Sunday, November 4, 2007

The God Assumption and the (n) Principles of Atheism

About 100 years ago, the great French scientist and mathematician Pierre-Simon Laplace created the first correct theory of the nebular origin of the solar system. The Emperor Napoleon heard about Laplace's theory, and said to him: "M. Laplace, they tell me you have written this large book on the system of the universe, and have never even mentioned its Creator." Laplace’s delicious reply to Napoleon was: “Sire, I did not need to make such an assumption”.

My appreciation of Laplace’s blunt response to Napoleon prompted me to start a list of Principles of Atheism. Other such lists already exist, and mine is certainly incomplete. So input from readers of this blog would be greatly appreciated.

1. In the spirit of Laplace, we have no need for a God/Creator assumption, nor any reason to make any such hypothesis.

2. All theist religions, whether living (e.g., Christianity), marginal (Zoroastrianism, etc.) or dead (Norse mythology, etc.), represent equally primitive superstitions. There's really no reason to believe in any of them. You seen one god(s), you seen them all.

3. As I discussed in my previous blog, no miracles are allowed anywhere in the universe, including of course here on Earth. Miracles break physical laws, and are therefore no fair.

4. We atheists have no holy book preaching that non-believers either should be killed, and/or face eternal damnation. So, as humanists, we are at least as kind and generous to our fellow humans as are members of any organized superstitious group.

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