Looking the part?

September 8, 2007

My parents both went to school for economics. That’s where they met, etc. My uncle was also an economics major, and so is my cousin, a freshman at my university. I never think of any of them as economics majors. It’s not like they talk about markets and inflation all the time, and that would be the only way I’d identify them as economists. Likewise, I don’t identify my cousin as an accountant or my best friend a lawyer…

But everyone, even people I don’t know, tell me I look like a scientist. Even as a kid, I think everyone thought it was obvious I’d go into something related to science. Apparently I eat and breathe science, and it’s obvious to everyone. Am I that transparent?

I soon had a few of hypotheses, and willingness to test them by way of thought experiment, ready.

Hypothesis 1: Because Science involves a systematic way of thinking, one that is not common among the general public, scientists stand out from other people to them.

Hypothesis 2: I am more passionate than the rest of the people described here about my field of study. 

Hypothesis 3: Not enough observation + confirmation bias. There’s nothing to it, really.

My favorite hypothesis is number 1, but I have no idea what will come out…

Anyway, I decided I needed more data to do this the right way. This week, at school, I will spend some time on it… ask some people a few questions to have a few statistics to back things up and all. Is it me? Is it science? Is it passion? Is it nothing?

I have no clue.



September 3, 2007

supposed to be studying for my molecular bio or biochem tests or whatever, but I just felt compelled to post this…

my friend’s not listening to Apocalyptica anymore. Just because they made an “offensive” song, it’s called I’m Not Jesus. 

People should grow thicker skins.

But what harm has religion ever done!?

September 2, 2007

So I changed the blog name; the other one was only temporary anyway, and I think the new one is more appropiate, mostly because, as far as I’m concerned, radio is about two things: music and opinion. Of course, on the radio both of these are usually bad. This is mostly a blog about my opinion, but who knows, I might throw in a song every now and then, music often expresses an opinion as well.

Anyway, the question that titles this blog is a very old and tired pseudo-argument believers use. Also, I believe it has been answered with regards to the big picture more than enough times. So my answer to this little question will come in the form on little anecdotes. And maybe, to other people, some of this things will not seem terribly harmful – there’s after all, a lot of important things in which religions were involved. But I don’t want to make this that kind of rant. It’s a different kind of answer to the question.

  • My last 2 years of high school, I did the IB programme. The school I went to then was catholic inspired, so despite not having to take any religion classes, practically everyone, teacher and student, believed in god. My Theory of Knowledge teacher had attended seminary, he’d wanted to become a priest. He gave it up, and ended up going to philosophy school and becoming a teacher. He was everyone’s favorite teacher, his lessons were not always in the classroom, and most, both inside and outside, were very good, the kind of lesson that leaves you thinking for days. He pushed all of us to achieve the most we could, in all we did. . And, though the catholic church accepts evolution (albeit “guided” evolution) he once, when we were in senior year, confided in us that he did not. He was a creationist. And though I still appreciated him, thought he was a nice person and a good teacher and all, he fell from my grace that day. When I asked him to elaborate; he only mentioned typical creationist lies. This saddened me greatly, because, being the deeply respected person he was, his opinion could maybe influence other students, especially since few of us were science-minded. We were supposed to be the biggest critical thinkers at school. And the best teacher we’d ever had could be quite critical, except when it came to religion. That was the day I learned the true meaning of compartmentalization.
  • There’s this guy at school. He, like me, is in the honors program, and that’s how I know him. He just finished sophomore year and he’s majoring in electronics. Next year, he’s leaving all of that behind to go on a two year mission to China. He’s leaving *everything* behind. His friends, his family, his studies. His advisor does not agree. The honors program director, the electronics program director, his minor program director and pretty much no one else he knows disagrees. Only his parents and his pastor agree. When he returns, he won’t be able to just start where he left off. He’s throwing a lot more than just those 2 years down the drain. He’s brilliant, he’s doing what he always wanted to do, he has the chance to graduate early… I can’t believe he’s gonna throw all of that away. To go preach. And based on my own experience, people who get preached to generally do not want to be preached to.
  • It actually causes people to reject science, and as many greater than me have said, the universe is far more exciting and far more awing when you stop taking Goddidit as an answer and actually start learning. The universe truly is amazing, truly beautiful, and there need not be any higher powers other than the laws of physics or probability… no intelligent designer. It’s not necessary, at all.

I often pity the people who believe.

I’m sure many of them pity me as well. Or would, if they only knew.

