Food for The Eagle

By Adam Savage

Good evening.

I hope you don't mind, but I'm going to read my speech from my new iPad.

Yep. I'm not only a humanist, I'm also an early adopter.

I want to start by saying that, to me, any discourse from me about how one can live a moral existence without religion or the church would sound improperly defensive. That there's an opposite to be defended is absurd and based on a provably false premise. So let's dispense with that.

(To be clear: I'm referring to the humanist axiom "Good without God," whereby "good" means morality. It's provably false that there exists no morality outside of religion, therefore the statement sounds defensive to me.)

By what route does anyone come to believe what they believe? We all like to imagine that it's based on a set of logical facts, but it's often a much more circuitous route.

For me it was pretty simple. I'm actually the fourth generation in my family to have no practical use for the church, or God, or religion. My children continue this trend.

Here are a few things I've learned.

Prayer doesn't work because someone out there is listening, it works because someone in here is listening. I've paid attention. I've pictured what I want to happen in my life. I've meditated extensively on my family, my future, my past actions and what did and didn't work for me about them. I've looked hard at problems and thought hard about their solutions.

See, I order my life by the same mechanism that I use to build things. I cannot proceed to move tools around in the real world until my brain has a clear picture in it of what I'm building. The same goes for my life. I've tried to pay attention. I've tried to picture the way I want things to be, and I've noticed that when I had a clear picture, things often turned out the way I wanted them to.

I've concluded by this that someone is paying attention—I've concluded that it's me. I've noticed that if I'm paying attention to those around me, to myself, to my surroundings, then that is the very definition of empathy. I've noticed that when I pay attention, I'm less selfish, I'm happier—and that the inverse holds true as well.

I think one of the defining moments of adulthood is the realization that nobody's going to take care of you. That you have to do the heavy lifting while you're here. And when you don't, well, you suffer the consequences. At least I have. (And in the empirical study I'm performing about interacting with the universe, I am unfortunately the only test subject I have complete access to, so my data is, as they say, self-selected.) While nobody's going to take care of us, it's incumbent upon us to take care of those around us. That's community.

The fiction of continuity and stability that your parents have painted for you is totally necessary for a growing child. When you realize that it's not the way the world works, it's a chilling moment. It's supremely lonely.

So I understand the desire for someone to be in charge. (As a side note, I believe that the need for conspiracy theories is similar to the need for God.) We'd all like our good and evil to be like it is in the movies: specific and horrible, easy to defeat. But it's not. It's banal.

There's a quote I love: "Evil is a little man afraid for his job." I always thought some famous author said it, but I asked my 200,000 followers on Twitter today, and it turns out that Roy Scheider said it in Blue Thunder.

No one is in charge. And honestly, that's even cooler.

The idea of an ordered and elegant universe is a lovely one. One worth clinging to. But you don't need religion to appreciate the ordered existence. It's not just an idea, it's reality. We're discovering the hidden orders of the universe every day. The inverse square law of gravitation is amazing. Fractals, the theory of relativity, the genome: these are magnificently beautiful constructs.

The nearly infinite set of dominoes that have fallen into each other in order for us to be here tonight is unfathomable. Truly unfathomable. But it is logical. We don't know all the steps in that logic, but we're learning more about it every day. Learning, expanding our consciousness, singly and universally.

As far as I can see, the three main intolerant religions in the world aren't helping in that mission.

For all their talk of charity and knowledge, that they close their eyes to so much—to science, to birth control education, to abuses of power by some of their leaders, to evolution as provable and therefore factual (the list is staggering)—illustrates a wide scope of bigotry.

Now, just to be clear. If you want to believe, or find solace in believing, that someone or something set these particular dominoes in motion—a cosmic finger tipping the balance and then leaving everything else to chance—I can't say anything to that. I don't know.

Though a primary mover is the most complex and thus (given Occam's razor) the least likely of all possible solutions to the particular problem of how we got here, I can't prove it true or false, and there's nothing to really discuss about it.

If Daniel Dennett is right— that there's a human genetic need for religion— then I'd like to imagine that my atheism is proof of evolutionary biology in action.

There may be no purpose, but its always good to have a mission. And I know of one fine allegory for an excellent mission should you choose to charge yourself with one: Carlos Castaneda's series of books about his training with a Yaqui indian mystic named Don Juan. There's a lot of controversy about these books being represented as nonfiction. But if you dispense with that representation, and instead take their stories as allegories, they're quite lovely.

At the end of The Eagle's Gift, Don Juan reveals to his student that there's no point to existence. That we're given our brief 70-100 years of consciousness by something the mystics call "The Eagle," named for it's cold, killer demeanor. And when we die, the eagle gobbles our consciousness right back up again.

He explains that the mystics, to give thanks to the eagle for the brief bout of consciousness they're granted, attempt to widen their consciousness as much as possible. This provides a particularly delicious meal for the eagle when it gobbles one up at the end of one's life.

And that, to me, is a fine mission.

Thank you.

— Delivered to the Harvard Humanist Society, April 2010

Photo by Dave Fayram / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

322 Comments Add a comment

#1 10:58 PM, Apr 18 Reply
Rob Beschizza

Thank you, Adam!

#2 11:17 PM, Apr 18 Reply

A fantastic speech. Thank you!

#3 11:21 PM, Apr 18 Reply

Jamie Hyneman's speech: "What he said."

(Jamie actually did go on to give his own speech. Amusingly, he had difficulties using the iPad because it was "kinda dirty." Then he couldn't get it to stand up properly.)

I disagree with some of Adam's points — I'm a Quaker, I do believe in God, and I think religion has value — but I respect him for his eloquent, well-reasoned, and compassionate worldview. I was also highly impressed with his deft handling of some awkward moments in the Q&A, both from kids (who had a good excuse) and from adults.

#4 11:52 PM, Apr 18 Reply

I think you are the man, Adam Savage. But your logic is a bit busted here:

"Though a primary mover is the most complex and thus (given Occam's razor) the least likely of all possible solutions to the particular problem of how we got here, I can't prove it true or false, and there's nothing to really discuss about it."

I'm not sure what the less complex alternatives are here:

1. An eternal universe that just is? That's pantheism - only marginally simpler and less able to account for personal realities such as consciousness and love etc.

2. A multiverse? That's not much simpler – now we have to account for the meta-cause and meta-laws of our universe array.

3. An infinite series of finite causes? That might work temporally (maybe), but we still have to ground the existence of each "thing" that exists in the sequence. Is each thing made of a smaller particle or are there fundamental particles? If so back to 1.

Am I missing something?

#5 12:02 AM, Apr 19 Reply
Paul Coleman

So instead of waiting for the rapture, we're waiting for the raptor?

I might add that some of our consciousness gets passed down from generation to generation. My father might well have come up with that groan worthy sentence. I'd like to think he made an excellent meal.

Great speech!

#6 12:45 AM, Apr 19 Reply

you had me at hello

#7 1:15 AM, Apr 19 Reply

and ever so slowly
blink by blink
the world gradually awakens from slumber
shaking off fragments of a beautiful dream.
The morn is cold, but bright
and there is so little time to prepare for the day ahead.
we must make haste

#8 2:24 AM, Apr 19 Reply

It's interesting how we always have to fall back to fiction in order to explain purpose or mission, etc. Science does not prescribe religion or spirituality or purpose or mission, even if someday it might describe it.

Almost all humans have feelings of connectedness to the universe and to each other. These feelings are real. So there's a genre of human conversation that lies between fiction and science that we call spirituality. Neuroscience is explaining how this works in the brain more and more, and fiction surrounds it with fantasy.

I guess I'm wondering if--as religion finally becomes recognized as fiction and myth--someday our discussions will be more about common spiritual experiences. (To be clear, I'm *not* talking about supernatural spiritual experiences.)

#9 3:04 AM, Apr 19 Reply

However I should add that I don't mean to totally disrespect religion. For thousands of years fiction, myth, and religious dogma have bootstrapped our conversations of spirituality. Don't toss them out, but think of them as contributions to cultural evolution.

Most importantly, it's not up to science to prescribe any of this!

#10 5:24 AM, Apr 19 Reply
Eric Ragle

Excellent. Adam Savage, among others, is one of the reasons I declared my atheism earlier this year. Thank you Mr. Savage!

#11 5:40 AM, Apr 19 Reply

I have a hard time reading the speech as white text against an orange background. The comments section is fine (it's the usual black text in a box of white). Am I the only one having this problem?

#12 6:14 AM, Apr 19 Reply

What is written between the lines in Castaneda's books is really fascinating.

#13 6:26 AM, Apr 19 Reply

Most impressive, grasshopper. This would make an excellent essay for the "This I Believe" series on NPR. Almost as good as Penn Gillette's essay for that series. Look it up. One of the main points is that true Atheism is believing that there is no god, not that there is a god that we don't believe in. Which seems like a subtle point, but it really isn't when you get down to it. If you say that you don't believe in god, it admits that there is some THING that you don't believe in, when true Atheism correctly postulates that there is nothing to believe in in the first place. (as regards what many people refer to as god, that is.)

#14 7:24 AM, Apr 19 Reply

I couldn't have put it better Adam.

Thank you from one humanist to another

#15 7:33 AM, Apr 19 Reply

Can you publish Jamie Hyneman's talk also?

#16 7:36 AM, Apr 19 Reply

Believing that an overarching morality exists or can exist for society is as preposterous as believing in God. Neither are rooted in any factual basis. We can't even logically prove we exist let alone prove helping someone is the "right" thing to do.

#17 7:56 AM, Apr 19 Reply
donniebnyc in reply to wil9000

I agree. For years, I have heard people say after hearing I am an atheist, "So you don't believe in anything."

My answer has been, "Of course I believe. I believe there is no god. And I know you are wrong for believing there is."

#18 8:23 AM, Apr 19 Reply

The complexity of the universe practically guarantees that the sun will consume the solar system before we have done more than gain a glimmer of understanding about life, the universe, and everything. Hence arguments about whether there is a prime mover or not are a waste of energy better directed toward building a world that works for everyone, with no one left out.

Some very nice thoughts in this discourse.

#19 8:45 AM, Apr 19 Reply
Anon in reply to Axe7540

Axe, you're committing the classic fallacy of Relativism.

Yes, we cannot prove anything 100% ever. There is not any objective evidence or standards to weigh against, so all judgement calls are relative.

That said, while we can't have 100%, we can have pretty damn near it. For example, no one in their right mind would argue that dropping an object from their hand on Earth would result in anything other than it falling to the ground. To suggest it would fall upwards and sail out to Pluto is ludicrous, even though we cannot "prove" that won't some day happen, or that there are not specific conditions under which it might.

Thus, we can have different levels of certainty of our subjective judgements. I can be overwhelmingly certain of an incredible number of things. Assumptions are made, but most of them are damn good ones. So while I cannot assume anything regarding a deity or higher power, I can reasonably assume that if I close my eyes, the world will still be there when I open them.

Where people falter is in the gray area: higher concepts which combine smaller concepts together. Okay, so you just killed a person. Killing people is ordinarily bad, but you were defending yourself. Defending yourself is ordinarily acceptable, except that you persued your opponent as they fled. That's bad again, but your anger was at their brutal actions toward another person which you witnessed. So it's acceptable again? Kind of? Maybe?

Whenever we deal with complex systems, we get these indeterminates. Economies, governments, labor systems, education systems, whatever the structure, as it gets larger and more complex it makes life less certain.

~D. Walker

#20 8:45 AM, Apr 19 Reply

I do agree with his thoughts and beliefs. It is me to whom I have to pay attention and then to others. It is me the responsible for my brief life. I do take my life in my hands to build up my universe.

#21 8:50 AM, Apr 19 Reply
Anon in reply to donniebnyc

You can't possibly disprove the presence of a deity. You can be reasonably sure otherwise, but you cannot disprove it.

It is just as obnoxious and insulting for you to tell someone that their spiritual experiences aren't real as it is for them to tell you that you are going to burn for eternity for being a non-believer.

Live and let live. Atheists have the same problem as the religious - intolerance. This is why I am Agnostic. I question everything, especially myself and my own beliefs. I do not denounce others for their own beliefs, I do not fight them and cause them grief, I do not try to convert them. Rather, I share my point of view where applicable and suggest self inquiry. The average person is smarter than we give them credit for. They can decide for themselves if their beliefs are flawed. It is not my or anyone else's place to decide for them.

~D. Walker

#22 8:53 AM, Apr 19 Reply

Science and religion are not meant to be sides of an argument. They fight hard against each other, but neither truly triumphs. Can these two universal powers cooperate someday to unlock the truth? I'm tired of stubborn old men and their theories. I'm sick of young radicals who are ignorant to the world around them. The world will continue to be imbalanced if we continue to butt heads. Cooperation. Peace. Harmony. It is possible, if you humble yourself to new horizons. This is a vague comment, and could go either way, but that's the whole point!

#23 8:57 AM, Apr 19 Reply

I've been an atheist for all my adult life. I clearly made the decision for myself very very early in my teenage years. There was a totally banal moment (I was walking my dog) where all of a sudden I thought, wait a moment, this doesn't make any sense. Why would there be a god? And that was it. (I was raised a Catholic, but with a really hands-off approach to religion.)

The recent atheist wave (or am I selecting what I read more efficiently and does it just seem to me like there is such a wave of sympathy and organization?) feels like the world slowly, very slowly, coming to its senses, understanding what I did on that day. Whenever I read something like this from a person I'd been respecting for a long time anyway, I feel happy, and in the right place, and in good company. This is why I love reading stuff like this. Thanks Adam, and thanks BoingBoing!

#24 9:15 AM, Apr 19 Reply

Let the eagle SOOOAAAARRRR!!!

#25 9:20 AM, Apr 19 Reply
Gator Dave

Religion, like any other social construct, has a major inherent flaw: humans are involved in it. People can use things for good or ill, and religion is no different. You can use a shovel to plant a tree or give someone a concussion; you can interpret of a holy book to help the poor or to attempt to justify mass murder.

Because religion is so universal throughout the history of humanity, it can be difficult to separate it from the inherent failures of people as a species. You can find plenty of instances though where people did horrible things without some kind of twisted religious reason. Benito Mussolini's corruption of Darwin's work in his creation of Fascism comes to mind. Whether religion is involved or not, people will find reasons to oppress one another.

I have my reasons for believing what I believe, and I know that faith has easily been a net positive in my life. I only wish that the many associated with the religion I subscribe to who see science as an enemy would come to know a different reality. That, and I hope that there continues to be a wall between church and state. Rarely does anything good come when religion and politics mix.

#26 9:23 AM, Apr 19 Reply

"For all their talk of charity and knowledge, that they close their eyes to so much—to science, to birth control education, to abuses of power by some of their leaders, to evolution as provable and therefore factual (the list is staggering)—illustrates a wide scope of bigotry.

Now, just to be clear. If you want to believe, or find solace in believing, that someone or something set these particular dominoes in motion—a cosmic finger tipping the balance and then leaving everything else to chance—I can't say anything to that. I don't know.

Though a primary mover is the most complex and thus (given Occam's razor) the least likely of all possible solutions to the particular problem of how we got here, I can't prove it true or false, and there's nothing to really discuss about it. "

In 3 short paragraphs, Adam Savage just completely summed up my entire world view of religion. Not a single soul on Earth had ever made that much sense to me on the subject.

The thing I run into all the time, just trying to tell people that NO ONE knows the truth. The idea of religion being able to be trusted is laughable not for what it claims, but how it claims it- humans are lossy data. When we rely on stories or books constantly ammended to get "truth" (see King James bible, etc), the truth becomes obscured by sampling error.

Even if the truths that say, the Bible claimed were completely coherent through all texts and stories (which they are far from), we still have the human error- the more removed from the source of information, the lossier the truth becomes.

And that all becomes moot when considering how likely on a cosmic scale a "god" is. But this does not discount it entirely.

The simple words "I can't say anything to that. I don't know" from Savage reflect my personal view, thus, very well- that no human can yet know the truth. The truth is obscured by billions of years of cosmosial existence, all we can do is sort the order things appeared.

Live a "good" life, be a decent person, and put the welfare of others as equal to your own, and hope for the best. That is all we can hope for until we know more.

#27 9:32 AM, Apr 19 Reply

this link appeared a few days back in another thread, thought maybe some may have not noticed this yet. Sam provides a very well written response to critics afterwards.

#28 9:36 AM, Apr 19 Reply
Franky Bones

very well said!

#29 9:42 AM, Apr 19 Reply

What matters from Adam's speech isn't his atheism, but his humanism. They aren't necessarily the same as he alludes to.

I'm not a particular fan of Mythbusters, but I have to acknowledge Adam for recognizing that creating happiness and a better future for himself and those around him is upon his own shoulders, as it is for all of us. Whether there is a divine entity is inconsequential. What we do and how we live our lives is what matters. Athiest or not.

#30 9:43 AM, Apr 19 Reply

Agree to disagree.

#31 9:48 AM, Apr 19 Reply
Felton / Moderator

Hear, hear!

#32 9:49 AM, Apr 19 Reply
TomXP411 in reply to donniebnyc

Belief should be a word spelled with a capital B.

"I Believe there is no God, and I know you are wrong for Believing there is."

This is an interesting statement, for the mere fact that you mistakenly equate belief with knowledge.

Belief is an act of faith, and faith is a choice. You believe in something because you have made a conscious choice to do so, hopefully based on a combination of your experiences, data you've collected, and your own reasoning about those things.

Other people have a different set of experiences, data, and cognitive processes, and so they come to different conclusions and make a different decision.

The problem with this whole process is that once people establish a Belief, they are no longer willing to accept new data and modify the model of the universe in their head. Your statement was, in effect, "I KNOW you're wrong because I BELIEVE differently."

That statement is the single most evil idea that has ever entered our society. A belief is not knowledge. By acting like beliefs ARE knowledge, we doom ourselves to the same fate that we imagine for those other poor fools who Got It Wrong.

My friend, ALL of our Beliefs are wrong, because they are based on a fiction that we've created in our heads to explain the world. Therefore, you can never Know someone else's Belief is wrong, because your own Beliefs are choices, not facts.

These days, I try to follow the words of Rufus, the thirteenth Apostle (and possible the most profound words ever uttered): Don't have Beliefs. Have good ideas.

#33 9:52 AM, Apr 19 Reply

I always like to envision when those that hold your beliefs meet God and the pretense is erased; not that I want to see you judged, just want to see the look of a school boy who's finally been caught. Yes, you're right God, I knew, in my heart, you were there...I just didn't want to admit it... The order and missional aspects in the universe are themselves the stamp of God as well as the morality you mention repeatedly. Concepts like selfish and unselfish simple have no absolute meaning otherwise; just a subjective belief with no validity. These things have been discussed and debated for years and, in my view, the humanist philisophy never rings true. Evolving consciousness is another interesting idea. Evolving to what? and why? beter? what is better? Higher, who says and by what standard?

#34 9:55 AM, Apr 19 Reply
mn_camera in reply to Axe7540

Somehow I knew this was going to emerge here:

We can't even logically prove we exist let alone prove helping someone is the "right" thing to do.

