Sunday, November 27, 2005

Unmittigated Zealotry for Sale!

I am not a religious person. There, I said it. It's very strange what the world has done to atheism. It's a little less offensive to some people to claim to be an agnostic, but I'm not an agnostic. I am an atheist. It's not that I believe that God does not exist. I am convinced of it. There is a subtle but important distinction there.

You see, the essence of science is not to prove things. And I tend to take a scientific view of most things. A scientific theory can be defined as, 'the best explanation that fits the data we have.' So when we talk about the 'theory' of evolution, this is what we mean. It is not 'just a theory' it is the explanation for the origin of species that science has.

So I have this theory, that God does not exist. This explanation seems to fit the evidence most closely. Since there is no evidence that God exists, and in the case of supernatural beings, I think the burden of proof would have to rest on the theist end, it is simple induction that God does not exist. As for souls, spirits, and other metaphysical constructs, we get a little grayer. God does not have to exist for people to have souls. I'm not saying I believe people have souls; far from it, however, I think it's harder to be definite on the issue.

Religion, as far as I'm concerned, has lost the most important thing that it ever possessed: aesthetic appeal. The most aesthetically appealing religions hail from the East. They have the most developed metaphysics, resting on a certain brand of logic. No western religion is based on logic, they are based on accepting texts as the word of God...this is silly. Eastern religions are (with few exceptions) based on the problem of human suffering, it's causes, and methods of eliminating it. This is neat. So most Eastern religions are humanistic. Whereas Western religions are theocentric, and oftentimes pretty much require an increase in human suffering.

Someday, I would like to start a religion, where men are capable of becoming gods (like Buddha, not like Mormons). The term 'god' would be much more loosely defined. Sex would be okay in my religion. Morality would be a lot more subjective. I think morality and religion are probably going to continue to be tightly intertwined, so it would probably be a good idea to make the rules very loose in my religion, so people could use logic to figure out the best path, rather than memorization of rules (how many Christians, or even Jews for that matter, actually follow all the rules laid down in Exodus and Leviticus). There would be no holy texts in my religion, because those things really muddle up the works, and people start worshipping the text, rather than doing what they're supposed to be doing: worshipping me.


roman said...

"the essence of science is not to prove things"

But yet this is exactly what should be expected from science. What good is science if its findings cannot be tested beyond a reasonable doubt? Accepting a "theory" is settling for less. Our powers of intellect require more. You know it to be so.
We "know" for certain that the moon revolves around the earth. It can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. It is not merely a belief held by scientific consensus.

The belief in a creator has not been proven but science has not even come close to disproving it.
Where's the harm in keeping an open mind?

Interesting site, BTW...

Dr Kuha said...

I think it all comes down to tolerance of ambiguity. You see, science is a method for disproving things, not for proving them. Someone puts forward a hypothesis based on a hunch, or a broad look at some data, and then they rigorously test it, with experiment after experiment. If it's proven wrong, the hypothesis is thrown out. If it's not proven wrong (notice the distinction between that and being "proven correct"), then it becomes a theory, and it will sit there until anothe theory comes along that fits the data better. Newton's theory of gravity was the best we had, until Enstein's general relativity theory of gravity. You see?

If even a small amount of evidence comes to light that God exists, then I would have to revise the theory. One cannot be inflexible, of course.

Oh, and the moon does not, as it turns out, revolve around the Earth. There is a subtle distinction to be made. The Earth and the Moon BOTH revolve around a point that is the center of gravity for the two bodies. You see? The moon pulls the earth. Granted, that center of gravity is very near the center of the Earth, but it is not the center of the Earth. And even that might be way off base.

I'll admit, that any good scientist knows that he has to always entertain the notion that he is wrong.

Bdawg said...

As a theist, I have nothing to go on except what's in my heart, believing that evolution is just what happens, but also that there is some kind of greater force. Both can coexist in my opinion. Things evolve, ideas evolve, this doesn't disprove a supernatural power. I believe that all life is based on some level of faith, whether that is faith in science or faith in some sort of deity.

Keep it real good doctor.

Dr Kuha said...

I don't have "faith" in science. Science is not based on faith. Anyone can read a few books, conduct a few experiments, and get results that will confirm various scientific theories. You can't do that with religion.

And I didn't disprove the existence of God. I merely said, that I felt the burden of proof was with God, not with atheism...and since there is no proof...then there is no God.

Bdawg said...

I never said that you did disprove the existence of God. No one has proven or disproven it. That's why it's such a hot-button topic.

Some would say that their own observations and experiences are the empirical evidence that proves that God does exist, but people can get what they experience or observe all fucked up.

And I do still think that science is faith-based (as is anything thought system or method originating in the human brain), because it is based on our belief that there is truth whether that is in science or in an invisible friend up in the sky somewhere.

