Ultimately pointless: the secularist and atheist ‘debate’ versus the religious

Many “atheists” fail to appreciate the size of the beast they are up against when debating with the religious. It is not that the religious are smarter. Far from it. It is their numbers — the rate at which they physically multiply, the sheer number of warm bodies that they can rally behind the drivel they espouse, and the gigabytes of non-sequiturs they can shovel into “debates” — that will see them prevail. Noted scientist Richard Dawkins likened them to “baying dogs.” The noise they produce simply overwhelms.

The average self-described “atheist” may not know the profound nature of what it means to uphold a thought framework that cannot defer to a higher sentient power. And that shortfall is what makes many of them ill-equipped to see where the other side of the “debate” is coming from — that is, see it by applying the very rigourously logical scientific approach that they ironically assert is what underpins their position in said “debate.”

Many self-described “atheists” focus their energies on arguing around the question of the existence of supernatural beings and the supernatural universes they rule. Ultimately, for the religious, this is where conversations generally come to a grinding halt. The belief of the religious in such beings and such places is non-negotiable. Perhaps this is owing to the possibility that the concept of a deity and a notional realm for the “souls” of the dead to persist that said deity presumably would preside over is an immensely powerful source of motivation for people to overcome the hardships of life and soldier on.

“Soldier on” is the key word here. Soldier on to what? If you believe in an afterlife, why then would you soldier on in an earthly life that, according to most religious teachings, is nothing when taken in the context of the “eternal life” these teachings promise beyond death?

The above question presents a conundrum to the religious as it highlights a fundamental contradiction in religious belief:

Why regard Earthly life with sanctity if said life is ultimately pointless when placed beside the unfathomable immensity of the eternal life that awaits beyond it?

Kill a zygote or embryo before it grows an Earthly mind and you actually do it a favour — because it presumably preserves its innocence and makes it indisputably eligible to enter the gates of Paradise. Or blow yourself up inside a restaurant full of dining infidels and earn a pass to a Heaven where you could spend eternity surrounded by what’s-that-number virgins.

Earthly lives ultimately don’t matter.

Given y = (1000/x), the limit of y as x approaches inifinity is ZERO.

Eternity mathematically zeroes out even a thousand years of finite life.

This will probably come across as quite confronting to most of the other poor sods who spend entire lives in a monumental battle against the “temptations of the flesh.”

So why do human beings “soldier on” then?

Richard Dawkins proposes an alternative view of what the ultimate meaning of life may be in his book The Selfish Gene. It is an alternative that lacks the fundamental contradiction that tips over the dogmatic house of cards of religion.

When the physical structure that houses our genetic code was finally discovered by James D. Watson and Francis Crick and when the nature of how this structure encodes the instructions of how life organises itself was revealed, scientists reckoned that they had figured out the mechanism we use to propagate our species. Dawkins reversed that notion when he put the gene at the centre of the whole point of “life.” Genetic material by its nature replicates itself. Viruses are essentially disembodied self-replicating molecules that seek a biological host to catalyse their replication.

A virus uses its biological host to replicate itself.

The same can be said of any molecule that carries genetic information that persists in structure through time. That includes the human DNA molecule. Those DNA molecules — including ours — that managed to remain structurally persistent over hundreds and hundreds of millions of years are those that succeeded in “finding” a way to do so. Some of them, like viruses, did so by not fixing what ain’t broke — essentially doing the same thing that they do today for all of those eons. Others tried new things — like encasing themselves in organic material to become cellular units. And still, others, within their cellular vehicles, went on to form colonies of cellular units — organisms.

Whatever worked.

Random mutation modified the DNA code and each modification resulted in a change in the way said DNA guided the natural processes that built its vehicles. And natural selection determined which modification persisted.

Those modifications that resulted in an advantage in the ability of a particular code to persist generally survived selection pressures.

Many of these successful modifications involved incremental increases in an organism’s structural complexity. As such, complexity steadily accumulated in the emeging biosphere.

Thus “life” forms as we know them today are mere vehicles used by genetic code sequences — information, ultimately — to propagate themselves as faithfully as possible over time. The increase in the complexity of these vehicles over the ages was an accident — a by-product — of the environment that hosted this propagation.

If a gene could speak, it would say It’s all about me.

