That’s a question we atheists get from theists. Often. Almost constantly, when we point out a fallacy in their religious thinking, or try to substantiate why we support the 1st Amendment’s proscription against governmental religious displays, or when we simply say we don’t believe in gods. They want to know why we care that they believe in supernatural spirits, or miracles, or Biblical authority, or other unsubstantiated beliefs. What harm do their beliefs cause, and why are we so damn strident about our opposition to them?
I saw this on Pharyngula, and thought that certain troll-like commenters here might find it enlightening. It fits in nicely with discussion we were having in some of the past posts about ignoring evidence, the Bible, and all the other willful ignorance they like to espouse.
Danger, Will Robinson! Danger! It will shake your religious preconceptions, but only if you have an open mind.
Google Reader is a great little service. I have some of my favorite blogs registered there, so that I don’t miss new posts when they are written. I have a few theist blogs that I monitor, and occasionally comment on, because, well, it good to keep track of the “other side”, so to speak.
Men, remember this name. Boule. That is the name of the single gene that is responsible for sperm production. Apparently, it is the same gene that all animals carry, all the way back to the most simple of organisms such as sea anemones, snails, flies and fish. This means that going back about 600 million years, sperm production has been the necessary means of species continuation for all life, and remember, life only originated on this planet about 1 billion years ago. So the process of gamete-seeks-immobile-egg had stabilized as the primary means of sexual reproduction after about 400 million years of life.
A recent commenter here, Justin, got me to finally register with YouTube, though he won’t know it until he reads this. I clicked back on his name in my comments last week, and found he was in the process of an anticipated series of posts at his blog 100 Treatises, responding to a Christian YouTube video entitled, 5 Questions every intelligent atheist MUST answer. He’s completed them, addressing each question seriatum in five posts, in the process smashing the premise of the video to little tiny bits. Take a look at them here, here, here, here and here. As a read these, I thought “It would be so simple to create a video in response that asked 5 questions Christians MUST answer.” If only I had the technical capability. Then I looked in the list of suggested similar videos in the right column on YouTube, and saw that someone beat me to it. Not only that, but the response was 10 questions every intelligent Christian MUST answer.
Did you ever have a discussion with someone, usually someone disdainful of science, maybe one who believes in the literal Genesis story, and you found yourself feeling frustrated at not being able to adequately explain to them the theory of evolution? When you try to explain to them the way evolution works, they throw back at you ignorant Christian apologetics, such as “Evolution is just a theory” or “Evolution cannot explain the eye” or “I believe in micro-evolution, but not macro-evolution” (as if belief is relevant to or helps one to understand science), or similar nonsense? Well, feel frustrated no more!
With this news, it appears that now we can do all the creating we want – no god needed.
After almost 15 years of work and $40 million, a team of scientists at the J. Craig Venter Institute says they have succeeded in creating the first living organism with a completely synthetic genome. This advance could be proof that genomes designed in a computer and assembled in a lab can function in a donor cell, eventually reproducing fully functional living creatures, that is, artificial life.
I’ve come to the conclusion that education is not going to do it.
By “it”, I mean the wholesale revamping of American thinking on the subject of religion. The national worldview is distorted, delusional and just plain sick on the god question. With pedophile priests and other so-called religious leaders running rampant through the underpants of our children; with the Pope doing his level best to continue stonewalling investigations until statutes of limitation have run, while at the same time sending his minions out to rationalize church hypocrisy; with our elected leaders of all stripes tripping over each other to convince their constituents that they are the holiest of holies, while steering our country into an economic mess through religiously tainted wars and greedy financial oversight; when the most pressing problems of our nation are deemed to be what goes on in the uteri of our women and the bedrooms of everyone else; when our schools are being inundated with the pressures of teaching our children that the world came into existence 6000 years ago, while certain aspects of history are deemed so liberal and un-Christian as to be banned from schoolbooks; while all of this predominates our thinking, I fear that education will be like a tear in a salted sea – totally ineffective – until this generation has passed on.
(((Billy))) has a great post on his blog, that I hope you’ll read, concerning human’s inexplicable subconscious ability to revert to tribalism. He noted that we seem to have a tendency to see people who are different than us as outside ourselves, which allows us to treat them and think of them as less than us, i.e. less than human. At least, that’s what I got from his post.