The Evidence Available in Our Universe Shows That God Really Does Not Exist

The following is a list created by Eddie Tabash, an attorney from California. Tabash is also the chair of the First Amendment Task Force for the Council for Secular Humanism.

I’ve heard Christian responses to many of these claims, and not that those responses are any valid, but it’s always good for atheists to be able to recite a quick list like this. And Christians do need to have responses to these claims if they want to defend their faith.

I did edit some grammar and wording in the list, fyi.

The Evidence Available in Our Universe Shows That God Really Does Not Exist

  1. The Supernatural Does Not Exist.

    It’s not just that cows don’t jump over skyscrapers, it’s that they physically can’t. Many believers say that science does not rule out the supernatural. Science applies an empirical method of looking at the evidence in our physical world. Upon examination, the scientific method results in rejecting the supernatural claims of religion the same as it results in ruling out all other paranormal claims. The supposed miracles of the Bible do not have any greater claim on reality than do the claims of UFO abductions. In fact, claims of UFO abductions may be more believable than the supernatural assertions of religion, because a visitation from another planet may not require violation of the laws of nature as do supposed Biblical miracles.

  2. Miracles Didn’t Happen Then and Don’t Happen Now.

    If miracles occurred in Biblical times, why don’t they occur now? It is highly suspect to claim that all the shock and awe stuff was only performed for the benefit of ancient primitive people, but denied to us modern folk today. Miracle claims initially bear witness against themselves, as they claim to violate the very laws of nature that should not be violated.

  3. Dependence of Consciousness on the Physical Brain Makes Life After Death Unlikely.

    If even Alzheimer’s Disease or an anesthetic can totally eclipse consciousness, how much more will self awareness be annihilated by death? Everything we know, all expansions of our field of awareness, come about by sensory input into a physical brain. How can this persist when there is no longer a physical body and brain?

  4. Existence of Evil in the World, Both Human-Created and Natural, is More Likely in a Godless World.

    An all powerful God would be able to get points across and teach lessons and improve our character without placing us in a world of such tremendous suffering. What benefit is there to the Ebola virus that eats away at people’s flesh? Why did we need Auschwitz? Couldn’t something less horrendous have gotten whatever point across that God was trying to make? For God’s existence to be compatible with the evil in the world, there would have to be no occurrence of evil that is gratuitous and beyond justification.

  5. Evolution is More Likely in a Godless World.

    While one can simultaneously believe in Darwinian evolution and in God, evolution is more likely in a Godless world. Evolution by natural selection is sloppy and wasteful. More than 99% of all species that ever existed on Earth are now extinct. Matches of DNA sequences show that humans and gorillas shared a common ancestor.

  6. Divine Hiddenness: A Personal God That Wanted Loving Relationships with Human Beings Wouldn’t Be So Hidden.

    Why is God so stingy with direct evidence? Again, the supposed miracles that attest to a supernatural power all happened in ancient pre-scientific times, in which there existed no means of reliable verification. These supposed miracles are not being duplicated today so that we could see that such things are possible. Scientific errors in the Bible and its other flaws, including the commanding of atrocities, all make Scripture much harder to believe. A loving God would not erect such high barriers to belief and then further compound the difficulty in believing by providing us with such strong evidential circumstances against the supernatural, such as the inviolability of the laws of nature.

  7. The Religious Confusion in the World is Incompatible with a God That Wants Us To Get It Right.

    If God wants us to choose the best mode of worship or communion, why is there so much reasonable confusion in the world regarding religions? Why do the yogis of India and the Dalai Lama bring back from their meditations a sense of some all-loving cosmic soup, and yet many Christians believe that anyone who tries to approach God, other than through Jesus, will burn in hell eternally? Biblical contradictions also exacerbate the problem of confusion. A loving God should have commissioned a clearer and less confusing Bible.

  8. God’s Existence Cannot Be Rescued By Claiming the Need for a First Cause.

    As best as we can determine, time and space began with the Big Bang. Prior to the Big Bang, there was no time or space in which sequential causation could have occurred. So we cannot speak of the universe’s coming into existence as needing a “cause” in the same sense that a tall building in the middle of a city needed a cause.

  9. God’s Existence Cannot Be Rescued By Claiming That Life is so Improbable That It Could Only Come About if the Universe Were Fine Tuned by a Supernatural Force.

    Believers claim that the constants in the universe that made it possible for life to emerge are so unlikely that the stage could not have been set by [anyone] other than a divine being. However, we have nothing to compare our universe to. We cannot point to a million universes and note that they are lifeless and thus affirm that the appearance of life in our universe was so unlikely that a supernatural force had to jump start it.

