I’ve always lived by the maxim that if you don’t have anything worth saying, you should keep your mouth shut. I held to that so much in my younger days that some folks in my home town wondered if I was mute. I’m not. I just don’t think that passing air over my vocal cords to say “hi” is worth the effort when a simple nod will suffice. When I first started working at my current retail job, I would come home physically exhausted from the effort of saying hello to every customer I waited on. I shit you not, that was the most draining part of my job in the beginning. I guess that sort of classifies me as somewhat of an introvert, I don’t know.
I spent a long while deliberating over whether this should be in spoken or written formpodcast or blog, and after a few times stumbling over my own tongue, even with liquor to “lubricate the tongue,” so to speak, I think I decided that I should just write it down. Talking isn’t my thing. It seems too far removed from thought for me. Typing on the other hand? That seems like a direct line into my psyche. Opposed to speech, typing seems more sophisticated and much less clumsy. It’s easier to say what I mean, and edit what I mean, by just typing it out.
I suppose an introduction is in order. I mean, it’s only the third paragraph, I suppose I should give people some idea of who I am. I’m a Caucasian male, pushing forty (I’m thirty eight), born and raised in southern West Virginia. I’m a liberalextremely liberalalmost militantly so. Years ago I took a “Political Compass” quiz and it classified me as a Social Libertarian/Libertarian Socialist. I like the socialist part, let’s just leave it at that. My political opinion is that Democratic politicians are spineless pussies and Republican politicians are insane idiots. That’s about the long and short of that.
Another bit of info about me is that I’m an atheist. I’m what some folks refer to as a “Weak Atheist,” although I prefer to think of it as an intellectually honest atheist. “Weak Atheism” is basically at its root agnosticism. We say that there is no definite way of knowing whether or not there is a God, but based on the evidence (or lack thereof), we feel fairly confident in saying that there probably isn’t one. Of course, the existence of Weak Atheism implies that there is a “Strong Atheism.” There is indeed. Francois Tremblay is one of the major proponents of that flavor of non-belief. Francois even wrote the Handbook of Atheistic Apologetics (I have a copy of the Short Handbook of Atheistic Apologetics), and it works as far as it goes, but I think that Strong Atheism fails for much the same reason that Pascal’s Wager fails: it’s a far too limited idea of God. Basically in the Short Handbook of Atheistic Apologetics, Francois expends the majority of his efforts against the God of Philosophers, the so-called “Omni God” (omnipotent, omnibenevolent, and omnipresent)a god concept that I think defeats itself (I may get into that and the Problem of Evil in a later post), so it doesn’t really need a whole handbook of Atheistic Apologetics devoted to it. Posit a God that isn’t all powerful, or everywhere at once, or all good… a pantheistic God, panentheististic God or even a deistic idea of God, and those arguments fail to work.
I’m a self-described Skeptic, and as such am in love with science, facts about science, science news and the scientific mode of thought. That being said, I suppose it’s obvious that I’m somewhat of a materialistically-minded empiricist. I’m not of the same opinion of a lot in the science community about the role of philosophy, though. I understand that the underpinnings of the workings of science and the scientific method are naturalism, materialism, and empirical philosophy, without which there would be no basis at all for science. There would be no benchmark for evidence. Contrary to the recent thoughts and writings of Michael Shermer, I don’t think science has a damned thing to say about morality and other value laden modalities. In my opinion, those are better left to ethics and aesthetics. I’m not scientistic, but I am scientific, if that makes sense.