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New Atheism | Common Questions and Misunderstandings About Atheism

Updated on November 19, 2015
TheGutterMonkey profile image

Nerd, cinephile, TV-junky, research-loving, left-leaning, science-fiending, atheist from the gutter. Follow me on Twitter @TheGutterMonkey.

What is new atheism?

In a nutshell, New Atheism is the same as Old Atheism. Only, well, newer.

The term New Atheism was first coined in 2006 after the release six best-selling books by Sam Harris, Daniel C. Dennett, Richard Dawkins, Victor J. Stenger and Christopher Hitchens, that publicly denounced and criticized religion. Harris, Hitchens, Dennett and Dawkins have since been termed "The Four Horsemen" of the new (allegorical) atheist apocalypse of the 21st century.

They and other supporters of the new atheism movement are hard-line critics of religion. They state that atheism, backed by recent scientific advancement, has reached the point where it is time to take a far less accommodating attitude toward religion, superstition, and religious fanaticism than had been extended by some atheists and secularists.

This does not mean that these "new" atheists are dangerous or violent in any way, shape, or form. They're simply no longer going to stay quiet about their views and are no longer going to stand on the sidelines as religion tries to interfere with their lives, their government, and science.

The Four Horsemen - A two hour discussion (in two parts) with the Four Horsemen

Books By The Four Horsemen - Books by Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and Daniel Dennett

The God Delusion
The God Delusion

"Mr. Dawkins is an atheist, an evolutionary biologist and an eloquent communicator about science, three passions that have allowed him to construct a particularly comprehensive case against religion. Everyone should read it."

 

The atheists belief in evolution is just another faith based religion? Evolution is only a theory and not fact

Source

Atheist believe for certain in only what they know is certainly proven. Atheism is about reason, truth, science, and rational understandings and probabilities. This is why one typically hears an atheist speaking of evolution when the topic of religion comes up in conversation.

Many assume this belief in evolution is a religion in itself; that it's a system of belief based on a faith that the "theory" of evolution is true. Yet it must be known that the theory of evolution is only called a "theory" in the scientific sense of the word -- this is different from the colloquial use of the word Theory which means only an "idea" or a guess. In the field of science, a Theory is a set of empirical data, facts, propositions, or principles analyzed in their relation to one another and used to explain phenomena.This means that the theory of evolution has been repeatedly tested, observed, researched, and has been consistently compatible with other scientific findings and theories. Colloquially speaking, evolution is indeed a fact. Just as much a fact as the germ theory of disease, the theory of gravity, and the theory of relativity.

Atheism is not a religion. There are zero beliefs involved with atheism, there are zero guidelines to atheism, atheism is not an organized group, and atheism involves no kinds of worship, prayer, or ceremony. Atheism is simply a label given to those who lack belief in religious deities.

NOTE: Evolution is not only an atheistic belief. Many religions do accept it as truth.

How can atheists be sure there is no God? Where's your proof?

Source

How atheists can prove there is no god is one of the most important and commonly asked questions in atheism. The answer, though, is surprisingly simple: we can't be sure there's no god.

In fact, no one can. There's only so much of the world and the universe that human beings are capable of observing, testing, or hypothesizing on. Sure, we understand evolution, we understand gravity, and we even have a pretty good idea about how our own universe began. But the beginning of everything?! Not a clue. And no atheist claims to know such a thing (no sane one, that is).

Then why would we be so bold as to call ourselves atheist? If we can't prove there is no god, then how can we declare so vehemently that we don't believe in one?

What is God?

First we have to look at the definition of "God". Most religious people look at God as being a supernatural, supreme being who either created the universe and left it to fend for itself (the Deist God) or who made the universe, the Earth, and the people on it for a purpose and watches over us, judges us, and decides what to do with us after we die (the personal God of most religions, including Christianity).

But there is also a different definition of God. One that has nothing to do with the supernatural, nothing to do with an afterlife, magic, miracles, or any other such magical ideas. This is the kind of God that people such as Carl Sagan, Steven Hawking, and Albert Einstein spoke of. And what it is, is nothing other than an allegorical use of the word God (as well as the words religion and spirituality). This "God" is simply a synonym for the mysteries of the universe; and this "religiousness" and "spirituality" is nothing more than a feeling of awe one gets when he or she thinks about the beauty of nature and the grandioseness of all that's around us. It is not a personal god, and those who speak of it are not speaking about a religious belief at all.

This more pantheist, Eisteinian God is not something many atheists would argue about. It denies the supernatural, it denies the arrogance of claiming to know anything about a creator, it denies an afterlife, and it's completely ambiguous about whether or not there even was a creator. It is essentially agnosticism. And "agnostic" is essentially what atheists really are.

Source

What's the difference between Atheism and Agnosticism?

Before I get bashed by both atheists and theists, I must make it clear that I'm using the word agnostic to describe something on par to an atheists feelings toward the possibility that fairies orbit Jupiter. We can't prove that fairies don't orbit Jupiter because perhaps the fairies are invisible or perhaps the fairies are too small for us to observe with the naked eye or telescopes. We really have no other choice but to be agnostic toward these fairies because we lack the technology to investigate too much into the proposition.

But we don't tell people that we're agnostic toward the fairies that orbit Jupiter do we? No. We confidently label ourselves as being atheistic toward the fairy hypothesis because the probability that this conjured up, man-made idea is true is very low. Just as low as the possibility that the imagined "gods" from the old man-made holy books are real.

Atheists could, of course, call themselves agnostics. But wouldn't that be misleading? Wouldn't people assume that this label of agnosticism meant that the agnostic person was just as equally open to improbable things such as fairies and virgin births as they were to more scientifically plausible ideas? We don't want to confuse people by an inadvertent implication that these two things are within the same range of probability.

While the universe is a mystery, man-made religions are not. We can disprove ideas stated by religions because they contradict such things proven in science as the age of the earth, evolution, and biology. We call ourselves atheists so that we can make it crystal clear that, while we're open to certain mysteries of the universe, we are not equally open to Gods as most people understand Them.

Where do atheists get their morals without God?

Without God, how would you know how to behave?

While there are no specific guidelines or commandments within evolution which could appropriately tell the evolving man how he should act toward his fellow man, it is still perfectly possible, feasible, and likely that humans evolved into morality because humans needed to become social animals in order to survive.

In a social setting, cooperation and even altruism lead to better relationships which can help the species as a whole. Fairness and cooperation have value for dealing with people repeatedly. The emotions involved with such justice could have evolved when humans lived in small groups. Kin selection can explain some altruistic behavior toward close relatives. Because they share many of the same genes, helping them benefits the giver's genes, too. In societies, altruism benefits the giver because when others see someone acting altruistically, they are more likely to give to that person. In the long term, the generous person benefits from an improved reputation

If the evolving man were to act malicious toward his peers by stealing, killing, cheating, and lying, then it would neither help him nor the people he depends on. Without this natural morality the species would be incapable living together and hence incapable of surviving and reproducing to further the process of evolution. Without good ethics, primitive people would likely not have survived to evolve into the primates we are today.