  10. God’s Existence Cannot Be Rescued By Claiming That the Emergence of Life on Earth Demonstrates an Underlying Intelligent Design.

    The claim that some biological organisms are irreducibly complex fails to account for the redundant gene, a duplication of an existing gene that can experiment with a new function while the old otherwise identical one continues to do its standard work. The claim that the existence of specifiably complex organisms demonstrates the need for an intelligent designer fails because these can be accounted for by the mutations of natural selection.



[tags]atheist, atheism, Eddie Tabash, First Amendment Task Force, Council for Secular Humanism, Christian, God, Supernatural, Bible, UFO, Alzheimer’s Disease, Ebola, Auschwitz, Evolution, India, Dalai Lama, Big Bang[/tags]

  • Vincent

    #9
    The likelihood of life appearing in our universe is pretty high, in fact it’s 100%.

  • Anthony

    My favorite: Neurotheology (using MRIs) and evolutionary psychology predict supernatural beliefs to be a combination of several evolutionary byproducts of specific functions of the brain. There are no “God domains” in the brain, and there is no direct selection benefit for a supernatural belief. Rather, theists are quite literally deluding features of their own evolved minds into thinking deities, angels, ghosts, and the afterlife, are all actually real.

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  • Kerry Soileau

    “The Evidence Available in Our Universe Shows That God Really Does Not Exist”

    What evidence is there that there would be evidence of a God that exists? If there is no such evidence, the lack of evidence that God exists is not evidence that God does not exist.

  • Pingback: Friendly Atheist The Evidence Available in Our Universe Shows That God Really Does Not Exist « Digital Dharma

  • http://emergingpensees.blogspot.com/ Mike C

    Interesting how most of these are based on refuting one particular conception of God or certain assumptions about how God must work in the world. I think I’d re-title this list to:

    “The Evidence Available in Our Universe Shows That the Conservative Christian God Really Does Not Exist”

  • Richard Wade

    Oh no, not another stupid, futile waste of time about God/no God again!! Don’t you people ever get tired of this intellectual circle jerk? Shall I break out the pins? (See my latest smart ass fable on “A Christian Pastor Responds, Part 6″ for June 1, 4:10 AM.) If you’re annoyed, good; it was meant for you.

    None of these 10 arguments, no matter how “good” they may be will change the course of a single neuron in the brains of believers and none of their 10 counter arguments will change the neurons of non-believers.

    But in spite of that, once again all the really rabid believers and really rabid non-believers will swarm over here like flies on shit for another tit-for-tat about how stupid the others are. Booooorrrrrriiiiing.

    Instead of this penultimate of pointlessness why don’t we have a battle of the bands using “air guitars” and no recorded music? That would be much more fun and productive. Or a gunfight with our fingers for pistols? I know, an online sticking-out-your-tongue contest where nobody can see anybody else’s face.

    Or better yet, talk about the many important and interesting issues where religion and all the conflicts around it impact our real world and our daily life. Things that intelligent people of all persuasions could actually improve upon. There’s no shortage of useful discussions that we should be having.

  • http://globalizati.wordpress.com globalizati

    I’m with Mike C. on this one. The best claim that can be made while maintaining intellectual honesty for the skeptics is that the evidence available in our universe shows that certain types of gods (including, likely, the majority of beliefs held by people around the world) do not exist. That’s an important qualifier. Believers can always conjecture some sort of deity that is conveniently out of way of examination and reason. Of course, the question then becomes whether that deity matters, or is worth believing in…

  • http://off-the-map.org/atheist/ Siamang

    Richard….

    What point is it in a blog to complain about what people are blogging about?

    Aren’t blogs the ultimate in “roll your own” discussion? If you think there’s no shortage of useful discussions that we should be having, two clicks can get you a free account on blogspot.com.

    Take my advice… if a thread doesn’t interest you, don’t respond. If you’ve got great ideas but no outlet, start a blog!

    If you’ve got great ideas for blog topics and don’t want to blog, come on over to the offthemap ebay atheist blog… I’m always looking for juicy ideas that are in the bridge-building genre.

    BTW, I do agree with you about this thread, which is why I didn’t post a response. This response doesn’t exist. It’s only your imagination.

  • Richard Wade

    Siamang,

    BTW, I do agree with you about this thread, which is why I didn’t post a response. This response doesn’t exist. It’s only your imagination.

