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Sep 23 2012

Death of a God

I ran across Sacerdotus‘s article after someone asked me about “the atheism/god gene” that he refers to and I figure I could field the entire article to provide some context rather than quote mine just that section of the apparent interesect of genetics and theology.
God is Dead” these are the well known words of German Philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche.

“God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives: who will wipe this blood off us? What water is there for us to clean ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we have to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we ourselves not become gods simply to appear worthy of it?”

This is the full quotation from The Gay Science by Nietzsche. The idea is that science has killed god. That it has provided answers that religion claimed to have. That science undermined the established idea that all society was ordered by an all powerful all knowing sky wizard of your choice (Allah, Jehovah, Vishnu.). That we have to stand up and take responsibility and STOP following religious ideology and create a code of conduct based solely on humanity. To replace the rules and structure of religion with a construct t
hat is man made to provide purpose.


Some today believe this to be true.  With the advances in technology and science, man does seem to have become god and therefore has no use for this entity.  Moreover, Atheism seems to be gaining ground in regions of the world that at one point promoted Christianity.  God seems to be a thing of the past – an archaic explanation for the processes of nature and its existence.     

We have not become a god, we have become sufficiently powerful in our technology to realise that any unexplainable phenomenon we find probably has an explanation and that attributing such a phenomenon to pseudoscience or magic is a stupid idea. It is better to stand up and say “I don’t know” because that is intellectually honest than say that “x occurs due to magic generated through a deity”. When you realise that, God starts looking more and more like a literal deus ex machina. A being lowered to explain away difficult questions without providing a real answer. A being that tries to make difficult questions easy by giving a throw away answer. God is the Wizard of Oz, a mythical entity and a fake created by men who hide behind curtains and use the entrenched expectations of mankind to create the notion that they are closer to a divine being that probably does not exist.

It’s an imaginary friend for adults. A dangerous one whose “advice” often allows good men to do evil with a smile on their face knowing that the evil they perpetrate is excused and sanctioned by an authority beyond the ken of puny mortals.

Rosa Rubicondor on her blog “No Requiem For Dead Gods” cites the late Agnostic, Christopher Hitchens’ book,The Portable Atheist: Essential Readings for the Nonbeliever.  In his book, Hitchens presents his usual hyperbolic rhetoric.   He resorts to Appeal to Authority, False cause and Appeal to Ignorance.  This is nothing knew.  Those who claim to be Atheists (who are really Agnostics) always resort to fallacious argumentation to support their ideas. 

Not really, there is no appeal to authority in that book. Mostly it’s an appeal of reality from various authors writing about their experience with faith. Sacerdotus labours under the fallacy that his particular god is more real and legitimate than other gods. The one true god. He is an atheist in every case except for one.

Atheism is based of a simple notion. There is no empirical evidence, no circumstantial and no implied evidence for a god. In the absence of fantastic evidence for a fantastic claim one has to assume that the claim is invalid. If I claimed to have the cure for AIDS but refuse to demonstrate it, making the claim that I have the cure for AIDS is dishonest. If you claim to know that a god exists but refuse to provide evidence then you don’t know a god.

In reality, Atheism is a premise that can never be proven.  It must be taken on Faith, so to speak.  There exists no Atheist who can show that there is no God.  One must take his/her arguments an
d make a conclusion based on them.  In the end, they are just arguments, not empirical evidence that are falsifiable.
   

I don’t think Sacerdotus understands what evidence of a negative is. You can NEVER prove a negative conclusively. There is no evidence for unicorns existing, it doesn’t mean that unicorns NEVER existed, they theoretically could have existed. Science and by extension atheists who value science cannot conclusively state that there is no “god” because that’s not how it works. A lack of proof doesn’t mean a lack of existence.

HOWEVER, there is no empirical proof that god exists. Of any faith. There is no faith in atheism, it’s simply “There is no evidence for any gods, so I am going to live my life as if there were no gods”. I can categorically disprove the judeochristian god assuming the bible is 100% accurate since it means that we are a species that suffered two MASSIVE genetic bottleneck events in the last 7000 years and one extinction level event. The genetics disprove this and human like creatures have existed on the planet for close to 3 million years. Not 7000. Christian history is categorically wrong as is their creation mythos and if that is indeed the word of god, then reality doesn’t function ANYTHING like the way the bible says it does. If the theology is that faulty then it’s probably not divinely inspired because when I inspire people to do things, they tend to take down notes a lot more accurately.

