25 Reasons We Don’t Live in a World with a God (Part 4)

Do we live in a world with a god? There are many reasons to reject that idea (part 1 here).

Let’s continue our survey with the next clue that we live in a godless world:

8. Because of unnecessary physical pain

It’s easy to see the evolutionary benefit of physical pain. If you touch something hot, you pull away quickly and minimize the damage. If you touch something sharp, you learn to avoid that. If your leg still hurts after an injury, you give it more time to heal. If you’re climbing over rough ground in a way that scrapes your palms or knees, you adapt to protect yourself.

These examples are pain that you can do something about, but what about chronic pain? There’s no value in pain from cancer, headaches, phantom limbs, and many other kinds of injury or illness. This kind of pain is gratuitous, and it doesn’t push the patient to take steps to avoid or reduce injury.

Evolution explains this nicely, but it’s not what you’d expect in a world with God.

9. Because God gets credit for good things, but he’s never blamed for bad things

God is the most powerful being in the universe, and yet Christians want to protect him from honest criticism. Praise for his good actions is fine, but we can’t condemn anything that we find bad. As if he were a baby, we must tiptoe around the drunk driving accident that killed an innocent teenager or the tsunami that killed hundreds of thousands of people. God is good no matter what he does (or allows to happen), and mankind gets any blame.

Whether you get what you asked for in prayer or you don’t, God’s failures to deliver as promised in the Bible are reframed as life lessons or tough love. “God is good” is assumed up front, and any evidence is shoehorned in or ignored. The worship of a real god wouldn’t need to reject troublesome evidence (more here).

10. Because the universe doesn’t look like it exists with mankind in mind

The Bible makes clear that the universe was created for man. Unlike other living things, man was made in God’s image (Genesis 1:26) and was given authority to rule over “every living creature” (Gen. 1:28). We read something similar in Psalms: “You [God] have made them [men] a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor. You made them rulers over the works of your hands; you put everything under their feet” (Psalm 8:5–6).

Just to eliminate the possibility that the Bible was just talking about this planet, with God having other plans for living things elsewhere in the universe, note that the Bible’s cosmological picture is completely earth-centric. From the vantage point of the earth, there is the sun, the moon, and a bunch of cute little points of light that were literally little (for example, “The stars in the sky fell to earth, as figs drop from a fig tree when shaken by a strong wind” in Revelation 6:13). The earth is clearly the focus of this universe, and Man is the purpose.

Science tells a different story. The universe is unnecessarily big for it to have been created as part of God’s plan for humanity. In addition, the universe is a very inhospitable place. The vast majority is a cold, life-forbidding vacuum. Even on earth, life is not Eden-like, and most of the earth’s surface is inhospitable to human life.

Earth is a Petri dish, and all sorts of organisms grow here, both good and bad. Along with butterflies, puppies, and robins, the earth has cholera, Ebola, and smallpox. Parasites like guinea worm, malaria, and hookworm. Famine, drought, and crop failure. Genetic diseases. Natural disasters.

Life doesn’t look like it was created by a Designer. God could’ve custom-designed each species for its niche, and yet we find sloppy, imperfect instructions that point to common descent. Each species is a variation on its ancestors, and the record of these variations is evident in the DNA. Sure, God could’ve designed life on earth in a way that mimics how evolution works, but there’s no evidence for that. All evidence points to evolution. (More)

The apologist may respond that a huge, old universe is necessary to create live-giving conditions on earth, but the evidence doesn’t point there, either. First, it’s nature that needs second-generation stars to create the heavy elements that we need for life. God can just use magic like he did in the Genesis creation stories. (Which, by the way, is the problem with the fine-tuning argument. Nature would need conditions to be in a life-permitting range. God is omnipotent and has no such constraint.)

Second, just one galaxy is enough, and our universe contains roughly 200 billion galaxies. Cosmologist Sean M. Carroll argued that you’d predict none of this extravagance in a God World. He said, “Everything we know about physics tells us that none of those other galaxies is necessary to explain what we have in our neighborhood here” (video @46:55).

An apologist might try to salvage the God hypothesis by saying that God just made a galaxy-making machine and stepped back to let it do its (excessive) work, or God made life as variations on a theme, leaving unintentional clues that evolution was the cause instead. But these are just excuses to save the God conclusion. God is unnecessary.

Continued in part 5.

How in the world can you think
that the reason for [the universe]
is to let us be here?
— Sean Carroll

 

Image via YJ Jeon, CC license

 

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  • skl

    This could all be boiled down to these few words of yours –

    “life is not Eden-like”.

  • MadScientist1023

    An apologist could conceivably argue that their god put the rest of the universe there for mankind to expand to and colonize. Of course, if that were the case, you would expect to see a lot of uninhabited Earth-like planets.

    • Kevin K

      Are trying to imply that Star Trek wasn’t filmed on location? I’m aghast at the suggestion. Aghast!!

    • JustAnotherAtheist2

      At least not the number of openly hostile ones. And the space between wouldn’t be so deadly, either.

    • Michael Neville

      And faster-than-light travel would be possible.

      • MadScientist1023

        That wouldn’t even be needed. If the universe were made with humans in mind, why not just make the speed of light a few orders of magnitude higher? Or make the distance between things smaller? Or just put one freaking other remotely inhabitable world in the solar system.

        • Michael Neville

          Mars might be terraformable.

        • MadScientist1023

          Maybe, but if a God had made the solar system there would already be liquid water on the surface. Maybe on the moon too.

