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48 Sure-Fire “gotcha” questions for Atheists! (part 4) June 19, 2015

Posted by Ubi Dubium in Questions, Responses.
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Previous post in this series.

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:

ihighju001p1

The Fosbury Flop

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.

religious landscape

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:

evolutionoftheeye

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:

COSMOS: A SPACETIME ODYSSEY: More than three decades after Carl Sagan's groundbreaking and iconic series, "Cosmos: A Personal Voyage," it's time once again to set sail for the stars. Host and astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson sets off on the Ship of the Imagination to discover Earth's Cosmic Address and its coordinates in space and time in the "Standing Up in the Milky Way" Series Premiere episode of COSMOS: A SPACETIME ODYSSEY airing Sunday, March 9, 2014 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. (Photo by FOX via Getty Images)

Well, if you don’t know what it is, that’s where your conversation should stop!

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…

Next post in this series

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Comments»

1. Christ Centered Teaching - June 19, 2015

Try this. Show the conclusive journal evidence that people are born gay as you stated here.
It has to more than theory and supposition according to what you call science here.

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Daniel Digby - June 20, 2015

If you had bothered spending the two minutes it took to find the journal evidence, you would have found that the most recent publication was last month at http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=9625997&fileId=S0033291714002451, and the gene involved is Xq28. If you are actually interested in reading the entire article rather than just the abstract, the journal Psychological Medicine has arrangements by which you can buy the article.

Now my question to you is why didn’t at least look for the evidence before writing?

Liked by 2 people

Christ Centered Teaching - June 20, 2015

It says nothing of homosexuality. It only confirms that if we checked Bruce Jenner he would have that chromosome.
“Background Findings from family and twin studies support a genetic contribution to the development of sexual orientation in men. However, previous studies have yielded conflicting evidence for linkage to chromosome Xq28.”

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ubi dubium - June 20, 2015

I looked at the study Daniel cited, and there is nothing there about transgender people. I don’t know why you think Bruce Jenner would be relevant in any way. Someone being homosexual and someone being transgender are two separate issues. Why conflate them?

Liked by 1 person

Christ Centered Teaching - June 20, 2015

Its not a stretch. Still choice vs. Nature.
See ya

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Daniel Digby - June 20, 2015

Sorry. I should have said “One gene involved is Xq28.”

Liked by 1 person

ubi dubium - June 20, 2015

I think there’s a more important question than whether I have cited a journal article here. If science discovered, conclusively, that there is a genetic/developmental cause for homosexuality, and that nothing the individual does in their life can affect that, would you be prepared to rethink your opinions as to whether homosexuality is “sinful”? If you are not prepared to rethink that point in light of evidence, then there is no purpose to citing anything for you. If you are more devoted to believing what the bible says than to finding out what is true, then there’s no conversation to be had about this.

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Christ Centered Teaching - June 20, 2015

Then let’s just keep the same vein of conversation I began with. Let’s keep it scientific.
I already know none exists and if you have researched this subject well you know this also.
In fact, everything concluded so far confirms biology is not the reason for homosexuality.

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ubi dubium - June 20, 2015

You just avoided my question completely. What would you do if it were confirmed as a function of biology? Are you open to reassessing your beliefs in light of evidence?

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Christ Centered Teaching - June 20, 2015

That’s a good question.
I’ll answer it if you answer mine.
I asked first.

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ubi dubium - June 20, 2015

Daniel’s already provided you journal references. Since the research isn’t yet complete on this subject, it’s dishonest to demand articles that don’t yet exist. And “we aren’t finished learning about the causes of this yet” does not equal “therefore the pronouncements of my particular ancient book are correct”. But the point isn’t whether this research is complete, the point is whether you would adjust any of your beliefs if the answer turns out to be one you don’t like. So far you keep dodging that question.

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Christ Centered Teaching - June 20, 2015

Not dodging. You acknowledge there is no conclusive scientific evidence to make such claims. (The search is now decades old.) Good enough for me.

