The war between science and atheism, part two

In part one, you’ll remember that I argued that the progress of science in confirming the big bang disproved atheism, and I on went to speculate about why there are still atheists today, given this tremendous scientific discovery. This time, I want to discuss the fine-tuning of the initial constants and conditions of the big bang and see how atheists responded to these recent scientific discoveries.

In nature, the values of physical constants, (e.g. – the force of gravity), are set at the instant when the universe is created. Initially, atheists assumed that the constants could be any value, and life would still exist. But the progress of science has shown that if these constants were altered even slightly, then the resulting universe would not permit life. For example, physicist Brandon Carter has shown that if the force of gravity were stronger or weaker by 1 part in 10 to the 40th power, life-sustaining stars could not exist. While each possible value of the force of gravity is equally unlikely, the vast majority of these possibilities prohibit complex life of any kind. That means that any one value picked at random is as likely as any of the others, but it is overwhelmingly likely that the one picked will not permit life.

And how do atheists respond to the evidence of a universe that is finely-tuned for life? Well, there are two responses I’ve seen. The first is to speculate that there are actually an infinite number of other universes that are not fine-tuned, (i.e. – the gambler’s fallacy). All these other universes don’t support life. But, lucky us, we just happen to be in the one universe that popped into being out of nothing, and is fine-tuned to an incredible degree for life. What’s that you say? “Wintery! How can we be sure that these other universes even exist?” Why, you just have to have faith, because there is no way of directly observing these other universes. So, to be an intellectually-fulfilled atheist, you have to believe in billions and billions of demons unobservable universes.

Short of invoking a benevolent creator, many physicists see only one possible explanation: Our universe may be but one of perhaps infinitely many universes in an inconceivably vast multiverse. Most of those universes are barren, but some, like ours, have conditions suitable for life.

The idea is controversial. Critics say it doesn’t even qualify as a scientific theory because the existence of other universes cannot be proved or disproved. Advocates argue that, like it or not, the multiverse may well be the only viable non­religious explanation for what is often called the “fine-tuning problem”—the baffling observation that the laws of the universe seem custom-tailored to favor the emergence of life.

The second response by atheists is that the human observers that exist today, 14 billion years after the universe was created out of nothing, actually caused the fine-tuning. Now you say to me, “Wintery! How can fairies humans fine-tune constants that were set before humans even existed!” Well, it’s true that causality in science has never been known to go backwards in time. But hey, atheists already believe that the entire physical universe popped into being out of nothing. What’s one more anti-science delusion to someone already against the law of conservation of mass and matter? I mean, if you’re already against the progress of science, why not double down?

…maybe we should approach cosmic fine-tuning not as a problem but as a clue. Perhaps it is evidence that we somehow endow the universe with certain features by the mere act of observation… observers are creating the universe and its entire history right now. If we in some sense create the universe, it is not surprising that the universe is well suited to us.

So what makes people become atheists? It isn’t arguments or evidence, because the progress of science repudiates atheism-of-the-gaps. Atheism is really just a long-running tempter tantrum. Atheism is caused when a child’s selfish autonomy runs into moral obligations, or when a child feels alienated because they are raised in a minority religion. The extreme reactions to these typical childhood experiences is triggered by the atheism-module of the brain. Scientists now believe that the atheism-module causes atheists to want to start wars, such as the wars of atheistic communism, which killed over 100 million people, and still enslaves millions in North Korea, Cuba, Zimbabwe, etc.

A podcast with scientist Scott Chambers, an active researcher on the fine-tuning is here. Here are two posts (first, second) discussing Newsweek’s evasions of the fine-tuning, (related podcast here). Five podcasts with atheist scholar Bradley Monton on cosmic fine-tuning are here. Physicist Robin Collins argues here that even if you take the blind leap-of-faith into multiverse-land, you still need a fine-tuning intelligence. Further discussions of the unobservable multiverse delusion are here and here. Further discussions of the non-existent observer delusion are here and here. For a serious, non-snarky, non-satirical look at the psychology of atheism, by a former atheist Professor of Psychology at New York University, look here, (related podcast).

