005: THE DEFAULT POSITION – a brief argument for atheism

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(a) Five out of five senses
(b) Subs in the park
(c) The default position
(d) Supernatural explanations or secular ones?
(e) Worst-case scenario

(a) Five out of five senses
The starting point from which to consider the ZINGcreed or the christian- atheist position is the conviction that man exists alone in a nameless void. I think of it as the human default position because it is what our 5 senses tell us is the most likely state of affairs. We cannot see or hear any god or gods out there, or “up there” or ” in the depths of our being” (pick your own metaphor.) We cannot touch god or smell him or taste him. That’s 5 out of 5 senses. This is the unpromising terrain on which people of all faiths have to build their belief systems. (i)

(b) Subs in the park
God may be there but it’s up to the believer to make a case and to provide the evidence – and so far they have not done this (as I hope to demonstrate later). Non-believers are under no obligation to prove that god does not exist. To say that they should is like saying that there is a submarine (god) in the Serpentine Lake in Hyde Park (the universe). The sub cannot be detected from the shore by any of our five senses but it could still theoretically be there; however it is up to the submarine believers to prove it, not for the non-believers to disprove it. Why should they bother? General experience and common sense suggest that the likelihood of its existence is very low. So it is with god.

(c) The default position
So the human default position is that humanity is alone in a nameless void. (Incidentally many buddhists would go along with that.) The only gods and devils out there are the ones we have invented ourselves that live in our heads if we let them. Likewise there is no heaven or hell, just our imaginings (think John Lennon.)

(d) Supernatural explanations or secular ones?
Neither is there anything divine about nature. If science has not explained something yet then it probably will soon. Thus drought, earthquakes, epidemics and death are natural phenomena, and not a sign of any deity’s displeasure, and praying to god to change things is a waste of breath. Our age is a secular one and we no longer need to accept our ancestors’ explanations for poor harvests or ill health. Not only has science made supernatural explanations superfluous but a scientist would ask “if god did cause an eathquake then how did he do it?” As far as I know the bible does not mention plate tectonics.

(e) The worst case scenario
Lastly, consider a worst-case scenario where Homo sapiens becomes extinct. Ask yourself -would god still exist then? I think not. It seems to me that as a purely human creation he must become extinct when we do.

These are arguments that I assembled and honed during a long career teaching science to teenagers. I never initiated the subject of God’s (non) existence – they did. This is my godlessness  gig.

Later I will examine in more detail the logical inconsistencies of christian ideas of god’s existence and highlight the gruesome nature of Jehovah as revealed in rarely-read verses in the Hebrew Testament (Old Testament) of the Bible. (OMG!)

Reference:

(i) As it says in Psalm 77 verse 19 “Thy footprints are untraceable.”

Image:
“God baby. He cries, He wees. He saves the world”  from See Round, the C. of E. paper for Herts and Beds. (You can always rely on the church to be tacky!)

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3 comments

  1. I agree, but…
    1. I don’t think we are alone. There are many other sentient living beings in the universe. No evidence in the scientific sense, but I’ve had past life recalls from off-Earth. OK, I am a sceptic. Still, it fits into a consistent world-view that works for me.
    2. There is indicative evidence of “people” who do not need to be associated with a body, for example the “glowing presence” or angel or “my grandfather’s spirit” reported by people revived after clinical death experiences.
    🙂
    Bob

    1. Hi Bob
      Interesting, but I don’t buy it personally. Once one starts believing in things that aren’t there in any physical sense, it all gets too spooky for me. Plus it makes a person more gullible to hucksters and liable to be taken for a ride. Still, as they say in France!
      Peter Turner
      !

      1. That’s fine. I am a sceptic by nature and training, but personal experience does count.

        On the theoretical basis, I’d find it incredible if us monkeys were the only self-conscious entities in the universe. It is just too huge and varied.

        I define life as an ongoing pattern of energy that is in dynamic balance with its environment, and reproduces its own kind. Sentient life is aware of its environment, and self-conscious life is aware of itself.

        None of this implies lice on a planetary surface. But even if we limit to that, there are billions of carbon-water-oxygen planets orbiting stars at about the right distance from a star. More and more are being identified within our galaxy, which is one of uncounted numbers.

        I don’t know that any hucksters could sell me anything though.

        🙂

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