Sunday, November 26, 2017

The Inductive Argument Against Religions, Based on Science and Antiquity

The Inductive Argument Against Religions, Based on Science and Antiquity:

Why All Religions are False
(Syllogistic Formulation)

P1: There is more than one religion in the world, and more than one sect/denomination per each religion. Many of these are mutually exclusive.

C1: Due to P1, it logically follows that it's impossible for ALL religions and denominations to be true.

P2: It is observable today that large numbers of humans are gullible and tend to believe falsehoods.
That includes people believing religions which are false (and based on C1, we know these exist). It also includes more "mundane" falsehoods such as con-jobs, deceitful sales pitches, sting operations, psuedo-science, superstition, and more.

P3: The more scientifically literate a person becomes, and the more knowledgeable they become, the less likely they are to being gullible and susceptible to believing falsehoods.

P4: The scientific revolution is a recent achievement, compared to the entirety of human history. In other words, it is only relatively recent that many people started becoming scientifically literate and knowledgeable.

C2: From P2, P3, and P4 it follows, that the farther back in history we go, the less scientifically literate and knowledgeable many people were, and therefore were more susceptible to believing falsehoods and superstition.

P5: All major known religions first appeared very far back in known human history, or were based upon religions that first appeared very far back in known human history.
The Epic of Gilgamesh Tablets

C3: From P5 and C2 it follows, that during those days of early human history, most people were gullible and scientifically illiterate, and therefore susceptible to believing falsehoods and superstition.

P6: Using the scientific method and the modern knowledge we've accumulated till this day, not a single supernatural claim could ever be proven. Instead, every single supernatural claim that could have been tested using scientific methods, was tested and was found to be either caused by completely natural processes, or even fraudulent. This means that while it has been proven and demonstrated that humans tend to ascribe supernatural beliefs to completely natural, although misunderstood, phenomenons, till this day it has never been proven that supernatural beliefs were ever justified.

C4: From C3 and P6 it follows, that all religions that first appeared in the early days of human history, are most likely based on falsehoods and superstition, and from C2 it follows, that human gullibility and ignorance are what allowed these religions to flourish and spread.

C: From C4 it follows, that all ancient religions, and those based on early religions, are most likely false.

Timeline of the Evolution of Myth & Religion

These days, we know a lot about just how fragile the human mind is and how susceptible it is to believing in falsehoods. This is the reason for the invention of the scientific method: As a mechanism to counter human fallibility.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Put it to rest once and for all: Thermodynamics versus Evolution

One of the common apologetic arguments against the theory of evolution is the one where theists would claim that the "Laws of Thermodynamics" prove that the theory of evolution is impossible (their favorite is "The 2nd Law of Thermodynamics").

The short and dirty answer is:
If one makes that argument, that means that either they don't understand Thermodynamics, or don't understand Evolution, or don't understand both.

(and yes, dear theist, that includes the charismatic pastors and preachers - from whom you've probably heard that argument in the first place - who put on a facade of looking like someone who knows what they're talking about)

But such a short answer doesn't really serve much to move the discussion forward.
After all, we're here to cure ignorance, not laugh at it, right?

As part of my degree in Machine Engineering, I completed a course in Thermodynamics on July 2016.
So now I can finally prepare an article explaining what is Thermodynamics anyway, and why it doesn't contradict the theory of evolution (and actually knowing what I'm talking about).

(Disclaimer: Please note that for the sake of this explanation I will be mentioning the existence of mathematical equations, but I will not be providing them, since I think it would only add to confusion, and is not really necessary for the purpose of this discussion)

What is Thermodynamics

Thermodynamics is essentially a scientific field that provides mathematical equations for calculating the... wait for it... dynamics of heat (i.e. "Thermo").
In other words: How heat moves from one object to another, how it physically affects it, and how the whole process affects energy.
The main equations of Thermodynamics involve the following parameters:
Temperature, Pressure, and Volume.
When any of these parameters is changed, it directly affects the other parameters, based on the structure of the object in question.