    You’re right, I should just treat these things as if they are trolls. To argue about it is to feed the troll. Ignoring it might help speed its passing, or at least not waste my time. Thanks for your imaginary advice.

  • http://olvlzl.blogspot.com/ olvlzl, no ism, no ist

    I’m kind of intrested in finding out the scientific credentials of the lawyer. I certainly wouldn’t take legal advice from a biologist or a chemist, afterall.

    Lawrence M. Krauss, a physicist at Case Western Reserve University known for his staunch opposition to teaching creationism, found himself in the unfamiliar role of playing the moderate. “I think we need to respect people’s philosophical notions unless those notions are wrong,” he said.

    “The Earth isn’t 6,000 years old,” he said. “The Kennewick man was not a Umatilla Indian.” But whether there really is some kind of supernatural being — Dr. Krauss said he was a nonbeliever — is a question unanswerable by theology, philosophy or even science. “Science does not make it impossible to believe in God,” Dr. Krauss insisted. “We should recognize that fact and live with it and stop being so pompous about it.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/21/science/21belief.html?ei=5090&en=1248e2f606e1e138&ex=1321765200&pagewanted=print

  • http://olvlzl.blogspot.com/ olvlzl, no ism, no ist

    Aren’t blogs the ultimate in “roll your own” discussion?

    My policy is that if the owner of the blog asks me to not participate, I won’t. Other than that I figure that’s what people have comment boards for.

  • http://olvlzl.blogspot.com/ olvlzl, no ism, no ist

    Anthony said,

    Oh, Anthony, this one is too easy. I will begin by saying that I don’t believe in a genetic basis of “religious belief”, I think that’s just another in the very long adaptationist fables thought up by the Dawkinsite fable factory. But if there was a genetic basis, it would be the greatest coup for fundamentalists and Calvinists in the history of science. They would take the science and say that it was proof that there was a God who so wished to be known to mankind that he encoded belief in our very molecules. It would be taken as the strongest evidence of the existence of God that there could be. Dennett, the strongest proponent of this foolishness didn’t see that one coming, but he’s good at not seeing something coming.

    I’d stick with the traditional atheist arguments, those have stood the test of time. For atheists, at any rate.

  • http://www.blakeclan.org/jon/greenoasis/ Jonathan Blake

    I’m one believer who was swayed by the weight of argument.

  • http://justiceandcompassion.com benjamin ady

    This is why I’m only almost an atheist. I just don’t want to believe that miracles are impossible. I’d rather believe that they are possible but rare. There it is. I found the image in this blog post provocative along these lines.

  • http://emergingpensees.blogspot.com/ Mike C

    Oh, Anthony, this one is too easy. I will begin by saying that I don’t believe in a genetic basis of “religious belief”, I think that’s just another in the very long adaptationist fables thought up by the Dawkinsite fable factory. But if there was a genetic basis, it would be the greatest coup for fundamentalists and Calvinists in the history of science. They would take the science and say that it was proof that there was a God who so wished to be known to mankind that he encoded belief in our very molecules. It would be taken as the strongest evidence of the existence of God that there could be.

    Good point. I’d also say that these “genetic” theories of religious belief seem rather improbable because they ignore and grossly oversimplify the diversity of religious belief and experiences out there. You can argue that belief in “God” is hardwired into us, but of course there are billions of people who don’t believe in the theistic conceptions of God at all and yet are still religious. Is there a specific genetic hardwiring for Christianity, and for Buddhism, and Taoism, and Greek mythology, and Native American spirituality, and Shintoism, and Jainism, and…?

  • Miko

    Good point. I’d also say that these “genetic” theories of religious belief seem rather improbable because they ignore and grossly oversimplify the diversity of religious belief and experiences out there. You can argue that belief in “God” is hardwired into us, but of course there are billions of people who don’t believe in the theistic conceptions of God at all and yet are still religious. Is there a specific genetic hardwiring for Christianity, and for Buddhism, and Taoism, and Greek mythology, and Native American spirituality, and Shintoism, and Jainism, and…?

    There wouldn’t need to be specific hardwiring for different beliefs to develop. Take lanugage, for example: it’s been pretty well established that we have some sort of genetic predilection for linguistic ability despite the fact that people in different areas speak different languages. The brain could have the mechanisms to handle religious belief build in with the details supplied by local culture. That said, I have no opinion on whether such a genetic basis for religion actually exists.

  • Anthony

    I will begin by saying that I don’t believe in a genetic basis of “religious belief”,

    Neither do I. I think the theist is deluded, and the nature of its delusion arises from byproducts, not direct genetic factors.

