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|· How Are Atheists Moral Without Absolute Morality?|
If there are absolute morals and they are the morals of the bible (god's word) then they should always apply to every situation.
Is it always wrong to lie?
According to the bible it is. ** Ex.20:16, Lev.19:11, Dt.5:20, Pr.12:22 and Eph.4:25. Rev.21:8 states, "All liars shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone."
Suppose a woman in blood-drenched clothing comes to your front door, in tears, begging you to let her in because her husband is beating her. You let her in and give her water and console her and, all of the sudden, there is a knock at your door. It's the woman's husband and he wants to know if you've seen her.
Do you lie and break "god's absolute morals?"
If you are a truly moral person.......YOU BETTER LIE TO HIS FACE!!!
My point is that morals are not concrete or law... they are relative to the situation.
Your idea of good and my idea of good can be very much different. "Good" and "bad" are very subjective words.
Morals developed out of want to avoid unnecessary harm. There is no concrete, absolute list of rules to follow. It's just common courtesy and common sense most of the time. It doesn't need to be explained to a person. Do you really think the bible is what keeps everyone from wandering about killing people and stealing? Of course not. It simply makes sense to try to be "moral", most people are. As is the case in many instances, if one does horrible things to people, that person will eventually have horrible things happen to him. Not to mention it is very difficult to function in a society where the majority of people don't agree with your view of morality, especially if it causes unnecessary harm.
A good example that the Bible or God isn't needed to uphold a standard of morality, is the fact that China is a very atheistic country... definitely more-so than the US... very few Christians there compared to the U.S. Now, let's look at the senseless murder rates for China and then the U.S. The US is much worse in not only murder, but also theft, fraud, assault, rapes, and many others. China has less policepersons, a bigger population, yet less crime. Japan is also largely unchristian, yet, crime in Japan falls far below that of the US. More info can be found HERE.
Now... how could an atheistic country be more moral than an alledged "Christian Nation"? If Christianity is the model for absolute moral standards, non-christian areas should be over-run with extremely high crime rates, genocide, theft, murder etc... but this is not what we see. Morals and goodness are a part of human nature. Understanding them begins with trying to understand humanity.
This article provided by Matthew Davis
* With a paraphrase of Dan
Barker's story about the "blood-drenched" woman and contributions
by The Infidel Guy.
~ Related Logical Argument ~
ARGUMENT FROM MORAL PARITY[ Back to Top ]
1.) If God exists, rational theists are probably noticeably morally superior to rational atheists, on average.
2.) Rational theists are not noticeably morally superior to rational atheists, on average.
3.) Probably, God does not exist. - Paul Draper
|· Aren't Atheists Spiritually Stunted?|
-- By Hynter[ Back to Top ]
'Spiritual' is a very vague word and we can infer a lot of different meanings.
Do atheists believe in ghosts or spirits? Not usually, but that hardly seems to be what is implied by that accusation. To call someone spiritually stunted implies that they suffer a host of character flaws stemming from their supposed lack of spirituality. Perhaps a spiritually stunted person lacks imagination, or compassion, or maybe he they fails to have a sense of wonder. Is a spiritually stunted person someone who isn't very wise, who fails to connect with people, or who always considers things rationally rather than emotionally?
Do atheists lack imagination or creativity? No, we all enjoy music and art as much as any theist, and one only needs to check out Buckster's cartoons to see how creative an atheist can be.
Do atheists lack compassion? Not those atheists who realize that a person in need only have to turn to God and have their problems magically fixed. We realize that if we see a person in need, and we are the only one there to help him, then we really are the only one there to help him.
Do atheists fail to connect with other people? Welcome to one of the largest, fastest-growing atheists communities on the net or anywhere!
Do atheists lack wisdom? I hardly think so, I think that Stratocaster and Chimp are some of the wisest people I know. And aren't there plenty of Christian theologians who constantly condemn the wisdom of man? Would you call these people wise?
Do atheists always consider things rationally rather than emotionally? Of course not, we're human beings too! We're just as likely to get depressed, or angry, or to feel joy or fall in love as anyone else!
Finally, do atheists lack a sense of wonder? I'd like to quote myself, from a post I wrote a short while back:
"I like to just sit and meditate with my eyes closed but my ears open in a crowded place sometimes (it's amazing how much clearer hearing can be when you block out the sight input, which usually dominates our thoughts) or I like to just stare at a good sunset, and, you know, feel it.
"Reflecting on the oneness of things, it's really amazing to think about how everything - just EVERYTHING that you see is made of the exact same stuff. Matter/energy, which coalesces into quarks and gluons and electrons and they form protons and neutrons and atoms and molecules. And energy - which flows out of the sun as light and paints beautiful portraits across the sky and which is absorbed by plants and packed into their molecules, and then eaten by animals and changed into other molecules and the eaten by us. Or the ancient energy which was taken up by plants and animals that lived before history and died and got buried and today power our cars and planes and computers and our whole society almost so that all of this stuff is finally being understood and written down.
"And all of it, taken together, when you're just sitting in a quiet spot thinking to yourself while all the other people with all their own lives and goals and loves and defeats. It's all so goddamned BEAUTIFUL and there's no reason why an atheist can't experience that beauty.
"...the recognition of life, in all its many mutable, mutating, delicate, adaptable forms, and the universe in all its splendor which only WE TODAY are finally getting the best show through the lens of the Hubble telescope...."
Are atheists spiritually stunted just because they don't believe in spirits? Maybe so, but if you insist on such a narrow definition of 'spiritual', then you may be a bit 'stunted' yourself!
Timestamp: Nov22, 2003
|· Atheism Doesn't Offer Humanity Anything Positive!|
-- By Chimp
Atheism is a sheer wellspring of assets which we find both nourishing, fulfilling, beneficial, productive and inspirational. The key difference is one of mentality, and it's our hope that numerous theists will improve their own lives in the pursuit of happiness through our example. Here's a modest list off the top of my head:
Timestamp: Nov22, 2003[ Back to Top ]
- You're a mature individual, not a toddler who needs to be told what's best for it.
- You're an intelligent human being who's perfectly capable of handling reality and adapting to changes as they happen. You don't need illusions and lies to give your life meaning.
- Your life is valuable for its own sake. Short, but infinitely precious, a lot
of fun and full of wonderful experiences, and ups and downs are natural and expected events.
- You're no second-class citizen in the universe, deriving meaning and purpose from another mind. You decide where you wanna go, what you wanna build and when. Let your visions soar!
- You're not inherently evil, but inherently human, possessing the positive,
rational potential to help make this a world of justice, peace and joy.
- You're a person of honor and integrity, not an evil, predatory sinner.