The Arcade Fire and Religion

September 2, 2007

Ok, so this post’s been lying around for a while now. I’ll finish writing it now, I suppose.

Earlier this year, The Arcade Fire got a new album out. It’s called Neon Bible, and contained such songs as Intervention or Antichrist Television Blues. Well, I think the album is very critical of religion, and I love it. Not to mention the music is, as usual with these guys, pretty nice. It’s multilevel in its significance, but I do wanna talk about a few of the songs and their meaning as far as atheism or religion go;

Keep the Car Running speaks about the Rapture and people trying to convert you. They’re just going to “keep the car running,” not slowing down for centuries-old superstition. I think it’s like saying, well, you know, I’m not changing my lifestyle, not for something like this. Not for something that’s not real. It’s brilliant, honestly. The whole idea of the Rapture is crock, frankly, and they capture the sentiment well.

Intervention is, I think, pretty obvious. It’s about two things as far as I care, an actual army, the one currently invading Irak , and “God’s army.” It attacks the self-righteousness of the american government, as well as the prospect of spending a lot of time on religion, and basically losing your life on useless things.

Finally, The Well and the Lighthouse. All that needs to be said about this one is in one line: You always fall for what you desire or what you fear. Isn’t that why a lot of people, even if they don’t admit it, say they “need” a god?

I’d also like to point out that one of my Catholic friends sees no reason to believe this album criticizes religion in any way. I just think she’s blinding herself to it, because, honestly, it’s pretty obvious.

On being a closeted atheist – and staying there

June 11, 2007

Though on the Internet I am openly atheistic, in real life I have yet to take that step. In fact, only three people know I’m no longer a catholic – and I told two of them I am an agnostic. None of these people are family members. It’s not that I’m ashamed of not believing in a god anymore, but I am afraid of what reaction people will have. Besides, I do not want to be known as “the atheist kid.” I am a lot of other things. I am a university student, I am involved in student politics, I am in the honors program. I like to read, write, make music and listen to it. I am funny, spontaneous, and smart. And I wish people continue to look at me and see all these things. I don’t want the label “heathen” to become the most important defining characteristic by which people know me. Nor do I want people in my family to say I am now an atheist because of what I do at school, or to think it’s a rebellious thing.

So I was very glad that it’s not too hard to pretend. After all, we rarely go to church. I know all the prayers from years and years of catholic school, so if they’re ever needed (such as at funerals), I *can* pretend. Today, my parents announced it would be nice if we, as a family, started going to church more often. My siblings agreed. Enthusiastically. I just sat there and nodded. What else could I do? I do not want to face criticisms right now, not about those things that do not matter. Not over a meal, certainly. And not while I still largely depend on my family, and because of this, I do not want to disappoint. So if it turns out we’re going to mass every now and then, fine, I’ll go through the motions. For a few more years, that’s what I’ll do.

Now honestly, a part of me does not agree with what I’m doing. I should just be honest, get this over with. I’m probably being a coward. But I have my reasons, mostly the first one. I happen to be many things, I do not want one of them, seen by pretty much everyone I know as a negative, to take precedence. After all, the really bad aspects of religion that I dislike are nonexistent as far as I’m concerned. Sure, a friend of mine got involved in Opus Dei, but that has no direct effect on MY life. I’m still allowed to read what I wish. And no one has ever told me that I am going to “play god” with what I’m studying. And if, and when, I get married, I will still work. And no one will treat me as a terrible person for that. And no one – and I mean no one – will ever tell me that I am subservient to men. And I’ll never let anyone make me feel the good old catholic guilt, especially not over nothing at all.

I believe in people. I believe in good. And I don’t believe in God.

But for now, my real-life persona cannot make this statement anywhere.

Quck First

June 9, 2007

Ok, since my laptop is running out of batteries, this will just be a quick first post, a sort of introduction. I am 19 years old. I do biotechnology at university. I am an atheist, but I did not really realize that until recently. I do not live in the United States, and the whole american “culture wars” thing is shocking to me. I suppose I mostly will blog on science and religion, as these are the serious issues that use up headspace. I find that I cannot always speak of them, which is why this blog’s tagline is what it is. I will try to post regularly, but unless I have something to say, expect null posting. And stuff.

I spend a lot of time reading blogs, but I do not comment often, I am more of a lurker… but I *do* have things to say, and I want to say them, which is why I decided maybe I should start my own blog up. So here it is. My first real try. =)

seriously, when I get bats on this, I’ll be a much better writer.