        • Jan S

          Could be, but I’m doubting that 0.38g is healthy. https://www.wired.com/2014/02/happens-body-mars/

        • Kevin K

          It’s not the gravity, it’s the lack of magnetosphere that would worry me. We’re talking about a shit-ton of cancer. I would also imagine that carrying a healthy fetus to term would be — problematic.

        • Greg G.

          Sharks are resistant to cancer. Maybe Mars can be colonized by land sharks.

        • Otto
        • Kodie

          Just like on Lost.

        • Kevin K

          If this were really God World™, then Mars should be already ready for humans, shouldn’t it? Oxygen atmosphere, magnetic shield against solar radiation, and on and on. All the planets and/or Earth-sized moons should be inhabitable … IF the universe was constructed with us in mind, that is.

        • Greg G.

          Even Earth started off without molecular oxygen. It took a couple of billion years for the anaerobic life to produce oxygen as a toxic waste product until an aerobic lifeform evolved to exploit the molecular oxygen.

        • Kevin K

          True.

          But if this were a God World™ in a God Universe™, then all of God’s Planets™ should be suitable for human habitation in the here-and-now. Without need for terraforming.

          Why should humans have to wait 4.7 billion years to make an appearance on Earth? Why did the universe have to wait 10 billion years until our solar system formed? Why did two stars have to die in order in order for that to happen? God Universe™ should actually-and-really take about a week to put together.

          Any Christian isn’t a young-earth creationist (full-on flat-fixed Earth with sun and planets rotating around it) is showing nothing but hypocrisy in trying to shoe-horn their God World™ into the actual-real universe that we have been able to discern with our own eyes and instruments.

        • Zetopan

          And space would be filled with the proper atmosphere so that humans could simply fly anywhere in the universe with their built in wings, and being powered by sunlight eating and crapping would not be required. The list goes on and on.

        • sandy

          Good point. Not exactly intelligent design by any means. Obviously not god made.

        • sandy

          Also, the people who wrote the bible missed this in their 6 day creation story probably thinking the air just came along as part of the package of either heaven, earth or the firmament. Checkmate I think.

        • Susan

          Checkmate I think.

          No. That’s when they come back and tell us the bible was never meant to be a science book. It’s a *metaphor, you atheist ninny.

          =====

          *Anything that’s demonstrably wrong in the bible is a metaphor leading to deeper truths.

          The bit about Yahwehjesus creating the world is true though. Also, the fall of Man. Oh, and Yahwehjesus coming to earth to sacrifice itself to itself for humans. And lots of other things.

          But the six-day creation story and the flood and cutting off your right hand. Metaphors.

          (I DO wish they’d colour-code their bibles so we and they could keep up.)

        • sandy

          We’ll see. I have a very religious “buddy” to try it on. I’m currently reading, The Holy Bible, The Best God Damned Version which is hilarious. Seriously, it ALL HAS to be a metaphor otherwise it’s just nonsense. No sane person can actually believe those first 5 books of the bible are telling real stories.

        • Thanks for the book tip.

        • sandy

          Not sure if you have read it but it is by Steve Ebling. It’s surprisingly good and humorous.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Coincidentally, Neil Carter at “Godless in Dixie” has just recently put up an article on that very same subject. There’s a link up on the right-hand side of the article on this page entitled “None of This Really Happened”.

        • sandy

          Thanks!

        • Good point. God would make stepping stones to coax us into interplanetary exploration.

        • Greg G.

          Well, the first stepping stones are other continents, then the moon, then Mars, then interstellar travel to another solar system, then wormholes to other galaxies, to boldly go where no man has gone before, to infinity and beyond. I’ve got a bad feeling about this.

        • Raging Bee

          Or the “stepping stones” would be asteroids that will collide with our planet unless we can come together to go out and put them in stable orbits, then mine them and use them as spaceports.

        • TheNuszAbides

          not MormonGod! that there’s private property!

        • epicurus

          yeah, outside of maybe mars, after many modifications, I don’t we could live on any or planet in our solar system.

        • MadScientist1023

          No other planet or even moon. There are plenty the right size to have Earth-like gravity, but none of them are remotely inhabitable. Not without making a colony that was basically as self-contained as a space station.

        • Clint W. (Thought2Much)

          We might be able to shade Venus enough to cool it down enough to live on it, but it would take a long time. And we’d probably still need to dump a few hundred thousand comets on it to get enough water on the surface to make it more earth-like. And we’d have to convert most of the CO2 into solid carbon so that it wouldn’t heat up again too quickly. But it’s not impossible, just really, really, really difficult.

        • Greg G.

          You would still have to keep Venus shaded. IIRC for stable orbits, the distances from the sun are related to the square roots of prime numbers, otherwise there will be resonance that will eject the body. That means the intensity of sunlight on Venus is almost exactly twice the intensity on Earth so the black-body temperature would be about 185 F. (I did some calculations nearly ten years ago and I’m working from memory). Water vapor becomes a major greenhouse gas in that temperature range which leads to a catastrophic runaway condition.

          PS:
          Maybe the shading could be a grid of photo-electric satellites that absorbs half the sunlight, then beams it to Mars to warm it.

        • Clint W. (Thought2Much)

          I wonder if pumping enough sulfur dioxide into the upper atmosphere would help (that’s the compound that causes global cooling after volcanic eruptions, right?).

        • Greg G.

          http://www.beyondtoxics.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/OTA_Report-BiomassContributors_to_ClimateChange7-28-09.pdf

          Sulfur dioxide helps form water droplets that form clouds which increases the albedo effect as far as I know. Venus already has the highest albedo in the solar system. The paper above lists SO2 as an indirect greenhouse gas, which means it breaks down into direct greenhouse gases.