These eithics -- these morals -- are in no way associated with a God. They are normal ways of behavior for a social creature.

Research from the University of California, Berkeley, suggests that the highly religious are less motivated by compassion when helping a stranger than are atheists, agnostics and less religious people.

"Overall, we find that for less religious people, the strength of their emotional connection to another person is critical to whether they will help that person or not," said UC Berkeley social psychologist Robb Willer, a co-author of the study. "The more religious, on the other hand, may ground their generosity less in emotion, and more in other factors such as doctrine, a communal identity, or reputational concerns." -- Click Here for more information on the 2012 study.

Source

What about Hitler and Stalin? Weren't they atheists?

Weren't Hitler and Stalin motivated by atheism?

While Stalin was most certainly an atheist, there's no reason to suppose that his atheism was to blame for his actions. Atheism in itself is not a system which promotes anything whatsoever, it's simply an absence of belief in religion (a-theism means not theistic, meaning nothing more than a lack of belief in theistic ideas). One could also reasonably assume that Stalin and Hitler (and Mao too, for that matter) were both atheists toward leprechauns, fairies, and unicorns -- but it isn't very likely that anyone would go as far as to say those absent beliefs were the cause of anything. Stalin was merely an evil man who just happened to be an atheist. Like Hitler, Stalin also happened to have a mustache... perhaps this was the root of their evil? This is what's known as an association fallacy.

And Hitler?

While it's unknown for certain what Hitlers beliefs were exactly, he was hardly an atheist according to most evidence. Though, even if he were an atheist, he most certainly did not promote atheism in his speeches or his writings and he did nothing "in the name of atheism". So his followers -- without whom, he wouldn't have made the impact he did -- were not influenced by atheism either. These views were based on a divine right philosophy.

Hitler and religion:

+ "We were convinced that the people needs and requires this faith. We have therefore undertaken the fight against the atheistic movement, and that not merely with a few theoretical declarations: we have stamped it out." -- Hitler, 1933

+ "Secular schools can never be tolerated because such schools have no religious instruction, and a general moral instruction without a religious foundation is built on air; consequently, all character training and religion must be derived from faith." -- Hitler, during negotiations leading to the Nazi-Vatican Concordat of April 26, 1933.

+ Hitler often associated atheism with Germany's communist enemy. Hitler stated in a speech to the Stuttgart February 15, 1933: "Today they say that Christianity is in danger, that the Catholic faith is threatened. My reply to them is: for the time being, Christians and not international atheists are now standing at Germany's fore. I am not merely talking about Christianity; I confess that I will never ally myself with the parties which aim to destroy Christianity. Fourteen years they have gone arm in arm with atheism. At no time was greater damage ever done to Christianity than in those years when the Christian parties ruled side by side with those who denied the very existence of God. Germany's entire cultural life was shattered and contaminated in this period. It shall be our task to burn out these manifestations of degeneracy in literature, theater, schools, and the press --that is, in our entire culture -- and to eliminate the poison which has been permeating every facet of our lives for these past fourteen years."

+ "For eight months we have been waging a heroic battle against the Communist threat to our Volk, the decomposition of our culture, the subversion of our art, and the poisoning of our public morality. We have put an end to denial of God and abuse of religion. We owe Providence humble gratitude for not allowing us to lose our battle against the misery of unemployment and for the salvation of the German peasant." -- Hitler during a radio address in 1933.

+ "The undermining of the existence of human culture by the destruction of its bearer seems in the eyes of a folkish philosophy the most execrable crime. Anyone who dares to lay hands on the highest image of the Lord commits sacrilege against the benevolent Creator of this miracle and contributes to the expulsion from paradise." -- Hitler 1943

+ "What we must fight for is to safeguard the existence and reproduction of our race and our people, . . . so that our people may mature for the fulfillment of the mission allotted it by the creator of the universe." -- Hitler 1943

+ "Hence today I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord." -- Hitler 1943

+ "[T]he task of preserving and advancing the highest humanity, given to this earth by the benevolence of the Almighty, seems a truly high mission." -- Hitler 1943

+ "A campaign against the "godless movement" and an appeal for Catholic support were launched Wednesday by Chancellor Adolf Hitler's forces." -- Associated Press 1933

+ The Nazi Party in general rejected Darwinism and supported Christianity. In 1935, Die Bucherei, the official Nazi journal for lending libraries, published a list of guidelines of works to reject, including: "Writings of a philosophical and social nature whose content deals with the false scientific enlightenment of primitive Darwinism and Monism"

+ On the other hand, an undated "Blacklist for Public Libraries and Commercial Lending Libraries" includes the following on a list of literature which absolutely must be removed: "All writings that ridicule, belittle or besmirch the Christian religion and its institution, faith in God, or other things that are holy to the healthy sentiments of the Volk.

NOTE: Of course, none of this means that Hitler's ideas were based on religion either. Hitler's ideas were a perversion of both religion and biology.

Atheistism causes violence?

Statistics show that atheists are more numerous in peaceful nations?

It's a common misconception that atheists are, by their very nature, violent, immoral people. The assumption is that when one is without a belief in god, then one is without morals, so, therefore, one is also more apt to feel free to commit immoral acts, without any worry of condemnation from their creator. These topics have been addressed in much detail above, yet it still seemed prudent to include the following statics to help shed more light on the matter.

These are two separate studies, one over religious beliefs and one over peaceful countries that, when combined, show that the countries with more atheists are significantly more peaceful than countries with less atheists.

The first study is from The Global Peace Index (url, below). They put their survey together by assessing 23 criteria, including foreign wars, internal conflicts, respect for human rights, the number of murders, the number of people in jail, the arms trade, and degrees of democracy. With this survey, though, religion wasn't taken into account. This is simply a measurement of peaceful countries.

To find the connection between atheism and religiosity in respect to their amounts of peacefulness, this survey is then matched with The World Values Survey (another well-established, unbiased survey group), which documents religious beliefs. It is then taken into account the percentage of people in each country who say they are a committed atheist, and also on the percentage of people who say that they go to a religious service at least once a month.

When combined, this is the outcome:

With 144 major countries being surveyed we get:

(1= most peaceful)

1. New Zealand 1.202

2. Denmark 1.217

3. Norway 1.217

4. Iceland 1.225

5. Austria 1.252

6. Sweden 1.269

7. Japan 1.272

8. Canada 1.311

9. Finland 1.322

10 Slovenia 1.322

...

