Monday, August 07, 2006

The Atheist: Your Neighbor


Atheism:

  • Disbelief in or denial of the existence of God or gods.

  • The doctrine that there is no God or gods.

  • I am an atheist and glad to be one of millions, who if were not intimidated by cultural stigma, would also admit to being atheist. There are atheists in the foxholes. There are atheists in all manner of career; teaching in schools and colleges, creating art and design, managing Fortune 500 companies, making scientific discoveries, driving tractor trailers, digging ditches. Every single human is born an atheist. It is only through instruction and forced dogma,
    church service, and the fairy tale like answers to child like existential questions, that a human becomes god believing.


    An academic critic of atheism recently stated that “Atheism is the ultimate faith because it makes the huge presumption that there can not possibly be a god or ever be a god.” I think this scientist has not questioned any, or many atheists, as to whether or not this is how they feel. To my philosophy of atheism it is an evidence based experience. The scientist making the above statement is wrong because if there is no evidence for a god, there will be no atheist presuming there might be one. Why presume the possibility of something so outside the realm of physical possibility? If a god exists outside nature, and a believer accepts that as reasonable, that believer is being unreasonable because reason in and of itself requires a proven sequence of logic of the gross physics of our universe.


    Living with evidence versus the supernatural:


    The Atheist leaves his house to run an errand, or to go to work, he expects the car to be in the driveway and it is. He could not have known %100 that the car was there waiting for him, after all it could have been stolen overnight, or beamed up to a flying saucer to be sold for space parts, but the evidence in his life told him it was very likely to be there for him. The car door opens adequately as usual. The car starts as it does %99 of the time.


    An Atheist is creative and good with electronics, one day she gets an idea to build an invention unlike like anything known to date by society. She is working on hypothesis, an evidence based set of ideas. Because her knowledge of electronics allows her to formulate the concept, she is able to hypothesize with relative certainty. Her first prototype does not quite work; she is fallible, she made a mistake somewhere – back to the drawing board. She finds her mistake, a concept based mistake, her knowledge
    of evidence of working electronics was lacking just a little.


    There is nothing in our human lives, on our planet, in the outer-space that surrounds us, that is outside of nature. There has never been a documented “miracle,” that could not later be explained by knowledge previously unknown. Nature includes our universe and according to Albert Einstein’s mathematical theories (which we rely on today) all laws of nature that we experience, and can measure (i.e. gravity and light), here on Earth are constant throughout the universe.


    An atheist travels through his or her day confident that everything he encounters will be real, will be measurable, will be testable, and will have all the properties of the rest of the universe. He looks forward to the challenges of physical reality, the turns and nuances of interrelationships with other humans. He expects the effects of water and rain, heat and dryness, wind and earthquakes, metal fatigue of his devices, and the ever present human error, to effect his life almost daily.


    The practicing Christian conducts fifteen minutes of silent prayer immediately following Corn Flakes in the morning. He gathers his coat and car keys, he kisses the wife and kids goodbye for the day, he reminds his children to say their prayers before leaving for school. In his prayers he prayed for the usual gambit of wants: safety and health of his children and his wife, his boss recognizing him as valuable and finally giving him that raise, the saving of the souls of atheists, Jews and Muslims and Hindus and all those other “fake religions.” He closed his prayer that morning by thanking “the lord,” for keeping his 1995 Camry running pass 200,000 miles.
    Through the combination that morning, of his wife’s prayers and the children’s prayers, the family had all bases covered; highway safety, complete health, success in school and at work, that the pot roast turns out good, and that “bitch” Mary Johnson in the sewing circle drops out of the group because “she’s just not very Christian!”


    No scientific study has ever been conducted that would show that somehow a praying family such as this one, lives a better or less complicated life than a secular, or even an atheist, family. However in sickness and in death, prayer has been visibly documented to calm and console, to ease pain, and to lull grieving patients and families. No one has documented whether or not practices such as Transcendental Meditation, or Marijuana therapy, allowing pet visitation, or arranging for naked people to dance through your hospital room, has a similar effect such as prayer does.


    When the Christian family begins their day and walks through the hours, encountering all sorts of people and events, its all because god hears their prayers and is pleased. But if something goes wrong, if the car breaks down, if someone falls in the mud, if someone twists their ankle; it all part of god’s plan for them. Apparently god is not powerful enough to just do what he wants in completion with expediency, god has to set-up the course of events and watch the dominoes fall. Its more fun that way, “Godotainment,” if you will.


