Contra Atheism

Refuting the arguments of atheists can be difficult, since in many cases they do not acknowledge some of the most basic truths taken for granted by Catholics, such as the existence of objective truth and man's capacity for true knowledge, for example. As Aquinas reminds us, fruitful debate presupposes some common ground of truth upon which both sides can agree (STh. I, Q. 1, art. 8).

Nevertheless, true dialogue with atheists is possible. The Second Vatican Council teaches that atheism "is among the most serious problems of our age...deserving closer examination" (GS, 19). It is our hope that this repository of articles on the subject will be of some benefit to you in examining the anthropological, philosophical, theological and psychological elements of the many faceted edifice of modern atheism.

 

Featured Articles

Stephen Hawking: Heaven a "Fairy Story": Is the human brain really just a complex computer with no hope of a future life after the computer "crash" that is death? Even granting this flawed analogy, it doesn't make sense.

Alien Civilizations

Written by Boniface

In June 2016, an article appeared in the New York Times entitled "Yes, There Have Been Aliens." The article was written by University of Rochester astrophysicist Dr. Adam Frank. In this article, Dr. Frank promotes a hypothesis arguing conclusively that advanced alien civilizations have definitely existed in the universe, even if none exist at this moment. The basis of this argument is not any empirical evidence of any such advanced civilization, but rather an exercise in statistics derived from the probable number of exoplanets outside our solar system. Using this calculus, Dr. Frank and his associate argue that over a trillion - yes, trillion - advanced civilizations have existed in the universe. Dr. Frank does not mean a trillion planets featuring life, but a trillion advanced, technological civilizations (where "advanced technological civilization" is defined as one capable of emitting a radio signal).

Read more: Alien Civilizations
 

Rethinking the Appendix

Written by Boniface

Since the dawn of the science of human biology in the modern age, it has been taken for granted that the internal organ known as the "appendix" was vestigial. A structure that is "vestigial" is so-called because it is believed to be a "vestige" of the organism at an earlier stage in its evolutionary biology. Vestigial organs or vestigial body parts no longer have any practical function, but they have not yet disappeared from the organism's biology. Another common example is the human tail bone, which is said to be a vestigial remnant of the days when homo sapiens had tails. Thus, vestigiality goes hand in hand with evolutionary biology. The "useless" appendix has always been explained as an organ left over from the days when the human diet consisted mainly in vegetation; this hypothesis was proposed by Charles Darwin himself and had been a staple in scientific assumptions about the appendix for over a century.

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Probability and Statistical Impossibility

Written by Boniface

Late last year, Wall Street Journal columnist Eric Metaxas published an interesting piece titled "Science Increasingly Makes the Case for God". The article argues that recent scientific discoveries about the universe increase the likelihood that the cosmos is the result of an intelligent designer. Though the article is brief, we recommend a studious reading of it, as it brings to the fore several essential problems with purely materialist theories of the origin of the universe. In this essay, we will examine the issue of probability and the concept of "statistical impossibility" and how it undermines the materialist assumption that given enough time, anything is possible.

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Contradictions in the Bible (part 3)

Written by Boniface

 

Today we present our final installment in our long series on contradictions in the New Testament with refutations for 63 allegedly contradictory statements from the writings of the Gospels, Acts and the letters of St. Paul. Since it has been awhile since I last posted in this series, let me remind the reader that these alleged "contradictions" are taken from the atheist website Skeptically.org, where they presume to catalog 194 different contradictions in the New Testament. In our previous two installments in this series (Part 1 and Part 2), we demonstrated how the criteria these skeptics employ for what constitutes a "contradiction" is extraordinarily loose. It would behoove the reader to review the introduction to Part 1 in this series where we review what exactly is and is not a real contradiction in the logical sense. It would be better to describe these biblical "contradictions" as misunderstandings, incorrect exegesis, and plain willful ignorance than anything close to a contradiction.

Read more: Contradictions in the Bible (part 3)
 

Deus ex Machina or Fons Entis?

Written by Boniface

In the ancient Greek plays, it was not uncommon for a protagonist to be saved from a dangerous situation or relieved from an impossible dilemma by the emergence of a deus ex machina ("god from the machine"), a plot device whereby the seemingly unsolvable problem is suddenly and abruptly resolved by the contrived and unexpected intervention of some new event or character, usually a god or hero. This was usually resorted to when the playwright had painted himself into a corner, so to speak, and could find no other way to resolve his contorted plot than by having some god emerge to miraculously set everything right. The deus ex machina was soundly criticized by the ancients as evidence of poor writing. In the history of modern thought, religion has been similarly criticized as a kind of philosophical deus ex machina, a device that is used to satisfactorily resolve the mysteries of the universe. Where does rain come from? God makes it. Where do earthquakes come from? God makes them. How does gravity work? God does it. Relying on religion to explain the physical properties of the universe in terms of direct acts of God is also known as a "God of the Gaps" theory.

Read more: Deus ex Machina or Fons Entis?
 

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