Atheism is based on Faith and I will explain why!

From a comment by Infinite Force at "I am an independent scientific researcher and I am a blood driven theist. I don't believe in no religions of this world and I don't have any religious documents to make me bias when I do scientific research. I have to say that you atheist are cowards to admit that you have a faith based belief system. Faith - Belief in the un-seen (life spontaneously arising from non-living matter) If you don't believe GOD created you than it's obvious you arose by un-intelligent causes. Chemical evolution has never been observed in this natural world and it is not science. This is only scientist assumptions. Since there is no evidence to prove that life spontaneously appeared on earth it takes ****faith**** to believe you spontaneously arose from non-living matter. The atheism idea is based off of no logic, no evidence, or no reason. It’s just a title to hide behind to attack other people religions when In all reality you are religious your self. You don’t have to believe in a god or gods to be considered a religion. Buddha don’t believe in god or gods and it’s a religion. All you need is an idea that you hold to be true with no evidence to back it up. You atheist have no proof that life spontaneously arose and to believe this is called faith. You atheist try and hide behind science but theist like me are not going to allow you to hide behind the origins of life because I‘m a scientific researcher that love doing what he does, and chemical evolution is not science it‘s only assumptions that have no kind of evidence to back it up. Atheism is identified as a religion! Faith and religion is synonyms please refer to your thesaurus. I am religious because I do believe that there is an intelligent infinite force that created everything and the evidence I have to support this is observable in this natural world. That’s right, I have strong evidence to prove that life arose by intelligent causation and it’s called the Genetic code. I will post my evidence up after this post to prove that the origins of life started by intelligent causation. If you atheist don’t believe it takes faith to believe that life arose spontaneously without an intelligent cause I am asking for you to provide evidence to back it up. If you exercise Ad Hominem or dodge the question I am here to expose your religious concept to people in this forum. You have a faith based belief system and that’s a fact."
Atheist Answer: 

If you're going to argue that abiogenesis is not science, it might help to define science first.

Science is the formulation of natural explanations for observable phenomena in the universe. Abiogenesis (the emergence of life from non-life), while not yet observed itself, is a natural explanation for the observable phenomenon of life. It is therefore a scientific hypothesis, and yes, it is science. What it is not (yet) is a theory.

Though some natural selection may have occurred in the process, abiogenesis should not be classified as chemical evolution. It may have been a rapid, non-cyclical process instead. We freely admit that we have no clue how it happened.

At least until we do observe a second abiogenesis in a lab or in nature (positing that the event which produced us was the first), not only do we stick to speculation as to how it happened, but we refrain from stating 100% certainty that it did happen. If evidence of intelligent design were to emerge (say, actual physical impressions of fingerprints in our DNA) we would soon abandon the hypothesis that we are the products of abiogenesis. We would then try to determine whether the designer was a god, an alien or an extinct Earth creature, and in all three cases start to hypothesise about the abiogenesis and evolution of that being, if any.

This is the difference between a scientific hypothesis and a faith position. We assume a scientific hypothesis for practical purposes as the best current explanation until a better one comes along, at which point we chop and change. We're not precious about it at all, at least until it accumulates enough evidence to be declared a theory. A man with a faith position defends it to the end, because he usually expects no contradictory (or even supporting) evidence to present itself.

Another difference is that a hypothesis must be falsifiable, which means there must be some hypothetical event which demonstrates it is false. Our abiogenesis is falsifiable because we might find firm evidence of a creator, like a signature or a work log billions of years old. By comparison, what would falsify the intelligent creation of life? Nothing. Even if we achieved abiogenesis in a lab, it might be the case that although abiogenesis is possible, we were still designed.

On the basis of this last point, I submit to you the idea that intelligent creation of life is a faith position where abiogenesis is not. There may be additional ways to establish this comparison, but I'll leave it at that for now.

