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May 06 2012

Why I am an atheist – Gavin McBride

I am an atheist more as a result of an application of another rule in my life more than any other reason.

I live my life by a simple rule as follows:

“The world is full of claims being made, 1000s a day, and it is impossible to consider them all. When a claim comes before me therefore that is entirely unsubstantiated in any way I dismiss it instantly”.

GIVEN therefore that the idea there is a god entity is entirely devoid of evidence, arguments, data or reasons to lend it even a modicum of credence I am therefore forced to reject that claim. There simply is no evidence, argument, data or reasons on offer to me to suggest there is a non-human intelligence responsible for the creation and/or subsequent maintenance of our universe.

As soon as some are offered I will consider them. That is after all the very definition of being open minded. Alas in 18+ years of requesting them I have never been given a single iota.

I am not looking for anything as lofty as “proof”. I merely want to hear evidence and arguments to even lend the idea credence. Alas even setting the bar this low has resulted in nothing of note from the “other side” so to speak.

Gavin McBride
Ireland

11 comments

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  1. 1
    Dhorvath, OM

    Solid. Null hypothesis, eh?

  2. 2
    Jasper of Maine

    “The world is full of claims being made, 1000s a day, and it is impossible to consider them all. When a claim comes before me therefore that is entirely unsubstantiated in any way I dismiss it instantly”.

    Ditto times infinity.

    Gotta love those people who think their invisible-man-in-the-sky claim somehow intrinsically has merit and that no other claims exist.

    My mother has given me the “how can you dismiss the Bible if you’ve never read it?” challenge several times, until I asked “Have you read the Koran?” – and I never heard the challenge again. I’m not opposed to it (and actually I have), but I don’t have time to look into an infinite number of claims, especially ones that are a thousand pages of word salad.

  3. 3
    allencdexter

    Very succinct and to the point. We thought lightning was the act of a god until we ferreted out the fact that electricity is a part of the natural world.

    Attributing things we marvel at to an invisible god is simplistic nonsense and has been and is being tossed on the trash heap of superstition continuosly.

  4. 4
    Dick the Damned

    Gavin, they’ve got this old book call the bible, (& other groups have something along the same lines), that explains it, because if you don’t believe it, you’re condemned to eternal torture.

    Nahhhh, it doesn’t cut it for me either.

  5. 5
    jonnyscaramanga

    Love it. Although I do think there could be something in humankind’s “intrinsic yearning for the spiritual” that theists are always on about. Maybe not for everyone, but certainly for some people, and we shouldn’t judge that.

    That isn’t a defence of woo. I’m sure if there is such thing as a spiritual side, it has a completely rational explanation that we haven’t worked out yet. And when we do work it out, it won’t be: “Hey! There is a sky man exactly as described in a very old book,” after all.

  6. 6
    humanape

    Perfect logic, Mr. McBride.

    This post is more evidence for the idea the Irish are brilliant.

    Thousands of scientific discoveries have shown the god of the gaps has run out of hiding places. Meanwhile the “other side” has nothing for their fantasies.

  7. 7
    RFW

    You, Mr. McBride, are a vile, wicked, unbelieving heretic. You fail to honor the single best reason for belief: BECAUSE JEEBUS!

    So there!

    [In case any reader's sarcasm radar is on the blink, it's sarcasm.]

  8. 8
    jaybee

    Sadly, millions of people think they are finding evidence of God’s existence.

    Exhibit A: trees. Science can’t explain beauty of a tree!

    Exhibit B: my aunt Betty was on her death bed, teh doctors said there was nothing else they could do, so Betty prayed to Jesus, and teh cancer disappeared!

    Exhibit C: the old testament prophesied a savior, then Jesus appeared — how could the old testament have know that if God didn’t exist?

    Never mind that that there are rational explanations for it all.

  9. 9
    RFW

    @8 jaybee says:

    Exhibit A: trees. Science can’t explain beauty of a tree!

    Actually, mathematics explains the beauty of a tree very well, using fractals. Benoit Mandelbrot’s “The Fractal Geometry of Nature” explains this.

    Wait! That’s not quite right. Fractal geometry explains the form of a tree, but not its beauty, for beauty lies in the eye of the beholder. Perhaps the best confirmation of this concept of beauty lies in society’s changed view of mountains: at one time, the Alps were viewed as frightening, even terrifying, certainly not things of beauty; but now they are viewed as grand and beautiful.

    And why is this? Because society inculcates a sense of beauty, so beauty turns out not to be so different from religious belief: it’s a product of familiarization if not outright brainwashing.

  10. 10
    jaybee

    RFW, I guess this wasn’t clear enough:

    Never mind that that there are rational explanations for it all.

    I’m not claiming these exhibits are evidence of God. I was just giving examples which believers claim are evidence for God.

  11. 11
    gavinmcbride

    @jonnyscaramanga Agreed. To me however the pursuit of the “spiritual” really just means the pursuit of human experience that is outside the “norm” for the average day to day person on the street. A pursuit I happily recommend to anyone who asks.

    There is a wealth of human experience available to us through the application of ourselves to the daily world and through various forms of introspection. Often some of these experiences can be quite powerful, informative and transformative.

    Alas people far too readily are so moved by that experience that the only way they can parse it is to run it through religious or woo interpretations.

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