Ricky Gervais on being an atheist

Ricky Gervais on being an atheist

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    91 Responses to Ricky Gervais on being an atheist

    1. Except for the fact that i’d push him off a building in a heartbeat.

      what a victim-complex.


    2. But religion is based on faith, not proofs! Deal with it, Ricky and stop complain.


    3. The burden of proof is not static. Wtf don’t people get about that?


    4. Can’t we all just get abong?


    5. Why do atheists always sound so butthurt? So much of it comes off as a reactionary attack on the monothiests. Need some atheist attacks Buddhism I guess to balance things out, and lets say Zoroastrianism to!!


    6. Atheists are butthurt because religion violates people’s rights.

      If religion didn’t violate people’s rights, then atheist wouldn’t care about it.


    7. So many butthurt atheists in this thread. Again, arguments like these really are a simple case of ” WAAAAAAH I DON’T WANT TO JUSTIFY MY BELIEF!”


      • Are you a troll or do you not understand burden of proof? The atheist argument is already proven since there is no evidence of a god. The faithful bear the onus of proving their faith since they are the ones making fantastic claims.

        I’m not butthurt at all over this. I’m honestly full of pity towards the faithful. The main reason anyone believes in religion is that their parents, or some other important person in their lives, told them to. It’s all brainwashing and I am generally against brainwashing.

        The religious cannot prove any of their wild claims so they jump on the ‘It’s a matter of faith’ argument.

        Of course with a statement like you make I am pretty sure you’re a trollkin.


      • So, what you are saying is that you can fly, but are not willing to demonstrate? It would be nice if you could show evidence of a god/s/ess/es. The problem is that theism makes evidence free claims. We are not impressed and think that society should move past it.


      • Actually, Atheists justify their belief just fine: They haven’t seen any compelling reason to believe your fairy tales. What more justification is needed?


      • Fine, (I may be feeding the troll here.) justify yours.


    8. yet another person wanting to shove his religion down my throat.. and yes, atheism is a religion, and its become quite preachy too.

      believe whatever the hell makes you happy, just leave me the hell alone about it..

      (see what i did thar?)


    9. Atheism isn’t a religion as there are no core beliefs that require faith, no deity to worship and no dogma to follow.

      Do you know what religion means?


    10. lol, thread with the most downvotes ever?
      this is proof that discussions of this sort are destructive and should not be undertaken.


    11. I am so sick and tired of this. There is no burden of proof because there is nothing to prove. You either believe or you do not. I force no one to follow my beliefs, and good luck trying to force me to believe something I do not want to. This is where the matter ends. If you are an atheist, this is your own deal. If there was definitive proof there would be no need for faith now wouldn’t it?


      • That is fine. If you do not try to force your beliefs onto others, either through personal interaction or societal or political actions, I have no problem with you. I have a problem with all the other people who do, and there are a lot of them. I, and I imagine others in this thread, have a problem with the stereotype, and unfortunately, the stereotype is what is noticed in most groups. Because of the way our society works, we then tend to broadcast the stereotype on anyone who says they are part of a particular group. The human psyche is fucked. Also, I have no idea what I am talking about.


    12. It annoys me that the burden of his face is on MCS.


    13. Poets have their place in these matters. “And When I Die”, Blood, Sweat, & Tears.

      Swear there ain’t no heaven and I pray there ain’t no hell,
      But I’ll never know by living, only my dying will tell.



    14. I love Ricky. I wonder why his Invention of Lying didn’t get picketed, since it really did show religion to be ridiculous wishful thinking.


    15. Quoting a smart guy:

      “I don’t see why people (theists?) have such a problem trying to conceptualize the state of not believing in an idea.

      It’s pretty easy. Do you believe that a teapot orbits the Sun? This question is a proposition, with either a T or F answer.

      Is there a teapot that orbits the Sun? This is another, different proposition. It also has a T or F answer.

      The logical conjunction of these two propositions gives us four possible results:

      1. There is a teapot and I do believe
      2. There is a teapot and I don’t believe
      3. There isn’t a teapot and I do believe
      4. There isn’t a teapot and I don’t believe

      Now, theists think [1] is true. Atheists think [4] is true. Atheists think that theists belong to [3], and theists think that atheists belong to [2].

