Sunday, January 08, 2006

Proving a Negative

It has been said by believer and nonbeliever alike that you can't disprove gods and goddesses because of the Sacred Rule. This rule, championed to be undefeatable, states that "You can't prove a negative." It was said with such strength of belief that few dare to challenge it. I was one of those few. I realized, after reading a very enlightening article, that this statement is totally illogical because it contradicts itself! If you can't prove a negative then how can you prove that you can't prove one?!

And so, with this barrier obliterated, I set out to prove this elusive negative by first proving a positive...
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Before I get started on the evidence for all deities' imaginary status, and hence against their existence, I must explain my position a bit further. I want to make it clear that I am not saying that such things are impossible. To say that would take infinite knowledge and this is something that I am severely lacking. What I am saying is that these beings can be safely relegated to a dark abyss of improbability so exponentially massive that it becomes incomprehensible. This is what I mean when I say that gods' and goddesses' nonexistence can be proved. The process by which they are sent is what I shall attempt to explain, in detail, at this time.

All gods and goddesses, the statistically small monotheistic deities included, carry with them the tell tale signs of human literary invention: anthropomorphism. This is the tendency of our species to attribute human traits to just about anything. You can see this very clearly in what exactly was deified by early man. They looked at the sun and saw a god. They looked at the moon and saw a goddess. Our entire planet became a "mother" while the sky became a "father." Volcanoes, the name being derived from the Roman god of fire, were explained by the workings of gods and goddesses. Storms, earthquakes, tidal waves, floods all became imbued with anthropomorphism and were given specific gods and goddesses to explain them. Anything and everything that was lacking an explanation received a deity. Much like in modern times, though the ancients had a much better excuse, it was the easy way out of finding the real answer. What is the origin of our species? Gods did it!

Anthropomorphism can also be seen in the gods' behavior. These beings, who are supposed to be so perfect, act identical to the ruling class in our human societies -- with many parallels easily seen to modern politicians! This can be seen in great capacity with the gods and goddesses of the Greeks and Romans. They loved, fought, warred, cheated and even drank to intoxication! The whole Olympian pantheon wreaked of human soap opera. And indeed it was.

These beings, while believed to be disproved by a great multitude of modern people, were real enough to the ancients to get any freethinking Athenian in deep trouble if he dared even question a sacrifice made unto one of these imaginary friends, much less their very existence. In 399 B.C.E, Socrates was condemned by a 500 man Athenian jury, in part, because they believed the accusation that he was guilty of "not worshipping the gods whom the state worships." Anaxagoras, his predecessor, was sentenced to death for simply teaching that the sun and moon were natural objects and not gods! He fled into exile. Protagoras was banished from Athens for being openly agnostic in his books. His books were burned, he died at sea.

The consequences for denying the big three monotheistic deities of modern times can be just as severe, mainly I would say because of the psychotic personalities of these fictional characters -- more evidence of anthropomorphism. These male deities act just like very immature, yet powerful, human kings who are constantly throwing temper tantrums if they don't get their way. They all say they are very jealous of other gods. That's a very human emotion. Kings, wanting to be the most powerful in their territory, and the world when they've taken control of all of their local land, have traditionally tried to take out other kings. It would make them especially jealous if the people in their kingdom favored another king over them. They get mad at the slightest irritation and kill thousands. They take what they want and act totally opposite of the rules the common people are supposed to follow because they feel they have the right to do such things simply because they have the authority to do so. They even use bribes that utilize their alleged vast wealth to gain followers and motivate people to go so far as killing. On the other side of the scale, the characters in these popular mythologies will also use threats of violence, all the while under the guise of being loving, to meet their ends. All of these character traits prove, to me, that our gods are actually an enlarged version of the terror our human kings have bestowed upon the populace.

The same goes for the goddesses. Human queens have been just as cruel as their male counterparts in leadership positions. Kali, the Hindu goddess of destruction comes to mind. I can only imagine the type of woman she was based on. A woman like that would make kings shudder with fear of her approach. Usually, though, the female deity embodies the positive aspects of the female gender. Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love, would have been based on either a seductress or someone who was very positive and kind, or maybe both. A queen such as her would treat her subjects well. There have been rulers such as these, though, sadly they probably were taken out by the stronger, more aggressive contenders.