For example: Let's say that we have a cylindrical piston as our object of choice.
This piston is inside a hollow cylinder, and it can move up or down.
Inside the hollow cylinder we have some sort of gas (let's say it's regular air).
Different types of gas have different properties which change the way it's affected by the thermodynamic equations (mostly having to do with the rate of change).
Let's also say that this air inside the cylinder has a certain temperature, we'll call it "T".
This air also has a certain pressure, we'll call that "P".
And obviously, the cylinder has a certain volume, which we'll call "V".

Next, we see what happens when we change either of the 3 parameters and how it affects the other parameters:
  • Heating or cooling the air inside the cylinder will change the temperature (T).
  • Moving the piston up or down will change the volume of the air inside the cylinder (V).
  • Injecting or extracting additional air into/from inside the cylinder will change the pressure (P).
If we heat the air inside the cylinder, based on the equations of Thermodynamics, this will cause an increase in pressure and volume. But if the piston is stationary (i.e. the volume is constant), then the increase in pressure will be more pronounced.
Similarly, moving the piston to decrease the volume of the air will increase the temperature and pressure. And injecting additional air into the cylinder will increase temperature and volume (thus moving the piston).

Also, each such a change in the 3 parameters will elicit a change in the energy of the system. Specifically, it will cause the conversion of one type of energy into another type of energy (for example, the thermal energy used for heating the system will be converted into kinetic energy which will move the piston when the air volume increases). There are, of course, mathematical equations that describe these changes in energy, based on those parameters.

The above are basically the essentials of Thermodynamics.
Example for an "Isobaric Process" where the Pressure (P) of the system is "locked"
but as the Temperature (T) is increased, so is the Volume (V).

But how do the Laws of Thermodynamics fit into this scenario?

1. First Law of Thermodynamics: "Energy cannot be created or destroyed. It can only be converted from one form to another."

What this means is that the energy required to cause a change in the system cannot come from nowhere, and it can't disappear into nothingness. It has to be introduced either from an external source outside the system (i.e. a flame to heat the air, or an engine physically moving the piston), or it must be converted from one form to another inside the system (i.e. the kinetic energy which moves the piston is converted into thermal energy when the air is compressed and heated).
In other words: The total sum of energy in the system must remain constant.
Energy can come in many forms:
Thermal (heat), Kinetic (movement), Elastic (stored inside a deformed spring), Chemical (fuel of some kind), Electrical (electric charge), and so on.

2. Second Law of Thermodynamics: "The total Entropy of an isolated system always increases over time."

"Entropy" is a very confusing concept to understand. It's most commonly described as "the degree of disorder within a system". But that is a very confusing description which doesn't accurately describe what it really is.

A better description of Entropy, would be this:
"The total number of statistical possibilities for energy to be distributed within a system."
So, to tie that in with the 2nd law of Thermodynamics:
If a system is isolated from outside influence, as time goes by, the energy within the system will be more and more spread out, and it will be harder and harder to statistically predict where different forms of energy will be "clumped" together (i.e. the number of statistical possibilities of energy distribution will increase).

For example:
If you take a bowl of room-temperature water and let it sit for a while motionless on a table, you will be able to statistically predict with high confidence that every section within the bowl will have the same temperature. At this point in time, the bowl's Entropy is 0 (zero).
But if you take a few drops of hot water, and you spill it in the middle of the bowl, you will be able to statistically predict with high confidence that the specific section where the hot water was poured, will be with a higher temperature than the rest of the bowl. In other words: The hot water is relatively "clumped" in the middle of the bowl. However, as time goes by, the hot water will spread out more and more, and you will be less able to statistically predict which sections of the bowl will have low or high temperatures. At this point in time, the bowl's Entropy is >0 (higher than zero).
Eventually, the bowl will have a uniform temperature again which was slightly higher than it was in the beginning (due to the hot water). At this point in time, the bowl's Entropy will be 0 again (zero).
The 2nd Law in action: Note how the heat is "spread out" with time.

In this scenario, based on the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics:
A certain section of the bowl will NOT spontaneously start heating up or cooling down relative to the rest of the bowl...
UNLESS there is some sort of outside influence (for example, another drop of hot water, or maybe a cold body touching the bowl) - in which case it would mean that THE SYSTEM IS OPEN AND NOT CLOSED.

