Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Until Theists Prove god Exists Atheists Rest Easy

Do theists you've encountered present to you the same questions and exclamations again & again & again? How did we get here? Prove god doesn't exist! Why can't humans create something from nothing? I'm not a monkey! Blah blah blah.... Well now here's 5 handy dandy topics to quite them. It's now up to the theists to prove something themselves or leave us alone to our truth. Atheists everywhere rest easy!

The following excerpts have been paraphrased. I have highlighted certain content which summarizes the point I'm illustrating. Links are provided if you'd like to read the full writings and I encourage you to do so. I do not take credit for
anything appearing here other than what is in red & blue and have put forth my best effort to credit each source accurately.


From review By Eric C. Welch (Forreston, Illinois USA) of
Atheism, Ayn Rand, and Other Heresies
by George H. Smith (Author)
Smith is unapologetically atheist; belief in God for Smith is simply unreasonable and irrational. Asked to prove the nonexistence of God, Smith's answer is simply that one cannot prove a negative and that the person who asserts the existence of something bears the burden of proof. He asserts that to believe in faith or to rely on faith is to "defy and abandon the judgment of one's mind. Faith conflicts with reason. It cannot give you knowledge; it can only delude you into believing that you know more than you really do. Faith is intellectually dishonest, and it should be rejected by every person of integrity.


The first method is known as onus probandi, i.e., the onus (or burden) of proof. This principle states that the burden of proof falls on the person who affirms the truth of a proposition, such as "God exists." If the theist claims to know that God exists, then we have the cognitive right—indeed, the responsibility—to ask this person how he acquired this knowledge and why we should take him seriously. If the theist fails to meet his burden of proof, atheism is left standing by default as the only rational alternative.
Why Atheism?. Contributors: George H. Smith - author. Publisher: Prometheus Books.



People who Make Paranormal Claims Must Prove Those Claims It is the claimant who has the burden of proof — the person who asserts that certain psychic phenomena are real is the one who should be presenting the primary evidence and arguments in support of what they allege. If they do not, then there is no rational reason to believe them. James Randi has offered an illuminating example which illustrates how and why it is the claimants of psychic phenomena who must make the first step with regards to evidence. He presents a thought experiment in which we imagine that we test to see if reindeer can fly, thus perhaps disproving the possible reality of Santa Claus as traditionally portrayed. We can take one thousand reindeer up atop a tall building and begin pushing them off, one by one, to see if any of them fly. They would, presumably, all fail — does this then disprove the possibility of flying reindeer?
Burden of Proof and Fraud From Austin Cline, Your Guide to Agnosticism / Atheism.


"...religious people say aha! you can't prove there's no god, we win, we win... So let me ask these same religious people a question: ...all the people who believe in one god, can you prove that there isn't more than one god? prove than no other god exists, you've got the same burden of proof that atheists have."
Proving that God exists



If they [theists] are unwilling to explain the existence of their deity, then they have no business demanding of you [atheists] to explain the existence of the Universe. This is the bottom line: the rest of this is simply pondering along the same lines. The Universe exists, this we know. Beyond that is only speculation. There may be a vast super-universe, amidst which ours is but a brief bubble (and there is nothing currently known in science to rule this out as a possibility). Then again, our Universe may be the whole banana within a vast Space. But to "see" much further than what we can currently see may require a particle accelerator the size of the orbit of Jupiter -- we don't know yet. Your claims remain within the realm of demonstrable fact: "The Universe exists, and beyond this is mere speculation." Their claims go beyond the realm of fact: "The Universe exists, and it was created by a deity." Oh, really, now! Demonstrate to me the existence of your Deity without resorting to the existence of the Universe as part of your demonstration! Demonstrate to me the existence of your Deity independent of the existence of the Universe! In other words, explain the cause of your Deity rather than the effect of your Deity!

You demand that I explain to you the cause of the Universe but are unwilling to even entertain the cause of your explanation!
They don't really know whether or not their claim is truthful. So why assert it as truth? Why not simply admit that it's speculation and stop trying to sell on what you don't even know? Why do you expect us to believe what you tell us when you don't really believe it yourselves? As Abraham Lincoln said, "It is an established maxim and moral that he who makes an assertion without knowing whether it is true or false is guilty of falsehood, and the accidental truth of the assertion does not justify or excuse him." Abraham Lincoln -- chiding the editor of a Springfield, Illinois, newspaper
Mind-Boggling Claim: God Always Existed; Needed No Creator - Cyrus "Positive Atheism Magazine" March 17, 2004 4:36 PM

(In other words, theists belief in a supreme being as creator is not proof of it. And no, ancient second hand writings are not proof, because those stories are written by believers.)


