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The Georgicks of Virgil, with an English Translation and Notes Virgil, John Martyn Ipsi in defossis specubus secura sub alta Otia agunt terra, congestaque robora, Pierius says it is confecto in the Roman manuscript. And Tacitus also says the Germans used to make caves to defend them from the severity of winter, .

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Craig : That's the genetic fallacy. To confuse the origin of a belief with its truth or falsity. You need to deal with the arguments and evidence that I have presented.

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Craig : God does exist. Here is the evidence. And here's the essence of Wolpert's rebuttal: its all bunkum. Every bit of it. Wolpert's defence of atheism consisted of a few irrelevant, invalid arguments against the rationality of belief in God's existence on the one hand instances of chronological snobbery and the genetic fallacy respectively and a total failure to interact with the purported evidence for God on the other hand — apparently on the grounds 'that there is no evidence' with which to interact!

Given Craig's use of the Kalam cosmological argument, it is interesting to note that Wolpert candidly admits he has no alternative explanation for the Big Bang: 'And then, of course, there's the whole problem of where the universe itself came from. And that is a great mystery. Big bang, big schmang! How did that all happen? I haven't got a clue. The answer to this question recently became clear in an interview between Wolpert and another Christian philosopher. In the hands of Lewis Wolpert, the 'Insufficient Evidence' objection is not at all what it seems. Wolpert says that atheism is justified because: 'There is absolutely no evidence for the existence of God.

Professor Keith Ward of Oxford University had the following revealing exchange with Wolpert concerning his 'Insufficient Evidence' justification in the course of an interview for the March edition of Third Way magazine:. Ward : What sort of evidence would count for you? Would it have to be scientific evidence of some sort? Wolpert : Well, no… I think I read somewhere: If he turned the pond on Hamstead Heath into good champagne, it would be quite impressive. Wolpert : But then you have to remember what David Hume said, that you wouldn't believe in a reported miracle unless 'the falsehood of [the] testimony would be more miraculous than the event which [it] relates.

Wolpert : Hume is the only philosopher I take seriously. I'm big against philosophy.

Wolpert justifies his atheism by complaining that there is no evidence for the existence of God. So what sort of evidence would he accept? Would he accept scientific evidence? On Humean grounds grounds that are widely accepted by contemporary philosophers to be defunct , he would not. Later in the same interview Ward asked Wolpert whether in principle there could be evidence of providence in history? Wolpert replied that there 'absolutely [could] not' 42 be any such evidence. Wolpert seems to include the evidence of religious experience among purported scientific evidence for God, because having provided a standard explanation of such experience in terms of evolutionary psychology and despite admitting 'I don't have a good explanation, to be quite honest' 43 for why he himself has escaped the evolutionary pressure to believe , Wolpert feels that he can dismiss all such experiences as delusional an unsurprising move for someone who is a self-confessed 'reductionist and a materialist' If Wolpert rules out scientific evidence for theism, will he accept philosophical evidence?

He will not, because he is 'big against philosophy' although he will embrace a double standard in order to allow Hume into the fold, to shore it up against scientific evidence for deity. Having excluded a priori the very possibility of there being any evidence for God, it is perhaps unsurprising that Wolpert can find none. Nor is it surprising that he would fail to engage with purported evidence for God offered to him by Professor Craig. What is surprising is that having excluded a priori the possibility of there being any evidence for God, Wolpert should shirk the task of showing why Craig's evidence is insufficient where exactly do Craig's arguments for God go wrong?

Do they have false premises? Do they have invalid logic? Wolpert does not say whilst continuing to justify his atheism primarily by repeating that 'the evidence for God is not very good from my point of view. Wolpert's complaint is ultimately not that there is insufficient evidence for theism. Rather it is that since the possibility of there being sound evidence for theism would require materialism to be false, and since materialism is true, there can't possibly be any sound evidence for theism.

In other words Wolpert doesn't merely think that there isn't any evidence for God, he thinks that there can't be any evidence for God. These are significantly different claims, and so it is not a trivial matter when Wolpert substitutes one for the other. There would be nothing wrong with taking this approach if Wolpert provided arguments purporting to show that materialism is true or at least that theism is false , if he was prepared to enter into philosophical debate concerning the soundness of those arguments, and if he was prepared to extend the same courtesy to the theistic arguments of academics like Craig or Ward.

Unfortunately Wolpert does not appear to be interested in fulfilling any of these conditions. He simply repeats the mantra that there is no evidence for God. Like doubting Thomas, Lewis Wolpert says 'I will not believe unless I see' — but unlike Thomas he keeps his eyes resolutely shut. How the cell came about is just… Wow! It's absolutely mind-blowing. It's truly miraculous — almost in a religious sense. I think we understand quite a lot about evolution — although even in later evolution there are problems for which we don't have good explanations — but the origin of life itself, the origin of the cell itself, that's not solved at all.

Having heard such an interesting admission of scientific ignorance, Ward asked Wolpert whether he was happy to be described as a neo-Darwinian, and the following revealing exchange followed:. Ward : So, even though you find it 'miraculous', you think we must account for the emergence of life purely in terms of random mutation and natural selection? Wolpert : Because there really is no other way. Otherwise, you can only invoke God. In other words, Wolpert believes that the inherent capacities of the natural world putting aside the cosmological question of why there is a natural world in the first place must account for — and therefore must be capable of accounting for — both the origin and diverse nature of life on Earth.

