theengineer

The Engineer

The Life and Times of Donald F. Simmons


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theengineer

Thank (Nonexistent) God

After blowing the last two elections the Yanks finally got one right. The funny thing is out of the possible Republican candidates McCain was originally the only one I had any respect for, but he completely threw that away with a reprehensible campaign, based nearly entirely on fear-mongering and playing to the worst elements of the base with his selection of Palin, a person woefully unqualified for the world's top job.

Given my short fuse when people are being stupid, I have vast respect for Obama in running such an upbeat, mature campaign. He was consistently an adult, much more so then his opponent.

I had to go to a movie last night instead of watching the TV, as I was too wound up in the fear that the Bradley effect would rear its head and just wanted to avoid hearing anything until it was (likely) all over, especially considering my disappointment in our recent election. Massive relief at 11:45PM when I turned on CNN.

It's not all good news. Proposition 8 is squeaking by in California, which really, really pisses me off. It's bigotry, pure and simple, and it makes me a bit worried that it'll encourage Harper to try and re-open the issue here. What I'd like to know is when do I get to cast my veto on my het friend's marriages, considering there are people who seem to think they can decide to ban my gay friends from doing so. This is a flat out human rights issue, and those who try to frame it as a "moral" one only show they don't have much in the way of morals themselves.

Oh, and my subject line? After attending the PZ Myers talk last week (more on that later), I've come off the fence at last and realized that as there's no evidence whosoever that a God exists, hedging that there might be one is being wishy-washy and the moral position is to be honest about it. I don't think there is a God and I have joined the (steadily increasing) ranks of the atheists.

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I thought about going to see PZ, but in the end I figured there was nothing he could say that I haven't heard before, so, we sat that one out.

I have never used the agnostic label because agnosticism is about proof, not belief. Given that no one on this planet can prove or disprove the existence of god, all people, hard core believers and disbelievers alike, are agnostics. As far as our beliefs go, however, we all differ to various degrees. I do not believe for one second that there's such a thing as being exactly down the middle, 50% belief/50% disbelief. I don't see how that is even possible. We all lean one way or another, some just a little bit, some a lot. What some people call "agnostics", I call "weak theists" - they think there's a chance supernatural beings exist, however small. As I see it, there are three major groups: agnostic-weak theists (belief: there's a chance supernatural beings exist), agnostic-theists (belief: supernatural beings exist), and agnostic-atheists (belief: supernatural beings do not exist).

I'm an agnostic-atheist. I can't prove my belief (hence the agnostic part) and I do not believe for a second that supernatural beings of any kind exist (hence the atheist part). As far as I'm concerned, everything in the universe and beyond can be explained by science. Some things are beyond our means at this point in time, but that doesn't mean they can not, eventually, be explained. Lightning used to be an unexplainable phenomenon attributed to gods back in the day, but it was, none the less, explainable. :o)

I want to leave a well thought out reply here, but it's getting late, and I haven't managed all day.

Essentially I call myself a strong-agnostic (google to find links, no time. pub calling), which puts me in the agnostic-atheists bracket.

Problem is when you meet some weak theists their idea of what's super natural is so watered down it's hard to argue against it.

I may make the jump to atheist one day, but for now I'm trying to convert them to agnosticism.

Ah, but you can't convert them to what they (and the rest of the planet, including us) already are. :o)

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