Uncommon Sense

October 20, 2021

How Do You Recognize that Something is Artificial?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Steve Ruis @ 10:21 am

There is a fair amount of misunderstanding when it comes to the word “artificial.” It is considered a negative term by advertisers so they use it that way. The same is true for the word “chemicals.” In fact the word chemical is so toxic that one sunscreen producer declared their product to be “chemical free.”

The word chemical is short for chemical substance. Chemical substances are the elements and compounds. I suppose you have heard the phrase “all things are made of atoms,” well atoms make up the elements and compounds and, as such, everything is therefore made of chemicals. That sunscreen was made of chemicals, our food is made of chemicals, in fact we are made of chemicals . . . and nothing else. The only way for that bottle to be “chemical free” is to be completely empty, and by that I mean the air would have to be sucked out of it, too, because the air is made of chemicals.

I am sure George Carlin could do a better job of addressing bad words (for advertisements), but I will soldier on.

Back to the word artificial. If I were to hand you a common object, would you be able to tell whether it was “natural” or “artificial”? I am going to assume you would answer “yes” and indeed you’d be right. Most people make this distinction easily. So, were I to hand you a stopwatch, you would say artificial. If I were to hand you a rock, you would say natural. If I were to hand you a bonsai tree, you would say that this is a more complex object. The container is clearly artificial but the tree in it started as something natural but then was reshaped by human hands to be as it appears now, so it is a natural object, reshaped artificially.

The word “artificial” means created by artifice, or art, or craft, or skill of a human being. If I say natural, then it is something produced by nature. The line between these two terms has been blurred because we have used artifice to change nature. Artichokes started out as thistles. Corn ears were quite tiny before we started tinkering with them. And through the artifice of man, we have changed these natural things to make them as they are now. So, clearly butter is artificial as there are no butter trees in nature to pluck it from, and peanut butter, ditto. These things have had the word “natural” slapped upon them because for marketing purposes, that word always helps sell the product. The people who made margarine, an artificial butter, got in a crossfire because on one side the defenders to butter, real butter, made claims that butter was natural and margarine was not. Both are artificial as you can see now.

Now, where am I going with this, you ask?

There is an argument that the Christian god must exist, because otherwise who created all of this? A wooden stool, clearly artificial, has a creator. (Correct.) A saucepan has a creator. (Correct.) So the trees and rainbows and mountains must have had a creator also, no?


One of the clear signs of something being crafted are tool marks. In old log cabins, you can still see where an axe was used to shape the logs so as to fit together to make walls and whatnot. In iron implements made on a forge, you can still see hammer marks.

Of course a stool, made of multiple wood parts, cleverly stuck together, one can see something that no tree could pull off on its own. If there were screws or nails in that stool, those would be indicators of a creator, an artificer who made that stool.

Now a rock shows no such tool marks. But a large piece of stone can be reshaped into a statue of a human being, sanded smooth to perfection. The statue is, identical to the rock in composition, but if you look close you will find tool marks. Plus, no one has ever found a perfect statue of anything and claimed it had been made naturally, with no input from man.

So, why are theists still making the argument that the Earth and the rest of the universe must have been created, therefore there must be a creator? School children can distinguish between what is created and what is natural quite soon. They also are known for making rainbows in the back yard with a garden hose. Such do not require magical beings to make.

I understand that theists desperately want to convince us atheists that their god is real, that their god exists. But they are playing a game they are quite ill prepared to win. It might be different if their apologists (defenders) supplied them with somewhat valid arguments, but that hasn’t happened, which leads many of us to assume they have no better arguments, nor do they have any valid evidence. (Nicholas Everitt, a professional philosopher, wrote a book called The Nonexistence of God, in which he took all of the philosophical arguments offered for the existence of the Abrahamic god, unpacked them, and found that they failed.)

As to evidence, we still have theists making arguments like “See the Grand Canyon? God.” and we respond “See the Grand Canyon? No god.” They say how can you look at all of the beauty in nature and not see God’s handiwork? And we respond “How can you look at all of the pain and suffering and disease in Nature and see your god’s handiwork?

Such efforts on the part of theists are misguided as they cannot do what they wish. I often see questions from theists made to atheists about why we attack their beliefs. Possibly because they keep flaunting their beliefs and making “reasoned arguments” through which they claim their beliefs are true. If they would stop making reasoned arguments (The Kalam, the Kalam!) we would stop responding. Especially because every reasoned argument put forth over the past few millennia has not stood up to examination, so why are they still using them? I suspect it is so professional apologists can continue to collect speaker’s fees from church organizations. In front of a philosophically untrained audience of believers, those discredited arguments sound pretty good.

Most of us atheists are atheists because we finally realized, after all of the indoctrination and whatnot, that what we see is artificial, the work of man, not some god. And, unless I am mistaken worshiping man-made things is idolatry, no?


  1. Ah – this is where you’re wrong. “So the trees and rainbows and mountains must have had a creator also, no?” The answer is yes, everything, from that sauce pan, the wooden stool, the mountains, you, me and even a rainbow, EVERYTHING is made up of ENERGY and that my friend, is from a Creator.

    Just my 2¢, great post – got me thinking! Thank you.


    Comment by Donna Frasca — October 20, 2021 @ 12:05 pm | Reply

    • Yep, at the most fundamental level, every thing is made of mass-energy, describable by quantum fields . . . we think. . . . :o)

      And where that energy came from is anyone’s guess at this point. As to theists who point to a creator god for this task, that supposition is far more complicated than the myriad of possible physical reasons (it has always been, it was made by all powerful aliens, whatever). In any case that is all speculation right now, but Occam’s Razor is not backing a creator deity’s involvement at the moment.

      Cheers my friend!


      Comment by Steve Ruis — October 20, 2021 @ 1:37 pm | Reply

  2. You lay it all out so clearly and yet … and yet … the rose-colored glasses of Faith continue to mar their vision.


    Comment by Nan — October 20, 2021 @ 3:11 pm | Reply

    • Nan? Nan, is that you? You are all pink-colored. I am trying the rose-colored glasses but they make everything look weird.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by Steve Ruis — October 21, 2021 @ 9:48 am | Reply

      • That #4 comment should have been here. Makes no sense where it is. My blooper. Again.


        Comment by Nan — October 21, 2021 @ 10:12 am | Reply

  3. What it boils down to is why do human beings always leap to the conclusion that some kind of supernatural being must be involved whenever they run into something they don’t understand? Instead of just admitting they don’t know the answer, they claim it was some kind of magical space fairy who has the temperament of a petulant, spoiled child? One might make excuses for our ancestors who claimed Zeus was running around throwing thunderbolts and impregnating every nubile female in sight while disguised as — wait a minute… disguised as various horny animals? Seriously? Wow, our ancestors had some seriously warped imaginations. No, you can’t really make excuses for that either, can you?

    Just admit you don’t know. Stop just making sh*t up, people.

    Liked by 2 people

    Comment by grouchyfarmer — October 20, 2021 @ 10:48 pm | Reply

    • Hear, hear. I wish people would respond to things they don’t understand with “Well, have I tried?” And then if they still don’t understand, think “Well, have I really tried to understand?” Most of the anti-evolution comments I hear from theists indicate they do not understand what evolution is (I ain’t no relative of no monkey! Sir, evolution proves that you are right!)

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by Steve Ruis — October 21, 2021 @ 9:51 am | Reply

  4. Exactly!!


    Comment by Nan — October 21, 2021 @ 10:10 am | Reply

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