UPDATE 1: Welcome, visitors from The Anchoress. Please take a look around while you are here. And thanks for the link, Anchoress!

UPDATE 2: Welcome, visitors from Colliding Universes. Thanks for the link, Denyse! Denyse’s other excellent blogs are Post-Darwinist and Mindful Hack.

29 thoughts on “The war between science and atheism, part two”

  1. Science cannot possibly explain atheism. The theory of evolution that deals with atheism is so far feched, that how can anyone believe it.I am here to help everyone find there way to God, so feel free to talk to me. God bless to you all and peace on earth. Far out Lilly

  2. If the universe was not the way we know it, then life as we know it would not exist. But perhaps life as we do not know it would exist.

    Much of the appeal of atheism is that the various religions have lost credibility because of claims they make that are absurd. If you only knew of one religion, say Christianity, you might think those claims are credible. But when you see how Christianity, Islam, Judasim,Hinduism, some forms of Buddhism, and various pagan religions all make extraordinary claims, you become very suspicious.

    I am more confortable being agnostic, accepting the possibility that something I don’t understand created the universe. But for people who are uncomfortable with uncertainty, it may be preferable to choose atheism over non-rational religions.

  3. First, I just want to thank you for taking the time to visit the blog and leaving a comment. I don’t reply to every disagreeing comment, but yours was significant and interesting.

    Life has certain minimal requirements, including a universal solvent (liquid water), elemental diversity and abundances, a universal connector (carbon), a stable source of energy (metal-rich star), etc. The citation from Brandon Carter is meant to show you that without a finely-force of gravity, there would be no stable source of energy.

    That is, if the universe had differed significantly in its size, age, and character then intelligent life would not now be present to observe it. If, for example, the strength of the gravitational force differed by just one part in 10 to the 40th power, all stars would be either blue giants or red dwarves; with no Sun-like stars to nourish life, the universe would be without observers.

    Consider this passage from the paper by Walter L. Bradley. Bradley is an expert in polymer science and the origin of life, currently at Baylor University.

    The nuclear strong force is the strongest force within nature, occurring at the subatomic level to bind protons and neutrons within atomic nuclei.{25} Were we to increase the ratio of the strong force to the electromagnetic force by only 3.4 percent, the result would be a universe with no hydrogen, no long-lived stars that burn hydrogen, and no water (a molecule composed of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom)–our “universal solvent” for life. Likewise, a decrease of only 9 percent in the strong force relative to the electromagnetic force would decimate the periodic table of elements. Such a change would prevent deuterons from forming from the combination of protons and neutrons. Deuterons, in turn, combine to form helium, then helium fuses to produce beryllium, and so forth.{26}

    Within the nucleus, an even more precise balancing of the strong force and the electromagnetic force allows for a universe with an abundance of organic building blocks, including both carbon and oxygen.{27} Carbon serves as the universal connector for organic life and is an optimal reactant with almost every other element, forming bonds that are stable but not too stable, allowing compounds to be formed and disassembled. Oxygen is a component of water, the necessary universal solvent where life chemistry can occur. This is why when people speculate about life on Mars, they first look for signs of organic molecules (ones containing carbon) and signs that Mars once had water.

    If you mess with the numbers, you have no chemical diversity. You cannot make life, life that satisfies the minimum requirements, out of only hydrogen, nor can you make life if there is no hydrogen available for liquid water.

    Secondly, it is an error in logic to point to the existence of wrong answers in order to undermine the right answer. It does no good in a math class to disqualify the correct answer to a problem because some of the students got it wrong, and we don’t want to hurt their feelings. Religion is like math. Period. There are claims about the universe, and those claims are either true, or false. Religion is not exempt from the law of non-contradiction, nor from verification against the external world, including history. The fact that other religions are offended that they are wrong is irrelevant to the search for truth. A serious seeker of God does not limit the pool of live options, a priori, based on the hurt feelings of members of other religions.

