Politician says he knows 'for a fact' that God does not exist

Politician says he knows 'for a fact' that God does not exist August 4, 2016

John Halligan, above, Ireland’s Minister of State for Training, Skills and Innovation, has outraged faith-heads by claiming that God does not exist, and that some people in the pro-life movement are ‘bastards’.
According to this report, he equated anti-abortionists with the Jihadi terror group Isis.
If that wasn’t enough to ruffle the fundies’ feathers, Halligan said he would “absolutely” break the law to help someone die by suicide if he or she were in pain.
And there more.
He argues that prostitution should be regulated so that “lonely” men have an outlet for sex and that people caught smoking “a bit of hash” should not be brought to court.
An atheist, Mr Halligan says that he doesn’t believe a God could exist because nobody could create a world of raging war, murders and rapes.

We’re being asked to believe that – boom – Adam and Eve appeared on earth, and then we all came from Adam and Eve. I don’t think there’s any God – I know for a fact there’s not.

However, he believes other species exist in the universe but humans may be “so unsophisticated” or “moronic” that they are “just passing us off”.
Halligan added that humans need to get over their own self-importance and realise that in a short time the earth will be gone.

The solar system will be destroyed. Our sun will burn up and burn out and destroy all the planets.

The minister recently placed himself in direct conflict with his government partners in Fine Gael by insisting that he be allowed vote in favour of a Mick Wallace Bill that would pave the way for abortion.
Having been subjected to threats because of his stance on abortion, Mr Halligan describes a minority of people in the pro-life movement as “a mob” and he has taken legal advice on “the bastards”.

And they’re the guys who call themselves Christians. Could you imagine those people in power? Oh, Isis here we come.

According to this report, the outspoken Waterford politician is also planning to introduce a bill proposing to make assisted suicide legal in Ireland.
He said:

The objective of the bill is that, people who are terminally ill and are about to die within six months, who are going through insufferable pain, that they should have a right to be assisted to die.
It’s not criminally wrong to commit suicide in Ireland but it’s wrong legislatively or criminally if you help someone, if you assist somebody with suicide. I think that’s terrible.
It probably is a step too far in a relatively conservative country that it (the bill) would be passed on first go. It probably won’t be but it will be interesting to see how many people vote for it.

Speaking to Keelin Shanley on RTÉ Radio 1, Halligan said he would help an Irish citizen to die if they needed it.

If someone came to me and asked for help, I’d have to think about it very carefully, but I would certainly give them all the details regarding Dignitas in Switzerland, how to get there, I have all the information.
I think even by saying this to you – it’s illegal for me to do that – but, what the heck, I believe in it. If I believe in assisted suicide I have to go through and believe that I would help people.

Speaking about the pain and suffering a friend of his went through a few years ago, John said animals would be treated better.
He recalled:

He had abdominal cancer that spread to his private parts. I remember going to see him and he was bleeding from his eyes with the pain he was going through. It was absolutely unbelievable. He died about six weeks later but for those weeks he went through the most unbelievable inhumane pain that even morphine would not relieve.
He wanted to die, he said it to me ‘I shouldn’t be like this’, in pain 24 hours a day. We have to look at that.
I know we can’t equate animals with humans but if your pet was sick you would ask the vet to end their suffering.

He also revealed that he has it written in his will that he would like to be helped end his life if he is diagnosed with a terminal illness.

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  • Paul

    Finally a politician with logic.
    Someone with some sense.

  • Broga

    I like John Halligan and agree with his comments. I know a Christian who insisted that I could not know that a God could not exist. I said that the existence of the Christian God as in the version of the bible he was using, which is what we were discussing, was so vanishingly unlikely that this justified the insistence that he did not exist.
    The “you cannot know” argument is often used.
    On animals and humans I still feel bitter about my experience. My mother lived through three terrible months, in pain, unable to sleep and doubly incontinent, begging to die. We could do nothing. When our yellow Labrador was in pain and beyond recovery he vet gave him an injection and he died in peace.
    We collected our new black Labrador pup today.

  • RussellW

    Agreed, the burden of proof is on the believers, not the unbelievers, there’s no evidence, only wishful thinking by the religiots.
    I’ve pointed out to believers that if we assume the existence of a deity, he, she or it must be a sadistic bastard.

