Atheist Mythology

Every belief system has an account of origins, and atheism is no exception. Narratives for atheists include the Big Bang (origin of the universe) and evolution (origin of variety and complexity of living organisms). Instead of man being formed out of the dust of the ground by God, man is formed out of the dust of the ground by evolution. It never ceases to amaze how those who espouse naturalism can poke fun at the Biblical account of origins, and yet be unable to see the ridiculous nature of their own position.

One who has studied a great deal about mythology is Raphael Madu. In his work African Symbols, Proverbs, and Myths: the Hermeneutics of Destiny he refers to earlier work by Earl MacCormac in Metaphor and Myth in Science and Religion, and Madu points out (footnote, page 96):

Because men have traditionally assumed a dichotomy between myth and science, it might be shocking to talk of scientific myths… Scientific explanations are known for being falsifiable and thus temporary, but to forget these qualities of science and assume that they are absolute and final, is to create a myth. The dissimilarity between religious and scientific myths is largely on the level of content. While the former are replete with descriptions of legendary heroes and deities, the latter are filled with mathematical symbols and references.

Evolutionists have forgotten about falsifiability, and present evolution as a dogma, and are thus creating myths. One of the most prolific popularizing narrators is Carl Zimmer, and he is going into overdrive with evolution mythology this year. He writes for the New York Times, as well as magazines including National Geographic, Discover, Scientific American, Science, Popular Science and Time. His books include Evolution: The Triumph of an Idea; At the Water’s Edge: Fish with Fingers, Whales with Legs, and How Life Came Ashore but Then Went Back To The Sea; and the Smithsonian Intimate Guide to Human Origins – you get the idea.

The staggering thing about popularizers such as Zimmer and Dawkins is that though what they write is great narrative, it’s indistinguishable from fairy tales and ‘just so’ stories. What is lacking is any evidence and rigour. They simply recycle suggestions and postulates, and weave them into a narrative to be accepted as fact. It’s the stuff of myth. Indeed, one of Dawkins’ books is entitled The Ancestor’s Tale: A Pilgrimage to the Dawn of Life, complete with prologues, and a last chapter entitled Canterbury, so giving more than a nod to Chaucer’s Tales. It’s a tale indeed, far, far away from anything like science, but it goes down a treat with the atheists. Zimmer is also preaching to the converted, because for all the accolades showered upon him by atheists, what he writes sounds plain goofy, but they can’t discern it. Listen to some of his pronouncements from a recent article entitled Evolving Darwin in Time magazine.

The fossil record points to hippos and other hoofed mammals as being the closest living relatives to whales. So does their DNA.

Yes, evolutionary biologists really do believe that – both the blue whale and the hippopotamus are conjectured to have a common ancestor, a cloven-hoofed beast like a tiny deer, no bigger than a domestic cat, that lived in Kashmir and Pakistan. This is one of Zimmer’s hobbyhorses, and he has written extensively about it. Only when you accept evolution as a dogma does such a narrative makes sense – otherwise it is fantastic.

The slavish reliance on DNA (their newest toy) and the acceptance of evolutionary dogma is little different from the discipline of higher criticism in the literary world, which seeks to use ‘scientific’ methods and analysis to show the origin and evolution of texts. Applied to the Bible, this produced wacky assertions in the late nineteenth century that John’s gospel, the Johannine epistles and Revelation were written by authors who never knew Jesus, and the letters of Paul were written by the heretic Marcion. The Higher Critics built their fantastic theories, and had University faculties teaching them as facts, but a lot of these theories now look very, very silly. But we digress; Zimmer continues

Our own DNA contains clues to the bonds we share with the rest of life–it turns out, for instance, that we are closer kin to mushrooms than to sunflowers. It’s been 1.5 billion years or more since our ancestors split off from our fungal cousins. How did the genome of our ancestor change so that it could produce two-legged primates?

“There was an old lady who swallowed a fly. I don’t know why she swallowed a fly. Perhaps she’ll die.”

…Some 2 billion years ago, one of our single-celled ancestors took in an oxygen-consuming bacterium. That microbe became the thousands of tiny sacs found in each of our cells today, known as mitochondria, that let us breathe oxygen.

So there you go. Once upon a time your ancestor was a primitive microscopic one-celled entity, which swallowed a bacterium, which exchanged and scrambled some genetic code, which enabled your ancestor to evolve into a system that could breathe oxygen. Just add a couple of billion years, give or take, and some of your ancestor’s descendants evolved into magic mushrooms, and some evolved into man.

Evolutionists now teach that both the fungal kingdom and the animal kingdom are merely sub-groups of the ‘opisthokonts’, cells that have a single posterior flagellum (as animal sperm cells have), which plants lack. Cracraft and Donoghue in Assembling the Tree of Life state

The sisterhood of animals and fungi is now well accepted by evolutionary protistologists.

Well, only in the last few years as the myth has matured. To suggest that man is closer kin to a fungus than to a flower is like stating that the computer you are reading this on is more akin to a grain of sand than a snowflake because there is silicon in semiconductors, and sand contains silicon, but there’s no water in computers. But what about the fact that a snowflake has form, as does a computer, whereas sand is amorphous? It all depends what attributes are compared. Comparisons between things that are so different in their structures and complexities are meaningless. If you take evolution as a fact, then it necessarily follows that you will try to force all living things into a ‘Tree of Life’ that supports your presuppositions. Anthropologists are still arguing, based on DNA studies, about the relationship between modern man and Neanderthal man (who, it is said, disappeared only 20,000 years ago) – whether there was any interaction between populations. Yet Carl Zimmer can confidently assert that all the mitochondria in our cells, and our ability to breathe oxygen, came from an invasion of bacteria into a single-celled mould that was once the common ancestor of us all two thousand million years ago.

The same myth appears in Dawkins’ Ancestor’s Tale, and is traceable to the endosymbiotic hypothesis proposed by Wallin in the 1920s, and popularized by Margulis in the 1970s. No experimental evidence has been or can be presented to test it, so it is just another of those unscientific untestable hypotheses beloved by atheists, and it has now entered the mainstream dogma of evolutionists as it provides a rough and ready just-so narrative of how things came to be – without a designer. Myths about origins always seem so far fetched, don’t they? – except to those who believe them.

I should like to know how this yarn differs from any of the fantastic myths about origins found amongst different peoples and cultures. In essence, it is little different from Sumerian, Egyptian and Hindu mythology: it is a makeover of ancient myths dressed up to appeal to modern man. Atheists are developing their religion and straining every nerve to play catch up with the other faiths, and we now have the myths of atheism, which sit neatly alongside the myths of so many other religions. We have the myth of evolution, and we have the myth of the Big Bang. And we have wonderful storytellers. Geneticist Richard Lewontin, because he “cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door”, has expressed his predilection for the scientific mythological narrative,

in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs…in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories…

And as mathematician David Berlinski has observed concerning current cosmological theories

If the mystification induced by its modest mathematics were removed from the subject, what remains would not appear appreciably different in kind from various creation myths in which the origin of the universe is attributed to sexual congress between primordial deities.

What we are seeing and dealing with here, when we read their writings, is evidence neither for the evolution of the universe, nor for the evolution of man, but evidence for the evolution of atheist mythology.

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17 Responses to “Atheist Mythology”


  1. 1 Moses Presley October 6, 2009 at 7:45 am

    I think you are right to lump science and myth into the same category. Certainly, science is often a ‘job for the boys’ from the right background along with jobs in the media, the established church and the political institutions. You need to be careful, however, not to suggest the existence of a ‘supreme being’ or omnipotent ‘God’ as originator of all things… now that would be ‘barmy’!

    Moses Presley (space cowboy)

    ScientistForTruth responds

    True science, of course, properly conducted, is not myth. But there are a lot of ‘scientific’ narratives being spun today that are myth. When entities such as dark matter and dark energy, which nobody knows anything about, have to be invoked to constitute 96% of the universe (the remaining 4% is the real type of matter and energy that we know about) just to keep the Big Bang theory afloat, then you know you’ve entered the world of myth. The Ptolemaic system had its equivalents: the dark matter was the crystal spheres and the dark energy was angels pushing the planets round. You can’t see crystal or angels, of course, just like we can’t see dark matter and dark energy. Oh, but you can see their effects, they cry, so that proves they are there! Unfortunately the medieval entities had to be conjectured because for two thousand years the world was hamstrung by Aristotle’s physics, taught with authority. If you get the basic scientific principles wrong, everything else will be wrong.
    I read your last sentence as tongue-in-cheek – I hope that’s right.