83. USA

The difference is highly statistically significant (P=0.001 or less) which indicates that the results are not simply chance.

To follow up in this observation, I've also tested the conclusions by looking up the countries with the most Christians, and listed them in order below; with their individual rankings on the peaceful nations scale next to each countries name.

(#1= most peaceful, #144= least peaceful)

1. USA - #83

2. Brazil - #85

3. Mexico - #108

4. Russia - #136

5. Philippines - #114

Out of these top 5, not one country goes below the 50 range, and three of the countries are above the 100 mark.

In contrast to this, we have the top five non-religious countries, with their rankings on the peaceful countries scale.

(#1= most peaceful, #144= least peaceful)

1.China - #80

2. Japan - #7

3. Russia - #136

4.Germany - #16

5.France - #30

As you can see, the correlation worked out quite similarly to the original statistics. Only one of these countries happens to be above the 100 mark. And that also happens to be one of the countries with the most Christians.

Referenced Links

The Global Peace Index

The World Values Survey

Source

Nature is too beautiful for there not to have been a designer

The "argument from design"

Question:

Nature manifests a certain irreducible complexity. Doesn't the design in nature require a Designer (i.e. God)?

Answer:

As for the complex designs of flowers, animals, humans, and other living organisms, the answer to this design is natural selection. Any flower, animal, or person, no matter how beautiful, has evolved into what it is now because it was evolving to fit into its environment. This has been proven by science.

Beautiful planets and stars have also evolved. Our own Earth (and the other planets in the Solar System) had formed out of the solar nebula -- a disk-shaped mass of dust and gas left over from the formation of the Sun. This assembly of the Earth through accretion was thus largely completed within 10-20 million years. Initially molten, the outer layer of the planet Earth cooled to form a solid crust when water began accumulating in the atmosphere. The Moon formed shortly thereafter, 4.53 billion years ago.

So the beauty of nature is well explained by different forms of evolution. And beauty itself is a subjective thing, literally in the eye of the beholder.

What about the argument from causality? Everything had to come from something!

Everything had to have a beginning

Question:

Look around for something that does not have a cause (and therefore a beginning). This sequence can work backwards indefinitely. But does it go infinitely, or does it ultimately stop? To say that it goes on infinitely leads to a logical dilemma. Without some initial cause, there can be no caused things, and no explanation for causality itself. The only rational answer is that there is at the beginning of all things an uncaused Cause, capable of causing all things: i.e. God. How do you explain that?

Answer:

The assumption that since we do not know what lays beyond the universe then that suggests a God must have done it is entirely unwarranted and presumptuous. And in the unlikely scenario that there actually is an intelligent being out there who has started all things (acting as the ultimate cause of them), then the question inevitably arises: what caused Him? How is he immune to the argument "everything comes from something"? And, moreover, what on earth would give you the idea that this being just happens to be omnipotent, omniscient, good, and merciful? Or why must there be a beginning at all? In science, there has actually never been evidence of true "nothingness" (even space itself is a thing) so perhaps all is infinite, with no ultimate cause at all.

If indeed the argument from causality is true, then why can't this ultimate beginner of all be, oh, a big bang? Or perhaps some other physical concept unknown? Why must it be a God and why must it be your specific God?

Simply because you don't know the answer to an equation (and, in this circumstance, you don't even know the equation) you can't use God as a default answer. That's cheating.

Why don't atheists believe in an afterlife?

What about the soul and near death experiences?

The fact that consciousness rests in the brain means that consciousness is lost when the brain is no longer functioning. And since consciousness in the mind, and all the knowledge and experience that the mind's absorbed over the years, forms and holds ones personality and memories, then it stands to reason that your mind is what defines who you are as an individual. So when you're in a car crash and only a portion of your memories are destroyed, causing that portion of you to be lost forever, then it's perfectly reasonable to assume that when the entire brain dies all of what makes you an individual is lost forever. Thus the probability that your consciousness will live on after your death is very low.

One could say that the organic material and the atoms you're composed of will live on forever, but it's both a stretch and misleading to refer to this "life after death" as any kind of religious experience have to do with God. This would mean nothing more than that the particles one is made of are being recycled to help produce other organisms (much in the same way that our earth and every living thing in it was made from recycled "star stuff" when our galaxy formed).

While one couldn't prove that a soul or an afterlife doesn't exist (because, much like God, it's impossible to prove a negative) there's unfortunately no evidence to support either of those ideas. The only claims that seem to hold any weight to the idea of a soul are the few instances of personal experiences had by people who've claimed to have experienced something supernatural during a near death experience. Other than taking their word for it, though, there's no reason to presume these experiences are true. Most of these individuals are medicated and already in a fragile mental state during the time of their experiences, so hallucinations, vivid dreaming, and side effects of medications are among the numerous explanations for what the person has gone through. Either way, these personal experiences are no more of a substantiated proof of an afterlife than another individuals personal claims that they have spoken to God or "felt the hand of God" in their lives.

How do atheists explain the majority of the world believing In God? - Statistics, IQ's, and other evidence supporting atheism

This wouldn't be the fist time that the majority of the world has been wrong about something. At one point in time the majority of the world believed the earth was flat and at another point they believed that cigarettes were not only safe but beneficial to your health.

Also, one must realize that the majority of the world isn't necessarily the most educated in either science or religion (and the ones who are educated in religion, are divided into hundreds of different religions that all contradict each other in one way or another).

If one wants to go by most of the educated world -- this is to say, the scientifically educated elite -- then the majority do not seem to believe in a personal god.

Statistics concerning intelligence and atheism:

+ In 2008 an intelligence test was done on a representative selection of white American youth, where they replied to questions about religious belief. Atheists scored 1.95 IQ points higher than Agnostics, 3.82 points higher than Liberal persuasions, and 5.89 IQ points higher than Dogmatic persuasions. "I'm not saying that believing in God makes you dumber. My hypothesis is that people with a low intelligence are more easily drawn toward religions, which give answers that are certain, while people with a high intelligence are more skeptical," said the intelligence researcher, Helmuth Nyborg.

+ Nyborg also co-authored a study with Richard Lynn, emeritus professor of psychology at the University of Ulster, which compared religious belief and average national IQs in 137 countries. The study analysed the issue from several viewpoints. Firstly, using data from a U.S. study of 6,825 adolescents, the authors found that atheists scored 6 g-IQ points higher than those adhering to a religion.

+ Secondly, the authors investigated the link between religiosity and intelligence on a country level. Among the sample of 137 countries, only 23 (17%) had more than 20% of atheists, which constituted "virtually all... higher IQ countries." The authors reported a correlation of 0.60 between atheism rates and level of intelligence, which is "highly statistically significant." This portion of the study uses the same data set as Lynn's work IQ and the Wealth of Nations.