    You wouldn’t expect an atheist to simply make the claim of ‘theist delusion’ and not look the naturalistic basis of their delusion, would you? We are a very curious sort afterall.

  • Anthony

    Is there a specific genetic hardwiring for Christianity, and for Buddhism, and Taoism, and Greek mythology, and Native American spirituality, and Shintoism, and Jainism, and…?

    Nope. There is no probable direct selection for supernatural delusion. There are extraordinarily complex, specialized, evolved brain functions that have many unselected evolutionary byproducts – some which lead to supernatural delusions, something each of the groups you mentioned share in common.

    Others evolutionary byproducts lead to abstract logic and mathematics, things of which each of the groups you mention could use more.

  • Anthony

    Oh no, not another stupid, futile waste of time

    I think it’s important to encourage the ol God/No God tit-4-tat. One, there may be people on this board who have never experienced it before. Two, there may be people who never even considered it before. Three, I know people who have had their delusions remedied by some resonate tit or clever tat, and I’d like to see more.

  • Miko

    Nope. There is no probable direct selection for supernatural delusion. There are extraordinarily complex, specialized, evolved brain functions that have many unselected evolutionary byproducts

    I would think that if a genetic basis for religious belief does exist, it probably is both selected and totally unrelated to religion. There could be survival benefit on the extended family level in cohesive tribal politics. Most people raised in democracies think democracy is the best form of government and most people raised in real monarchies think that monarchy is the best form of government. Most people raised in Christian families think Christianity is best and most people raised in Islamic families think Islam is best. Looks like the same principle at work to me. Since most early theistic religions arose out of the tribal idea of “we’re the chosen people of our god(s) and he wants us to conquer everyone else and their god(s),” it seems reasonable that religion and politics would be linked in this way.

  • http://olvlzl.blogspot.com/ olvlzl, no ism, no ist

    You wouldn’t expect an atheist to simply make the claim of ‘theist delusion’ and not look the naturalistic basis of their delusion, would you?

    There are atheists I know who wouldn’t be anywhere near as arrogant as to believe that they can designate someone else as “deluded”. But I’m finding fewer of those every day.

    Do you believe in the “meme”? How about positivism? How about the absurd assumption that biological systems that have been in development for more than three billion years have been adequately studied in less than a hundred so as to be known enough to make blanket statements about “the evidence”? I know atheists who believe, despite all evidence to the contrary that Daniel Dennett is a brilliant philosopher and that Sam Harris is going to finish and successfully defend his dissertation. And then will go on to publish brilliant science.

    I like liberal atheism a lot more than fundamentalist atheism, exactly the same way I feel about religion.

  • Anthony

    There are atheists I know who wouldn’t be anywhere near as arrogant as to believe that they can designate someone else as “deluded”.

    If I were you, I’d be suspicious of an atheist who doesn’t think supernaturalists are deluded. As an atheist, what do they think the theists are doing with all their rituals and apologetics? Think about it – What would you call a person that truly believed that fairies were real and proactively defended them. Delusion would be a euphenism in this context.

    A delusion is commonly defined as a fixed false belief and is used in everyday language to describe a belief that is either false, fanciful or derived from deception – that’s exactly what atheists are saying about theists! I am, personally, suspicious of atheists who do not admit such a judgment, just as I am suspicious of a theist who does not judge me as “Lost” or “Damned”.

    have been adequately studied in less than a hundred so as to be known enough to make blanket statements about “the evidence”?

    Ahhh, see, that’s a misunderstanding of the atheist mind. We let the evidence guide us. Right now, the evidence is pointing to supernatural delusions as being an evolutionary byproduct of several specialized, adapted functions of the brain (in areas such as folk biology/psychology/physics, attachment, kin investment, social exchange, intrasexual competition, etc). Neurotheologist findings are merely increasing this probability.

    I understand why you don’t like the analysis of supernatural delusions by evolutionary psychologists and neuropsychologists, and the misfiring byproducts theories which result. I am a compassionate guy and I hold no expectations for a supernaturalist to be comfortable with such evidence.

  • http://emergingpensees.blogspot.com/ Mike C

    A delusion is commonly defined as a fixed false belief and is used in everyday language to describe a belief that is either false, fanciful or derived from deception – that’s exactly what atheists are saying about theists! I am, personally, suspicious of atheists who do not admit such a judgment, just as I am suspicious of a theist who does not judge me as “Lost” or “Damned”.