I'd ask you to demonstrate to me why nonsense like this is important to you, except, well...

#35 9:56 AM, Apr 19 Reply

Thank you Adam. Well said, there really is no one in charge, nor should there be.

BTW: is there video of this?

#36 10:01 AM, Apr 19 Reply
IronEdithKidd in reply to donniebnyc

My answer is "I said atheist, not nihilist."

#37 10:05 AM, Apr 19 Reply
Felton / Moderator in reply to IronEdithKidd

That's an excellent answer. I'll have to remember that for the next time someone asks me that inane question.

#38 10:05 AM, Apr 19 Reply
Terry in reply to Axe7540
We can't even logically prove we exist let alone prove helping someone is the "right" thing to do.

I cannot prove my own existence, but it is my working theory and I'm running with it.

I'm a little confused by the second part of that statement, though. What reason is there to "prove" helping others is the "right" thing to do? Is this something that needs negotiation? Is there, in fact, a convincing argument against it?

#39 10:11 AM, Apr 19 Reply

Well, I agree with much of his philosophy.
I was raised as a Roman Catholic, by my parents, then as I became adult I started to question everything I had believed even God. Trying to prove existence or inexistence of God is impossible. I adopted an Agnostic point of view, and occupy my time in more productive things than think about Religion or God.

By the way, if you can please correct the article with the word "PROBABLE" it and derivative words are written with B (SPANISH is my mother and main language and learnt English by myself)

#40 10:13 AM, Apr 19 Reply
Anon in reply to sirdook

@sirdook - white text over orange easy workaround: use the browser controls to disable styles temporarily:
- in Firefox, View / Page Style / No Style
- in Opera, toggle Author/User style

#41 10:17 AM, Apr 19 Reply

You can big thoughts today or you can have small thoughts. I am going big today.

Thanks Adam! Thanks BB!

#42 10:32 AM, Apr 19 Reply

When Adam Savage talks about paying attention, he is invoking the Buddhist concept of appamada, the general principle of economic conduct for the Buddhist layman, which translates roughly as paying attention and taking care. The basic virtues that this principle invokes are attention, carefulness, conscientiousness and diligence.

I learned of appamada while reading on Gandhian economics, Gandhi's conceptualization of a non-violent economic system. It is an exceptionally powerful idea that transcends religion and belief in any diety.

#43 10:32 AM, Apr 19 Reply
Chris Spurgeon in reply to Axe7540

"We can't even logically prove we exist..."

Cogito ergo sum, bitch.

#44 10:40 AM, Apr 19 Reply

Einstein wasn't an Athiest... something to consider.

#45 10:45 AM, Apr 19 Reply
Axe7540 in reply to Terry

and to @mn_camera

My statement takes things to the logical extreme and may not be appropriate. What I'm trying to say is the atheist approach to morality requires a logical leap to faith just like spirituality does. The position of atheism is tenable (once we accept existence) but when we begin to build rules to live by we have to begin to accept more things on faith. For example depending on your approach you may need to accept that all people are born free. I sometimes feel that atheists think they are superior to those that believe in religion because they think their way of living is rooted in logic but the reality is we are all going on faith in one way or another.

and @Chris Spurgeon see: Cartesian duality

#46 10:53 AM, Apr 19 Reply

Just because it is a line of dialog from a movie doesn't mean it isn't also the product of an author. Dan O'Bannon and Don Jakoby are credited with writing _Blue Thunder_.

#47 10:54 AM, Apr 19 Reply
dculberson in reply to Axe7540

I don't know about that - logic can show that treating others right and helping people will result in a net gain for the human race. Building up effective and functional communities helps everyone in total get ahead. Individuals cannot complete large scale projects so cooperation is beneficial both on the individual level and on the group level. It's pretty easy to come up with a local foundation for an altruistic world view.

#48 10:56 AM, Apr 19 Reply

Although I don't have any reason TO believe in a god, I also don't have any reason to NOT believe in a god. I always forget who this quote is from, but it's what I follow when it comes to anything unproven:

"Absence of proof is not proof of absence."

And jere7my @ #3, Quakerism is one religion that I can really respect for its openness to other ideas.

#49 10:57 AM, Apr 19 Reply

@Chris Spurgeon - WIN!!!

#50 10:58 AM, Apr 19 Reply

Not to worry, God still believes in you anyway.

#51 11:14 AM, Apr 19 Reply

Looks like we're going to call this myth BUSTED.

(Really, almost 30 comments in and this hasn't been said?)

#52 11:17 AM, Apr 19 Reply
Axe7540 in reply to dculberson

I don't disagree completely. However when you think about how that plays out in reality there are some tough decisions that need to be made about what should be done for the good of the community. And then of course there will be other communities that disagree with your approach or your goals. All I'm saying is you have to have "faith" in an approach to make it work and having faith is something atheists sometimes use to downplay spirituality. You can't dismiss someone else' faith and then have your own replace it. Neither is based in reality (which of course is something people don't have a lock on).

#53 11:27 AM, Apr 19 Reply

First, a definition of religion would be necessary before saying that speech because I would say that what your speech tells is that you have created your own religion.

#54 11:31 AM, Apr 19 Reply

"... I always thought some famous author said it, but I asked my 200,000 followers on Twitter today, and it turns out that Roy Scheider said it in Blue Thunder."

Honestly, Twitter should start promoting itself as a free Mechanical Turk service for celebrities because that's exactly what it has become.

Nontheless, a thoughtful and interesting speech.

#55 11:42 AM, Apr 19 Reply
mn_camera in reply to Axe7540

Logical extremes are less than useful here.

And once we step outside of the world of faith - which inherently involves the unverifiable - we enter the world of objective reality and observable fact. It is the world I prefer to inhabit given the choice between the two.

#56 12:22 PM, Apr 19 Reply
Axe7540 in reply to mn_camera

You have a different set of blinders on my friend.

#57 12:34 PM, Apr 19 Reply
donniebnyc in reply to TomXP411

Well, let's start with the idea that "I believe there is no god" is a glib response to "So, you don't believe in anything." By mirroring the use of the word "believe" I have tried to answer the accusation of non-belief with the accuser's own language. I freely admit that it is imprecise, and it is meant to be more than a little sarcastic.

A more accurate answer is: No, I don't believe in anything. There are things I know and things I don't know. When faced with things mankind doesn't yet know, I am comforted by the idea that one day we probably will know them. I am also comfortable with the idea that there are things we may never know (like what's at the center of a black hole). That doesn't frighten me and it doesn't lead me to seek supernatural explanations.

Second, I must disagree with the statement "you can never Know someone else's Belief is wrong." Just as I know my childhood belief in Santa Claus was wrong because there was (and still is) no Santa Claus, I know that a belief in god is wrong because there is no god. God is a concept created by primitive humans and only exists as an idea in the human mind. It is precisely because belief is a choice that I know belief in god is wrong.

My friend, (see I did it again) I hardly think I am responsible for "the single most evil idea that has ever entered our society." Have you considered switching to decaf?

#58 12:43 PM, Apr 19 Reply

Try this one on the next person who asks you why you're an Athiest:

"It's just the way god made me."

With any luck you'll blow their minds.

#59 12:45 PM, Apr 19 Reply

And by Athiest, I mean Atheist. God also made me a lousy speller. Damn him!

#60 12:45 PM, Apr 19 Reply

Where is the video for this? If there isn't then who can I punch for not recording it?

#61 1:02 PM, Apr 19 Reply
Anon in reply to Anonymous

Einstein did not believe in the existence of any god, nor did he support any religion.

"It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal god and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it."
- Albert Einstein

Einstein served on the Advisory Board of the First Humanist Society of New York, an honorary associate of the British Humanist Association and the Rationalist Press, and a subscriber to New Humanist until his death.

He was a card-carrying Humanist and member of the atheistic Ethical Culture movement.

In 2008, a previously unknown 1954 letter from Einstein to philosopher Eric Goodkind, that had recently been found in his archives was auctioned in London for over $400,000. In it, Einstein described belief in a god as "childish superstition".

He stated that: "The word God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honourable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish."

He went on to state, "For me the Jewish religion like all others is an incarnation of the most childish superstitions," and to reject the notion of Jews being a Chosen People of a (nonexistent) God.

Here is one mention of the letter, it was written up extensively all over the major print media at the time:

#62 1:27 PM, Apr 19 Reply

What a great speech.

#63 1:27 PM, Apr 19 Reply

If you take Buckminster Fuller's approach, as detailed in his OPERATING MANUAL FOR SPACESHIP EARTH, you realize that we do have a purpose, and life has meaning. Planet Earth worked well on its own until humans reached a level of awareness and developed a set of tools sufficient to destroy the planet. But, hopefully, from that "research", we have come to understand it.

#64 1:32 PM, Apr 19 Reply

Interestingly, there's nothing that Adam Savage said that doesn't mesh well with the core beliefs of the church I grew up in. We're here, we're God's hands on earth. We need to take look out for each other, be aware of each other, and appreciate the wonder that is in the world if we have a hope of making it through life happy and sane.

#65 1:39 PM, Apr 19 Reply

If what you believe in is atheism, then you have made that your god. Believing in "nothing" is a belief in something. And if that is what you believe in, then that is your god. Adam believes in himself, and thus he has made himself god unto himself. He doesnt name it specifically, but he says there are three intolerant religions. If by "religion" he means Christianity, then he doesnt understand what Christianity is. Someone posted that the inherent problem with religion is that it is contrived by man. I couldnt agree more. And that is why Christianity differs. It was not conceived nor contrived by man.
Can Adam say he knows even 10% of the knowledge in the universe? Hmmm. Maybe, just maybe God is out there on that other 90% Adam doesnt know.

#66 1:41 PM, Apr 19 Reply

that was a good speech... here here.

#67 1:43 PM, Apr 19 Reply

Thank you, Adam. That was wonderful. There'll be video of this, right? Honestly, Adam Savage is up there with Stephen Fry on my list of celebrity figures I admire and respect greatly.

I have to ask though, why all the nervous hand-wringing from the believers when something like this comes up -- what reason do you, whoever you might be, have for being so concerned for the state of the immortal soul I don't even believe I have? After all, you believe in your deity -- I'm fine with it, I think you're wrong, but I would defend your right to it -- so why so much worry over us atheists and the like enjoying our echo-chamber? I mean... unless you have doubts yourself?

(Also, I've noticed that actively denying the existence of souls causes even more offence than the whole God thing.)

#68 1:46 PM, Apr 19 Reply

"Fractals, the theory of relativity, the genome: these are magnificently beautiful constructs."

I agree. What I do not understand is how someone can marvel about the construct, but deny the existence of a constructor. Or maybe Mr. Savage thinks the "build team" on Mythbusters doesn't really exist, but that the built items magically appear out of thin air.

#69 1:47 PM, Apr 19 Reply

"If you stare long enough into the Abyss, the Abyss stares back into you."

Ultimately, there is nothing. Are you real? You think so. But, what are you? What is real? You think you know. Examine these questions too deeply and the existential horror will likely get to you.

Personally, I think the lack of evidence for god is reason enough to not believe in god. God seems to be a specific region of the brain, scientists can stimulate it at will with a little electricity. Push the button, current goes in, your mind experiences god. It's science!

Consciousness seems to exist entirely within the brain.

Because our brains only experience of reality is the data going into it, we are limited to what data our body can input. In other words, your subjective reality is mediated through your body, but the bandwidth is limited by your biology. Or so it seems, since we can't actually prove the objectivity of the data we don't really know what exists. Maybe none of my experiences are real, maybe my own consciousness is an illusion. It's entirely unknowable.

I think I am probably real and that my experience of reality is probably representational of an actual reality. It may be warped and limited, but I'm probably not a butterfly dreaming it is a human.

Party on, dudes!

#70 1:57 PM, Apr 19 Reply

Sure everyone is entitled to their view but I am not sure anyone can argue that there is a disconnect between sciences and all the 3 major religions without really knowing enough about ALL 3 of them. In my opinion, most people view ALL religion in light of the conclusions they have about the religion that the majority of the people follow in the country that they belong.

If you ask me their perception is skewed.

#71 1:57 PM, Apr 19 Reply
Anon in reply to Anonymous

I'm glad you're good at 'envisioning' it, 'cause you'll never get to see it.

#72 1:59 PM, Apr 19 Reply

Einstein was at most a deist. He invoked God in a number of statements, but only as a rhetorical device.

In fact, Einstein said: "The word god is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honourable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish. No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this."

I don't understand why people insist on presenting false examples when equally convincing but real examples exist. If you want to point out a renowned scientist from recent years who was undeniably a Christian, why not turn to Michael Faraday? Maybe it's just that certain categories of people tend to parrot what other people have said without bothering to check facts.

Disregarding the accuracy of the claim, proof by expert in a different field isn't proof. Proof by expert in the same field isn't proof, either. Einstein couldn't have convinced any physicist of anything just by making a claim; he'd have to show the math. Hell, a plumber who supported a theory in physics with appropriate math could get published.

Since, even in Einstein's field, his reputation was (at least in the ideal case) ignored when evaluating his theories, his reputation should be equally ignored when evaluating his opinions on fields which are well outside his specialty.

#73 1:59 PM, Apr 19 Reply

Reply @ donniebnyc:

"God is a concept created by primitive humans and only exists as an idea in the human mind. It is precisely because belief is a choice that I know belief in god is wrong."

This statement doesn't really make much sense to me. As stated by TomXP411, you only know what you have experienced, and your beliefs are based on those experiences. Your experiences have led you to believe that there is no God. This is a decision that you have made, it was your choice. So is this idea "wrong" too?

None of us are capable of knowing how we got here, or what this existence really means, if it means anything at all. How is it that you are so set in your beliefs, and closed off to someone else's, when yours are based on just as much evidence as a non-religious theism?

You choose to believe that there is no God based on what you have experienced, just like others choose to believe that there is based on what they've experienced. Your belief is no more "wrong" than any other.

I think the point Tom was trying to make was that the concept of claiming to Know something that is truly unknowable is wrong, not that you yourself are responsible for the most evil thought ever uttered. Just that this notion that we can ever be so sure of the truth either way is what leads to intolerance.

Declaring ones atheism is really fundamentally no different from declaring ones faith. It's a world view that you have based on personal experiences, and no one can have any idea, truly, whether it's right or not.

#74 2:03 PM, Apr 19 Reply

Atheism and humanism have become faith systems unto themselves. Discuss with an atheist the huge gaps in evolutionary theory, and you'll run up against an absolute faith that would make the average "religious" fellow shudder.

Ultimately humanism, atheism, religious faith... all work wonders in the hands of the right people. I have no doubt that Adam's brand of humanism serves to ensure that those around him benefit from his decency, in the same way that many benefit from the belief systems of religious people when they act conscientiously. Not sure how to deal with people who are unkind to their fellow man regardless of their faith (or lack thereof). Typically we tend to define these behaviors against our laws, which were by and large derived from our religious heritage. In the absence of such belief systems, it seems likely that most folks would act primarily in their own self-interest, which would hardly result in the kind of safety and relative order we enjoy today in the western world.

It's curious to me that atheists and secular humanists tend increasingly to berate and ridicule those that they encounter who would tend to disagree. I'm never sure what it is that they're so afraid of. I can respect that Adam is respectful and earnest in his beliefs, and encourages people to go their own way. But truthfully, most atheists I've encountered are far less tolerant.

I have religious faith, and acknowledge it as such. I don't preach, I'm not trying to convert the masses, and I try to weigh my own behaviors against a religious code in which I truly believe. I don't think that's a bad thing.

#75 2:13 PM, Apr 19 Reply


#76 2:15 PM, Apr 19 Reply

...but ultimately it still comes down to belief and faith, right? The belief that there is nothing, based on some form of evidence, and faith that you have interpreted it correctly. To say that there's nothing else is just as presumptive anything else. It seems to me that humanism such as described by Adam is limited by his inability to create the universe or see beyond death using the same methods which inform his vocation. He can make a real rocket, therefore rockets are real. He can't make a real God, therefore God is not real. At the end of the day, humanism is still a faith statement.

#77 2:26 PM, Apr 19 Reply

Very nice to read some reason! We need more individuals like you around to promote realistic views of our existence rather than the irrational.

#78 2:33 PM, Apr 19 Reply
Terry in reply to Anonymous
Discuss with an atheist the huge gaps in evolutionary theory, and you'll run up against an absolute faith that would make the average "religious" fellow shudder.

You said it. Personally, I believe in evolution, but only because it makes the most sense to me. The 'truth' is that evolution is part of my belief system.

And every time I say that, a mob of evolutionists forms to tar and feather me. It just drives them crazy when one of their own admits that he arrived at a belief in evolution through faith (the problem seems to be that so many atheists and agnostics have piled so much baggage onto the word 'faith' that they no longer know what it means).

By the way - unbeliever and blasphemer here.

#79 2:45 PM, Apr 19 Reply

I see a lot of Anon postings here.

As a wiser person than me said once, "Not collecting stamps is not a hobby and not believing in god is not religion or faith".

Militant atheism is the natural reaction of the weight of observing vast swaths of human kind believing in an invisible being credited with creating a systems obviously designed by humans to control humans.

Since violence is not an option, forceful discourse is our best response. While an individual (like Anon #74 above) may not preach, it is the very core of religion to proselytize and recruit. Most rational folks would not join a cult on their own - it takes recruiting.

And the atheist voice needs to be strong and forceful to be heard over the babble of religion. Sadly, I don't think any of us think it will change anyone but we need to be true to truth and rationality.

I think Anon #74 comments shine a light on how easily they believe what is KNOWN to be false in order to legitimize their own faith. He doesn't believe in evolution - it is TRUE. He thinks our laws were derived from our religious heritage - is is FALSE. He thinks most folks would act in their own benefit which has been demonstrated to be FALSE as evolution has programmed us to be group organisms. He slips in "western world" to contrast "eastern world" and their non-christian religious.

Sorry, your invisible man in the sky is only to keep you in line. It would be you I would be worried about if your church said "Go kill those folks next door because they don't believe in our invisible man"

#80 2:50 PM, Apr 19 Reply
tsdguy in reply to Terry

Sorry Terry but you are wrong. You believe in evolution because it's TRUE. It is TRUE because of EVIDENCE. There is EVIDENCE because of science and the scientific method.

There is no belief or faith involved. No faith is necessary because of the very nature of the scientific method which is progressive and self-correcting.

You might BELIEVE that a particular theory is true because it has more convincing evidence than another theory. Eventually the evidence will converge all all the competing theories will be discarded and a scientific TRUTH will appear.

#81 3:00 PM, Apr 19 Reply
Terry in reply to tsdguy

Hey, thanks for proving my point. Did you bring the feathers?

You should know, of course, that science doesn't deal in 'truth'. Ever. 'Truth' is for philosophy and/or religion.

#82 3:12 PM, Apr 19 Reply
ultranaut in reply to Anonymous

Nothing is something?

#83 3:13 PM, Apr 19 Reply

My only comment is this.

