Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Open letter to a talk show

I sent this letter to the Rob Arnie and Dawn show:
Dear Rob, Arnie, and Dawn,In regards to your comments about deism, agnosticism, and atheism, I have a couple of comments.Agnosticism is the position that the existence or non-existence of God is unknowable. Agnostics hold that both sides of the argument are unprovable and therefore they try to stay out of the argument. This is silly. Take a side. Atheism wins.It all comes down to so-called "first causes".
Theists (such as Dawn and Osama Bin Laden) claim that a powerful being made the universe (the first cause) and continues to tinker with it on a regular basis by answering prayers and raining his wrath on the west. This is silly and contrary to observable fact. If God happens to be falsifying the facts to make the world appear that he does not exist, he is doing a good job and should get a gold medal in Olympic hide-and-seek and probably wants us to not believe in him (and he is a dick).
Deists, like you, claim the universe was made by some powerful being or force (the first cause) and that he did it correctly and has no need to tinker with it through answered prayer or vengeance on the unfaithful. This is the position held by many of the founding fathers (those who were not theists) although at the time they would probably have been labeled atheists. This argument usually takes the form: Complex and wonderful things had to have been made by something more complex and wonderful, such as God. This is illogical. If Complex things need a creator, then so did God, and so did God's creator, and so did God's God's creator and so on.
Atheism is basically the position that the Universe is it's own first cause. If God could have come from nothing or from himself (which is what deists and theists usually claim when pressed) then complex things can indeed come from nothing or from themselves. If complex things can come from nothing or themselves, why pretend there is another invisible and unknowable complex thing (God) behind the obvious complex thing (the universe). The fact that the universe is amazing and complex does not mean anyone was behind it. We will probably never have all the answers, but that does not mean we should start making stuff up.
There may be a God, and there may be a teapot orbiting near Jupiter, but without any evidence that holds up to actual scrutiny, there is no reason to believe in God or the teapot. Simply having strong feelings that there must be a Jovian teapot (or a God) is not sufficient proof for such an amazing claim. Show me the teapot, and I will believe in it (and the photos better not be faked).
Some atheists are very hard on religion. Much of the time that is because their friends or family will not leave them the hell alone about it (like mine). Sometime it is because they are still trying to shake the early childhood indoctrination they received (me too). Often it is because religious fundamentalists are trying to enforce their religions on them in one form or another (Intelligent Design in public school science classes). Sometimes it is because they like to argue (that's me, but I am getting more mellow as I age). Sometimes they think religion is actually bad for the world (9/11) and are trying to fight against it.
I think religion is like morphine. If you need morphine for the pain you feel, please take it, but stop trying to convince me that I need to get hooked as well.

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