Subject: The Bible Has Two Creation Stories A close reading of the first few chapters of...
A close reading of the first few chapters of the Bible reveals not one, but two different -- and contradictory -- stories of creation. Link:

(Not to mention the how many other religions throughout the history of mankind, all with varying creation stories, ie
Babylonian, African, Korean, Japanese, Navajo, Norse, Comanche, Chinese, Chelan, Pima, Mayan, Miwok, Salish, Aboriginal, Hopi, Tahitian, Yokut, Egyptian, Micmac, Romanian, Mongol, Assyrian, Maori, Jewish, Aztec, Digueno, Apache, Dakota, Hungarian, Iroquois, Inuit, Huron, Hawaiian... they all differ so how do you rationally accept one single creation story as fact?)


Big Bang had to be theorized for we live in a ‘linear’ world where everything has to have a beginning and an end. The previous Steady State theory suggested the universe is eternal and renews itself.
This is no good, philosophically, for our tastes. It smacks too much of eastern philosophy, and a cyclic world where everything goes in cycles of existence. This cyclic world was replaced, in the west, by Genesis, and we’ve needed beginnings and ends ever since. We are all, it seems, still closet Christians.
Anthony North, July 2007


Incontrovertible evidence of intelligent creation is not incontrovertible evidence of the existence of your God -- or anyone elses, for that matter. So, the universe was made. What does this tell us about who or what made it? Nothing. What can we infer about his, her, its, or their nature? Zip. What moral guidance does it give us? None. What purpose does creation serve? Unknown. Why did he/she/it/they make the universe? No answer. In other words, proof of a creator leaves us back at ground zero. Actually, it leaves us back at ground negative-infinity -- because while science might not know all the answers, it posits that the answers *are* *knowable*. In a created universe, nothing can be known. Ever.

Faith is meaningless, because it reduces to subjective perception. Every argument for the existence of the Christian God applies equally well to all the other gods imagined by all the men who have ever lived, and all the infinite gods yet to be imagined by all the men yet to come. With science, a baseline of objective evidence can be established;with faith, it all comes down to feelings. In a scientific universe, the basis of 'the good society' can be deduced, reasoned, argued, debated. In a creationist universe, it ends up as whims and whips. Morality and ethics become the province of priests, not philosphers. Which priests? The ones with the burliest soldiers. All ethics, all morality, all concept of right and wrong collapse to the rule of the loudest preacher with the largest army -- and there can be no argument. A universe run by the principles of faith is a universe in which two disputants cannot even agree that a yardstick exists, much less on how to use it to measure things.

A Created Universe Would Not be Proof of God
The Ethical Spectacle May 2000 Link:


Occam's razor: This is often paraphrased as "All things being equal, the simplest solution tends to be the right one," or alternately, "we should not assert that what we do not have some proof for." In other words, when multiple competing theories are equal in other respects, the principle recommends selecting the theory that introduces the fewest assumptions and postulates the fewest entities
"No plurality should be assumed unless it can be proved (a) by reason, or (b) by experience, or (c) by some infallible authority"


In order to avoid the problem of the Universe being an uncaused cause some say that god has always existed and has therefore never been created: It therefore needs no cause. But I find this is an argument that can be used in conjunction with big bang theory to prove, again, that god is not likely to exist as a first cause. Because according to some Big Bang theories there has been an infinite number of cycles of Big Bang / Big Crunch (where the Universe ends in a big black hole after contracting) and that the Universe has existed forever. If it is possible for something to exist forever and not need a cause then it is likely to be the Universe, not God, and once again we can theorize that this is likely to be true because there would be no reason for god if it was true that something could exist with no cause. Big Bang models describe the creation of all the dimensions of space including time itself, so that to ask "what happened before the big bang?" is meaningless in the same way as asking "what was god doing before it created time?".
God did not create the Universe
God doesn't need a cause because it has existed forever
By Vexen Crabtree, 2002 Aug 23


(To put it simply, a supernatural creator as an origin explanation is more complex than the big bang or evolutionary theories, and therefor is unlikely to be accurate.)


Obviously religions are a good example of faith, since many actually preach the virtue of faith. If you say you can't understand why God would let innocent people die, or children get abused, or anything else, they say you're not supposed to understand. You're supposed to just believe. Just take it on faith. Believe without reason, without evidence, and without understanding.
Reason and faith are completely incompatible. Faith is the destroyer of reason. It takes particular ideas and divorces them from reality and from reason. If you accept something on faith, you are essentially saying that you will take it off of the table with regards to reason, and treat it how you feel like treating it. Wherever faith goes, reason is pushed out. Objectivism 101 Reason vs. Faith Lectures Home

(Faith in a god is what tells theists humanity is not of scientific origin.)


