I'd like to ask a few general questions about Atheism

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alice442's picture
I'd like to ask a few general questions about Atheism

So I have a few questions about Atheism for a project I'm doing. Can anybody answer any/all of these??? Thanks!!
1. What exactly do you mean by "I am an Atheist"?
2. What is Atheism by definition?
3. Can you simplify the definition of Atheism so anyone would understand?
4. What compelled you to become an Atheist? (feel free to skip this if its too personal.)
5. Do you know about the Biblical God?
6. What do you know of the Biblical God?
7. Can you explain evolution to me?
8. Can you LOGICALLY explain evolution to me?
9. Tell me about the missing link in human evolution.
10. How did life start?
11. How do we have DNA?
12. If what you believe is true, that there is no Biblical God or god of any kind, then why do Atheists protest against religion so much?
13. What proof do you have that there is no Biblical God?

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Nyarlathotep's picture
1. Q:What exactly do you mean

1. Q:What exactly do you mean by "I am an Atheist"?
A: I don't think god is real, people tell me that makes me an atheist. I won't argue the definition of the word, if you don't think that is the right word, tell them, not me.

2. Q:What is Atheism by definition?
A: See 1

3. Q:Can you simplify the definition of Atheism so anyone would understand?
A: See 1

4. Q:What compelled you to become an Atheist? (feel free to skip this if its too personal.)
A: I've never believed god(s) was real.

5. Q:Do you know about the Biblical God?
A: I've read the bible, if that is what you are asking...

6. Q:What do you know of the Biblical God?
A: I know I almost fell down laughing the first time I realized people were serious about god.

7. Q:Can you explain evolution to me?
A: Offspring express slight difference from their parents. Some differences help, some hurt. Creatures with helpful difference are more likely to have offspring with these differences.

8. Q:Can you LOGICALLY explain evolution to me?
A: See 7

9. Q:Tell me about the missing link in human evolution.
A: Anyone who would ask this question, who has access to the Internet is dumb on purpose.

10. Q:How did life start?
A: I don't know.

11. Q:How do we have DNA?
A: See 7

12. If what you believe is true, that there is no Biblical God or god of any kind, then why do Atheists protest against religion so much?
A: Because we don't like it imposing itself on us. Also see 9.

13. Q:What proof do you have that there is no Biblical God?
A: What proof do you have the universe wasn't created 5 minutes ago with false age? None. So stop asking for proof.

Thanimal's picture
Beautifully put.

Beautifully put.

Matt-4's picture
I'm impressed. It looks like

Nyarlathotep

I'm impressed. It looks like you have gone through that exercise a few times before.

watchman's picture
Well Alice.......

Well Alice.......

so far I'm getting ....

Arrogant, Ignorant ,Self Obsessed ,Demanding and down right rude....

Wasn't I married to you once....?

alice442's picture
Dear sir i wasn't trying to

Dear sir i wasn't trying to be any of those things i was just asking questions that my religion teacher wanted me to ask.

Nyarlathotep's picture
In that case Alice, when don

In that case Alice, when don't you read this:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transitional_fossil#Missing_links

then tell your teacher why #9 is a really dumb question...

alice442's picture
Thanks I'll read it, but my

Thanks I'll read it, but my teacher just wanted to me to find out what Atheists knew or thought about these things. I'm really not trying to offend any one

Nyarlathotep's picture
I'm kind of joking. For my

I'm kind of joking. For my entertainment I'd love for you to talk to your teacher about "the missing link". However, for your own sake: you should be cautious on the matter.

C. M. Allen's picture
"I'm really not trying to

"I'm really not trying to offend any one ."

You must be joking or being deliberately dishonest, here. The questions you posted, their sequencing and their wording, were engineered to offend. If you made them yourself, shame on you. If you really got them from your teacher exactly as you posted them, your teacher either set you up or also intended to offend someone; either way he/she/it is an asshole.

Own up to your actions.

Sans Deity's picture
Don't worry you didn't offend

Don't worry you didn't offend anyone.

JoeBuddha's picture
Uh, ok. I can only say that I

Uh, ok. I can only say that I was 10 years old before I finally realized people believed this crap. I thought it was some bullshit cultural thing.

Harley Neville's picture
Calm your farm bro. They didn

Calm your farm bro. They didn't seem that bad to me.

ImFree's picture
“ What exactly do you mean by

“ What exactly do you mean by "I am an Atheist"?”
I do not believe in the existence of any gods.

“What is Atheism by definition?”
An Atheist is a person who does not believe in the existence of gods.

