The full test is available here, and also shows up as a pocket-sized quiz book randomly in urban centres (I was given one by a friend who found it on a bus one morning). But don’t worry I’m going to go through the whole thing here. So let’s begin The Atheist Test (with an atheist commentary – quotes from other sources are in italics):
The theory of evolution of the Coca Cola can.
Billions of years ago, a big bang produced a large rock. As the rock cooled, sweet brown liquid formed on its surface. As time passed, aluminum formed itself into a can, a lid, and a tab. Millions of years later, red and white paint fell from the sky, and formed itself into the words “Coca Cola 12 fluid ounces.”
Of course, my theory is an insult to your intellect, because you know that if the Coca Cola can is made, there must be a maker. If it is designed, there must be a designer. The alternative, that it happened by chance or accident, is to move into an intellectual free zone.
This is a common argument that demonstrates the most common ignorance of the theory of evolution (which we can already tell they’re trying to demonstrate is ridiculous). Evolution does not claim to be random, at all. My friends were amused by my rebuttal to this, “coke cans don’t have sex though.” Since this argument comes up a lot (especially in this test), I’ll give it more treatment then it deserves now, and then just dismiss the rest of the iterations of this argument. Here I’ll quote Richard Dawkins from The God Delusion:
One side of the mountain is a sheer cliff, impossible to climb, but on the other side is a gentle slope to the summit. On the summit sits a complex device such as an eye or a bacterial flagellar motor. The absurd notion that such complexity could spontaneously self-assemble is symbolized by leaping from the foot of the cliff to the top in one bound. Evolution, by contrast, goes around the back of the mountain and creeps up the gentle slope to the summit: easy!
Evolution uses the idea of random mutations (which involves chance), occurring frequently enough that beneficial mutations arise, and are “naturally selected” allowing the organism in possession of them to be better suited to its environment. This in no way requires the leap of faith that an inanimate pop can to grow out of primordial goop.
The banana-the atheist’s nightmare.
Note that the banana:
- Is shaped for human hand
- Has non-slip surface
- Has outward indicators of inward content:
- Has a tab for removal of wrapper
- Is perforated on wrapper
- Bio-degradable wrapper
- Is shaped for human mouth
- Has a point at top for ease of entry
- Is pleasing to taste buds
- Is curved towards the face to make eating process easy
To say that the banana happened by accident is even more unintelligent than to say that no one designed the Coca Cola can.
I don’t know anyone who says the banana happened by accident, but I would agree that they are highly unintelligent. To say it is designed intelligently however (in my opinion) is equally absurd. It seems more likely that a symbiotic type relationship developed between bananas and are ape ancestors. Basically the idea would be bananas that are eaten by apes go through their digestive systems and the seeds are effectively spread, so bananas that are more suitably eaten by apes thrive. Furthermore, apes that were better suited for eating bananas (matching hands, opposable thumbs, proper shaped mouth etc.) were healthier and more fit and better able to escape predators. Eventually we evolved from our ape ancestors but still retained the matching banana characteristics.
To suggest that the banana had to be designed for us would imply that all food we eat should be designed as well for us, which it obviously is not. Grains, meats, and most other fruits are not designed for our hands, mouths, and the rest of our bodies, but we have developed tools and methods to extract the food from them. ID is mistaken here and only raises more questions. Evolution is the better answer to why bananas fit so perfectly.
The person who thinks the Coca Cola can had no designer is:
___ A. Intelligent
___ B. A fool
___ C. Has an ulterior motive for denying the obvious
Obviously B, but there is no relation between Coca-Cola cans and biology.
Did you know that the eye has 40,000,000 nerve endings, the focusing muscles move an estimated 100,000 times a day, and the retina contains 137,000,000 light sensitive cells?
This can easily be found in any biology textbook or Wikipedia entry (see: Evolution of the eye).
Charles Darwin said,
“To suppose that the eye, with all its inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different amounts of light, and for the correction of spherical and chromatic aberration, could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest possible degree.” (The Origin of Species, Chapter 6).
Richard Dakwins reprints this quote in The God Delusion, but adds:
Creationists gleefully quote this sentence again and again. Needless to say, they never quote what follows. Darwin’s fulsomely free confession turned out to be a rhetorical device. He was drawing his opponents toward him so that his punch, when it came, struck the harder. The punch, of course, was Darwin’s effortless explanation of exactly how the eye evolved by gradual degrees.
