What does a good, no-one fearing atheist do in this sort of situation? Well, thankfully we are prepared.
- The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.
For the two people with internet access who haven't stumbled across this, it is a masterful display of how to manipulate statistics in order to prove whatever you damn well please. What is even better, they get perpetual hate-mail from good, forgiving Christians who believe it to be a genuine religion, rather than a cunning display of the myriad logical fallacies that underpin Intelligent Design.
- Richard Dawkins.
Yeah. He's a prick. There's no argument here. However, for the most part he's right. Apart from his infuriating insistence on referring to atheists as 'Brights', he's pretty much worth listening to. The God Delusion would be an obvious place to start
- Daniel Dennett.
Slightly less aggressive than Dawkins, so slightly less annoying. He goes one further than Dawkins, and portrays religion as a biological process. I don't entirely agree with him, but he annoys people so much it's worth reading his work.
- Sam Harris.
Sam Harris is probably my favourite writer on the harm religion causes society. A few months ago, I posted about something from his book Letter to a Christian Nation. I quite honestly defy anyone to read that book and still labour under the misapprehension that faith is a power primarily for good. It is mainly focused on the Conservative Christian right in America, but as a dicourse on the unspeakably foul acts that often pass for religious morality, it is invaluable.
- Christopher Hitchens.
I like Christopher Hitchens because he's an angry little man, and I therefore find it pretty simple to relate to him. His most recent book, God is not Great is, after Sam Harris' work, the best non-scientific argument against religion I've come across. Focusing on the harm religion causes society, it is rhetoric, but rhetoric that is the same time impassioned yet sensible.
- Ann Coulter.
Not an obvious one for this list, I'll admit, given her ravening insanity, but she does play a valuable role. In reading her work you can clearly see the desperation and willingness to lie, cheat and mislead that such staunch defenders of Christianity are willing to go to, in order to maintain the compliance of those not smart enough to filter through her gibberish. The best example of this comes from Godless: The Church of Liberalism, in which Ann claims that the 150 years across which biological archaeology has been practiced is absolutely long enough for us to establish a complete fossil record. Of course, that's not really enough time to investigate the entire surface of the Earth, including all sea beds, to a depth of at least 60 feet, much more in places, then catalogue and correllate every finding. Of course, if it's what you want to believe, it comes over as a valid point, and will pass by unconsidered. As such, it's one of my favourite examples of overwhelming stupidity presented as valid logic or scientific fact. It still scares me that there are people out there who could read it and believe it.
This is kind of important. If DNA behaves in any of the ways we can unequivocally demonstrate it does, then it is pretty much impossible evolution does not occur.
- Seriously, where do these people think disease comes from?
Let's not forget the Church's wonderful record on matters of science. For a long while it was imperative that everyone believed the Sun revolved around the Earth, because to think otherwise was to diminish the importance of man in the cosmos. And wait, if they could be wrong about that...
It's bad enough that the church has been willing to imprison, torture and kill people for their unwillingness to repent 'heretical' ideas that happen to 100% fucking true. Let's not forget that they are also perfectly willing to invent a concept, such as witchcraft, and then persecute people for this utterly impossible-to-commit crime. The Vatican still maintains exorcists, who are sent out to torture Schizophrenics who are unfortunate enough to have parents ignorant enough to both maintain Catholic faith and be unable to recognise Schizophrenic behaviours.
Whenever someone from a major religious organisation figures out the implications of quantum physics, it's going to make this whole 'evolution' problem seem like a pillow fight.