        • Clint W. (Thought2Much)

          Ah. Bummer.

        • Greg G.

          I saw something on my phone this morning about 158th species of Japanese tardigrade had been discovered recently.

        • TheNuszAbides

          tardigrade nationalism … just what the universe needs …

        • So it’s just a stretch goal, not impossible.

          … therefore, God.

        • Raging Bee

          Isn’t there also a lot of sulfur something-or-other in Venus’ lower atmosphere too? I hear it’s so corrosive that we’d have to build our settlements on big zeppelins that float above the noxious stuff. We’d have to get that out too id we’re to settle on its surface.

        • Clint W. (Thought2Much)

          Yes, there’s a shit-ton of sulfuric acid in Venus’ atmosphere, if I recall correctly, a lot of which (I would guess, but I’m not a planetary scientist) would condense out of the atmosphere if we cooled it off a bunch.

          Like I said, terraforming it would be really, really, really difficult, just not technically impossible. Terraforming Mars would probably be a cakewalk in comparison. Would we ever want to do it? 50,000 years from now if we’ve solved every other problem and we’re bored as a species, maybe. But I personally can’t see a good reason to put in that kind of effort.

        • Raging Bee

          WE might be able to START with Venus, if dropping lots of some primitive plant-life into the atmosphere (to eat CO2?) had some chance of working. But we’d have to spend the money on that with the understanding that it would take several generations to chow noticeable results.

        • Greg G.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/e62c7566f7adfffeab9ba573f5d91e850775c6b1d73c88579481876106b4c19c.jpg

          I was thinking that the way to cool Venus would be to get the CO2 out of the atmosphere.

          Earth’s blackbody temperature should be below freezing, but, as I read the chart, the emission barrier at about 14 um wavelength due to CO2 keeps the average temperature warmer. Venus’ blackbody temperature would be somewhere around wavelengths of 7 um, which means if Venus had H2O, it would block more radiation than was coming in, so the temperature would rise, then there is a CO2 barrier at around 4 um. Then I saw the window around wavelengths of 3.5 um and did a calculation for what temperature would radiate at that wavelength. The calculated temperature from a graphical estimation was between two measured temperatures for Venus.

          My guess is that if the CO2 was eliminated, the high temperature would radiate a lot of heat at short wavelengths and cool the planet rather quickly. Temperate zones on Earth can go from 100F to below zero and back in six months. It would still be much hotter than place on Earth and bodies of water would be a huge problem.

        • Kevin K

          Earth’s blackbody temperature is 6 degrees Centigrade — 42 F.

          Light jacket territory.

        • Greg G.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Effective_temperature#Blackbody_Temperature

          The effective (blackbody) temperature of a planet can be calculated by equating the power received by the planet with the power emitted by a blackbody of temperature T.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Effective_temperature#Earth_Effective_Temperature

          The other variables are constant. This calculation gives us an effective temperature of the Earth of 252 K (−21 °C).

        • Zetopan

          Since the surface of Venus is actually hotter than the sunny side of Mercury (lead would melt) you may have a slight difficulty finding plants that can survive 1,300 degrees F at 90 atmospheres covered with thick clouds of sulfuric acid.

        • Raging Bee

          I read one scenario where the algae or whatever would start in the upper atmosphere and work its way down as it sucked up CO2 and released O2, till enough of that heat had been radiated off that the surface and near-surface atmosphere would be cooler than it is now. Not sure how realistic that is, I read it in an SF magazine back in the mid-late-’70s.

        • Greg G.

          AIUI, the water evaporated, then was broken down by the sunlight to hydrogen and oxygen. The oxygen reacted with anything it could. The algae would have to eat H2SO4 and release H2O.

        • TheNuszAbides

          an airborne equivalent could filter acid rain! i’ll chip in $5.

        • epicurus

          Here is a twenty page preview of the artwork of a fun book about theoretical space vacations with great art work in the style of the old railway vacations to national parks. There are some descriptions on the right hand side.
          https://www.space.com/37089-vacation-guide-to-the-solar-system-book-in-pictures.html#

        • epicurus
        • epicurus

          And a couple descriptions:

          On Mercury, the terminator line separating night and day is a fascinating location — just don’t get caught on the sunny side.

          Mars’ moon Phobos is the closer and larger of the Red Planet’s two moons, featuring very low gravity and a stunning view of Mars. You have to travel at 25 mph (41 km/h) to reach escape velocity from this moon, though, so don’t worry about jumping all the way off.

        • Kevin K

          Usain Bolt is almost that fast … in Earth gravity!

        • Kevin K

          I wonder about Mercury, since it’s tidally locked. That means there might actually be a sliver of land that isn’t either volcanically hot or super cold and could in theory be habitable. Of course, solar radiation would kill you before you got close enough to look around and establish a beachhead, as it were.

          For whatever reason, radiation poisoning seems to interfere with my plans to become master of the universe. Almost as if God wanted me to stay on this planet.

        • epicurus

          In the book they mentioned underground luxury resort bunkers on Mercury that could shield from the heat and Radiation!
          And from page 12:
          “Your trip to Jupiter and its Galilean moons may be cut short by an untimely death from radiation poisoning.”
          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/75ecc38909a90032b947bb549ac6ef33fae988d69694cffd3966c7dc18389fe2.jpg

        • Glad2BGodless

          Strictly speaking, Mercury is not tidally locked. It is in a 3:2 resonance. It rotates 3 times for every two orbits.

