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Top 10 Myths and Fallacies about Atheism

Updated on November 17, 2016

1. Atheism is the same as Marxism, Communism, Socialism and Liberalism

Atheism is the lack of belief in God. It is a metaphysical position or statement (or more precisely, the lack of one). By contrast, Marxism, socialism, communism and liberalism are political, social and economic theories. Not only do they each differ in important ways, but none of them has anything to do with God.

The confusion here stems from the fact that Marx was an avowed atheist and 20th century communists have been officially atheist, and often hostile to religion. However, violent revolutionary communists have been hostile to many groups: aristocrats, capitalists, kings, non-Marxist peasants, various ethnic groups, etc.

The actual non-belief in God has been a far less important theme in communist history than anti-capitalism or state totalitarianism. Ayn Rand is a prominent example of a staunch capitalist and anti-socialist who was also vehemently atheist. You cannot logically deduce any political theory from a simple lack of belief in God.

2. Atheists don't Believe in Anything

Ironically, while some claim atheism equals socialism, others claim that atheists don't believe anything at all. Atheism is simply disbelief in God. This no more prevents a person from believing other things than a disbelief in Santa Claus.

Most theists’ overall worldview is based on the existence of God. So when God is subtracted out of the equation, they surmise, everything else collapses leaving us with nothing meaningful to actually believe in. Atheists, of course, have a totally different view of reality that has been developed in the absence of God.

3. Atheists Believe the Universe was Created out of Nothing

Many theists oddly claim that atheists believe “something came from nothing.” In fact, many (if not most) atheists and agnostics believe reality is eternal and uncreated. There is nobody serious who literally thinks that something can arise from nothing.

This fallacy once again stems from the theistic viewpoint. Christians, Muslims and others believe reality has a beginning, and was created by God. So when they learn that atheists do not believe in God, they imagine substituting "nothing" for "God." In the absence of God there is nothing, so they mistakenly assume atheists believe something (reality) came from nothing.

This hidden theistic assumption produces leading questions like “if you don’t believe in God, then where did everything come from?” This question assumes that things "came from" somewhere.

4. Atheism is Connected to the Theory of Evolution

Atheism is the lack of belief in God (and therefore a metaphysical position), while evolution is a scientific theory about the development of different life forms. There is simply no logical connection between these two. One does not automatically follow from the other. Atheism existed millennia before Darwinism and the theory of evolution.

This misunderstanding has many sources, but mostly stems from the general incompatibility of evolution with the creation account in the Bible (almost all critics of evolution are fundamentalist Christians). Creationists assume that because evolution rejects "creation," it must therefore reject God. This is like saying that because Shakespeare did not write the US Constitution, therefore Shakespeare did not exist.

There are many believers in God who also strongly believe in evolution. There are not many, but some atheists do not accept evolution.

5. Atheism Means Moral Relativism

Similar to the "something from nothing" fallacy, this misunderstanding stems from the theistic worldview. Theists believe that God is the source of moral rules. Therefore, with no God, there are no morals. But in fact morality does not logically or theoretically require God. There are millions of atheists and agnostics who have a strong sense of morals, and millions of theists who do not. Secular thinking can and does lead to moral absolutes, as with humanism. By contrast, theistic thinking can easily lead to moral relativism.

Source

6. Atheism is a Religion

Atheism is the lack of belief in God. It is therefore equivalent to theism, the belief in God. But theism is not a religion, it is a metaphysical idea or position. There are many religions that fall under the theist umbrella (Christianity, Islam and Judaism being the most prominent).

In the same way, there are many worldviews, ideologies and philosophies that can fall under the atheist umbrella. But all will be secular. That is, they cannot include a supernatural component. That is the key difference between a religion and another system of knowledge or school of thought: only religions incorporate the idea of the supernatural. Therefore atheism cannot produce or support a religion. And again, atheism is itself no more a religion than theism.

Some atheists’ excited and passionate advocacy for their beliefs may resemble that of religious followers. But excitement, devotion, passion and regular social functions do not make atheism a religion, any more than they make the Republican party a religion, or a football team a religion. Calling atheism a "religion" is also a deceptive tactic used by many theists to try to bring atheism down to their level, and allow them to argue that atheists' claims of being above religion are false.

Source

7. Atheists Hate Religion

Paradoxically, as often as atheism is called a religion, it is just as often equated with the hatred of religion by its opponents. Atheism is just disbelief in God. There is no emotional content, positive or negative, implicit in that position.

Many atheists hate religion for a number of other reasons—awful childhood experiences, resentment at the failings and evils of religious institutions, etc. But this is a separate matter from atheism itself. In fact, nowadays many theists claim to "hate religion" too.

8. Atheists are Hubristic and Self-Centered

This misunderstanding stems directly from abundant Biblical references to nonbelievers as “prideful” and selfish. This happens to be the characterization that the writers of the Bible developed, for some reason. A major idea in the Old and New Testaments is that unless one devotes one’s life entirely to God, one becomes obsessed with hedonistic, superficial and base pursuits.

This is obviously fallacious and illogical. There are and have been countless nonbelievers who were not pleasure-seeking degenerates, but rather great thinkers, innovators, creators and leaders, such as Einstein, Edison, Mark Twain, Stephen Hawking, Plato, Aristotle, Lao Tzu (founder of Daoism), Kant, David Hume, Bill Gates, and others.

The Bible is obviously an unreliable source of information on atheism because of its bias. But aside from that, there are countless examples of atheists who are not hubristic or self-centered at all, but pursue charity and the cause of helping others in this life.

Not believing that God is the center of the universe is no more inherently selfish or hubristic than not believing Big Foot is the center of the universe, or that the sun is the center of the universe.

9. Atheists don't want to Believe in God

Some atheists are more emotional than rational, just like any group of people. To suggest that this characterizes all atheists is straightforwardly fallacious. It is possible for a person to believe in something not because they want to, but because they are swayed by the evidence or arguments in favor of it, or because there is no reason to doubt it.

This fallacy is related to the idea that atheists are “prideful” and various dehumanizing characterizations found in holy books. The idea here is that everyone “really knows that God exists.” It’s just that some accept it, and some don’t want to accept it. But in their heart, they know it’s true. Obviously it is impossible to read the true intentions or the true heart of another person, much less millions of people. To say nothing of the compelling arguments against God.

10. Atheism Entails Nihilism, Nothingness and Emptiness

Perhaps the most popular and most pernicious myth of all. Because many theists hang their entire lives on God, when God leaves the scene, they imagine total absence of purpose or beauty. If someone had been thoroughly taught to worship Santa Claus since birth, they would surely be shocked, disturbed and perplexed upon discovering disbelievers in Mr. Claus. How could one possibly live any kind of meaningful life without him?

Meaning, purpose, beauty and happiness are not dependent on God or any other concept. The most secular countries on earth today have some of the highest rates of self-reported happiness.

Countless people are raised in cultures heavily dependent on God. If one of those people grows up to be an atheist, his lack of belief may cause discomfort, ostracism, aimlessness and even psychological distress. But this does not mean that atheism itself was the cause of these problems. Nor does it mean atheism creates a void in human life. These are simply expected challenges when any individual goes against tradition, established wisdom, or the majority.

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    • CatherineGiordano profile image

      Catherine Giordano 9 months ago from Orlando Florida

      A friend once asked me "Don't you want to believe in God?" Yes, I want to believe in God--that would be so nice (in some ways.) But since there is no evidence that he exists I can no more believe in god than in the Tooth Fairy. Thanks for pointing this out.

    • cjnileski profile image

      Cynthia J Nileski 17 months ago from Somerset, New Jersey

      Enjoyed your article very much. Nice work!! Everyone should be able to believe their own beliefs regardless.

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 23 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      I'd agree with that.

      Lawrence

    • secularist10 profile image
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      secularist10 23 months ago from New York City

      Lawrence:

      Reality and the known universe are two different things.

      The known universe is what we are able to observe, beyond which we don't know what there is, if anything. The Big Bang itself, dealing with the known/ observable universe, is not directly concerned with the totality of reality per se.

    • secularist10 profile image
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      secularist10 23 months ago from New York City

      Catherine: Thanks for reading! Glad you like it.