Here is an interesting video that I found to be very useful in explaining entropy and the 2nd law:

Why do we even need the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics?

I know what you're probably thinking: "Well, duh, Eitan! Everyone knows those things instinctively! OBVIOUSLY the 2nd Law is true! But then why do we need this law anyway?? Isn't it rather useless?"

Well, no. It's not a useless law at all.
In fact, it's one of the most important laws invented in the field of engineering.
The reason we need this law is that it is what helps engineers design better and more efficient machinery, and more importantly: It helps engineers design machines that actually work.
Without this law, what we have is a set of mathematical equations (involving Temperature, Pressure and Volume, remember?) which engineers use to calculate the way their machines would work, including how energy is utilized and produced by them.
HOWEVER, engineers MAKE MISTAKES! And sometimes, an engineer would design a machine which should work superbly on paper, but when they build it in practice all of a sudden something goes wrong and the machine doesn't function the way it should.
The reason could be that the design of the machine BROKE THE 2ND LAW OF THERMODYNAMICS due to some error that the engineer made somewhere. In other words: The engineer designed an IMPOSSIBLE MACHINE, and that's why it didn't work.

This is why we need the Laws of Thermodynamics: They're used as a verification mechanism for engineers to prevent them from making mistakes when designing machines.
It's a MATHEMATICAL law. A CONSTRAINT used for the prevention of errors.

But what about the "closed system" part? Based on what you said, isn't everything an open system??

That's a good question.
And once again this terminology can be rather confusing, especially for people who have no experience in machine engineering.

A "closed system" is not necessarily a physically "isolated" system.
What it is, is a system which is not thermodynamically influenced by outside sources.

For example, an engineer could design a machine that really is "closed" because it's encased within some sort of an insulator that prevents it from being heated up or cooled down from outside. This method of designing "closed systems" is something that's extremely common in machine engineering. There are tons of different parts of machinery that for various reasons need to be insulated from the rest of the machinery: Car parts, complex computer electronics, space-grade machinery, avionics and more. Even your refrigerator at home has sections within its machinery that have to be insulated in order for it to work properly.

Also, sometimes engineers would design a machine which is not "truly" a closed system. But it's open to some degree to outside influence such as heat and radiation, and yet during design they would consider their systems to be thermodynamically isolated. Often times the engineers consider these machines to be "good enough" for their intended purpose, before they break down and you need to buy a new one.

So what does it have to do with Evolution?

That's an even better question!
And the answer is:

Abso-fucking-lutely NOTHING.
The 2nd law of Thermodynamics has absolutely NOTHING to do with Evolution.
Nothing. Nada. Zero. Ziltch.

Why? Because, as everyone keeps telling them theists: The Earth as a whole is NOT a "closed system"! The Earth receives almost endless amounts of energy from the sun:

It receives heat which provides thermal energy to wherever is currently daylight, which prevents from the Earth as a whole to reach higher entropy (remember what entropy means? the "spreading out" of energy. In this case, I'm talking about the sun's heat dissipating and the Earth cooling down until everyone and everything is frozen to death).

The Earth also receives light (solar) energy which is absorbed by photosynthesizing plants, which in turn convert CO2 into Oxygen, and provide food for all the herbivores on Earth. And then those herbivores, in turn, provide food for the predators on Earth... And the circle of life goes round and round, ever propelling evolution forward.
If it wasn't for the sun's light, almost all living beings on Earth would die out.
Except maybe those that managed to evolve into utilizing the Earth's thermal or chemical energy instead (underwater volcanic vents, for example).

"Thermo-Dynamics" = Dynamics of Heat
Gee, I wonder what is a big source of heat that's affecting earth...
How about that big ass ball of fire in the sky?


I hope that you managed to keep your attention span for as long as needed to understand what I explained.
I hope that you now realize just how dumb theist apologists sound when they use the "2nd law of Thermodynamics" argument to try and argue against evolution.

If there's anything that you feel needs clarification, then feel free to ask in the comments below.

Stay curious.


