As an "Atheist" would you consider this hypothesis?

In a Universe where duality is observed to be the most common factor of existence, it is safe to assume that energy can only fundamentally exist in one of two states, positive or negative, when you couple this information with laws such as every particle has an anti particle it kind of makes sense, the only thing is that there is more to it, a particle that does not have an anti-particle, is its own anti-particle, this means that it exists in two states at once, which is technically impossible(on our scale) unless you take quantum mechanics into account, when you understand the fundamentals of quantum mechanics you will understand that there is really three states energy can exist in, positive, neutral and negative, which can be written as such A+B=C where C is merely the product of A and B simply existing, so to recap, Neutral doesnt really exist, yet it does exist simultaneously, Neutral IS our universe, the "housing" or vacuum that we observe around us, We also refer to this as Matter, Matter houses the energy which defines what particle it is to be, the periodic table shows us which energy levels(Ev) each element requires to be stable, if there is more, it is radiated away into the vacuum where it will be added to another particle, if it is less, then it will keep loosing Ev untill it reaches a lighter stable element. So what does this have to do with god then... Well, if everything we can comprehend is made from energy and our consciousness is made from energy, is it not then safe to assume that collectively as a consciousness, WE are god... "the whole equals more than the sum of its parts". Anyway imagine the collective mind power of every conscious being in the universe... how godly would that be... God manifests "himself" in various forms... God sustains and nourishes god cannot be created or destroyed... Thats the bullshit they tried to brainwash me with as a child. This is the ammo I have to fire in retaliation!! I am looking forward to your reply, thank you in advance :-) Howard
Atheist Answer: 

Blimey, that's a hunka hunka burnin' pseudoscience if ever I saw one. Thanks for bringing it in.

First I'll put on my fact-checking hat.
- The two most commonly accepted examples of duality in our universe are the wave-particle duality of light and the decayed/not decayed state of unobserved unstable atoms (often explained using Schroedinger's Cat), and they're not even mentioned here.
- There probably isn't antimatter equivalent to all matter, or vice versa. We observe tremendous asymmetry, for example the fact that our part of the universe appears to contain almost entirely matter and almost no natural antimatter.
- In contrast to antimatter, which we can not only observe but deliberately produce and store, negative energy is still entirely hypothetical and may not exist at all. Antimatter in fact appears to consist of positive energy.
- There's an old saying that if you think you understand quantum mechanics, you don't understand quantum mechanics. The author of this argument apparently thinks he understands quantum mechanics.
- A vacuum may not be neutral at all, according to zero-point energy theory.
- Matter doesn't just house energy, it is energy in another form. It's really not separate from it.

Ultimately, none of this has anything to do with consciousness, so if the argument had left out everything before "So what does this have to do with god then..." it wouldn't make any less sense.

Next up, I'll put on my targeting scope and go for the central point of this shemozzle.

If consciousness is energy, just because it's made of the same stuff as everything else doesn't give it power over everything else. Our collective consciousnesses have no godlike influence over the rest of reality. Besides, we don't have a collective consciousness or "hive mind" as we understand the concept so we've got no way of combining our mental powers to physically affect the universe. All we can do is move our own bodies and get things done through ordinary teamwork. Not much of a god, are we?

Even the idea of consciousness as independent energy is a contested premise. It requires a position of mind-brain duality (that is, mutual independence) that most atheists don't share. Consciousness in any materialist view is simply a function of the brain itself, kept running by electrical impulses which have no external influence and no autonomy. It's like a computer program: wipe the computer, and it disappears.

Finally, there's a more general point to be made, so I'll go up in my mehve to see the big picture.

If when considering the world at large you feel you must posit the existence of a major hypothetical entity, like a collective consciousness or a Prime Mover or a Designer (none of which are likely necessary), you're free to call it anything you like. However, if you arbitrarily give it an existing name which also refers to an separate, well-established concept, it's an unsupported link between the two entities. It's a big problem with the Transcendental Argument and all others which end with, "We call this creator/lawmaker/intelligence/feeling/cupcake God." Even if the argument is sound, the entity you've successfully argued for may well not be your god at all, and it's a dishonest leap to assume that it is.

I hope this is the kind of ammo you're looking for.

- SmartLX


Is it not true that a fundamental strategy of the "atheist" is to neutralize the theists in service of a larger objective: to erase a sick preoccupation with the theme altogether? If so, aren't we sinking to their level? Obama won not by calling the guy names in return but by a more holistic argument that rendered McCain small and pitiful.
Atheist Answer: 

I'm gonna say no.