+ In 1975, Norman Poythress studied a sample of 234 US college undergraduates, grouping them into relatively homogeneous religious types based on the similarity of their religious beliefs, and compared their personality characteristics. He found that "Literally-oriented religious Believers did not differ significantly from Mythologically-oriented Believers on measures of intelligence, authoritarianism, or racial prejudice. Religious Believers as a group were found to be significantly less intelligent and more authoritarian than religious Skeptics." He used SAT's as a measure of intelligence for this study.

+ According to a 1996 survey of United States scientists in the fields of biology, mathematics, and physics/astronomy, in total, about 60% of United States scientists in these fields expressed disbelief or agnosticism toward a personal god who answers prayer and personal immortality. This compared with 58% in 1914 and 67% in 1933.

+ Among members of the National Academy of Sciences (sometimes considered to be the world's leading scientists) only 7.0% expressed personal belief, while 72.2% expressed disbelief and another 20.8% were agnostic concerning the existence of a personal god who answers prayer.

+ A survey conducted between 2005 and 2007 found that over 60% of natural and social science professors at 21 elite US research universities are atheists or agnostics. When asked whether they believed in God, nearly 34% answered "I do not believe in God" and about 30% answering "I do not know if there is a God and there is no way to find out." According to the same survey, "[m]any scientists see themselves as having a spirituality not attached to a particular religious tradition."

Statistics on belief in creationism (intelligent design) in science:

+ In 1987 an estimate was found that only 700 scientists, out of a total of 480,000 earth and life scientists, gave credence to the belief of creationism. This is to say: 479,300 believed in evolution while only 700 didn't.

+ In 1991 a Gallup poll of Americans found that only 5% of scientists identified themselves as creationists.

+ The U.S. National Academy of Sciences has stated that intelligent design "and other claims of supernatural intervention in the origin of life" are not science because they cannot be tested by experiment, do not generate any predictions, and propose no new hypotheses of their own.

+ In September of 2005, 38 Nobel Prize winners issued a statement saying "Intelligent design is fundamentally unscientific; it cannot be tested as scientific theory because its central conclusion is based on belief in the intervention of a supernatural agent."

+ In October of 2005, a coalition representing more than 70,000 Australian scientists and science teachers issued a statement saying "intelligent design is not science" and calling on "all schools not to teach Intelligent Design as science, because it fails to qualify on EVERY COUNT as a scientific theory."

+ In 1986, an amicus curiae brief, signed by 72 US Nobel Prize winners, 17 state academies of science and 7 other scientific societies, asked the US Supreme Court to reject a Louisana state law requiring the teaching of creationism (which the brief described as embodying religious dogma). This was the largest collection of Nobel Prize winners to sign anything up to that point, providing the "clearest statement by scientists in support of evolution yet produced."

+ The American Association for the Advancement of Science (the world's largest general scientific society, with more than 130,000 members and over 262 affiliated societies and academies of science including over 10 million individuals) has made several statements and issued several press releases in support of evolution.

+ The prestigious United States National Academy of Sciences that provides science advice to the nation, has published several books supporting evolution and denouncing creationism and intelligent design.

+ One of the earliest resolutions in support of evolution was issued by the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1922, and readopted in 1929.

+ In May 1966 Hermann J. Muller circulated a petition entitled "Is Biological Evolution a Principle of Nature that has been well established by Science?":

"There are no hypotheses, alternative to the principle of evolution with its 'tree of life' that any competent biologist of today takes seriously. Moreover, the principle is so important for an understanding of the world we live in and of ourselves that the public in general, including students taking biology in high school, should be made aware of it, and of the fact that it is firmly established, even as the rotundity of the earth is firmly established." This manifesto was signed by by 177 of the leading American biologists, including: Nobel Prize Winner George G. Simpson of Harvard University, Nobel Prize Winner Peter Agre of Duke University, Carl Sagan of Cornell, John Tyler Bonner of Princeton, Nobel Prize Winner George Beadle, President of the University of Chicago, Donald F. Kennedy of Stanford University, former head of the United States Food and Drug Administration.

+ In the fall of 1972 the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) passed a resolution that stated, in part, "the theory of creation ... is neither scientifically grounded nor capable of performing the rules required of science theories."

+ The United States National Academy of Sciences also passed a similar resolution in the fall of 1972.

+ In 1977 a statement on evolution called "A Statement Affirming Evolution as a Principle of Science" was published and signed by Nobel Prize Winner Linus Pauling, Isaac Asimov, Nobel Prize Winner George G. Simpson, Caltech Biology Professor Norman H. Horowitz, Ernst Mayr, and others.

+ To date, there are no scientifically peer-reviewed research articles that disclaim evolution listed in the scientific and medical journal search engine PubMed.

+ Just for kicks, the National Center for Science Education produced a petition called "Project Steve" in support of evolution, where only scientists named "Steve" or some variation (including Stephen, Stphanie, and Stfan) would be eligible to sign. As of July 2010, 1139 scientists named Steve had endorsed the petition.

NOTE: None of this implies that those who are religious are stupid or naïve. It is understood that there are plenty of brilliant people who believe in a God. These studies only imply that those who have studied more into the natural world, and have acquired all of the facts about it, are less likely to believe in a personal God and other superstitions. In short, not believing in God doesn't make you more intelligent, but gaining more intelligence does make you skeptical of God.

A poll shows that atheists know more about religion than theists - "Atheism is an effect of that knowledge [religion] not a lack of knowledge,"

To view the entire study conducted by the Pew Research Center click here

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    • TheGutterMonkey profile image
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      The Gutter Monkey 19 months ago

      @nicomp

      Haha Alrighty, nicomp. Have a good one.

    • nicomp profile image

      nicomp really 19 months ago from Ohio, USA

      That's a great link. The literary equivalent of scientists (?) stomping their feet and holding their collective breath until they turn blue. I loved it.

    • TheGutterMonkey profile image
      Author

      The Gutter Monkey 19 months ago

      @ nicomp

      Er — no. I certainly did not haha. The information derives from the peer reviewed scientific Journal of Clinical Investigation. Also, you know, it's sort of common knowledge that there's nothing discrediting evolution.

      Thanks for your question! Have a great day!

      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC14512...

    • nicomp profile image

      nicomp really 19 months ago from Ohio, USA

      "To date, there are no scientifically peer-reviewed research articles that disclaim evolution listed in the scientific and medical journal search engine PubMed."

      This is fascinating. Did you search on the word 'evolution' and read all 422,577 papers in the result set?

