"What I Think of the New Atheists"

Lukeprog tells us what he thinks about them when he was recently interviewed on the Oklahoma Atheists Godcast. Link. He mentions me a few times. See what you think.

23 comments:

Rob R said...

When I point out that some of the criticisms of Christianity would invalidate science itself, some folks here usually state the obvious (yet irrelevent point) that science isn't faith and they are different, ignoring that the similarities are still there and deserve to be recognized and for consistency sake, my observation is still 100 percent on the money.

Well, here luke engages in the same taboo that I do here in criticizing Hitchens' criticism of the fine tuning argument (just because we use God to explain fine tuning doesn't explain anything since we don't have an explanation of God) by pointing out, as I have many times, that this sort of argument would invalidate the way science has progressed.

Rob R said...

Ironically, some of Luke's approved explanations would also invalidate science, such as the lack of testability of the "God Hypothesis"

Of course belief in God isn't testable because for one thing, theism is too complex to discreetly test, just as the whole project of science itself and so many on the metahpysical assumptions of scientists. Which of course not to say that so much within academic religious studies are not testable. N.T. Wright for example knows his philosophy of science and has spoken of his use of testablity in his work.

So in that section, we got one step forward, two steps backward.

Jim said...

If atheism is a religion, then not collecting stamps is a hobby!

Rob R said...

oops, I said:

"Ironically, some of Luke's approved explanations"

I meant his approved criticisms.

Eric J.S. said...

I really do not care what people call themselves, whether new atheist are people who affirm their existence in society as atheist or are the young people. There are good defenses of New Atheism and heart felt criticism. A new term PZ Myers talked about recently was Affirmative Atheist. For the moment I am telling my peers in High School that I am atheist a little more than I want to (I talk about philosophy and atheism because I like it).

I do not mind what to call it. Some just associate New Atheism with a movement of getting atheist rights and recognition in the United States, though there are many projects on debating religionist and writing scathing criticisms of the status quo. I will just call myself an atheist now because it is a term I particularly like though I could probably find a term to associate the different traditions I learn from in philosophy.

Again, if John says he is not a new atheist because of his traditions he follows. I remember he referenced Bertrand Russell. I know a little about Bertrand Russell from a few short biography about his work in linguistics, mathematics, humanism, and pacifism. I personally like John Stuart Mill, David Hume, Albert Camus, and Isaiah Berlin. Whether I am a old atheist because of my rhetoric or a new atheist because my interest in activism in Church and State issues, I really do not know until I understand myself and the terms better (I am still a high schooler, so I got time).

zenmite said...

In my view the giant monkey god created the universe from nothing by squishing a giant banana that he also created ex nihilo. He told me that the purpose of life is a big joke and that bananas are sacred. (I'll get around to writing his instructions down later.) The fine-tuning of our universe arises directly from the structure of the cosmic banana.

This is a valid explanation for the universe. Simply because we can't explain where the monkey god came from or know anything about the cosmic banana does not negate Him as an explanation.

Of course belief in giant monkey gods isn't discretely testable since it is soooo complex.

You can criticize my belief all you want but it is founded upon direct experience of the holy simian which is beyond the physical universe, is not amenable to man's logic and transcends reason.

Oh yeah, & we're to stone to death anyone that eats a banana or laughs at the omniscient, omnipotent, infinitely compassionate great monkey god.

Steven said...

No Rob, your observation is not right on the money. Your desperate retreats to solipsism whenever the going gets tough makes it obvious that you truly don't have a leg to stand on.

All you're doing in these retreats is making the case that your beliefs are possible. Well, there are a great many things that are possible, but not everything is probable. You've never given us a well qualified reason to think that your particular brand of theology is probable, rather than just another heaping helping of special pleading against a whole bunch of equally possible theologies that don't do any better job of epistemically supporting themselves.

Rob R said...

No Rob, your observation is not right on the money. Your desperate retreats to solipsism whenever the going gets tough makes it obvious that you truly don't have a leg to stand on.

I retreat to solipsism? Don't know what that means. But it is true that often, the standards that atheists use for knowledge could not defend their own view against the possibility of solipsism and in some cases would even lead to it. No, I don't retreat to it, you just can't defend against it if you are consistent with some of the standards that atheists use against faith.

All you're doing in these retreats is making the case that your beliefs are possible.

