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Every once in a while I come across something online that makes me stop and think, “I wish I’d thought of that!” Tonight, while perusing some of the posts on various facebook groups, my eyes snagged on a post titled “A note to people who consider atheists close-minded” by Ryan at Hammer the Gods. I don’t usually do this, but I asked permission to post his writing on my blog for my readers to see because Ryan, (to quote one of my favorite bands of all time) you took the words right out of my mouth. 

Without further ado…

A note to people who consider atheists “closed minded” for not agreeing with their religious claims – or claims regarding the existence of god(s):

Before you think atheists are closed minded or argue in favor of your religious beliefs, please carefully consider the following.

Just because someone does not agree with unsupported conclusions regarding religious claims and the existence of god(s), does not necessarily mean they are closed minded. You reject other gods and religious claims as unsupported, does that necessarily make you closed minded?

Many if not most atheists are former believers, proving we are open-minded enough to consider new evidence and argumentation regarding religious claims and the existence of god(s). If we weren’t, we would still be believers. I think it’s safe to say, most if not all atheists would acknowledge the existence of god(s), if that conclusion were supported by evidence and argumentation.
(Worshipping said god(s) if it/they were confirmed to exist, is a different topic altogether; but I digress.)

The thing is, you don’t have evidence supporting the existence of god(s) – and your arguments are based on logical fallacies and cognitive biases. Additionally, depending on the claim/belief, there is evidence clearly demonstrating those claims/beliefs to be inaccurate “descriptions” of reality.

Rejecting claims which are unsupported by evidence and sound, valid logic — at least until those claims are are supported by evidence and sound, valid logic — is not closed minded – it’s an objective, rational, intellectually honest approach to understanding, evaluating and verifying claims – before one assimilates those claims into their personal model of reality.
That is to say, it’s what rational people do when they care if their personal model of reality is congruent with our demonstrable, shared reality.

If I claimed “your grandmother robbed a bank in California on a given date and time”, a considerably less extraordinary claim than “god exists (and …)” to be sure, you would rightfully reject such a claim unless and until you were presented with evidence and argumentation supporting it. It would not be closed minded for you to do so, and it would be silly of me to suggest that you should accept it as true, “on faith.”

Believing claims which are unsupported by evidence and sound, valid logic, aka “faith-based” claims, is the most expedient route to assimilating likely false, and possibly harmful and dangerous claims about reality into one’s personal model of reality.

Conversely, if you are unwilling to honestly consider evidence and argumentation which disconfirms your beliefs — about the existence of god(s) and/or surrounding religious claims — it can accurately be said that you are the closed minded one. 

If I claimed “your grandmother robbed a bank in California on a given date and time”, and you had evidence demonstrating she was in New York at the time of the robbery, it would be closed minded of me to ignore that evidence – and delusional of me to persist in believing and claiming that your grandmother robbed the bank.
Furthermore, it would be insane for me to suggest that people should ignore the evidence and consider your grandmother a bank robber, “on faith.”

Likewise, if you cling to faith-based claims/beliefs regarding the nature of reality, in the face of disconfirming evidence and/or refuting argumentation, those claims/beliefs can and should be dismissed as delusional – not based on reality.

For example, if you continue to deny evolution, continue to believe there was a global flood, or continue to believe that the earth is six-thousand to ten-thousand years old, after being presented with mountains of evidence which clearly demonstrate you are mistaken, you are closed minded and your beliefs are demonstrably delusional.
Furthermore, it would be insane for you to suggest that people should believe you are not mistaken, “on faith.”

It is also important to consider not just /what/ you believe, but /why/ you believe it. Saying that you believe X, Y or Z because “Jesus is god”, “Mohammed is Allah’s prophet”, “it says so in the Bible (Qur’an, etc.)” is still not addressing /why/ you believe what you believe.

Please ask yourself the following questions, and consider the following points…

Why is it that you believe “Jesus is god”, “Mohammed is Allah’s prophet”; X, Y, Z religious claim is “true”, or that a given religious text is an accurate “description” of reality?

As we have seen, “faith” is the express route to delusion and has no “reality check.”

Among others, tradition, custom, peer pressure, majority opinion, anecdote, an authority figure said it was true, and “because I was raised to believe it” are also not valid reasons to accept something as true.

What, if any, evidence or argumentation would it take for you to come to a different conclusion regarding your religious beliefs/claims?
If your answer is “nothing could change my conclusion”, you have just conceded that your religious beliefs are not based in reality (likely delusional), that you don’t care if your claims/beliefs are “true”, that you are closed minded, and that you don’t care if your personal model of reality is accurate.

If that is your position, you should stop arguing that “atheists are closed minded”, and that those claims/beliefs are “true”. 
To do otherwise is extremely hypocritical, dishonest, dubious at best, and nefarious at worst.

“Do I have unbiased evidence supporting this claim/belief?”
If the answer is “no”, your belief/claim is very likely delusional, and arguing that that belief/claim is “true”, is dishonest, at best. I recommend looking for confirming /and/ disconfirming evidence /before/ advancing your argument. If you still can’t find unbiased evidence supporting your claim/belief, you should stop arguing in favor of it, and consider changing your conclusion.

“Have I made this argument/claim before?”
If yes, was it shown to contain logical fallacies and/or cognitive biases? 
If yes, be intellectually honest and stop making that claim or using that argument.
Was it shown to be unsupported by unbiased, verifiable evidence or contradicted by evidence?
If yes, be intellectually honest and stop making that claim or using that argument – at least until you find evidence to support it.
To do otherwise, not only makes you intellectually dishonest, it makes your religion and your religious beliefs seem delusional.