- you're trustworthy, and an outstanding friend, and no one needs to "test" your sincerity because your word is your bond, and we all know you're solid.
- Life is a journey, and you're not so insecure that you have to have all the
answers. You experience the joy of discovery, the thrill of the hunt and the
sense of accomplishment, and know you can always adapt and adjust to the unforseen.
- You're free to boldly explore every aspect of the universe without fear of
repercussions. No questions are off limits, and every answer will make you grow stronger and more satisfied. It's okay to be wrong.
- Making mistakes is acceptable and a means of getting experience, not a one-way ticket to Inferno.
- You alone hold the keys to your own happiness. You have the means, so make your life spectacular.
- You're not separate from nature, but related to all forms of life, made up of
the same fabric as stars.
- You're not Chosen and above the rest, but a brother and a peer. People outside your social circle are allies and potential friends, not Sinners and mere subjects of conversion.
- The universe will endure for billions of years instead of ending in Armaggedon on next Saturday. (Okay, Sunday tops.)
- We've been on this planet for five million years, and we're on the threshold of conquering the stars. Your descendants will most likely live on for millions and millions of years and experience interstellar travel, and scientific and natural wonders you can't even imagine.
- Your species didn't survive this long due to divine intervention, but due to
human ingenuity. If we got this far, there's nothing we can't accomplish now that we have all the tools. Plus we were butt-naked the first 4,970,000 years thank you very much!
- The world gets better and better. More and more diseases are vanquished,
there's more democracy and civil justice than just 50 years ago and technology gives new possibilities for everyone every year. It ain't all a bed of roses, but we just got out of the Dark Ages 5 centuries ago and it's amazing how far we've made it already.
- You get to clobber theists over the head, MUAHUAHUARRR!
- You have the mental reassurance that no one you love are destined for eternal punishment.
- Nobody is peering over your shoulder when you wanna get intimate with your wife, or do things that's, uh, nobody's business.
- You don't have to assume the blame for the crimes of your hypothetical ancestor.
- You don't have to make forced sacrifies and donate money to beautiful church facilities when your kids need shoes.
- You don't have to feign humility and bray along with a crowd who pretend
they're charitable when it comes to forking over their paycheck, but whose
atheist kids live in the closet for fear of ostracism.
- You don't have to pretend to be gullible and stupid just because the party-line has Creationism on the program.
- You don't have to keep up an unnatural self-denial and be ashamed of what you are, just because a bunch of stiff-necked neurotics can't accept the real you.
- You can take credit when warranted and give it where it's due.
- You don't have to pretend that coincidences are miraculous and that you're
superior to everybody outside your religion.
- You don't have to blame somebody for your own shortcomings, but can use constructive criticism to truly change yourself for the better.
- You can be true to yourself and not live some fantasy if you suspect it's a
- You're not a divine toy created to assuage the egotrip of a higherbeing. You're a winner, one who won the right to life fair and square in a race to the death involving a few billion other spermazoa just like you. Talk about
a helluva start in life!
- You're the direct descendant of 10,000 generations of homo sapiens sapiens. Your ascendants survived diseases, wars, famine, calamities, draught, floods, treasons, persecutions and much more besides, yet they survived it all thanks to their own human ingenuity. Only the best of the best of the best made it for a quarter of a million years. Their legacy is your genes, and you're the pinnacle of evolution so far. If that's not awe-inspiring, I don't know what is.
- Your mind is not your enemy, but your best ally. You don't fear your natural feelings be they from a harmless sensual flirt, ambition or self-esteem, and chilling out or having a hard case of the munchies aren't deadly sin which will land you in hell.
- Life becomes a journey, as you are constantly exploring meaning and truth since you do not settle for halfassed answers like "god did it," "it was a miracle", "God has his own unfathomable reasons", "we mustn't question God's will" and other creative cop-outs to keep up an illusion.
- You're more likely to have friends from a wide variety of religious backgrounds than someone who's taught that everybody on the outside are "of the wicked". They tend to speak their minds more freely around you too, because they don't have to fear that you'll shun them like lepers.
- You're free from dogma penned by sexist, racist and ignorant goatherders from the Bronze Age, and can therefore tailormake a way of life, a moral code, a means of education and civilization which is uniquely suited to yourself for maximum authenticity and humaneness and a minimum of hypocrisy.
- You'll never be duped by a slick Prophet of Profit into hocking off all your
worldly possessions because the End Is Neigh. Neeeeeeiiiigh, we tell you!
- To the theist, the divine is characterized by what is known, and the diabolic everything outside it. As an atheist, you have a relative lack of fear of the unknown. Well, nothing a little therapy can't solve.
- You have the self-respect from knowing that you're doing the right thing even though the world despises your kind. You judge by your own conscience and give a hand to the needy not out of fear of retribution if you don't or to score a cosmic brownie point, but out of your own pure moral code of conduct.
- You're free to appreciate a Muslim, a Buddhist, a Wicca, a Christian, a
Voudounista or a Satanist for whom they are, not what they are. You can learn from them without prejudice because you don't explore with the preconceived notion that they're "stormtroopers of the devil".
- You don't have to humiliate yourself and your friends on the Crusade Against Harry Potter, Barney, Barbie, Marilyn Manson, D&D, Pokemon, the Smurfs, Homosexual Teletubbies or whoever else threatens the Word Order this week.
- You don't squander your precious life preparing for your death.
- You're less susceptible to being conned because you're in the habit of
demanding evidence, and you're used to not going with the herd for the sake of popularity - atheists don't exactly have a rep for clogging up the foxholes, you know. So you know how to stand up for what you believe, and not letting other people decide what's right for you.
- You have no doubts whatsoever about the most crucial aspect of life itself:
reality. This also makes it less likely you'll feel the urge to blow up yourself and your fellow breathers in the pursuit of martyrdom.
- You don't have to suffer embarrassments when reality clashes with your world view, like the bones of dinosaurs or the latest scientific discovery disproving the Holy Scriptures, or such heartwrenching conundrums of why an all-powerful, all-knowing and all-loving deity would sit passively by and let 9/11 happen.
- The world is your oyster. There's no such thing as "Things man wasn't meant to know", "mysteries our minds couldn't possibly solve". Everything in this world becomes a question, leading to more questions, leading to endless possibilities and thought invoking ideas.
- The world makes perfect sense once you've gotten rid of man-made superstition because reality never contradicts itself. Why is there pain? Because bad things happen to us caused by somebody or something else, or our own choices. Viruses aren't "evil" - they're just doing their thing to survive. Earthquakes and floodings are natural phenomena. They're not obscure divine punishments, but have natural, predictable causes. Some people just don't care about hurting others. Life isn't fair. No one is particular favored, and the universe is a hostile environment, so there's no deeper mystery as to why bad things happen to good people and vice versa. Everything has natural causes and effects - which only means we can actually influence the outcome and thereby our destiny.
