An Email for Discussion

I received an email from an Ed H. and I'd like some discussion about it. Here it 'tis...

I'm contacting you to ask you to answer a simple question regarding a basic issue related to the concept of atheism. The basic issue related to atheism can be stated as follows: My position is that atheism is an invalid concept for the following, but somewhat long-winded simple rationale:

I understand and agree that it's impossible to prove the existence of God, or to "keep-it-simple-stupid," that spirit is an attribute of matter based on any reasonable definition of matter or spirit, or application or version of the scientific method. However, it's also impossible to deny that spirit is an attribute of matter. This is because it is impossible to perform one or more experiments to completely validate any scientific theory without having some level of resultant difference in the sample statistical variances for each of the sample experimental measurements. This is a simple statistical fact, and since experiments performed by independent investigators to produce what are considered to be equivalent results, are essential to support any scientific theory, then any resultant credible theory based on the experimental data will still has some measure of intrinsic uncertainty. The result being that no one, especially atheists, can discount the possibility, however small, that something as basic as spirit is not an attribute of matter, or even deny the overly simplistic idea that traditional versions of something like a Judea-Christian God is possible. Further, since there is this inherent small uncertainty in any position taken by scientists, then it's also obvious that atheism's dogmatic rationale that God is something akin to a fantasy is clearly unsupportable. Therefore, atheism is nothing more than an invalid concept that can simply be defined as dogmatic science. Now since dogmatic science typically includes groups like scientists without a label, secular humanists, and atheists, then the more rational members of the scientist and secular humanist communities should seriously consider discounting and divorcing themselves from atheists, and simply define themselves as agnostics. However, arriving at this more rational state will obviously require redefining the simplistic and archaic terms "atheist and agnostic."

I happen to believe that it's not necessary to accept any of the traditional religious dogma to believe in the possibility that some attributes of spirit, or the paranormal, may be attributes of matter. Philosophers and scientists have been debating this issue for millenniums, although not precisely in my terms. And speculation based on credible scientific theory allows this. My bottom line here is that while I think that I understand rational, secular, and scientific positions concerning religious dogma, I also think an atheist position based primarily on rational scientific rationale, unfortunately results in atheists being essentially no different from those who believe in religious dogma.

All anyone has to do is to take a cursory look at recorded history to note that there have been a comparable number of atrocities and genocides committed by both extreme atheist and religious advocates. Thus the atheist and secular humanist focus on the religious community is not only counter productive, but just continues to relate to ego at the expense of using our energy in a more productive and far less destructive way to help minimize this age old problem of getting some respectful level of communication going to eliminate some of the dogma in the extremes, and especially to get some meaningful communication ongoing between the less dogmatic extreme advocates of religion and science.

I also have a lot of confidence in scientific theory because it has allowed us to form the basis for, and to develop and apply our technology, and I've thoroughly enjoyed the past 50-years applying electrical engineering technology to a variety of different problems, but the fact remains there is uncertainty in all of our decisions based on science, and about everything else we know, or what we will ever know about this physical universe, or other dimensions.

One important thing I learned early in my career, as an electrical engineer was being able take a lot of data and to prioritize and organize the related parameters into a simplified model of interconnected processes. There are at least two significant benefits for developing this skill while at the same time carefully considering the implications of William Ockham's razor: First, it allows you to have a second rationale when solving a problem that has been modeled/simulated and solved in parallel using something like a mainframe computer and supporting analysts (though I've also found that having a third solution significantly improves your confidence), and second of more importance, is that this is a basic approach that can be used to arrive at a first-order understanding of anything, while at the same time recognizing, that while any of us are in this physical universe, the best that any of us will ever be able to do, will be to come up with only an approximation as to what is reality, and also recognize that the approximation will change over time.

I prefer to look at things in what I loosely describe as a rational-pseudo-statistical approach (how vague is that), meaning that I like to assess scientific literature and speculate about what is possible based on a selected small set of what appears to be credible correlated ideas in the metaphysical literature (metaphysical here including everything related to the paranormal). I understand that many ostrich members of the scientific community reject rational scientific speculation, but this is one of the few fun games still left in town, because relying totally on our scientific theory and rational thinking is somewhat boring. Plus speculation naturally leads to some interesting correlations, such as: but not limited to: an apparent agreement between science and metaphysics, where the following are possible: multiple dimensions, multi-dimensional humans, a more interesting multi-dimensional description of string theory, a holographic universe, something existing before the big bang, etc.

Now even after a cursory exposure to philosophy and science, it should be obvious to anyone that any simplification we may arrive at relative to reality is going to be nothing more than an approximation, so just relax and enjoy your present experience/lifetime in this physical universe.

It boggles my mind that so many secular humanists, including their smaller subset of atheist advocates, take such a negative adversarial position as to the religious advocates (except Muslims because their fringe groups deserve serious attention). Don't they (the secular humanists and atheists) understand the simple fact that atheism has been responsible for genocides committed by the likes of Hitler and Stalin, and that at the other extreme, the Catholic Church has caused unaccounted for atrocities for over 1,000-past years, and now we still have the Muslim problem that's been around for over a millennium? What is needed is to first understand that these two fringe segments and their supporting atheist and religious advocates need to be enlightened. Oh I know this will never be completely resolved, but at least the situation should be amenable to improvement, and it should be easier to help atheists become enlightened since they are already partially in la-la land, at least I hope so.

Look, another of my bottom lines is this: if an atheist wants to base his or her logic on 50-decimal points of empirical accuracy, then fine, but at least they should be honest and admit that they might be wrong. I mean hasn't history demonstrated that many of our cherished scientific theories have been proven wrong? At least that's certainly true of every major theory out there now, including the greatest intellectual achievement of man, quantum mechanics -- isn't this obvious? The fact is that no one has, or ever will develop a theory for "All that Is" anyway, and even if they think they have one, it'll change. I'm not suggesting that scientists should not continue the adventure, because, hopefully everyone should gain some benefits from technology properly utilized, but also let's have some fun speculating about what might be possible based on science and metaphysics (but keep the crackpot fringe out). Now while science, technology, art, anthropology, psychology (science?), religious history, and everything else is fun; speculating about what is really possible with respect to matter and spirit is the icing on the cake. And taking the secular humanist rational approach based on science is the easy way out, flawed, and when applied, typically overly: opinionated and condescending, and a hell of a lot less fun.

By the way, I'm in the process of writing a book related to the subject of matter & spirit and if you can come up with anything logical to reject my argument that the intrinsic uncertainty in scientific experiments negates atheist denying that the paranormal is possible, then please enlighten me, but please not with generic philosophical arguments because the vast majority of past philosophers were either misfits, and/or had very limited knowledge of our physical universe, and therefore, many of their pet arguments with respect to reality are seriously flawed, and anyway, now most of them have been replaced by the "wisdom of scientist gurus." And also, please don't come up with intelligent design isn't science, that obvious; or with this old argument that there is no way to validate that the paranormal is an element of matter, because that's also obvious; or that there is no scientific evidence for miracles, Jesus being divine or God, or his mother being a virgin, or that Jesus was actually resurrected in human form; or that the Pope being infallible (Thomas Jefferson had a simple solution to some of those problems when he authored the Jefferson Bible); so please don't bug me with any of that stuff, because none of it is even an issue here -- and because I'm very busy, and because I simply want to contribute as little energy as possible to getting the "misguided-omnipotent-smart-ass" secular humanist and atheist communities straightened out.

Ed H.