Tuesday, December 2, 2008


I am an atheist. I hate having to say that, because it seems so unnecessary. I don't believe in god, and we've given that a name - atheist. We don't always associate a word with the lack of belief in something. There's no word for "someone who does not believe in alien UFO's". There is no word for "people who don't believe in leprechauns". But for some reason we have to label "people who don't believe in supernatural sky gods" as atheists. So here I am, labeled with my scarlet A. Before the hate mail starts coming in, I'd like to clarify that I am not saying that Religion is "bad". I'm not denying any of the positive things that have been done in the name of religion. And I'm certainly not singling out any one particular religion. What I am saying is that any religion in which a supernatural being created the Earth and everything on it is simply not accurate, at least scientifically speaking.
A few years ago I discovered the Flying Spaghetti Monster. It still cracks me up. If you find it offensive, then you don't understand satire. It was created to point out the ridiculous argument being made by the Kansas School Board to teach Intelligent Design in public schools science class. Being a scientist (I'm an engineer professionally, but I do have a degree in Computer Science) I am very interested in how science is taught in schools. Math and Science are the foundations of knowledge, and I'm concerned about our future if our proficiency in these areas continues on a downward path.
Intelligent Design is creationism. It pretends to be science, but it's not - it's religion. And that's the real problem. I don't have any issues with religion in public schools - in theology class. In that context, talk about ID and creationism all you want - that's perfectly fair. But creationism, and therefore Intelligent Design, are not science - and should be kept far away from the biology classroom. There will be, I'm sure, people who want to debate that point with me. Don't bother, I don't have any interest in it. Not because I'm a head-in-a-hole evolutionist who is closed minded - but because I've heard it all. And ID as science is so vacuous an argument that it doesn't even make much sense to discuss. To do so is to lend the idea credence that it doesn't deserve. My point is this: math and science are difficult. Don't make it even more difficult for the next generation by mixing science with fairy tales in the biology classroom.

Why go into all of this? Because as an non-theist I live in a world where religion stifles me in many ways. Some of them are:
  • Proposition 8 in California
  • Stem Cell Research
  • Schools who teach children that the Earth is 6000 years old
  • The hijacking of Science by politicians and media
  • Global Climate Change
  • Extremists (of nearly every religious sect) who teach hate and bigotry
  • Tax exemptions for Churches
Maybe I'll write about some of these in the future.

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