Articles Essays Etc

  • The Apocalypse Idea By Garrett FogerliePeople are pretentious. Most everyone I speak to believes that the world will end in their lifetime. That they are vastly superior to anyone that came before ...
    Posted May 25, 2011, 5:48 AM by Viva Paco
  • The Cause of Life's Problems By Garrett FogerlieReligion easily has the best bullshit story of all time. Think about it. Religion has convinced people that there's an invisible man living in the sky ...
    Posted May 25, 2011, 4:08 AM by Garrett Fogerlie
  • Putting It Mildly By Christopher HitchensIf the intended reader of this book should want to go beyond disagreement with its author and try to identify the sins and deformities that animated him ...
    Posted May 25, 2011, 3:37 AM by Garrett Fogerlie
  • There Is No God By Penn JilletteI believe that there is no God. I'm beyond atheism. Atheism is not believing in God. Not believing in God is easy — you can't prove ...
    Posted May 25, 2011, 2:58 AM by Garrett Fogerlie
  • The Greatest Show on Earth Excerpt By Garrett Fogerlie "In 1998, Larson and Witham polled the cream of American scientists, those who have been honoured by election to the elite National Academy of Sciences . Among this ...
    Posted May 25, 2011, 2:13 AM by Garrett Fogerlie
  • Old Testament Evil God By Garrett FogerlieThe Christian religion would be much better off if it was not based on the old testament. The god of the old testament is such a horrible ...
    Posted May 25, 2011, 2:03 AM by Garrett Fogerlie
  • Morality Doesn't Come From Religion By Garrett FogerlieThe thought that morality comes from religion is so very wrong. I am often confronted with someone that says, “Well if you don’t believe in Heaven ...
    Posted May 25, 2011, 4:14 AM by Garrett Fogerlie
  • Evolution as Fact and Theory by Stephen Jay GouldSirtley Mather, who died last year at age ninety, was a pillar of both science and Christian religion in America and one of my dearest friends ...
    Posted Jun 2, 2011, 2:39 PM by Garrett Fogerlie
  • Is Science a Religion? by Richard DawkinsThe 1996 Humanist of the Year asked this question in a speech accepting the honor from the American Humanist Association.This article is adapted from his speech ...
    Posted May 21, 2011, 8:48 AM by Garrett Fogerlie
  • Why I Am Not A Christian an Examination of the God‐Idea & Christianity   By Bertrand Russell March 6, 1927  The lecture that is here presented was delivered at the Battersea Town Hall under the auspices of ...
    Posted May 19, 2011, 12:33 AM by Viva Paco
  • Infinity By Garrett Fogerlie We are all familiar with infinity. I’m sure you’ve heard that God is infinite, but what does that mean? Is it even possible for something ...
    Posted May 15, 2011, 1:30 AM by Garrett Fogerlie
  • The Burden of Skepticism By Carl SaganPublished in 1987What is Skepticism? It's nothing very esoteric. We encounter it every day. When we buy a used car, if we are the least ...
    Posted May 14, 2011, 10:13 PM by Viva Paco
  • Good And Bad Reasons For Believing By Richard DawkinsDear Juliet,Now that you are ten, I want to write to you about something that is important to me. Have you ever wondered how we know ...
    Posted May 14, 2011, 9:25 PM by Viva Paco
  • Why Religion Must End Interview with Sam Harris by Laura SheahenYou've said that nonbelievers must try to convince religious people "of the illegitimacy of their core beliefs." Why are these beliefs dangerous ...
    Posted Jun 2, 2011, 2:53 PM by Garrett Fogerlie