Basically people who have little to stand on like to deliberately misquote their rivals. Either the authors read The Origin of Species and took this quote out of context, or (more likely) found it through a secondary source (likely another creationist site).
If man cannot begin to make a human eye, how could anyone in his right mind think that eyes formed by mere chance? In fact, man cannot make anything from nothing. We don’t know how to do it. We can re-create, reform, develop . . . but we cannot create even one grain of sand from nothing. Yet, the eye is only a small part of the most sophisticated part of creation-the human body.
Again, no one claims evolution is random, and furthermore nothing is made from nothing, evolution doesn’t use nothing however, it uses random mutations and natural selection (which do exist).
George Gallup, the famous statistician, said,
“I could prove God statistically; take the human body alone; the chance that all the functions of the individual would just happen, is a statistical monstrosity.”
Just because he understood statistics doesn’t mean he knew jack shit about biology.
Albert Einstein said,
“Everyone who is seriously interested in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that a spirit is manifest in the laws of the universe—a spirit vastly superior to man, and one in the face of which our modest powers must feel humble.”
Creationists and the religious in general love to treat Einstein as one of their own, bastardizing his quotes and falsifying his beliefs. Einstein is best described as a pantheist or one who believes that god is everything. He tended to be more of a naturalist and would have a lot more in common with atheists, humanists, and Brights than creationists or evangelicals. His beliefs are more aptly represented by the quotation:
I don’t try to imagine a personal God; it suffices to stand in awe at the structure of the world, insofar as it allows our inadequate senses to appreciate it. – Albert Einstein
A. Do you know of any building that didn’t have a builder?
___ YES ___ NO
B. Do you know of any painting that didn’t have a painter?
___ YES ___ NO
C. Do you know of any car that didn’t have a maker?
___ YES ___ NOIf you answered “YES” for any of the above, give details:
Yes, yes, yes. Buildings, paintings, and modern cars are all designed by computers, and some are even designed by artificial intelligence. However you can call AI as a designer that is a more primitive (at present time) intelligence than that of a human being, so technically all those INANIMATE objects require a creator. See my previous arguments about the Coke can.
Could I convince you that I dropped 50 oranges onto the ground and they by chance fell into ten rows of five oranges? The logical conclusion is that someone with an intelligent mind put them there. The odds that ten oranges would fall by accident into a straight line are mind-boggling, let alone ten rows of five.
I don’t get your point, beyond re-emphasizing the improbability of life just happening in the way that it is. If that’s the case I have already addressed this.
A. From the atom to the universe, is there order?
___ YES ___ NO
B. Did it happen by accident?
___ YES ___ NO
C. Or, must there have been an intelligent mind?
___ YES ___ NO
D. What are the chances of 50 oranges falling by chance
into ten rows of five oranges? ______________________If you answered “YES” for any of the above, give details:
A. The order of atoms and molecules are defined by the equations of Quantum Mechanics. A large enough computer could crunch the numbers and give you an accurate representation, unfortunately that would require a ridiculous amount of processing. My point is that the word “order” to me means can we describe it mathematically, and yes we can.
B. No, QM, and cosmology can explain pretty well why things are at the point they are in the universe (within statistical deviations). And if that’s not enough for you try the good old anthropic principle.
C. No again, look into some science and you find little need for any creator/designers.
D. 1/1 billion (I use this since its what Dawkin’s defines as the probability of life starting on a planet, luckily there’s on the order of a billion billion planets, so it was bound to happen a few times – and here we are).
The declaration “There is no God” is what is known as an absolute statement. For an absolute statement to be true, I must have absolute knowledge.
Here is another absolute statement: “There is no gold in China.”
What do I need to have for that statement to be true?
A. No knowledge of China.
___ YES ___ NO
B. Partial knowledge of China.
___ YES ___ NO
C. Absolute knowledge of China.
___ YES ___ NO
“C” is the correct answer. For the statement to be true, I must know that there is no gold in China, or the statement is incorrect. To say “There is no God,” and to be correct in the statement, I must be omniscient.
I must know how many hairs are upon every head, every thought of every human heart, every detail of history, every atom within every rock…nothing is hidden from my eyes…I know the intimate details of the secret love-life of the fleas on the back of the black cat of Napoleon’s great-grandmother. To make the absolute statement “There is no God.” I must have absolute knowledge that there isn’t one.