- Your teach your kids to think freely, to trust their own judgements and to push themselves beyond the limits of our current knowledge and human endeavor, as there are no questions that need to be silenced, ignored or dismissed as a mere "attitude" problems of "rebellion".
- You don't have to subject your kids to rigorous censorship out of fear that
they might discover the world for what it is, and maybe not chose the same path in life as yourself. *gasp*
- You live every day as if it was your last and that you have to make your own breaks because you don't believe in the after life or magic rituals like
- You support breakthroughs in medicine because you don't believe in miracles reserved for a select few, just as you're for advancements in other fields of human endeavor to make this a better place for us all because you don't believe in divine saviors from other dimensions.
|· I Want To Thank You For Strengthening My Faith!|
-- By Hynter[ Back to Top ]
Faith is only necessary when there is not good reason to think something. If we've strengthened your faith, perhaps it's because we've undermined some of the reasons you used to have for believing?
Anyway, taking away a believer's faith isn't our primary goal. We atheists are just happy if you stop and think about your faith for a moment. While we wouldn't mind if everyone were an atheist or freethinker, we have other issues are of greater concern to us. Also, we don't imagine that we will earn divine brownie points for winning converts, nor do we think that you soul is in danger of eternal torment.
So, what do we have to tell a theist? Please understand that atheists are just as moral as anyone else, that we don't worship Satan, that we are American citizens and patriots (or whatever country we happen to live in) who are not merely interested in upsetting tradition. Please also understand that we are serious about defending the separation of church and state, and that we are justifiably offended when government resources are used to promote a certain religious viewpoint.
Timestamp: Nov23, 2003
|· You Were Never A Real Christian To Begin With, Otherwise You'd Never Have Abandoned Your Faith!|
-- By Timor[ Back to Top ]
Everytime I see this line come up in a debate, I cringe to myself
knowingly, as I myself once used this line. I used this line when I was
a Christian. That's right - I was a Christian for three years before becoming an
atheist four months ago (as of this writing). All my life, I had been raised as
a Christian, being heavily influenced by the beliefs of my Roman-Catholic
maternal Grandparents and my born-again Protestant paternal Grandmother. Often
throughout my life had I attended both the solemn, Latin-spoken masses of the
Catholic church and the charismatic, have-you-heard-about-Jesus services of the
Protestant kind. In the beginning I leaned heavily towards Catholicism, but when my
Protestant grandmother encouraged me to begin studying the Bible, I became
convinced that the Catholic Church was way off, and that Protestantism was the
way to go. It was not too much longer before I got on my knees and asked Jesus
to be my Lord and Savior.
In the years that followed, I continued studying the Bible and also began
reading apologetics. With my faith swelling, I proudly pronounced "I am a
Jesus-Freak!" Soon I crossed the line of arrogance and declared that I *knew*
God existed. I would preach to my freinds, hoping to "win some for the
Kingdom". Dreams of seminary pervaded my thought. My faith was so strong that I
did something of which I hasten to tell, as I feel greatly ashamed when I look
back on it. In a confrontation over religion with my atheist father, he asked me
whether I would deny Jesus if it meant my little (less than a year old)
brother's life. I said, "No."
Continuing, with my faith of iron and my "knowledge", I moved into the world of
online debating. I frequented a Christian message board (which I still post on
occasionally) and debated with the infidels. Where my knowledge faltered, more
experience Christians were there to pick up the strings and easily explain away
whatever tripped me up: Biblical contradictions; evolution; logic. Still,
something bugged me about their arguments, despite how easily my peers had
One night, as I lay thinking about God, a thought occurred to me. How could God,
in his omniscience, know every action, thought, and choice I would make in the
future, if I had a free will? This problem plagued me, and I was consoled only
by reassuring myself that God, in his omnipotence, could make such things
possible, and by reading the works of prominent theologians on the subject, such
as my old favorite, R.C. Sproul. Something still didn't quite click, but I was
However, as I continued to debate, little seeds of doubt were planted. I also
prided myself on the fact that I actually researched and thought about my
religion and did not exercise "blind faith". The last thing I wanted to do was
be intellectually honest with myself, yet neither did I want to cross my God, or
worse, fall away from His grace!
Six months later I read a book that hit home in more ways than politically -
George Orwell's famous "1984". Orwell had put a word to something that I knew I
had been doing for so long, yet had been denying. This word was "doublethink".
dou·ble·think ( P ) Pronunciation Key (dbl-thngk) n.
Thought marked by the acceptance of gross contradictions and falsehoods,
especially when used as a technique of self-indoctrination
Winston Smith, the main character, seemed to me a spiritual mirror. I realized that I had been utilizing gross rationalization to reconcile the blatant contradictions embedded in "the Word" and the screaming logical fallacies surrounding this "god" fellow. Slowly, and with great difficulty, I began casting off God. It was hard; I had become so indoctrinated that every free thought felt like sin, every non-Christian website I viewed felt like blasphemy, and every day without prayer felt like the eternity that was awaiting my now "fallen" soul.
I did not immediatly become an atheist. Due to so many years of shutting out anything scientific which conflicted with Creationism, I had no idea that evolutionary theory was as concrete as the theory of gravity, or that the existence of the universe had many tenable theories. I declared myself a
theistically-inclined agnostic. Eventually, though, and with the help of the
wealth of information available through the Infidel Guy, I became an atheist.
I know that is quite a long autobiography, but I felt it was necessary to
illustrate that I did truly did I "confess with [my] mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in [my] heart that God has raised Him from the dead, [so that I] will be saved." (Romans 10:9). I contemplated attending seminary and devoting my life to God, and was so zealous as to declare Jesus more important to me than my family. To say that I was not a "true" Christian is to breed for yourself quite an elitist group of bible-thumpers; nothing could be further from the truth. It should also be pointed out that, though it may be seen as an appeal to authority, a very many Christians, including preachers, have turned atheist, including the acclaimed Dan Barker, former preacher and author of Losing Faith in Faith.
It should be noted that we are aware that atheists have occasionally "switched sides" as well, such as C.S. Lewis and Lee Strobel. Although there have been many more (outspoken, published, influential) theists turned atheists, this illustrates a very important point - the validity of a position is not determined by its adherents, but by its own merits and the arguments it can make in defense of itself. The statement "You were never a real Christian anyway!" should be avoided at all costs in a debate, as it proves nothing.
