God vs. logic

22 05 2009

It occurs to me, as it may well have occurred to you at some point, that the very idea of anything “supernatural” existing is self-defeating because anything that blatantly defies our methods of analysis and understanding would totally undermine the entire show. Thus our system of understanding which is so incredibly consistent that it’s able to convince electrons to run such complex mazes that the whole internet results, would be fatally flawed if even the smallest miracle were possible.

The application of logic has yet to be shown to fail.  The world has never thrown up any scientifically verifiable evidence of anything outside of our model. Thus there has never been any evidence for any god, any miracle, any ghost, any anything supernatural.

Yet its not as if God (as rep for all things supernatural) is deliberately covering his tracks. If He was, no one would know about Him. Clearly his followers have detected some “evidence” – but amazingly no science or logical analysis has ever trapped any of it.

So if you believe in God, how can you have any faith in such a poor system, that can’t detect this God you see so evidently? The system so good it cures diseases, determines the compositions of distant stars and genetically engineers mice so they glow in the dark can’t see something so big and important three quarters of the planet believe in it.

There is indeed an elephant in the room.

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Post-theism

22 05 2009

I inhabit a post-theistic world. God or the idea of God has long-since lost its influence on my thinking – my morals, my emotions or my research. I am thus not so much an atheist as a “post-theist”. To me the debate is over, so the categorisation into the do’s and do-nots is now only an interesting study of human gullibility rather than a deep & heart-rending dilemma. 

Anyway, I thought it would be good to put into words my position on the whole God-vs-Science debate, which is really rather important and most certainly cannot be ignored.

I have frequently been tempted to write about this topic, but have opted to keep my powder dry, because I was not sure which approach would actually increase the net happiness in the world (groan away, but what other approach is better?). Options included:

  • Explaining how I came to be an atheist: my idiot christian school taught me about other religions, and I quickly added two-and-two and realised if they were mutually incompatible they were probably all false
  • I could go on about the scientific implausibility of the whole show. The total lack of evidence, not to mention the blatant disregard for logic.
  • I could explain how there is evidence human brains are designed, by evolution, to believe in concepts like God. 
  • I could go into the details of infectious memes, and how religion is a darn good example of a viral idea that has all the properties you would try to put into a computer virus if you made one (which I did once, for a HP48s, a once popular calculator).
  • Lastly, I could come out like a raging fundamentalist pointing out how religion is the ‘root of all evil’ (to borrow a phrase) – how religion justified the great wars and the subsequent suppression of nations /women / freethinkers / witches / etc.

However, I realise that Hecht, Dawkins, Harris and several others have walked this path (rather well) for me. Perhaps I should focus my efforts on subjects not yet so well covered? Some would argue that atheists need to rally together and ride the current wave of interest and publicity – we need to gain the critical mass.

This is the real question. What would help?  

I don’t know! Please help…