    There are two kinds of people. There are people who care to follow the truth wherever it leads, and people who play games. Christians are commanded to be in the former group. You must decide for yourself.

    37 “You are a king, then!” said Pilate.
    Jesus answered, “You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”
    (John 18:37)

    13 If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised.
    14 And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.
    15 More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised.
    16 For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either.
    17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.
    (1 Cor 15:13-17)

  4. >>If the universe was not the way we know it, then life as we know it would not exist. But perhaps life as we do not know it would exist.

    I hear that a lot. Here is an analogy:

    A man is sentenced to die by firing squad. He is tied stationary, and 20 expert marksmen take careful aim at his heart at close range. The guns fire with a roar. All marksmen miss the man completely. He is untied.

    The man remarks “Of course they all missed, otherwise I wouldn’t be here to observe this!”.

    It would see more sensible to marvel at the apparent miracle, rather than shrug your shoulders and say “well of course the universe is the way we need it to exist, because we are here to observe it!”.

  5. For the “force of gravity were stronger or weaker by 1 part in 10 to the 40th power” bit, you really need to look at other sources besides wikis for your facts (the 10^40 seems to have come from answers.com). The first clue this fact played the telephone game is that it doesn’t even say to what it is “stronger or weaker” relative. Gravity is about 10^38 weaker than the Strong Nuclear Force.

    By “life-sustaining stars”, I assume the quote was originally referencing Paul Davies, who figured out that if the 10^38 ratio was stronger or weaker by an ORDER OF MAGNITUDE, then the stars would fall out of the main sequence and become blue giants or red dwarfs. Now, the difference between 10^39 and 10^38 may look sort of like it is 1 part in 10^40 difference, but that would be so wrong as to be laughable.

    While it may be a good bet that life such as ourselves (carbon based on a water world) can only form around main sequence stars, NO ONE KNOWS. The big argument to this is that habitable zones could form around gas giants in such systems. And that is not even bringing up the fact that a non-carbon, non-water life could exist.

    Oh, and that is not what gambler’s fallacy means.

    If theists want to be taken seriously, you should at least check your sources. And it is a bit disingenuous to bring up Bradley without even mentioning the Anthropic Principle.

    1. Thank you for your comment. The source of the Brandon Carter example is from Paul Davies’ book “Superforce: the Search for a Grand Unified Theory of Nature”, (Simon & Schuster:1984), p. 242. I disagree that he means order of magnitude, because it says one part in 10 to the 40th power. Can you help me to see what you mean?

      The gambler’s fallacy is the fallacy of explaining improbable events by expanding your probabilistic resources far beyond what is observable. This is exactly what is happening by appealing to an infinite number of unobservable universes. You see one fine-tuned universe and then you say, well, there must be a series of other outcomes that are not fine-tuned and that’s why this one is fine-tuned.

      Take a look at the BBC’s mathematical terminology page here.

      The gambler’s fallacy is the incorrect belief that the outcome of any particular event in a series of identical, independent events which have outcomes of a fixed probability, is influenced by the outcomes of previous events in that series.

      But for the sake of argument, let’s say that I am wrong about the force of gravity. Are you denying that the fine-tuning of the other constants and ratios? Maybe I just picked a bad example.

      Let me explain what I mean… Martin Rees is an atheist and a qualified astronomer. He wrote a book called “Just Six Numbers: The Deep Forces That Shape The Universe”, (Basic Books: 2001). In it, he discusses 6 numbers that need to be fine-tuned in order to have a life-permitting universe. My question for you is, is Dr. Martin Rees, an atheist, and the Astronomer Royal, a crank?

      Rees writes here:

      These six numbers constitute a ‘recipe’ for a universe. Moreover, the outcome is sensitive to their values: if any one of them were to be ‘untuned’, there would be no stars and no life. Is this tuning just a brute fact, a coincidence? Or is it the providence of a benign Creator?

      I hope this clears up the confusion, and I apologize if I was mean at all. Thanks again for your comment, and stop by again soon!

