Let me ask you a question. Is there life in our galaxy apart from us? What is your answer? Yes? No? Or is it "I don't know". Religious folks around the world fear this statement. They have nightmares about "I don't know". Religion restricts this as a viable answer. This is why many people shy away from science. They fear the unknown. Whereas I feel "I don't know" is exciting and challenging. It gives my purpose to learn.

Religious people fill the void of "I don't know" with god and they believe this is ok but really it is a cage. It keeps these people from actually acquiring the truth or accepting that the technology or the knowledge we have at this time does not allow us to find the definitive answer yet.

Then there are other things that plague the world. Things that don't follow a formula such as evolution. We know that if you drop a ball it will fall towards Earth and that is comforting to some people because it always behaves the same. But evolution doesn't happen the same. Snakes, crocodiles, sharks, etc have gone relatively unchanged for millions of years but humans, birds, insects, etc change very rapidly on the evolution time scale. Because no organism evolves in the same way at the same speed it sees very chaotic to some which makes them uncomfortable.

I would really like you to add to this idea. I truly think this has a lot to do with the fear of science.

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I think religion is mostly based on fear. I think fear of the unknown about death is a big part of it. I don't know how many times I've heard Christians say "are you so sure that God doesn't exist that you are willing to risk burning in Hell for eternity". They somehow don't seem to grasp that I don't believe in Hell.

I think a lot of it is fear of change as well. They are comfortable in their beliefs. It is what they know and it is constantly reinforced because they surround themselves with people who are like-minded.
As far as I can tell, there is nothing wrong with the internal logic that leads to non-theism. It isn't that our arguments aren't sound, it's just that they aren't emotionally appealing. If only we could find some way to make people more comfortable with ambiguity then I'd wager that we would see an increase in the number of atheists in the world.
heh heh , aint that the truth >>>> "They somehow don't seem to grasp that I don't believe in Hell."

i recently heard the argument that technology has not found a way to measure that god exists. This is referring to the early days when we didn't know what bacteria was, then scientists discovered it. The argument is that we will catch up and have the technology someday. Man, this is sure stretching logic. I can't get over the jumping, ducking, diving, etc. to explain their beliefs. I mean, i don't think i could be that good at it. Maybe, since the logic portion of their brain is shut off, the b.s. portion is in full force. I don't think i'll ever stop being amazed at seemingly normal , smart? adults believing in something similar to santa. It's really amazing when you get to step away and look at it.
Yes, there seems to be a total disconnect between the religious part of their thinking and all the rest of their thinking.

>>"It's really amazing when you get to step away and look at it."

I think it is funny when Christians criticize Mormons or Scientologists for their "wacky" beliefs, but have no problem believing that a guy lived inside a whale for a few days, two of every kind of animal fit on one boat, that people used to live 900 years, there was a burning bush that talked, a baby was born to a virgin, women were created from the rib of a man (who was himself created from dust), and that all humans are bad because the rib-woman was convinced by a talking snake to eat fruit from a magical tree.
and that knowledge = shame of being naked
Rather I think, shame of what we truly are, since nakedness often is supposed to reflect the "true side". What is a human? though, is a very broad question.
I think that people like to believe in a god because they don't like the concept of the universe being indifferent to them and/or they want the assurance that certain values which they have eg love, kindness etc are somehow written into the universe. Their belief in a god may or may not lead to a hostility towards science. Some people I know who believe in a god are interested in science and are okay with the fact that there are questions about the universe which remain unanswered. Theists who are hostile to science probably are so because it contradicts certain tenets of their particular religion, and this brings into question the remainder of their religion, which they are reluctant to give up because they have an emotional attachment to it for the reasons which I mentioned above.
This is a quote I used in an earlier blog post which describes theist hostility to science perfectly -

For fundamentalist Christians like Mackay, this is the Armageddon debate, the row to end all rows. His logic seems simple and indestructible. Anyone who declares God didn't create the earth in six days is setting off a chain of explosions that start at the very base of all Christian thought, bursts up through the architecture of its parables, prophesies and gospels and ultimately blows off its roof in a vast Satanic mushroom cloud. "How do you get rid of God ?" Mackay asks. "You attack his authority - and his authority is that he created earth."

Would You Believe - SMH Good Weekend, 23/9/08, Will Storr
I think the reason Christians are so hostile to the Theory of Evolution is that it is a direct threat to the literal interpretation of the Bible. After all, if Evolution is true, that means the Biblical account of Adam and Eve is not true. If there is no Adam and Eve, there is no original sin. If there is no original sin, then there is no point in the story of Jesus dying on the cross.
Very well said...Aand I agree with this 100%...This should,in fact be put on posters and t shirts and sold to the general public...Truer words have never been spoken.
Is there life elsewhere in the universe? I'd say I hope so. We can't be it, in my way of thinking.
Right on man. One of the fundamental things that distinguishes believers in the supernatural from those with a natural world view is the ability to see a complex and seemingly inexplicable reality in the world and simply say "I don't know."

The problem is really marketing. If you say "I don't know," it's perceived as admitting defeat. If someone else poses and answer of any sort, even a bad answer, it's perceived as superior to no answer at all. This is particularly a problem among the believers... This makes it extremely difficult when trying to communicate a perfectly reasonable concept like 'science hasn't figured everything out yet'.

This 'god of the gaps' concept is codified by the supers by the dot and circle exercise. They draw a circle and put a dot in it and say "this circle is all knowledge and this dot is what we know, so how can you say god doesn't exist?"

What then often happens is that the discussion degenerates into an argument about who has the burden of proof. And then we have to decide whether "god exists" or "god doesn't exist" is a positive assertion about the world that requires proof. By this time, I have invariably lost interest in the conversation.

What was the question? Oh yeah. Is there life in the universe? Carl Sagan addresses the issue best - "almost certainly yes, statistically speaking, but there's no reliable evidence of any sort of existence and certainly not of contact."

Jason

Jason
I've been thinking about that phrase lately. I remember being taught at some point that it's okay to say "I don't know" (usually to be followed by "let me find out for you"), and it's stuck with me. Because I have a very curious 5yo who asks a lot of questions I find myself saying it more and more. But more than that, I'm trying to teach him that we don't have all the answers to our questions and that's okay. It's more important that he be curious and looking for the answers is often like an adventure.

It's more comforting to say that God did it, and we can't know why because he's mysterious. We like to have labels, neat and tidy. This is xyz, this happened because of abc and so on. When we can't fully attach those labels we feel unsettled. I think what amazes me is that, no matter how comforting the idea of god might be to them, they simply aren't curious enough to look further for the truth.

Evolution holds a special fear because it shows that we are no more meant to have dominion over this planet than any other creature. That we are as fragile as the mighty dinosaurs and could at any time be wiped off the face of this planet is humbling. (excepting those who are sure of the rapture of course.)

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