Thursday, 16 June 2011

More goodness from Twitter

The following began it's life as a Long Tweet, written by Atheist Shrew. I stumbled upon it quite by accident, and felt that the message it had to tell about the dangers of following religion over science was so compelling it had to be spread. I asked for and received permission to re-post it here.

Here, again, is my initial response to Peter Kreeft's arguments for god which you again, linked me to:

You can give me all the evidences for "god" that you want but if they are the same tired ones that I have read for DECADES (and at one time used as a former apologist for the Christian faith), they are going to come up empty. They are logically unsound and, no, I'm not going to waste my time dissecting them for you beyond what I've already done. You have a brain; use it.

Besides, the point is that I'm not saying that I *know* that there is no god. I'm an "agnostic atheist" (as most atheists that I know or have heard are, including Richard Dawkins, though we choose to just go with "atheist" for simplicity's sake). We aren't claiming, "We know with certainty there is no god!" We are only saying that we reject the claims of others that there *is* a god due to lack of evidence. There might very well be a god. There might also be universe creating invisible pink pixies but until I see direct evidence of them, I'm not going to believe they exist or include them in my worldview. The same goes for god. And it is dangerous and harmful to assert there is a god without evidence and then assert you know what he/she/it wants you to do and not do!

You claim that the universe is clear evidence for god. I used to say the same thing for years and years but I've since come to the realization that it simply isn't. Once upon a time, people thought earthquakes or lightning were clear evidences of a supernatural deity because such events defied their understanding of the natural world. Since that time we've come to understand that these occur through normal, natural processes (e.g., plate tectonics) that are not "supernatural" in the least. But religious people seem to never learn their lesson and keep playing this game. For example, I notice that you frequently spout the "Nothing from nothing doesn't make sense so something must have created it" argument. This seems to be a good argument on the surface for myopic thinkers (though it is far too overly simplistic) but we are increasingly discovering that it might not be so far-fetched. For example, you do realize, don't you, that no true "physical" things exists, at least not in the way that we perceive them to be physical? Everything is 100% energy. Furthermore, science is increasingly coming to the conclusion that the sum total of all the energy in the universe is a sum total of ZERO. Google it if you don't know what I'm talking about. Now add to these ideas such things as (a) the fact that we KNOW that the complex things that we see today developed over time from extremely simple one (that is a basic natural process), (b) the same laws of cause and effect do not appear to apply on the quantum level, and (c) the laws of space and time may not have existed prior to the universe's current state and, therefore, the universe could be "infinite" without "infinite regress" problems. The *necessity* of there being a god to explain everything becomes less and less, well, necessary.

But even with all of this, the answer at this point is still largely "we don't know." But there *are* a multitude of possibilities for the existence of the universe as we currently know it which do NOT necessitate a god. And we have barely begun to scratch the surface on many of these scientific issues.

But so many religious people seem to have a real problem with saying "I don't know" and they use that as a justification for their absurd and unfounded beliefs. There is nothing wrong with saying "I don't know" so long as it leads us to further inquiry rather than jumping to supernatural conclusions. "I don't know" should not lead us to say "Therefore god." "I don't know" should lead us to "I don't know, so let's investigate more."

Let me touch briefly on the exorcism issue that you brought up. This is one of the many, many examples of how dangerous and harmful superstitious religious beliefs can be (and one of the reasons I'm now so outspoken against religion). There is zero evidence that demon possession takes place and, furthermore, there is zero evidence that demons exist in the first place. What were once mistaken for demon-possessions (due to ignorance of natural processes) were actually such things as mental illness and epilepsy. Go look up stories of people who are schizophrenic and some of the ways they behave looks an awful lot like "demon possession" doesn't it? What's more is that I have experience with this issue. My younger brother began exhibiting unusual behavior when he was about 17 years old which my numbskull parents mistook for "demon possession" (and much of his behavior *was* very reminiscent of what was traditionally described as possession by demons). So rather than taking him to a doctor, they took him to various pastors and put him through numerous mentally and physically tortuous exorcism rituals. When none of that nonsense worked, they eventually did the *right* thing and took him to doctors. My brother was diagnosed with a severe bi-polar disorder which (due to the fragile nature of the mental processes of the brain) was believed to have been significantly exacerbated by the inane "exorcisms" my superstitious parents put him through. My brother is now completely mentally FUCKED for life now with little if any hope of every living anything resembling a normal life. He still lives with my dad at the age of 41 and he continues to be tormented with religious issues. He has tried to commit suicide on numerous occasions. His brain is so screwed up now thanks to religion that they can't get him on a proper medication; all those that he has tried have either had a severely negative impact (making his behavior even more erratic) or turn him into a mental "zombie." What's interesting is that I have several friends who are also bi-polar but they have been able to cope with this mental illness because they did NOT resort to barbaric, superstitious exorcism rituals but instead got help from science. Their lives are not free from problems, but they are largely happy and balanced.

And don't give me your horseshit stories about "levitation" as evidence for exorcisms as I read in one of your earlier tweets. I, and others who are rational, need more than people's "stories" (imagined, made up, dreamt or otherwise) as evidence for such unfounded baloney. You need to seriously get into reality and stop screwing up gullible or impressionable people's minds and lives with such utter nonsense.

By the way, I've continued to watch the "To Hell and Back" video as I have time and I'm truly enjoying it. It's one of THE most ham-fisted attempts at providing "evidence" for Christianity. For example, I love how they discount the NDEs that some people have (non-Christians and atheists who *don't* see hell in their NDE) saying they are deceptive but they treat as "gospel truth" those NDEs that agree with their pre-conceived notions. And the two stories at the beginning are PRICELESS. Absolutely childish, silly and nonsensical from start to finish. I'm going to have my wife and daughter watch them as they'll get a kick out of them.

As I've said in previous messages, I realize that I'm not going to convince you. You have drunk the kool-aid far too deeply. I don't mean that so much in that you have become "brainwashed" (though there is always some element of that with delusional, superstitious belief and you seem to have quite a bit of that). I mean it more in that you have already committed your life and livelihood to religious practice (by becoming a priest and no doubt devoting numerous years of study and preparation prior to that). You are literally *invested* in this belief and pretty much HAVE to find a way to believe it in order to justify the decisions you have made in your life. That's going to make it difficult for you to escape superstitious, delusional thinking, but there's always hope. For myself, I'm just glad that I came to realize what a load of hog-balls Christianity was before I fully sunk myself into working as a missionary (which I was working through college to become). I also almost didn't marry my beautiful wife and best friend (who has been with me for the past 23 years) due to a strong "conviction" that god wanted me to do otherwise. What a mistake that would have been. I wonder what things *you* have given up unnecessarily for this unsupported, childish, and superstitious belief that you hold?

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