I'm not making the case for my beliefs at all in these instances. I'm making the case against the standards used against Christianity by atheists who exercise inconsistent skepticism who are oblivious to the true defeatest consistent skepticism of sophisticated radical atheist skeptics such as David Hume. Skeptics who leave us with no possible knowledge, an absurd position that goes against our basic human nature as creatures who know things, thus consistency with the skepticism that many new'er atheists use (that includes John Loftus even though we all cringe to associate him with the philosophically embarrasing four horsemen(Luke's point)) would lead to the absurdity of radical skepticism. And real atheistic philosophers have indeed taken the matter down similar roads as we see with some of continental post modernism (which is reality, a dissappointed modernism, modernism taken to it's bankrupt ends)

You've never given us a well qualified reason to think that your particular brand of theology is probable

Not when I spoke of solipsism I haven't. no. Those are different discussions.

But I have highlighted that our view is a far better far more satisfying explantion that fits the nature of our existence far better than materialism could ever dream. Our view is a far better fit to the facts of our existence which presents to us where we must explain ethics, human significance and worth and so on, and the main criticism of this has been that I just believe these things because they make me feel better which is a gross oversimplification since it is also earth shattering grief that attests to our great transcendent nature. Of course this isn't a whole apologetic, and it'd be silly to expect that of me in the comment section of assinine blogger with it's 4000 character limit. And even then, I'm not going to present a whole apologetic, but can only look at parts at a time and this is an important part.

Now, this talk of probability is so much bluster. Probability is a mathematical expression, but where are your forumlas? We do have a subjective sense of probability without having to crunch real objective numbers, and what I said above contributes to this.

Rob R said...

post 2 of 2


You've never given us a well qualified reason to think that your particular brand of theology is probable,

Actually, often when I have shared my theology, it is in response to arguments against Christianity that do not work against my theology. So some atheists have already demonstrated why my theology which doesn't have the problems of other theologies is better. For example, John speaks of the problem of free will and foreknowledge. Well open theism is a great response (in short says that God does not know our future free actions, but rigorous examinations of the metaphysics of the future can demonstrate why that is consistent with omniscience and could be used to demonstrate that there is no future truth about what we will specifically do freely). Atheists highlight the problem of the unevangelized the absurdity that people will be damned just because they've never heard the gospel, but this line of thought in fact commends several different answers from universalism, post mortem evangelization, to my favorite, inclusivism. So again, sometimes atheists make the case for me. But in these cases, I can make the case much better than they can and on biblical grounds, but the need doesn't come up since atheists don't in fact really care. Most of them are generally only interested in what they can make into a problem. I have done much deeper discussions with other Christians in that.

Jim said...

Rob, you are getting off topic. We are supposed to be discussing "What I think of the New Atheists".

Personally, I do not see any difference between a new atheist and an old one, or just a plain atheist. A rose by any other name... People like Dawkins, Hitchens etc. are just noticed more because of all their recent books and public debates.
They are getting a lot of "converts"- see Dawkins website, so this is a little alarming to fundie Christians. Therefore they try to label them and discredit them as much as possible. They also try to drive a wedge between fellow atheists to try and lessen the threat.
We should not fall for this trap.

Scott said...

Rob wrote: No, I don't retreat to [solipsism], you just can't defend against it if you are consistent with some of the standards that atheists use against faith.

Rob, as with the supernatural, solipsism can be found untenable because it's a bad explanation.

I could try to expound on the reasons why here in a comment, but there is a excerpt from Chapter 4 of The Fabric of Reality by David Deutsch, that does so so far better than I could.

David Deutsch on Solipsism

Deutsch expands on what he means by a bad explanation in his talk A new way to Explain Explanation at TED Global 2009.

Rob R said...

Jim,

Rob, you are getting off topic.

I reserve the right to respond to off topic comments and go off topic as well as the right to abstain from going off topic provided this is not offered as a refutation of the main points of the topic. But this wasn't that sort of topic was the kind of thing you'd refute.

We are supposed to be discussing "What I think of the New Atheists".

And I'm not sure you know what the topic is apart from the title. It was about an article by Luke of common sense atheism which was about new atheists.

Personally, I do not see any difference between a new atheist and an old one, or just a plain atheist.

then read luke's article which was linked and then you'll be given a significant reason why the distinction is being made, a distinction that real philosophers amongst the atheists recognize.



