Why I am an atheist – Kathleen DiRocco

I am an atheist for a few reasons. I love science, if I had my way instead of going back to school for nursing as I am now, I would be going back to be a paleontologist, preferably wanting to study the Cambrian explosion (I heart trilobites!) I also love reason and explanation of things with facts and truths as opposed to blind faith. As a child I grew up in the Catholic Church and was taught that if you were really quiet go would talk to you. Well I would sit there and be as quiet as I could get and nothing. I remember telling my sister and brother that this was stupid when I was in the sixth grade, that this makes no sense benediction, mass, the body and blood becomes him. I was being told cannibalism was awesome! As time went on, I figured that god really could not exist for many reasons, hell I was taught in school evolution and only learned about creationism in the Ken Hamm and Kirk Cameron sense was when I went to High School at Girls High. I thought these girls were insane. Who would honestly believe the Earth was 6000 years old? They would tell me how did we come from monkeys and even in high school I tried to explain the whole common ancestor thing but it was like talking to a brick wall. I refuse to a part of a hypocritical group of people such as Ken Hamm and Kirk Cameron, the oh god loves you but only if you do ABC, let’s put people to death yet lord help you if you have an abortion. Hypocrites such as these fools elect people and worship in a sense Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachmann, Ricky Perry, George Bush, etc. Supposedly men and women of god yet since these fools really never read Jesus’ teaching, they are the opposite of what Jesus taught.

I absolutely love science. I can watch any program on the evolution of life on Earth. I also love going to places to actually see these things. My favorite places to go include the Academy of Natural Sciences, the Smithsonian, the Natural History Museum of London and also took the time to actually see Lucy, aka Australopithecus afarensis, in New York (why did it not come to Philly I will never know.) I can see the history of life on this planet in fossils, I can look up in the sky and see how vast this universe is and while I do not understand physics, I feel biology makes more sense to me anyway(I am team Biology, my sister and dad team Physics.) I own a trilobite fossil, ammonite fossils and would love one day to own a larger trilobite fossil. I think learning about Anomalocaris is more interesting than being told if I don’t sew my seeds I will go to hell. I also look at some of the smallest living things on earth and technically nonliving things. Viruses and bacteria in my opinion explain more about life on earth and how it evolved, especially since we got those fun loving antibiotic resistant strains and how viruses technically are not even living things. But trying to explain that to creationist or theists is like trying to get a two year old to understand this as well, but they are more receptive to this thinking.

I find when someone tells me they are a Christian, Jew, Muslim, etc I look at them and think how sad. Why do you need to identify yourself. I don’t go around screaming HEY look at me I Heart trilobites! When I hear those words come out of their mouths I think how it like the blind leading the blind, how a grown adult can really think that there is some old white guy sitting on a throne and that one day they will be next to him. I love challenging them by asking what makes you really think you are going to heaven? Of course they start quoting stupid crap, saying that they believe in Jeebus because of their faith, because God is everywhere etc. Well I usually say, so is oxygen, carbon, nitrogen, hydrogen, etc. I get tired of arguing at times, because I think I get more of an intelligent response from my dogs then these folks. It is a shame because I have meet some nice people of all faiths and nonfaiths.

But in the end, I am an atheist because I know that there is no god. No proof that is tangible, no concrete evidence to prove otherwise. I have known this since I was 12. I also have known that I am good without God.

Kathleen DiRocco
United States


  1. says

    The key to Kathleen’s argument for atheism lies in the words, “blind” and “faith,” both required to embrace religion.

    Faith alone isn’t enough. I have “faith,” that is, a belief based on probablity that something will or won’t happen, or does or does not exist. E.g. I have faith that I will not die in a traffic accident today as long as I drive carefully and fully sober, though I certainly could meet my end. Add the “blind” part, though, by covering my eyes with a blindfold before setting out into traffic, and disaster is nearly inevitable.

    Such is religious belief: Before heading out to church, the terminally pious must put on that blindfold, pull out into traffic, step on the gas, and take their chances, something a fully rational person would never do.