  • Easter and Other Mis-Information By Garrett Fogerlie I started to write this to tell the story of Easter, the biblical story not the actual meaning of Easter, which is the based around the ...
    Posted May 13, 2011, 10:00 PM by Viva Paco
  • God and Disaster By A C GraylingOne thinks with sorrow of the hundreds of thousands whose lives have been horrendously lost or affected by the great Japanese earthquake and tsunami, which will ...
    Posted May 13, 2011, 3:04 AM by Garrett Fogerlie
  • Predefined Meaning of Life By Garrett Fogerlie What is the meaning of life? Perhaps a better question is, “Is there a meaning to life?” Some people think the meaning of life is to accept ...
    Posted May 25, 2011, 4:26 AM by Garrett Fogerlie
  • Eternal Life Because Energy Cannot Be Destroyed By Garrett FogerlieThe idea that energy cannot be created or removed, it can be only transferred from one type to another, is often used to justify a poorly constructed ...
    Posted May 13, 2011, 8:22 AM by Garrett Fogerlie
  • Christian Rhetoric By Garrett FogerlieChurches stress the idea to their members that the world is full of secular non-believers; and that believers are the minority so they should stick together ...
    Posted May 13, 2011, 8:24 AM by Garrett Fogerlie
  • The God of Abraham By Sam Harris, The End Of Faith The God of Abraham is a ridiculous fellow capricious, petulant, and cruel and one with whom a covenant is little guarantee of health ...
    Posted May 24, 2011, 5:20 AM by Garrett Fogerlie
  • Why Is 'Religion' Sacred By Douglas Adams Religion has certain ideas at the heart of it which we call sacred or holy or whatever. What it means is, 'Here is an idea or a ...
    Posted May 11, 2011, 3:57 AM by Garrett Fogerlie
  • The Philosophy of Atheism By Emma GoldmanTo give an adequate exposition of the Philosophy of Atheism, it would be necessary to go into the historical changes of the belief in a Deity, from ...
    Posted May 11, 2011, 3:51 AM by Garrett Fogerlie
  • Modification of Beliefs and Religion By Garrett Fogerlie More proof that religious views vary drastically from person to person; the data comes from a couple different surveys. It seems to me like this is a ...
    Posted May 13, 2011, 8:43 AM by Garrett Fogerlie
  • Me and Religion By Garrett FogerlieI remember when I was 15 or so and I met a person that not only wasn't Christian but was an Atheist! I was shocked, I ...
    Posted May 13, 2011, 10:05 PM by Viva Paco
  • Jesus’ Resurrection, According to the New Testament By Garrett Fogerlie Keep in mind that the New Testament is a highly questionable source, and should be looked at with skepticism! The majority of its books, if not all ...
    Posted May 29, 2011, 4:47 PM by Garrett Fogerlie
  • What Would You Say to God By Garrett FogerlieI was recently asked, if I died and me t God, what would I say to him? I think I would say, if such a scenario actually ...
    Posted May 14, 2011, 11:24 PM by Garrett Fogerlie
  • Sex & Masturbation in the Top Three Religions Part 1 By Garrett Fogerlie   Sex and sexual desires plays such a powerful role in our lives that it’s no wonder why the major religions attempt to control it and place ...
    Posted May 15, 2011, 1:31 AM by Garrett Fogerlie
  • 10 Myths & 10 Truths About Atheism By Sam Harris Sam Harris is the author of "The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason" and "Letter to a Christian Nation."December 24, 2006Several ...
    Posted Feb 16, 2012, 12:44 AM by Viva Paco
Showing posts 1 - 28 of 28. View more »

