The evidence for God that supposedly surrounds us.

There’s a good article by Michael Allen over at the Dayton City Paper website that is a response to all of the True Believers&trademark; who ask atheists how they can not believe in God when they are surrounded by evidence of his/her/its existence?

I walk outside and take in a big breath of fresh air. The air flows into my body via my nose, which begins to clog just as my eyes start to itch and water in response to particles floating around me. As I walk farther, my lower back begins to ache because my species was imperfectly “designed” for upright locomotion. Why do I react so strongly to harmless particles? Couldn’t a perfect designer, working from scratch, be able to program me so that I know the difference between toxic substances and harmless pollen? And why aren’t there any extra bones between my ribcage and pelvis to give support and keep my now vertical spinal column from collapsing in pain?

As I continue to walk, I see a fruit stand through my watering eyes. I purchase an orange knowing that vitamin C is healthy for me. I see a squirrel in a tree, and ponder the fact that it doesn’t need to take in vitamin C. He makes it himself, like most animals do. My body includes a gene for making vitamin C, but it’s broken. Chimps and other primates possess the same broken gene. This causes me to ask two questions.

First, why would a perfect designer give me a broken gene for making vitamin C? And second, if we are not related to other species and are created separately, how did all the other primates get the same flawed gene that we have? Would a perfect designer intentionally share broken DNA code among separate species, making it look as if we come from a common ancestor?

I get presented with the “existence of trees/sunrises/rainbows/laughing children = proof of God” argument all the time by a certain class of believer that tends to automatically link anything considered good with God while ignoring anything bad or associating it with Satan. These are the folks that credit God with every bit of good fortune that befalls them whether it’s winning the lottery or finding a five dollar bill on the sidewalk. When their success is a result of their own hard work and effort they attempt to sound humble by passing the credit onto God as though all that effort, training and hard work on their part played no part in their success. Oddly enough when these folks fail despite their hard work, training and effort they never blame that failure on God deciding that he didn’t want them to succeed. It’s been my experience that these folks don’t tend to think about things too deeply so I generally don’t try to challenge them when they attempt to point out how wonderfully blessed I’ve been in spite of my lack of belief. The few times I have tried to engage folks like this in conversation it turned into a big lesson in futility as they just couldn’t grasp some of the concepts such as those pointed out by Mark in his column. There is one benefit to their overly simplistic worldview though: these people tend to be deliriously happy for the most part. Seeming proof of the idea that ignorance is bliss.

16 thoughts on “The evidence for God that supposedly surrounds us.

  1. Several comedians have done this bit, as well smile

    “I was there, in the end zone, catching the ball when that Jesus asshole came and stripped it right out of my hands!”

    smile

    Yeah, you don’t hear things like that.  Thanks for the link to Michael Allen’s article!

    D

  2. I loved this tidbit…

    Why do I have genetic code for making a tail when I have no tail? Creationists tell me that humans are corrupted because of the “Fall of Man.

  3. Brilliant! Thanks for pointing out this great article!

    Unfortunately, some people – like the first commenter (on the linked site, not SEB) – mistake things like this as some sort of attempt to completely disprove the existence of a god, and then go ranting about how he still might be there. Fortunately, the second poster set him strait.

    Captcha – “country” (no eerie connection… oh well)

  4. I heard a great comment once, in a psychology class (in a lecture on need hierarchies) that people need spiritualism.

    The professor qualified this as the need to recognize other and greater things that you in the universe. So the trees, rainbows, sunsets and laughing children were all great examples of spiritualism—the things that just make you go “Wow.”

    Whether you wish to attribute these things to miraculous or metaphysical sources is up to you. I am religous, and I don’t…I just think they are cool.

    My word is “felt”

  5. Right on, JethricOne!  The physical universe is an unending sense of wonder to me too.  I love to watch clouds pushing up to the stratosphere and anviling out to form a supercell, or listen to the wind flowing over the trees like some kind of ocean current.  It’s just cool.

    Someone once told me they felt sorry for me, “living in a world without miracles.”  No need: I live in a miraculous world.

    I second what Mike said: “Thanks, Les!”

  6. >existence of trees/sunrises/rainbows/laughing children = …

    …proof that we exist and can see those things. 

    It’s just the weak anthropomorphic principle all over again, but it works: a world that didn’t have all of those wonders of nature also wouldn’t have people on it wondering where it all came from.  By the time life is complex enough that someone can ask the question, it’s complex enough that critters inside the system (like us) can’t figure out where it all came from, and weird theories abound.