      [1] and [4] are the only answers that are logically consistent, but [1] is the only one that requires proof of the existence of said teapot. Without proof, only [4] is logically provable as true.



      • Interesting quote, however it is somewhat over simplified. It presumes that if you cannot prove something exists, then it does not exist. It sounds logical in theory, but is flawed in practice, since our ability to prove something exists is limited by our knowledge (or lack thereof) of said thing, and whether or not it is something we are physically capable of empirically testing for.

        IE: the concluding paragraph of the quote suggests that nothing exists that cannot be empirically tested for and/or proved.

        So here is the million dollar question: Is the above statement a scientifically accurate one?


        • I don’t so much think that it’s oversimplified as it’s simply not being usefully construed.

          Nothing in the example insists on, or even mentions, empiric examination. There are a multitude of provable concepts in the world that don’t rely on empiric evidence.

          But they are, with the necessary level of understanding – provable.

          Science is continually updating it’s mechanism for achieving that understanding, discarding the demonstrably false and amending it’s understanding to allow for new ideas and methods. Which is why empirical analysis is only one of many ways to do so.

          Thus it is true that if it cannot be tested for and/or proved by some means that can be demonstrated and replicated – then it doesn’t exist.

          Unless you’re then suggesting that things which cannot be perceived and tested are somehow inherently true by virtue of conception?


          • Unless you’re then suggesting that things which cannot be perceived and tested are somehow inherently true by virtue of conception?

            Which is pretty much what Bishop Berkeley stated.


            • And he might have a point, though I much prefer the school of thought that says that, until actually confirmed, said object would exist indeterminably in both states, IE existing and non-existing. Interestingly, this position presents challenges eerily similar to that of Schrodinger’s cat. Or maybe it is, in fact the same challenge.

              Or we are simply in an episode of “Lost”, and need to wake up.


          • OK, I’ll grant you I’m not using the word “empirical” entirely correctly. However the point is that science requires either empirical evidence of something, or a high degree of corroboration from non empirical data to support it.

            However in both cases, we cannot always conclude that, in the absence of empirical data or corroborating evidence, that something does not exist. We can say that there is a great likelihood that it does not exist, but we cannot say with any certainty that it absolutely does not exist.

            The same is also true of things that are studied via non-empirical means. We can argue that there is a large body of evidence that strongly suggests that a given hypothesis is true. However we cannot say, with absolute certainty, that it is.

            My argument is not that something that cannot be tested is in fact true, simply because someone thinks it might be, but rather that, from a scietific standpoint, it is more honest to say that we cannot know for sure.

            I.E. Without empirical data, the question of whether or not there is, in fact a teapot, is a question that is actually a matter of degree of certainty, and not absolutely provable one way or another, like so many folks seem to like to argue.


            • It seems you’re advancing that “Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.”

              However, while absence of proof is not proof of absence, absence of evidence is indeed evidence of absence. More formally, for a set of evidence the hypothesis most probably correct is the one most concisely describing it; so, unless you have an evidence set including some elements more concisely described by a hypothesis relying on the existence of X, the non-existence is more probably correct.

              Also, more formally, it’s not that “God does not exist because there is no evidence for it”, but rather “God probably does not exist, because all the evidence we have is better described by hypotheses without God”.

              And I think we start touching on “Double Standard of Proof – Equivocation as to whether metaphysically absolute or empirically probabilistically standard of proof is appropriate.” as well.

              I see where you’re going, and I respect it. I just think that it gives sloppy science and non-science a pass.


            • I see what you are saying, and you are essentially correct about my basic position, though I do not think the distinction between proof, and evidence is relevant in this particular context.

              But at the risk of getting bogged down in the semantic differences between the usage of “Proof” vs “Evidence”, I’ll define my use of the term evidence, as I understand it. “Evidence” can be used to “prove”, but both ways, IE to both confirm or deny. eg “Fred’s failure to go to school was evidence of his lack of motivation to succeed.”.

              Whereas in contrast, in the absence of any “evidence”, IE not knowing whether or not Fred went to school, we cannot “prove” anything (Fred’s motivation to succeed) one way or another. The absence of this evidence cannot be used to *prove* Fred is a failure.