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 2 years ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      That theory has been proposed but has largely been discounted as it runs against the second law of Thermodynamics that 'all things are subject to entropy' and literally 'winding down'

      You are right that there "was no time before time" as time itself is part of our fourth dimension but for time to come into existence along with the rest of the universe there has to an agent or 'prime mover' even Einstein acknowledged that had to be.

      Lawrence

    • adagio4639 profile image

      adagio4639 2 years ago from Brattleboro Vermont

      "most Atheists see 'reality is eternal' despite the fact that Hubble showed that the universe is expanding and that the Universe had a beginning!"

      You present that as a conflict of some sort. I don't see the conflict. I think most people accept the Big Bang as the beginning of the visible universe. It's what we mark time from and what we see as our reality. It's an absurd question to ask what came "before" time? There is no time before time. Nobody knows what caused the Big Bang, but the universe has been expanding for around 14 Billion years. It would seem that gravity would slow down the expansion and it would begin to reverse and contract back on itself. As it does it, I would think that it gains speed and become more dense until it is packed so tightly that it explodes beginning the whole process once again. I think that theory is called the Big Crunch or the Undulating Universe. In other words, what caused the Big Bang was a Big Crunch just before the Bang. Sort of like the universe is breathing in and out. I'm not a physicist, so I just look for those things that seem plausible without resorting to supernatural explanations. There are a lot of theories out there.

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 2 years ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Interesting stuff here. I haven't looked through the whole article but point three says that most Atheists see 'reality is eternal' despite the fact that Hubble showed that the universe is expanding and that the Universe had a beginning!

      The hypothesis that reality is eternal has been largely rejected by science (though some do still think an oscillating universe is possible but unlikely).

      What you seem to be saying is that atheism flies in the face of Modern scientific theory, is this true?

      Most people who believe in God only really have a problem with the time-frame of the big bang and who was in charge but not with the theory itself!

      Lawrence

    • CatherineGiordano profile image

      Catherine Giordano 2 years ago from Orlando Florida

      You did a great job of explaining away the foolish myths about atheism. Thank you.

    • jonnycomelately profile image

      Alan 2 years ago from Tasmania

      No insurance, Adagio, but I am on Aged Pension, so cost of Doctor's fee was partly covered. The hospital costs, device cost and anaesthetist's fees were not covered. I privately funded, out-of-pocket to the tune of about $5,000.

      I did the +ve thinking exercise and decided that if I live for about 15 years more (but might reach the century, hehe!), in that time I would probably fork out on several new pairs of glasses, at present day prices of around $600 a time... quite a saving in the long term.

      The really great benefits are that I am single, don't want to be a burden to others if I can help it, have very good health and fitness now, so good eyesight lifts my game considerably..... not so tired when reading and writing; get all the beauty of the world around me; stop using spectacles for the first time since I was 8 years old.... etc. Lots of gain for a small bit of (financial) pain.

      This is right off topic, I know, but there are some things in life which are counter to the usual doom and gloom of mass-media/religious argument/debilitating anxiety.

    • adagio4639 profile image

      adagio4639 2 years ago from Brattleboro Vermont

      Jonny... I have a question about that. I had cataract surgery on both eyes a few years back. Did you have insurance to cover the cost? I was on my wifes group policy at the time. But if I didn't have insurance my options would have been to go blind or go bankrupt. Not much of a choice there. I can only imagine people out there that had no insurance and were facing the same choice.

    • jonnycomelately profile image

      Alan 2 years ago from Tasmania

      My interest in the eye anatomy and embryology has come from having intraocular lens replacements these past two weeks.... the right eye last week and the left this week, 2 days ago.

      I am so in awe of the science and technology that has allowed me the privilege of brand new sight, that it's automatically brought me to think of deeper things. How this intricate body, full of amazing organs and functions, has come to be? And, of course, I come up against all the old questions.

      And the conclusion that neither the Creationist Model, nor the Naturalist Model fit every conceivable answer. We can but take ideas and ponder, research, come up with ideas and concepts, test them, repeat the tests, modify ideas, theories and results. Both the Models are useful, yet neither is sufficient to explain everything.

      Keeping the eyes fully open and the mind fully aware of possibilities...this is the way I admire.

    • adagio4639 profile image

      adagio4639 2 years ago from Brattleboro Vermont

      @Jonny: " There you go. Being rational again. What are we going to do with you?

    • jonnycomelately profile image

      Alan 2 years ago from Tasmania

      Look also into modern scientific findings. Look into Websites about embryology. Use your own eyes to read of advances in embryology of the eye and its various parts and structures.

      From infinitely (immeasurably) small beginnings, with quantum choices at the atomic, and possibly smaller level, living cells divide and sub-divide, gradually growing and expanding into all the numerous tissues which are required to make up the organ which will allow us to see and react to visible light.

      Look at pictures showing how cells which form the optic lens lay parallel to each other. This will allow those light photons to pass through the lens and be focussed.

      Consider how the optic nerve, the muscles that will ultimately control lens shape and focal distance, and the retina all seem to be growing together....up to a particular time when each part will further differentiate.

      All this surely, in my mind of limited knowledge and understanding, needs to have some kind of controlling force. Now, could that controlling force be located in the area of quantum choice? Is that where the "Creator" resides? If so, that would not surprise me. After all, being infinite would mean that any notion of small or large is nonsense. These two adjectives are indications of measurement, and infinite means - can't be measured.

      Any argument about a "God" that ("who" in the theist's eye) has a particular worldly or human characteristic is just about as irrational as you can get.

      I prefer to stick with the awe and wonder revealed to me by scientific research.

    • jonnycomelately profile image

      Alan 2 years ago from Tasmania

      I don't see why we all have to become polarized towards any one particular concept/theory.

      With the cynicism that seems to be Nicomp's platform, I wonder if that is politically, philosophically or religiously based opinions.

      If you are, for example, strongly skewed in favour of right-wing politics, trying to toe the christian tight-rope, and just love an argument that leads you no where, then you will deride "liberalism," close your ears to anything an atheist says and regard evolution as the mind of idiots.

      The converse of that would be to open the mind to all possibilities. Admit that an evolutionary, naturally selective process could easily be the way in which all living things came about. You would not need to be absolutely for or against the idea, just receptive to the idea and run with it until proven one way or the other.

      A political position, driven by the feeling that this world contains too many do-gooders, drop-outs, lazy good-for-nothings and that there should be no such thing as a Welfare State, because "we" are better and "we" are different and deserving.......such a political position would need to be defended, otherwise you are going to look pretty silly when you are proved wanting.

      There is nothing to say a person with religious affiliations must necessarily be wrong in the eyes of an atheist, or vice versa. You can have an atheist point of view or a religious one, it does not mean you will or will not lean towards the evolution theory. But put up a good, reasonably sound alternative suggestion for how the diversity of living things came about.

      For example, when I consider the internal workings of most animals, I see commonalities. They (we) have a heart, a brain, a digestive system, a neural system, a skeleton, muscles, hair/scales/feathers......all different shapes but all doing virtually the same things in terms of physiology.

      So, it's reasonable to suppose they (we) all developed over the millennia from common ancestry. If this is not accepted, give us an alternative scenario. And nothing Harry Potter-ish, just a reasonable hypothesis on scientific grounds.

    • adagio4639 profile image

      adagio4639 2 years ago from Brattleboro Vermont

      @nicomp: "Hey, I'm actually doing good. I am educated: I have two science degrees. I am helping you learn to understand your world. I've not ridiculed you at all."

      What are your science degrees in? What field?

    • jonnycomelately profile image

      Alan 2 years ago from Tasmania

      For a person with two science degrees, you ask a silly question. I have not said it's too hot. What sort of answer do you want? Would 100 degrees Celsius suit you? -100 ? At which point on the globe would you be thinking of spending your vacation? Hawaii? Antarctica?

      I cannot argue with you about "what temperature the Earth is supposed to be." If you think this is a sensible question, give us some ideas of your understanding.

      I have no science degree. However, I do have a reasonable intelligence that says we humans are in the process of destroying the world that supports us. If we continue with our current careless use of resources, we will become extinct as a species or at least reduce our numbers to a level the world can handle. If you have a reasonable response to this, I will read it and reply further.

