God, The Series

•April 18, 2008 • 2 Comments

Sorry for the long hiatus, School has kept me quite busy, I’ll get right back into it though. Check below the fold.

Continue reading ‘God, The Series’

So heres what I really think…

•January 17, 2008 • Leave a Comment

My mom recently read some of this blog, she subsequently sent me an IM, which I think had equal parts anger and sadness.

I want to apologize to my Mom, I don’t hate you

I will not, however, apologize for the truth.

Listen, Fundies, Liberals, Anarcho-fascists, whoever reads this. This blog isn’t about what you want to believe in.

If you want to believe that this Jesus fellow was born of a virgin, was the son of god, or had three heads. I don’t care.

The problem for me comes when you people try to say that what you believe is the scientific truth, is the real truth, an account of what really happened. When you tell me that a man was born of a virgin, I say “How?” You tell me a man came back from the dead, a real live zombie, I ask for some evidence.

If you want to have a delusion, thats fine, we live in America, and last time I checked, the bill of rights were still in effect. You’re entitled to believe as you will, and when it comes to belief, I’ll leave you alone.

It’s when you start saying that what you believe is the only option, thats when I have a problem. The fact is, we don’t know if Christ existed, the evidence doesn’t shoot either way. The fact is, we don’t know if God exists, and we’ll probably never have the ability to determine it scientifically. It’s my belief that, in fact, theres no way to know whether God exists at all, even using pure logic as a basis, but thats my belief. It’s not a fact, I don’t claim it’s veracity, It’s just what I conjecture. It’s not my right to tell you to believe my conjecture. It is, however, my responsibility to tell you what is true. What is true, is that there are a hundred explainations for just about any question you can come up with. It has been observed that most of the explainations are crap. Typically only one explaination for a question fits with the evidence, there is — as far as I have seen — one cause leading to one effect. So, I ask you this, if you believe something, and I believe the opposite, who is right?

The fundamentalist says that they are right, you are wrong, period.

The scientist says that the evidence, combined with logical thinking, will tell us.

Who has the better view?

I don’t hate fundamentalists, my parents are both fundamentalists, hell, for a good 15 years of my life, I was a fundamentalist. I went to church 3 times a week, 8 to 1, most sunday mornings (two sermons in the morning), about 6 to 8 on sunday evenings, only one sermon during that tame, and 6 to 8 on wednesday evenings, again, one sermon. By my estimations, thats about 5+2+2=9 hours in church, with about 4, 1 hour sermons, the rest of the time was “fellowship” — chit chat and small talk — or the occasional pot-luck dinner, and singing, I really like the singing.

Actually, I still like the singing, I was in the church band (helping to liberalize my church with my electric guitar. :)), I really enjoyed the hymns we sung. I still hum most of them, I love the songs. I don’t hate christians, I don’t hate fundamentalists, and — really — I don’t hate anyone (with limited exceptions). What I hate is what religion does to people.

Why should me disagreeing with you make you feel so bad? The problem is fundies. Not fundamentalists, fundamentalists are typically good people, the people I went to church with were mostly nice people who “loved Jesus.” Fundies, on the other hand, are psychopaths, these people preach a message of “any dissenter is of the devil.” They teach that disagreement is sin. They tear families apart with this doctrine, I’ve seen it happen. They’ve taught good, loving, caring people to get upset about the very thing that makes, or at least made, america great. They teach people to take offense at people who disagree.

I disagree with anyone who believes in God, however, I never write about, or to, those people in this blog. The “fundies” and “fundamentalists” I write to are those people who say, “You aren’t allowed to disagree.” “Dissent is Sin” is a sin. I mean- You’re own savior, Jesus, kept in his group of disciples a skeptic. For his day, Thomas was as close to a scientific skeptic as we’ll get. When I was in church, I heard Thomas’ behavior railed against, “Don’t Doubt God” they said. That is wrong, just plain wrong. One of the chief lessons we were taught in sunday school is that “Iron sharpeneth Iron”, Well, count me as your blade upon which to hone. I think that, if you honestly look at the problems I bring up, you’ll realize that all I’m talking about here is tolerance. All I’m talking about here is censorship sloughed upon us by stupid men who are afraid to be disagreed with. Who think that they have some divine right to ethics and morality.