Scott,

deutsch's article is precisely the sort of thing that philosopher atheists would cite as the philosophical blunder of a new atheist. It was a long article so I won't discuss too much, but for one thing, his suggestion that it was just like realism except weighed down with extra assumptions is actually quite false. You actually only exchange your assumptions for different ones. But you don't have more than you'd have otherwise. I'd say a more significant difference is that a solipsist is actually more aware of his assumption. And this is metaphysical solipsism. An epistemic solipsist, one who simply is a rigid absolute empiricist in Humean fashion merely says that he cannot know that anything exists apart from his mind. Now, you really do have fewer assumptions.

But I do know that solipsism is a bad explanation. problem is, there is no testable way to demonstrate that it is a bad explanation. And that's not my problem. That's luke's problem and your problem if you think claims are poor because they lack testability or predictability. Such requirements do not preference realism over solipsism. Such requirements represent a very shallow impoverished epistemology.

Rob R said...

post 2 of 2

An epistemic solipsist, one who simply is a rigid absolute empiricist in Humean fashion

Oh, to correct that, Hume is still even stingier and wouldn't admit even knowledge of mind. All that is truely known in his view is that sensations are experienced.


I finished deutch's explanation of explanation. Making rigidity the cornerstone of good explanation seems quite short cited. I don't know how a physcist would say this is a good idea considering the whole project of physics of explaining the world in naturalistic forces and equations exibits no less (and in fact more) variability than his adjustments to the greek myth on the seasons. The leap from newtonian physics to relativity and quantum mechanics is a greater variability than exibited in his story that kept much of the same basic narrative structure.

Gandolf said...

Jim said...."Therefore they try to label them and discredit them as much as possible. They also try to drive a wedge between fellow atheists to try and lessen the threat.
We should not fall for this trap."

Yeah thats for sure Jim....Its maybe what worked for them last time...They managed to discredit them and make it look bad,and silly non believers felt all guilty.

Guilty for speaking out about matters that long had needed changing.Guilty for speaking their mind about what actually matters a whole lot to all of us.Guilty about speaking our minds about matters that happen to often effect us also,whether we like it or not.

And so the abuse was quietly again allowed to keep continuing ...Faithful folks pulling the old no true scotman theory,and claiming "oh but the problem is,those abusive people over there in that group, simply are not being real christian" ...endless bullshit story

We should know very well by now, preachers are great at manipulating things.Preachers job is to convert people to their way of thinking

We should know very well by now,that even in their own churches they will sometimes even use tactics of driving a wedge to gain control.

I agree with you ...."We should not fall for this trap" this time

We have let them get away with it before.

Chuck O'Connor said...

Rob

Can you let me know what is falsifiable in the realm of supernaturalism or your theology? I don't need a multi-part respone just one datum that could be independently tested against an hypothesis. I anxiously await your response and will continue to recognize a truth seeking method that uses more than rhetoric, wishful thinking, and cultural superstition as a gauge of "epistemic risk".

Scott said...

Rob wrote:deutsch's article is precisely the sort of thing that philosopher atheists would cite as the philosophical blunder of a new atheist.

If I recall correctly, the article was referring to errors regarding the views of modern day Christian Scholars and philosophers, rather than the purely biblical positions held by many lay Christians and even a number of pastors.

However, I saw no such "mistake" in the excerpt of Deutsch's argument on Solipsism from Deutsch's book.

In fact, in chapter 7 of his book, Deutsch presents a scenario very similar to the imaginary dialogue of philosopher John Worrall (Between Popper, Worral and a number of other philosophers) to explain his position in a philosophic context. Specifically, why we are justified in assuming someone would fall to their death, rather than float, should they leap from the Eiffle Tower.

You can find a paraphrased version of Deutsch's dialogue (which is in turn based on Worrall's dialogue) here.

Scott said...

Rob wrote: ... his suggestion that it was just like realism except weighed down with extra assumptions is actually quite false.

Rob, I think you might not have a good grasp of what Deutsch is saying.

In is book, Deutsch another example regarding the Inquisition's response to Galileo's heliocentric theory, which may clarify this even further.

The Inquisition didn't have a problem with making predictions about where the planets would appear in the sky. Both Galileo and the Church believed in realism. But they did have a problem with Galileo's explanation as to how they could be predicted.

Specifically, since the Inquisition believed that God could have used an infinite number of ways to cause the planets to move in the way they did, they thought Galileo was being arrogant in assuming he knew how God did it. Moreover, the explanation included the earth moving, which they interpreted as contradicting scripture. But, most important, Galileo believed the the universe could be understood in terms of universal, mathematical formulated laws, and that humans could reliably understand the universe though their application. This threatened to undermine the Churches authority.