  2. 2 Marc October 7, 2009 at 12:41 pm

    At last some sense. I was so pleased to read this page. People should remember, Darwin’s theory of evolution is just that a theory.

    Also remember science is just one way of looking at the world, like wearing a pair of spectacles.

    Darwin’s theory of evolution failed completely for me in 2005. Before this I had accepted the theory. After ten years of deliberation / reading / modelling I reached a conclusion in 2005. It became clear that it just does not add up.

    In the same way that we need invisible dark matter and dark energy to make our physics formulas work Darwin’s theory relies on the unseen past.

    What is visible to us all is just how often “true” statements in science are later found to be incorrect. Science thought that DNA would be the answer, provided by the genome project. Great claims were made. The result of completing this work was that science realised it was more complicated than it thought and each strand needs to be broken down into millions. Great, anyone notice the scope creep here. And all the big talk on this research being used to bring cures to us humans. Nonsense. We have seen few cures for human ailments but many many green mice, human ears grown on mice and modified crops (which when trailed destroyed the ecosystem it was grown in).

    I’ll make some outlandish statements here just for fun which are an alternative representation of scientific fact. Monkeys evolved from humans, can you name a creature that has successfully evolved but its old version still walks the planet?
    Dinosaurs were so big because gravity on earth was stronger back then than it is now.

  3. 3 Kunochan November 9, 2009 at 7:52 pm

    ScientistForTruth says

    Sometime we receive comments that are antagonistic towards the position presented in the post, yet which by their very nature and content actually prove and demonstrate the point being made in the post. The following is a good example. I have snipped parts which refer disparagingly to comments made by others.

    Kunochan [Erik Even] says

    The studied ignorance and anti-intellectualism displayed on this page, as well as the egoism, are breathtaking.

    I am always astounded when theists are so eager to ensure their beliefs are not denigrated as inferior to scientific concepts, that they will willingly denigrate BOTH to make them equal. The author’s argument is based on two transparent fallacies: (1) all statements not proven absolutely true are equally true, and (2) if the author cannot imagine an idea is true, then it cannot be true. Anything the author doesn’t like (evolution, biblical exegesis) is “wacky.” Well, I guess if this writer, an individual with no education (not even self-education) in science or comparative religious studies, says it’s wacky, it must be wacky.

    Of course, the author has not created a situation where science is proven false and their own personal religious bias is shown as true, which one would assume is their goal. Instead, in the author’s universe, nothing is true, ever. All “truth” is a matter of personal preference. This is because all the author can muster to defend their worldview is personal preference.

    [snip]

    The “Scientist” for “Truth” incorrectly labels dark matter and dark energy as “myths.” They are hypotheses, which explain data that has not been otherwise accounted for. Whether they prove to describe real phenomena or not, they are useful in developing whatever eventual theory explains the data. Supernatural explanations explain nothing.

    [snip]

    You people all seem disappointed that the universe does not conform to your personal expectations. I do not understand why you ever though that you, personally, were so important that it should.

    ScientistForTruth responds

    We presume the commenter means ‘egotism’. This comment itself is breathtaking for its ignorance and egotism. The fallacies referred to don’t appear in the post. The author neither believes nor asserts the things attributed to him. The commenter is literally ignorant of the author, and yet asserts that the author is “an individual with no education (not even self-education) in science or comparative religious studies”. The commenter, Erik Even, is a copywriter with an arts degree, and perhaps not best qualified to make such a judgment. Confusing egoism (= a concern for one’s own self-interest) with egotism (= a belief that one is superior to others) isn’t a very promising start on a copywriting career, either. The author of Atheist Mythology, on the other hand, has an honours and masters degree in science and engineering, having read physics at Oxford University and engineering at Southampton University, been published in learned journals, been granted more than 40 patents, been awarded the Queen’s Award for Technological Achievement, and has 30 years’ experience practising science and engineering, specializing in magnetics. Perhaps he knows a little more about science than Erik Even. Just perhaps.

    The commenter’s assertion that “in the author’s universe, nothing is true, ever. All “truth” is a matter of personal preference” is a falsehood. Even the title of the blog implicitly declares that truth is objective.

    Dark matter and dark energy ARE myths. It is a particular blindspot of atheists that they cannot see that many of the things they believe are acts of faith, and self-deluding myths. The claim that “They are hypotheses, which explain data that has not been otherwise accounted for. Whether they prove to describe real phenomena or not, they are useful in developing whatever eventual theory explains the data” exemplifies just how confused are those who do not understand epistemology and evidence. Angels and crystal spheres were “useful” to the false model of the Ptolemaic system insofar as they kept the false model from being abandoned – they were useful at perpetuating error. Dark matter and dark energy play a similar role in the theory of the Big Bang, a thoroughly discredited model as unscientific as any explanation of the cosmos ever made by the most primitive religions. This theory survives only due to the myths that have to be invented to prop it up. Now here is a real logical fallacy: “they are useful in developing whatever eventual theory explains the data”. That is a fallacy known as begging the question. They are not at all useful if they are invoked to prop up a false model. They then don’t help develop a more realistic model, but serve to underpin a false one. They are invoked to put the Big Bang on life support, rather than letting the disproved theory die. The final phrase tossed in, “Supernatural explanations explain nothing” is cheap ignorant rhetoric. Since no one has the slightest idea what dark energy and dark matter are, and they cannot themselves be detected, other than by the supposedly inferred effects they have on ordinary baryonic matter (just like the inferred effects of angels and crystal spheres), then the conceptual entities are currently indistiguishable from being supernatural themselves. Mathematical entities invented to fill in the gaping holes in a discredited theory may have no real and natural existence whatsoever.

  4. 4 Kunochan November 12, 2009 at 4:11 am

    ScientistForTruth says
    Kunochan attempted an ethics lesson asserting that it was unethical to snip out parts of his comments (those parts that commented on other commenters) without allowing readers to see the whole unexpurgated comment. We don’t agree, and will not be following that advice. There are thousands of blogs out there where commenters are trading comments and insults between each other with no reference to the matter in hand. This blog is not a free-for-all. Comments are welcome, but will be moderated. They may appear in whole, in part, or not at all, and may or may not be accompanied by responses by ScientistForTruth. Deleted portions will be designated by [snip] or the ellipsis, or some other obvious means. Comments that appear, with or without deletions, do not imply that we are in agreement with them. Please try to restrict comments to the material on the post itself.

    The following is from another comment by Kunochan. Because of its extreme length we have interlaced responses at appropriate sections

    Kunochan says

    No, we presume the commenter meant egoism. “Egotism” is the attempt to build yourself up to others. “Egoism” is the actual belief in your own superiority.

    My experience with theists is that they tend to disdain egotism, while succumbing to an incredible egoism. In this case, I am characterizing the idea that the Universe must conform to an individual human being’s hopes, desires, wishes and biases as egoism – indeed, the greatest egoism ever experienced. Every religion, every supernaturalist belief system places human beings in general, and the system’s followers in particular, at the center of the Universe.

    I honestly do not understand this egoism – I personally have never needed nor desired for the Universe to care about me or cater to my wishes. In fact, I’m quite glad that the Universe does not grant wishes to some people but not others; that it does not threaten us; that its laws can be deduced without the need for special revelation.

    Anyway, I won’t tell you how to build a magnet, if you don’t tell me what words mean.

    ScientistForTruth responds

    Egoism is a technical word in metaphysics (which can variously be ethical egoism, psychological egoism, philosophical egoism, normative egoism, rational egoism etc) and means a concern for one’s self-interest, and it is an antonym of ‘altruism’. It is essentially a valueless word. You said that egoism is the belief in your own superiority, which is a value claim. The Encylopedia of Philosophy warns against this error, saying ‘“Egoism” should be distinguished from “egotism,” which means a psychological overvaluation of one’s own importance, or of one’s own activities.’ So if you actually mean ‘a belief in one’s own superiority’, then you mean egotism.