1 Corinthians 2:13-15

13This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words. 14The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man's judgment:

#84 3:16 PM, Apr 19 Reply
tsdguy in reply to Terry

You're welcome. Sure, what's your color? I think you're wrong about scientific truth but what the hell. I'm sure evolution is glad you "believe" in it.

#85 3:20 PM, Apr 19 Reply

Wonderful! Thank you!

#86 3:21 PM, Apr 19 Reply
Anon in reply to JoeKickass

Reply to JoeKickass • #35 • 09:56 on Mon, Apr.19 •

"Thank you Adam. Well said, there really is no one in charge, nor should there be.

BTW: is there video of this?"

Hmm... You'll have to ask the person in charge.

#87 3:28 PM, Apr 19 Reply
Ugly Canuck in reply to Terry

Indeed: science may be said to be more concerned more with accuracy, than with truth. For good reasons.

Reflect upon why subjective things like "taste" and "smell" have been replaced by "mass" and "temperature": so that we may discuss these matters (that is, we may compare and share our experiences with/observations of nature with others) with accuracy. That does not deny the truth of your sensations - they just happen to be on the whole useless for doing science.

Accuracy is drafted by science in the service of clarity, which itself seems a necessary stepping stone to "truth": scientists take care to circumscribe their positive assertions tightly, so as not to overstep the boundaries of what has been observed and accurately described.
In general, truths of wide application are most difficult to find using science, although they tend to be much the most famous - not to say lucrative - once discovered.
But so far, the activity of science has more than re-paid its costs in human effort. Without ever gaining "the final truth".

Thinking just about people's motivations in undertaking scientific work:
It is difficult if not impossible to work diligently to seek after or even to desire to gain the truth, if one feels that one already has it, eh?
Thus, scientists seem to always cheerfully admit their ignorance...even though they may well in fact know more than any other living person about the subject under discussion.

#88 3:39 PM, Apr 19 Reply

The premise of your argument, there is morality without God "(To be clear: I'm referring to the humanist axiom "Good without God," whereby "good" means morality. It's provably false that there exists no morality outside of religion, therefore the statement sounds defensive to me.)"

How can one define good if not based on something or someone outside ourselves? Didn't Hitler call it good to kill and imprison those who were considered less than his definition of good? Without God, Good and Morality are not equal they are both ideas defined by the people in charge. History has proven over and over again that even those who start out good can and often do degenerate into evil ideas and actions. God on the other hand gives us a constant rule to follow, never changes, is as reliable as the laws of gravity. When we compare concepts of Good and morality they can only be compared to that which is outside ourselves if they are to have any validity at all.

#89 3:40 PM, Apr 19 Reply
Ugly Canuck in reply to TBar

Nature comes from the spirit of God, does it not?
So what is your problem with science, then?

#90 3:47 PM, Apr 19 Reply

It's depressing to see a group of people who clearly feel completely oppressed by religion. I appreciate the opportunity to see a side of discourse that I do not normally see.

Living in the Southern United States, I can see how difficult it is for Agnostics/Atheists to function in our society. Work, social functions -- you name it. I wouldn't wish that difficulty on anyone. It's patently unfair.

But for me, a blanket statement is still a blanket statement: the way religion is portrayed here is disconcerting. (I'm not saying inaccurate.) Not all of us have a exclusionary view. I'm not saying that in a "we'll welcome you back into the flock" sort-of-way ... it's just that not everyone who believes in a God thinks that it's a zero-sum game. (I happen to appreciate the beauty Adam describes -- the mathematical wonder of it all -- in much the same way he does. I'll be using it later :)

That said, having faith can be hard, too -- for someone who is bright, well-read and thoughtful, I think it's much harder. How hard? I hesitated to read this piece. That's how difficult it can be to wrestle with these ideas.

I think I get a lot out of my faith. It's what I always seem to come back to after reading a piece like this. (I've never thought about the self-reflective nature of prayer as outlined by Adam. Interesting.)

Like I said, though: it's good for me (and a lot of others, I hope) to get exposed to this. Even if we don't fully agree.

Thanks BoingBoing.

#91 4:02 PM, Apr 19 Reply

I agree with everything said.. however consider this
1)Do "you" exist.
2) If so do you exist separate from all other consciousness? 3) Can you experience all consciousness? (IE Why woudl anyone believe in god, why not see god, and then see if you are not god?

Here it is, only 1 consciousness exist, like an ocean we are its wave, ego is the sense of separation that makes each wave think it is separate from all. get rid of ego, pop the ego bubble and you will find only the ocean exist. Now of course if you goal is to have a materialistic life then thats what you get, If you want to either believe or doubt, thats what you get, if you want to really know then give up everything else, I mean is there something worth more... oh... thats why you chose belief.. cuz your to damn lazy to know. for me that was being a monk at 17 and meditating giving up all until the veil parted and I saw. I know God exist I have seen god but I certainly don't believe it, if you saw a flying saucer land would you believe it? Hell no!. God is not a thing, is the cosmic ocean of conscious energy that creates all, and when you fall into the ocean of light you become that ocean and lose your sense of self.. and no, not drugs, the 1st time was LSD, but that was to make me want to really go there, then it was the effort.. then it really happened. Climbing Mt Everst is simple, not easy anyone can see god its is simple just not easy you just got to want it more then your won existence because that's what you have to give up to go there.. ha!

#92 4:15 PM, Apr 19 Reply

Neuroscience, Epigentics, the works of Dr. Bruce Lipton seem to be working on a link between Science and Spirituality. We need people on both sides of the coin for a reason, it would seem everything in life has an opposite.
We need the ugly to see the beauty, what we perceive as the ugly or beauty makes us unique and joins the people who have similar views, in order that we work together. There is no wrong path then, no correct belief. Life just is. Our quest collectively as humans is to evolve.
The feeling of love and loving actions is the force that connects us all with one another and to the universe.
Look at the Mona Lisa, no matter how many trillion times you throw paint at the surface of a canvas, you'll never recreate the Mona Lisa.
The fact is you needed a creator.
For our DNA to emerge from the bing bang and come together to create life works on the same principle as throwing paint at a canvas. We may have emerged and evolved after the big bang, but just like the Mona Lisa required a creator, we also required a creator to put the particles and matter in place so that on impact of the big bang, there was life. You may break down our bodies to its microspopic form and smash it together at CERN but unless you have the design plans from our original creator, you will never duplicate it, try a trillion times like the paint on the canvas.
Then throw the emotion and theory of love into this mix, the Tao Te Ching, Jesus Christ and how we cannot see the truth of the existence of both science and spirituality for a just is.

#93 4:15 PM, Apr 19 Reply
Anon in reply to Anonymous

It's ridiculous and offensive to say that I lack morality if I don't believe in God. In fact, studies have shown that religious people commit more morally questionable acts than atheists do. (Google 'crime statistics by religion' if you don't believe me)

Also, consider that most religions have a nice little contradiction when it comes to the concept of good vs evil: You see, religions try to say that God is good, but to do so means that 'good' is outside of God, which means there is something greater than God. That can't be, therefore God can not be good. That ought to blow your mind...

And if it doesn't, try this: They told me quite often in Sunday school that people are not perfect and therefore will commit sins. Jesus was the only human capable of not committing sins. Doesn't that absolve the sinner of responsibility? "It's not my fault, I'm imperfect...gotta go confess and clear this one up...oh good, all better." Sorry, I know this comes off a bit...well, you know, but I hate the mistaken idea that atheists are naturally amoral.

#94 4:29 PM, Apr 19 Reply
Ugly Canuck in reply to Anonymous

I note the Holy Church, whose Fathers unanimously held as true the proposition that the charging of money interest on debt is a terrible and mortal sin for well over a millenium (before even the first schism between Rome and Constantinople, never mind the Protestant schism of many centuries later) seem to have changed their minds on that matter.

But the Bible did not change, eh?
I wonder what ever happened to the original Hebrew texts of the Gospels - they have unaccountably vanished - for we only have the Greek translations now, eh?

Concepts are by definition things of the mind.
What does one compare, when one compares concepts? Perhaps chimaras, swinging in the ether? Are they not both held in the mind's eye? Where does one find the "outside" in such a mental operation?
Perhaps you are confusing or confounding "faith in God" with "faith in sense perceptions"?

For it also makes good sense to say: it is obvious to my eyes that the sun goes around our world.

Remind me: how many laws of gravity are there?

#95 4:30 PM, Apr 19 Reply
TBar in reply to Ugly Canuck

I have no problem with science at all. My training is in science and engineering. I fly an airplane for a living, so I am very concerned with the science of aerodynamics and weather. I just don't see science as something that disproves the existence of God but rather a revealing of the majesty of His creation.

#96 4:56 PM, Apr 19 Reply

seems to me that a lot of your atheistic beliefs are actually pretty in line with buddhist thought. just saying. : )

#97 4:58 PM, Apr 19 Reply
Ugly Canuck in reply to TBar

Indeed. I find yours an admirable position to take.

I don't personally see that science has much to say one way or the other about God. For those who base their religious beliefs wholly upon revelation - personal or received, via the agency of a Prophet or Messiah or Church, from others - rather than their own reason or lived or shared experiences, science has nothing to say about it.
In some ways, such people of the book are a closed book, at least to any fresh writing.

I have not noticed in my readings in the history of the sciences, that the religiosity - or lack thereof - of a scientist has ever precluded that person from doing very good - nay great - science.

From this fact, I think that such beliefs are likely irrelevant to doing science. Fidelity to observations, and to the accuracy of recording and transmitting such, seems to me more important to the doing of good science, than any presence or absence of religious belief in the scientist.

#98 4:59 PM, Apr 19 Reply

All I can say is thank you, Adam!! Beautifully put! I've re-read this three times, each time I want to cheer and say YES!

#99 4:59 PM, Apr 19 Reply

It is refreshing to hear someone use the English language so well.

#100 5:04 PM, Apr 19 Reply
Anon in reply to Anonymous

Although the Hitler reference is not exactly appropriate, I have to at least say that every test requires a control, and the baseline for "good" has to come from somewhere. And for many people that is religion, or elements of that religion. How do you determine what is good or bad without behavioral parameters to measure? Surely an average of humanity would give you very 'grey' results.

#101 5:05 PM, Apr 19 Reply
Anon in reply to Anonymous

Wow. Simply wow.

You are using Hitler's logic, JSW.

How about this simple equation for good/moral vs bad/immoral, it can be difficult so pay attention, "Don't hurt anyone and don't kill anyone." God is simply a concise way of getting this point across, as well as a few controlling mechanisms added in the middle-ages.

The idea that you require God as a reminder that you shouldn't be evil is something bred by the bible. If you live a moral life without God, are you denying his will? Or are you just being a thoughtful and considerate human being.

You are the type of person who allows the Hitlers of the world to exist by allowing your God to let him exist.

#102 5:08 PM, Apr 19 Reply
Anon in reply to Anonymous

Thanks, Godwin.

If there is a single good person apart from belief in god than there most definitely is morality without religion. The majority of the people on earth are not born again and make very moral decisions. If you find a need to compare any action with an absolute, there are plenty of acceptable atheistic morality codes that will do just fine.

Belief in god is descriptive, not prescriptive. Base your moral decisions on emotions you have while reading an old book if you want but don't think you can force everyone to weigh their moral worth by them.

#103 5:15 PM, Apr 19 Reply
Anon in reply to Anonymous

It sounds like you're saying that it's impossible to tell what's right and wrong without God, which is, as Adam said, provably false.

For example, I myself am an Athiest, yet I'm fully capable of telling when something is morally reprehensible. It's society that sets the standards of morality, not God.

P.S. Hitler was, among other things, a devout Christian. He had God, yet still preformed acts that were morally reprehensible, despite thinking that they were the right thing to do.

Also, Godwin's Law states that by bringing him up, we have both lost the conversation.

#104 5:16 PM, Apr 19 Reply
tsdguy in reply to Bouch

I think you are in the wrong thread. You wanted the LSD posting. Let me know when you start hearing 60's music.

#105 5:17 PM, Apr 19 Reply
Wingo in reply to TBar

I never understood the tactic of quoting from scripture to try and convince a non-believer to believe. It's like some kind of bizarre paradox. "Here, since you don't believe in God, listen to what God said, which proves He exists and that you should believe in Him". It's like something from a Douglas Adams novel.

Is it any different than quoting from The Catcher in the Rye to prove Holden Caufield is real? "All morons hate it when you call them a moron." See: chapter 6! He said that in a book! He must be real, and that must be the truth!

Missionary-types: You will never convince an atheist to join your side by quoting a text of dubious origin that they already do not believe is The Sacred Word. This is exactly the wrong angle to take.

Good on Mr. Savage, (who is one cool MF-er, in my book) for a very well-thought-out and honest homily.

#106 5:19 PM, Apr 19 Reply
Baihu in reply to franko

Buddhism is not a religion in the same sense as the Abrahamic traditions. It does not address the idea of "is there a god" and is basically non-deistic and non-dogmatic.So Atheistic thought and Buddhist thought are not contradictory or mutually exclusive in any way, as I see it. Buddha was in many ways the original freethinker, so it isn't surprising to see humanism and buddhism come to similar conclusions. But that's just me...

#107 5:24 PM, Apr 19 Reply
Anon in reply to Anonymous

I'm sick to death of claims ethical and moral behaviour is the sole domain of religion. Any two-year-old has a sense of fairness, long before they're cognizant of anything about religion. It's built in to humans. Religion stole morality from humanity.

To Godwin one's self in the process of propagating this rubbish attracts much rolling of eyes and facepalming.

#108 5:27 PM, Apr 19 Reply
tsdguy in reply to TBar

I'm glad you have no trouble with science. You probably wasted all that time studying and doing homework however. All you needed was faith - whatever they said was true.

Oh, they probably did insist on demonstrating, confirming, researching, reviewing and all that wasteful science stuff.

You talk about good science, of observation and experimentation fidelity but you believe in an invisible and illogical figment of your imagination?

You can't have both - if you think you can then you are a hypocrite. What are the observable properties and phenomenon of god? What facts could you present that would make a scientist say, "Hmm wonder if he has a point"? Nothing. The world is very well explained by natural phenomenon. Nothing requires or even suggests god.

#109 5:30 PM, Apr 19 Reply
tsdguy in reply to Baihu

Sorry, not according to Wikipedia. Quoting (the first paragraph yet)..
"Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha (Pāli/Sanskrit "the awakened one"), and is classified as an Indian religion. "

#110 5:32 PM, Apr 19 Reply
Anon in reply to Anonymous

What he means is that, for every one of your examples, some mysterious being set it in motion. I would hope the complexity of a complex universe, multiverse is automatically increased if something caused it.

#111 5:32 PM, Apr 19 Reply

I love Adam's speech! I think it's definitely beneath his level to basically paint all those who practice his 3 religions with the same brush, but I'm not one to throw the baby out with the bathwater. ;) It's definitely a good read.

#112 5:38 PM, Apr 19 Reply

adam doesn't believe in God? That's ok boy, He believes in you.

#113 5:42 PM, Apr 19 Reply
Anon in reply to TBar

Sorry the, "you can't understand until you believe it" is nothing more than circular reasoning.

#114 5:46 PM, Apr 19 Reply
Steven C. Britton

I realize the comment thread is getting long, and this comment is going to appear WAY down in the list, but I'm still going to post it, and I'm going to respectfully dispute Adam's use of Occam's Razor to suggest random chance is a simpler explanation as to the existence of the universe. Frank Salisbury calculated the probability of a typical DNA chain arising by chance to be 1 in 10^600 (that's a one with SIX HUNDRED zeroes after it.) It seems to me that a simpler explanation is some form of higher entity directed and organized the universe to meet some master plan.

Secondly, the argument between science and religion really is unnecessary. The two are not mutually exclusive.

#115 5:46 PM, Apr 19 Reply
Anon in reply to Anonymous

Just can't agree with that at all. "God" is a man made concept as well. Those "absolutes" all have little caveats in which they do not apply or the degree of "wrong" is mitigated by circumstances. Even the Church does not practice their religion in the same way that it has in the past. Simply excuses.

#116 5:51 PM, Apr 19 Reply

I don't think you're an atheist, Adam. From the way you speak I think you've already acknowledged the truly amazing fact that there is no one god...because we are ALL gods. Each one of us has an incredible impact on the entire universe. I don't mean something as silly as the "butterfly effect," I'm talking about a real fundamental connection between all of us and everything. When you dig down into the really difficult metaphysical questions you find there is something there that's not easy to wrap your head around. Call it a fabric, or spirit, or whatever, it is a something. The best explanations I've found are from eastern religions because they are so purposefully vague in detail, but beautiful in their essence.

Look at where science is heading. We've gone from classical mechanics to quantum theory. All of a sudden things aren't either here or there, they're here, there, and everywhere at once, with varying probabilities. We've come to realize that Aristotle's view of a strictly logical and mechanical universe is just not right!

My point is that there is no need for science and religion to be split. Many scientists, agnostics and even atheists speak of the idea of self while churchgoers speak of god...what they don't know is that dig down to the most basic elements of what they're saying and it's all the same!

#117 5:52 PM, Apr 19 Reply
Anon in reply to Axe7540

Of course we can "logically prove we exist". Cogito ergo sum.

#118 5:55 PM, Apr 19 Reply

Excellent speech, Adam. I'm in full agreement.

I had a friend many years ago who was reading the Castaneda books. He was a Dead-Head and religious, and the books sounded mystical, so I figured the books weren't for me. But the allegorical content sounds pretty interesting.

Also, props to the commenter who said, "Let the eagle soooooaaaarrr!" That was in reference to a cheesy song by John Ashcroft.

#119 5:58 PM, Apr 19 Reply
Bouch in reply to tsdguy

Just my perception of life brother. Don't do drugs. Sure growing up, I smoked some weed but thats it.
What ever your belief or non-belief or we just are, you cannot dismis the fact that a unity or a brotherhood of men is needed in order to unite.
The 60's message of love as that power is still true today, wether love is a human instinct or divine trait, it is irrelevent how it is we see this light, we just need to see it.
Go ahead and keep smashing particles at CERN and attempt to prove me wrong.
Was not the dude who discovered our DNA tripping on LSD?
What you perceive as your mind is a figment of your imagination, it is a name for you to identify the collections of your living brains thoughts, one can also argue that the same collection of the living brains random thoughts can be identfied as thier spirit.
In the end it is the context of the thoughts that have value, just like with any belief or athism, it is the context that we must unite in a brother hood. Recognize the differences but realise we all bleed red and came from the same origin of life and will return there.

#120 6:02 PM, Apr 19 Reply
Antinous / Moderator in reply to Steven C. Britton

I'm going to respectfully dispute Adam's use of Occam's Razor

While you're at it, you might as well dispute everybody's use of it. It's about as scientific as weighing each theory against a duck.

#121 6:03 PM, Apr 19 Reply
Anon in reply to Baihu

Buddhism does have quite a bit of dogma. It has been changed over time to become more religion-like and to require more belief. Bodhidharma was fed up with the dogma in India and set out to China to start Ch'an but even Zen became dogmatic. I suggest reading "Buddhism Without Beliefs" by Stephen Batchelor if you're interested in learning about the original Buddhism without the dogma.

