Another Atheist at the Grand Canyon


I mentioned last time that Cujo had accompanied me on that Grand Canyon trip back in 2009, therefore ensuring there were at least two atheists present that particular day. He wrote it up wonderfully. Have a taste:

The Colorado River, which formed the canyon, is now cutting through rock that is nearly two billion years old. At that time, the only form of life was unicellular. There were no plants, let alone animals. The Wikipedia entry on the canyon says that it has been formed over the last 40 million years. Biologists estimate that the species homo sapiens sapiens is perhaps a quarter of a million years old. When the first human beings walked the planet, the canyon was scarcely shallower than it is today. In an ordinary human lifetime, only the most superficial changes will occur.

[snip]

If you’re a believer, the next time you feel tempted to assume that non-believers must see no reason to feel humble, try learning something about the universe you live in. The truth is that the universe is vast in any terms human beings can imagine. We exist on one tiny speck of rock in one little corner of it. Unless we can figure out how to live in other solar systems, we will probably be gone in a blink of an eye on its time scale. The universe cares nothing about us as individuals or as a species.

That post was written in response to another believer’s ridiculous statements about atheists and atheism four and a half years ago. Plus ça change… Oh, and if you want to know what current estimates of the number of galaxies in the universe are, head over here. Put it this way: it’s many-lots. One runs out of metaphors for how small we are in comparison to all this… and yet the religious people who claim our personal pleasure habits are of great interest to the supposed creator of all this enormity like to think of atheists as arrogant.

Riiight. Pull the other one, it’s got bells on. Not church bells, of course, despite having walked the Grand Canyon’s rim many many times.

Image shows a lot of very tiny people milling around atop an observation area at the edge of the Grand Canyon, with a tiny slice of the enormous canyon behind them. People are tiny in comparison to the enormity of this tiny portion of the Canyon - and we are specks on a speck of dust in a tiny solar system comprising in infinitesimal part of a galaxy that is only one among hundreds of billions.... Image courtesy Cujo359.

People are tiny in comparison to the enormity of this tiny portion of the Canyon – and we are specks on a speck of dust in a tiny solar system comprising in infinitesimal part of a galaxy that is only one among hundreds of billions…. Image courtesy Cujo359.

Comments

  1. Al Dente says

    Christians believe the creator of the universe with its billions of galaxies, trillions of stars and planets, and untold other lifeforms is deeply concerned about their masturbation. But atheists are supposed to be the arrogant ones.

  2. rq says

    “Many-lots” – is that a geologically scientific term now? How many zeros does it have? And does my awe have to be religious?

    Al Dente
    To be fair, there are arrogant atheists… :) But I see your point: the Christian view that we are just sooooo speshul is, in many, many ways, a far more egocentric viewpoint than the understanding that we are one possible life form among many-lots.

  3. Johnny Vector says

    The canyon is full of gods! Wotan, Vishnu, Horus, Osiris, Ra, Zoroaster, Isis, Shiva… Not to mention Buddha, Confucious, and various angels (bright and otherwise). And elves. What more proof do you need?

  4. Trebuchet says

    The universe cares nothing about us as individuals or as a species.

    This! The Earth doesn’t care either. Perhaps our insignificance is the reason we find the earth, and the universe, so awe inspiring. And the reason we keep inventing gods to make ourselves seem more important.