I've seen the genetic code argument before, you know. The idea is that all codes are intelligently designed, so the existence of one in DNA proves a designer. That's an argument from ignorance because there is no evidence that a code is impossible without a designer. Further, if you present this argument, I can provide examples of naturally occurring codes which have nothing to do with life, like the means by which mineral crystals can transmit their structure to non-crystallised material.

There's another side to the genetic code argument which states that it's impossible for new information to appear naturally. We've been over that here.

- SmartLX

Is evolution real?

If evolution is caused by random mutations that can morph one species into another species, why aren't there any fossils that are in-between species? Well, I guess there are a few bits and pieces that don't really prove anything. And why is there such an increase in species during the Cambrian explosion? I don't understand how the process of natural selection through favoragle mutations could do this in such a short span of time. The odds are beyond astronomical. Are there any instances of a species evolving into another species that have actually been observed in nature? I don't mean a slight modification of a species like those Darwin birds with the big beaks. That is not a new species, just a big beak that is still a beak on the same bird. Why haven't people evolved in the thousands of years of recorded history? Yeah, we're a little taller, but we eat a lot better so that doesn't mean much either.
Atheist Answer: 

What we have here is a laundry list of creationist talking points. Thanks for rounding them up for me.

There are more than a few bits and pieces of transitional fossils. Here is a list of hundreds of excellent examples of transitional species for which adequate-to-plentiful fossil evidence has been found. If you want to research a couple in detail, I recommend Ambulocetus (which means "walking whale") and the famous Tiktaalik. Suit yourself though, you're spoilt for choice.

The Cambrian period was fifty million years long. The "explosion" itself happened in a relatively short period at the beginning, but "relatively short" in this context can still stretch over several million years. That's hardly instantaneous, and it certainly isn't beyond the capabilities of ordinary evolutionary diversification. The going theory is that animals in general emerged at about that time, or even during the "explosion"; such completely new life forms would have had a lot of licence to spread and change.

The odds of any specific species emerging are astronomical indeed, but given that an almost unlimited number of hypothetical species could have appeared in their place, the odds of something appearing probably approach certainty. Think of the lottery; every entrant has a one-in-umpteen-million chance of winning, but how often does someone take the jackpot anyway? Never more than a few weeks go by before it happens. Why? Because everybody's got a ticket. (As for the odds on the diversity of the Cambrian explosion, just what are the astronomical odds you're on about?)

Use your browser to search this article for the word "observed" to find some recent examples of new species emerging before our eyes. It's true that these examples generally have some important new feature or dimensions rather than being an entirely new type of animal, but unfortunately the sorts of changes I think you'd like to see take thousands of times too long to observe in a human lifespan. Sorry, but it's like asking to watch the erosion of the Grand Canyon. Even if you'd been there when the water was, you might not have noticed a thing even if you stared at it for years. You'd need the equivalent of a time-lapse film, and that's what the geological (for fossils, the paleontological) record provides.

Recorded history is seven thousand years long at the most (writing was only invented about 5500 years ago, so before that it's all symbols and drawings). Current understanding of our pre-human ancestry indicates a new species of primate every one to five hundred thousand years. Recorded history therefore stretches back far enough to allow for 7%, at most, of the change necessary to declare a new species. Given the diversity of human bodies, the sheer deviation from various averages, 7% isn't enough to pick out the actual evolution from plain old human differences.

Again, sorry, but we're just not around long enough to spot this stuff happening around us. Nevertheless, every piece of evidence we have tells us that it does.

- SmartLX

What about the Big Bang?

How does the atheist view explain the beginning of the universe? The Big Bang seems to imply that something sprang out of nothing. This view seems nonsensical to me. After ruling out the impossible, the improbable, but only explanation left, is that it was created by an eternal force with the power of "being" and the intelligence to design the universe. Sounds a lot like God. What solution to this problem is there?
Atheist Answer: 

This is the Cosmological Argument. I've answered it most thoroughly here, but also to some extent here, here and in a comment here. Jake and Carl Sagan have their own answers here. Look through them and choose your own solutions from that lot to either accept or argue.

