Orson Scott Card is poorly informed

Personally I’m pretty sick and tired of religious individuals commenting on atheism when they have absolutely no idea what it means to dis-believe in God. Let me assure you, religious readers, I am not an atheist because of an abusive or absent father (an idea so insultingly wrong I usually choose not to dignify it with an answer). I am also not an atheist because of some secret hatred or spurning from your religion. I simply believe the world has no need for your services, and I’m tired of your logically unsound accusations atheism is a religion.

If your interested in hearing another baseless attack from a prominent religionist, here is science fiction writer Orson Scott Card making the common claim atheism is a faith based belief, just like Mormonism. What is obviously missing in his tirade is any form of proof concerning his own beliefs. Card claims atheism is somehow faith based, since we have ‘faith’ science will explain everything about the universe. Card’s somehow failed to realize science isn’t so much a belief as it is a process of learning about the natural world (I guess you can write science fiction without really ‘getting’ it). I trust the Earth revolves around the Sun, but this trust is only made possible because of the amount of scrutiny and work that has gone into understanding just how this is possible (see gravity if you’re confused). If I was to ever doubt the truthfulness of this claim, I can study it for myself.

Let me make this as clear as possible to avoid any further confusion: Religion makes claims that are demonstrably false. Human beings are not born of virgins. Horses do not fly up to heaven. Deceased persons cannot be resurrected. And of course, in the case of Mormonism, Native Americans are not descendants of Jews, men do not live on the moon, and do I even need to mention how stupid magic underwear really is?

Card makes the same annoying claim that an atheist cannot disprove God, and yet he has nothing to offer in the way of actual proof his religion has any idea what it’s talking about. At least when a person is making a scientific claim, the burden of proof is always on the person making that claim, not on others to disprove it. This may seem like a simple truth, but to believers, the concept of the burden of proof is reversed. They actually think we need to disprove their childish interpretation of the universe. The tenets of their religions were quite literally plucked from the imagination of their specific prophets, who had little if any regard for such trivial things as evidence. Why should I be surprised there are no requirements in religion to make proof a necessary part of belief?

I hate to rain on everyone’s parade here, but in terms of defensible cosmological positions, there are few as sound and reasonable as atheism. We simply refuse to believe in the personal Gods of religions simply because every single one of them is incapable of providing a single shred of evidence that suggests their claims are real. In fact, their very belief system requires human beings to abandon the natural instinct to demand for proof in favor of faith: believing in something despite evidence to the contrary. This speaks volumes as to the intellectual honesty of believers.

I know that there are many who think their theological positions are researched, intelligent, and logical. They are sadly mistaken. The simple fact is all religions discourage intellectual honesty. At their very core, they demand adherents surrender reason and logic in favor of mystical and supernatural interpretations of natural phenomenon. While some take a literal approach to this (like Christians think deadly storms are the result of an angry God), others have adopted the natural understanding of science while rejecting the inevitable conclusion that the processes of nature and the universe do not require a supernatural guardian to function. Their intellectually lazy conclusion is to include God in the gaps, which is the only way many of them can cope with the fact that as our understanding of the world improves, it becomes all the more obvious religious claims are basically primitive mythologies that are the moral homilies of ancient storytellers. Nothing more.

Orson also believes in the popular claim that histories greatest monsters have all been atheists, and the non belief in God must somehow make people evil. Although I won’t deny Stalin, Mao, and even Hitler had little respect for religion, believing in God does not make someone righteous, just as not believing in God does not make a person evil. There is no philosophy in the world that guarantees proper moral behavior, though there are some ideologies that are more susceptible to corruption than others. It is why, as a society, we have continued to refine our ethical and moral understanding far beyond the crude teachings of religion. We no longer tolerate stoning, slavery, rape, genocide, and cruelty; something that would be impossible if the texts of Islam, Christianity, and Judaism are ever taken literally (which in some countries are). Our modern morality actually requires believers to create a practical, 21st century approach to their belief. It isn’t the other way around for obvious reasons.

Since I know I have quite a few believers that sometimes visit the site, I want to state the unpopular reality that the basic reason why all Western countries have separation of church and state is because of how scary religious people are. Seriously. When even a few of you get in power, you create frighteningly unjust laws; your followers would gladly incarcerate people who simply defame their religion in some way. Do you think that is an adequate response to something as basic as freedom of speech? For a long time now, we have understood the simple truth that, so long as societies were dictated by religiously motivated individuals, we would never be free to discuss radical ideas that would change the very fabric of society. We live in a world made possible only by wrestling power out of your hands.

The civilized and reasonable chose to do it in a bloodless way; the Declaration of Independence is so unique and wonderful specifically because it managed to lay out the creation of a state without making religion a crime, and where no persecution of those once in power is possible. They effectively managed to remove the ability of religions to interfere with government operations. The evidence for just how shitty the world is when you guys take control can be found in all theocratic countries. Would Orson like to live in a place where religion is mandatory and invasive? I highly doubt it.

You might still think religion is something valuable to human development, but there is no indication human beings are any more or less moral without it. What atheism says that scares you to your very core is not only do we not need your services to understand the natural world (which most of us have abandoned a while ago) or to govern our politics; we also don’t need you to raise functional, moral citizens. Can someone please explain to me what’s left?

Comments (10)

  • avatar


    He gave me Ender’s Game and Ender’s Shadow so I’ll let this one slide.

  • avatar



    eh… I meant Ramen

  • avatar

    Seth R.