    Why they choose to do this in up for speculation, but most religious people I have asked about this simply shrug and say, “I just think there has to be something…..” or, “I know in my heart that there is a God.” And that is, apparently, a good enough reason for them. The problem, of course, is that great horrors have been perpetrated on humanity based only on this type of non-thinking: “I just think there must be something…”

  2. ManOutOfTime says

    It is interesting how some children see right through the fiction. The author doesn’t indicate how her family feels about her non-belief, but at a minimum it’s clear her parents took the kids to church, so at a minimum they thought that was a meaningful thing to do. One way it another, those same parents raised a child who knew better than to fall for the nonsense being peddled there.

  3. says

    Great entry, Kathleen!

    When you’re ready to snag a big trilobite fossil, just come on out to British Columbia, Canada, Home of the Burgess Shale and the site of the first complete Anomalocaris fossil. You don’t even have to go to Burgess to find fossils; I’ve got an ammonite from an area 600 kilometers away, which was found after walking up a hill for only a couple of minutes. But you didn’t hear that from me.

    The TRUE 500-million-year “creation” story around B.C. that you can walk through and touch with your hands puts any religious experience to shame. Srsly.

  4. says

    The Burgess Shale site is tightly controlled so you can’t get trilobites there.

    The best place I ever found for trilobites was Delta, Utah. It’s a huge commercial operation, with lot owners rather jealously guarding their demesne, but if you ask nicely, they’ll sometimes let you stroll through or scavenge through their tailing piles. They excavate with backhoes, so one person with a rockhammer isn’t too much competition.

    But ask first! They can sic the police on you if they find trespassers gleaning their sites, and they will.

  5. says

    wanting to study the Cambrian explosion

    Which will turn you into a creationist.

    You know, because the Cambrian relatedness of metazoa is so well explained by design, not by, uh, relatedness (or for Behe, it’s explained by magic and relatedness). And the early phyla that went extinct soon after appearing? Designer’s ways are mysterious to humanity.

    Glen Davidson

  6. says

    Below is an excerpt from my book Utah’s Wilderness Areas. It details some trilobite-rich areas that are on public land (Bureau of Land Management areas that are also WSAs or Wilderness Study Areas):

    …Swasey Mountain, directly across Notch Peak Loop Road from Howell Peak WSA. As Notch Peak Loop Road goes through Dome Canyon, it is also called Dome Canyon Road. As we’ve worked our way north in this chapter, we’ve been slowly getting closer to the town of Delta, and are now about 35 miles from that full-service community. US 50/US 6 is still the major paved access route.

    There are five springs in Swasey Mountain WSA, but no perennial streams. Additional springs lie just outside the WSA boundary. A herd of about 80 wild horses grazes grassy areas and makes use of the springs. A jeep track leads up Sawmill Basin to Sawmill Basin Spring, and this makes a good day-hiking route. If you park where the road begins to get rough, you’ll walk about 4 miles to the spring. If you drive a 4WD or ORV up the track, you should be able to get close to the spring. Sawmill Basin Spring is north of Swasey Peak, at 9,669 feet the highest peak in the WSA.

    There are about 150 acres of trilobite fossil beds within Swasey Mountain WSA. The BLM estimates that 200 to 300 visitors per year come to this nationally significant fossil bed. The spur road to Antelope Spring Trilobite Bed is off the Dome Canyon Road, about 1 mile east of Dome Canyon Pass.

    On the southwest end of the WSA, Sinbad Overlook Rd. (near Sinbad Canyon) climbs to good views of this WSA and of distant mountains such as the Deep Creek and Confusion Ranges. Sinbad Spring, at the head of Sinbad Canyon, is the easiest start for bagging Swasey Peak. Near Tatow Knob there are several wild horse trails. A wild horse trail along a ridge north of Robbers Roost Canyon can be followed for several miles….

  7. James says

    I remember seeing many Australopithecus fossils at the “Cradle of Mankind” (a rather inaccurate name) museum here in South Africa. I would like to take any doubter of evolution and show them the bones of our long dead ancestors. I can’t see how someone could see these fossils and still doubt evolution. Yet somehow some still do.

  8. says

    In case Kathleen wants to actually travel to the trilobite-rich area in Utah, here’s some more information related to land administration, maps needed, etc. And, at the risk of doing much book marketing here, there’s more detail in the book, plus a map.