People can go round and round about this stuff, but it really doesn't get us anywhere and too often it's a pissing contest, which can get out of hand when it starts to effect the quality of life and best interests of people.

It would be nice if someday scientists and religious zealots could just say, "hey, let's do what's best for man and quit trying to be 'right.'"

I get pretty fucking sick of "Christians" and other "religious people" trying to "save" the world by pushing a set of ridiculous beliefs on them (which too often they are contradicting by the way they live their own lives). I also get pretty fucking sick of people who thumb their noses at anything religious, because they think they are too smart for ridiculous ideas like those that religious people hold.

So you can be an athiest and I can be a theist and we can both agree that Dr. Kuha's blog rules and als that I am a sexy beast!

Dr Kuha said...

I'd fuck you.

Anonymous said...

As a fellow atheist, I just wanted to say that I actually find that western religions, in their hay day, were far more aesthetic than those from the east. Take a look at the art, music, architecture, and literature that Christianity has inspired (not to mention the fact that it is only thanks to Christians that a large number of ancient pre-christian works survive). The Medieval pursuit of scholasticism is about as western, religious, and logical as any religion comes (and is far more concerned with logic than any eastern religion I can think of). And to argue the point further, Christianity has a God that took the form of a human: this is certainly far more humanistic than any eastern religion ever got. Voltaire argued that Christianity, which birthed logic and beauty, sowed the seeds of its own destruction, because this sense of beauty and logic was, in the end, what issued in the age of enlightenment. To some extent I agree with what you're saying, but I do think you short change western religion a great deal. Besides -- how much do you know about eastern religion?

Dr Kuha said...

Listen, mon capitano. There is nothing humanistic about christianity. Thier aesthetic centered around expensive and gaudy architecture and paintings etc, rather than actually making the act of living a work of art in itself.
I consider myself as well versed in eastern philosophy as a college student who has taken a couple of classes totally devoted to it, which is pretty well versed, at the very least in thier cosmology and epistemology.
And so Christians saved a lot of pre-christian art, well...they also destroyed an astonishing number of works of art as well. So...for what it's worth..
Christianity did NOT 'birth' beauty and logic. I would say that beauty has existed all along and its appreciation is something that's inherent in all humans. As far as logic, Eastern philosophy is profoundly rational (however not empirical), and Christianity is profoundly irrational. Besides the Greeks were the first large western civilization to make the use of logic important to them.
If you're going to argue with me, you'd better come up with something better than that. I am an arrogant prick, and will not hesistate to destroy you.

Anonymous said...

I think that you are comparing eastern religion in terms of its ideals to western religion in terms of its actual modern day practice. This isn't really fair.

Dr Kuha said...

Well, no one approaches Christianity solely in terms of making an attempt to follow the teachings of Jesus. All they are concerned with is that somehow they are guity of some sin (or their ancestors are) and their whole purpose on this planet is to somehow atone for those sins (original sin, killing Jesus, who knows?).

Eastern religions have nothing to do with any of that. They are solely concerned with eliminating suffering, which is humanistic in the extreme.

Anyway, I think we've gotten off track here. All I had orilginally intended to do was attack theists and thier stupid ideas. And my other intent was to express how someday, I will be the messiah for some crackpot religion and have legions of people fawning over evertyhing I say and do.

Anonymous said...

Sure, and that's a worthy ambition. I just wanted to point out that believers in the east are as disgusted with their own religion. As for gaudy architecture, Buddhism can claim the largest statues in the world, golden temples, and I've been to certain Buddhist temples that actually sell Hello Kitty charms that allegedly protect you while you're travelling. All religion has promising ideals, but shoddy practice.

Dr Kuha said...

Then again, by marketing religion, you really do reach larger audiences. Hmm... I wonder what sort of marketing campaign I should start using.

It has to be original and snappy, and leave no doubt of my deification.

I'll have to think on that for a while.

Puuda Maggui said...

HEY! Veggie Tales has done a very good job at saving religion! If it wasn't for the marketing of those gas-producing edibles, I doubt Christianity would still exist!

Puuda Maggui said...

And I say this in a sarcastic sort of way. I personally think that religious propaganda goes against what the Bible, or most religious text say. Having faith in something shouldn't need someone's influence in the form of 16th century religious pictures for children or today's animated cartoons.

P.S. Love this site!

Anonymous said...

Your kinda stupid. Do you even know the meaning of "atheist"?
You say your an atheist,(which by the way means that you don't belive in God), and yet you say you belive he's real. And to all the "nonbelivers" God has been proven real. Proof you want, is it?
Proof is all around you.

Dr Kuha said...

Your problems with grammar aside... well...
1) I never said I believe that God is real. I said I was convinced that he didn't exist.
2) When was this that God was proven to be real? I never got the memo. Where is this proof that you speak of. I'd like to see it.

Dr Kuha said...

And calling people stupid is not very Christian, dummy-head.