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Scientists: Atheists May Not Exist—Seriously


Avandris
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I thought perhaps some of you may enjoy having a little read of this article that appeared on my facebook feed this morning. Before clicking the link I actually expected a little more to it than what is there (certainly skewed toward Christianity but perhaps a more detailed look at the possible evolution of religion as a by-product of our survival as a species - points that I've just read Richard Dawkin's touching on in his 'God Delusion'). However, instead it is a vapid and empty as one would expect. Nevertheless gave me a chuckle and of course the comments are always fun to scroll through!

 

Enjoy!

 

http://www.charismanews.com/world/44633-scientists-atheists-may-not-exist-seriously

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I notice the article doesn't provide references for any of the studies it cites.  That's usually a pretty good indicator of just how disingenuous an author is being.

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I don't have enough faith to be an atheist! Whatever began to exist (i.e. was created) has a cause, so therefore God created the universe. And if we evolved from monkeys... why do we still have monkeys?

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What a load of shit!

 

 


Even atheists hold to several tacitly religious concepts, including the existence of an immortal soul, according to Lawton. The article also cites another atheist researcher who demonstrated that all people engage in internal monologue, regardless of whether the person to whom their thoughts are directed is actually present.

I don't have an immortal soul, and I'm an Atheist

 

...Vittachi describes both religious and non-religious persons as possessing the innate sense that "If I commit a sin, it is not an isolated event but will have appropriate repercussions." This sense of cosmic justice is credited for the popular belief in "karma."

I also do not believe in "cosmic justice".  I do not commit crimes because it is the right thing to do, not because I fear punishment.  "Sin" does not exist.

 

 

...even atheist authors invariably write stories that "exist to establish that there exists a mechanism or a person—cosmic destiny, karma, God, fate, Mother Nature—to make sure the right thing happens to the right person."

It would have been really great if the author would point me to some Atheist authors who write like this.

 

..."If a loved one dies, even many anti-religious people usually feel a need for a farewell ritual, complete with readings from old books and intoned declarations that are not unlike prayers," Vittachi writes. "In war situations, commanders frequently comment that atheist soldiers pray far more than they think they do."

 

I do not feel this need.  I skipped my most recent grandmothers funeral (but that was cause of a family rift), and only went to my maternal grandparents funerals to appease my mom.  I didn't want to go to either of them, cause they were held in my old church, and I like to remember people how they were when they were alive, not dead in a box.  I didn't visit my grandfather during his last hospital stay either, but he was unconscious, hooked to machines, and we knew it was his time.  He was a proud man and I knew he wouldn't want to be remembered like that.  My memories of him are of a man who was alive and happy.

 

...atheists tend to exhibit the same sociological, psychological dependence on the intangible as religious folk do, even if the former reject the existence of anything supernatural. "Statistics show that the majority of people who stop being part of organized religious groups don't become committed atheists, but retain a mental model in which 'The Universe' somehow has a purpose for humanity," says Vittachi.

I will sometimes use "The Universe" as a stand in for god in common phrases, like "Thank the Universe", but it is tongue in cheek.  I do not believe in any agency that controls or cares about me or nature...

It would be real nice to just for once read a christian article that actually tried to understand the other perspectives.  Actually talk to real Atheists and accurately report what they say...

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Agreed, it would also be wonderful to have Christians read such articles and, rather than liking them and sharing them with all the world, see them as the vacuous and disingenuous pieces of rubbish/propaganda that they are.

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I notice the article doesn't provide references for any of the studies it cites.  That's usually a pretty good indicator of just how disingenuous an author is being.

were talking prima facie truth here man. If you look in instead of out you'd see it. :P

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Reminds me of the old saying:  The Bumble Bee cannot fly.  Scientists have examined the Bumble Bee's wing area and weight and determined that it is impossible for a Bumble Bee to fly with such small wings.  But the Bumble Bees do not know this so they continue to fly anyway.

 

I agree that there is a trend that humans are hard wired to assume religious beliefs.  The author seems to be confused in that he or she thinks that means there are no exceptions.

 

 

And furthermore, one's internal monologue does not have to be religious.  This is simply how humans process language.

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I asked God about this article but he hasn't responded yet.

 

So people are hardwired for belief....The evidence is flimsy...but in any case it does not prove God's existence.

 

I came with other faulty mechanisms...appendix...tonsils...anxiety...ocd....I doubt these prove the perfection or existence of God either.

