Thursday, October 23, 2008

10 questions atheists can't answer

HJHoP already took a crack at it, so I guess I will too, just for kicks.

Ordinarily, I would say that this is the Christian apologetics version of the infamous 10 questions to ask your biology teacher about evolution from Jonathan Wells's Icons of Evolution, but that's essentially Christian apologetics as well, so let's just call this Gotcha, Part 2 - the latest in a long line of lame gotcha attacks in which the guy who believes in all sorts of dubious supernatural things seriously thinks that he'll win points for his wacky beliefs by trying to poke holes in normal people's beliefs - aka "I know you are but what am I?" apologetics.

Argh, and it's from Ray Comfort too, the guy who argued that bananas are so well suited for human consumption that they simply had to be created by the God he already believes in, so you know this is going to be spectacularly idiotic. (here's what a wild banana looks like, by the way)

1. What was in the beginning?
Planck time, heh. Lots of radiation eventually cooling down to the point where baryons could form.

Before that, you ask? Well, the truth is that no one knows what was going on before the big bang, and religious people embarrass themselves by arrogantly asserting that they know things that they cannot possibly know, like God waving his magic wand and creating the big bang.

2. How will life on earth end?
No one knows. All kinds of lovely scenarios await us. But the one to count on for sure is that in about 5 billion years, our sun will hit its red giant phase, swell to about 1 AU, and either engulf the Earth or bathe it in so much radiation that it'll sterilize the Earth.

3. What happens after death?
Rigor mortis, decomposition, consumption by various other organisms. This is known as a fact, despite people's dreams of immortality.

But don't just take my word for it, check out your Bible too:

Job 14 (NIV)

10 But man dies and is laid low;
he breathes his last and is no more.

11 As water disappears from the sea
or a riverbed becomes parched and dry,

12 so man lies down and does not rise;
till the heavens are no more, men will not awake
or be roused from their sleep.

Ecclesiastes 3 (NIV)

18 I also thought, "As for men, God tests them so that they may see that they are like the animals. 19 Man's fate is like that of the animals; the same fate awaits them both: As one dies, so dies the other. All have the same breath ; man has no advantage over the animal. Everything is meaningless. 20 All go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all return. 21 Who knows if the spirit of man rises upward and if the spirit of the animal goes down into the earth?"

22 So I saw that there is nothing better for a man than to enjoy his work, because that is his lot. For who can bring him to see what will happen after him?

4. What is the purpose of existence?
There is no innate, objective purpose. But people choose meaning in their lives.

5. Why there is order in all of creation?
Chemistry and physics. Emergence.

(Yeah, I know it's a loaded question, especially the "creation" bit, implying that order in nature requires a creator God)

6. Why there is morality in every civilization?
Morality is in innate trait among humans (and other species). Humans are a very social species, and so it makes sense that humans would evolve with a moral sense. And as human societies became larger and more complex, eventually becoming civilizations in the proper sense of the word, our moralities became codified.

7. Why does every civilization believe in a Creator?
I don't know if we can actually say that this is the case. In some religions, like Buddhism, there doesn't appear to be a Creator God at all.

Religions around the world often do have common elements, like a trickster god, a god of death, a fertility god, and a god whose dominion is life and creation (usually represented by the sun). These beliefs are widespread, it is true. But that fact doesn't give help their veracity at all - a widely-believed superstition is still a superstition.

8. Why does every sane person have a conscience, even when it is not dictated by society?
Because it's instinctual (humans evolved with a moral sense, like many other social species) and because children are raised to believe that certain actions are wrong and certain actions are right.

9. How did nothing create everything?
This assumes a time in which there is nothing. I doubt this claim can be substantiated.

10. Which came first--the chicken or the egg?
Eggs. Amniotes existed before birds did, let alone chickens.

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