    • TheGutterMonkey profile image
      Author

      The Gutter Monkey 19 months ago

      I merely said you were a good time, Oz. While I often disagree with you, I always sincerely did enjoy the arguments, debates and discussions.

    • Oztinato profile image

      Oztinato 19 months ago from Australia

      No personal attacks please. There's no telling where that will end. Personal attacks seem to occur a lot when certain atheists get backed into a corner by pure logic.

    • TheGutterMonkey profile image
      Author

      The Gutter Monkey 19 months ago

      @ thegecko

      Hi Gecko! Sorry about the WAY late response. It seems Hubpages has switched around their set-up, so I wasn't aware that I was getting comments (lame). But thank you for the comment that I'm finally seeing (and the linkage!).

      And, yeah, Oz is always a good time. Haha.

    • thegecko profile image

      Warren Samu 21 months ago from San Diego, CA

      Excellent Hub! Love all the research you included. Also enjoyed reading your discourse with Oz. You indulged him, as I did recently, only to come to the realization you were heading down an infinite road to nowhere. I am going to link to this Hub from mine :)

      https://hubpages.com/religion-philosophy/Confessio...

    • TheGutterMonkey profile image
      Author

      The Gutter Monkey 2 years ago

      @ nicomp

      Hey, nicomp! That's a mighty well thought out, hard-hitting argument you've hit us wit—er, wait.

      No, it isn't.

    • nicomp profile image

      nicomp really 2 years ago from Ohio, USA

      ".This means that the theory of evolution has been repeatedly tested, observed, researched, and has been consistently compatible with other scientific findings and theories. "

      No, it isn't.

    • TheGutterMonkey profile image
      Author

      The Gutter Monkey 2 years ago

      Haha, alright then, Oztinato. Whatever you say. Keep fighting the good fight. It's been fun!

    • Oztinato profile image

      Oztinato 2 years ago from Australia

      GM

      you are totally missing the many points. I said that when ideas of spiritual love started in our distant evolution (way prior to Neanderthal) it became extremely urgent to control inbreeding as imperfect loved ones were allowed to live.

      In animal husbandry inbreeding is allowed but the imperfect ones are killed off.

      You are only seeing what you want to see. I am making a point about spiritual Love.

    • TheGutterMonkey profile image
      Author

      The Gutter Monkey 2 years ago

      If inbreeding were the “norm” in the animal kingdom, as you for some reason continue to insist, you actually wouldn’t have to look carefully at all to find it. It would be – obviously – obvious (as most normal things are). Any studying or reading whatsoever (whether done by a layman or anyone else) will show that inbreeding is certainly not the normal behavior in non-human animals (including our non-human ancestors – who, for Neanderthals for example, there’s even fossil evidence of, showing the deformities caused by inbreeding). When inbreeding does occur, even on farms (where it’s not occurring naturally, mind you), it will, with one generation or another, cause problems that will eventually hurt that line of the species (reduced fertility, poor immune systems, deformities, etc.), causing the line to die out if the inbreeding persists.

      [To put the farm animal thing simply, people can only inbreed them to a certain extent – maybe one, or a few generations – before the inbreeding inevitably becomes a threat to the species survival. It can’t continue to occur without eventually destroying that line of the species.]

      I invite you, or anyone else reading this, to attempt to look up inbreeding in animals and find a link proving that it is, in anyway, “the norm in the animal kingdom”. I assure you, it’s not; it’s generally detrimental to all known species. Not carrying on with incest is just as important to the survival of them as it is to humans.

      [The example of the lions from the Wikipedia article you mentioned, you must have misinterpreted; it was actually showing the negative consequences of inbreeding – it was even talked about under the subheading of “Examples” for Genetic Disorders caused by inbreeding. Nevertheless, though, even if it had been an example of inbreeding not being a danger to the species, it still wouldn’t have given credence to the claim that “inbreeding is the norm in the animal kingdom” – as, of course, this would not have represented the norm, but rather a bizarre anomaly from the norm.]

      Now this isn’t a matter of opinion, it’s simply how it is. Which, by the way, I don’t see why that’s a problem. A creationist ignoring matters of fact concerning evolution in order to support their bible, I’d understand (I’d completely disagree with it, but I’d get why they do it). But to continue to ignore the fact that inbreeding (or incest) is bad in all species? What point are you trying to prove by sticking with such an outlandish claim? That we owe religious teachings for us not to fornicating with our parents and siblings? I’m sorry, but the fact is that if our ancestors mostly mated with our parents and siblings then the species (any species we once were) would not have survived long enough to evolve into a species intelligent enough to understand any kind of religion to make such a standard; let alone evolve to where we are now. (Not because we were "killing imperfect members", either; but because we would have died from natural results of inbreeding.)

      With that being said, our laws and taboos do help us BETTER avoid incestuous acts. No one's denying that (and, along with most of the information in this very long response, I've already mentioned it). That, though, is just another benefit of the intelligence and understanding that our species has evolved to have.

    • Oztinato profile image

      Oztinato 2 years ago from Australia

      GM

      I have studied this at university level.

      You have to study it carefully. Inbreeding is used by farmers to breed positive traits. When negative traits appear those animals are destroyed.

      When a species like primates or we humans allow imperfect members to live and even to breed it then becomes urgently necessary to "marry out" as far as possible. Hence the later development of laws.

      How does this process start? Spiritual love allows the infirm and imperfect to live and perhaps breed.

      I sent you a small sample to try to get you thinking.

      Try reading about lions as well.

      Readjust your idea about what certain inbred infirmity might involve. It may be very serious or milder. In the wild it may only lead to a decrease in variety. Yes its usually better to out breed but ask your self when in human evolution did out breeding become drastically important? The answer will be when the spiritual concept of love evolved and resulted in NOT killing imperfect members. It was then that laws and myth came about to create immensely strict rules to outbreed as far as possible BUT to also allow imperfect loved ones a chance to live.

    • TheGutterMonkey profile image
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      The Gutter Monkey 2 years ago

      @ Oztinato

      Perhaps you should read pretty much everything else in that wikipedia article you've given your information from. It all supports the fact that inbreeding is detrimental to a species. Even the paragraph you sent, if you look into the link it originated from, goes on to say:

      "Helgason et al. (Reports, 8 February 2008, p. 813) reported a positive association between kinship and fertility in the Icelandic population. We point out that the data further suggest that fertility initially increases with kinship and then decays. This is supported by another large study on the Danish population suggesting a superposition of effects of inbreeding and outbreeding depression on human fertility." (http://www.sciencemag.org/content/322/5908/1634.2....

      Not that this would be very important in the first place, as your initial statement was about how normal inbreeding is in the animal kingdom and how it didn't cause abnormality. Read from the page you got your information from and you will see that this is completely false.

