Things I’m Getting Tired Of Hearing

Atheism Is A Religion.

No it’s not. Catholicism is a religion. Hinduism is a religion. Islam is a religion. They have churches, temples, and mosques to practice their religion in. They have dogma, holy books, beliefs that they commit their entire lives too, along with their children’s. Atheism is the opposite of a religion. 180 degrees opposite. Diametrically-opposed-to-the-entire-concept opposite. At least not as it’s defined in the first three of these four definitions:

re·li·gion (rĭ-lĭjən)
n.

    1. Belief in and reverence for a supernatural power or powers regarded as creator and governor of the universe.
    2. A personal or institutionalized system grounded in such belief and worship.
  1. The life or condition of a person in a religious order.
  2. A set of beliefs, values, and practices based on the teachings of a spiritual leader.
  3. A cause, principle, or activity pursued with zeal or conscientious devotion.

If you are claiming the fourth definition, then please, speak up. When I’m having a debate with someone about the nonsense of their religion, it is not accurate or helpful to say to me that my lack of belief is a religion. That tells me, in that context, that you are asserting that I worship or revere something supernatural or spiritual. I don’t do that.

If, on the other hand, you are complimenting me for the fervor and zeal I bring to my criticism of your religion, and my support for atheism, well then say so, because I love compliments. In that sense, and only that sense, I’m a religious person. There is nothing supernatural or divine about the enthusiasm I have for the subject of atheism. No more than my enthusiasm for reading books. Maybe less so.

Does having a well used library card make me religious?

Righteous

I’m not sure what it is about this word I don’t like. It rubs me the wrong way, like a marble on a blackboard, to coin a cliché. It is just a word, after all, however one I never seem to hear unless it’s coming out of the mouths of Christians, most notably on TV when I tune in to a televangelist. You don’t hear politicians talking about their righteous legislation, or lawyers extolling the virtues of their righteous clients. What makes it so obnoxious, then?

It means “morally upright, without guilt or sin”, so maybe that’s one reason why I find its use so tiresome. I don’t believe in sin, so for someone to describe themselves in such a way makes no sense. Christians usually use the term to describe themselves, or at a minimum to describe their optimal selves. They go on and on about morality, and righteousness, when they are really no different than the people they point a finger at and call “sinners”. Sometimes worse. They set themselves up for charges of hypocrisy, and find themselves knocked over time and time again. When I hear someone use the word, I immediately reach for my back pocket to see if my wallet is missing.

It’s also an archaic term. Nobody uses it anymore, unless they are very religious. Exhorting people to choose the “path to righteousness” is what street corner preachers do, while they thump their Bibles, and who listens to them? So a word of advice to Christians. Delete “righteous” from your vocabulary. It marks you as someone who reads his Bible just a tad too much. It also looks like you pat yourself on your back for no good reason.

Christian Rock Music

‘Nuff said.

I Don’t Believe In Evolution

This may actually be proper English and grammar, but it still grates on my cochlear nerve. Belief is used to describe something that one has mentally accepted or is convinced to be the truth. Implied in any belief is a certain level of knowledge about or experience with the subject matter of the belief. In other words, a belief is usually based on something. One doesn’t pull it out of thin air, i.e. nothing. If I believe the leaves will fall from the trees this fall, it is because I have knowledge, based on years of experience in which leaves have consistently, without exception, fallen from the trees in the autumn. Similarly, if I believe my wife loves me, it is because I have firsthand knowledge of her love – her declarations, her actions, many large and small bits of information I’ve gleaned from our years together, coupled with a lack of evidence to the contrary.

With the usual lack of belief in evolution from theists, however, I find that there is a concomitant lack of knowledge. In fact, the less they know about evolution, the less they believe in it. Ask a theist why they don’t believe, and they will give you answers that are anything but based on knowledge or understanding of the scientific theory. For example, if they’ve been reading creationist literature, they might say that they don’t believe in evolution because of gaps in the fossil record, or because there is no evidence of transitional fossils, when in fact it would be a supernatural miracle if we didn’t have gaps in the fossil record, and there is much evidence of transitional fossils.

So the phrase, I don’t believe in evolution is usually a red flag indicating ignorance, usually raised because theists stubbornly refuse to raise the white flag of defeat.

Atheists Are Responsible For Banning Prayer in Schools

This one actually makes me feel sorry for theists, especially Christians, and pity is not an emotion that makes me feel good. I see this a lot in Christian emails that decry the erosion of family values. You know the ones. They first cite statistics on crime rates, teen pregnancies, single parent homes, a preference for Classic Coke and NASCAR racing, and all those things that in comparison show that America has gone downhill. Then they have quotes from Jesus saying something like “If only you hadn’t kicked me out of the public schools”. Sometimes they mention that Columbine would not have happened if everyone in that school had been allowed to pray. Sad, isn’t it? It’s sad because it’s so stupid.

Why is it so stupid? Because no one, not a single soul (sorry) has ever been prevented from praying in school, by the Supreme Court or anyone else. Imagine you are a junior in your high school, and you see a fellow student in a long black overcoat strolling down the hallway sporting an Uzi. Do you think the principal is going to come out in the hallway and stop you from praying if you feel the need to do so at that moment? He won’t, and not because he’s preoccupied with the Uzi, but because there is nothing illegal about you doing so.

Likewise, if you are in Hemant’s class, about to take a major trigonometry test that you failed to study for, and you think you are in need of some divine assistance, feel fee to bow your head before the test and pray to god to help you. Silently, so as not to disturb those who did study. There is no law or Supreme Court decision that prevents you from doing so.

What the law, and the Constitution, prevents is being lead in mandated prayer by the school authorities. That’s a no-no. However, every Christian in America can pray as much as they want, in any school they want, provided they don’t disrupt the normal activities of the school. Since god hears all prayers, even the unspoken ones, there is no obstacle to prayer in the schools.

This is such a no-brainer that it leads me to believe that any Christian who buys this crap has his head up his ass. I guess it is only a matter of time before the Supreme Court rules against rectal praying.

The United States Is A Christian Nation

I had started a little rant on this, but Ebonmuse has done a far nicer job, so I’ll defer to him. I will, however, reiterate what I said in a comment. Practically all major governments up to 1776 were patterned on those set forth in the Bible. The American Revolution was a rebellion against that type of government (a monarchy, where all powers of government are concentrated in one individual, where religious freedom was non-existent, etc.). Remember the concept “the Divine Right of Kings”? That’s what we got rid of, folks, when we overthrew King George III, and enacted our Constitution. Our country, our form of government, is anything but Christian.

