Debunking the web, one uneducated corner at a time.

Month: May, 2013

My monologue tonight on why no one needs to worship a deity

Tonight, on Twitter, I asked a very straightforward question of a Muslim who argued that Islam provides a way for others to be good that is needed in this world.

He explained that in his faith, people should donate 2.5% of their savings that go to help the impoverished. And once, around 700 CE, this method eradicated poverty from one country. So, I asked the user on Twitter this:

If your god created the universe, why can’t it just create what the people need instead of having others provide it?

Unfortunately, he kept sidestepping this question by saying such things as this world’s a test to see whether people follow that god’s commands, and that god works by using others instead of being direct, and so forth. He insisted that this god would reward those who did well, by giving them whatever they wished after they died.

I followed up with an explanation as to what I was getting at with this question:

If your god created the universe, why can’t it just create what the people need instead of having others provide it?

If your god doesn’t exist, it makes sense that others have to act as proxy. If your god’s not powerful, it makes sense…

If your god doesn’t care, or no longer concerns itself with humans, it makes sense. But not if it’s the creator who loves us…

Once you realize that it’s just people perpetuating “god” as an entity through these diversions of reality, you see the futility of religious belief. And people will use others’ beliefs to get what they want, like donations…

I then asked a very direct, and carefully worded, question:

Is there any difference in how the world appears to work, if a god is testing humans, and if there’s no god at all?

Unfortunately, he kept going off on tangents trying to answer different questions, but I told him to read that question aloud and answer only what was asked. He finally responded that there was no understandable difference.

I then made sure that he understood what I was getting at, so I asked him,

Okay, so the only way you could foreseeably tell which one of those proposals could be true, is after one’s death, right?

To which he finally admitted, yes, that was the only way. Next,

Okay. And there very well could be another option that’s right, and “A test of the Islamic god” and “no god at all” could be wrong?

Once he agreed that my points were valid, I laid it out for him in this monologue that took up quite a few tweets:

Okay then. With all of that, and there’s no way to tell until after you die, why then believe any of it at all? Why not be good because you can be good, not because your religious beliefs say you should do this or that? Why would you want to worship an entity which constantly tests you, doesn’t seem to do anything, and won’t help others…? Why would you want to waste any of your time worshiping what may not exist, instead of making a bigger difference in this world? And, if that god does exist, but was this much of a useless jerkoff testing you, why would you want to be around it later? Promises of great things after you die, that can’t be verified until then, seems like a con man’s way of stringing rubes along. And since there are thousands of possible gods already, with most having similar reward systems, they can’t all be right, but it is possible that each and every deity/reward/religious system could be wrong. So why not just be good to be good?

Consider all of that, and then determine whether you’re living your life here and now, or for a reward that may not even exist?

And there you are.

Ernst Mayr quote-mined full passage

A creationist by the name of Peter Allan (@centristslife) argued that evolution is wrong by quote-mining Ernst Mayr.

His quote mine? “What one actually found was nothing but discontinuities. intermediates between species are not observed”

Here’s a better context of that quote from Ernst Mayr’s What Evolution Is.

New types often appear quite suddenly, and their immediate ancestors are absent in the earlier geological strata. The discovery of unbroken series of species changing gradually into descending species is very rare. Indeed the fossil record is one of discontinuities, seemingly documenting jumps (saltations) from one type of organism to a different type. This raises a puzzling question: Why does the fossil record fail to reflect the gradual change one would expect from evolution?

All of his life Darwin insisted that this is simply due to the unimaginable incompleteness of the fossil record. Only an incredibly small fraction of organisms that had once lived are preserved as fossils. Often the fossil-bearing strata were on plates that were subsequently subducted and destroyed in the process of plate tectonics. Others were strongly folded, compressed, and metamorphosed, obliterating the fossils. Only a fraction of the fossil-bearing strata is presently exposed at the Earth’s surface. But it is even highly improbable that any organism ever becomes fossilized at all, since most dead animals and plants are either eaten by scavengers or decay. They become fossilized only when, immediately after death, they are buried by sediment or volcanic ash. Fortunately, occasionally a rare fossil is found that fills the gap between ancestors and modern descendants.

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