I was just involved in a long discussion with Ten Minas Ministries covering a variety of topics. (WARNING: It is two lawyers talking—so it gets extremely long-winded. Read at your own peril. Unless you are suffering from insomnia, in which case: “Enjoy. And sleep well.”) One of the tacit questions asked was whether I was ignoring logical fallacies in atheistic arguments because of my bias toward atheism.
How does one tell one’s own bias? Worse—how does one remove it from consideration of the issue?
I accuse Christian apologists of being biased. (Oh boy—do I!). I see bias in people’s politics, in looking for mates, in handling money. We see biases in play all the time. I would be foolish to see it in everyone else, and presume I do not suffer from prejudices myself.
Of course I have biases. I can even see them come out when listening to theistic debates. I am rooting for the skeptic; the non-believer. I groan when they make a bad point, cheer when they make a good point and hiss at Dr. Craig. *grin* My writing comes from a decidedly skeptical viewpoint when it comes to Christian claims.
I have written before on how I try to remove these biases, by considering arguments in terms of what neutral, disinterested parties would be convinced by. Not by what I think, or what persuades me. Yet in the end, it is my determination of what a neutral would think. No juries are helping me out by giving verdicts on God.
I try. At least I think I do. I try and come at the question as if there may be a God. My brain does something like this:
“Look at the world about you. The complexity of a single cell, let alone trillions working in unity to make a human body work. Or ecosystems. Or the fascinating study of DNA. How does intelligence work? How can we be so certain of our own existence, if it is chemical reactions? Certainly some God is the initiator and holds this together.
“O.K….so we assume there is a God…
“…What does he look like?
“How do I use this world to make determinations about something that is not from this world? How can I look at a plant and derive some concept about this God? How do I look at the history of cosmology and align that with a God? Or evolution? Or planetary alignments?
“How can I be consistent in a method regarding God, claiming some things within this universe must reflect a god (intelligence) and some things must not (time)? What method do we use to pick and choose?
“Why would I use the cosmological argument for God when I see so many issues in the concept of ‘causation’ (specifically the issue of the use of time before there was time) as well as the fact we don’t know what happened in the 1 Planck second after Time=0? Isn’t this speculation based upon unknown facts?
My mind starts to race…
“How is it gods change so much over time and locale? Why is it the more science learns, the more gods must modify to conform to the new information? I can see Christianity is not true—yet they believe so fervently. Couldn’t every belief in God be equally untrue, yet fervently held?
At this point, my mind won’t…quite…reach a god. It won’t snap into place. No matter how open I think I am trying to be, it just doesn’t fit.
He He He. We have all done this with a present in a box, or a screw in a hole. We try it; doesn’t fit. We try it again; still doesn’t fit. We walk away, and come back, “One more time”—still doesn’t fit. Maybe one more time…
I feel the same about God. The arguments against God are still there. I can’t make them go away. I don’t see the logical fallacies being claimed.
But is that simply my bias? Are the questions not honest inquiry, but biases piling on?
How do YOU get rid of your bias?