Atheists believe that everything is an accident

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(Rewrote it, as I didn't agree with the assessment of the objection - JT)
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Religious people like to say that atheists believe everything is an "accident". Typically, when the topics of [[abiogenesis]] or the [[Big Bang]] arise, the theist offers a [[false dichotomy]] between "purposeful [[design|intelligent design]]" and "purposeless accident".
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Religious people like to say that atheists believe everything is an "accident". Typically, when the topics of [[abiogenesis]] or the [[Big Bang]] arise, the theist offers a [[false dichotomy]] between "purposeful [[intelligent design|design]]" and "purposeless accident".
  
 
Using the word "accident" implies that the phenomenon in question otherwise shouldn't happen. Thus, if the atheist believes it was an accident, then the atheist is foolishly believing that an event that shouldn't have happened, in fact did. If that's the case, the atheist could be accused of having [[faith]], and thus, is a hypocrite.  
 
Using the word "accident" implies that the phenomenon in question otherwise shouldn't happen. Thus, if the atheist believes it was an accident, then the atheist is foolishly believing that an event that shouldn't have happened, in fact did. If that's the case, the atheist could be accused of having [[faith]], and thus, is a hypocrite.  
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* If there's open soil in an otherwise grassy field during the summer, it's to be expected that grass will start to grow in it.
 
* If there's open soil in an otherwise grassy field during the summer, it's to be expected that grass will start to grow in it.
 
* If a piece of paper gets too hot, it's to be expected that an oxidization chemical reaction (fire) will consume the paper.
 
* If a piece of paper gets too hot, it's to be expected that an oxidization chemical reaction (fire) will consume the paper.
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After the Big Bang, a series of stages of the development of the [[universe]] lead until the present day. None of these stages are "accidents", but are all "expected outcomes":
 
After the Big Bang, a series of stages of the development of the [[universe]] lead until the present day. None of these stages are "accidents", but are all "expected outcomes":
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* After some time of dust floating around, it is to be expected that it would fall into gravity wells, compress, and form planets and planetoids.
 
* After some time of dust floating around, it is to be expected that it would fall into gravity wells, compress, and form planets and planetoids.
 
* Etc.
 
* Etc.
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Each step is logical and entirely reasonable.
 
Each step is logical and entirely reasonable.

Revision as of 22:54, 11 February 2011

Religious people like to say that atheists believe everything is an "accident". Typically, when the topics of abiogenesis or the Big Bang arise, the theist offers a false dichotomy between "purposeful design" and "purposeless accident".

Using the word "accident" implies that the phenomenon in question otherwise shouldn't happen. Thus, if the atheist believes it was an accident, then the atheist is foolishly believing that an event that shouldn't have happened, in fact did. If that's the case, the atheist could be accused of having faith, and thus, is a hypocrite.

Those who bring up this dichotomy are omitting a third option - "expected outcome". While an "accident" would be by definition an incredibly improbable event, an "expected outcome" would by by definition a highly probably event. That is, given a set of initial conditions, a particular outcome is to be reasonably expected. Some examples would be:

  • If there's a lot of moisture in the air, and it's below freezing, it's to be expected that it would snow.
  • If there's open soil in an otherwise grassy field during the summer, it's to be expected that grass will start to grow in it.
  • If a piece of paper gets too hot, it's to be expected that an oxidization chemical reaction (fire) will consume the paper.


After the Big Bang, a series of stages of the development of the universe lead until the present day. None of these stages are "accidents", but are all "expected outcomes":

  • Right after the Big Bang, we had a lot of elementary particles, such as quarks, floating around, and it's to be expected that they'd cool until they form sub-atomic particles, such as protons, electrons and neutrons.
  • After the hot protons, electrons and neutrons continue to cool, it is to be expected that they'd combine into hydrogen and helium.
  • After some time of hydrogen and helium floating around the universe, it is to be expected that they'd fall into gravity wells, compress and ignite into stars.
  • As the nuclear fusion of the stars continues, it is to be expected that the process would build heavier atoms, such as nitrogen, carbon, oxygen, which alongside hydrogen, form the set of organic elements that are a prelude to organic compounds.
  • As the star uses up its nuclear fuel, it is to be expected that the star will either nova or supernova, spreading the heavier elements around as stellar dust.
  • After some time of dust floating around, it is to be expected that it would fall into gravity wells, compress, and form planets and planetoids.
  • Etc.


Each step is logical and entirely reasonable.

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