    The only sense in which I can see your use of egoism as being consistent with what you write (though inconsistent with the facts) is in the sense of epistemic egoism. But epistemic egoism (=accepting no truth authority outside oneself) is the philosophy of atheism. By definition, no Christian theist can be described as an epistemic egoist – he can’t be a Christian at all if his epistemology doesn’t make room for divine revelation. American Baptist Fundamentalist Creationists (no, I’m not one of them) are certainly not epistemic egoists as they accept the Bible as an external authority. Roman Catholics additionally accept papal authority. Christians don’t believe that ‘the Universe must conform to an individual human being’s hopes, desires, wishes and biases’, they believe that an individual human being’s hopes, desires, wishes and biases should conform to the will of God as he has revealed it. It is completely the opposite of what you assert. Augustine – probably the greatest and most influential Christian figure in the western world in the last 1900 years, and accepted by the Protestant and Roman Catholic traditions – certainly asserted it. Read his Confessions. And of course the Bible asserts it.

    In the same vein, your assertion that Christians put themselves at the centre of the universe is entirely false. In spite of your anthropological studies, you have been badly misinformed here. On the contrary, atheists put themselves at the centre of the universe because they see no external authority, no external rational mind beyond themselves or mankind, and therefore they (or mankind) are the sole arbiters of truth, ethics and reality, and are masters of their own destiny, with responsibility to no creative power. One really can’t get more self-centred, egotistical and epistemologically egoistical than that. Contrariwise, Christian theology teaches that man was created in the image of the eternal Godhead, is not the measure of all things, must accept certain truths by revelation, is essentially infinitesimally weak compared to his creator, who knows and upholds all things, and that man is ultimately subject to the will and judgment of God, whom he is to serve, and who is to be the ultimate object of his love. If you think that puts man (in the context of Christian theology) at the centre of the universe, then your understanding of Christian doctrine is pitiful.

    Kunochan says

    SFT: “The commenter is literally ignorant of the author, and yet asserts that the author is ‘an individual with no education (not even self-education) in science or comparative religious studies.’”

    You are right, I should not have written that. I apologize. I was then unaware (and still cannot be certain) of your educational background.

    But it is clear from the above post, and from several other posts on your blog, that you have arbitrarily and unilaterally dismissed entire academic subjects as unworthy of consideration. I know you do not see these dismissals as “arbitrary,” but I am having trouble characterizing them in any other way.

    What I should have said was, “an individual with no interest in science or comparative religious studies.” I know you won’t see it this way, either – you allege a strong interest in science. But you reject science, almost in its entirety. I can hardly evince a strong interest in English literature if I refuse to acknowledge the existence of anything written after 1550.

    ScientistForTruth responds

    I strongly take issue with this. To say that I have “arbitrarily and unilaterally dismissed entire academic subjects as unworthy of consideration…[have] no interest in science…[and] reject science, almost in its entirety” is scurrilous nonsense. None of those assertions are true in the slightest degree. Like your ideas about words and Christian doctrine, you clearly delight in declaring falsehoods.

    Kunochan says

    SFT: “The fallacies referred to don’t appear in the post. The author neither believes nor asserts the things attributed to him.”

    I just conducted an interesting intellectual exercise – I’d like to teach it to you. I temporarily accepted your criticism of my post as fact – that I had misrepresented fallacies in your post – and reread my own post on those terms. Here’s what I learned.

    My statement (2) “if the author cannot imagine an idea is true, then it cannot be true” holds up perfectly. In this post, you make no scientific or rational arguments against the Big Bang Model or Evolutionary Theory. You do not even refer to such arguments. You simply dismiss your own characterizations of those theories as incompatible with your own expectations. I think you’re even attempting to make the theories sound silly, but you fail, because you actually characterize them rather well. Nothing you quote sounds like a “fairy story.”

    My argument for statement (1) “all statements not proven absolutely true are equally true “ is much weaker, as it comes from reading between the lines. You characterize scientific concepts as myths, and religious concepts as myths. Then you imply, although do not state, that the latter can replace the former.

    I think here I may be attributing to you an argument often used by anti-science theists, which you may not consciously be recapitulating. But I suspect that, like the “Intelligent Design” movement to which you may or may not subscribe, your railing against the whole of Cosmology and the whole of Biology hide an agenda not only of supernaturalism, but specifically of American Baptist fundamentalist Creationism. One crutch used by those who argue for Creationism is to attempt to level the playing field, by presenting theology and science as equivalent and overlapping magisteria. They are in fact overlapping, but they are not equivalent.

    A better way to phrase the fallacy, which may apply more closely to your own ideas, would be, “all statements not proven absolutely true are of equally unknown veracity, and therefore equally worthy of consideration.” This is fallacious and illogical.

    Please attempt to consider your own ideas within the framework of the two fallacies above, rather than simply dismissing them outright. You may be surprised at the extent to which you have fallen prey to them.

    ScientistForTruth responds

    The reason I’m not giving an alternative worldview in this post is because the post is about Atheist Mythology, as it is entitled. Exposing atheist myths and not providing an alternative does not imply that the writer has no defensible worldview. That is an illogical fallacy. Moreover, because the writer is critical of certain aspects of science (very few have actually been tackled on this blog), this does not imply that the writer believes that all science is myth, or that he has no interest in science, or that he almost entirely rejects science. That’s another illogical fallacy. On the contrary, the author considers it a great privilege to be involved in scientific endeavour, and believes that it is possible to obtain a better understanding of truth and reality in the natural realm through pursuit of the natural sciences. The author does not believe, in spite of the assertions of Kunochan, that an imperfect and partial knowledge is a knowledge not worth having. He can try to put words into my mouth as much as he likes, but I shan’t be repeating them. Like many areas of life, there is corruption is science, and it is rife within the scientific community. I have being pointing this out since the 1970s. Corruption is most likely to take hold in those areas where experiments cannot be conducted: for example, we cannot experiment on anything outside the solar system, nor (realistically) on the earth as a whole, nor on events in the distant past. Of all the sciences, astronomy is perhaps the most corrupt. For a hundred years it has been out of the reach of impartial observers to view deep space objects. Even within the profession, telescope time is often granted only by committee, and it is now normal practice not to allocate telescope time to astronomers who do not subscribe to the prevailing dogma.

    Kunochan says

    SFT: “Angels and crystal spheres were ‘useful’ to the false model of the Ptolemaic system insofar as they kept the false model from being abandoned – they were useful at perpetuating error.”

    This entirely misrepresents the history. Medieval models based on Ptolemy were the earliest European attempts to build a rational model of the Universe. Philosophers postulated crystal spheres because they viewed “action at a distance” as irrational. One of Newton’s greatest breakthroughs was to demonstrate that action at a distance was not irrational, and it occurred all around us all the time as gravity. The mathematically accurate and scientific theory of “fields” (gravitational and electromagnetic) is an attempt to explain and visualize action at a distance. (Of course, gravity and electromagnetism are “just” theories.)

    Newton made the crystal spheres obsolete. Without the spheres, Newton may not have had a suitable theoretical framework in which to form his own theories. We often build new hypotheses based on the flaws in old ones.

    Your preconceived bias seems to be that if an idea is wrong, then it has no scientific or rational value whatsoever. This is simply incorrect. Your quote by Madu only states that sometimes people (lay people or scientists) refuse to let go of discredited scientific hypotheses. It’s the fact that they are discredited but still believed that makes them “myths,” not the simple fact that they were incorrect guesses. The luminiferous ether, Steady-State Cosmology, Lemuria, homeopathy and irreducible complexity were all once scientific theories, compatible with existing data; and they were all useful in developing Relativity, Big Bang Cosmology, Plate Tectonics, Chemistry and Evolutionary Theory, respectively. They’re only “myths” if you still believe they’re true.

    ScientistForTruth responds

    It was Brahe and Kepler, not Newton decades later, who obviated the crystal spheres. By observing comets, which did not crash through spheres on their way to the sun, they concluded that there was nothing solid that could be constraining the motion of the planets. As far as action at a distance is concerned, the phenomena of electrostatic and magnetic attraction and repulsion (with no obvious intervening medium) had been known since the ancient world, so action at a distance was established. The charges against Newton for occultism in other respects, were, as we know, well founded.

    As far as engineering is concerned, it is true that principles and understanding can be scientifically erroneous, but technically useful. This is a view of science known as instrumentalism. It is the success of instrumentalism that gives non-scientists the sense that science must be advancing rapidly, when the truth is it has been in the doldrums since the 1920s. However, I do not consider that, in scientific realism, the espousing of false views can be said to be ‘useful’. They can surely only be useful in an instrumental sense.

    Kunochan says

    This is getting too long, so let’s end with:

    SFT: “Dark matter and dark energy play a similar role in the theory of the Big Bang, a thoroughly discredited model as unscientific as any explanation of the cosmos ever made by the most primitive religions.”

