Deny: "to state that (something declared or believed to be true) is not true". Dude didn't have a leg to stand on.
I don't know about the worst attempted proof I've ever heard (probably something about impossibly pretty sunsets), but here's my favourite bad one, courtesy of a well-known YouTube evangelist.
Here's a paraphrasing: If I say something will happen after an infinite amount of time, will it ever happen? No. Could there have been an infinite amount of time before the present? No, because if there were then we would never have reached the present. Therefore there has only been a finite amount of time, and God started it off.
The central problem is that infinity can end at a given instant. An infinite amount of time can have passed before the present if time extends backwards to negative infinity, rather than starting at a definite point. The same way positive infinity can start at a given number, e.g. (4,5,6,...), negative infinity can end at a given number, e.g. (...-1,0,1,2,3,4). Imagine two arrows starting in the same spot and pointing in opposite directions.
There are other issues of course. Even if the universe were finite, there are plenty of theories for its origin which do not involve gods (and often point to very eccentric properties of early time). Even if it proved a god, it provides no link to the Christian god advocated in the video.
However it's the way the argument makes a pig's breakfast of high school mathematics which really stands out to me as an occasional maths tutor. You have to wonder whether the guy genuinely doesn't get it, or he just hopes the video will reach others who don't, in which case the video is pure sophistry. Considering that he doesn't allow any critical comments, let alone official video responses, I tend to think the latter.
Question reposted from RRS forums visit the thread for side discussion about the intent of the Christians who Hemant is working with.
Response from Brian Sapient
I consider Hemant Mehta a friend, he is the real deal. Hemant takes a tact I feel I wish I could take, a tact I used to take before I realized someone needs to shake people up a bit. His interaction with theists are similar to mine with my closest family members who are theist. He is a good guy with a good "soul" which happens to be gone now as he sold it to a Christian. With that said Hemant has been succesful with a peaceful, gentle, and kind approach. We can't all be assholes or we wont make as big of an impact as we can or should be able to. I've joked with him that I have a pill of truth that I shove down the throat of the theist when they aren't looking and he has a glass of water that he politely hands to them so they can swallow it. He also can appreciate our role, the role of RRS and supports us as much as you could expect him to. Furthermore the SSA is a group he helps manage, a group that helps unite students on campuses with other freethinkers. The leadership of SSA much like Hemant is highly friendly and pleasant, and they are always willing to work with us so we can support each other. Recently I opened up with a personal story to a special email list of 30 atheists leaders, August Brunsman head of the SSA and Margaret Downey were the only ones to reach out to me and express their feelings about what I had expressed.
You should support Hemant, he supports us, and try to find the perfect balance of who you want to be between the two groups. Are you more stridents? Are you more peaceful in your approach? I say peaceful as he doesn't consider himself passive, however I consider myself peaceful as well. I think we can tell there is obviously some difference, and you can affix whatever word you want to it. The approx $600 he raised for his soul went to the SSA. The deal was that he would go to church for every $10 raised, and the man who won didn't hold him to such a high number. Hemant wrote about his journey and while he speaks about positive things he sees within the church he never once fell into a "god is real" position. He's polite, but he's not a sell-out. His book was a wise project, a project I support. I don't normally do this but considering that you are a skeptic, here is a free copy of his appearance on our show along with a link to purchase his book, in which 6% of the purchase price goes to RRS.
Show 57 Hemant Mehta "The Friendly Atheist"
His new book "How I sold my soul on Ebay" is out in April of '07, he discusses the book with us and some of his activist experiences including his work with The Secular Student Alliance. Medium Quality (download the show here)