Damnit, I don’t want to hurt anyones feelings here, but we need someone to tell the truth, and sometimes that hurts.

Mom, I’m sorry you feel sorry that I believe this way, but I’ll continue to be a materialistic atheist, because thats how I was raised. I’m a Berean, Mom, just like pastor always told me to be. I’m checking the facts, and the facts don’t line up with what I used to believe. If there is a God out there, he wants me to believe the facts, not the bible, the bible was written by men, about a man, who may have been born like any other man, or maybe not. I don’t know all the details, but I do know that evidence, logic, and good reason won’t lie to me. I’ve been raised to hate only two things, Censorship, and Ignorance. “Raise a child in the way which he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”

Mom, I don’t hate you, if you want to believe that “Jesus was born of a virgin, and is [your] savior”, then power too you. If it helps you to live a good life, (which, as far as I’m concerned, you have), good. I don’t need to believe that anymore, but I’d die for your right to believe it.

My mantra through life has been simple, Never be censored, Never not know, and — like a boy I read about a long time ago. A man can stand up.

I’m standing on what is right, because the evidence tells me, and evidence really can’t lie. I won’t stand on anything less firm than that.

Oh, and, I love you too, mom.

Why Science? Because “Science Delivers the Goods.”

•December 3, 2007 • Leave a Comment

I’ve heard the above quote on “The Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe” podcast, it was attributed to Carl Sagan, but I couldn’t find a source, so I’ll just say that I think it’s one of his- thats besides the point.

There was an article recently at Discover Magazine, if it was a serious article, it was misguided, if not, then it’s fairly amusing. It effectively is suggesting to stop using the word science, not to stop studying science. Just to stop calling it Science. It also suggests that the cornerstone of all the modern sciences — the Scientific Method — is a “near-translucent fig leaf of an idea.” What? Thats patently ridiculous. More on that later.

I see several (thousand) problems with this, but here are two:

  1. As IDiot’s know well, you can call a duck (Creationism) by any name you like (ID), but it’s still a duck.
  2. Science is a term used to refer to a broad collection of subjects. Just like Mathematics refers to many subfields. Not using the term doesn’t do anything than make it hard to refer to the general “idea” of science. That is, the world can be understood through experimentation and reason. To paraphrase Shakespeare, “Science by any other name would still be Science.

My big problem though, and maybe it’s just nitpickery, but making the Scientific Method out to be unimportant — thats almost hurtful. The Scientific Method, or TSM, as I like to call it, has provided us a means to cure the Plague, send some guys to the moon, invent the most useful metatool since the human brain — the computer, and hundreds of other amazing discoveries. How can you possibly say it’s just a “fig leaf of an idea”?

He does note a point which deserves some more attention, the decline in the interest of science in schools. I completely agree- the reason, I think, is precisely one he points out- noone advocates science anymore. Those who do — shows like CSI and Numb3rs — inspire interest in those areas. What about the rest of the sciences? Advocacy works– we see it in the examples he gives. He, however, draws a false conclusion, in that he says that advocacy won’t work- that it’s too much, too late. I disagree, we need new Bill Nyes, Carl Sagans, and more shows like CSI, Mythbusters, and Numb3rs. We need Mathematicians, Biologists, Physicists, Geologists, all of the Sciences to start getting excited about science. Science is not boring!! Science is amazing, the real world is more complex, strange, and beautiful than even pseudoscientific fiction can come up with. Evolution is amazing, the fact that we were, as a species, at one point nothing more than a bunch of proteins, and through Darwinian Selection managed to evolve and improve until we put a man on the moon. Astronomy is beautiful. If you don’t believe me, look at the pictures from the Hubble space telescope. If you don’t believe some little mathematician- go look  at the night sky sometime, out in a dark field, and just look up. See the Milky Way, get a Telescope. If you still don’t believe me, ask an astronomer to show you what they do, ask Phil Plait at Bad Astronomy to tell you the amazing things that he gets to study for a living! Imagine your job was to look at beautiful images all day, and try to find out new and interesting things about them. Computer Science is fascinating, and powerful. A computer is a meta-tool, capable of building within it other tools. CS is almost as wide a field as Physics or Mathematics, the study of computers incorporates every other science you can think of. Astronomers need computer models of space, Evolutionists need computer models of animal populations, Mathematicians need ways to visualize the models they build. Speaking of Math, Math is amazing, stunning, mindblowingly unbelievably beautiful and useful. Maybe I’m biased, but the ability to express complex interactions of just about anything with a few simple operations. How powerful the Axiomatic Method is, a few short axioms about lines and points and you achieve the beauty of Geometry and Trigonometry.