  6. Oh dear, you linked a wiki again. But in any case this one seems to be correct, Gambler’s fallacy relates to a series. Meaning that if got tails 10 times in the past, the future 11th flip is still 50/50. You don’t have a series in what you are talking about, so you can’t “gamble”.

    It would help if you cut and pasted more of the Paul Davies book, as I don’t own it.

  7. I do object, I am afraid, to being told I am having a temper tantrum because of moral obligation. I can assure you that one does not need to believe in any god to have a moral code. In fact- the morals we have seem to be linked to culture- but are remarkaly similar no matter what we believe. Oddly, whilst I have enormous respect for moderate and liberal religious people, the more’ biblical’ a person gets the more lax their morals. I cannot disprove the existence of god- and why should I want to, all I reckon is that the existence of a SENTIENT creator causes a problem of regress.

    1. Ann, you are correct that you don’t have to believe in any god to have a moral code. The moral argument is that without a moral rule-maker, moral codes are subjective — based on personal (or group) feelings and opinions. The moral argument also allows for people to acknowledge that an objective moral code exists without belief in God. The problem with this case is that objective morals themselves cannot exist without the God that the objective moralist does not believe in. Finally, the inability to follow objective moral law does not provide evidence that morals do not exist. I don’t follow your statement regarding the relationship between sentient creators and regression, unless you are saying that sentient creators must not be eternal. If so, I don’t understand why you would say that.

      1. Ok- the whole point of your God is that it is sentient? So we are not talking about something like the first cause- so- we are created by a creator which has sentience. The argument goes that we are too complex to have merely occured and that the universe is too perfect for it to have just happened- but that creator must have- what?- Just happened? How? – because unless the explanation for the creator is found we have to say there must have been something to create it- and so on backwards. Morals are always subjective- again- check the bible- many points in it are simply not relevant today, and the moral agent is able to recognise this. There is no one moral code which is always right- which is why philosophers still argue over morals – and is why actually having a moral code is important- because we cannot just follow simple rules – we need to asses and evaluate all the time . Hope this is clear- quite hard to precis!!

        1. Actually, I think you are communicating quite well, Ann. It’s true that there is no one moral code which is always right. Moral codes depend on the circumstance. For example, breaking someone’s arm for pleasure is always wrong, regardless of personal preference or popular opinion. Breaking someone’s arm in self defense, however, is permissible if the circumstance warrants that level of force. Like you say, we have to access and evaluate the circumstance all the time. Since you say bible thumpers are lax in their morals, I presume you agree, otherwise I could say that bible thumpers can decide to have a different standard of morality then the rest of society. I wouldn’t say that, because I don’t think that’s true, and I don’t think you do either. On the other subject, why can’t a sentient eternal creator be the first cause?

          1. because then we would need to find an explanation for that creator. I do not think we can know what came before the universe came to be….. so whilst there are many possible scenarios out there we cannot prove any of them. That being so, we may find some explanations are more likely and simpler than others. It may indeed be turtles all the way- but other explanations are simpler. As for the morals- what you say is correct- and this is where I have issues with those who claim to rely on the bible as an infallible source of literal truth. Many christians and moslems use their holy book as a source of wiritngs of a somewhat meditative nature. But those who decry, say homosexuality , and claim that we must obey every word in the bible get a bit slippery with a lot of Leviticus. I have often heard say that such and such an action is wrong because the bible says so- and must be totally obeyed- from people who don’t kill their neighbours who are not christian. they preach and practice hate while simultaneously preaching love? Bible thumpers have a very fluid sense of morality which rarely comes down to logical argument, but often ends in ‘ because the bible says so..’
            Please do not think for a moment that I have issues with religion in general- it has been a framework for much philosophical and scientific thought for millenia- but I have problems with a certain type of religious non-thinker, and with those who use religion to further their own agenda, By using a creator as a foundation for morality it enables those people to gain force in a flawed argument.. Morality is an evolved construct- we can see this in other species- it seems to be protective and requires us to re-evaluate on a regular basis. If we use a creator as its source we imply that morality is fixed and unchangable.