    The relevant Wilderness Study areas are:
    Wah Wah Mountains, King Top, Conger Mountain, Notch Peak, Howell Peak, and Swasey Mountain WSAs
    LOCATION: West-Central Utah
    Wah Wah Mountains WSA: 42,140 acres
    King Top WSA: 84,770 acres
    Conger Mountain WSA: 20,400 acres
    Notch Peak WSA: 51,130 acres
    Howell Peak WSA: 24,800 acres
    Swasey Mountain WSA: 49,500 acres
    ELEVATION RANGE: 4,590 to 9,669 feet
    ECOREGION: Basin and Range
    MILES OF TRAIL: No official trails, but jeep tracks and wild horse trails may be used for hiking
    ADMINISTRATION: BLM House Range Resource Area
    MAPS: USGS 1:100,000: Wah Wah Mountains North, Wah Wah Mountains South, Tule Valley. USGS 1:24,000: Crystal Peak, Pine Valley Hardpan North, Grassy Cove, Fifteenmile Point, Pine Valley Hardpan South, Wah Wah Summit, Wah Wah Cove; Thompson Knoll, Bullgrass Knoll, Pyramid Knoll, King Top, The Barn, Warm Point; Cowboy Pass, Knoll Hill, Conger Mountain; Notch Peak, Miller Cove, Hell’n Moriah Canyon, Skull Rock Pass; Sand Pass SE, Swasey Peak NW, Swasey Peak, Whirlwind Valley NW, Swasey Peak SW, Marjum Pass, Whirlwind Valley SW.

    I recommend the USGS 1:24,000 maps. There are few signs in the area, and you need to be able to read a topographical map. Extra gas, or traveling with two vehicles, both carrying extra supplies, is also recommended. You can camp out in the desert areas at the base of these mostly-dry mountain ranges. There are no official campgrounds, so all camping is primitive, and leave-no-trace camping techniques should be employed.

  9. says

    Oh, man, all this good trilobite info should go into the wiki.

    Forget strolling to the Burgess Shale. There’s a web site that says they have almost-daily hikes but it’s out of date. Last year we drove to Field, B.C. so we could go to the Burgess Shale. We found that we had come on the wrong day and would have to wait three or four days before there would be another hike–we couldn’t wait that long.

    And it’s a hike: ten hours there and back, at elevation. The town sits at 4200 feet above sea level and the hike includes 2500 feet of climbing. For that, you should be acclimatized to the elevation, which means spending some time in the mountains first: not a hardship, it’s some of the most beautiful country in the world.

    You are NOT allowed to take anything away because it’s a World Heritage Site and inside Yoho National Park.

    All I saw of the Burgess Shale was a selection of specimens in the park information office.

    Is Delta anywhere near Salt Lake City?

  10. nazani14 says

    Dear Kathleen, when you get crap from people about studying fossils or believing in evolution, remind them that all the major oil companies use evolutionary evidence, in the form of tiny mollusc fossils, to prospect for oil.

  11. H.D.Lynn says

    So, I’ve been reading most of these without comment, but why are you going into nursing? It’s pretty clear nursing is not what you have a passion to do. Teaching? We need more sane science teachers in the world. And why not grad school in biological life sciences? Why not!?!?!?! A lot of universities will pay for you to do grad school in the sciences. If not, there is the NSF grants.

  12. Marius Rowell says

    Great post Kathleen.Learning about evolution answered all my childhood questions too.

    Only yesterday I was asking a new employee where I work why she’d come to the USA from her home country in Venezuala, and she told me how her son had cancer and came here for treatment. Fine up till then, but when she started spouting on about how miraculous her son’s recovery had been I had to interrupt and ask how many prayers it took for the doctors and nurses to get the training they needed to cure him – that brought the conversation to an abrupt end!

    I am so glad my orthopedic surgeons went to medical school instead of seminaries though – I hate to think how bad my knee surgeries would have been otherwise :)

  13. raven says

    Extra gas, or traveling with two vehicles, both carrying extra supplies, is also recommended.

    That is for sure.

    We once got halfway to Antelope springs and got a flat tire. The roads are gravel and not very good.

    While fixing the tire, I picked up a rock to put behind a tire to prevent the car from shifting. There was a whole family of desert giant (4 inch long) hairy tailed scorpions under it.

