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.