#122 6:03 PM, Apr 19 Reply
Kevin Kenny

You and I have much in common.

We both are filled with awe at the natural order. Indeed, the Universe is filled with wonders.

We both believe that the way life's abundant diversity has arisen out of natural selection is one of those wonders.

We both believe that human aspiration, human kindness, human compassion are part of the natural order - irrespective of Who (if anyone!) imposed that order.

We both believe that intolerance and hatred, whether in the name of one God, many gods, or no god at all, offend against that order.

We both believe that it is good to have a mission. Our chief difference lies in how we interpret the word, 'mission'. In Latin it means, 'sending forth;' and I believe that sending forth implies a sender; you believe that we send ourselves.

So I have a religion - which one is surely tangential to this discussion - and you do not. Still, I'll be pleased, and humbled, to walk beside you on the road of inquiry, disagree though we may regarding where it will lead.
And if at the end, you see a glimpse of impish intelligence in the eye of the Eagle, and the hint of a shared joke, I trust that you will not protest: "You don't exist, and I hate You!" And if I see nothing there but a mindless hunger, well, I hope I'm tasty.

#123 6:06 PM, Apr 19 Reply

I think that Adam can on a personal level focus on his interactions with others and decide that sharing and listening is good but without a defined moral code (perhaps provided in his case by his parents) he could just as easily have decided that dishonesty and selfishness were good for him or worth a try if the reward/risk ratio was great enough.

I say that I dont know if god exists - I'm open to the idea until it can be disproven. I think religion does have a role to play in terms of setting a moral framework to compare your own actions to but I think that the self questioning and meditation that Adam discusses is very good once you have a basic moral code (from any source) to compare your performance against.

Religion has some major problems but they do have some significant value too.

#124 6:08 PM, Apr 19 Reply

Adam mentions three kinds of bigotry that have been associated with Catholic hierarchies or fundamentalists. Nevertheless, I consider myself a progressive activist, a fan of science if not an actual scientist, and an evangelical.

I could tell you equally bad stories about conservative, "Confessional" Lutherans. They'll be so mad that the liberal church leaders said something about global warming or torture or justice for Palestinians. What's funny is to follow their line of reasoning because pretty soon their rant will say something that goes against the Confessions of Luther's Catechism itself.

My faith walk is a continual "Mythbusters" experiment to test the Myth that these bigotries are **required** from the Bible, even a literal reading of it. And I say so far it sure as heck ain't CONFIRMED.

#125 6:12 PM, Apr 19 Reply

Ummm.... 42!

#126 6:12 PM, Apr 19 Reply

Adam makes a great argument but living for nothing seems quite banal to me and you can not disprove God but you can try. Just because we can not understand God does not mean he does not exist.

#127 6:13 PM, Apr 19 Reply

That's a little something I like to call "sacrilicious".

#128 6:16 PM, Apr 19 Reply

To each his own.

#129 6:22 PM, Apr 19 Reply

40,000 years ago religion was invented to explain things and to give humans courage.

4000 years ago religion was changed to prevent people from understanding their world and to keep them afraid.

#130 6:32 PM, Apr 19 Reply

"Atheism is a self-imposed lack of curiosity." --Anonymous

#131 6:42 PM, Apr 19 Reply
Kelemvor's Primate

From what I can see, much of the argument between theism (of any kind) and atheism revolves around a simple lack of recognition of the difference between objective reality and mythical reality.
Objective reality is that which can be measured, weighed, calculated, and otherwise examined using scientific principles. The physical universe is exclusively the realm of objective reality.
Mythical reality is the realm of thought, imagination, and belief. Every god that has ever been imagined, from Raven to Cthulhu, exists in mythical reality.
When a person tries to use mythical reality to define objective reality, or objective reality to define mythical reality, that person has made the same mistake he would make if he tried to define the flavor of steak by saying it tastes like a quadratic equation. It's utterly nonsensical.
Unfortunately, with so many (on both sides of the divide) not making a clear distinction between objective reality and mythical reality (Jesus Christ as a historical person, anyone?), the antagonism looks set to continue indefinitely.

#132 6:47 PM, Apr 19 Reply
Avi Solomon

Adam is a mystic. Mystics are always loners making their own path. And Adam's remarks ARE reminiscent of Einstein's classic talk:

#133 6:50 PM, Apr 19 Reply

So are we calling this one busted?

#134 7:01 PM, Apr 19 Reply

Atheism is a lack of belief in a deity or deities. It does not equate to a lack of a moral compass. Believe it or not, morals can come from a source other than a beard in the sky. I have never had a god, nor have I ever subscribed to any religion, and I have never had any difficulty telling right from wrong.

In fact, if we're going to be questioning anyone's morals here, it should probably be the morals of people who can't tell the difference between right and wrong without first looking it up in a book.

#135 7:07 PM, Apr 19 Reply

Adam, you are really a bright guy. I enjoyed your presentation like getting in a hot tub after a dip in freezing water. It was fantastic. I seriously doubt that there is a biological need to believe in anything. Limits seem to be the problem. People like to have them. Makes sense considering our world, no sense considering our world. Great article. Wish there were more of you.

#136 7:16 PM, Apr 19 Reply

I have watched and admired Adam Savage for his intellect for years on his show. I may not be as eloquent as Mr. Savage but I am always a bit saddened to lose that bit of respect when I hear someone try and explain how complex the universe is and then say God couldn't exist.

I am civil & intelligent. I will agree to disagree. But if you start find life a bit empty Adam Reconsider the "relationship" between you and God. Not the religion.

You may not believe in Him but He believes in you.

#137 7:25 PM, Apr 19 Reply

Sad. But explains some things. Thanks for sharing, Adam. Thankfully where there is breath there is yet hope.

#138 7:31 PM, Apr 19 Reply

Here's a myth you can explore on the next episode of Mythbusters. There is a claim made by humanists that morality can be discovered by looking at what "is." They move from what "is" to what "ought" to be(remember your Hume?). A perfect example of this myth can be found in Adam Savage's belief that one ought not be "intolerant,""selfish" nor practice "bigotry" based only on the laws of science. You know things like the inverse law of gravity, fractals, and the theory of relativity.

And for the thousandth time, one does not have to believe in God to be moral,but it will be a requirement if you want a reason.

#139 7:34 PM, Apr 19 Reply
Anon in reply to Theismisacrime

you may punch me. I was there, and one of the small handful of people who was not holding a camera/ cell phone/ other recording device up for the duration.

#140 7:36 PM, Apr 19 Reply

Who had #88 in the Godwin's law pool?

Honestly, there is undefinable proof of good without religion. Just as there is undeniable proof of evil with it.

Religion doesn't create "good" it just tried to define it.

#141 7:45 PM, Apr 19 Reply

It is amazing that atheists declaration of the lack of belief in any deity is the people who will always bring the topic of religion on that table.

What do you want? If you atheists want know what Christians' deep thinking on their experiences, and at the same time claiming to be critical thinkers, start your research. Forums, comments will never help your curiosity. As if your mind was confined in a box.
Our beliefs are all available in public, example, you might just want to read "The Foundation of Pentecostal Theology" to lighten your minds on what we believe. You don't have to be a Christian for you to read that piece. Ah wait, is it a waste of time? If yes, then I am also wasting my time here.

#142 8:04 PM, Apr 19 Reply

I have been maturing in my atheism for a long time. My roots were in Protestant Christianity, but I abandoned religion in my college years, long ago. I defend the rights of others to hold their views on religion or anything else, even though I may think they are wrong. I think the world is natural, and only natural. I think that the supernatural (anything outside of nature, such as gods and stuff), life after death, and other magical things, are all imaginary, and don't really exist. I do subscribe to the idea that supernatural and magical explanations were the best humans had for the last million years or so, and that evolution kicks in over that long of a time frame, and therefore the capacity for humans to "believe" magical and supernatural explanations has become part of our genetic makeup. But that doesn't make it true :). In the modern era, science has given us a foundation for understanding the world with purely natural explanations. The natural world is awesome, breathtaking, amazing in every way. So I have dispensed with magic and the supernatural as unnecessary, and am reformulating my understanding of the world in purely natural terms. The modern civilized world has high standards for human behavior. The world has gotten smaller by virtue of instant communication and world travel. This means that people who behave like thugs from the dark ages (by which I mean terrorists) can not be tolerated in a modern civil society. They have a choice, behave to modern standards, or be rounded up and put in jail. I believe eventually, humans will sort all this out, and the planet will achieve peace. This will take a number more generations. But I think a lot of modern processes are evolving according to Moore's Law, that is, doubling every 2 years. Computers double in processing power every 2 years, robots have been doubling their features and capabilities every two years, so much is happening so fast, that major improvements in the human condition will not take a thousand years, and maybe not even a hundred.
The industrial revolution took two hundred years, the computer revolution took 50 years, the Internet revolution has taken 25 years, and now the energy revolution is upon us. The past hundred years has been amazing (66 years from the invention of flight to landing on the moon!). The present is breathtaking in its scope and speed of progress. I think the future of humanity will be amazing, so long as we don't get wiped out by a rogue killer asteroid, which is the only real threat we face as a human race. I'm enthusiastic and excited for my race!

#143 8:10 PM, Apr 19 Reply
Anon in reply to Anonymous

Er, yes, the big bang.

#144 8:38 PM, Apr 19 Reply

It seems to me that his sample set of one is telling. If that is what defines my interface to the objective, don't I then declare myself God? I can then pronounce myself a moral unit, because I follow a moral code that I myself have defined. Convenient.

Pretty hard to argue that anybody else is wrong, of course, except within your little universe of me.

#145 9:11 PM, Apr 19 Reply
Will Davis

The universe is -0. Yes, -0, the ultimate fractal of everything. By understanding this fractal carefully, you may see that there are two versions of this universe from our perspective. One version is the absolute universe that is both a singularity and an absolute of random content, where absolute extremes of spectrum are one and the same (temperature example: absolute highest is the same as absolute zero). The other universe is the observer's universe. The observer travels in a position in time that has no width, the past no longer exists, the future has not yet existed. Yet the absolute universe dictates that the past leaves an impression, and the future holds the consequences of that impression. Therefore, in the absolute universe, both past and future are parts of the same, and our position in the present provides us with an illusion of a time line. The randomness is how it all plays out, and the scenarios are infinite. All scenarios have yet to do so, are doing so, and have done so, the infinite plays of the possible. Due to this time line, we see a viewable universe that expands in all direction at the speed of light. Therefore we the observers are the center of our own universes. When you move to a new position, your universe center moves with you, causing time to warp a little. A being from another galaxy may see the edge of it's visible universe that we can not yet see... and the reverse is true. But to the absolute universe, it's all there, and infinitely so. By understanding this in relation of the absolute universe, we may realize that this "big bang" thing is an illusion. A "beginning" is not possible in an absolute universe. That's why it's -0, as opposed to 0. 0 is absolute non-existence, which simply just doesn't exist! Absolute existence is infinite and can not have a point of non existence, so the universe was never created! Creation of the universe is impossible. Study -0... it's all in there! Quantum physics is absolute universe physics. Macro physics is the observable universe physics. Understanding these distinctions should help marry these two fields of study. Just unravel the fractal of -0 and see all there is to see! I only need truth, not faith. What truth I don't know I simply blame on my own ignorance and limitations. Faith is a belief in something that may not play out in reality. I chose probability over faith. Probability follows laws of physics, faith follows assumptions. To me, faith can be darn right dangerous, but laws of probability allows me a chance to avoid danger. As far as morals go, I have a brain, and I assume responsibility for my own actions, and my interactions among community. I try to reach for positive feedback in engaging those actions. That's a science and a survival skill in my life.

#146 9:23 PM, Apr 19 Reply

Soon very soon science will learn that the universe is far to young for the existence of humans----then what?

#147 9:42 PM, Apr 19 Reply

I haven't gone through all the comments yet, but I have seen many, too many, that relate to an agnostic view or atheist view and then give the na-na na-na boo-boo we're better than you smack talk to those who do or might believe in something else. As humanists, we should illustrate and educate but there's no need to instigate. (Muhammad Ali, butterfly talk) Many people, my own wife, find great comfort in religion. I like the teachings of many different religions without the "crusading/ proselytizing" aspects. Humanists for humans, not against them.

#148 10:15 PM, Apr 19 Reply

Very well presented. I am a fellow scientist (engineering still counts, right?) and I'm in total agreement.

It's not that "There aren't any gods", it's that the question is meaningless! It can't be answered with any more certainty or any fewer semantics than trying to define the true role of government. Even if the "finger that started the dominos" was as real as blood inside you, it could never be, by the definition of the words, known or proven.

Sidebar: Can everybody stop using Occam's razor?! It's a saying with no logical proof or evidence. I can't think of a single modern scientific principle in the last 300 years described by that. I am glad that he turned it back against religion; they're so fond of that argument.

"It's simple, an invisible man in the sky made everything, Moses came down with these rocks that tells us what to do". Then christians added to the story "then Jesus came and radically changed God's opinion" (he went from vengeful to loving). Then 1600 years of darkness followed in europe.

#149 10:16 PM, Apr 19 Reply
Chris Tucker

This I Believe.

I am an atheist. I do not believe in any supernatural deities.

I believe in Science, not the death cult superstitions of bronze age nomadic tribes in the
Middle East.

I believe in Logic and Reason, and not in vengeful gods that demand unthinking worship.

My "Bible" is the 'CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics' and 'Mark's Standard Handbook for Mechanical Engineers'. My "Concordance" is 'The Pocket Ref, 3rd Edition'.

The symbol of my "faith" is not an ancient torture device, it's a slide rule. The simple three part device that helped build the Brooklyn Bridge, Hoover Dam and the Empire State
Building, as well as sending humans to the Moon and returning them to Earth.

Algebra and Calculus are my "liturgy", and Physics is the celebration of all that exists, from the smallest subatomic particle yet to be discovered, to the Universe as a whole.

The "Saints" of my faith are legion. Galileo and Einstein, Sagan and Asimov, Eratosthenes
and Fermi, Hawking and Feynman, Dawkins and Darwin, Jefferson and Franklin and Paine,
and countless others who have sought and still seek to expand the knowledge of how the
Universe works, for the betterment of all, to free the minds of humanity from the shackles of
superstition and ignorance, and, finally & simply, "To Know."

I worship no god, nor bend the knee to anyone, man or god.

And yet, despite my lack of fawning obeisance to the judeo/christian/islamic deity, I do not
rape nor rob nor murder my fellow man or woman. I do not defraud them nor seek to enslave their bodies or their minds. I do not turn my face from them if their beliefs differ from mine, nor do I condemn them if they choose to love someone of the same sex or of a different "race".

My friends include the gay and the straight, the atheist and the deeply faithful, Caucasian, African and Asian.

I help the less fortunate in this world as best I can, and do not seek to convert them to my
way of thought by my actions. I help merely to ease their suffering.

I choose to stand in the Light of Knowledge and Reason.

I oppose the Darkness that is ignorance and superstition.

And I KNOW that, in the end, it IS Knowledge and Reason that will triumph over ignorance
and superstition, and triumph over those who would use ignorance and superstition for their
own evil and ego-driven ends.

THIS I believe…

© Copyright 2008, Christopher H. Tucker.

#150 10:20 PM, Apr 19 Reply

It seems to me that his sample set of one is telling. If that is what defines my interface to the objective, don't I then declare myself God? I can then pronounce myself a moral unit, because I follow a moral code that I myself have defined. Convenient.

Pretty hard to argue that anybody else is wrong, of course, except within your little universe of me.

#151 10:52 PM, Apr 19 Reply

The number of fallacies and logical inconsistencies in this piece is unnerving. I found it incredibly difficult to read about Savage's doubt and uncertainty equated with atheism. The article is also ripe with the standard straw man cliches - prayer as dependence, religion = God, religion as comfort/solace. I find it interesting how some individuals with a background in science immediately presume they are capable of constructing a sound and logical argument. This type of substandard writing would get eviscerated in a first year philosophy class.

#152 11:04 PM, Apr 19 Reply
preternat in reply to Anonymous

You're illustrating the feeling of superiority that a lot of religious people have. I don't always mind if someone believes in a religion. I only mind when they look down on others as if they are the only ones who know the truth.

Your "stamp of God" theory isn't supported by evidence. That's ok. That's what religion is about. Belief in something without evidence. I'm just pointing out that skeptics and scientists aren't interested in make believe.

The "humanist philosophy" isn't perfect, but it doesn't claim to be. The advantage of it is that it's not necessary to believe in God to believe in ethics and goodwill. That's how it "rings true" for me! (After all, religion was created by humans, too.)

#153 11:23 PM, Apr 19 Reply
preternat in reply to Anonymous

Einstein always talked about God hypothetically or metaphorically. You know, kind of like some people talk about Santa Claus.

#154 11:26 PM, Apr 19 Reply
Anon in reply to tsdguy

First of all, I am no different than you. I have my own set of beliefs that I use to view the world, and my own moral code that I live by that allows me to consider myself a good person. I also believe that as I am not imposing my will on anyone, would never dream of recruiting anyone who didn't want to be recruited, nor will I ever lead a crusade against those that don't share my beliefs, then my faith in God is not harming any one. If it does start to harm someone, then I may consider atheism. But I do believe in him because I would feel really silly if I spent all this time trying to convince people that he didn't exist and had to explain that to him. Logically, it makes more sense to me to believe in him, because if I'm right, then I garner all the benefits. If I'm wrong, then my consciousness ceases to exist after I'm dead, and I have no way to feel shame or chagrin at the fact that I am wrong. Ergo, it makes more logical sense to me to believe in God, even if it is just a way of playing the odds. Since I don't know one way or the other definitively, then I can live my life in a way that some may view as patently false, and as I long as I don't infringe on their right to believe as they see fit, then I don't think it matters whether I believe in a benevolent old man in the sky or the Invisible Pink Unicorn (who also, by the way, has not been definitively debunked yet).

#155 11:26 PM, Apr 19 Reply
preternat in reply to dbarak

Does this mean you're willing to accept the possibility that a red polka-dotted leprachaun created everything?

#156 11:29 PM, Apr 19 Reply
robulus in reply to Anonymous

"I always like to envision when those that hold your beliefs meet God and the pretense is erased; not that I want to see you judged, just want to see the look of a school boy who's finally been caught."

Youch! God hates that kind of shit! You better lose the 'tude and fill yourself up to the brim with love and compassion right the fuck now!

#157 11:48 PM, Apr 19 Reply

Something's clearer to me today. The word "belief" is too often used as an absolute, binary yes/no. I mean, I "believe" that there is no god. But truthfully, I can say I believe this because I'm 99.9% certain. I'm also 99.999% certain that the universe wasn't created by a red polka-dotted leprachaun. Hence, I can also say I don't believe in that scenario.

Otoh, the fundamentalist religion only allows for absolute belief. 100%, unquestionable, scripture and translation included. Perfection, without doubt. Lack of evidence is not even an issue. Not to mention the peer pressure of other believers, sometimes even punishable by death.