  8. I think most people would agree that morality is fixed and unchangeable. The gray areas are circumstantial, where the choices are between one bad and another. For example, a woman gets pregnant from being raped. One bad choice is to punish the baby by killing her, the other bad choice is to force the victim to give birth to the rapist’s child. The morality is clear, but the circumstances are messy. Can you give an example of morality in other species?

    1. Okay, bear in mind we have advanced our understanding of animal sentience hugely over the last decade or so. What we have not done so far is to retrospectively downgrade their inteligence or sentience. If penguins steal nesting materials from other they conceal this behaviour- one quick example- not ime or space to trawl academia at present and the subject is hotly contested! But to another point on that line- we generally feel theft is wrong, for obvious reasons- but is it wrong to steal in order to feed your starving child? Generally speaking moral codes enable us to live together in social groups- which is what we evolved to do- but over time our morals have shifted- partly because we now live in much larger groups where a conflict of interest is more likely- ad also because our awareness has changed- we no longer tolerate those who inflict extreme suffering for fun, wheras once this was considered normal and perfectly okay. Bear-baiting, cat roasting, dog fighting and the inquisitors are all, thankfully in the past- but they were morally acceptable in their time. This is why actions which the bible encourages are not considered today- we condemn those in Arab nations who still practice stoning- and rightly so- but both holy books endorse this. This is why I do not think it is logical to look to a holy book for moral authority, those books are out dated by our current thinking.

      1. Yes, we’ve progressed to the point where we murder innocent unborn children so that we can have recreational sex without having to care about the consequences of our choices.

        1. Firstly we know that women have been using various methods to abort for hundreds if not thousands of years We now have more available and reliable contraception so I think is not common that abortion is used instead of contraception. But is it better to starve and abuse a child or to abort a foetus? At least we no longer abandon newborns on rubbish heaps as a matter of course- or beat their brains out on rocks. again- yes, I know this does still happen- but not commonly. – and we need to keep this debate fairly tight for keep to some semblance of a point. This still does not address the idea that morality must be from an external soure- and you also do not address how we get this morality- I hope I have argued that holy books are not the source- and if you argue for a creator- then did he imprlnt this in our heads- and if so when? Why humans- we are a recent addition to this planet – surely if we are the target for this morality we would either have turned up earlier in earths history – do you suggest there were other species that had a chance and blew it? I cannot see how you make the link- you argue for morals- and yes- I agree morals matter. I, however can see a reason they would evolve naturally and cannot see how you would suggest we got them if not by some evolutionary mechanism?

          1. Right. So you you are in favor of murdering unborn children in order to make recreational sex less bothersome for those who choose to engage in it. I get that.

            This is remarkably consistent with ethical thinking by other famous atheists:

            “Let me summarize my views on what modern evolutionary biology tells us loud and clear — and these are basically Darwin’s views. There are no gods, no purposes, and no goal-directed forces of any kind. There is no life after death. When I die, I am absolutely certain that I am going to be dead. That’s the end of me. There is no ultimate foundation for ethics, no ultimate meaning in life, and no free will for humans, either. “
            – Cornell University evolutionist William Provine, in a debate with Phillip E. Johnson
            Source: http://www.arn.org/docs/orpages/or161/161ma

            The position of the modern evolutionist is that humans have an awareness of morality because such an awareness of biological worth. Morality is a biological adaptation no less than are hands and feet and teeth. Considered as a rationally justifiable set of claims about an objective something, ethics is illusory. I appreciate when someone says, ‘Love thy neighbor as thyself,’ they think they are referring above and beyond themselves. Nevertheless, such reference is truly without foundation. Morality is just an aid to survival and reproduction, . . . and any deeper meaning is illusory. (Michael Ruse, “Evolutionary Theory and Christian Ethics,” in The Darwinian Paradigm (London: Routledge, 1989), pp. 262-269).

