Tuesday, April 24, 2007

upsetting others and feelings

I think that it's interesting that talking about faith is dangerous. I have found that when I explain how I feel about faith (I think it's an emotion and not real), that people are offended. Why? It's just what I think.

When people criticize my atheism, I can support how I think. I can say why I am an atheist. I don't have to say things like "I believe there's no god," or "I feel like there is no god." That's not a supportable stance. It means nothing. I might feel that the color orange is a nice color. My husband would disagree.

I can, however, say "There's no evidence for god," or "The burden of proof is on you to show me there is a god."

I've had religious feelings in the past. I really felt them and really believed them at the time. How do I explain that? Feelings are, unfortunately, chemical reactions in our brains. If I had an accident and was brain damaged in some way, my personality would change. Some drugs and hormones can alter a person's feelings. Feelings are the least trustworthy way of understanding and perceiving the world. They mean something only to the person having them.

And, in addition, some feelings are misplaced or incorrect. I don't know how else to describe it. I've learned to laugh when something annoying happens. For example, when my daughter spills red juice all over the carpet after I've cleaned it. I used to get angry inside. But this isn't an appropriate feeling. Why should I be angry? My daughter didn't do it on purpose. I started to laugh, even when I felt angry when something like this happened. Now, I laugh naturally when something is spilled or broken accidentally. I don't feel angry anymore.

I changed my feelings and my feelings about certain stimuli. It's easy to do. If it's easy, isn't it suspect? Aren't our feelings naturally suspect?

I think that people who are offended by my criticisms of faith and belief are upset because they feel that I've attacked their feelings. That I'm trying to invalidate something of theirs. I suppose I am--at least in the sense of invalidating it. The feeling isn't a way to perceive reality. It's a way of reacting to reality.

I'm not upset when someone criticizes my thinking about atheism because it has nothing to do with feelings. It's just about my critical thought as it relates to religion. I might be wrong and if it can be logically pointed out to me, I'll concede. But religion has no logic. It has only feelings.

Feelings get hurt, no?

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Some interesting science links

It's been a long time since I blogged. It's been pretty busy at home.

Finally, this morning I sat down with a cup of coffee and read some cool science articles.

Milky Seas
This is a video with a transcript (in case you can't watch the video) about nearly a zillion bacteria that create bio-luminescent displays in the Indian Ocean. Very interesting. I'd love to see actual footage of this. They do have a satellite photo of a huge mass of bacteria. Yes, zillions and zillions.

Antibiotic Bacteria Cultivated by Insect
The European Beewolf, a solitary wasp, cultivates an antibiotic producing bacteria in its antennae that it uses to "inoculate" its young against infection. I saw another interesting application of antibiotic use in ants. The awesome film, Ants! Nature's Secret Power, shows ants collecting tree resin which they use around the entrance to their nests. As ants pass over the pieces of resin, they are disinfected. The resin kills many harmful bacteria that the ants would otherwise be bringing into the nest.

I'd like to share more... maybe in another post. My son's awake now and coffee time is over! ;)

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Doubt and Belief

Obviously, my favorite author of all time is Oscar Wilde. I remember the first time I saw him. There was a picture of him on the pink spine of a thick book. He looked familiar! I needed to know more about him after I saw that picture. Turned out that Oscar is Irish and I have Irish ancestors. Many of his features I could pick out in relatives of mine--the long nose, the sleepy eyes.

I read everything I could about him and by him. His paradoxes intrigued me. His idea that life imitates art and that art should be useless---well, these were new, interesting ideas to me.

Now, I've run across a new Oscar Wilde quote that I think is very interesting.

"To believe is very dull. To doubt is intensely engrossing. To be on the alert is to live, to be lulled into security is to die." Source

I love this quote. Oscar was always challenging the status quo of Victorian England. I would love to hear him speak of the world today. Could you imagine what Oscar Wilde might say about US politics and Hollywood? I wish I could imagine it. I wish I could see his brilliance live on in the world today.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Always Skeptical... but maybe not

Recently, I read this great post at another blog, Autism Diva. Her posts are always very interesting and thought provoking for me. A young boy identified as "D" who is 9 years old and communicates through a keyboard made a video you can see in the post. The things that D says are simply amazing and really touching. In fact, that's downplaying it a lot. They're beautiful.

But the skeptic part of me kept thinking there's no way a nine year old boy could have written these things! Then I started thinking about other youngsters who have done amazing things. Mozart wrote his first composition before the age of 5. Picasso was a gifted artist from a young age. His first word was "pencil."

If we can accept genius in other areas, such as music or art, why not with language?

This reminds me of another blogger, Possummomma, who has a blog called Atheist in a Mini Van. Recently, she shared some of her own daughter's writing. Immediately, people accused her of faking her daughter's writing because it was just so good.

Why can't we accept incredible language skills in children? Why did I have this nagging doubt about D's skills when I saw what he wrote?

I have to run, but here's an interesting link about child prodigy writers. It's short, so give it a read.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

New! Shiny! Oscar Wilde!

I was so unhappy with this blog. I finally decided what I was going to do with it and redesigned the site. I have a bunch of blogs. One is basically family stuff. If you care about what I do from day to day, then Den de la Iniquidad is the one to read. Another blog is art/writing related. It's a little newer. A third shows the trivial things that I find interesting that I've learned surfing the web. :) A fourth shows my photography.

This one is the one where I want to write about the things that interest me/bother me/make me think. If you are interested in my opinions, then welcome. :)

Saturday, November 18, 2006

more better for you

Well, I wasn't happy with this blog as it was, so I'm starting out again from scratch. That's it, folks. ;)