Friday, March 21, 2008

Top that, Jesus!

Maybe it's because I've been reading Richard Dawkins' The God Delusion, but I've been feeling a bit of antipathy towards the notion of religious faith the last few days. It really came to a head when I watched an interview with Dean Kamen on The Colbert Report. He's a scientist who has invented a machine that'll purify water no matter what kinds of pollutants are in it - and it doesn't require anything disposable (like coal) to work. Pretty amazing stuff. Check out the interview:

One of the reasons why I was so hesitant long ago to admit to being an atheist is that I feared that I would somehow lose my sense of wonder if I stopped believing in a supernatural creator. Ultimately, the simple fact that I no longer believed it trumped my desire to believe it. Luckily for me though, my fear did not come to pass. The world is not any less amazing - in fact, it's a little bit more amazing. Passing every spectacular sight of nature off as the creation of some invisible being is too easy an answer.

This invention fills me with a sense of wonder and amazement. And what makes this possible? Science. Reason. Logic. Prayer isn't going to turn poisoned water into purified water. Faith won't do a damned thing. Want results? You need the scientific method. Shoot, I wouldn't be typing this and you wouldn't be reading this if it weren't for that.

It also makes me wonder what else the human race is capable of creating. I wonder if there's any problem that's so big that it will never be solved.

One time, a student asked me if I believed in God. (This was at the end of the year when I tell them they can ask me anything they want, and I will, within reason, answer them honestly.) I told her no, and her response was, "How sad."

I didn't go into it, as it's not appropriate, but I simply told her, "Don't be sad for me! I'm a happy person!" What I wanted to say is that I feel sad for somebody who thinks that a life without belief in magical creatures (and let's face it, that's exactly what God is, no matter what other ways you want to define it) is sad.

Oh, and I also found this video on YouTube that addresses the same thing. Not the exact words that I'd use, but she does a pretty good job, and she certainly doesn't seem like a cranky cynic, does she?

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