The Science of God

Although I missed the original airing, today I discovered the video and transcript of a news story entitled “The Science of God” recently presented by First Coast News, a local television news program, about a scientist who claims to have proven not only God but Christianity with physics. The man is Frank J. Tipler and his hypothesis is the omega point.

Tipler seems to toss the word proof around without justification. His omega point is not an accepted theory and has even been dismissed as pseudoscience by prominent scientists. Furthermore, it depends on other hypotheses which are still hotly debated. Puzzlingly, he identifies a hypothetical future state of the universe itself as the immaterial, eternal, personal creator of the universe. In the article, he refers to three “hypostases” of reality, a supposed trinity which somehow “proves” that a historically-questionable, illiterate, itinerant Jewish preacher in first-century Palestine executed for blasphemy is the only begotten son of God because some of his later followers decided to teach an unintelligible doctrine that God is three persons in one being based on confusing and contradictory sayings patched together long after his death. Tipler absurdly compares the certainty of his conclusion that Christianity is true and all other religions are false to “2+2=4”. He also claims that Biblical miracles can be explained by physics, but the only hint how given in the video was the suggestion that since God wrote the laws of physics, he can change them at his whim. This non-explanation is the epitome of banality. I doubt Tipler's work has any affect on anyone who wasn't already inclined and acclimated toward Christianity. Tipler, for the record, was born in Alabama, was raised as a Christian and now works at Tulane University in Louisiana. It's absolutely no surprise that he doesn't now claim to have proven the truth of Hinduism.

News stories like this are standard fare. They champion the uneducated, simple believer over the arrogant atheist intelligentsia, supposedly beating them on their own turf and validating the believer's traditional (read: backward) values. Never mind that the scientist's hypothesis is completely unproven and his conclusions are patently ridiculous; the man has proven almighty God with math and science! Stories like this don't even register a blip on a skeptic's radar.

The article features a comment section which displays a disturbing tendency within Christian thinking which probably merits its own entry, that it doesn't matter at all why you believe, just as long as you do. Several posters made this remark and no believer disagreed. Admittedly, it makes some sense given that they believe you will be tortured in a lake of fire if you believe the wrong things when you die, but this doctrine itself is remarkably perverse and despicable. The further conclusion that reasons for believing something are unimportant is very harmful to rational and critical thought.

Perhaps Tipler will continue his research and will eventually discover which sect of Christianity in particular quantum physics validates as the one true faith. We all need to know whether to join the Reformed Baptist Church of God, Reformation of 1879 or the Reformed Baptist Church of God, Reformation of 1915 to save our eternal souls from damnation.



Godless vs. Godfree

People who neither have nor desire to have any children sometimes describe themselves as childfree rather than childless. While both describe people without children, the latter implies the lack of something desirable while the former implies freedom from something undesired. Perhaps we atheists should refer to ourselves as godfree instead of godless, despite the latter having some comedic value in its irony. As a novel word, it would attract as much as, if not more attention than godless and would indicate our opinion that we don't need any gods in our lives.

Incidentally, I am both childfree and godfree.


Religion and My Life

Although I live within the “Bible Belt” of the most religious first-world nation on the planet, I have realized that religion only very rarely affects my daily life. If it were not for my sustained interest in freethought websites, podcasts, organizations and books, then the topic of religion would hardly ever arise in a typical day.

My immediate and much of my extended family are practicing Catholics, but they seldom discuss religion at all and really never with me. My friends rarely raise the topic. My co-workers have almost always remained professional and not spoken about it. I see religious programming on television, but I just keep flipping through the channels. I drive by plenty of churches, but they're no different from all the stores I never visit. I spend money without ever looking at In God We Trust, not even encountering it at all most of the time since I use my debit card for almost all transactions. It's been ten years since I've been asked to recite the Pledge of Allegiance and say that this is one nation under God. I've only ever had one religious proselytizer come to my door, and although he was very annoying, the encounter was fairly brief and has not happened again.

In light of this, perhaps some readers will wonder why I am interested enough in the topic of religion to write this blog. There are several reasons:

First, religion is a fascinating concept. It addresses the questions of where we come from, where we are going, and how we should lead our lives here and now. I believe the answers that religions provide are almost always dead wrong, but they are interesting nonetheless.

Second, religion is the principal virus of irrationality in our world, affecting the majority of people around the globe and in my own country. This irrationality often leads to poor decisions, injustice and misery and I hope that writing against it will contribute, even if in only small way, to a better world.

Third, religion made my life absolutely miserable for several years before my deconversion. It was primarily through internet resources that I was able to break free from my old beliefs and I hope that other doubters will benefit from my own thoughts.

Fourth, religion still affects my life sometimes, especially in the area of dating. Many people refuse, or are at least reluctant, to date an atheist even if they themselves are otherwise essentially apathetic toward religion. I certainly don't expect my blog to change this situation in even the slightest, but it generates additional antagonism in me toward religion, motivating me to write. Dating is difficult enough without having to worry about irrational beliefs in invisible beings. Religion also still affects my life by affecting politics.

Fifth, religion is a topic that I feel that I understand fairly well and can discuss intelligently at length. It's something of a compromise for me between philosophy, which is too abstract, and politics, which is too concrete, both of which interest me to a certain degree but neither of which I really feel qualified to address. I simply enjoy writing and I have more to say about religion than about any other topic.