There arguments that Christians use to support Jehovah also supports the existence of Shiva. Yet Christians don’t believe in the Destroyer of Worlds. 


Rubicondior writes: 

“Just as with those old, quaint gods of recent history, today’s gods will one day join that long, un-illustrious pantheon of old dead, once immortal and indestructible, now powerless gods that no one mourns, to whom no one sings songs of praise, in whom no one now has any faith, whose grave no one can find and on which no one would bother to put any flowers.”

  • Are these words true?  
  • Will the “gods” of today “join that long, un-illustrious pantheon of old dead?”   

Yes and yes. There are gods that have stood longer than christianity that have died out. It’s high arrogance to think that your god is anything special. And eventually all things must end. The belief in all gods will die eventually. 

Well first Rubicondior must expand on what “today’s gods” actually means. In today’s world, monotheism pretty much is the dominant religious force. That being said, there are no ‘gods,’ just a God. The world’s largest religions, Christianity and Islam both believe in One God. It is safe to say that this One God is the same since Islam borrowed heavily from both Judaism and Christianity. Similarly, Christianity is the child of Judaism.

It amazes me how Islam believes in the same god yet is a completely different religion. Okay, let’s assume that Islam follows the same god as Christians and is effectively the same faith… 

  • The question remains, will this God or the
    gods of other polytheistic religions die off?

Eventually? Yes. Even this dominant force will die out. It’s dying out as we speak. There are 250 MILLION atheists across the world. You think that’s bad? There are a further 900 MILLION non religious people across the world. 1.1 Billion people (AKA 1 in 6) don’t believe in a god or if they do don’t really follow a religion. It’s the two largest growing demographies. Faith is dying. Reason is striking a death blow against superstition while the hypocrisy of faith is exposed time and time again.

While I do not presume to speak for Islam, Judaism or the latter, I will speak on behalf of Christianity – particularly Catholicism. The answer to this question is NO.  

And why not? Here comes the misappropriation of science.

God or gods will never “die off.”  Hitchens and Rubicondior are obviously aloof to the science regarding the VMAT2 gene.  Hitchens was alive when the discovery of this gene was made public, yet to my knowledge he never addressed it.  Moreover, Rubicondior on her blog claims to be a “biologist,” so she should be aware of this study, yet she seems ignorant of it.  A search on her blog will produce no results as shown here on Sept. 22, 2012 at 4:50 PM Eastern Time.

There is a reason why religion stays away from science. Because science crushes superstition.

Study? VMAT2 stands for Vesicular Monoamine Transporter 2. It codes for a protein that is integral to membranes particularly in the brain where neuroreceptor monoamines such as serotonin, norepinephrine, dopamine and histamine from cellular cytosol to synaptic vesicles prior to release.

The idea that VMAT2 is related to “faith” is a contentious one mainly because there is absolutely no research into that. The idea of that is from a book by Dean Hamer which is pop-science and not a peer reviewed book. It is however an essential gene to survive. We can breed mice which are VMAT2 knock-outs and they tend to die a few days after birth. The lack of neurotransmitter is deadly. It’s a necessary gene for high order thought which INCLUDES being religious but also includes solving crossword puzzles, socialising and aiming a head shot from across a Team Fortress 2 map. Even Hamer (the goddamn author) disagrees with the notion that VMAT2 is a “god gene” pointing out it’s one of the factors of all faith including faith in sports teams and your girlfriend.

And EVEN if a god gene existed, it would not support the presence of ANY god. In fact it would indicate that faith is purely a delusion brought on by genetics. It’s not because we know what VMAT2 does and that lacking it will cause us to die because it is vital to normal brain function.

Menchen who died in 1956 was obviously unaware of this science and therefore I cannot label him as ignorant.  Had he lived today, his writing would have had to be updated to reflect the knowledge we possess regarding the VMAT2.

What Knowledge. We know what it does, it’s not a “god gene” any more than the gene for haemoglobin makes you believe in Dracula. 

