Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Miltiades' Manifesto

Although this blog was created to vent about my company’s frustrating IT department, I feel that it’s time to expand the canvas and establish the future path of this public journal.

So this is what I believe.

1. There is no god.

I don’t need proof of this. There is no proof otherwise, and that is all that matters. I don't need proof that there is no such thing as the Flying Spaghetti Monster--praise Him, ramen!--and the Christian god is just as (un)likely to exist. Atheism is not a religion. It is not faith. It is rationality.

Richard Dawkins, author of The God Delusion, has a good line: "We are all atheists about most of the gods that humanity has ever believed in. Some of us just go one god further."

2. Evolution is fact.

Evolution is a widely supported scientific theory. "Theory" in scientific circles does not mean the same thing as "guess." It's as good as fact, even though we are still learning how all of the pieces fit together. But that's the key to science--always developing.

3. Morality is not a religious construct.

Why do I do good? No, it's not because I'm frightened of god's retribution and an eternity in hell. It's because of empathy and enlightened self-interest. I "do unto others..." Contrary to what many Christians believe, morality existed long before the bible brought us the ten commandments, and it will exist long after the Christian faith has faded into history.

4. Fundamentalist Christians need a good knock upside the head.

The bible is not the true word of god. The earth is much, much older than 6,000 years. Humans were not created in the image of god. I could go on and on. I generally have nothing against moderate Christians (ie. 90% of Christians), but Fundamentalist Christians are a loud bunch, and seemingly getting louder...

5. Politics and religion must not mix.

The Conservative Party. Republicans. The parties in power in both Canada and the US owe a lot of their success to the religious right. And both parties have an obvious religious agenda. Whether the debate is about stem cell research, abortion, or gay marriage, religion--specifically the Christian religion--is playing a huge role in the decision making of these governments, and it is only getting worse.

6. Life does not begin at conception.

I am pro-choice. If a woman wants to have an abortion, I support that right. It's her body. And there is a big difference between a fetus and a baby.

7. Heterosexual marriage... gay marriage... it's all the same.

Everyone in this country has the right to get married. Deal with it. The "traditional definition of marriage" is dead, as is the "traditional family." There is no debate to reopen here.

8. Psychics are either lying scumbags or self-deluded morons.

Skepticism goes hand in hand with being an atheist. Rationality in all areas is important. James Randi has been seeking proof of supernatural ability for longer than I have been alive, and--surprise, surprise!--there is none. But that isn't stopping the so-called psychics from raking in the cash.

9. If "Alternative Medicine" worked, it would be just "medicine."

Alternative medicine is a huge scam. If you could make millions with an untested product just by using scientific sounding words in non-scientific ways, appealing to people's frustration with impersonal care by the under-funded and under-staffed medical industry, relying on questionable anecdotal evidence, confirmation bias, and the all-important placebo effect... but no, that's not what they are doing! Because obviously a teacher knows more about colds than a doctor, right? And rubbing a stick of wax on your forehead will surely cure that headache, right? Yeah.

And because I want to end this manifesto with something light-hearted and a little less contentious...

10. Battlestar Galactica is the best show on TV.

If you are a science fiction fan and haven't started watching BSG, what the hell are you waiting for? But you had better start at the beginning with the miniseries. To start watching now, in the middle of season three, would be stupid. So go buy the DVDs or something!

And that's what I believe.

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