claims that atheism is not a religion. He writes, "Atheists state there is no god – there is nothing to find or prove there – believers say there is a god – show us some proof. The essential difference between atheists and deists and theists is that the latter two operate on faith and the former do not."
Let me pause for just a moment. It is a common diversionary tactic of atheists to say that the burden of proof rests on believers. After all, no one can prove a negative. But that is like saying, "I cannot prove there is no forest; I simply deny it exists. All I see are trees, therefore it is up to those who believe in a forest to prove its existence." I contend that the burden of proof rests on those who, despite everything they know about science and the laws of physics, insist the universe came about through mere natural processes. Whether we're here because of spontaneous generation, or because some unknown force, for some unknown reason, acted in some unknown way to alter the state of matter that already existed from eternity past, atheists have got a lot of explaining to do.
Mr. Saporito goes on: "The religious will deny proven knowledge such as carbon dating, which proves the universe is nearly 14 billion years old, not 6000 years old which is believed by many because an uneducated writer penned it into the bible a few thousand years ago. Evolution is another scientific truth that has been proven over and over again. Recently life was started from scratch in a laboratory."
Let's look at the issue of carbon dating. First of all, it can only be done here on Earth. One cannot perform carbon dating on a star, an asteroid, or another planet because those objects do not have the same conditions found here. Secondly, based on our current understanding about the decay of 14C and its ratio to 12C, carbon dating could only possibly date the Earth to tens of thousands of years at most. Many other assumptions must be made in order to extrapolate a figure like 14 billion.
The idea (i.e. preconceived notion) of a universe that is billions of years old is required if one is to buy into the theory of evolution. I stress the word theory because it is not, as Mr. Saporito insists, a "scientific truth that has been proven over and over again." For one thing, it cannot be subjected to the scientific method. No one can observe the process, much less repeat it so that it can be empirically tested. So unless Mr. Saporito has access to a working time machine, I will conclude that he is simply making another assumption.
He makes another leap of faith in saying that "life was started from scratch in a laboratory." My guess is that he is referring to the experiment conducted in March of this year at the J. Craig Venter Institute in Rockville, Maryland, in which scientists "created" a microbe with an artificial genetic code. To imply that this is, in any way, a glimpse into the evolutionary origin of all life is a bit of a stretch. If anything, it only reinforces the concept that life of any kind requires a designer, someone establishing all the necessary conditions for that life to exist in the first place.
While trying to make the case that atheism is not a religion, Mr. Saporito demonstrates just the opposite. Rather than follow the dictates of logic and reason to support his position, he resorts to blind faith to make his point. So, if religion can be defined simplistically as a set of beliefs based on faith, what does that make atheism?