I’ve been thinking about how there’s a big difference between facts and perceptions. For instance, the atheists like to think of themselves as the intellectual elite. They are the smart ones, the thinking ones. The religious people, they are stupid sheep who are too lazy to think for themselves, and if they did, they’d become atheists.
I used to debate many people on a Croatian religion usenet newsgroup, and I got quite a good sample of how various belief systems influence self-image, and it could get quite ridiculous at times. For instance, it was quite funny when I just finished an off-topic debate with a Catholic, where we talked about whether general relativity precludes a quantum mechanical interpretation of gravity. Oh, by the way he was a physics professor, he taught solid state physics at the FKIT faculty at the University of Zagreb. And so, he argued for interpretation of gravity as something that was transmitted by some boson, while I argued that if that were so, a black hole would preclude its own gravitational interaction with the rest of the Universe since bosons would follow the same spatial curvature as photons. Since we do detect black holes by their gravitational influence, that obviously isn’t the case. He then argued that Hawking radiation beyond the event-horizon could provide the mechanism for propagation of gravity, but I wasn’t convinced and found the explanation tenuous since the very spatial curvature that forms the event horizon must be explained by the gravity-interaction particle. And so, neither side being convinced we proceeded to other topics, at which point some atheist barged in and proclaimed that religious people are stupid non-thinking sheep because, like, science! We’re no longer in the dark ages where people believed that lightning was caused by God.
You could probably imagine the collective facepalm of the older participants at that point. You can just imagine the psychological profile of a highschool kid who had his spiritual awakening that religion, which made him feel guilty for masturbating, doesn’t really work, because physical phenomena are caused by, wait, physics! Of course, he can’t understand that there are people who don’t see religion as a pre-scientific placeholder for science, and he probably never had any reason to question the brilliance of his opinion, since the Catholic and I completely ignored his revelatory statement and proceeded to argue about whether the apparent theological incongruity between Vatican II and “Unam sanctam” refutes his position that the Church never really changed opinions on matters of theology (or something else along those lines).
Basically, the atheists are the most stupid and uneducated people I ever debated. Their main arguments are from poor understanding of the subject matter, ignoring the evidence that doesn’t suit their narrative and attacking the opposition ad hominem. Their high opinion of themselves and their arguments might actually be warranted when they debate the American Christians, who are usually the rock bottom of religious thought and the pinnacle of anti-intellectualism in religion, but you would think that when you barge into a discussion group where a Yogi and a Catholic debate quantum gravity, that religion as they understand it obviously has no problem with friction causing electricity without divine agency, but, apparently, the atheists consistently fail at that. Apparently, they think that science is the Kryptonite for religion, and it’s not really an opinion, it seems to be more of a dogma. They are also so incredibly predictable that I didn’t even bother to debate them for the last few years I spent on the usenet. The debate with them is always a very ugly ad-hominem hate-fest that goes somewhat like this:
Atheist: “You religious sheeple are fucking idiots who live in the dark ages and if you knew anything about science you’d all be atheists, but you are too fucking stupid.”
Me: “Actually, I have reasons to believe that the religious people here are much more fluent in science than you are, and your conceit is unwarranted. We take religion seriously not because we are unaware of science, but because science actually has no significant overlap with the sphere of religion, and where they do overlap there is actually good support for the religious position.”
Atheist: “Oh yeah? And what would that be? There is no evidence for God because God doesn’t exist.”
Me: “Actually, there’s quite a lot of evidence for God. There are saints and mystics who had a direct spiritual experience of God and the spiritual realms. There are NDE testimonies that confirm existence of consciousness that is not caused by brain because at the time the brain was not working, and they confirm existence of God and a spiritual realm. The reason why this is not considered scientific is not because it’s not true, it’s because it conflicts with the scientific paradigm of matter as the fundamental reality, that science simply doesn’t know what to do with it all and therefore either sweeps it under the rug or tries to explain it away with such blatant nonsense that you wonder how those people got their degrees. For instance, Carl Sagan offered an explanation of NDE as re-living of birth – you travel through a tunnel towards light and you encounter happy people who love you. Except you can’t see anything during birth because your eyes are pressed towards the vaginal wall, and when you do come out you don’t recognize shapes and the experience is hugely traumatic and uncomfortable. So basically those explanations are obviously nonsensical to anyone who actually bothered to think about them and their sole purpose is to serve as a spiritual pacifier for atheists.”
Atheist: “There can’t be any valid evidence for God because God doesn’t exist, and if someone says he has experience of God, he’s crazy.”
Me: “That’s like saying that Moon landings didn’t happen and since they didn’t everybody who witnessed them is a liar and a fraud.”
Atheist: “That’s not the same because nobody can deny Moon landings because you can just repeat them at any time and you can’t see God at any time. Oh wait… No, you are all crazy fucks who burned women at a stake because you’re sexually frustrated and you want to keep people in the dark ages.”
Me: “Yeah, that went well. Remind me of that the next time I decide to debate atheists”.
The next debate:
Atheist: “You religious people are stupid. Didn’t you hear that the Earth isn’t flat and that it revolves around the Sun?”
Me: “Fuck off, retard.”
Atheist: “I knew the religious cunts are opposed to science and knowledge and will resist the truth.”
Basically, I have the same experience debating atheists as scientists have debating the flat-earthers and Moon landing deniers. If you present evidence, they will say it’s either fake or it doesn’t apply. They will say everything from NASA is fake and then they will cite the Van Allen belts, discovered by NASA, as proof you can’t leave the Earth. You can’t really have a debate with someone who only admits the kind of evidence that is supportive of his pre-conceived notions. It is doomed to failure and makes no sense, except to show the audience what kind of crazies those people are and why their arguments are only superficially rational.