Darwinism

I guess, theoretically, you could take anyone’s name, add an “ism” to the end of it, and commence discussing the pros and cons of the ideology associated with that person. Marx is a good example, because he was full of ideology, what with all his bourgeois this and proletariat that. So Marxism is a good word.

Darwinism is not. Charles Darwin was a scientist. Scientists, by definition, do not create ideologies. They do science. More specifically, they study the world, accumulate their observations, formulate hypotheses, run tests on their observations and hypotheses, come to conclusions, devise theories, publish their results, and if they are lucky, and good at what they do, actually advance our knowledge of the world and the universe. One doesn’t create an “ism” after this process. There is no such thing as Einsteinism, or Hawkingism. So why Darwinism?

Charles Darwin (along with Alfred Russell Wallace) discovered evolution. Evolution is not an ideology, no matter how hard theists want it to be. It is a scientific theory. There are no pros and cons to discuss about the theory. It is neither good nor bad, it just is. There ARE, however, yeas and nays that can be voiced by qualified people about whether the theory continues to hold true given all the known facts. However, most people who like to bandy about the word, Darwinism, are usually not qualified to do so.

In fact, in my book, use of the word immediately disqualifies them.

Now, let’s discuss SpanishInquisitorism.

58 thoughts on “Things I’m Getting Tired Of Hearing

  1. Very nice post, to which I’d like to add a few comments:

    The United States Is A Christian Nation
    Your final argument makes a great point, and I intend lifting it when someone I know spouts the Christian nation nonsense. You do fail to mention — not that it should need mentioning — that the Constitution has ZERO references to any supernatural being or power. The authors of the very document which defines our nation went out of their way to make sure that it would notbe construed as Christian.

    Righteous
    Come on! Don’t tell me you’ve lost that lovin’ feelin’; What about the Righteous Brothers? Aside from their stage name, though, the only time I hear righteous in common conversation nowadays, it’s usually preceded by self-. I think that’s the only kind of righteousness there is.

    I Don’t Believe in Evolution
    Evolution, like gravity and arithmetic, doesn’t need to be “believed in.” It is what it is, regardless. When people say that they don’t believe in evolution, I usually correct them: “You mean you don’t accept evolution.”

    Darwinism
    “Darwinism” is a word coined by creationists so that they can avoid even saying “evolution,” as if they’re afraid of devolving into monkeys merely by allowing the word to slide off their tongues. Also, by retagging science as an -ism, they’re manipulating the language to imply that Darwin’s writings started a religion.

    Which brings us back round to the first point you made: Atheism Is A Religion. My favorite quote on this topic, and I wish I could attribute it: Atheism is a religion like not collecting stamps is a hobby.

  2. I hate it when theists say that atheists believe in nothing.

    I believe IN LOTS OF THINGS! I just don’t believe in the existence of a creator. Or at the very least, I don’t believe in the existence of a god that gives a shit if I eat meat on Fridays during Lent or whether or not I believe that a virgin girl in the Middle East 2000 years ago squeezed out a superboy who performed miracles and rose from the dead.

  3. @Tommy

    When all you read is one book your entire life, if you don’t believe in all those things you mention, you believe in nothing.

    Makes perfect sense.

    @Ex

    Atheism is a religion like…

    … off is a TV channel.

    … bald is a hair color.

    We need to do a whole post on similes.

    Wait, that’s more up your alley. Are you up to it? You get to use Occam’s razor sharp wit…

  4. Let’s get real for a moment. Most ordinary people, by that I mean people that have no higher education, or have not sought to better themselves by study or literature, have been raised in some kind of church environment where there are one or more priests/pastors expounding on religious doctrine. They have been ‘riled up’ by this teaching from time to time and been given a more or less sophomoric attitude regarding science and anyone with a PhD. Some of them possess great intelligence; however they use it in a political way. The church crowd they frequent are easily impressed by those who purport to ‘be smart’ and generally will heap vast amounts of encouragement on them, which tends to inflate their ego’s to the point that they will go out of their way to justify the adoration by creating blogs that are ‘beacons of light’ to the lost intellectual world. Problem is they don’t know that they don’t know anything about what they are talking about. That’s not such a big problem because I believe that most of them will eventually go away when confronted with the knowledge gap and perhaps be motivated to learn the truth. I see the problem these days as being one of the Christian resources that have sprung up, like Answers in Genesis, and other pseudo-intellectual groups devoted to twisting reality to fit a predefined opinion. These people I mention will now be given resources which are still above their intellectual heads, however they wont know that either, and become convinced that there is a vast conspiracy to rewrite history, take over the government with atheistic religion, replace God with evolution, and generally rape and pillage their churches. It is a futile endeavor to change their minds and the task resembles kicking water uphill.

  5. Great write up. I’ve been sick of hearing those same things for years but you had the balls to put them all together and fix it with a cock punch.

    BTW, your main picture is absolutely disgusting.

  6. Have you noticed, since Darwin, how many of the movers and shakers who discribed themselves as christian, even decried “Darwinsim” have practiced and embraced it in their social and business dealings?

    I see it here to this day. Actually, they practice their “christianity” the same way.

  7. The fact is, if you judge religion on ‘temples’, most of the ‘New Age’ is out – if you judge it on ‘belief in a higher power’, most of Buddhism is out…at it’s core, ‘religion’ is what people believe is ultimately true about the universe – the ‘meta-story’, which is and will always be, to a large degree, a matter of faith. That is not to say that evidence and even valid personal experience will not either verify, and push someone toward, or pull someone away from a particular religion, however every meta-story is ultimately unprovable. Atheism, in this way, is not different that Buddhism or Christianity. Moderate Agnosticism – which simply says ‘I don’t know’ – may be the only truly ‘non-religious’ position available, honestly. Sorry it ticks you to hear otherwise – maybe it hurts your pride to have others observe your personal beliefs the same way you view others’ beliefs: as a matter of subjected faith.

  8. P.s. – Sarge…
    many of Darwins early supporters were Christians, particularly Presbyterians, as they recognize that God not only ACTS, but that He acts through MEANS – i.e., God may be ultimately responsible for something, but often uses secondary causes to bring them about. In that sense, many Presbyterians recognized the potential of Darwin’s theories early on.

  9. Tommykey – I know you were looking to be humorous, but you are VERY close to being right:

    you said;
    “Atheism is a religion like celibacy is a sexual position.”

    It would be accurate to say that;
    “Atheism is a religion like celibacy is one way of being sexual.”