  • “You cannot disprove a negative” (such as ‘there is no and can be no God’) is, itself, a proof that is a negative. Self-contradictory claims cannot be true. Therefore the claim is false.
    Proofs of evidence can be difficult to demonstrate. Proofs of self-contradiction can be simple.

  • 1859

    Halligan for president – much better than Trump or Clinton! He says what he means – a rare thing in a politician – and he supports many issues with such common sense it should shame all those who oppose him. I wish him well.

  • L.Long

    His statement ‘I KNOW GAWD DOES NOT EXIST!’ is correct in a certain sense. When skeptics talk of gawd they usually mean some vague thingy out there. But most people when they say the word they mean the gawd jesus &/or his psychotic daddy. And yes the BS they say about those two has been tested and they fail, so yes I too know gawd does not exist.
    The deist thingy is so vague who gives a crap!

  • ZombieHunter

    make this man president of Ireland NOW in fact make him president of everywhere

  • Broga

    Another argument I hear for the existence of God is, “There must be something there.” The leap is then made to equating that something with the tyrant God of the bible i.e. King James version.
    And another is that God must have created the cosmos because it had to have a first cause. What flummoxes the Christian is the reply that something must have created God and so on ad infinitum. This complicates the puzzle. It doesn’t solve it.
    I think a prime driver of Christian belief is a terror of death. They cling to their fantasy as a comfort blanket. Hell seems to have been conveniently dropped out of the picture.

  • Iain Lamond

    The man speaks sense . We need more like him.

  • Newspaniard

    A politician of great courage in a country of bigots.

  • tonye

    At last, a politician who is honest, what a breath of fresh air.
    Sadly, I don’t think it will do this career any good as, I think, in this age of spineless politicians, his party will no doubt ‘encourage’ him to apologise.

  • RussellW

    The fear of death,but also a search for meaning. It’s so much easier to accept a religion’s ready made ‘explanation’ rather than to find your own. We’re born we live and we die, WTF does it all mean?

  • Lucy

    By asking what does it all mean, there is maybe an assumption it means something. I don’t think it does. It all just is.
    What I liked In what Mr Halligan said is that some ‘bastard’ xtians would be like ISIS if they ever got into power. Too true, Mr H, too true,

  • Paul

    According to the babble and religious teachings man was made in gods image.
    If mice were sentient creatures like us, and they could be – no one for sure truly knows,(studies with oxytocin does produce incredible results with Virgin mice who suckle ‘foreign’ young), I am reasonably confident that if they have invented or could invent or imagine a god, he she it would be like a mouse.

  • Broga

    @RussellW. “It’s so much easier to accept a religion’s ready made ‘explanation’ rather than to find your own.”
    H.L.Mencken in his entertaining reporting on the 1925 Tennessee Monkey trial said something similar in relation to Jennings Bryan. Mencken said something along the lines of the good rural folk preferring the ready made Christian answers of Bryan as this saved them the hard work of thinking.
    Bryan was repeatedly skewered in court by Clarence Darrow. Mencken made him a figure of ridicule in print.
    I don’t think there is a meaning to life. It is a freak occurrence in a vast cosmos. Eventually we will all be snuffed out which will put a stopper on the bullshit of us being precious to God.

  • Laura Roberts

    Gotta like the guy, but I fear that by being so forthright he’ll be taken out by one of the anti-abortion nuts. Remember Colorado Springs…
    If someone says, “I know there’s no Flying Spaghetti Monster”, nobody blinks an eye. But replace FSM with any popular god and people call it unscientific. It may be, but why quibble?

  • andym

    As Halligan suggests:some people continue to believe in the supernatural because they can’t accept can’t accept their cosmic insignificance,or the fact that the universe is utterly indifferent to them. As he says , it’s a form of egotism.

  • RussellW

    Agreed, I don’t think there’s any answer to that question, my point is that many people think that there is. I’ve noticed that even people who have no sympathy for organised religion have a sense that there’s some purpose to existence. Historically,some ‘bastard xtians’ were exactly like ISIS, so I’d agree with Halligan. The most sinister characteristic of religiots is that they just won’t leave infidels alone, every atheist is a threat.

