Category Archives: Atheism

God vs. logic

It occurs to me, as it may well have occurred to you at some point, that the very idea of anything “supernatural” existing is self-defeating because anything that blatantly defies our methods of analysis and understanding would totally undermine the entire show. Thus our system of understanding which is so incredibly consistent that it’s able to convince electrons to run such complex mazes that the whole internet results, would be fatally flawed if even the smallest miracle were possible.

The application of logic has yet to be shown to fail.  The world has never thrown up any scientifically verifiable evidence of anything outside of our model. Thus there has never been any evidence for any god, any miracle, any ghost, any anything supernatural.

Yet its not as if God (as rep for all things supernatural) is deliberately covering his tracks. If He was, no one would know about Him. Clearly his followers have detected some “evidence” – but amazingly no science or logical analysis has ever trapped any of it.

So if you believe in God, how can you have any faith in such a poor system, that can’t detect this God you see so evidently? The system so good it cures diseases, determines the compositions of distant stars and genetically engineers mice so they glow in the dark can’t see something so big and important three quarters of the planet believe in it.

There is indeed an elephant in the room.


I inhabit a post-theistic world. God or the idea of God has long-since lost its influence on my thinking – my morals, my emotions or my research. I am thus not so much an atheist as a “post-theist”. To me the debate is over, so the categorisation into the do’s and do-nots is now only an interesting study of human gullibility rather than a deep & heart-rending dilemma. 

Anyway, I thought it would be good to put into words my position on the whole God-vs-Science debate, which is really rather important and most certainly cannot be ignored.

I have frequently been tempted to write about this topic, but have opted to keep my powder dry, because I was not sure which approach would actually increase the net happiness in the world (groan away, but what other approach is better?). Options included:

  • Explaining how I came to be an atheist: my idiot christian school taught me about other religions, and I quickly added two-and-two and realised if they were mutually incompatible they were probably all false
  • I could go on about the scientific implausibility of the whole show. The total lack of evidence, not to mention the blatant disregard for logic.
  • I could explain how there is evidence human brains are designed, by evolution, to believe in concepts like God. 
  • I could go into the details of infectious memes, and how religion is a darn good example of a viral idea that has all the properties you would try to put into a computer virus if you made one (which I did once, for a HP48s, a once popular calculator).
  • Lastly, I could come out like a raging fundamentalist pointing out how religion is the ‘root of all evil’ (to borrow a phrase) – how religion justified the great wars and the subsequent suppression of nations /women / freethinkers / witches / etc.

However, I realise that Hecht, Dawkins, Harris and several others have walked this path (rather well) for me. Perhaps I should focus my efforts on subjects not yet so well covered? Some would argue that atheists need to rally together and ride the current wave of interest and publicity – we need to gain the critical mass.

This is the real question. What would help?  

I don’t know! Please help…

Skepticism: religion’s cancer

Religion has been described as a virus. This is not because it’s ‘bad for you’ necessarily, but rather due to the way it spreads.

It’s not hard to see the parallel: like viruses (and bacteria), religions exist within a population and spread from person to person.

But what about atheism? Is it a viral idea (meme) too?

I will argue that it isn’t. Perhaps it’s more like a cancer, a ‘mutation’ that kills off religious infections.

Cancers are sneaky, because they can occur spontaneously, almost by chance, and are therefore a very statistical phenomenon: your chance of getting cancer is affected by a), your exposure (to carcinogens causing mutation events), and b), your predisposition (genes affecting your ability to cope with the these mutations). 

Your chance of becoming an atheist is likewise affected by a), your exposure (to information about how the world works) and b), your predisposition (intelligence, or ability to apply logic to the information).

I.e. atheism differs from religion in the same way that carcinogens differ from viruses.

Can we develop this idea? I think so.

Let’s look at how you ‘get’ atheism…

Picture it: you’ve been brought up in a good god-fearing, church-going family. You went to Sunday school, you know which of Cain and Abel was the baddy and you can explain to people about how there is good evidence for The Flood. You also have a healthy fear of  sex and the other sins.

But you go to school and you learn about plate tectonics and see how well South America slots into Africa, and then you learn how European bees are not quite the same as African ones, just like Toyota Corollas aren’t, and one day, while looking at the grille of your step-mother’s 1.3GL, and daydreaming about the A-team, a thought strikes you, like a shot of cancer-causing sunshine on that patch of skin on the back of your right shoulder, that cars evolve differently in different counties and maybe that explains all the animals and perhaps God didn’t make a women out of Adam’s rib after all, cos’ that never did make much sense, because a rib is a pretty silly thing to make a women out of anyway.

Catching a dose of Christianity on the other hand, does not come from inside, as the result of reasoning, it comes from outside, from other people.

Most often you will be born into a house absolutely soaked in the infection, you will be infected soon enough, prayers will be said at mealtimes, the church is so big and grand, and the hymns are so catchy, and then they wheel out Christmas and baby Jesus (or baby ‘cheeses’ as my son says)…

But even if you’re not so lucky, there’s hope. You can drop in at a church any time (though Sundays are best I’m told) and the chances are, even if you are down on your luck, short of friends, and even if you aren’t very nice, the sweet people there are quite likely to help you. That feeling of family, of unquestioning acceptance – brings a special warmth to the cockles of the heart.

Once you’re in the door, religion, having evolved pretty niftily, can now play you like a violin. Your emotions, developed to help promote clan solidarity, are hi-jacked and kick in nicely. Did you know, that if you really listen to what these folks say, and really try to feel God’s love, you will indeed feel something! Now that’s a clever infection…