  10. I was waiting for someone to call me on this, but since no one has, so far, I’ll raise it.

    In a previous post, I argue that Atheism should be more than just a negative definition, that we could redefine it to include all those postive aspects and philosophies that most atheists also embrace, and combine them under an umbrella term. In this post, I get sick of hearing people accuse us of practicing a religion. I don’t think I’m being inconsistent.

    In the first case I’m asking for a change to the way we define ourselves. We do splinter up into little subparts, but what we all have in common is a disbelief in gods, so let us use that commonality to organize and advance together.

    In the second case I’m just reacting to the asssumption that our thinking is no better than theists, that we just “worship a different god” – atheism. It assumes that religious thinking is what we accuse it of being – non-existent, and we’re just like them. NO! Absolutely not. We don’t think like theists, we don’t base our entire lives on a sense of faith, as they do. We make our choices rationally, logically after weighing the consequences. They make their choices after “consulting with oracles”

    Atheism is not a religion, but in a real loose definition of the term, it could be, as long as religion stops connoting blind faith.

    If any of that makes any sense….

  11. As a former Atheist, now a Christian, the critical way I assess my current beliefs, and the evidence I sought (and seek) regarding the specifics and details of my ‘faith’ are far more rigorous now that I am a Christian that when I was an Atheist, even though I was by no means an idiot unbeliever (heck – I read, and mostly understood Hawking’s ‘Brief History…’ when I was 15!). That’s just to say, personally both were matters of ‘faith’, and both were the results of evidence I was – or am – convinced of, and in both cases, the evidence didn’t – and couldn’t – take me all the way to either conclusion. Just something to think about.

  12. saintlewis, you define “meta-story” as “what people believe is ultimately true about the universe” and suggest that this is religion. You go on to say that every “meta-story” is “a matter of faith” and “ultimately unprovable”. Now I could object to the fact that you’ve made up your own definition of religion for the sake of making your point, which I believe is that atheism is “not different than buddhism or christianity”, but I’d rather show what would also have to be included as religions based on your newly fabricated definition:
    1) Relativity
    2) Newton’s laws
    3) Mathematics
    4) Big Bang Theory
    5) Hawking’s Beginning of Time
    6) Vilenkin’s multiverse theory

    That’s just a few that fit your newly crafted definition of religion which is “what people believe is ultimately true about the universe”, what you’ve coined the “meta-story”.

    Now going forward with this flawed definition, can we claim then that atheism is a religion? What is it’s “meta-story”? Can you tell me? Atheism is the belief that there are no gods. Period. That’s a “meta-story”, huh? The denial of gods makes a statement about what’s ultimately true about the universe, huh? Alrighty then, let’s add to the religion list:
    7) A-unicornism
    8) A-leprechaunism
    9) A-dragonism
    10) A-bloorblism
    Wait, what’s a “bloorble”? Doesn’t matter really, but I believe there are no bloorbles in the universe, and that’s making a statement about what’s ultimately true about the universe, so it’s a religion now.

  13. I liked the smile.
    I can understand the frustration. I made my point to say this: religion is VERY hard to define – it is easier to recognize a religion than it is to define it, for sure. I led a comparative religion class for a while, and we had to throw out every definition that we came to because every one excluded one of the recognized major religion, and multitudes of secondary ones. Any definition the is broad enough to include Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, and Buddhism is also broad enough to almost automatically include Atheism as well. If you can come up with a better definition (one that doesn’t automatically exclude the far-Eastern and far-eastern inspired religions).

    I think also that even you can recognize that there is a significant difference between a scientific theory and a meta-narrative, not only in terms of evidence and specificity, but also in terms of falsifiability, which is why your first 6 don’t really apply, though I appreciate the exaggeration in an attempt to draw out my meaning.

    It should also be noted, for the sake of your second list, that the over-arching implications of the existence or non-existence of divinity would be significantly different than that of the existence or non-existence of a single creature/animal, even if the creature be merely imaginary. Meta-Narratives apply to ‘big-picture’ issues, defining world-views, which define what we accept as possible, what we will even consider as ‘evidence’ – they broaden or narrow our perspective and how we perceive everything else. One’s belief, or disbelief, in a higher power, universal mind, or such – one must admit – has a FAR GREATER influence, potentially, on our world-view, and thus how we life, how we feel, how we think, and how we act, than does the existence or nonexistence of a creature. Again, I see what you’re trying to get at, but I think you miss the overarching issue:
    One could be an A-Unicornist and be a Theist: as the first belief, or unbelief, could (hopefully would be) a subset of the 2nd Meta-Narrative. However, one could not be an Atheist Theist, as the two are competing meta-narratives, as are Pantheism, Panentheism, and Deism.

    I hope you understand. Take care…

  14. I’m amazed at how you can say you had a problem in your class saintlewis finding definitions for religion that were suitable when it seems we have suitable definitions listed above by the Spanish Inquisitor. Certainly #s 1 and 2 cover the abrahamics whereas #s 2 and 3 cover the easterns. Yes, #4 means everything from basket weaving to atheism gets invited to the dance but if you want to narrow the field to what’s generally considered religion, shave off #4. Surely even you can see how this is suitable, no?

    Ah, but you have this “meta-story” (or meta-narrative) thing that you want included, but before you can include it I think you have to settle on a definition for it. First it was simply “what people believe is ultimately true about the universe” and when I showed how with such a flawed definition that every scientific theory could be considered a “meta-story” and therefore a religion, your response was to alter the definition but hide that alteration in a condescending remark. I can understand the frustration, the need to define the pieces just so to ensure they fit now that you’re a christian. I’m not sure what satisfaction you gain by insisting atheism is comparable to a religion other than to give credibility to your faith by redefining the reasoning of atheism as faith, thereby being a will of faiths as opposed to a will of faith vs reason. I would think if both are to be faiths, then perhaps you can make yourself believe your faith is more reasonable then, but once again redefining a thing doesn’t actually change that thing. The atheist rejection of gods is not faith. It’s reasonable to reject things that have no evidence to support them.

    Now since I mentioned evidence, let’s look at two very interesting things you’ve said so far about it. First there was “the evidence I sought (and seek) regarding the specifics and details of my ‘faith’ are far more rigorous now that I am a Christian that when I was an Atheist” and then there’s “Meta-Narratives apply to ‘big-picture’ issues, defining world-views, which define what we accept as possible, what we will even consider as ‘evidence’”. So how can you even compare both states when you also say that the very definition of evidence is based on which state you’re in? Evidence is evidence, and if you redefine what’s admissible from atheist to christian than you can’t compare evidence or the search for it between atheist and christian. It should also go without saying that religious faith is prized specifically when there’s a lack of evidence, not when there’s an abundance of evidence. Maybe by continually redefining everything you can make faith trump reason, find evidence for your faith and dismiss atheism as just another religion, but such actions are irrational intellectually irresponsible.

