Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Evidence Is Not Needed For Fairy Tales

Evidence Is Not Needed For Fairy Tales

Theists are always so sure about the existence of god. God exists because I feel it it my heart. God exists because the Bible says it is so. God exists because the world looks designed especially for us. I believe it, therefore it is true, and all my religious club members are correct. God exists.

From my perspective, I can't see, feel, hear or sense any such god. So naturally I ask for some evidence to prove that god exists. Hundreds of years into the advancement of the scientific method and no empirical evidence has yet to be found that confirms any such existence. Most of the bogus stories of the Bible, which at some point were taken as literally true, have been disproven by science or explained by natural processes. Talking snakes and living inside whales may be the only exceptions.

I've had discussions with theists that basically amount to them concluding that we don't need evidence for god and that's why it is called faith. Oh, and by the way, you can't prove that god doesn't exist. Pathetic really.

Consider these compressed conversations as a summary :

Conversation 1

Theist  : I believe in God.
Atheist : There is no evidence or proof for god therefore I don't believe in god.
Theist  : You can't prove there isn't a God therefore God exists.

Conversation 2

Atheist : Your pastor/priest is a pedophile.
Theist  : No he isn't. You don't have any proof that my pastor is a pedophile.
Atheist : You can't prove that he isn't therefore your pastor is a pedophile.

Typically, funnily enough, theists require evidence for positions that portray a negative consequence for their preconceived ideas. In the above examples, god existing is a positive assertion and requires no evidence. Your pastor/priest being a pedophile has negative consequences and requires evidence.

We see exactly the same behaviour when a theist denies evolution. Typically a theist will reject evolution as being incomplete in it's evidence or in a display of total intellectual disconnect, they will put forward the "evolution is only a theory" position. A sudden need to reject an idea that has negative consequences for their own beliefs.

The acceptance of evolution basically means the entire Adam and Eve story is bogus (as there was no Adam and Eve) and therefore no need to be saved and therefore no need for Jesus and therefore no reason to push Christian fables on society.

For entertainment purposes, as much as denying evolution is intellectually shallow, I think I prefer theists to try and mix reality with religion. For example, much like George Pell on Australian Q&A performing the equivalent of Nadia Comaneci gymnastics in regards to the story of Adam and Eve. Note to George Pell, know something about evolution when debating an evolutionary biologist.

It really is just too easy to ask why theists can't just accept evolution without evidence, like they accept god without evidence. I suppose a theist has probably been told their whole life that such and such is true. I can only imagine the mental anguish when they discover it is probably all false. A defensive mechanism kicks in to protect their fragile need to be right.

One of the most beautiful things about science and the scientific method, is that they have provided mechanisms that enable you to prove and also to falsify or refute the assertions of evolution. If you deny evolution and have scientific facts to back it up, your notoriety will be eternal in the undoing of hundreds of years of scientifically proven work. However, onward we march. The evidence for evolution continues to stack up. No know refutation of the empirical, factual evidence has been found.

I forgot to add that the same methods that have been used to provide all of the technical breakthroughs we take for granted every day, are the same checks and balances, the same peer review processes and the same experimental processes that have been utilised to prove evolution. We aren't walking around denying our computers exist.

I now ask, where is the evidence for god? What system can I use to refute the assertion that there is a god? Easy to answer. There is no evidence and there is no system of refutation. Mr Hitchens said it best, "What can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence!".

Claiming there is a god without providing evidence and then using misdirection and completely bogus arguments against evolution, which actually has evidence, is completely absurd.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Join The Club

Join The Club

Fringe ideas have always been out there. The original thoughts that may go against the grain of the established ideology. The ideas that may challenge us and our society to the very core.

In my current frame of reference I see religion and factory farming as two key ideologies that are out there and currently being scrutinised by a litany of original thoughts and fringe ideas. Ideologies that are being challenged to the core. Ideologies that should be challenged to the core.

Without my degree in psychology to understand, I have encountered what I would call "ideological protection mechanisms" when confronting the ideas of religion and factory farming. A bit like the robbery shields in a bank. An internal button is pressed and *whack*, up comes an intellectual shield that is impervious to damage (YouTube - Megadeth - Psychotron). Those people who close the gates to any notion of their religion or their dietary choices being challenged or questioned.

More interestingly, if your choices or opinions don't match theirs, they feel a deep sense of vilification. A pain so bad they are close to violence trying to suppress their rage. "You won't discuss religion in my house again", they say. What is this reaction of rage? The loving, patient Christian and their god motivated rage. Other reactions may include repetitive and childish bullying. Is this just insecurity?

Last I checked, the decisions and ideas of others, unless they are imposed on me, are still only their decisions and ideas. If you choose to believe in god and choose to eat meat, good on you. If I choose to not believe in god and to be a vegetarian, when exactly does this become your problem? Maybe I will eat all of the salad and not participate in grace when I am a guest in your house? Not sure.

I get the feeling that these people have walked down the same path so many times, that they just can't change or are scared to hear an opinion of opposition. In reality though, I have found this isn't always true. It seems that football, politics and outcast relatives are all fodder for discussion. In my mind, anything in the public arena should be fair game. Why should religion get a free pass? Why should I ignore the horrors of factory farming and "just eat meat"?

I have heard the saying that you don't discussion religion and politics with people. This really is a terrible shame as it is so true. It seems we can now add animal ethics to this ban. Suppose a society that didn't challenge all ideas. Back to the caves people. The end of innovation and progress as we know it.

What is one to do? Should I just join all of the biggest clubs? Go with the majority. Go with the mob. Choose positions and ideas that allow me to just exist and become an invisible part of the pack. Buy the same, eat the same, believe in the same god, reject individualism and conform. Club Christian or Club Dead Animal anyone? No thanks.

A world where everyone conforms and is part of the same club sounds boring. However, I accept that some people are so insecure in their own opinions that they don't want to talk about them.

One thing is for sure, given questions that attack my core morals and opinions, it would be intellectually stunting to simply deflect the questions. I see that blindly accepting a position, when someone can quite obviously point out a failing in your reasoning, is dishonest. I can understand how a child or young mind may innocently fall victim to this way of thinking, but an adult has no excuse.

It is so obvious that the rejection or blacklisting of fringe ideas and questioning, as a method to protect your indefensible intellectual positions, is absurd.