Friday, May 30, 2008

Why I'm creating a blog.

I've been an atheist for as long as I can remember. Despite being taught bible stories and being made to sing Christian hymns in school, I can honestly say I can't remember ever believing in any of it. I guess part of this might be due to my parents, who, rather than being outright atheists or agnostics, just don't really care about the whole deal and tend to ignore/avoid it (I actually think the majority of people in the UK have a similar attitude, but maybe that's a discussion for another time). As I grew up my opinion of religion was that it was pretty much harmless and that as society progressed it would fizzle out with all the other out-dated ideas like racism, homophobia, patriotism and the like.

Several things have happened in the past few years that have changed my attitude to a more actively-hostile stance, however. Firstly, 9/11 and other religiously motivated terrorist events, for obvious reasons. Secondly, the recent publication of numerous atheist books (you know the ones), which haven't made me "more atheistic" but have led me to give my atheism some serious thought. And thirdly, I moved from the UK to Canada, where religion has far more prominence and can be very difficult to ignore.

To be honest I remain pretty optimistic for the future, and if I had to predict what the world will be like in 50 or 100 years, I'd predict a strong decline in religion. However, it's clear that the religious folk are currently fighting back hard as their ship goes down. In particular, creationist propaganda and the intelligent design lobby are spending a considerable amount of time and effort in propagating misinformation about evolution, a subject I've been fascinated by ever since my dad first showed me how an eye could evolve from just a light-sensitive patch of skin (one of my earliest memories). Recently I've been reading quite a few popular science books on the subject, and the beauty and elegance of the theory is wonderful. As someone with a background in physics, what has impressed me the most is that evolution can explain so much about the natural world with such basic ideas (and no mathematics!), and yet still be completely falsifiable. To see creationist webcasts LIE so blatantly about the subject has started to irk me in quite a profound way, and over the past few weeks I've started to have the feeling that I need to do something to push back against these idiots. This blog is my way of doing that.

Now I've always hated the idea of blogs. How arrogant of people to think that their opinion is interesting enough that the general public needs a chance to read it! Well, here I am writing my own blog now, so maybe I'm being a touch arrogant myself. At the moment, though, the idea of this blog is not so much to post my opinion as the opinions of others. A quick google search shows how many eloquent and witty blogs already exist on the subject of atheism, and I have neither the time nor the talent to compose original material for a blog on a frequent basis. So what I'd like to do here is re-post articles, quotes and links on atheism that I like and that I think more people should have the opportunity to read. Hence the title of the blog. Hopefully this will make me feel like I'm being a little more pro-active about my views. I'm not expecting to convert people, just to help spread the atheist message in some small way. There are numerous established blogs out there that are already doing this effectively, but I figure another one can't hurt, eh?

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