The VMAT2 gene predisposes all human beings to belief in God and the supernatural. Contrary to the idea “we are born atheists,” this gene empirically shows that we are all indirect theists at conception, if you will.

http://jnm.snmjournals.org/content/51/7/1001/F1.large.jpg

The VMAT2 gene packs neurotransmitters into vesicles in the presynaptic cleft. And belief in something doesn’t matter. If everyone believes in something non-existent then everyone is superstitious, not the non-existent thing.

In light of this, God or gods can never be dead.  ”God” is hardwired into our genome.  To “kill God” is to kill us, or what makes us genetically human.

In light of this amazing discovery we have found out that there is a protein gate that packs neurotransmitters into vesicles. And belief due to this is purely pathological. It’s not indicative of reality.

No. It’s you scrambling around desperately trying to match something to your faith no matter how silly it to provide an ounce of validity.

Moreover, the comparison of the gods of ancient peoples cannot be applied to the One God. These gods were attempts by man to put into language and practice what the VMAT2 instructions give to the human being.

Clearly Sacerdotus hasn’t read any genetics or he would know what VMAT is and wouldn’t say things that are clearly wrong. This argument is one of fantastic racism. Clearly those gods were products of the VMAT2 gene (despite the VMAT 2 not doing that), while ours is real! What makes him think his god is not a figment of his imagination produced by the VMAT2 .

The Catholic Church does not devalue these attempts to define God. 

On the contrary, it’s system of missionary work and history of conversions often at the point of death while systematically destroying local culture has proven otherwise. In addition Sacerdotus implied that his god is real while everyone else’s is a product of biological chicanery and an organic mental disorder brought about by a fault in genetics.

Allow me to quote from the Catechism which explains why other religions and their “gods” are “valid” to a certain extent:
843 The Catholic Church recognizes in other religions that search, among shadows and images, for the God who is unknown yet near since he gives life and breath and all things and wants all men to be saved. Thus, the Church considers all goodness and truth found in these religions as “a preparation for the Gospel and given by him who enlightens all men that they may at length have life.”332″
CCC

Here’s my points

1. If he is unknown yet near then you how do you know he is unknown and near.
2. Again, if he is unknown then how do you know what he wants?
3. This is basically an admission that you don’t have ANY evidence for a god yet you INSIST that he does X, Y and Z
4. And it is pretty damn insulting to other faiths because it lives under the assumption that God’s name is Jehovah not Brahman.

The One God revealed Himself to man, first to the Hebrews and now to the rest of the world through Jesus Christ.  The difference between this God and the other gods is that this God is actually alive.  This God actually works in the world.  Those who believe do so not because of fancy theological arguments or dogmas but because they experience one way or another this God.

Really? Through Jesus? Surely an all powerful magical being would reveal himself across the globe saving countless individuals through empirical proof rather than the hearsay and gossip of a bunch of shepherds.

Oh you mean the difference between Jesus and Mazda and the Greek Gods and the Hindu Gods are that Jesus is alive and works in the real world unlike the bringer of fire, the various greek heroes such as Hercules and Hindu gods such as the Avatars of Vishnu. So the Hindu euphoria of faith is false while Catholicism is true? Prove it.

And you can feel the same kind of feeling standing on a terrace of a football match. It doesn’t mean that Manchester City is the holy land, it just means that you feel group euphoria.

 Whether Atheists like it or not, we are all wired to believe in God and to seek the supernatural.  Perhaps this is why Atheists are so fixated on Theism.   Anyone who does not care to entertain religious beliefs will not dedicate so much time and thought on them.

Actually most of us have real jobs that we do. Atheism is just something we are that we call upon to reduce religious intereference in normal life. 

  • Rubicondior labels herself a ‘humanist,’ yet why is her blog solely focused on God and religion? 

Don’t know. Don’t care. Maybe because it’s her blog?

  • Where are the blogs promoting clothing and food drives?  

Do not send food or clothing to India. I swear to Mancini! Send money. Money lets us buy food and clothing. And clothing? Give new clothes. You want to help, show poor people some respect. Don’t send them your cast offs. It’s insulting.

  • Where are the blogs promoting blood drives and bone marrow donations?

Atheists? Quite a few of us donate blood (I am a regular donor) and marrow. 

  • Where are the blogs promoting efforts that help humanity with its basic needs?