    • nicomp profile image

      nicomp really 2 years ago from Ohio, USA

      "You can research it for yourself, you have the Internet. Read about the 2 degrees increase that is projected to have an influence on the world's climates."

      And you be sure to read about the Bristle-cone pines that were used in some of the projections.

      "Instead of trying to ridicule me or anyone else who is simply trying to do a bit of good for the world, educated yourself. Step out of your world of religious make-believe and get real."

      Hey, I'm actually doing good. I am educated: I have two science degrees. I am helping you learn to understand your world. I've not ridiculed you at all.

      I am asking legitimate questions: what is the temperature of the Earth supposed to be? You're certain it's too hot -- how much cooler do we need to get?

      Stick with me, you'll catch on.

    • jonnycomelately profile image

      Alan 2 years ago from Tasmania

      And your mind, nicomp, seems to be stuck in pre-school boy days.

      You can research it for yourself, you have the Internet. Read about the 2 degrees increase that is projected to have an influence on the world's climates. Read also about the ways you, personally, can reduce the waste and misuse of resources, in a way that will preserve habitat for plants and animals other than ourselves. Read about the garbage dumped in the oceans that ends up in the guts of sea birds and animals. Read about the lung disease caused by sitting for long periods in peak-hour traffic jams. Read about the enormous quantities of fresh, potable water flushed down the drain, billions of tons per year, just to remove crap from the view of anyone that makes it.

      Instead of trying to ridicule me or anyone else who is simply trying to do a bit of good for the world, educated yourself. Step out of your world of religious make-believe and get real.

      No matter what I say to you, no matter how I answer your ignorant question, that question is intended to ridicule and deny the idea that we humans can and do have an inordinately great influence upon the climates of this world.

      Who am I to argue? You believe what you want to believe. Your cynicism will benefit no one.

    • nicomp profile image

      nicomp really 2 years ago from Ohio, USA

      I'll assume you can't answer. Fascinating, it is, that Global Warming advocates can tell us it's too hot but cannot decide by how much.

      I guess we'll blindly follow the scientific acolytes until they tell us to stop.

    • jonnycomelately profile image

      Alan 2 years ago from Tasmania

      And you can keep waiting. You know, or at least you should know by now, that is a most unintelligent question and it does not deserve an answer.

    • nicomp profile image

      nicomp really 2 years ago from Ohio, USA

      ... still waiting for an explanation of what the temperature of the Earth is supposed to be.

    • nicomp profile image

      nicomp really 2 years ago from Ohio, USA

      "That pony is more than likely the result of human-led genetic engineering of the pony's DNA."

      Yes, that fits your narrative.

    • jonnycomelately profile image

      Alan 2 years ago from Tasmania

      I fail to see your reasoning.

      That pony is more than likely the result of human-led genetic engineering of the pony's DNA.

    • nicomp profile image

      nicomp really 2 years ago from Ohio, USA

      Conclusive proof that macro-evolutionary theory is flawed:

      http://i.imgur.com/dUgeVht.jpg

    • nicomp profile image

      nicomp really 2 years ago from Ohio, USA

      Keep reading. You'll catch on.

      Anyway, let me know when you decide what the temperature of the Earth is supposed to be.

    • jonnycomelately profile image

      Alan 2 years ago from Tasmania

      Your notion of what constitutes logic is mind-boggling!

      If you can't come up with a better answer than that I will not bother replying to you. Ball is in your court.

    • nicomp profile image

      nicomp really 2 years ago from Ohio, USA

      "By the way, you used the expression, "Live in a cave and eat tree bark...." Why do you use it? What do you mean by that?"

      This is the logical conclusion to your 'climate change' argument.

    • jonnycomelately profile image

      Alan 2 years ago from Tasmania

      "Well, you assert it's too hot right now. You should be able to tell me what temperature is preferred. A perfectly reasonable question."

      I have not said that. Putting excess heat energy into the atmosphere can cause temperatures to be higher in some areas, cooler in others. Consequences of that are more extreme weather patterns, changes in oceanic currents, changes in the lives of many different species and varieties of living organisms. These have been, and are continuing to be, the areas of much research over many years. Scientific reports are out there for us to read and consider. I cannot tell you "what temperature is preferred." But knowledge gained through careful and honest research can. Your question was not perfectly reasonable.

      I totally agree and respect your position to walk your own journey through life. And, of course, I cannot impose my intuition upon you. I can only ask you to open your mind to other possibilities, beyond what your current presumptions might be. I try to do this personally, even to the extent of reading and carefully considering what you have written.....which in the first instance causes me to feel like rejecting your attitude. But I hang in here and give you the benefit of any doubts I might have....keeping my mind open.

      By the way, you used the expression, "Live in a cave and eat tree bark...." Why do you use it? What do you mean by that?

    • nicomp profile image

      nicomp really 2 years ago from Ohio, USA

      "Intuition is a valid reason for me to act in a certain way. I cannot depend upon information obtained through scientific methods all the time, so I will continue to rely upon intuition when it seems to fit a need in my life."

      I totally agree and I respect your position as long as you don't impose your intuition on me or anyone else. Live in a cave and eat tree bark as long as you don't insist I do the same.

    • nicomp profile image

      nicomp really 2 years ago from Ohio, USA

      ""What is the temperature of the earth supposed to be?" ....and you really expect me or anyone else to give you a definitive answer to that? !!!!"

      Well, you assert it's too hot right now. You should be able to tell me what temperature is preferred. A perfectly reasonable question.

    • jonnycomelately profile image

      Alan 2 years ago from Tasmania

      Intuition is a valid reason for me to act in a certain way. I cannot depend upon information obtained through scientific methods all the time, so I will continue to rely upon intuition when it seems to fit a need in my life.

      With regard to effects upon the temperature of air caused by emissions from internal combustion engines, it's reasonable presumption. We know that within towns and cities, ambient temperatures can be higher that in the country areas where less people live, where there are less buildings being kept warm and therefore emitting Infra-red. Also, there tends to be more vehicular traffic, also adding to the heat of the town.

      I do not call my intuition science. But if someone took my intuition and did some scientifically valid research, then came up with the answers, would you want to believe those answers? Since you did not do the experiments and research yourself, you would have to rely upon the opinions and statements of others.

      So... I don't see the need to argue this at all. Do you see a need, nicomp?

      "What is the temperature of the earth supposed to be?" ....and you really expect me or anyone else to give you a definitive answer to that? !!!!

      You are just playing at games here. You can't be serious....

    • nicomp profile image

      nicomp really 2 years ago from Ohio, USA

      "Fox News definitely qualifies as a news channel, but it is biased (as they all are, to varying degrees)."

      I don't know if Fox News is biased but the opinion shows on that channel certainly are. duh.

      Ratings and revenue, ratings and revenue.

    • nicomp profile image

      nicomp really 2 years ago from Ohio, USA

      In all seriousness I'd truly like an answer to this question:

      What is the temperature of the Earth supposed to be?

    • nicomp profile image

      nicomp really 2 years ago from Ohio, USA

      "Are you convinced that the amount of heat and products of combustion, on such a huge scale, is unlikely to affect our worldwide atmosphere?"

      You obviously don't understand the mathematics involved. You are arguing from intuition. It may seem like a 'huge scale' to you but your impression of how big things are can hardly be called science. I will accept that your opinion, given your frame of reference, is that humans cause the Earth's temperature to increase.

    • jonnycomelately profile image

      Alan 2 years ago from Tasmania

      Fun, maybe, but you are far more intelligent than to see your ideas as "logic."

      Are you convinced that the amount of heat and products of combustion, on such a huge scale, is unlikely to affect our worldwide atmosphere?

      If you are so convinced (and not suggesting you are, just asking). would it be just your "belief" that convinces you, or the results of an honest scientific study and report?

      If you asked the scientist who might be employed by a big multi-national to support their profit-making efforts, then you would most certainly get a skewed answer.... do you agree? Such corruption of scientific enquiry is common, to the detriment of our planet.

      I am not a university-educated scientist. I don't need to be, when my eyes and reasonably intelligent brain say it's most probable that human activity IS changing the air we breathe.