    It was also well over 100 degrees F. We decided we were underequiped for way out in the middle of nowhere Utah in the summer and gave up. As disappointing as this was, it was probably the only intelligent thing we did that day.

  14. says

    While fixing the tire, I picked up a rock to put behind a tire to prevent the car from shifting. There was a whole family of desert giant (4 inch long) hairy tailed scorpions under it.

    It was also well over 100 degrees F.

    It’s a mistake to visit these locations during the height of summer, or even during the usual “vacation” months. I have visited in March and April, nights were cold, but days were tolerably nice.

    October may also work out well.

  15. says

    Delta, Utah is 136 miles from Salt Lake City, or about 2.5 hours of driving.

    Delta is one of several places where mormons tend to take “troubled teens” and put them in “boarding schools” that turn out to be questionable in terms of education and counseling.

    This website shows a map of Delta in relation to Salt Lake City and Provo. http://www.teenhelponline.com/location.html The website also gives details about one the schools for teenagers.

    …Delta, is a small town it is located 78 miles SW of Provo, Utah and 260 miles NE of Las Vegas, Nevada. It is in Millard county. The population of the city in 2000 was 3,209. The desert location of our teen boot camp makes it very unlikely for us to have runaway teens. [emphasis added]

    Delta has fun activities for troubled teens. Delta’s West Desert is a rock collector’s paradise. There is a plethora of different rocks, minerals, and fossils in the area. Troubled teens can enjoy discovering and learning about fossils, minerals & rocks; visiting the Great Basin Museum, the train station, and the Topaz War Relocation Camp. Trilobite fossils are relatively common in the region west of Delta (part of the Wheeler Shale) and at least one company (located near Antelope Springs) allows visitors (even troubled teens) to dig their own fossils for a fee. For more information on Delta, Utah and the location of White River Academy Boot Camp visit our teen boarding school location page.

  16. Kathleen DiRocco says

    Hi All, I am so glad it was posted. First and foremost thank you to all that have given more info on where to find trilobites, and Anne Hanna, I got an I <3 trilobite shirt off Cafepress.com I love it. I am going into nursing because I want to help people as I spent three years as a case manager for people with disabilities but due to bureaucratic bull I left. HD Lynn,Paleontology is just a passion of mine even though becoming a science teacher would also do the same in helping people. My family, well immediate know and accept me for who I am and I joke that I brought my mother to the dark side as well as the rest of my family. I tell people who start their BS that I do not believe in fairy tales so I do not believe in a God, I can be good without one and you can be awful with one so there is no reason to argue with me on this. Thank you for all the positive feedback, there needs to be more of us out there!

  17. Victor says

    I agree with you, for the most part. People disregard science for stupid reasons, and no one can stand fundamentalists. Evolution, to me, is an obvious explanation for the diversity of life on the planet, and I do believe that science can correctly explain the universe. The world is 6,000 years old, I believe 4 billion is a better approximate. Personally, I really like cyanobacteria, because I feel that they contributed a hell of a lot to our current atmosphere. Pat yourself on the back, cyanobacteria. I approve of your oxygen-producing ways.

    But saying that fundamentalists are dumb…isn’t really a novel statement. And it seems to me that you’re conflating the words “religion” or “catholic,” “christian,” “jewish,” “muslim,” etc with “dumb,” “ignorant,” “stupid,” and “close-minded” in much the same way some people conflate “atheist” with “amoral,” “untrustworthy,” “ignorant,” and “sad.” Clearly, both sides are generalizing, and both sides would understandably take offense at these blanket terms. You seem to be expressing yourself with the same fervor that fundamentalists do. Only a bit more eloquently.

    You feel sad when people tell you their religious affiliation, because *you* don’t scream out your own beliefs. Well, I’m going to go ahead and assume a context under which someone telling you their religion is somehow appropriate–maybe the conversation was leading that way? Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t generally meet people who blurt out their religion without warning. “Hi, nice to meet I’M A CHRISTIAN AND YOU’RE GOING TO BURN IN HELL”–this doesn’t happen too often.

    (then again, I might just be lucky here. you might actually meet people who do that. that sucks)

    From a purely rhetorical standpoint, I believe your message would be furthered if you were to take a step back and not label your opposition as crazy. Because–and this is the funny part–*that’s what they do to you*. Seriously. They think you’re crazy, too! Funny how that happens.