So if you want to call me an agnostic because I'm only 99.9% certain, or claim that my "belief" is really just the same as "faith", go ahead and tell yourself that, and *believe* it. I really don't mind.

#158 12:09 AM, Apr 20 Reply
preternat in reply to Anonymous

I appreciate that your belief doesn't encroach on other beliefs. I'm lucky I don't feel very "oppressed", as you say, but religious oppression most certainly exists.

Non-religious oppression also exists. So religion itself isn't always the culprit. But it's too often the excuse.

I've pretty much been an atheist most of my life, but there was a point during Bush's presidency when I just had to come out more forcefully about it. I don't blame him entirely. I also blame the likes of Bin Laden. And those billions of people that flock to all kinds of religious leaders.

I really don't need those leaders or God to tell me right from wrong. Santa Claus was a good enough start, and then I grew up and thought for myself.

#159 12:26 AM, Apr 20 Reply

That's a weird photo of Adam up top. Its orange hue and brushy touch-ups make Adam look like a Muppet. All he is missing are those little arm stick things.

#160 1:07 AM, Apr 20 Reply
Counterglow in reply to Paul Coleman

God will get you for that.

#161 1:49 AM, Apr 20 Reply
Anon in reply to Anonymous

There is a small flaw in your observation: the definition of "Good" that comes from most religions doesn't really match my - and I guess some other people's - understanding of "Good".

Catholics consider "Good" preaching avoiding the use of condoms, which could help reducing the spreading rate of HIV in Africa. I personally can't figure out what good there is in that.

"Good" was - according to your bible - sleeping with you wife's sister when she died. You may now say: "That's old, the rules changed". Changed by whom? Changed why?

You see: either the God you picture considered women interchangeable, or he didn't. A God that changed his mind in the range of a couple of hundreds of years doesn't really match with the definition of the infallible God.

So: you have to consider one of two things:

1 - God changed his opinion about what is "Good", but then this hypothetical God would go against the definition itself of God, because he wouldn't be infallible;
2 - The opinion about what is "Good" put forward by religion is just the representation of what the contemporary will consider morally acceptable.

If I were a believer I'd definitely go for number 2 - since it would not disprove the existence of God. Choice number 1 would disprove the existence of God.

So, even as a believer, I would prefer thinking of a definition of "Good" that doesn't stem from God, believing that there is a common ground for the definition of "Good" among the human race.

I will stop here, because of course we could go on an try to figure out what's the evolutionary and biological advantage of some of the things we feel are "Good", looking into the intertwining of culture and biological evolution - but that would be a very long reply.


#162 2:13 AM, Apr 20 Reply

Roy Scheider may have spoken it, but Dan O'Bannon & Don Jakoby, the
credited writers of "Blue Thunder" said it first.

#163 2:19 AM, Apr 20 Reply
Cowicide in reply to TBar
My only comment is this. 1 Corinthians 2:13-15 13This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words. 14The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man's judgment:

Translation: Whatever you do, don't look behind the red curtain.

#164 3:15 AM, Apr 20 Reply

I would like to take the morality argument one step further. I claim that for a person to truly take on a ready-made system of morality, or an external morality if you will, such that at least the judeo-christian (meaning all flavours of Judaism, Christianity and Islam) denominations preach, that person, by necessity, must be in him- or herself completely devoid of a single thread of moral fibre or at least be prepared to put that individual morality aside. That to me is the root of evil. In it's purest and most distilled form. The ability and willingness to set aside ones inherit gut reaction for a learned one is what has given the world the crusades, the holocaust, the near extermination of the native Americans and so at is very fundamental base is a threat to the welfare of all of human kind forever. And what happens when the truly devote looses faith? You get a soulless wretch with a chip on his or her shoulder. Or a dogmatic system that prays mercilessly upon those they profess to protect (read: Catholicism, the institution). The belief in a superior being (or political ideal for that matter) gives small souls the sense justification they should not by any means have. To elevate one self through jurisdiction of something divine is lethally harmful to the soul. Always and without exceptions.

#165 3:46 AM, Apr 20 Reply
Anon in reply to Anonymous

You have shifted the burden of proof.

#166 4:29 AM, Apr 20 Reply

It doesn't matter whether you believe in God or not, what matters is that you recognize that your life is finite, and you utilize your life with that in mind.

#167 4:46 AM, Apr 20 Reply

Great, yet another interesting celebrity takes a stand on religion of politics, and thereby changes our perception of them.

I'll never be able to watch Mythbusters again without the realization that Adam would not approve of my outlook, nor I of his.

Finally, like so many non-religious people, he expresses what appears to be a thinly veiled contempt for principles, that frankly, he shows a poor understanding of, just as once clergymen refused to even look through Galileo's telescope.

#168 5:09 AM, Apr 20 Reply

An atheist and a Christian were walking through the jungle and they see a small glass ball sitting on the ground. The Christian says to the atheist, "I wonder who put that there"? The atheist says "I dont know but musta been somebody". The christian pauses and says "What if it was a little bigger say the size of a house, whould you still think someone put it there"? The atheist says "ofcourse thats logical". The christian then says "how bout ten times bigger than that, would you think somebody put that there"? The atheist says "why would you ask me such goofy questions, yes somebody put it there". To which the Christian replies "What if it was as big as our whole entire universe", the atheist thinks and says "no if its that big it must just have always existed, or developed from others just like it somehow, or it actually wouldnt be a glass ball anymore then it would be an eagle" ..............................................THE FOOL HAS SAID IN HIS HEART THERE IS NO GOD!!!!!

#169 5:29 AM, Apr 20 Reply

Beautiful and concise.

#170 5:41 AM, Apr 20 Reply
Gisburne in reply to ianjohnson

Here's some logic right back at ya, IanJohnson. See that small glass ball? Who made it? One person? Maybe. See that house? Did one person make that? Well it's possible but unlikely - you've got to be a bricklayer, plumber, electrician, plasterer, tiler, and oh yeah, the architect too. And who made the bricks? The same person who built the house? Did he also make the windows and doors? Did he melt and extrude the copper to make the pipes and wiring? Who mined the ore to extract the copper? The same person who built the house? Not possible. Ten times bigger? What about a town or city? Did one person build the whole city from scratch, from the raw materials in the ground? Absolutely beyond the realms of possibility. So what makes you think that one being, alone, could create something as vast as the universe, from scratch? You just made a case for a polytheistic universe, my friend - with your own examples, one god is just beyond the realms of possibility, so there must be a whole lot more to make something so vast.

#171 5:44 AM, Apr 20 Reply

Religion is made up of two things: the inborn hierarchical ape-response to punishment ("Must avoid social offense, so if something bad happens, it is a punishment. I must figure out what I did wrong, since punishment means somebody higher in social status is disapproving"), and the need for humans to pattern-seek. Appeasing a hidden head-ape involves some pattern of appeasement and abasement, we just have to figure out what it is.

Read "Acts of the Apostles" sometime. It's a how-to manual on turning a cult into a franchise and hence a religion. Seriously, follow the model. Step one: dehumanize your followers, and take everything away "for the group." Step two: insist that everyone is policing everyone else, and everyone is just as guilty of offense if one is guilty of offense. Step three: franchise franchise franchise. Tell someone to "take your message to the masses" and check up on them regularly. Step four: purge purge purge. Have regular bids to clean house to get franchises back into line, making sure they contribute to the corporation.

#172 5:54 AM, Apr 20 Reply
Anon in reply to ziggymarley

"Atheism is a self-imposed lack of curiosity." --Anonymous

Nope, that would be the view from inside of a religion. I'm free to explore them all, with no threat of death for looking. Take off the yoke sometime, and see what others have been thinking for centuries. Then realize that eating some guy who was strung up on some wood is no less ridiculous than saying some guy came back not once, but ten times, and sometimes as a talking boar.

#173 6:03 AM, Apr 20 Reply
Anon in reply to scifijazznik

But the Eagle has to Die also, is the Eagle the Deity or What?

#174 6:37 AM, Apr 20 Reply

1 Corinthians 1:26-29 For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence.

#175 6:46 AM, Apr 20 Reply

You represent a beautiful, simple and truthful world view Adam! Thank you very much for an inspirational article! You rock brother!

#176 6:51 AM, Apr 20 Reply

I completely agree. I wish more people would open their minds - humanism is a rational approach. I am often baffled by people embracing corrupt religious institutions and reading allegories as fact (as in the bible, etc.)

My husband and I will raise our children as humanists.

#177 7:03 AM, Apr 20 Reply
Anon in reply to Anonymous

I'd like to see your actual refutations of the points you brought up in the speech. Could be it's just me, but I thought Adam's arguments were indeed sound and logical. All you've done is mention a few things which someone might criticize, without doing the necessary work yourself. Given your implied authority on issues of logical argumentation, could you please give us a sample of the freshman-style evisceration you claimed would be so easy?

#178 7:08 AM, Apr 20 Reply

I never knew....just saw him as some yahooo from the TV show. Very good read, smooth and logical.

#179 7:09 AM, Apr 20 Reply

Hey, Johnson (162):

Read your own mythical text, the buybull.

In Matthew 5:22, your mythical jeezus says calling someone a "fool" will make you "taste the flames of hell".

So, are you ignorant of your own mythology, or are you a hypocrite who "thinks" your rules only apply to non-believers? That bearing false witness is only a "sin" for non-believers?

P Smith

#180 8:12 AM, Apr 20 Reply

A well-reasoned argument. Which will have zero impact on the "true believers" but so what? Each of us is free to live in this world with whatever pretty little thoughts live in our heads. Some of us choose to live in this world and deal with others. Some of us prefer to believe in invisible beings who guide every step of our lives. The choice is yours, I can't prove you're wrong any more than you can believe that my theory of existence is crap. But please, spare me from the idea that BECAUSE you believe something, it must be so. No dice. Thanks, Adam, for a wonderful speech.

#181 8:17 AM, Apr 20 Reply

Arguing about religion is like arguing theories about the development of black holes. Irrespective of how the argument ends, win, loose or draw, what difference does it make to you today, tomorrow, or ever? Do life’s fortunes and events turn on the will and whim of a omnipresent deity or are they affected more by your relationship with fellow homo sapiens?

I have a religion, it's called The Church of do the Right Thing. It has no hierarchy, no dogma, no buildings, no business model. It's not limited to weekly, one-hour supplications for entrance to heaven. It's a 24/7/365 activity.

(1) Love of liberty is the key that opens the door of this church. Any individual can claim membership in this fraternity by first being honorable: You don't put your hands on the person or property of another human being without their permission.

(2) You do well for yourself. Nobody has the right to benefit from the production of another human being as a matter of cultural policy.

(3) If you do well, you have surplus to share by giving a hand-up to folks who have suffered a temporary misfortune.

(4) If you're inclined to heroism, you go out of your way to protect the liberty of others even at some risk to your property or person.

(5) If you discover that out of ignorance or neglect you have violated the liberty of another individual, you take personal responsibility to correct and compensate for the transgression.

(6) You strive to improve on your lot with good investment of your surplus acquired in a free-market exchange of your time, talent and resources for the time talent and resources of others.

(7) Finally, and most important, you teach. Knowledge is a commodity that grows in value the more it is given away. You share your knowledge and understanding of simple-ideas as ingredients that go into recipes for success.

This is not a religion of faith but a religion of confidence. If Christ shows up on my doorstep tomorrow to discuss my worthiness for entering the gates of heaven, I am confident that a dedicated adherence to the principles of The Church would prove me worthy. If Christ never shows up, it doesn't matter for I will have enjoyed the brief existence among honorable individuals who's time, talent and resources for doing good have not been diluted or taxed by a religion that offers no warranty as to the effectiveness or quality of the product being offered.


#182 8:20 AM, Apr 20 Reply
Anon in reply to Gisburne

That's very true, the he has yet to state that such a being that is able to create and handle all those tasks at one time can exist. As for the glass ball, one man alone could not make, move, and clear a space to place a something a glass ball as large as a house on his/her own. I do find it amusing that his argument is no different than "someone (ie. a god) must have put it there".

#183 8:47 AM, Apr 20 Reply
Anon in reply to Anonymous

The added complexity is this:

(1) The world is a series of complex processes and laws that we can detect / analyze / prove. (Science)


(2) The world is a series of complex processes and laws that we can detect / analyze / prove THAT WAS CREATED BY A SUPERNATURAL BEING. (God)

Occam's razor would say that a supernatural being (2) is more complicated and thus unnecessary if you can imagine an existing structure without it (1).

Unless, of course, you are in the camp that denies physical evidence of evolution and so forth. Then you get 3:

(3) God created everything because he can. Don't question why / how / think. Because God didn't give you the capacity to think so you can think.

But let's assume you can think rationally.

#184 8:58 AM, Apr 20 Reply
insatiableatheist in reply to Anonymous

you said:
"it makes more sense to me to believe in him, because if I'm right, then I garner all the benefits. If I'm wrong, then my consciousness ceases to exist after I'm dead..."

Your way of playing the odds is statistically faulty.
What if when you die, you discover Anu, Thor, Ganesh, Zeus, Horus, Uzume, Tabaldak, Nyame or any amongst hundreds of other gods is the real one?
Hardly reaping the benefits then are you? You'd be down in the pit with the rest of us infidels.
Perhaps you'd best believe in ALL of them in order to cover your ass.
Me? I'll take my chances with reason, logic and rationality over dogma and superstition any day, the odds are waaay better.

#185 9:13 AM, Apr 20 Reply

"I think one of the defining moments of adulthood is the realization that nobody's going to take care of you. That you have to do the heavy lifting while you're here. And when you don't, well, you suffer the consequences. At least I have. (And in the empirical study I'm performing about interacting with the universe, I am unfortunately the only test subject I have complete access to, so my data is, as they say, self-selected.) While nobody's going to take care of us, it's incumbent upon us to take care of those around us. That's community." This statement is a contradiction. Are you responsible for taking care of you or is the community? I stopped reading this here because I don't think you actually have put a lot of thought into this. It sounds to me like you wrote some stuff down, very eloquently btw, that sounds really pretty, but when you start trying to put it all together it is just a bunch of mindless thoughts written with a lot of heart. Sorry if I'm wrong but I see so many loop holes in this, that I'm amazed at some of the positive comments you've received. Thanks,


#186 9:18 AM, Apr 20 Reply

Hating the church is fine and dandy but I'm never answered or always leave still questioning who grants us our rights?

If rights are merely bestowed upon us by a majority vote (AKA Mob Rule) then that same majority can vote away my right to property and labor?

Can I expect a day when the mob will vote to declare I have a right to more 'stuff' like a 54" flat screen HDTV?

I sometimes like this idea of God because he is said to have granted us rights, not corruptible men who can later change their mind on a whim for politcal expediency.

#187 9:18 AM, Apr 20 Reply

While I have to disagree with some of his points- for example, prayer isn't to someone "out there", because there are two people listening "in here", God and myself- he presents his points in an outstanding manner. All too often, theists and atheists insist on being jerks. If I want someone to see my point of view, then I need to represent myself as the best example of that view that I possibly can. Screaming "you're going to hell!" won't do that any more than screaming "God is dead, get over it!" will.

It certainly doesn't help treating God as being supernatural. God is no more supernatural than a tree or a car. Atheists claim that God must be supernatural because they can't fit him into their existing understanding of nature. How long ago was lightning a mystery? We don't know how quantum entanglement works, but nobody claims that is supernatural. It's certainly unscientific to claim that God is supernatural as well. Relativistic time dilation and speed of light limitations violate the laws of physics, after all- if you're Isaac Newton. God works in ways we don't *yet* understand, but God is a part of nature, so as we strive to understand nature, we're also understanding God. Isaac Asimov once said that the great thing about science is it never ends. The more we learn, the more there is to learn. The ability to learn is one of the greatest gifts from God. Instead of wallowing in the mud of ignorance, let's reach for the light of understanding instead.

For those who are slow on the uptake, I am *not* claiming that nature or science or people or the universe is God.

#188 9:26 AM, Apr 20 Reply
Anon in reply to wil9000

Respectfully I disagree with your definition of True Atheism; it seems such an unnecessary position - I don't consider myself to "believe there are no pink unicorns" nor that there are no leprechauns, FSM's, Thors or Zevses - I just don't believe in them. That, to me, rings more true as a definition of atheism than what you describe.

i also think that politically the connotations of your definition are that we, too, hold beliefs that are unfalsifiable, where as I would say that atheism is only the lack of such beliefs. Even more specific, the lack of a belief in god(s).

On the subject of politics, I will add that I am a rhetorical zealot against religion and I'm sure we occupy the same realm of assertiveness when confronting their truth-claims. I just think our defining title should be as firmly grounded in science as the science we stand for. :)


#189 9:27 AM, Apr 20 Reply

Adam you are an inspiration and a role model for my children. That was beautiful - Thank you.

#190 10:06 AM, Apr 20 Reply

Really great speech! I wish more people understood the beauty and simplicity of this worldview. It always struck me as elegant, powerful, and best of all in full compliance with science (ie reality).

#191 10:33 AM, Apr 20 Reply

Total self reliance. Not a new concept. Of course at some point even the most self reliant of us comes to a moment in life when self reliance just fails for some reason we cannot explain. I for one, shudder when considering that at such a moment I’m going to have to depend on some other mortal being to give me the hand I need. I’ve been there and I'm glad I had my faith in God to pull me through. And don’t deceive yourself. That moment in time is coming at least once for all of us. Good luck to you. Or perhaps I should say, good "you" to you.

#192 10:37 AM, Apr 20 Reply

Adam Savage is a walking bundle of contradictions. The immaterial, universal, unchanging forces of nature that he relies on to do science have no foundation in an evolutionary worldview. He claims to be a man of logic and reason, but as an atheist he has no justification for the existence of these metaphysical attributes.

#193 10:39 AM, Apr 20 Reply
Anon in reply to Anonymous

I enjoyed reading Adam's speech. And I agree with you that saying that someone who does not have faith in God has no morals is disgusting. I would like to demonstrate why that statement is made by many people especially those who do not know you.

Say you and I just met and were talking. You knowing I am a Christian provides a reference for your observations of my actions. IOW, you can evaluate my actions IAW my chosen faith and normally start with the assumption that I should follow the morals of that faith and adjust your analysis from there. I on the other hand knowing you are an atheist have no reference for observing your actions. IOW, for me to evaluate your actions, I need to determine a reference point from which to start since there is no quantified assumption for an "atheist". Humanism has a basis for which there would be a reference starting point because it is, like religions, a belief system.

#194 11:19 AM, Apr 20 Reply

You can be a moral person and not believe in God. I understand that. You can be happy and satisfied and not believe in God. I understand that, too. Totally.

What I don't understand is why your being satisfied without believing in God extends any further than yourself. Why should I give any more credence to you than to someone who finds all their meaning in God? You, yourself say you can't disprove someone else's beliefs. So who cares what you believe?

Also I don't understand why the things you consider right and wrong should be binding on anyone else. They're your preferences. I may even share some of them. But if they're nothing more than that, what gives you the right to vote to prevent someone else from implementing their preferences?

#195 11:46 AM, Apr 20 Reply
Chris Tucker in reply to Mr.Desi

Pointing towards an article on one of the more anti-science websites is not going to convince anyone, let alone an atheist, that there is a god.