      However, I am willing to listen to scientists who do their work and come up with some very carefully researched findings..... even if they prove my presumptions incorrect.

    • nicomp profile image

      nicomp really 2 years ago from Ohio, USA

      "If you imagine that this situation is not causing a change in our atmosphere and that it's not caused by human activity....."

      "Imagine?" OK. Let's try your 'logic' on another problem:

      In my area people die. Every one of them ate bread. Therefore bread must be killing them.

      Now we will relate your Internet browser software to the murder rate: http://gizmodo.com/5977989/internet-explorer-vs-mu...

      So we have conclusively proven that bread causes death and using Internet Explorer causes the murder rate to go up.

      That was fun!

    • jonnycomelately profile image

      Alan 2 years ago from Tasmania

      If nicomp takes notice of all the road traffic in his/her area; note how many vehicles are chugging along, stop-start-stop-start in the peak-hour traffic, morning, noon and night; consider the billions of litres of fuel being burned across the world, every day of the week.... and then consider the amount of waste heat being pushed into the atmosphere..... not just in his/her neighbourhood, but ALL over every country in the world.....

      If you imagine that this situation is not causing a change in our atmosphere and that it's not caused by human activity.....

      Am I speaking with an intelligent human being?

    • adagio4639 profile image

      adagio4639 2 years ago from Brattleboro Vermont

      I'm afraid it's not. Because there is scientific evidence that they are. There is no scientific evidence for God.

    • nicomp profile image

      nicomp really 2 years ago from Ohio, USA

      "Nobody is required to prove a negative."

      OK: humans are not causing global warming.

      I'm glad that's settled.

    • adagio4639 profile image

      adagio4639 2 years ago from Brattleboro Vermont

      "There is a lot of evidence to show theism and religion existed since even Neanerthals came along. Hinduism and other very ancient religions existed for milleniums and created all human culture and science."

      There's some pretty convincing evidence to show that Neanderthals were a pretty primitive species that would no doubt look for some answer to the questions in their primitive brains when they looked up and saw the sky? What is this place? Since they had no written language it's likely that in the hierarchy of their tribes, some elders that were respected would describe how they got there and that tradition would be passed along to others. They had no science, so there was no other explanation. That's hardly evidence that supports religion as necessary for any of us just because of what Neanderthals may have believed.

      Ozzinato says this: "The cold scientific truth is that atheism has become mathematically passe. By all means cling to it but dont claim its scientific or the basis of many new modern philosophies until you come up with a new theorem to disprove Gods existence."

      I'm jumping into the middle of this, so I don't know what reference to science regarding many "new modern philosophies" you're talking about. You may want to consider Scientific Philosophers like Popper to inform you of their views. However, I'm not aware of any scientific theorem being used to disprove Gods existence. Although I think that science is in the business of "disproving" theories rather than "Proving" them, Science only deals with the physical world and describes that world to us; what it's made of. God is not of the physical world, so science has no interest in trying to disprove a metaphysical concept. For example, forget about God for a moment and task science with proving that purple unicorns don't exist somewhere in the Universe. Science would likely not see that as a question that could be answered. That doesn't prove that the purple unicorn exists. If somebody believes that it's going to be taken on faith because they could never produce evidence to support the belief. God is no different in that regard. If people believe that God exists, fine. But if people demand proof that he doesn't, nobody including the atheist or the scientist will play that silly game. The burden of proof always falls on those that make a claim. Nobody is required to prove a negative.

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      adagio4639 2 years ago from Brattleboro Vermont

      "The U.S. is a country based on freedom of religion which is why most people think of atheism as a religion. "

      I think you're right about that attitude being prevalent among a lot of people. But they don't seem to get that it's also a negative freedom. The freedom FROM religion. The freedom to opt out of it altogether. They can't do the kind of mental gymnastics needed to grasp the concept. Ron Reagan certainly does. So, they mistakenly argue that atheism is "just another religion". Then they'll argue that the Separation of Church and State violates the first amendment by promoting the religion of atheism. It's hard not to come across as condescending to people when you argue with them about this. They simply don't understand the concept and seem to think they have a "fool proof" argument to finally take down the God-less heathens who are responsible for 9/11 and every other disaster known to man.

    • nicomp profile image

      nicomp really 2 years ago from Ohio, USA

      Like Jesse Jackson.

    • secularist10 profile image
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      secularist10 2 years ago from New York City

      Your words made sense, but your grammar did not.

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      nicomp really 3 years ago from Ohio, USA

      Pointless: having no salient or relevant point.

      Incorrect: not correct.

    • secularist10 profile image
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      secularist10 3 years ago from New York City

      Huh?

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      nicomp really 3 years ago from Ohio, USA

      "I would argue the same could be said, if not to a greater degree, for the right."

      Pointless, but incorrect.

    • secularist10 profile image
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      secularist10 3 years ago from New York City

      I would argue the same could be said, if not to a greater degree, for the right.

    • nicomp profile image

      nicomp really 3 years ago from Ohio, USA

      "Uninformed sentient humans" comprise most of the Liberal base.

    • secularist10 profile image
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      secularist10 3 years ago from New York City

      "Uninformed sentient humans" -- exactly, only uninformed or non-serious people would consider a comedy show real news, as opposed to commentary or satire.

    • nicomp profile image

      nicomp really 3 years ago from Ohio, USA

      Many uninformed sentient humans employ The Daily Show as their only news source. Listen to the audience. They laugh at the funny parts and they cheer rabidly when liberal points are made.

      Jon Stewart is a raving hypocrite: criticize him for the content of his show and he will tell you it's comedy. Invite him onto a hard news show and he will be there with bells on.

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      secularist10 3 years ago from New York City

      I don't know any serious person who considers The Daily Show to be news. It's obviously a comedy show.

      Fox News definitely qualifies as a news channel, but it is biased (as they all are, to varying degrees).

    • nicomp profile image

      nicomp really 3 years ago from Ohio, USA

      Interesting, it is, that The Daily Show is excused for having a liberal agenda but is still considered news , while Fox News is regularly attacked for ostensibly having an agenda and is not considered news.

      Funny how the Libs want to have it both ways.

    • secularist10 profile image
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      secularist10 3 years ago from New York City

      Humor can be a very effective teaching tool, pointing out the absurdities of our hallowed leaders and laws.

      Political humor is hardly limited to liberals (although they do tend to be funnier). Both conservatives and liberals partake.

    • nicomp profile image

      nicomp really 3 years ago from Ohio, USA

      Poking fun is not a sane and rational message. It's humor. Humor is exaggeration and hyperbole and juxtaposition. Without question liberals experience difficulties differentiating.

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      secularist10 3 years ago from New York City

      More so than the mainstream media, yes.

      Satirists and comics have been poking fun at politicians and "important" people, and teaching the public important lessons in the process, for thousands of years.

    • nicomp profile image

      nicomp really 3 years ago from Ohio, USA

      Yes, a show on a channel with the word "Comedy" in the name is sane and rational.

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      secularist10 3 years ago from New York City

      Ironically, The Daily Show is more sane and rational than the mainstream media half the time.

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      nicomp really 3 years ago from Ohio, USA

      TBR is academically lazy and should be taken as seriously as The Daily Show.

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      secularist10 3 years ago from New York City

      Thanks Mario, I appreciate it. Great to hear.

      I actually haven't seen TBR, I have heard good things about it though. I've been taking a break from a lot of these issues over the last year or two, working on some other blogs, sites and other projects. I just pop into Hub Pages from time to time to respond to somebody or make an edit here or there. If you have any links to interesting resources, please feel free to share them here. I will definitely check them out.

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      Mario 3 years ago

      Sir, you are making me happy to be an atheist. I've recently spent the last six months getting out of and being relieved from a spiritual life style and I have to say, living with atheist friends and being exposed to so much science has made my life less of a guessing game, and more of a miracle.

      Thank you for the great conversations on the comments thread and please keep writing.

      Also I would love to hear your opinion on TBR. The Bible Reloaded. It is a read through of the bible with two atheists who (in between mocking jokes) explain the origin and cultural influences that made the bible what it is today.

