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Introduce Yourself Please introduce yourself and share what makes you faithless or faithful.

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  #1  
Old 19th April 2012, 02:48 PM
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Default The journey so far ...

Hi - First post. My journey to this forum:

It started in a Catholic family with a very conservative schooling. Original and sexual sins, washed down with Catholic guilt and dogma, is such a gloomy, unpromising start!

I did not have a single "Eureka" moment. Mine was a lengthy, if punctuated, journey.

My first "quantum leap" was that I physically escaped. I moved out of home, went to a real University and studied real science. There I found a circle of completely secular friends and teachers. I largely escaped from religious influence. It became largely irrelevant in my day to day experience, for most - but unfortunately, not all - of the time. Gradually I came to feel, on an instinctive level, that Catholic and, more generally, all traditional, religious doctrines were egotistical and completely primitive. For a long time, however, I didn't have a strong, reasoned and informed foundation for that feeling.

During my science studies, I developed an unfortunate prejudice to the effect that the biological and social sciences were not "real" sciences at all. According to this prejudice, they lacked scientific rigour. How ignorant I was!

That prejudice evaporated about five years later when I read Richard Dawkins' wonderful book "The Blind Watchmaker". As a result, I took what was, for me, another leap in understanding. Dawkins writes brilliantly, and I am indebted to him. Like Douglass Adams (whom I had also enjoyed), it really opened my eyes. In Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection, I found a scientific theory every bit as elegant, simple and rigorous as the theories, such as classical thermodynamics and the special and general theories of relativity, which I had much admired at University.

In my professional life after my science studies, which is in the law, I had increasing and frequent exposure to many other sciences, including especially the sciences of ecology and the environment. By then, I could see how one could get from a big bang to stars and planets, and on to the incredible and diverse ecosystems and environments of today.

Over the last half dozen years or so, I was privileged to hear, including first hand, Christopher Hitchens' wonderful and devastating oratory. I began to read more. I especially enjoyed "God Is Not Great", Dawkins' "The God Delusion", and Sam Harris' "Letter to a Christian Nation".

Preceding and throughout that period, I also had considerable exposure to, and developed an interest in, psychology. Independently of Sam Harris, I had formed the view that there might well be interesting aspects to some of the practises in Buddhism, if only those aspects could be isolated from the superstitious nonsense, or, as Sam Harris put it, "the crap", with which they are invariably associated.

Although religion was far removed from the centre of my interest in psychology, I was puzzled why religion was so ubiquitous inside human heads, and hence, in societies. I took what I regard as a further leap in understanding when I read Daniel Dennett's great book "Breaking the Spell". Although I didn't find it to be quite as enjoyable to read as some of the other books I've referred to, its ideas are profound. My fourth Horseman completed a picture for me.

And so, an atheist through and through, last weekend, with some 4000 others, I had an inspiring weekend in Melbourne!

On Sunday at lunchtime, in the warm sunlight by the Yarra, a hundred metres down the river from where I was eating my lunch, there were some really angry people flying a black flag and threatening all of we non-believers with eternal hell-fire and damnation. To borrow what had been said the night before, I felt about as concerned at that threat as if some "new-age hippy had threatened to punch me in my aura!"

And I smiled as others in the crowd closer to them responded to their intended taunt, by proudly proclaiming back - "Infidels! Infidels! Infidels!"

Last edited by Blue Lightning; 19th April 2012 at 02:56 PM.
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Old 19th April 2012, 03:37 PM
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Default Re: The journey so far ...

Greetings Blue Lightning from a BlueDevil!

Thanks for your interesting introduction.

Glad you enjoyed that amazing event here in Melbourne that brought so many of us together.
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Old 19th April 2012, 03:40 PM
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Default Re: The journey so far ...

Hi, Blue Lightning.

This is a message sent to all who find their way to these forums.

We like people, and we like facts too!

We're friendly but we're skeptical, and if somebody calls for proof, it's not an accusation. Only the strong ideas thrive here: we try to respect people. (We do not tolerate personal abuse.)

You may already have visited these other handy places:
* New Member Information
* Welcome from AFA president
* For those interested in learning, I recommend the Atheism Resource Thread maintained by Fearless.
* And a quick look at our reserved spot for belief-based discussion, Fantasy Island, includes The Great Big List, a sort-of "things we've seen before" for those of faith, and general rules of argument for the forum.

If you've got questions, please ask. Moderators have red name tags, but many of our friendly people may have the answers you need.

Enjoy the forums. We hope to see plenty from you in discussions.

Have fun.
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Old 19th April 2012, 04:13 PM
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Hello BL, welcome. Thanks for the intro, hope you enjoy the forums.


Sent telepathically.
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Atheist: n; A person to be pitied in that he is unable to believe things for which there is no evidence, and who has thus deprived himself of a convenient means of feeling superior to others.
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Old 20th April 2012, 07:46 AM
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Default Re: The journey so far ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Blue Lightning View Post
Hi
<snip>
Hi BL,

Thanks for the great intro.

I'm quite sure you'll enjoy your time here ;-D

4lan
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Old 20th April 2012, 08:21 AM
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Darwinsbulldog Darwinsbulldog is offline
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Default Re: The journey so far ...

Hi BL,

..and thanks for sharing your thoughts with a great intro!

It is unfortunate that there are some physicists even today who place undue faith in working maths as "evidence". There is no question that good mathematical models of physical phenomena are mostly reliable, they are just not perfect. This sometimes leads some to some unforunate conflations.

It is a very small step from having a rational and reasonable confidence in a scientific or mathematical tool to the toxic condition called "naive reality". Naive reality protects us from being run over by a bus, it does not make for rigourous science. Nature is often counter-intuitive because we experience the mundane world. It often takes a genius like Einstein to wonder what the view would be like if we parked our arses on a photon. The disciplines in science try not to be trapped by our notions of what reality "should" be like.

Far better then -no matter what the scientific discipline- to just stick to the idea that science is just about making descriptive models of natural phenomena, whose emergent predictions are tested to destruction.

Any deviation from this methodological naturalism rears the ugly head of metaphysics, and the danger of pseudoscience. Or just plain bad science.
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Old 22nd April 2012, 06:54 PM
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Default Re: The journey so far ...

Hi BL, welcome to the forum, hope you enjoy the community.

Thanks for sharing such an excellent intro post. Looking forward to seeing you around the place.
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Old 22nd April 2012, 07:01 PM
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Great intro and welcome
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“The only position that leaves me with no cognitive dissonance is atheism. It is not a creed. Death is certain, replacing both the siren-song of Paradise and the dread of Hell. Life on this earth, with all its mystery and beauty and pain, is then to be lived far more intensely: we stumble and get up, we are sad, confident, insecure, feel loneliness and joy and love. There is nothing more; but I want nothing more.” -Christopher Hitchens
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Old 24th April 2012, 03:41 PM
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atuanui atuanui is offline
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Default Re: The journey so far ...

Hello Blue,
Very good intro.
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