    I hope even you can understand. Take gentle care…

  15. Meta-Narrative(which I called “Meta-Story” – same meaning, however) is a common philosophical term for which my definition is not all that significant, in the grand scheme of things, don’t you think? I can see how you THINK I played a bait and switch – you’re wrong, but I can see how you’d come to that conclusion. I also don’t think the implied accusation of anti-intellectualism fits: I continually keep up with Dawkins, Harris, and their ilk, and they even make a few good points here and there. Anyway, I insist that Atheism is a religion – a meta-narrative – a ‘belief system’ which frames everything else that we perceive because 1.) that’s what it was for me – meaning that I’m no less rigorous is my thought-life, and – at least it seems – utilize LESS ‘faith’ to believe, than to not believe, and 2.) the definition that best fits the word ‘religion’ – whether it’s my ‘meta-narrative description, or Spanish’s Def#4 – includes Atheism under it’s umbrella. The only position which takes absolutely no faith whatsoever is that of the moderate agnostic: “I don’t know”, and even that goes awry and slips into religious territory if it moves to the position of “I can’t know”, for to reach such a conclusion he/she must make certain assumptions on faith.

    And from my own perspective, I was a ‘religious’ atheist – I believed in Atheism because other’s I respected were atheists, it was fed to me by my parents and grandparents, it seemed to make sense of my experience at the time, so I chose to put my faith in the basket marked “Atheism”. I also know for a fact that I am not the only one, because I still have friends who are atheists in the same way that I was. How is that so different from how you would perceive most religious believers?

  16. Just in case anyone is a little confused, I should note that saintlewis, Shannon Lewis and heatlight are one and the same.

    I didn’t realize that until I noticed that heatlight seemed to be responding to PhillyChief’s comment as if he was saintlewis. I checked the IP addresses and they are the same. He has a few different blogs.

    You may continue with the regularly scheduled programming. 8)

  17. Oh, sheesh. I added the following comment as a response to the wrong post. SI, it’s over there under In God We Don’t Give a Shit … Why don’t you remove it so your readers don’t think I’m responding to phantom conversations? Anyway, here it is again, where it sort of belongs.

    Well, SI, I wracked my brain to come up with clever “Atheism is a religion like …” statements, and I can’t better the one about stamp collecting, which I think is brilliant. The only gag I thought of that even satisfies me is:
    Atheism is a religion like nudity is a fashion statement.

    [EDIT] Done.

  18. Saintlewis, heatlight, Shannon Lewis, you change names as frequently as opinions? How very confusing. What’s also confusing is you assert that “meta-narrative” is a “common philosophical term” yet keep changing your mind as to how it should be defined and when pushed to solidify your definition, you argue “my definition is not all that significant, in the grand scheme of things, don’t you think?” Well I think it is because it was and even after this statement continued to be the basis for your argument. For the sake of clarity, allow me to define what a meta-narrative is:
    “in critical theory… an abstract idea that is supposed to be a comprehensive explanation of historical experience or knowledge” source
    “In literal terms, a metanarrative means a big story… In Sociology, the concept of a metanarrative is sometimes referred-to as a “high level theory” or, more-usually, a perspective / ideology.” source

    In that last source it’s interesting to note that rather than a meta-narrative being a marker of or the same as religion as you asserted earlier, it’s religion that’s merely a form of meta-narrative. Among other forms of meta-narrative are Capitalism, Communism, and even scientific theories. What you attempted to do was to claim atheism is a religion by declaring it as possessing a meta-narrative and obviously when I showed those other meta-narratives you scrambled to redefine the term. But the mistake within the mistake lies in the unanswered question I asked about atheism which was, “What is it’s “meta-story”? Can you tell me?” and so far you have not explained that. It was the very basis of your shim-sham yet you can’t even cook up one. Perhaps your creative juices were spent on continuing to redefine meta-narrative and coming up with ways to be smug? Maybe it was used up in creating names for yourself.

    So in a last ditch effort you count religion, meta-narrative and belief system as the same and say Atheism therefore is all three. Why? Because you say “that’s what it was for me”. Well I’m sorry that christianity is some sort of youthful rebellion against your family and peers and that you never seriously understood what atheism means but that’s no excuse for spouting some of the things you’ve written above. I’m sorry you and your friends have got this faith affliction, be it for religion or Atheism and without being able to shake such a thing I can see how you THINK Atheism is faith based since everything for you is faith based. What you need to learn is rejection of a claim due to lack of evidence is not faith. That’s called reason. Atheism is based on reason and it’s simply unreasonable to believe in gods or god stories since there’s no evidence to support them.

    I’ll tell you what I tell every theist – you can tell yourself that up is down and black is white all you want if that’s what gets you through your day but when you try to tell me those things are “truths” then I’m going to call you on all of them. So don’t tell me Atheism is a religion because that’s the way it was in your misguided past or because you know some guys who are equally misguided. Your flaws of not being able to distinguish between reason and faith nor understand what evidence means (among other things) are not flaws held by Atheists I know of nor are inherent in Atheism.

  19. So sorry, Philly – I’ve got a LOT I think about, so I have 3 different blogs, and sometimes I’m not aware of which I’m logged into when I reply. If you’d like to check them out:
    http://4whatitsworth.wordpress.com/
    http://heatlight.wordpress.com/
    http://respondingtoskeptics.wordpress.com/
    I’m sure you’ll have a heyday with that 3rd one, but the first two probably won’t interest you much.

    So, have I changed my opinion? Doesn’t happen often, I promise you – not unless someone presents me with good evidence, but that has happened on a few occasions. I was an Atheist, and changed my opinion – I was an arminian/free-will theist, and changed my opinion (now could be better defined as a ‘neo-Calvinist’) – I was a day-age (long-day) creationist, and changed my opinion to that of essentially a ‘historical creationist’. That’s just to say, I have changed my opinion, but I can’t find anyplace in this thread that such has occurred.

    Anyway, your prior examples, in my studies, were not meta-narratives, or at least not ‘Grant Meta-Narratives’.

