If you ever encountered an “atheist post” on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or some other social media platform, you might have had a passing thought what really motivated the author?
Or maybe you even encountered a bit “sharper” post, which maybe even offended you for a split second, right before you continued scrolling further down to funny cats and vacation photos which don’t question your beliefs.
Or as an extreme example, you might have even been seriously offended and choose to comment and resorted to ad hominem?
Image by OpenClipart-Vectors/Pixabay
So, a thought might have occurred to you “Why do Atheists Speak Out”? Maybe even: “I don’t try to prove that God exists, I don’t bother anybody, so why do they bother me?”
Well, first of all, if you were personally offended by an Atheist in a debate for example, who resorted to ad hominem, let me make perfectly clear that I do not support this kind of arguments. They are weak and not needed, because there are so many good arguments why there is no God. We’ll touch upon these arguments in some other post.
Let us get the obligatory thing out of the way. Almost every statement and counterargument today revolves around the “Not all _ do that”. OF COURSE not all Atheists do that. That is besides the point. People do generalize and we ought to recognize that there is some amount of truth in these generalizations. Also, the “not all _” reply basically stops the conversation. An I think almost any conversation should be generally open, because that is how the society moves forward.
One of the things that has a great potential to irritate is the denial of basic and proven scientific truths. A lot of confusion can come from the fact that a theory in science is something very different from the regular understanding of the word “theory”. We touched upon this already.
A scientific theory is a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world that is acquired through the scientific method and repeatedly tested and confirmed, preferably using a written, pre-defined, protocol of observations and experiments. Scientific theories are the most reliable, rigorous, and comprehensive form of scientific knowledge.
So, to cut through this confusion, here’s a MEME to show what evolution is:
First of all, I am not a scientist, but I do know how to read and how to think for myself. Also, when something matters to me, I will take the time to study it, to read about it, to make myself at least a bit more familiar with it than I would have been if I relied on my education alone. The sad fact is, education in my time (and even today) is not focused on teaching critical thinking, but memorizing facts, which makes students more robots than educated citizens. But I digress.
So, how do scientists know that evolution really happened?
By Zephyris at the English language Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link
When you think about potential evidence for evolution, you immediately think FOSSILS. But, as we shall see, fossils are actually only extra, bonus, icing on the cake … however you wish to call it. The case for evolution would be air-tight without any fossil evidence whatsoever!!
How? Well, let’s just see.
As all atheists know, there are a lot of preconceived notions what atheism is and what atheism isn’t, what it means, what it doesn’t mean. There are jokes and stories about how theists (religious people) think that atheists eat babies, worship Satan or something similarly absurd. In reality, these stories are shown only to be a slight exaggeration.
Sometimes it’s almost impossible to believe the comments you can read under atheist posts, how much misunderstanding is there. So, we created a few memes to try to convey as much information as possible in a compact form. The intention of these memes s to show that atheism is not “a monster” like some comments on Entangled Life’s Facebook page say.
First up: What atheism is and what it isn’t.
Atheism is lack of belief in gods
It is NOT:
To be fair, some atheists do have a problem with a definition “lack of belief” and this can be understood because it seems to imply that if we had the capacity or willingness to believe, we would be as smart or whatever as religious people. However, in the interests of brevity, this definition will suffice for now.
Next meme tries, to sum up, what desires we have. Obviously, from the definition that atheism is a non-belief in gods it follows that we cannot be satisfied with the tales about the world. So, we use reason, logic, evidence and we think for ourselves.
Atheism: The desire to know the Real World.
From this lack of belief also follows that we have the notion that anyone who doesn’t solve his or her own problems, but instead prays for a solution is not really taking control of their life. But this is not what the next meme is all about. Being an atheist means acknowledging responsibility for your own life.
In short, being an atheist means to stop hoping for a rescue or punishment from heaven and start taking responsibility.
Atheism: Being responsible for your own life
You might have heard this clever wordplay about how the fact that there is no evidence for something does not mean that this does not exist. People proclaiming “Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence” want to say that just because humans have not found evidence for something, it is not excluded that this does not exist.