Let’s say that this circle represents all the knowledge in the entire universe, and let’s assume that you have an incredible 1% of all that knowledge. Is it possible, that in the knowledge you haven’t yet come across, there is ample evidence to prove that God does indeed exist?
If you are reasonable, you will have to say, “Having the limited knowledge that I have at present, I believe that there is no God.” In other words, you don’t know if God exists, so you are not an “atheist,” you are what is commonly known as an “agnostic.” You are like a man who looks at a building, and doesn’t know if there was a builder.
I decided to attack this all at once (since its fairly redundant for me otherwise). Basically absolute statements in science are more like very-highly improbable statements. “There is no such thing as fairies/Zeus/Thor/goblins/ghosts/God/etc.” can all be stated as scientifically accurate since no proof exists to demonstrate their existence. I can say that “there is no gold in China” without knowing everything about China if I have very good evidence that no gold has ever been found in China. I risk being wrong, but at some point you have enough evidence that you can make a 99% confidence statement.
This is more of an argument about semantics, as in something one turns to when they have nothing else to defend their arguments. I can turn it around and say are you one-hundred percent sure that your god is the one true real god? Perhaps it’s Zeus, Yahweh (old-testament), Thor, or some other deity, or deities. And can you really say you’re sure that none of them do not exist? So you yourself are an agnostic about all gods, since you don’t really have concrete evidence any of them exist.
The man who sees a building and doesn’t know if there was a builder is:
___ A. Intelligent
___ B. A fool
___ C. Has an ulterior motive for denying the obvious
This is overly redundant by now I am not going to give it another run through.
Perhaps you have questions that hold you back from faith. First, almost every question you have about suffering humanity etc., can be adequately answered.
See my last post on Irreducible Simplicity.
Second, we have faith in plenty of things we don’t understand. Did you understand the mechanics of television before you turned it on? Probably not. You took a step of faith, turned it on, and after it worked, understanding how it worked wasn’t that important. We accept that there are unseen television waves right in front of our eyes. We can’t see them because they are invisible. For them to manifest, we need a receiver, then we can enjoy the experience of television.
I did in fact understand my TV – the knowledge of that is known as science. In this case the TV falls under physics which happens to be my field so I do know how it works. I do not have ‘faith’ that it will work, I understand the theories behind it and understand what happens when I push the button and it turns on. And what the fuck is a “television wave”? I guess we’ve reached the point where “a sufficiently advanced technology becomes indistinguishable from magic” at least for some people.
God is not flesh and blood. He is an eternal Spirit-immortal and invisible. Like the television waves, He cannot be experienced until the “receiver” is switched on. Here is something you will find hard to believe: Jesus said, “He who has My commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him” (John 14:21).
I do find that hard to believe because John wrote his gospel a long time after Jesus died and they would never have met. I also find it hard because of the knack for mythical story-telling people back then tended to have.
Either that is true or it isn’t. Jesus Christ says that He will manifest Himself to anyone who obeys Him. Approach the subject the same way you approached your first television set. Just take a small step of faith. If it works, enjoy it, if it doesn’t, forget it.
I don’t approach technology with faith as I said, I approach it with reason, logic, and science. Any other way seems foolish.
Or have you an ulterior motive? Could it be that the “atheist” can’t find God, for the same reason a thief can’t find a policeman? Could it be that your love for sin is clouding your good judgment? If the Bible is true, and Jesus Christ has “abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel,” then you owe it to yourself just to check it out.
This is the common claim that atheists are baby-eating sin lovers. See my post atheist ethics for a basic idea of how I live a good life.
Note: the following bit was omitted from the website but exists in the booklet I have, so I will type the rest.
With a tender conscience, check this list of the Ten Commandments:
- Have I always loved my Creator with all my heart, mind, soul and strength?
I love my parents, but if by creator you are referring to the Old Testament God (since the Ten Commandments came from there), then no since I have never believed in Him.
2. Have I made a god in my own image – a god to suit myself?
Mockingly and as a joke, yes. FSM is a good example. But seriously I have never considered there to be a supernatural being, so my answer would have to be no. Although I must pose the question, if you assume god made humanity in His image, then wouldn’t your god be in your image (like a mirror) – so wouldn’t all Christians have broken this commandment?
