A Former Atheist Recants
How I arrived at the inescapable conclusion that one or more gods must exist
For many decades I have shaken my head sadly at those who believe in magic pixies merely because some mentally deficient purported authority figure tells them so on a Saturday or a Sunday. The intellectual paucity of religionism combined with its appalling ignorance has always seemed to me to be a brand of shame on our species.
And yet, after a lifetime of atheism, I now admit I was wrong.
Ironically, I’ve been led to this conclusion by means of the most valuable intellectual tool we humans have ever developed: empiricism.
Empiricism is how we come to know reality. We observe, we hypothesize, we predict, we test our predictions against new observations. If the predictions fail, we reject the hypothesis. If the predictions are accurate, the hypothesis becomes a theory and is used until a better theory comes along. Science is always provisional, always a search for a more accurate and more complete account of reality. We do not “believe in” science; it is something we do (or at least, something a few clever people do while the rest are gawping at Netflix while cramming McSlop down their throats).
Science does not depend on authority, nor on what costumes we dress up in, nor on the prognosticative qualities of chicken entrails. Science is profoundly anchored in the real world.
And this is what has led me to accept, albeit reluctantly, that there must indeed be one or more invisible magic pixies in the universe who in some mysterious way can control destiny. I’ve come to this conclusion after rejecting every other hypothesis, for no other hypothesis can account for the empirical data provided by a lifetime of experience.
Here’s what Richard Dawkins, evolutionary biologist par excellence, says about natural selection, which is the primary mechanism driving evolution:
“Nature is a miserly accountant, grudging the pennies, watching the clock, punishing the smallest waste. If a wild animal habitually performs some useless activity, natural selection will favor rival individuals who instead devote time to surviving and reproducing.”
What this means is that that we must not expect to see frivolity in nature. Elephants do not have wings, because wings would be of no use to an elephant. Fish do not have legs, because legs would be of no use to a shark or a guppie. Creatures have what they have because natural selection has honed them over millions of years so that they are adapted to their environments.
We humans are the unique exception to this rule.
Only humans possess a characteristic so wasteful and frivolous that it entirely contradicts the idea of natural selection. A characteristic that could only exist if it were summoned into existence by one or more magic pixies, more commonly known as gods.
We are of course talking about the human brain: an organ of unparalleled sophistication and intricacy. One hundred billion neurons, each one capable of establishing up to twenty thousand connections with its peers. No other animal has such a densely-wired brain that is theoretically capable of astonishing feats despite weighing less than one and a half kilograms (three pounds, for those living in uncontacted tribes in Papua New Guinea or in the USA).
And yet this astonishing organ for the most part goes entirely unused.
The average person leaves ninety-nine billion nine hundred and ninety-nine million, nine hundred and ninety-nine thousand, nine hundred neurons entirely dormant. Less than one hundred neurons are utilized, mostly for the regulation of autonomic functions such as heartbeat and digestion. The two most utilized and important neurons in the average human brain are for (i) breathing in, and (ii) breathing out.
And that’s it.
When we realize that the weight of empirical evidence supports the conclusion that for nearly everyone alive the brain is merely passive ballast, the purpose of which is to stop the head from bobbing about when we walk, it becomes impossible to see how evolution alone could have led us to this point. Nature has far easier ways to stop our heads bobbing about.
So we are left with only the option of gods.
Only gods, with an acute and rather unpleasant sense of humor, could come up with such a joke.
Only gods, unconstrained by the exigencies of natural selection, could force such a circumstance into being.
And so it is that when presented with overwhelming evidence of ineradicable persistent human stupidity, we must bow our heads and acknowledge the influence of a higher power. A higher power with a lowbrow taste in humor.
In consequence of this inescapable conclusion, I now find myself an unwilling worshipper at the shrine of the God(s) of Stupidity, the Deities of Dumb, the Eternal Sons of Slapstick. We, the human race, are evidence of a universal joke, a cruel jest of which we are the unfortunate butts.
Every moment of our existence is irrefutable proof that we exist entirely thanks to Unintelligent Design.