Tuesday, October 30, 2012


A while ago in a public forum someone posted something about atheism, and being an atheist.  That led to a big discussion in the comments section, which of course made me think a little more about when my cousin asked me what I believed.

One of the religious people in the discussion said something like "I pity you atheists because of the huge emptiness in your lives," (maybe not the exact wording).  But I was thinking of life like a box of stuff shipped to you.  To me, G-d is like the packing material, to fill in the spaces between the real stuff.  So, by not being a believer, I'd want less of the packing material and more of the real stuff…

The packing material analogy came from my thinking about history, knowledge and science.  In the far distant past we, humans, had far less knowledge, so G-d or gods made good answers to what we didn't know.  Why does the sun move across the sky?  Ra pulls it in a chariot.  Why does it rain?  The gods send it.  Why do people get sick and die eating pork?  G-d forbids it!

But over the millennia people have worked out answers to lots of things and thrown out the "filler" (now we know how to clean butchered pigs so the meat is safe).  Of course, that's accelerated at exponential rates since the Renaissance.  And while I know we don't have all the answers to the things we don't know, one thing I see from all the knowledge we've gained is that we're capable, over time, of using science to find all the answers.  Sure, not at one time, not a big bang of "wow, I know everything" but continued advancement.

The more we learn and the more we find out, the less we need to use gods as an explanation for what we don't know.  And the less sense it makes to use gods as an overriding explanation for things we do know…

To me, saying things happen the way they do, or have been set in motion the way they have by a single, omniscient being simply doesn't make sense.


Online I see a lot of people who post atheist topics frequently post things, sayings, humorous cartoons, etc. that point to the burden of proof of God's existence should be on those who are religious, rather than the burden of proof of God's lack of existence on atheists.

On the one hand, that makes sense.  As someone who doesn't believe in god at all, the whole idea of an all-powerful or all-knowing, and especially benevolent, creator or whatever simply doesn't make sense to me.

However, given that humankind has worshipped and had near complete faith in the existence of gods since time immemorial, countless generations, that it's only a small minority that don't believe that, it is kind of hard for a minority of people to demand that everyone else is responsible for proving it.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Autumn Afternoon in Riverside Park

Yesterday Leena and I walked up the west side of Hell's Kitchen towards the Upper West Side and into Riverside Park to see autumn and the leaves changing colors.

It's a nice park, designed by the same people who did Central Park.  It's nearly as long, but much, much more narrow.  It's more peaceful than Central Park because there's far fewer people.

I read that in the winter, when it's covered in snow, the city serves free hot chocolate somewhere here...

Of course, as usual the full album is here, along with captions on every photo that Blogger doesn't pull in...