            In a universe of blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won’t find any rhyme or reason in it, or any justice. The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference… DNA neither knows nor cares. DNA just is. And we dance to its music. (Richard Dawkins, River Out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life (1995))

            Dawkins himself is in favor of infanticide as well, which is not surprising for someone who thinks that “there is no evil and no good”. That’s standard for atheists. If the weak get in your way, then kill them. There is no basic human right that exists objectively on atheism. There are no human rights on atheism at all.

            Morality, on atheism, is nonsense. No atheist can make any statements about morality, on their worldview, because they are just talking about what side of the road “we” drive on, and what sort of clothes “we” find fashionable – in this time and place. In a different time and place, other standards are just as “moral”. That’s what atheists mean by morality. Do whatever makes you feel good, and just don’t get caught, so that your own happiness isn’t diminished by other people’s disapproval when you act selfishly. On atheism, statements about what is right or wrong, or what humans ought to do are non-cognitive statements. Atheists do not really reason about morality, they are just expressing preferences, customs and conventions that are valid in the society in which they live in the time in which they live. When theists talk about morality, we are talking about an objective realm of moral values and duties. When atheists talk about morality, they are talking about cultural and personal preferences that are arbitrary and variable. Who is to say that one view is right and another wrong, on atheism? Some people like slavery and some people don’t. Whether slavery is “good” or “bad” depends on where you are and when you are. That’s all. That’s morality on atheism.

            Abortion is the slavery of our time. It is worse than slavery, because as horrible as slavery was, it was not outright murder of innocent people. But I think that it is telling that you, as an atheist, have no objection to abortion. You wouldn’t have had an objection to slavery either, or to gassing people for their religion, if that’s what your society at that time considered moral.

          2. Now that is interesting- I made no mention of my own views on abortion- I popinted out ( in response to a comment of your own) that it is not new- and that we no longer practice infanticide with such regularity- and that is because modern abortion tends to work- but more importantly because we have successful contraception. All this was to my remarls that our morality is not fixed. You are still avoiding making the link I asked about- which I why I did not want to be sidetracked. where and how do we get this external morality- what is the mechanism? You do not kill those who disagree with your God- at least I doubt it. What is your position of the stoning and death of non-believers? If you no not actively [ractice this then you are not obeying the dictates of your holy book. i think this is wonderful- BUT it does mean you are not reading it as a rule book- whence therefore your moral rules?

          3. First, on OT laws:
            https://winteryknight.wordpress.com/2011/12/12/are-christians-inconsistent-when-deciding-which-old-testament-moral-rules-apply/

            Second, you have no problem with stoning unbelievers. On your view, it is just a custom that has evolved in some societies and in some places and for them it’s as right, and for you it’s not right. But there is no objective truth, on your view, about whether humans should or shouldn’t do it. If it helps some people groups in some times and places to survive, then it’s right for them. That’s the atheistic view. Morality evolves. It changes by time and place. And there is no way to say that what any group is going is “wrong”. It just is. There is no way we ought to be, objectively.

            Finally, the issue is not whether specific things are right and wrong. The issue is how are right and wrong grounded. What is the means of existence of moral values, moral duties, and universal human rights. Are they objective? Do they have a real existence apart from what humans think at different times and places? The theist says that morality is real. The atheist says it’s convention. How we know the content of the specification for human nature is not the issue. The issue is IS THERE A SPECIFICATION AT ALL?