I encourage any theist reading these words to carefully examine and scrutinize their own beliefs. Is your belief system internally consistent (doctrine, holy book, etc)? Is it externally consistent with the findings of science? Is it logically tenable? (For a list of logical fallacies, see "I need to bone up on my Fallacies! Where do I start?!". InfidelGuy.com has a wealth
of information available, such as Logical Arguments Against God, Questions About God, and most of all, the message board, etc. For the Christians, the
Skeptics Annotated Bible is a great source of information.
Remember, keep on freethinkin', and question everything! Toodles!
Timestamp: Nov23, 2003
|· If Emotions Are Just Chemistry, Then Atheists...|
- can't love their children[ Back to Top ]
- have no reason to condem Hitler
- have no basis for morality
-- by Michabo
Most theists understand that a belief (or lack of belief) in God does not direct their emotions, their love for their family, or the revulsion they feel when contemplating genocide. Most christians freely give their hearts to their children without searching for scripture encouraging this. Some christians use their individual ideas of morality to reject corporal punnishment in spite of Proverbs 13.24, "He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chastenth him betimes."
Atheists see their emotions as having an evolutionary component, but this does not invalidate them. Many animals behave as if they cared for their children as we do, sometimes defending them to the death. Social animals avoid anti-social behavior such as murder, and will exclude members who behave anti-socially. We can't talk to these animals to ask them why they behave as they do, but when you ask humans they will say that it is the "right" or "moral" thing to do. Arguing that our feelings arose naturally, as they have in animals, does not invalidate them, nor does it mean our feelings are any less strong.
Further, as atheists do not believe in an afterlife, we believe the time in this
life is very precious for all people and we base our moral code on this. We
condem Hitler not because we consulted a book, but because we know that
deliberately taking the lives of millions of people is wrong.
Timestamp: Nov23, 2003
|· You are a HATE group and should be put out of commission!|
-- By Chimp [ Back to Top ]
We're not a hate group by any standards. This community delves into hard, social issues where prejudice, discrimination are confronted and our most heart-felt values and passions come under scrutiny on a daily basis. Feelings are expressed candidly and without the usual veneer of feigned political correctness prevalent in our society today. There is no censorship of materials, no topics are off-limits, and information and opinions flow freely unhampered by touchy-feely meanderings.
Here, straight answers and intellectual integrity are pair for the course. You may not like the answers, but you can be assured people speak their minds and more often than not opinions are well-researched and justified.
This is first and foremost a place of learning. Theists learn what it's like to be on the outside of the fold. They find out about all the dark and dirty secrets they don't learn from the pulpit and many enjoy the free and open banter which their own kind might perceive "the wrong way".
Atheists find a sanctuary where they can express themselves openly since many live either fully or partly "in the closet". Newbies learn social survival techniques and more importantly; they finally find words for their feelings and explore their own personal ways of thinking. After all, atheist values aren't exactly on top of the curriculum and there are precious few atheist rolemodels.
Many come here traumatized by religious people and seem to have an axe to grind with anyone just a wee bit superstitious - myself included. But by confronting people considered bullies, we quickly find out that they aren't all out to get us, and that coexistence is indeed possible and desirable. Theists often have their own demons to battle. Many are taught that atheists are wicked and simply hate their god, and naturally have a hard time understanding how anyone in their right mind can dismiss a ticket to paradise out of hand. No wonder!
Sometimes it takes a couple of serious tonguelashings from both sides, but sooner or later people learn to get along and appreciate each other for what they are - and friendships bloom across creeds and philosophies.
I'd like to invite the reader to peruse this wonderful thread to get an inkling of what this board is all about.
Timestamp: Nov23, 2003
|· I Would Like To Stay Abreast On Science In General. Where Do I start?|
-- By Chimp
This is a list of online radio stations and audio archives with science shows for the layman and other aspiring nerds.
These are all in English:
Timestamp: Nov23, 2003[ Back to Top ]
|· Atheism Has Never Been A Universal Phenomenon, So It's Clearly An Artificial Position|
-- By Kiang2 [ Back to Top ]
If we define religion as the worship of supernatural forces, we must observe at the outset that some people have apparently no religion at all. Certain Pygmy tribes of central Africa as well as the Khoi-san people of meridional Africa had no observable cult or rights; they had no totem, no fetishes, and no gods; they buried their dead without ceremony, and seem to have paid no further attention to them; they lacked even superstitions, if we may believe otherwise incredible travelers.
The dwarves of the Cameroon recognized only malevolent deities, and did nothing to placate them, on the ground that it was useless to try. The Vedahs of Ceylon went no further than to admit the possibility of gods and immortal souls; but they offered no prayers or sacrefices. Asked about God they ansewred, as puzzled as the latest philosopher: "Is he on a rock? On a white ant-hill? On a tree? I never saw God!"
The North American Indians concieved a god, but did not worship him; like Epicurus they thought him too remote to be concerned in their affairs.
An Abipone Indian rebuffed a metaphysical inquirer in a manner quite Confucian: "Pou grandfathers and our great-grandfathers were wont to contemplate the earth alone, solicitous only to see whether the plain afford grass and water for their horses.
They never troubled themselves about what went on in the heavens, and who was the creator and governed the earth, always replied, "We do not know." A Zulu was asked: "No, when you see the sun rising and setting, and the trees growing, do you know who made them and governs them?" He answered, simply: "No, we see them, but cannot tell how they came; we suppose that they came by themselves." It seems to me that Christian missionaries had more to do with blacks' beliefs as well as everyone else's than atheists.
-- Added By Chimp
Another clue universalism is simply that all languages have a word for "atheist", though interestingly not necessarily "agnostic". Russian has "bisbozhnik", lit. "without-god-person", Japanese has "mushinronsha", lit. "without-religion-person" and so forth. The word itself is found in all languages; Arabic has "mulhid", Hebrew "kofer", Swahili "kafiri" (from the Arabic word for infidel: "Kaafir", Irish has "aindiachaí", again "no-god-person", and even Esperanto uses ateisto, but "nekred(em)ulo", or "non-belief-person" is equally acceptable.
Timestamp: Nov23, 2003
|· How Can You Believe Life Arose From Random Chance?|
-- By JeremiahSmith[ Back to Top ]
Short answer: I don't.
Long answer: I don't, and I'll tell you why.