Mine does. Atheist blog encouraging charity.

Vmat2 is obviously instructing Rubicondior to ask questions – to seek God and the supernatural – otherwise she wo
uld not take so much time blogging on the topic.
 

VMAT2 also wants me to smack my head against the desk because of all the genetics being mutilated.

God is not dead.  God is alive and working in everyone, even Rubicondior.  God died already and came back, this is why Christianity is the largest and most  influential  religion ever to exist.  We killed God 2,000 years ago and He came back.  Even today, Philosophies have tried to kill God, but He comes back.  Atheists try to kill God, but He comes back.

Christianity is the largest and most influential religion on the planet because it’s filled with arseholes who destroyed culture and forced religion on others at the point of a sword or the end of a gun. It did so by destroying culture and society and pillaging nations to fund it’s growth. To attribute it’s spread to divinity is to understand that your god is a monster of rape, racism and pillage which is the foundation of the spread of christianity in the third world at the hands of armies and the parasites of priesthood.

God cannot be killed  in the same way that Harry Potter or Han Solo cannot be killed. Plot Armour and Fictitious beings do not die. 

God will not die.  What will die are speculative Philosophies based on hyperbolic rhetoric.  Atheism, which already has the lowest retention rate will be mourned by God and those of Faith. 

Yes, you are right. There will always be people who would rather believe in superstition than in reality. There are countless people on the planet who would rather believe that they are part of a special little club which has all the answers to everything rather than the reality.

We don’t know a lot of things. It’s no shame to admit your ignorance. Science doesn’t know everything. If it did, then it would stop. No. The people who claim to have ultimate knowledge are religions and religion has proven time and time again that it doesn’t have anything but the 2000 year old superstitions of people who would consider us gods. A god dies when no one is left to believe in him and he is forgotten and becomes a relic of history. In time that will occur to Jehovah. Who knows, in the future we may all think Tom Cruise is the one true messiah to save us from Xenu in the same way that 2 billion odd people believe in Jesus but it doesn’t change the fact that Tom Cruise is not a god and neither is Jesus. At best he was a real man at worst he was a fictional character.

And the highest retention rate of faith is in Hindus, maybe hinduism is more true than Catholicism. That’s the Sacerdotus logic for you…

14 comments

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  1. 1
    leonpeyre

    That’s an awesome takedown! It’s amazing what sh*tty logic presuppositionalism often leads to.

  2. 2
    Theist1

    You did not take anything down at all. You just recycled the same old atheist rhetoric in response to Sacerdotus’s blog posting. Nothing in your response challenges the writer’s points. You make claim and claim, but provide no evidence for them. It is an argument from ignorance response.

  3. 3
    Avicenna

    Not really…

    It’s simple. I say there is no god. When asked for evidence I point out that nearly everything attributed to a god functions through explainable phenomenon. Even if something isn’t explainable today, it doesn’t mean it won’t be tomorrow.

    The best example is the speed of light. People in the past didn’t think the speed of light was magic. Many simply said that light had such a high speed that they couldn’t measure it with the technology they had. We can.

    Now, you on the other hand are making the remarkable claim that there not only is another sentient and sapient species in the galaxy, but this species has the power to do magic and break the known laws of physics. You may believe in there being an entire species or just a single individual, but they are all associated with the ability of breaking known laws of physics. In addition they require blind faith, rote recitation of texts and obedience to laws they handed down thousands of years ago that have to do with things as bizzare and mundane as eating of beef, pork and shellfish. That these beings or being created the entire known universe through their/it’s magic and requires us to constantly thank them for it. That not only do you pray to this/these entity/ies but they also talk back to you.

    And when I ask for proof you don’t show me any…

    Can you see why this “tired old argument” still is applicable. You have no proof for this grandiose of claims. I don’t know is an acceptable answer. It was magic is not.

  4. 4
    Corvus illustris

    Do not send food or clothing to India. I swear to Mancini! Send money. Money lets us buy food and clothing.

    Why do the Christians not get it? Mrs Corva and I give money to the local Episcopalian food bank. Why them* (you don’t believe it, do you?)? No sermons as with the Salvation Army or the Romans. Why not canned goods? Your clients’ tastes may differ from ours. Why money? You can buy food wholesale, and maybe get other good deals for PR reasons. More bang–or beans–for the buck. Reasons all the stronger when aid crosses national and cultural boundaries.

