One of the things I strive for when I write this blog is brevity. I realize I have failed miserably at this. There were many things I wanted to add to Hard-wired that unfortunately were not directly related to the main thrust of Heck’s argument, and my response to that had already dragged on long enough. However, since I had already typed up many of those extra thoughts, I compiled all of the odds and ends that didn’t find their way into part 3, here in part 3.5.
The first thing I want to address is a line Heck says towards the very end of the video, “If science cannot prove or disprove God, which we have already established…” No, no, no. We need to clear this up before we can dive into anything else. Now Heck claimed that science cannot prove or disprove God, and he said some things that admittedly sounded very good to back up that claim, but he is miles away from proving the claim as true. And as there are actual scientists on who believe that science can prove God, or can disprove God, as well as scientists who I am sure agree with Heck, this claim is far from established. What Heck actually established was that he would not be using science in this conversation. And to be honest I am not 100 percent confident he won’t try to slip in some “science” at some point down the road, but it looks like he kept his word for part 3.
Now that we have that taken care of we can continue.
Right away Heck claims that the only way you or I are ever going to know if God truly exists is if we collect God’s fingerprints, or (nonscientific) evidence for the existence of God, and put them all together to make a rational, reasonable, logical argument for the existence for God. Already I have two major problems. The first, Heck is putting the cart before the horse. He starts with the assumption that God exists, then that we must collect God’s so-called “fingerprints,” which will invariable lead us back to God exists. Heck isn’t collecting objective evidence, he is only collecting fingerprints of God, if Heck’s evidence doesn’t invariably lead back to God then he wouldn’t be calling it a fingerprint. Even if Heck’s arguments are beyond compelling, if he doesn’t examine objective evidence from both/every side, his rational, reasonable, logical conclusions don’t have any bearing at all. Think of it this way. I am on trial for murder. My blood was found at the crime scene, my prints were on the murder weapon, which I owned, and I had a known grudge against the victim, that is some compelling evidence that would give the jury fair reason to convict me. However, if I had plane tickets that demonstrated I was out of the country at the victim’s time of death. Witnesses to account for my exact whereabouts at the time of the victim’s death and surveillance footage to collaborate the witnesses, suddenly the evidence of my guilt is far less compelling. If we only collected evidence for one side, we can’t make a reasonable conclusion, it just isn’t possible.
The second issue I have is there is nothing preventing God from lighting a bush on fire and telling us he exists, or opening a donkey’s mouth and telling us he exists (I think God stole that one from Shrek). God had no problem speaking directly to Noah, Abraham, Jacob, Moses (with and without burning bush), Joshua, Solomon… Those are all the Old Testament you say. Jesus post resurrection/ascension appeared to Paul, spoke with him and struck him blind. The Bible ends (Revelations) with a detailed account of a vision from God. The Bible gives no reason why God would suddenly go silent for 2,000 years. But of course he didn’t, it is just the people he “talks” to, and I don’t mean the people who he “works on their heart,” but the people he actually talks to, tells them to do things (like build an ark or murder all of the Canaanites, or shoot up a planned parenthood) we now give those people counseling and medication to fix the chemical imbalances in their brains. I know I just deeply offended many Christians out there, and that isn’t my intention but we know people still “hear voices” whether that is God, or Satan, or aliens, or pick your favorite deity, we know what causes it, and we have some grasp on how to fix/suppress/prevent it, but that is knowledge that wasn’t available in biblical times and so they explained it the best they could.
To try and bolster his Bandwagon Fallacy Peter Heck uses this analogy: “Suppose you are driving down a 4 lane highway for about an hour and every car you encounter tens of thousands of them, right in your face and they are nearing off to the side as you approach what can you fairly, logically, reasonably conclude?” This, admittedly is a pretty good analogy. I think its major flaw though is the fact it is never a single, solitary atheist who is careening the “wrong” way down this highway. In fact according to the Pew research center* an ever growing number of theists are becoming unaffiliated. That is atheist, agnostic, or “nothing in particular.” So let’s suppose you are driving comfortably down a four lane highway and some idiot comes careening the wrong way towards you. That was weird, but you keep going. Then you see another car and another and another and another all driving down what you consider to be the “wrong way.” And then you start seeing cars who were previously driving what you thought was the “correct way” doing drastic U-turns and following the people you thought were idiots. What can we fairly and reasonably conclude about these people driving the wrong way? Perhaps they know a little bit more about what lies at the end of the road than you do. I don’t know what that something is, maybe it is being tired of being associated with a religion that espouses love out of one side of their mouth and hate, bigotry, and discrimination out of the other. Maybe it is the inconsistencies between what the Bible teaches and what is preached from the pulpit on Sundays, maybe it is the inconsistencies within the Bible itself. Maybe it is being tired of the constant denial of observable science, or maybe it is just the slavery, raping, child murder, genocide and the general blood, death, torture and destruction that God is credited with or commanded throughout the Bible. Whatever it is, we can reasonable and fairly conclude that more and more people are opening their eyes to it and rightly want nothing to do with it.