So they gave Galileo two choices. Recant his heliocentric theory, by publicly reading a statement prepared by the Inquisition, or be executed. However, part of this statement implied an alternate theory which represented the Inquisition's "explanation" on why the planets moved as they did. And this explanation is a perfect illustration of what makes an explanation bad.

To reiterate, the Inquisition's implied theory make the very same predictions about how the planets would move. In fact they even referenced Galileo's heliocentric theory as a way one could make such predictions. However they claimed that the planets only moved in a way that made it appear that heliocentric theory was true, when it reality it was false and the earth did not move.

However, for it to be possible that Galileo's heliocentric theory could accurately predict the movements of planets in the sky but, in reality the earth was still, required the planets to move in extremely complex manner, rather than the circular motions in Galileo's explanation. Furthermore, It required them to move ways that little resemblance to how physical objects moved on the earth.

Essentially, the Inquisition's theory was designed to explain away heliocentrism, rather than explain how the planets moved. In doing so, it created more problems than it solved.

So, while it was true that both theories made the same predictions and, at the time, we didn't have nearly the number of observations available to us now, Galileo's heliocentric theory was justified though argument and explanation.

An epistemic solipsist, one who simply is a rigid absolute empiricist in Humean fashion merely says that he cannot know that anything exists apart from his mind. Now, you really do have fewer assumptions.

Rob, the solipsists starts out with the same number of assumptions. However, he moves the boundary of "his mind" to encapsulate what we call external reality. To do this, he raises more questions than he answers. To quote Deutsch,

It contains other-people-like thoughts, planet-like thoughts and laws-of-physics-like thoughts. Those thoughts are real. They develop in a complex way (or pretend to), and they have enough autonomy to surprise, disappoint, enlighten or thwart that other class of thoughts which call themselves 'I'.

Clearly, the solipsists assumes that which is in his mind is real and really does act in very specific ways, such as exhibiting autonomy or obeying specific rule. And if the only thing that exists is what's in his mind, he must assume to know they exist there, rather than somewhere else. But to do this, he must make create a theory "mind" which is much more complex than concluding they actually exist as distinct entities in reality.

Scott said...

Rob wrote:I finished deutch's explanation of explanation. Making rigidity the cornerstone of good explanation seems quite short cited.

Perhaps you'd like to elaborate on why this is the case?

I don't know how a physicist would say this is a good idea considering the whole project of physics of explaining the world in naturalistic forces and equations exibits no less (and in fact more) variability than his adjustments to the greek myth on the seasons.

Why would a physicist say it's a good idea?

For example, Deutsch uses the many worlds interpretation to explain quantum interference, rather than the more commonly accepted classical Copenhagen interpretation of wave particle dualism. As such, I think "rigid" is a rather poor choice of words.

Specially, most physicists are instrumentalists in regard to quantum mechanics. That is, they are not interested in how quantum mechanics works, but what predictions it makes in regards to the behavior of electrons, protons, etc. However, by postulating a specific explanation of how quantum mechanics works - the existence of parallel universes - Deutsch was able to devise a way to harness this specific explanation though the field of quantum computation.

Based on this specific explanation, Deutsch pioneered the field of quantum computers by being the first person to formulate a specifically quantum computational algorithm based on the Church-Turing principle. More useful algorithms, such as Shor's algorithm (integer factorization at a rate exponentially faster than the most efficient known classical factoring algorithm), were demonstrated as early as 2001.

In a way, I think theists are instrumentalists as God's ways are supposedly mysterious and his abilities are beyond explanation.

But in postulating a number of hard to vary explanation which can be tested and refuted via the scientific method, we can achieve a more accurate model of realty. In fact, Deutsch suggests we have a very special relationship with the laws of physics that not only allows such growth in knowledge but even mandates it.

Please see Deutsche's fascinating yet humorous TED talk Our place in the universe.

The leap from newtonian physics to relativity and quantum mechanics is a greater variability than exhibited in his story that kept much of the same basic narrative structure.

I'm not quite clear what you mean by this statement.

While the theory of Newtonian physics is very different from the theory of relativity and quantum mechanics, the explanations behind these theories are based on a series of hard to vary explanations. The explanation of starlight is an excellent example.

