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We are a worldwide social network of freethinkers, atheists, agnostics and secular humanists.

I really can't stand how this is written, but others might like her style. 


"Does God exist?" is a valid and relevant question. Here are my top reasons why the answer is a resounding, "No."
March 30, 2012

The following is an excerpt from Why Are You Atheists So Angry? 99 Things That Piss Off the Godless by Greta Christina. The book is available electronically on Kindle, Nook, and soon in print.

"But just because religion has done some harm -- that doesn't mean it's mistaken! Sure, people have done terrible things in God's name. That doesn't mean God doesn't exist!"

Yup. If you're arguing that -- you're absolutely right. And the question of whether religion is true or not is important. It's not the main point of this book: if you want more thorough arguments for why God doesn't exist, by me or other writers, check out the Resource Guide at the end of this book. But "Does God exist?" is a valid and relevant question. Here are my Top Ten reasons why the answer is a resounding, "No."

1: The consistent replacement of supernatural explanations of the world with natural ones.

When you look at the history of what we know about the world, you see a noticeable pattern. Natural explanations of things have been replacing supernatural explanations of them. Like a steamroller. Why the Sun rises and sets. Where thunder and lightning come from. Why people get sick. Why people look like their parents. How the complexity of life came into being. I could go on and on.

All these things were once explained by religion. But as we understood the world better, and learned to observe it more carefully, the explanations based on religion were replaced by ones based on physical cause and effect. Consistently. Thoroughly. Like a steamroller. The number of times that a supernatural explanation of a phenomenon has been replaced by a natural explanation? Thousands upon thousands upon thousands.

Now. The number of times that a natural explanation of a phenomenon has been replaced by a supernatural one? The number of times humankind has said, "We used to think (X) was caused by physical cause and effect, but now we understand that it's caused by God, or spirits, or demons, or the soul"?

Exactly zero.

Sure, people come up with new supernatural "explanations" for stuff all the time. But explanations with evidence? Replicable evidence? Carefully gathered, patiently tested, rigorously reviewed evidence? Internally consistent evidence? Large amounts of it, from many different sources? Again -- exactly zero.

Given that this is true, what are the chances that any given phenomenon for which we currently don't have a thorough explanation -- human consciousness, for instance, or the origin of the Universe -- will be best explained by the supernatural?

Given this pattern, it's clear that the chances of this are essentially zero. So close to zero that they might as well be zero. And the hypothesis of the supernatural is therefore a hypothesis we can discard. It is a hypothesis we came up with when we didn't understand the world as well as we do now... but that, on more careful examination, has never once been shown to be correct.

If I see any solid evidence to support God, or any supernatural explanation of any phenomenon, I'll reconsider my disbelief. Until then, I'll assume that the mind-bogglingly consistent pattern of natural explanations replacing supernatural ones is almost certain to continue.

(Oh -- for the sake of brevity, I'm generally going to say "God" in this chapter when I mean "God, or the soul, or metaphysical energy, or any sort of supernatural being or substance." I don't feel like getting into discussions about, "Well, I don't believe in an old man in the clouds with a white beard, but I believe..." It's not just the man in the white beard that I don't believe in. I don't believe in any sort of religion, any sort of soul or spirit or metaphysical guiding force, anything that isn't the physical world and its vast and astonishing manifestations.

Alternet

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Replies to This Discussion

No God made this work of art

Mar. 30, 2012

That's actually kind of cool. =)

I want a bathroom like this! But my floor would be painted blue, not pink.

The article is kind of too verbose for my taste. Is that why you didn't like it, Neal? Asides from that, her reasons do make a lot of sense, although basically they all go back to the first reason.

My mood when I read it didn't accept, "yup." Ruined it for me. =) 

She alwas does that. Not sure why. I guess she's trying to be colloquial.

Those that I know that say yup are usually not the sharpest tools in the shed. The article was fine, verbose like you say, but fine. 

I admire Greta's plainspoken logic and insistency.  Her style as a writer is not graceful like Dawkins's, nor patient yet forceful in its complexity like Harris's, nor elegant and incisive like Hitchens's, nor dry and genial like Dennett's, but instead it's deliberately direct, unadorned, and, above all, earnest.  She's quite succinct for the most part, and that makes her not only quotable but easy to digest, because her reasoning is so concise.  I wish she had tried a little harder to interest a mainstream publisher in her book, but when it comes to "militant" atheism, I think something of a backlash has been developing in the publishing world since GOD IS NOT GREAT. 

Yup. =)

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