      Again thanks for your post.

      PS: I understand that it takes faith in your own observations to feel secure in your understanding of the universe Billy, however I've placed my faith in imaginings before, and I have to say... disappointed in Santa Claus.

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      Wallace 3 years ago

      The all but two of the people in that last picture were deists

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      Oztinato 3 years ago from Australia

      Here's a great quote from wiki about Einstein's opinion of Gödel: "Economist Oskar Morgenstern recounts that toward the end of his life Einstein confided that his "own work no longer meant much, that he came to the Institute merely ... to have the privilege of walking home with Gödel".

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      Oztinato 3 years ago from Australia

      Nicomp

      What you say is true for the most part except for math.

      Also there is a difference in what various people observe. Some observe God some dont

    • nicomp profile image

      nicomp really 3 years ago from Ohio, USA

      "What makes science different is that it is totally committed to observed evidence."

      No, it is not. It is totally committed to the natural world. It is totally committed to the assumption that everything observed can be explained through the natural world.

      Within that, it is totally committed to observation.

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      Oztinato 3 years ago from Australia

      Although Billy has rambled a little I think his main point about faith is correct. There is no doubt a faith is being shown towards atheist based science philosophy.

      I cant say I am totally opposed to the vibe or feeling I am getting from Secularisto. However it is quite impossible to simply write off Godel. We cant do that; it is just net chat. Godel is a really great Platonist mathematician

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      secularist10 3 years ago from New York City

      Billy:

      Not only is most of your comment irrelevant to the topic of this article, but you're wrong on most of your analysis of the science.

      "Sorry but you can combine hydrogen, helium and lithium any way you want and you're never going to get any of the 111 other elements."

      Evidently you are not familiar with the concept of nuclear fusion, which is what powers a star like our sun.

      All elements are just different combinations of protons. Add a new proton, you have a new element. More on how new elements were formed is in this article:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nucleosynthesis

      Like most misinformed theists, it is impossible for you to talk about atheism without getting into the completely unrelated theory of evolution. See point #4 in my article--there is no connection between atheism and the theory of evolution logically.

      And, also like most misinformed theists, you confuse evolution, which deals with how life developed once it existed, with the origins of life itself.

      "There simply is no crossover between living and non-living substances."

      Incorrect. It's a well-established scientific theory that the first lifeforms developed from the chemicals present in the early earth. It makes a hell of a lot more sense than "magic" from a poorly-defined supernatural being.

      If you were to actually do your research, you would see how this process is believed to have happened.

      "To me it makes infinitely more sense that a Creator designed the universe and our planet within it..."

      Begging the question. Saying "God did it," does not answer the question of how life arose, or how the diversity of life arose, or how the universe was created. It's just hand-waving.

      But no matter. The science is clear on all these points.

      "Ever thought about the huge amount of diverse animal and plant life found in just one acre of a forest?"

      Yep. Biology and other related fields have answered the questions you are posing as to how all these unique individual parts developed their relationships. You just need to do your research.

      "Thus whether you see it or not, atheism with its belief in science above all else..."

      Well, whether you see it or not, atheism itself has nothing to do with science. Atheism is a metaphysical position regarding the existence of God.

    • profile image

      Billy 3 years ago

      This is a cop-out. Atheists who believe in "The Big Bang Theory" are adherents of a religion as well, they just can't bring themselves to admit it. Consider: the periodic table of the elements has 114 known, proven-to-exist elements, all unique. According to this theory everything started out in a hot and dense state with nothing but hydrogen, helium and lithium then exploded outwards to form the universe as we (think we) know it. Sorry but you can combine hydrogen, helium and lithium any way you want and you're never going to get any of the 111 other elements. That's why they're elements and not compounds, common sense. So either the other 111 elements magically appeared somehow (which itself defies science as matter supposedly can neither be created nor destroyed, just changes form) or Someone created them. Either way you're taking it on faith. Moreover, even were it somehow possible to make the rest of the elements out of those three it brings up another question: how did those three elements come into existence? They clearly did not just magically appear on their own or create themselves. So again you're taking it on faith.

      Another problem: according to an atheist we evolved from other primates which in turn evolved from other lower animals, going back to some point at which the first single-celled organisms came into being. Great, but it is also common sense that non-living matter, like dirt, rocks, sand etc. is never, no matter what processes happen to it or how much time elapses, going to somehow become a living thing. No scientist will ever be able to create a living thing, even a bacterium, in a laboratory using non-living matter. There simply is no crossover between living and non-living substances. But at some point some grains of something HAD to have mysteriously come to life, even as bacteria, for any of this evolution process to be possible. Common sense tells you this never happened yet atheists who cherish the scientific method above all else can't seem to figure out that they're putting all their confidence in a process that has never and can never be replicated in a lab. Thus they're taking the concept of living organisms somehow springing from dirt/sand/whatever non-living matter as a matter of faith. Sounds an awful lot like a religion to me, just one that doesn't require its followers to have any kind of moral code for their behavior.

      Adaptation is clearly a genuine, provable process, not a theory. It makes sense. Evolution on the other hand is junk science. Consider this: with all the vast array of different life forms on this planet would you really expect that there would be NO other creatures who bear a closer resemblance to humans than other beings? No matter what a human looks like there would have to be some species that is closer to us than any other creature is, it's common sense. That certainly doesn't mean we evolved from them, explaining why nobody has ever found the mythical "missing link". The Dallas Cowboys and Detroit Lions have uniforms that are strikingly similar, as do the Washington Redskins and Kansas City Chiefs. That doesn't however mean that the Cowboys evolved from the Detroit Lions or the Chiefs from the Redskins. With 32 different NFL teams a few are bound to look more similar to another team than to the other 30. The human mind is predisposed to see patterns, even where none exist.

      To me it makes infinitely more sense that a Creator designed the universe and our planet within it, us and everything that exists than having faith in some unproven, impossible to prove process that just occurred through happenstance or coincidence, that all these diverse pieces of an impossibly huge puzzle all came together just right to form a livable planet with life on it and not just a planet of crabgrass with the occasional germ or bacteria but a planet with life as amazingly diverse as redwood trees, human beings, whales, insects and lizards and everything in between. And not only does all this life exist on earth but it COexists in a beneficial way. Ever thought about the huge amount of diverse animal and plant life found in just one acre of a forest? The delicate and intricate ecosystem at work there, where this eats that, and something else eats this and so on? It all works together for a reason, not because it all happened to come together through some incredibly fortuitous random process. Anyway what I've been getting at is that whether you believe in a supreme being or not, either way you're operating on faith, either faith in your religious teachings or faith in an unproven, hypothetical process that can never be replicated in laboratory conditions. Thus whether you see it or not, atheism with its belief in science above all else even to try to explain things science will never be able to explain, is essentially a religion as well so no atheist should ever look down their nose at "primitive" belief systems of religious people when your faith-based conjecture and hypotheses dressed up with scientific-sounding terminology and guesswork is nothing more than a religious belief system itself.

    • secularist10 profile image
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      secularist10 3 years ago from New York City

      "are you saying all a priori proofs are invalid? Wouldnt that be unscientific? Wouldnt that be stereotyping?"

      Calling it stereotyping seems a bit off-the-wall, not sure where that comes from.

      Proofs like this are perfectly valid--but we have to understand what they really are and what they really tell us. They are not giving us new information, they are simply rearranging information we already have to give us insights we did not realize.

      Here is an example:

      Premise 1: All men are strong

      Premise 2: John is a man

      Conclusion: John is strong

      The proof is perfectly valid as far as it goes--if the premises are true, then the conclusion must be true. So that works.

      But the premise is clearly wrong. In reality, all men are not strong. Some men are weak.

      Regarding science, science gives us insights and understanding of the world based on observed evidence AS WELL AS logic and a priori reasoning.

      Science is NOT just a series of assumptions, premises and the conclusions that result from them in the abstract. What makes science different is that it is totally committed to observed evidence. So in this case, for example, we observe that all men are not strong, therefore we know that the first premise is incorrect.

      This is why limiting a discussion about God to math is a mistake. Math is completely limited to the abstract realm of a priori reasoning. It has no impact on, and is not impacted by, observed evidence. Observed evidence has no relevance to the principles of mathematics and formal logic.

