If I was to provide a full exposition on the reasons for my not bothering with mythological magic men, this post would become a complete book in its own right. But, in the interests of providing relevant information, I’ll reprise a somewhat shorter exposition from the old version of the forum - why The Children’s Encyclopaedia made me an atheist at the age of six.
The Children’s Encyclopaedia (Unintentionally) Made Me An Atheist
I’ll step in here and present a brief exposition of my reasons for not treating unsupported mythological assertions uncritically as fact, in the manner that so many mythology fanboys do. I’ll start by stating the obvious - namely, it’s precisely because mythological assertions are completely bereft of support, that I regard them as intrinsically discardable, in accordance with the proper rules of discourse, which, sadly, the typical pedlars of apologetics here not only regard themselves and their assertions as exempt from, but seem to take a perverse delight in deliberately flouting. Quite simply, anyone who thinks regurgitating the very same mythological assertions that are completely bereft of genuine evidential support, or peddling lame apologetic fabrications that an astute five year old would point and laugh at (in my travels, I’ve encountered many such examples), will make me regard their mythologies as anything other than mythologies, is in for a rude awakening.
Indeed, it’s precisely because I’ve spent a good part of my adult life learning how rigorous discourse is conducted, in the empirical sciences and pure mathematics, that I regard apologetics as beneath contempt, even before seeing some of the more ludicrous examples thereof being peddled as if they constituted some spectacular brand of “wisdom”. As a consequence of that background, and the relevant observational data provided in quantity by the usual suspects, I take the view that said individuals wouldn’t recognise rigorous discourse if it backed an M1A2 Abrams main battle tank into their ribcages. In particular, pedlars of the fatuous “design” assertion manifestly have no idea what is required, to convert that assertion into something other than the product of their rectal passages, and no, I’m not going to spoon feed the usual suspects and do their homework for them - if they can’t work out the requisite details from first principles as I have, then I’m not going to given them the easy ride they manifestly seek on the matter whenever this issue arises.
Then of course, we have the fact that the mythologies so beloved by these individuals, are manifestly untrustworthy, courtesy of the fact that they contain risible errors of an elementary variety. If your mythology was written by people who were too stupid to count correctly the number of legs that an insect possesses, a fact discernible by an astute five year old, or written by people who thought genetics was controlled by coloured sticks, then I am under no obligation to treat seriously any of the fantastic claims for these mythologies as purported “sources of wisdom” from the usual suspects. That’s before we cover such farces as the “global flood” nonsense, or the “Fall of Man” drivel that is a crock to anyone who understands the most elementary principles of both ethics and jurisprudence, or the manner in which the “creation myth” assertions are completely ass-backwards with respect to actual scientific discoveries. Anyone who thinks that these assorted instances of rampant idiocy constitute “fact”, are less deserving of serious consideration than my tropical fish.
All of the above, of course, constitute substantive reasons for discarding the requisite assertions, even before we recognise that belief, as practised by mythology fanboys, is nothing more than uncritical acceptance of unsupported assertions, and as such, is a grave offence against the rules of proper discourse that should invalidate any appeal thereto in various species of tiresome apologetics, which at bottom, I regard as nothing more than the attempt to conjure wish-fulfilment fantasy into existence by the deployment of sophistical elisions treated as magic spells. And all of this, yet again, is before we consider the instances of discoursive duplicity that are routinely observed to be a part of the mythology fanboy modus operandi.
But, there is more, and as an insight into that expansive vista, I shall now provide the following.
In the decade that I have been observing, and in some instances, countering apologetic duplicity from the usual suspects, I have learned so much about the progress scientists have made in fields such as evolutionary biology and cosmological physics. I am fortunate to live in an age, where I can collect and digest at leisure, hundreds if not thousands of scientific papers, documenting in meticulous detail the research work of the authors, and I can perform this gathering of knowledge with no more effort than it takes to press a mouse button a few times. Of course, the real hard work starts when one reads the papers in question, but I was fortunate enough to have a truly wonderful science education, dispensed to me by an utterly stellar collection of teachers, the like of which I fear we may not see again for generations. The gift they bestowed upon me, enabling me to scan extant research and understand that research, is quite simply priceless. The benefits thereof transcend any mere, vulgar monetary calculation.
At this juncture, some might assert that I ought to offer some token of gratitude to the miscreants, who provided the motivation to labour diligently in this vein in order to destroy their canards. This is to miss the point entirely, namely, that if said miscreants had been given the power to convert their febrile and sleazy fantasies into policy, the ability to perform said diligent labour would have been denied to me, and the education I received would have been killed at source. That diligent labour is, in a sense, a repayment of the debt I owe to those stellar teachers, and those researchers, who toil honestly to keep the light of knowledge and understanding burning brightly, and who in some cases amplify that light to supernova levels of brilliance.
As a corollary, I regard the maintenance of proper discourse, as a small but necessary duty, in order to be a part of that preservation of illumination, even though my part may seem insignificant alongside the contributions of the true giants in the requisite fields, upon whose shoulders I gratefully sit. I will almost certainly never be a candidate for even a minor award, let alone anything as prestigious as a Nobel, but the work of those thus exalted, and the blood, sweat and tears they shed whilst treading the long path to that recognition, should be compelling stories of real achievement we pass on to our children, exhorting them to follow their example. Alongside their endeavours and their findings, the assertions of mythology, and the sometimes farcical nonsense peddled therein by the authors thereof as purportedly constituting historical fact, wither in impotence and inadequacy by comparison.
This much became obvious to me at just six years of age, even if I was then unable to expound the thought in the prose I now deploy. At that age, I had access to The Children’s Encyclopaedia, a ten volume work edited by one Arthur Mee. His project aimed to provide a repository of knowledge, compiled by some of the best scholars and pedagogical experts extant in his day. But at this juncture, it must be said that in my case, his wish for that project failed in one respect. Mee, typically Edwardian in outlook and approach, wanted his work to the the basis upon which the generation of fine, upstanding Englishmen, avowed disciples of God, King and Country, was to be accomplished - his work was quite clearly intended to be a training manual for the Sons of Empire.
He failed in that aim, because he made one fatal mistake.
He arranged his ten volume opus, in such a manner that direct comparison could be made between science and religion.
The science sections, obsolete though they may be in the present era, were written in compelling style, a style that presented a message that I, as a child, lapped up eagerly. Namely, that one didn’t have to accept uncritically the words of the authors, that their material was as they claimed it to be, but instead, one could go forth oneself, and experiment in order to find out for oneself that the facts in question were genuine, observable facts. The message in those science sections was clear: the wonders of Nature await you - go forth and embrace them. Telescope and microscope in hand, the universe is yours. How wonderfully inspiring was that!
The religion section, by contrast, was dismal. “Here are some assertions, treat them uncritically as fact”, was the message arising from those pages. It was almost as if Mee secretly and perversely wanted to undermine his stated mission, by making it so easy to observe that dismal contrast. On the one hand, pages that exhorted their readers to go forth and learn with passion and vigour, on the other, pages that effectively said “don’t bother asking questions”. It should not be difficult to deduce which of those pages I paid most attention to!
Quite simply, those pages made science a thing of majesty and glory, the rocket that would take me to the stars, whilst religion looked more like prison. And I was able to make that determination at six years of age, thanks to Arthur Mee.
My message to the mythology fanboys is this. You have missed out on so much genuine knowledge. What has been kept from you, and denied to you by the pedlars of mere mythology, should make you regard their actions as criminal. You have been offered trinkets and baubles as a pathetic substitute for the keys to the cosmos. In short, you have been robbed of a rightful inheritance.
Take the first steps now to seek reparations for that robbery.