Friday, May 10, 2013

Life after birth

I recently stumbled along this little story that tries to equate 'life after birth' to 'life after death'. Unsurprisingly, the 'logic' is far from sound... Here's the story in question:

In the belly of a pregnant woman, two babies are having a conversation. One of them is a believer and the other is an atheist.

The Atheist: Do you believe in life after birth?
The Believer: Of course I do. Everybody knows there is life after birth. We are here in order to grow strong enough and prepared for what awaits us after it.

The Atheist: Nonsense! There can’t be life after birth! Can you imagine how this life would be?

The Believer: I don’t know all the details, but I believe there’s more light, and maybe we will walk and feed ourselves there.

The Atheist: Rubbish! It’s impossible to walk and feed ourselves! Ridiculous! We have the umbilical cord that feeds us. I just want to point this out to you: Life after birth can’t exist because our life, the cord, is already too short.

The Believer: I am sure it’s possible. It will be just a little different. I can envision it.

The Atheist: But there is nobody who has ever returned from it! Life simply ends with birth. And frankly, life is just one big suffering in the dark.

The Believer: No, no! I don’t know how life after birth will be exactly, but in any case, we will meet our mother and she will take care of us!

The Atheist: Mother? You think we have a mother? So, where is she then?

The Believer: She is everywhere around us, and we are in her! We move because of her and thanks to her, we move and live! Without her, we wouldn’t exist.

The Atheist: Baloney! I haven’t seen any such mother; hence, there is none.

The Believer: I can’t agree with you. In fact, sometimes, when everything calms down, we can hear her sing and feel how she caresses our world. I strongly believe that our real life will begin only after birth.

We'll first ignore the fact that babies can not converse as it's a simple ploy to drive the story. Also, let's ignore the miss-use of the term 'atheist'. An atheist is someone who lacks a belief in a god(s). God is not the topic of their conversation. And actually, since religion is taught, and they haven't been taught yet, they would bot technically be atheists. But back to the story...

When the 'believer baby' states that everyone knows that there is life after birth, who would this 'everyone' be? Babies don't exactly get to go out and mingle much before birth now do they.

Then when the 'atheist baby' says that life after birth is impossible and that they can't imagine life after birth, we find our first false equivalency. To the babies in this example, they would notice that they are growing larger, and will eventually notice that their location will start to shift as the big day comes nearer. This story would have us believe that the babies are going off of faith about 'life after birth' just as many go off on faith in regard to life after death. The claim being that if it's silly to not believe in life after birth, that it's just as wrong to not believe in life after death. Logic doesn't work that way though. There is of course, undisputed proof of life after birth. Yet there is no proof of life after death. In fact, some aspects on which differing models hinge on have been debunked. But what about from these babies' perspective?

Since these two are being treated as mini adults, will continue in that vain. As I stated above, they will notice their growth. They will also notice physiological changes to their anatomy. They start out very well suited for their surroundings, and slowly grow less and less suited for their surroundings. This growing, moving and changing could serve to suggest that they may be moving toward a different way of life. Not to mention being able to see varying degrees of light and hear the outside world.

Also important to note is that an atheist does not disbelieve in the afterlife because they can't imagine it, as the 'atheist baby' can't imagine life after birth. I can imagine all sorts of different afterlives. But I still don't believe. That fact is due to the total lack of evidence that there is an afterlife, and the fact that it hinges on the existence of a 'soul' which does not exist.

The babies rely on the umbilical cord for food. But as the mouth develops (apparently well enough to speak in this story), they would also notice that anything being swallowed also ended up 'feeding' them. When a person does not believe in life after death, it is not the same as a jump to a conclusion like 'umbilical cord = starve without it'. As I've stated before, there is no evidence for there being an afterlife, yet there is proof we can (eventually) live without our umbilical cord.

Quite frankly, the 'no one has ever returned from it' argument is rather old and sad. First, how many babies are they proposing were in this womb that they can say that nobody ever comes back?  Also, I don't disbelieve in life after death because 'no one has ever come back'. Again, it all comes down the evidence and proofs.

Additionally, I find it offensive to assume that life to an atheist is just a 'suffering in the dark'. Life is amazingly beautiful, and I actually find life and nature all the more beautiful and awe inspiring since I cast off my belief. Sure, life to a baby is probably cramped and boring, but I find life to be anything but.

Then there's the attempt to equate 'mother' to God. It is claimed that the 'atheist baby' doesn't believe they have a mother and asks where she is. The 'believer baby' then states that 'mother' is all around them, and the 'atheist baby' basically says that they haven't seen her, so she isn't real. Yet another false equivalency. While we have absolutely no evidence that a god exists, there is plenty evidence that 'mom' does. Their 'host' shows signs of life. Respiration, movement, etc. Remember that umbilical cord that feeds them? Another piece of evidence for 'mom'. Additionally, they are made of flesh, and are surrounded by living flesh. These babies are literally surrounded with proof of 'mother'. So the claim the story is making is quite a poor one. And in the real world we are left with claims for a god that is evidenced, and fails the tests thrown his direction. Not even a close comparison.

While the story can be viewed as cute to some, it is also a blatant attempt to ridicule those that don't believe in life after death, or God. Whoever wrote it thought they were being clever, I assume. What they were instead was clueless. Their claims an analogies just don't stand up. Yet another straw-man argument created because that's the only adversary they can defeat. Quite sad really...

-Brain Hulk

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  1. You did give some credibility to this believer by assuming babies can converse. It is saying no evidence does not mean impossible. You might have had evidence of life after birth. But the babies have not had that evidrnce yet. Having said that I do know "not impossible" does not equate to "certanly yes".

    1. How did I give any credibility to the believer? I was clearly speaking from within the parameters or the given argument/meme. Also, one of the first things I said was that babies can't converse...

      I agree that 'not impossible' doesn't mean that 'it absolutely must be so'. The time to state certainty is when you have the evidence to back up that conviction. True, babies may not have evidence of life after birth, but I did explain ways that the hypothetical babies do have potential evidence at their disposal. In the end it's all a silly argument though no matter how you look at is since unborn babies do not yet posses the higher reasoning needed to even consider such matters.

      Regardless, thanks for the comment, and thanks for reading.