“Can you simplify the definition of Atheism so anyone would understand?”
See above explanation

“ What compelled you to become an Atheist? (feel free to skip this if its too personal.)”
I never felt fully comfortable with many of the outlandish stories (Noah’s Ark) in the Bible. I remember being told about Adam & Eve and the snake at the age of five and thought it bizarre. The final straw was when I took geology in college and studied the age of the earth and the fossil record. 4.5 billion years minus 6,000 years were too many years for creationists to account for.

“Do you know about the Biblical God?”
Yes

“What do you know of the Biblical God?”

The Biblical god is evil, examples provided:

1. God drowns the whole earth.
In Genesis 7:21-23, God drowns the entire population of the earth: men, women, children, fetuses, and perhaps unicorns. Only a single family survives. In Matthew 24:37-42, gentle Jesus approves of this genocide and plans to repeat it when he returns.
2. God kills half a million people.
In 2 Chronicles 13:15-18, God helps the men of Judah kill 500,000 of their fellow Israelites.
3. God slaughters all Egyptian firstborn.
In Exodus 12:29, God the baby-killer slaughters all Egyptian firstborn children and cattle because their king was stubborn.
4. God kills 14,000 people for complaining that God keeps killing them.
In Numbers 16:41-49, the Israelites complain that God is killing too many of them. So, God sends a plague that kills 14,000 more of them.
5. Genocide after genocide after genocide.
In Joshua 6:20-21, God helps the Israelites destroy Jericho, killing “men and women, young and old, cattle, sheep and donkeys.” In Deuteronomy 2:32-35, God has the Israelites kill everyone in Heshbon, including children. In Deuteronomy 3:3-7, God has the Israelites do the same to the people of Bashan. In Numbers 31:7-18, the Israelites kill all the Midianites except for the virgins, whom they take as spoils of war. In 1 Samuel 15:1-9, God tells the Israelites to kill all the Amalekites – men, women, children, infants, and their cattle – for something the Amalekites’ ancestors had done 400 years earlier.
6. God kills 50,000 people for curiosity.
In 1 Samuel 6:19, God kills 50,000 men for peeking into the ark of the covenant. (Newer cosmetic translations count only 70 deaths, but their text notes admit that the best and earliest manuscripts put the number at 50,070.)
7. 3,000 Israelites killed for inventing a god.
In Exodus 32, Moses has climbed Mount Sinai to get the Ten Commandments. The Israelites are bored, so they invent a golden calf god. Moses comes back and God commands him: “Each man strap a sword to his side. Go back and forth through the camp from one end to the other, each killing his brother and friend and neighbor.” About 3,000 people died.
8. The Amorites destroyed by sword and by God’s rocks.
In Joshua 10:10-11, God helps the Israelites slaughter the Amorites by sword, then finishes them off with rocks from the sky.
9. God burns two cities to death.
In Genesis 19:24, God kills everyone in Sodom and Gomorrah with fire from the sky. Then God kills Lot’s wife for looking back at her burning home.
10. God has 42 children mauled by bears.
In 2 Kings 2:23-24, some kids tease the prophet Elisha, and God sends bears to dismember them. (Newer cosmetic translations say the bears “maul” the children, but the original Hebrew, baqa, means “to tear apart.”)
11. A tribe slaughtered and their virgins raped for not showing up at roll call.
In Judges 21:1-23, a tribe of Israelites misses roll call, so the other Israelites kill them all except for the virgins, which they take for themselves. Still not happy, they hide in vineyards and pounce on dancing women from Shiloh to take them for themselves.
12. 3,000 crushed to death.
In Judges 16:27-30, God gives Samson strength to bring down a building to crush 3,000 members of a rival tribe.
13. A concubine raped and dismembered.
In Judges 19:22-29, a mob demands to rape a godly master’s guest. The master offers his daughter and a concubine to them instead. They take the concubine and gang-rape her all night. The master finds her on his doorstep in the morning, cuts her into 12 pieces, and ships the pieces around the country.
14. Child sacrifice.
In Judges 11:30-39, Jephthah burns his daughter alive as a sacrificial offering for God’s favor in killing the Ammonites.
15. God helps Samson kill 30 men because he lost a bet.
In Judges 14:11-19, Samson loses a bet for 30 sets of clothes. The spirit of God comes upon him and he kills 30 men to steal their clothes and pay off the debt.
16. God demands you kill your wife and children for worshiping other gods.
In Deuteronomy 13:6-10, God commands that you must kill your wife, children, brother, and friend if they worship other gods.
17. God incinerates 51 men to make a point.
In 2 Kings 1:9-10, Elijah gets God to burn 51 men with fire from heaven to prove he is God.
18. God kills a man for not impregnating his brother’s widow.
In Genesis 38:9-10, God kills a man for refusing to impregnate his brother’s widow.
19. God threatens forced cannibalism.
In Leviticus 26:27-29 and Jeremiah 19:9, God threatens to punish the Israelites by making them eat their own children.
20. The coming slaughter.
According to Revelation 9:7-19, God’s got more evil coming. God will make horse-like locusts with human heads and scorpion tails, who torture people for 5 months. Then some angels will kill a third of the earth’s population. If he came today

7. Can you explain evolution to me?
8. Can you LOGICALLY explain evolution to me?
9. Tell me about the missing link in human evolution.
10. How did life start?
11. How do we have DNA?