As such, human beings — and all living organisms — soldier on, because we are programmed at the deepest levels of our essence as vehicles of genetic information to pass on copies of our genetic code. It is this fundamental urge to propagate copies of this information that constitutes our “life force.”

Indeed, living past an age that we are useful as carers and protectors of our offspring is a relatively recent development. For the most part of the history of our species, men and women generally died — or physically degenerated rapidly — after the general age when one’s offspring become sexually mature or are able to fend for themselves. And we are at our strongest and most vibrant at our most fertile ages.

What does that tell us?

Simple. It’s all about sowing our oats. Passing on a genetic legacy to subsequent generations.

What does that say about all artifacts of the human mind that we presume to regard as “absolutes” — freedom, sanctity, rights, and even meaning? In the overall scheme of Nature, there is nothing such. Indeed, for all our huffing and puffing about the “rightness” of atheism over belief in religious notions, we may actually face a future where secular — and atheist — civilisations barrel irreversibly towards extinction and religious and superstitious societies increasingly dominate.

The Selfish Gene say: the vehicle that guarantees it the bigger population wins at the end of the day (or, shall we say, eon). Whether it is the body of a cockroach or the form of the human zealot that fits that criteria, the Selfish Gene will be happy either way.

Nature ultimately does not care what we, using our scientific “minds”, think.

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Post Author: benign0

benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.

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24 Comments on "Ultimately pointless: the secularist and atheist ‘debate’ versus the religious"

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Frank
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That’s so Idiocracy right thar. :B

Johnamendall
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Benigno, this is too pessimistic. Sure, the “point” of life is reproducing ourselves but we have evolved these two huge cerebral hemispheres which give us plenty of scope to find meaning. Why do you think religious societies will oust secular ones? It is not looking like that at the moment. Successful and prosperous societies gradually lose their religious affiliations. “Soldiering on” is how we safeguard our DNA (children).

Hyden Toro
Guest
Our religious beliefs are just sets of opinions. Different religions have different sets of beliefs. Atheism, agnosticism, Animism, etc…are also sets of beliefs. We are stupid species; because, we: kill, torture, force other people, commit suicide, etc…just to prove to others,our opinions are the right opinions… I believe that Religion and Science do not contradict each other. I believe also in Religion; used for Spiritual Development; that is: used to make you a better person. However, if Atheism, Agnosticsm,Animism, etc…works for you. Then, go for it…Does this belief, makes you a better person? Does it makes you kinder and more… Read more »
There is no god, has never been, all definitions are inventions
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There is no god, has never been, all definitions are inventions
Only people who have a childish mind, can believe in the fiction of God, can believe in heaven and hell, can pray to the empty sky. The ordinary masses whose average intelligence quotient is not more than seven years. (their bodies go on growing to seventy, eighty, but the mind stays somewhere between seven and fourteen; very rarely a man passes beyond fourteen) God is an insult to existence, to intelligence, to man, to consciousness, to everything! God-oriented religions are a disease of the soul, a sickness of the mind, because God is only your fear, your dread, your anxiety,… Read more »
Joe America
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Interesting commentary. Requires some digesting to comprehend. I’m still looking for something to argue about.

The feeling I feel when entering a Cathedral is what, self love? Have you ever felt it, that sense of otherness, of giving oneself to a gentle but powerful essence?

Can you see the little aura of yellow above the trees?

Trosp
Guest
@There is no god, has never been, all definitions are inventions (My comments in parenthesis). Only people who have a childish mind, can believe in the fiction of God, can believe in heaven and hell, can pray to the empty sky. (I don’t have a childish mind and I don’t consider God is a fiction. Popular personalities who believe in God – Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and those who don’t believe – Bill Maher, Rosie O’ Donnel. Read what they are spewing.) God is an insult to existence, to intelligence, to man, to consciousness, to everything! (I would categorically say… Read more »
Aegis-Judex
Guest

In such a case (belief in God a sign of insanity), why don’t you commit ALL the religious you know to a mental hospital? Or maybe you want something more permanent… something along the lines of Aktion T4, perhaps, Anwarter?

Ilda
Admin

“It is not that the religious are smarter. Far from it. It is their numbers — the rate at which they physically multiply, the sheer number of warm bodies that they can rally behind the drivel they espouse, and the gigabytes of non-sequiturs they can shovel into “debates” — that will see them prevail.