    I agree, black and white television was so much better than color too… :roll:

  • Anthony

    I agree, black and white television was so much better than color too…

    You’re right :) I should clarify:

    I am suspicious of atheists who do not admit such a judgment, just as I am suspicious of a theist who does not judge me as “Lost” or “Damned” … excluding the uberminority of postmodern liberal theists.

  • Karen

    This is why I’m only almost an atheist. I just don’t want to believe that miracles are impossible. I’d rather believe that they are possible but rare.

    Here’s one way to cope with this, which I also felt as an emotional loss of acknowledging I no longer believed in god: Redefine what you consider a ‘miracle.’

    There is wonder and joy to be felt in contemplating and reveling in extraordinary things all around us that don’t have to have a supernatural element to be wondrous. The intricacy and beauty of nature, the vastness and mystery of the cosmos, a beautiful piece of music, the tenderness of one human being improbably and against all odds caring for another. Hey, I even consider it a “miracle” when someone who’s dug in to a certain position starts really thinking and opens their mind to a new possibility!

    I’m not saying you have to use the same language – in fact, it’s probably confusing to call those things “miracles” because that word has been so co-opted by religious terminology – but you can still believe in lots of things and find lots of spiritual comfort and solace without having to rely on the supernatural.

  • http://olvlzl.blogspot.com/ olvlzl, no ism, no ist

    If I were you, I’d be suspicious of an atheist who doesn’t think supernaturalists are deluded.

    I’m more suspicious of people who pretend their belief that there is no supernatural is knowledge, it isn’t. My experience with people who pretend what they believe is what they know leads me to believe that they are generally bigoted, arrogant and unpleasant. I don’t generally makes speculations on other peoples’ psychology but since you are I’ll reciprocate. I think they know that unlike the “I don’t believe” kind of atheists, who are stating a fact they can be certain of, the ” I know there is no” kind of atheists are pretending something they can’t know is a fact. Maybe they feel insecure because their non-belief is based in a delusion of certainty whereas the more liberal type of atheist can be absolutely confident that they are being honest.

    You know, Karen, that Ayers, the great positivist philosopher, is said to have had a “near death experience” that shook him? Apparently he didn’t find the possibility of believing in a supernatural to be comforting. I’ve never found a clean account of what he said, except that one of them quotes the doctor who was the first person he saw on awaking as saying Ayers claimed to have seen “the Supreme Being”. I don’t ususally use that kind of story, since I think what people see inside their head is their personal business. But I’ve decided to overcome that scrupple in cases such as this one.

  • http://olvlzl.blogspot.com/ olvlzl, no ism, no ist

    Right now, the evidence is pointing to supernatural delusions as being an evolutionary byproduct of several specialized, adapted functions of the brain (in areas such as folk biology/psychology/physics, attachment, kin investment, social exchange, intrasexual competition, etc). Neurotheologist findings are merely increasing this probability.

    Anthony, you do realize that if God can encode belief in genes there ins’t anything to keep that clever guy from using even more subtle mechanisms in addition or exclusively. You can’t get out of that hone.

    So, where is this locus in the brain that you’re talking about. Where is your evidence that it even exists? I don’t mean the speculation that it exists but the hard science that demonstrates reliably that it or they exist? Yours is a line of speculation which could be a delusion and given the history of this kind of thing, the odds would be in favor of that outcome.

  • http://olvlzl.blogspot.com/ olvlzl, no ism, no ist

    Oh, and I just noticed, that would be AYER, without the s.

  • http://emergingpensees.blogspot.com/ Mike C

    excluding the uberminority of postmodern liberal theists.

    I’m still waiting to meet a genuinely postmodern liberal atheist, though a few here come close.

  • Anthony

    the ” I know there is no” kind of atheists are pretending something they can’t know is a fact.

    I’ve never met such an atheist before, in any humanist or atheist meeting I’ve ever been to. Do you know where I can find them?

    Who I meet are atheists who think that the probability of a paranormal deity is likely less than the probability of unicorns – at least unicorns have a plausible evolutionary development on a fictional earth.

    “I don’t believe in fairies” may seem to be a harsh statement to you, but I think it’s more of a conversationally convenient way of saying, “I believe the probability of faeries is so infinitesimally small as to not merit much attention”.

    God can encode belief in genes … where is this locus in the brain that you’re talking about.

    I’m not talking about any loci. Evolutionary psychology is explicitly interested in complex networks of functions, and I don’t think even elementary understandings of neurology would claim nice little laymen-friendly compartments of function in the brain. And, in case it wasn’t clear, I do not think there are God genes: I think paranormal delusions likely arise from circumstantial evolutionary byproducts of a multitude of other evolved mechanisms of the brain.

