Ricky Gervais: Why I’m An Atheist 8


Ricky Gervais gets asked all the time, “Why don’t you believe in God?”, so he tries to give them a resonable thoughtful answer, but often ends up being frustrated. What he finds is that they are not actually looking for his response at all, they simply want to convert him.

What is truly frustrating is that when he gives the following totally honest scientific answer, the believers become offended because its not considered polite …

I don’t believe in God because there is absolutely no scientific evidence for his existence and from what I’ve heard the very definition is a logical impossibility in this known universe

They asked him, and when he gives them an answer they don’t want to hear, they take offence … WTF!! … But it gets worse, because he then gets told that the scientific answer is arrogant …

Arrogance is another accusation. Which seems particularly unfair. Science seeks the truth. And it does not discriminate. For better or worse it finds things out. Science is humble. It knows what it knows and it knows what it doesn’t know. It bases its conclusions and beliefs on hard evidence -­‐ evidence that is constantly updated and upgraded. It doesn’t get offended when new facts come along. It embraces the body of knowledge. It doesn’t hold on to medieval practices because they are tradition. If it did, you wouldn’t get a shot of penicillin, you’d pop a leach down your trousers and pray. Whatever you “believe”, this is not as effective as medicine. Again you can say, “It works for me”, but so do placebos. My point being, I’m saying God doesn’t exist. I’m not saying faith doesn’t exist. I know faith exists. I see it all the time. But believing in something doesn’t make it true. Hoping that something is true doesn’t make it true. The existence of God is not subjective. He either exists or he doesn’t. It’s not a matter of opinion. You can have your own opinions. But you can’t have your own facts.

I just love that last bit … “You can have your own opinions. But you can’t have your own facts.”, its this that so many fail to grasp, reality is not something you get to vote on. If the majority decide that the sky is pink and that fairies are having a grand old lark frolicking about at the bottom of my garden, its not an equally valid position, its a fantasy.

But then just when you think it could not get any worse, it does, because believers want you to prove that God does not exist, and as Ricky quite rightly observes, why is this my problem …

Why don’t I believe in God? No, no no, why do YOU believe in God? Surely the burden of proof is on the believer. You started all this. If I came up to you and said, “Why don’t you believe I can fly?” You’d say, “Why would I?” I’d reply, “Because it’s a matter of faith”. If I then said, “Prove I can’t fly. Prove I can’t fly see, see, you can’t prove it can you?” You’d probably either walk away, call security or throw me out of the window and shout, ‘’F—ing fly then you lunatic.”

So how on earth do you cope with folks like this … actually Ricky has a great one-liner for them …

When confronted with anyone who holds my lack of religious faith in such contempt, I say, “It’s the way God made me.

He also his this as well … its hilarious …

So next time someone tells me they believe in God, I’ll say “Oh which one? Zeus? Hades? Jupiter? Mars? Odin? Thor? Krishna? Vishnu? Ra?…” If they say “Just God. I only believe in the one God”, I’ll point out that they are nearly as atheistic as me. I don’t believe in 2,870 gods, and they don’t believe in 2,869.

Ricky then goes on to explain how he used to believe, and tells the story of what happened and why he changed his mind, its well worth reading … you can click here to read the full article.


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8 thoughts on “Ricky Gervais: Why I’m An Atheist

  • Henric C. Jensen

    and agreeing to disagree is fine with me, dave, really.

    just one thing (maybe two) “Belief need not be subjective … for example there are folks would believe in hollow earth (yes really) but science can demonstrate it not to be factual. (We might or might not agree on this)”

    i think we might be talking about different kinds of ‘belief’ here – believing things that can be scientifically proven to be incorrect, despite the factual evidence, is not what i am talking about – to me that is not ‘belief’, to me that is just either willful ignorance or fundamentalism.

    now, as i say in my blog entry – “it is apparently possible to arrive at the hypothesis of a Prime Cause through experience, as well as it is to arrive at the hypothesis of a Non-Prime Cause through experience – but both are dependent on further elaboration of the experiential evidence from a personal stand point to have any meaning.” you tried the belief suit, it didn’t fit, and that is fine. i tried the other suit and that didn’t fit me. yet i have no problem combining the two – i suppose it’s all about pov.

    the ‘who and why’ – some people ask those questions, and find answers in faith through inference, we are all different.

    cheers!
    h

  • Dave Gamble Post author

    OK … I think I now have a better idea where you are coming from on this … I also suspect we may have to agree to disagree … and thats fine, I’m OK with that.

    I would suggest a couple of thoughts. Religion is not a special exclusion zone for critical thinking. (I suspect we might agree on this … I might be incorrect)

    Belief need not be subjective … for example there are folks would believe in hollow earth (yes really) but science can demonstrate it not to be factual. (We might or might not agree on this)

    I would contend that anything that has no hard, physical – scientific – evidence is not real … (its here I suspect we part company and will need to agree that we disagree).

    I would also suggest that in the past religion was the tool we used to grapple with the world around us, but that we now have a far better tool … the scientific method.

    One final point … via your link you say …
    Torah/The Bible/Religion answers the Questions “Who and Why?“
    Science/Evolutionary Theory answers the Questions “How, When and Where?“

    I would suggest that there is no “who or why”.

    But then as you yourself observed “Ultimately I believe in G-d because I want to, because I need to and because I have found no reason not to” … personally, I’ve tried that suit on and it didn’t fit me very well, so I’ve put it to one side and now hold to a purely naturalistic view.

  • Henric C. Jensen

    “I would argue that those who claim he exists need to provide evidence, and until they do, I maintain that its not subjective since there is not one jot of evidence to back up the claim I am being presented with. I’m starting with a blank sheet, and so far nobody can put anything on it that changes my position.”

    why would i need to provide evidence? it’s a matter of BELIEF, not science, and therefore not of FACTS. It’s a belief i hold. yes, i claim that G-d exists – for me – the way i see the world and the universe, G-d is there somewhere – but because it is a subjective matter of opinion, i cannot claim it as a FACT, and those who do are incorrect.

    http://dovaryeh.wordpress.com/2007/08/20/the-g-d-delusion-part-1-2/

  • Dave Gamble Post author

    The position I would take is that its not my responsibility to prove God does not exist, I do not need empirical proof, its not my claim. I would argue that those who claim he exists need to provide evidence, and until they do, I maintain that its not subjective since there is not one jot of evidence to back up the claim I am being presented with. I’m starting with a blank sheet, and so far nobody can put anything on it that changes my position.

    I also do not believe that faeries exist, there is also not one jot of evidence … the fact that some folks do, does not suddenly make my stance regarding faeries subjective … ditto other supernatural entities.

    I am (as always) open to debate on the topic and my mind can be changed.

  • Henric C. Jensen

    “The existence of God is not subjective. He either exists or he doesn’t. It’s not a matter of opinion.” oh? how come you decided that the existence of G-d is not ‘subjective’? what kind of statement is that? where is your basis for such a statement? nowhere. in order to make such a statement you have to have empirical proof for either the negative statement or the positive, and THAT is impossible.

    don’t get me wrong, i truly do respect your right to take an atheist position, but please do so in an honest manner, not by making the same mistake so many fundamentalist theists do – claiming your own subjective belief to be fact.

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