              Put in context, this means that saying “God probably does not exist because the available evidence can be used to provide a scientific description of things, without God.” is scientifically honest, and I would have no problem accepting this statement from anyone. IE God may or may not exist, but it is irrelevant because I can describe things scientifically either way.

              However to make the statement “God does not exist because I have no evidence that he does.” is flawed, because you don’t really have evidence that he does not exist, what you really have is evidence of an alternative way of explaining how things came to be, and no evidence that absolutely rules out any other possibilities.

              Now I also agree that for any given set of hypothesis, the one that most concisely describes it’s subject is most likely to be true. This is another form of Ockham’s razor. However Ockhams razor is, at best, a guide. It cannot guarantee accuracy. In fact, in many cases, the simplest, or most likely solution is not the correct one.

              We all know a large majority of scientific research cannot be carried out empirically. We simply do not have the ability to do so for a wide range of things. So we are forced to support hypotheses with tertiary empirical observations, and come to the probabilistically best conclusion, given the results.

              Presuming, of course, that our interpretation of those results are indeed accurate. And for the most part, it is quite an effective approach. But I do not believe these generate truly scientific *proofs* either. They are simply very, very good best guesses, supported by lost of corroborating “evidence”. And by definition, absolutely *not* empirical proofs, and therefore, cannot be considered absolute. These hypotheses remain just that. Hypotheses and theories. Well supported hypotheses, yes, but still not *proven facts*.

              I wish people would be more honest about that aspect of science. Too many folks act like science is irrefutable, and wholly supported by proof based on hard, empirical evidence, but it oftentimes isn’t. In many cases we are really just spitballing.

              And with respect to giving sloppy/non-science a pass, I’m not quite sure what you are referring to, but if you are talking about the scientific acceptance of a religious explanation for existence, then no, that is absolutely not what I espouse. That would make no sense; religion was never, ever meant to be scientific.

              I believe the two can coexist, but only with the understanding that religious beliefs operate on principles that are diametrically opposed to scientific beliefs, and that any attempt to coalesce the two would be a mutually destructive exercise.


      • The problem with simple examples is the fact that they fall apart easily.

        1.) Teapots exist on Earth.
        2.) The Earth orbits the sun.
        Therefore ‘a teapot’ orbits the sun.

        Just to throw a spanner in the works: Is your teapot THE teapot? Or are you putting your faith in a false teapot?


    16. All this thread has done is flared people’s emotions without causing anyone, on either side, to alter their world view. If you believe, good for you and I hope your religious community gives you some sense of comfort and support in the harsh world we live in. If you don’t believe, then that’s great because you seek answers rather than cling to faith. Each side needs to be open minded and more empathetic to the other’s experiences, desires, and feelings while giving respect to the differences that make this dust speck worth living on.

      On that note, fuck y’all for having a religious debate while I was away from my compy for two days. Seriously guys, seriously!

      And to THELOTUSEATER72 I will gladly justify my beliefs for you. In my subjective observations of the time and space I have occupied, I have experimented, solved equations, and born accidental witness to a grad universe. I have come to the conclusion that, should there be an all powerful creator who made the entire universe, then the creator is far beyond the scope of human comprehension and cannot be fully understood through any amount of religious text.
      I am an Atheist; I don’t claim to have the answers, only conclusions based on given evidence. Science is not, and has never been, something set in stone; it is a living body of knowledge created through analysis of experimentation. I have not encountered any evidence for deities of any faith other than the folklore of times long passed, thus I have no reason to adopt religion into my lifestyle. If you’re religious that’s fine by me, just don’t get mad at me for not being a believer.

      TLDR: shame on you >.<


      • This is not entirely true. I always learn something from these discussions, and even though it may not change my fundamental beliefs, my “World View”, as it were, is always altered, just a little bit, each time I hear the argument from both sides.

        Ultimately I hope one day that everyone will adopt the attitude you have described, of live and let live. I see absolutely no reason why we cannot, except for those artificially created by the eccentricities of man.


        • For the most part, I concur.

          I always enjoy being challenged by vigorous debate and re-evaluating my opinions as new positions present themselves.

          I don’t expect “to win”. It’s about refining my own understanding as much as anything.


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