        • Kevin K

          So, no habitable zone then … too bad.

        • Glad2BGodless

          Not until we make one.

        • TheNuszAbides

          And I would’ve gotten away with it if it weren’t for that meddling Yahwehjesus!

        • Kevin K

          Yeah, without the runaway greenhouse effect, Venus would be a far better candidate for “new Earth” than Mars. One might even write a sci fi story about how we’re actually escaped Venutians who left after they saw the handwriting on the wall. Ancient aliens and all that.

          Probably been done by Prachett.

        • Kodie

          After reading this sub-thread – if the rest of the universe were habitable, why wouldn’t it already be inhabited? 2, this is just amateur talk, but if we want to terraform another planet, in all seriousness and not just thinking humans are the awesome point of the universe, figure out some functional ecosystem and panspermiate them. We wouldn’t get to go there, and who knows what monsters might evolve, but hey, it was fun.

        • TheNuszAbides

          why wouldn’t it already be inhabited?

          there’s a first time for everything. (theoretically.)

        • Kodie

          I meant, if life arose on earth, then life probably would have arisen on other planets (not science-fictiony). If a planet were habitable but life did not arise, I think that would be another interesting question to ask, but we’d have probably ruined it before we could study it.

        • TheNuszAbides

          i get it, but assessing the ‘probably’ is still based on a sample size of one known ‘successful attempt’ for life to take hold.

        • Kodie

          If every planet in our galaxy, for starters, could host life, do you think earth would be the only one to succeed at it? I find it hard to believe, if the universe was for humans, that empty planets would wait for humans from earth to travel and inhabit them. The way it is now, we would have to adapt to inhabit certain other planets or moons, just like we have to adapt to earth (mostly in cold places and places that flood). If we’re imagining a universe where humans are the goal, and other planets are inhabitable, I would think every planet would have humans already on them rather than be vacant and waiting for us to invent space travel.

      • Kevin K

        Warp 7, Mr. Sulu!!

        • al kimeea

          I remember reading that someone had done the math and space can be warped. With enough energy, or spice.

          Unless there’s spice on our desert planet, going the energy route will also warp anything in your path…

          And we’ll need Stasis Fields.

        • Kevin K

          The math of space warping is what creates worm holes, I believe. From what I understand the problem with using worm holes for interstellar travel is that they tend to break down, and they’re too small to fit a spaceship through.

          Plus, as far as I know, there’s no way to guide them to the places you want to go. You’d pretty much be jettisoned to a random part of space, with no reliable way of getting back after the worm hole inevitably breaks down. Cuz random and a universe of possible choices is pretty poor odds of getting home.

          Seems to me a warp engine implies (in its name) that it folds space. If you put two dots on a piece of paper some distance apart, then fold that paper so the dots superimpose, you’ve got only a very short distance to travel. I’d be OK with trying that over a worm hole. Although the inertial dampeners would have to be working, otherwise what would arrive would be a spaceship with a greasy human-shaped mark toward the stern.

        • Clint W. (Thought2Much)

          I’ve read in a book by Lawrence Krauss (either in The Physics of Star Trek or in Beyond Star Trek that another issue with wormholes is that if you wanted to open one up with one end by you and the other end at Alpha Centauri, the “signal” to do that wouldn’t travel any faster than the speed of light, so it would take no less than 4.25 years to do it. If you wanted to get across the galaxy using a wormhole, it would take thousands of years to create it before you made your trip.

        • Kevin K

          Interesting. Krauss is certainly a much better physicist than I am (I’m no physicist), so I’ll go with that he says, but I thought that quantum entanglement was supposed to solve that problem.

          Ah well, back to reality.

        • rubaxter

          Quantum entanglement still needs the things that are entangled to travel to the other end.

        • Kevin K

          IANAP, but I thought there was a recent announcement where an entangled pair had communicated through space? It was my impression that the entanglement occurred remotely and that the information (spin, I believe) was conveyed at faster-than-light speed.

          This…am I getting it wrong? https://www.sciencealert.com/scientists-have-achieved-direct-counterfactual-quantum-communication-for-the-first-time

        • Robert Templeton

          I think that the confusion comes from the lack of explanation about how quantum entanglement occurs. Two particles at great distances don’t simply act similarly at FTL because. The entanglement requires physical interaction between the particles – to be fair, this might require the pairing of thousands or even billions of particles to construct something useful. So, initially, the particles must interact (at sub-atomic distances or quantum distances) then they can be moved as far apart as desired while retaining instantaneous responses. Therefore, in order to make, say, an FTL communication system, you would first need to entangle particles and then move one set far away to gain the instantaneous communications.

          Theoretically, we can do this now and it would, for instance, allow instant communication to a distant mission to Mars or further. Instead of waiting minutes or hours for LS (light-speed) traversal, we could get information as if the probe or spaceship were right here. That really is spooky because your run-of-the-mill observations (say by satellite telescope or such) would lag behind the real-time instant communications.

          I think it was Nick Herbert who wrote a lay-book on this subject (though a bit antiquated by now):
          https://www.amazon.com/Faster-Than-Light-Superluminal-Loopholes/dp/0452263174

        • Ignorant Amos

          The Physics of Star Trek….

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5omtGJpuMNs

        • al kimeea

          I’m pretty sure it wasn’t wormhole math because the article mentioned folding space will destroy everything in your path. Stasis Fields are from Ringworld = inertial dampeners

        • Clint W. (Thought2Much)

          The Spice only helps the Guild Navigators find their way through foldspace. It doesn’t actually do the folding.