    There is no sense in which the Big Bang Model can be honestly described as “thoroughly discredited.” The greater scientific community, the Physics community, and Cosmologists all accept the Big Bang Model as the correct general model of the Universe. Serious scientific objections were all silenced by the COBE data, and by a dozen subsequent experiments, all of which subscribe to standard scientific rigor. No one has been able to cobble together another theory that can explain the data – and many have tried. (I’d like to hear yours.)

    The world secular community has no problem with the Big Bang. The Catholic Church, the world’s largest single religious group, reconciles the Big Bang (and Evolution) with a Creationist philosophy. Some Muslim countries suppress science, including the Big Bang and Evolution; but some countries with large or majority Muslim populations (China, India, Turkey, Indonesia) have modern scientific education.

    You can dislike the Big Bang Theory all you want (I have no idea why) – but you can’t honestly call it discredited. It’s the second most established theory in science. (Guess which one’s the first?)

    ScientistForTruth responds

    The argument from authority or consensus is not a scientific argument but a political one. The persistence and extent of a myth among those who believe the myth is hardly suprising and can never be adduced as evidence that the myth represents truth and reality. It should be obvious to anyone looking fairly and impartially at the empirical evidence (and it would be better to be looked at by those who are not so close to it, to avoid conflicts of interest) that observations have disproved the BB hypothesis repeatedly. The BB hypothesis survives because of the enduring power of myth, and because entities can be multiplied to try to pretend that the train is still on the rails when it spectacularly crashed and disintegrated years ago. It is now a myth supported by dogma – that should help it. What do those who espouse the myth and pronounce the dogma do with the evidence that shatters it? – they ignore it, they describe it as coincidence, they persecute those who hold contrary views, they refuse to investigate it, they refuse telescope time to those who have doubts about the standard model, they get angry and make ad hominem attacks, and they club together to ensure that no heretics will ever prosper in their realm, and marginalize any mavericks. Not surprisingly, many observers can’t be blamed for believing that the BB is an established fact.
    The BB is in fact discredited as a hypothesis under the normal terms of scientific enquiry, but you are tying the concept of whether something is discredited to the opinion of a large body of people. In terms of opinion, yes, it is still a powerful force. I was meaning discredited in the sense that a belief has been demonstrated to be untrue in the sense of scientific realism. Sure, there are a whole host of reasons why folk choose to continue to believe passionately in something that is demonstrably false – that is exactly why the BB is most appropriately called a myth according to your own definition.
    The problem began in the 1920s when Edwin Hubble’s made empirical measurements of red shift of nearby galaxies. Hubble was a great astronomer, for whom I have considerable respect, and I generally accept his findings that for certain classes of object (local galaxies) there is a relationship between redshift and distance. I don’t know of anyone who disputes this. But Hubble was too good an astronomer to suggest that this necessarily implied a relationship between distance and velocity. Estimates of distance were measurable by comparing size, luminosity, Cepheid variables etc. But velocity was not, and never has been measurable. So, so-called Hubble’s Law, which Hubble himself never espoused, was promoted off the back of the Belgian priest Lemaitre’s questionable ‘solution’ to Einstein’s equations to propound a Big Bang (though not called that at the time). Lemaitre’s solution is questionable (but still espoused by the BB theorists) because it allows for singularities – division by zero in ordinary understanding. Einstein himself thought this was cranky. This led to fanciful ideas such as black holes and the universe emerging from an infinitesimal point. There are far more reasonable solutions that don’t involve breaking the laws of physics. However as a very tentative hypothesis – that redshift was a result of Doppler shifting, and that therefore the universe was expanding – it was acceptable to see where it could take us. However, when evidence has arisen, as it has since the 1960s when highly redshifted objects were detected, that all was not well with the original assumption, and one could see that it was going to become a train wreck, the whole basis should have been re-evaluated, especially as it was built on a solution that broke the known laws of physics. Since then, evidence has poured in confirming that the assumptions in the 1920s were incorrect, yet the BB is still propounded, and all manner of esoteric mathematical fixes (none of which has been found to have any physical reality) have been introduced to pretend that the train wreck didn’t happen, or that the train miraculously sprouted wings and flew over the hazard. So we have inflation (which supposedly saves the day by proposing a scalar field, which has no known physical objective reality), dark matter, dark energy, and a mass of other practically supernatural entities that are now supposed to make up 96% of the universe and break the known laws of physics. They are practically supernatural because they have never been detected themselves, no-one has the slightest idea what they are, and there are no known laws of physics applying to them. In that sense, they cannot be demonstrated to be any less supernatural than angels and demons, which apparently do not have to comply with our laws of physics either, but can interact with real baryonic matter, and have real existence, since they were created. If it is asserted that these cosmological mathematical entities are not supernatural, but some form of ‘natural’ substance or energy that we don’t know about, so be it: but then angels and demons and any other created spiritual non-baryonic entity can be put in the same class, and such a class has traditionally been called supernatural. The thing is, atheists are so afraid to be classed as supernaturalists that will try hard to wriggle out of such a connection – they can denounce angels and demons as supernatural, but can have like entities so long as they are not branded supernatural – how deceitful! Of course, any discredited theory can be rescued by continually multiplying supernatural entities and varying the laws of physics to keep everything jogging along – this is what happened with the Ptolemaic system, but William of Ockham has something to say about that.

    The COBE measurement of the cosmic microwave background (CMB) radiation was simply a more accurate measurement of what had been measured since the 1940s, and only connected with the BB since the 1960s. This is regularly trotted out as a proof of the BB, but that is both farcical and hilarious. Those who held the BB cosmology did indeed propose a background radiation, but what was their proposed thermal temperature? Well, it climbed from 20K in the 1940s, to 20-30K in the 1950s, to 40-50K in the early 1960s. When Wilson and Penzias measured it at around 3.5K in 1964/5 it was hailed as a confirmation of the BB. The COBE measurement was around 2.73K. Now let’s see: the difference in energy density terms (i.e. something that has physical reality, since energy density is the fourth power of temperature according to Stefan-Boltzman law) between the accurately measured level and what was the BB prediction by Robert Dicke and George Gamow just before Wilson and Penzias stumbled upon it (without knowing what it was) is a difference of over 100,000 times – 5 orders of magnitude. Do you think an error of 5 orders of magnitude is confirmation?
    Wilson and Penzias asked Robert Dicke for help to understand what they were measuring and he told them it was what was expected from BB cosmology – except it wasn’t: Dicke had estimated it as over 27,000 times too high from orthodox BB cosmology, so he was – to say the least – being completely disingenuous.
    Now, compare this with the predictions made by those not working from the BB hypothesis: first proposed at 5.6K in 1896 by Guillaume, refined by Eddington in 1926 to 3K and by Regener in 1933 to 2.8K; and measured and estimated at 2K by McKellar (1941) and 3K by Tigran Shmaonov (1955). The twentieth century predictions and measurements average at 2.7K, which is very close to the measured 2.73K. Given that non-BB concepts predicted almost exactly what was measured, whereas the BB proponents were many orders of magnitude out, wasn’t it the height of dishonesty for Dicke and the BB proponents (and all others since) to claim that this result was predicted from BB orthodoxy? As a plain fact of history, it wasn’t, and as a plain fact of history the non-BB proponents were extremely close – in fact Gold’s work in the 1950s (he espoused Steady State) predicted 2.78K, which is exceptionally close to what is measured. None of this proves that the Steady State or other cosmologies were correct – the point is that those who try to falsify history to underpin a false dogma are liars. Of course the BB was ‘fixed’ after the measurements were made (4-5 orders of magnitude of fixing is really something) as it always has – the lesson is, never throw out a convenient myth or question its assumptions (as it’s now dogma), in the face of inconvenient truths – always fix it by inventing and multiplying entities.

    Now, the isotropic nature of the CMB radiation was for a long time an embarrassment, as it was thought that there should be significant anisotropy to account for the settlement of the universe into galaxies. The COBE measurements showed that the temperature fluctuations were of the order of +/- 0.00027 degree, equivalent to energy density variations of +/-0.04% across the whole sky. Again, this almost insignificant anisotropy was taken to be a confirmation of the BB hypothesis. But an impartial scientist, seeing that the universe is visually inhomogeneous, and the sky visually anisotropic will have no difficulty seeing that a connection between +/-0.04% anisotropy of any measurable phenomenon and an expanding universe (where the predicted energy density was 5 orders of magnitude out, not to put too fine a point on it) is nothing less than charlatanism.