I'll just add that simply because the Big Bang seems to imply something which seems nonsensical to you doesn't necessarily mean that it is actually nonsensical, let alone impossible, or that it even implies what you think it does.

- SmartLX

Atheist Brochures, Flyers, Propaganda

Can anyone recommend or point me towards somewhere I can find engaging literature I can print out, either for sticky taping to lamp posts, to church signs, sneakily leave on church pews if I pretend to go to a Sunday service. Things to leave or paste or post where people will notice them, preferably containing thought-provoking stuff on a range of topics (especially science, what with the release of "Expelled" I expect people are soon going to be trotting along safe in their twisted knowledge that evolution makes baby Jesus cry). Why? Because blogging about atheism and sitting at home doing nothing about it doesn't make me too happy, yet neither would running around accosting people on the street or at their homes. I'd make it up myself but my design skills are sorely lacking.
Atheist Answer: 

When searching for such material, it really strikes you how much less there is of it than the Christian equivalent. That doesn't necessarily reflect badly on us, as evangelicals really go overboard in this department. I walked through the National Mall in Washington DC this July 4th and could have pocketed about half a dozen different pamphlets if I'd wanted. (In case you're curious, half were from Jews for Jesus.)

Here is a start: various print media from the Freedom from Religion Foundation. Some of it is US-specific and it's all very wordy, but if you can fit it on a pamphlet it might be useful.

Other than that, pickings are slim.

Perhaps our viewpoint simply comes across better in books than on scraps of paper. If you want something you can whip out the way a Christian would their pocket New Testament, I recommend the compact anthologyThe Portable Atheist, compiled by Christopher Hitchens.

- SmartLX

Edit: At last a resourceful atheist has taken it upon himself to supply us with a handy toolbox of viable paraphernalia. Cheers, Cyberguy.

how 'bout those Chinese people, eh?

I was recently watching the 2008 Olympics and one of the commentators stated that the Chinese people have a 5,000-year written, documented history. If that's the case and is empirically true, where do the YEC's say the Chinese came from if the earth is only 6,000 years old?
Atheist Answer: 

If you really try, the two timelines juuuuuuuust about fit together. I mean really try.

The link is the downfall of the Tower of Babel, where (supposedly) human language diversified and the different peoples went their separate ways. The Biblical timeline accepted by YECs puts this incident at about 2700 BC, or about 4700 years ago. By sheer coincidence, that's just when early Chinese written language came about. That announcer rounded up a bit when he said 5000 years.

You can therefore imagine a scenario where the Chinese-speaking Babelites trekked straight from the ruined Tower to Asia over a few months or years and set up shop there. It's a near thing, but it kind of works.

Ancient Chinese history is therefore not the history to pick when you're trying to contradict the Bible. Happily, you're spoilt for alternatives. Writing itself came about in the 4th millennium BC (4000-3000 BC), and plenty of civilisations around the world were doing it. Even in the 5th millennium BC, supposedly before Creation, there were lots of symbols being carved into stones. Before that, it's all strictly archaeological evidence.

Happy digging.

- SmartLX

Claimed manuscript evidence for superior New Testament reliability

Quoted from "...if the critics want to disregard the New Testament, then they must also disregard other ancient writings by Plato, Aristotle, and Homer. This is because the New Testament documents are better preserved and more numerous than any other ancient writing. Because the copies are so numerous, they can be cross checked for accuracy. This process has determined that the biblical documents are extremely consistent and accurate...If we were to compare the number of New Testament manuscripts to other ancient writings, we find that the New Testament manuscripts far outweigh the others in quantity...there are thousands more New Testament Greek manuscripts than any other ancient writing. The internal consistency of the New Testament documents is about 99.5% textually pure...If the critics of the Bible dismiss the New Testament as reliable information, then they must also dismiss the reliability of the writings of Plato, Aristotle, Caesar, Homer...On the other hand, if the critics acknowledge the historicity and writings of those other individuals, then they must also retain the historicity and writings of the New Testament authors..."
Atheist Answer: 

A falsehood doesn't become truth no matter how carefully it's preserved and distributed.