      • Ignorant Amos

        Try and keep up Mike…the new/old Spore Drive is the up-to-date/out-of-date tech…it seems to be a bit of an anachronistic trope, but no matter…. it certainly diminishes light speed to that of walking. It can transverse universes it is that good.

        In the third episode of Star Trek: Discovery, its is revealed that the Discovery is testing a new organic drive system that would allow them to cover huge distances in a blink of an eye. Obviously, this technology has never been glimpsed in Star Trek before, and if it had, it would have fixed several, several problems. For one thing, the entire premise of Star Trek: Voyager is based on the idea that their warp technology can’t get them home for nearly eighty years. For lseven seasons, the USS Voyager tried to come up with cockamamy stuff like this to get them home faster. They failed every time, except for the last time, in the last episode. This was pretty much 100 years after the events of Discovery. So, this these new experiments are either a success and kept secret for some reason. Or a huge failure. Based on what happened to the USS Glenn in the third episode, most fans are betting on the latter.

        Who would have thought a story line could get so mangled in such a short period of time?…oh wait…

        This is were working backward—well really forward—in the timeline can get super tricky and complex. Mistakes happen. It soils the canon. This is why I was worried, to begin with, when they announced a prequalesque show again instead of moving forward in the timeline. If this technology is so flawless then why isn’t it used in the future?

        https://medium.com/sci-fi-lore/technology-in-star-trek-discovery-5169dfdc7111

        Now where has human storytelling done anything similar?…let me think for a wee minute…

        Anyway, you being a submariner and all that, you’ll be well aware about top secret propulsion systems…am a rite?

        • Michael Neville

          Submarine propulsion systems are classified Confidential. That technology has been around for so long that even the North Koreans are thinking about building a nuke boat. The problem with nuclear submarines is they’re very expensive to build, maintain and operate, which is why the North Koreans probably won’t build one.

        • Trying to keep up taxed the Soviet Union to death. Maybe the same will happen to N. Korea.

    • Susan

      An apologist could conceivably argue that their god put the rest of the universe there for mankind to expand to and colonize. Of course, if that were the case, you would expect to see a lot of uninhabited Earth-like planets.

      You would also expect to see no other species if they are capable of suffering. You especially wouldn’t expect to see that most of life that is capable of suffering is not human. Or you wouldn’t have a benevolent god.

      You’d also expect that so many of those who claimed to speak for this god didn’t prefer superstition over scientific methods.

    • Ficino

      But if there are so many earth-like planets, then “fine-tuned for life” isn’t so remarkable after all.

      • MadScientist1023

        First, there aren’t any other Earth-like planets. No one is claiming that. There are plenty of planets and moons in the solar system near Earth’s size, but none are remotely inhabitable.
        Second, the fine tuning argument doesn’t apply to Earth itself, but to the universe. One planet with the right conditions for life is unremarkable. I’ve never seen a religionist argue that because Earth is so fine-tuned for life, there must be a God. Of course a planet with life on it is going to have the right conditions to support life. Whenever I’ve seen the fine tuning argument, it’s been about universal constants.

        • I’ve never seen a religionist argue that because Earth is so fine-tuned for life, there must be a God.

          I believe I have. They often call it the “Goldilocks” principle or something like that–the earth is not too close and not too far so we have liquid water, Jupiter is here to vacuum up the comets, all the elements for human life are here, and so on.

          They ignore the fact that the oxygen level has varied wildly, being both zero % and up to 30% for two extended periods, and other inhospitable facts. Douglas Adams’ puddle pretty much answers this problem.

        • MadScientist1023

          Scientists have no problem admitting Earth is in a Goldilocks zone. We will readily admit that the conditions for life were just right here. But there are millions, maybe billions or trillions of planets out there. If you picked one at random, the odds are extremely low that it would be in the Goldilocks zone. However, if you picked a random planet with life already on it, the odds of that planet being in the Goldilocks zone are 100%*.

          If you flip a 1000 sided die, the odds that die #1 will show you a 1000 is low. If you flip thousands of those die, you’re basically guaranteed to get one. The fact that there is life here is only meaningful if the human race had an a priori reason to think life would emerge on this specific planet out of all the planets in the cosmos, which is naturally absurd. You’d have to be an idiot to argue that the existence of life on this planet is proof of a god.

          *Assuming the carbon and liquid water-based life we know on Earth is the only kind of life in the universe, and that there are no planets outside the Goldilocks zone that have been terraformed by alien life. Either of those could conceivably result in life on a planet outside what is currently considered the Goldilocks zone.

        • TheNuszAbides

          Adams’ Puddle might be too threatening to the bloated-ego end of the ‘bootstraps’ mentality spectrum.

    • Raging Bee

      Or maybe a freight-sized stargate on the Moon.

    • Glad2BGodless

      By and by, allopatric speciation would mean that our off-world descendants differed from us as much as we differ from a sponge. They would be our kin, but they would no longer be us.

    • If you’re climbing over rough ground in a way that scrapes your palms or knees, you adapt to protect yourself.

  • Kevin K

    10 is probably the biggest empirical reason. If this were a God World, why couldn’t it be flat-fixed, with waters above and the sun and stars in the fixed dome separating the two?

    At the very least, it’s an incredibly inefficient, ineffective god.

  • RichardSRussell

    Looking ahead a bit, did you know that this year Easter falls on (yes!) April Fool’s Day? Delicious, right? And, I’m sure, an irony utterly lost on the pathetic sheep who’ll be filling the pews that Sunday morning listening to the same old blather, lies, and false promises repeated additionally even once more yet again.

