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Think Outside The Box (The Cutest Response to Creationism Ever!) « Exploring Our Matrix February 13, 2012

Posted by aquillam in Science.
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Think Outside The Box (The Cutest Response to Creationism Ever!) « Exploring Our Matrix.

This is indeed a very cute response to creationism.

I am an atheist… February 13, 2011

Posted by aquillam in Philosophy.
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I am an atheist.

If this offends you, too bad. If you’re so insecure that exposure to a different belief system offends you, you should find another blog to read. Really. Go away.

If you if you do believe in god, or enlightenment, or spirituality, or whatever, I am not going to call you stupid, or foolish, or say you’ve been duped . If you happen to be an atheist and that offends you, please see the second sentence of the post.

I had a whole other post, quite a while ago, about my thoughts on Belief in god, the gist of which is that Belief is about a lot more than a simple belief in the supernatural. It’s about community, connectedness, a sense of control, or a source of comfort. It’s about, well, belief. I’ve known many people had “felt God’s presence” or had a “miraculous” experience (and I mean those quote marks as actual quotations!) I have been awed, felt euphoric, and I have had great things happen to me, but I have never felt the need to ascribe any of those feeling or events to a particular deity. I also don’t feel the need to negate the feelings of someone else  just because I don’t share them.  If you Believe and  you get something out of it, that’s fine with me.

I do have a little trouble with the people who insist their Belief is about Truth and everyone needs to follow the Truth. They’re actually the ones that convinced me that atheism was the way to go.

Group A and B both claim to have the Truth, but their Truths are contradictory. Group A thinks group B is evil and should/will all go to hell. Group B thinks the same thing about group A. A few people in both groups are prepared to take matters into their own hands, since god doesn’t seem to be doing anything about it. Therein lies the problem. If one of those groups really is right, shouldn’t god be doing something about it? At the very least, there should be some sort of evidence of god’s will that people OUTSIDE the group will understand. I can understand why group B wouldn’t convert to group A’s belief system: they hate each other, and that always gets in the way. But there’s a whole bunch of people in groups C – ZZZ who aren’t converting in droves either.

(side note,  I do find some irony in ZZZ representing an arbitrarily large label, as well as a common representation for something boring enough to put you to sleep.)

Anyway, I’ve had more than a few arguments with True Believers, and been caught between arguments (My favorite was the time a Mormon and an evangelical got into it over my celestial sphere – I think the evangelical actually claimed the universe was geocentric at one point, though by that time neither one was particularly cogent.) The outcome of these arguments is that I have come to the conclusion that if there is a god, he/she/it/they are right ass-holes. As far as I can tell, if he/she… exists, he’s hiding away and laughing while the various groups destroy themselves in an effort to prove themselves right. That’s not someone I think is worth worshiping.

That does of course leave me with two options. I could actually go with the “god is unknowable” agnostic option. However, that feels like a cop-out to me. It’s like saying I really want to believe, but I can’t find any empirical evidence, so I’m going to say god is real but undetectable.  Like the invisible pink unicorn. That offends my scientific sensibilities, that everything should be testable or explorable, even if it remains unexplained. It also leaves me right back with god is just a big jerk, who would rather let us fight over which one is right than provide any guidance.

So I go with Atheism.

And you know what? I could be wrong.

So could you.

And that may be the only Truth with a capitol T out there.

Is belief in God Obsolete? May 14, 2008

Posted by aquillam in Philosophy, Science.
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This morning on the radio I heard that the Templeton Foundation is asking their next big question: “Does science make belief in God obsolete?

This struck me at first as a rather stupid question. Belief is seldom dependant solely on science or evidence. Belief brings us something: comfort, security, a sense of community, a moral code. Belief gives us hope and control. That’s probably a major part of the reason those in the lowest economic classes are the most likely to call a psychic or consult an astrologer, because it gives them hope and a sense of control (of course it also lightens their pocketbook, making it even harder for them to actually gain control.) There are many reasons that people hold beliefs, and science is only a part of it. I thought the answer was obvious.

But then I actually went to their website and read some of the comments, and discovered my error. Michael Shermer summed it up fairly well with the first sentence of his response, “The answer turns on whether one emphasizes belief or God.”

I assumed that if they had meant to ask “Does science make God obsolete” then that is what they would have asked. However, if science can really make God obsolete, that ought to make belief in him (her? them?) obsolete as well. Right?

Well, no not really. Science does pretty much end the need for supernatural explanations for physical phenomena. We have a fairly complete picture of how life began and developed on this planet. We have a pretty good idea of how the planet got here in the first place. We know why the stars shine, and how big the universe is. In other words, we have a pretty good idea of how the universe works, with no supernatural intervention needed to keep it in operation. In other words, god as the maker of all things in the universe is pretty much obsolete. And many of us know that.

So why do so many people persist in their belief in God? Why in fact, are so many people ready to commit murder and die for God if we don’t need him? Belief must provide these people with something else. Maybe it’s a sense of community. Maybe it’s a moral guidepost. Maybe it’s an excuse to name another group “evil” and injure them without feeling remorse. Maybe it’s that the concept of God isn’t limited to “the maker of all things”.

A friend of mine once said he was a christian because he liked the overall message of the New Testament, and being one gave him a feeling of connection to other christians, and a sense of history. For him, belief in God provided a connection to millions of people spanning 2 millennia, a connection he can’t find in anything else.

And maybe that’s the real answer. Belief in God won’t become truly obsolete until we can find a way to connect to one another spiritually without the need for a common Spirit.

Oh, and I once asked my friend if he thought he’d feel more connected if he belonged to a religion with more followers or an older religion, like maybe Hindu. He said no, because he didn’t know any Hindus.