Genesis Explained Scientifically

I like this film and much of what I see from the Skeptics Society. I’ve even been to some lectures sponsored by the group. However, I am often not a fan of Shermer on the subject of religion. I disagree with him on the correct skeptical position with regard to god. He believes the skeptics position to be agnosticism. I don’t see enough evidence to give any credence at all to that hypothesis. Consider these two.

God                      Fire-Breathing Dragon
======================== =============================
Much literature about    Much literature about dragons
god(s)

Makes a good film        Makes a good film character.
character

No evidence of any god   No evidence of fire-breathing
ever having existed.     dragons ever having existed.

So, exactly why do we give credence to one hypothesis but not the other? I give equal weight to all hypotheses for which there is not a shred of evidence. Hence, I am an atheist. Shermer calls himself a skeptic and has created the Skeptics Society. Yet, for some reason, he gives some level of credence to the god hypothesis, at least enough for doubt. Anyway, this film was quite good in my opinion and has no mention of atheism versus agnosticism, so does not bug me.

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7 Responses to Genesis Explained Scientifically

  1. Mr. Fusion says:

    I still fail to see why anyone prefers to be labeled an atheist, gentile, or infidel. In my oh so humble opinion, I’m normal.

  2. Hi Mr. Fusion,

    I’m not sure about those labels. I don’t really care. I wear lots of labels (environmentalist, liberal, antitheist, geek, etc). I think atheist is a tad off for defining someone by their non-beliefs. Gentile to me always meant Christian; is that not the case? Infidel is an obvious derogatory label pushed on both non-believers and believers of a “wrong faith” alike.

    For me, the label antitheist works best since I genuinely do oppose all theism. However, you’ll also notice my atheist link on the right hand side of my blog, linking to Dawkins’ “Out Campaign”. So, that label doesn’t bother me much.

    As for “normal”, that label might be among the ones that would bother me most. I am most definitely not normal. By my definition, neither are you. I’m just barely smart enough to understand the work of the really intelligent people on the planet, which I think you are as well. Not nearly enough of the rest of the world is even able to comprehend the really brilliant people on the planet.

    Normal people, IMNSHO, are boring, unintelligent, and irrational. (I include rationality separately as intelligence tests do not include it in the definition for which they test. After reading “What Intelligence Tests Miss, I no longer use the term intelligence to encompass all of the attributes of being smart.)

    I state again that I realize that I’m no Einstein.

    However, the average level of intelligence and rationality I see around me is mostly worthy of pity, and sometimes, especially when the intelligence is partially there but the rationality is not, worthy of contempt as well.

    Normal people are also professionally incompetent.

    Look around you in your day to day interactions with people. Regardless of one’s position, whether it be one that requires one to say “would you like fries with that” or one that requires one to say “I think you need brain surgery”, most people are incompetent at their work, at least here in the U.S. I admit that it is true that some jobs require more intelligence and rationality than others. However, the average level of competence across the board remains about the same.

    So, are you sure you want to opt for the label “normal”? I know I don’t. And, I have way too much respect for you to call you normal.

  3. I think that I understand what Mr. Fusion is saying. Not so much that He relates to the unwashed masses, rather that he doesnt define himself by his lack of belief in a god. This is a topic that many ‘atheists’ for lack of a better term, have been mauling over for quite some time. Even Richard Dawkins, who you link to, has talked extensively on the importance of labels.

    I my self don’t think of my self in terms of atheist or other anymore. I at one point was proud to take the label, and even now it describes me well, but just like Mr. Fusion, I have long since started considering it a non issue. I don’t dwell much on my disbelief in all the other things such as Zeus, why then should I spend any mental time on the jewdeo-christian god?

    On a different note, Misanthropic Scott, I really do like hearing you discuss stuff like this. I would enjoy more posts along these lines.

  4. Yes Tod, I agree in understanding what Mr. Fusion was saying. As I have had many debates with him in the past, or more accurately debates where he and I were on the same side against a mass of idiots people who think differently than we do, I know that he is far smarter than the norm, so do not want to call him normal.

    Perhaps a good term for one who neither believes in god nor really cares much about the subject at all would be rational, reasonable, or even reasoning. These would state that one is a critical thinker and neither influenced by nor interested in the influence of faith.

    What do you think? Would this be an acceptable exchange between a believer and a non-believer?

    Q: Do you believe in god?
    A: No. I’m rational.
    Q: So, you’re an atheist?
    A: No. I’m rational.
    Q: So, you’re an agnostic?
    A: No. I’m rational. I believe that for which there is evidence. I do not define myself by my disbelief in that for which there is none.

    Would that be a satisfying exchange?

    Personally, I will still identify as an antitheist because I do indeed spend time thinking about faith and its ill effects on humanity. And, I actively oppose it and am outspoken about my feelings on the subject.

  5. I often interact with religious people as well, and when pressed about the matter I would refer to my self as an atheist rather than anything else. The problem with being a ‘rational’ is that it would sound to others to be making a judgment about religion that the religious inherently disagree with. Religious people believe that they are being rational.

    Q: Do you believe in god?
    A: No. I’m rational.
    Q: So, you believe in god?
    A: No. I’m rational.
    Q: Right, thats what I’m saying, you believe in god because he is real.
    A: No. I’m rational. I believe in that for which there is evidence. I do not define myself by my disbelief in that for which there is none.
    Q: Ok, now your just confusing me.

    You see the problem, no?

  6. Tod,

    Yes. I see the problem. You’re almost certainly correct about how it would be taken. I’m just a trouble maker and would probably get a mild chuckle out of the encounter. So, you see, I really am an antitheist.

    I also have a burning desire (burning in hell desire some might say) though I’ve never done it, to walk into a Christian Science Reading Room and ask for directions to the laboratory.

    Q: Could you tell me the way to your laboratory?
    A: Excuse me?
    Q: Well, I’d like to be an independent observer of your scientific method. So, would you please direct me to the Christian Science Laboratory?

    I have no clue where the conversation might go from there.

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