The Apocalypse Idea

posted May 25, 2011, 4:30 AM by Garrett Fogerlie   [ updated May 25, 2011, 5:48 AM by Viva Paco ]

By Garrett Fogerlie

People are pretentious.
Most everyone I speak to believes that the world will end in their lifetime. That they are vastly superior to anyone that came before them. People manipulate any piece of data to make it fit into whatever they want. For thousands of years we have heard people say that such and such a battle or war was predicted in the bible and said that it will bring the beginning of the end. Even now there are thousands of people that think the world is going to end on December 21, 2012? This is based on an arbitrary date that was a result of the rolling over of an ancient and no longer existent numbering system of the Mayans.



Every time one of these deadlines comes and goes you would think that it would make people immune from being caught up in the next one, but this is not the case. As an example, in 1822 there was a man named William Miller who predicted that the second coming of Jesus Christ was going to be on or before 1844. He attracted a large number of followers and when the predicted day finally came and passed like every other day. Both Millerite and his followers were left generally bewildered and disillusioned. This was the end of it, right? No, he went back to the drawing boards. Coming up with a new date, and once again attracted followers, in fact he attracted more followers then before. This cycle continued for some time. You may think that people would have been smarter than that or perhaps it was just par for the course for that era. However you would be wrong. This group is still around to this day, they are called the Seven Day Adventists.

The Cause of Life's Problems

posted May 25, 2011, 3:40 AM by Garrett Fogerlie

By Garrett Fogerlie

Religion easily has the best bullshit story of all time. Think about it. Religion has convinced people that there's an invisible man living in the sky who watches everything you do every minute of every day. And the invisible man has a list of ten specific things he doesn't want you to do. And if you do any of these things, he will send you to a special place, of burning and fire, smoke, torture and anguish for you to live forever, and suffer, burn, and scream until the end of time. But he loves you. He loves you. He loves you and he needs money. And by believing it's true is the only way you can get away unscathed.


The idea of a personal God that looks after every human, is an concept which should not be take seriously. The idea of this supreme being that created everything and yet is so involved and overtaken with one small aspect of his work, humans, comes from the most selfish part of our minds. Many people think that we get our morality from religion and the concept of a all knowing 'god' is a security camera on everybody to keep them from being truly evil. Science has been charged with undermining morality, but the charge is unjust. A man's ethical behavior should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties and needs; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death.

The most heinous and the must cruel crimes of which history has record have been committed under the cover of religion. We are afraid of the known and afraid of the unknown. That is our daily life and in that there is no hope, and therefore every form of philosophy, every form of theological concept, is merely an escape from the actual reality of what is. All outward forms of change brought about by wars, revolutions, reformations, laws and ideologies have failed completely to change the basic nature of man and therefore of society. What can be asserted without proof can be dismissed without proof.
Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people. It is an illusion and it derives its strength from the fact that it falls in with our instinctual desires. The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one.

Our ignorance is God; but what we know is science!

If we go back to the beginning, we shall find that ignorance and fear created the gods; that fancy, enthusiasm, or deceit adorned them; that weakness worships them; that credulity preserves them and that custom, respect and tyranny support them in order to make the blindness of men serve their own interests. Ignorance gave birth to gods, and knowledge is calculated to destroy them!


Comments...

Anonymous said...

That's absolutely 1000% true! That's exactly how I see it, and I sometimes wonder where are all the antitheists, I seem to be left alone and surrounded by strong believers. Religion does poison. And since we'd have no sins if it weren't for religion, let's improve, upgrade.

April 25, 2011 6:16 AM
Hellspawn said...

Well written article. Religion is the "final fig leaf" and we're growing out of it don't worry, just a matter of time.

May 5, 2011 3:48 PM

Putting It Mildly

posted May 25, 2011, 3:30 AM by Garrett Fogerlie   [ updated May 25, 2011, 3:37 AM ]

By Christopher Hitchens

If the intended reader of this book should want to go beyond disagreement with its author and try to identify the sins and deformities that animated him to write it (and I have certainly noticed that those who publicly affirm charity and compassion and forgiveness are often inclined to take this course), then he or she will not just be quarreling with the unknowable and ineffable creator who–presumably–opted to make me this way. They will be defiling the memory of a good, sincere, simple woman, of stable and decent faith, named Mrs. Jean Watts.

It was Mrs. Watts’s task, when I was a boy of about nine and attending a school on the edge of Dartmoor, in southwestern England, to instruct me in lessons about nature, and also about scripture. She would take me and my fellows on walks, in an especially lovely part of my beautiful country of birth, and teach us to tell the different birds, trees, and plants from one another. The amazing variety to be found in a hedgerow; the wonder of a clutch of eggs found in an intricate nest; the way that if the nettles stung your legs (we had to wear shorts) there would be a soothing dock leaf planted near to hand: all this has stayed in my mind, just like the “gamekeeper’s museum,” where the local peasantry would display the corpses of rats, weasels, and other vermin and predators, presumably supplied by some less kindly deity. If you read John Clare’s imperishable rural poems you will catch the music of what I mean to convey.