    I’m a catholic. I enjoy believing in a God. Personally, it is helpful for me. But I also believe in evolution, plate tectonics, the goals and pursuits of the LHC, and all that science-y goodness. It is intellectually enriching. I’m studying to be a doctor. I hope to cure and save people because of modern medicine, not because of praying. But I also like to think I’m not stupid, dull, hopelessly and childishly clinging to imaginary friends because I’m too scared to face the vastness of the universe on my own.

    You said: “I am an atheist because I know that there is no god. No proof that is tangible, no concrete evidence to prove otherwise. I have known this since I was 12.”

    I hope you remember that the Higgs Boson hasn’t been proven to exist. Yet, despite there being no concrete evidence for its existence, some physicists believe it exists because it could resolve inconsistencies in the Standard Model. The Higgs Boson just *gotta* exist! Almost like some people believe God exists because he has to in order to explain their lives. I think it would be wise to remember that scientists have their own form of faith, love. Sure, as someone noted above me, there is a difference between faith and blindness, but when you’re trying to explain the mysteries of the universe and all its vastness, aren’t we all a little blind? Just a little?

  18. Kathleen DiRocco says

    Victor, I do agree with you, but when wrote this I went on a roll and went from my heart. Yes, I have met people who in the first few minutes of a conversation ask am I a Christian for example in my one class that I am enrolled in. Why this pertains to Intro to Nutrition I do not know. I do not think all people of faith are dumb or crazy, and it is sad that there are people on both sides that make each argument look like they are nuts. And as you pointed out the Higgs Boson has not been proven yet many other things have been proven. One needs to remember that Evolution is fact, natural selection is the theory. You only get MRSA from evolution and adaptation. I do not fault people for their faith, yet I cannot take seriously people such as Kirk Cameron or Michelle Bachmann as they base their whole lives on a book. Hopefully as we both go into the medical field we understand that there are various types of faiths and beliefs yet we leave them on the back burner and focus on being there and taking care of our patients regardless of who they are and what they believe.

  19. says

    Victor, I am not going to get into an extended discussion with you about this because it’s already been done thousands of times in thousands of places on the internet and I don’t feel like wasting my time on another go-round. So all I have to say to you (and all I *will* say to you, unless you’ve got some *really* novel comeback, which is unlikely), is the following three points:

    1) You are tone trolling, which is not likely to win you any friends here. Please go away and find out what that means, and then if you choose to come back don’t do it anymore if you want to have a pleasant reception here. The regulars (I am not one of them) will tear you to shreds.

    2) The fact that someone can simultaneously accept scientific ideas and superstitious ideas is evidence that humans can compartmentalize their beliefs, not evidence that the two are equally valid approaches to the world. This ridiculous bit of illogic has been refuted approximately a zillion times by atheists all over the world, which you would know if you’d bothered to investigate your ideas before trotting them out so proudly as killer arguments.

    3) Your lame nonsense about how scientists supposedly have faith too has also been refuted repeatedly all over the internets. Please go read a whole hell of a lot more atheist commentary before wasting our time repeating the same weaksauce crap that we have heard from so many drive-by theists so many times that most of us could make their arguments for them. In particular, please read this:


    which directly addresses your BS about the Higgs boson.

    If you want to be taken seriously, please educate yourself further about the arguments for atheism before you say anything else. Unlike theology, it is not an esoteric discipline requiring decades of study so you can bamboozle the masses with big words. Most of it is very simple and straightforwardly accessible to anyone who is willing to give the issues more than five minutes of thought. If you do not put forth this minimal level of effort, I guarantee you that you will be taken to little pieces by the denizens of this blog, most of whom have spent far more time and effort investigating the various flavors of theism (not just yours) than you have probably ever given to atheism (or to any theism other than your own).

    However, I won’t be bothering to shred you myself. I spend a lot of time working with students, and my first rule as a teacher is that the students have to do their part if they expect me to spend my blood, sweat, and tears helping them. So go do some basic reading on atheism (written by *atheists*, not theists) first, then come back and we’ll talk.

  20. 'Tis Himself, OM says

    Victor #23

    I hope you remember that the Higgs Boson hasn’t been proven to exist. Yet, despite there being no concrete evidence for its existence, some physicists believe it exists because it could resolve inconsistencies in the Standard Model. The Higgs Boson just *gotta* exist!

