Scientist Joke
Regurgitated
Nate

This letter is posted in <PRE>Preformatted Text</PRE> to show precisely how we received it.

Graphic Rule

From: "Positive Atheism Magazine" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
To:
Subject: Re: Positive_Atheism_Letters_Section
Date: Saturday, October 21, 2000 5:02 PM

This thing looks like it has made the rounds since I last saw it -- judging on the lack of formatting. It's still as disgusting as ever, though, because it misrepresents the scientific position, and then proceeds to refute the misrepresentation rather than tackle the scientific position itself.

To respond to your questions, the Inflationary Big Bang Theory sufficiently explains the existence of the universe. This universe needed no energy to get going, so no god is needed to explain the existence of the universe.

This universe just happens to have the characteristics that produced stars that burn for long enough to produce the atoms more complex than hydrogen and helium, and has been around for long enough for the star that we call our Sun to have formed from the residue of previous stars that had lived through their life cycles. No god is needed to explain the existence of dirt. Gravity and the characteristics of hydrogen, the most basic and most prevalent chemical element, explain the existence of stars.

Our Earth happens to be the right distance from our Sun to have given self-replicating molecules a better than average chance to form and to thrive. Early on, there was no oxygen in the atmosphere; that was formed by the earliest organisms. These organisms replicated and a few of them mutated. Those that mutated to a disadvantage died off without having a chance to replicate. Those that mutated to an advantage survived and replicated. Natural selection does not merely explain why organisms appear to have been designed, natural selection is itself a method for design. Yes, we were designed -- by natural selection.

Only very recently (two million years ago) has a species emerged that can ask such questions as you pretend to ponder. (I say pretend because it seems as if you are not honestly seeking my opinion but simply trying to trip me up.) In fact, one species, Neanderthal, had a neocortical cavity that had a ten percent larger ratio to brain weight than ours does, indicating that she had the potential to be much smarter even than we are. We are not descended from Neanderthal but are a cousin species with a common ancestor. Neanderthal, though, died off, perhaps because the aggressive and murderous Homo Sapiens was too much for her. We have ample evidence that Neanderthal tended to be peaceful, and have recently discovered evidence of a Neanderthal funeral, of sorts, where flowers were placed on the grave of a deceased Neanderthal by the fellow Neanderthals.

Unfortunately, during the last one percent of Homo Sapiens's existence, we began to form cities. One very effective method was discovered for keeping the populace in line and for squelching rebellion: superstition and organized religion. What happened is this: Those who tended toward credulity and toward conformity were rewarded by the state with the chance to reproduce. Those who tended toward critical thought were sometimes banished but more often they were put to death. Either way, those of us who questioned the state religion were killed off, and our traits were not passed on within the gene pool as readily as those who tended toward credulity.

Thus, we can see why in this day and age people believe almost anything they hear, so long as it comes from an authoritative source. And I understand why some would even go so far as lie to someone just to justify their own credulity. It's much easier than doing your own thinking, and our gene pool is chock full of the genetic tendencies toward believing what the authorities tell us. Only very recently (300 years) have we developed the tools wherein we can begin to overcome this tendency: scientific method. With this method, all claims to knowledge are up for grabs, and anyone is qualified to try to overturn even an entire body of knowledge if she or he can present sufficient evidence. We offer our opinions up to public scrutiny, and this way we can be assured that we have done the best we could in trying to discover the truth.

I have no problem with any of this, and I'm sorry that you do.

Have a nice life. As far as we can tell, it's the only one we get.

Cliff Walker
"Positive Atheism" Magazine
Five years of service to
     people with no reason to believe

Graphic Rule

Graphic Rule

From: "Positive Atheism Magazine" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
To:
Subject: Re: Positive_Atheism_Letters_Section_#2!
Date: Saturday, October 21, 2000 8:20 PM

How comes I could smell this a-comin'? How comes I thought there was a trick a-brewin'?

Tell you what: I'd be glad to discuss with you the existence of a god. Here's the deal: If you claim that a god exists, you make the case for that god's existence. If you can make the case with me, that is, if you can come up with an argument that is so self-evident that we both see it clearly, then I will convert to theism. If you cannot come up with such a self-evident case for the existence of your god, we agree that you don't have sufficient reason for believing that your god exists, and thus you agree to renounce your faith. To reiterate: I'll convert to theism if you can make a case that is self-evident (on the level of proving that the Sun exists); you agree to renounce your faith if you fail to make such a case.

I will be happy to discuss your god-claim with you under these terms. However, it is my policy not to engage in any activities outside my field. Debating is outside my field, and I choose not to engage in that activity. If you wish to debate a skilled sophist, I suggest the debating club at your local college. There you will find people willing to argue for a cause they don't even believe, and there you will find people who are so skilled at debating that they can argue that the Sun doesn't exist and still win the debate. Another group I might recommend is the Flat Earth Society. These people are much more skilled at debating than they are at making observations about our world. You might like them: they are very devout Christians who interpret the Scriptures so literally that they maintain that the Earth is flat and has a lid on it -- just as the Bible describes it.

Cliff Walker
"Positive Atheism" Magazine
Five years of service to
     people with no reason to believe

Graphic Rule

Material by Cliff Walker (including unsigned editorial commentary) is copyright ©1995-2006 by Cliff Walker. Each submission is copyrighted by its writer, who retains control of the work except that by submitting it to Positive Atheism, permission has been granted to use the material or an edited version: (1) on the Positive Atheism web site; (2) in Positive Atheism Magazine; (3) in subsequent works controlled by Cliff Walker or Positive Atheism Magazine (including published or posted compilations). Excerpts not exceeding 500 words are allowed provided the proper copyright notice is affixed. Other use requires permission; Positive Atheism will work to protect the rights of all who submit their writings to us.