    The Book of Mormon does not claim that Native Americans descended from Jews. First off, none of the people in the small group of settlers at the beginning of the book was from the tribe of Judah. Secondly, the book clearly describes a population that was geographically limited to a small region and not the entire North and South American continents. Thus the Native Americans, as far as the Book of Mormon is concerned, probably had multiple genetic sources, including the scientifically accepted one of Asia. Orson Scott Card himself states precisely this (just Google his name and “Book of Mormon”).

    Secondly, if you want to talk about stupid underwear, try opening a Victoria’s Secret catalogue someday. It’s not like we look any stupider than you folks do.

    Oh, and the idea that men live on the moon was not a religious belief that it has been proven ANY Mormon prophet ever had. You’ve been taking your talking-points from the Evangelical fundies again, haven’t you?

    Finally, only the most shallow and unenlightened strains of religious thought have ever pushed religious narratives as a COMPETING explanation of the universe against scientific ones. The great Christian fathers all considered God to be ultimately unclassifiable and unknowable. Their views of how the universe actually works were informed by the best science of their time, not by the Bible.

    In fact, they by and large considered the Bible to be irrelevant to scientific inquiry. Likewise, they considered science to be irrelevant to questions of faith.

    We’re not all ID-ers or young-earth creationists you know. If you want to attach religion, attack it’s most intelligent versions rather than seeking to score cheap points against it’s dumbest forms.

    After all, you would want me to address the most intelligent forms of atheism right? As opposed to Christopher Hitchens…

  • avatar


    i never understood why religious people surfed atheist websites

  • avatar


    Is Joseph Smith a great christian father? The guy hid behind a blanket with 2 magical golden plates and dictated/plagiarized the Old Testament to the tune of 25,000 words, claiming that he was the new Muhammad. He went on to preach more hate, lobby against abolition of slavery based on these god-given revelations.

    “Their views of how the universe actually works were informed by the best science of their time, not by the Bible.” — What?!

    That is a GREAT argument regarding choice of underwear. None of us hold any illusions that our underwear protect us from Satan, knife wounds and gun shots.

  • avatar

    Seth R.

    “None of us hold any illusions that our underwear protect us from Satan, knife wounds and gun shots.”

    Neither do most Mormons.


    You heard me. Both Aquinas and Augustine viewed the attempt to paint God as some divine clockmaker who created the universe (the way the ID movement does) as something akin to idolatry. They viewed God as unclassifiable and unknowable by empirical means. They would have considered the modern Intelligent Design movement just as stupid as most of the people here do. Aquinas was even open to the notion that the universe might be eternal and uncreated.

    When these guys looked for explanations for the mechanics of the universe, they turned to science and not the Bible. They viewed God as an explanation for why there was anything in the first place. But they did not look to him as an explanation for how the universe works.

    And actually Joseph Smith had the elimination of slavery as a central point of his presidential campaign. He proposed using sale proceeds of land in the Louisianna Purchase to purchase the freedom of every slave in America. It was a radical idea for the time. Who knows if it might have worked.

    Part of the reason that Mormons were killed, raped and robbed in Missouri was because their neighbors were paranoid about a large unified ANTI-SLAVERY voting block moving into the neighborhood.

    Not sure why you thought the blanket tidbit was relevant to anything.

  • avatar

    Bastard Soap

    Seth this phrase “If you want to attach religion, attack it’s most intelligent versions rather than seeking to score cheap points against it’s dumbest forms.” shows your utter ignorance of atheism and skepticism.

  • avatar

    Seth R.

    Who says I was talking about atheism overall?

    I was just talking about what I was reading here. And yeah, there were a lot of strawmen dancing around.

    As for whether religion “rarely” teaches love and compassion – you got some statistics to back up that assertion? Or is it just based on your own personal perception and a few blurbs from Bill Maher?

  • avatar


    Seth R. is indulging in what’s commonly called *Lying For The Lord*.

    Yes, we Mormons believed that Native American/First Nations peoples were the lost tribes of Israel. Once DNA had disproved this nutty idea, the belief went *underground*, like polygamy and the idea that the mythological Adam of the bible is the mythological God of the bible.

    Yes, we Mormons often tell stories of magic underwear protecting us from bullets, fire, speeding locomotives and Satan; but subconsciously we are ashamed of this kook idea and so we lie about it to outsiders.

    Note Seth playing the *persecution* card, talking about the Haun’s Mill massacre in Missouri. Seth has yet to mention the massacre at Mountain Meadows in Southern Utah, where Mormons murdered hundreds of innocent people, cowardly doing so after they had been disarmed, including kicking in the heads of little babies, simply for the Hell of it.

    Card is a second cousin of mine. I’ve met him personally and I’d strongly recommend that no one take him too seriously. He’s not particularly bright, a shallow thinker, and someone who is completely beholden to the self-appointed chosen tribe for his book sales. (Let’s face it, if he didn’t have gullible Mormons supporting his mediocre-at-best work, he’d have to get a real job, because he’s no Stephen King.) Our extended family is part of the original bunch who settled the town of Cardston (Alberta), a hive of dysfunction, perversion, child abuse and general insanity.

    Hope this helps inject a bit of reality into this discussion. Take Care…

  • avatar

    Seth R.

    “including kicking in the heads of little babies, simply for the Hell of it.”

    If you’d actually read the objective NON-MORMON scholarship on Mountain Meadows Massacre, you’d know that no baby heads were involved. All children under eight years old where taken and placed in local Mormon homes and raised Mormon.

    Not trying to say the massacre wasn’t ugly all around. It was. But at least get your facts straight.

    This is what happens when a person uses “the Google” as his first and only research tool.

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