In closing, atheists are generally very open-minded people, and are willing and able to change their position – given unbiased, verifiable evidence and sound, valid logic – so please don’t mistake the rejection of unsubstantiated and/or fallacious claims/beliefs for “being closed minded”.
~@Ryan~

 

Thank you for letting me share this. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve been told that I am close-minded or biased against religion. I, who have read multiple versions of the Bible, the Book of Mormon, and several other religious texts front to back. I, who have spent countless hours poring over the claims of believers from all the dozens of sects I have encountered in my life. I, who have been forced to change my world views many times because of new evidence. 

It’s exhausting trying to reason with someone who is unreasonable. I admire folks like Ryan, because he takes the time to enumerate fallacies and irrational claims. When I grow up, I want to be eloquent like that. Until then, I’ll keep blogging to myself and agreeing with the things brilliant people say. 

Thanks for stopping in. Check back next week for an update on our house!

Due to his ‘dozer having mechanical issues, our builder couldn’t get to the floor joists until today. While I was busy stacking firewood, he got the half wall on the east side of the basement done, then put the joists in place for the first floor.

Half wall almost done.

Half wall almost done.

Using the fork truck to get the trusses up.

Using the fork truck to get the trusses up.

Half wall finished and joists being spread across.

Half wall finished and joists being spread across.

Most of the trusses up.

Most of the trusses up.

It was at this point that I had to head back down to our apartment to get ready for a dinner party. I took the truck and left the van, expecting to come back to retrieve it before night fell. We had our dinner party, then my neighbor followed me to the local diesel mechanic so I could drop the truck off for some work. I was going to use the neighbor’s car to drive up to the land to get the van and close up the camper, then we were going to drive up together tomorrow to get her vehicle.

Yeah. Didn’t happen.

I got about five miles out of town headed toward our land when THE WORST storm since I’ve lived here hit. 70 mile an hour winds, hail, and rain like you would not believe. I turned around, defeated. My van had all of its windows down. The camper had all of its windows open. Oh, is that going to be a mess when we finally get up there tomorrow morning.

At least the blueberries got a good soaking. Sounds like the town nearest to our land got the worst of the storm.

This is where I leave you with a fun picture of a woodland friend we met on the road up near our land yesterday. Been seeing a lot of his buddies hit on the roads lately. I found myself seriously contemplating a bit of out-of-season hunting. (But I won’t! Because I’m a good girl!) I’m very curious what porcupines taste like.

Cute little prickle-butt.

Cute little prickle-butt.

Tomorrow I’ll take pictures of the finished joists and my wood pile. I’m very proud of the wood pile. It’s taking me a really long time to stack it all, and I’ve got the arm muscles to show for it. Hoorah for a woman who isn’t afraid to work!

You know it is a good day when I post not one but TWO blogs in one day! After I came home this morning from watching the plumber do his thing in the basement, I got a call from my parents saying they were bringing a trailer load of our stuff. They had borrowed our wood splitter and some shop lights, plus they had some ever-present zucchini to unload on unsuspecting me. So I ran my errands here in town then went back up to the land again.

The log splitter now has a nice little home chained to a large maple tree to the west of our wood piles. After two hours or so of hard work with my dad, we were able to get a bit more wood stacked and the trailer cleared out. I think we’ve done 9 loads so far, but there’s still one more left to do whenever I finally have a free day.

Stacked wood is sexy. :)

Stacked wood is sexy. 🙂

Just as our arms were starting to protest all the heaving and hauling, a truck pulls up in the driveway. My builder! He got out and immediately set to filling in the western trench around the basement because the cement truck was due any minute. WOOHOOO!

The cement truck moving into place on the western wall.

The cement truck moving into place on the western wall.

Pouring and floating.

Pouring and floating.

All hands on deck! Fun note - our loan officer is in there getting dirty with the rest of them. Now that's service!

All hands on deck! Fun note – our loan officer is in there getting dirty with the rest of them. Now that’s service!

All floated, ready for a rest.

All floated, ready for a rest.

It took about a half hour for them to get all of the cement poured, spread, leveled, and floated. Then they let it rest for a half hour before lowering what looked like a face-down fan with a large handle onto it. They took turns walking it across the entire surface, smoothing it out. Then another twenty minute break before they repeated the entire process.

DSC07184

 

Now that we have a basement floor poured, the builder says that he’ll be on site first thing Monday morning to start getting the floor joists up and building up the walls. DOUBLE WOOHOOO!

Friends, we are finally going to have a house!

Once again, progress on the house drew to a crawl as we waited for our plumber to show up to rough-in the basement. This morning he was finally free and able to meet me up at the house site to go over the plans and figure out where all of the water-related amenities would be placed.

The pipes that were buried.

The pipes that were buried.

Future bathroom rough-in in the basement.

Future bathroom rough-in in the basement.

The bathroom in the basement probably won’t be finished for a few years, but it was easier to get it roughed in now than to wait until after the concrete floor was poured. Note the ejection pit and sump directly behind where the sink will go. We will have the water heater back there with all that in a closet.

The builder came last night and put his sealer and foam on the exterior of the basement walls, then backfilled over the exterior drain tile.

DSC07151

Roof trusses ready to go!

Roof trusses ready to go!

All the lumber stacked up for this weekend and next week.

All the lumber stacked up for this weekend and next week.

Tomorrow our builder will pour the basement floor. Next week we will start seeing floor joists and walls go up. Yahoo!

 

 

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