My response to McCloskey’s "On Being an Atheist."
The paper written by McCloskey is nothing more than an Atheists attempt to justify his atheistic ideas and at no time should ever be taken by any other person as anything more than one man’s opinions which are based completely upon speculative ideas. Throughout this paper, I read statements like, “theists feel…”,” Most theists believe…”, “They do not think…”, and “Most theists conclude…”; however, the person giving these tidbits is only one person, as opposed to the “most” which he seems to speak for, and he is no more a “theist”, than the “man in the moon”. I would be more inclined to over look his made-up statistics, had a single one of his claims lined up with my theistic ideas; however, every time he claimed to know how the “theists” think or feel, it turned out to be the opposite of my theistic point of view. The very basis for this fallacy can be tied to a statement in McCloskey’s opening sentence: “…the grounds upon which theists base their belief in God…” In this statement, McCloskey claims to know why theists believe in God. My next claim is pure speculation; however, if I were to ask every person in my church congregation, “why do you believe in God”, I seriously doubt anyone would respond with the cosmological argument or the teleological argument.
Another problem I found in his philosophy was, throughout his writing, McCloskey talks about how Christians use arguments as “proofs”; however, they are not proofs but merely ideas and arguments that when looked at as a whole, seem to give support to a claim. Since they do not definitively establish a case for God, McCloskey says these arguments should be abandoned. Again, McCloskey seems to think that he knows the inner mind of “most” theistic people and claims that we hold certain ideas or theories as proof. I know quite a few theists; however, I can’t recall ever hearing a single one saying that they have definitive proof of God’s existence. I have heard many theistic people use certain arguments as evidence which offers support of their theistic beliefs.
If people abandoned every idea that could not offer definite proof of their claim, we would not have any ideas at all. Every idea we hold is held on these same principles. There are many laws in existence today, which remained only a theory for many years. Having a scientific background in Mechanical Engineering has taught me that we are not to abandon our ideas and theories; we are to hold on to these ideas and develop these ideas. To use McCloskey’s argument against him, none of his ideas offer definitive proof against the existence of a creator, so he should abandon all of his ideas as well, Right? Wrong!
As stated by Evans and Manis, “The rejection of the Cosmological argument implicitly carries with it a commitment to a rival metaphysical view such as pantheism or naturalism.” (76) Since the original position of McCloskey is Atheism, that would mean he would be forced to abandon his first point of view for an alternate point of view, which could still be refuted by the same argument. When all is said and done, there still is no “proof” that will cause us to have a definite conclusive evidence of the existence of God. Because of this, we will ultimately be forced to abandon any quest for proof of the existence of God and be forced to ask, which argument offers the best support of our claim or idea. When the question is asked this way, we are able to examine each idea for the support that it offers our claim.
This is also true when McCloskey talks about the teleological argument. He begins by saying, “to get the proof going, genuine indisputable examples of design and purpose are needed.” He begins with this because he is aware of the fact that there is no “indisputable” evidence to offer proof of design. Any example given could ultimately be argued against. If this were a legitimate...
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