IDHEFTBAA - Introduction - Rebuttal (part 1)

Turek and Geisler start off the Introduction to their book with the heading "Finding The Box Top To The Puzzle Of Life", and begin with a story about Turek attending an Old Testament Studies class at University of Rochester.

The story goes that the professor warns the students beforehand that he was going to challenge their beliefs, but that he was also going to be as objective as possible.

As the course continued, a religious zealot in the class increasingly took offence at the professor, which culminated in him accusing the professor of nothing less than desecrating the word of God and storming out, never to return.

After the last class finishes in the course, Turek walks up and says to the professor, "I enrolled in this class to find out if there really is a God or not...well, is there?". The professor answers, "I don't know", to which Turek was stunned and incredulous.

Turek then follows this up with:

"I later learned that my expectations were too high for the modern university. The term 'university' is actually a composite of the words 'unity' and 'diversity'. When one attends a university, he is supposed to be guided in the quest to find unity in diversity - namely how all the diverse fields of knowledge fit together to provide a unified picture of life". (paraphrased, emphasis added)

We're only three pages in to the introduction and already there are a handful of logical and factual fallacies.

Guys, strap yourself in - going through this book is going to be a long journey!

Thus begins my response to IDHEFTBAA, starting with Turek's anecdote as reproduced above.


a) You either die a hero, or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain

Turek, without realising it, has become the zealot he was ridiculing in his anecdote - he now believes that his God is the master of the universe, that atheists aren't really atheist (just closet agnostics who aren't really sure of themselves), and that if you are an atheist, you also think paintings somehow create themselves.

He is so convinced of his faith that he feels the need to write a book to convince you of it as well.

I posit that if Turek were to time travel back to that course and listen to what that religious studies professor was saying, I have little doubt that he would also accuse the professor of desecrating the word of God - or be very, very inclined to - just like the zealot in the story.

b) Turek's (lack of) acceptance of his professor's answer.

After reading the anecdote, I actually applaud the professor - the professor gave the most honest answer he could. As confusing and unpleasant as it may sound, sometimes 'I don't know' is the best answer to give.
I would rather say "I don't know!" than give an answer I believe is misleading or unable to be substantiated.

Maybe Turek would have preferred his professor lie to him to make him feel comfortable?

This mindset is actually symptomatic of what I find with Christians in general - when it comes down to it, Christians prefer the comfortable lie rather than the inconvenient truth.

God answers prayer - except for all the times when he didn't or hasn't.
God knows everything - but never bothered to tell us that germs cause disease.
God is everywhere - but yet we still can't see him.
God is merciful - except when he orders his enemies to be killed en masse.
God does miracles - except when there's a camera or a skeptic around.

Put it like this - if Christians were able to be persuaded by facts and logic, there would be no Christians.

c) The etymology of the word 'university'.

Turek may be trying to be cute in making a point by giving his take on the word university, but it is so completely and absolutely wrong that it actually makes me wonder how their editor didn't pick this up, and what other falsehoods the two authors will or are trying to slip in.

To see how bad this analogy is, if I use Turek-speak, the word studying is a composite of the words 'student' and 'dying'. It's funny, poignant, but utterly false (unless you ask my teenage daughter!).

For accuracy's sake, the etymology of the word 'university' comes from the Latin word "universus", meaning 'whole' or 'entire' (with regards to a body of knowledge) - nothing about 'unity in diversity'.


But I still don't get this thing about 'unity in diversity'. It makes no sense, unless they're trying so hard to fight a culture war that I don't think is happening that they will strawman not only atheists, but university scholars as well.


One last observation I will make is the lack of references and notes. Where I want references, I just find assertions. As a comparison, as well as reading 
IDHEFTBAA and The Case For Christ, I am also reading On The Historicity Of Jesus: Why We Might Have Reason For Doubt by Richard Carrier.

OTHOJ is so well-referenced and footnoted that on some pages, the footnotes and references take up 2/3 of the text space available, but IDHEFTBAA has relatively few notes or references in comparison - there are almost as many references and footnotes for the introductory chapter of OTHOJ than there are in the Introduction and Chapters 1 & 2 combined of IDHEFTBAA.

I know that they are two different styles of book, but I can't help but admire that OTHOJ is so well referenced that it makes IDHEFTBAA look like a personal rant in comparison.


I want to be objective and fair to G&T, but I can't help, but ask: what is truth when you have numerous atheist strawmen to defeat, like Turek and Geisler do?


To my dear readers, until my next post, be kind to yourselves and each other.


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