense of begging the question and disproving science, if you want to debate atheists, here is what is expected (at least from me):

  1. Prove that the universe is a creation, not by referring to anything in in that you assume your god created, but by proving the existence of your god.
  2. Prove that a soul exists, by proving that the brain is not the source of our consciousness.
  3. Prove that life continues after physical death.
  4. Prove that Heaven and Hell are real places rather than mythological ones.
  5. Lastly, prove that every other claim (of god) is false, and that your specific one is true. Any theist who knows only about their own religion (because they have accepted their indoctrination) but doesn’t know any others, can be assumed to be brainwashed and unable to proceed with debate, right off the bat.

If all those things can be proved without making any assumptions and without using bad arguments that are riddled with logical fallacies, I will gladly accept your religion.

Note that as an atheist, I don’t have to define what proof of your god is. I make no claim… all I’m doing in effect is saying that your claim is untrue. You claim that a god exists, and thus you must provide the evidence. If god truly is the creator of the universe, this proof must surely exist.

As an atheist, I also don’t have to provide some other explanation for the origin of the universe. Again, I don’t make a claim. I simply reject your magical one.


About Jerome

I am a senior C# developer in Johannesburg, South Africa. I am also a recovering addict, who spent nearly eight years using methamphetamine. I write on my recovery blog about my lessons learned and sometimes give advice to others who have made similar mistakes, often from my viewpoint as an atheist, and I also write some C# programming articles on my programming blog.
This entry was posted in Skepticism and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to “Every creation has a creator; therefore God exists.” Way to beg the question, dude!

  1. essiep says:

    It’s good that you’re considered the thinking behind theists’ claims. Perhaps when you’ve got time, you could examine conspiracy theorists.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Jerome says:

      I think it’s fairly easy to examine the thinking behind a single argument like the one here and the evolution denial argument, but there is a bigger picture involved… I was just having a discussion with the person who keeps on denying evolution, which was difficult because his or her English is bad, and no matter how hard I tried, I could not get through to the person that denying evolution would not automatically make creation a valid explanation. The whole discussion was just another dead end.

      I know when I am wrong, I may be unhappy to hear it initially, but then I take it as a learning experience and I move on, pleased at having learned something. It was when I was about 16 years old that I had a discussion with an atheist at school. They didn’t even have to say much for me, who already had serious doubts about my Christian upbringing, to see the problems with accepting my beliefs. Today I celebrate that learning experience, and would like to help others get over their nonsensical beliefs. But it just isn’t happening.

      When presented with facts, most of the people I’ve debated are unmoved. It was a huge surprise to me because their reactions are not at all like mine. There has to be something more to it, something about the psychology of belief that, while totally irrational, keeps people stuck and unable to get past what is often a simple concept to understand.

      Maybe my situation was different? I never did fit in anywhere, so I often saw myself as more an observer than a participant in life, especially as a teenager. I did not have the social aspects of belief, the feelings of belonging and so forth that church goers generally have, so I didn’t have the social issues or pressures to hang on to my belief. And I never, even as an 8 year old, accepted that I was born in sin and could only be saved by Jesus. Thus for me to let go of my faith was relatively easy – just being shown that others didn’t believe was almost enough in itself. Just knowing that it is acceptable to disbelieve…

      But I think there are parts of the psychology that I don’t understand. I know about cognitive dissonance for example, and that people use motivated reasoning to hang on to contradictory beliefs. And I suspect that when doing so, they see each case in isolation. I think that seeing aspects of one’s belief in isolation, and just not thinking about the aspects that contradict it, have a large part in holding on to such beliefs. Why I don’t know is why anyone would look at their beliefs in isolation. I understand that they do it, but as stated, there must be more to this.

      As for conspiracy theories, they fascinate me as the underlying mechanism of belief must be similar. A few years ago, I became fascinated with the Nibiru Cataclysm conspiracy, in which a rogue planet, Nibiru, was supposed to be heading through space in a 3 600 year old elliptical orbit of the sun, to pass too close to us in 2012 and cause the end of the world – or the “reappearance” of the Annunaki. This was all based on mistranslations of ancient Sumerian cuneiforms by Zecharia Sitchin, together with some crackpot claims by a woman named Nancy Lieder who first claimed that this cataclysm would occur in 2003. The conspiracy part included the belief that NASA had known about this planet hurtling towards us since the 1980’s and was covering it up.

      I even write about this at the time, and it became my obsession, something to tweak on because I was still using meth at the time. As it got closer to 2012 and the date that this was supposed to happen, more and more videos were uploaded to youtube by believers, who would “see” Nibiru in all kinds of things, such as comets and so forth. Despite the lack of evidence for this planet that was supposedly getting pretty close, people continued to believe it was there. It became my go-to argument against theism at the time, because if I couldn’t convince believers that this planet obviously wasn’t there, how could I convince theists that their god isn’t real?

      Their arguments became more crazy by the day, as they hung on to their belief that this planet was approaching way after it would have already been visible to the naked eye. Rationalization such as claims that we can’t see the planet as it is behind the sun, it can only be seen from the Arctic and NASA controls the Arctic, and so on.

      But likewise, while I could deconstruct the nonsensical beliefs and see how it couldn’t be hiding behind the sun and visible only from the Arctic, as well as covered up by NASA and yet somehow invisible to the thousands of hobbyist astronomers, not only could I not convince a single believer, but also I could not understand how anyone could hang on to all the conflicting reasons for believing in it, at once.

      Edit: Google “Is Nibiru coming”… There are still people who believe in the conspiracy even in 2016, four years after the world didn’t end. They still see signs to confirm their belief, such as the recent “blood moon” being caused by or being Nibiru. There seems to be no stopping this belief. I can’t use it as an example against theism anymore as it isn’t close enough to a “mainstream” conspiracy. (If that makes any sense. I mean it is no longer a widely held belief.)

      Liked by 2 people

  2. bbnewsab says:

    My best theistic argument is: God exists – because the Bible says so.

    So far nobody has been able to debunk or falsify that very strong argument. Can you do it, Jerome? I doubt it. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s