    While the Higgs Boson has not been captured in the wild, there is ample theoretical reason to believe it does actually exist.

    Almost like some people believe God exists because he has to in order to explain their lives.

    So what’s your evidence that gods exist? Notice I’m not asking you to justify your belief in your favorite pet deity. I’m asking you for evidence to support belief in any gods. And since I’m the one judging the evidence, faith or any other form of wishful thinking is not acceptable.

    Just because you and “some people” are too weak to face life without a magic sky pixie to give you meaning doesn’t mean the magical sky pixie actually exists. It just means you’re a weak person unwilling to face the fact that life has no meaning other than what you put into it.

    Sure, as someone noted above me, there is a difference between faith and blindness, but when you’re trying to explain the mysteries of the universe and all its vastness, aren’t we all a little blind? Just a little?

    You may be a “little blind.” Apparently you think this is a good thing and it’s even better that you justify your blindness by assuming the existence of a magic sky pixie. Do you also check under your bed to see if there’s a boogeyman there? After all, there’s just as much evidence for boogeymen as there is for magic sky pixies.

  21. John Phillips, FCD says

    Victor, there’s a slight difference in thinking that the Higgs boson might exist because it fits our current model, for which there is ample evidence for, and believing in something for which there is no evidence at all for. So no, the so called faith in the existence of the Higgs boson is not the same as faith in a god. The former at least fits a model with plenty of supporting evidence, the latter has nothing.

    Additionally, if it turns out that the LHC shows that we are wrong about the Higgs and thus that there is something wrong with our model, we will either try to see if there is something we have missed with the existing model, or if there is not, then we will discard it and start again. Not the actions of anyone acting on blind faith.

    And while of course we are all, as yet anyway, blind to many of the actual mechanisms of the universe, we don’t make shit up to make us feel better about our lack of knowledge. When we don’t know something, we will happily admit that we don’t know, but we can have a lot of fun finding out.

    Many a religious apologetic, like the previous pope, would not even have us look in places that refute the god ‘hypothesis’ even more. Pope Paul to Stephen Hawking. “It’s OK to study the universe and where it began. But we should not inquire into the beginning itself because that was the moment of creation and the work of god.” The catholic church, still wanting to control science today as it did in the time of Galileo.

  22. Udaybhanu Chitrakar says

    Before being so dogmatically certain about God’s non-existence, we should consider the following fact. God is said to be spaceless, timeless, changeless, immortal and all-pervading. As per atheistic scientists God does not exist. And we also know very well that atheists do not believe in any kind of God. So according to both of them God is an imaginary being. But science has treated this imaginary God as real and shown that all the above five properties of God are actually scientifically explicable. Yes, with the help of the findings of special theory of relativity all these properties of God can be very nicely explained. If God is really imaginary, then why has science taken so much trouble to explain that imaginary God? So here either particular science is faulty, or if science cannot be taken to be faulty, then God is not imaginary.
    Science is neutral, but perhaps scientists are not.
    For further reading, please see

  23. John Phillips, FCD says

    Udaybhanu Chitrakar; using special relativity you might be able to create magnificient apologetics for the existence or the attributes of your god. Yet, apart from some clever logical or semantic twisting you will still have no actual evidence for this god. Assuming of course that you don’t in the first place simply define such a nebulous god that it means nothing or everything, rather than something we would recognise as any of the god/s claimed by the various creeds.

    However your first claim in article #50, is enough for me not to bother reading any more of your ‘work’, as it is obvious that I am dealing with an intellectually dishonest maroon, i.e. your claim that scientists are actively trying to disprove god. I’ll be charitable, this once, and not call you a liar, just mistaken, for why would any scientist waste time bothering to try to prove such a negative. There may be times when it could be worthwhile trying to prove a negative, this isn’t one of them. All the atheist scientist need do is look at the complete non-existence of any actual evidence for your god/s and dismiss it on probability alone, end of story. Bring actual evidence to the table and we will listen and examine it. Bring presupposition or logical and semantic chicanery or try to fit it into any remaining gaps or weasel out with claims that he is ‘outside’ and we will simply point and laugh.