These are excerpts from discussions that I've been in over the last few weeks on various message boards. All of the posts are my writings, unless otherwise noted_
This is the best criticism of theism and creationism that I've seen in a long time.
Dawkins tends to ramble about the intricacies of evolutionary theory, but here's a more succinct version of his arguement_
Religions, as with any myth, arose to fill the need of people to explain things that they didn't understand. Over time, religion has been adapted and altered into an institution to encourage behavioral modification, but it's origins and ultimate basis are in trying to explain where things came from.
As our knowledge of the natural world has progressed, more and more of the explanations that religion gives have been proved just dead wrong. They can be described more accurately through nature and physics. So, religion has proved itself to be based upon faulty assumptions.
Since we can adequately describe the things around us through nature, physics, and reason, there's no need for silly creation myths and all-powerful creators.
A discussion ensued, and one poster asked why, then science couldn't explain the brain, Black Holes, and the Big Bang.
Yes, you can name 3 things that we don't understand YET. and I emphasize 'yet' for a reason.
If I had made this argument 200 years ago, you would have pointed to infectious disease, the sun's source of power, and the basis for heredity as three things that we didn't understand.
Of course, now we do understand them.
The fact that we even know of the existence of black holes and the Big Bang speaks volumes about how far we've come. And there's no reason to suspect that we can't sustain our search for knowledge until we do understand things like the Big Bang.
It's like that quote_ "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic". I'd like to modify it though, and say_
"Any sufficiently advanced natural phenomenon will be attributed to an imaginary being".
In reality, it's vastly more reasonable to assume that we just haven't gotten quite deep enough yet, than it is to assume that there's some all-powerful being whose existence we can't prove at all.
Later on, a poster suggested that "religion exists because of those unwilling to accept "I don't know" as an answer." I responded with
I'd argue the opposite that religion exists because of people willing to accept "i don't know" as an answer.
Religion is all about shrugging your shoulders, and claiming some imaginary being had it's inexplicable reasons for making things the way they are. That's just as good as saying "i don't know".
Science, on the other hand, is about saying "i don't know yet", but we're going to find out.