Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Victor, Meet Ken

Victor Reppert's blog, Dangerous Idea, has been on my blogroll for a while. I try to look for blogs that express the theist's viewpoint in an intelligent manner, and Reppert is a Christian who has some philosophical acumen and whose  arguments have often seemed worthy of consideration. Recently, though, his posts have been declining in both length and quality. Now he has hit a new low. Here's a recent post, in its entirety:

Atheists often make the claim that the burden of proof lies with the believer, not the unbeliever. They would ask whether you can prove that the nonexistence of anything. Rather, it should be up to the person who makes the positive claim to provide proof, not the people trying to prove a negative. 
However, there are many things that are invisible that I might have trouble proving. Let's take electrons,  for example. I've never seen one myself. Many people believe in them simply on the authority of scientists. People also believe in God, even though they can't see God, because they take his existence on the basis of authorities. What's the difference?
Here's the difference, Victor: anyone who disbelieves the authorities can repeat the experiments on their own. Electrons, you say? How about the Millikan oil drop experiment, the Compton effect, the q/m experiment, the Franck-Hertz experiment? How about examining the fine structure of hydrogen? If you're unsure about electrons, try one of these experiments and see what you get. I've done several of them myself, and can vouch for the results.

Of course it's up to the person making the claim to provide the proof. And scientists have done that - and published their results - and repeated those demonstrations again and again for generations of students.

Please tell me, Victor, how do I go about repeating the results of the religious "authorities"? 

You can go to a Chinese physicist, a Russian physicist, a South African physicist, a Brazilian physicist, an Australian physicist, and ask them the charge of the electron, and they will all give you the same answer.

If I go to a Hindu religious authority, a Muslim  religious authority, a Roman Catholic religious authority, a Sikh religious authority, a Buddhist religious authority, and a Shinto religious authority, will they give me the same answer to my religious questions?

Whole industries now rely on our understanding of electrons. Every time you make a phone call, watch TV, or type a blog post, you are effectively performing an experiment that confirms the properties of electrons.  We trust that understanding enough to stake our very lives on it, every time we get on a plane, train, or automobile.

What discoveries or declarations of religious authorities are so reliable that people all over the world stake their lives on them?

"What's the difference," you ask?

One word: EVIDENCE


  1. I'm glad I'm not the only one who has noticed the quality of his posts has substantially been declining as of late.

  2. I came to comments to see if Victor has visited to hear your good reply.
    Do you have a theory for his suspected decline?
    I am sure my posts go up and down too.

  3. I wonder if he's just getting burnt out. He's been blogging at a high rate for a long time, maybe he's run out of things to say, but doesn't want to disappoint his readers by dropping the blog. Just a guess.