7.28.2009

Humanism, atheism and science - a brief outline.

Ok, I have been promising some other blog entries on topics aside from music. So here ya go. I'm going to do a little explaining about my own philosophies. I don't have time to spend on a lot of research and linking things in, this is pretty much freeform off the top of my head opinion. If I do get into specific facts I will back them up and I welcome your questions and comments.

Humanism, atheism and science - a brief outline.

There is a lot of confusion about humanism (secular and non-secular), atheism and science. These are not all synonymous with each other but they can easily overlap.

Humanism is a world view/philosophy concerned with universal human rights and dignities. Humanism can be secular or non-secular. Being a secular humanist means, to me, taking the need for religion and god out of the desire for human rights. It means those rights exist without religion, it doesn't mean you have to have to be non-religious.

Atheism is, by dictionary definition, a rejection of the existence of god or gods. This particularly applies to theism - the belief in a personal god one can communicate with. I've lately been thinking I'm not necessarily an a-deist. Deists think that a power/being created the universe but has no interactions with us. Since discovering this being isn't a question we know how to ask yet I'm content to let it sit. I feel agnostic toward deism. I firmly reject the institution of religion and its gatekeepers.

Science is observation and interpretation of the natural world. Hypothesis (question) > Test > Retest > Verification (by an independent party) > Theory. By definition god is not natural, therefore outside of science. Science requires testable evidence and testable predictions. Eugenie Scott famously said (I'm paraphrasing) that science was agnostic toward god. The existence of god (so far) is not a scientific question. Conversely you can't teach science with religion. Faith, believing something with no evidence or some kind of 'gut feeling' is not science. Fine, have your faith. But don't try to force it where it doesn't fit, like the science classroom.