    When the atheist family starts their day they first gather in Mom and Dad’s bed to have family incest with each other, then still naked, they sacrifice that weeks family dog in the kitchen, followed by chanting and ritualistic dancing in the family room, casting black-magic spells upon Katie Couric before Good Morning America is over. Then they put on their black leathers and spiked collars, take some illicit drugs and leave the house to begin their day. Of course I’m kidding, the Atheist family does nothing different than any other family except for the belief related activities. The Atheist family is no less moral or not necessarily any more moral than any other family.


    Atheism is not a religion. It is only a philosophy. It is not a way of life. It is a relative way of not living – with belief. Atheism does not require anything of belief at all. In fact; no one person on Earth requires any one or more beliefs about any matter at all. Not one belief is necessary. An Atheist might tell that “
    . . if you have to belief in anything it probably means there is a another problem, like an absence of confidence, an unwillingness to accept responsibility, a looming fear of mortality, a longing for material possessions motivated by feelings as powerful as greed and coveting.”


    Predominant in religions is an engrained sense of the supernatural. It begins with childhood and material such as Bible Stories cartoons, fairy tales, Mother Goose, adults giving ridiculous answers to science related questions from children (“ . . yes the Moon is made of cheese!”). The brain is trained to accept the mysticism of our world which does not exist. We grow up hopeful that we are being watched over, or guided by divinity, or carrying out some plan of a supreme being. Our insecurity is quelled
    to some degree by the god-think.


    So God Appears to Some Atheist and Says:


    The Atheist was out walking in the park, he was leaning over to examine to colorful fungi, he was marveling at the age of this genus of life, remembering that archeologists had found fossilized mushrooms very similar to these modern day mushrooms, that had dated some approximately 400 million years into the past. “Why didn’t they evolve?” he wondered and stroked his chin, “perhaps they have evolved a lot, who am I to say how much different they are. Then again, why should they evolve? Look at them They
    populate just fine. Their spores can hide in rock for millions of years and still be viable. Hell, we could only wish for such capability!”


    The Atheist stood and took a few steps continuing his nature walk, and suddenly the sky lit up with bright white and blue light just above him, thunder boomed so deep and loud the Atheist had to cover his ears and he fell to the ground in fear, and he cowered over in a curled-up position on the trail.


    “Atheist! Atheist!” A commanding, tree shaking, voice that seemed to come from all directions called to him.


    The Atheist slowly raised his head, still on his knees, he looked up and saw a circular area of intense light, he was totally unsure of what he was seeing.


    “Atheist! On your feet!”


    “All right all right I’m standing. What the fuck, who the hell are you?” The Atheist covered his eyes with his hands enough to lessen the blinding sight above him.


    “I’m God you idiot! What say you to the all mighty?” God asked, not very nicely.


    “Jesus Chrissst!” Atheist said in amazement.


    “No he’s in time out for fighting with Gabriel!” God angrily replied.


    “No! Who are you really? Its Bob isn’t it? C’mon Bob, very funny asshole!” Atheist said.


    Just then God threw a bolt of lighting at the ground just a few feet from where Atheist was standing. Atheist jumped, startled, his hair stood on end and his teeth and gums tingled fiercely.


    “Now do you know who I am foolish mortal?” God asked.


    “I only know that you are a voice. That you have not materialized except as a bright blue and white ball of light above me. That you can produce electrically charged streams that appear as what I know to be lighting, which is a natural event.” Atheist said bravely to the ball of light.


    Then the Atheist turned his back on the ball of light and bent over to conceal what he was doing. He produced his cell phone and quickly made a speed dial call to his team at Los Alamos National Laboratory some five miles away.


    “You mock me Atheist! You will believe!” God was feeling a bit humiliated, a human trait. Determined to be accepted, again a human trait.


    “Colonel its me Atheist, I’m at the park and something incredible is happening here. Listen closely, you know that gravity well generator we’ve been testing? Yeah, well put it in a truck pronto, bring my whole team and get out here, be sure to bring a portable generator. I’m on the Eucalyptus Trail, about two tenths of a mile back. Hurry!”


    For the next half an hour Atheist kept the being calling itself God busy in conversation. He would ask questions about history and hypocrisy concerning his reputation and factual events. Philosophies on life and living, existence, and death, creation and eternity, evolution. Turns out this God hated religions but welcomed faith. It demanded worship but not from the unworthy. He was limited and admitted to not actually creating the planets, but that they were after effects of a temper tantrum it once had.


    The team arrived and the God being seemed to ignore them, apparently engrossed in the depth of conversation with Atheism. The team set-up the gravity well machine about a hundred feet behind Atheist. When it came to full power its anti-proton emanation was invisible and the God being did not know what hit it. Sucked into the anti-proton container in the rear of the machine, the being was safely contained.