    Honestly, you can tear me up on this if you like – I’m sure you will, but you’re really very rude. You’re obviously not even willing to accept that I may actually have a brain (if you were a Scientist at the University of Georgia, I probably helped you with your research, by the way). Your responses have been rude an derogatory to a degree that just seems senseless.
    You speak of Atheism as it’s one grand unified theory and that all atheists have come to it the same way – reaching enlightenment. Do you really believe that to be true? Psychological research shows that most dogmatic atheists have very similar childhood experiences, which at least suggests that, to a degree, Atheism is NOT rational, but can at least sometimes (stats suggest often) be an emotional response to the absence of a Father figure, or to great tragedy. Are the many led to believe Atheism to be true due to those events still to be consider ‘more rational’ than intelligent believers who sought truth and grew convinced that a God likely exists, by necessity? Does the process of how one grew to accept Atheism change whether or not their system of belief is consider ‘religious’ in nature, or not?
    I think it does, but what do I know – I’ve disqualified myself from knowing anything because I’m a Christian, apparently.

  20. Saintlewis-

    I am a skeptic, a doubting Thomas if you will. I find that theists have a drastic problem with providing a consistent set of faith based beliefs across the board. Theism can hardly be called a belief system without some qualifying name to go along side. Theists do not share a consistent core belief at all. Some believe that their God is one, others that He is three and others even more. Some see faith as the only thing necessary to be a theist, and imbue that trait to all belief systems and even carry it over to basically anything a person says about the universe. This is the main reason that atheism is called a religion, when that is really a misnomer. Atheism is not a belief at all, unless it is held in error as a belief system. Atheists do not have faith there is not God, they simply deny your assertion that there is a God without evidence. The reason this can become confusing is that the argument is framed by theist who rely on faith in order to believe something that there is no (empirical) evidence for. It then becomes a matter of whose ball park we play in to determine what the rules for discussion will be.
    As a skeptic and critical thinker, I think both theism and atheism are impossible assertions. No one can prove the case either way. In reality everyone is a skeptic (agnostic), even you, when pressed to back up your beliefs you cannot the same as the atheist cannot. As a result theists and atheists trade unsupportable doctrine which defies their ability to support logically because there is no way to substantiate any of their claims due to the claims being negative and or fanciful. If a logical case could be made either way, we’d all believe that, and take our lumps. One of the most striking things that come to mind about theisms claims is the lack of concern shown by any deity about the whole mess. You’d think that “if” a deity were there at all, at least one who gives a crap about humans, he would intervene to end the debate, but that is a great assumption on my part, after all, we might just be secondary beings in this world, cockroaches are probably the real chosen ones.

    Cheers DaVinci-

  21. Saintlewis, you reap what you sew, so spare me the ‘I’m just a nice christian being persecuted by a rude atheist’ shtick. The “even you can recognize” comment, the “I understand the frustration”, your opening comment of Atheism being no different than other religions and the snarky accompaniment of “Sorry it ticks you to hear otherwise – maybe it hurts your pride to have others observe your personal beliefs the same way you view others’ beliefs: as a matter of subjected faith”, the shim-shammery of your variable definitions and terms, your waffling and avoidance of issues when pressed, and of course this last and ever so common tactic of theists to strike their Jesus pose of persecution and vilify their opponent when they can’t hold up in a discussion. Rude? You sir have been rude from the first posted comment and have yet to stop. Perhaps this serves you well where you usually haunt, but unfortunately for you you’ve crossed my path and whatever I’m dealt I give back in spades.

    “You speak of Atheism as it’s one grand unified theory and that all atheists have come to it the same way”
    - No, I don’t. It’s not a “grand unified theory”. It’s rejection of the existence of gods due to lack of evidence. There’s nothing to unify, nothing to theorize, and the only logical way to arrive at atheism is to look at the lack of evidence for gods and make a decision, yea or nea. Blindly accepting Atheism is as stupid as when people blindly accept anything, and when anyone blindly accepts something, that’s no fault of the thing but rather the fault of the person.

    “Psychological research shows that most dogmatic atheists have…”
    - See, I can stop reading right there and know the rest of what you say is pure crap. Why? because there’s no such thing as a “dogmatic Atheist”. As I said above, there’s no unified theory, no mantra, no dogma. Nothing but one very simple conclusion reached by examining what’s so far been presented as “evidence”.

    “I’ve disqualified myself from knowing anything because I’m a Christian, apparently”
    - Oh cue the violins for the poor christian everyone. Sheesh. I would never say such a thing, but what’s funny is you did earlier. Let me refresh your memory, “Meta-Narratives apply to ‘big-picture’ issues, defining world-views, which define what we accept as possible, what we will even consider as ‘evidence’”. So although I would not make such a claim, your assertion that what belief you buy into affects what you’d consider as evidence makes whatever knowledge you say to have immediately suspect.

  22. Heat

    Psychological research shows that most dogmatic atheists have very similar childhood experiences, which at least suggests that, to a degree, Atheism is NOT rational, but can at least sometimes (stats suggest often) be an emotional response to the absence of a Father figure, or to great tragedy

    I wondered about this, because I certainly don’t fit that bit of research. My father was always very present in my life (still is going strong at 83 – still comes into the office every day – he’s here now) and I don’t think I’ve suffered from any tragedies in my life, nothing out of the ordinary. I’ve considered myself to be pretty lucky in the life’s misfortune department. Do you have any cites for this research?

    It seems like a specious claim, not just because you refer to dogmatic atheism (I agree with Philly on that – there is no such animal. It’s like pregnancy, you either are or you aren’t.) but because it sounds suspiciously like the Christian misimpression that atheism is somehow a “rejection” of god (if your research exists, impliedly brought on by psychological trauma), when in fact one cannot reject something one does not have evidence for.

    So your claim is tough to swallow, both anecdotally, and intellectually.

  23. Here’s what’s more of the same with you saintwhoever, you have your belief and you’ll say anything to advance it. Here are the various steps you’ve taken to “prove” your hypothesis of Atheism being “a matter of subjected faith”:
    1) Meta-story
    2) Meta-narrative – Meta-story 2
    3) it’s “a ‘belief system’ which frames everything else that we perceive”
    3) “that’s how it was for me”
    4) “I still have friends who are atheists in the same way that I was”
    5) “Psychological research shows…” it’s “an emotional response to the absence of a Father figure, or to great tragedy” so irrational

    See the scientific method teaches that if evidence doesn’t support the hypothesis, we scrap or modify the hypothesis. What faith teaches is just the opposite, that you scrap or modify evidence to support the hypothesis and if need be, hunt for or manufacture new evidence to support the hypothesis. Each of your posts was more of the same, changing or exchanging “evidence” to support your claim of Atheism is faith based.

    I don’t want to speak for the Spanish Inquisitor, but I’m sure any more attempts you want to make to prove your claim would be welcomed here. This is a fine place to test them out and see if they hold water. As I said above, I think that’s ass-backwards but hey, it’s your time. I would prefer you do it without condescension or playing the persecuted christian card though. I’m pretty sure others would agree.