Substitute the word “religious” with “Aquino supporters” and the analogy still applies.

Trosp
Guest

“It is not that the religious are smarter. Far from it. It is their numbers — the rate at which they physically multiply, the sheer number of warm bodies that they can rally behind the drivel they espouse, and the gigabytes of non-sequiturs they can shovel into “debates” — that will see them prevail.”

How about substituting “numbers” with “conviction” and “drivel” with “faith” and “non-sequiturs” with “logic”?

Ilda
Admin

That could work too 😉

Dr. Noh
Guest

as a dyed-in-the-wool agnostic-apatheist, I really make it a point to run for the hills whenever an atheist-theist debate pops out. it’s all TL:DR to me 🙂

but plus points for mentioning Dawkins’ social memes. I may hate his guts but that concept he invented really got my imagination spinning. Ideas that replicate like viruses… something only a evolutionary biologist with a big chip on his shoulder for all the pray-pray-woo-woo can come up with.

Hyden Toro
Guest

In the teaching of Modern Psychology…there is a Conscious Mind- your realities perceived by your five senses. Subconscios Mind – realities above your five senses; like: your intuition or “kutob”. And your Superconscious Mind – this consciousness is tied to your Divine Source, or some call it God; the Buddhists call it: the Universe. A Multisensory person is a person who knows how to tap all these mental attributes.

21yearoldguy
Guest
Is conduct right because God commands it or does God commands because it is right? -Plato Here, Plato pointed out that goodness is not independent from God, it is the other way around More specifically, he wonders that if God himself had any reasons for calling certain actions as good or bad, right and wrong. Plato points out that God cannot have any reasons. God’s will alone why some actions are good or bad. And if that is the case, those actions are called good or bad because God says so, that would make God irrational. But being irrational does… Read more »
21yearoldguy
Guest

*Here, Plato pointed out that goodness is not dependent from God, it is the other way around

Trosp
Guest

“Here, Plato pointed out that goodness is not independent from God, it is the other way around”

It’s always to my amazement why the teachings of Bible is totally different from Koran. The Catholics or Christians from Muslims or Islamists.

Hyden Toro
Guest

Almost all Religions have the same teachings…Goodness is taught in every religion…also, oneness with the Divine Creator; call him: God, Allah, Jehovah, Yahweh, the Universe, etc…it is in the interpretation of the religious leaders of their Scriptures, that is causing us trouble…plus there are fundamentalists and radicals, in every religion.
Some religious leaders, interpret their Scriptures, to control their followers; and to gain more followers, also…

Trosp
Guest

@Hyden

But Koran teaches to “kill” the non-believers. Is that goodness?

Koran also inspires “honor killing”. Check it at Wiki. Is that goodness?

Hyden Toro
Guest

So is the Christian Bible, Old Testament, it states: “Kill the: Canaanite, Midianites, Jebusites, etc…” “They are non believers.” Where do we go from here on religion?
In the Christian Bible . God is featured as a vengeful god, and at the same time a merciful God…

Trosp
Guest

They were not killed because they’re non believers.

Make a distinction.

God is not vengeful.

freon
Guest
I’m an Atheist and while I don’t want to say that I’m apathetic about it even if it seems so, I am a firm believer in religious tolerance. I will tolerate your religion as long as you don’t try to shove it down my throat. I am not eager to enter into a religious debate due to the mentioned comparison above with baying dogs. Furthermore, a solid point with logic and proof behind it means nothing to blind faith so in an argument it will simply be ignored and seen as irrelevant simply because the fundamentals of the religious argument… Read more »
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[…] the religious and the secular – unfortunately spend most of their time and mental energy pointlessly debating the validity of their opposing views, rather than considering what place those views occupy in […]

Perry Rhinitis
Guest
Although I agree with what you’ve said, I still find it such a…sad outlook. It is a sobering and humbling thought. I myself am a non-believer and sometimes when I feel like an island in an ocean of Christians that I find myself contributing a comment on two in discussions about religion. But I don’t stay too long and enjoy simply reading than debating. I don’t look down on believers for believing in a deity. Heck, one of my best friends is a devout Evangelical but no matter how much she believes in the Rapture, she is an extremely smart… Read more »
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