    Back at the lab the team and Atheist were incredibly excited to have captured what appears to be an extraterrestrial. Within a few days a large containment field was established. When the God being appeared in its new captive home it spent two days battering the walls with electrical discharges so bright and so loud the entire building had to be evacuated of all non essential personnel. On the third day it chose to stop, or perhaps its power had run low, and it began speaking with Atheist again.


    “Why have you done this to me Atheist?” Solemn, the God being asked in a normal audible level of sound.


    “Because I am a scientist God being. I am duty bound by my very purpose in life to explore the unknown qualities of nature, such as you are to us.” Atheist had thought about this response for days preparing for the moment the being was ready to talk again.


    “Will I be set free Atheist?” God being inquired quietly.


    “Yes eventually, when we understand your existence, your origin, your capabilities.” Atheist answered without hesitation.


    “You have managed to do what no being has Atheist. Many have attempted to capture me but I allude them easily.” God being said.


    “I was lucky. It happens I had built a machine that could capture all forms of matter including light using extremely dense artificial gravity.”


    “Dammit! Wish I had known that!” Loudly the God being exclaimed, angry with itself for not being all knowing, a human trait.


    Within two months of capture Atheist and his team of fellow physicists had learned a great deal. God being was not god at all, it was a higher form of life, but not one with supreme intelligence. It lived only in the Milky Way galaxy, unable to traverse the great fifty million light expanses between other galaxies, being that proto-stars were absent making recharging impossible. It visited Earth frequently, ever since tools were first being made, because the humans advancement made them fun to play with. He
    told the team about many other civilizations, most in a bronze age or lesser, a few experiencing space travel, even fewer reaching faster than light travel and colonization. “Fact is,” the God being informed the team:


    “When a civilization of beings such as yourself becomes advanced, they usually kill themselves off in any manner of method, or tragic mistakes, or war. So the great many populated planets out there are undeveloped, un-evolved, barbarian, or lower life forms. I’ve been alive for five hundred thousand of your planet’s cycles, and I’ve seen civilizations collapse and re-evolve to advancement and then collapse again, all on one planet.”


    The God being had a few good capabilities; when in space unhindered by gravity – faster than light travel. It can defend itself with those lighting bolts which can be thrown to a great distance, and what’s power can be increased to a five megaton bomb equivalent. It can give itself voice and knows many civilizations languages. It can reduce its size to fit in a tea cup and hide for any length of time allowing it to learn many things.


    What Atheist did with the being calling itself God was a natural response for a man of science and an Atheist. To not accept a supernatural answer for anything found in nature is why humankind advances. It is for this reason that a god is a lame excuse for ignorance of nature or for fear of ignorance.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Intelligent Design in Schools?


Editor,

Intelligent Design does not belong in a classroom, because it is not equal in relevance to any scientific theory, especially not to the vastly accepted theory of evolution by natural selection. God based ideas are not theories, like the theory of gravity or the theory of relativity. Theories work. Theories can be observed, measured, tested, reviewed, retested – this methodology is how they are finally labeled “theories.”

Science is a self correcting, self improving system. New tools are invented daily to better understand theories, to further unlock nature’s mysteries. Gaps in theories are not points that dictate filling-in with supernatural answers. Ignorance of nature is a very poor excuse for belief in something other than nature’s processes. Imagine our complacency if a generation of young people decide that all those answers “lie in the book of Genesis.” We would die of disease. We might separate, one group at the mercy of “God’s will,” the other working towards scientific solutions to advance as a species. When skeptical and critical men were jailed for looking through telescopes, religion ruled all of Europe and we later called it “the dark ages.”

Parents will state their motives are true, “ . . to let the children decide for themselves.” Refraining from teaching them beliefs as facts until they are adults would be the fairest course, for the kid’s sake. For they are vulnerable, and they trust their parents too implicitly to be critical of them – to truly make decisions, of extra natural origins, for themselves.


Thursday, July 21, 2005

Don't Find Mumbo Jumbo - Contest, Win $1000

The Great Don't Find

Mumbo Jumbo & Prove
You Can't Thereby
Concluding He Does
Exist and Convince Everyone
Else of the Same
Contest !!



Good Luck!

Rules of this contest

  1. Use Scientific methodology including peer review and retesting. Document testing methodology and steps taken.

  2. Can not include, in any argument, any supernatural assumptions.

*$1,000 cash winnings are paid in 5 installments over 5 years.

Natural Selection is All Around Us


I want people with beliefs to take a walk in the woods. While out there, forget about God or Allah or Zeus or any other supposed creator of life on this small blue planet on the sparsely populated outer rim of just one of millions of other galaxies. Walk off the beaten path and select for observation any particular plant or animal life near you, like a blade of grass, a weed, an ant, or a worm, a sapling, a flower, a tree. The species of the life you have chosen to observe got to be what it is today through change, adaptation, evolution. See how it interacts with other life around it, like insects and plant eating mammals. Observe how it may like or dislike water and heat, shade or sunlight. Examine it’s shape, for on this planet: shapes of things that live are the most important trait in their ability to defend and to compete and survive and evolve to be stronger and more plentiful in future generations of their own species..