    • Oztinato profile image

      Oztinato 2 years ago from Australia

      A study in Iceland by the deCODE genetics company, published by the journal Science, found that third cousins produced more children and grandchildren than more distant marriages, suggesting that "in spite of the fact that bringing together two alleles of a recessive trait may be bad, there may be some biological wisdom in the union of relatively closely related people".[41] For hundreds of years, inbreeding was historically unavoidable in Iceland due to its then tiny and isolated population.[42]

    • Oztinato profile image

      Oztinato 2 years ago from Australia

      You need to do some research and reading about incest. I will post some links. Otherwise we wont get amywhere further in this discussion.

      Religion has always been part of human culture and law. All art and science came from relig

    • TheGutterMonkey profile image
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      The Gutter Monkey 2 years ago

      @ Oztinato

      Incest is the norm in the animal kingdom? This simply isn’t true. It occurs, yes, but it is certainly not the norm; and it does have adverse effects on other animals just as it does human animals. If two closely related animals, of any sort, reproduce, their offspring (that survive birth) are likely to have deformities (physical or mental, which make it hard to attract another mate), reduced fertility, poor immune systems, decreased physical size, etc., that will insure that the line of animals will eventually die out if they don’t begin reproducing with an unrelated line.

      When society comes into play, for humans, we do make it easier to recognize incestuous behavior in order to prevent it; but as a whole, much of this comes naturally into play in various ways throughout all of the animal kingdom. Not just humans. Our species, as intelligent as it is, recognizes it more clearly (thus one of the many reasons our civilization dominates the earth).

      So the facts here are (and I do mean facts):

      1. Incest is not (pardon the pun) productive for any species; generally speaking (anomalies aside).

      2. A species that involves themselves in nothing but inbreeding is going to die out in either one generation or another, if they don’t variate that gene pool. Thus, even if they (or we) wanted to mate with their (our) relatives, nature would eventually take care of the problem itself.

      3. It’s a fact that we evolved and didn’t always have religion or laws. If we didn’t naturally avoid inbreeding, one way or another, our line wouldn’t have survived to the point of being capable of making laws and religions in the first place.

      4. You continue to use the words “Spiritual” and “Spiritually” (which, as much as I research them, no one appears to have a generally agreed upon definition of) as if they have some sort of verifiable evidence to assume they have any proof or meaning whatsoever. Unless you’re using them in a way that isn’t referring to a soul or anything equally supernatural (which you very well could use it in a different way, due to the apparent, and convenient, flexibility of the word) that verifiable evidence isn't existent; or at least hasn't been found yet. Thus these are not things which support, well... anything. As mentioned before, it simply appears to be a word being thrown around to represent “good things” or religious or divine things. Fine if that’s what you want to believe, but frankly it’s not a specific enough thing (for me at least) to follow in a discussion. The most I can think to relate it to (if not a soul or god) is a conscience? But if that's the case, I don't understand why you're simply not referring to it as such.

      Anywho, it may take me a bit to respond back, because, ironically enough, I have Christmas business to attend to (Hah!). So until then, have a nice day!

    • Oztinato profile image

      Oztinato 2 years ago from Australia

      PS

      My phone interface here made an error with posting.

      Let me add that I have previously stated that I have abbreviated incest theories/theory as it takes an encyclopaedia sized volume to explain it all. When animals began to change into humans at the very start of our evolution there were major changes in behaviour that resulted in deformity with incest. This intensely interesting phenomena has been the subject of numerous studies. The "marrying out" of the isolated tribes and families had many advantages and was explained with ancient spiritual mythologies that extend back to our animal roots. The growth of what it is to be human is also spirituality linked to a higher concept of family love. This also is proof of how spiritual beliefs in God affects our behaviour to this day regardless of atheist or theist mind sets

    • Oztinato profile image

      Oztinato 2 years ago from Australia

      GM

      If we take the time to study incest as anthropoligists do the detailed research shows incest is the norm in the animal kingdom and does not result in deformity. In fact the opposite is true and the animals inter breed at will. Ergo the roots of inbuilt revulsion is not genetic but spiritual.

      If we study Kurt Godels God Theorem we can see first hand scientific proof of God and hence the spiritual.

      Both atheist and theists are spiritual beings

    • TheGutterMonkey profile image
      Author

      The Gutter Monkey 2 years ago

      @ Oztinato

      1. This inbuilt revulsion is one of the points that I’m getting to. It’s not due to god or laws that you aren’t attracted to your relatives; it's nature. Anomalies aside, we’re biological predisposed to not want to mate with relatives and animals.

      2. I’m going to have to repeat myself: In a place like North Korea, or in any area run by a dictator, it’s not a lack of religion that’s the problem, but rather the dictator themselves. Atheism isn’t a belief system which promotes any evil ideology. It’s not a belief system or ideology whatsoever; it’s a lack of one particular belief - theism. (More on this is addressed in the above article, under the subtitle “What About Hitler and Stalin? Weren’t They Atheists?”)

      3. When you spoke previously about the biological reasons why humans would naturally avoid incest, and how that natural revulsion would subsequently later show up in laws (and in religious guidelines), you, yourself, explained perfectly how things work. We evolve, both socially and biologically, to have a need (whether it’s not to kill, not to be incestuous, not to steal, etc.), then later incorporated those necessities into our laws and our religions. Thus, the roots begin with the necessities of survival.

      4. Where is the proof that spirituality (which still appears to have no detailed definition) is something divine? Where is the proof of the soul and god that you associate it with? You speak in such absolute terms as if these things are facts, but there’s nothing to suggest they are. It appears that you’re just labeling all good things “spiritual” and all bad things… well, I’m not sure what the opposite of spiritual is supposed to be. Atheistic?

    • Oztinato profile image

      Oztinato 2 years ago from Australia

      1. Family incest is a huge problem even though laws and inbuilt revulsion exist. The inbuilt revulsion bit is a result of a thousand milleniums of evolution. Our distant forbears needed to stop deformities from destroying society. This was later turned into law.

      2. With respect the only phenomena in Nth Korea is a totally atheist personality cult without God in it.

      3. Strictly scientifically speaking all ethics and law EVOVLED out of spiritual religions. eg thou shalt not kill was originally a spiritual religious edict which is still retained by atheist and theist alike.

      4. Spirituality is the connection to our deepest inner part or soul which communes with God. Higher principles of tolerance, forgiveness, altruism, compassion, Love, protection of the weak etc come from our spiritual side while envy, greed, hatred, selfishness etc comer from our non spiritual side.

    • TheGutterMonkey profile image
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      The Gutter Monkey 2 years ago

      @ Oztinato

      Hmm. I’m beginning to feel as if we’re going around in circles here. I’m going to try to narrow things down a little to make them more to the point:

      1. Are you saying that without having someone directly tell you not to have sexual intercourse with your relatives, you would? (I’m not asking this in order to take a cheap shot; I’m only trying to better understand you.)