  5. 5 Kunochan December 17, 2009 at 8:48 am

    ScientistForTruth

    Here is a response from “Kunochan”. He makes so many baseless assertions that I have interlaced my comments (in italics) in the relevant places.

    Between arguing with you (not debating – too many of your responses are mere negation to constitute a debate)

    I will continue to deny assertions that have no basis in fact. It is not satisfactory to make strings of false assertions as Kunochan does – that’s not debate either. I’m not going to ‘debate’ false ad hominem comments, straw men set up by Kunochan or assertions by Kunochan of what I think, which I don’t think.

    and conversing with certain other magical thinkers recently,

    “other” suggests I am in the same class, which I am not. I neither think nor practise magic.

    I have become aware of a new (to me, anyway) strategy in magical thinking. The major strategies of which I was previously aware are (1) make rational and irrational thought equivalent, something you do but vehemently deny;

    I do deny it vehemently because the assertion is untrue.

    (2) hide behind specialized jargon, whether theological or philosophical, and deny the equivalence of certain words and concepts (again, you are guilty); and

    No examples are given, so this is rhetorical vacuity.

    (3), misrepresent your opponents arguments even more than you misrepresent your own (SUPER GUILTY!).

    This is the first time I have been accused of misrepresenting my own arguments! How can someone misrepresent their own arguments? I deny that what Kunochan thinks are my argument are my arguments – he seems to think he knows what my arguments are better than I do, which is rather crass silliness. The truth is, he is misrepresenting my arguments, and then saying that I am misrepresenting my own arguments when I deny his misrepresentations. These are the delusions of a madman.

    The new, alarming strategy is to not merely couch supernaturalist fallacies in scientific language, but to insist that magic *is* science.

    I have never insisted that magic is science. What a preposterous idea. That cannot be found in my writing, so this is an atrocious lie.

    Not like science, or better than science, or compatible with science – but actual mainstream science. Homeopaths, osteopaths, and subluxation chiropractors do this; Ramtha-ites and transcendental meditation practitioners do this; Intelligent Design frauds do this; and you do this. You have adopted the persona of “scientist” into your self image almost as strongly as you have adopted the persona of believer in magic, and the effort to reconcile the irreconcilable has led to you a cognitive dissonance so extreme that one of your identities, scientist or theist, had to go.

    These are the ravings of a madman again. I haven’t “adopted” the persona of a scientist: I am a scientist – I have no need to adopt any mask. I haven’t adopted the persona of a believer in magic. I don’t believe in magic or practise it, or pretend to, so there’s no persona there either.

    So (and pay attention here, this is the root of your entire problem) instead of abandoning your identity as a scientist, you decided that EVERY OTHER SCIENTIST IN THE WORLD is not a scientist; indeed they are all corrupt, and out to get you.

    Utter nonsense. I have never thought, written or stated such things. Such things are not my beliefs.

    Some points:

    “The argument from authority or consensus is not a scientific argument but a political one.”

    With whom are you arguing? You said that the Big Bang theory was a thoroughly discredited model – yourself making an argument from (lack of) consensus – and I corrected you. There is no sense in which an honest person, even an opponent of the theory, can call the central tenet of Cosmology “thoroughly discredited.” By characterizing the Big Bang as widely accepted and well supported, I was not making an argument from authority – I was discrediting yours. Thoroughly.

    I don’t follow this strange argument at all. Does anyone else?

    And since belief in a Christian god is the ultimate “argument from authority,” I find your criticism ironic.

    Don’t compare apples with oranges. The argument from authority is of little or no value in natural science endeavour. It does have a place in theology because theology by definition is the study of an authority!

    “But epistemic egoism (=accepting no truth authority outside oneself) is the philosophy of atheism… Christian theology teaches that man was created in the image of the eternal Godhead…”

    Oh my God. I invoke “God” ironically, of course. There’s almost too much here to get my head around. At least you finally got around to admitting that your “dissent” against science comes from typical 19th century Christian biblical literalism, and nothing interesting or new.

    Kunochan can’t read. Even an atheist can say “Christian theology teaches that man was created in the image of the eternal Godhead”. The problem is Kunochan doesn’t even understand the basics of theology. Nor does he want to, I would suggest. Such a statement is not the product of the 19th century, nor are any ‘admissions’ made about dissent from a nineteenth century perspective.

    1.) Why would you choose to misrepresent atheism to an atheist (Huxleyan agnostic, a more extreme position, but that’s semantic nitpicking), who knows many atheists, and reads many atheist works? It’s only going to work on someone who doesn’t know what atheists think. Atheists don’t accept any truth authority whatsoever,

    That’s exactly what I said: “atheists put themselves at the centre of the universe because they see no external authority, no external rational mind beyond themselves or mankind, and therefore they (or mankind) are the sole arbiters of truth, ethics and reality, and are masters of their own destiny, with responsibility to no creative power”. Can’t Kunochan read?

    whether inside themselves, or the kind you believe in which is inside yourself but you pretend it’s outside.

    Kunochan doesn’t actually know what I believe. He also doesn’t know that back in the 1970s when I was challenging the corruption of science in the Physics Department at the University of Oxford, I was an ardent athiest. Just as deluded as Kunochan, no doubt, but fortunately not as ignorant of science and theology in general.

    Atheists accept reason and observation only. Scientific consensus is accepted provisionally. Atheists have taken a good hard look at the universe, and figured out it has no anthropomorphic qualities. Atheists look to humanity to develop morals and meaning, not because we applaud ourselves or the human race, but because there’s simply no one else to do it. That’s not a “myth” – it’s an observation. An observation you have also made, which is why you expend so much effort to maintain your “faith.”

    2.) You claim you’re not guilty of egoism, because you supposedly subordinate yourself to a magic creature.

    The supposition is wrong. I do not worship or subordinate myself to any creature, magical or otherwise.

    Yet this magic creature, which in your cosmology not only made the universe but *is* the universe, loves you individually;

    I don’t believe in, worship or subordinate myself to any creature that made the universe, or ‘is’ the universe.

    loves humanity out of all the vast universe (you accept that the universe is incomprehensibly vast, right? I know the conspirators won’t let you use a telescope); is concerned with every detail of your life; will give you specific instructions on how to live, if you ask right; will violate the laws of physics on your behalf; and thinks you are so damned special, it will preserve your existence for all of infinite time.

    But no, you’re not an egoist.

    That is supposedly irony. I’ve never denied a certain egoism – it was egotism I denied, and epistemic egoism. Everyone must have a certain healthy degree of practical egoism in order to live.

    Where to start on this? Simply making false assertions, setting up straw men, as Kunochan does, is a debased way of arguing. People should try, even for the sake of argument, to understand the other person’s position. By speaking about a ‘magic creature’, Kunochan rules out the major monotheistic religions, but we will charitably forgive his ignorance if that was his intended target, and Christianity in particular. Just for the sake of argument, let’s consider the claims of Christianity. It teaches that God takes all the initiatives in regard to creation and salvation and eternal destiny of specific creatures. There’s nothing egoistical there as far as the creature is concerned, though theologians have rightly pointed out that within this framework there are advantages in complying with the commands of God. In that sense only, there is a certain self interest and egoism, and no-one has ever denied that, as far as I am able to determine.

    “..we cannot experiment on anything outside the solar system, nor (realistically) on the earth as a whole, nor on events in the distant past”

    Ah, the Laboratory Fallacy. I see you skipped Science 101.

    That’s not a fallacy, it’s a truth. And yes, I must have skipped Science 101 – I suppose that’s how I ended up reading Physics at Oxford, including some astrophysics, a rather ‘harder’ science than Kunochan himself studied.

    Scientific inquiry is not, has never been, and cannot be confined to simple laboratory inquiry. Laboratory experiments are not the only way to prove hypotheses and develop theories. General Relativity was demonstrated by Eddington through an observational experiment.

    There is considerable doubt that he did.

    Events in the distant past are observed by the effects they leave behind in the universe today. Hell, we can SEE events in the distant past through the telescopes that you claim a vast international (no doubt Jewish?) conspiracy keeps from honest inquirers such as yourself. It is not necessary to place a black hole in a beaker to know that certain radio objects have exactly the characteristics predicted by black hole theory.

    They don’t.

    You don’t have to smash a fossil in a rock tumbler to count strata and figure out how old it is.

    No, and counting strata doesn’t enable you to figure out how old it is either. The fossil/strata correlations are circular reasoning, and highly unscientific.