    Have a nice day. :)

  24. The lead guitarist in my band is of metal origins, musically speaking, and so I’ve built up a sort of tolerance to the word “righteous.”

    To be fair, though, I can only deal with it when it’s delivered with a Southern California inflection.

  25. Hey there, Spanish – glad you chimed in on me. Always like your articles, even when I disagree with you (note that I only disagreed with you on one point here).

    I admit, ‘dogmatic’ – if used literally – is probably not the best word, as it refers to ‘dogma’, which implies doctrine and etc – what I was meaning by the statement is ‘outspoken’/’evangelistic’ (when used in the sense that someone is continually trying to ‘convert’ others to their viewpoint)/or even ‘radical’. I don’t have a lot of free-time in my day, and usually write my responses very quickly and off-the-cuff, so my word choices aren’t always the best. I’m sure plenty of others will agree, right Philly? ;-)

    One study, in particular, was done by Dr. Paul Vitz, Professor of Psychology at New York University, and was at one time in the 90′s, if I remember correctly, he worked for the government in DC helping set policy related to family issues. The study, and his commentary on the finding has recently been reprinted as “Faith of the Fatherless: the Psychology of Atheism”. As psychology is not a ‘hard science’, I encourage everyone to approach findings in that field with a degree of skepticism (I’m sure you’ll oblige), however the common absence of, and in many cases absolute hatred, of father figures, particularly in the lives of almost all of the most famous atheist through-out history, in light of many of Freud’s more well-accepted theories connecting earthly fathers and our beliefs in the divine, it does portray a rather fascinating pattern among outspoken atheists: that their beliefs were not simply rational, but also had emotional factors undergirding them. That, by no means, accuses all atheists of being irrational (just as similar factors leading some to become religious doesn’t necessarily make all religious believers irrational, does it?), but does suggest that there is an irrational element to both belief AND unbelief. That’s all.

  26. Phillychief – since wecan’t seem to get beyond definitions of ‘religion’, how about we move to this?
    My point, plain and simple – please erase the slate if you must, in order to hear me clearly: there are cases where individuals may hold atheistic beliefs that are ‘religious’ in nature – believed not because of significant evidence – and held in a manner that is not skeptical, but unflinchingly uncritical of said beliefs. In those cases, at least, is ‘Atheism’ not a ‘religion’ in some sense?

  27. 2nd – Phillychief: “scientific method teaches that if evidence doesn’t support the hypothesis, we scrap or modify the hypothesis. What faith teaches is just the opposite, that you scrap or modify evidence to support the hypothesis and if need be, hunt for or manufacture new evidence to support the hypothesis.”
    Though I reject this claim, I do admit that there are certain cases where it may be true (fundamentalism, as example #1), HOWEVER, the main issue is not that faith doesn’t utilize the ‘scientific method’ – Alister McGrath’s book “The Genesis of Doctrine” is in many ways an example of applying ‘scientific method’ to Christian beliefs – the issue, however, is what we are willing to accept as evidence. If one doesn’t assume this world to be a ‘closed system’, it does open the up the ‘possibilities’ a bit. Of course, that doesn’t mean that a non-theist, beginning with very different assumptions, with accept our ‘findings’ – just like we often find grounds to question yours – however in some sense the ‘scientific method’, as historically understood, still comes into play.

  28. p.s., so I don’t misrepresent Vitz, here is an EXCELLENT summary of his work:
    “Vitz argues that that people with a happy childhood with both parental figures will have the choice to determine a theistic or an atheistic worldview, but that (especially) males who had either no father, an abusive father, or a weak father will have a psychological tendency to become atheists.”

    And, to clarify, I referenced the work only to suggest that an Atheistic worldview is not always a purely rational decision.

    Okay…I’ll go on ‘pause’ for a while…

  29. saint

    It all still sounds like rationalization, after the assumption, to me.

    Look at ID. Now there is a very good example of starting with a conclusion, and then searching for evidence to support it, while at the same time rejecting evidence that does not support it. Clearly not a good way to arrive at truth, but there are scores of people making a living doing it. See for example, Answers in Genesis.

    You have to start from zero and work your way to a conclusion. You can’t start in the middle and make up things like “closed systems” . How do you apply science to, say for example, a belief in the efficacy of intercessory prayer? It’s been done, and all evidence so far is that prayer is nothing but wishful thinking. You assume that prayer doesn’t work, conduct a double blind test, and look at the result. The results suck. Maybe God’s hiding?

    As for Alister McGrath, I’ve never read him, but if he writes like he talks, I never will. He is a good example of someone who speaks volumes and says nothing. Hitchens calls it “white noise” and I tend to agree.

    Click on the Sexy Secularist a few comments up and look at the little parody of him. It’s spot on. That’s exactly how he talks.

  30. …but that (especially) males who had either no father, an abusive father, or a weak father will have a psychological tendency to become atheists.”

    And, to clarify, I referenced the work only to suggest that an Atheistic worldview is not always a purely rational decision.

    Did you ever stop to think that perhaps males who are left to essentially fend for themselves, rather than be coddled by doting parents who indoctrinate them into a fantasy world of supernatural beings, actually have a better grasp on reality, and therefor may be the most rational of all of us? That atheism has nothing to do with childhood trauma and far more to do with seeing the world as it actually is?

  31. I will look up Vitz, but off the top of my head, I’d have to say that without showing HOW being fatherless or having a hatred for your father influences becoming an atheist, it’s just an oh by the way statistic. Did they also eat brussel sprouts, wear boxers instead of briefs, prefer coffee over tea, etc? Still, let’s for a moment go down this road and say being fatherless (defined as literally being fatherless, losing a father early, and/or having a father that was negligent or abusive) influences becoming an Atheist. I still fail to see how this makes these fatherless people’s decisions to become Atheists necessarily an emotional reaction and therefore irrational.

    First, why just god? Why not be opposed to all authority? The father as the authority figure being absent or faulty would bring into question the viability or necessity of authority, no? Yes, this could mean religion but what about government? What are these people’s histories dealing with non-religious authorities? Second, if their experience being fatherless was emotional and made them question anything be it religion, authority, or even god, does this make their questioning emotional and irrational? Are the questions themselves irrational? Let me present an example:
    Mr. Dyson was frustrated with his wheelbarrow tipping over. He was quite emotional about it. So emotional that he designed a better tool, the ball barrow. Was Mr. Dyson irrational? Was his time spent logically examining the question of the wheel barrow irrational? The designing of the ball barrow irrational? I think you’ll agree with me that the answers are all no. His impetus might have been emotional, but how he got from there to the ball barrow was not irrational.
    Now I think you’re trying to argue saint that there are some pissy fatherless people and this makes them angry and reject god, thus becoming what theists often think is Atheism, the rejection of god. I don’t doubt that there are some that might react that way but that would be a mistake, like Mr. Dyson simply rejecting wheel barrows and that’s that. What I’m saying is that anger could just as easily fuel logical questions whose answers bring you to Atheism, like bringing Mr. Dyson to his ball barrow.