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Reminds me of the old saying:  The Bumble Bee cannot fly.  Scientists have examined the Bumble Bee's wing area and weight and determined that it is impossible for a Bumble Bee to fly with such small wings.  But the Bumble Bees do not know this so they continue to fly anyway.

 

A lie will travel halfway around the world before the truth can lace up its boots. Science is based on empiricism. Bumblebees are observed to fly, so any scientist who calculates that they can't would immediately review their work to find the mistake. That story isn't as simple as those who mock science would have us believe.

 


 

Needless to say (especially for those of us whom he pretends to describe), Alex Kocman has no idea what he’s talking about.

 

There is a kernel of truth to the idea that our brains are hardwired to believe in God. Just a kernel. Our brains are hardwired to assume agency. This has obvious evolutionary benefits: propagation of our genes is better served by assuming that the rustling in the grass is caused by a lion rather than by the wind. In the absence of sufficient data, hyperactive agency detection readily extrapolates into belief in gods, but this is not the same as being hardwired to believe in gods.

 

And of course—a point that is commonly missed by people who value faith—even if we were hardwired to believe in something, this in no way whatsoever implies that this something is real.

 

What applies to gods also applies to souls. There is evidence that we are natural-born dualists; we tend to think that there is some aspect of ourselves that is distinct from our bodies. This does not imply that everyone believes in a god; it is a mere coincidence that gods and immortal souls tend to come in bundled in the same doctrinal package. (And those who ask how an immortal soul can come to be without a god, I refer to the god of the gaps. I argue that imaginary phenomena are just as susceptible to this fallacy as real ones.) Nor does dualistic thinking imply that everyone actually believes in an immortal soul, any more than shouting at a TV implies that we actually think that the quarterback can hear us. And, once again, even if everyone did believe in an immortal soul, that would in no way whatsoever imply that immortal souls exist.

 

 

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Many of the comments to the article made by Christians are stunning in their vitriol.

You're only saying that because you're angry at god and you want to sin.  ;)

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Reminds me of the old saying:  The Bumble Bee cannot fly.  Scientists have examined the Bumble Bee's wing area and weight and determined that it is impossible for a Bumble Bee to fly with such small wings.  But the Bumble Bees do not know this so they continue to fly anyway.

 

A lie will travel halfway around the world before the truth can lace up its boots. Science is based on empiricism. Bumblebees are observed to fly, so any scientist who calculates that they can't would immediately review their work to find the mistake. That story isn't as simple as those who mock science would have us believe.

 


 

Needless to say (especially for those of us whom he pretends to describe), Alex Kocman has no idea what he’s talking about.

 

There is a kernel of truth to the idea that our brains are hardwired to believe in God. Just a kernel. Our brains are hardwired to assume agency. This has obvious evolutionary benefits: propagation of our genes is better served by assuming that the rustling in the grass is caused by a lion rather than by the wind. In the absence of sufficient data, hyperactive agency detection readily extrapolates into belief in gods, but this is not the same as being hardwired to believe in gods.

 

And of course—a point that is commonly missed by people who value faith—even if we were hardwired to believe in something, this in no way whatsoever implies that this something is real.

 

What applies to gods also applies to souls. There is evidence that we are natural-born dualists; we tend to think that there is some aspect of ourselves that is distinct from our bodies. This does not imply that everyone believes in a god; it is a mere coincidence that gods and immortal souls tend to come in bundled in the same doctrinal package. (And those who ask how an immortal soul can come to be without a god, I refer to the god of the gaps. I argue that imaginary phenomena are just as susceptible to this fallacy as real ones.) Nor does dualistic thinking imply that everyone actually believes in an immortal soul, any more than shouting at a TV implies that we actually think that the quarterback can hear us. And, once again, even if everyone did believe in an immortal soul, that would in no way whatsoever imply that immortal souls exist.

 

 

 

 

 

Interesting.  It never occurred to me that the story was considered by some as a criticism of science.  I first heard of it because it was on a poster in my 7th grade science class.  The teacher used the idea as an illustration how we make breakthroughs.  If our current theory does not explain what we observe then we are missing something and we need to find it.

 

Anyway the reason I brought it up was the author of the linked article was making some unfounded assumptions.  There is a danger with assumptions.  When they don't match observed reality (atheist exist) then something is wrong.