The same trend can be seen in what's popular today. Is it the entirely peaceful religions that have prevailed? No. It has been the evil religions, with the frightening consequences for insubordination, that have succeeded in getting the most followers. They have done this by taking some peaceful elements and wrapping their religions in them to cloak what is really there. That way, you get both type of people. The violent, sadistic people can enjoy the darker side, which comprises the majority, while the peaceful can enjoy the loving side which is scattered throughout the religion. This is the model that has worked because this is the same model that has also worked with our human leaders. The strong survive. The weak perish.

It all makes perfect sense when seen through the lens of anthropomorphism. Humans, without any of our modern knowledge that science has given us, were totally ignorant and in awe of their surroundings. To compensate they used what they knew as a reference. They used themselves and their lives to try to make a cohesive explanation of their universe.

To further illustrate these beings anthropomorphic roots one need only take a look at what these beings were supposed to look like! The Japanese gods looked Japanese. The Indian gods looked Indian. The Mexican gods, Mexican. In our culture you still see this with the blond haired, blue eyed, pasty faced Jesus that is so radically incorrect for a person who was supposed to have been born in the Middle East! Could it be any more obvious?!

Now we come to my all time favorite collection of evidences against the existence of gods and goddesses. These are amazing and indispensable! I call any one of these an Argument from Polytheism. They just seem to fit so well into every argument I have with theists. They comprise many of which I would consider classic Atheist responses. For example, if a Christian was to accuse an Atheist, and they do this often, of hating their god what you can come back with is that they hate, basically, any other god or goddess. This serves as a trap because what you'll usually get back is that that god doesn't exist. Now you've exposed their Atheism and you can begin to show their hypocrisy. That's when the fun begins!

Anyway, here's the jist of the argument. If there exists a god, or gods and goddesses, then why is there so much disagreement in every area? Why can't they agree how many gods there are? Why do they have radically different versions of our universes' creation? Why are there so many different explanations dealing with the origin of the life on our planet and the appearance of our species? Why can't they agree on what the afterlife is or if it exists, at all? The following examples will illustrate just how much they disagree!

Hinduism teaches that there are many gods and goddesses -- hundreds of millions, in fact! Fortunately for the worshipper, though, there are only several hundred popular deities. Some of these include Vishnu, the Protector, Brahma, the Creator, and Saraswati, the goddess of knowledge and learning.

Their creation theory states that in the beginning there was nothing in the universe but Lord Vishnu laying on his serpent, named Shesha, resting. When this god awoke from sleeping, a lotus plant grew out of his navel and a flower blossomed from it. From this another god was born -- the god of creation, Brahma. This god, right after he was born apparently, started to create the universe inside a little golden egg called the Hiranyaagarbha, or the golden womb.

The afterlife, by Hindu belief, is something that varies depending on what your karma, or the total effect of your actions and conduct, looks like. If you have bad karma then you will be reborn, or reincarnated, over and over until you get it right. During this process, if you have to be reincarnated, the goal is to go up in castes, or social levels in society. When you finally do attain perfect karma, you will be in a place of happiness with the gods for eternity.
The Egyptians believed there were many gods and goddesses, as well.

Their creation theory starts out with only Nun existing, the primal ocean of chaos. Out of this ocean came Ra, the sun god, who gave birth to Shu, the god of air, and Tefnut, the goddess of moisture. Tefnut, in turn, gave birth to Geb, the earth god, and Nut, the sky goddess. The physical universe now existed. Men were created, oddly enough, out of Ra's tears.

Their afterlife was only to be reached after completing a treacherous journey which included monsters, poison-spitting snakes, fire and boiling lakes. Apparently, even though you were dead, you could be killed again, this time for good. If you survived all the dangers there that meant you had made it to the Hall of Two Truths. Here your heart was weighed on a scale against the Feather of Truth -- this feather containing everything bad you had done in your life. If your heart outweighed it, then Osiris, Anubis and Thoth, the gods judging the weighing, let you pass and onto Yaru you went. If the feather was heavier, then your heart was tossed into the waiting mouth of the Devourer, a beast that was part crocodile, part hippopotamus and part lion. At this point, just like the previous scenario, you were dead for good.

