Saturday, June 23, 2012

20 questions that atheists need to be able to answer


Answers in blue by Stephen L.

20 questions that atheists need to be able to answer

Here are some puzzling phenomena that every person should try to struggle with, and find the answers.

1.What caused the universe to exist?
1. I don’t know, and I don’t need to know in order to dismiss a poor explanation.

2.What explains the fine tuning of the universe?
2. The anthropic principle.

3.Why is the universe rational?
3. An irrational universe could not sustain its own existence.

4.How did DNA and amino acids arise?
4. Read a book on the subject.

5.Where did the genetic code come from?
5. That’s the same question as 4.

6.How do irreducibly complex enzyme chains evolve?
6. Loaded question. Ignored.

I’m leaving out numbers 7 and 8 because they lack specificity.

9.How is independent thought possible in a world ruled by chance and necessity?
9. Thoughts are electrical impulses. Nothing magical about them.

10.How do we account for self-awareness?
10. It’s an inevitable consequence of increased intelligence.

11.How is free will possible in a material universe?
11. It isn’t.

12.How do we account for conscience?
12. Morality (in the most basic sense) is the effort to minimise the suffering of conscious beings.

13.On what basis can we make moral judgements?
13. It is an epiphenomena of complex neurological activity.

14.Why does suffering matter?
14. Because we don’t like it.

15.Why do human beings matter?
15. Because we like them.

16.Why care about justice?
16. Society can’t function without it. We like society.

17.How do we account for the almost universal belief in the supernatural?
17. Humans are pattern seeking animals. The primitive human who sees a bear through the trees when there isn’t one, will live longer than the one who doesn’t see a bear when there is.

18.How do we know the supernatural does not exist?
18.a. The very term “supernatural” suggests so. 18.b. What we might call supernatural, in the sense that it is beyond our understanding of nature, may or may not exist, but each individual claim of such is incredibly unlikely without evidence.

19.How can we know if there is conscious existence after death?
19. By discovering an aspect of conscience that is not dependant on a physical brain for existence.

20.What accounts for the empty tomb, resurrection appearances and growth of the church?
20.a. If such an event really happened, its account would not be limited to a poorly written book with a terrible track record on facts. 20.b. The spread of Christianity is attributable to its instatement as the official religion of the Roman Empire by Constantine.

More answer by Stephen L and others here.

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