Note to followers: I apologize for the length.
Here’s a question for all those atheists on Tumblr. (I know there are at least a few of you little buggers out there.)
Before I move on, I ask that you don’t refer to us as “little buggers” or any equivalent. We’re not children; in other words, we’re not your intellectual inferiors and I’m about to demonstrate that.
Where did science come from?
Science came from no one place or person or people. Science is an ever-changing body of knowledge; it is a human endeavor that doesn’t belong to a religion, an ethnicity or any group in particular. Science came from a longing to understand the workings of the natural world. Some were motivated by religious reasons; others were not. Some wanted to know the mind of Yahweh. Others wanted to know the mind of Allah. Still, others wanted to know the mind of God—a Deistic or Pantheistic conception of god that is. Some weren’t interested in the mind of any god. They’re the ones that are usually interested in the how instead of the why; I hold that the why is irrelevant in some cases. “How did the universe come into existence?” is a more relevant question than “why did the universe come into existence?” To ask the latter, one needs to harbor presuppositions; in other words, one who asks that question is only asking to give a particular answer, and thus, the question is no better than a rhetorical question. The individual who asks the former question is asking the right question; furthermore, the person isn’t making obvious any predilections he/she may have. Science definitely did not come from your god. This is beginning to sound like a mantra when considering the many times I’ve said this, but it is necessary to say this again: according to Genesis, the Earth was created before the stars; the Moon was deemed a lesser light; the Sun was called a greater light as if it isn’t a star itself; we were created h.sapien as if Yahweh was completely oblivious to the fact that we evolved from ape-like species and as if other human-like species never existed (i.e. australopithecines, h.ergaster, h.heildelbergensis, h.ergaster, h.erectus, h.neanderthalensis). The great flood is a myth and one would have to be scientifically illiterate to write such a myth. You expect me to believe that Noah gathered two of every kind of ichneumon wasps; there are over 60,000 species of ichneumon! That’s only one family of wasps. I can bury you in examples that demonstrate the impossibility of the Flood myth, but I think that should do. Science did not come from your nonexistent war god, and I can say that with absolute certainty.
If there is in fact no god, then that means that the world came about materially. That is, nothing intelligent actually designed it, it just came into being randomly — by chance. Without a designer, nothing comes into existence with purpose or design. Without design, the thing ‘created’ must be random.
This is a colloquial version of the Kalam Cosmological Argument, which commits the fallacy of composition. You cannot draw conclusions on the whole based on its parts. Furthermore, you cannot conclude that everything in the universe was intelligently designed being that there are natural explanations. Stars still form; planets still from. Solar systems still from. Astronomers have a basic understanding of such formations. No design is necessary to explain these phenomena. Star, planet and galaxy formation are all explained naturally. How’s this for intelligent design? Why would an intelligent designer leave planetary remnants between Mars and Jupiter (the Asteroid Belt)? There are millions of asteroids in the belt, but for what reason were they left there? If that isn’t enough, why are there more remnants beyond the orbit of Neptune (the Kuiper Belt)? What kind of designer would leave behind objects that are potentially harmful to us? Clue: definitely not an omnibenevolent god; that cancels out your god even further though that isn’t necessary.
Now, as an atheist, you do not believe in God, of course. You claim only to believe in science. You do not believe in the spiritual. In fact, if you follow your own creed as strictly as you claim, you can’t even believe in the soul. Because soul is not a material thing. There’s nothing inside the brain that holds the essence of soul. If there was, then really, computers would have as much soul as human beings. Which would follow of course, that human beings have no worth higher than a computer. But the fact is, you who are reading this — with those eyes in your head that apparently formed themselves randomly — have a personality. You have something inside you that ‘science’ has no way of explaining. How did that happen?
Your analogy is egregious. You cannot compare inorganic matter (computer) to organic matter (humans); furthermore, you cannot compare their worth. I’m not sure what you’re referring to when you say “you have something inside you that ‘science’ has no way of explaining.” If you’re speaking of the soul, I’ll address that here. If you’re speaking of the eye, I’ll address that in one of the following sections.
There is no soul. One who believes in a soul is a dualist. Traditional schools of dualism have been proven wrong by neuroscience and any school that is currently advocated is attempting to have it both ways (i.e. property dualism). The brain accounts for everything we are and everything we ever will be. That is made evident by brain damage and impairment. Phineas Cage is usually the best example of this argument. Cage was a 19th century railroad worker who survived a large iron rod that destroyed his left frontal lobe. Long story short: his personality changed due to the absence of his left frontal lobe. Then there’s this interesting case outlined in a 2002 article at New Scientist. A cancerous brain tumor led one man to exhibit abnormal sexual tendencies—even pedophilia. Then there’s the murderer’s brain. A cyst growth in the right hemisphere of the brain almost led a child to murder another child! Then there’s the brain structure of psychopaths—one that exhibits structural abnormalities. Then there’s the brain structure of pathological liars. Clearly, the mind isn’t separate from the brain and is therefore, not separate from the body. Think of what the dualist is actually saying: they’re saying that autism, down syndrome, MR, genetic disorder, neurodegeneration and the like are all the result of damaged minds that existed prior to the body or are the result of damaged minds due to the rearrangement of matter—even before birth! Couple that with the fact that some dualists believe in a benevolent god and there’s a clear conundrum!
