Speeding Through Life

Morning Drive
Regular readers (ha!) will have noticed a change in focus of this blog (and not just in the fact that there are posts again). The reason is that I'm attempting to improve my writing skills, and have chosen to talk about things that mean a lot to me in the process. So there are going to be more posts about evolution, biology, and the very interesting book I'm reading The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins. Today I critique the conclusion of a review found on The San Francisco Chronicle by Dinesh D'Souza.

The article is mostly about Dawkins questioning of why religion exists from an evolutionary standpoint. In the book, he talks about how nature is a very precise tool and gets rid of anything that is not helping a species to survive and procreate. So what is the reason for all known human groups to have religion as part of their culture? What benefit would it provide us to help our existence?

The reviewer talks about two tribes, one religious, one secular, and how the religious one would persevere because they had a purpose to live, while the secular one would apparently be caught up in trying to figure out their purpose, instead of trying to live. I find the view of the secular tribe to be silly, as well as the conclusion that is drawn in the review.

My favorite quote from the article is in its conclusion:

"It seems perplexing why nature would breed a group of people who see no purpose to life or the universe, indeed whose only moral drive seems to be sneering at their fellow human beings who do have a sense of purpose."

Show me one atheist who sees no purpose to life. The reviewer falls into the view that the majority of theists seem to hold on atheists, that because they don't have a magical being in the sky telling them what to do, they must lack morals, a purpose, and are unwilling to contribute to society. I find this to be an insane notion, and quite the argument against religion. Every time I hear someone use the "If we didn't have god telling us our morals we'd be out raping and killing" argument I have to laugh at what that says about the person arguing. Maybe these are the people we need to keep under religion, it seems to be the only thing keeping them in check.

And as for atheists having no purpose, I would argue that since we believe that this is the only life we have, we are not headed to a better life after we die, that we have to enjoy our life now, not wait for that second chance. I think that fills us with a much greater purpose than most theists give credit for.

Maybe evolutionarily speaking religion is with us because it gave us a purpose, a set of morals. However in this age, when we know so much about the natural world, does it still serve that purpose? Do we need a made up reason to be, to tell us how to act? Or can we just enjoy this one life we have, contribute to a better world, and not waste energy, time, or money on falsehoods?


Obscure Connection?

Fall Coloured Pills
Wired has an interesting article about Gary Wolf's search for an atheist style.

I don't agree with some of his conclusions but I like his findings of the so called New Atheist groups. I think anyone who is a fundamental atheist (ie, believes in Atheism 100%, no doubts) is as full of it as a fundamental theist, so people claiming this faith in atheism is a fringe group as well. The majority of atheists are probably more in the >99% range, but since you can never scientifically disprove a supreme being (or for that matter, thor, zeus, ra, etc) you can never be 100%.

Yes, Atheists love to hear of a convert, or a celebrity/scientist who has thrown of the shrouds of religion, but for every one of those, there must be 10 who join some stupid cult, or think they can eliminate radiation with magic water...

grrrrr I don't think I'll ever understand some people.


My Take on Things

My Take on Things
huh, normally I have to change the title from the title of the picture, to the title of the blog entry, but this one is somewhat appropriate. :)

I've been reading a great book, which I recommend to anyone interested in biology, Endless Forms Most Beautiful by Sean Carroll. So the reference here to the picture I posted is related to that book.

Ever wonder how something like a butterfly knows where to have it's spots on the wing when it's developing as an embryo? Or how most people have 5 fingers per hand and some have 6? The book goes on to explain how our genes are coded with switches that are acting from the very beginning of development to control how all of our features are created from the one original cell. It is truly eye opening and fascinating stuff.

On a semi-related note, I am reading another book, Richard Dawkins' The God Delusion. Also a fascinating and excellent read. Richard Dawkins is going to be on The Colbert Report tonight, I urge everyone who can to watch it. It is on past my bedtime, so I'll be YouTubing it tomorrow morning.

Richard Dawkins is one of my heros, as is Stephen Colbert, but the Character SC plays on the Report is about the exact opposite of Dawkins. I suspect the clash should prove interesting. :)