Dr. Vincent Torley, Please Learn to Read!
I had previously argued that given a godless universe the Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting is What We’d Expect Would Happen. Dr. Vincent Torley over at the Intelligent Design blog Uncommon Descent wrote a long response to it. Now it’s my turn.
Torley begins by trying to silence arguments like mine, saying:
The poor taste in Loftus’ choice of the title left me at a loss for words. It is inappropriate to use [sic] point to such an event as an argument for atheism, at a time when parents are grieving.
He treats me as if I don’t care, which is typical. I do most emphatically. This horrific incident brought tears to my eyes. I grieve for the parents in that community and America as a whole because of it. I too am a human being you see. I have children and grandchildren. But I was not writing as a pastor seeking to comfort people who lost loved ones. Perhaps Torley thinks I should wait to make my arguments until the pain is gone? When will that be for any of those parents? Probably not in their lifetimes. My view is that when the wound is fresh then is the time to apply the medicine, not later. I called attention to God’s inactivity at the time when one should do so. What I wrote was medicinal. You may not like the medicine. Few people do. The fact is that there are believers who additionally struggle with why a good omnipotent God did nothing to avert the killings. That additional pain is what I was addressing. It is unnecessary pain. There is no God. Shit happens. Torley thinks he can take the high moral ground here, but it is a disingenuous attempt to silence arguments against his faith when they need to be made. Nothing should be off limits when it comes to the arguments for and against Christianity, otherwise why did he respond at all? According to his poor taste accusation he shouldn’t have done so. He said he wasn’t doing so, but he did. If making arguments based on recent tragedies is in poor taste then why did William Lane Craig do it?
Besides, I have indeed made arguments against God’s inactivity long after the pain was gone. Just consider what I wrote about the Black Death plague in the 14th century, as but one example.
In my original post what I had said, since Torley missed it, was this:
[I]f we compare the godless hypothesis that there is no god with the God hypothesis that there is an all powerful, perfectly good, all knowing deity, it’s patently obvious that the best explanation for this horrible tragedy is the godless one. Now believers may think they have good reasons to accept the God hypothesis anyway, but this tragedy is not one of them to say the least.
Notice my last sentence? Again, “Now believers may think they have good reasons to accept the God hypothesis anyway, but this tragedy is not one of them to say the least.”
Torley focuses entirely on these other reasons and proclaims I either failed to take account of them, or I illegitimately narrowed the evidence under investigation, or I overlooked other important evidence. And so he gives me a grade of “F double minus” for what I had written. However, since he failed to comprehend that one little sentence, if I were his teacher I’d hand his paper back to him without grading it and tell him to learn how to read. I think this is much worse than a “F double minus.” You see, I have blogged for six years and on average I write 1.5 posts per day. He cannot expect me to say all that I know in one post. I have a body of work in print and on my blog where I have indeed addressed these other reasons. So it is utterly without foundation to say I failed to take account of these other reasons, or that I illegitimately narrow the evidence under investigation, or I overlook other evidence. So I would also tell Torley to research into my other writings to see how I would respond to these things. The needed research is woefully lacking. If he’s faulting me for not saying all I know in one post, which cannot possibly be any fault at all, then I can legitimately fault him for his lack of research. He didn’t do it. I have written a great deal on the problem of suffering on my blog and in my books. I suspect he has not read them. I bid him do so before spouting off again like he did.
Comprendo? Damn but this irks me to no end. Torley is just another Christian apologist who does what all of them do to an extent, seen in a series of posts I’ve been writing. I fault Torley with the number one thing Christian apologists do, that of miscaricaturizing your opponent’s arguments to the point of failing to even try to understand them, or feigning ignorance as to what they are, and/or being willingly ignorant of them.