    So, once again, as an atheist I’ll let the scholarly research into paranormal delusion guide my conclusions. Right now, just after doing a quick search on epscohost, I think the trend is for the evolutionary byproducts theory to be the most empirically sound. Of course that might change, but for now it suits as a working theory and seems rather plausible given the rest of evolution theory.

    Got a better empirical theory? Propose it. It’s really that simple.

  • Anthony

    postmodern liberal atheist,

    Wow that would be an interesting find, let me know :) I think every atheist I ever met was quite critical of postmodernism. But I am sure there are plenty who are friendly to it as well.

    Any atheists on this blog more friendly toward postmodernist worldviews?

  • Karen

    You know, Karen, that Ayers, the great positivist philosopher, is said to have had a “near death experience” that shook him? Apparently he didn’t find the possibility of believing in a supernatural to be comforting. I’ve never found a clean account of what he said, except that one of them quotes the doctor who was the first person he saw on awaking as saying Ayers claimed to have seen “the Supreme Being”. I don’t ususally use that kind of story, since I think what people see inside their head is their personal business. But I’ve decided to overcome that scrupple in cases such as this one.

    Why would you? What happens in peoples’ heads should STAY in peoples’ heads, I say!
    ;-)

  • http://emergingpensees.blogspot.com/ Mike C

    Wow that would be an interesting find, let me know

    Well, my wife met one out in NM last October, but I missed out.

  • Charlie (Colorado)

    I wish the people who come up with these lists, and their arguments, weren’t quite so, well, naive. As someone above pointed out, first of all, this isn’t an argument against a Superior Being, it’s an argument against the naive Christian conception of a Superior Being. So the Problem of Evil is easily disposed with (it’s not real: it’s part of the Lila, the Great Entertainment that Brahman dreams, and of no more *real* importance than that time you dreamed you were in your Calculus final and you not only hadn’t studied, but you weren’t wearing any pants.) Ditto problems of multiple religions (because the Lila is more *fun* that way) and why God isn’t more obvious (what would be more boring than a play in which the Playwright constantly stuck in a deus ex to make things come out right? — other than, perhaps, a play in which all the characters spent most of their time praising and adoring the Author). And similarly miracles (highly improbable events that have no apparent cause; but if they’re sufficiently improbably and sufficiently hard to explain, how can you tell if they’re “miracles” or just very very improbable physical events. And how would you tell them apart?)

  • Charlie (Colorado)

    Damn. Somehow lost an important sentence:

    I wish the people who come up with these lists, and their arguments, weren’t quite so, well, naive. As someone above pointed out, first of all, this isn’t an argument against a Superior Being, it’s an argument against the naive Christian conception of a Superior Being. But these aren’t problems for other religions, like the Hindu notion of us all being parts of the Great Play, the Lila, the Dream dreamt by Brahman. So the Problem of Evil is easily disposed with (it’s not real: it’s part of the Lila, the Great Entertainment that Brahman dreams, and of no more *real* importance than that time you dreamed you were in your Calculus final and you not only hadn’t studied, but you weren’t wearing any pants.) Ditto problems of multiple religions (because the Lila is more *fun* that way) and why God isn’t more obvious (what would be more boring than a play in which the Playwright constantly stuck in a deus ex to make things come out right? — other than, perhaps, a play in which all the characters spent most of their time praising and adoring the Author). And similarly miracles (highly improbable events that have no apparent cause; but if they’re sufficiently improbably and sufficiently hard to explain, how can you tell if they’re “miracles” or just very very improbable physical events. And how would you tell them apart?)

  • http://asthewormturns.com dpoyesac

    I’d be suspicious of an atheist who doesn’t think supernaturalists are deluded. As an atheist, what do they think the theists are doing with all their rituals and apologetics?

    Anthony, I don’t think theists are deluded. Go ahead and be suspicious of me.

    I think theists are wrong, but I think that many of them have come to their theist views after careful consideration of the same evidence we atheists use to justify our beliefs. Theists just weight it differently — they place more stress on the internal, psychological evidence than they do on the external, empirical evidence. But that’s not irrational, nor deluded.

    A delusion is commonly defined as a fixed false belief and is used in everyday language to describe a belief that is either false, fanciful or derived from deception.

    Sure, but to correctly diagnose a delusion you need an external vantage point. How do you know someone has a “fixed false” belief? You compare their belief to the truth. But we’re standing in the same world, we have access to the same information, as the theist. Are you claiming you have some special insight into the universe not available to the theist? Sounds like you’re claiming to be a prophet or mystic of some kind.