Answers to 7-10 are provided by and ex-christian here: http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/why-no-longer-creationist/

12. If what you believe is true, that there is no Biblical God or god of any kind, then why do Atheists protest against religion so much?
We’re tired of Theists trying to force their religion on us.

13. What proof do you have that there is no Biblical God?
The burden of proof is on the theists who are making the extraordinary claim.

ImFree's picture
The DNA in question 11. is

The DNA in question 11. is also covered in the video link.

alice442's picture
thank you this is very

thank you this is very helpful!

ImFree's picture
Your very welcome : )

Your very welcome : )

ImFree's picture
Here is one more video that

Here is one more video that explains how the burden of proof works: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HWsH6GO6PIA

Pitar's picture
I went to a Christian

I went to a Christian Brothers university for a particular science degree I was after. Part of the curriculum was a course titled History Of Christianity, which I thought to be very odd as a requisite course for a science degree. But, when in Rome...

The instructor was a Christian Brother with less grasp on the details of the course than I had from my life reading on the subject. I asked for clarifications from him throughout the length of the course and many times delayed material coverage because of my Atheist Inquisition I put upon him. Most of the kids in the class were as disenfranchised with it as I was but I was at least genuinely curious about how this instructor of similar years to mine (28 at the time) was going to give us an accurate recounting of a [i]man[/i] who never walked the earth. At least everything I'd read up to that time could not give conclusive, non-tampered evidence of the period existence of such a man as touted in the bible. It didn't matter to me because no human rain-dancer could ever make a god grow on this man's head.

Anyway, one day he asked me to hold my questions till after class and there was an audible groan from the students. After class he invited me to take lunch with him over at the rectory cafeteria. I accepted. We talked about a bunch of unrelated stuff and then he asked point blank if I held a belief in a god. He knew I didn't. I did not lead the conversation into righteous banter countermanding theist gospel or anything rude. But, I did tell him his course was weak - real weak - and he admitted to it. None of the stuff he was teaching in the class could be genuinely called teaching. He knew that, too. That said, he was defenseless and I think that's what he wanted me to see and understand without coming right out and asking me to give him a break during class. I did not give him a break. We never spoke casually again.

My point? A teaching degree does not the genius make. Pass that back to your teacher and while you're at it ask why he/she uses you to do his/her dirty work. There is nothing to be learned that is useful to you to pass back that won't be refuted out-of-hand by a closed mind. That is the nature of a belief system conscript.

Anarkhos's picture
Hi, alice442! Thanks for the

Hi, alice442! Thanks for the inquire. I'm going to answer a few, but will omit the rest, since evolution is not my specialty - although I'm sure it is for many poster on here. Its quite common for atheists to have a myriad knowledge of evolution, however I would argue it is not the rationale for the disbelief in a God.

Simply put, atheism is the lack of a belief in a God(s). This is not to say God does not exist, or even to dismiss God outright from any theoretical consideration or the like, but it is the lack of a belief in God(s) simply because there is no evidence for God, and therefore we are compelled to not believe in God.

Here's a quick mental exercise to bring light to atheism from a hopefully comprehensive perspective. Think of a courtroom, in that the minute you enter the courtroom, you are innocent until proven guilty. This is not an affirmation that the person is or is not guilty, but it is a default or indifferent stance on the allegations - or what is commonly known in the scientific community as the null hypothesis. When there is no observable relationship in X phenomenon in reality - in this case God - we are compelled to not take an affirmative stance on the subject matter.

Furthermore, in these courtrooms, when an allegation is raised, it begs the question "what evidence do you have?" ... We do not in courtrooms for example, believe people on the basis of personal testimonies. Saying X person murdered Y person is an allegation which must be proven, but as it is, there is no observable phenomenon, and thus you must be "atheist" to the allegation, if you will. This can be analogous to theists that say God exist. It begs the question "what evidence do you have?" but to no avail, there is no evidence. Thus we must be an atheist.

There are exceptions however, in that some atheists - like myself - do outright say God does not exist - however, most atheists are what one might call 'Agnostic Atheists' whereas I am a 'Gnostic Atheist.' For more information, you can read my forum post I posted not to long ago.

MORE:

1) When I say "I am an Atheist." This means I do not hold the belief in God. Simple as that.

