Some of us have always been atheists. Some of us are moving toward atheism and the changes can be hard to accept.
Having distinguished ancestors is nice, but how distinguished is pond scum? What's okay about being their descendants; what's not okay?
The xianity I knew--a fall from grace, eviction from an idyllic garden, original sin, valley of tears, sweat of our brows, and more--led me toward a serious pessimism. With pond scum ancestors I can be optimistic. Cautiously so, impatiently so, but optimistic.
I think understanding all that science currently has to offer from the origins on the universe, the theory of evolution, the eventual heat death of the universe - they give us much to ponder on - whilst we come to turns with our own insignificant time alive on this small green dot, called earth.
I like Carl Sagan's quote along the lines of this is what hydrogen atoms do given 14 billion years of time. Why stop at pond scum? Human beings arising as complex systems from the raw materials of matter, energy, and information - that's plenty distinguished for me. "We are a way for the universe to know itself."
This Symphony of Science video celebrates our "pond scum" heritage.
Beautiful! Thanks for sharing, Ruth!
Tom, I'd recommend reading Richard Dawkins' Unweaving the Rainbow.
Here's an excert right up your alley:
How about asking the question of Christians who believe that God created man from dirt: How distinguished is dirt? Certainly less distinguished than pond scum. Pond scum (and I'm being facetious...anyone who knows anything about abiogenesis knows pond scum is inaccurate) overcame incredible odds to evolve.
The Dawkins I read a few years ago was coldly logical. In this clip he's almost a romantic. My congrats to his scriptwriter.
Yeah, that's a good question for xians. They can recite their agreement; can they feel its implications?
What were the difficulties that pond scum overcame? Were they greater than the difficulties that innumerable other life forms overcame?
Pond scum? Hmmmm, let's see. It stinks, it bothers other people, it consumes fecal material. OMIGOSH!!!! I'm descended from conservative, evangelical, Republicans!
No one in my ancestral lines that I know of was any more distinguished than pond scum, although I suspect that the parents and grandparents I knew and loved had more complex personalities. But I'll admit I don't quite know what you mean by distinguished!
I adore my cats, and often remind them that they are my far-distant cousins -- the resemblance is unmistakable.
So why should I discriminate among any of my ancestors and relatives? LOL!
I´m very proud of my ancestors! Who could imagine that pond scum had the stamina to evolve like it did! And another good thing is this: xtians divide the living world so that people were apart in a class of their own, I always hated that. As an atheist I can see relatives in all living things and feel at home.
Chris Breman's answer is absolutely correct. If humans have progressed to today's status from such modest bigining, then it is obvious that 60.000 years from now, they will evolve in to far superior beings. Why some one, atheist or not, should be ashamed of such a great potential for growth? Why should anyone be proud of incestuous growth?
"it is obvious that 60.000 years from now, they will evolve in to far superior beings."
This is not true at all, evolution is not about creating smarter, faster or superior beings. Evolution is about adapting to the environment. There is no force guiding evolution to more superior beings, there is just adaptation and extinction.