After learning the above, some theists would feel inclined to mention the Big Bang theory and the "creation" of the universe as something that supposedly breaks the laws of Thermodynamics (i.e. it appears to break both the 1st and 2nd laws in how energy seems to have been "created out of nothing", and entropy seems to have been "reversed" almost infinitely).
I can assure you that the Big Bang theory does NOT, in fact, break the laws of Thermodynamics either. But that's a matter for a whole topic of its own, which inadvertently has to touch on "harder sciences" such as Cosmology and Quantum Mechanics.
I'll let astrophysicist Sean Carroll answer this question:

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Theological Refutations to Free Will

The topic of "Free Will" has long since been a discussion point in theology - most notably in Christianity. It's been used as a "rebuttal" to hard questions such as The Problem of Evil and/or Suffering, and why tangible evidence for the existence of God is so.... Elusive.

Most atheists I know (and a lot of theists too), usually tend to lean towards a stance of "Hard Determinism", which basically means that "free will" doesn't actually exist... That, at most, it exists as an illusion... The "illusion of Free Will".

What this stems from is our modern scientific knowledge about human behavior and how it's deterministically affected by external influences: The synapses in our brains, the hormones in our bodies, the hereditary traits in our genes, the social conditioning forced upon us by our parents, the social conditioning forced upon us by friends and society, our very experiences throughout our lifetimes, and so on.
All of these external sources have been shown to be what determines our 'choices' in life... Our "Free Will" so to speak... In a study after study in the fields of psychology and sociology.
So, in a sense, there is a sort of predetermination to our lives, our choices, and our 'Free Will'.

The above would, therefore, be the "scientific refutation" of "Free Will".

But is that enough to refute the theistic rebuttal of "Free Will"?
It would probably not from their point of view, because they believe in non-material souls, and they would most commonly believe that it is the true driving 'force' behind their "Free Will".
At least, that would be the most common belief.
So basically, what I'm trying to say is that "scientific refutations" would usually be useless here.

What we need to do, and what would be more effective, is to "meet them where they are" and refute their points there. In other words: Defeat their arguments using their own theology!

So without further adieu, here is a list of refutations to Free Will, based on the Judeo-Christian theology itself!

Illustration by Alex Eben Meyer


Intercessory Prayer contradict Free Will.
Imagine someone who's praying for a cancer patient to get better.
Should God listen to that prayer?
If God actually interferes with our world and cures this patient of their cancer... wouldn't that interfere with some mortician's Free Will to earn a few grands from a casket and a funeral? BAM - Free Will refuted.
Don't even get me started on people who pray for their favorite sports teams... The number of players and fans of the rival sports team... All those Free Wills... DESTROYED.
Too bad.
Bottom line: You can't have both intercessory prayer and free will.

Also, when you combine prayer and Omniscience / Predetermination, then you get some rather bizzare implications... God supposedly knows in advance what you're going to pray for, and he supposedly knows in advance whether your prayer is going to get answered or not. But then... What's the point of prayer in the first place? Does God just enjoy hearing you beg, or something? And if God has some sort of 'grand plan' then why would he change it just to appease your prayers?
That's all pretty weird.


If God is Omnibenevolent, then he would WANT to interfere with our lives in order to prevent disaster and suffering.
But... If on the other hand he allows the undisturbed existence of Free Will, then he knowingly allows the free rampaging of evil and suffering... And since evil and suffering demonstrably do exist... BAM - Omnibenevolence refuted. You can't have it both ways.

God's Plan

If God has a 'grand plan' of some sort which he himself has put forward in motion, and this 'plan' somehow affects our lives - then this is indeed a direct violation of our free will.
In other words: If our lives are PLANNED IN ADVANCE by God, then it means our lives are predetermined by God, and we have NO free will.
But it's the PLANNING which contradicts our free will.
Not the "predetermination" by itself (unless the 'predetermination' was done purposefully by God... Which is the same as 'planning', basically).

