Saturday, October 20, 2007
The Embrace of Atheism
Reading through some of my early blogs, even up to February of 2007, I realize how non-dramatic my acceptance of atheism has become. Initially, I viewed myself as an agnostic because I thought that there is no way to be conclusively sure that the physical universe is all that we have. Since we cannot rule out the existence of the supernatural, then agnosticism seemed the best view. The simple change that occurred was the inclusion of probability. The probability that something supernatural exists is infinitesimally small. We can't use the tools of science to prove the supernatural. We can attempt to explain the processes of the universe without invoking the supernatural, and through various fields of science, we have been able to probe and investigate our environment. We have developed tools that have shown the reason for the variability of species, why large bodies stay together, why subatomic particles don't float apart, etc. Just as the probability is infinitesimally small for the existence of gnomes that invisibly live in the attic of houses older then 100 years, yet, their existence cannot be proven because as soon as they are attempted to be found and sense this by magically disappearing, the probability of an invisible being occupying some unexplainable space controlling our every thought and answering prayers as sees fit is also just as unlikely. The difference being is that more people have faith in the omnipotent being then the attic gnomes. There may even come a time, after thousands of years that a large group of people come to believe in attic gnomes because nothing else, including their idea of ghosts can explain the noises. Yet, this doesn't change the fact that believe, either widespread, or limited, does not prove the existence of anything. With this in mind, I eventually realized that I cannot continue to remain "on the fence" just because some things cannot be disproved. Therefore, yes, however unlikely it is, there is a small chance, an infinitesimally small probability of the truth behind a religion or another but knowing how well science can explain and predict the universe (even with so many unknowns, the fact that we have grown so much in our knowledge within just the last 400 years), I can happily shed any remaining doubt and exist for this life that we have. Considering even one atom of change within any ancestors we may have had could nullify our existence, we should be happy to have the life that we have. We get one chance to live a life and use our potential as best we can. Sure, we can pursue a life of destruction, and neglect, but knowing that we only have one chance, and exercising the chance for the best possible outcomes is a venture that cannot easily be explained. Our destiny as a species is within our hands, not in the hands of some invisible beings, or whatever, but in our common goals for preserving this one world that every single creature we know of has called home. If we rely on some existential, outside force to govern our behavior, we are doomed to repeat the ineptitudes of the past, and never learn from our mistakes. To grow and prosper is to understand and love the world which we are a part of; to understand the creatures and use our knowledge for good. The topic of morality, and where it comes from in our evolutionary past, though still debatable is a part of our society. Although what we know as good and beneficial changes, the progress that we see can allow us to use our potential for good. We're still agnostic in understanding our evolution of morality and ethics, but with our skills as investigators, time is but a testing field for discovery.