    Of course this is all assuming being fatherless makes you angry. Spanish Inquisitor’s response above me is quite a better interpretation of the data and presented much more elegantly than my rambling above.

    “there are cases where individuals may hold atheistic beliefs that are ‘religious’ in nature – believed not because of significant evidence – and held in a manner that is not skeptical, but unflinchingly uncritical of said beliefs. In those cases, at least, is ‘Atheism’ not a ‘religion’ in some sense?”
    - If I put the bible between two pieces of bread with some mustard and cheese and proceed to eat it, is the bible not bologna in some sense?
    If I hit someone over the head with a bible, is it not a club in some sense?
    Misusing something doesn’t change what it is. Your haste in finding flawed people doing things for flawed reasons in order to show, even in these narrow cases, that the thing therefore is flawed is blinding you from the fact that that’s a flawed idea.

    “the issue, however, is what we are willing to accept as evidence”
    - Yes, you’ve made that clear earlier. An Atheist wants evidence that’s substantial, that doesn’t require faith. The requirement of faith kind of kills the whole idea of evidence.

  32. Philly…so I’m going to finish my end of this grand adventure in entirely missing the point, but in summary:
    So, what you’re saying, in short, is that we disagree.
    No, I’m sorry – that’s what I’m saying.
    What you’re saying is that I’m a delusional idiot.
    Just so we understand one another. Thank you so much. I sure am very glad that we had this talk.

  33. “What you’re saying is that I’m a delusional idiot.”

    Now see, I’m quite lost by this response. Here I thought you were through playing games and no more persecuted christian routines. You even wrote a couple of decent responses offering an interesting idea from Vitz and taking another stab at trying to show, although in a narrow isolated instance, that Atheism can be an irrational choice. To be honest, I was quite pleased that instead of just running away you took my earlier comment to heart about coming back and trying out some new angles.

    Now of course, as promised, the Spanish Inquisitor and I tested your new claims. I thought both of us were pretty civil, and took quite a bit of time to examine and test them. I’d say I wrote quite a bit in response, perhaps too much (my Vitz exploration was a tad rambly). So when I find this last response of yours, well color me surprised, sir! This comes out of left field for me.

    My only guess can be frustration. To steal a line from you, “I can understand the frustration”. It doesn’t matter how many different dresses you try on a pig, the pig will always be a pig. Now if you want to keep trying new dresses or continue to stage the pig in certain ways so that with the right light at the right time if we squint just so maybe we can entertain the possibility of seeing Rebecca Romijn instead of a pig, then be my guest. I’ll be happy to take a gander at what you cook up.

    Until then, sooooooooooEEEE! snort snort
    click

  34. Love the pic Phillychief!
    I’ve been keeping up with the conversation, albeit quietly, seeing no one really knows me here.
    I can’t quite understand where the lack of a father figure comes into play with atheism anymore than over mothering produces a hatred of women. I have seen time and again where Christians will lump dysfunctional behaviors of a society together and through the magic of sweeping generalizations imply that one follows from the other. I have found that contending issue by issue rarely produces any agreement because the issue isn’t statements like those heatlight made at all, rather the issue is learning critical thinking. When a person becomes predisposed to believe a certain way which is not based on reason, but rather enslaves reason to do it’s bidding, how can you expect reason to help them? The old enigma “is it right because God says it, or does God say it because it’s right”, comes to mind. It is obvious that reason is a threat to anyone who forms a metaphysical world view based on lack of evidence, but the new threat to reason is those who twist reason in such a way as to almost rewrite the fundamental laws of the universe in order to continue to believe it. In this case I believe I could support an argument that some kind of mental disorder is likely, but that might be too strong.

  35. DaVinci

    I added Philly’s link to his last comment. It works now, at least on that comment.

    As for the research by Paul Vitz about fathers and atheists, I found a discussion of it over at Krystalline Apostate’s blog. Be warned, it’s a long one, but it looks thorough.

    Nice comment too, DaV. I agree with you.

    The old enigma “is it right because God says it, or does God say it because it’s right”, comes to mind.

    Exterminator just posted on this. It’s called the Euthyphro Dilemma

  36. “A cause, principle, or activity pursued with zeal or conscientious devotion”

    Yes it can be a religion. You will note that being an atheist is not sufficient to qualify you as a religious person. It is the zeal and devotion you pursue your athism with. It s quite possible to hold a belief in God and not be religious. If you never act on that belief, then you are not religious. Theism and religiousness are not interchangable terms.

    We use the word religious to describe all kinds of behaviour. “!He watches the game on Monday night religiously.” She goes to the nightclub on Saturday night religiously.”

    When atheists spend their every waking hour professing their atheism and organising themselves into pressure groups: If they wear symbolic (spaghetti monster) jewellery and go on pilgrimages to Galapagos, then they have found themselves a religion. It happens to us all eventually.

  37. Well #4 is the dodgy definition, that’s for sure, since it can be extended to encompass almost every aspect of your life. With such a loose definition, everything becomes religion and at that point the word has little meaning left. #4 is what I’d simply refer to as “passion” rather than “religion”, and I think it works better. Say someone is motivated daily by the threat of global warming, would you call him religious or passionate? It may just be semantics, but I think there’s definitely a clear idea people have when you say “religion”. When someone’s love of coffee or mountain biking is referred to as their religion, it’s more of a joke, an acknowledgment that their passion is like that of a religious person’s.

    This is true of your examples where people’s actions are said to be done “religiously”, as in like it were a religion. If watching the game every Monday night or going to the nightclub on Saturday were religions, then you wouldn’t need to say those activities were done religiously. That would be redundant. Furthermore, making a comparison between one thing and another doesn’t make one thing become another. For instance, saying “he’s as big as a house” doesn’t make him a house, saying “he walks like a monkey” doesn’t make someone a monkey, and saying “she speaks authoritatively” doesn’t mean she’s in any position of authority. So I think most general usages of “religion” in regards to definition #4 are not definitive labeling as much as comparative descriptions, in other words, it’s not to say something IS a religion but rather to describe all or part of it as being LIKE religion.