          4. I actually think stoning is vile- BUT it is something christians are told they MUST do- ( Jews too I ‘think’) and any christian who does NOT practice it is disobeying a tenet of a book- do you obey the commands in Leviticus? . This disobedience must mean you do not regard this book as the external source of your objective morals- because if you did you WOULD think this command must be stuck to. So where do those external God-given morals come from? As for the rest- we should treat people well- strive to prevent suffering and pain, be prepared to lower our own expectations in orders that we may all obtain an equal share of whatever this planet can offer us, make sure we do not destrot what is not ( and never was) ours- animals, habitats, rivers etc. As for abortion- if we try to alleviate suffering then we need to be ever mindful that whilst a blastocyte may not feel, a foetus does. Despite what you think, the issiue of abortion is as hotly debated among atheists as it is among the religious. However- is it always the better thing to allow a child to be born into a short, painful life with much suffering, or to give it a faster death? There is no easy answer- ever- the only way to eliminate all abortion is ensure all women always use 100% reliable contraception and never carry damaged foetuses- is this possible- I doubt it. Women ( and men) have been getting rid of unwanted pregnancies for millenia- and they did so when western Europe was fiercely religious, believing absolutely in hellfire and damnation- so go figure. You claim atheists are not moral- and yet we do not disobey commands from a deity we believe infallible- and thus are not hypocrites in that regard. We do not regard those of other beliefs as alien and deserving of damnation, so we are not cruel in that regard . We not not demand more stringent punishments, we are accepting of alternate lifestyles- ( as long as they not not cause harm to others). So- firstly- were do you come to the idea that atheist do not ( or rather, should I say, cannot) have morals- and where do you get yours from- to which I may say you seem to be avoiding giving an answer.

  9. Oh wow. Atheists are immoral? The idea that religion comes before morality is a fallacy as I hope has been discussed and proven – that yes it actually was a part of our evolutionary process. If our species killed everything in a tribe due to a disconnect with their brothers and sisters – then those societies would ultimately collapse. Although this does have a typical ‘the evolution serves us when it matters,’ negative connotation – it doesn’t follow that atheists should be immoral.

    The whole process of right and wrong is a human experience rather than a religious one. Indeed I would argue most religions were created as a way to reinforce social norms and niceties. For instance what did people do before the ten commandments – did they just rape, murder and pillage as part of the norm before a God told them it was wrong? No of course not – society had already established some basic fundamental tenants for existing in relative peace.

    No religion holds the right to claim morality when all religions find some people, race, sex or creed to be the opposite – an enemy that could undo them. For instance Christians went to Africa to bring them God, during that they also threw many ‘heathens’ or indigenous local tribes as I prefer to see them, down wells with their children to die. This was the Christians Gods, message to them – worship me or die horribly at the hands of my followers.

    The other lasting thing that always amazes me is that religious people think they are more moral because they behave as their God has told them. Whereas atheist people like myself often behave because we know it is the right, humane thing to do. I do not need a religion to tell me murder is wrong – and so I naturally assume that I must be more moral. I do not have the threat of heaven or hell to dictate to me what is right or wrong.

    And in terms of murdering unborn Children – well, abortion is the lesser preferred method of not having unwanted children. But considering many religions such as Catholicism frown on contraception then I think religion is a bigger cause for abortion than atheism. An atheist would say – sure go ahead use contraception, it is in our nature to want to have sex, it is part of our genes, but as we are educated we can enjoy our bodies and control child birth (and the spread of disease). There is no sense of sin – because between consenting adults – there is no sin. The religios person would say you should only have sex in a loving committed relationship (usually married) for the purpose of children – therefore sex with contraception is wrong… This is a generalisation, but I am sure talking to many religious people they would agree loosely with that. The morality on this issue again should be social, why do we expect men to sow their wild oats, but women to be virgins on their marital bed? Why not blow of the dust and cobwebs and just admit – we are sexual creatures, our DNA requires sex in the same way as we eat, sleep and breathe. Therefore religion suppresses a part of us that needs expression, purely for the purpose of enforcing an antiquated belief system and form of sexual slavery. Between consenting adults the morality should be an understanding of what that sex is – is it love or fun or experimentation etc. Is it exclusive or inclusive – but these are personal moralities that faith or in most cases even the greater society have NO input on.

    And one more last point – science has shown that up until a certain amount of time a fetus is purely a collection of unfeeling genetic material. It is no more alive than the sperm or eggs before it. Therefore it is not immoral to abort before pain can be felt in my opinion – although it is natural to have emotional feelings about the fact that life has been started and with whom and the reasons for having or not having that bundle of DNA that grows into a thinking, feeling human being. I think the extra pressure put on women by religious groups on this issue is morally wrong at a time or immense trauma and personal doubt, who may be making a painful but correct choice (for whatever reasons.)

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