"Historically" Violated Free Will

As most of us have read the Bible, I'm sure most of us are familiar with the many stories in it where God himself has interfered with the affairs of humans in some way or another.
One stark example of such a story is the Jewish exodus from Egypt.
Remember the passage where God "hardened Pharaoh's heart" so that he would refuse Moses's plea to let his people go? That's a rude violation of Pharaoh's Free Will right there! Also, all the ten plagues of Egypt? Is each one of them not a direct violation of the Egyptian citizens' Free Will?
There are of course many such stories throughout the Bible where God supposedly violated someone's Free Will by interfering with our world in one way or another.
So that means that "historically" (i.e. based on the Bible) God HAS ALREADY violated humanity's Free Will. So what changed so drastically that he supposedly doesn't do that anymore?
Did Jesus happen? I dunno, Jesus seemed to have interfered with people's Free Will after his resurrection too. Remember St. Paul? He never even met Jesus in person! Jesus was supposedly revealed to him through visions or dreams. Is that not a violation of Paul's Free Will?
Speaking of visions and dreams...

Modern Violations of Free Will

Have you ever heard about "born again Christians" who, for whatever reason, at some point in their lives, had Jesus "reveal himself" to them, and thus convincing them to convert to Christianity?
There are many such stories trouted around, some a bit famous, some not so much.
Now, let's put the total unreliability of these stories aside for a moment and give them the benefit of the doubt.
What does this mean for these people's Free Will?
Obviously it would mean that God has chosen to interfere with these people's lives and has effectively violated their Free Will!
So if Christians believe such stories to be true, then why use the Free Will argument in the first place?? Doesn't look like it's an actual concern to God.

I know, I know, some Christians would claim that it's not an actual violation of Free Will because such stories only come from Christians who "looked for Jesus" before actually having him revealed to them. So it was their "will" that Jesus would be revealed.
Well, first of all: No, NOT all such stories come from people who "looked for Jesus". There are several such stories that come from people who claim to have been "atheists" until that moment of revelation (for example, during a near-death experience as a result of a car accident), so technically they didn't have the "will" to have Jesus revealed to them.
Also, there are plenty of stories of people who did "look for Jesus" and had the "will" to have him be revealed to them, and yet no such thing happened - and those people became atheists because of that.
So we see that there's an inconsistency here.

Of course, one might claim that those people who had Jesus revealed to them really did "look for him", even if they claim otherwise; and those people who did not have Jesus revealed to them, did not actually "look for him", even if they claim otherwise.
But then, if you make such an argument, you would be making unfalsifiable assertions, presuppositions, and baseless assumptions about people's feelings. Not a very strong line of argument, to say the least (but aren't they all like that? tee hee).

But what if Free Will does actually exist?

If an apologist still insists that Free Will actually exists and is important to their God, then based on all the points raised previously, they would have to concede to the following:

1. God does not answer prayers.
2. God is not omnibenevolent.
3. God does not have a plan.
4. The Biblical stories are almost all lies because God never interfered with human affairs (or, alternatively: God used to interfere with human affairs, but doesn't anymore).
5. All the "born again Christians" who speak of God revealing himself to them are either liars or delusional.
6. God, in general, doesn't interfere with human affairs. Therefore it's indistinguishable from him not existing, or being dead.

As you can see, these are points that you'd find are very difficult, if not impossible, for apologists to concede to. But then they find themselves stuck in cognitive dissonance, holding two contradictory viewpoints: God is/does X, but it doesn't look like he is/does, because of Free Will, but if Free Will exists, then God is/does not X.

Which brings me to the following...

The Real Problem: Presuppositions and Rationalizations

Don't delude yourself even for a moment.
Even if you bring any of those points up to an apologist, they will most likely do have some sort of answer for it.
Sure, it won't be logical, it won't be making much sense, but it does make sense to them.
The reason is simple:
They presuppose that God exists.
They presuppose that he's omnipotent, omniscient and all that.
They don't look for logic. They don't look for evidence. They look for rationalizations for the sole purpose of maintaining their presupposition.