If you already have a belief that a single creator "zapped" all the life on Earth into place at once, then it’s not easy to see the reactions of life in this way, it may be impossible. Your mind may be too busy with wonderment and praise of the zapping-ness of it all. You may not notice that every single living thing around you has several defense mechanisms that allow them to compete for light, for water, for shade, for nutrients, for space, for sex. If a creator did zap it all into place, why the need for numerous defense mechanisms between all of the life forms? For example, why does the stalk of a weed contain thousands of tiny and sharp bristles, that just happen to prevent many varieties of local insect from climbing upwards and laying eggs or eating its leaves? A creator should have fixed that glitch, and billions of others, before getting started. Sounds reasonable, even in zapper theology! Was the creator an amateur terraformer, are we the victims of an alien species’ science class field trip, conducted five hundred million years ago? It’s possible but not likely. If you're a believer in the zapper of life, you won’t see the gentle nuances that make up the tell tale signs of change, of evolution, like adaptation and natural selection. Experienced naturalists and evolutionists find this easy to do and love to show it to others, when walking in the woods.

Make believe is fun and it’s easy. Need verification? Just ask a child when he or she is out in the backyard playing make believe at anything – hear the laughter and the joy of non-reality living. Study is generally not fun. For some people it’s boring, it’s slow, it does not give fast results, and mostly we can’t get those answers in our lifetimes. This means many a studious and wise men and women will die not knowing big questions like “how did everything get here?” Some of us fancy ourselves so greatly that this reality is a large disappointment. Bummer.

Some people think that they are special, that the universe revolves around them and that mankind in general is amazing, special in the universe, so special that we must have been made in the image of some great being somewhere. This is how the brain protects those who may not have the resourcefulness to protect themselves with knowledge, ingenuity and skill. This allows some to feel protected and safe, from impending death and a short lifespan for instance, so they can function in daily survival behavior without cumbersome fear. It is common in the brief history of humans on Earth to seek a supernatural (make believe) answer to huge philosophical questions, or even reasonable scientific questions that may require generations of collaborative work. We (all humans) think that we should know tremendous scientific answers to nature, we, the folk who just discovered some five hundred years ago that the Earth was not flat, but spherical! We great humans whose medical science, just two hundred and fifty years ago consisted of bloodletting (to let the evil sickness out) and more bloodletting and a lot of praying!

You can believe that cancer and tapeworms and famine and drought are “Gods will,” and that all that you see on a walk through the woods is divine intention. But what will be the consequences to those waiting for a cure for cancer, a method of drought reduction, and end to tapeworms and etc. How many years ago, that we as a society would have cured cancer, would have traveled outside our own solar system, would have stopped making war, we will never know.

Now we are cloning animals, soon we will be cloning humans. We have discovered the Neutrino, we have reduced birth defects greatly, we wiped out Polio, we do these things because we don’t accept a god’s will, or have confidence in a divine fate, if we truly did, we would all be sitting around on rocks eating raw chicken.

You can not look through a telescope if you have belief in a creator/zapper, because evidence of hundreds of millions of other galaxies is evidence that humans are not special to anyone, anywhere – the fifteenth century Catholic church was right to admonish and warn our most famous astronomer, Copernicus, to "stop looking at the stars!" Nor can you look through a microscope with a belief in a creator/zapper, because you’ll find other beings living inside us and working with us to live – you’ll see how a human brain functions - not miraculously at all. Zapper believers can’t dig in the ground in an exploratory manner because fossil evidence beneath the dust and Earth waste of hundreds of thousands of years fully indicate that life was very different in the past than it is today and is evidence alone that evolution/change of life forms over time is reality.

A priest recently asked me “How can you deny that all this beauty and all the perfect order of this world are not the creation of a divine one?” “All this beauty and order?” I replied. “What you see as beauty could be perceived from any other planet as strange and disgusting. These blue nitrogen skies, and this mossy green planet surface crawling with parasites, are the familiar to us the people of Earth exclusively, as far as we know, not necessarily the beautiful. We have been raised to learn what to expect is beautiful by constant attention to the familiar. Order? To you and I, a frozen moment in time, may look like order but life on Earth does not exist in just one moment of time. Life and environment move through time over the millennia, and change constantly, adapting and evolving. That’s not order, that’s millions of life forms evolving together in a harsh environment.”

Thank you.