Imagine for moment that you have been falsely accused of a crime - murder. You are completely innocent and before a jury with your life in the balance. Your defense attorney points out to the jury that there is not one shred of physical evidence against you. There are hundreds of witnesses who can swear that you were not near the victim at the time of the crime. There is a mountain of physical evidence to back up your defense. Yet 85% of your neighbors and townsfolk believe that you are guilty.
Meet An Atheist Tuesday, November 01, 2005 Reason vs. Faith

(The articles goes on to describe how frightening faithful masses can be.)


Conservative activist Beverly LaHaye, a biblical literalist who is president of Concerned Women for America, puts the matter directly: "If the biblical account of creation in Genesis isn't true, how can we trust the rest of the Bible?"
...Once this one thread is pulled from the fabric of religious belief, perhaps the whole will become unraveled, with grave social consequences. Without the strictures and traditions imposed by a religion that promises to punish sinners, the moral controls that moderate our base desires will lose their validity, leading ultimately to moral chaos. Ironically, today many modern conservatives fervently agree with Karl Marx that religion is "the opium of the people"; they add a heartfelt, "Thank God!" Another prominent neoconservative, Leon Kass, author of Toward a More Natural Science (1985), and a member of the University of Chicago's prestigious Committee on Social Thought, also believes that evolutionary theory poses a threat to social order: "[T]he creationists and their fundamentalist patrons...sense that orthodox evolutionary theory cannot support any notions we might have regarding human dignity or man's special place in the whole. And they see that Western moral teaching, so closely tied to Scripture, is also in peril if any major part of Scripture can be shown to be false."
Origin of the Specious,
Why do neoconservatives doubt Darwin? by Ronald Bailey | July 1997

(Nothing like a little faith to get your stake burning!)


As a matter of historical curiosity, this new turning of neocon eyes toward heaven comes just as Pope John Paul II has officially recognized that "the theory of evolution is more than an hypothesis." Indeed, it comes as evolutionary thinking itself is shedding considerable light on an array of questions and problems, from brain growth to the development of immune systems, from sociobiology to economics, from ecology to software design. Such research is yielding anti-designer results. F.A. Hayek long ago recognized the phenomenon of "spontaneous order" and described how it arose in markets, families, and other social institutions. Now, ingenious computer models are confirming Hayek's insights. It is increasingly obvious that social systems, from commerce to language, evolve and adapt without the need for top-down planning and organization. Order in markets is generated through processes analogous to Darwinian natural selection in biology. In other words, we can indeed have apparent design without a designer; the world is demonstrably brimming with just such phenomena.

Among those working on the origins question is biologist and Nobel laureate Christian De Duve, who has outlined a theory of how life might have arisen. He dubs his theory the "thioester-iron world," after the chemicals he thinks could have reacted together to create "protometabolisms" that could evolve. He admits his theory is very speculative, but believes that one day biologists may find traces of the prior existence of these protometabolisms in the biochemistry of contemporary organisms.

Another promising approach is complexity theory. Scientists at the Santa Fe Institute argue that life is practically the inevitable result of the laws of physics and chemistry. According to Stuart Kauffman, life bootstrapped itself into existence through autocatalytic sets of chemicals that were in the primordial soup. Kauffman postulates that if a chemical soup has enough different types of compounds, they will begin to act in metabolic ways and be able to reproduce and evolve. (See "Who Ordered That?" February 1996.)
In fact, a German scientist, Günter Wächtershäuser, has recently published a paper in Science magazine describing his efforts to uncover such plausible protometabolisms. He has found an open-ended chemical cycle that produces an active form of acetic acid, thought to mirror an ancient metabolic pathway in bacteria. Such a protometabolism, he argues, could have existed billions of years ago on metal sulfide surfaces found at hot deep ocean vents, and could have been one of the first steps in the evolution of life. Origin of the Specious, Why do neoconservatives doubt Darwin? Ronald Bailey | July 1997


The uncertainty principle implies that particles can come into existence for short periods of time even when there is not enough energy to create them. In effect, they are created from uncertainties in energy. One could say that they briefly "borrow" the energy required for their creation, and then, a short time later, they pay the "debt" back and disappear again. Since these particles do not have a permanent existence, they are called virtual particles. (Morris, Richard. 1990.
The Edges of Science)

In modern physics, there is no such thing as "nothing."
Even in a perfect vacuum, pairs of virtual particles are constantly being created and destroyed. The existence of these particles is no mathematical fiction. Though they cannot be directly observed, the effects they create are quite real. The assumption that they exist leads to predictions that have been confirmed by experiment to a high degree of accuracy.
(Morris, Richard. 1990. The Edges of Science)

There are something like ten million million million million million million million million million million million million million million (1 with eighty zeroes after it) particles in the region of the universe that we can observe. Where did they all come from? The answer is that, in quantum theory, particles can be created out of energy in the form of particle/antiparticle pairs. But that just raises the question of where the energy came from. The answer is that the total energy of the universe is exactly zero. The matter in the universe is made out of positive energy. However, the matter is all attracting itself by gravity. Two pieces of matter that are close to each other have less energy than the same two pieces a long way apart, because you have to expend energy to separate them against the gravitational force that is pulling them together. Thus, in a sense, the gravitational field has negative energy. In the case of a universe that is approximately uniform in space, one can show that this negative gravitational energy exactly cancels the positive energy represented by the matter. So the total energy of the universe is zero. (Hawking, Steven. 1988.
A Brief History of Time)

Once our minds accept the mutability of matter and the new idea of the vacuum, we can speculate on the origin of the biggest thing we know - the universe. Maybe the universe itself sprang into existence out of nothingness - a gigantic vacuum fluctuation which we know today as the big bang. Remarkably, the laws of modern physics allow for this possibility.