This is one of the more common arguments against evolution that one will hear
from the creationist camp. They insist that the random chances that must have
been involved in the origin of life would be so massively improbable that it
would be folly to insist on such nonsense to explain life on Earth; it would be
like a tornado swirling through a junkyard and depositing a 747 airplane in its
wake, they will tell you. However, this sort of argument has a flaw in it. In a
nutshell, that flaw is "creationists don't know what they're talking about." In
this FAQ, I will explain correctly how evolution works, illustrate the
probabilities involved, and also point out flaws in the creationists'
First, we should probably understand what evolution means. In this FAQ, it will
refer to two meanings of the word: the process of evolution and the theory of
The process of evolution is simply "change in the gene pool of a population over
time", as stated here. (Remember, folks: Always cite quoted material!) The
process of evolution has been observed in the lab and in the wild, in such
animals as fruit flies, or elephants in Africa. (In Africa, the number of
elephants with small or no tusks has greatly increased since the turn of the
century; since tusk size is inherited, this is an example of evolution.) This
evolution is a fact; it can be seen and observed.
The theory of evolution is the theory that all life on Earth and in the fossil
record is descended from a common ancestor, and that the differences between
life forms is due to genetically-inherited changes. Although the mainstream
usage of "theory" indicates nothing more than a guess, "theory" in the
scientific usage refers to something that has been supported by large amounts of
evidence. When you hear a scientist talk about the theory of evolution, you can
pretty much rest assured that he accepts evolution as truth. Note that evolution
has nothing to do with the origins of the universe or of Earth. It technically
does not include abiogenesis, either -- the origin of the first life. Evolution
does not say how the first life came about; it merely says that after it got
here, all life eventually came from it. However, I'll talk about abiogenesis
anyway, since it's part of the origins of life too.
Those definitions should suffice for now, but if you want to know more, you can
read up hither, as
well as yon. Those links
define evolution better than I have, and also clear up the usage of
Now to the fun stuff. Creationists will assume that evolution relies simply on
mutations. (There are many different kinds of mutations; some involve single
genes, some involve larger parts of chromosomes, some involve entire
chromosomes. We'll lump anything that affects the genes of an individual and the
inheritance of those genes under the term mutation.) While mutations are a very
important part of evolution, they're only half the story. The other half is
natural selection. Mutations are quite random; they're unpredictable. (Some
sorts of mutations will be more common than others, though, but they're still
pretty random.) But. The other half of evolution is natural selection, and that
is certainly not random. Harmful mutations will end up removed from the gene
pool, while beneficial mutations will become more common; that is the essence of
natural selection. The genes that end up going on to the next generation are not
chosen at random, but rather based on how they affect the organism's ability to
live and reproduce.
Let's say I have a big cardboard box with a small hole in the bottom, throw in a
bunch of balls of random sizes, and then shake it thoroughly. Some of the balls
will fall out the hole and others will stay in. Even though the balls themselves
and their sizes were chosen randomly, the ones that will stay in the box are not
random; they are the balls that were too big to fit through the hole. The balls
represent genes, the balls that in the box are genes that are passed on, and the
hole represents natural selection; in this case, the selection pressure is
towards balls that are large.
A small ball might remain in the box after one shake (i.e., after one
generation), but after a few more shakes, it will be gone and the "small ball"
gene will have been removed from the population. This is a very simplified
version of natural selection: readers should note that it does not, nor is it
intended to, represent evolution in its entirety. The main reason is that the
balls do not reproduce. If they could, though, we could make a very simple
model of evolution. Start with a population of balls. "Mutate" some of them at
random by making them a little bit bigger or a little bit smaller. Then, run
them through the Box O' Natural Selection. Take the ones that remain in the
box, make copies of them, and make another population of balls based on the
ball sizes that got passed on. Repeat natural selection.
Eventually, we'd end up with a population of balls suited to the task of not
falling through the hole. Natural selection has done it again! Changes in the
selection pressures will influence the development of a species in different
ways; what was once a beneficial mutation could become a neutral mutation (i.e.,
it doesn't harm or hurt the organism in any appreciable way) or even a harmful
mutation. For instance, if a machine was added that removed balls that were
approximately twice the radius of the hole, the formerly-beneficial mutation of
being twice the hole size would turn into a harmful mutation. If a machine chose
balls based on color, a neutral mutation that changed a ball from white to light
gray -- which would have had no effect with regards to size-related pressures --
would suddenly turn into a life-or-death situation.
Natural selection is the non-random complement to the randomness of
mutations. Without it, there would be no evolution; any mutation that came along
could get passed on. Our box of balls would never turn into a population of
large balls; it would stay random. A few balls might hop out due to zealous
overshaking (unless, of course, balls could mutate to become heavier or to stick
to the cardboard box, but let's not complicate things) but there would be no
selection. In the absence of selection, sometimes a population will end up
changing its gene pool at random. Sometimes, a natural disaster will happen, or
something else that happens at random, and drastically change the proportions of
genes in a population just by chance; this is known as genetic drift. For
instance, say the balls are evenly divided between 5 sizes of ball. If some
accident ends up randomly "killing" 90% of the largest balls, but only 10% of
each of the other sizes there would be genetic drift. Genetic drift is actually
a very large part of evolution. That said, though, natural selection will still
step in and keep things non-random
These are simply the basics of the effects of randomness in evolution. Further
reading: Evolution and Chance, by John Wilkins, which is more technical than
what I've written. Random Genetic Drift, by Laurence Moran, which points out
more on genetic drift. Where
d'you get those peepers?, by Richard Dawkins, which has a nice example of
how something complex -- in this case, the eye -- can arise using simply
mutation and natural selection. There is, of course, much more information on
evolution than is linked here: anyone who has any other good links explaining
this, send 'em over.
"Well, that's all well and good, Mr. Smith, but how did the original life get
there? Even if evolution is random, the origin of the first life that things
evolved from must certainly have been random!" And to that I say, "My last
name's not Smith; this is a pseudonym." I'd also say "Abiogenesis wasn't random
Abiogenesis, for the uninitiated, means life originating from non-life. This is
NOT the same as the spontaneous generation that Pasteur disproved, by the way:
he showed that larger life forms like mice and stuff did not spontaneously arise
fully formed. There is nothing saying that very primitive life can not form from
increasingly complex molecules. (Always remember to cite your sources and also
brush your teeth.) Abiogenesis says that a self-replicating molecule happened to
form, and that once it was able to replicate, evolution took over and started
modifying it by natural selection, genetic drift, and mutation.
So, how could such a molecule form? Such molecules are known to exist; for
example, here's a nice link. Given the short lengths of these replicating
molecules, and the fact that molecules would be coming together all over the
planet, the time for a self-replicating molecule to come together from amino
acids would not be long at all. (Because I haven't studied biochemistry as much
as I have other subjects related to this discussion, I would like to direct
readers to Lies, Damned Lies, Statistics, and Probability of Abiogenesis
Calculations, by Ian Musgrave, which explains this better than I could. The
Wikipedia also has some stuff about abiogenesis in general. Any other links
regarding processes of abiogenesis would be helpful, though.