Norse mythology also states there are many gods and goddesses. Some of these include Odin, the king of the gods, Aegir, god of the ocean, and Hel, the goddess of the underworld.
Their creation theory begins with Ginnungagap, also called the "yawning void." It was a great limitless space of nothingness and it went on for infinity in all directions. At some point, it isn't specified, there came to exist a world. This world was a world of fire with everything, even the air, being engulfed in a constant, scorching blaze. It's name was Muspell and it's name meant 'Home of the Destroyers of the World." It was only the fire giants that later inhabited this region. There came to be another world shortly after this one. It was called Nifleheim and it was the exact opposite of Muspell. It was cold and covered in ice and snow. A dense fog could be seen everywhere and there were vast forests that stretched as far as the eye could see. In this land there was also a great fountain named Elivagar and out of this bubbled a poisonous scum that formed black ice glaciers. Eventually these two areas that inhabited the yawning void, after growing larger and larger, met for the first time. When fire met ice there was a great explosion and the fire from this explosion changed the scum into a giant named Ymir. There appeared a giant cow from which Ymir nursed. This cow also licked an icy continent and from this a god appeared. His name was Buri. To make a very long story short, Ymir had descendents and so did Buri. These descendents and Ymir had a giant fight and Ymir was killed. Odin, Vili and Ve, his killers, dragged his body to the middle of Ginnungagap. His blood formed all the bodies of water on earth. The rest of his corpse was used to make the mountains, hills, trees, and beaches and everything else on our planet -- except the clouds. They were made of his brains! For the sky they threw his skull cap up in the air and had four dwarves hold it up forever. Their names, Nordi, Sudri, Austri and Westri. The first humans were made from driftwood that Odin breathed into and were named Ask (Ash) and Embla (Elm).

The Norse afterlife was different for whatever the person happened to be in Viking society. It all depended on which god or goddess chose you. If you were a warrior and died a heroic death your soul would be carried by the Valkyries, beautiful flying maidens, to Odin's Valhalla and were served, by the same beautiful female beings, meat and mead, or medieval beer. Also, if they were to fight in this hall, and they did, their wounds would heal overnight, no matter how severe. If you were a sailor and died at sea then you would go to Aegir's hall which was at the bottom of the ocean. Or if you simply died of sickness or old age then your soul would be under the control of the Goddess Hel. You could be sent to Eljudnir, her hall, if you were good, or Nifleheim if you were bad.

Christians, the Trinitarian variety, believe in four gods but like to pretend they only believe in one. These gods include Yahweh, the all-powerful king of the gods, Jesus, prince of the gods, the Holy Spirit, the messenger god, and Satan, the god of the underworld. They get away with claiming to be monotheistic by saying that the first three are one and the last is not a deity, at all. Their assertion is, of course, not supported biblically and shows a lack of understanding of mythology.

Their creation theory takes place over the period of six days with Yahweh creating the universe out of nothing and then proceeding to populate the new world, Earth, with life. In one version man and woman are created at once. In another, the man, Adam, is first created and placed in the Garden of Eden. Then, after a short period, Yahweh takes one of Adam's ribs and makes an incestual bride with which they are to populate the entire Earth.

The Christian afterlife is typically divided into two eternal spheres: heaven and hell. Heaven is supposed to be a place of happiness in the clouds and is a place of reward for the believer that has met certain criteria and follow certain rules during their lifetime. Hell is supposed to be a place of anguish and torment that is located inside the Earth. The believer who did not meet the above criteria and broke the rules is to come here. Believers of all the previous faiths and indeed every other faith that ever existed, by their mythology, end up there, as well. This includes those who don't have a faith, Atheists.

Muslims believe in one god and call him Allah. This does not translate to the word "god," but is rather his personal name. Their god is differentiated from other gods by the curious fact that it is forbidden to assign him a human form. To do so is considered blasphemy. If they were to, though, he'd be just like all the other gods and look like the race that created him. Perhaps this is why Mohammad chose to make that a sin. He didn't want his deity's popularity being limited by appearance.

Their creation theory is virtually identical to Judeo/Christian set forth in the Old Testament with the only differences appearing in the wording. Allah makes the world in six days but didn't get tired. Apparently Mohammad realized that an omnipotent god wouldn't get weary, ever! The first humans, Adam and Eve were made out of clay. And the similarities go on and on. This is, of course, because Islam evolved out of these two religions several hundred years after the invention of Christianity and so absorbed much from these two dominant forces.
Can all these contradictory creation accounts be reconciled with each other? Can their gods and goddesses? Furthermore, how can one determine what would be the right combination or correct religion out of the thousands? After sampling but a few of the world's huge pantheon the absurdity of such a task becomes painfully obvious. The only logical conclusion is that they are all false as they are all man-made.

Our ancestors, in different cultures, in different times, under different influences came to totally different conclusions about how to explain the world around them and how it came to be. Using their imaginations, they dreamt up these fanciful anthropomorphized beings to fill the void of knowledge they were so desperate to fill.

It has only been in modern times that science has answered enough of the questions of existence to satisfy our hunger and all but vanquish the gods of the gaps. I have confidence, though, that the constant march of scientific progress will eventually eradicate any gaps that remain and finish the job that started so long ago when the struggle first began.

