Monday, January 26, 2015

Asymmetrical Skepticism

Christians are skeptical.

Christians, and theists in general, are skeptical of life arising from non-life and the universe originating from quantum fluctuations they’ve never observed. They don’t feel inclined to believe that consciousness as deep and self-aware as ours can arise through random mutations that are built upon guided by selective pressure.

Don’t make fun of them for this.

They are right to be skeptical of these things. These are counter intuitive concepts with evidence that can’t be assessed directly by laymen and requires a large commitment to gain any competence.

Make fun of them for believing in miracles.

Where does that skeptical instinct they methodically apply to naturalism go in regards to virgin birth, resurrections, and transubstantiation? One one hand they deny living matter arising from unliving matter, but one the other they freely accept living matter arising from non-matter. It’s okay to be extremely skeptical of both--they are extraordinary claims that are so rare that we only have clear reason to believe one or the other happened once in the history of the universe--but be consistent.

Why? What specifically makes walking on water and the magical duplication of bread and fish more believable than quantum mechanics or a multiverse? Why be understandably skeptical about some extraordinary claims and so faithful about a host of others?

I've asked Christians these questions and the answers, when given, are never satisfying. If I had to distill their varied answers to a core principle, it's an emotional connection to their indoctrination. In lieu of understanding, embrace what is comfortable.


  1. But they aren't being skeptical at all, their rejection of evolution and human origins has nothing to do with the evidence, it has everything to do with their religious faith. They demand that anything that disagrees with what they already believe must be wrong and anything that agrees with what they already believe must be right. That is the antithesis of skepticism. It's just more blind and empty fanatical faith.

  2. They are not skeptics, they are simple deniers. Do not soil the skeptics badge.

  3. Good post, I never thought about correlating the origin of life (living from dead) to the resurrection. But its a very valid point. I hope you don't mind in the future if I borrow this idea and run with it.