    As for the rest of your comment, you went off the road. First, I don’t know what a “pressure group” is. Next, wearing spaghetti monster or scarlet “A”s may seem like a religious act but that’s a stretch. If you want to extend #4 literally then yes, that’s a religion, wearing your local produce store’s hat makes you an adherent of the religion of ‘Joe’s produce’, wearing only silk makes you part of the religion of silk, and so on. See, the literal usage of the term seems silly, but when used descriptively, as a comparison, it’s much more valid and preserves what I think most people see religion as, which is definitions 1-3. Now you lost me with pilgrimages to Galapagos. That would be an activity for fans of sunny island beaches and a host of other groups of people, but there’s no direct connection between Galapagos and Atheism. I’m guessing you’re trying to manufacture examples of how Atheism can fit more than just definition #4. You’ve got your work cut out for you because those other definitions simply don’t apply. Now should we say your efforts to define Atheism as a religion is a religion itself for you or rather that you pursue such a goal religiously?

  38. The 4th definition seems incongruous when used as a noun. However, it can be perfectly apt when used as an adjective or adverb, because it’s being used in a comparative sense.

    That says a lot about exactly what a religion is, if we know that when someone acts religiously, he’s acting fervently, zealously, and with great passion. But it’s doesn’t make what he does a religion.

    Which brings me back to my OP.

  39. Thanks for the link SI. I’m still in the process of understanding how this particular blog sphere works. Frankly compared to Xanga, its a real pain in the ass, or I’m just getting old!
    Can blogging be considered a religion?

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  41. I think it’s hilarious that so many Christians’ favorite strategy for discrediting atheism is to insist that atheism is a religion. It’s a boon for the atheists’ side, really, because all we’re left to do is show that atheism is not a religion (which is shown in this thread) and leave them to demonstrate that they think religions are wishful thinking.

    Calling atheism a religion is a way to bring atheism down a notch on the trustworthiness scale? Mmmkay, it was the religious person that said it, not me….

  42. I think it’s annoying that so many atheists miss the point entirely and think that the reason Christians consider Atheism another religion is in order to discredit it. It’s also annoying that atheists work so hard to adapt definitions of religion in order to bolster their own beliefs and help to encourage the smug self-satisfied conviction that they are most assuredly correct in all matters of ‘ultimate’ issues.

  43. Feeling a little smug here, even self-satisfied, so OK, I’ll bite.

    In the Interpretation-of-Words Department, I think Christianity has got everybody beat, hands down. Since there are about 30,000 different sects (or cults) of Christianity, mostly because of their own separate, peculiar interpretations of the same book, I think its a bit of the pot calling the kettle black to accuse us of “adapting definitions of religion to bolster our beliefs (what beliefs?)

    C’mon, Heat. Why is it so important for you to point out that atheism is a religion? Surely it’s not meant as a compliment? You’re not happy for us because we worship the god of atheism, are you?

  44. When theists call atheism a religion it is for the sole purpose of finding commonality in worldviews, it’s a “see, we’re not so different after all” kind of thing. This of course, is not correct and rather inflammatory because it is in essence poisoning the well before any serious discussion can begin.

    Unfortunately it is like arguing with Ferengi when that happens. It is also obvious that they must hold atheism to a different standard of ‘religion’ than they do for themselves.

    Thanks for the link SI.

  45. I just took a stab at that here as far as what might be the point for theists. For Atheists of course there’s no point (that I can think of) since, of course, it’s not a religion and generally Atheists don’t fancy calling things something that they aren’t.

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  47. Someone needs to brush up on their “Darwinism”.

    >“Darwinism” is a word coined by creationists so that they can avoid even saying “evolution,” as if they’re afraid of devolving into monkeys merely by allowing the word to slide off their tongues. Also, by retagging science as an -ism, they’re manipulating the language to imply that Darwin’s writings started a religion.

    No it isn’t. It is a word coined soon after Darwin published the O of S. See, for example, “What is Darwinism? by Charles Hodge ” published in New York in 1874:

    http://www.gutenberg.org/files/19192/19192-8.txt

    Or look even in Wikipedia.

    Not agreeing with the book – just pointing out that the word existed.

    Natural selection et al did become an ideology (called social darwinism), and once you get “survival of the fittest” read across into social classes or national/racial groups you can invent a “scientific” justification for everything from eugenics to racism to slavery to aspects of manifest destiny or the recent “impose democracy on the Middle East” campaign. A simplified “evolution” applied to races or national groups was used by both Stalin and Hilter.

    Therefore (and coming back to your article), it seems to me that atheists need a philosophy that provides a check on that process happening.

    I’d be interested to see an atheist answer.

  48. Matt

    Thanks for the comment. That is a interesting book you linked to. I d/l’d it and will look at it.

    Ex said:

    “Darwinism” is a word coined by creationists so that they can avoid even saying “evolution,” as if they’re afraid of devolving into monkeys merely by allowing the word to slide off their tongues.

    You said:

    No it isn’t.

    I haven’t read the book you linked to, but I did page through it a bit, and found this:

    Mr. Wallace says that man has existed on the earth a hundred thousand years, and that it is probable that he existed four hundred thousand years ago. Of course we do not believe this. We have little faith in the chronology of science. It gives no sure data for the calculation of time, hence we find them differing from four thousand to four hundred thousand years as to the time required for certain formations. The most trustworthy geologists teach that all that is known of the antiquity of man falls within the limits of Biblical chronology.

    Sounds to me like a creationist.

    I don’t think Ex said the word didn’t exist, just that it was a creation of creationists (pun intended) to avoid and manipulate the word evolution, in an effort to pretend that the science is an ideology and religion. When the word was coined is irrelevant. Clearly, by 1874 creationists seemed to like the word. It gave them something to rail against.

    Social Darwinism is another thing altogether, something that resulted from others extrapolating from the idea of natural selection to an area that bore no resemblance to the biological underpinnings of Evolution. It has been pretty much discredited, but was popular 100 years ago, if I understand it enough to say so.

    But it’s not social Darwinism that most theists object to, it’s the actual biological science that they erect museums to counteract, and that, you’d have to agree, is patent nonsense.

    So, coming back to my article, if we can convince theists that it’s science, and that science is just what it is, an explanation of facts, not a religion, not an ideology, and not something that winning the hearts and minds of individuals will change. You can’t erase the fact of evolution by changing beliefs. A rock is still a rock, no matter hard hard you want to believe it’s a tree. Avoiding the use of vapid terms like Darwinism in the process of discussing the concepts would go a long way towards dispelling these simple-minded notions.

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