Tuesday’s edition of Varsity, the UCT student newspaper, carried some responses to the saga outlined in previous posts here. One of them is from Taryn Hodgson, and is reproduced below:
There is nothing remotely persuasive about her response, yet she (sadly) seems to take what she says very seriously. Early on, Taryn says that she “has evidence that demands a verdict”. Nice strong claim, which should surely be backed up by something? Let’s see:
1. Taryn starts with the argument from design. While she may not know this, the argument in question has been discussed and beaten to death for centuries now. Let’s, for the sake of argument, concede that there is an intelligent designer. We still need to somehow get from there to an entirely different point, which is that this designer is a) still around, b) gives a damn, c) is an object worthy of worship. Also, why do we even imagine one designer, rather than a team of designers? And who says it was the best team? Perhaps these were some trainee-gods, or one lesser (and incompetent) deity, hence the design flaws of earthquakes and such.
2. “God doesn’t believe in atheists”. God can’t believe or disbelieve in anything, since she doesn’t exist. The only way this makes sense is if we simply grant that god exists, and also grant that god is omniscient, etc. But we’re waiting for the “evidence that demands a verdict” before we can do that.
3. Atheists know that there is a god, because the Bible says that they do. Taryn, the Bible counts as evidence for you, because you believe that it is the word of your god. I don’t believe in your god, so the Bible doesn’t count as evidence of anything to me, and nor does it for atheists in general.
4. Atheists are aware of life after death. Same circular evidence, same response.
The rest isn’t argument, but some emotive moral ranting, leading to the assessment that by her god’s standards, I’m going to hell. But wait, there’s more! I can turn from sin, put my trust in god, and then I get to enjoy eternal life and a relationship with an imaginary friend.
Thanks, but no thanks, Taryn. If this is what counts as “evidence that demands a verdict” in your circles, I’d rather stick with the sane people.
[EDIT] Turns out that she isn’t a student at UCT. See comments for details.