At later lessons we would be given a printed slip of paper entitled “Search the Scriptures,” which was sent to the school by whatever national authority supervised the teaching of religion. (This, along with daily prayer services, was compulsory and enforced by the state.) The slip would contain a single verse from the Old or New Testament, and the assignment was to look up the verse and then to tell the class or the teacher, orally or in writing, what the story and the moral was. I used to love this exercise, and even to excel at it so that (like Bertie Wooster) I frequently passed “top” in scripture class. It was my first introduction to practical and textual criticism. I would read all the chapters that led up to the verse, and all the ones that followed it, to be sure that I had got the “point” of the original clue. I can still do this, greatly to the annoyance of some of my enemies, and still have respect for those whose style is sometimes dismissed as “merely” Talmudic, or Koranic, or “fundamentalist.” This is good and necessary mental and literary training.

However, there came a day when poor, dear Mrs. Watts overreached herself. Seeking ambitiously to fuse her two roles as nature instructor and Bible teacher, she said, “So you see, children, how powerful and generous God is. He has made all the trees and grass to be green, which is exactly the color that is most restful to our eyes. Imagine if instead, the vegetation was all purple, or orange, how awful that would be.”

And now behold what this pious old trout hath wrought. I liked Mrs. Watts: she was an affectionate and childless widow who had a friendly old sheepdog who really was named Rover, and she would invite us for sweets and treats after hours to her slightly ramshackle old house near the railway line. If Satan chose her to tempt me into error he was much more inventive than the subtle serpent in the Garden of Eden. She never raised her voice or offered violence–which couldn’t be said for all my teachers–and in general was one of those people, of the sort whose memorial is in Middlemarch, of whom it may be said that if “things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been,” this is “half-owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs.”

However, I was frankly appalled by what she said. My little ankle-strap sandals curled with embarrassment for her. At the age of nine I had not even a conception of the argument from design, or of Darwinian evolution as its rival, or of the relationship between photosynthesis and chlorophyll. The secrets of the genome were as hidden from me as they were, at that time, to everyone else. I had not then visited scenes of nature where almost everything was hideously indifferent or hostile to human life, if not life itself. I simply knew, almost as if I had privileged access to a higher authority, that my teacher had managed to get everything wrong in just two sentences. The eyes were adjusted to nature, and not the other way about.

I must not pretend to remember everything perfectly, or in order, after this epiphany, but in a fairly short time I had also begun to notice other oddities. Why, if god was the creator of all things, were we supposed to “praise” him so incessantly for doing what came to him naturally? This seemed servile, apart from anything else. If Jesus could heal a blind person he happened to meet, then why not heal blindness? What was so wonderful about his casting out devils, so that the devils would enter a herd of pigs instead? That seemed sinister: more like black magic. With all this continual prayer, why no result? Why did I have to keep saying, in public, that I was a miserable sinner? Why was the subject of sex considered so toxic? These faltering and childish objections are, I have since discovered, extremely commonplace, partly because no religion can meet them with any satisfactory answer. But another, larger one also presented itself. (I say “presented itself” rather than “occurred to me” because these objections are, as well as insuperable, inescapable.) The headmaster, who led the daily services and prayers and held the Book, and was a bit of a sadist and a closeted homosexual (and whom I have long since forgiven because he ignited my interest in history and lent me my first copy of P. G. Wodehouse), was giving a no-nonsense talk to some of us one evening. “You may not see the point of all this faith now,” he said. “But you will one day, when you start to lose loved ones.”

Again, I experienced a stab of sheer indignation as well as dis-belief. Why, that would be as much as saying that religion might not be true, but never mind that, since it can be relied upon for comfort. How contemptible. I was then nearing thirteen, and becoming quite the insufferable little intellectual. I had never heard of Sigmund Freud–though he would have been very useful to me in understanding the headmaster–but I had just been given a glimpse of his essay The Future of an Illusion.

