Comparing something you know to be created with something you assume to be created proves only that you made an assumption. That’s it… almost my entire response to this nonsense meme on social media, followed only by a brief accusation of magical thinking. But of course I can elaborate here.
Every so often, a creationist smugly shares this meme, and I can almost hear them as they sit there surveying the screen, hands poised in steeple grip, snickering with sardonic delight at beating us atheists with their “superior” logic. Except it is quite a terribly illogical argument.
First of all, atheism makes no claim. We simply don’t buy into your claim(s) that god(s) exist, or that any such god(s) created anything. So any claim of atheist logic is a straw man, but let’s ignore that for now anyway. (But we will get back to it later.) For argument’s sake, let’s assume that “atheist logic” has this one major problem: It doesn’t explain where we came from. Let us take that as a given and then proceed.
What then, is the creationist solution to the problem?
- God did it.
- There is no two.
But does this actually solve the problem? Of course not. It moves the problem (to god, where god is just a name, a placeholder). If you assume that god created everything, you still don’t know where this god came from. But that’s the beauty of indoctrination… You are taught not to question this. You are taught to accept that this god was always there. And that really is all there is to it. Everything else is arguments from ignorance, layer upon layer of sophisticated nonsense (which I call Jerome’s Law), and deflection.
But creationists share arguments like this with such confidence because they truly don’t realize that creationism merely moves the problem, and most of the time they don’t have the foggiest idea what atheism actually is. The fact is, we don’t know where the universe came from. Every answer we have is one that we made up, even scientific answers. But at least scientists test the science, and when they find their answers are wrong, they refine and improve the hypotheses and then test the improved ones. They might still be wrong, but at least they aren’t answers that were made up thousands of years ago by goat herders who buried their faeces in the fields.
But notice that I wrote that scientists test their hypotheses? Not atheists, because that isn’t what atheism is about. Atheism is about doubting your god claims because, as stated, those claims are just made up answers, in other words magical thinking.
I did say I’d come back to this, and it’s time I did that. Since atheism doesn’t actually make any claim, the opposite of “god did it” is “I don’t know”. Thus the problem of not providing an answer, not saying where anything came from, is not and never was a problem with atheism. The unknown is just that, unknown. But it is a problem of creationism. It absolutely is, because when you made up god(s) that magically created everything, you also introduced the problem of not knowing where they came from. Obviously. They didn’t come from anywhere because you made them up. (I’m using ‘you’ as a plural here. You, your ancestors, as in people who lived long ago.) It’s a circle because making up a solution and then insisting that the solution may not be questioned was never logical. That’s the irony: This supposed problem with atheist logic is really a problem of creationism.
Of course this post won’t convince a single creationist. But that’s OK; it isn’t meant to. Whatever excuse you use to be able to hang onto the assumption that your god exists, whatever special pleading, will be enough to convince you. If you are a creationist reading this, well thank you for reading, but this isn’t an argument meant to convince you; it’s more an observation about you.
An afterthought: Creationists often respond to this, or at least my short version of it, firstly with a denial that theirs is magical thinking, and then they follow that by saying that I am making a claim because I say they made up their god, whichever one it may be. That’s not how this works. Just because you assume this god exists and are happy to accept this without evidence does not make it true. It doesn’t matter why you assume your god exists – it doesn’t matter if I say that (y)our ancestors made it up. If you accept the claim and expect others to, you are de facto making the claim. Just because you don’t think about the fact that it is magical thinking doesn’t make it rational. There is no rational justification for faith – there is only what I have already described… assumptions, arguments from ignorance, word salad and deflection.