Dan Lambert About Believing Despite the Lack of Arguments

Peter Boghossian: "If the arguments for the existence of God were rebutted, would you still believe?" She: "Yes". Boghossian: "Then you don't believe on the basis of arguments."

Dan Lambert: "The outrage at this woman's response is so disingenuous. The fact is that we all have certain beliefs that we will never give up, no matter what someone else 'proves.' That's because we all move the goal posts when confronted with a seemingly indisputable fact. Theists do it. Atheists do it. It's human nature. Big deal."
Really? Let's talk about being disingenuous.

This definition of disingenuous needs to be expanded since at heart it means being insincere or dishonest with the facts. Peter Bohossian has defined faith as "pretending to know things you don't know," in his brilliant book, A Manual for Creating Atheists, p. 24.By that definition faith is always disingenuous. It is a disingenuous leap over and/or under the probabilities.

So if anything Lambert is being disingenuous. He's pretending to know things he doesn't know because faith is a pretend game. Children are masters at pretending. Lambert, just like other adult Christian apologists, has not grown up. Doubt is the adult attitude. Faith is childish. In the hands of adults it requires disingenuousness. Believing things where arguments and objective evidence are unnecessary, or refuted, is a pretend game.

Lambert accuses all of us this. To the contrary, the reason why we are non-believers is because we refuse to pretend we know what we don't know. Doubt comes easy. It's the default position. It has to be. There is no other stance to be intellectually honest as adults.

Facebook isn't the Harvard Yard, I know. Still, Lambert is saying we all believe things despite arguments to the contrary. In the face of rebuttals we simply move the goal posts by switching why we believe something. If a particular argument doesn't work then we will switch to a different one. If none of them work we will claim personal experience, or for some theists the inner witness of the Holy Spirit.

Wow! He is incapable of realizing that he just describe himself! That's faith for you.

Now I don't deny that in other contexts human beings are lousy at reasoning correctly. Usually, more often than not, we do exactly what he says. Scientists cannot get away with this though. Their peers will pulverize them with the objective evidence if they do. It's only in matters of politics, economics, metaphysics and religions where people do this, areas where the objective evidence is either hard to come by, or lacking entirely.

When it comes to religion the objective evidence is entirely lacking. At the very minimum there isn't enough of it to produce an informed intellectual assent. If there were objective evidence for religion then why are there so many of them? If that isn't a good reason to convince him that religion lacks sufficient objective evidence, nothing will do. Like others he might even object to the need for sufficient objective evidence when it comes to religion. Lost on him is that he would never think it's a virtue to lack sufficient objective evidence in any other discipline of learning. Why then is religion exempt from that need? When pressed, all religionists will agree against this reasonable requirement. Not even this recognition will stop Lambert's pretend game of faith. I can say that while the need for sufficient objective evidence may not always be a requirement in all contexts (like in areas of music, tastes, beauty, etc.), it's a virtually certain requirement when it comes to understanding the nature of reality.

Just the same, Lambert utterly fails to understand, and is incapable of understanding, that for non-believers we are merely doubters. There are no goal posts to move when confronted with an argument for faith. We are, after all, nonbelievers. We are not making any positive or absolute or certain claims regarding god, gods, or supernatural beings. We simply don't see enough evidence to believe. The goal posts for us have remained the same. We merely ask believers to kick that extraordinary religious football through the goal posts of sufficient evidence. It's not our fault that Christian theists cannot do this. Our goal posts never change.

He would say I've misunderstood him. He's saying that when our counter-arguments to a Christian faith-based argument fails then we too will switch to a different counter-argument. That might be true, as the history if ideas shows. But no informed nonbeliever would ever, under any circumstance, say that if all of our counter arguments to the God-hypothesis were refuted we would still refuse to believe (as the counterpart to the woman Boghossian was talking to). Our counter-arguments are evidence-based arguments, so if the evidence was nonexistent we wouldn't be rational to maintain our non-belief. By contrast, most believers will still continue to believe. That's because they are pretending to know things they don't know.

But in fact, every single Christian argument is deeply flawed and utterly worthless. That's what I argued in response to Randal Rauser's arguments in a debate I had with him, which can be read here. Like other apologists Lambert might respond by saying we do not want to believe, that we're in denial, or that we are in rebellion against the Christian God. But this cannot be the case, otherwise Muslims and Mormons can legitimately say the same thing against Lambert, that he's rebelling against the gods of these other religions. Is he? He'll say that his religion is true so the others are just wrong. But this is the same response other religionists say to him. We are no more rebelling against Lambert's god as he is rebelling against the other gods and goddess he rejects.

However, it's even worse than this. Not only are the Christian arguments deeply and utterly flawed. There isn't even a bad reason to reject them, even if they're sound ones. If he disagrees, then let's watch him deal with four posts at DC where I argued for this seen right here, in reverse chronological order.