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Ten Questions to Ask an Atheist May 31, 2012

Posted by Ubi Dubium in Rants.
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I found this list of questions  on The Bittersweet End, and took a stab at answering them without reading the comments there first.  The comment system messed up my formatting as I was trying to copypasta my answers in from Word, so I’m also posting them here:

“I’m going to answer these without reading the other comments, so they won’t influence my answers.  So sorry if any of this is repetitive.

1. If there is NO God, then there is no Measurement or Standard for morality? Then what will define morality?

We are an aggressive species, but our success comes from being a social species as well.  Morality is just the set of rules that we have developed that allow us to live and function in groups.  As our connectedness with the rest of the world grows, we have to rework these rules.  “What works” is the standard.

2. If there is NO God, then there is NO meaning or purpose to Life; So not everything meaningless since there is no God? So what will the purpose of living? Without God, does the Atheist have purpose?

We are not given a purpose.  Purpose is something we have to create for ourselves.

3. Are you an advocate of New Atheism and Darwinism? If so then the most extreme and logical form of Darwinism is Eugenics, Survival of the fittest. Would you support this? Why or Why Not?

New Atheism is just the same as Old Atheism, except that we have gotten sick and tired of having to be quiet and pretend like we don’t exist.  So we’re not being quiet anymore.

I think Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection is the right answer to the problem of how organisms change over time.  Eugenics has nothing to do with natural selection; it is an attempt to use artificial selection to produce better humans than three million years of the battle for survival has been able to.  Farmers have used artificial selection for thousands of years, and produced many useful plants and animals, but they always come with a trade-off.  We have plants that can’t reproduce without our help, purebred dogs with physical, temperamental and neurological problems, and sheep that are docile, fleecy, and completely helpless.  Using this idea to try to improve humans in some areas would produce humans that would completely suck in others.  It’s a terrible idea.

Survival of the fittest describes how we got here, not how we should live cooperatively in the present.

4. If we are ancestors/descendants of Apes, then why are there no transitional fossils or species to support this theory?

There are tons of transitional fossils, and we are finding new ones every day.  Pretending there aren’t any doesn’t make it so.

5. Do you believe in Human Nature? It is Human Nature to believe in God, if so, why do you go against human nature and not believe in God?

I think that humans have a psychology that developed to help us survive.  Part of that includes built-in mental shortcuts that help us make quick decisions under stress and with limited information.  Unfortunately, those shortcuts often lead us to jump to conclusions about whether a pattern exists, and whether an intentional agency is involved. (Better to assume every time that the rustle in the grass is a tiger who wants to eat you, even when it isn’t, than to get it wrong and be devoured.)  With our over-active pattern and agency detectors, we default to thinking “who is responsible” instead of “what is responsible”.  Nothing about this indicates that a god exists.

6. Can Nothing come from Something? Doesn’t that violate The First Law of Thermodynamics?

I think you meant “something come from nothing”.  In quantum physics, something comes from nothing all the time.  We don’t even know if “nothing” is stable, maybe it isn’t.  And we don’t know what “preceded” the singularity at the beginning of our space-time universe, so we can’t assume it was “nothing”.  We also can’t assume it was the war god of a mid-eastern Bronze-Age tribe of goatherders.

7. It seems that a society of Atheist are immoral and self-destructing. Why would anyone want a Godless Society, just look at our examples, North Korea, Maoist China, Stalin, & Pot Pol?

You listed totalitarian states, where blind devotion to a religion has been replaced, by force, with blind devotion to a leader, or to a political ideology.  I would not call any society where blind devotion is mandatory an “atheist state”.  They’ve just replaced one “religion” with another.

A better example is Sweden.  They are prosperous, happy, and one of the healthiest nations in the world.  The government does not try to force the people to be devoted to anything.  Religion is allowed, but most of the people don’t give a flip about it.  That’s a goal to aspire to.

8. If you were to die, and you were before God. And he was getting ready to pass judgment on you, What would be your reaction or thoughts? What plea would you give him so he does not judge you harshly?

I’d tell him he has a lot of explaining to do!  How dare he presume to pass judgment on us!  If he created us, then he created us as we are – imperfect.  Then he hid himself and made it impossible to tell for sure whether he was there or not.  He allowed horrible human suffering, not just from how we treat each other, but from natural disasters outside our control.  He allowed thousands of different religions to spring up, none clearly superior to any other. And then, since belief in various religions is clustered geographically, correct belief is highly dependent on what region one happens to be born into.  So he would presume to judge us for being born in the wrong place or the wrong time or not being gullible enough, or just plain being imperfect?  WTF?     I will grovel to no such incompetent tyrant.

9. What would convince you atheism is wrong? And that Christianity is Right?

I have a pass-phrase.  I’ve never told anybody what it is, or written it down.  It’s not a phrase that you will find in any book, to anybody else it will sound like nonsense.  I’ve thought it in my head many times, very loudly.  If your god is omniscient he knows what it is.  If he is omnipotent, he can communicate to someone what it is.  And if he wants me to know he exists, then all he has to do is tell a True Believer to come up to me and say this phrase.  When that happens, that’s the person I will listen to.  Until then, I assume all evangelists are equally full of crap.

Or – I suppose if the tree in my front yard started growing KJV bibles, that would get my attention.  Or if the stars rearranged themselves into a different bible verse every night.  But faith healing?   Faces on grilled cheese sandwiches?  Prayers that work no better than placebos?  Exhortations from TV preachers?  Give me a break.  If that kind of stuff would convince me, I would never have left religion.

10. Why are you an Atheist? Why do you NOT believe in God? Why do you reject God? (You can be as detailed as you want.)

I have insufficient evidence to support such a hypothesis.

If you don’t require evidence for believing in things, you might as well believe in the tooth-fairy, or the invisible space pickle or Flying Spaghetti Monster (pesto be upon Him).”

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Comments»

1. I Write Irate - May 31, 2012

I love this. Take a look at my most recent post and let me know what you think.

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2. danielwalldammit - June 1, 2012

These aren’t really questions.

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ubi dubium - June 1, 2012

I would agree, in a way. I don’t think they were meant as questions by the people who originally wrote them. They were probably put forward as “gotcha” questions, without any intention of actually asking them to real live atheists. Fundies could sit around and say “Well an atheist couldn’t answer that could they?” and then feel all smug about how right they were. But thebiblereader appears to be interested in what genuine answers to these are. Very commendable.

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3. rowanwphillips - June 1, 2012

Excellent answers! Very comprehensive without being longwinded.

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4. thebiblereader - June 1, 2012

Thanks for answering the questions

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5. Ten (Fairly Stupid) Questions to Ask an Atheist – With Answers! « The Self Taught Atheist - October 30, 2012

[…] I want to start out this post by saying that I borrowed it from a really interesting blog: Question with Boldness. You should read the answers they posted, because they answer these questions really well. […]

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