Then there’s the argument from biological development, which was stated most eloquently, albeit unintentionally, by Jean-Paul Sartre: “essence precedes existence.” If we were immaterial beings in material bodies, that wouldn’t be the case. Why do personalities develop only after expression and language develops? I’m being careful in asking that question because individuals who have autism, for example, demonstrate distinctive personality traits. They may struggle with language, but most do not struggle with expression. Both of these arguments cripple dualism.
If that isn’t enough, there’s also Occam’s Razor. The simplest explanation prevails. Why would one conclude that the soul is subject to a given arrangement of matter? In other words, that one’s soul behaves normally if the brain is arranged normally or close to normally, but it behaves abnormally if a part(s) of the brain is damaged or impaired. For simplicities sake, an intellectually honest person will shave away this “arrangement of matter” nonsense and conclude that the brain determines who one is. It is the simplest of explanations.
Let’s take a step further. A step that atheists do seem to try and steer clear of in conversation, because it simply raises a lot of prickly issues. Here is the matter. Just that. Matter. If there is no such thing as the spiritual, then the world was formed purely and only through physical matter. Which means that even today, nothing could possibly be more than just physical. Which would mean that there is no soul of course. But, if you don’t have a soul, then you don’t have personality, and neither does anyone else. And if no one has personality, then everyone is the same — except for certain physical characteristics. Not only that, but no personality and no soul, means no free will. Because will does not exist in say, a computer. Yet without a soul, you are only a computer. An extraordinarily complex computer at that, but still, only a machine, that can carry out preprogrammed actions. Either you accept that, or you tell me that this machine that I’m writing this on, has a will of its own. That would be something, wouldn’t it?
The soul doesn’t exist; refer to my previous section. Again, you have continued to use that horrendous analogy. You cannot compare a computer and a human. In any case, you’re starting to sound like someone who posted an article making these same arguments; he posted it, I replied, then he deleted the article. I guess he realized that his positions are utterly indefensible. Let’s address free will. Free will is illusory. Our seeming ability to make a choice and to reason are decided by causal events. Who in his/her right mind would say: “I posted this post and nothing led me to”? Of course, one would be lying through one’s teeth. You have posted this post because you’re a Christian and you’re a Christian because your parents are Christian or because you accepted Christ—which is, in turn, a consequence of the country you live in. You may think that you have decided x or y, but the horrifying fact is that you have decided nothing. You didn’t choose what parents you would be born to; you didn’t choose what country you would live in and what region of said country you would reside in. Even if you think you chose your high school or your college, you didn’t. Were there not any causal events prior to the decision made? The answer is always yes. That applies to all of our decisions. We don’t question will; we question whether it is free and we come to find that it isn’t. Our wills our subject to the determinism that is a consequence of causality. If that isn’t enough, may I remind you: free will would be impossible if your god existed (Psalm 139:16). I have heard arguments that state that his omniscience and free will are compatible, but the arguments are illogical; they require the believer to redefine omniscience. If one is omniscient, one knows all; nothing is secret and therefore, my next thought, word, action or inaction would be of no surprise to such a being. Yet he behaves like a being that isn’t omniscient. Why would he be angry at an action I commit if he knew that I would commit this action even before I existed? Free will is inconsistent with omniscience; however, omniscience is inconsistent with your god. Free will may be a necessary illusion, but it isn’t a necessary reality.
That is precisely the same response I gave to him—give or take a few changes. You know there’s a problem when I can address most individuals in a group as a monolith. It shows that you aren’t thinking for yourself; you’re thinking as the group requires you to think. You can’t address most atheists in one swing. Some atheists don’t care about the god question and thus, they wouldn’t reply to you as I have. Other atheists think strictly philosophically; others think strictly scientifically. Others employ simple common sense. They read the holy texts and conclude that the gods within their pages are simply characters and not actual entities. Others think historically. Others are sporadic and unpredictable; I would like to think that I fall into that category. You expect me to say y and z and instead I say a and b. I am in the business of keeping my opponents off balance; unfortunately, it has become all too simple given that most of you think the same. You assert that there’s a soul; from there you attempt to establish free will. You don’t know how many times I’ve come across that exact argument. Unplug yourself from the rest of the group and honor the facts—even if they overthrow your most prized beliefs, and they will. However, you shouldn’t be afraid of that; you should embrace it, adapt and lead an intellectually honest life.
