The following is a response to a post at FreeThoughtBlogs/axp which is the official online message board thingy for The Atheist Experience. I’m reposting it here cuz after I was done with it, I didn’t want it to just be lost on the bottom of a pile of comments. Besides, I’m apparently one of few “atheists” who happen to agree with Neil DeGrasse Tyson on this issue. I don’t like to see “atheism” being used as the title of a movement. I’ve said many times that what many people claim to be atheism is actually one of many other banners. These atheist activists seek to use the more generic atheism moniker cuz it makes their job easier. They can’t get everyone to agree on terms like “secularism” or “humanism” or “freethinkers” or “rational minds” but most of these smaller banners all happen to meet in a Vinn Diagram under atheism.
Personally, I’m an absurdist, so I don’t fit in the Vinn Diagram with those other isms. I don’t believe any of us are free thinkers cuz we’re born with many assumptions, some of which are whittled away with age and others which get reinforced by society’s behavioral conditioning. None of us are free. We are all limited by the subjective perceptions we assume to be ‘real’ cuz we don’t know any better. It’s impossible to think objectively inside a subjective brain and to think otherwise is deliciously absurd.
We are a very egocentric species, presuming ourselves to be on the top of the food chain while even as you read these words you have a microscopic garden and a zoo living inside your stomach, on your skin, in your hair, all around you that you can’t see. You are being eaten right now, and you can’t even feel it. Viruses and bacteria are above us on the food chain. How do we know this? Not religion. Science. Anyway, here’s the copypaste below. Bon apetit.
I am both atheist and agnostic. It IS possible to be both. I don’t know if there’s a god, but if you claim to believe in a god, I don’t believe in your god, cuz you can’t prove your god is real.
If you don’t believe in any gods either, that’s great, but don’t make me a part of your Atheist Movement w/o my permission. People are claiming Neil Tyson is on their side. With this video, Tyson’s making it very clear he ain’t taking sides cuz like me he’s not interested in fighting this war with you.
Cuz we don’t need any more wars among our species. We’ve already had enough.
If there is something that you might call a god, I will probably call it something else. I won’t call it a god. I’d rather use a better descriptor than “god” cuz that word has too much baggage. All these words have too much baggage now. I may have to learn Esperanto so I can discuss these topics with intelligent people using words that don’t carry any mainstream social baggage.
If someone can find what actually created this universe, maybe I’d call it The Creator, but I would not immediately assume it’s a god. I could think up many scenarios that might have made this universe. It might be a machine or device of some sort which was made by a race of silicon based life forms long dead. That’s just as likely as the crap in any ancient tome, and can be proven just as not at all. We coulda been sneezed out the nose of some really big non sentient creature that lived outside our known universe. This universe could be the result of where energy from a black hole in an older universe goes. Maybe the black holes in our universe create ‘big bangs’ that generate other universes. That’s actually MORE likely than anyone’s fantastical god magically waving his arms and saying “let there be light.”
But I don’t know what DID make the universe. Neither do you. Neither does anyone who claims a god exists. We have no proof. We have no evidence, either way. Neil Tyson isn’t taking a stand here, cuz there’s no stand to take.
Neil Tyson is a scientist. He doesn’t waste his time filling in the gaps of what we don’t know with uneducated guesses. He takes what we do currently know, walks over to the edges of what we don’t know, and he uses what we do know to help us figure out what we don’t. That’s what a scientist does.
Rather than dwell on what we don’t know, we could help him and others focus on what we do know, and go from there. Neil Tyson is merely suggesting that instead of being “no god” -ists, perhaps we could be “yes science” -ists.
Cuz right now, astrophysics could use a lot more yes men for science, for things that ARE right in front of us like outer space, and a lot less naysayers wasting their time on what’s obviously not there at all.