Religion is hardly an unjustifiable preoccupation when it attempts to pervade so many aspects of life: politics, education, civil rights, foreign relations and so on. Anyone who supports the separation of church and state can combat the above. To those of us who also think each religion is labouring under a false premise, though, it's doubly sad that they have such power.

Obama made positive arguments, sure, but he called Republicans out when they accused him of associating with terrorists, perpetrating voter fraud, being a Muslim, etc. Atheists are the targets of similar smears: that we have no morals, that we want to outlaw religion, that we want to take children away from religious parents, even that we're Satanists. Too many people are willing to swallow this stuff hook, line and sinker for us to stay silent.

Further, Obama generally criticised the Republican administration as a whole, not McCain himself. He went on and on about what a disaster "the last eight years" had been. Similarly, rather than insult theists we try to attack religion itself, encouraging people to abandon it and become non-theists (like Obama's call for Republicans to vote Democrat). I can't speak for all atheists, but we do try to reserve personal vitriol for those who constantly use it against us, if only to show them up as hypocrites.

In short, we are not mounting unprovoked attacks. We are defending ourselves against a huge body of anti-atheist propaganda. Sometimes, the best defence is a good offence.

- SmartLX

"God's Pharmacy"

From a popular chain email, possibly copyrighted in 2008 by one Ed Bagley (therefore reproduced here under Fair Use for purposes of analysis): The next time you sit down to lunch or dinner, you may be surprised to learn that many of the foods that we eat look similar to vital organs in our body, and in fact provide nutrients that actually help the organ in question function. Upon learning the specifics of this interesting fact, you just may ponder about whether this phenomena is a happy coincidence or a planned occurrence. Here are the facts: A sliced carrot looks like our human eye. The pupil, iris and radiating lines look just like our human eye, and science shows carrots greatly enhance blood flow to our eyes and the function of our eyes. A tomato has four chambers and is red. Our heart has four chambers and is red. Research shows tomatoes are loaded with lycopene—a red carotenoid pigment present in tomatoes and many berries and fruits—and are indeed pure heart and blood food. Grapes hang in a cluster that has the shape of our heart. Each grape looks like a blood cell and research shows grapes are also profound heart and blood vitalizing food. A walnut looks like a little brain with a left and right hemisphere, similar to our upper cerebrum and lower cerebellum. Even the wrinkles (folds) on the nut are just like our neo-cortex. We know that walnuts help develop more than 30 neurotransmitters for our brain function, allowing a chemical substance to help fibers in our brain communicate with each other. Kidney beans look like our human kidneys, and actually heal and help maintain our kidney function. Celery, bok choy and rhubarb look like our bones. These foods specifically target bone strength. Bones are 23% sodium (salt) and these foods are 23% sodium. If you do not have enough sodium in your diet, the body pulls it from the bones, thus making them weak. These foods replenish the skeletal needs of our body. Avocados, eggplant and pears target the health and function of the womb and cervix of the female—they even look like these organs. Research shows that when a woman eats one avocado a week, it balances hormones, sheds unwanted birth weight, and prevents cervical cancers. It also takes 9 months to grow an avocado from blossom to ripened fruit. There are apparently more than 14,000 photolytic chemical constituents of nutrition in each one of these foods; modern science has only studied and named about 141 of these. Figs are full of seeds and hang in twos when they grow. Figs increase the mobility of male sperm, increase the number of sperm, and can help overcome male sterility. Sweet potatoes look like the pancreas and actually balance the glycemic index of diabetics. Olives assist the health and function of the female ovaries. Oranges, grapefruits, and other citrus fruits look like the mammary glands of the female, and actually assist the health of the breasts and the movement of lymph in and out of the breasts. Onions look like our body cells. Research shows that onions help clear waste materials from our body cells. As we have found out, onions even produce tears that wash the epithelial (outer) layers of our eyes. A working companion, garlic, also helps eliminate waste materials and dangerous free radicals from our body.
Atheist Answer: 

Immediate issues with the specifics:

- Even the most common variety of tomato has between three and five chambers, not just four. Other breeds have between two and ten.
- You have to cut a carrot to even make one side of it look like a picture of an eye, and even then it's a creepy orange eye. Once you're shaping these foods yourself like this, their natural appearance is irrelevant.
- Carotene gives tomatoes and carrots their health benefits and their colour. If God's trying to draw us to healthy foods by making them red or reddish, why are most poisonous berries the same colour?
- Blood cells aren't round like grapes, they're flattened and pitted like a Strepsils tablet.
- The stalks of celery, bok choy and rhubarb can look like the long, thin bones in our arms and legs. That's just 12 out of the 206 bones of all shapes and sizes in the human body.
- Who decided that garlic is a "working companion" to onions, and how does the appearance of onions link to the benefits of garlic?

