Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Maher Interviews Dawkins

In a previous post, I declared that I had changed my stance on life, the universe and everything from agnosticism to atheism, after which I was subsequently met by a couple of surprised reactions from friends and family; specifically, I was asked what it was that had caused me to make what at the time seemed like a significant change to my world view. And the only answer I could muster was to embarrassingly admit, "Hey, I was confused."

I, like many other people looking for some type of meaning in their lives, was under the mistaken impression that declaring yourself an atheist meant also declaring with absolute, unequivocal certainty that there is no God, something I was loath to do for the simple fact that I had absolutely no way of knowing if that statement was true or not. After doing some research and reading numerous papers on the subject by individuals who are much more knowledgeable than myself, I found that it was perfectly acceptable from a scientific point of view to acknowledge this ignorance and still profess atheistic beliefs; in fact, the tenets of good science encourage it.

I realized that by saying I was agnostic I was merely parsing language when it turned out that I had held atheistic beliefs for quite some time, something I had suspected on some level but was never comfortable stating because of the totality I mistakenly thought that it implied. So while I can never say with total certainty that there are no magical deities or superheroes out there, as a rational human being I'll continue to live my life as if this is the case until I witness (if ever) at least a shred of credible, scientific evidence to the contrary.

Of course, all of this is just preamble to this video of Richard Dawkins conveying these same thoughts to Bill Maher last week, albeit in a much more learned and eloquent manner:


Anonymous said...

Don't sell yourself short. I don't think Dawkins said much of anything that you didn't... it's just that British people sound smarter. We all know it. Don't ask me to prove it with science though.

JBW said...

I think that's why it seems I've made at least a subconscious effort to avoid having a Texas accent all my life.