Their answer for everything is "goddidit!"

As an example of their absurd interpretation of reality, here's a screencap from their creation museum 'virtual tour'.

Humans and Dinosaurs co-existed.

The only thing Answers In Genesis is good for is providing a few laughs at the their expense.

#196 11:47 AM, Apr 20 Reply

I reject your reality and substitute my own! lol

#197 11:53 AM, Apr 20 Reply

"Though a primary mover is the most complex and thus (given Occam's razor) the least likely of all possible solutions..."

Uhm, hol' up a sec, there... didn't you just get through saying...?:

"The nearly infinite set of dominoes that have fallen into each other in order for us to be here tonight is unfathomable. Truly unfathomable."

Uh... wazzat again?

On a speech about the possibility of "morality without God", it did not escape my attention that the thing was so purged of any actual moral imperitive that it almost had to be intentional. Almost like you'd written the speech then went through it and removed any "oughts" and "mustn'ts". But you did miss one: "It is incumbant upon us to take care of those around us."

That little slip allows me to ask, humbly, "who or what says it is incumbant upon us to do anything? Who says that I owe anybody anything?"

I agree with you that it is mutually beneficial, in a purely pragmatic way, that we "take care of those around us", but I see no necessary "moral" implication or obligation implied therein.

If there is no need of God as a basis of morality, then I see no possibility of "morality" at all.

I think you may be mistaking morality for ethics. Ethics doesn't suffer from the fatal flaw of morality - it isn't stopped dead in it's tracks by the two words: "Sez who?"

#198 11:56 AM, Apr 20 Reply
Anon in reply to Mr.Desi

First you'd have to prove that you can't have logic without god. You can't just label things you think are unexplained and then claim god did it.

There's a big difference between belief and acceptance. Theists believe in gods, atheist accept there probably it's one. Humanist then say, to be honest we're probably gonna be fine on our own, just chill out.

Theists: Sky Daddy clapped his hands and made everything

Atheist: I'm not sure how it all happened but we've found these really cool interactions between everything

Belief has no way of achieving any kind of truth, in fact, they are not related in any way. So it should be ignored in favour of something that can achieve truth. i.e. Science.
Belief doesn't make the submit button work :)

#199 12:06 PM, Apr 20 Reply

Can we all stop this God v. Science argument? It is unwinnable (by either side) and therefore really is a colossal waste of time. Let's admit it, folks - this 'argument' is nothing of the sort. It cannot be an argument because both sides are playing by different rules. Both sides insist on 'proof' while simultaneously claiming the right to define just what, exactly, entails 'proof'. Both sides of the so-called 'argument' stand in unassailable positions. The science camp says: show me the scientific proof of your God. The God camp says: show me where the scripture proves your science. Of course, neither camp can do these things, so the whole thing is a pointless exercise.

Let's face it - we're all just wasting our breath here. We might want to just move on to the next subject.

I'm thinking maybe birth control or abortion.

#200 12:33 PM, Apr 20 Reply
Anon in reply to Steven C. Britton

"Frank Salisbury calculated the probability of a typical DNA chain arising by chance to be 1 in 10^600 (that's a one with SIX HUNDRED zeroes after it.)"

Fortunately for nontheistic, materialist explanations of life, chromosomes don't spontaneously appear by random chance. They are the cumulative results of millions of years' worth of differential survival and replication. The initial nucleic acid chain (probably RNA), the snowflake that seeded the giant snowball we see today, was vastly simpler than a modern chromosome. All it takes is the eventual appearance of one replicating ribozyme molecule and you're off to the races.

Additionally, Occam's Razor doesn't cleave in favor of god(s) because god(s) present a problem of infinite regress. Who designed your designer?

#201 12:39 PM, Apr 20 Reply
Mr.Desi in reply to Chris Tucker

Chris, it appears that you have not read much of the Answers in Genesis literature, for it is a very pro-science organization. Did you have any logical arguments or actual evidence that challenges the position that the article outlines? With all respect, your message contained a few emotional opinions but you failed to come up with any rational objections.

#202 12:55 PM, Apr 20 Reply
Anon in reply to Anonymous

No matter how many times you post those quotes from your bible, they still have no meaning to any who do not believe in it. Furthermore continually quoting as though it has some form of profound meaning to others, who neither believe it or IN it, simply shows a complete lack of ability to actually discuss a subject instead of merely attempting to proselytize and then harass those who do not accept the words as having any form of meaning to them. Such actions are one of the primary reasons why so many leave the Churches today.

#203 1:02 PM, Apr 20 Reply
Anon in reply to Mr.Desi

Why would one want to read the literature? Their purpose is quite clear, to rationalize and insert mythology into a scientific arena. Sorry. It simply isn't worth the time it takes to read it, no matter how many times it's repackaged, it's still the same, speculative fiction at best.

#204 1:05 PM, Apr 20 Reply

"The fiction of continuity and stability that your parents have painted for you is totally necessary for a growing child. When you realize that it's not the way the world works, it's a chilling moment. It's supremely lonely."

Yes yes yes! So very true. I hope I have broken that cycle of disillusionment and the wrenching need to "believe in something" with my kids by being as honest as possible about life's up and down flow.

Such an excellent speech. I have no doubt you have been bombarded with hate, disappointment and offers of prayer. I don't even need to glance at the comments to know this. Kudos to you for being honest, well-spoken, and "out" :)

#205 1:32 PM, Apr 20 Reply
Nonungulate in reply to Mr.Desi

Mr.Desi, I think you'll find most of us here are quite familiar with Ken Ham's AiG website and his humorous creation museum in northern Kentuky. I'm afraid that trying to pass off AiG as "pro-science" is like trying to pass off a paper airplane as a Boeing 747. While the information portrayed on the AiG website may, at times, appear superficially scientific to a layperson, I assure you the arguments presented are routinely misleading and occasionally outright false. If you're looking for more than an emotional appeal, a simple web search reveals voluminous criticisms against Ham and AiG from both religious and scientific perspectives. Sufficed to say there isn't a single argument on that website that has not been, or cannot be, thoroughly debunked. This is all beside the fact that 'creation science' in general is antithetical to real science, seeking evidence for a prescribed explanation rather than formulating the best explanation to fit the evidence. Creationism flunks as science.

#206 1:54 PM, Apr 20 Reply

You had me till Carlos Castaneda, shame you brought him up.

#207 2:01 PM, Apr 20 Reply

Adam, quite eloquent and to the point. I thank you.
The universe thanks you.

#208 2:25 PM, Apr 20 Reply

What is sad is the thought that somehow you, or your parents, or your parents parents, dreamed up some moral rules out of the ether all by yourselves. That pretty much makes any truth relative. Not hardly science wouldn't you say? What a wonderfully egocentric mindset. By the way, there are some errors in your thinking I believe. Christianity as taught originally, is a tolerant religion and is all inclusive. And God never says that He will take care of us. When you say "it's incumbent upon us to take care of those around us. That's community. " That is the message of Jesus. Please do not cast all religious thinking as mystical bunk, for it is not. And at least once in your life, you will say - 'Oh God'!

#209 2:31 PM, Apr 20 Reply
Anon in reply to Mr.Desi

You've got it wrong. You are trying to claim that Adam Savage believes the physical laws of nature are founded in evolution, which is a straw man argument, a logical fallacy, and utterly ridiculous. It's the other way around. The evolutionary worldview is based on the "immaterial, universal, unchanging forces of nature that he relies on to do science". Scientists accept the theory of evolution precisely because its findings are based on - surprise! - science. Get your facts straight before you start name calling.

#210 3:00 PM, Apr 20 Reply

His Noodly Goodness is displeased with Adam Savage.

#211 3:28 PM, Apr 20 Reply
Anon in reply to Wingo

As a Christian I'll go you one better and say that we have absolutely no power to convince someone of God's existence and the Bible's authority. Man does not posess the persuasive skills needed to convince a non-believer of all the fantastic things in scripture. That is the domain of the Holy Spirit. What is aggravating is when Christians forget this and start acting like they're the source of conviction and grace. It seems a great deal of you have encountered this in your lives, and it's a sorry place to start off working out your beliefs. "When I was a kid my church was awful and it didn't make sense. So when I was 15 I made up my mind about it..." Only the Spirit of God can make the Bible make any sense in our minds in this world. All Christians can do is live it and expose people to it.

#212 3:48 PM, Apr 20 Reply
Nonungulate in reply to Anonymous


Morality is relative. You can scarcely travel from one community to the next, let alone one nation to the next, and not find evidence for this. However this does not make just "any old truth" relative. Not by a long shot. Certainly if two scientists in two nations with unique sets of moral beliefs were to perform the same experiment the results of their experiments would be the same. And so there is objective truth in empirical evidence under the direction of methodological naturalism. Even if the interpretation of that evidence is up for debate, the fact remains there is only one viable truth. That's not the case with morality which seems to retain billions of truths, all viable, and all equally valid depending on what is socially acceptable.

"And at least once in your life, you will say - 'Oh God'!"

That's because it's a social meme. Not because God actually exists.

#213 4:44 PM, Apr 20 Reply
insatiableatheist in reply to Terry

"Can we all stop arguing?"
A lot of us realists have got to the stage where we're sick and tired of seeing this Abrahamic abortion of a belief system wreak havoc throughout the world, over whose imaginary psychopath has the biggest balls!
Enough is enough I say. It's been a thorn in the side of humanity for thousands of years. Thousands! Think about that for a second.

The sooner we can relegate this superstitious mythology to the history books the sooner we can get on with peace, a free and fair form of governance and the path of knowledge which, lets face it, is what we're built for.
And the more we argue, the sooner we can achieve that.

In truth, knowledge is freedom

#214 4:47 PM, Apr 20 Reply
Kelemvor's Primate in reply to Anonymous

Rights are not "granted" by anything.

Rights are a consequence of existence as a sapient being.

Because you exist, you have the right to not be killed by another person. (Note: You do not have the right to life - you merely have the right to not be killed by another person.)

Because you exist, you have the right to act in any way you choose, so long as you do not harm another person with your actions.

Because you exist, you have the right to create things with your thoughts and actions, and thus, you have the right to the product of your efforts - but NOT to the product of another person's efforts, as that product represents a portion of that other person's life, which you can only morally acquire in a free and uncoerced exchange of value.

Thus, we have the classic trio of life, liberty, and property. Each one is a consequence of existence as a sapient being. Note that it is only sapient beings who have these rights, because it is only sapient beings that can think morally about their own existence. Sentient, non-sapient beings certainly deserve consideration, but they do not have the rights mentioned, because they are not able to think morally about them. If they were, how likely would it be that, for instance, you would hear a leopard declare that it can not eat a gnu, because the gnu has the right to not be killed?

Rights not only do not require anyone or anything to grant them, but absolutely CAN NOT be granted. Anything that can be granted is not a right, but a mere privilege, that can be withdrawn at any time, for any reason - or none at all, for that matter.

#215 4:51 PM, Apr 20 Reply
Anon in reply to Anonymous

Huge leaps forward in computer operations is due to human goals and the designs from them. So the analogy that humans themselves will progress at such a speed is flawed, as human behavior as a group is not under the control of a designer with goals. The evidence of that statement is all of human history.
...And humans have nothing major to set them back except a possible asteroid? A virus which evolves with massive effects like HIV or greater, or a bacterium which evolves which too is untreatable, or climate change like that which is postulated to have caused the largest mass extinction event we know of (at the end of the Permian) and perhaps some of the other mass extinctions (and I'm talkin' climate change that we can't prevent regardless of human change of behaviors)

Work to make the world around your little niche better for all whom you can. That is all that we can do, but since it is real and measurable, it is worth more than any hopeful visions on a grand scale, and results in real goodness.

Having personal goals for good, making plans to achieve those goals, then following through on them does more for current and future generations than vague optimism.

#216 4:59 PM, Apr 20 Reply
Anon in reply to dbarak

I heard that on "The Boondocks" once. Does that help?

#217 5:23 PM, Apr 20 Reply

Thanks for the good read Adam

You have a fan for life with me

#218 5:26 PM, Apr 20 Reply

Now that I've read through all the standard apologetics and drama, I'll comment:

Great speech!

#219 5:31 PM, Apr 20 Reply
Avi Solomon

@Anon #171: Castaneda stole his Eagle parable from Gurdjieff's idea of Man as "food for the Moon". The aim is to live as fully as possible in this Life to also become "food for the Sun". The nursery rhyme "Baa Baa Black Sheep" alludes to this esoteric knowledge.


#220 5:41 PM, Apr 20 Reply
Anon in reply to Anonymous

"Am I missing something?"

Yes. "I don't know, don't have the resources to speculate accurately, and am not dishonest enough to speculate inaccurately." You know, the only rational and honest answer available at this point in time.

#221 5:42 PM, Apr 20 Reply
Antinous / Moderator in reply to insatiableatheist

The sooner we can relegate this superstitious mythology to the history books

As far as I can see, the world has grown much more religious in the last few decades. The idea that religion will go away strikes me as superstitious future-myth.

#222 5:44 PM, Apr 20 Reply
Anon in reply to Nonungulate

"And at least once in your life, you will say - 'Oh God'!"

What's wrong with that? I find "Oh, God!" a perfectly reasonable way to interject a situation I find to be entirely incoherent. What do you use it for?

#223 6:49 PM, Apr 20 Reply

I can go you one better: I know that I am the only one here, that all I see including the people responding to this string are illusions exclusively created by me, and that things like "morality" or "belief" are meaningless and laughable. I created this illusion and all of the seen and unseen parts of it and I did a hell of a good job with it. It is intriguing to me that you, whom I have created, would amuse me by "replying" to this post.

The irony of it all gets tedious, sometimes. Occasionally I wish there really was someone else to talk to about it all, but you are all just fleeting figments of my imagination.

And you talk of God and Not-God! Laughable! And you want videos! I will wish you away, and replace you with a better class of figments. Away!

#224 6:57 PM, Apr 20 Reply
you are all just fleeting figments of my imagination.

Would you please stop looking away from your screen? Every time you do so, the rest of us disap...

#225 7:28 PM, Apr 20 Reply

Terry...perhaps you can stay.

Figment Guy

#226 7:46 PM, Apr 20 Reply
Chris Tucker in reply to Mr.Desi


AIG claims that Humans and Dinosaurs co-existed.

That one thing is all one needs to know about how "pro-science" AIG is.

#227 7:53 PM, Apr 20 Reply
Anon in reply to Anonymous

Ditto. I happen to love both of the Mythbusters.

#228 7:55 PM, Apr 20 Reply

If I were to try and explain to you why you are more than a rock I would need to create a language full of symbolism and parable.

Much like religion.

#229 8:46 PM, Apr 20 Reply
Anon in reply to Kelemvor's Primate

>> Because you exist, you have the right to not be killed by another person. (Note: You do not have the right to life - you merely have the right to not be killed by another person.)

As a previous poster so eloquently put it, "Sez WHO?"

Where in the scientific laws of the universe is this written down? Is it encoded in our DNA? In the chemical composition of blood?

Another way to say the above is to say, "One OUGHT not to kill another person." But when we speak of laws involving the ought-ness of something, we are invoking a personality that is offended when that ought-ness is broken. The physical laws of nature are mute when consulted about "ought". The law of gravity cannot address whether we should kill others or not! Moore's law is silent! Relativity offers no opinion!

And why should I care if you are personally offended if I should kill my neighbor?? WHO set you as a moral authority over me?

On the other hand, a CREATOR has every right to have expectations for the created. When we as humans create something, say, a new tool, we have a purpose (an expectation) in mind for it. If it fulfills the purpose for which it is created, we say it is a good tool. One that does not fulfill its purpose is a bad tool. No one denies the inventor's right to judge the worth, value, and functionality of his creation. Does it not seem then that human activity and attitudes which align with a creator's purpose for man should be considered "good", and those which do not align with that purpose should be considered "bad"?

No one seriously argues that there is no such thing as good and/or evil actions. I can't imagine even the most cold-hearted atheist saying that Hitler's actions were acceptable, or that the rape and torture of children is not evil!

And there is no escaping the fact that to speak of morality, you must discriminate between good and evil actions. In order to discriminate, you must have a standard by which to discriminate. This standard must be absolute (not one standard for me and another for you) or it is meaningless. Therefore, the standard must come from (or be) a personality greater than ourselves that is offended by evil actions and presumably pleased by good actions.

#230 9:14 PM, Apr 20 Reply
rrpostal in reply to Terry

{Can we all stop this God v. Science argument? It is unwinnable }

So you claim to have no opinion?

It's not just for argument's sake, there is a legitimate concern. I don't care on a personal level. But when people base their lives on their invisible friend, they also tend to want society as a whole to accept this friend and what he says. They want children taught what their special friend says as "science" and base laws on his story book (while simultaneously ignoring or rationalizing the unseemly aspects of said book).

So, no, I don't see how we can stop arguing. I have many friends and loved ones who are religious. I'm fine with it as long as it is a "personal" belief. But much of their view is insulting (I deserve to burn for eternity for what again? I can not be moral without knowing the unknowable?) or dangerous (oh, let's say war) and I disagree to that extent.

Again I ask, have you never thought of this? What should we, as a society, teach our children. Not in the home, but in the classroom. Should we defend against religious empiricists? Should we offend as religious empiricists ourselves? Please try to answer that without sounding "unwinnably argumentative".

#231 9:39 PM, Apr 20 Reply
rrpostal in reply to rumplepuff

You claim that atheists "conveniently" invent their own moral code. What always strikes me about this insinuation is how christians get morals the exact same way, it is obvious, yet the rationalize it away.

The bible teaches a great many things about morality. The 600+ rules that range from blatantly obvious to insanely demented. Over the years, Xtians keep the rules that are in line with their innate morality while discarding, ignoring or rationalizing away all the god given "morality" that they don't personally accept. Plus the many many flavors of christians can't even agree on which rules to ignore and which to accept. How many modern christians take unruly kids to the edge of town and stone them? Do you insist rapists buy off the victims father as the "moral" thing to do? Don't even get me started on the rational gymnastics regarding slavery.

I know we're not saying anything new here. At this point we'll get into a bizarre "interpretation" debate where I am told I read incorrectly and who is a "real" christian and who isn't. And if only I knew how to read words the right way and listened to the correct specialists who read the book properly, then I would understand exactly how we get all morality from this book.

If it requires all this interpretations that I can not even trust my own eyes and reading of the book and all christians argue about which rules we really are supposed to follow, HOW is this the way we get morality? Or does god just put a little god organ in our brain (or worse, heart) so that we can tell right from wrong? How is this determined?

I've heard these arguments so often, I can now effectively argue with myself.

#232 9:39 PM, Apr 20 Reply
Terry in reply to rrpostal
What should we, as a society, teach our children.

That's the big question. Should we teach them creationism, based solely on the evidence of scripture? Or should we teach evolution, based solely on evidence that appears to point toward it, but certainly doesn't prove it? Or maybe we should teach both. Or neither.

Of course I've thought of this. And I don't have an answer. I'm also aware of the fact that nobody else does, either.