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     I had a sneaking feeling I didn't exist and now this just confirms it.

 

          mwc

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@Cousin Ricky - Yes, that was what I was alluding to, our ability to see agency in things.

 

 

Far from providing evidence for the existence of a god, this simply seems to prove to me that it is a man-made fiction, a product of that over-active ability in all of us to see agency in things without it (e.g. weather, shadows, etc).

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Even though you might think you're an atheist...you aint....lol

 

I think some but not all theists are hardwired to be dumbasses. :)

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     I had a sneaking feeling I didn't exist and now this just confirms it.

 

          mwc

 Same here.  Oh damn, I swear I exist.  God?  Never met him.  Am I an atheist???  I guess not, since then I wouldn't exist.

 

Oh wait, I AM an atheist!  WTF?  This is weird.... How can exist I AND not exist?

 

  How does God exist AND not exist?  Who is this God fella anyway???  I still have yet to meet him.

 

Does batman exist?  Oh yeah, he does.  I AM BATMAN! jesus.gif

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ficino, in post # 3:

"And if we evolved from monkeys... why do we still have monkeys?"

 

Why do we still have monkeys? (I need a good response to give Christians when they challenge evolution.)

Why do we still have wolves if poodles exist?

 

The reality is though, we did not evolve from monkeys. We share a common ancestor with them.

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Marty, in post # 4:

 

Marty, thanks for the analysis. There seem to be a lot of religious characteristics attributed to (alleged) atheists. It seems that would make those persons actually not atheists. Or am I confused about that?

 

"I will sometimes use "The Universe" as a stand in for god in common phrases, like "Thank the Universe", but it is tongue in cheek. I do not believe in any agency that controls or cares about me or nature..."

 

I've come to think that way, too. There is no "cosmic mind," no will or intent to the Universe. But it does seem that physics, especially cosmology is increasingly entertaining quasi-mystical notions.

 

It does, but I'm not so sure that it is isn't simply because it is so new and counter intuitive to the world we live in.  There is no real proof of a multiverse at the moment (as I understand it) aside from a mathematical hypothesis, but that is still more than we have for any religious claim.

 

I really think religious people can not comprehend not believing.  They have so much of their life wrapped up in it.  I got a call from an old studio I used to work for (still do from time to time) that does video production too, and the owner (a fundy) wanted to know if I would be interested in being part of a show where christians, Atheists, and fence sitters get into a room and debate the existence of god.  I told him I didn't want to be on camera, but I would like to be a part of the editing process to ensure the Atheist perspective was not misrepresented.  He seemed disappointed at this (I think he wanted me on screen as the token Atheist), but it took me over 30 minutes to get him to understand the only people that would be interested in watching the show would be christians and maybe some fence sitters.  He wanted to know how to make the show appealing to Atheists.  I finally had to ask him what he thought about a show where Greek pagans, Atheists, and fence sitters got into a room and discussed the existence of Zeus.  He was quiet for a second and so I said "Atheists view yahweh and jesus exactly like you view zeus.  We don't accept the premise in the first place."

 

To my knowledge he never tried to produce the show.

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Marty, good thing you didn't agree to be on camera, because then there would be visual proof that you exist, and the poor Christians would be even more confused since... well... atheists don't exist. Ummm... wait... what?

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 I finally had to ask him what he thought about a show where Greek pagans, Atheists, and fence sitters got into a room and discussed the existence of Zeus. 

 

I would watch that!

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 I finally had to ask him what he thought about a show where Greek pagans, Atheists, and fence sitters got into a room and discussed the existence of Zeus. 

 

I would watch that!

 

Count me in as watching that, too.  Just for fun, please invite a monkey to be in the room, too.

 

Also, I need to include myself as someone that I thought existed.  No belief in any god, no belief in souls, no belief in any type of afterlife.  But I do have this obviously delusional belief that I exist!

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ficino, in post # 3:

 

"And if we evolved from monkeys... why do we still have monkeys?"

 

Why do we still have monkeys? (I need a good response to give Christians when they challenge evolution.)

Humans don't evolve from monkeys. Humans, bonobos, orangutans, gorillas, apes, chimps and monkeys shared a common ancestor long long long time ago. The closest relative of human is actually species bonobos. The latest scientific report (if I am not mistaken, check this for sure) says humans and bonobos split about 4 millions years ago.

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