Okay, moving on.
What about physical law? Where did that come from? Because of course, if the world has no Governor, no Designer, then everything is random. If everything is random, then there can be no physical laws, because anything and everything about the world you see round you might randomly pick itself up and move somewhere else at any moment. If there was nothing to give order to the world, then everything is governed simply be chance. If that’s the case, then you can’t really believe there is any such thing as science. Science is intelligent, it isn’t just built around the changing whims of the everyday world, right? I mean, I can state if I want, that two plus two equals five. But no, that isn’t right. However, if the world is random, then hey … the law of gravity might decide to give out tomorrow. You can’t possibly know that it won’t. In fact you can’t know anything. Because there’s nothing to know. Your brain is nothing but a random collection of cells — they mean nothing. What you call intelligence is nothing more than the random collection of little facts that might tomorrow change and no longer be fact at all.
The laws of physics came from the Big Bang. According to modern understanding, Einstein’s field equations and general relativity break down as we approach the beginning of the Big Bang. That leads to at least two possibilities: 1) Einstein was wrong, which is improbable given that his equations work everywhere else in the universe 2) the Big Bang wasn’t the beginning. Sean Carrol would agree; I advise you to read this amazing essay by him. Don’t quibble about the title; just read it. Ultimately, the laws of physics didn’t come from your god; your god is simply too inept to take the credit.
Nothing is governed by chance. Everything is governed by causality—governed by determinism. Some short, unspecified time after the Big Bang, the four fundamental forces (gravity, electromagnetism, weak and strong nuclear force) were one due to extremely high temperatures. Gravity separated at 10-43 or what is known as the Planck scale. The strong force separated at 10-35 or what is known as the GUTs scale. Electromagnetism and the weak force separated at 10-11 and that pretty much describes the state of the current universe. I outlined all of that to give you clear examples of causality. One thing led to another led to another led to another. Moreover, these chain of events can be explained naturally; there is absolutely no need to invoke an intelligent designer.
Intelligence isn’t a random collection of facts. Intelligence is the ability to change your opinions according to the facts. It isn’t intelligent to hold opinions that are contrary to the facts; unfortunately, one of us falls into that category. I’m in no way attempting to insult you, but if you want to qualify as someone who is able to speak of intelligence, you must demonstrate intelligence. Thus far, you haven’t demonstrated intelligence; you’ve demonstrated an ability to think like a religious person who was raised as such or who has been forbidden to question his faith.
Here. Count to five with me with your left-hand fingers. One. Two. Three. Four. Five. How in the world did you do that?! Do you have any idea the number of things that just went on in your body from your fingers to your brain? Without even ‘thinking,’ you can move your fingers around. How did that come to be? … Wait, you’re saying that was random? You … seriously believe that? Wow, you do have a lot of faith! Well, okay, so you believe your body and brain came about randomly. Okay then. Let’s move to something about a trillion times less complex. (Seriously. Remember, your random body is estimated to be made up of trillions of individual cells. And each of those is in every way more complex than the computer you’re using right now, so… . Let’s just move on!)
I have a good idea of what goes on in my head when I move each finger to type. However, neurons do not escape causality. Typing of the letter c leads to typing of the letter a leads to typing of the letter u leads to typing of the letter s leads to typing of the letter a to the letter l to the letters i, t and y. One event leads to another. No, I do not believe that that is random; I believe that it is necessary. Given space we are given time and we are given causality. Atheism requires zero faith. To the contrary, it requires faith to believe that an inept god governs the universe. The fact that your god doesn’t exist has been demonstrated repeatedly. Align your opinions with that fact.
Okay. Since I mentioned computers above, let’s take that for example. A computer. I myself am partial to Macs, because I how the operating system is designed. So let’s bring a MacBook Pro into this. I’m going to guess that there a hundreds of separate little pieces in this computer I’m using. Screws, wires, circuit boards, pieces of plastic, lots of little metal connections, et cetera. Now, honestly, I cannot imagine this computer to have come about without being designed. You know what I mean? I mean, Apple obviously didn’t just take all these parts, put ‘em in a big bag, and shake ‘em till they became this computer. Can you conceive that in your head?
A variant of Hoyle’s fallacy. Fallacies are usually inconceivable.
Can you look at the computer in front of you and think ‘You know, this could have been made randomly, without a designer or anything. It could have just … come together and fortunately made a working computer, that can function in all the ways I need it to.’ Honestly, I don’t think you can do that… . But, you can believe that your body, made up of trillions of different ‘pieces,’ actually came about by chance? And we aren’t talking about pieces of plastic here — we’re talking about neurons and neutrons and leukocytes and erythrocytes and so many more, I honestly don’t know the names for all these things, that would be pretty difficult for me. And all those different types of cells, all those trillions of cells, are living organisms. And they all formed together in your mother’s womb, to create your body. Then, over the years, they grew you into the person you are today, physically at least. (Remember, you can’t believe in soul.)