An excerpt from the book God is not Great, by Christopher Hitchens


There Is No God

posted May 25, 2011, 2:49 AM by Garrett Fogerlie   [ updated May 25, 2011, 2:58 AM ]


By Penn Jillette

I believe that there is no God. I'm beyond atheism. Atheism is not believing in God. Not believing in God is easy — you can't prove a negative, so there's no work to do. You can't prove that there isn't an elephant inside the trunk of my car. You sure? How about now? Maybe he was just hiding before. Check again. Did I mention that my personal heartfelt definition of the word "elephant" includes mystery, order, goodness, love and a spare tire?

So, anyone with a love for truth outside of herself has to start with no belief in God and then look for evidence of God. She needs to search for some objective evidence of a supernatural power. All the people I write e-mails to often are still stuck at this searching stage. The atheism part is easy.





The Greatest Show on Earth Excerpt

posted May 25, 2011, 2:06 AM by Garrett Fogerlie


By Garrett Fogerlie

"In 1998, Larson and Witham polled the cream of American scientists, those who have been honoured by election to the elite National Academy of Sciences . Among this select group, belief in a personal God dropped [as compared with the average person where belief in God is above 70%] to a shattering 7%. About 20% call themselves agnostic, and the rest are atheists. Similar figures obtain for belief in personal immortality. Among biological scientists elected to the National Academy, only 5.5% believe in a god. I have not seen corresponding figures for elite scholars in other fields such as history or philosophy, but it would be surprising if they were very different.

Old Testament Evil God

posted May 25, 2011, 1:57 AM by Garrett Fogerlie



By Garrett Fogerlie

The Christian religion would be much better off if it was not based on the old testament. The god of the old testament is such a horrible character, in any other book he would have been the villain! A murdering evil lunatic that demands you kill women, children, friends, family, and yourself! He is incredibly jealous and demands that you worship him and mutilate your body. He is a self proclaimed vengeful angry god. He is a racist megalomaniac that has no problem committing genocide. 

Morality Doesn't Come From Religion

posted May 25, 2011, 1:26 AM by Garrett Fogerlie   [ updated May 25, 2011, 4:14 AM ]

By Garrett Fogerlie

The thought that morality comes from religion is so very wrong. I am often confronted with someone that says, “Well if you don’t believe in Heaven and Hell, what’s to stop you from killing people?” This is an outrageous question! I sincerely hope that it is asked out of ignorance however every time I hear it I can’t help to wonder how little concern the person who asks it has for life. The thought that people are only good because they are afraid of burning in Hell for eternity is an incredibly scary thought!

If we look at the animal kingdom, we see animals risking their lives to help other animals, elephants risk getting stuck while trying to get others out of mud pits. Wolves, lions and other animals sharing food with members of their pack so they don’t starve. Mothers sacrificing themselves when predators attack so that their offspring can have a chance to get away; these things are noble and they are hard coded in these animals and in us. It’s rare to see animals killing other animals when it’s not for food, security or mating. The idea that human beings are less moral then far less intelligent animals is preposterous. And then to go further the thought that if you don’t think you will be caught or punished, then why not start murdering is inconceivable. Even the bad apples that do end up being serial killers, it is usually associated with a disease or/and a very traumatic childhood.


None the less I hear this question all the time. My number one rebuttal to this is that Atheists make up around 18% of the American population, while they only make up 0.2% of the prison population. There are less Atheists in prison than Scientologists. With any other religion (except possibly the Amish) their ratio between population and prison population is pretty much a dead match. That means that the percentage of Catholics is around 36% and the percentage of Catholics in prison is also around 36%, as you would think.