What makes me suspicious about these claims, beyond the inaccuracies above, is the recurring non-references to scientific research: "science shows...", "research shows...", "we know that..." and so on. No links to any actual work done by anybody. Though much of what's said is likely correct, we're expected to believe it from this email alone.

The real problem here is naked confirmation bias. Every one of these foods has a long list of benefits all over the body (the kidney bean, for instance, could sustain you all by itself for ages), and every body part mentioned has a multitude of foods which are good for it and yet look nothing like it. Pick the most interesting twenty out of the innumerable billions of combinations, and you've got an amazing list. View it in the context of the whole of the human body and the whole of the fruit and vegetable family, and it's just an amusing highlight reel.

Coincidences happen, and we notice them. Next to the infinite coincidences that do not happen, and we therefore don't usually consider, they are often insignificant. That's the case with "God's Pharmacy" here.

- SmartLX

the pinnacle of science is god-dont you agree

if man can progress for another 6 billion years-couldnt we create life? it has been done way before our time-we are the children growing and enjoying upon this beautiful blue planet amidst a trillion stars
Atheist Answer: 

I think what you're saying is that because God created life billions of years ago, and we can't, God is better than us at molecular biology.

If we last another 6 billion years we probably will succeed in creating new life. We've made tremendous progress in just the 50-ish years since the Miller-Urey experiments, which created 22 kinds of amino acids from primitive swamp gas and lightning. We haven't succeeded in causing life to emerge yet, but we can produce all kinds of precursors. If we have 120 million times as long to try, I think we'll get there.

As for the initial life that evolved into us, it needn't have been created at all. The very fact that we're finding it so difficult to do deliberately suggests that it happens more easily as a natural process. The Earth is vast, the chemical ingredients it provides are diverse and plentiful and they had billions of years to mix. The sheer number of possible combinations is staggeringly large. The odds against one of those combinations resulting in life? Not so large.

- SmartLX

from ape to man!?

how is it possible that man had been morphed from ape to humans i don't get it. and the bible says that we were made in the image and likeness of God so i don't get it.
Atheist Answer: 

According to the Book of Genesis, the "morphing" process between species didn't happen. According to archaeological and biological evidence, however, humans got to be as they are now very, very, VERY slowly.

No ancient ape actually morphed. Apes just had a lot of children, and some of those children were different in tiny ways. Some were smarter, some were stronger, some had less hair. If the changes helped the children to survive and have kids of their own, the changes stuck by way of plain old heredity. If changes didn't help, they died out. That's what we call natural selection.

This went on for millions of years, so the changes stacked up over time. Notice how a playing card is practically flat, but a deck of cards has thickness? That's how unnoticeable changes can eventually add up to big changes. Our deck had a lot of stacking time.

As the population grew, groups of apes separated and began to pass on different changes. One group survived through sheer strength, and developed into gorillas. Another group found that being smaller helped them escape things that wanted to eat them, and ended up as chimpanzees. One group prospered because of its greater intelligence, so it kept on getting smarter. That group was our ancestors.

So you see, we didn't develop from the apes we see in jungles and zoos today. We and they are all descended from common ancestors, entirely different apes which aren't around anymore. Modern apes aren't our ancestors, they're our distant cousins. That's why we share a lot of our DNA with them.

We look back at this process through all the fossils we've found of the different forms our ancestors took, and we have to ask, "When did these apes become humans?" All we really did was pick a point about two million years ago when they were humanlike enough, and declare, "There. We started there. Everything before that was just apes." All species after that point were named Homo, because that's the Latin for "man". The first was Homo habilis, and we are the last one so far, Homo sapiens.

The reality is that we didn't morph from apes, we are highly advanced apes ourselves. It's like how a square is also a rectangle, but it has unique qualities.

You might think it's an insult to call all humans apes, but it's not. If we're apes, then everything we are is part of what an ape can be. Apes can write poetry, build machines, give to charity. Apes can look up at the sky and wonder. Apes can be romantic. Apes can be human. I'm proud to be an ape.

On the other hand, if things happened exactly as the Book of Genesis says they did, we've got nothing to do with apes and all the accepted evidence is wrong. If you want to look at it that way, fine, but you're rejecting a lot of evidence. Go check it out.