      But God is believed to be a part of reality, therefore observed evidence is indeed a necessary part of the discussion about God.

    • profile image

      Oztinato 3 years ago

      Here is Godel's mathematical theorem:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G%C3%B6del's_ontologi...

    • Oztinato profile image

      Oztinato 3 years ago from Australia

      The Godel theorem is now in the hands of the Hawkings of the world. Not net chat or dodgy biologists. It is best to wait for professional scientists to comment. No rush.

      As far as I can make out the idea of "perfect" is more than that as "it" exists prior to creation, as well as within the current creation AND also in the past present and future.

      The interesting thing is that a new proof has potentially changed the entire psycholgical landscape in a matter of minutes.

      I can understand the culture shock that atheists might be feeling. A maths proof must go straight to the bone.

      Ethics come into play as wel: are you saying all a priori proofs are invalid? Wouldnt that be unscientific? Wouldnt that be stereotyping?

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      secularist10 3 years ago from New York City

      "Neither the journalist or ourselves are in a position to question Godels proof..."

      Isn't that convenient! Lol! A really, really smart guy said it, so it must be true.

      This is a logical fallacy known as the "appeal to authority."

      The problem with using the rules of mathematics to try to prove God's existence is that it requires us to assume all sorts of things before we can even begin to have the discussion. What math does is it tells you what follows necessarily from the axioms and premises. Math or formal logic is great at that.

      For instance, here's a nice little proof for God:

      Premise 1: If reality exists, it had to be created

      Premise 2: Reality exists

      Conclusion: Therefore, reality was created

      Sounds great. But the problem is the first premise. Is it true that something must have been created if it currently exists? No. We can imagine that reality is uncreated and eternal.

      So when you start assigning "God's qualities" to be axiomatic, and designating them as "positive" and "essential" and whatnot, which is what Godel's proof does, you are stacking the deck in favor of theism.

      The exact same proof could be done in the opposite direction, with different premises. It's completely arbitrary and totally up to the person who is making the proof.

      What formal logic cannot tell us is what the premises should be. Only once we have premises in place, can math or formal logic provide any utility.

      This is why all of these proofs that assume this, and assume that, all ultimately come down to: If God exists, then God exists.

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      secularist10 3 years ago from New York City

      Religionists have been trying to use math to make theism seem logically inevitable for many centuries, whether through ontological proofs like this, or through complaints about an infinite regress, and so on. They still haven't succeeded.

      The idea of multiple universes is one idea in theoretical physics, it is by no means established as the definitive conclusion to anything.

      Moreover, there is a logical problem you are missing. God is defined as the creator of everything, which means all the universes (if there are multiple universes). So it's not sufficient to say "by the law of probability, in one of these universes, a God exists" because such a being would have to exist outside of the universes altogether.

    • Oztinato profile image

      Oztinato 3 years ago from Australia

      I have no objection to moral atheism. You know that already.

      I am trying to point out that overnight atheism has become scientifically implausible(see Godel). This means there are now only irrational non scientific and emotive reasons for clinging to atheism. It is a "dead parrot" so to speak.

      There many implications of Godels proof include the logical undermining of all the attendant definitions of what atheism is(as stated by secularisto above).

      The cold scientific truth is that atheism has become mathematically passe. By all means cling to it but dont claim its scientific or the basis of many new modern philosophies until you come up with a new theorem to disprove Gods existence.

      Once again I have no problem with moral atheism. Do I need to repeat it again? If we accept new scientific research (see Godel) atheism is now more correctly agnosticism. There is no shame in it. Its just another step on the evolutionary ladder.

      Of course the issue of scientific hypocrisy raises its head for those who both claim to be scientific but who also deny new theorems; but this ethical problem has been covered by me in some detail here withour resolution by New Atheists.

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      Alan 3 years ago from Tasmania

      Atheism does not "exist." It's a concept, abstract, and a way of thinking depending on one's point of view.

      Anyway, regardless of such finer points, do you have a problem with atheism? Is it not ok for any person to have an atheist opinion if he/she thinks that way? What harm can it do?

    • profile image

      Oztinato 3 years ago

      ....or to put it another way: there is a greater mathematical chance of a unicorn existing on another planet than there is of atheism existing anywhere in the universe.

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      Oztinato 3 years ago

      I note with interest a lack of responses to Godels proof and its implications. Mathematically, atheism no longer exists.Math arguments against Godel cant contradict other theorems. So endless universes Hawking tells us certainly do contain endless varieties of horses even those with antlers! Do you have a new math theorem to disprove this?

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      nicomp really 3 years ago from Ohio, USA

      "f anywhere else in this universe had the air for a Unicorn to breathe, the right food for it to eat, the right predators around to cause the horse-like creature to need sturdy and speedy legs..... these sort of characteristics in existence might lead us to suppose Unicorns exist.

      "

      By that logic, everything that should exist does exist. Don't need math to disprove that, either.

    • Oztinato profile image

      Oztinato 3 years ago from Australia

      Or if x equals "perfect" it can't equal y etc.

      (I am trying to speak Nerd in order to get my message across. :)

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      Oztinato 3 years ago

      I am only quoting people like Stephen Hawking and other physicists who claim there are now theorems which prove the existence of an infinite amount of other universes: so many it is argued (by physicists) that there are many slightly parallel "us's" of every degree of subtlety and minor shades of difference "out there": including horses with every shade of difference to earth's horses.

      Whereas the character of a unicorn is simply just a horse with a single horn on its head, the character of God is an omnipotent being which "can't change" ie is perfect. Hence His theoretical reality is more substantial than anything else and theoretically pervades the entire universe/s.

      Although I am only average at math I like to toy with math philosophy: if x equals God, and x can or cannot equal y, then x can't exist, but as x does exist it cannot equal y! In other words (I think!:) it seems to be impossible to either prove or DISPROVE God's existence without giving Him a value ie without claiming He exists in the first place. There is an "a priori" criticism about proving God's existence, but the DISPROVING of God's existence also relies on "a priori" reasoning!

      If this same phenomena occurs with every math model available then we have further proof. I think Godel's model was a way of testing hypothesis' in all math models; hence the need to wait for super computers to verify it all.

      I repeat that it is up to the best mathematicians to deal with these proofs, not me, not us, not journalists, and certainly not unqualified biologists of very doubtful ethics and self proclaimed math ability such as Mr. Dawkins.

    • jonnycomelately profile image

      Alan 3 years ago from Tasmania

      "Incidentally other maths greats point out that as there are infinite universes and hence infinite possibilities it is certain that say unicorns exist somewhere in the universe! Strange but true."

      If a Unicorn existed anywhere in this universe, it would have evolved as a Unicorn for a reason. I.e., the horn on its nose would have had a beneficial function, otherwise it would not have arisen.

      If anywhere else in this universe had the air for a Unicorn to breathe, the right food for it to eat, the right predators around to cause the horse-like creature to need sturdy and speedy legs..... these sort of characteristics in existence might lead us to suppose Unicorns exist.

      You would not need mathematics to prove it or otherwise.

    • Oztinato profile image

      Oztinato 3 years ago from Australia

      My own math ability is average. Kurt Godel on the other hand was on a par with Einstein. The newspaper comments about his recently proved God theorem are coloured by the journalists own prejudices. We have to yield to a people with great math ability. Neither the journalist or ourselves are in a position to question Godels proof as it is a proof just as sound as any other theorem.

      Incidentally other maths greats point out that as there are infinite universes and hence infinite possibilities it is certain that say unicorns exist somewhere in the universe! Strange but true.

      Sankara also states that if something is truly impossible it would be impossible to even conceive of it.

      We need to take more heed of Godel as the model has now been tested and proved thus turning all atheists into agnostics.

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      secularist10 3 years ago from New York City

      The problem is in the premises. As one of the commenters on that page said, what the scientists did was verify the logical soundness of the argument--that the conclusions follow from the premises. They did not prove the premises themselves.

      "Hence to use maths to prove that God does not exist entails first positing a value for God! So mathematically speaking God has to exist first before we can disprove Him!"

