I have been reading various articles written by apologists of all stripes, which go way back. After reading all of this I was laughing so hard you could've knocked me over with a feather. The writers claimed; atheism, agnosticism, humanism and even evolution/ism are "beliefs." The use of "ism" supports their idea that these are belief systems. I guess they also think that heroism is a belief system. Does using "ism" after words or calling scientific theories "beliefs" make them into a religion?
Religion was excluded from public education so government funds couldn't be used to promote one religion over another. If atheism is a belief, then not to allow theism into the education system is a violation of their constitutional rights. Could that be the actual reason for promoting atheism as a belief? Some of them claim schools are violating the separation of "religion" and state because the education system is promoting one belief over another belief. Ha! Especially the evolution belief!
Some articles just called evolution a belief, but a few claimed it was a religion. The evolution religion I guess! Some of them actually said evolution is a belief and creationism is a fact. The creation fact is God created the Earth and all the living things in it and they were the same then as they are today. Those that claim evolution is a belief/religion say teaching evolution without allowing other theories to be taught is a violation of Separation of "Religion" and State. It's Separation of Church (not science) and State. It was in the Constitution from the beginning so I can't figure out why they keep saying they want religion put back into education. Nevertheless, most of them just claim that there are weaknesses in evolution theory that should be taught or that other theories should be taught along with evolution.
There are no weaknesses in the theory of evolution. There are always things to be found with any scientific theory, and that will lead to other discoveries. Scientific theories comprise proven facts not beliefs, but there is no discovery that creation or intelligent design will lead to. Leaving religion out of the public education system is not forcing anyone into disbelief.
Silly me, I thought evolution was a scientific theory and a fact. I thought evolution was a well-substantiated theory that answers questions and makes predictions and has been tested for 200 years. Beliefs are not theories and beliefs can't be tested. Beliefs do not answer scientific questions. Their so-called "theories" are not scientific theories because they cannot be tested, they do not answer questions, and they do not provide the basis for additional research.
Several of these apologists' articles claim atheists are humanists and that it is a religion. Some atheists are secular humanists, but all atheists are not humanists and some humanists are theists. Humanists simply conclude that they determine their purpose in life and solve their own problems. How is that a religion? Some atheists (not all) are nihilists who believe that there is no purpose or meaning in life. Positive Atheistic Humanism embraces life as meaningful despite the lack of any divinely created purpose for the human race. I doubt that's being taught. Some of the apologists claim that atheists have different beliefs about god. No, but atheists can have different beliefs about many other things, but they do not include beliefs about sky fairies or the supernatural. The only "religious belief" that is atheistic is a religion without a deity. That's why it's very important to make the distinction between a person with a "religious belief" without a god and an atheist. And there are people (mostly theists) writing definitions about atheists that must come from ancient Greece or Rome. Ancient people believed that gods inhabited all kinds of things in nature. In ancient Rome leaders like Caesar were deified as gods. Pantheists believe that the universe itself was God. Most people do believe in nature the universe and Caesar but they don't believe they are gods, not even the Christians. None of the scholars I looked up define atheist as no belief in "a" god. The modern definition is always no belief in gods, and there is no "ism" even in Greek atheos, godless.
The way to get a non-biased definition of atheist and agnostic is from books written by scholars and not from websites that theists or apologists may have written. Some definitions are so absurd that they would coax you into thinking that atheists are people incapable of believing in a god. These definitions are not what you will find in books written by secular scholars or those without a bias. The works of scholars that specialize in the material is information on a specific topic with a consensus of opinion by other scholars in that field. Most of these scholars agree an atheist is a person without a belief in gods. Many scholars define atheist as one who denies the existence of anything supernatural.
One definition of agnostic on the web claimed that everyone is an agnostic because nobody knows, but they actually didn't say what nobody knows. In case it was god many theists do claim to know, but some theists are agnostics. Belief does not require knowledge, and does not have to be based on your own knowledge or evidence. Some people are religious agnostics who do not believe the religious dogma but do believe in god. A belief can be based on "faith" or "assurance" that an authority figure is telling you the truth. An agnostic does not have a position they have no knowledge of god/gods. For something to become a fact or knowledge it must be merited and proven to be true. Some people claim to have a "true" belief, but it may not be justified, and it is not knowledge. A false belief that is very justified is not knowledge. Not knowing doesn't fundamentally mean not believing; it simply means your belief doesn't rise to the state of knowledge.
Atheists dismiss the god/gods theory. God is a claim that is made without evidence. I can dismiss any claim that is made without evidence without having to prove anything. However, I think that there is a preponderance of evidence of fraud in all religions, and I think science refutes numerous Holy Book claims.