      2. In a place like North Korea, or in any area run by a dictator, it’s not a lack of religion that’s the problem, but rather the dictator themselves. They don’t only take up the role of the lawmaker, they take on the role of the god and the religion as well; forcing others to worship and obey both them and their rules. (More on this is addressed above in the article, under “What About Hitler and Stalin? Weren’t They Atheists?”)

      3. There’s absolutely nothing to suggest that compassion and protection of the weak are “spiritual laws”. As mentioned in a previous post, as well as in this article (under “Where Do Atheists Get Their Morals Without God?”), there’s plenty of rational, logical, evolutionary reasons as to how sympathy, altruistic behavior, and empathy would (and would have to) develop in societies, with or without any kind of religion or “spirituality”.

      4. What is “Spirituality” anyway?

    • Oztinato profile image

      Oztinato 2 years ago from Australia

      GutterM

      unfortunately, and I truly wish this wasn't the case, as far back as maybe Ramapithecus it was realised that "man" without rules will destroy society. If its not illegal its legal so crime would be rampant as failed modern attempts at anarchy have shown. Indiscriminate mating results in deformity, deformity is not good for the chances of survival of the tribe, hence rules were established about who you can breed with (this simplifies facts to quickly sketch in the meaning) and rule breakers were expelled or annihilated etc

      The Law takes the place of God in an ideal atheist state. In a collapsing atheist state like North Korea the laws are simply changed to favour the ruling family just as in many primitive times with royal families.

      Therefore the more successful laws were often spiritual based: the best were based on compassion and protection of the weak.

      Animals also have ranking systems and codes of behaviour towards their own species.

      Spiritual philosophy sees man as more than an animal and hence the love or compassion principle extends to other animals, races, philosophy. JC and Buddha etc promoted such ethics.

    • TheGutterMonkey profile image
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      The Gutter Monkey 2 years ago

      @ Oztinato

      Hi again!

      Clearly, delving into where each of our ways of interpreting right and wrong come from would be a very difficult and time consuming effort; with an outcome that would be equally difficult to prove in either direction. Is man inherently evil in the absence of laws? I dunno. Is there even a real definition of evil in the first place? Or is it all just relative and a matter of perception? Probably, but just like most things of the sort, it’s difficult to say definitively.

      There’s a high probability, though, that our modern views of what’s considered right and wrong, on a ton of separate issues, is formed from our own biological sympathies and empathies, and the environmental results of society, media, and what our parables (movies, books, tales, etc.; religion certainly included) have told us. These views are then spread to our children, our children’s children, etc., until they become so prevalent that they're unquestionably assumed to be norm for everyone. Eventually, as new generations forget old ones, we even forget where the rules originated: they just ARE the rules.

      The question I was initially responding to (I know you didn't ask this question verbatim, so feel free to clean it up or correct me if I was misunderstanding) was: If atheists lack a belief in a god (thus don’t adhere to any biblical literature), or if god doesn't exist, then what’s to stop us from doing bad things?

      In my answer, I was giving an alternative to a “divinely designed morality” that could be the roots of why we act in the ways we do (including why we have the laws, both the government and the essentials of religious laws, that we eventually made) and why we evolved to have our sympathies and empathies. Explaining how group animals require altruistic, reciprocal, and obedient behavior in order to survive without written law isn’t a support of anarchy, it’s an example of how good deeds, a need to get along with each other, and how order and laws (even if they were unwritten, unspoken, and not overtly considered laws) originated in the beginning.

    • Oztinato profile image

      Oztinato 2 years ago from Australia

      Gmonkey

      this is where our roads divide: I do not believe in the sanctity of people's natural inclinations. Without laws and strong psychological or spiritual "father figures" men have been known to completely destroy one another. Spirituality can be seen in this way although it is a materialistic view. God can be seen as conscience by materialists but also as a divine being by theists.

      The fact is that anarchy or nihilism has never worked, and this can be easily cross checked in any encyclopaedia/wiki. In other words when laws are removed chaos almost instantly begins.

      The human conscience with all its faults was artificially developed by man's earliest evolution over a period of about a million years (see Freud's "totem and taboo") until today. It may even be genetic by this stage. Just as seasonal sex patterns were changed (by man's own slow growth in consciousness) to a weekly occurrence, we as a species have developed and changed our behaviours to be conscience based. This was much later turned into written laws in "modern" societies and a highly complex network of laws in indigenous societies based on stories and mythological lessons.

    • TheGutterMonkey profile image
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      The Gutter Monkey 2 years ago

      @ Oztinato

      I understand and agree that primitive societies were far from peaceful, all-loving, all-caring hippy types. That wasn’t at all what I was implying. The point in which I was getting to was that the morality prevalent within our species is a common and explainable part of humans, our ancestors, and most (if not all) other social animals as well. An idea of a higher entity, either orchestrating this morality or having a rulebook to guide us in it, isn’t necessary in explaining why people have a natural instinct to behave themselves (for the most part).

      In the excerpt (from this article we’re commenting on) I posted to you, I spoke about how acting malicious toward your peers (by stealing, killing, lying, raping, etc.) would not be beneficial toward the malicious person. I didn’t give an example of this (I’d assumed many would be obvious) but one such way it wouldn’t be beneficial would, in fact, be due to specific laws made by the tribe.

      Another example would be a more natural (non-written or spoken) law that if Man A killed Man B, then Man A would develop a bad reputation within his tribe, become untrusted, develop enemies, and either be punished or shunned by his group. It’s true that some would still steal, kill, or lie regardless of this, but most wouldn’t due to the fact that it’s too risky of a gamble when the possible negative repercussions of the crimes aren’t worth the possible benefits of it. Most would rather be safe than sorry, because one of our most natural instincts is survival (and in social animals, survival is typically dependent on getting along with others).

      So, once again, I never said that laws weren’t necessary. I was explaining the possible roots for the reasons why we would develop a natural sense of “right and wrong” through our history of evolution. It’s not an indigenous tribe of modern humans in New Guinea that I was talking about; it’s our evolutionary ancestors; many of which predate any kind of written laws. Because even without laws (which there had to have been a time when we had no laws) the general population (not all, but general) of a group would have to help each other, protect each other, and trust each other in order to survive. Not doing these things would result in the group falling apart and the death to each individual involved -- as they would likely not have survived long alone.

    • Oztinato profile image

      Oztinato 2 years ago from Australia

      GutterM

      A quick study of anthropology will show you how incredibly rigorous and detailed laws were/are in indigenous society. There was no airy fairy woodstock type of fantasy about it. This is the same in modern society as there are many thousands of laws regulating every aspect of life. Why? History has proved for thousands of years that laws are extremely necessary for survival. Airy notions don't work at all.