    Below is my stock response to all the halleloonies who keep expecting that, yes indeed, their Lord and Savior has only been waiting for them to be here when he stages his triumphal return, because that’s how important they are!

    Oh, for goodness’ sake! Why are we still talking about the 2nd coming of Christ? The very people promoting this idea are apparently incapable of reading their own holy book (Matthew 24:30-34), where Jesus clearly says he’ll be returning during the lifetime of his own disciples. But guess what? He didn’t! Didn’t come back then, hasn’t come back since, isn’t back now, and won’t be coming back in the future.

    And why not? Because he’s DEAD, you fools! Dead, dead, dead! Dead and gone. Dead and buried. Dead as a doornail. Dead as a rock. Dead as a dodo. Flatlined like Kansas. Belly-up like a dynamited carp. Dead and never coming back!

    It’s been TWO THOUSAND YEARS, people. Time to get over it. I’ve heard of slow learners, but this is ridiculous. Sheesh. Grow up and face reality.

    • Kevin K

      It has been suggested that as an April Fool’s joke, you don’t hide any Easter candy and let the kids hunt for it anyway.

      Brilliant. Just. Brilliant.

      • The Spirit moves me to paraphrase an old comparison: Christianity is like searching for Easter candy in a dark room in which there is no candy, after someone shouts, “I found some!”

      • eric

        In my family, we will continue our satanically-motivated secularization of Christianity (heh) this year by holding more Easter egg hunts for all the kids in the neighborhood, regardless of their religion or lack thereof.

        I figure Easter eggs are merely a generation or two behind Christmas trees in becoming almost completely disassociated from their Christian usage. And with the help of Cadbury and Hershey, the bunny is catching up. 🙂

        • Greg G.

          Aren’t eggs and rabbits already just pagan fertility symbols? Or did Jesus have eggs and hasenpfeffer for breakfast after being resurrected?

        • Kevin K

          And a chocolate croissant. I love chocolate croissants…

          And now I’m hungry.

        • al kimeea
        • Ignorant Amos

          They argue about the origins of that too, even those Christians that agree it is of pagan origin…but clearly they pagan symbols.

          Most historians, including Biblical scholars, agree that Easter was originally a pagan festival. According to the New Unger’s Bible Dictionary says: “The word Easter is of Saxon origin, Eastra, the goddess of spring, in whose honour sacrifices were offered about Passover time each year. By the eighth century Anglo–Saxons had adopted the name to designate the celebration of Christ’s resurrection.” However, even among those who maintain that Easter has pagan roots, there is some disagreement over which pagan tradition the festival emerged from.

          http://www.ancient-origins.net/myths-legends/ancient-pagan-origins-easter-001571

        • TheNuszAbides

          “Take, eat; this is my bunny …”

        • Kevin K

          I’ve had to positively decline candy baskets which my SIL used to make for everyone, regardless of the fact that we’re ALL atheists (except my mother, who is a church-goer — benign liberal flavor).

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Hey, candy’s candy! 🙂

        • Kevin K

          So is avoirdupois.

      • rubaxter

        Thoughts and prayers to those kids!

      • TheNuszAbides

        a great way to introduce basic skepticism AND cynicism!

    • Jennny

      Thank you for the coffee splutter over a word new to me, ‘halleloonies’. Perfect description!

    • Raging Bee

      He has joined the choir invisible!…

    • Ignorant Amos

      E’s as dead as a Norwegian Blue parrot….

      ‘E’s not pinin’! ‘E’s passed on! This messiah is no more! He has ceased to be! ‘E’s expired and gone to meet ‘is maker! Who’s ‘imself, ‘E’s a stiff! Bereft of life, ‘e rests in peace! If you hadn’t nailed ‘im to the cross and put ‘im in a cave, ‘e’d be pushing up the daisies! ‘Is metabolic processes are now ‘istory! ‘E’s off the twig! ‘E’s kicked the bucket, ‘e’s shuffled off ‘is mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin’ choir invisible!! ‘E IS AN EX-MESSIAH!!

      • Otto

        …better replace it than

        • Ignorant Amos

          A refund?

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          “…I got a *slug*…”

        • TheNuszAbides

          does it redeem?

        • TheNuszAbides

          Sorry, guv, we’re fresh out of Christs … tell you what though, tell you what … got a terrier in the back, poke holes in its paws, make good …

    • rubaxter

      The problem is, every year you raise a new crop of Goobers, and they then have 60 years until they die while spreading all that bollocks on to 60 new generations, even if they DO get a clue in year 60.

      Goober Nation and other clueless fools are like Duh-Nald, barely literate and hardly thinking above the money-weasel level.

      • TheNuszAbides

        exactly this. i still have trouble trusting that society is (and even if so, will necessarily remain) ‘open’ enough that pockets of arrogant stupid, let alone deliberately cultivated insularity, will dissipate in time to actually get anything done (e.g. more seriously travel, solve the toxic parts of tribalism) as a species.

  • Glad2BGodless

    Great article!

  • Theory_of_I

    A Fable?

    Imagine we are space traveling nomads who exist by converting high energy radiation for our life functions. Suppose we were able to observe the planet Earth objectively from nearby space. For example, we would probably see a fairly small, attractive, mostly blue ball. On closer examination we would realize that this object has been invaded by living parasites,* including both flora and fauna.

    A great many of these parasites survive by killing and consuming other parasites. All of these occupiers, save one, while intent on causing death to survive, seem to do little or no harm to the host (Earth).