Well, yes, it is not excluded, but evidence can be used to infer the presence or not presence of something. “For instance, if a doctor does not find any malignant cells in a patient, finding nothing is evidence of absence of cancer, even though the doctor has not actually detected anything per se.” – Wikipedia
As this shows us, the evidence is one thing and PROOF is another thing. We are not talking about proof here. Do NOT confuse evidence and proof. The proof is a difficult thing and it’s almost always close to impossible. Proof only really exists in mathematics. Evidence, however, does give reason to SUSPECT absence, to consider absence very, very, very likely. So, what’s all this with evidence of absence?
There is always a small, minuscule possibility that the evidence has not been observed yet, but this doesn’t mean that this possibility can and should be used to hang on to outrageously unlikely beliefs. Just the opposite.
Image by stevepb / Pixabay. Public Domain.
When analysing an idea to decide what evidence is necessary to support it, we should always take into account what evidence should be there and how much of it should be there. If there should be a LOT of evidence for something and we know exactly what the evidence should be, then a lack of this evidence does indeed allow us to dismiss this idea.
Even if the London attacker turns out not to be Muslim or Islam-motivated, this latest attack has again spawned various debates and opinions on Islam & Terrorism, so let's write something about this.
Nobody is condemning all Muslims. This is just a given.
But to ignore the facts and to say that this has nothing to do with religion is plain wrong. From what I was able to follow, most of the terrorists were religious (right-wing fanatics in the US who did similar things were al...so), so it's impossible to put religion on one side, in the jar, separated from everything else and completely ignore it when analysing why are these things happening.
If religion can make an impact about what people wear, what people buy, and let's face it, these are trivial things in life, it's simply stupid to pretend it cannot have any impact at all on whether someone might find an eternal life and imagined gratitude from their God a good reason to kill others and possibly themselves.
For proof of this Islam can be ignored altogether. Just take a look at all the witch burnings, crusades and killings other religions are responsible for. Simple logic tells us that Islam and Muslims alone cannot be immune to these effects of religion.
With that said, IMO the best way for Muslims and non-Muslims alike is to take a look at Islam and see which teachings can possibly be equivalent to the "you shall not allow a sorceress to live" of Christianity which is responsible for so much evil through the history. When these things are identified, they should be ignored or interpreted differently by scholars in order to discourage anyone from using them as an excuse for war.
Denying any connection whatsoever is simply not a smart thing to do, especially for Muslims, who will feel even worse and worse if these things continue. And they will continue until factors that might possibly contribute to this are changed or eliminated.
To simply ignore religion when determining what these factors are is wrong, is all that's being said.
Hijab shouldn't be just treated as a part of the culture without thinking and we should not automatically glorify it as diversity. The very fact that it is forced in Iran, for example, tells us that it's not simply a matter of choice and culture.
Forbidding things or telling people what to wear is not the solution and it's not what progressives do. And IMO, EU court ruling allowing bans on all religious symbols didn't do that.
This ban is in a way also a protection, either all religious symbols are banned or none, so hijab cannot be singled-out. In a way, it’s also all-or nothing ban. Either you ban all religious symbols or none.
I digress. The point is that in fact, turning a blind eye on suffering and comforting yourself that it's simply a cultural thing is also not what progressives should do.
Let this be a lesson to you: always try to save anything important. Especially if it’s in writing, you never know when you might need it and what you might lose by not saving it.
Such was the case with this entertaining discussion on Instagram. Discussion was about whether consent to sex is a consent to pregnancy. Long story short, I posted this image on Instagram:
During this discussion this person blocked my account, so this means I cannot see her account anymore and cannot reply to her. The only way to continue discussion would be for me to use a secondary account. And that is beyond pathetic, so I will not do that.
So, in case I’m not making myself clear: account is not deleted, it’s still there, it’s that entangledlife account is blocked from seeing her posts anymore. The original post is still there in case anyone’s interested.
I decided just to copy the points that I made there in effort to both preserve the arguments I had at the time and to potentially help Pro Choice visitors of this site with any such discussions they might have.
So, it started with this woman trying to refute what was written on the image, with something like “if you don’t want to get pregnant, don’t have sex.”, to which I replied:
People have the right to non procreative sex.
To which she replied basically that the only use of sex is procreation.