    It’s funny that someone who believes in a firmly Hard Anthropic Universe trots out the Soft Anthropic Principle to try to disprove every scientific advance since Alfred Russel Wallace was hit in the head by a flying frog.

    I have examined your diatribe against the Big Bang theory, and understood more of it than I thought I would. I should thank my college Cosmology professor. But it is littered with statements that are inaccurate at best, lies at worst.

    Velocity is measurable.

    Certain so called ‘proper motions’ are observable and measurable. The so-called apparent velocities arising from a conjectured expanding universe are not measurable. The relationship between redshift and apparent velocity is conjectural, and has never been proven. There is a vast body of evidence disproving it, however.

    Black holes have been observed thousands of times.

    That’s untrue. They have never been observed, and the more honest astronomers confirm that.

    There is no relationship between singularities and “dividing by zero;” singularities have been successfully described mathematically – in fact, they were invented mathematically.

    They only ‘exist’ mathematically, and have never been shown to have physical reality. Dividing by zero is the simplest example of a singularity, e.g. F(x) = 1/x, x = 0. A gravitational singularity is by definition a point in spacetime in which gravitational forces cause matter to have infinite density and zero volume. Since density is a product of mass and volume, and mass can be finite, infinite density is inferred by dividing any finite mass by zero volume. That’s dividing by zero, Kunochan. One such singularity is a black hole. Your beloved Big Bang emerges from another singularity. Extrapolating backward to a hypothetical time ‘zero’ results in a universe of zero size in all spatial dimensions, infinite density, infinite temperature, and infinite space-time curvature. Those infinite parameters are arrived at by dividing by zero.

    You seem to be confused about how scientists characterize dark matter and energy, as if they weren’t disturbed by their ignorance in these areas. You commit fallacy number one above by equating dark matter and energy, which if they exist must conform to physical law, with angels and demons, which are the very fairy stories you mock elsewhere. The difference is that, despite your mischaracterization, dark matter and energy must adhere to science, while magic does not.

    I never mentioned magic, so it is a silly argument to introduce it here. If you want to extend “physical law” to embrace mathematical concepts of entities no-one knows anything about and break the currently known laws of physics – fine. But likewise a theist is at liberty to extend “physical law” to embrace the capabilities of creatures such as angels and demons. I would have no problem at all with the concept that angels and demons must comply with established laws, and physics that we don’t yet understand. They are (in Christian theology) creatures after all, so have creaturely limitations. Read Augustine.

    Then, amazingly, you quote Occam’s razor. Unfortunately for you, the most convoluted amalgam of inflation, dark thingies, string theory and quantum nonsense is by definition far simpler than the “God hypothesis.” God is the most complicated thing imaginable, since it must contain all other systems. And of course, it explains nothing.

    Kunochan doesn’t understand theology, that’s for sure. In Christian theology, God does not include “all other systems”, neither is he ‘complicated’, but is actually described by the theological term ‘simple’.

    Saying that “’supernatural explanations explain nothing’ is cheap ignorant rhetoric” is cheap ignorant rhetoric. I know because your response constitutes nothing more than “nuh uh uh.” Supernaturalism can explain nothing because explanations require logic and reason, or they are not explanations by definition. Magic denies that logic and reason can explain the universe – by definition.

    I’m no expert on magic, but I don’t believe in it. What relevance has magic got to anything? Maybe magic does deny logic and reason – who cares? This is just another straw man. However, Christian theology (I’m again giving Kunochan the benefit of the doubt that this is his intended target) certainly does not deny logic and reason, and neither do I. It has long been shown (by scientific studies) that, in general, theologians have a better grasp of logic and reason than natural scientists. That’s a very easy test to do. Don’t knock theologians unless you have a pretty good grip of theology yourself otherwise your comments will come across as the rantings of an ignoramus (which they would, in fact, be).

    Once you define a magical space creature, a Jewish zombie or otherwise, as the ultimate cause of reality, the obvious question, raised by every schoolchild, is what created the zombie? When you reply that the zombie is uncreated, or (in the ultimate abandonment of logic and English syntax) self-created, the more intelligent schoolchild simply points out that if the Great Space Ghost can be uncreated or self-created, then so can the universe – we just cut out the middleman. Occam’s razor.

    The argument is rather more sophisticated and profound than the rather puerile schoolboy objections and language, so what’s the relevance here? OK, so schoolboys don’t understand, neither does Kunochan. Does that make Kunochan a schoolboy? Logically, no, but it’s tempting to infer it from his level of argument.

    You keep referring to metaphysics. Although this is a traditional branch of philosophy, which counts scientific Cosmology as a sub-discipline, it is entirely inappropriate to introduce metaphysical concepts into a scientific discussion. Metaphysics has yet to abandon supernaturalism; therefore it has nothing to say about science. It is, for all intents and purposes, theology.

    And your point is?

    You write of a conflict between science and “atheistic naturalism.” Science IS naturalism; its original name was “natural philosophy” for good reason. Science is materialism; to assign science a supernaturalist component is to destroy it. Naturalism and supernaturalism, science and religion are opposites by definition – your misuse of these terms renders them all useless.

    That’s ridiculous. What, the opposite of science is religion? Are you off your head? And by the way, science in not materialism, only natural science is materialism or naturalism, if you will. Kunochan is just trying to redefine terms into an atheist worldview. That’s a mere rhetorical trick. You can make anything mean anything by re-defining it. He obviously lives in an Alice in Wonderland world. Science is the pursuit of systematic knowledge, of which natural science is but a minor branch. Natural science deals with natural things. Those parts of science that deal with non-material things encompass the supernatural, metaphysics, mathematics, logic etc.

    Even the terms ‘naturalism’ and ‘materialism’ are not definitive enough, because it is possible for a theist to be a naturalist with regard to the natural world (he will, in the main, work on the presupposition of naturalistic second causes for natural phenomena) whilst at the same time not being a philosophical or epistemological naturalist (i.e. the presupposition that materialism is all there is).

    This is not a matter of taste, nor of philosophy – adding magic to science would be the same as removing magic from religion – science wouldn’t be science just as religion wouldn’t be religion.

    The assertions are ignorant nonsense. One could ostensibly add magic to science, but I know of no-one who does. Of course, it wouldn’t be natural science any more, but that’s just a statement of the obvious. But to assert that religion wouldn’t be religion without magic displays a pitiable understanding of religion. Certainly magic is an element in some pagan religions, but it has no place in, for example, Christianity. Christianity is not impoverished by being evacuated of magic because magic is inimical to Christianity.

    The very definition of science is the search, through rational investigation, for materialistic laws of the universe.

    Kunochan is defining terms according to his own worldview again – begging the question, Alice in Wonderland. That’s not a satisfactory definition of science. Are mathematics materialistic? Of course not, but they still constitute part of science. His definition is similar to that of natural science, not science in general. He makes a category error.

    If you posit a magical universe, then you must also posit a universe without science – after all, magic has no rules, the incessant efforts of theologians to invent these rules out of thin air notwithstanding. Since you completely misunderstand what science is, I’m not surprised that you
    also misunderstand Biology and Cosmology – mo matter what education you claim.

    More convoluted stupidity. I don’t posit a magical universe without science, so the rest of the paragraph is irrelevant nonsense.

    As an analogy, a Marxist economist may disagree with Capitalism, may even despise it. But if he or she does not understand what Capitalism is; misrepresents it; refutes that its principles even constitute economics; then that person is not an economist. They are not even a Marxist, since Marxism relies on Capitalism as its basis.

    Quite so, Kunochan. So stop misrepresenting science and religion, will you? Or understand them a bit more so that you don’t sound so ignorant about them.

    You say you are someone who “considers it a great privilege to be involved in scientific endeavour.” Your lack of understanding of the most fundamental principles of science; your willingness to discard any scientific evidence or conclusion that conflicts with your bias toward magical thinking; your habit of opposing scientific conclusions based not on evidence or reason, but on their perceived incompatibility with Conservative politics; these make your statement not merely incorrect, nor a faulty opinion, but an outright lie, of which I believe you are consciously aware.

    Of course, none of this is the least bit true. Its only reality is in Kunochan’s confused mind.

    You have reached the erroneous conclusion that you can’t be a good, moral person unless you adhere to a fictional magic worldview. This is nonsense.

    Quite so – it would be nonsense if true, but it’s another straw man, since I don’t reach that erroneous conclusion, nor believe that people should adhere to fictional magic worldviews, so your point is worthless.

