Thursday, April 17, 2008


I don't usually talk much here about belief, because I'm usually too busy trying to sort out what to think. I've "believed" (mentally entertained for limited lengths of time) various things over the course of a life, most of which turned out to have been a complete waste of mental and emotional energy as more information came to light. So long ago I decided the simplest option was to scrap beliefs altogether, including religion (because it is so fraught with intrinsic contradiction it'll drive you crazy if you let it) and just pare away any lingering dopamemes. Not that I still don't know how to have a good time in the private rooms of my own brain..

Just yesterday I spotted this blogpost from an atheist vet, Dr. G, who calls his blog, Wandering Primate. (Sounds like he's embraced his inner primate social groomer as I have.)

I liked this post, A Nice Statement. It seems he saw this posted originally, at Pharyngula, by PZ Myers and did this currently trendy thing called 'hat tipping', which means he acknowledged the post and reproduced it, sort of like what I'm about to do.

I run in a slightly different human primate troop and don't wear a hat, so don't have one to tip, but perhaps tilting my head briefly in the direction of both these bloggers, smiling and raising a thumb in the air would suffice...? So, thumbs up to Dr. G and to PZ Myers, who may have authored it:
"An atheist's creed

I believe in time,
matter, and energy,
which make up the whole of the world.

I believe in reason, evidence and the human mind,
the only tools we have;
they are the product of natural forces
in a majestic but impersonal universe,
grander and richer than we can imagine,
a source of endless opportunities for discovery.

I believe in the power of doubt;
I do not seek out reassurances,
but embrace the question,
and strive to challenge my own beliefs.

I accept human mortality.

We have but one life,
brief and full of struggle,
leavened with love and community,
learning and exploration,
beauty and the creation of
new life, new art, and new ideas.

I rejoice in this life that I have,
and in the grandeur of a world that preceded me,
and an earth that will abide without me."

I really like this. It's simple and clear. I don't "believe" it, I agree with it. I'd like to place my favorite Dawkins quote here:
"We are all atheists about most of the gods that humanity has ever believed in. Some of us just go one god further."

And thus ends my one and only blog post on "belief."

Here is an interesting 2-part video, featuring Daniel Dennett, Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris, called The Four Horsemen:
1. Four Horsemen - Hour 1 (58 minutes)
2. Four Horsemen - Hour 2 (59 minutes)

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