      So we could use the same logic for anything: "To use maths to prove that unicorns do not exist entails first positing a value for unicorns. So mathematically speaking unicorns have to exist first before we can disprove them."

      This opens the door to the notion that pretty much anything and everything that we could ever possibly imagine, exists.

      Obviously that's ridiculous.

    • jonnycomelately profile image

      Alan 3 years ago from Tasmania

      If something is proven then it is no longer a theory.

    • Oztinato profile image

      Oztinato 3 years ago from Australia

      How about this:

      Kurt Godel (1906–1978), a famous mathematician, had his mathematical "proof of God" tested by modern computers and they proved him theoretically correct in October 2013!

      See article below:

      http://www.ibtimes.com/god-real-scientists-prove-h...

      Is God Real? Scientists ‘Prove’ His Existence With Godel’s Theory And MacBooks

      By Maria Vultaggio

      on October 29 2013 4:26 PM

      "Scientists have “proven” God’s existence, at least in theory, by plugging in mathematician Kurt Godel’s philosophy on their MacBooks..."

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      Alan 3 years ago from Tasmania

      Thank you.....

      One analogy I find attractive: you and me standing before a mirror. Only in our presence does an image appear. That image is totally dependent on our being there. I cannot see your image at the same time as looking squarely at my own: there is an angular difference, and neither of us can see the other withou at least a tiny amount of distortion. Those are the differences we have to contend with even in the finite (measurable) incident position.

      Imagine then, those two images in the mirror, totally dependent upon our presence, remember, arguing with each other which of them is real!

    • Oztinato profile image

      Oztinato 3 years ago from Australia

      Johnny Come Lately

      thanks for your comments.

      The Hindus have called Vishnu "the atom" for thousands of years. They say he is present in every single atom. Does the "Observer Effect" provide proof of the consciousness present in the quantum world? A consciousness that travels at 4 times the speed of light! Infinite consciousness? Psychic researchers often complain that results change when the experiment is observed. This is still laughed at by skeptics.

      Once medieval monks taught that one million angels could fit on the head of a pin. This was laughed at by skeptics. Today science says the entire universe was once the size of the head of pin.

      Religions, even primitive ones, suspected there are at least several other dimensions: today maths proves there are many other dimensions.

      Ideas do not often occur in total isolation: they evolve and grow out of each other.

      Science may yet prove the existence of God. For example it is mathematically impossible to either prove or disprove the existence of any thing unless we first give it a value. Hence to use maths to prove that God does not exist entails first positing a value for God! So mathematically speaking God has to exist first before we can disprove Him!

    • Oztinato profile image

      Oztinato 3 years ago from Australia

      I think we are largely in agreement about this topic. It is refreshing to hear an atheist at least acknowledge the existence of religion rather than trying to pretend it doesn't exist.

      Yes, I am very concerned about Peter Singer's ideas as they are sensationalist and unhealthy. Also, I am concerned about the total lack of opposition to his ideas on beastiality and infanticide by the other leaders of atheist philosophy. Any actual good ideas he has come up with are certainly swallowed up by his attempt to calmly accept the ideas mentioned above. (Hitler once had a “good idea”too: the VW!) To all legal, true atheist and theistic ideologies Singer’s ideas on these ethical issues hark back to what perhaps a pre-human might have practiced (Ramapithecus perhaps?). To put it more simply, if we can keep our food down when we read about Singer’s ideas we are losing touch with basic human ethics.

      The popular leaders have enormous influence particularly on younger people who might want to formulate their own concept of atheism.

      I have repeatedly freely admitted the failings of hypocrites in both religions and atheism as separate phenomena from both religion and atheism. I will continue to repeat that mantra. The flaw in below average atheist reasoning stems from a stereotyping of all religions: stereotypical thinking is neither a symptom of scientific thought nor of ethics, so it can't be said to have any use whatsoever in this debate or in the evolution of ethics. Hence to stereotype is to devolve.

      To leave it all up to the individual doesn't work because the actual "law" is the true arbiter of ethics so the individual is legally not the sole arbiter of ethical standards. The corporate world often pines for a life unhindered by any regulation and I don’t see them successfully relying on their innate ethics to run business. (see GFC).

      People need laws.

      Laws evolved out of religion and into a partially secular legal system. Yes the legal system too has had monumental failures due to corrupt hypocrites and a slow evolution into something better.

      I have openly defended ethical atheistic humanism.

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      secularist10 3 years ago from New York City

      Oz:

      We are in agreement that strong ethics are necessary for human flourishing. And we are in agreement that both atheists and religious people can be ethical, or unethical.

      But your main error is in thinking that religion, in and of itself, provides some special or unique ethical insight. It does not. Religion has been created and layered on top of the existing human ethical sense, not the other way around.

      This is precisely why people can be ethical without religion. And why religious people can be unethical. The two are independent of each other.

      At best, all that religion gives us is various thoughts and ideas on ethics. We might read the Bible from a secular standpoint, for instance, and get some ideas and food for thought, the way we would read a text from Plato or Aristotle or Machiavelli or Confucius.

      But the error is to reify religion into some kind of special authority, when it is simply one expression of human ethical thinking among many.

      You are, once again, giving Peter Singer far too much credit. Singer, Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris, Daniel Dennet and other prominent atheists are all prominent or well known. But that does not mean their ideas are swallowed hook, line and sinker by most actual atheists.

      In fact atheists today are probably one of the most diverse groups of people around. Everyone has their own ideas, precisely because independent thought and skepticism and critical thinking are core values that almost all atheists and agnostics today hold dear.

      Jonny come lately, for instance, is an atheist, and he and I certainly do not agree on a lot of things.

      In any case your error here is two-fold, (1) you fixate on specific problems and failings of Singer's writings, without acknowledging his positive ethical contributions in other areas (with respect to poverty alleviation or animal rights for instance), and (2) more importantly, you ignore many other ideas from atheists and secular people who have very different models of ethics and morality.

      It's interesting you want us to account for the good contributions religion has made, ignoring or sweeping under the rug the negatives, but when it comes to modern atheist and secular thought, you do the exact reverse: fixating on the negatives, while ignoring the positives.

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      Alan 3 years ago from Tasmania

      My apologies, I retract some of what I wrote in the previous post. Having read some of the Wikipedia entry for Peter Singer, I see what you are talking about.

      All I can say now, having read only briefly about Peter Singer, I suspect he is the victim of mass reaction - from people who will not listen to him fully, will not consider deeply what he has to say and race into an immediate judgment of his views, a bit like I did for you, oztinato.

      So, let's have the discussion continue. I, as one with an atheist point of view, do have a background in christianity during the early part of my life. This moved into involvement with Siddha Yoga and Vipassana, neither of which I follow specifically, yet have gained much from simply listening to their teachings and "testing" them for myself.

      I do have a strong sense of ethics, which might surprise some people who are dead against homosexuality and atheism.

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      Alan 3 years ago from Tasmania

      ".....the inherent dangers to the entire human race of encouraging animal to human diseases by the acceptance of beastiality plus the calm acceptance of infanticide as the "new black" and cutting edge of atheist philosophy is the current appalling reality of this huge social experiment."

      A statement such as this when you are discussing (and denigrating) atheism is a disgusting liberty on your part. How on earth you can even consider such things to be acceptable to anyone just because he or she is of atheist persuasion, is beyond my ken.

      You have given very weak excuses for your anonymity, I rather suspect it is cowardice on your part. Prove I am wrong.

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      Oztinato 3 years ago from Australia

      In summary regarding the various comments made I feel it necessary to briefly mention Peter singer again: the inherent dangers to the entire human race of encouraging animal to human diseases by the acceptance of beastiality plus the calm acceptance of infanticide as the "new black" and cutting edge of atheist philosophy is the current appalling reality of this huge social experiment.

      There is nowhere (at the moment) for atheism to go but down. Peter Singer is not just one man but represents an entire highly popular school of thought that has influenced thousands of graduates.

      There is nowhere (at the moment) for atheism to go but ‘Down’ unless there is a considered acceptance of the evolution of human ethics from religion to more evolved religion and of course even into atheism itself.

      I am defending true atheism and true religion.

      Atheism itself is quite acceptable, but devoid of ethics is close to insanity re Peter Singer.