Which is why the argument is not only unwinnable, it's also a waste of time. In the end, what gets taught to children in the schools will not be determined by argument but by compromise.

#233 9:48 PM, Apr 20 Reply
rrpostal in reply to Anonymous

{No one denies the inventor's right to judge the worth, value, and functionality of his creation.}

I absolutely argue when we are talking about sentient "creations". If you "create" a human life, that does not give you the right to be the sole judge of your creation and cast it into endless suffering if "the creation" does not live up to your expectations. It's the other side of the free will argument.

Because Xtians often think we are worthless vessels who are guilty simply because of original sin, I can see where you would think this way. But I think it's horribly immoral to suggest you can create a groupp of living, intelligent, free willed beings and then impose your own arbitrary and illusory expectations at the risk of eternal judgment. Why create free will in this situation anyways except as some egotistical test?

#234 10:05 PM, Apr 20 Reply
rrpostal in reply to Terry

{Or neither. Of course I've thought of this. And I don't have an answer. I'm also aware of the fact that nobody else does, either.}

Of course people have answers. That's what the argument is about. I agree that we can not have absolute certainty. Unfortunately there are, in fact, schools. So until we decide to sit in a corner and twiddle our thumbs, somebody needs to teach something. If you are suggesting we teach BOTH, I'm okay with that. But one should be taught as science (the one you mentioned with the EVIDENCE since that is the basis for science) and the other one should be taught as a religion alongside all of the other religions to put it in proper perspective.

Your suggestion of complete inaction is utterly untenable and would result in a complete failure of the state. Again, however, I'm fine if you have a "personal" policy of inaction. But to suggest everyone have no convictions whatsoever, in my opinion, is possibly just as destructive as religion.

It seems like you base this on the fact that you can't figure out how accurate science is about things and thus you assume no one has any such knowledge. Just because we can't achieve absolute certainty, this does NOT mean all things are equally likely. We actually have some pretty good understanding of some things. It's not an utter crap shoot.

#235 10:14 PM, Apr 20 Reply
rrpostal in reply to Terry

Oh yeah, argument can actually be the act of compromise. How else does it come about? But to teach "science" is based on compromise would not be teaching science. Gravity and evolution do not compromise.

So we may disagree. You are not above this fray as you seem to think.

#236 10:22 PM, Apr 20 Reply
Antinous / Moderator in reply to rrpostal

Gravity and evolution do not compromise.

Gravity and evolution are composed entirely of compromise, since they both operate as functions of interrelationship between object and environment.

#237 10:35 PM, Apr 20 Reply
Anon in reply to Anonymous

If we're willing to say "so what" to what our own sense and impulses tell us to be true, why would be bother listening to a creator? If I say he doesn't have moral authority over me, only power - if I choose to disobey him because I think he's in the wrong, and I think it's worth the consequences - on what grounds can you say I'm mistaken?

#238 10:43 PM, Apr 20 Reply
Anon in reply to Anonymous
No one denies the inventor's right to judge the worth, value, and functionality of his creation.
See? You do believe in certain self-evident, inalienable rights. In this case, though, I'm pretty sure most people would disagree with you: in every sense of the word applicable to this reality, parents make their children, and yet do not deserve that sort of power of judgment.
#239 10:47 PM, Apr 20 Reply
Anon in reply to Terry

Please don't poison the well. I can see why someone would get upset if you insisted centuries of detailed research and thousands of careful data points are no better than something someone allegedly once said. Saying only bigots get upset in advance doesn't mean that's why they would.

#240 1:47 AM, Apr 21 Reply
Anon in reply to ianjohnson

Yup, pretty hard to assume the universe started as a great big glass ball, or eagle. This parable is full of foolishness.

#241 2:09 AM, Apr 21 Reply
Anon in reply to Anonymous

I sometimes wish I could deceive myself into believing in a God that will help me. But fortunately or unfortunately, I'm ultimately unable to deny reality and reason.

#242 2:20 AM, Apr 21 Reply
Anon in reply to Anonymous

Question isn't "who" grants us our rights. Is the constitution not good enough?

That's not "mob rule". The Crusades were mob rule.

Doesn't the horror and treachery of the old testament prove how "god" changes rules by whim?

Actually, you're right about humans screwing things up. They invented God and religion. All kinds of religion. Not just your favorite brand.

#243 2:30 AM, Apr 21 Reply
Anon in reply to Anonymous

So you can't deal with or be friends with someone unless you know their religion? Sounds like problem, all right!

I don't have that problem. And I can say proudly that I don't exclude anyone based on their religion or lack thereof.

Seriously, how can you live from day to day like that unless you live in a commune or church where you know everyone's religion?

#244 2:45 AM, Apr 21 Reply

"who or what says it is incumbant upon us to do anything? Who says that I owe anybody anything?"

To be honest, I can't explain why, but I feel it in my bones. Don't you? You don't really need to go to church or read scripture or hear God to feel a sense of morality, do you?

I feel it every day. It's in our genes. Even animals act in concert, for group benefit. It only feels mysterious when you think too much about it.

And I'll bet science can explain it someday. But I don't need science's explanation to feel it.

#245 2:50 AM, Apr 21 Reply
Anon in reply to Terry

Science can't rely on faith, dogma or holy book; science has to constantly adapt its text to new discoveries and deeper observations. Unlike religious beliefs in various cultures in various parts of the world or universe, science must accurately reflect and predict reality no matter who discovers it, or where, or who teaches it. Matters of opinion or faith are not science.

Scientists on planet A will be able to understand and duplicate any discovery made by scientists on planet B, regardless of religion, and even if they've never met or spoken to each other or read each other's books. That's what science is about; if it doesn't work the same EVERYWHERE, then it's not science.

On the other hand, isn't it mostly true that Religion A has to be significantly different from Religion B, or C, or *any* other religion? Even worse, each religion is traditionally portrayed as perfect and unquestionable. Religion is therefore never able--much less expected--to self-reflect or self-improve.

Whereas science requires self-reflection and self-improvement, religious dogma requires unquestioned faith in its eternal infallibility. These very different ways of perceiving and defining reality may run parallel at times, but can never meet for long.

#246 3:13 AM, Apr 21 Reply

I'm a Christian and believe Jesus Christ is my saviour. I respect Adam's beliefs and though I disagree on much I feel his speech was outstanding.

I have a couple points I'd like to make. I do agree that the "LEADERSHIP" of the three main religions is intolerant. Though I agree I don't like when people say that because it reflects to some extent on me. When I hear that I can't help but feel that it is a personal shot at me as well. I'm far from intolerant. I don't care one way or another where a homosexual works, sleeps, eats, lives, etc. Same as I don't care one way or another where any other person does their business. I don't preach to others and I don't tell them their beliefs are wrong. My best friend is an atheist. And I love the fact that I live in a country where I can be a Christian and have an atheist as my best friend. And I won't preach to him because he's a Cowboy fan (so he's already in Hell, sorry too late for you).

But I must admit, in general, there is a lot of intolerance in those religions. I would ask all your supporters to judge people as individuals though. I am Christian, but I'm not perfect. I love the drink (Hefeweisen in particular). I love war movies. I hold grudges. And I don't have a lot of sympathy for those down trodden who If feel actively put themselves in that situation by being lazy.

Also, I don't agree that there is a genetic need for religion. I believe humans might have a genetic need for moral codes. Whether they are based on religion, philosophy or what your pops taught you. We need moral codes because without them life would be chaos. We all live by some moral code, whether it is written in a religious book, a novel, taught by our parents or what not. We all have one. And, in general, I think all Americans value the same morals: hard work, compassion, charity, honesty, integrity, kindness.... open invitation barbeques, etc. Some don't and that's why we have prisons.

Good speech Adam

#247 3:14 AM, Apr 21 Reply
Anon in reply to Anonymous

The "personality greater than ourselves" that helps serve as a moral compass is humanity itself, including our own personal choices. Humanity has been cruel to itself for thousands of years, but is on the whole improving.

It's been a long journey from the hell of the old testament patriarchy. And we still have a long way to go. We should discuss and argue. In the end we still need each other to fix ourselves, and set good examples for the world without force.

#248 3:31 AM, Apr 21 Reply
insatiableatheist in reply to Antinous / Moderator

"As far as I can see, the world has grown much more religious in the last few decades"

I don't believe that at all.
The percentage of population that is religious is at its lowest point ever in history I believe, despite religions all claiming larger numbers.
Because of this, the religious are simply becoming more vocal and are attempting ever larger recruitment campaigns.
More reason to raise the voice of reason ever louder methinks.

It won't be long now. Just a few generations and we'll already be well on the way to weeding it all out.

#249 3:57 AM, Apr 21 Reply
Anon in reply to insatiableatheist

Who wrote this? It's beautiful

#250 4:07 AM, Apr 21 Reply

Atheists taking the time and effort to make a speech about why they don't believe...why do they adopt a righteous attitude when describing how they are not righteous? To dedicate this kind of effort in spreading your belief of religion makes atheism a religion in itself. Silly people, get on with your lives.

#251 4:24 AM, Apr 21 Reply

To the figment amusingly called "insatiableatheist", who feels religions are in retreat and will soon be weeded out - I suggest you travel to Iran or Saudi Arabia and engage in some man-on-the-street discussions or pursuade a television station or two to interview you on camera. Make sure you take a change of clothes and a toothbrush.

I have concluded that my current figments are seriously lacking the ability to laugh at themselves. As some wiser, earlier figment once noted, "Develop the capacity to laugh at yourself and you will never lack for amusement."

Figment Guy

#252 4:46 AM, Apr 21 Reply
centuries of detailed research and thousands of careful data points are no better than something someone allegedly once said.

That's one way of looking at it. Another way would be that the accumulated efforts of flawed, fallible humans are no better than the word of an infallible, all-knowing, supreme being.

You say tomato......

#253 7:09 AM, Apr 21 Reply

So, why should we give a free pass to Christian Atheists?

If you are a Christian, you believe in a single god, you are rejecting plenty of other gods that people has believed during history, and plenty of other beliefs still alive today. Why don't you hold yourself to the same standards you hold atheists, when dealing with other gods?

Then, no god can be disproved, no matter how absurd the belief is, so you gotta believe in them all even if they contradict each other? No, you dismiss them almost all and keep one, as Bertrand Russell said, "I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours". I go ahead and dismiss Yahveh.

Sure, I cannot disprove that a creator exists, but neither you or I know anything about this possible creator, whether if ve cares about us, or if ve even knows that we exist, we might be a byproduct of the process.

#254 7:58 AM, Apr 21 Reply

Well said. The best thing about mortality is that in the end.....we all will get the answers we are looking for. Why worry about it before then?

#255 8:45 AM, Apr 21 Reply
Kelemvor's Primate in reply to Anonymous

"And there is no escaping the fact that to speak of morality, you must discriminate between good and evil actions. In order to discriminate, you must have a standard by which to discriminate. This standard must be absolute (not one standard for me and another for you) or it is meaningless. Therefore, the standard must come from (or be) a personality greater than ourselves that is offended by evil actions and presumably pleased by good actions."

On the contrary, one does not require a "personality greater than ourselves" to establish a standard by which to discriminate between good and evil. All one requires is an understanding that certain actions are pro-survival, and certain actions are anti-survival. Pro-survival actions are those which enhance the odds of one's DNA being passed down to future generations. Anti-survival actions are those which reduce the odds of one's DNA being passed down to future generations.

Even among non-sapient animals, we can see this. For instance, the mother cat that runs into a fire to rescue her kittens, vs. the mother cat that eats her kittens. In human terms, an individual who operates on the presumption of the rights to life, liberty, and property has historically been more likely to pass down his DNA. Conversely, an individual who does not recognize the rights to life, liberty, and property, is more likely to die before having the opportunity to pass down his DNA.

Clearly, this does not require any form of supernatural being to enforce. Simple tribal/pack behavior enforces it quite well without any appeal to a supernatural being.

#256 1:59 PM, Apr 21 Reply

There have been many comments re the beginnings of religion. It's most likely that primitive man became afraid of death, for some reason yet to be determined. Very early hominid sites have graves with artifacts in them, indicating that there was a desire for the departed to have things with them "on the other side" or "on the journey". Some imaginative person capitalized on this unease and started saying he/she had knowledge about "after-death" and claimed this knowledge gave them special powers and therefore authority.

#257 2:01 PM, Apr 21 Reply

Well said, Adam!

#258 3:07 PM, Apr 21 Reply

Don’t set up straw men, Mr. Savage
Of course morality exist out side of religion.
Who argues it doesn’t?
The question is who’s morality shall we follow.
Hitler’s or Mother Teresa’s?
My morality is just as “good” as yours if it benefits me.
If a behavior benefits me why should I care whether it benefits others?
You also say that you realized that no one is going to take care of you.
Yet, you task “community” with that job.
Which way is it?
And lastly, I believe what I see.
I’ve lived long enough to see prayer work independently of anything I’ve done.
My listening had nothing to do with the other person’s prayer.
I’ve seen God’s providence answer another person’s prayer.
I’ve seen the unexplainable.
So did sane, honest men and women 2000 years ago who witnessed an empty tomb.

#259 3:29 PM, Apr 21 Reply

If he told me in person, it would be his word, and I'd treat it very seriously. That's not what you're comparing it to: there are fallible human accounts involved both ways, but some are much more verifiable than others. You're being entirely disingenuous pretending that isn't a notable difference.

#260 4:40 PM, Apr 21 Reply
Anon in reply to Anonymous

Einstein might have been a genius, but like any other human he was hardly infallible. As far as geniuses go, he was by no means number one on the list... he just happens to be very famous.

Just because he was not an atheist doesn't mean he was right, or wrong.

#261 8:18 AM, Apr 22 Reply

To the people saying absence of evidence is not the same as evidence of absence, I encourage you to look up 'Russell's Teapot'. Actually, to save you the time, here it is.

If I were to suggest that between the Earth and Mars there is a china teapot revolving about the sun in an elliptical orbit, nobody would be able to disprove my assertion provided I were careful to add that the teapot is too small to be revealed even by our most powerful telescopes. But if I were to go on to say that, since my assertion cannot be disproved, it is an intolerable presumption on the part of human reason to doubt it, I should rightly be thought to be talking nonsense. If, however, the existence of such a teapot were affirmed in ancient books, taught as the sacred truth every Sunday, and instilled into the minds of children at school, hesitation to believe in its existence would become a mark of eccentricity and entitle the doubter to the attentions of the psychiatrist in an enlightened age or of the Inquisitor in an earlier time.

Do you honestly think it's just as reasonable to think there's a teapot in orbit as to think that there is no teapot? Why should the reasoning change when it comes to Yahweh, Vishnu, Zeus, or any of the other gods people have believed in?

As far as morality requiring an outside agency, just look up the Euthypro Dilemma. If morality requires an outside agency, where's the agency that gives God his morality? On the other hand, if you're so lacking in empathy that you'd go on a murderous rampage without religion, then by all means, don't abandon your belief in a god.

#262 9:02 AM, Apr 22 Reply

I am an atheist for many personal reasons, after spending 25 years devoutly otherwise. And I honestly have to say that I sometimes find myself wondering alongside Adam, about atheism as a form of human evolution. I say that because sometimes I am still thankful religion exists - because I really do think that, if left alone with the notion that after death is nothingness, some people are incapable of self-governed morality. I think the reason is that for some people, religion is just about personal gain or finding a panacea—filling a void, securing a place in heaven, fitting into a community, overcoming addiction or temptation, etc.—which seems to make it inherently selfish.

That said, I am deeply respectful of those who have chosen a life of faith and, in doing so, have dedicated themselves to serving others with great devotion and humility. But that is to be so few people in the grand scheme of things. Being religious simply does not guarantee this kind of altruism. In fact, religion is the very thing that often poisons true faith. I have never been judged more harshly in life than by those claiming to know "the truth" without truly understanding it—a reflexive act that I think elevates the speaker above their God (really, who gets the right to judge?). And I can't help but to say in those moments: "tsk, tsk. It seems you have missed the point."

In any case, believing is an important personal choice. ... And. in this case, I choose to believe alongside Adam. Bravo!

#263 12:50 PM, Apr 22 Reply
Chris Tucker in reply to Anonymous

Atheism is a religion is exactly the same way that not collecting stamps is a hobby.

#264 1:17 PM, Apr 22 Reply
Terry in reply to Chris Tucker

Religion does not preclude atheism. Ask a Taoist, Jain or Confucist (as well as many Buddhists).

#265 4:59 PM, Apr 22 Reply
insatiableatheist in reply to Anonymous

I did.
Thank you

#266 5:06 PM, Apr 22 Reply
insatiableatheist in reply to Anonymous

May I suggest you read the news from just prior to christmas regarding Iran's elections?
The simmering underneath is not purely political.
Iran used to be a secular state not that long ago and people haven't forgotten the freedoms they used to have.
You'd do better trying to open others' eyes, rather than turning your own blind one.

#267 11:38 PM, Apr 22 Reply

The judeo-christian religions must end, or humanity will. We cannot go on if billions of people honestly believe that the morality of the universe dictates that even a single mind will suffer for eternity. There is no crime worthy of such punishment. No, not even Hitler deserves such. If a being exists who is capable of causing pain to another for eternity, then we must take it upon our shoulders to put an end to it.

#268 11:53 AM, Apr 23 Reply
Anon in reply to Anonymous

"atheistic Ethical Culture movement"

I am a member of the Ethical Culture movement, and I can assuredly tell you that it is not atheistic. It is non-theistic, meaning that the movement doesn't take a position between theism and non-theism. Both theists and atheists are accepted as members.

#269 2:53 AM, Apr 25 Reply

Is it just me, or is the arrogance of those who are sure that god doesn't exist just as repugnant as the blindness of those who are sure that he does?

#270 7:32 AM, Apr 28 Reply

Can everybody stop using Occam's razor?! It's a saying with no logical proof or evidence. I can't think of a single modern scientific principle in the last 300 years described by that. I am glad that he turned it back against religion; they're so fond of that argument.

... um, Parsimony?

#271 7:37 PM, May 1 Reply
Anon in reply to insatiableatheist


#272 10:02 AM, May 3 Reply
#273 5:05 PM, May 3 Reply

yawn. . . if our ears are pressed to the door of the anti-theists' choir room, we ought not be surprised by the sound of preaching, nor by the comforting lilt of repetition....but this false dichotomy between science and spirit threatens
to deceive the present generation from paths of spiritual growth . . .

#274 9:32 PM, May 5 Reply

This far down in the kudos and arguments, the original subject's a bit cold. But I think one of the really interesting things you touched on, Adam, is the idea of community. As researchers have observed, behavior and temperament have evolutionary weight; in a given bird population, there may be a survival advantage under some conditions for bold characters, yet in other circumstances the more retiring birds have a better chance of reproducing. It has seemed to me for some time that believers and skeptics are often almost hard-wired in their nature - I know I am - and I think the survival of the species, or at least the human community, needs both kinds. It needs a body of believers to follow, to participate, to bolster institutions. And it needs the questioners, the skeptics, gadflies who keep things from going too far in a totalitarian direction. I believe it's in our genetic code, and that's a beautiful thing.