13) Like the courtroom example, it is not the job of the person who is indifferent to the allegations to disprove the allegation; rather, it is the duty of the person making the claim to prove his or her position. This is what is called the burden of proof. (you can google that phrase to learn more). But as for me, my "evidence" that God does not exist as an absolute can be found on my forum post from earlier if you don't mind checking it out.

10) I don't know. However, if someone says they do know, the burden of proof is on them to show me sufficient evidence to yield answers and not just put forth measly claims with which they have no evidence for.

alice442's picture
thank you very much!

thank you very much!

Travis Hedglin's picture
"1. What exactly do you mean

"1. What exactly do you mean by "I am an Atheist"?"

I don't believe in god(s).

"2. What is Atheism by definition?

Not believing in god(s).

"3. Can you simplify the definition of Atheism so anyone would understand?"

Sure, if the number of gods you believe in is zero, you are an atheist.

"4. What compelled you to become an Atheist? (feel free to skip this if its too personal.)"

I will direct you to the thread in which I already answered this question:
http://www.atheistrepublic.com/forums/debate-room/hello-im-new-what-made...

"5. Do you know about the Biblical God?"

Yes.

"6. What do you know of the Biblical God?"

Which version of him? Old testament or new? Catholic or Protestant? The god of the bible has almost as many variations as believers, not that it bothers me much, I didn't need to study Tinkerbell before concluding fairies aren't real...

"7. Can you explain evolution to me?"

Heredity and population mechanics over successive generations combined with time and natural selection.

"8. Can you LOGICALLY explain evolution to me?"

If you have the foundations down, and understand heredity, yes.

"9. Tell me about the missing link in human evolution."

There really isn't one anymore, it is a bad creationist apologetic that is easily debunked with a cursory examination of hominid fossil evidence.

"10. How did life start?"

All life? I don't know, and I don't have to know. Me? Sometimes, when a mamma Hedglin and a Papa Hedglin love each other very much...

"11. How do we have DNA?"

Me and you? It is inherited from our parents. The first life? I don't know, knowing everything isn't a requirement to being a theist or atheist, or there wouldn't be any of either.

"12. If what you believe is true, that there is no Biblical God or god of any kind, then why do Atheists protest against religion so much?"

Anti-theists protest against religion. The only time almost all atheists protest it is when it attempts to cement itself as the basis of society or law, it is neither, but would like to take credit for both.

"13. What proof do you have that there is no Biblical God?"

The same proof as I have that there are no square circles or colorless pink things.

alice442's picture
thank you!

thank you!

Sinel's picture
1. What exactly do you mean

1. What exactly do you mean by "I am an Atheist"?
It means just that. There isn't much els to be said here. An Atheist is what I am.

2. What is Atheism by definition?
Atheism simply means not a theist.

3. Can you simplify the definition of Atheism so anyone would understand?
I don't think my previous answer was complicated.

4. What compelled you to become an Atheist? (feel free to skip this if its too personal.)
The realization that if I were born in India, I'd probably be Hindu, or if I was born in Kuwait I'd probably be Muslim...etc. It's mostly geographically based, and has very little to do with research, or self realization. That coupled with how I was treated for asking simple logical questions in sunday school, and getting in trouble for it, because they couldn't give me any answers. An entire religion thwarted by a 6 year-old is not much of a religion. The arguments against religion only grew stronger, from that point on.

5. Do you know about the Biblical God?
Yup.

6. What do you know of the Biblical God?
I know about as much as any christian would, since I was christian.

7. Can you explain evolution to me?
Evolution is change. It's the reason you aren't an exact copy of your parents. You are slightly different. These small incremental changes between generations, over millions of years, can lead to seemingly drastic differences when compared to the starting point.

8. Can you LOGICALLY explain evolution to me?
I did.

9. Tell me about the missing link in human evolution.
The "missing link" is a misnomer. Since the time that phrase was coined, there have been thousands of discoveries proving the lineage of humans.

10. How did life start?
11. How do we have DNA?
I don't know. But that doesn't mean, it must have been god. It simply means I don't know. There was a time when people thought stars were holes in the sky, and the light was from heaven shining through. If someone were to say that wasn't true, because they were an atheist, the believers might ask, "Than, what are the lights in the sky?" If he were to answer that he didn't know, the believers would than say "Because God made heaven shine through." Now that we definitively know that not to be true, it's one less "it was god" argument. It seems that when ever we don't know something, religious people say god did it, but when we figure it out, no one thinks twice? The more we learn, the less the "God did it" argument is valid.

12. If what you believe is true, that there is no Biblical God or god of any kind, then why do Atheists protest against religion so much?
I don't believe I know of any times when any atheist has ever protested a religion. There are however, times when Atheists protest laws and rules that would force us to basically practice someone els' religion. Or protest things that violate parts of the constitution, such as "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof"

13. What proof do you have that there is no Biblical God?
The burden of proof is on the person making the claim. It is unreasonable for me to say that there is an invisible, undetectable tea cup in orbit around Earth, but it is you who has to prove me wrong.

