Hi there, my name is Javier. I am, for the moment, FSGP’s hump day blogger. My regular blog is The Science Pundit. I am on the FSGP board and am involved in the greater online atheist movement.
I would like to begin by thanking Chris for starting this group blog. During the past few years, great strides have been made–thanks to the “New Atheists”–in elevating the stature of nonbelievers in American society. But there is still a long way to go; negative attitudes towards and misconceptions about atheists still persist. The best way to combat this is for us to put ourselves out there at every opportunity. The general public needs to see that we’re here, that we’re just like everybody else, and we’re not going anywhere. The more voices, the better. In fact, I strongly believe that a diversity of voices only helps cement the idea that we nontheists are just people like everybody else (like the old expression that when everyone has forgotten that you exist, there’s no such thing as bad publicity). Let’s not forget that among “theist” population are many closeted atheists as well as believers who are doubting/questioning their faith; reaching out to these people is as important as being visible for the sake of cutting down stereotypes–although these two objectives are really just different faces of the same knife. This is why I’m proud to be affiliated with the FSGP, PhillyCOR, the atheist blogosphere, and the YouTube atheist community.
As you may have surmised from my moniker, I have a certain passion for science. I am also quite fond of math and philosophy. Expect many of my posts to be about those topics. Over on my personal blog, I post about whatever I feel like. My posts are often nothing more that “Check out this funny video I found on YouTube.” I will avoid such substanceless posts over here, but do expect the subject matter to vary quite a bit. I may find a groove eventually, but for now I’ll post about a variety of topics and see where it takes me. Expect posts about
- Math and science related news.
Philosophical musings related to belief and non belief.
The intersection of religion and science.
The intersection of religion and politics.
Specific criticisms of religion and creationism.
Promotion and reports of FSGP and PhillyCOR sponsored events (including video when available).
Drama–what better way to whip up blog traffic than to pick a fight with a fellow FSGP blogger? Nah! Just kidding. (Or aaaaaaaam I?) 😉
Other stuff I forgot to mention.
Let me finish this post off (in the precedent of the others) by saying a few words about how I came to my atheism. My “theist period” was a fairly short one. It was many, many years ago, so it’s hard to pin down exactly, but it was roughly from ages 9 thru 13. I grew up in a nominally Catholic, but very secular household. I knew about Church (we went twice a year) and religion but it wasn’t really a big part of my childhood. I didn’t even know that some people “said grace” before meals until I visited a friend’s house where that was the custom.
Starting at 4th grade, I attended Catholic school; this was where I was first introduced to real religion. For those of you not familiar with Catholic schools in the US, they tend to exhibit a strange dimorphism. Since US Catholic schools sell themselves as strong college preperatory schools. In other words, the education the students receive in science, history, etc. tends to be excellent. On the other hand, they are also being taught garbage in religion class. Some kids manage to learn how to compartmentalize quite well as a result of this, others (like myself) turn into rabid atheists.
I remember when I was 10 & 11, I really did believe the doctrine. I thought about God, Jesus, and heaven a lot. But I was never really incredulous. Even at the height of my Catholicism, I doubted and questioned and looked for answers. It really wasn’t all that different from how I think today, except that I had a different null hypothesis. Of course it is to be expected (and I would argue, even beneficial) for someone that age to take the word of trusted authority figures as the default position. However, these same people who were filling my head with fertilizer were also sowing the seeds of my atheism by teaching me how to think critically. So they abandonment of my faith easy and gradual. I can’t really put an exact timestamp on it, but I know that I was already calling myself an atheist by age 15.
Thank you for reading!