Atheism Grounded on Pretend

this is what i have to say - image of richard dawkins

I’m probably going to get a barrage of abuse for posting this, but don’t get upset with me – I’m simply highlighting what they (the atheists) are saying themselves. So here’s the quote:

No gene – which is a mere collection of DNA molecules – can be said to have a selfish attitude or to make selfish plans, since these require a brain. Nevertheless, it is useful to pretend, as Richard Dawkins (1976) has done, that a gene thinks about it’s desire to survive … (Mary Maxwell, The Sociobiological Imagination 1991, p19-20, emphasis mine)

So, atheism is grounded upon a theory which admittedly relies on pretending. Mmmmm… interesting.

my name is darryl
and this is what i have to say


About Darryl Schoeman

My Personal Life : challenge leads to thought and thought leads to change More than the Apostle Paul, I can say that I am the chief of sinners (really really really). But I love God and I love the Bible. So I try to live my life with the constant realisation that God is PERMANENTLY with me (yes even when I sin), and seek His presence in everything that I do (except when I sin) and in everything that happens. I share this with others so that they too can believe it and then seek to live it.

Posted on February 19, 2013, in Christianity, Religion, Theology and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. “So, atheism is grounded upon a theory which admittedly relies on pretending.”

    Well, no. “Atheism” isn’t grounded on evolution.

    You could prove that evolution is false tomorrow (you really couldn’t, because it would take longer than a day, but hypothetically) and that wouldn’t say anything about atheism. It also wouldn’t say anything about creationism being true.

    And the quote is saying that it is useful to pretend that cells can THINK and has a DESIRE to survive. What you are ‘pretending’ is that cells can think and feel. They can’t, but it is a useful way of thinking about it to understand what cells do.

    In the same way that it is useful to pretend that the way that things fall is ‘down’, when really it’s ‘towards the center of gravity’.

    • Thanks for commenting and quite frankly, being nice about it ;).

      I agree that atheism is not grounded on evolution alone – it is after all a philosophy and not science as evolution is presented. So thank you for the correction. But the two are quite inextricably linked (unless you’re into Theistic Evolution).

      Yes, Darwin’s original theory did not deny the existence of God. But it did provide the stepping stone for many others to posit theories for the non-existence of God (i.e. Stephen Hawking). And many atheists have attached themselves to the theory of evolution to support their philosophy.

      In order for atheism to continue to deny the existence of God, it must have a rebuttal against the presented evidence for the supernatural process(es) in the creation of life – especially intelligent life (humans) – of which the theory of evolution is prime. And so atheism, to some extent, finds the theory of evolution to be a comfortable bed-mate in its support of the non-existence of God.

      Which brings us back to the quote!

      The problem with the analogy that Dawkins used is that it proposes to help understanding by positing a complete impossibility, indeed the complete opposite of what it is actually capable of doing. By using this complete impossibility analogy to support a theorised process, he is indeed presenting it rather as a plausibility that goes unnoticed and unchallenged. And wala!! Suddenly you have intelligent, forward-thinking genes that are purposefully governing their own evolutionary adaptations. Which so by the way, supports his atheistic philosophy.

      So! Maybe a better wording would have been to state that SOME people’s atheism is grounded upon pretend 😉

      • “it is after all a philosophy and not science as evolution is presented.”

        Well, actually, it’s a position on a single issue. Not a philosophy. Many different philosophies include atheism, but atheism isn’t one by itself.

        “But the two are quite inextricably linked”

        Not really.

        It’s just that most atheists have no good reason to disbelieve a scientific theory like evolution. Not all, of course, but most.

        “it must have a rebuttal against the presented evidence for the supernatural process(es) in the creation of life”

        No, it actually doesn’t.

        My position (for example) is that there is not sufficient evidence to show that there is anything supernatural about the universe or the way that life on the planet came to be.

        Notice how that says nothing about evolution. Just as evolution says nothing about creation.

        You have to show good evidence for whatever you claim. Your position shouldn’t be believed because something else is proved wrong. That makes no rational sense.

        It’s as I said. Even if you were to disprove evolution, that wouldn’t mean that creationism was true. Creationism would still have to supply sufficient evidence to justify its claims.

        Which is why atheism, as I understand it, doesn’t have anything to do with evolution. Prove that creationism is true and you might have me rethinking atheism. Disprove evolution…and so what?

        “Which brings us back to the quote!”

        What you wrote after this line does not make sense to me, and seems to indicate you don’t understand the quote. Which is fine. It’s a difficult subject, and there is much I don’t understand about many things.

        I can’t speak for anyone else, but my atheism is not grounded on ‘pretend’. Nor does the quote you supplied support the position that anyone else does.

    • Thank you again for responding. You have said many things for which I do not have the time to respond to each one, save to say that you are highlighting your view of atheism (your position) as being different from most of the atheists that I have encountered.

      I am sorry that you do not see the rationality in my statement that when one uses an example/analogy/image to try and bolster understanding of what one is trying to explain, that in doing so, one is indeed projecting onto the object of the example, the characteristics or traits of the example being used. I would especially consider it foolish in the arena of science, to be using an example that requires pretending that an object can do something that it inherently cannot do. A good example would rather be one that reinforces what the object CAN do, not what it CANNOT do.

      This type of pretending is what Barney-the-Dinosaur calls “the world of make believe”. And this is exactly what the author of this quote would want her readers to believe; that in a world of make believe, a gene could choose not to respond to external stimuli to govern its evolutionary adaptations but could reason for itself the need to respond differently to its external environment in order to ensure its survivability. Like they said, pretend!

      • “to be using an example that requires pretending that an object can do something that it inherently cannot do.”

        You’re using an example that helps us understand what an object does do.

        “This type of pretending”

        It’s an analogy. And if you can’t see that, then the issue is yours, sir.

      • No sir. They were 100% correct to use the term pretend because they knew that to use the term analogy, would be scientifically inaccurate as the example shares no similarity with the object it purports to support.

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