But that's not what you want to hear, right? You want an argument. So here: Historically the bible is completely derivative. It has no original idea. It picks and chooses what it likes from other religions, and isn't anywhere close to the first religions. If the Biblical story is true, wouldn't there be evidence of it's believers through out the entirety of time? There are thousands of religions that existed before even the Torah since the beginning of humanity, but for some reason, they're all polytheistic. They didn't even elude there was only one god, let alone collaborate any other part of the bible's tellings of the beginning. The biblical god isn't real, because it is just that, Biblical.

And if basic history isn't good enough for you; how about some simple existential philosophy?
Eric the god eating penguin! Since Eric is god eating by defanition, if there was a god, Eric would have eaten it. Therefore there is no god.
Any proof you come up with, to disprove the existence of Eric would be applicable to your god as well.

Predrag's picture
1. What exactly do you mean

1. What exactly do you mean by "I am an Atheist"?
"I am not a theist", or to be more precise, I do not believe that there is a god or gods.

2. What is Atheism by definition?
Not theism.

3. Can you simplify the definition of Atheism so anyone would understand?
Not theism.

4. What compelled you to become an Atheist? (feel free to skip this if its too personal.)
Nothing compelled me, it is not a choice. I stopped believing in anything supernatural and god is in there as well.

5. Do you know about the Biblical God?
I've read the bible, does that answer your question? I certainly do not have the time nor the will to write an essay about the biblical god.

6. What do you know of the Biblical God?
See 5.

7. Can you explain evolution to me?
Yes, yes I can.

8. Can you LOGICALLY explain evolution to me?
See 7.

9. Tell me about the missing link in human evolution.
Define "missing link", then tell me which one you want me to tell you about?
Have fun: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_evolution#H._sapiens

10. How did life start?
This is a question for abiogenesis and it is still being researched. There is no definitive answer, having said that, we DO know how life CAN start from so called "non-life" naturally, but we just haven't proven that this way was also THE way it did start. Also, define life, please?

11. How do we have DNA?
It is part of the above mentioned natural way of life starting.

12. If what you believe is true, that there is no Biblical God or god of any kind, then why do Atheists protest against religion so much?
If what I believe is true, than the person who came up with this question is an idiot who does not know what he/she is talking about. As to why atheists protest religion so much, maybe because religious people are incapable of keeping their religion to themselves, but simply must push it into the laws and policies and down everyones throat. Maybe that's why... You know, "in god we trust" and other such crap?

13. What proof do you have that there is no Biblical God?
The same proof that you have that there is no Santa Claus, or Russels teapot, or Flying Spaghetti monster (Sauce Be Upon Him) or the invisible dragon in my garage... Learn about the burden of proof, so that you would not ask this stupid question ever again, please.

