So long and thanks for all the comments                     

                J.C. Samuelson                  

Note: This was originally posted on J.C.'s The Freethought Cafe

 It's been said that we're all works in progress, that all good things must come to an end, and that we're constantly evolving. So it is with me. What follows is the result of a long period of self-reflection.

In some form or another, I've been arguing over religion for at least ten years, first as a defender of faith and later as an atheist. Granted, this is not nearly as many years as others have dedicated, but for some time, I've felt increasingly dissatisfied with that topic. Endlessly focusing on how various ideas and arguments are faulty or delusional winds up taking a toll on a person. Not to mention the fact that most such discussions are deeply personal and frequently fruitless. And who wants to constantly be pointing out the reasons why someone is wrong? Even if one is in the right, I feel that's pretty cold comfort.

What I'd rather do is explore, learn, and experience life; to share this incredible journey with my family and friends, and anyone willing to come along. Also, I hope to enhance the journey by learning what science has to teach about the physical universe. For me, this means learning math, physics, astronomy, and astrophysics. Biology, as interesting as it is, does not hold the same fascination for me as it does for others.

Of course, I do love to write too. For me the benefit is twofold: The first being that it helps organize my thoughts. Being an active seeker of information, I've found that quite often there are several thoughts - some complementary, some conflicting - clattering around that are begging to be put in some sort of order. The second benefit is the feedback. Experience has taught me that when dialogue occurs, learning ensues.

So, in order to indulge these two desires, I've created a new blog - Everyday Brightness. Now, I'm not so self-absorbed as to think this really matters to the denizens of the blogosphere, or the world at large. However, according to Feedburner, there are still about 35 subscribers to this blog, a few of whom I know personally and a few others whose electronic company I've greatly enjoyed in the past. To them - and any others who may be curious - I extend a standing invitation to visit at their leisure, and comment (or not) as they wish.

As for atheism, it remains my position on the divine, and Freethinker would still be an adequate label. However, as a worldview, it is sorely lacking in descriptive power. Not only that, but frankly, I've become troubled by the remarks of some professed non-believers who seem to have become a bit intoxicated by atheism's cultural ascendancy, and whose expressions are laced with the same variety of dogmatism that often plagues religious types.

For example, earlier this year, you may remember Ellen Johnson implored her fellow atheists to "vote [their] atheism first this November." More recently, Michael Reiss, former Director of Education for the Royal Society, was  forced to resign by several scientists - with the tacit approval of Richard Dawkins and PZ Myers, two notable New Atheists and science educators - largely because he made them uncomfortable. Dr. Reiss is a clergyman, and had the audacity to suggest that teachers should show students who bring up creationism how that view is non-scientific rather than arbitrarily dismissing it as foolishness. While I agree that creationism is a foolish position, I would hope that science teachers would show a bit more sophistication than that when dealing with the issue. It seems, unfortunately, that Dr. Reiss' status as a clergyman, combined with his mere use of the word "creationism" in the context of science education, was enough to condemn him as unfit to speak about his area of expertise.

These are just a couple of things that make me uncomfortable. I've reevaluated my previous position that it is a moral imperative to advocate for atheism as a rationally superior position. Besides, as it happens, the term Bright is more accurate shorthand for my worldview, which is naturalistic and not confined to mere atheism. Thus, for the sake of making unequivocal my position on the issue of supernaturalism, the blog header at Everyday Brightness is adorned with the Brights logo, even though the purpose of the blog isn't advocacy for naturalism, as such.

If you read this and decide to pay a visit, you'll occasionally find posts related to philosophy, or the scientific study of religion, or opinions on issues I find bothersome or intriguing. However, you're more likely to find boring posts about learning mathematics and my (future) astronomical follies, along with various thoughts on science-related topics.

As for the Freethought Café, it will remain active. I still agree in principle with many (if not all) of the articles I've posted in the past. I have simply lost interest in continuing in the same vein, and deem it an inappropriate venue for expressing my present views.

Thanks to everyone who gave of their time and energy to read the articles and give feedback. May each day bring you closer to being who and where you want to be. Oh, and I hope to see you over at
Everyday Brightness!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

J.C. Samuelson

posted by Brian Worley     All rights reserved



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