    *In the US the publically owned and funded ones are inadequate and the private ones invariably church-related.

  5. 5
    Theist1

    I think the problem here is that you do not understand God or religion. You keep claiming that God uses magic. This is not the case at all. When God interacts with the physical universe, that is not magic. If you light a fire, you are not using magic, you are using the material already there and applying your energy to it in order for the right properties to ignite. The same with God. God simply manipulates His creation. There is nothing magical about it.

    It is like an artist touching up his work of art. If you claim there is no God, you have to provide evidence for that claim. How do you know this? Just because natural things may or may not have explanations does not mean it did not have a creator. We know how cars work, we know how airplanes fight, nevertheless, this knowledge does not show that these things did not have a creator. You disregard the Law of cause and effect by making such a claim.

  6. 6
    Avicenna

    The issue isn’t the taste of food. Canned Pineapples are delicious and everyone loves them…

    The problem is precisely that. Imagine if you get a can of tomatoes and your neighbour gets canned peaches. Now canned tomatoes are nice, but peaches are nicer. Imagine the fights.

    The other issue is untrained unprofessional staff. The best example were scientologists who during the haiti crisis showed up with no supplies and no usable skills.

    Even doctors and nurses are considered liabilities. The skill set you bring to such an area is important. For instance? The skill you have as a stock controller is more important than the skills of a dermatologist or endocrinologist. They are liabilities. Infectious Medicine, Casualty/A&E, Prehospital Med, Orthopaedics, Combat Medicine, Obs/Gynae, Radiology… These are essential fields. MSF and the Red Cross actively tell you these skills are essential. IF you lack these skills they offer courses to get you upto scratch.

    But yeah it’s mainly to stop people like this http://freethoughtblogs.com/amilliongods/2012/07/25/its-not-lying-its-just-research-lite/

  7. 7
    Avicenna

    Oh? So you have evidence that god is active within this universe?

    I would very much like to see this evidence since he seems to be touching up this planet like an artist and his painting (or more like two hormonal teenagers on a date. Clumsily, Furtively and Poorly).

  8. 8
    smrnda

    I’m not particularly sure if there’s any way to prove that people are ‘hardwired’ to believe in the supernatural. Supernatural beliefs are out there and you’ll likely get infected at a young age, the same way we get infected by sexist stereotypes.

    Plus, there’s no reason to believe that a genetic predisposition to something implies that it is correct. Our minds are hardwired to make faulty ‘intuitive’ conclusions. I’m a programmer and know that sometimes, getting a correct answer is hard work and an incorrect answer won’t cause a disaster. It’s because we realize these limitations that we develop things like the scientific method, so that we can investigate truth claims in spite of intuitive biases towards wrong conclusions.

    As a kind of counter-example to the notion that we are born to believe, I became an unbeliever at a young age since I encountered books that dissected religious and spiritual claims. I mean, kids are gullible – if a first grade teacher tells you that a detention will hurt your job prospects in 20 years, you might believe them because of a lack of knowledge.

  9. 9
    Theist1

    What you described is free will. We are wired to believe but have freedom to reject it. What of Leah Libresco? She is not a first grader.

  10. 10
    Theist1

    Just look around you. Do you think all of this is by chance?

    Why don’t you debate Sacerdotus on his blog? He holds degrees in biology, physics, psychology and philosophy.

  11. 11
    bradleybetts

    Absolutely fantastic post :)

    There’s a quote I read once, I think by Mark twain. I can’t remember the exact wording, but it went something like this; “The easy confidence with which I dismiss another’s religion as false leads me to believe that my own is also”. This, to me, seems like simple common sense and it boggles my mind that the religious types are seemingly unable to figure it out.

  12. 12
    bradleybetts

    So God breaks the laws of physics in order to make a statue cry blood, but according to you he invented the laws of physics and therefore that’s not magic? Is that what you’re trying to say? Really?

  13. 13
    Theist1

    Not break, but suspends. How are laws of physics magic??

  14. 14
    Avicenna

    The laws of physics are not magic. The ability to break them or indeed suspend them at will is magic…

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