Pablo Casablanca 's picture
1.) I am an atheist means

1.) I am an atheist means just that - I do not believe in a god or any gods.
2) semantically, the prefix "a" meaning "without", and "theism", meaning the belief in a particular type of deity - one that is very very interested in the minutae of the life of every sentient being on the planet earth. As opposed to the concept of deism, which is the belief in a disinterested creator god who creates his universe, and sets it loose to run on its own ,never to interact with it again. So literally, without the belief in a personal creator god who is very very interested in the minutae of the personal lives of every sentient being on the planet earth.
3.) Lack of belief in God or gods.
4.)Reading the Bible pretty much sealed it for me. I mean, I already knew and understood scientific concepts that irreconcilably clashed with the bible, and realizing that the bible was clearly written by barely literate desert goatherders with the scientific knowledge of a barely literate desert goatherder, and was edited by kings and political players with a clear agenda, but reading the Bible really set me on a path that convinced me beyond any shadow if a doubt that this one life is all that we have, so we had better start making it a good one.
5.)Yes. Read the bible cover to cover. He is clearly a psychopath.
6.) Well, for one that he created two people deliberately stupid, too stupid to realize that no obeying him was wrong. And then he punished them for his own screw up. It's like giving your toddler the keys to your car, then getting mad when they crash the thing. He's either an idiot or a jerk. Take your pick. I also know that he murdered a man's family, tortured him mercilessly and destroyed his life ... on a BET. Not to mention multiple acts of mass murder and genocide, schizophrenic shifts in mood and personality, megalomania, and the design of an eternal private torture dungeon for people who don't love him enough. As far as fictional characters go, the biblical god is the ultimate James Bond supervillain.
7.) Life exists to pass on its genetic profile to the next generation. Small mutations are inevitable, so we have two results from this - one, genetic material is not copied EXACTLY from one generation to the next (or we would all be clones), and two, these small mutations impact the survival of a particular organism long enough to reproduce. Useful and systematically harmless mutations make survival more likely, while useless or detrimental mutations make survival much less likely. And it is a drastic misunderstanding of evolution to use the phrase "survival of the fittest". It is not the strongest that survive, but those most adaptable to change.
8.)Seriously, if you cannot understand the logic of #7, then you do not understand what the word "logical" means. In other words, I just did.
9.)As I am sure has been pointed out already, this is a terribly stupid question, one which I understand you were told to ask. I, as well as others here, have already explained evolution to you. If you understood what we told you, then you would know why it is a stupid question. But, in the interest of clarity, allow me to point you in the right direction. Anyone who has ever bred dogs, or grown crops can tell you all about selective breeding - deliberately breeding two individuals with desirable traits in order to achieve an amplification or strengthening of the particular traits in the offspring, eventually producing a genetic line genetically indistinguishable from the original line, but functionally and aesthetically distinct. It is called "artificial selection", and it is how we get from grey wolves to the chihuahua, and how we go from the ancient inedible ancestors of corn and bananas to the delicious and nutritious versions we have today. Agriculture and animal husbandry prove the efficacy of artificial selection, the ability for humans to shape the genetic reproductive destiny of any number of plant and animal species, what on earth could possibly make any sane rational person doubt the much more potent, far reaching and brutal power of nature to do the same exact thing?
10.) Really? Do you not have a science teacher in your school? Okay, let's take a quick stab at this. But first, you will simply have to Google a few terms on you'd own, because I would literally have to write you a book to answer just this one question in adequate detail. Google "tholins", "amino acids", "protiens", and chemical precursors". Basically, all life is is a series of amino acids and proteins which reproduces copies of itself using protein chains, such as RNA of DNA. The chemistry is simple, but going from chemical proteins to chains of copying genetic material is not a subject very well understood by even people who do it for a living. What we do know is that life is incredibly tenacious, and survives in environments that would seem to be impossible. I mean, when you have entire colonies of life forms living near volcanic vents at crushing ocean pressures that no sunlight ever reaches, and when you have microscopic tardigrades surviving intact in the vacuum of space, you begin to understand that life can exist almost anywhere where you have liquid water and the basic ingredients.
11.) Seriously, I just told you. DNA is a very efficient way to transfer and copy genetic information, and for capitalizing on any beneficial mutations without having to start over from scratch. I know your religion teacher gave you these questions, but is it really too much to ask to request a basic understanding of science?
12.) We don't argue or fight against God any more than we rail against unicorns or leprechauns. No, what makes us so testy in general is, aside from being asked stupid questions that smugly presuppose a stupid answer, is the fact that for 1,500 years or so those who were without belief in some invisible voyeur who lives in the sky have been beaten, burned, tortured, exiled, murdered and otherwise treated as less than fully human by those who, like you, have professed a belief in the great mythical Jehovah, and in his magical son born of a raped virgin. I, as a combat veteran, have my patriotism questioned by people who never served themselves, all because people are too stupid to be able to separate the concepts of patriotism and godliness, or to accept that you can have one independent from the other. As a moral, upstanding father and grandfather I have to suffer the blatherings of fools who think that because I do not require the threat of eternal punishment or the promise of eternal reward to refrain from rape, pillage and murder, that somehow I cannot possibly have a moral center or moral code. So yes, we do tend to get testy, especially when after all of that we as non believers are expected to simply bow down and accept the yoke of religious slavery because hell, everybody else is doing it. We argue against it because we have always been expected to simply take the abuse. We are no longer willing to do so.
13.) Oh, kid. I know your religion teacher told you to ask these questions, but... seriously? Two basic premises that you must accept and follow if you expect to be taken seriously are as follows - first, the burden of proof is ALWAYS on the person making the claim. This means that we do not have to prove God does NOT exist, rather YOU have to prove that he DOES. And keep in mind that the Bible is the CLAIM, so you cannot use it as evidence. And second, extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. The more extraordinary the claim, the more extraordinary the proof required to validate the claim. Faith is not proof. If all you have is faith, then you cannot even pay the price of admission. You have failed.

I hope that these answers help you, if not on your journey of understanding, at least then to help you get a decent grade on your assignment. Personally, I hold no animosity or disdain towards you. We are all of us human beings, and even though ideas and dogmas do not deserve automatic respect and compassion, people certainly do. I wish you luck, and happiness.

Kiwi Stew's picture
Hi Alice

Hi Alice

Some of your questions presuppose that atheists are sciency type peeps. Not all are. However, I am so, I'll give you the benefit of the doubt as to the sincerity of your questions. I'll answer them honestly.

