Friday, February 6, 2009

Can someone please explain?

In my ~two years of reading "atheist" blogs, I've noticed something interesting. I seem to be one of the few atheists (blogging atheists, anyway) who has never been a theist. Most of the atheist bloggers seem to be originally Christians, although a very few, like Friendly Atheist Hemant Mehta, and KafirGirl were other religions (Jain and Sunni Muslim, respectively). Keep in mind, I only read blogs written in English. These are people who had to go through often extremely emotionally painful realizations that god really is imaginary. Many of them have deconversion stories. UPDATE: Andrew from Artificial Habitat pointed out the de-conversion blog. It is amazing that people are able to escape this type of brainwashing. Critical thinking can really hurt sometimes and I am very grateful to my parents that I never had to go through that.

The religious nutcases in this country are desperately trying to take us back into the dark ages. When school officials suspend a kid for witchcraft, and suspend a teacher because he's suspected of being a liberal and an atheist, and we have creationists constantly attacking real science, and trying to get (un)Intelligent Design taught in science classrooms along with evolution, it indicates a huge problem. So far this hasn't always worked, and common sense has prevailed. UPDATE #2: Florida is currently trying to legislate the teaching of (un)Intelligent Design. My mother even asked my why we shouldn't teach the controversy, as it's only fair. People don't seem to understand two things:

1) There is no controversy in the scientific world about whether life evolved. It did. The only scientific controversy is regarding the mechanisms of evolution. The "controversy" about whether or not evolution happened is entirely made up by the creationists.

2) Science isn't fair. Science is about the truth. Science has specific rules that are followed to find the truth. The supernatural has never been shown to exist in anything other than people's minds.

Belief in this nonsense is harmful, even if you say, "Well, I'm not one of those theists! I don't believe that." Enough of you do. Parents already poison the brains of too many of our young people. We cannot allow this bullshit to creep into our classrooms, too. It will be an uphill battle since it is estimated that 47% of Americans believe that the world is between 6000 and 10,000 years old. FORTY-SEVEN PERCENT! I can tell you from personal experience that people in other countries (Ok, England anyway) think that Americans are completely NUTS! (Demographic wikifactoid:United States - 5% atheists, England - 35% atheists.)

I've always been mildly surprised when a scientist turns out to be a theist, but this has happened numerous times. At least one of my college professors went to church every Sunday.* I find it even more surprising when it is a biologist, because they know that there is a much better explanation for life on earth than that some sort of supernatural being created it. As far as I can tell, most of them were indoctrinated early in their lives. I just want to ask them why? Why do you still believe against all the evidence. Or maybe I should say why do you believe in the supernatural when there is no evidence?

I had a scientist say to me once, "Well what about the extra energy? Where does that go when we die?" My reaction at the time, "Uh,.........." I couldn't understand the question, and it wasn't just because I was drunk. Huh? What extra energy? The same thing happens to us as happens to any other living thing on the planet. Do worms have extra energy, too? What about trees? Bacteria? Whales? Dogs? I really have ab-so-lutely no idea what this person was talking about.

Saying "you just feel that there's a god" doesn't answer anything, either. The human mind can imagine all kinds of things. I know someone who "felt the battle" when she went to Culloden and various American Civil War battlefields. This does not mean this person is actually feeling anything, it just means she has a well developed imagination. In fact, she has often exclaimed to me in frustration, "Well, you just don't have any imagination!" Because that's ALL it is. And no I don't. When I feel that there's someone watching me while I go to the bathroom, and feel that there are people who are in a different dimension who can see me, but I can't see them, I realize it is just my imagination and that I've obviously read far too many science fiction books. Ok, maybe I do have an imagination. Or it could be the guys who just installed the new ducting in our house left a camera in the vent. But that's just being paranoid, although it's far more likely than being watched from an alternate dimension or by some supernatural sky daddy who can read my thoughts.

Many people claim that the human body/world/universe is too complex to be explained naturally. Complexity does not need a god. The complexity of the universe can be, and is being, explained non-supernaturally. Just because we don't know all the answers now, doesn't mean we won't eventually, and filling the "gaps" with some sort of god is just silly. I touched on this in a previous post.

There will be no hope for this country to stay a superpower if we don't start doing a better job teaching the general public about reality rather than being respectful of ancient superstitious bullshit. Anyone, especially biologists, believing in iron and bronze-age myths is just not logical. I just want to ask why?

And when you realize why you don't believe in any other gods that man has ever invented, you'll understand why I don't believe in yours.**


*When this was pointed out to him, one of my atheist professors said, "Well, nobody's perfect."
**Paraphrase of a quote by author Stephen F. Roberts.


artificialhabitat said...

I was never religious, so I don't have a story either.

But I have a hard time believing that anything as complex and beautiful as Professor Richard Dawkins evolved as a result of random chance.

Laurie said...

I was actually counting you as one of the few AND one of those British people I was talking about! We should probably just both count ourselves lucky.

On Facebook, I'm in the group If I Weren't an Atheist I'd Think Richard Dawkins was God. I'm also in PZ Myers for World President, but that's not going very well.

artificialhabitat said...

I do feel lucky to have not had to 'deconvert' - I read a number of deconversion stories and some of them are really moving and painful fro those involved.

I get a lot from this de-conversion blog.

Really, I can't imagine what it would be like.

I've seen those facebook groups, but I don't tend to join a lot of groups myself.

My joke about Richard Dawkins came from the '8 lessons and carols' godless show, it was Stewart Lee who sauntered on stage to announce that he was beginning to have doubts about his atheism because of the beauty and complexity of RD.

Anonymous said...

Good post, Laurie. Thanks for the link to my blog, and for linking to the deconversion blog (some of my posts are cross-posted there, too).

The Maze Monster said...

It frustrates me beyond belief that people think there is a controversy in the scientific community. Touche to the people who have convinced people of this falacy.

Anonymous said...

If there was no God, there'd be no atheists. I also posted somewhere else - if you can prove scientifically that God exists, then we'd have to stop believing in the Christian God, who claims to be invisible, ie not observable through science. This Christian God claims, however, that He can be experienced..... Plenty of evidence for that....

Laurie said...

@ anonymous - It's not If there was no God, there'd be no atheists, its if there were no theists there would be no atheists. Big difference. There would be no necessity for the word at all.

You also can't prove that the Invisible Pink Unicorn and the Flying Spaghetti Monster don't exist, so why not believe in them? You think they're silly. I don't see any difference between them, Zeus, Odin, Vishnu, or your god. I assume you believe that the almost 1 billion people who actually do believe in Vishnu are wrong, too, even though many of them have similar religious "experiences" to yours. Or you can just believe what ignorant people wrote 2000+ years ago about their god being invisible (you have to say that when there is no evidence, don't you?).

As I said in the post, you can feel all sorts of things in your own head, but that isn't evidence that anything actually exists outside your head.