    And as long as you pretend that you are some kind of scientist, you are not only a liar, but also a fraud.

    Cheap words when you can’t make your case through rational argument.

    Perhaps you will view this as an insult, and not print it. That would be in character, but certainly ironic – you already characterize all atheists, all liberals, and most scientists as liars and frauds on your blog.

    I do not.

    I’m sure you will continue to misrepresent science on your blog, and to suppress dissenting voices, as you seem to lack the bravery and moral character necessary to examine your own worldview critically. But I’m hopeful that someone visiting this site who is confused on these issues will learn enough to seek out genuine information.

    I hope so too. That’s the purpose of this blog. Your comments also serve the useful purpose of demonstrating the horrors and the delusional nature of the atheistic mindset, and so confirm the points I’m making. Thanks for being such an excellent example.

  6. 6 Davy December 17, 2009 at 8:41 pm

    Why have Kunochan’s comments been censored? It’s dishonest to edit out the parts of his arguments with which you can’t contend, but respond to the rest as if it were the whole of his argument.

    I see also that you’ve deleted two of his replies to you in their entirety – but he’s posted them elsewhere, and it does you poor service, and quite undermines any attempt at intellectual honesty you might make, to eliminate his polite disagreement with your thesis.

    ScientistForTruth replies

    You are misinformed. I have not deleted two of his replies. Firstly, I’m not obliged to put up any or every comment received here. Secondly, the whole post not put up was referred to in my reply to another comment of his – it was a rather silly comment hectoring about the ethics of editing comments, and frankly unworthy to be put up here. You’ve seen it elsewhere so you can judge for yourself. I don’t go round changing people’s wording, and tampering with comments like that. If I remove parts it is because they are abusive, off topic, prolix etc, and removal is shown by the ellipsis or [snip]. The two parts I removed from his comment related to comments on other people’s comments, nothing to do with the content of my post. I will continue to use my judgment to remove such comments in future.

    By the way, his disagreement is far from polite. His characterization of the Christian God as a ‘magic creature’ and Jesus as a ‘Jewish zombie’ is completely out of order.

    Moreover, his making false assertions of what people believe, when he either does not understand or is wilfully misrepresenting, is disgraceful and dishonest.

  7. 7 Sleepalot March 6, 2010 at 12:42 am

    “Every belief system has an account of origins, and atheism is no exception.”

    Atheism is not a belief system, it’s the lack of theism, and needs no myths.

    ScientistForTruth responds

    That’s absolutely false, and a common misconception. Atheism is most certainly a belief system – it is a religious worldview. If you want to argue the point it will merely establish the fact that you are arguing in favour of, or from the position of, a religious standpoint.

  8. 8 Sleepalot March 6, 2010 at 10:07 am

    Hehehe. I like the “fait accompli.” I claim authority on the question: I’m an atheist and therefore an expert on me, and me-being-an-atheist. Atheism is not a belief system, and needs no myths. (It’s also not a worldview, religious or otherwise.)

    As an aside, I’ll grant you that I do subscribe to the “Big Bang” theory, and since I’m not an astronomer, it is an origin myth to me. But it’s not ‘necessary’ to atheism, to hold that or any other myth. Nor is it exclusive to atheism: many types of theist might hold the same belief.

    ScientistForTruth responds

    You need to think a bit more about this. I was once a vehement atheist, so I have some idea what it is like as well. But quite apart from experience, it is a known fact that atheists generally believe that the universe came into existence of its own accord; that the appearance of design in the universe is apparent rather than real; that the source of law, ethics, morals and authority is man himself; that this life is all that there is; and that actions in this life will not be judged after death; etc etc. You can substitute your own specific beliefs if they differ, but these are all beliefs, and (among other beliefs and myths) form a ‘worldview’ that shapes the way you see and make sense of the world, and live in it. And this is definitely a religious worldview.

    Every human being is religious (whether or not he is a theist) because he is rational and so thinks and constructs a way he makes sense of the world he lives in, and the way he should behave in it (the ‘should’ necessitates ethics).

    If you don’t have a worldview or are not religious, you are not a rational person (you are either an animal or an inanimate, such as a stone), and I believe you are a rational person since you have written to me. Tell me, what is the source of your ethics and morals?

  9. 9 frank verismo March 6, 2010 at 8:06 pm

    Quite the most engaging thread I’ve read recently.

    Happily, the issue was settled for myself during one specific moment where all previous questions spontaneously coalesced into a single metaphysical fulcrum point: “matter first – or mind?”

    The material world, whilst fascinating and entirely worthy of our attention, is no match for its parent: consciousness. This, at least for me, explains why most atheists tend to present arguments that when not drab, are borderline sophomoric. Having sincerely attempted to engage a multitude of them, I’m yet to meet an atheist that actually understands the crux of the matter. Of course, having already discarded many of the tools necessary to take part in the full debate puts them at an obvious disadvantage.

    And yes, on the subject of logic and reason, the most satisfying and erudite discussions I have ever had have been with a Christian theologian.

    The idea that consciousness is an end-product of the otherwise blind evolution of matter is an amusing newcomer to the scheme of things. As long as blogs such as yours are around I can rest assured that the absurd has not yet usurped the throne entirely.

  10. 10 Sleepalot March 6, 2010 at 10:24 pm

    Yes, lots of atheists believe the universe came into existence of its own accord. It isn’t an integral belief of atheism.
    Atheism is just one thing, a lack of theism. That’s the whole of it. Nothing follows from that. No beliefs, no knowledge, nothing. An atheist does not even need to know that theism exists, or that they are an atheist to be an atheist. All that’s necessary is a lack of theism, be it through ignorance, through reason, whatever.

    “but these are all beliefs, and form a ‘worldview’”
    Yes. I didn’t say atheists don’t have beliefs, or don’t have their worldviews, I said “Atheism is not a belief system.”

    ScientistForTruth responds

    You are defining your term ‘atheism’ in a different way from what is generally understood. I think that’s rather disingenuous. The word, and its cognates, have been in use for over two and a half thousand years, and the word ‘atheism’ has been used in the English language since the sixteenth century. If we use a term, we should use it in the way it is understood, and we should try to understand it in the way it is meant in context. I can’t use a word like ‘atheism’ and then say that my meaning of the word was ‘bread’. That’s just playing about. No, atheism is not ‘a lack of’ theism. There is a ‘lack of theism’ in today’s weather forecast, but I wouldn’t describe that as atheism. Neither is bread atheism because bread lacks theism. It’s not a ‘lack’ of something. That’s not the way the word is used at all – it is a determined mindset, a position of the rational mind like all the other ‘-isms’: Marxism, Buddhism, Zoroastrianism, Creationism, Darwinism etc. One can promote atheism; one can’t promote a ‘lack of’ theism.

    You say “An atheist does not even need to know that theism exists, or that they are an atheist to be an atheist.” So, by that definition, infants, snails, grass cuttings and Bibles are atheists, because they don’t know either. Your definition tends to absurdity, so don’t expect it to be adopted any time soon.

    As you know, there are generally two types of atheism: ‘strong’ atheism, which is the assertion that there is no God (so that’s a religious dogma); and there is ‘weak’ atheism, which is the belief that there is no God (so that’s religious belief). Either way, you are in the realm of a belief system and a religious worldview. Whilst there might be differences of opinion on the margins, I can tell you a whole load of things that atheists hold in common, and that body of belief, that worldview, is quite aptly described as ‘atheism’; but even in its barest essentials, and lowest common denominator, atheism is denial of the existence of God or gods or a belief that there is no God or gods.
    Frankly, your whole argument is moot because in the context of the post ‘Atheist Mythology’, the word ‘atheism’ was used in its proper and usual sense:
    “Every belief system has an account of origins, and atheism is no exception” and
    “we now have the myths of atheism, which sit neatly alongside the myths of so many other religions”
    Since I’m writing to communicate ideas, I prefer to use words in a way that they are understood rather than investing them with occult meaning.
    I think, perhaps, that as an atheist you are uncomfortable with the post, so you are playing a game of semantics rather than engaging with the argument.

  11. 11 Sleepalot March 7, 2010 at 1:23 pm

    No, I’m not being disingenuous. I’m telling you what atheism _is_, as opposed to what it’s commonly held to be.

    “‘weak’ atheism, which is the belief that there is no God”
    … as defined by Christians. It is a slander against innocents;
    infants, baboons, mental-deficients, people of “undiscovered” tribes – all those to whom “God” is a meaningless term. (For shame!)