And this conclusion is philosophically deduced not scientifically inferred from the assumption that God could not possibly feature in the true account of these matters — presumably because Wolpert believes that there is no God. Once again Wolpert closes his eyes to the possibility of evidence pointing towards God's existence by simply assuming that God does not exist!

Once again, Wolpert's use of the 'Insufficient Evidence' objection to belief in God is exposed as a rhetorical facade hiding a circular argument. Atheists, agnostics and theists alike should avoid Lewis Wolpert's narrow-minded approach to the question of God's existence, an approach that amounts to saying, 'My mind is made up, don't confuse me with the evidence. Paul Copan, 'The Presumptuousness of Atheism'. John Humphrys, 'The Return of God? No longer available. Peter S. Williams, 'What do you believe is true even though you cannot prove it?

Williams, 'Design and the Humean Touchstone'.

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James F. Sennett and Douglas Groothuis eds. Wallace ed. Shalkowski, 'Atheological Apologetics' in R. Mencken, quoted by Alistair Cooke. Wilson, Humanist Manifesto II my italics. Art Lindsley, 'C. Lewis on Chronological Snobbery'. Geisler, Christian Apologetics , Baker, Habermas eds.

Moser eds. Murray ed. Beilby ed. Pete Lowman asks what happens to the sense of Identity, Purpose, Ethics and Love when a culture tries to live without God. Greg explains why this is not the case. What have you been thinking about? Paul Copan writes: the 'presumption of atheism' demonstrates a rigging of the rules of philosophical debate in order to play into the hands of the atheist, who himself makes a truth claim. A popular objection to Theism Despite these problems, the 'Insufficient Evidence' objection to theism is widely used by contemporary atheists.

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Craig versus Wolpert — a mini-debate from Radio 4 In a mini debate between William Lane Craig and Lewis Wolpert held on BBC Radio 4 prior to their lengthier public encounter on the subject of God's existence, Wolpert simply failed to understand Craig's philosophical points about the 'Insufficient Evidence' objection.

Philosopher Tom Price has provided a concise summary of the public debate between Craig and Wolpert following their Radio 4 encounter, a debate which showed Wolpert failing to learn the lesson of his mini-debate with Craig: Craig : God exists, here is the evidence. Wolpert : God doesn't exist, there is no evidence. Craig : God exists, here is the evidence. Wolpert : God doesn't exist, who made God? Craig : God does exist, he is an uncaused eternal being. He hasn't done anything in the last 2, years. There is no evidence. Who made God? Craig : Here is the evidence. God is an uncaused being.

God does exist. Sadly it didn't work out like that. They might as well have been talking in different languages. Here's the essence of Craig's case: God created the universe. The proof lies in the premise that whatever begins to exist has a cause. The universe began to exist; therefore it has a cause. It was brought into existence by something which is greater than and beyond it. And that something was a 'personal being'. Her screams were so exactly like the whistle of a steam-engine, that Alice had to hold both her hands over her ears. Oh, oh! By this time it was getting light.

I thought it was the night coming on. You must be very happy, living in this wood, and being glad whenever you like!


Consider what a long way you've come to-day. Consider what o'clock it is. Consider anything, only don't cry! Alice could not help laughing at this, even in the midst of her tears. Let's consider your age to begin with — how old are you? Now I'll give you something to believe. I'm just one hundred and one, five months and a day.

Alice laughed. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast. There goes the shawl again! The brooch had come undone as she spoke, and a sudden gust of wind blew the Queen's shawl across a little brook. The Queen spread out her arms again and went flying after it, and this time she succeeded in catching it herself. She looked at the Queen, who seemed to have suddenly wrapped herself up in wool. Alice rubbed her eyes, and looked again. She couldn't make out what had happened at all. Was she in a shop?

And was that really — was it really a sheep that was sitting on the other side of the counter? Rub as she would, she could make nothing more of it: she was in a little dark shop, leaning with her elbows on the counter, and opposite to her was an old Sheep, sitting in an arm-chair, knitting, and every now and then leaving off to look at her through a great pair of spectacles. But these, as it happened, Alice had not got: so she contented herself with turning round, looking at the shelves as she came to them.

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The shop seemed to be full of all manner of curious things — but the oddest part of it all was that, whenever she looked hard at any shelf, to make out exactly what it had on it, that particular shelf was always quite, empty, though the others round it were crowded as full as they could hold.

It'll puzzle it to go through the ceiling, I expect! But even this plan failed: the 'thing' went through the ceiling as quietly as possible, as if it were quite used to it. This didn't sound like a remark that needed any answer: so Alice said nothing, but pulled away. There was something very queer about the water, she thought, as every now and then the oars got fast in it, and would hardly come out again. Please where are the crabs? This offended Alice a little, so there was no more conversation for a minute or two, while the boat glided gently on, sometimes among beds of weeds which made the oars stick fast in the water, worse then ever , and sometimes under trees, but always with the same tall riverbanks frowning over their heads.

There are some scented rushes!