News

October 2018

Saudi Arabia has been named the worst country in the world to be an atheist in a new report monitoring the rights and treatment of the non-religious. On Monday the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU) published the latest Freedom of Thought Report, which ranks the best and worst countries to be an atheist.
NATIONAL SECULAR SOCIETY

September 2018

The number of Britons who say they have no religion has hit a record high, new data has revealed. More than half of the British public (53 per cent) say they are not at all religious - a figure that has increased by five percentage points since 2015 and by 19 percentage points since 1983, when just three in 10 people deemed themselves non-religious. The news has prompted fresh calls for the Government to cut the amount of public money going to the church and reduce its influence in society.
THE INDEPENDENT

Some Definitions

In their battles against the godless heathens of the scientific community, creationists will often make scientific-sounding definitions and use these in attempts to destroy the basis of their enemy’s arguments and as such it is useful to have a fixed set of definitions for the more common scientific & religious concepts.

Some Definitions This is not intended as a glossary of science or religion but as a guide to various concepts used by those involved in the debate. In order to eliminate confusion all of these definitions are taken from quality Anglo-American dictionaries and, where possible, I have chosen those that relate more directly to science (except where issues of faith are addressed).

Definitions

Religion

The belief in a superhuman controlling power, esp. in a personal God or gods entitled to obedience and worship; the expression of this in worship; a particular system of faith and worship.

Faith

A system of religious belief (e.g. the Christian faith); a belief in religious doctrines; spiritual apprehension of divine truth apart from proof; things believed or to be believed; a firm belief, esp. without logical proof.

Fact

A thing that is known to have occurred, to exist, or to be true; an item of verified or verifiable information; a piece of evidence.

Assumption

Something taken as being true, for purpose of argument, further investigation or action.

Hypothesis

A proposition made as a basis for reasoning, without the assumption of its truth; a supposition made as a starting point for further investigation from known facts.

Theory

A supposition or system of ideas explaining something, esp. one based on general principles independent of the particular things to be explained (e.g. atomic theory or the theory of evolution); the exposition of the principles of a science etc.; a collection of propositions to illustrate the principles of a subject (e.g. probability theory or the theory of equations).

Law

The correct statement of invariable sequence between specified conditions and specified phenomenon; laws of nature, regularity in nature; a regularity in natural occurrences, esp. as formulated or propounded in particular instances (e.g. the laws of nature, the law of gravity or Parkinson's law).

Discussion

It is worth summarising what these definitions represent and some evolutionary implications deriving from them.

  • Science is characterised by lack of hard fact that is to say that nothing in science is so inflexible it cannot be changed given the support of adequate evidence. This applies to theories AND to laws ... some creationists continue to adhere to Newtonian physics that, whilst still generally acceptable, has long been superseded by relativity (itself superseded by Quantum Mechanics).
  • A hypothesis is a concept that is not supported by sufficient evidence to gain the status of theory.
  • A theory is a concept that is supported by evidence and can be used to predict other effects.
  • Evolution is not a science but a theory.
  • Evolution (in gross) is supported by such an incredible weight of evidence that it is regarded as de facto proven ... that is to say that no scientist (or at least none that want to be taken seriously) regard evolution as wrong.
  • Evolution (in fine) continues to change.
  • Evolution is part of science and is interwoven into almost EVERY discipline of science.
  • To destroy or invalidate evolution it would be necessary to tear down the entire body of scientific knowledge and start from scratch!
  • Neither abiogenesis nor the big bang have anything whatsoever to do with the theory of evolution and scientific references to it in such areas are always poetic in nature.

Many creationists will try to tell you that these definitions are flawed in some way or even wrong but their views, and their wish to reshape aspects of science so that they can destroy them, are irrelevant.

Conclusion

If creationists are going to seriously challenge the thinking of such scientists (the above has been the case for a hundred years or more) then they are required to supply evidence.

In order to provide that evidence, it is not considered acceptable to twist & distort current interpretations or to tell lies ... science does not work in that manner. It is necessary to demonstrate something as flawed by finding evidence that does exactly that following which a new or modified theory must be developed to replace it and that theory must be backed up with evidence.

Of the three theories mentioned (Abiogenesis, Evolution & The Big Bang) evolution is, arguably, the safest, the most proven and the most specifically supported by evidence. Abiogenesis is still largely speculative and The Big Bang is one of two competing theories both of which fit the observations.

About UK Atheist's Founder

As an author, socialist and atheist, I've been debating fundamentalists and theists for nearly thirty years.
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Growing up Catholic, I began to question the existence of "God" around the age of thirteen in parallel with an "addiction" to science fiction which taught me the basics of science. I graduated with an honours degree in Applied Biology moving into science and then science computing and it was there that I was exposed to creationism. It struck me that science had not only take its eye off the ball, creationists were a well-funded and organised body determined subvert science. Like many others, I took up the fight to defend science building communities and supporting websites with my greatest success being a government response to the "Science, Just Science" campaign assuring us that creationism could not be taught as science in any state-run UK science classroom. Modern social networking is not ideal for debate but it today's format and it is why I co-founded the Facebook group:
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The meek shall inherit the Earth. The rest of us are going to the stars.

David Gerrold