I have heard many tries to refute these stats but survey after survey confirms them. However I will point out the more common ones. A standard one I hear is that the actual Atheist population in America is not nearly 18% saying that it is less and at the same time they say that people don’t want to admit to being Atheists so they aren’t telling the truth. These two points contradict each other; it would be like taking two different temperature readings with the same thermometer and then saying the outside readings seem too high, so it must be the thermometer and I’ll just lower those readings manually while on the inside it is too low so I will raise them. It’s poor logic and there have been many studies that have all showed consistent results. The other idea I have come across, by a pastor no less, was that Atheists tend be more intelligent and more educated and this keeps them out of trouble. Perhaps this adds to it, but I’m sure prison has as similar ratio of people with above average intelligence as the standard population does. But this idea, actually this fact, that people that are more intelligent and better educated are more likely to be atheist has to make you think that maybe they are on to something. We listen to scientists and doctors about tons of important things; things that we may barley understand but we know that since these people are more likely to know what they are talking about then we should listen to them this applies to everything except religion! Why? How can people be so ass backwards about this one thing?

To be honest though the stats amazed me when I first saw them, however since I know a lot of religious people I see that the majority of them have little reverence for human life, amongst other things. It’s similar to several police officers I know that openly talk about wanting to kill drug users. I suppose if you though that after you die you get another life, like it’s a video game, you tend to be less careful with the one you have now. Not to diverge here too much, but just in the possibility that there is no life or world after this one, shouldn’t we do all we can to make this one wonderful for us and our children? The worst case scenario in this idea is that we work a bit harder and life is a bit better, and if by chance there is another life then even better no harm was done. We should hope for the best but plan for the worse.

Doing good deeds because you fear the consequences is not moral! Doing good for goodness sake is and it has absolutely nothing to do with the bible. Do not belittle yourself by thinking that you would be a crazy evil person if you didn’t have religion. You are better than that. As Steven Weinberg says,

“Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.”

This is a very good point. The extremist Muslim terrorists that have been responsible for so many deaths as of late probably would have gone their whole lives without killing anyone, without blowing up buildings and causing devastation all around the world. Without religion there would have been far less wars and far less death. But not even that extreme, without religion, stem cell research could be much further along; the Dark Ages would have been very different. There may not be a prevalence of Gay hate, and picketing funerals and bombing doctors. This is why I believe that God is mans biggest mistake, not the other way around. If there actually is a god, the devastation that he has caused by his random fiddling with peoples lives and civilizations shows that he at the least is not all knowing and more likely he is not a good or amazing god, and does not seem to care at all for the suffering that he has cursed onto this world!


Comments...

Anonymous said...

Hi, I find it extremely entertaining to read through your blog, considering no one else does. Not one comment, not one check mark, nothing. Looks like your having an argument with an invisable debater. Have fun exterting your energy and time for an audience of ZERO. Loser

April 15, 2011 4:50 AM
vibe4philo said...

I have recently found your blog through Twitter and I would just like to say that I also find it extremely entertaining. But probably for different reasons to the previous poster. I think your writing style is good and easy to assimilate. When you quote people you always credit them. The information you put on your blog, I happen to agree with, so for me it's preaching to the converted, but utterly entertaining none the less. Keep up the good work and I wish you well with your endeavour.

April 16, 2011 5:28 AM
Leigh said...

Maybe Anonymous is in prison, and does not have free access to a computer as he did sign his post "Loser".

April 20, 2011 9:56 AM
Anonymous said...

I just wish the people around me would bother to read and reflect about meaningful articles like this... or else it proves that there is no cure for ignorance...

April 21, 2011 9:30 AM
Mika Galipeau said...

I found your blog because of a random follow on Twitter. As someone who writes for a living, I most certainly can state that the quality of your work is easy to read, adaptable, and excellent overall.
I do believe that the prior critics have more of an issue with the subject matter than the grade of your esssays and thusly have gone with the lowest common denominator. Do not permit insults to detraact you.

Keep on rockin' in the free worlsd, while we still have one.
Mika Galipeau
Roofer On Fire

http://rooferonfire.blogspot.com

April 21, 2011 11:04 AM
Anonymous said...

Altruism is hard-coded into our genes, it is a means of survival. Becoming self-aware and realizing death is inescapable is what led to people imagining gods and an afterlife. Anonymous #1 is just in denial about the truth. There is no god, we are the best we have.