However, this in no way means we actually think these explanations are True with a capital 'T' (as theists might) since we have yet to create a unified theory of everything. These conflicts between large and small scales clearly indicate these theories are "incomplete." But this doesn't mean we're not justified in accepting their predictions as our best guide of how to proceed at the moment.

Rob R said...

post 1 of 3


In fact, in chapter 7 of his book, Deutsch presents a scenario very similar to the imaginary dialogue of philosopher John Worrall (Between Popper, Worral and a number of other philosophers) to explain his position in a philosophic context. Specifically, why we are justified in assuming someone would fall to their death, rather than float, should they leap from the Eiffle Tower.

The assumption that someone would fall to their death by jumping off a tower is not falsifiable against the position that that someone is in fact a "dream person" who would fall to his death in a solipsistic narrative.

However, I saw no such "mistake" in the excerpt of Deutsch's argument on Solipsism from Deutsch's book.

You don't know what mistakes I saw accept the one highlighted.

Perhaps you'd like to elaborate on why this is the case?

It's odd that some people get accused of saying things that they didn't, I sometimes get accused of not saying things that I in fact said. I argued by way of example from science. Flexibility is absolutely necessary to science. There really needs to a be a balance though. If your claims are too flexible, then you aren't saying anything at all, if they are too rigid, then your world view is brittle and will not last very long if it cannot adjust to new information.

The Inquisition

who demonstrated too much rigidity in understanding, not the flexibility of believers like Galileo and Kepler.

Specifically, since the Inquisition believed that God could have used an infinite number of ways to cause the planets to move in the way they did, they thought Galileo was being arrogant in assuming he knew how God did it.

Which was arguably matched with their arrogance insisting that he couldn't have done it via heliocentrism.

You could argue that their flexibility of explanation was their problem, and yet their rigidity for geocentrism was no less a problem.

Flexibility wasn't in and of itself the problem. Rigidity wasn't in and of itself the solution nor any more of a keystone to progress than flexibility. The inquisitors were rigid in the wrong way and flexible in the wrong way.

which they interpreted as contradicting scripture.

yes, too rigid an interpretation of scripture leaves one with less room to deepen the quality of their understanding of scripture. so far, rigidity as a primary element of progress hasn't commended itself.

This threatened to undermine the Churches authority.

yes, the otherwise intellectually rigorous catholic church was tweaked overly sensitive about it's authority given the protestant challenge.

Rob R said...

post 2 of 3


In fact they even referenced Galileo's heliocentric theory as a way one could make such predictions.

And just a wee bit of history, but the acceptable view within the church, Tycho Brahe's geocentrism was in fact mathematically superior to Galileo's circular orbits which had problems solved by Kepler's elliptical orbits which Galileo rejected. Galileo was rigid on the wrong issue and failed to be flexible on the right one.

However they claimed that the planets only moved in a way that made it appear that heliocentric theory was true,

Did they? If it's all in the mathematics, I'm not confident that they had to conclude this to raise issues with Galileo's circular orbits.

Rob, the solipsists starts out with the same number of assumptions. However, he moves the boundary of "his mind" to encapsulate what we call external reality. To do this, he raises more questions than he answers.

Scott, what I said about EPISTEMIC solipsism is not debatable. I distinguished this from the metaphysical solipsism that I usually bring up. It doesn't move the boundaries of the mind anywhere. it only asserts knowledge of that which need not be assumed at all. The only assumptions of epistemic solipsism are the most rigid standards for knowledge. Some of the standards atheists would like to absolutize would do nicley to that end.

Clearly, the solipsists assumes that which is in his mind is real and really does act in very specific ways, such as exhibiting autonomy or obeying specific rule. And if the only thing that exists is what's in his mind, he must assume to know they exist there, rather than somewhere else.

Right. you have the same number of assumptions. The realist assumes his mind is less encompassing of reality to the solipsists assumption that it is all encompassing. The realist assumes that what he is conscious of is largely real and external to his mind, the epistemic one assumes it is nothing more than a mind.

But to do this, he must make create a theory "mind" which is much more complex

And? problem?

As such, I think "rigid" is a rather poor choice of words.

Rigidity is the opposite of flexibility. If he thinks flexibility is problematic, it stands to reason that rigidity is the answer.

If that sounds bad, it's because both have their place in rational discourse and progress.

In a way, I think theists are instrumentalists as God's ways are supposedly mysterious and his abilities are beyond explanation.