    ” ’strong’ atheism, which is the assertion that there is no God”
    … as defined by Christians. It it a slander against people of
    other faiths, eg, deists, pantheists, polytheists, Buddhists,
    Shintoists, Zoroastrians, Taoists,… (Again, for shame!)

    Actually, there’s no such thing as “weak atheism”, or “strong atheism” there is “atheism” – the lack of theistic belief, and agnosticism – the lack of theistic knowledge. There are ‘weak’ atheists (agnostic atheists) and ‘strong’ atheists (gnostic
    atheists: those who do not know – and do not believe, and those
    who know – and do not believe.

    There are probably many purported “gods” you have never heard
    of: you are an agnostic atheist wrt to those “gods” – *but you
    do not define yourself in terms of “gods” you have not even heard of*. There are also many purported “gods” you have heard of, yet you do not believe in: you are a gnostic atheist wrt
    those “gods” – *but you do not define yourself in terms of “gods”
    that you do not believe in*.

    *And neither do I*.

    You exist: you have a belief: you believe in a “god” (one you call “God”): you define yourself in terms of that “god”. You
    are a theist.

    I do not share your belief. Like you, I don’t define myself in
    terms of things that do not exist, nor things I do not believe
    in. I define myself wrt of you. I am an atheist.

    “Ahhh” you say, “but I *know* my god exists. I have proof!” (Right? You’re a gnostic theist. Those who launch attacks on
    atheists using standard Christian canards usually are.)

    “Ahhh” I reply, “I’ve heard that before, it never amounts to
    anything. Indeed, I take that mountain of claims and failures,
    and hold it as proof that *there are no “gods”*. I’m a gnostic
    atheist.

    See that? No faith, no irrationality, no competing myths or
    beliefs necessary. All I need, to be a ‘strong’ atheist, is
    you.

    Is that frank enough for you?

    Scientist for truth replies

    Yes, frank arrant nonsense. This really is your last comment on this subject that will be permitted here unless you start arguing rationally. As I said in my previous reply, you are defining a word in a way different from what is generally understood. You admit as much: “I’m telling you what atheism _is_, as opposed to what it’s commonly held to be.” There is no rational discussion possible with a person who uses words in ways different from their conventional meaning, i.e. equivocation – I made that point in my last reply, but you still go on.

    I showed you that your private definition leads to absurdities: it logically leads to animals and infants being atheists. Now you say this is ‘a slander against innocents’. Well, if so, you are committing the slander then, because that’s according to your definition, not the accepted meaning of the term. I have said repeatedly that atheism is the view of a rational mind, so that excludes your baboons, mental deficients and the like. Your definition that it is ‘lack of theism’ includes the ‘innocents’ as well as the inanimate, so you, by your own definition are the slanderer.

    The definition of strong atheism, i.e. the assertion that there is no God or gods, is no slander against deists, pantheists, polytheists or Zoroastrians because (a) these groups are not atheists, they believe in gods, and (b) you don’t slander people by constructing a truthful definition about them.

    You are trying to drive a wedge between atheists and atheism. You admit that there are ‘strong’ atheists and ‘weak’ atheists, then deny that there is such a thing as ‘strong’ atheism and ‘weak’ atheism. Here you are in an Alice through the Looking Glass world redefining terms just how you want them to be. How ridiculous! You say there is atheism (with no qualifiers) but there are weak atheists and strong atheists. The rest of the world (including atheists) talk about atheists, and say they profess ‘strong’ atheism and ‘weak’ atheism. If you want to construct an imaginary parallel universe where everything is just how you want it to be – fine. But you can’t use that as an argument in THIS universe.

    Trying to paint me as an atheist ‘with respect to’ certain gods that I have heard of or haven’t heard of is ridiculous. Again, you are trying to re-define atheism and atheists in your own terms. Nobody talks about being a theist and an atheist at the same time, especially with the standard definitions. That’s pure illogic – it breaks the fundamental Law of Contradiction.

    GAME OVER

  12. 12 Will November 25, 2010 at 5:23 pm

    I came across your post through a google search. I’ll thank Scientific analysis for that one, whether the people who helped to create this search were religious or not.

    I think Atheists may be taking on Evolutionary Theory because it goes hand in hand with a Naturalistic viewpoint. I would like to make a point here that there are religious persons who believe in Evolution.

    To say Atheists have a mythology is true. Atheism has become stronger and we are seeing more of a mold with strong modern beliefs and modern Theories of Science. Joseph Campbell had always proposed we need a modern Mythology to fit our times, where the classical mythologies are not making sense to our updated world view. If Atheism is the new Mythology of our time, I gladly welcome this viewpoint, to help us wake from another deep slumber. Each modern Mythology has helped our societies to awaken to our true purpose and love for life. How could anyone disagree that mythology is what we need to live a fulfilling life. Atheism is becoming one of the most beautiful ways to celebrate life without superstition.

  13. 13 Kimbal February 15, 2011 at 11:28 pm

    Atheism is a worldview. To say atheism is without beliefs is to render all atheists unconscious (not saying that would be a bad thing)! Atheists believe that there is no God and therefore they are forced to be either naturalistic materialists, in which matter and blind chance get credit for the existence of all things, or they believe there is no actual existence and that we are but a dream. Did I miss something in between?

    Here is an atheist quiz:

    1) There is a God or gods
    2) There is no God and there are no gods
    3) There is no way to know whether there is a God or gods.

    Did you answer with number 1? You are not an atheist.

    Did you answer with number 2? This is a belief. If this belief is foundational to your view of the world (and it must be) then it is your belief or religion.

    Did you answer with number 3? Then you are lazy. Examine the evidence and come up with an opinion, for pete’s sake!

    ScientistForTruth makes some compelling arguments and I am quite sure he would be willing to address opponents on evidential grounds or on level philosophical ground. Too often trolls wander in with comments and make ridiculous claims like “I do not have a belief system.” The only possible way that is true, as I said, is to be unconscious.

  14. 14 Gordon Sirmond February 16, 2011 at 7:20 pm

    Kimbal wrote

    Here is an atheist quiz:

    1) There is a God or gods
    2) There is no God and there are no gods
    3) There is no way to know whether there is a God or gods.

    Did you answer with number 1? You are not an atheist.

    Did you answer with number 2? This is a belief. If this belief is foundational to your view of the world (and it must be) then it is your belief or religion.

    Did you answer with number 3? Then you are lazy. Examine the evidence and come up with an opinion, for pete’s sake!”

    But you missed off the Moorcock defence- if there is a god I have no intention of worshipping it – so why decide

    ScientistForTruth responds

    That’s not a defence, that’s insanity.

  15. 15 Reisen March 3, 2012 at 4:12 am

    The Bible is not an accurate source, mind you. Besides, if God created everything, who created God?

    ScientistForTruth responds

    Since God is by definition uncreated the question ‘Who created God’ is invalid, just as if God is unchangeable you can’t ask the question ‘who changed God?’ The question is merely logical nonsense.

    As for the Bible, kindly let us know what is inaccurate otherwise the assertion is unsubstantiated.

  16. 16 Reisen March 3, 2012 at 4:21 am

    How is evolution a myth? Is the fossil record just a bunch of junk, too?

    ScientistForTruth replies:

    The short answer to your first question is ‘yes’. Myths are human stories devised to ‘explain’ what is seen, in this case the fossil record. Evolution is just one of these ‘just so’ stories.

  17. 17 Eclectikus November 24, 2012 at 9:13 pm

    First of all I would like to congratulate the editor of the blog for his splendid work. I’ve stumbled upon this post by accident and I have had a good time reading this and other threads, especially on Climate Change and the Science vs. Religion, two topics that I am passionate and over which I have thesis closely resembling those of the author of the blog.

    I particularly think that science and religion (or faith) are two different approaches that human beings have in order to deal with the reality, and with its own position in the Universe. Never have been inconsistent and even at different periods of history has been perfectly productive communicating vessels between them.

    I also think that for various reasons, atheism has degenerated into a new religion by taking some of the worst methods, which invariably lead to fundamentalism … interestingly the victims of this effect are not aware of their fundamentalism and they flaunt their no-beliefs in the same way that the most sectarian religious people usually do. As absurd as real, and so close to other phenomena such as extreme environmentalism, climate alarmism, antisemitism … that maybe you could say it comes from the same evil … Which one? I do not know, I’m still on the diagnosis phase ;-) but I have my suspicions.

    Regards.
    Jose Angel


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