Quite often I hear all sorts of unfounded assertions when discussing atheism and theism with theists; or when discussing politics, particular with Clinton-haters. Here are some examples, some pulled directly from the comments of posts here at The Serenity of Reason:
- "Hillary is her own worst enemy" - not sure what this even means, but it was thrown out there with no citations or references to what it could possibly mean.
- There are certain beliefs that are foundational to Christianity, just as there are with any other belief system (whether it be a religion, atheism, etc.)." - I particularly hate this one. Atheism, at least for me, is NOT a belief system. It is the lack of a belief in god(s). I am willing to be convinced that there is a god or gods - all I need is evidence. Most atheists I have known are similarly inclined. Enough of the stupid bullshit that atheism is a belief system!
- "Atheism is like the releasing of an unnatural predator within a balanced ecosystem..." - What a load of fucking hogwash! What could this prattle even pretend to mean? A balanced ecosystem? Atheism as a predator? Only a deluded mind could come up with such tripe.
- Another common claim, which I will not quote here, is that you need christianity because christians are the only ones who offer charitable assistance - Well, this is patently absurd. I know many atheists who help the needy. Both Warren Buffett and Bill Gates, two of the biggest philanthropists on the planet, are not "believers." (Notice how I provide references citing the non-theism of both Buffett and Gates... if you want to be taken seriously with your claims, try doing something similar).
- Another common tactic used by ID/creationists is to claim lists of scientists who doubt or do not "believe" in evolution - Any such lists do not include any respectable biologists, and usually, no biologists at all. Who cares if there are doctors, lawyers, or indian chiefs who do not "believe" in evolution. It is irrelevant. To put it another way, consider Dan Barker, who after 19 years of evangelical preaching, missionizing, evangelism and Christian songwriting, became an atheist when he realized there was no evidence to support christian and biblical claims. Well, here we have a preacher who doesn't believe in god... cool... but not relevant. What is relevant is the lack of evidence.
- "There are many people in the world today who look at the theory of evolution and have determined, based on evidence and reason, that it is untenable." - That just isn't true. Oh, yes, there are a lot of people who do not "believe" evolution to be true. But they have not really "looked" at it in a scientific manner; or if they have looked at the science, only their unreasonable tethering of evolution to atheism coupled with christian lockstep mindset could cause them to discard such a scientifically valid and sound theory as evolution. There is ZERO evidence disputing evolution... if there ever is, the scienfitic community would move in another direction. Scientists are not unwavering zealots clinging to useless faith. Creationist apologists are always citing people who do not "believe" in evolution (see above), but again, there are no credible biologists with that "opinion" at all.
- "I'm not going to spend hours of my time debating an issue that is never going to be settled or putting together a list of references..." - This is the common cop-out of the religious person who cannot provide evidence or references. It indicates that it is time to move on because the person claiming this is out of gas. I mean, c'mon, if you are going to make a claim then it is obviously something you want other people to believe. So citing your "proof" - if you will - should not be an undue burden. What is the alternative? I guess they just want me (and you) to just believe any crazy nonsense they spout without having the facts to back it up. Not me, thanks.
- If you try to press them for references you'll get something like "trying to debate an issue that can't be proven with a person whose mind is already closed in the matter is a waste of time" - Yes, this is true, but it is the religious mind that is closed. Every atheist and agnostic I have ever encountered is open to changing their mind as long as sufficient evidence can be provided. This is NOT the case with the religious mind. To prove it, ask that religious person what evidence would be sufficient for them to abandon their lord and savior.
- Another creationist cop-out is to claim evolution is "historical science" and that historical sciences are not valid and not actually science - This is absurd. If you start to "believe" this "argument" please read Are the historical sciences sciences? from Skeptical Inquirer (July-August 2005) by Massimo Pigliucci.
- Finally, atheists regularly hear things like You just want to do whatever you want to do or You can't have any morality without god, what would the world come to - This is quite telling. Atheists do not need a god to tell them what is good and bad. As Dan Barker so eloquently states: Ethical systems are based on the worth humans have assigned to life: "good" is that which enhances life, and "evil" is that which threatens it. We do not need a deity to tell us it is wrong to kill, lie or steal. Humans have always had the potential to use their minds to determine what is kind and reasonable.
Doesn't this line of questioning from the religious person kinda tell you something? Basically, they are implying that without a god watching over them they'd resort to immoral behavior. It is only through the threat god hangs over their head that they are civilized... I think this makes the atheist their moral superior, after all, atheists act morally without any godly threats or commandments.
I guess I just had to get some things off of my mind...