– a quick reference flash
page is meant to serve as a quick reference to topics surrounding atheism,
theism, science, evolution and creationism.
NB References are given in the brief format,
indicating the PubMed ID, which starts “PMID:”. Simply follow the link or
type the PubMed ID into PubMed at:
What is meant by “God” or “gods”?
What is atheism?
Is it possible to be atheist and
Is evolution incompatible with the
belief in God?
Can the “fine-tuning” of
fundamental physical constants in our universe be explained naturally?
Did we have blood or a heart
When we came out of the ocean, did
we have gills or lungs?
Did we have a skull or a brain
Did we have one arm before we had
two? Did we have legs or arms first? Why don’t we have 3 arms?
Why did sexual reproduction
Can the origin of life be explained
Proof of evolution and prebiotic
1. The fossil record combined with dating methods shows a
radiating pattern of life in a tree-like fashion. Transitional forms are
documented in the fossil record.
2. DNA evidence suggests common ancestry and the same
radiating pattern as the fossil record.
3. Endogenous Retroviruses (ERVs) scattered in vertebrate
genomes also show a clear radiating pattern of common ancestry. This is best
explained with evolution.
4. Speciation has been observed experimentally.
5. Beneficial mutations have been observed experimentally.
6. Abiogenesis has been supported by experimental evidence.
7. Synthetic cells have nearly been synthesised.
Intelligent design (ID) debunked
The “bacterial flagellum”
According to a literal interpretation
of the Bible, God is evil.
Literal interpretations of some
passages of the Qur’an and the Hadith can motivate fundamentalist behaviour
The Bible is scientifically
Destructive impact of Abrahamic
Atheism is a more healthy belief
system than Abrahamic religion.
1. Atheism correlates positively with IQ
2. Only about 7 % of leading scientists in the US believe in
God. This probably even lower in Europe.
3. Atheist countries do better in indicators of social
4. Atheists have a higher education level in the USA.
5. In the USA, church attendance by state positively
correlates with property crime (Burglary, Larceny-theft, Motor vehicle
General links to primers and
Physics and cosmology
“God” is defined as follows.
being conceived as the perfect, omnipotent, omniscient originator and
ruler of the universe, the principal object of faith and worship in
force, effect, or a manifestation or aspect of this being.
being of supernatural powers or attributes, believed in and worshiped by
a people, especially a male deity thought to control some part of nature
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth
is the lack of belief in a God or gods. Ideally, it should be specific to a
particular God, but in common everyday language, the God in question is
usually the Abrahamic God. Loosely speaking, therefore, unless specified
otherwise, atheism refers to atheism with respect to the Abrahamic God.
acceptable definition, proposed by Hitchens and others, is as follows:
“The atheist says no persuasive argument for the
existence of God has ever been advanced or adduced without convincing
Hitchens: deism, theism, wishful thinking.
Agnosticism means that you think the concept of God is inherently
impossible to prove or disprove, or that you simply don’t know if God
exists or does not exist with absolute certainty. Atheism allows for the
belief that God is very unlikely and probably does not exist, while still
maintaining that there is a very small chance he does exist.
my opinion, yes. However, some distinguished biologists, namely Ken Miller
and Francis Collins argue otherwise. Both of them have used the anthropic
principle as an argument for God but omitted the explanation for the
fine-tuning of fundamental physical constants provided by multiverse
interpretations of the latest unified theories in physics such as string
theory and loop quantum gravity. Miller also brings forth the uncertainty
elements in quantum mechanics as a leeway for free will in humans and this
position has been criticized by other scientists. Francis Collins argues
that this uncertainty in the quantum mechanical world provides way for God
to intervene in the world, thus allowing directed evolution by God. Again,
this position has been criticized by other scientists.
Quantum arguments for God veer into mumbo-jumbo
There are interpretations of quantum gravity theories in physics that allow
anthropic selection of universes with observer bias such that some of the
fundamental constants are restricted, in particular the cosmological
constant. See links below.
came first. Early organisms did not need a heart to pump the fluid that
contained nutrients around their body.
came first. Transitional form between fish and land animals had a
transitory apparatus that allowed them to take little gasps of air outside
the water for short periods of time.
How Fish Jumped out of the Water: Evolution of the
came first. Early organisms had very rudimentary brains and then they got
larger and more complex. Then it became encased by a skull in some
vertebrate lineages, providing extra protection.
Limbs developed symmetrically from symmetric fins on early fish. We first
had four legs then 2 of the 4 legs became arms in the early hominid
the origin of eukaryotic cells, when mitochondria were engulfed by the host
cells, the host genome was bombarded by bacterial introns and increased
mutation rate. So sex was the only mechanism that helped survival because
it improved the efficiency of selection, allowing good genes to recombine
away from the junk residing in the genetic backgrounds. That is the origin
of sexual reproduction. It happened quite early at the eukaryote lineage.
See links below.
origin of life and formation of the first cells is dealt with in a field
called abiogenesis. It is a theory separate from evolution. The first cells
were either RNA replicases enveloped in a fatty acid bilayer or proteinaceous
membranes with co-evolving RNA and protein. The formation of RNA has been
demonstrated experimentally under prebiotic conditions. In other words, there
is experimental proof that even under the early Earth’s conditions, RNA can
design (ID) is the idea that certain features of the universe and living
things are best explained by an intelligent cause such as an intelligent
Primer: Intelligent Design Theory in a Nutshell
It is based on the idea of complex-specified
information (CSI), which is usually based on Dembski’s filter. Irreducible
complexity is a subset of CSI saying that certain biological systems are too
complex to have evolved from simpler, or “less complete” predecessors because
all of its parts must initially be present in a suitably functioning manner.
The Amazing Cell
Dembski’s filter is basically:
E have a high probability or can it be explained by a law? If no:
Can it be
explained by chance? If no:
rejected regularity and chance, must accept design.
More specifically, Dembski arbitrarily defines CSI
as nonrandom information with 500 bits or more.
this is wrong because natural selection can produce information. Dembski
assumed that natural processes are incapable of producing information
exceeding 500 bits. This is not so. The very early genomes were very small
and contained no information. It was due to the natural selection for
efficient replicators that information increased. Evolutionary mechanisms
also increase information and have been operating on cells for BILLIONS of
years. The filter ignores all this.
problem is that the first step asks for probabilities that are unknown, so we
simply cannot perform the calculation. Also, success is badly defined and
focuses on a single, specified outcome. For example, many different protein
sequences can give a particular function, not just one. So it is wrong to
calculate the probability of just one particular sequence.
Creationism special: A sceptic's guide to
irreducible complexity is also simply wrong. The systems that Behe cites have
all been proved to have been able to have evolved naturally:
are also examples of complicated protein complexes that have had their
evolutionary history resolved. An example is complex 1:
There are many examples like this, which show
macromolecular complexes had plausible evolutionary “stepping stones”.
ID proponents like Meyer make the same mistake of viewing DNA just like a
code completely ignoring its evolutionary history, therefore fallaciously
concluding information arose without a naturalistic explanation.
Jefferson would not have supported intelligent
God says it’s okay to have slaves from other
God punishes ALL women with the pain of childbirth
and subjugation to man just because of the sin of just 2 people.
God intentionally confounds the languages of men
to impair their communication.
God murders the whole of humanity and kills all
animals on earth except for Noah and co.
God murders hundreds of children (first born).
God punishes people for making a golden calf.
God helps Ehud kill lots of Moabites.
1 Kings 20:30
God kills Syrians by causing a wall to fall on
God orders the killing of women and little
children without pity.
1 Samuel 15
Samuel hewes Agag into pieces in front of God.
1 Samuel 15:1-3
God instructs the murder of women and children and
God instructs the public stoning of a man who
2 Chronicles 21:12-16
God intentionally gives a person bowel disease.
God inspires Samson to kill men and women who
weren’t attacking him.
2 Kings 2:23-25
God sends bears to rip up children for calling
Hadith (Sahih Bukhari), Volume 9, Book 84, Number
... 'Whoever changed his Islamic religion, then
O ye who believe! Fight those of the disbelievers
who are near to you, and let them find harshness in you, and know that
Allah is with those who keep their duty (unto Him).
Then, when the sacred months have passed, slay the
idolaters wherever ye find them, and take them (captive), and besiege them,
and prepare for them each ambush.
Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last
Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His
Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the
People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and
feel themselves subdued.
The woman and the man guilty of adultery or
fornication,- flog each of them with a hundred stripes: Let not compassion
move you in their case, in a matter prescribed by Allah, if ye believe in
Allah and the Last Day: and let a party of the Believers witness their
Men are the protectors and maintainers of women,
because Allah has given the one more (strength) than the other, and because
they support them from their means. Therefore the righteous women are
devoutly obedient, and guard in (the husband's) absence what Allah would
have them guard. As to those women on whose part ye fear disloyalty and
ill-conduct, admonish them (first), (Next), refuse to share their beds,
(And last) beat them (lightly); but if they return to obedience, seek not
against them Means (of annoyance): For Allah is Most High, great (above you
The Center for Muslim-Jewish Engagement, Quran
- The formation of the universe is inaccurately described.
- The Earth was formed after the sun, not the other way around.
- Stars are described as “lights in the firmament of the
heavens”. That is incorrect.
- The origin of animals and humans is incorrect.
- The timescale of the formation of the universe is incorrect.
- The origin of sexual dimorphism is incorrect.
- The longevity of early humans described is impossible.
- The global deluge described is impossible because it wouldn’t
have left the geological layering pattern we observe, namely clearly
defined sedimentary layers each made of different material and in no
- The repopulation of the Earth’s human and animal population on
the ark is impossible because it doesn’t coincide with the patterns of
genetic markers we see today.
are many other scientific falsehoods that have been omitted. Many of these
are available here:
The Skeptic's Annotated Bible
religious claims of Abrahamic religions are often destructive belief systems.
Here is a partial list if the wars, conflicts and detrimental effects that
- The Crusades
- Northern Ireland conflict
- The Spanish inquisition.
- The Israeli-Palestine conflict
- Indo-Pakistani war
- Domestic discrimination of religious minorities throughout
history solely because of their religious beliefs. This includes the
burning of innocent women as witches.
- Christian theocracy was widespread in the Dark Ages, one of the
most brutal periods of history. It also marked 1000 years of
- Several historians and scientists speculate that Islamic
fundamentalism contributed to the scientific decline in the Islamic
world by failure of separation of science and politics and that modern
science was antagonistic to the metaphysical presuppositions of Islam.
- Various acts of violence throughout the world, including
terrorist attacks, can only be explained by motivations from Abrahamic
R. Lynn, J. Harvey, and H. Nyborg. Average
intelligence predicts atheism rates across 137 nations. Intelligence,
37(1):11–15, January 2009.
Leading scientists still reject God, Nature, Vol.
394, No. 6691, p. 313 (1998)
Gregory S. Paul. Cross-national correlations of
quantifiable societal health with popular religiosity and secularism in the
prosperous democracies. Journal of Religion and Society, 7, 2005.
The Times, September 27, 2005, Societies worse off
'when they have God on their side'
Eurobarometer Special Surveys
See section 1.2. Religious and spiritual beliefs.
American Beliefs: Evolution vs. Bible's
Explanation of Human Origins
Church Attendance Lowest in New England, Highest
Crime in the United States
are some short primers and resources that review some basics of the science
behind cosmology and evolution. They can serve as general introductions.