1. What exactly do you mean by "I am an Atheist"?
I don't. I rarely say it. I don't define myself as an atheist. I define myself as a mountain biker, a father, a professional, a pretty good dancer, a humanist. In other words, what I believe defines me. What I don't believe, doesn't.

2. What is Atheism by definition?
The lack of belief in any gods.

3. Can you simplify the definition of Atheism so anyone would understand?
Nope. There are some people in the world that simply cannot comprehend that they've been sold a lie and that their imaginary friend doesn't actually control their lives.

4. What compelled you to become an Atheist? (feel free to skip this if its too personal.)
Nothing. Atheism is the default state. Beliefs compel you to do things. Nothing can compel a lack of belief.

5. Do you know about the Biblical God?
Yes and no. I know a lot about what people have said and written over the last several thousand years. If he/she/it exists, I've never sat down and had a chin wag with it over a cuppa.

6. What do you know of the Biblical God?
More than most people of faith. I grew up in a family with close ties to several types of religion. My mother's family were assemblies of god, dad was an anglican vicar's warden, my stepfather was a pentecostal preacher. I've read around the subject and studied various religions.

7. Can you explain evolution to me?
Probably yes. How long it will take depends on your level of science knowledge and how open minded you are to discarding the essentialist mindset that most religious people grow up with.

8. Can you LOGICALLY explain evolution to me?
Sure. If we start from first principles we can probably manage it in 3 years. I'm not being facetious. It's a complex subject with 20 million pieces of evidence to consider.

9. Tell me about the missing link in human evolution.
There isn't one. We have a lovely progression through hominid evolution thanks to the Leakys and Donald Johansson.

10. How did life start?
Nobody knows for sure. However there are some very good hypotheses based on some interesting experimental work. I personally favour the black smoker hypothesis since it provides all the thermal gradient requirements to get RNA strands to dissociate and re-associate along with a source of chemical energy. After that it's a question of iterative chemical evolution until such time as everyone is happy that the result qualifies as alive. For that you first need to define what life is. If you don't think that things that aren't alive can't evolve, I'll invite you to consider plasmids.

11. How do we have DNA?
This is a non question. DNA is just a stable form of RNA. RNA came before "life" as you might define it. You can't have any "living" thing without some kind of nucleic acid. The lifeform belongs to the DNA. The DNA does not belong to the lifeform.

12. If what you believe is true, that there is no Biblical God or god of any kind, then why do Atheists protest against religion so much?
Religions aren't so much to do with gods. They're political power bases based on really archaic dumb ideas. My atheism doesn't cause me to protest anything. My humanism does. (Lack of belief can't activate a behaviour, only positive belief can.) Humanism is a positive belief that all people deserve to be treated equally and in peace. Religion has a tendency to impose inequity and be used as an excuse for war, bigotry and intolerance. That's not to say that religion doesn't have any good points. It's just that other belief systems provide the good points without the crap.

13. What proof do you have that there is no Biblical God?
None at all - it being a logical impossibility to prove the absolute non-existence of a thing. What proof do you have that I don't have an invisible unicorn in my closet? And even if my unicorn was real, in what possible way would it influence the rest of your life?

JimTHX's picture
1. I do not believe in any

1. I do not believe in any "supernatural" beings because there is no evidence for such beings.
2. Same as #1
3. Same as #1
4. The total lack of any evidence for the existence of the "supernatural".
5. One of most hideous evil characters in all of fiction!
6. The biblical "god" wastes much too much thought that could be put to better use!
7. When DNA strands join together in sexual reproduction (and to a lesser degree in asexual reproduction) errors occur. If those errors result in a higher probability of reproductive success then the "errors" are carried into the next generation. The collection of these beneficial "errors" results in the gradual changes that as a group are called evolution.
8. I just gave it my best shot in #7.
9. There is no such thing as a "missing link". Evolution is a very gradual process with millions upon millions of transitional forms. We, even today, are not an end but are merely another step in this continuing process.
10. We don't really know exactly, but we can speculate. Perhaps in an ancient ocean a group of molecules randomly got together such that the group somehow chemically gained the ability to reproduce itself. Once this happened it became only a matter of time until evolutionary processes took over. Billions of years is a long time for random combinations to meet the conditions for life.
11. See #10 above. DNA developed from combination of random events and evolutionary processes.
12. Because religious believers insist on imposing their nonsense on how we live through governmental interference. If would just keep to yourselves no one would care.
13. No proof is required! What proof do you require that there aren't leprechauns, fairies and unicorns?

AdjectiveBadger's picture
I will be brief, since I have

I will be brief, since I have too many things to do today.

1. What exactly do you mean by "I am an Atheist"?

I do not believe in any god or gods.

