In a world dominated by magical thinking, superstition and misinformation, give yourself the benefit of doubt. This is one skeptic's view of the Universe.
"Tell people there’s an invisible man in the sky who created the universe, and the vast majority believe you. Tell them the paint is wet, and they have to touch it to be sure."
“If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed”.
“Skeptical scrutiny is the means, in both science and religion, by which deep thoughts can be winnowed from deep nonsense.”
The person who is certain, and who claims divine warrant for his certainty, belongs now to the infancy of our species. It may be a long farewell, but it has begun and, like all farewells, should not be protracted.
oh my fucking god my entire family is posting about how today would be my cousin’s 7th birthday if he hadn’t died shortly after birth and how it is good he died because he is resting in angels arms and being taken care of by god. that is the one phrase that makes me hate christians. they always say death is good because they are in a better place. fuck you
Amen to that!
You want a physicist to speak at your funeral. You want the physicist to talk to your grieving family about the conservation of energy, so they will understand that your energy has not died. You want the physicist to remind your sobbing mother about the first law of thermodynamics; that no energy is created in the universe and none is destroyed. You want your mother to know that all your energy, ever vibration, every BTU of heat, every wave of every particle that was her beloved child remains with her in this world. You want the physicist to tell your weeping father that amid the energies of the cosmos, you gave as good as you got.
And at one point, you’d hope that the physicist would step down from the pulpit and walk to your brokenhearted spouse there in the pew and tell him that all the photons that ever bounced off your face, all the particles whose paths were interrupted by your smile, by the touch of your hair, hundreds of trillions of particles, have raced off you like children, their ways forever changed by you. And as your widow rocks in the arms of a loving family, may the physicist let her know that all the photons that bounced from you were gathered in the particle detectors that are her eyes, that those photons created within her constellations of electromagnetically charged neurons whose energy will go on forever.
And the physicist will remind the congregation of how much of all our energy is given off as heat. There may be a few fanning themselves with their programs as he says it. And he will tell them that the warmth that flowed through you in life is still here, still part of all that we are, even as we who mourn continue in the heat of our own lives.
And you’ll want the physicist to explain to those who loved you that they need not have faith; indeed, they should not have faith. Let them know that they can measure, that scientists have measured precisely the conservation of energy and found it accurate, verifiable and consistent across space and time. You can hope your family will examine the evidence and satisfy themselves that the science is sound and that they’ll be comforted to know your energy is still around. According to the law of the conservation of energy, not a bit of you is gone. You’re just less orderly. Amen.
This is a transcript of a speech given by writer and performer Aaron Freeman on NPR News “All Things Considered”. You can listen to it here.
Q: I’m a Christian and I believe my God is very real, so humor me for a moment. If you die and you are standing before Him, what would you say?
A: I’d say, “Why did you feel the need to commit mass genocides, condone slavery, and promote the subjugation of women? And why does your inspired book indicate that the world is less than 10,000 years old and that man was created from dirt and women of his rib when common sense and scientific facts tell us otherwise? Why do you have to rely on ‘faith’ to believe in you – and why is that the same for every religion? Why did you used to perform grandiose miracles but, since the inception of modern recording devices, absolutely stop? Why is there no evidence of any supernatural entity, let alone a prayer-answering God? Why has prayer — in every scientific study — been shown to do absolutely nothing? Why would you cause more than two thirds of your creations — your “children” — to burn for eternity simply for being unconvinced of your existence of being born into a culture that worships a “false God”? Why would you have one “chosen” people over every other group and culture across all of human history? Why would you create evil in the first place? Why didn't you need a creator?”
Blackmore, Susan J.. Consciousness A Very Short Introduction, p. 110-111. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2005. Print. (via academicatheism)