Next on the list is the "soul," or more correctly, the soul hypothesis. If this hypothesis of human consciousness and animation can be disproved then the afterlife disappears and we, as species, can be shown to be totally natural organisms who operate as organic machines. Without this "soul," there is neither a need for saving from a negative scenario, nor the striving for a positive, and the entire religious scheme falls apart! By showing the soul hypothesis is utter nonsense we can effectively remove the vital link between people and their imaginary creations: gods and goddesses.

Let's begin by defining what exactly is meant by this "soul." What is it? Dictionary.com defines "soul" as being "the animating and vital principle in humans, credited with the faculties of thought, action, and emotion and often conceived as an immaterial entity."
Now let's look at the word "brain." The same site defines this term as "the portion of the vertebrate central nervous system that is enclosed within the cranium, continuous with the spinal cord, and composed of gray matter and white matter. It is the primary center for the regulation and control of bodily activities, receiving and interpreting sensory impulses, and transmitting information to the muscles and body organs. It is also the seat of consciousness, thought, memory, and emotion."

Now, can anyone see the similarities between the two terms? They both are supposed to be involved in thoughts, actions, emotions, and though the above definition doesn't say so specifically, the source of consciousness, as well. Primitives, not knowing anything about the brain, assigned all these responsibilities to this "soul" because they knew no better. Scientists, armed with CAT scans, MRIs, extensive experience with brain surgery, findings from psychology and psychiatry, have been able to piece together the truth about what the brain does. Where does this leave the soul?

Our new understanding of the functions of the brain put the soul squarely where it belongs: within the context of mythology. It has been relegated to the same realm as ghosts, goblins, fairies, leprechauns and other fictional creations from the mind of man.
This same understanding has also totally annihilated the so-called Near Death Experience! They can be shown to just be a product of our brains as they can be reproduced in the lab. These experiences have been demonstrated to be creations of the mind in three ground breaking experiments. In one, Dr. Karl Jansen was able to reproduce all the features of this experience with an intravenous administration of 50 - 100 mg of ketamine. The second was an experiment done by neurologist Olaf Blanke of Geneva University Hospital in Switzerland. Blanke found that electrically stimulating one brain region — the right angular gyrus — repeatedly triggers out-of-body experiences. The third was conducted by neuroscientist Michael Persinger, in his laboratory at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario. He found he could induce all these perceptions in subjects by subjecting their temporal lobes to patterns of magnetic fields.
NDEs also tend to be religion-specific. They follow the expectations of the subject and are bound by their culture. This has been demonstrated in numerous studies (Osis, 1975, Pasricha, 1986, Schorer, 1985-86, Kellehear, 1993). This means that whatever mythology they have been programmed to believe and the culture they've grown up in will manifest itself in what they see. If they have been taught to be believe in karma and a large pantheon of gods and goddesses, well, this is precisely what they experience. If they have been taught about devils, angels, and fluffy white clouds, however, then this is theirs. It's all dependent on the beliefs and experiences of the subject.

Albert Einstein, arguably one of the most intelligent men ever to live, was quoted, in his obituary in the New York Times, as having had said "I cannot imagine a God who rewards and punishes the objects of his creation, whose purposes are modeled after our own -- a God, in short, who is but a reflection of human frailty. Neither can I believe that the individual survives the death of his body, although feeble souls harbor such thoughts through fear or ridiculous egotisms." He, as a scientist, could see plainly that this "soul" was nonsense.

What about the people who say that the brain is where the soul resides? What if it is the "ghost in the machine?" What if this "soul" acts like a little person in a control room throwing switches and pressing buttons? What if, indeed. Where is the evidence for such a proposition? Why would it be needed? The brain, with all it's various interlocking components, functions fine without the need for any supernatural intervention.

Our consciousness is a product of a living brain. Does a heart need a "soul" in order to beat? Does a liver need a "soul" in order to detoxify the blood? Does a stomach need a "soul" in order to digest food? Do white blood cells need a "soul" in order scavenge our body for pathogens? If none of these organs needs assistance, then why should the brain be any different?

The "ghost in the machine" can also be shown to be illogical as it would suffer from an infinite regress. If the brain requires an internal, but separate, "operator" because our consciousness allegedly cannot be explained by the brain itself, then this operator must be subject to the same rule. What drives it? How can it be conscious? The operator must have an operator to operate it! That operator, in turn, would also need an operator and so on and so forth. It would never end.

