- Do what God tells you, even if it’s an immoral act (e.g. murder your son/daughter) because, “his ways are greater than ours”.
- Don’t do what God tells you not to because he really hates people making fun of him. I guess being God means you can’t have a sense of humour.
- Why? Because might makes right.
- Do no harm.
- Why? The world is a much nicer place to live in for everyone.
I know it sounds childish, but that’s going to be my answer from now on. Anytime anyone tries to argue that science ONLY has theories, that evolution is ONLY a theory, I’m not going to take their bait.
Their ultimate goal is to convince me that their God is real. Science, and the science of evolution in particular, is just an obstacle in their way. Whether or not they can disprove anything in science, evolution included, has no impact on the God hypothesis.
I hope “It’s ONLY a myth!” is as annoying to religious people as “It’s ONLY a theory!” is annoying to me.
What started out as a chat about physics with a mate turned into a Christian trying to educate me about “faith”, OMFG!
I’d like to point out at the start that I didn’t mention god, she did. I was happily talking about Hawking, the Big Bang, etc. and she decides to insert her god. When it was clear that she was going to hammer home her point my mate took the wise course of action by exiting the room (I wish I had joined him).
As with all conversations of this kind, it was a random mix of every logical fallacy known to man:
- Leading questions: “Who created everything?” As if there was a “who” or that everything needed to be created.
- Argument from ignorance: I can’t explain how we got here, therefore she must be right. She demands levels of evidence for evolution, which she can’t provide for her belief in creationism. She tries to poke holes in evolution, because she can’t provide any positive evidence for her beliefs.
- It’s “only a theory”: Apparently science knows nothing because it only has “theories”. I asked if she has been vaccinated, she answered “yes”. Her comeback was, “vaccination is science and evolution isn’t”. As if she is the authority on what classifies as science, and what doesn’t.
- Only humans can be moral and caring: A quick search on YouTube can prove that false.
The worst part was when another Christian overheard our conversation and decided to join in. The only thing worse than being subjected to this ignorant bullshit, is having it coming at you from multiple directions. Such as today when I had to restrain myself because I was at work, and he was a customer. (I’m all for being open about my beliefs, and I’ll happily express my opinion to anyone, but not if I think it could get me into trouble with my boss.)
It’s perfectly ok if you’re a member of the main religion to spread your hateful, discriminatory beliefs, even at work, because the majority share you beliefs. And when you’re pushing your opinions on others, people like me (Atheist), we must restrain ourselves so we don’t get into trouble, because we’re “discriminating against their religious beliefs”. I am not! You tell me something stupid, and I simply reply that I don’t agree. They persist when I’d much rather they left me alone. I wonder what would happen if I take up my grievance with HR? Do you think they’d take me seriously?
She gave me a great example of how religion can corrupt your mind, and your sense of morality. She tried to explain to me that God loves everyone, even her dad who isn’t a proper Christian like she is. To find out how much her God loves her dad I asked what was going to happen to him after he dies. She said she didn’t know. I asked if he was going to hell…she refused to answer. She said that she believes that God will do what’s best. “Sending your dad to hell is for the best?” I asked. I could see that she desperately wanted to switch topics, but I kept pushing the questions. I could see her physically squirming in her seat. I never did get an answer to that question. Or the question “Is it moral for your God to allow him to go to hell?” When the second Christian joined in (the customer), I felt it was best to let it go.
After that the argument turned to science, which I talked about in a previous post.
Note: These people are only annoying when they’re being Christian.
I got into an argument last week, which I’m going to split into two posts. This is the first and will cover the intellectual aspects of the argument. The second post will cover the emotional side.
“Science doesn’t know anything!”, not my words, these are the words of a Christian. Obviously he doesn’t know anything about what science is and how it works.
First off, let us try to put ourselves in the shoes of this Christian. Why would he think that science knows nothing? Let’s compare the scientific method to finding truth and the religious method of finding truth.