Here's a simple demonstration:
Superman is invincible. He cannot be killed. That would be our presupposition.
Therefore, we conclude that, among other things, Superman would be immune to bullets.
Please note that in this exercise we never actually seen Superman being fired upon.
We were only told that he's invincible. But never actually seen it ourselves.
But then, one day, some guy fires at Superman using a pistol, and Superman dies as a result.
What happened? Isn't Superman supposed to be invincible? No, no, something isn't right.
Maybe the bullets are special? Made of Kryptonite? That would be our first rationalization.
But we check the evidence and we see that no, the bullets dug out of Superman's corpse are plain Earth metal. Just regular copper alloy.
Wait, what? That's impossible. No, no, it must be something else.
Superman is supposed to be invincible... He would know that he's invincible, therefore he would know that the bullets wouldn't hurt him... Unless... Unless he knew that they would? But then, it would mean that Superman had let the bullets hit him even though he knew it would kill him...
But... That would mean that Superman wanted to be killed?? Our second rationalization creeps in.
So if Superman wanted to be killed, that means there's some sort of ulterior reason for it... He sacrifices himself... But for what? At this point we would look for clues in what Superman said and did when he was still alive... Maybe... Just maybe he threw some hints about his reasons? Some sort of clue? Our third rationalization developes.
We look through the evidence and we see no clue... We see no sign of Superman knowing that he's going to be killed or leaving some sort of post-morterm message.
Then that means.... That must mean that whatever message he left, it was secret! Yes, that's it!
It must have been told to someone in secret! But who could share in Superman's secret??
GASP! It must have been the shooter! The same person who shot and killed Superman in the first place! Who else would be stupid enough to even try and kill an invincible being?? Someone who was in on it, that's who!
And so our rationalizations go on and on and on...
Without a single shred of evidence to support any of it.
Before long, the rationalizations themselves become the only piece of "evidence" that there is.
They become "canonized", so to speak. With time and generations going by, it becomes harder and harder to distinguish the facts from the fiction, the evidence from the rationalizations...
And thus - a legend is born.

That is the same story with Jesus Christ.
From being the "son of God" who was supposed to be a demi-God who would lead a revolution, he was killed - against all expectations, and from there the rationalizations flowed and flowed on and on and on.
This is why the most "detailed" scriptures of the New Testament... Those that contain the most fantasmical information about Jesus... Were those that were written the latest.
This is how LEGENDS are born.
Based on fictions....
Based on rationalizations....
Based on presuppositions.....
Based on....

Thursday, August 11, 2016

The Inherent Fallacy in the Argument from "Fine Tuning"

The argument from "fine tuning" is a broken and fallacious argument from its very core.
It's completely meaningless to argue about the small points and whether some phenomenon is actually true and/or amazing and/or "has to be exact in order for us to exist".

I mean, sure it's a bonus when so many creationists get SO MANY scientific facts so terribly wrong while trying to invent scientific support for their "fine tuning" argument.
But pointing out those errors isn't going to change anything.
They'll just keep making new errors.

The fact of the matter is very simple:

The "fine tuning" argument is NOT an argument FOR god.
The "fine tuning" argument is an argument AGAINST god.
Think about it.

What if the universe wasn't fine tuned the way it is? What if it was vastly different?
Obviously, we would not exist. At least, that's what any sensible and reasonable person would say, and that's also the main point that creationists are trying to get across:
We exist because we exist in a universe whose physical laws allow us to exist.

But... What's so amazing about that? What does it actually prove?
That in order for us to exist, certain conditions must be met, and since we observe that those conditions are indeed met, then that proves... what?
It's nothing but a tautology - a truth statement proving nothing but itself.
Not only that, but this argument also assumes that everything that exists comes from nature, because everything must obey natural laws...
In other words... This argument assumes NATURALISM.
And isn't that the opposite of arguing for a supernatural God?

But you know what WOULD have been amazing?
If we existed in a universe WHICH WOULD NOT HAVE ALLOWED US TO EXIST.
Think about it.

Imagine if we had found ourselves in a universe where the laws of physics shouldn't have allowed us to exist.
I'm not talking about our existence being "unlikely" or "highly improbable" or "having an infintecimal chance of happening" or however you want to call it.
I'm talking about a physical impossibility.
Wouldn't THAT be actual evidence of an 'all powerful intelligent designer'? Wouldn't THAT be an actually amazing supernatural miracle - by definition!?

Indeed many creationists do try to claim such evidence that would suggest that our existence is "impossible" based on physical laws and observations.
Their most favorite is the argument against Abiogenesis: i.e. it's impossible for a living being to naturally evolve from non-living matter through purely chemical processes (a.k.a. "chemical evolution", "origin of life", etc.).

