Is ‘Not Knowing’ the same as ‘Not Believing’?

Yesterday I had a brief Twitter discussion with @facepalm333. The topic? Are you born an atheist? The statement arose ‘is not knowing the same as not believing?’ This stumped me for it is a very good question.

Having recently read The God Delusion and watching television series such as Root of all evil it is made clear that children should not be labelled a Christian child, a Muslim child and so on. We wouldn’t label children as liberal children, socialist children or conservative children, but why for religion? But are we born atheist, and specifically atheist?

We are all born with a lack of knowledge (except for the extreme basics like how to breath) but are we also born with or without any beliefs? We’re born not knowing (or believing) in the existence of a God but does that count as being born an atheist? It’s a blurry line I think. I would argue we are not born atheist because I feel that we need to be able to make a conscious decision about it, having looked at evidence. Yet dictionary.reference.com defines an atheist as ‘a person who denies or disbelieves the existence of a supremebeing or beings’. Now to deny we need to make a conscious decision, but is that so for the disbelief statement. If we’re born with no beliefs do we disbelieve?

I think this is quite a difficult question to answer, and with my lack of expertise I cannot offer an answer. I open the floor to debate…

Oh and Happy New Year to you all by the way!

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David Cameron and my lack of morality

David Cameron, henceforth to be known as pleb face for the remainder of this post, has enraged me yet again. Not on issues of Europe or the economy but on religion and morality.

Pleb face has stated that ‘The UK is a Christian country’ (a link to the news article can be found here) which is something reminiscent of America being founded as a Christian nation, which of course it wasn’t.  Apparently we in the UK have suffered a ‘moral collapse’ suggesting that all of our morals have gone down the drain. According to pleb face we need to re-instill Christian values and morals to bring us all back to normal.

Sorry but, what a prick! I am deeply offended by these remarks. Why pleb face thinks religious values can sort this out is completely beyond me. Firstly it’s only the minority who seem to have suffered from this ‘moral collapse’. Pleb face actually announced yesterday the measures for tackling troubled families. This is good, it gets to the crux of the issues, this is where part of the problem lays, along with things such as poor education. Get these issues sorted and you’ll find people will have decent morals, rational morals, morals not based on religion. I am a moral person. I wouldn’t murder someone, I don’t steal, I’m courteous, I help other where I can. I treat others how I would like to be treated, none of it based on religion. But according to pleb face I need Christian values. Really?

Secondly we are not a Christian country, we are a secular society. The 2001 census data used is deeply misleading. It has been proved that the majority of people when marking the ‘what’s your religion’ bit of the census tend to put what religion they’ve mainly be bought up with or that they think they are associated with, despite not practicing the religion or even believing in a God at all.

Pleb face also defended the role of religion in politics. Aaaah, we’re turning into America! Religion has NO PLACE in politics. AT ALL.

In conclusion then, I am a moral person that has no religious values. So just treat others how you would like to be treated. It’s got the majority of us doing alright you’ll find.

What does God do in his spare time?

As I’ve just started reading The God Delusion, I’ve found myself pondering more about religion than usual. Just how stupid it is basically.

I have some friends who are religious, not extremely religious, but religious nonetheless. They all accept the scientific method, believe in evolution, the Big Bang and so on (if so why they believe in God I don’t know). Thinking about this I came to a startling conclusion. God must have a heck of a lot of free time.

God initiated the Big Bang and set forth the clock of cosmic evolution. He would have been exceedingly bored for about 13.5 billion years until we came along and he could give us rules to live by, and so we could kneel down and worship him. What did he do with all that time? I usually got bored when I haven’t done anything for 15 minutes.

I almost think that, after pondering about this, if you believe in God, creationism makes a bit more sense – God created the Universe a few thousand years ago, made people and there wasn’t really much free time.

Ofcourse, creationism is a load of bollocks.

Thoughts?

What’s a Theory?

I’ve been meaning to write this post for quite some time. Recently I’ve had quite a few people (of the creationism side of Christianity) argue with me about certain things. One thing they say is ‘well evolution is only a theory’. This gets me rather irate. They flamboyantly say ‘theory’ as if it were some sort of guess or sudden thought that popped into someones head. This couldn’t be further from the truth! In this post I want to settle the matter and tell you what a theory actually is and what it means. Listen closely!

Everything is a theory! The theory of evolution, the theory of thermodynamics, the theory of quantum mechanics, the Big Bang theory…the theory of gravity! That’s right, even gravity, the fundamental force that effects all of us, every day, is a theory.

A theory doesn’t start with someone making an uniformed, rash opinion on something. A theory starts with things that have been observed. From these observables, a small amount of them to begin with, we can make a theory or indeed theories. In fact lets say 5 different people, at this stage, come up with 5 different theories from the limited amount of information provided. Let the experimentation begin.

Theories need to be tested. Experiments are set up to prove and disprove the theories. If you’re unwilling to try to disprove your theory then you’re really not open enough to critical thought. Our experiments, lets say, have whittled us down to two, perhaps opposing, theories. You must now change your experiments or make a new one.  This is an important part, the experiments need to be fine tuned. After this, when we get down to one theory, and there’s no other evidence to suggest otherwise we have arrived at an accepted theory. We commonly call these theories fact! Evolution is a fact, gravity is a fact.

In the future, near or distant, new information becomes available, new observables are found. We can now refine, re-tune, change our theories to fit with what’s observed. This is the beauty of science, ever changing.

Science changes its view based on what’s observed

I’m not suggesting a different, completely opposing view on evolution will be found, but it will be fine tuned. Like anything in science there are gaps in our knowledge and we work to find out what these are.

We journey from ignorance to knowledge

So please, when you  decide to argue, please, please be sure as to what a theory is as so to not make yourself look like a fool. Thank you!

Atheism Dries Up Your Wallet

I started off may years ago as a believer in the Christian God. The only reason, my parents took me to church as a kid. In my early teens I became a general theist, not accepting religion as such but believing in ‘a creator’. Then I found my great interest in science, agnosticism came then. About 2 years ago when I decided to sit down and really think things through I finally reached the only logical conclusion. Atheism.

We journey from ignorance to knowledge – Carl Sagan

You won’t be surprised to hear that this was mainly from my interest in science. Last year I got to the point where I wanted to know more, understand the science better, delve right into some of the really interesting stuff – I started studying at the Open University. By the end of this year I’m going to have spent nearly £1000 on courses over a year and a half period, and that’s purely because I’m interested. All I’m gaining from it at the moment is knowledge. And I’ll be spending a whole lot more over the next few years too.

So if you’re planning on saving money, become a theist.

This is intended as a jokey kinda thing. Don’t take it seriously!