Sunday, March 1, 2009

Putting words into the mouths of Atheists

A long time ago, I voted Republican. I actually voted for George H. W. Bush (not his idiot son) twice. It's a decision I regret, and the words in the image above that I saw on reinforced the reasons why I regret that decision. George H.W. Bush once said that he considered atheists neither patriots nor citizens. If I could retroactively take away my vote, I would do it for that reason. I haven't voted for a Republican since.

Theocrats have taken over the GOP completely. They're the reason I never registered as a Republican, and they're the reason I will probably never vote with the GOP again, even if they do get rid of their corruption problems, their lie machines, and their ideology of supply-side economics. They obviously don't want the likes of me under their political tent.

That said, let's parse this statement, shall we?

"Atheism: the belief..."

No. Atheism is not a belief. It is a reaction to beliefs. Atheists do not accept the claims of theists. That is all that atheists have in common. There is no system of beliefs. There is no requirement to know anything about the origin of life or of the universe. All that is required is that we do not hold the beliefs of theists to be true.

"Atheism: the belief that there was nothing and nothing happened to

No. Atheists do not have to believe anything about origins at all. We don't have the answers regarding how the universe came to be. We don't know anything about what happened before the universe began to expand. I argue that theists do not, either, but they fill that gap in their knowledge with a god or gods. Atheism, again, is simply not accepting the claims of theists. All I had to do to become an atheist is read the Bible, do some research, and realize that the book is not consistent with reality. After I was through with the Bible, I examined other religions and found them equally lacking in substance. It's all about faith at some point, and I have not found faith to be a useful tool in my life. What I have found is that faith keeps some people from accepting empirical evidence, requiring them to have a separate set of facts from everyone else.

"...and then nothing magically exploded for no reason..."

No. Theists believe that nothing magically exploded. Theists--well, Jewish, Christian, and Muslim theists--believe that their god magically spoke the universe into being. Yes, he spoke, and the universe came to be, according to their mythology. If that's not magic, I don't know what is.

The "no reason" part is about right; unless someone can prove the existence of gods, I'm not seeing a point to the existence of the universe. It just is, and I'm in it, so I deal with it the best way I know how.

"...creating everything and then a bunch of everything magically rearranged
itself for no reason what so ever into self-replicating bits which then turned
into dinosaurs."

No. There's no magic necessary. All life took was carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, and a few traces of other elements, plus energy, plus time, to exist. Theists believe life came about through magic. Humans were created from clay and life was breathed into them, according to the theology of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. That's magic. According to evolutionary theory, life changed over time, present life had common ancestry, and life is very, very old. Dinosaurs didn't come along until well after the first life. The first life was present around three billion or so years ago, and it didn't even become multicellular until around six hundred million years ago. That's a very long time for genes to recombine and mutate, and for genetic material to be added, which happens with each reproduction. Again, however, atheists don't have to know anything about evolutionary theory. All atheists have to do is not be convinced by the mythology that life magically came into being after being formed in clay. Well, human life, anyway. How the rest of life came to be, their holy books don't say. They just say that they were created.

"Makes perfect sense."

What makes perfect sense is to say that I don't know how the universe came to be, I don't know exactly how life began on this planet, but I do know that I don't have to accept theistic explanations that clearly do involve magic. To recap, theists believe:

  1. Their god spoke the universe into being from nothing.

  2. Their god breathed life into a clay statue of a man and caused it to live.

Theists absolutely must believe in magic to believe these things to be true. Atheists merely have to say that they have no evidence for magic, have no conclusive evidence regarding origins, and have no reason to accept the claims of theists as anything other than myth.


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