    • CatherineGiordano profile image

      Catherine Giordano 2 years ago from Orlando Florida

      You covered all the bases. Carl Sagan said "An agnostic is an atheist without the courage of his convictions."

    • TheGutterMonkey profile image
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      The Gutter Monkey 2 years ago

      Oh! And on the other side of that topic, it would be a scary thought if the only thing keeping people from stealing, killing, and raping was a fear of hell, a reward of heaven, or lack of a rule book. Yikes!

    • TheGutterMonkey profile image
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      The Gutter Monkey 2 years ago

      @ Oztinato

      Hi! (again)

      I'm sorry if I'm misunderstanding you, but when you said such things as "What about atheist support of beastiality and infanticide?" and "atheists worship Darwin" I got the impression that you were implying that these sort of comments were inherent in atheism and/or atheists.

      I suppose your main point was that atheism had no moral structure, then? If so, that is addressed in this article. Here's an excerpt:

      "In a social setting, cooperation and even altruism lead to better relationships which can help the species as a whole. Fairness and cooperation have value for dealing with people repeatedly. The emotions involved with such justice could have evolved when humans lived in small groups. Kin selection can explain some altruistic behavior toward close relatives. Because they share many of the same genes, helping them benefits the giver's genes, too. In societies, altruism benefits the giver because when others see someone acting altruistically, they are more likely to give to that person. In the long term, the generous person benefits from an improved reputation

      If the evolving man were to act malicious toward his peers by stealing, killing, cheating, and lying, then it would neither help him nor the people he depends on. Without this natural morality the species would be incapable living together and hence incapable of surviving and reproducing to further the process of evolution. Without good ethics, primitive people would likely not have survived to evolve into the primates we are today."

    • Oztinato profile image

      Oztinato 2 years ago from Australia

      Check the record. I have never lumped all athdeists together.

    • TheGutterMonkey profile image
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      The Gutter Monkey 2 years ago

      @ Oztinato

      Hi!

      The problem with all that you've mentioned (the problem which makes all you've brought up irrelevant) is its assumption that the atheists lack of belief in a god unites them all in any way other than that non-belief in a particular thing.

      Atheism is not a group or cult which shares a list of guidelines, philosophies, or ideologies. Implying otherwise is on par with saying that your and my non-belief in Santa unites us in any other way, or blaming Christians for the actions of Muslims (or vice versa) simply because both groups are theists (this is referred to as an association fallacy). The only thing atheists share with each other is their shared lack of belief in one thing. Unlike religions, there is no book which atheists worship or live by; or, in turn, use to acquire ideologies or beliefs from.

      I'm unsure of what "atheist contradiction(s)" you're referring to, but if any begin with the words "The atheist belief in..." then you may want to reevaluate what you're thinking, because it appears that you're misinformed. We have no shared belief. Only one shared non-belief.

    • Oztinato profile image

      Oztinato 2 years ago from Australia

      Atheists worship Darwin

    • CatherineGiordano profile image

      Catherine Giordano 2 years ago from Orlando Florida

      I hate it when I hear "Atheists worship Darwin." Atheists ADMIRE Darwin for his contributions to science. I feel there is a place for both "hard" atheists and "soft" atheists. There is a movement now OpenlySecular.com calling for non-believers to "come out of the closet" and let everyone see that we are just as "normal" as everyone else.

    • Oztinato profile image

      Oztinato 2 years ago from Australia

    • Oztinato profile image

      Oztinato 2 years ago from Australia

      What about the atheist state of north korea?

      What about atheist support of beastiality and infanticide?

      What about Kurt Godels scientific proof of God?

      What about the atheist pretension to being a whole political philosophy?

      The list of atheist contradiction is growing every year: Its an anarchic rudderless unethical mess.

    • Richard1988 profile image

      Richard 2 years ago from Hampshire - England

      This is a great article. Hitchens works are a particular favorite of mine and always enjoy his debates. Very well written so I nominated for lens of the day, this would deserve it in my humble opinion.

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      Jean DAndrea 3 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      Very well written article.

    • alienbritt profile image

      alienbritt 3 years ago

      Fantastic Lens!

    • MarathonRunning profile image

      Martina 3 years ago from Croatia, Europe

      Good article, with some nice and argument points. I will be free to say that even quantum physicists can`t answer some questions and doubts even atheism. I`m always for the personal right to believe in what someone think is right for him if that doesen`t mean underestimating another human being.

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      sdying 4 years ago

      Nice Page - a good starting point for anyone beginning to doubt their faith, or simply find out more about atheists.

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      neoglitch17 4 years ago

      Nevets, great introduction to the new atheism and also great clarifications for such common misconceptions. I wanted to add that near-death experiences are just hallucinations produced when not enough oxygen is reaching the brain. That's it.

      Keep up the good work! :D

    • HomeDecorKnight profile image

      HomeDecorKnight 4 years ago

      Good lens with good information, like the lens.

    • HomeDecorKnight profile image

      HomeDecorKnight 4 years ago

      Good lens with good info. Thanks for sharing it.

    • fincasquindio lm profile image

      fincasquindio lm 4 years ago

      This is the atheist's bible! Thanks for sharing. Good luck =)

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      spot-ify-73997 4 years ago

      Great Lens!

      However, I must take exception to being considered an Agnostic. I most certainly am not. I am as certain as humanly possible... 99% certain that there is no "creator". No gods, God, ghosts, souls, ghouls, vampires... Of course, you get the idea.

      Agnostic, always seems to mean, fence-sitter, bet-hedger, to me. I'm neither. I'm an Atheist, yes even a "New Atheist" or "Militant Atheist".

      I think it's high time Atheists stood up to Religion and it's influences on every aspect of life and say, 'enough is enough!'

    • danielmccarthy lm profile image

      danielmccarthy lm 5 years ago

      What a massive lens. I was about to write my own lens on atheism so thought I'd look around to see what's already out there. Well done! Haven't read all of it but definitely will.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

    • oxfordian profile image

      oxfordian 5 years ago

      I was always amazed when religious people say that without religion, people wouldn't know right from wrong or would have no reason to do the "moral" thing. More atheists give more to charities and are more tolerant than religious people ... and they are that way without the incentive of "heaven" or any other kind of reward from a god. They do those things because they believe it's the right thing to do.

    • Elsie Hagley profile image

      Elsie Hagley 5 years ago from New Zealand

      This is a great lens, with lots of reading. I do not have the time to read it all now, but will bookmark it and return at a later date. You have some good questions and well explained answers. Very interesting.

      Blessed.

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