Faith is a Synonym for Batshit Loco

Faith is belief without evidence.

A (combined) definition for a delusional disorder is:

“A fixed false belief held without and or against evidence.”

Considering the nature of religious beliefs it’s pretty obvious to anyone not suffering from cognitive bias that this is essentially the same bloody thing and ‘revealed knowledge’ or ‘personal experience’ ain’t going to cut it as evidence.

Truth

This is a very nuanced and detailed argument, but I’m going to keep it as simple as possible for the sake of this post, even though it isn’t that simple. This should, just about, cover it.

Theists love to throw the word ‘true’ and all its derivatives around. They like to claim a special  privilege to truth in and of themselves and often beg to those who don’t believe to ‘seek the truth’ or similar, patronising phrases.

The problem here is that when an atheist speaks of truth, he’s generally speaking of what is objectively true while when a theist speaks they’re generally talking about what is subjectively true for them.

There’s a difference between ‘I believe in god’ and ‘god exists’ and this is where the disconnect comes.

It is subjectively true, to me, that I don’t like the taste of courgette. That doesn’t mean nobody else can like it or the courgette is necessarily disgusting, it’s a matter of taste.

It is objectively true that when I drop something the Earth’s gravity will pull it down to the floor at my feet. This is true.

When a theist says ‘I believe in god’ we may as well take them at their word, there’s no real way to tell whether that’s true or not (other than, maybe, an MRI machine or a lie detector). When they make an absolute and objective truth claim – ‘god exists’ – we need more.

We can easily and repeatedly confirm the existence of gravity by the evidence. The same goes for so many other things that we can say – and show – to be objectively true from the existence of an object to the fact of evolution.

If you want to claim that something is TRUE, that’s what you need, evidence. If you could show your god was true, I – and other atheists – would believe.

Reality is not subjective, what is true must be able to be shown to be true. That something is ‘true’ to you, does not mean that it is actual, real or true in terms of reality.

The River of Life

A common argument from theists is that DNA is ‘information’ and that ‘information’ can only be created by an intelligent being. This is half true. Information is created by conscious intelligent entities – us. Information is something we assign to other things.

A rock is just a rock, even the designation ‘rock’ is something we give to it. We can also discover all sorts of other information about the rock. We can weight it, measure its density, discover what materials make it up. We can dig through it for a fossil, we can determine how radioactive it is. We can discover all sorts of information about it but, again, this is all something we assign to it. Without our words, without our interpretation, the rock just is what it is and that we can determine this information about the rock doesn’t mean that it is a made, intelligently created thing.

The same is true of DNA. We describe it as a ‘code’ and as ‘information’ because it encodes proteins, governs so many factors about our bodies, minds, everything about us and about every living thing but in its own way the DNA isn’t all that different than the rock. Rather than being shaped by erosion – natural factors, DNA is shaped by natural selection – also natural factors.

The analogy I like to use it that of the river.

A spring bubbles up from underneath the ground and starts to flow. As it flows it becomes a river. The river starts to wind and twist its way across the landscape.

What determines the shape of the river? We can extract all sorts of information about it. The soil density of the banks. The shape and hardness of the rocks it encounters. The shapes of the valleys. The way it splits into different flows, pools into lakes and ponds, all determined by the landscape it flows over.

Is it right, though, to say that this IS information? Is the landscape encoding, telling the river what form to take?

No, the river is just flowing and the context in which the water and the flow finds itself determines the shape, determines the way it goes. Hopefully nobody would argue that this river is intelligently designed or that the banks are created ‘just so’ to shape it in this particular way so why do they do that for human DNA?

Our banks, our rocks, our rates of flow, our valleys, our gulleys… these are the contexts in which we find ourselves. Our predators, our prey, our diseases, our famines. These are the encounters that shape our evolution just as the banks, the rocks, the rains and so on shape the river.

Information is just the way we interpret these things.

Bad Reasons to Believe in God: Survival Instinct

This was a new one on me, I’d never heard it before. The answer seems so utterly obvious to me that I don’t know why anyone would bring it up, still, it’s started to come up from more than one source, so here’s the simple answer.

‘If there’s no god, how do you account for our inherent survival instinct?’

The survival instinct is an evolved trait. The survival benefit of… wanting to survive, should be blatantly obvious. Those creatures that want to survive pass on the tendency to want to survive, and they survive more often because they want to survive.

Creatures with a lesser survival instinct or no survival instinct at all, are – obviously – less likely to survive and so don’t pass on their suicidal tendencies.

D’uh.

Atheists killed Millions!

Let’s put this one to bed shall we?

Yes, atheists have killed millions, so have theists. There is one big, important, powerful difference between the two though.

Atheism itself has never motivated, excused or caused any deaths. Atheism is just the personal statement that one does not believe in god or gods. How, exactly, can that – in and of itself – motivate anyone to kill, exterminate or destroy? It can’t.

When people talk about ‘atheists murdering millions’ what they’re actually talking about is Communism* (Fascists were conspicuously religious and the link between anti-semitism and religion is pretty fucking obvious).

Communism in these states and instances, Mao, Stalin, Pol Pot etc became a religion. Ideology can become a matter of faith as well (as we’re seeing with capitalism around the world this decade). More accurately, Great Leader became a religion and their paranoia more than anything lead them to crack down on anyone and anything that threatened their position, which included religious organisations, if they couldn’t suborn them.

Religion on the other hand? Well, religion can easily excuse or motivate genocide. Just ask William Lane Craig.

*Yes, I know these states weren’t Communist either, but I thought I’d stick to correcting one stupidity at a time.