Besides not being needed to explain any of the phenomena of consciousness, this "soul" is likewise not needed to explain how we are alive. To see just how obvious this is, one need only look at our reproductive system. Living sperm is created inside the testicles. Living eggs are created within the ovaries. A sperm joins with an egg and a living embryo is produced shortly thereafter. Now, where exactly would this "soul" be needed? Where in this process would an infusion of life be required? Not anywhere that I can see. You add life to life and you get life. Could it be any simpler?

Now that we can see that this "soul" isn't needed to explain anything, let's move onto the aspects of it's mythology that are completely nonsensical by asking a few pointed questions. Why, if this "soul" can supposedly do everything a brain can do in the alleged afterlife (whichever one), then why is a brain needed in the first place? Following this same logic, why, when a person acquires a brain injury doesn't this "soul" take over? Why does Alzheimer's matter? How can anyone be mentally retarded? Are humans the only one with this "soul?" Why or why not? If they aren't, does this mean that, along with all the multicellular animals on the planet, single-celled organisms have it, too? Why or why not? If this is granted, then it would have to mean that our own cells, such as skin, intestinal, liver, muscular, would also have to have this "animating principal." If not, then why? If everything has this soul, does this mean that each has it's own afterlife? Is there a Heaven and Hell for bacteria? Are winged sperm greeted in paradise by 72 eggs? Do flies get judged for their actions?

All these questions are vitally important because they expose just how flawed and unintelligent the whole theory is. Believers, when confronted with such an interrogation, should be forced to think about why they believe in something so ridiculous. Hopefully, it will lead to an unraveling of the entire mythological system and this person will be freed.

7 Comments:

Blogger Brother Jeff said...

Welcome to the blogosphere, Brother! Glory!

10:50 AM  
Blogger Reverend AtheiStar said...

Thanks Jeff. I have big plans for this baby!

8:08 PM  
Blogger AtheistMommy said...

Something...

9:46 PM  
Blogger AtheistMommy said...

I didn't know this was a "baby. You should make it so only blog members can post because they like to spam you here. Not to mention it's irritating when people say crap and then run away without leaving a name.

9:48 PM  
Blogger AtheistMommy said...

You've got a sexy site.

9:57 PM  
Blogger Daniel Miles said...

Three Fwd=> Wishes:
Grace=>Mercy=>Peace.


Well said, of 'christians' having four gods, one being as a dog is reverse of god. Demons "believe". Ye shall "know" is not option-all.

Bible says in "verily verily" John John where "Jesus" notably plays two parts: "salvation is of the jews"; Perhaps because they well said at horeb-bull mt sinai in arabia such accusation-all & condemnation-all mosaic law law should not be spoken to "them" (Heb 12), not "again" (Deut 5).

Yet here we all are, still lying, crying, dying begins with lying; with jews, muslims, and christians still getting $ucker-punched with "another law", the "evil concupiscence" thereof, witch "so easily besets" all three sects.

Of 4 Night Mares, but only 3 Woes in Revelation, 1 more Woe ought do it, the will of God "that JC is come", came with grace and truth, to do thy will O God (rather than get hung up on O my God, my God) even first "finished" such work in Jn 17 (not in John 19).

Yet although work is "finished", Bible also notes "God our Saviour" (who is notably "excepted" from the "shew") who raised up Christ from the dead, then further up to heaven "higher than the heavens", will have two immutable things: all men: saved and aware, which notably takes: grace and truth.

So, let us have truth out, such as His Grace don't walk about the end "run" on unto "perfection" in hebrews is a mini bible itself, having the same end as Revelation, perhaps because the truth to k-now is: "grace is sufficient"(no law at all in such "perfect" and "also merciful" ending):

Grace with you all. Amen.

5:06 AM  
Blogger Reverend AtheiStar said...

Well said, of 'christians' having four gods, one being as a dog is reverse of god. Demons "believe". Ye shall "know" is not option-all.

Five if you include Mary and even more if you include the saints. Christainity in general and Catholocism in particular is very polytheistic while demonizing all those evil pagan polytheistic religions which are their competition. There can be only one!

The rest just looks like more nonsensical ramblings of a medicine man taking too much of his own medicine. I must ask, what drug is your favorite? Mescalin - with or without the peyote, LSD - paper or liquid, marijuana - in a bong or brownies, shrooms - in tea or straight? Come on, what are you doing up there in Canada?

Wishes? Wishes are for leprechauns and magical genies in lamps. But you don't believe in those mythical beings, just gods.

8:55 PM  

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