Creation ex nihilo - Without God (1997)
By Mark I. Vuletic


Parmenides realized over 2,500 years ago that anything that involves a logical contradiction cannot exist. We know that there are no married bachelors, no square circles, and no largest number because these notions are self-contradictory. They violate the most fundamental law of logic-the law of noncontradiction-which says that nothing can both have a property and lack it at the same time. So one way to prove a universal negative is to show that the notion of a thing is inconsistent. To prove that God does not exist, then, one only has to demonstrate that the concept of God is inconsistent.

God is a theoretical entity that is postulated by theists to explain various phenomena, such as the origin of the universe, the design of the universe, and the origin of living things. Modern science, however, can explain all of these phenomena without postulating the existence of God. In the words of Laplace, science has no need of that hypothesis. By demonstrating that God is not needed to explain anything, science has proven that there is no more reason to believe in the existence of God than to believe in the existence of phlogiston, the luminiferous ether, or Vulcan. This may explain why more than 90% of the world's top scientists disbelieve or doubt the existence of God.

Scientists prefer natural explanations to supernatural ones, not because of any metaphysical bias on their part, but because natural explanations produce more understanding than supernatural ones. As Plato realized, to say that God did it is not to explain anything, but simply to offer an excuse for not having an explanation.
Supernatural explanations are inherently inferior to natural ones because they do not meet the criteria of adequacy as well. For example, they are usually less simple because they assume the existence of at least one additional type of entity. They usually have less scope because they don't explain how the phenomena in question are produced and thus they raise more questions than they answer. They are usually less conservative because they imply that certain natural laws have been violated. And they are usually less fruitful because they don't make any novel predictions

What if there was no plausible natural explanation for some phenomena? Would that justify the claim that god caused it? No, for our inability to provide a natural explanation may simply be due to our ignorance of the operative natural forces. Many phenomena that were once attributed to supernatural beings such as earthquakes, volcanoes, and disease can now be explained in purely natural terms. As St. Augustine realized, apparent miracles are not contrary to nature but contrary to our knowledge of nature.
Given the inherent inferiority of supernatural explanations and the incompleteness of our knowledge, theists would be justified in offering a supernatural explanation for a phenomenon only if they could prove that it is in principle impossible to provide a natural explanation of it. In other words, to undermine the scientific proof for the non-existence of god, theists have to prove an unrestricted negative, namely, that no natural explanation of a phenomenon will be found. And that, I believe, is an unrestricted negative that no theist will ever be able to prove.
Can Science Prove that God Does Not Exist? by Theodore Schick, Jr. Inquiry magazine, Volume 21, Number 1.

(Just because we don't have the answer, does not make the answer mystical.)

"Religion is based...mainly upon fear...fear of the mysterious, fear of defeat, fear of death. Fear is the parent of cruelty, and therefore it is no wonder if cruelty and religion have gone hand in hand.... My own view on religion is that of Lucretius. I regard it as a disease born of fear and as a source of untold misery to the human race." Philosopher Bertrand Russell, Religion is Mental Illness


PART II: NightLine Debate- Does God Exist? (1 of 5) [ See also parts 2-5]
The Atheist Jew
Christians don't use circular logic!!!

Any Ayn Rand book, The Bible (It contradicts itself enough to prove its fictional.), The Origin of Species, A Brief History of Time, Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism, Atheism, Morality, and Meaning, Atheism: A Philosophical Justification, Atheism: The Case Against God

I could spend the rest of my life compiling arguments for and against god, creation, evolution, etc. etc. etc. That would be a very boring and meaningless life for me. Faith and reason are opposites, so for every argument on the side of atheism, there will always be an opposing argument based on religious faith. I trust that science will eventually explain concretely our origins. This trust is not, as some would argue, comparable to faith because I do not have to suspend logic, reason, observation, or rationality to know that science can and has explained things. The nature of science is to prove and disprove hypotheses. Thereby, I do not have the burden of proving god does not exist. Scientists will do that for me.
And there you have it.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

4-legged fish fossil unearthed in Latvia
Seth Borenstein,
Thursday, June 26, 2008

Take that Kirk Cameron!