3. Have I ever used God’s name in vain?
Since I don’t believe there’s a God I can’t really use His name in vain, however I have used the following phrases which could qualify: “god dammit,” “jesus,” “jesus christ” (in either a cursive or act of surprise), “jesus fuck” (my favourite), “holy shit,” and likely a few others that I’ve forgotten.
4. Have I kept the Sabbath holy?
Have I ever? I use Sundays (Christianity’s typical day of Sabbath) for peaceful relaxation (like right now), but I have used Sunday’s for catching up on homework, school work, or even going into work as a day-in-lieu of a midweek day I took off. I feel I have done more good in my days off then if I had spent them in church or praying.
5. Have I honoured my parents implicitly?
Generally, yes. They raised me well, so what reason would I have not to?
6. Have I murdered (God considers hatred as murder)?
I have never hated anyone so much to wish death upon them. How many Christians can say that? If you believe in the death penalty, do you not break this commandment?
7. Have I committed adultery? (includes premarital sex and lust)?
Yes but nothing outside the law.
8. Have I stolen (the value is irrelevant)?
Music, software, accidentally a rock from a giftshop (I was more an accessory to my younger brother’s felony – $0.25 value maybe), and maybe a few other things. Nothing really that I could go to jail or be convicted for however.
9. Have I lied (includes fibs & these questions)?
Yes, to everyone except myself (as far as I know). Many times as a joke and I’ll say as such (or add heavy sarcastic tones to it). But my question is who honestly would lie on this ill-informed quiz? A few times lies I told in the past hurt people near me, and for that I feel bad and am sorry to them, I can only try to be better in the future.
10. Have I coveted (been greedy or materialistic)?
At some point, sure, why not. In general I’m pretty good though, and am a lot more generous with my money than I should be.
But now the fun:
If you have even broken one Law, then you have sinned against God and therefore will “surely die,” for the “wages of sin is death.” We are all guilty of breaking the Commandments. Listen to the voice of your conscience, and let it remind you of some of the sins of the past. We are not perfect as we are commanded to be (Matthew 5:48), neither is our heart pure. On Judgement Day our transgressions will be evidence of our shame. Think of it: God has seen every sin we have ever committed. We share our thought-life with Him.
This is what you believe and I see no evidence to share in your delusion. I also doubt the divinity of your books, so please offer some other evidence for your case.
We are guilty of violating His Law a multitude of times, yet if we repent, God can forgive us because Jesus stepped into the courtroom 2,000 years ago and paid the fine for us.
Damn, that sure is convenient. So did everyone before Jesus rot in hell since no one repented for their being descendants of Adam & Eve and that original sin deal?
His death on the cross satisfied the Law we so blatantly transgressed, and fat the same time demonstrated how much God loves us…
God loves us so much he’s willing to play mind-fuck games with us like this? If He is omniscient would he not have seen all of this coming since the point he decided to create the universe? There is also the argument that being omnipotent and omniscient are mutually exclusive (if I know everything ever how can I freely change my mind in the future?)
– “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” Hs shed blood on the cross can make you clean in the sight of a holy God…as though you have never sinned. God doesn’t want you to go to Hell.
So why did he create one?
Please, forget your arguments, repent and put your trust in Jesus and be saved from God’s wrath. Make Psalm 51 your prayer, then read the Bible daily and always obey what you read;
(I added the link since I wanted to know specifically what was being referenced).
I’ll stick with a rational thought system, where you should always question what you read with an honest scepticism. I will potentially get around to reading the Bible (old and new testaments) one day.
God will never let you down.
And what if He does, since He does not exist? Are we then justified in disbelief, unlikely, fundamentalists won’t let you get away that easily.
Thank you for taking the time to read this booklet.
I’m sorry you wasted your time creating this poor argument booklet that is highly unlikely to change a single mind in the world. At least Dawkins has his converts corner.
Adapted from, God Doesn’t Believe in Atheists by Ray Comfort (Bridge-Logos) – available through your Christian book store. For a catalog of unique tracks call Living Waters Publications (562) 920-8431
If I didn’t adequately respond to a single claim in this booklet, please post your comment and let me improve my arguments. This level of fundamentalism is scary, and the fact that it is found on Edmonton Transit is as bad or worse. As John Lennon sang:
Imagine a world with … no religion too