Atheist: There is no evidence for God.
Christian: I’m glad that you are showing an interest in Theology.
Atheist: This is not a theological statement, this is a scientific statement.
Christian: But the statement implies that you know something about God.
Atheist: I know something about the universe: it does not contain any evidence for God.
Christian: Then you are claiming to be competent to evaluate evidence for God.
Atheist: No evaluation is necessary.
Christian: Of course it is. Evidence is not data. Evidence involves evaluation.
Atheist: But there is none. It is impossible to evaluate nothing.
Christian: In other words, there is no evidence that you have ever looked for evidence for God.
Atheist: Excuse me?
Christian: The real question is whether this lack of evidence you mention is in the data or in your head.
Atheist: Unless you identify data to the contrary, we can be sure it isn’t just in my head.
Christian: If I was evaluating evidence for squirrels in the attic, I’d first look in the attic. Then I’d look for nesting material or droppings. If I were looking for something else, or anywhere else, it would only indicate that I was unclear on the concept. I think that’s your problem. You are looking for the wrong things in the wrong places.
Atheist: Then you will, no doubt, be able to point me to the right places and the right things.
Christian: Sure thing: look at human beings.
Atheist: The human beings that evolution explains fully?
Christian: I don’t think so. There is no evolutionary explanation for consciousness, or rationality, or personality, or intentionality, or aesthetics, or morality, or purpose, or emotion, or love -- those are kind of significant aspects of human experience.
Atheist: Scientists are exploring the connections between evolution and all those things.
Christian: But there is no evidence that they are succeeding in making any legitimate connections.
Atheist: Actually, some leading atheist thinkers have concluded that consciousness, rationality and all the rest are simply illusions.
Christian: But the argument is self-defeating: without consciousness and rationality we wouldn’t be even able to postulate that consciousness and rationality were illusory. But I'll grant you this: considering how “evidence” derives from consciousness and rationality, if those were illusions, then “evidence” is equally an illusion -- implying that there is indeed no evidence… for anything.