What Atheists Believe
Concerning Creation Of World
To: "Positive Atheism" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Tuesday, January 16, 2001 3:48 AM
hello! my name is sarah. i am currently doing a project about the creation of the world from the viewpoint of several religions and belief systems and all that. anyways. i have been doing some web research and have found quite a bit of information concerning the whole idea of atheism. i was wondering if you could give me some information about what atheists believe concerning the creation of the world? preferably before wednesday! thank you!
From: "Positive Atheism Magazine" <email@example.com>
Subject: Re: WebMaster:_Positive_Atheism_Index
Date: Tuesday, January 16, 2001 8:23 AM
Since atheism is the absence of theism, atheists would seek to explain origins through natural means, that is, without resorting to tales of supernatural beings.
There are three basic views of the origin of the Universe and of life: (1) that the universe has always been here and that a superior race of extra-terrestrials has been experimenting on this planet, and they occasionally come by and adjust the DNA of various species, making it appear that life has evolved (Timothy Leary; Chariots of the Gods; the Raëlians) -- but no such aliens have ever held a press conference; (2) that one or more of the 5,000 or so gods, goddesses, and their consorts created the universe and life through magic or other means, giving no explanation as to why life appears to have evolved -- but no such gods, goddesses or consorts have ever held a press conference; (3) that the Universe started as an actuality (similar to a positron-electron pair, which has been shown to be able to manifest itself out of nothing and to assimilate back into nothing) requiring no energy or order, and escaped into a vacuum; that the elements formed thereby collected into stars, allowing complex elements to form through heat, that countless of those stars blew up, releasing dust that eventually collected to form planet Earth, and that conditions on this planet eventually became such that self-replicating molecules formed, mutated, underwent natural selection, and here we are -- this is the prevailing view among physicists and biologists, who have held numerous press conferences and published innumerable papers in moderated journals.
The key to understanding the evolutionists' position is natural selection: no evolutionist thinks that this all happened "just by chance." Any creationist who portrays evolution in this way is lying to you, and is lying for the purpose of trying to convince you that her or his position is one of truthfulness. This, in my opinion, is the most despicable form of dishonesty, and is very prevalent in creationist literature and propaganda. We have a wonderful study on the various methods of rhetorical trickery and other forms of dishonesty used by propagandists. I highly recommend reading this section of our FAQ, "Sophistry: Logical and Rhetorical Fallacies; Faulty Reasoning," to familiarize yourself with the ways in which various propagandists have been able to pull snow-jobs on the public.
You can find out about creationism by visiting any of the tens of thousands of websites designed to convince people that creationism is truthful (not that creationism is easily defended -- they must go to great lengths to try to convince people that they are telling the truth; hence, the tens of thousands of websites).
You can find out about Raëlianism at the Raëlian website.
You can find out about evolution at the website of the National Academy of Sciences and any number of other websites designed to show the dishonesty of the creationists who seek to teach their narrow views of religion in the public schools.
I have a interview with particle physicist Victor Stenger, who provides the simplest and most convincing case for the formation of the universe without using any energy. This is probably your best bet as an overview of how the Big Bang probably happened and why the Big Bang needed absolutely no "creator" or "intelligence" to do what it did. Stenger also has a lot of material on his website. As for evolution, the easiest and most fascinating read, I think, is anything by zoologist Richard Dawkins. His most famous book is called The Blind Watchmaker.
Finally, we have an article, "Science, Religion, Politics, Law, and Education," by Tim Berra, overviewing the political ramifications of teaching religion (the fundamentalist biblical view of creationism, since only Christians seek to inflict their creation myth on the rest of us by teaching it as science in the public schools). We also have a wonderful piece, "Bonobos and Biologists," by Robert T. Pennock, which compares how science sees life versus how one popular creationist group sees life.
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