2. What is Atheism by definition?

The lack of belief in one or more gods.

3. Can you simplify the definition of Atheism so anyone would understand?

This question is patronizing. Please tell your religion teacher I said so.

4. What compelled you to become an Atheist? (feel free to skip this if its too personal.)

I was born that way, and then was not raised in a religious tradition.

5. Do you know about the Biblical God?

I have heard of Jehovah, yes.

6. What do you know of the Biblical God?

I know that the myths surrounding Jehovah are no more or less believable than those surrounding Zeus, Thor, Shiva, Morrigan, Huitzilopochteli, or any number of other deities.

In particular, I am glad I do not believe in Jehovah, because he seems like a vindictive, capricious, moody dictator who compels us to love him for fear of eternal torment. This does not strike me as moral.

7. Can you explain evolution to me?
8. Can you LOGICALLY explain evolution to me?
9. Tell me about the missing link in human evolution.
10. How did life start?
11. How do we have DNA?

I could make an attempt at answering these questions, but I won't. While I am an atheist who fully accepts the scientific method, I do not wish to contribute to the conflation of science and atheism. There are theists who also accept the scientific method, and I would suggest you look into the work of Francis Collins and Kenneth Miller.

Oh, and question 8 is also patronizing. You can tell your religion teacher I said that, too.

12. If what you believe is true, that there is no Biblical God or god of any kind, then why do Atheists protest against religion so much?

Most atheists don't. They live quiet, unassuming lives, either because they are not interested in the debate or for fear of reprisal or ostracism from their religious neighbors. Those atheists who do protest against religion do so for a number of reasons, mostly to do with the encroachment of religion into government and education.

In short, even if we don't believe gods exist, we know that religions exist.

13. What proof do you have that there is no Biblical God?

The burden of proof here lies with the person claiming that there is an omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent being who exists outside of the accepted bounds of time and space.

Or, I could refer you back to answer 6. There are thousands of human religions past and present. Why should I believe that one of those is correct rather than none, when they all have the same evidence behind them?

Johnny Moronic's picture
1. What exactly do you mean

1. What exactly do you mean by "I am an Atheist"?
I do not believe in gods or god.
2. What is Atheism by definition?
A lack of belief in gods or god.
3. Can you simplify the definition of Atheism so anyone would understand?
Only if they are able to understand “A lack of belief in god or gods.”
4. What compelled you to become an Atheist? (feel free to skip this if its too personal.)
We are all born as atheists. Some people tried to brainwash me when I was a child. They did not succeed.
5. Do you know about the Biblical God?
Yes.
6. What do you know of the Biblical God?
How much time do you have? I was raised Christian and have read the bible three times, cover to cover. I've sat through countless services and sermons. What do I need to know?
7. Can you explain evolution to me?
Wikipedia does a pretty good job for beginners, and it will save a lot of typing for me. If that doesn’t work for you, every library in the free world has a copy of On The Origin Of Species by Charles Darwin.
8. Can you LOGICALLY explain evolution to me?
See above.
9. Tell me about the missing link in human evolution.
Your question contains a fallacious premise and reveals your poor understanding of evolution. Go read those sources and if you understand them well, you will retract question number 9.
10. How did life start?
We have theories, but only theories. (No one was there to take pictures or anything.) This one is pretty recent and fascinating. https://www.quantamagazine.org/20140122-a-new-physics.../ But there are many others.
11. How do we have DNA?
I don’t think I understand the question. How do we have it? The same way we have other molecular structures. I don’t have time to walk you though an entire scientific field of study at the moment. Again, you should find Wikipedia to be at least a very good start. (It’s got lots of references. Read those too.)
12. If what you believe is true, that there is no Biblical God or god of any kind, then why do Atheists protest against religion so much?
Atheists focus on religion for the same reason that oncologists focus on cancer. We are trying to lessen the damage caused by a harmful thing.
13. What proof do you have that there is no Biblical God?
What proof do you have that there are no unicorns or dragons? Other than that the supposed holy book of that god contains over 400 contradictions and presents a story line that is complete nonsense, impossible and shown to be inaccurate by science at every turn, I have no proof at all. Non-existent things leave you with nothing with which to prove their non-existence. Can you prove the non-existence of the Brainfartopotamus? Of course not. I just made it up. There's nothing there to prove or disprove.

A New Physics Theory of Life | Quanta Magazine
An MIT physicist has proposed the provocative idea...
QUANTAMAGAZINE.ORG

CyberLN's picture
Alice, after asking these

Alice, after asking these questions here, how did YOU end up answering them for your assignment?
What answers, according to your teacher are the correct answers?
What is the purpose / goal of this lesson?
What are your thoughts on the answers with which you've provided?
Are you a/theist?

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