Sometimes, a creationist will choose a protein sequence that's known to be part
of life, calculate the probability of it forming at random, and loudly proclaim
that it would be impossible for any life to form. However, they make errors in
their calculations which greatly inflate the numbers. First, some of the
arguments I've seen choose a sequence much larger than what abiogenesis
theorists claim was the first life: they make calculations based on 300 subunits
instead of the 30 or so subunits in some known self-replicators. (Subunits
refers to smaller molecules that build up larger ones; DNA and RNA are made of
nucleotides, proteins are made of amino acids, etc.) The second is that they
calculate probabilities after the fact: they start with a given molecule that's
needed in life, and then see what the probability is of getting that specific
molecule. The problem with this is that there are conceivably trillions of
molecules that could serve the same function as the given molecule, which aren't
taken into account at all.
For example, grab an ordinary deck of playing cards. A usual deck will contain
52 playing cards. A lot of decks come with 2 jokers (call them A and B), and
some even come with a little card listing the probabilities of poker hands and a
card with an order form for a book on poker. We'll throw those cards in too,
just to make the numbers bigger, giving us 56 cards in our deck. Let's take 12
decks of cards, and label each card in each deck so we can tell which deck each
card came from. We now have 672 distinct cards. Shuffle them really well, and
then deal them out one by one. Those with a statistics background will know
there are 672! different orders you could draw the cards. (672!, read
672-factorial, is 672 times 671 times 670 times... ...times 3 times 2 times 1.)
672! is a number so huge my graphing calculator can't handle it; the largest
factorial it can find is 449!, which has 997 or so digits. 672!, by my
calculations, has at least 1500 digits. One could say that the probability of
any given combination coming up would be 1 in 672!, which is nearly
impossible. But wait! If you deal out the cards, you're going to get some
combination. But the chances of getting that combination are 1 in 672!. What
gives? Did we just do the impossible? No. The distinction here is that we didn't
specify or predict a combination ahead of time. If we had, we'd more than likely
never guess the combination to be deal.
Now, we have to take into consideration that a lot of the combinations would be
considered acceptable. There are a ton of proteins that could serve a given
function; if we calculate the probability of getting any of them, rather than a
specific one, the odds get better. For instance, if any sequence starting with
the Ace, 2, and 3 of Spades from Deck 3 (in that order), is considered
acceptable, then the chances of getting an acceptable card deal rockets up to 1
in 302,111,040. A large number, but massively smaller than 672.
Now, we also have to take into consideration that these sorts of reactions
aren't limited to a small area. If it was just one trial, one molecule being
formed at once, even the probabilities we'd reasonably expect for abiogenesis
would be prohibitive. We wouldn't be here debating how we got here; we'd still
be hydrocarbons. But, there was not one molecule being formed at once; there
were billions of them in our oceans, continually forming at random. According to
Ian Musgrave's sources, a 55-amino-acid protein can form in one to two
weeks. That, my friends, is a lot of random trials going on. It's highly likely
that we'd end up with useful proteins after just a year; after a million years
-- an eyeblink in geological time -- we'd almost certainly end up with some
chemicals that could get life started. They might not necessarily be the same
molecules that gave rise to us -- actually, they almost certainly wouldn't, if
we were to start the whole thing over -- but they would give rise to something
that we'd call life.
So, to answer the question:
Evolution isn't random at all. Natural selection plays a role in "picking out"
beneficial mutations and weeding out harmful ones. Abiogenesis, on the other
hand, is rather random, but the probabilities involved are in no way prohibitive
to life forming in the time frame that we'd expect.
More on abiogenesis probabilities.
More on evolution in general.
A lot of stuff on evolution.
Or you could browse the whole site; it's
Note: I am not an expert in the fields of biology or biochemistry, merely someone with a lot of free time and a lot of intellectual curiosity to use for killing that time. There may be errors in the above FAQ; if you see any, let me know. If you can provide any other information, such as links, corrections, or simply more details, feel free. Just don't be an ass.
(c) 2003 Jeremiah Smith, except for all the stuff that was quoted, which is (c) respective authors.
Timestamp: Nov23, 2003
|· There Are Many Things Science Cannot Possibly Explain To Us!|
-- By Michabo[ Back to Top ]
This is completely true! There are things about our universe for which we will never have a scientific answer, and even more things for which we don't now have an answer. Life is full of uncertainty, and if we are honest with ourselves we must acknowledge this. Religions offer answers, but there is no reason to expect that their answers have any validity.
If we take the origin of the universe as an example, there are many things we may observe and infer, but there are theoretical and practical limits to our knowledge. Scientists must admit that the ultimate origin of the universe may never be known. At this point, the only answer we can provide is "we don't know."
Further, science can only be descriptive, not proscriptive. It cannot tell you how to live your life, how to cope with sadness and loss, or how to achieve happiness and satisfaction. Morality cannot be quantified, measured and tested experimentally. However, there are many philosophies throughout the world which attempt to confront these issues without using a god.
Timestamp: Nov24, 2003
|· What About All The Good Things Stemming From Religion?|
-- By Michabo[ Back to Top ]
Just as I would be wrong to argue that christianity is invalid because of the crusades, it is also wrong to argue that a religion is valid because its practitioners are good people or it does good works. Atheists have done remarkable things too, but one should not conclude anything other than that the belief (or lack thereof) in a god does not prevent people from acting in a socially beneficial manner.
Timestamp: Nov24, 2003
|· There's Really No Such Thing As Proof!|
-- By Michabo[ Back to Top ]
The only certain things in life are death and taxes, and you can avoid taxes.
Science cannot offer certainty and even the most heavily supported theories occasionally fall. Newton's Gravity was a remarkable success, backed by countless observations yet it needed modifications. (Note that it was never disproven, just extended. And also note that we suspect Einstein's Relativity needs modifications, we just haven't figured out how to make them yet.)
Our theories are based on repeated observations and other checks to maintain validity. We will probably never be able to say exactly why the natural laws behave the way they do, we can not use deduction to prove theories in the way that mathematicians or logicians can prove their theories. But as following the scientific method has allowed us to discover much about the universe and make many useful inventions (such as the computer you are using to read this), we are fairly confident in our methods and our basic understanding.
Most commonly, when someone says that there is no such thing as proof, they are asking us to accept their own unproven (or unprovable) idea. After all, if gravity cannot be "proven" (for whichever exadgeratedly rigorous definition they choose), then why should they prove their ideas? If one genuinely seeks knowledge and learning, then one should not seek to undermine legitimate science.