That would make some theists instrumentalists. I might be an instrumentalist on some things. Soteriology, how the cross saves us involves many and traditional images that I think are instrumental but do not have a one to one correspondence with how it works. penal substitution which many evangelicals mistake for the gospel is one such image.

Rob R said...

post 3 of 3


But in postulating a number of hard to vary explanation which can be tested and refuted via the scientific method, we can achieve a more accurate model of realty.

Postulating that experience, (such as empirical sciences) ought to be considered a point of reflection on and understanding of how we are to interpret scripture indeed adds an element of rigidity as well as flexibility in interpreting scripture. You could interpret the message of scripture and the nature of it's authority as having a specific theory on the motion of planets. If that theory is extremely disjointed with what we see, clearly, rejecting that interpretation ought to be rejected.

While the theory of Newtonian physics is very different from the theory of relativity and quantum mechanics, the explanations behind these theories are based on a series of hard to vary explanations.

Deutch is comparing science to a greek myth and he's saying the difference is that the greek myth is too flexible. Well, no, compared to science it most certainly isn't. the minor tweeks he makes to the myth is nothing compared to the reality bending progress from newtonian physics to the very strange inscrutible indeterministic world of qm where objects "jump" through space instead of continuously moving through it, where entities behave in some ways like waves, in other ways like particles, to the vastly different world of relativity which even contradicts qm. The fact that we hold on to both without a clear solution (which is not yet clearly string theory, one of only a few options) further testfies to a great flexibility.

Comparing science to the greek myth, science is just way more flexible. Clearly, flexibility is not the main problem.

You see, he cites the rigidity of the hard to very formulas of nature, but we still have the flexibility to reject those forumulas for ones (like his adjustment to the greek myth) that are in some ways radically different. Physics as a whole is extremely flexible on many accounts.

However, this in no way means we actually think these explanations are True with a capital 'T' (as theists might) since we have yet to create a unified theory of everything.

Right, truth with a 't' as in EASY TO VARY. Not like the rigid TRUTH with a T.

pink_monkey said...

Rob R said...

Well, here luke engages in the same taboo that I do here in criticizing Hitchens' criticism of the fine tuning argument (just because we use God to explain fine tuning doesn't explain anything since we don't have an explanation of God) by pointing out, as I have many times, that this sort of argument would invalidate the way science has progressed.

you're right...over the last 2000 yrs, using the same methodology as science, christian theology has expanded our understanding of the physical universe exponentially.

science and religion are not two interpretations of the same data set offering equal explanatory power and can not be compared as such. just what are these similarities?

it's apparent how a delusional individual may consider methodological naturalism based on empirical data synonymous w/ supernaturalism based on faith, but you rob?

that's right, it's you...rob.

as they say, the proof is in the pudding. the explanatory power of science has increased dramatically over the last 200 yrs. what exactly has christianity explained, or how has it "progressed" our understanding in this time period to validate your claim that we are giving science a double standard?

Rob R said...

you're right...over the last 2000 yrs, using the same methodology as science, christian theology has expanded our understanding of the physical universe exponentially.


That's a rather odd claim, one that neither I nor luke depends upon that some of the criticisms of religion would invalidate science.

science and religion are not two interpretations of the same data set offering equal explanatory power and can not be compared as such.

uh, right, they are not. Who implied they were? Both have their strengths in certain areas and both are inappropriate in some areas, both have implications for each other.

the explanatory power of science has increased dramatically over the last 200 yrs.

yes, and yet still inept at providing a basis for morality, human significance and worth, beauty, and so on. But as you pointed out, it's okay for much that we call physical reality. Unfortunately, human experience goes very far beyond that.

what exactly has christianity explained, or how has it "progressed" our understanding in this time period to validate your claim that we are giving science a double standard?

the proof certainly is in the pudding and your question shows gross ignorance of the development of Jewish/Christian thought that has indeed shown progress, some of which involves reclaiming and deepening our understanding of the original message, some of which is fresh. Volumes have been written on God's personhood, triunity, the nature of our salvation, reasons to believe in God, reasoning behind having reasons to believe in God, the metaphysics of God, the nature of God and time, the nature of our freedom.... yes, and so on, yes, the proof is in the pudding of which you seem to know little about. So much of these mentioned and far more have seen real development including a great deal within the last century that continues today as Christian philosophy, theology, biblical studies all are advancing at an unprecedented pace.