Top fundamentalist\creationist Christian responses to science, intellectualism, reason and empirical evidence. These are only common responses that have arisen within the short time I’ve really started using the internet to rape fundamentalists; there are, of course, countless other hilarious things that come up in conversation, and countless other hilarious proofs against God. This is a very small starting point, but it amused me.
1. “Biological life cannot come into existence from non-life.”
When attempting to prove this point, creationists often cite the theory of spontaneous generation being disproved by Louis Pasteur, wayyy back in the 1800s. What they don’t seem to understand is that the Spontaneous Generation theory was a near-medieval piece of reasoning concocted to explain, say, the formation of maggots in old meat; a thinking that became redundant very quickly. The currently held scientific theory on the origin of life from chemicals is abiogenesis (or at least, one of several theories, all of which are broadly similar), which is an entirely different theory to Spontaneous Generation. Simply put, abiogenesis is the extremely slow process of chemicals combining until they form organic, self-replicating molecules. It is not as clear cut as non-life\life. The combining of chemicals did not suddenly winnow fully-formed beings into existence - it merely started a billion-year long process towards life.
Creationists often scoff and attempt to persuade themselves that scientists really do believe the whole “lightning struck a puddle of mud and then life began” fairytale; see Ben "cockbag" Stein for a good example of this. The reality is long and complex chemical re-organisations. Since DNA is essentially different organisations of four different organic compounds (bases), each of which is formed of chemicals that were present in the primordial stages of the Earth, it really seems foolish to state that these chemicals could not accidentally form DNA in the immense timeframe available – especially considering scientists have synthesised organic molecules, including two of the bases of DNA, from conditions similar to early earth.
The theory of evolution is not the same as the theory of abiogenesis. Evolution does not attempt to explain the very origins of life. Christians will often use this as a diversionary tactic, trying to label evolution as defunct when it doesn’t explain origins of life; despite (as I’ve said) being unaware of the separate valid scientific theories that do explain it. Even when Christians have the facts explained to them, they will often fall back on the Incredulity Defence; “it’s impossibly complex, so it logically must have been designed.” Leading me to . . .
2. “The universe is clearly designed owing to the immense complexity of everything it contains.”
This is not an argument. Many creationists will wheel out incredibly large numbers that “prove” the impossibility of things happening by chance; all they prove is their own inability to grasp the fundamental concepts. They also fail to realise that the chances of something unlikely happening in a time frame of billions of years are actually quite high, when you realise that (as I said earlier) scientists have successfully recreated the synthesis of adenine and guanine (two of the components of DNA) in an environment similar to that of primordial Earth, as well as amino acids, peptides, and various other jazz that more or less prove the workability of the “life from chemicals” model.
3. “You make the argument personal.”
It’s quite difficult to maintain a fair and even-handed mentality when dealing with people so abysmally stupid. The cry of “ad hominem!” is a common one; not only is it easy to slip into being lofty and supercilious, it’s also fun.
Creationists make the mistake of thinking that an atheist arguing angrily and personally is negating their own points. Which is balls, of course. The notion that the debate needs to be carried out with respect is irrelevant. Creationists and their theories are not worthy of respect - there is no necessary fairness implicit in any debate with people who think that science and intelligent design are simply two different belief systems. There is science, which is the sum of human endeavours to discover the truth behind the universe, and there is every other alternative falsifiable hypothesis. The idea that you should be respectful to such people purely because of their beliefs is roughly on a par with respecting a rapist simply because he believes what he does is right.
4. “Scripture says so, hence it is true.”
Commonly, scripture is used as irrefutable evidence for a belief system. If you ask a Christian to defend or prove the bible, they will prove it with another quote from the bible; entirely failing to either logically explain or externally authorise what is nothing more than human writings. This argument becomes circular very quickly. It is at this point that the cries of “Look, I don’t need to prove anything to you – you’re going to hell if you don’t believe it, you don’t know anything about the bible so how can you judge it” start to appear. Naturally, it is folly to suggest that the bible contains the key to all our salvation whilst simultaneously maintaining it doesn’t need proof.
5. “Predictions prove the bible correct.”
Christians will point you towards various “fulfilled prophecies” from the bible to verify its authenticity. Upon checking them out, you will see that they are either wrong, “poetic interpretations”, or fulfilled in such a vague sense that you wonder how they could be considered as prophecies.
Rather than repeat myself, here is a section from one of my recent online entanglements:
I’ve just started looking through a list of fulfilled prophecies, and the original verses are so incredibly vague that only an idiot would assume they refer to specific events. Let’s take the very first one I found, about the destruction of the temple:
“Jesus left the temple and was walking away when his disciples came up to him to call his attention to its buildings. “Do you see all these things?” he asked. “I tell you the truth, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.”
That’s the bible quote. Now, I would be impressed if Jesus gave an exact time and date for the destruction, or specific details thereof. Nope! Nothing.
All Jesus has said is that the building will be demolished to the ground. That is hardly an incisive thing to predict, considering he left an open-ended timescale for it to happen in. I could predict that the house I live in will be utterly taken to pieces. In fact, I DO predict it, as it’s probably to happen at some point through structural weaknesses, natural disaster, fire, new housing . . .