    However, the one, at the top of the food chain, seems focused on indiscriminately attacking all of the others, including it’s own species, very often with no need or intent to consume it’s target victims.

    This occurs regularly on a small scale among individuals or small groups, as well as almost continuously with large, organized factions, resulting in significant numbers of deaths and injuries and necessitating the disposal of the now wasted bodies by dumping them in holes in the ground. This doesn’t even consider that, having developed extremely high energy weapons, they are flirting with a very real possibility of self-annihilation.

    In addition, these superior or Alpha parasites are capable of, and apparently strongly committed to doing serious damage to the host (Earth) in many ways, all the while largely ignoring the harm done and the reciprocal harm they’ve done to themselves due to the poisoning of the very air and water they need to survive.

    If we were to acquire the book many of them continually refer to as a commanding guide for their behavior, we would be astonished at the degree of ignorance and gullibility, and conclude that the God they have invented is, indeed, made in their own miserable image.

    *an organism that lives in or on a host and benefits by deriving it’s needs at the host’s expense.

    • JustAnotherAtheist2

      Interesting, but I don’t think the idea of damage to its host is apt. Humans may be changing the Earth, but unless the planet has a preferred state, these changes are neutral barring outright destruction. It’s the other life forms (and ourselves) that our actions are affecting.

      Carlin says it well here:

      https://youtu.be/tncnWp67wQI

      • Theory_of_I

        You are right of course, but I was thinking more of the things like chemical & oil dumps and plastic islands and greenhouse gasses, the damage that comes back to bite us in the ass.

        And Carlin…still the comedy boss!

    • Greg G.

      Don’t forget that the Alpha parasite has developed powered locomotion and in less than 250 trips around its star has developed the ability to leave its home world.

      • Theory_of_I

        So far, so good…

        Or, could be the start of a new fable =)

        • Greg G.

          I read Of Men and Monsters https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Of_Men_and_Monsters many years ago. It’s a sci-fi novel about giant aliens arrive on Earth. [Spoiler Alert – shaded area can be seen by a mouseover] Humans are forced to live on vermin until the vermin become extinct. Then they survive off the scraps of the aliens,living in their walls, invading their spacecraft, and spreading to the rest of the galaxy. Humans become the vermin. I like the play on the title Of Mice and Men.

        • I have a weak memory of a short story of aliens visiting earth tens of thousands of years go when only paleolithic people lived. The alien ship had amazing weapons, of course … but they were all long-range weapons. When the aliens went out to look around, the cavemen killed them with rocks.

        • Glad2BGodless

          I’m pretty sure you already know the short story, “They’re Made Out of Meat.”

          http://www.terrybisson.com/page6/page6.html

        • I hadn’t … but I have now. Thanks.

        • Greg G.

          I had read that but it wasn’t the one I was expecting. I recall a short story about Earth receiving a message that the planet was going to be destroyed but even though the life on the planet was primitive, they would all be rescued at a specific time, but they could not take their pets. At the specified time, ZAP! All the electronics disappeared.

        • Glad2BGodless

          Ha! That’s hilarious!

        • Glad2BGodless

          Cool!

    • I was waiting for you to say that the aliens eliminated the alpha parasite to return natural harmony to the planet.

      • Theory_of_I

        Oh…
        But we, the alphas, were only imagining we were aliens. Think of the cognitive disorder if we thought we needed to eliminate us.
        Besides, then I’d have to edit out the question mark.

    • Amtep

      If we space nomads think of all life on earth as an invasion of “living parasites”, then why do we care whether they get harmed 🙂

      • Theory_of_I

        As space nomads (imaginary ones at that) ,just passing through the neighborhood, we probably wouldn’t care at all. We might just be puzzled at the disparity between things the alpha parasites say and claim to believe compared to the things they do.

      • Kodie
  • Greg G.

    Off-topic for the article:

    Is this going on all over? A local church is dropping “Baptist” from its name. Have Baptists destroyed their brand?

    http://www.dispatch.com/news/20180302/some-churches-dropping-baptist-from-their-names-to-gain-new-members

    • Pofarmer

      The new churchs here that are affiliated with the Southern Baptist convention don’t have Baptist in there name either. I think “Reach Church” and “Genesis Church”sounds edgier.

      • Greg G.

        I read that this one is “The Bridge”. I didn’t see the whole article because the site wants me to subscribe.

        • Kevin K

          FWIW: That’s one of the papers I used to work for back when Jesus rode dinosaurs. I was there when they got the first fax machine, and was the first to use something called a “cellular telephone” to file a story. Actually, it was only part of a story … my editor sent me out to do a story with the instructions to use the phone as an experiment. I got halfway through dictating the piece and the battery died. Had to use a pay phone to do the rest (which was our SOP anyway, so no big deal).

          Ah, memories!!

        • Greg G.

          That would have been the 90s. I was a subscriber to the print edition back then, before they had a website.

          What’s a pay phone?

        • Kevin K

          I was there from the late 70s and 80s. They had the fancy schmanzty IBM Selectric typewriters when I started there. A huge step up from the manual Underwood I used at my first job out of college.

        • Chuck Johnson

          The Quakertown Free press used the IBM Selectric also.
          A particular font was needed so that the Optical Character Reader (the scanner) in the basement could read the stories and send them to the Photon Pacesetters.

        • Kevin K

          Exactly. We had the same system. Pain in the ass, because you had to enter a specific code before and after any typing errors. I have been touch typing since the 8th grade, but I have never been known for my accuracy. It was … humbling … at times.