I can't answer for all theists as to why some of them are doing this but I can posit a hypothesis; though I'm not sure how you would test it.
It's analogous to a child responding to a school yard taunt with, "My mom's not fat, YOUR mom's fat!" when the child has no knowledge of anything except the obesity of their own ginormous mother.
The theist feels their world view collapsing around them as they begin to realize beliefs they've held all their lives are unsupportable which causes massive cognitive dissonance. On the one hand they see how patently absurd their beliefs are but on the other hand they are forced by social conditioning to continue believing even in the face of irrefutable evidence.
For whatever reasons they are incapable of breaking their social conditioning but must find some kind of relief for their mental anguish. The easiest thing to do is to construct a fantasy world where everything is just as plausible as their unsupported beliefs. They think, "Religion is wrong? Oh yeah? Well then science is a religion too!"
At least that's my guess as to why some theists have started with this nonsense.
As hard as it is to imagine, there are theists that want to force their beliefs on everyone in the world. When Darwin's theory of Evolution was first published, the theists (at that time) found Evolution disturbing because it does not accommodate a "special creation." Man is in the lineage of lower primates in Darwin's theory of Evolution. The theory of Evolution makes no distinction between the evolution of man and animals. The truth is that as soon as Darwin's theory of Evolution was published, the Clergy (people in the religious profession) felt threatened. The theory of evolution disputes the idea that anything was created. When the theory of evolution became known in America there was a huge uproar from most of the clergy who claimed that the theory of evolution would lead to immoral behavior because humans were being taught that they are animals.
There are two fronts in America on the evolution issue and both are wrong. There are the Creationists who want their concept on the origin of life taught as science, and those who say they believe in Theistic Evolution. The first group (the Creationists) started out simply vilifying those who supported the theory of evolution and the teaching of evolution, but advances in science (DNA) confirmed evolution to the point that it was hard to deny evolution without looking ridiculous. That is why some theists thought that they could separate themselves from ignorant creationists with Theistic Evolution. However, most scientists reject Theistic Evolution as well, and so did Darwin. It is not supported by the theory of Evolution.
Theistic evolution not only requires radical revisions in the Biblical creation story in Genesis about Creation and the Creator, but it also requires revision in the theory of Evolution. The Bible claims that God created everything in six days, it does not state that it evolved over billions of years. The Bible makes no statement that would lead anyone to conclude that Theistic Evolution's claim that there was a Creation of Evolution by the Creator to make things evolve. The Bible states that God created animals after their kind. All species of animals were created in six days, and no new species has ever appeared since. That would mean that the life forms that were created didn't evolve. We know that there are transitional fossils. The Bible claims that God made man from the dust of the ground not that man evolved from a common ancestor.
No doubt many theists say the story in Genesis is an allegorical story, but that is not exactly right. The Bible is based on Jewish and pagan myths, and Theistic Evolution that claims that a Creator created through evolution is false. There is not a shred of evidence of a creator or any need for one in the Theory of Evolution.
Creation theory and Theistic Evolution are not compatible with evolution; the theory is that all life is descended from an original species from ancient times. DNA evidence supports this idea. All organic beings, which have ever lived on this earth, have descended from some primordial life form.
Some of those who do believe that the Theory of Evolution is a threat to Christianity have tried to have Creation taught as science, which failed. The courts ruled Creation is not science. I guess that is why some people are saying that evolution is a religion too?
There are "creation scientists" with degrees from major universities, who are generally involved in the same types of work as the average scientist. The difference is that creation scientists have the belief that a designer (or creator) created our universe and the natural things in it. They believe creation was a one-time event that is not taking place today. However, Dr. Kefyn M. Catley, staff scientist at the American Museum of Natural History, found a centipede in Central Park that she couldn't identify, so she sent it to Richard L. Hoffman, curator for invertebrates at the Virginia Museum of Natural History. Hoffman couldn't identify it either, so he sent it to scientists in Italy, who proclaimed it one of a kind, a new genus and species. They declared that the centipede was a first and named it after Hoffman: Nannarrup hoffmani, or Hoffman's dwarf centipede.
The creationists are making a lot of headway in the United States and other countries. Creationists are now working to get Evolution and Creation taught along with science. Even though Creation is not science, it is religion, and Evolution is not religion, it is science.
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From the officers:
The ACA Lecture Series continues Sunday, March 8th at 12:15pm at the Austin History Center, 9th and Guadalupe. The building opens at noon. Ryan Bell will talk on "My Year Without God: Now a Permanent Condition."