You’re still employing a bad analogy. A computer cannot be compared to a human being. You cannot use as an example something that we designed and conclude that we were also designed. That’s simply illogical. I don’t want to believe in a soul; we’ve been down that road already. Seems like you’re appealing to Psalm 139:13. I guess this intelligent designer has a habit of forming conjoined twins, babies missing a limb, babies with extra limbs and/or extremities, blind babies, deaf babies, autistic babies, babies with MR, babies with neurodegenerative disease and so on. I would rather give credit to imperfect and mostly unintelligent evolution. Don’t forget, animals are born with defects as well. Therefore, you can’t blame the fall, but if you still choose to, it is incumbent on you to prove that the fall isn’t a myth. Fair warning: you can’t do that here.
Well … I suppose, if enough time was given, that maybe could happen. Maybe… . Right? Wrong. You see, if we came from single-celled organisms, we … couldn’t have made this far. I mean, really. Let’s take a really comic image here, and put into that random brain of yours. What if there was a fish that got to a place too shallow for it to swim, and so started to have to walk, and its body started adapting to that, and grew legs. And now it’s got legs! Awesome! If I were that fish, I’d want to walk up on land. Why stay in the water forever, right? So, the fish walks up on land. And then it gradually evolves into a being of greater intelligence and ability, right? Nope, wrong again. It doesn’t evolve. It dies. Because it needs water to breath. It really doesn’t have time to wait for what you call ‘evolution.’
This is an appalling misunderstanding of evolution. You’re talking as if there aren’t evolutionary dead-ends! Furthermore, you’re speaking as if said “walking fish” would still have gills and not evolve lungs! You’re speaking like someone who has no idea how natural selection operates. We’ll take care of that shortly.
Let’s look at birds for a moment then. Since we couldn’t come from dead fish, maybe we came from birds. But no, again we hit that problem of time. Because you see, if a wing were to evolve into a limb, it would become a bad wing long before it became a good limb. That would be mighty crippling. In fact, it would cause the bird to be unable to cope with the environment any longer. That evolving wing would be the death of the bird.
This is utterly incomprehensible. I can’t even begin to understand what you’re trying to say in this section. This section is filled with ignorance of the highest order and you utter it proudly. This is simply shameful.
Okay, I really hadn’t planned on making this post so long. I mean, really, all you need to do to challenge the faith of an evolutionist is tell him to look at … anything, really. How the heck do those eyeballs in your head even work?! Eh. Must have just happened, you know.
We know how our eyes work. Let’s teach you some more.
To suppose that the eye with all its inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different amounts of light, and for the correction of spherical and chromatic aberration, could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest degree.
Darwin, Charles. The Origin of Species, J.M. Dent & Sons Ltd, London, 1971, p. 167
My have we learned much since then. The eye is most definitely formed by natural selection. In nature, one can observe the eye at many different stages in evolution. The octopus eye is complex, arguably more complex than the human eye.
The blind mole is seemingly eyeless. That is explained perfectly by evolutionary Biology when considering the blind mole’s habitat.
A great number of us are acquainted with the myth: bats are blind.
This saying has become a fixture of everyday vernacular and the assumption likely developed because bats primarily use a form of sonar to navigate through dark areas and avoid obstacles. However, their eyes, while small and sometimes poorly developed, are also completely functional, not to mention the fact that they have excellent hearing and sense of smell.
Given that their eyesight is sometimes poorly developed, bats developed echolocation. Is that unique in mammals? Absolutely not.
Biosonar is valuable to toothed whales, including dolphins, porpoises, river dolphins, killer whales and sperm whales, because they live in an underwater habitat that has favorable acoustic characteristics and where vision is extremely limited in range due to absorption or turbidity. Seems to me that wherever vision is either poor or limited, echolocation evolves.
The eyes of many taxa record their evolutionary history in their imperfect design. The vertebrate eye, for instance, is built:
“backwards and upside down”, requiring “photons of light to travel through the cornea, lens, aqueous fluid, blood vessels, ganglion cells, amacrine cells, horizontal cells, and bipolar cells before they reach the light-sensitive rods and cones that transduce the light signal into neural impulses, which are then sent to the visual cortex at the back of the brain for processing into meaningful patterns.”
— Dr. Michael Shermer
Hitchens, Christopher. God is not Great, Grand Central Publishing, New York, 2007, p. 82
Seriously. I challenge you to use the brain that God gave you, and question how you even exist. Please … do it.
Your god didn’t give me this brain. The question of why I exist is a futile philosophical question that philosophers don’t even take seriously anymore. I challenge you to question god’s existence and question it with boldness.