    >Why do I have genetic code for making a tail when I have no tail?

    My wife is a nurse, and she tells me that every so often a baby is born with a little tail… 2 or 3 of the bits that should fuse into the ‘tailbone’ are at a weird angle, and they protrude.  The docs don’t even tell the parents… they just snip the thing off. 

    (She also tells me that many hospitals now circumsize your male child without you even asking.  Apparently tail-removal and genital-mutilation are both just part of the basic tune-up.)

  7. Oh please! Don’t bring up the circumcision thing again. We’ve already had one hell of a go-round on that issue already. wink

  8. That can’t be real, Spocko! Excuse me, but it looks like they went to the bathroom and forgot to wipe.

    captcha word – boys. Not girls – boys! Well, there ya go!

  9. Circumcision? Did somebody say circumcision? (jk)

    captcha word this time – movement. Shoulda’ had that one for my post before this one. Coincidences like that can make any sensible person believe in God!

    Help! My tongue seems to be stuck in my cheek now.

  10. And to quote and old and very intelligent person

    “He who made Kittens, Made snakes in the Grass”

    – Jethro Tull

  11. The Christian ploy is that there is a generic GOD, omniscient, omnipresent, invisible, omnidirectional, etc, in whom everybody believes, whether they know it or not.  This is folderol and balderdash.
      It would be interesting if we could make up a list of every “god” that humans have ever worshipped, along with the attributes assigned to it.  Some anthropologists suggest that we have worshipped over 10,000 different kinds of “gods” over the discernible course of religious expression since Neandertaler times. 
      So the question is: WHICH god are YOU referring to if you say that you worship a god?

  12. Considering many people worship themselves as the be-all-end-all of any meaning, 10,000 seems like a low-ball number.  Yet I fail to see how this precludes God’s existence, simply because S/He allows people to delude themselves.

    Some people are simpler, but I guess the intellectual equivalent would be all of the things that led to Antony Flew becaming a theist.  I think there was a thread on it on SEB…

    God gives some people faith in billions of years, & others faith in Him/Herself.  Many from both camps are more emotionally motivated, while a few from both camps are capable of higher intellectual understanding.

  13. It’s a bit premature to call Antony Flew a theist. At best it might be said that he has changed his view to Aristotelian Deism, which is still miles away from the sort of theism you believe in, Ellie.

    Richard Carrier, who wrote the article I linked to above wherein he shares his correspondence with Flew over his so-called conversion to theism, points out that theists are probably not doing themselves any favors by trying to claim Flew as an example of the undeniability of God. Not only does Flew not believe in a personal God of the sort most theists buy into, he’s admitted that he’s drawing conclusions without a full understanding of the fields he’s criticizing in the process. Which is a favorite pastime of Ellie’s as well:

    Despite all this, Flew has not retracted his belief in God, as far as I can tell. But in response to theists citing him in their favor, Flew strangely calls his “recent very modest defection from my previous unbelief” a “more radical form of unbelief,” and implies that the concept of God might actually be self-refuting, for “surely there is material here for a new and more fundamental challenge to the very conception of God as an omnipotent spirit,” but, Flew says, “I am just too old at the age of nearly 82 to initiate and conduct a major and super radical controversy about the conceivability of the putative concept of God as a spirit.” This would appear to be his excuse for everything: he won’t investigate the evidence because it’s too hard. Yet he will declare beliefs in the absence of proper inquiry. Theists would do well to drop the example of Flew. Because his willfully sloppy scholarship can only help to make belief look ridiculous.

    Certainly someone such as Flew announcing that he might have a belief in some sort of First Cause that could be called God is a newsworthy event in as much as he was one of Britain’s staunchest atheists for most of his life, but does it really support the idea that the theists were right all along and Flew is just now realizing it?  His statements certainly don’t seem to support that idea as he still states his disbelief in any kind of a personal deity of the sort most major religions espouse.

  14. From an article on the Rationalists International site….

    On 16th December 2004, Professor Antony Flew, British philosopher, well known rationalist, atheist and an Honorary Associate of Rationalist International, telephoned me and informed that the wild rumours about his changed views are baseless. He expressed surprise over the confusion some people have spread and asserted that his position about the belief in god remains unchanged and is the same as it was expressed in his famous speech “Theology and Falsification”. “I find no new reason to change my views”, Professor Flew said.

    The text of the entire article can be found here:  http://www.rationalistinternational.net

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