My point is, Science is amazing, and if you want it to die, you’ll have to do it over my cold, dead, mathematician’s body.

Science is beautiful.

ED: External Delivery — Cectic gets it right.

•December 3, 2007 • 6 Comments

The recent Cectic webcomic hits the nail squarely on the head: (click the link at the bottom for a better version)

Go down to Cectic and read away. All the comics are excellent. Also, EDTheFuture.com does exist, unlike evidence for Parentism… 🙂

Links:

The ED Comic: ED: The Future

The Comic main page: Cectic

ED The Future Homepage: ED: The Future

An Atheist and the Pope

•December 1, 2007 • 1 Comment

This is the continuation of my previous post about the Popes recent encyclical, covering sections 6-10, and maybe more.

More below the fold.

Continue reading ‘An Atheist and the Pope’

A Note on Christmas, and also the Pope

•December 1, 2007 • 1 Comment

I’m an Atheist, and I Love Christmas. Continue reading ‘A Note on Christmas, and also the Pope’

An open letter to thiests against “The Golden Compass”

•November 28, 2007 • 8 Comments

I am sick and tired of people railing on books that they’ve never read.
Have any of you Christians actually _read_ His Dark Materials?
I am, currently (on chapter 11 of the golden compass, can hardly put it down).
You know, when Narnia came out, I was excited, I loved those books. Just because they have _blatent_ christian overtones, I didn’t complain, I didn’t whine that it was going to “teach kids a pro-God message.” I didn’t complain about it- I enjoyed the movie, the work of fiction.
It’s a book! It talks about a fiction version of the Catholic church, in a fictional world. At the very least, it’s about what could happen if the church went awry.
It’s about what happens when people blindly subscribe to dogma and superstition. It’s not about killing God. It’s about a God whose blanked out, and left the world alone, and the crap that happens when he doesn’t do anything to stop it.
They don’t kill God in the books, they kill Metatron, God dies in the crossfire. God is an innocent, not a malcontent. Unless you worship Metatron., but none of you do that, right?
Metatron is a despot, a cruel demigod/angelesque being akin to another malcontent we know from you’re superstitious dogma, Christians, Satan.
So let me ask you this, don’t you want Satan to be fought?
Next time, before you complain about my beliefs, think of this, the God you believe in is logically impossible, non-unique, based on stories and anecdotes out of a book written by a bunch of men about a man who probably didn’t exist. You’re faith in this “God” fellow is blind, at best, stupid on average, and childish, at worst. Wake up to the world you’re living in, it’s worse than “God is Dead.”

Your God never existed in the first place.

Normally, I don’t care what you believe, I’ll let you be. You have your faith, I have mine. So what, you preach at kids. So what, you teach biblical fiction as literal fact. Okay, so you ignore things like “evidence” and “reason.” Hell, I’ve been accused of Satan worship, just because I don’t agree with your dogmatic dander (to which I reply, How can I worship something that doesn’t exist?). Just because I realize that I was wrong to believe in all this superstitious nonsense, and that the evidence, in fact, points to a more logical conclusion than deity. Doesn’t give me the right to tell you what to believe.

However,

If you want to attack a movie- a work of fiction- as promoting my beliefs, insodoing turning me into a villian, a liar, and apparently, a satanist. A movie which, honestly, doesn’t do that, because they’ve purposefully toned down the mild atheist undertones. Just like they did in the Narnia movie. In fact, the book is not about atheism, at the least it’s about deism. If it were about atheism, it would show that God doesn’t exist, not assume him at the outset. You can’t kill a man who doesn’t exist.

Idiocy, pure idiocy.

~~Joe Fredette, an proud atheist, devout skeptic, and freethinker.
‘Sans Deus, mundo mea cupla.’