Candide

catholic by birth; scientist by choice; sinner by merit. gaidhlig-speaking neuroscience student at oxford. likes to question everything! @di_macd

Why (ironically enough) I am not an "Internet Atheist"

As I now actually have serious nationwide campaigning responsibilities, I’ve decided to move off Tumblr to a “proper” blog on wordpress. I thought I’d begin with a statement of intent, to explain why atheist (shorthand for atheist, humanist and secular) activism is necessary in the UK, and why it is different from so-called “internet atheism,” I haven’t had time to sort my theme and widgets out yet so the blog looks pretty shabby, but I think this longish essay is a reasonable defence of my new role, although its certainly coloured by own political views.

Atheists more distrusted than rapists?

“atheists are, alongside rapists, the most distrusted group of people.” Maybe in your privileged world, they are. Um, have you heard of race?

MY REPLY
There a number of independent studies that have shown this to  be true. I know it sounds surpising, but here are the links, so u can see for yourself:
Scientifc American article on a University of British Colombia study:
http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=in-atheists-we-distrust
The original paper:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22059841
Here is an article on a University of Minnesota study, it states the conclusions, but I can’t find the original paper:
http://atheism.about.com/od/atheistbigotryprejudice/a/AtheitsHated.htm
I’m sorry but this isn’t my “privileged” world. These are peer-reviewed studies carried out with the highest degree of scientific and statistical reliability. Of course there ia a degree of uncertainty in the sample, but it is only small, or else the papers wouldn’t be published. If you can provide me with some studies that point to race being the greatest indicator of distrust, I would be quite happy to read them.
On another note, we must always remember that the modern USA was willing to elect an African-American president, but never an atheist one. This is just anecdotal evidence, so we can’t read to much into it, but I think it gives some backing to my point, However, as I say, better to read the studies.

Candide’s Wager

If God really did create the universe, then it’s those of us who don’t believe in Him who are going to Heaven. God is all-knowing, all-powerful, all-good - and all too clever to believe anything without evidence. If He exists, I’m convinced He’ll reward those of us who came to the conclusion that there just isn’t enough empirical evidence to justify belief in His existence. By my reckoning, the only God befitting of the title is one that created a universe without enough evidence of Himself as a part of test to see whether you could make valid inferences from the evidence at hand. He endowed you with reason and free will, and wants to see you use it. So if you rightly conclude that the universe doesn’t provide sufficient evidence for the creator, then you have passed the creator’s test - you have used your head and you’re going to paradise!