A pyromaniac is a person with a destructive mental illness, in which they obsess over setting things on fire. Most pyromaniacs have no skill with carpentry, but some do; many of them have their own sets of skills outside of the focus of their illness. Pyromania is destructive and dangerous, contributes nothing to people’s well-being, and makes the world a worse place. And yes, it involves wood, which is a wonderful substance for burning.
Calling a creationist a scientist is as offensive as praising a pyromaniac for their skill at carpentry, when all they’ve shown is a talent for destroying things, and typically have a complete absence of any knowledge of wood-working. Producing charcoal and ash is not comparable to building a house or crafting furniture or, for that matter, creating anything.
You can’t call any creationist a scientist, because what they’re actively promoting is a destructive act of tearing down every beautiful scrap of knowledge the real scientists have acquired."
There are some profoundly difficult questions about the origin of the universe, about the origin of physical law and fundamental constants, about the curvature of space-time, about the paradoxical behaviour of quanta, and about the nature of consciousness. It may be that humanity will never reach the quietus of complete understanding. But if we do, I venture the confident prediction that it will be science, not religion, that brings us there. And if that sounds like scientism, so much the better for scientism.
I am anxious not to be misunderstood, so let me stress again that I am not expressing confidence that humanity will succeed in answering the deep questions of existence. But in the (possibly unlikely) event that we do succeed, I am very confident that it is more likely to be through sci- entific than religious ways of thinking. However unlikely it may be that science will one day understand everything about the cosmos and the nature of life, it is even less likely that religion will."
There is no proof of an invisible pink unicorn ever existing. However, there is historical proof that Jesus walked the earth and that he was and is who he said he was.
Since the only proofs that Jesus walked on Earth and that “he was and is who he said he was” are the christian gospels, and since they are not the most unbiased and historically reliable sources, well, I’m allowed to doubt about the existence of Jesus just like I doubt the existence of dragons. And I’m sure I could find a lot of “historical proofs” of the existence of dragons in medieval manuscript, but that doesn’t mean dragons really existed.
Why do I refer to myself as an atheist instead of an agnostic?
To answer, I need to point out what is it, in very simple terms, agnosticism. Agnosticism is the position in which you claim you can’t say if God exists or not, and so, you declare you neither believe nor disbelieve that God exists.
I think it’s a weak position that you can claim only if we confine our discourse to divinity.
So, let’s talk about the invisible pink unicorn.
I think it’s rather difficult that you could say you are agnostic about his existence, but you should, in fact, the evidence for the existence of the invisible pink unicorn are the same as for any other supernatural being (god included).
I think, the most reasonable position everyone could have about the invisible pink unicorn is that it doesn’t exists.
Since, in principle, I don’t see any difference between the concept of God or the concept of an invisible pink unicorn, I think agnosticism is not the most reasonable position to have.
If there are no evidence, I choose disbelief.
Why do I think militant atheism is needed?
You probably heard or read about some statement against militant atheism, there are at least two arguments against it:
- militant atheism is a form of fundamentalism just like religious fundamentalism;
- it is contradictory to actively negate the existence of something you claim doesn’t exists. Or more simply: To attack something, you need to believe in it.
The first argument is silly, I think it doesn’t deserve attention, at least because even if you consider me a fundamentalist atheist, I think you would prefer me as a neighbor instead of a real religious fundamentalist, like those who kill doctors or those who stone women to death.
The second argument is something like this:
"how can you be a militant atheist? How can you be militant non-stamp collector? This is really what it comes down to. You just don’t collect stamps. So how can you be a fundamentalist non-stamp collector? It’s like sleeping furiously. It’s just wrong."
So, in simple words, atheists are “right” only if they say “I don’t believe, I don’t care”.
This kind of arguments do not take into account that religious belief is not just a individual position that affect only the person who hold it. Religious belief manifest itself into society, religion influences society in many ways.
Jon Elster (Nègation active et nègation passive, 1979) wrote that “militant atheism can’t do without the believers it fights”.
When religious beliefs influence government policy, so that laws that matter for public health, or scientific research, or education, are based on religious position, it’s not just something you can say “I don’t believe, I don’t care”, because those laws, and those government choices, affect also you.
So, while atheism is a personal position of disbelief, militant atheism is saying “I don’t believe, but I do care if what you believe affects my life”.
If other’s religious beliefs will stop influencing society (and therefor my life too), I’ll stop being a militant atheist, and I will be simply an atheist.
Most of the relevant mental machinery is not consciously accessible. People’s explicitly held, con- sciously accessible beliefs, as in other domains of cognition, only represent a fragment of the relevant processes. Experimental tests show that people’s actual religious concepts often diverge from what they believe they believe […]
Religious believers and sceptics generally agree that religion is a dramatic phenomenon that requires a dramatic explanation, either as a spectacular revelation of truth or as a fundamental error of reasoning. Cognitive science and neuroscience suggests a less dramatic but perhaps more empirically grounded picture of religion as a probable, although by no means inevitable by-product of the normal operation of human cognition.