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ubi dubium - June 20, 2015

Yes, not having to face inconvenient answers is an easy out. There’s lots of questions being studied where we don’t have the final answer yet. That doesn’t mean that you get to claim you have the correct one because your religion tells you so.

But my question applies to any scientific question, not just this one. If a scientific finding contradicts something you believe, do you reassess your belief, or do you just double-down and try to believe harder?

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Christ Centered Teaching - June 20, 2015

Name one that contradicts the Bible and let’s talk. So far you haven’t refuted the Bible. All you’re doing is ridiculing from a standpoint of baselessness.
The only answer I would ever have to give is science has only confirmed the Biblical claims.

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ubi dubium - June 20, 2015

Which means that you are afflicted by a bad case of confirmation bias. You have completely ducked this question. The question is not whether any findings have refuted your beliefs (which they have, but you ignore or deny those). The questions is – if one DID, in a way that you could not deny or ignore, how would you respond? You have evaded, changed the subject, and done everything but given a straight answer to that question. I don’t see any further conversation going anywhere if you can’t answer one straight question.

Liked by 1 person

2. 48 Sure-Fire “gotcha” questions for Atheists! (part 4) | Christians Anonymous - June 20, 2015

[…] Source: 48 Sure-Fire “gotcha” questions for Atheists! (part 4) […]

Liked by 1 person

3. cag - June 20, 2015

Ubi, congratulations, you have your very own ignoranus, CCT. How ignorant does one have to be to accept the bible as authorative? One would have to accept that the earth was the first solid object created in the whole universe, something so thoroughly debunked that there is no excuse for accepting such absurdity. The rest of Genesis, with the earth taking up 5 days to create and all the stars in the universe being a footnote, has a level of absurdity that there is no level of suspension of disbelief that would make it even acceptable as creative fiction.

For any sentient being to accept the bible as authoritative given the documented errors and prevarications contained therein is beyond my ability to comprehend, but then I am not a mental prisoner of religion as is CCT.

CCT, google “contradictions in the bible” and then tell us that your silly book of disgusting fiction, full of barbaric stonings and slavery, is a suitable document for leading an honourable life.

Liked by 3 people

4. shandy223 - June 21, 2015

Quite difficult to argue with stupid…..

Liked by 1 person

5. tiffany267 - June 21, 2015

For all those who actually do care about science, this link discusses why the science of being gay is methodologically hard to pin down, in reviewing a book that makes an attempt to explain biologically why some people are gay and some are straight. Enjoy.
http://psychcentral.com/lib/gay-straight-and-the-reason-why-the-science-of-sexual-orientation

Liked by 1 person

ubi dubium - June 21, 2015

Thanks! I just put that book on hold at my local library.

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Daniel Digby - June 21, 2015

It looks interesting, but God forbid I should become informed.

Liked by 1 person

6. Arkenaten - June 22, 2015

@Christ Centered Teaching.
Why do you care whether homosexuality is ”choice” or because of nature?

You are basing your worldview on this issue from a collection of books that is the biggest pile of archaic shit ever written down.

I would respect an individual’s choice over frakking anything ”biblical” you proposed.

And for what it’s worth, you are a fraud, as there is no such thing as a ”Christian”.

Like

7. N. E. White - June 23, 2015

“is your belief in god the only thing that’s stopping you from harming other people?”

This!

This is what always gets me about deeply religious folks. When I first “came out” (a very long time ago), I’d get that question or comment – if I don’t believe in god, then I must be a bad person.

Really? So the only thing that is keeping you a good person is because someone is telling you to be good? Not because, you know, you *are* good or want to be good or don’t want to harm the people around you?

I like to think that people, on a whole, are good. Or want to be. They just don’t realize that that motivation to be good comes from inside them or is a result of peer pressure/societal norms.

Anyway, I’m impressed you kept at this. And your answers are great, by the way.

Liked by 1 person

8. Ellen Hawley - June 24, 2015

You have the patience of (should I say it? yeah, why not?) a saint.

Liked by 1 person

9. Nan - June 24, 2015

LOVE your answer to question #32!! (Especially the part about the cosmic cow!)

Liked by 1 person


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