  • http://olvlzl.blogspot.com/ olvlzl, no ism, no ist

    I’ve never met such an atheist before, in any humanist or atheist meeting I’ve ever been to. Do you know where I can find them?

    Anthony, if you’re going to the various groups calling themselves “humanist” you’ve certainly known people under the sway of Paul Kurtz or the quite late Corliss Lamont, in that case I can’t believe this is a true statement. And the rest of your post convinces me that those are exactly the kind of folk you’re meeting with. They took over the AHA and turned it into a cult.

  • Anthony

    I can’t believe this is a true statement.

    Uhh, no I’m quite sure I’ve never met a freethinking humanist in my life who claims that God absolutely does not exist. Nor have I ever heard of one. Let me know when you find one. Something along the lines of a quote like, “Based on absolute evidence, God absolutely does not exist and this shall forever be an unchangeable Law of the Universe until the very end” would add credence to your judgments.

    Until then, quite honestly, you kinda sound paranoid of the big bad atheist and not really grounded on this topic.

    Does anyone know of an atheist who proclaims the absolute truth based on absolute evidence that God absolutely doesn’t exist? Preferably someone alive for relevance’s sake, but anyone throughout history would help too.

  • Anthony

    the rest of your post convinces me that those are exactly the kind of folk you’re meeting with. They took over the AHA and turned it into a cult.

    Hrm? The rest of my post was about psychology and empiricism. Are you saying psychology and empiricism are a cult, such as what Tom Cruise says?

    Please clarify. I’d be also interested in learning which academic criteria for ‘cult’ you are using to apply to the humanist movement.

  • http://olvlzl.blogspot.com/ olvlzl, no ism, no ist

    Anthony, I wasn’t aware that Kurtz, Corliss Lamont and the AHA constituted either psychology or empiricism, much as they might like to believe they do. And, I also hate to have to break it to you, I’ve called Scientology a cult, as well, and have said that Tom Cruise was a lousy actor who made Barbara Bain look emotive and proof positive that the 80s were the least sexy decade of the last century.

    I mean that Corliss Lamont and Paul Kurtz turned what had been a free thought group and turned it into an ideological cult. Dawkins, as the heir to the Sagan seat of celebrity in CSICOP is getting to add a few of his least favorite ideas to their Index of Prohibitited Thought.

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  • piers

    I am not sure how this posting comment thing works. However I head the owner of this site on Matt slicks radio show. I am a person who is interested in discussion but prefer to do it 1 on 1 cus I find it easy to focus on the argument at hand. I hope every athiest would agree on the three laws of logic. From ther I would be interested if the existence of God is logical. I am a christian by the way. I am also a calvinist but that is more of a secondary thing. My email is ther so please contact me if you are interested in dialogue. I would also be happy to talk about if athiesm is a logical view. Now for the moment I am not trying to prove God’s true revelation is in the bible because if the existence of God is in question then it is a waste of time. talking about the bible. Also bieng a christian I have to say jesus loves you and if u wanna talk about more general things and find out about my testimony my email is ther.

  • Mriana

    How is AHA a cult, olvlzl, no ism, no ist? I’m a member of AHA (as well as CSH) and I don’t see anything cultish about it. Paul Kurtz is with CSH, not AHA, last I knew. CSI is with CSH and CFI. CSICOP is now called CSI.

    Uhh, no I’m quite sure I’ve never met a freethinking humanist in my life who claims that God absolutely does not exist. Nor have I ever heard of one.

    And you still haven’t, Anthony. :lol:

    olvlzl, no ism, no ist said,

    June 2, 2007 at 7:43 pm

    Anthony, if you’re going to the various groups calling themselves “humanist” you’ve certainly known people under the sway of Paul Kurtz or the quite late Corliss Lamont, in that case I can’t believe this is a true statement. And the rest of your post convinces me that those are exactly the kind of folk you’re meeting with. They took over the AHA and turned it into a cult.

    AHA definition of Humanism:

    Humanism is a progressive philosophy of life that, without supernaturalism, affirms our ability and responsibility to lead ethical lives of personal fulfillment that aspire to the greater good of humanity.

    It says without supernatualism. It does not say it does not exist or that it does exist.

    Council for Secular Humanism is not too much different (and they both, AHA and CSH, use the same Humanist Manifesto):

    Secular Humanism is a way of thinking and living that aims to bring out the best in people so that all people can have the best in life. Secular humanists reject supernatural and authoritarian beliefs. They affirm that we must take responsibility for our own lives and the communities and world in which we live. Secular humanism emphasizes reason and scientific inquiry, individual freedom and responsibility, human values and compassion, and the need for tolerance and cooperation.