Timestamp: Nov24, 2003
|· Got Some Advice For A Newbie Atheist?|
-- By Michabo[ Back to Top ]
Don't let anyone define you into non-existance. Atheism does not mean that you believe that god has been disproven, nor does it mean that you have taken a leap of faith in believing that, despite a lack of evidence, you believe that god cannot exist. [see the definition section]
Timestamp: Nov24, 2003
|· Are You Gonna Teach Atheism To Your Kids?!|
-- by, The Infidel Guy [ Back to Top ]
I will teach my children how to think critically and be responsible citizens without religion. It's possible that during this course of responsible parental instruction that they may decide they are atheists too. If this is what you mean by teaching atheism. Then yes.
Originally written by Michabo, 2003
Timestamp: March, 23, 2009
|· What Happens When We Die?|
-- By Mars[ Back to Top ]
Everything stays the same, minus you.
-- By Michabo
"If nothing once, you nothing lose, For when you die you are the same; The space between is but an hour, The frail duration of flower." - Philip Freneau.
Timestamp: Nov24, 2003
|· I'll Pray For You!|
-- By Buckster [ Back to Top ]
I'll think for you.
Timestamp: Nov24, 2003
|· Should The Words "Atheism" And "Atheist" Be Capitalized Or Not?|
-- By Chimp [ Back to Top ]
It's an issue of simple English grammar. Colloquially, we tend to capitalize anything we feel is important, but this is considered bad form. Only the proper names of people, races, cities, regions, counties, states, nations, languages, school subjects ("Geography 101") as well as religions ("Hare Krishna") and their followers ("Jehova's Witnesses"), sacred persons ("Saint Patrick") and objects of worship ("the Quran") should be capitalized. It's a common mistake to capitalize names of the seasons and cardinal directions. Otherwise, it's basically just a question of whether something is a proper name ("Mozilla", "Microsoft", "Chief Justice") or not. Source: Oxford Advanced Learner's (et al..
Capitalizing atheism is tantamount to declaring it a religion, and "Atheists" implies that we follow a dogma. Both "theist" and "atheist" are merely nouns describing positions on given philosophical issues rather than marks of identity falling into the categories outlined above, so capitalizing them is grammatically wrong in English. Words like "freethinker", "skeptic" or "humanist" should like-wise be kept in lowercase, just as "goth", "headbanger" and "rocker".
But hey, rules are meant to be broken. ;-)
Oh, and theists? Please spell it "atheist", and not "athiest" unless you want to be mistaken for an inbred hillbilly fundy. We can spell "Christian", so please have the courtship and decor to reciprocate this simple request.
Timestamp: Nov25, 2003
|· How Do I Start A College Freethought Club?|
-- By Tsiehta[ Back to Top ]
According to the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition, free thought is defined as "Thought that rejects authority and dogma, especially in religion; freethinking." Some suggest that there is a difference between "free thought" and "freethought", usually that freethought also includes doubt regarding the supernatural. For the purpose of this FAQ, I will use the following definition of freethought: a way of thinking about the universe and everything in it using reason, rationality, and the scientific method, while rejecting religious dogma and authoritarianism and treating the supernatural with rational doubt.
Ever looked around and thought to yourself, "This campus needs a freethought club"? Well Moloth and I have, and it's actually not that difficult to get one started.
The first resource you should consider is the Campus Freethought Alliance. Moloth and I attend a relatively small commuter college in the middle of the "Bible Belt" so we decided to leave blatant rejection of religion out of the picture (for now) in order to gain initial support. However, if the word "atheism" doesn't make you feel like a black sheep on your campus, the CFA is a really good place to start. While they are not a strictly atheist organization, the term does appear on their website and seems to be a loose part of their general philosophy. The FAQ on their "about" page includes how to start a group. You can call, email the President or the Director, or use snail mail, to request a manual on "CFA affiliate groups" and assistance with getting your club started.
If you don't want to bother joining CFA or you're in a situation like mine and Moloth's, the first thing to do is find out what it takes to start a student organization in general on your campus. You may be able to find this by going to your college's website, visiting your student life office (or whatever office deals with student organizations), or by asking professors or students involved with other organizations. I went to our student life office and was given a packet entitled "Policies and Guidelines for the Formation and Functioning of Campus Organizations". It includes responsibilities and rules for student organizations, a sample club constitution, and, most importantly, the criteria for gaining official recognition by the college. For us, this includes writing a general description of how the club will operate (officers, qualifications for membership, dues/fees, etc.), getting a "petition of interest" signed by 25 students who would be interested in being active in the club, and finding a faculty member to sponsor the organization. While the details of this process will vary from campus to campus, the general process will probably be similar.
Once you find out what you have to do on the official side, it will be beneficial to find a solid amount of student interest before going ahead with the process. I would suggest finding at least a handful of committed freethinkers, exchanging contact info, and planning a meeting to discuss the details of the organization. Discuss where and how often the group will meet, how the meetings will be run, what the roles of the officers will be, who can join and how, what you will call the organization, who your sponsor(s) will be, etc. We settled on meeting once a week, 3 meetings for general discussion of a couple of member-submitted topics, and 1 meeting for a formal debate between 2 members. This kind of thing is basically determined by whatever you think everyone would get the most out of.
Consider what you want the club to accomplish. Do you want to simply share ideas with other members, have rigorous debates about controversial issues, educate people outside the club, a mixture of all three, or something completely different? Also discuss what kind of activities the club will take part in around campus. Two popular possibilities are hosting guest speakers and hosting debates either between club members or between guests on a variety of freethought-related topics. You could also host an ongoing information campaign, in which you try to increase student awareness of resources for science- and freethought-related subjects, including websites, books, journals, people, etc.
Check out some of these sites for information and ideas:
Kansas State University's Individuals for Freethought
Florida State's Union of Freethinking Students.
Atheists, Agnostics, and Freethinkers at NYU
Texas Tech Objectivist Club
Students for A Non-religious Ethos at U of Ca @ Berkeley
The Freethought Zone
Freedom From Religion Foundation
Council for Secular Humanism
Red Nova - Science Info and News.
National Academies Press - 3,000 science-related books available online for free
How to construct logical arguments.