  • Broga

    @RussellW: “Historically,some ‘bastard xtians’ were exactly like ISIS”
    Go back a few hundred years and the Christians were at least as cruel as ISIS. The Christian treatment of the Native Americans, enthusiastically supported by their priests, was vile. Killing wasn’t enough. They entertained themselves by a variety of tortures including strapping their shrieking victims to a metal contraption over a fire.
    Columbus and Cortes were sadists who should be reviled by history not celebrated.

  • Tony

    Sounds like a good man to me.

  • 1859

    @Broga, RussellW: Believe me if life did have a meaning we for sure wouldn’t understand it. Evolution has wired us to always look for the cause of an effect – this is the evolutionary concrete that has become solidified in our neurological DNA. Look what happened when the world was seen through a psychedelic mist – as happened in the 60’s. The chemicals that interfered with our neurotransmitters gave everything a transient, if makeshift, meaning. One of the most fascinating questions I ever came across as a biochemist was – How have the atoms of the universe come together inside the human brain, such that they can now question their own existence?
    After 40 years, I still have no answers.

  • RussellW

    “Evolution has wired us to always look for the cause of an effect – ”
    Agreed, the hypothesis that certain psychological characteristics that gave our ancestors an evolutionary advantage also produced religious belief seems very plausible. Presumably it also explains why many people seem impervious to logic when religion is involved.
    “if life did have a meaning we for sure wouldn’t understand it.”
    Perhaps Douglas Adams was correct, only some galactic super computer could understand the universe or even know what questions to ask.
    “How have the atoms of the universe come together inside the human brain, such that they can now question their own existence?”
    I’ve always assumed that there’s no limit to scientific knowledge, however there’s the possibility that perhaps, we will never completely understand the universe.

  • Broga

    @1859: Your comments as a biochemist for 40 years are particularly interesting. The idea of self, its transience, its impermanence, puzzles me. As does the question of what is reality. On the latter, I have significant colour blindness in green and brown.
    My wife, who has no colour blindness, often remarks in the Autumn on the beauty of the trees or the colours of flowers. I just don’t see it. Are these different realities or perhaps we cannot experience reality via our limited evolved perception. On a walk my Labrador with his superlative sense of smell has a different perception to myself. His reality is different to mine.
    Regarding the self, that too is impermanent. Alcohol changes that. The quiet, kind man can become a wife beating brute. And the self of a younger person may later be radically different to that same person afflicted with dementia. When Christians insist on a dead person existing in heaven does the dementia afflicted person survive his/her younger or older self.
    There is a fascinating article in the “New Scientist”” this week (p.19) on the way the human brain perceives fear and how it reacts. The 24 rolling news channels feed this fear and we act irrationally.

  • Somebody wrote above that you cannot prove a negative – eg that there is no God.
    But most proofs that something do not exist are not 100% per cent. You refer to something as proven false when you show it is false beyond all reasonable doubt. That is all we need.
    Also, God means the being to whom we are accountable for our actions. But we cannot be accountable to God for God has all power and thus he has no needs. Rights are based on needs and as God has no need of our obedience then he has no right to order us what to do. God as in divine authority cannot exist. If there is a creator then its better referred to as something other than God. It is not true that God in any meaningful sense cannot be disproven.

  • John

    Some very interesting comments here.
    Halligan knows just what ‘bastard christians’ can do.
    Look at what Cromwell did in Ireland.
    Estimates of the drop in the Irish population resulting from the Parliamentarian campaign range between 15–25%[7]-50%[8][9]-83%.[10] The Parliamentarians also deported about 50,000 people as indentured labourers. Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cromwellian_conquest_of_Ireland.
    That tells everyone everything they need to know.
    And this situation was made by a loving entity?
    Like Halligan, I say “Don’t make me laugh’!
    One final point: it seems Ireland is outstripping the UK in terms of how forward-looking and secular they are.
    They make UK politicians look like backward bumpkins.
    Ireland’s second chamber – the Seanad Éireann – has no places reserved for religious figures and is largely elected. Compare that to the largely unelected UK House of Lords and 20 bishops seats there from which to influence all legislation and to promote their own special interests.

  • Derrick Kroll

    As Lucy says, “It all just is”. Just accept it.

  • Flame wars aside, the reason all this misrepresentation of what Hunt said and where he said it matters, along with the melodramatic exaggeration of what happened to him as a result, is because it ignores or denies the