I've been trying, for quite some time now, to post this response on Toongabbie Anglican's website. All I got was fucking fail:
I'm a bit fucking annoyed about this. Still, I saved the comment and can post it here. Original thread HERE.
I can understand why you’d feel a little intimidated at the thought of entering a pub full of atheists. After all, you may interrupt us while we’re eating babies and plotting our next shopping mall rampage. Obviously we couldn’t let you out alive if that happened.
Note: that is a joke.
Anyway, as for discussion with Sydney Atheists as a group and with individuals:
We have an official blog at http://www.sydneyatheists.org/ as well as other channels of group communication.
Dave the Happy Singer blogs at http://www.davethehappysinger.com/
Alan and Rachel blog at http://criticalmasspodcast.blogspot.com/ which is also the official seed point for the podcast of the same name
I personally blog at http://www.mycolleaguesareidiots.com/
From those you should be able to engage quite nicely.
Be warned, my blog is my own personal space for rants and raging. I pull no punches and I often employ a scorched earth methodology. Bring a very thick skin and a sense of humour if you want to go there. It’s not the shallow end, and there are no lifeguards. If you meet me in person, I am, for the most part, polite and civil. I’m not a psychotic maniac, but I play one on the internet.
I can give you my take on the four standard arguments pretty quickly: All four ‘arguments’ fall down if examined openly.
Ontological: These tend to be self-supporting, and not in a good way. All could be equally applied to Unicorns, Leprechauns or Gremlins. No evidence is offered, just self-contained logic. Easily dismissed.
Cosmological: Sorry, just because the universe is large and complex, doesn’t mean a god automatically exists. Science has good naturalistic explanations which do not involve gods, though you can maybe have the period before one Planck time after the big bang, where we can’t reliably apply strong theories. That’s the time it takes light to travel the Planck Length, or 1.6*10^-35 metres. It’s very, very small.
What happened during that first planck time, we cannot currently say. After that, there is no evidence for or requiring a god or gods. So you can have a maybe there was a god and maybe he/she/it did something during the first planck time.
We reserve the right, as science does, to revise the previous paragraph based on further scientific observation.
From Design: It’s kinda natural for humans to assume organised complexity must arise from a designer, but these arguments fall foul of recursion (if everything needs a designer, then who designed god?) and observable reality. We have many examples of self-organisation and ‘reversal of entropy’ within nature (starting with the most basic, simple crystals) and strong frameworks to explain the observable universe (See also cosmological arguments), none of which require an extraneous designer.
Incidentally, I have a blog post in draft at the moment about a prominently reported “letter of support” signed by scientists who doubt evolution. The letter in question was overwhelmingly from Engineering scientists, who specialise in human design, and are predisposed to seeing design even where it may not exist. Active biological scientists are conspicuous by their scarcity on the list, and those that are on the list are conspicuous by their lack of substantive recent work.
Moral Law: Again, science has very good explanations of how morality arose, some of which I tried to introduce on Sunday, though I’m not sure the format was good for this explanation. Suffice to say morality arises naturally in social creatures via selective pressure, and our particular forms of morality have a number of very good explanations, none of which include god or gods.
I’m particularly fond of the “intentional stance” theories outlined by Daniel Dennett et. al., if you want to know more, search wikipedia for “intentional stance”
Right now, on this planet, we are the creatures with the most complex society, but it’s not hard to draw observational parallels with behaviour in other social creatures, going downwards from Chimps and Bonobos through the entire gamut of primates, past wolves, bovines such as cows, oxen and deer, ovines such as wild sheep and goats and all the way ‘down’ to formicidae, apoidea and other cooperative species.
These are pretty darn good theories, and by theories, I do not mean hypotheses. One of your number tried the “evolution is just a theory” gambit on Sunday, and he’s about to be speared on the trident of my blog.
This a very quick throwaway rundown on my view of the four classical arguments. There is much more to be said, others may have more to add, and a blog comment is probably not the right place, but, in essence, classical arguments FAIL, badly.
I’m cross-posting this response at my blog, btw, just in case.
So, I did post this to my blog, and I'm posting a link back to the Toongabbie Anglicans. FFS, L2 blog, christards.
BTW, no fucking whining. I warned you earlier that this is not the shallow end. Comments whining about civility get burned.