Unfortunately for them, multiple scientific experiments have proven the exact opposite:
Chemical evolution of non-living matter into a living organism is very much possible, and in more ways than one, even.

Sure, scientists have yet to prove which of the possibilities gave rise to our own biological evolution specifically, and indeed the chances of any such process to happen naturally is rather improbable (which supports the observation that biological life is indeed very rare on a cosmic level).
But it doesn't matter.
It is proven to be possible and that alone is enough to undermine the entire creationist argument of "fine tuning".

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Why does God take credit for the good things but not the bad?

Well, first of all, god doesn't "take" anything, because god doesn't exist.
It's the people who assign to him the credit.
But why do they do that?

In the past, when polytheism was prevalent, people used to assign the bad things to the gods as well, not just the good things. Gods were often seen as capricious, erratic, and even irrational in their "behavior". And while it better matched the reality of how nature "behaved", it would instill a strong sense of inconvenience in the hearts of people. Imagine having your life governed by a bunch of capricious, erratic and irrational powerful beings. Doesn't seem very nice, does it? Quite depressing, even. It can make you feel powerless and helpless in the face of such odds.
Greek gods and goddesses influencing human affairs from above the clouds

Enter Christianity: Here we have these new 'preachers' who go around talking about an "all-loving" and "perfect" god. Such that always has our best interest in his heart. Such that even 'sacrificed' his own life for our benefit.
After years living under the tyranny of capricious and sadistic beings, now all of a sudden it appears that it wasn't these powerful beings who were at fault at all... Because they didn't even exist. But it was us the humans who were at fault.

Now, all of a sudden the "power" to "fix" the world lays in our hands. And all we have to do? All we have to do is to "fix" our belief system. Just believe in a different god who is "the one true god". Suddenly the people don't feel powerless anymore. Suddenly the good fortunes and benefits are right behind the corner, and it's super easy to get there! All you have to do is say "I accept Jesus Christ as my lord and savior" and ABRACADABRA you are now without illness or sadness and you are "saved", if not in this life then in the next.
The 'one true God' loves you and wants to help you. But there is something you must do in return.
From the movie "Agora" (2009)

It's almost like voting in political elections:
You vote for the candidate who promises you the best things.

If people had not assigned the good things to their god, then their god is redundant and unnecessary. Such a belief system would simply not survive as a religion.

If people had assigned the bad things to their god, then it makes their god capricious and undesirable. You wouldn't want to "vote" for such a "candidate". It also makes the people feel powerless to fix the bad things that happen in their life.

Bottom line is:
People assign the good things to god, and the bad things to themselves, due to wishful thinking.
They wish to have the power to change things for the better (using minimum effort as possible), and they wish that the god they worship would be a good god - and therefore worthy of worship.

To this effect, Christianity is the result of "religious evolution" where the religion that sounds better to the people (i.e. tells them what they want to hear) is the religion that survives better than the rest (and not because it's more "true" than other religions).

Special thanks to Atheist Republic for the inspiration to this post.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Everyone, deep down, is an Atheist

Throughout all of known human religious history, mankind has always "put" gods in the places that seemed most unreachable to mankind:

In the depth of a cave.
In the bottom of the sea.
At the top of the mountain.
Inside a volcano.
In the sky above the clouds.
Somewhere out in space.
In a parallel dimension.
In a parallel reality.

But all this proves one thing and one thing only:

Mankind has always known, deep down, that gods are undetectable.
But if these gods are "undetectable", then how could they reach conclusions about them in the first place?
And most importantly, how could these conclusions be so vastly different between different cultures (religions) and even between different individuals within the same culture (religion)?

Using Occam's Razor, the simple answers become very apparent:

Gods are "undetectable", because that's how non-existing things tend to be.
Gods are differently represented by different people, because gods are manifested within the imagination of individuals.

Mankind has always known, deep down, that gods are undetectable.
That's why whenever a person imagines a god, the first thing they need to do... is to put this god in a place which would be unreachable by humans...

For the sole purpose of justifying their apparent non-existence.

There is only one place where gods were ever proven to exist: