The only thing that makes me even slightly doubt my atheism is...

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I'm a rather ardent atheist. I love Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, all that jazz. I'm fully committed to the cause.

However, the only thing that just slightly gives me pause for thought, is a total solar eclipse.

I find it to be such an incredible coincidence that in the four billion year history of our planet, and the moon's slow but inexorable spiral away from us, things are just at the right point now, in this tiny geological window of humanity (200,000 years give or take), for the moon to occasionally, perfectly cover the disc of the sun.

Now, I realise that in the period up to this point the moon will have been bigger in the sky than the sun, and so would have blocked it anyway. The difference now is that by being exactly the right size, we get to see the corona of the sun, which is normally blotted out by its brightness.

In a few hundred thousand or million years the moon will appear too small to cause this effect, and will eventually appear only as the inner planets do when they transition across the sun. We are at a very unique point in our planet's cosmological history.

So, anyone else have incredible things that make them doubt their atheism?

Gerishnakov:
I'm a rather ardent atheist. I love Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, all that jazz. I'm fully committed to the cause.

However, the only thing that just slightly gives me pause for thought, is a total solar eclipse.

I find it to be such an incredible coincidence that in the four billion year history of our planet, and the moon's slow but inexorable spiral away from us, things are just at the right point now, in this tiny geological window of humanity (200,000 years give or take), for the moon to occasionally, perfectly cover the disc of the sun.

Now, I realise that in the period up to this point the moon will have been bigger in the sky than the sun, and so would have blocked it anyway. The difference now is that by being exactly the right size, we get to see the corona of the sun, which is normally blotted out by its brightness.

In a few hundred thousand or million years the moon will appear too small to cause this effect, and will eventually appear only as the inner planets do when they transition across the sun. We are at a very unique point in our planet's cosmological history.

What does any of that have to do with a god existing or not? Seems like an argument from "but - look at the pretty flowers!" that believers often come up with. It's somewhat blasť, but coincidences happen.

So, anyone else have incredible things that make them doubt their atheism?

I wouldn't say it makes me doubt atheism to any great degree, but for those whose atheism is based on things like science, the lack of a solid explanation for the origins of the universe is probably the area where neither side really has much to go on. In most other areas, I'd say atheism is more sensible option hands down.

That said, if anything non-scientific/supernatural is the prime mover / first cause I suspect it has nothing to do with any god-concepts currently worshipped. Certain theists seem remarkably quick to non-sequitur their way from "first cause" to "the exact same personal god with a penchant for the middle east and prohibiting bumsex as I believe in".

It serves no purpose though. Sure, it's cool to look not quite directly at, but what reason would a God put it there?

Eh, lots of strange coincidences are going to happen in a large enough random system.

Everything is weird or nothing is.

Ocassionally some biological processes seem really elegant to me, and it seems like the organism must have been designed. Looking at the organism from a whole genome scale tends to fix that; most life is an absolute bloody mess.

Nah. The world has plenty of awesome things in it, but I never understood why that would make anyone make the leap to a god, especially a Theistic god. Complete non-sequitur in my eyes. Really, it seems to boil down to confirmation bias: Seeing awesome and beautiful things and ignoring both the awful and the mundane.
Plus, it's just so arrogant. The universe is full of empty space as well as billions of galaxies with billions of stars in them, black holes, nebulas, crashes, destruction, creation, transformation. In the great scheme of things, our moon sometimes blotting out the sun in a particular way really doesn't matter.
If there were a god, it would be far beyond any human affairs, scale and understanding. Pretty much certainly not one of the religions we have today or had in the past. And considering the baggage the word "god" usually has, I doubt that term should be used to refer to such an entity were it to exist. Gods are usually very small and petty with their anthropocentric views, rules and ideas. Clearly products of human minds.

Well, it was bound to happen at some point, and sapient life advanced enough to know about its uniqueness was bound to note it. Humans always look for reason/justification/direction in whatever they experience, but as this is just the moon following natural laws, the cosmos really couldn't care less about us: The fascination is decidedly one-sided.

You don't need gods to explain that in the endless sea of common occurrences we don't focus on, there are a few unique occurrences which we do focus on. Just statistics.

Besides, wouldn't be nearly as beautiful and unique if it was just some god's plaything. And it'd be pretty bad if watching wonderful things always made me wonder whether a horrible omnipotent puppeteer had created them.

Are you fucking kidding me? You're a staunch atheist and yet you fall for these idiotic apologetic arguments? Are you sure you're not a YEC in disguise?

PercyBoleyn:
Are you fucking kidding me? You're a staunch atheist and yet you fall for these idiotic apologetic arguments? Are you sure you're not a YEC in disguise?

Hello? Did I say it makes me drop everything and worship?

Like many of the others who've contributed so far I recognise it as an incredible coincidence.

Gerishnakov:

Hello? Did I say it makes me drop everything and worship?

Like many of the others who've contributed so far I recognise it as an incredible coincidence.

You say you're a fan of Dawkins and Hitchens and yet you've never heard of the watchmaker analogy?

PercyBoleyn:

Gerishnakov:

Hello? Did I say it makes me drop everything and worship?

Like many of the others who've contributed so far I recognise it as an incredible coincidence.

You say you're a fan of Dawkins and Hitchens and yet you've never heard of the watchmaker analogy?

I think his point is that it's striking, even though he rationally knows that it's not evidence for anything beyond coincidence.

That kind of gut reaction can be hard to overcome.

PercyBoleyn:
Snip

Did I say that? You're really not getting the point of this thread.

Oirish_Martin:
I think his point is that it's striking, even though he rationally knows that it's not evidence for anything beyond coincidence.

That kind of gut reaction can be hard to overcome.

Pretty much this.

I've never seen why a specific situation would imply the existance of fictional gods.

If Theia passed by earth instead of impacting, we wouldn't have had a moon, let alone the current rotation. Chances are nothing would've been different. For one thing, it doesn't appear that the moon gives a shit about our opinions. ;-)

Wait, how is it hard to believe that something really close to us covers something really far away?
As to the point that it precisely covers the sun, that's not such a big coincidence, in fact, no one would bat an eyelash if this wasn't the case. But because it's roughly the same size, it seems "special"?

Now if this had some sort of alternate function besides making everything really dark, you'd might have a point.

Gerishnakov:
I'm a rather ardent atheist. I love Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, all that jazz. I'm fully committed to the cause.

However, the only thing that just slightly gives me pause for thought, is a total solar eclipse.

I find it to be such an incredible coincidence that in the four billion year history of our planet, and the moon's slow but inexorable spiral away from us, things are just at the right point now, in this tiny geological window of humanity (200,000 years give or take), for the moon to occasionally, perfectly cover the disc of the sun.

Now, I realise that in the period up to this point the moon will have been bigger in the sky than the sun, and so would have blocked it anyway. The difference now is that by being exactly the right size, we get to see the corona of the sun, which is normally blotted out by its brightness.

In a few hundred thousand or million years the moon will appear too small to cause this effect, and will eventually appear only as the inner planets do when they transition across the sun. We are at a very unique point in our planet's cosmological history.

So, anyone else have incredible things that make them doubt their atheism?

The moon is quite vital to our existence, being just where it is. Now, do you think we would evolve on a world that didn't allow us to so easily exist on? The moon wasn't made because god chose this planet to be the land of his children, we grew up here because this planets conditions were perfect for life.

Gerishnakov:
We are at a very unique point in our planet's cosmological history.

So, anyone else have incredible things that make them doubt their atheism?

...

So...

'God' exists because I am alive?

Well yeah, if all the humans suddenly disappeared 'God' would no longer 'be' because 'God' doesn't objectively exist.

Why is it so hard to believe that close things appear bigger? Have you ever seen any of those perspective trick pictures?

Gerishnakov:

I find it to be such an incredible coincidence that in the four billion year history of our planet, and the moon's slow but inexorable spiral away from us, things are just at the right point now, in this tiny geological window of humanity (200,000 years give or take), for the moon to occasionally, perfectly cover the disc of the sun.

See, this doesn't make me inclined to believe, because if there were a god it could have built it better. Some suggestions, for if you turn omnipotent and decide to start a solar system:

Why not have a lunar cycle that's perfectly synchronised with the planetary orbital year, so telling the date would have been easier for humans thousands of years ago?
For that matter, why not have the solar year set to an exact number of days, so leap years aren't necessary? And make it something handy, like a multiple of 100!
Why not have it so that the moon eclipsed the sun every 3 months at the start of each season, so people would know when to put their crops out or whatever?
Hell, why not have a whole series of moons, each passing a different orbit[1], that combine in different patterns, and basically act like an orbital watch so you can tell exactly when you are, up to a day's or even an hour's accuracy, simply by looking up? How awesome would that be?
Finally, please, please, please make eclipses a regular, predictable occurrence so it won't scare the living shit out of your little humans and cause them to go kill each other over some religious misconception every time it happens.

But yeah, to actually answer your question, I don't really have those moments. I must be a little bit boring!

Aside: Jeeeeesus, I'm astounded by amount of hate you've gotten on this thread. Calm down people, he said a slight doubt! And a bit of doubting is good goddamit!

[1] I am not doing the maths for this - you're the omnipotent one in this scenario, you do it!

OneCatch :
For that matter, why not have the solar year set to an exact number of days, so leap years aren't necessary? And make it something handy, like a multiple of 100!

I think a really omnipotent God would have given us a different number of fingers instead[1].

But given that pentadactyl limbs arise from our evolutionary ancestry that means ALL the mammals! have to have the same number of fingers too.

[1] inb4 some smartarse says thumbs aren't fingers, fuck off

Meanwhile 3-4 billion years into the future...
image
Yeah, yeah I know it won't like that at all since the sun will expand and fry the earth and all but still from Titan or Europa it will look awesome ;D.

Oirish_Martin:

OneCatch :
For that matter, why not have the solar year set to an exact number of days, so leap years aren't necessary? And make it something handy, like a multiple of 100!

I think a really omnipotent God would have given us a different number of fingers instead.

But given that pentadactyl limbs arise from our evolutionary ancestry that means ALL the mammals! have to have the same number of fingers too.

Lol at the footnote.

But yeah, agreed.
Alternatively, we could have been given the ability to think in multiple bases intuitively. That'd be more useful in the long term.

...
If God exists, he's an incompetent engineer; socially, biologically, and physically!

Nothing really makes me doubt my lack of belief in a deistic god. Theistic gods are just completely off the table, but only because they are complete nonsense. The notion of a designer is a tad more enticing, but for the reasons listed above and Occam's razor, I'll stick with what I got over in the Atheist corner.

I suppose since this thread has come down to awesome coincidences that we are lucky enough to behold, I guess the most striking on to me is the fact that we can see all the stars and galaxies around is. In a couple of billion years (I don't remember it off the top of my head), most(if not all?) of the galaxies and stars will be expanding away from us faster than the speed of light, and we would have had no way of knowing that we were not alone in the universe. This would mean a pitch black sky, which is kind of depressing.

I think it's pretty cool that we exist in a cosmological time period where we can behold the universe around us. Not cool enough to give me the sudden urge to slam my face into the ground out of utter reverence to a divine dictator and enough to add myself to the list of skyward torsos of the prostrate, but still an interesting tid-bit.

CaptainOctopus:
Meanwhile 3-4 billion years into the future...
image
Yeah, yeah I know it won't like that at all since the sun will expand and fry the earth and all but still from Titan or Europa it will look awesome ;D.

Yes, obviously, that picture was taken from Europa. The ocean ice melted because of the growing sun (note the red glow from Sol turning red giant in its dying stages) and the habitable zone moved outwards as a result.
Are those Jovian Cephalopod fishing vessels or do they belong to the post-human Terran Droid Collective?

Skeleon:
Are those Jovian Cephalopod fishing vessels or do they belong to the post-human Terran Droid Collective?

Microsoft Plankton Harvesting operation, I would have thought.

Have to feed the drones connected to the Overmind somehow.

Oirish_Martin:
Microsoft Plankton Harvesting operation, I would have thought.

I didn't know the TDC contracted out such crucial tasks. But then again, MPH are specialists in gathering things that are both microscopic and soft-tissued, so I suppose it makes sense for them to get the job.

Gerishnakov:
Snip

A mere coincidence, nothing more. Haley's comet flies by roughly every 75years or so, that isn't evidence of the divine. There have been several recorded super novas throughout human history, still isn't evidence of the divine. Rainbows, lightning storms, Aurora Borealis, the green flash, the great red spot (Jupiter's Storm) etc, are cool; but they don't suddenly hint toward the existence of any divine entity that specifically designed these things to occur because they are pretty or interesting. The circumstances for these things merely coincide with the circumstances necessary for our existence; things would simply be different if different things occurred in cosmic history.

Sadly, the sunset is evidence enough for some people to believe in the big giant head.

How often things work out for me despite my own bumbling makes me wonder if some benevolent being isn't watching out for me.

thaluikhain:
Eh, lots of strange coincidences are going to happen in a large enough random system.

Everything is weird or nothing is.

This. Roll a billion sided dice. Is it WEIRD it was any one number among the billions, after all any one had a one in a billion chance. Weird coincidences are going to happen because a billion billion billion weird coincidences are possible. If anything the wonder and beauty of our natural physical world makes me appreciate it as a natural piece of art more than say "BUT THERE MUST BE AN ARTIST?" The laws of the universe and physics are the artists. And the work is staggering.

People. How can such a stupid bloodthirsty race like ours continue to exist without the aid of a malevolent entity seeking to destroy the world?

I think the origin of the Universe is the strangest thing. Even the scientific thoeries seem completely unrealistic, at least what I know of them.

And life. How did life form let alone get so complex.

Kate Upton makes me question my atheism.

I do love the number of people who jumped down the guy's throat for seeing something that caused him to have what you might call a spiritual moment and then admitting it. Are you -sure- atheism isn't a religion for you people, because that's the kind of reaction I expect from a fundamentalist to somebody confessing apostasy.

If their relative sizes wasn't due to co-incide for another 10,000 years and you were born 10,000 years in the future, you'd be saying the same thing then.

So no, co-incidences are bound to happen eventually but that doesn't mean any religion's idea of God is correct.

Quite frankly the only thing that's made me think about it is did really all the belief come from tricks and lies? People have killed, and continue to kill others over their religion. Could such strong belief carry on for thousands of years really be because humanity was gullible enough to believe some fairy-tales back in more ancient times?

Awexsome:
Quite frankly the only thing that's made me think about it is did really all the belief come from tricks and lies? People have killed, and continue to kill others over their religion. Could such strong belief carry on for thousands of years really be because humanity was gullible enough to believe some fairy-tales back in more ancient times?

This follows a similar argumentation as the "L-argument for Jesus".
Was Jesus Lord? Was he a Liar? Was he a Lunatic? It lacks another L: Was he a Legend?

No, I don't think religions (with some exceptions of course) came from lies and tricks as those imply planned or at least active deceitfulness. I'm sure there's plenty of that around in the history of various religions, but I doubt it's generally their origin.

Gerishnakov:
in this tiny geological window of humanity (200,000 years give or take), for the moon to occasionally, perfectly cover the disc of the sun.

You do realize that that is the entirety of human history, right? I would hardly call that "window of humanity" "tiny". Then again that is just me being pedantic. I get the same feeling during a very clear and quiet summer night. The full moon is out, and I'm just laying in a field staring up at the stars. I don't doubt my atheism; I just let it go.

F4LL3N:
I think the origin of the Universe is the strangest thing. Even the scientific thoeries seem completely unrealistic, at least what I know of them.

And life. How did life form let alone get so complex.

Can you elaborate on these?

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