    Neither one deny or affirm there is a god, just that they reject it. BTW Paul Kurtz is with CSH.

    Hope Humanist Ministries (hopehumanists.org) uses this defintion (also uses the same Manifesto):

    “Humanism is a democratic and ethical life stance, which affirms that human beings have the right and responsibility to give meaning and shape to their own lives. It stands for the building of a more humane society through an ethic based on human and other natural values in the spirit of reason and free inquiry through human capabilities.”
    –International Humanist and Ethical Union

    For more definitions: http://www.americanhumanist.org/humanism/humanismdefinitions.php

    You will find they all read about the same concerning the supernatural. So where did you get the idea that it has been turned into a cult, olvlzl, no ism, no ist.

    Anthony said,

    Any atheists on this blog more friendly toward postmodernist worldviews?

    Can’t say that I am, but I call myself a non-theist.

  • Anthony

    I mean that Corliss Lamont and Paul Kurtz turned what had been a free thought group and turned it into an ideological cult. Dawkins, as the heir to the Sagan seat of celebrity in CSICOP is getting to add a few of his least favorite ideas to their Index of Prohibitited Thought.

    Really? I just go to the humanist meetings because they offer free cookies.

  • http://olvlzl.blogspot.com/ olvlzl, no ism, no ist

    Mriana, I’ve been attempting to do some research into Kurtz and am finding quite an interesting and quite tangled web of groups that he seems to be involved with. Since so much of the information available is clearly part of his publicity I’m kind of reliant on what I can get from his detractors (not my favorite resource for objective information either) or what I can gather from the interesting and massive evidence of his pretty lurid, tabloid style, production. The Corliss Lamont angle is fairly new and I doubt I’m ever going to get past the surface of what must have been a rather interesting career in “humanism as rigid ideology” but it’s getting more interesting all the time. The names of the groups come and go at the conveninence of the leaders but their names seem to be a continual presence. I am not about to make the mistake of looking at yet another walnut shell, I’m keeping my eye on the one with the pea under it.

    I believe an objective person looking at the production of all the various Kurtz related groups would see that they eventually turn into an enforcement arm of his atheist fundamentalism. I also believe an objective observer would disagree with both you and Anthony about their assertions of certainty.

    If one of Kurtz’ boys hadn’t smeared me I might not have gotten started on this interesting look into the prevalent belief system and dishonest tactics of the “free thinkers”. Having known people who are genuine advocates of free thought, I know the difference when I see it.

  • Mriana

    I also believe an objective observer would disagree with both you and Anthony about their assertions of certainty.

    There was no assertion of certainty, olvlzl, no ism, no ist. I cannot make such a statement about anything and I’m a Humanist. The statement was a bit ackward, but it said he had not met a Humanist who can say there is no god with absolute certaintly.

    The Corliss Lamont angle is fairly new and I doubt I’m ever going to get past the surface of what must have been a rather interesting career in “humanism as rigid ideology” but it’s getting more interesting all the time.

    Humanism comes in a lot of varieties. Lamont and Kurtz’s are only one. There is Religious/Spiritual Humanism (like Greg Epstein and Hope Humanists), the Cultural Humanism Epstein is writing a book about, and then there is Secular Humanism which, I’ll grant you, is more extreme. I do know Kurtz isn’t too fond of the Religious Humanism, but he tolerates it because there is no God belief.

    Unlike AHA, CSH doesn’t have a Humanist Celebrant program, that I have found, BUT it does have CSER. AHA has one program and to become a Celebrant, you have to meet certain requirements (just like any other place). If you are looking at AHA you won’t find Paul Kurtz there, except maybe listed as a Humanist, the Humanist who drafted the Humanist Manifesto III and 2000, and a member of AHA. You’ll find him at CSH though. The Manifesto III and 2000 are stricter than I and II in that the U.U. was not involved with drafting them and all previous mention of religion or related there of was thrown out of the newer manifestos.

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  • http://www.thefundidriveby.blogspot.com R. Hoeppner

    Merry Christmas!

  • Justin

    Honestly, even before I became an atheist I’ve always found the idea that the universe doesn’t ‘need’ a cause because time didn’t exist to be ridiculous. It’s far more likely that our universe was simply born of a larger physical system that’s always existed.

    Of course, this isn’t ‘scientific’ as we currently lack the knowledge and technology to even investigate the possibility, but it’s by far the most philosophically feasible option.


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