It seems to me that atheists are finally beginning to see the faultiness of their logic. In my previous post, I outline how atheists believe that people are generally good, despite the fact that zero scientific evidence exists to support that claim. And since atheists are always banging on Christians to show proof of God, and of his involvement in our lives, I challenged atheists to do the same in respect to the goodness of people, and I received some interesting comments.
This first one comes from Chris, who I just want to point out is always respectful and fair, so this isn't an attempt to bash him. Here's what he said:
For the kindness of a random stranger, which exists too, it is a bit more difficult. And i know that i am out on a limb if i believe in the basic good of people because there is no evidence for that. But as most people do not commit crimes, and crime is punished i think it is safe to assume (yes assume :-)) that the changing towards crime is a 'glitch/fault' in the system. Much like an illness (I am NOT saying criminals are sick, even though this might be true in many cases).
First of all, let me say, that I believe Chris has every right to feel this way; all I want to point out is its inconsistency with the general rationale of the atheist. He believes in the kindness of the random stranger, not because it has been proven, he just believes it. He assumes people commit crimes because a "glitch" in their system, but how do we know the "glitch" doesn't occur when someone does good? We do not; we just believe what we want to believe.
Jim, another fair-minded atheist went on to say this:
Tom, in my opinion people can be neither good nor bad. People are just people. People can do good or bad things.
In Jim's opinion, people aren't good or bad. This again, is perfectly fine for him to believe this, but also again, no scientific evidence is provided.
Next we have someone who calls himself/herself Understudy. Understudy took issue with many of the statements I made and even made the outrageous claim that I was "forcing" my beliefs on them. I hope that Understudy knows that he/she is simply a mouse click away from freedom from my evil cruelty, but I don't want to get lost in his/her negativity, so I'll share an assumption which he/she made.
Also the statement of the world being filled with all these evil people is inherently false. The human population could not exist under those conditions.
How do we know that? How do we know if the world were literally full of murderers and rapists that the good people wouldn't be able to organize and defeat them, ridding the world of evil? (By the way, when I said the world was filled to the brim with those types of people it was a figure of speech, I think that's why nobody else mentioned it.) But where is the verifiable scientific evidence which shows our world couldn't survive under those circumstances? There is none, it's something you believe, which again, is fine with me.
And finally, I want to share a quote from Derek, someone who I have enjoyed excellent dialogue with, and someone whose opinion I've come to respect. He makes the greatest attempt at using science to explain the goodness of people, but before I comment let me show you his post:
One difficulty is using the term "good". Good and evil are qualitative labels applied based on a personal set of standards. Such qualitative standards are inconsistent and so extremely hard to measure objectively thus largely useless for scientific inquiry.
Okay, but if this is true, why are atheists so quick to use these adjectives to describe people's actions or motives? Because as you eloquently point out, these are subjective traits, which can't possibly be measured under any circumstances.
He went on to say this:
If we take the example at hand perhaps the term altruistic would be a suitable proxy meaning roughly the same thing. For this you just need to go looking for the science a little. Search google for scientific studies on altruism and you'll find quite a lot of research into and explanations of human altruistic behavior.
Again, he makes an excellent attempt, but altruism is pretty much a synonym for good, which he says, but just dressing a word up doesn't give it significance scientifically. www.dictionary.com gives the word this definition; the principle or practice of unselfish concern for or devotion to the welfare of others (opposed to egoism). So clearly we see that altruism basically means acting unselfishly, or good. And from looking into the origin of the word, it seems to bear no relevance to science.
I want to look at one more thing Derek said:
This is evidenced in that it is a common experience to have been on the receiving end of altruistic behavior from those we know or are associated with. We see it in behavior between classes, ethnicities and countries. In addition non-emotionally motivated crimes (theft, mugging and the like) are most commonly not committed against friends, relatives or social peers.
First I want to deal with the last part of what he said, because my personal experience is the complete opposite. In my experience, people are WAY more likely to steal from family members than not. I know little old ladies who have had their entire savings sucked dry by grandkids, and not by manipulation, but by theft. So my history comes to a different conclusion than Derek.
Derek claims that most people have a common experience of being on the receiving end of these supposed good deeds, thus shaping their opinion. But let me ask you this, how do you know that someone is doing a good deed when they show you kindness? Now before you shut me off, here me out.
Isn't it possible that someone only showed you kindness because they plan to ask you for something in the future? And if so, wouldn't this make their good deed, in reality an act of selfishness? Isn't this exactly the way mobsters are said to behave? They offer you help, but only to take advantage of you at a later date. Now it could be said, "Yea, but that has never happened to me." And all I would say to that is, as far as you know, it's never happened to you.
Here's the HardTruth.
I only point this out to show the gaping holes in the logic of an atheist. Yes, Christians assume God works in their life, and why? Because in our personal history we can look back and see all the wonderful things God has done for us. Atheists assume everything that Christians give credit to God for is actually done by people, and why? Because in their personal history they look back and see all the nice things that have been done for them by other people. It's all about who we give the credit to, and how we arrive at the conclusion they deserve the credit being given. I give it to God, atheists give it to people, but our conclusions are arrived at the exact same way; we just believe it, and that's the HardTruth.