Here is a youtube video I found somehow titled "5 Questions every intelligent atheist must answer". He's lucky I am in an obedient mood right now.
Question the First: "Aren't you using 'chance' in the exact same way in which you accuse Christians of using 'God of the gaps'?"
Yes (for all I know). There's just one key difference: "chance" can be observed and is consistent with extrapolation based on what we know of the underlying chemical and biological processes of life, whereas "God of the gaps" is using a unknown, unknowable entity as an explanation for the same thing based upon the fact that we don't know how else it could have happened. Saying that something was arrived at by "chance" isn't just a last refuge and stock conclusion that has no rational basis and that is jumped to whenever people run into a dead end. It is, in some cases, the only rational conclusion, since pretty much every process we can currently observe is directed by probabilistic factors and confined "chance".
Question Deux: "Why should there be something instead of nothing?"
Shoot me now.
There is something instead of nothing because we are something, and if there was nothing, there would not be something, and we would not be there to contemplate the nothingness. Basically, a non-existent person tells no tales, and a non-existent universe has no tales told about it. If you want me to go into the "how" of this, beyond the scope of the Big Bang Theory, then I can offer nothing but speculation. And just because your speculation comes pre-packaged with a church's stamp of approval doesn't make it hold more water.
Also: WTF is "moral order"?
Question Tres: "Where do you get your morals from?"
Same place as everyone else: conscience, upbringing, culture, and a dash of rational assessment of consequences for certain behavior. The morality definition offered up at the beginning of that section from an evolutionary perspective is actually quite good. Unfortunately, it seems that he is looking for that nice old "objective morality". He can keep on looking, because changing moral zeitgeists in countries that remained predominantly Christian for centuries gives us a good indication of just how immutable their objective moral codes are.
Question Quadrilateral [I believe that that is "four" in Portuguese]: "How did morals evolve?"
When humans started interacting with one another in order to survive, and personality traits and behavioral patterns that helped facilitate and stabilize group function became increasingly favored over "immoral" behavior that does neither, or the opposite.
No, no self-consciousness or awareness of the evolutionary processes behind it is necessary. Natural psychopaths will lose out to a naturally helpful, kind, and industrious individual in ideal social settings every time (with the possible exceptions of warrior cultures).
He mentions that a caveman would not feel guilty for killing a human in a neighboring group. This much is true. That's what happens when you get into groups that are competing against each other for survival. And it has been something that has been true even under religious codes against it (or that cleverly support such things as war and killing in self defense, while simultaneously condemning killing of any other kind). It hasn't been until relatively recently, in increasingly stable and open societies, that we have started moving away from those sentiments, and seeing all of our species as a unified group. But, we still have our hatreds and divisions nonetheless.
Question Five: "Can nature generate complex organisms, in the sense of originating, when previously there was none?"
Wow. You sure have a hard-on for abiogenesis. Okay, first off, we don't know. Second off, the fact that life hasn't come about on the select few planets we can observe isn't really a point against abiogenesis, so much as consistent with the fact that life came about in a chance process, and Earth just happened to be the rock in the right position to let life come about. And then he starts to babble on about "design", comparing a woodcut to nature. Why do those evil atheists stubbornly refuse to merge the concepts of natural and artificial together in order to haphazardly argue for the existence of a celestial blacksmith? WHY!?
The thing that was most remarkable about these questions is that they had little, if anything, to do with atheism. No questions about gods (or lack thereof) at all. It was all about clumsy attempts to find holes in non-creationist science, and trying to wrap his head around secular morality. It's a real shame. But, I guess they feel better about ranting about how the world had to have been "designed" because it looks "designy" rather than talking about whether there is any intellectual integrity in positing a "designer" due to that, or at all.
Could Atheism Replace Religion?
1 day ago