Do any of these prophecies include specific details and dates, or are they all as vague as this?
Here’s a prophecy for you: “I say that the sky shall rain fire sometime before the end of the universe.”
Ignoring the fact that raining fire can be interpreted as many things – meteorite, lightning, falling planes – you notice that I’ve left an unspecified period of time for the fulfillment of this prophecy. It is almost certain to come true.
Likewise, when Jesus predicts that a building will not be left standing, he gives no time for it. He also gives no detailed reasons for the destruction of the building, or any specifics for the context.
This apparently relates to Palestine:
“The whole land will be a burning waste of salt and sulfur–nothing planted, nothing sprouting, no vegetation growing on it. It will be like the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboiim, which the Lord overthrew in fierce anger.”
Let’s go over a few points:
There are certainly plants and vegetation in Palestine
It is not on fire
There is a distinct lack of sulphur and salt.
6. “Miraculous happenings prove god.”
The common one is “How do you account for my friend suffering with brain cancer who prayed and was saved?” Clearly, this is accounted for by either cumulative medical treatment or natural remission of the tumour. When you ask Christians about all the cancer patients who died in agony without being saved (and a lot more of them died than recovered without external aid) they tend to go quiet.
7. “You can’t prove god doesn’t exist, therefore he does.”
It is a common misconception that the inability to disprove the existence of something is proof for it. By such logic I could claim that a huge penis lies in deep space, as no-one could prove me wrong; no scientist could state God doesn’t exist until the entire universe has been examined particle by particle. Scientists disbelieve in the man-made construct of God, since logically it makes no sense and there is no quantifiable proof.
8. “You don’t believe in God because of ego\pride\Satan\other.”
Various different Christians will justify atheistic views as not the result of free will and intellectualism, but rather something created externally or as a result of pride. Some say that it is Satan who makes us doubt; I find it odd that God’s greatest vanquished foe could still be in a position to alter our thoughts. Others say that atheism is a spirit, something which attaches itself to people and makes them think atheist stuff.
All this is an attempt to negate the intellects that apply themselves to destroying fundamentalism and creationism. If you truly believe that the people ranged against your beliefs are opposing you due to matters beyond their control, it makes them so much less threatening. Which only goes to show how threatening fundamentalists find atheists - that they have to fabricate external reasons for their disbelief.
9. “Science is flawed.”
In desperation, Christians will try to tell you that science is flawed; that radiometric dating is inaccurate and based only on assumptions, that evolution is full of holes. These are often the same Christians who will try to prove Intelligent Design through scientific methods, often with laughably catastrophic results. The cherry-picking of different scientific theories to support falsifiable evidence is a mainstay of Christian debate. Here’s a few examples of the ways in which creationists have tried to prove their own belief whilst disproving currently held science . . . with science.
“Evolution is a violation of the second law of thermodynamics.”
Christians often forget the second part of this law, which states that it is only applicable in an isolated system. The earth is not isolated.
“Since the sun burns fuel, it must be getting smaller; therefore it must have been bigger. If the earth was as old as scientists say, the sun would have been large enough to touch it! How could we have survived!”
This is simply a statement without any proof, as well as being demonstrably wrong.
“The biblical flood is explained by ice falling from the sky from comets.”
The fundamental physics are inarguable. The amount of water needed to flood the earth from biblical accounts, had it entered the atmosphere from space (in the form of ice or a comet) would have destroyed every living thing on the planet and raised the surface temperature to many thousands of degrees.
10. “Scientists don’t know why the universe began, so god must have done it.”
It’s true that we don’t know why the universe began. No-one does. But given the leaps in scientific knowledge over the last thousand years, it seems likely that we soon will.
Christians will attribute the big bang to God, and when asked “who made God?” they tend to respond with variations on the “he’s God, no-one made him, he makes the rules” line of reasoning. A clearer example of intellectual bankruptcy is harder to come by; proving the existence of an entity by gesturing at the universe that you can’t understand, and then abandoning your hypothesis when it becomes apparent that it is indefensible . . . so you merely say that the entity made the rules and is therefore outside the realm of human questioning.
11. “You ask us to prove our belief system, but all you’re doing is comparing your “faith” with ours!”
A good one. Religious folk will try and tell people that atheism is a position of faith in itself, which is clearly isn’t. Atheism is the refutation of god by the application of reasoning, empirical evidence, logic and intellectualism. Theists would and do say that atheists have faith in their own proof.
This view is neither more nor less than solid gold ass.
"Religion vs. atheism" is not two opposed belief systems. It is an unproved, unprovable and incoherent network of ideology and mythology vs. scientific and logistical proof. Theists need faith in their convictions; they can’t not. They therefore equate the passion with which scientists and atheists apply themselves to unravelling the mysteries of nature with “belief” or “faith”, when faith has nothing to do with science. Science is based on observation and proof and, when something is beyond reasonable doubt (like abiogenesis) filling in the gaps via deductive reasoning. Gravity doesn’t care if you believe in it or not. Science is the studying of natural processes and physical laws which exist and occur whether or not we understand them; the only faith involved is the faith in being able to uncover them.