48 Sure-Fire “gotcha” questions for Atheists! (part 4) June 19, 2015Posted by Ubi Dubium in Questions, Responses.
Tags: atheism, christianity, critical thinking, Darwin, evolution, morality, Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Questions, religion, stupidity
These questions may be getting stupider, if that’s even possible. Sorry if these answers seem so obvious, and kind of like Atheism 101. I’ve known this stuff for a long time, but for somebody who’s been told all their life that these are clever questions, this might be unfamiliar material.
25. If creationists can’t do science, then why does the website Answersingenesis have proven science articles from creationists that do science?
It’s not that creationists can’t do science, it’s that they don’t do science. Science means testing your ideas against reality. Science means being open to the fact that your ideas might be wrong, and may need revising or scrapping. If there is no possible answer that you could get from your experiment that would show your hypothesis is wrong, then it’s not science. If you start with the conclusion you want (i.e. “the bible is true”) and then cherry pick some data that supports your conclusion, that’s not science.
If those guys were really doing genuine science, they could get their papers published in real scientific journals, not some fake one they publish themselves. The stuff they put out is religion, not science, so they can’t qualify for real journals .
26. If evolution is true, then why can’t white people compete to be good in basketball like black people? After all, white people can’t jump!
(So in addition to the stupidity, now we’re adding racism. This just keeps getting worse and worse!) White people can be good at basketball. White people can jump just fine. I refer you to Dick Fosbury, the famous Olympic gold medalist high jumper:
If there were an isolated population of people where success at basketball was necessary for reproductive success, over many generations you would see the traits that permit success at basketball begin to dominate, and there would be an evolutionary shift towards those traits in that group. But right now it’s possible to raise lots of kids while being terrible at basketball, so that change is not likely to happen.
27. Where do you decide to fit God in your everyday life if you don’t believe in him?
Wait, what? This question demonstrates that the questioner is completely unclear on the concept of “not believing in things.”
Do you believe in Thor? No? Then where do you decide to fit Thor in your everyday life if you don’t believe in him? Where does Krishna fit? How about my invisible 6-foot-tall rabbit friend? Where do you decide to fit Harvey into your life?
Really, before you ask some of these questions, try substituting in some religion you don’t believe in, and imagine someone from that religion asking you the question. If it makes no sense that way, then maybe you shouldn’t be asking it either.
28. Why is Christianity the fastest growing religion if it’s false?
Because it’s not. Remember when I said you can look this stuff up on the internet? Well, you can look this stuff up on the internet. Worldwide, the fastest growing religion is Islam. In the US, the fastest growing group is the unaffiliated. The fastest growing church in the US is probably the Mormons. But I think that the Pastafarians are actually growing much faster than any church, there’s just nobody keeping the statistics on that.
Here’s this chart again, just as a reminder as to that in the US, christianity is not the fastest growing group.
29. Do you feel free to commit murders, homosexuality, go to strip bars, steal, commit adultery, and do other sins since you believe there is no God?
Wow, so much to unpack with this question.
First, this idea of “sins” is problematic. A “sin” is doing something that god told you not to do, and if there’s no god, then there’s no “sins”. This whole idea of “sin” is just religion trying to convince you that you have a disease and need their cure.
And then you have listed a whole bunch of behaviors, some of which harm other people and some of which don’t, apparently classifying them as equally “sinful”. This is ridiculous. Murder and theft cause direct harm to others, so we can agree that they are not acceptable. Adultery is the private business of the people who are married, and what promises they made to each other. If you promised your spouse fidelity and then violate that, that’s a breach of trust and certainly wrong for your relationship, but not on a par with murder. I’ve got no problem with strip bars as long as the people working there are of age and are working there of their own choice. And homosexuality is not something someone commits, it’s something they are, and there is nothing harmful about it in any way. Conflating unlike things into one big pot of “sin” like this may be one of the things that’s putting our young people off religion. (One in three young Americans is not religious, a huge increase in recent years.)
And do I feel free to do things that cause harm to other people? Why would I want to? I live in a society where I depend on other people for my survival. My children will continue to depend on the stability of that society, and their children after them if they choose to have any. I don’t want to live in a society where murder and violence and theft are acceptable behavior, so I don’t do that myself. I’m accountable to the people around me for my actions, not some invisible god.
And the obvious counter to your question – is your belief in god the only thing that’s stopping you from harming other people? If that’s the only thing, then you must be a very bad person indeed. And please keep believing in your religion in that case!
30. Why do the fossils say no to evolution?
They don’t. (They don’t actually say anything, we have to study them!) Looking at fossils is one of the things that leads to the conclusion of evolution. We see that life has changed over time, that new animals don’t just pop in out of nowhere, but develop from prior forms. We see that animals didn’t exist in isolation, but as part of populations living and breeding in different environments. You should try visiting a real science museum sometime, it’s fascinating!
31. Why did Darwin admit that how the eye formed is impossible?
More mistakes! He didn’t say that. Here’s the full quote:
To suppose that the eye with all its inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different amounts of light, and for the correction of spherical and chromatic aberration, could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest degree. When it was first said that the sun stood still and the world turned round, the common sense of mankind declared the doctrine false; but the old saying of Vox populi, vox Dei, as every philosopher knows, cannot be trusted in science. Reason tells me, that if numerous gradations from a simple and imperfect eye to one complex and perfect can be shown to exist, each grade being useful to its possessor, as is certainly the case; if further, the eye ever varies and the variations be inherited, as is likewise certainly the case; and if such variations should be useful to any animal under changing conditions of life, then the difficulty of believing that a perfect and complex eye could be formed by natural selection, though insuperable by our imagination, should not be considered as subversive of the theory.
And here’s an example of eye development, from marine animals, showing progressive stages of eye development, each useful to the animal that has it:
32. Where did everything come from if there is no God?
Don’t know. I don’t need to know! I may live my whole life without having an answer to this question, and I’m fine with that. People have been working on this question a lot, but we don’t have an answer yet. Maybe we never will. Right now we don’t have enough information to begin to answer the question. Neil DeGrasse Tyson has the right idea; this quote is from a discussion about UFO’s but is also relevant here:
There’s lots of possibilities. Maybe universes bud off of other universes. Maybe there was always “something”, just in a different form. Maybe “nothing” is unstable and always decays into “something”. Maybe there is a hyper-dimensional cosmic cow that farts universes. I’m not going to pretend I know, and I’m not going to believe that you magically know either. Not knowing something is not a reason to fill the gap in your knowledge with a made-up “god”.
There’s still more of these to come…