#275 9:33 PM, May 5 Reply

Of course, getting hung for it, or burned at the stake, not so much.

#276 3:17 AM, May 10 Reply
Anon in reply to Anonymous

Exactly. You cannot disprove something that has never been proven in the first place. In the realms of science, we use supporting evidence to determine our conclusions, rather than proof.

#277 9:15 AM, May 31 Reply

Acknowledging yourself as your own personal God doesn't make it true. Atheism in itself is a religion.

#278 10:18 AM, Jun 14 Reply

I know who my parents were. No deity was needed to make me, just a sperm and an egg. No theology was required, either.

#279 1:24 PM, Jun 22 Reply
the sad team

The argument over a supreme deity's existence is pretty silly. I think a more important question is, what do you mean by god? What all does this god entail? Can the creator be separated from its creation? Should we assume that any of our myths and legends are a better explanation for the world than they are signifiers about the culture that created them.
All the major religions that are still around are just humanist allegories about personal enlightenment, at best, and justifications for any combination of the most awful things you could ever imagine, at worst.

Of course there are beautiful aspects of every religion, and of course it would be supremely comforting to be the children of a father-god, but why do people cling to it with such fervor? Fear of ceasing to exist? It's not really possible to describe the feeling in a communicable way. Maybe the easiest definition of god is just everything that is happening as it's happening. I really like when Casteneda's eagle metaphor. To me it equates to, here we are and we'll only be here for a bit. It doesn't really matter what any of us believes (or knows or has faith in or any other means of dealing with our own insecurities) because it doesn't change what is real and tangible. I guess it's time to stop with the collage of half-brained quasi-lucid statements.

#280 10:27 PM, Jun 24 Reply

I wonder if Adam actually understands that the theistic argument is that morality without God is subjective and not that there exists no such thing.

#281 9:44 PM, Jun 29 Reply

to the most recent anon post, i think the thing you aren't considering is the extent to which science just isn't finished. especially with respect to things like love and consciousness, and even with something like what is the nature of "outside of our universe," answers will come from science eventually. saying how far off those answers are is hard to do well, but i personally feel like it will be within the course of our lifetimes that answers to those questions will become more clear.

if you want to take the stance of essentially writing those ideas off to god in the meantime (which less face it, might outlast you yourself anyway), then by all means do so. when you think about it, the only thing god has EVER been is just the entity of all the perceptions of which we are not yet capable, the explanation for that which we cannot yet explain.

but for every one of people like you amongst intellectuals, there is another that is just ok with the fact that we don't yet know. those people believe they'll find out when someone figures it out, or perhaps (partially at least) when they are dying, or perhaps not at all, and any of the above is fine with them.

#282 6:37 PM, Jul 5 Reply
PaleDave in reply to insatiableatheist

Forgive my ignorance but what is that from?

#283 2:56 AM, Jul 10 Reply

Fantastic speech Adam. I wish I could have seen you give it in person at TAM8.

#284 12:52 PM, Jul 10 Reply
Anon in reply to Anonymous

Anon #33: "I always like to envision when those that hold your beliefs meet God and the pretense is erased"

I'm sure you do. Imagining things without any evidence to back it up can be fun. When I was a kid I imagined both bullies and people who IMO unfairly restricted my desires being harmed, imprisoned, and so forth, so that they would repent of their evil ways. I did this precisely because I was too weak to do anything else. Likewise, if you lack any arguments to support your cause, dreaming that somehow some evidence supporting it will miraculously appear and convince your opponents must be a lot of fun. I'm not saying you should stop. Just don't confuse your private fantasies with anything that other people should pay any attention to.

#285 1:55 AM, Jul 12 Reply
Anon in reply to Paul Coleman

Paul Coleman • #5
"So instead of waiting for the rapture, we're waiting for the raptor?"

Raptor Jesus went extinct for your sins.

#286 4:26 AM, Jul 23 Reply
Anon in reply to Anonymous

I think you are missing a few points #4;
1) The other options you mentioned may be confusing, or unknown, or big, etc; but they ARE simple in the sense that they are naturalistic and that they are essentially simple algorithms. A ‘Multiverse’ may be overwhelmingly difficult to comprehend, given how hard it is to comprehend the size of just one universe, but the basic principle is just that there are many with different values – a pretty simple concept. Or take the origin of life as an analogy; how life has evolved from simpler forms is complicated to understand in any remotely full way, but the processes is very simple.
2) The Occam’s Razor point is a little incorrect too, because the point is not quite that the answer need be the simplest, but that adding unnecessary components to the explanation (such as magic or gods, etc) just gets you nowhere because you then have to explain that new thing which is a bigger problem that the original one you were trying to solve! And it still doesn’t answer the original one; you are no wiser (in fact, arguably less!) ‘knowing’ that god did it.
3) Finally, an important point is that all of these are mere hypotheses as none of them have any real evidence and most are actually untestable, so probably never will. It is healthy to speculate as to what ‘could’ exist, but it is when someone actually claims that one of them is true, such as “an intelligent being did it all”, that they are no longer being reasonable...

#287 9:24 PM, Aug 11 Reply

For those who believe, no proof is necessary. For those who don't believe, no proof is possible.

Stuart Chase

#288 8:00 AM, Aug 29 Reply

"For those who believe, no proof is necessary. For those who don't believe, no proof is possible." - Stuart Chase

Initially I mistakenly presumed you signed off as "Santa Clause"...You don't believe in Santa do you buddy? Well then no proof is possible for you then.

#289 7:16 AM, Oct 5 Reply
Anon in reply to Anonymous

As a 'religious' person, I admit that religions have been, and will always be misused by evil men for selfish means (so also will scientific establishments). But they have also done great good (and the good is often downplayed in these sensational speeches).

But I must emphasise [sic] that there is no breach between plain, observable science and my religion. It's the pseudo-science where the breach lies. It's a philosophical conflict.

I can't save myself. So the most logical choice is to look for someone who can. And probability rules out naturalistic origins in so many ways I'm not even going to describe them because most people will just block their ears even if I try.

Food for thought: Search for The Millennial Man on

No prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation (2nd Peter). ie. The Bible interprets itself. And that is a beautiful thing indeed. Because it means the prophecies of the Bible can be tested with the Bible as a consistent, interpretive measure. The Seventh Day Adventist church is the only consistent protestant church I have found (in regards to prophecy and much more)

This is an empty conflict. We need to discard the role of 'combatant' and 'aggressor.' I'm not here to fight, but to say, come - let us reason.

#290 5:38 AM, Oct 18 Reply

The statement, "the Bible interprets itself" can easily be shown to be false. If it did, there would not be such vastly wildly differing opinions between believers about its meaning. It is why there are so many denominations and sects within Christianity: you all can't agree on just what it means.

#291 4:59 PM, Oct 23 Reply
ViztheWiz in reply to Gisburne

For man, it takes more than just a man to build something so huge and amazing as a city. From what I can consider from what you stated is that God is pretty much as powerful than one of his own creations, the human being. That God is not powerful and just as complex as a human being and can only create things with help from others... May I ask if you even thought to even sit down and read any religious book or looked up "God" on the computer? God is the God of all creation and is far more complex than our human minds can even comprehend to understand. So why do you believe that "God" is this and that, when you barely even understand for yourself how He could have created everything, why would He need any help when He is more powerful and complex than anything that our own mind can even understand?

#292 5:12 PM, Oct 23 Reply
ViztheWiz in reply to Anonymous

I do not think that anywhere in the Bible does it say anything about killing someone for wondering to far from the house..

#293 11:21 AM, Dec 12 Reply

For those of you looking for a video:

It's missing the last part of the speech but it's almost complet...

#294 8:42 PM, Dec 22 Reply

i'd like to counter a few of the statements above and say that atheism isn't a religion. yes, it is a believe system about the cause, purpose, and nature of life - so it can be called a kind of faith, if you really want to label it as something. but it differs from religion because it is a PRIVATE belief system without the very PUBLIC dimension shared by all major organized religions. call it a philosophy or what you will, but don't call it religion.

#295 1:48 AM, Dec 28 Reply

Hmm..Good without God sounds like words without meaning, if there is no way things ought to be, then how can something be good? I think if we truly live in a world where there is no God and we have just "evolved" everything, then moral values(morality) are either just expressions of personal taste or the by-products of socio-biological evolution and conditioning nothing more. So there is no such thing as anything truly good(objectively). In "Good without God", good is meaningless.
Here is a fine article that better expands on this and touches on some of the other comments made on this post. This way my comment won't be too long.


#296 10:19 AM, Jan 27 Reply

I used to like the Mythbusters, but now I'M FASCINATED about them!
Fourth generation without religion is impressive, I wished to be like this.
Science is the best thing on earth.

#297 5:33 PM, Mar 22 Reply

Brilliant speech. As an atheist myself, I often get frustrated when religious people try to force their beliefs down my throat. I respect their right to believe in whatever they want, but I don't have to share those beliefs. In my experience, religion is too often used as an excuse or a scapegoat. Good and evil don't come from some dude sitting in the clouds or a red spiky fellow twirling his pitchfork in a pit of fire... They come from inside people.

#298 5:43 PM, Mar 22 Reply

I'd just like to add to these comments that I find it inspiring to the extreme that SO MANY PEOPLE have commented, and from what I can see by skimming a great many of them, they are mostly very positive. There are people out there in the states that believe, no, KNOW, that there is goodness without divinity.
I'm normally quite misantropic, but this speech and the resulting comments actually make me proud to be a part of the human race, and I've got hugs for everyone.

#299 5:45 PM, Mar 22 Reply

Two words: prove it. The point is, you can't. Believing that there is no God is just as much a leap of faith as believing that there is a God. There is no verifiable evidence either way. The argument is entirely one person's word against another. And dismissing what the other person says simply because it doesn't sound reasonable to you essentially damns your argument from the offset. You have the right to believe what you want to believe, but to make claims that are both absolute and unprovable against other claims that are absolute and unprovable is fallacious, illogical, and downright intellectually arrogant and dishonest.

Strangely enough, what you claim to be science is one of the farthest things from science. You talk about philosophy, here, not science. You are making metaphysical and epistemological claims. Science is not even a factor in what you are arguing. You are talking about states of mind and existence and not scientifically verifiable data. You say you surmise that no one is out there because of what you personally experience. But personal experience is not scientific. I'm sad to see that such a bright "man of science" has fallen into the simplest of errors.

#300 5:48 PM, Mar 22 Reply
Anon in reply to Anonymous

So apparently you and few others in the comment field know how Occam's Razor works.

It's not that "The simplest answer is the best." It is that the simplest answer which can maintain the same level of explanatory power is the best answer.

Simply saying "because" IS the simplest answer to anything. But it explains absolutely nothing and thusly doesn't fall under the guidelines of Occam's Razor.

God does not, and never has, been covered under Occam's Razor because it does not equally explain any scientific theory as well as Science does. You cannot use faith, for instance, to design the next jet engine. God does not explain mechanically how one creates a serum or how the sun actually functions.

Such a wonderful little rule gets abused so brutally so constantly that I fear that this razor has been dulled beyond use.

#301 6:00 PM, Mar 22 Reply

I am kind of adrift spirtually at this point. I have pretty much turned mostly to Atheism now. I can't help but miss it,though. It is like an addiction. Once it's gone, you realize how much you used it. That being said, the Eagle to me personally is much worse. I really don't feel like living to be "devoured" is any better than having no point at all. I also want to say that knowing evolution is fact is not mutually exclusive with religious belief in my eyes. Like you said, the very beginnings of the dominoes are unknowable.I kind of straddle the line of spiritual and scientific and I try to look at new discoveries or theories in both lenses, so to speak. I do liek this speech. I respect you and I love your show. The only thing we can say for certain is we will all find out the truth when out time comes. Unless the Eagle gets us and we aren't around to know anything. Thanks for this great essay. Food for thought (no pun intended)

#302 7:00 PM, Mar 22 Reply
Anon in reply to Steven C. Britton

"Frank Salisbury calculated the probability of a typical DNA chain arising by chance to be 1 in 10^600 (that's a one with SIX HUNDRED zeroes after it.)"

And did Frank Salisbury understand chemistry, or did he, like so many who have tried to use the "random chance" argument to "disprove" evolution, fail to take into account the simple fact that *chemical elements do not organize randomly*? Helium won't bond to anything; oxygen will bond with some elements, but not others; carbon is kind of an elemental slut, and likes to bond with lots of other chemical elements at the same time. It's not "random", it's chemistry.

#303 7:49 PM, Mar 22 Reply

Brilliant Speech. I am an Atheist, but believe in the religious values I was brought up by (well considering I am 14 are being brought up by), so them I guess I am a Reform Jewtheist. Don`t believe in God but believe in religious values (well most of them). I`m getting off track. Great speech.
-Sam R (aka MadScientistIT)

#304 8:33 PM, Mar 22 Reply
Anon in reply to Anonymous
Atheists have the same problem as the religious - intolerance.
People like to say this. But you look at the world, and the only serious intolerance from atheists is from the communists, directed as much towards the non-communist atheists as religious people. Otherwise you have a tough time finding any real oppression by the atheists, but can hardly say the same for all the religious.
#305 8:38 PM, Mar 22 Reply
Anon in reply to Anonymous

God doesn't actually impose standards of good, though. You can certainly assume obedience to its will is always good. But if someone disagrees and thinks God has done something unjust, what objective standard do you have to persuade them? Most people I've talked to simply define "good" to be whatever God wants, but in that case there are perfectly legitimate philosophical definitions, with just as much or little persuasive power.

#306 9:51 PM, Mar 22 Reply

To look at the works a painter can create and admire the composition of the paint, the structure of the canvas, and the way the brush gives texture to the work without recognizing the brilliance that went into the creation of the piece does a disservice to the artist. Of course everything around us has a scientific explanation. Science is the medium of God.

#307 10:09 PM, Mar 22 Reply

If I agreed with you, we'd both be wrong.

#308 10:18 PM, Mar 22 Reply
sompm in reply to insatiableatheist

Is that your writing? That's awesome. would you mind if I used that?

#309 7:00 AM, Mar 23 Reply
Ken S.

Great article! Thank you for being one more voice of reason. I have hope for humanity... it's just taking longer than I'd like it to.

#310 7:56 AM, Mar 23 Reply
Anon in reply to donniebnyc

How is that - saying 'I know you are wrong for believing there is [a God]' - any less bigoted than a religious person saying 'I know you are wrong for believing there is no God'? Neither can be proven scientifically, even if you BELIEVE that our scientific knowledge declares there to be no need for God.

#311 9:13 AM, Mar 23 Reply
Anon in reply to Anonymous

hear hear!

The absence of evidence does not prove an absence.

And like other religions, Atheism is just another belief system whose members (many, if not most) feel the need to mock, ridicule and humor those who believe differently than they do. Let's face it. Many atheists admit that they choose their belief because of the actions of the Church. If there's one thing I know, it is that the Church has proven time and again that it has no business messing around with matters of the divine. Forget keeping a separation of Church and State, let's push for a separation of Church and Faith!

Fortunately, I am occasionally pleased to meet someone who's atheism doesn't cause him to scream obscenities and profanities at anyone who has "the gall to believe in some great bogeyman in the sky." Yet, I am disappointed when I see a gathering of atheists try to impose their beliefs upon others, sometimes even using the courts to do it.

People, can we leave religion at the door and focus on getting along?

#312 8:15 PM, Mar 23 Reply

You believe in only one God less than I do. I respect your right to that.

#313 11:31 PM, Mar 23 Reply

The only problem with asking science to create a reason to the universe, existence, and other various big questions, is that it wasn't meant to answer these questions. Science was never meant or designed to go this far and give all the "answers." It can't explain things that can't be observed, it can't prove things that can't be tested. No matter how you work this, you can't go back to the beginning and test it for particles, see what happened, or even know if all the materials from back in the day survived to the time we know now. And if there is a "creator" I dare say that he can evade our tactics at trying to figure him out or probe him. One would think that the creator of anything can figure out how to circumvent his creations.

#314 11:55 PM, Mar 23 Reply
Anon in reply to Anonymous
Yet, I am disappointed when I see a gathering of atheists try to impose their beliefs upon others, sometimes even using the courts to do it.
My apologies for the communists; they don't speak for all atheists. Here in the West, we have the same problem with religious people.
#315 12:12 AM, Mar 24 Reply
It can't explain things that can't be observed, it can't prove things that can't be tested.
Neither of those sound like things. How do you define existence, if not through what can potentially interact with us?
#316 1:04 AM, Mar 24 Reply

Wouldn't it be so fun though to discover how things work with Adam in the new earth!? I think it would. I think you're a cool guy Adam. Keep making fun science shows. I'll keep praying for you and your family! :D

#317 5:26 AM, Mar 24 Reply

"Prayer doesn't work because someone out there is listening, it works because someone in here is listening."

That right there is one for the quotation books (or sites). As a high school science teacher, I would like to have my students read this in class; however, I'm afraid of the religious parent's backlash. I suppose I'll just have to sneak it to them a little bit at a time as I have been. :)



#318 10:42 AM, Mar 28 Reply
Radi in reply to insatiableatheist

To the InsatiableAtheist:
and ever so slowly
blink by blink
the world gradually awakens from slumber
shaking off fragments of a beautiful dream.
The morn is cold, but bright
and there is so little time to prepare for the day ahead.
We must make haste!

That was absolutely beautiful. Can you point me to more instances of your poetry, please?

- Radi []

#319 7:25 PM, Apr 28 Reply

Thanks adam! that's a great speech! i'm a venezuelan 17 years-old boy, i'll try to do mi best trying to write in english.. I am totally agree with you, even more books i've read i feel the religion facts less real. i see u as a model to follow. i'm your fan! we've less arguments than the religious people because they have thousands of years practicing, but soon we gonna be able to explain every fact of the religion soon(excuse my grammar mistakes)

#320 9:03 AM, May 28 Reply

Excellent speech.

Remind me to steal it, sometime.

#321 9:12 AM, May 28 Reply

To anon of #258

"Of course morality exist out side of religion.
Who argues it doesn’t?"

The Believers do, on a regular basis.

As a British atheist and a scientist, one of the most common things I get accused of is being both immoral and incapable of true morality because (for instance) I have cut myself off from the Truth That Is God.

Try joining a religious forum, without revealing your own world-view, and asking what the other posters think of the morality of atheists.

It's scary.

#322 3:15 PM, Jun 17 Reply

I believe that Daniel Denett is correct in his assertion that there is a genetic need for SOMETHING...while not necessarily organized religion, perhaps some other spiritual discipline to promote and define our sense of morality, and to justify our given drive to 'do unto others'. I personally do believe in God, a Christian by choice, though I do not claim to adhere strictly to those fundamentals and restrictions set forth by the church. Inevitably, the purpose of life is what we choose it to be. As Adam Savage eludes to in his passage, we are ultimately responsible for ourselves, our actions; as well, as we bear responsibility for the ramifications of those actions upon those around us, we are exercising empathy, essentially morality in its purest form.

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