        • Michael Neville

          Back in the bad old days, in the Navyt we had to type certain pay and personnel documents using OCR font. Later we got the technology to electronically send those documents to the Finance Center in Cleveland, EPMC (Enlisted Personnel Management Center) in New Orleans or BUPERS (Bureau of Naval Personnel) in Washington, DC.

        • We live in a technological world. We should teach children to write in OCR font instead of script.

          http://cf.ydcdn.net/latest/images/computer/MICR.GIF

        • Michael Neville

          Back in the bad old days, when men were men and women were women and aardvarks were aardvarks and stinking corpse lilies were… (anyway,where was I?)…. There used to be telephones which you could use if you inserted a coin into a slot. These were known as pay phones. They disappeared when men stopped being men and women stopped….

        • Greg G.

          I see. Pay phones stopped being pay phones.

        • TheNuszAbides

          yep, communication sure is free now!

        • al kimeea

          they’re still around, here and there – no phone books

        • Kodie

          There are phone books. Stack of yellow pages on the counter where I get Chinese food, and every year, a shrink-wrapped clump of them in the lobby of my building. I recently asked an energetic 6-year-old if she was going to drive her dad home, and joked about having to sit on a phone book and laughed and explained to her what a phone book used to be. I also spotted a phone booth once, and ironically, my cell phone battery had died and I couldn’t take a picture of it. You know, now that phones are cameras.

        • al kimeea

          I’ve seen many payphones – not one of these have had phone books, like they used to. We should be getting the new book soon 😉

        • epicurus

          Was the “cellular telephone” so big it came with a shoulder strap?

        • Kevin K

          Brick-sized, but I don’t remember a strap. It had an effective battery life of about 15 minutes.

        • epicurus
        • Ignorant Amos
        • My first calculator had a grill on the back to let the heat out, and when I turned it on, you could hear the static on the AM radio.

          $120 in 1974 (more or less).

        • Ignorant Amos

          Run on valves did it?

          I remember taking the tour at the Kennedy Space Centre and when we arrived at the Mercury re-entry capsule, I remember thinking that it was made of nothing thicker than a bean tin. The tour guide told us that there is more computing power in a pocket calculator vis a vis than that was on the Mercury space craft…that was back in 1998.

          It is brilliant how tech has advanced in such a short space of time. The first man went into space a mere 52 years after the Wright Brothers made the first sustained heavier than air flight. And what has been done with computers in less than 30 years is flabbergasting.

        • Kodie

          Too bad you didn’t have a calculator before you bought your calculator to work out how much of your budget to buy a calculator. You must be really bad at math to spend that much money in 1974.

        • I won’t be making that mistake again, but that’s only because now I have a calculator.

        • Kodie

          It belongs in a museum!

        • sandy

          I wonder if they would be out going door to door try to sell “the Bridge” to people? Can’t imagine that going well.

        • Greg G.

          They will probably have trolls in their basement.

        • And I have bats in my belfry. We all have our crosses to bear.

        • Michael Neville

          I see what you did there. :-þ

        • Ignorant Amos

          That gives me a wee chuckle. “The Bridge” is what we called our squadron bar back in the 80’s…short for “The Bridge Inn”….all sorts of ungodly behaviour and hedonistic shenanigans went on in there, I can tell ya.

        • Halbe
      • Otto

        The one I like in my area is called The Ransom Church…pay up MF’ers!

        They aren’t Baptist though

        • Greg G.

          If you ever want to see your children again…

        • Michael Neville

          Nice soul you got there. Be a shame if anything happened to it.

      • epicurus

        In the 1980’s there were two Southern Baptist churches in the city I live in. I always wondered what they felt was so important about SB that there was a need to startup in Western Canada of all places.

        • Pofarmer

          Ego. Often those churches are all about the pastor.

    • Kevin K

      The mega church in my neck of the woods did this a couple of years ago. It has 8000 members, a “satellite” church (at least one that I know of) where the services are live-fed via satellite, and still it thinks it needs to convert the great unwashed (all those other Christians going to not-their-church).

      Baptist used to be prominent in its name. No longer. Just … disappeared one day. Like Jesus did when he rose into heaven magic.

      • epicurus

        Pentecostalism in the southern hemisphere is where the growth is. The other evangelical denominations here are just treading water, and mistake stealing members from other similar congregations for actual growth.

        • Glad2BGodless

          I remember my former pastor, a Liberty University alum, gloating over the losses being suffered by the mainline churches. Little did he realize he was standing in a coal mine, pointing and laughing at the stupid dead canary.

        • epicurus

          I watched a short news feature a couple years ago about current church trends – mainline churches dying, Catholic churches actually growing abit because of immigration, and Evangelical churches remaining constant or having a bit of growth due to “rockin (music) services.” The story never mentioned how the rockin services were just pulling people from other Evangelical churches.

    • Wouldn’t that be nice.

      Ironic, though. The Southern Baptists went 150 years before apologizing for splitting away to support slavery and now there’s blowback?

    • Glad2BGodless

      Yes, it is going on everywhere. Baptists have been running from the name for years. The Southern Baptist Convention has been bleeding out for a decade. Fortunately, their response to this has been completely wrong-headed and ineffective.

    • Michael Neville

      The Southern Baptist Convention decided some years ago that same-sex marriage was the hill they wanted to die on. Unfortunately for them, the majority of Americans were not impressed by this and let their disapproval be known. As a result, many evangelical churches have quietly dropped the Baptist name and affiliation.