There are good reasons to place the reliability of the other writings above that of the New Testament. Among them is the fact that we generally know who the authors were (and in the case of Julius Caesar for instance, there are surviving contemporary likenesses of him on coins and statues). Another reason in some cases is the existence of other independent accounts of the same events written within thirty years of the events themselves. An obvious reason is the occurrence of physical events in the New Testament which cannot possibly be duplicated or tested today, such as the virgin birth and the resurrection. (Most Christians, however, seem devoid of incredulity regarding these events, so this last reason isn't a great one to give believers.)

Setting all this aside, however, and assuming that accounts in the New Testament today are faithful to what its authors originally wrote, nothing prevents the accounts from having been false in the first place.

Sure enough, there are real places like Jerusalem and real people like Pontius Pilate. Forrest Gump met JFK in the White House, but that doesn't make Forrest Gump real.

The huge amount of surviving manuscripts is hardly surprising either. More than any secular historical document, the New Testament was made to be spread around. Even before the Gideons (and before hotel room drawers), there were groups and individuals who made the stories available to as many people as possible. The wording was critically important, as demonstrated by current theological debates over the meaning of single phrases or even words. Therefore accuracy was largely maintained, except when people intentionally skewed the meanings to suit them (for instance, in the New World Translation by the Jehovah's Witnesses).

In short, we have a book which huge numbers of people have seen as vitally important since before it was written. A book where every word is essential, a book everyone is meant to read. Its popularity flourished, its integrity was (mostly) safeguarded and it's still around today. Does that mean it contains the truth? No. It means we probably do know what some people really said happened 2000 years ago, and we still have to make up our own minds whether they were right.

- SmartLX

Would the apostles have died for a lie?

Paraphrased from a talk by Lee Strobel: Jesus' apostles were put to death for proclaiming his resurrection. This is just like the 9/11 hijackers, who sacrificed themselves for what they fervently believed, right? Wrong. The apostles didn't just believe, they KNEW one way or the other for a fact. They were there. They saw, touched and talked to the resurrected Jesus. If they didn't, why would they knowingly die for a lie? I [Strobel] have searched through history and found no instance of this happening. Their sacrifice speaks to the truth of Christianity in a way in which the faithful actions of the suicide bombers do not speak to the truth of Islam.
Atheist Answer: 

Quoted from my own post on the forum:

Strobel didn't look very hard for others who've died for a known lie. Think of all the captured soldiers in wars throughout history who told false tales to their captors about their comrades' plans and whereabouts. Knowing that all their friends might be caught or killed if they told the truth, some brave men and women stuck to their lies even as they were tortured to death. Their armies might even have relied on the captors accepting the false information to set up raids, ambushes or escapes.

This is why one knowingly dies for a lie: it serves one's cause for others to believe it. In this case, the false idea that nobody would die for a lie is very helpful for the purpose.

It's simple to apply this to the resurrection.

Many modern Christians will tell you that believers are happier and more moral, and make the world a better place to live. In other words, they think it's better for someone to believe whether or not it's true (though they hasten to add that it is). Atheists meet this prejudice all the time. Even ignoring this, the apostles' friends and families were Christian and were in for a rough time if there weren't many more Christians very quickly.

For one reason or another, the apostles wanted people to be Christians. Whether or not they saw the resurrected Jesus, they wanted people to think they had. If they'd broken down under duress at the last moment and said it was all a hoax, all belief would fade (not counting victims of "true-believer syndrome") and it would all be for nothing. If it was a lie, to them it was a lie worth dying for.

I know the reliability of the New Testament is also a good basis for arguing against apologetic like this, but I find there's a greater impact if you can beat them on their own skewed terms.

- SmartLX

Syndicate content