      It doesn’t have to be a specific code of ethics; but there is no doubt that the protection of the human race, the weak and animals etc relate to the definition of humanity. Other basic human values such as the non-stereotyping of entire groups, compassion, honesty etc are also symptomatic of what is “human”. They have evolved with us a species and can’t be gotten rid of just as the skeletal system can’t be simply gotten rid of because of an erroneous idea that the skeletal system is no longer relevant! It is a result of evolution and is inseparable from us as humans.

      To abandon human ethics is to devolve.

      I can only continue to re-state that the failures and hypocrisy of religion and atheism are due to practicing hypocrites and are not a result of the actual true form of either philosophy.

      My own philosophy is multi faith and multi religious and I take the stance of an anthropologist who studies and appreciates comparative religion.

      Of course there has been a startling growth in science and technology and this is taken for granted as a good thing: so why is an advance in ethics seen as undeniable and “too close to religion”? This attitude to religion and thus ethics is definitely coming from and being publicly taught by the poor atheist leadership of today eg. Dawkins, Singer. Such leaders have entangled themselves (hypocritically) into the world of mass marketing and cooked up badly thought out “haywire” ethics and non-ethics so they can sell books and become famous.

      I have no desire to start a hub as there are already thousands of them available. My main goal is to express original thought regarding these topics in the hope of mutual education. I am a very busy person and really do not have the time for the social media Facebook type of lifestyle that seems to attract so many others. I prefer to remain anonymous. As both atheists and the religious accept freedom of speech it should be easy to accept that I am allowed to express my own freedom of speech ( if it doesn’t harm the weak, the human race in general, does not stereotype and sticks to the rules of basic human ethics which is imprinted in our DNA).

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      secularist10 3 years ago from New York City

      Jonny:

      "Humans need ethics in order to live comfortably with other people and all the other living things of this world - in harmony♥."

      And religion was often used as a mechanism for achieving that ethical reality. We have only recently realized that it's the ethics that are really necessary, not the religious packaging around it.

      Confusing the superficial aspects of religion (rituals, customs, prayers, ceremonies, etc) with true ethics has resulted in countless problems.

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      secularist10 3 years ago from New York City

      Oztinato:

      "... atheist philosophies and ideologies."

      I agree that there are various philosophies and ideologies that fall under the "atheist" umbrella. But I already said that earlier. You have been talking about atheism *as a philosophy*, which is different.

      "... atheism SEEMS to have lead to a dulling of the ethical sense"

      Your causation here is incorrect. And I would not cast it in terms of "dulling the ethical sense" but rather transcending traditional, established ethics into a DIFFERENT ethical sense.

      So yes, in recent centuries people have left the traditional values and ethics of religion and the worldviews associated with religion. And they have replaced those traditional religious values with new religious values (new religions and spiritual paradigms), or with nonreligious values (values based on naturalistic or secular ideas), or with nihilism/ lack of any values at all.

      So in a way it is not surprising that you associate ethical decline with atheism, because both can occur when adherence to religious values decline. But the key thing you are missing is that many of those traditional religious values were in fact, unethical.

      Think of all the crimes and wars and oppression committed in the name of religion. The oppression and violence against women, against minority groups (African slaves in North America, Jews in Europe, etc), religious wars, persecution of witches, and so on. Today we see some "devout" Christians persecuting certain children in Africa because they believe they are witches.

      We are lucky to be rid of these "traditional values."

      Does getting rid of existing, established ethical norms sometimes lead to uncertainty, ambiguity or even moral decline? Yes. That is the nature of change. It is a risk. Sometimes we fail.

      But evidently, we are succeeding more often than we are failing, as seen by the millions of people who live in post-religious societies today that enjoy more freedom, justice, equality, peace and prosperity than ever experienced in human history.

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      secularist10 3 years ago from New York City

      Oztinato:

      "(I believe it is regarded as unethical on Hub to refer to other threads. I could do the same but of course will not)."

      I don't know where you heard that. You are free to post links to whatever references or sources you want, as long as you don't overdo it with a million links or whatever. And as long as they are relevant to the discussion. I don't mind.

      "Do you agree that both religions and atheist based philosophies abhor hypocrisy?"

      Ha! Definitely not! Human beings are famous for their hypocrisy and contradictions. And religion is in many ways the epitome of this tendency (although hypocrisy is certainly limited to religion).

      There are plenty of thinkers and thought leaders (religious, atheist and others) who have been hypocritical in many ways through the centuries.

      One of the best examples in modern times is the Catholic Church. It has claimed moral authority on countless matters, including sexual morality, and yet for years looked the other way at child abuse and child rape by its own priests.

      It's interesting that you criticize politics for its tendency to hypocrisy, but for some reason religion, which is just a human invention as much as politics, you view as sacrosanct.

      Let's be real and see religion for what it is: a flawed attempt by people to understand their world, frequently hijacked by corrupt and self-interested individuals and institutions, and more often than not standing in the way of human advancement.

      I reiterate, the facts of history are on my side. If you add up all human achievements in the sciences and in knowledge--that is, aggregate them all--you will see that the vast majority of these achievements have occurred in the last few centuries.

      Humanity went for thousands of years with precious little advancement scientifically or technologically. People in the 1300s were more or less at the same level of advancement as their ancestors a millennium earlier.

      It was in the former period that humans were most religious and devout. While that period was much LONGER (lasting thousands of years), the total amount of advancement was actually LESS than in the last few hundred years, when people have been at their least religious ever.

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      Alan 3 years ago from Tasmania

      "...isms" don't need ethics.

      Humans need ethics in order to live comfortably with other people and all the other living things of this world - in harmony♥.

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      nicomp really 3 years ago from Ohio, USA

      " True atheism and true theism both share ethics. "

      Nope. Atheism is without ethics. It has no morals. Atheists may declare themselves moral or adopt some external moral code, but becoming an atheist obligates no specific moral or ethical code.

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      Alan 3 years ago from Tasmania

      Oztinato, I note from Wikpedia that your nickname if spelt with and "s" relates to being stubborn. Is that significant?

      All that you have written here about atheists comes from you in obscurity. You have been in Hubpages for 12 months, with no hubs and no followers. You tell nothing about yourself, so how can we give you credibility? What are you afraid of? Is your refusal to expose anything about yourself a form of hypocrisy?

      Are you a person who professes christianity? If you are, then that surely would give you courage to state your convictions openly, regardless of anyone disagreeing with you.

      Are you genuine with what you write here? Are you open to changing your opinion if someone offers different points of view? Or are you totally fixed in your way of thinking?

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      Oztinato 3 years ago from Australia

      All I ask is that the people here read wiki on atheism and you will see that although there is no unifying philosophy there are in fact many atheist philosophies and ideologies. Atheism is more than just a one line definition. Its an important modern movement intimately linked to numerous new ideologies.

      As for the mutual abhorrence of hypocrisy: it doesn't matter if there are no codified reasons. The abhorrence of hypocrisy evolved out of religions millenniums ago and is part of humanity, as is compassion. Its like a meme that is so ancient it has become a gene. True atheism and true theism both share ethics. Even some animals display compassion and tolerance and the abhorrence of hypocrisy.eg. many higher mammals punish members who go to far in the harassment of members of their own species.

      Ergo to disregard the evolution of religion is in fact hypocrisy; the tarring of all religions with the same brush is hypocrisy; not seeing the religion in art history and science is hypocrisy etc.

      I am saying this not to be nasty but to try and demonstrate that generally atheism SEEMS to have lead to a dulling of the ethical sense; so that practitioners can no longer perceive potential hypocrisy as easily UNLESS it is replaced with a strong set of ethical values and education.

      Many of Secularistio's arguments reveal this after a logical clinical ethical analysis.

      What is the motive in ignoring the historical value of religion? It has to be a political reason and not a logical or an ethical reason.

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      nicomp really 3 years ago from Ohio, USA

      "Do you agree that both religions and atheist based philosophies abhor hypocrisy?"

      You cannot make that generalization about atheism. Atheism has no 'philosophy' beyond the denial of God's existence. Individual atheists may abhor hypocrisy but there is no codified reason for them to do so.