- SmartLX

Yes-Another near death experience question.

I find the answers atheists give to this question all seem to carry a touch of desperation, as though they will grab at anything which will deny the remotest possibility that the tens of thousands of people who have had such experiences are all the victims of their own wild ,crazy hallucinations. Most of these people state very clearly that what they have experienced bears no relationship to the dreams and hallucinationa they have experienced during their lives. We are talking about an enormous range of people, including atheists, agnostics and very young children. How do you explain verified accounts of people who have not only left thie body but seen and heard things in other hospital rooms which have later been verified? Are all these people liars? How can you hallucinate factual observations in physcial locations in which your body is not present?
Atheist Answer: 

Do read my comments in the original question where I explain that there is very likely a difference between a brain which is dying, or almost dying, and one which is not. One might expect the experiences of the former to be somewhat unique, no?

Regardless of what a patient's religion is, if they're in the news we read then they're in a country where if the Christian concept of the afterlife, if not widely believed, is at least widely known. The reason why even non-Christians' experiences may feature Heaven and Hell (that's where you're going with this, right?) is most likely a simple unconscious association of these ideas with death. It doesn't denote belief, and it certainly doesn't speak to reality more than any dream does.

As for factual observations of things not visible or audible to the patient (which is getting into the more general field of out-of-body experiences), those are exactly the events which have not been verified. There are stories of course, but nothing that it's actually possible to pin down and say, "This happened."

Disagree with me? Then don't just wave your hand at the world and say the evidence is out there. That shows us nothing. Go find some concrete examples and link to them in a comment (use HTML links please, as in a href), so that we can do our own research and come to our own conclusions. Make an effort.

That's not just to Iens, it's to everybody. Show us what you've got.

- SmartLX

Why would the apostles lie?

I read one response to this question on your site and found it to be very unconvincing. I sensed as I read it , that even you atheists were not really convinced of the power of your arguments. To compare lying to save the lives of loved ones (in war time for example) with lying about a hoax when all you have to do is admit it is a hoax, is ridiculous. You said they wanted people to believe Jesus rose from the dead without explaining why or how this advantaged anyone who chose to believe it. People were persecuted and murdered for this belief. Why would an apostle who knew the whole story was a lie ,place his family and friends in mortal danger by trying to convince them it was true?
Atheist Answer: 

This is what I get for taking the road less travelled.

The original question is here. As I began to say at the end of it, you have to assume certain premises before this discussion is even relevant:

- Jesus and the apostles actually existed and knew each other.

- Jesus was indeed crucified or otherwise publicly executed, or at least shown to be dead.

- The apostles genuinely knew whether the resurrection had happened.

- At least some of those original apostles were really martyred for saying Jesus was resurrected.

Available extra-Biblical circumstantial evidence for any of the above is sparse and contested to the point where many non-Christians hearing this question will demand more before even considering it. To see what I mean, follow the link in the other question to the forum where it first came up.

Confident that the evidence angle is thoroughly covered for the time being, I thought I'd examine whether the conclusion is valid even if one accepts the premises. I still don't think it is, because there are circumstances in which the apostles reasonably would lie and die for it. Even if my argument falls flat on its face, though, it's hardly the last remaining line of defense against this apologetic chestnut.

You say I didn't explain how Christianity benefited the first Christians. Are you implying that there is no earthly benefit to being a Christian if Christians are few and persecuted? Fine, if a Christian thinks so then I won't argue, but these particular Christians had a plan. They saw ahead to a time when other people, and the people in charge, and the entire society around them would be Christian too. Then it would be wonderful to be a Christian. Life would be so much better than when nobody was, because Jesus's teachings would help them all to live in harmony.

A Christian's loved ones shouldn't be limited to his or her family and friends. Jesus' message was supposedly to love everyone, even one's enemies. If the apostles had abandoned their story even to protect their own families and friends, it would have been selfish compared to their ultimate earthly goal: spread Jesus' teachings to the four corners, make everyone a Christian and, possibly well after they were all gone, bring about a new age of peace and happiness. It was a gift to the whole world.

If people will give their lives for a cause, as they regularly do, then it only takes the right cause to bring them to give others' lives as well. Christianity, whether or not it was based on a real resurrection, was such a cause as the widespread martyrdom shows. Even for the long-term earthly goals alone, Christianity's founders would have thought it was worth all the horrendous sacrifice.

One more time, that's if any of this happened at all.

- SmartLX

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