Now that you've gotten some of your peers together and you've worked out essentially how the club is going to operate, you can continue with official business. (It's considerably easier to get support and interest for something when you have a firm grasp on what it actually is.) If a faculty sponsor/advisor is required, do that first; in interested professor be a lot of help with getting the club going since faculty tend to know how these things work. As you go through whatever steps the administration has set up for potential clubs (applications, petitions, etc.), start trying get as many people as possible aware of and interested in the newly forming club. As long as you've got a dozen or so (depending on the size of your college) solid, committed members, don't worry too much about how committed the rest are. At this point, you need a small group of active people and a lot of at-least-somewhat-interested people ("small" and "a lot" being relative to the size of your college). Three good ways of getting word out are putting up flyers about the club (with your contact info if you're comfortable giving it out), telling (via word of mouth, email, telephone, can and string, or whatever) everyone you know about it including your professors, and getting your sponsor to tell hir peers s/he is supporting it.
Okay, so you've gotten some really committed students, some fairly interested students, a sponsor/advisor (if you need one), and you have everything you need to submit to the administration for approval. (For Moloth and I, this includes the petition and an official application.) Now just hand over whatever do*****entation is required and await further instructions. From this point, the process will be somewhat institution-specific, and specific to your organization's structure once it gets going, but there are some general things you should do:
Keep yourself informed about anything interesting/controversial going on in the news that you can use as fuel for your club. Even seemingly tired issues can spark very interesting discussions/debates, often with good arguments for all sides.
Keep up frequent contact with your most committed peers and your sponsor/advisor, and slightly less frequent contact with others who have expressed interest. Let people know well in advance of meetings and any other important happenings.
Probably the most important thing about having a freethought club is keeping your minds challenged. You don't have to go far at all to get brain food. You and many of your members may be interested in such things as quantum mechanics, astrophysics, epistemology, and a plethora of other fascinating subjects about which a wealth of information is available online. Use the internet (google is a good place to start when you're looking for info on just about anything). Joining forums like Infidel Guy's is also a good way to get fresh concepts and hear fresh arguments on not-so-new concepts.
And as always, keep your mind open! Remember, this whole thing is about freethought, so let your brain be your guide!
Timestamp: Nov26, 2003
|· Atheists Have No Hope For The Future So You Must Be Very Gloomy People!|
-- By BigFresh
It's obvious that many theists find a great deal of happiness and fulfillment in their belief in god(s). Some have believed for so long or have put so much of themselves into their belief, that it has become a major source of happiness for them, something they'd be unhappy or uncomfortable without. It only seems reasonable that when people such as these encounter a person who doesn't possess their convictions, they might think that the atheist lacks joy because he doesn't have the belief which gives the believer so much.
The reason that this is incorrect is simple:
Atheists have no belief in god(s) and necessitously have no need for that belief.
More trouble is gotten into when the theist considers her worldview and thinks of the atheist in it. Most theistic religions hold the belief that a great reward will come with death - eternal existence in paradise (heaven), reincarnation as a higher being, eternal honor for the family left behind, etc. According to these religions, the non-believers will not achieve this. So how, they might think, can an atheist be happy without something to look forward to?!
These are the type of things that theists often believe and it provides them with reassurance - what they don't realize is that atheists have a much more practical and reasonable outlook that can be far more reassuring:
- "God will provide for me."
- "Everything will turn out fine for me because I believe and pray."
- "I feel little fear because God will protect me"
If you look at two groups of people, say 20 atheists and 20 theists, you'd likely find that it was pretty even between the two groups concerning who was happy and who wasn't. Atheists have no more reason (and probably less!) to be gloomy than theists do.
- Atheists are not waiting for some cosmic reward - we do what we can now to make life better and ourselves happy.
- Atheists are aware that this is the only life you get - we know to take advantage of that and live life to the fullest. There are no second chances and there is no pie-in-the-sky!
- Atheists have no fear of wrath, trial, and tribulation! We see good in the results of our actions - not in what others tell us to see.
- Atheists know that we are not in danger of some punishment after death because of "sin." We know that there are no sins, only actions with negative consequences.
- Atheists know that in order to have a bright future, we must make it that way! Our paths aren't determined by anyone else but us and we can make our futures as bright as we are willing to make them.
Timestamp: Dec06, 2003[ Back to Top ]
|· If we evolved from monkeys, why are monkey still here with us, unevolved?|
-- by The Infidel Guy[ Back to Top ]
First of all, modern monkeys and humans both evolved from a common ancestor. We both share a great-great-great x1000[sic] great-grandfather that was ape-like. All animals alive today are an evolved version of their parents. All animals are in transition from one form to another.
Monkeys are evolved. There is no goal in evolution. Monkeys aren't trying to become us nor will they eventually become us. They are on their own evolutionary path. Probably similar, but not the same as our path.
Humans are still evolving as well. Again, every time we reproduce, our offspring are evolved forms of us.
Monkeys are still here because they are our cousins. We didn't evolve from them.
To reword this question to see why it doesn't make much sense:
"If we evolved from your cousins, then why are your cousins still here?"
Doesn't make much sense does it? Obviously, none of us evolved from our cousins. We are descendants of a common ancestor.
|· Can atheists believe in a higher power?|
by, The Infidel Guy
Most atheists don't need to believe in a higher power. It's pretty obvious that higher forces, or powers exist in the Universe. It's a given, no need to believe in it. In fact, the Sun is a higher power. In ancient times, the Sun was personified/anthropomorphized. However, we know better today that though it's far more powerful than us, that there's no divine god or goddess behind the wheel. Think Apollo.
Many atheists and theists agree that "higher forces" exist in the Universe. However, theists presuppose that a mind is associated with this higher or highest force, atheists usually say, "I don't think so".
Keith Augustine over at infidels.org published this on this concept of a Mind existing without physical bodies.
Argument from Physical Minds
The argument from physical minds (APM) is a strong but neglected argument in the case for atheism. Two versions of the argument have important implications for the philosophy of religion. The first is the mortalistic argument from physical minds, which runs as follows:
Since the mortalistic version concerns certain forms of immortality, articles on the mortalistic APM are included separately on the immortality page.
The second version, the atheistic argument from physical minds, runs as follows:
- If a nonphysical mind (rather than the brain) does our thinking, then altering the brain (say by lobotomy) should have no effect on one's ability to think. But, in fact, altering the brain does (often dramatically) affect one's ability to think. Therefore, thinking is probably not something done by a nonphysical mind, but rather something that the brain does. And since the brain is destroyed by death, thinking--or one's mind as a whole--is probably destroyed by death too.
The atheistic APM was first formulated by atheist philosopher Michael Tooley in an oral debate on the existence of God; it has since been defended by agnostic philosopher Paul Draper in his oral debates. According to this argument, the fact that minds are physically dependent upon the brain is some evidence for atheism.
-- Keith Augustine[ Back to Top ]
- Since all known mental activity has a physical basis, there are probably no disembodied minds. But God is conceived of as a disembodied mind. Therefore, God probably does not exist.