Monday, November 15, 2010

Pass the Fat and Calories

I eat a fairly healthy diet – lots of berries and nuts and salads, almost no fried foods, and so on. But I’ve decided not to bother any more because it is clear that it doesn’t matter.

Here’s the thing. It’s obvious that the objective data about diet --- like good nutrition, vitamins and minerals, calories, and so on – are just something I was raised with as part of modern American society.

If I had been born in, say, the Arctic, I’d be promoting whale blubber as a healthy diet. If I’d been born in rural China, I’d be extolling the virtues of vegetables and rice as the way to go. If I’d been born in the United Kingdom, I’d be all about fish and chips.

It gets worse. If I’d been born in a movie theater, I’d be telling people that the best diet for them is popcorn and Raisenets (and gum unstuck from beneath your seats). If I’d been born in a football stadium, I’d be all for a diet of nachos and hot dogs. And if I’d been born in the back of a convenience store, I’d be telling people how good it was for them to consume donuts, potato chips, beer, and energy drinks.

And finally, consider this: The versions of me born in all these places would be mocking this current version of me who thinks that it is all about counting calories and checking nutrition labels. They’d all say that I was just a child of my culture, that I was raised to consider things like nutrition labels and calories, and that there’s no objective basis whatsoever to your selection of diet. It’s just a matter of where you were born and what circumstances you were raised in.

Stupid argument, isn’t it? Then why is the atheist version (eg, “If you were born in Saudi Arabia, you’d be a Muslim”) so popular?

Pretty clearly, because it’s a lot easier to whine about alleged biases than it is to actually argue for or against the objective truth of a religion.

I think I’ll stick with checking the nutrition labels.


  1. And of course the argument is a double-edged sword, because if the atheist had been born in Saudi Arabia, he would likely be a Muslim, too, and not an atheist.

  2. This is a genius response! Though I admit that at first, I was reading this as if you were serious xD If an atheist was born in Stalin's Regime, I guess that means he's going to be immoral too. I'll be sending this to all the goofy atheists that I know.

  3. And of course, we have the age-old joke:

    A young woman teacher with obvious liberal tendencies explains to her class of small children that she is an atheist. She asks her class if they are atheists too. Not really knowing what atheism is but wanting to be like their teacher, their hands explode into the air like fleshy fireworks.
    There is, however, one exception. A beautiful girl named Lucy has not gone along with the crowd. The teacher asks her why she has decided to be different.
    "Because I'm not an atheist."
    Then, asks the teacher, "What are you?"
    "I'm a Christian."
    The teacher is a little perturbed now, her face slightly red. She asks Lucy why she is a Christian.
    "Well, I was brought up knowing and loving Jesus. My mom is a Christian, and my dad is a Christian, so I am a Christian."
    The teacher is now angry. "That's no reason," she says loudly.
    "What if your mom was a moron, and your dad was a moron. What would you be then?"
    She paused, and smiled. "Then," says Lucy, "I'd be an atheist."

  4. "...if the atheist had been born in Saudi Arabia, he would likely be a Muslim, too, and not an atheist."

    Actually, he'd probably be an atheist, but one who believes that the rules of Islam are naturally-occurring, and would loudly be proclaiming that one can be a perfectly good Muslim without believing in Allah.

    Atheists always adopt the moral system of the surrounding culture, and then explain that one can follow that moral system without being of that religion. It somehow never occurs to them that if they hadn't been born surrounded by that religion, they might not have those morals.