April 24, 2011 6:37 AM
ShyGirl480 said...

@Anonymous (the first one) First off, your negative comment made me want to read the article more, so thanks :) Why do people have to stoop to harassment and name-calling to disagree with someone? Secondly, your article was very well thought out. I sometimes struggle with this issue as a new atheist, so it helped me alot. Keep it up, and don't bother with anyone who can't even post a decent comment.

May 8, 2011 8:23 PM
Garrett Fogerlie said...

ShyGirl480, thanks. To answer your question, I have found that people resort to harassment and name calling when they don't an educated rebuttal or a leg to stand on.

To everyone else, thanks! I'm sorry I haven't had the time to reply to your comments, or add new material this week. I'm busy getting our entire site, www.EvilTheists.com up and running. I have a bunch of new content that should be up within the next week.

Thanks, for all the support everyone!

May 9, 2011 3:47 PM

Evolution as Fact and Theory

posted May 25, 2011, 1:10 AM by Garrett Fogerlie   [ updated Jun 2, 2011, 2:39 PM ]

by Stephen Jay Gould
Sirtley Mather, who died last year at age ninety, was a pillar of both science and Christian religion in America and one of my dearest friends. The difference of a half-century in our ages evaporated before our common interests. The most curious thing we shared was a battle we each fought at the same age. For Kirtley had gone to Tennessee with Clarence Darrow to testify for evolution at the Scopes trial of 1925. When I think that we are enmeshed again in the same struggle for one of the best documented, most compelling and exciting concepts in all of science, I don't know whether to laugh or cry.

Is Science a Religion?

posted May 16, 2011, 1:24 AM by Viva Paco   [ updated May 21, 2011, 8:48 AM by Garrett Fogerlie ]

by Richard Dawkins

The 1996 Humanist of the Year asked this question in a speech accepting the honor from the American Humanist Association.

This article is adapted from his speech in acceptance of the 1996 Humanist of the Year Award from the American Humanist Association.

It is fashionable to wax apocalyptic about the threat to humanity posed by the AIDS virus, "mad cow" disease, and many others, but I think a case can be made that faith is one of the world's great evils, comparable to the smallpox virus but harder to eradicate.

Faith, being belief that isn't based on evidence, is the principal vice of any religion. And who, looking at Northern Ireland or the Middle East, can be confident that the brain virus of faith is not exceedingly dangerous? One of the stories told to the young Muslim suicide bombers is that martyrdom is the quickest way to heaven -- and not just heaven but a special part of heaven where they will receive their special reward of 72 virgin brides. It occurs to me that our best hope may be to provide a kind of "spiritual arms control": send in specially trained theologians to deescalate the going rate in virgins.

Given the dangers of faith -- and considering the accomplishments of reason and observation in the activity called science -- I find it ironic that, whenever I lecture publicly, there always seems to be someone who comes forward and says, "Of course, your science is just a religion like ours. Fundamentally, science just comes down to faith, doesn't it?"

Well, science is not religion and it doesn't just come down to faith. Although it has many of religion's virtues, it has none of its vices. Science is based upon verifiable evidence. Religious faith not only lacks evidence, its independence from evidence is its pride and joy, shouted from the rooftops. Why else would Christians wax critical of doubting Thomas? The other apostles are held up to us as exemplars of virtue because faith was enough for them. Doubting Thomas, on the other hand, required evidence. Perhaps he should be the patron saint of scientists.

Why I Am Not A Christian

posted May 16, 2011, 12:32 AM by Viva Paco   [ updated May 19, 2011, 12:33 AM ]


an Examination of the God‐Idea & Christianity
 
 
By Bertrand Russell

March 6, 1927
 
 
The lecture that is here presented was delivered at the Battersea Town Hall under the
auspices of the South London Branch of the National Secular Society, England. It should
be added that the editor is willing to share full responsibility with the Hon. Bertrand
Russell in that he is in accord with the political and other opinions expressed.


As your chairman has told you, the subject about which I am going to speak to you
tonight is "Why I Am Not a Christian."

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