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"...unlike Egnor I am interested in critical thought..."

My eight questions and answers for New Atheists have generated some amusing replies. Most just criticize me for asking, calling me 'dishonest' (that's for my questions, not just for my answers). 'No matter what, God didn't do it' is the typical reply.

One dyspeptic New Atheist was uncommonly amusing. Chuck O'Connor at Battling Confusion writes:

Michael Egnor (a fellow of the Discovery Institute - the PR organization that tries to deny biological evolution for the sake of Judeo/Christian creationism and theocracy - see their aims articulated in "The Wedge Strategy") offers excellent evidence of this obsessive psychological quirk towards certainty when he creates a "strawman" argument against "New Atheism" at the Discovery Institute Web-site.

My "obsessive psychological quirk" was to ask important questions and to answer them coherently. After posting my questions, he asserts:

First off, Eignor's [sic] unwillingness to enable comments at his blog post indicates he does not want to know what "New Atheists" believe.

We don't take comments on ENV because much of what New Atheists believe is expressed in 4-letter parcels. They have their own blogs for that.

Chuck goes on:

Secondly he is dishonest. He does not disclose that he is a Roman Catholic in his post nor does he offer his position on atheism relative to this bias.

As a secret Catholic, I fail to see how non-disclosure of my highly classified religious affiliation matters to the basic questions I asked. "Why is there anything?" isn't a sectarian question. Most people have wondered about it. New Atheists seem particularly annoyed not merely with my answer, but with the question itself. I know how they feel. I used to be annoyed in college when the professor asked a question that I couldn't answer, but that he could.

Chuck again:

I find his challenge and the series of questions evidence of how theists are unable to consider worldviews other than their own.

Actually, I asked New Atheists to publicly articulate their worldview. It's a great opportunity to showcase the rationality of New Atheism. Why does this opportunity make them so angry?

Chuck sets me straight:

The only "doctrine" inherent in "New Atheism" is a desire to observe a secular society and evidentialist arguments...Critical thinking is not conclusion and that's where Egnor gets everything wrong.

Chuck bemoans the fact that "[c]ritical thinking is not conclusion." I didn't really expect conclusions; these are tough questions, and they're asked of New Atheists. Not a promising scenario. What I was looking for was some evidence for genuine critical thinking on the part of hyper-rational "scientific" New Atheists. I'm still waiting.

And if Chuck wants "to observe a secular society and evidentialist arguments," North Korea does accept tourists. Chuck is advised to bring his own food and toilet paper. Scientific Atheism -- secular and godless to a fault -- doesn't pamper its guests, nor its citizens. New Atheists always get irritable when they're reminded that "godless nation" is not merely a theoretical proposition. Atheists govern nations. Chuck need not wait and hope for redemption from the bugbear of creeping theocracy. He can enjoy godless governance here and now.

Chuck:

This is why Egnor's challenge serves as a strawman because it attempts to challenge an epistymology [sic](New Atheism Metaphysics) that doesn't exist. He has his preferred superstitious answers to these questions which revolve around his version of god and/or the discredited notion of Intelligent Design (AKA "God of the Gaps"). He doesn't want dialogue but rather he wants to assert his superstitions as superior due to their well-rationalized conclusions.

"Well rationalized conclusions" aren't superstitions. They're logical arguments. If you want superstitions, talk to atheists.

Chuck again:

"New Atheists" ask that we apply critical thinking to continue the human conversation regarding ethics rather than deferring to dogmatism and sacred texts to assume authority.

Actually, I neither quoted nor made reference to any sacred text. Most of my logical arguments for God's existence were first proposed by Aristotle, who was a pagan. My arguments about Ethics and Moral Law were mostly commonsense observations and rudimentary logic. If Moral Law is merely subjective, certain consequences follow.

Finally, Chuck breaks the tension and gives his answers for the eight fundamental questions of human existence:

For the record, here are my answers to his questions (I'd love to read yours because, unlike Egnor I am interested in critical thought and have thus enabled comments):

1. I don't know. Let's use the scientific method and critical thinking to continue to try to figure it out and let's leave religious presuppositions out of policy decisions so we don't create legal inequality between belivers [sic] and non-believers.

2. I don't know. Let's use the scientific method and critical thinking to continue to try to figure it out and let's leave religious presuppositions out of policy decisions so we don't create legal inequality between belivers [sic] and non-believers.

3. I don't know. Let's use the scientific method and critical thinking to continue to try to figure it out and let's leave religious presuppositions out of policy decisions so we don't create legal inequality between belivers [sic] and non-believers.

4. I don't know. Let's use the scientific method and critical thinking to continue to try to figure it out and let's leave religious presuppositions out of policy decisions so we don't create legal inequality between belivers [sic] and non-believers.

5. I don't know. Let's use the scientific method and critical thinking to continue to try to figure it out and let's leave religious presuppositions out of policy decisions so we don't create legal inequality between belivers [sic] and non-believers.

6. I don't know. Let's use the scientific method and critical thinking to continue to try to figure it out and let's leave religious presuppositions out of policy decisions so we don't create legal inequality between belivers [sic] and non-believers.

7. I don't know. Let's use the scientific method and critical thinking to continue to try to figure it out and let's leave religious presuppositions out of policy decisions so we don't create legal inequality between belivers [sic] and non-believers.

8. I don't know. Let's use the scientific method and critical thinking to continue to try to figure it out and let's leave religious presuppositions out of policy decisions so we don't create legal inequality between belivers [sic] and non-believers.

Consistency is evidently a big part of Chuck's critical thinking. And Chuck is particularly annoyed that Christians link their "policy decisions" to their "religious presuppositions." Freedom of conscience is so frustrating for New Atheists. I'm sure that Chuck's "policy decisions" have nothing to do with his "irreligious presupposition" that he ultimately will answer to no one.

I understand now why the questions made Chuck so angry. Chuck's vapid reply nicely sums up most of the New Atheist answers on the fundamental questions of human existence:

New Atheists don't have a clue.
Science will tell them the answer (someday, somehow, maybe).
Christians should shut up.

For Chuck O'Connor at Battling Confusion, confusion is winning. Chuck feels no need to trouble himself with introspection, metaphysical argument, or with examination of his own smug Luddism. He can just copy nihilistic atheist boilerplate, hit ctrl-v on his keyboard as many times as there are questions, and he can provide New Atheist "answers" for all of the fundamental questions of existence.

Chuck O'Connor isn't interested in critical thinking. New Atheist "skeptical" posing is enough for him. He's annoyed that Christians have questions. And he's really ticked off that Christianity provides real answers.