The scientific method: A guy comes up with an idea to explain how something works. He can support his idea with evidence/observation. Other people have been able to replicate his experiments with the same outcomes. If someone else comes up with another idea, which explains how that same thing works, but explains it better, then the old theory is replaced by this new theory. Science always keeps the door open for new, better theories than the ones currently being used. No matter how supported a theory is, there is always the possibility that a better theory will be found in the future. The current theory is held as truth, with the understanding that some new evidence or observation may change our opinions. Just because our minds are open to change doesn’t mean we disregard everything we know for ignorance.
The religious method: If it’s written in their holy book or decreed by their holy men, it is “fact”. That’s what the religious want, facts. They want to be told that this is true beyond any doubt. It has always been true, and it will continue to always be true, forever and ever, amen.
The religious start with a presupposition, that their holy book is true, and the decrees of their holy men are fact, because they are inspired by the holy spirit or some other supernatural thing. After that, they are prepared to twist themselves into all sorts of shapes to make it fit.
When science and religion collide: Most people would claim that there is no conflict between their religious beliefs and science. The term for this is NOMA (Non-Overlapping Magisteria). This is what I was told last week. I was arguing with two Christians. One told me that her beliefs didn’t clash with science at all. Of course, with her very next breath she was telling me that evolution isn’t science (I’ll get into evolution in another post).
NOMA is a myth. The religious books and holy men have made lots of claims, from claiming that the earth is the centre of all things, to prayers being answered. Of course, these are claims that involve the material world and science can apply its methods to them. According to science, both of these claims are false. With time, and a lot of kicking and screaming, the religious finally gave in and accepted the scientific observations with regard to the first claim. The second claim I mentioned, prayers being answered, is still being debated. Just imagine how the religious would respond if the study proved positive, that prayer did work. They are quick to embrace any scientific study that supports their beliefs, and quick to criticise any study that doesn’t support their beliefs.
Religion is not open to new possibilities. It is stuck in the past when mankind knew less about everything. The religious hold that the strength of their belief is of value, even when it’s in opposition to observations in this world. This is their greatest weakness. Their minds are closed. They can’t admit that they might be wrong.
Science is open to new ideas and change. Religious people point to this as if it’s a fault, but it is sciences greatest strength. Science is open-minded. It’s even open-minded towards your god, it just turns out that he is most likely not there.
Templeton Prayer Study: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/31/health/31pray.html
Update: Second post is up.
Arguing with Theists has got to be one of the most annoying activities of the non-religious. It gets very repetitive and I can only tolerate it for so long these days. They don’t have any new arguments and they’ve all been debunked countless times. It always comes down to one point, they can’t prove their claims and we can’t disprove their claims. At this point they usually make one of two mistakes, either they assume that a belief in a god is the default, or they assume the probability for a gods existence/non-existence is equally likely. These are both wrong.
No one can be called upon to prove a negative. That is a logical rule because it is impossible, especially if the claim starts with a being that is immaterial and exists outside of our space-time. That is why the burden of proof rests solely on the people making the claim. Rejecting a claim put forward without evidence can be dismissed without evidence. Stating that no gods exist is justified, just as claiming leprechauns don’t exist is justified. We are justified in making that claim because Theists have never lived up to their burden of proving his existence. To prove something empirically exists, you must provide empirical evidence to support it. When something does not exist, empirical evidence for its non-existence does not exist.
Logical arguments are not evidence. A logical argument can be made to move an idea into the category of hypothesis, but no further. If you want your idea to progress into the category of theory (by theory, I mean in the scientific sense of theory) you must provide empirical evidence. Without empirical evidence your idea will remain a hypothesis until a better explanation comes along to replace it.
This process works because it lets in good ideas and keeps out bad ideas. As soon as you let in gods based on logical arguments, you must let in spiritual healing, astrology, voodoo, homeopathy and all the other crap of the day.