Deepening atheism methodology

I'm not a real doofus, but I play one at a national laboratory. (
Fri, 22 Aug 1997 23:12:57 -0500

> We really haven't had enough religious discussions on FoRK. I need to
> post how my deepening understanding of the scientific method over the
> last 2 years has turned me from an agnostic to an atheist.

This sounds intriguing, if unlikely. It's probably due to my
predeliction to wrangle about words, rather than to extract clues from
their bits. Or maybe I'm feeling obstreperous this evening. ;-)

I don't understand how a methodology can address such a deep
philosophical question, much less how the deepening of one's
understanding of a methodology could do so. The scientific method is
marvelous, if rather unscientific. Or perhaps uneven in its results is
a fairer characterization. It's excellent at confirming the known
knowledge, but the real progress seems to be made far more
serendipitously than rigorously.

It's an absolute marvel that we humans have been able to figure out the
underlying symmetries as well as we have. It wasn't all that long ago,
you'll recall, that phlegm was a leading candidate for the fifth
element. Now we have a truly significant chunk of physics, chemistry
and pink slipper technology figured out, but getting there was far more
like Brownian motion than regularly scheduled air service.

Try this thought experiment: You're a cat belonging to a fellow named
Schroedinger, and he's put you in a box with some poisonous gas and
some contraption to release the gas, depending on how well you can
answer a question. The question is, Does the possibility that you may
answer this question incorrectly, thereby releasing the gas, prove that
Schroedinger should be an atheist?


There are only 2 kinds of people in the world: Those who divide people
into 2 kinds, and those who don't.