Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Top 10 Worst Reasons to Believe in a God.

Here is a list of common arguments for god that fail from the very outset.

1-Fine tuning

This is the argument that there must be a divine artificer because the universe is so complex and so fine tuned for our survival.

Since the universe came billions and billions of years before we did, it is obvious that the universe isn't fine tuned for US but rather we simply developed to survive in, and are bound to the natural laws of, the universe in which we find ourselves.  We could have developed no other way.

2-Blind watchmaker/Complexity

This is a very easy one to debunk.  It is easy to be convinced by this one, but the watch is "obviously" made by a watchmaker, because we know that watches are made by men.  To conflate man made creations with nature is a mistake. Complexity arises from chaos in many instances in reality (IE-fractal structures) ever see a snowflake?

3-Appeal to popularity

Convincing yourself that belief must be right because all societies have believed in god (they haven't; Watch about Pirah├ús) or that most everyone does is not convincing.  Or at least shouldn't be.  "Most people" once believed that the earth was flat.  See how that went?

4-Appeal to authority

Very similar to appeal to popularity.  This time it is the meme of the name dropper.  Merely saying that a famous or intelligent person also believes so therefor so should we, is a statement that asks you to believe not based on evidence, but by devaluing your own intelligence and over valuing the celebrity's.  Who knows how that person came to that belief, trust your own intellect and never let belief come from respect of a person, but out of respect for the evidence that he presents.

5-God of Gaps or the first cause

VERY common.  Where did we come from?  Or science can't explain this!  Not knowing something does not imply a divine conclusion.  It merely means that we need to explore and seek evidence that we can test for a conclusion that is based in that evidence.  An unanswered question only implies that we don't know.

6-Anecdotal evidence or He revealed himself to me

"He revealed himself to me" or "My experiences teach me that god is real"  These are false indicators for truth about the nature of the universe.  There have been many people who had Napoleon reveal themselves to them, or the devil, or Odin.  How is this revelation any different?  Your experience may lead you to evidence, but if you don't expose them to skepticism and rigorous testing, then they leave you with assumptions about the universe.  That is it.

7-Objective morality Plato's Euthyphro Dilemma

There can be no objective morality.  Either morality is decided by us as a means of enabling us to survive in a social environment, or it is decided upon by god.  If it is decided upon by god, then it STILL isn't objective because he simply made them up subjectively as a way to assist us in living harmoniously in a societal structure.

Either way, it is subjective.  So a call to objective morality is a false one.

8-Only god can help the universe escape entropy

False.  This is usually a false interpretation of the 2nd law of thermodynamics.  This only applies in a closed system.  Which clearly people are not. There are many outside influences and outside sources of energy that affect us (the sun).

9-Divinity of the bible

This is the "The bible says that God exists, and I know that the bible is true, because God says it is.  How do I know?  Its in the bible"

This is circular reasoning.

If you have no proof of the divinity of the bible, then you are taking it on man made authority.  If there is nothing in the bible that couldn't have been known by men of the time, then  divinity clearly can't be established and nothing in the bible can be established as true on that scriptural basis.

10-Ontological argument

This is the argument that a function of perfection is existence, otherwise it wouldn't be perfect.  So if you can conceive of the perfect being, then he must exist because if he doesn't exist then you aren't thinking of the perfect being.
Therefor if he is thinking of the perfect being, then he is thinking of a being that exists.
This argument fails right off by the principles of bare assertion fallacy and is bound to the same standards of evidence that everything else is.  You can't just assert that things are true without saying why they are true, or citing reasons for it.

If these are your arguments, you have some thinking to do.

If they are not, and you feel that you have a good and logical one that will stand up to peer review, then please, by all means, share it with us.


  1. Almost every theist I have ever discussed religion with have had their arguments fall into one of those you listed.


    I never understand why the Ontological argument is used. It's downright laughable.

  2. @Raithie I know. The ontological argument is a sexed up version of a 5 year olds logic.

    If there are any others, please let me know. I will add them.

  3. Ontological argument was initially posed as satire.

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  5. This is definitely helpful, and you put great work into it! I can't help but wish there were a source where all the misrepresentations of science, and ... all ... the flawed arguments could be laid out with both a concise & a comprehensive explanation of why it's incorrect.

  6. @Foxyone276 If there is a flaw in scientific understanding, they adjust the theory. That is what makes science superior to religion. Science won't hold on to incorrect information dogmatically once new evidence arises to contradict it.

    You have an example you would like to present?

  7. Appeal to Authority:

    Join the damn army. We'll shove authority down your throat but at least we can prove it.

  8. Great list. if ya make a bigger list include geography or being born into it. where you are born surely dictates what religion you will (be forced to ) practice as a child. Awesomeness.