1. notleia says:

    Ehhhhhhhhh.
    This seems coming at a bit cross purposes, because you’re coming from the position that there IS a “why” to something happening, and atheists/agnostics don’t — or don’t necessarily — assume that. Science is supposed to answer “how” and not so much “why.” The cliff collapsed because of erosion and gravity. Whether it was supposed to punish the people whose road it blocked is not a question in science’s purview.
    And I think most atheists are aware that religion in general/Christianity in particular has an emotional aspect, that it’s not just a collection of pre-science attempts to rationalize the world. They think that there is no divide between the spiritual and the psychological, that is to say, it’s all psychological. Mankind has a need for identity and purpose and comfort, and religion can and does provide that.
    And as a somewhat-related tangent, have you heard of the Flying Spaghetti Monster and its associated spoof religion?

    • R. L. Copple says:

      Exactly. So when science is used to deny a why or who, it goes beyond its boundaries of merely answering, or attempting to, the question of how. That’s pretty much my point.

      No, have not heard of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. For such to work, people need to perceive a basis in reality for it. Not too many are going to seriously invest their lives in a spoof, anymore than the religion based upon the Partridge Family.

      • notleia says:

        Wikipedia tells me it’s a more elaborate form of “Russel’s teapot,” that the burden of proof is on the people who make an unfalsifiable claim. Basically, the point is that the people who make the claim for a creator when there is no evidence that one is there for even necessary (I know there are arguments against this, and so do they. They [and I for that matter] don’t [always] find them compelling.) are the ones who are in the position of having to prove themselves.
        I know we had that argument about taking the position opposite another is also an assumption, but as far as science goes, this position of non-assumption is pretty well described as “default.”

        • R. L. Copple says:

          I’d likely talk about this as ignoring the possibility, especially for the atheist. Not proving to them He does exist.

        • dmdutcher says:

          The problem is that the other question so far is unfalsifiable as well. By that I mean that natural selection is enough to explain life on earth. There’s some subtle question shifting to avoid this fact and cast one side only as a Teapot when both really are impossible prove. Yes, natural selection can happen to a population over time, but for me way too many organisms are specially adapted to their environment to have that selection result in speciation without some intelligent guidance.

          I mean, even with guided evolution with something like dog breeds you get some serious issues that make transition beyond a mean fatal for the organism, and would make organisms hyper-specialized. There’s a lot of assuming that natural selection can do things that I think aren’t as possible beyond a certain limit.

    • bainespal says:

      And as a somewhat-related tangent, have you heard of the Flying Spaghetti Monster and its associated spoof religion?

      Yes, and the pink unicorn orbiting Saturn. How is it relevant? I don’t need a flying spaghetti monster to exist, and I don’t think that a flying spaghetti monster would provide the purpose that I need to see in the universe and in human life.

      • notleia says:

        EXACTLY. The atheists don’t find a creator relevant or necessary.
        But my point was that atheists are aware of the kinds of arguments that were in this article, and the spoof is one of their ways of answering that. There is no material proof that, if a creator existed in the first place, that creator would have been Judeo-Christian God and not an animate pile of googly-eyed pasta.
        (I’m still struggling with how much of this is devil’s advocate and how much is my personal view. I don’t believe in the “whys” of things so much anymore. And I accept evolution, and I can’t really stand the attempts to deny or disprove it/science in general anymore.)
        And I have to applaud Pastafarianism just for being a good parody. And creative.

        • bainespal says:

          There is no material proof that, if a creator existed in the first place, that creator would have been Judeo-Christian God and not an animate pile of googly-eyed pasta.

          I grant that calling the Creator “Judeo-Christian” is a little bit circular, or whatever the proper term for an argument based on an after-the-fact perception is. There was neither Judaism nor Christianity at the moment of creation. But calling God pasta would also be circular and after-the-fact, even if God had hypothetically been manifested to mortals as pasta. Pasta does not answer the human condition, unless maybe if I’m really hungry. 😉

          I don’t think Pastafarianism is very creative or clever. A mock religion that is far more creepy, and therefore more clever and more accurate in an upside-down sort of way, is Discordianism. I find it better to believe that ultimate order, and not discord or the nihilism evoked by the absurdity of the spaghetti monster, is the source of value and significance.

          • bainespal says:

            (Let me add that I’m not trying to be a pandering snob when I say “I find it better to believe…” I’ve been in a small handful of these kinds of discussions on the Internet, so I know the arrogant sermonizing that both sides usually use. I think my comment might have sounded that way. But I mean it. I find it better to believe. Like Mulder in the X-Files, I want to and need to believe.)

What do you think?