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An Introduction – “Reason Bound”


Ok, I’m finally doing it. I’m finally starting the obligate blog that an atheist activist and science evangelist like me is supposed to have. What follows is the requisite blog about the blog, which will no doubt be the worst of the blog’s blogs since I can’t yet be sure what this blog is about yet. But I have to start somewhere…

The title, “Reason Bound” isn’t just one of the few blog titles about reason, atheism, or science that wasn’t already taken. It’s a double entendre that truly describes what I want to discuss. Reason is a process, and whatever issues I may discuss (and they will be many) they will be inextricably linked to our process of discovering truth and our methods of determining the righteous path. If our methods and premises are sound, we should not fear our conclusions. Think Nate Silver, but without the money, staff, and time for data collection.

I hope that you will have noticed that reason is currently enjoying a bull market in the United States. Atheism, however it may be defined, is growing steadily. Churches across the country are slowly emptying, as their aged members cannot manage to keep their kids and grandkids engrossed by ancient myths in the midst of the information age. Climate change denial appears to be slowly abating. We are making great progress in civil rights with respect to race, sexual orientation, gender identity, and women’s rights. Of course, none of this is to say that the job is done or that all is peachy, but as we head into the middle of the 21st century we are, as a society, inexorably “Reason Bound”. It is an optimistic view of the future, but not an unreasonable expectation of progress in my opinion.

My generation (Millennials) is thusly reason bound and is faced with the prospect of building a more prosperous and righteous nation than we are inheriting. We must decide how to replace the community, charity, medicine, and moral accountability once facilitated by failing religious institutions.

As individuals, we Millennials are more skeptical of assertions, associations, and authority than many of those who have come before. Some of this is involuntary, as the days of bullshitting your way through a conversation can now easily be debunked by a 10 second Google search on an iPhone. As individuals, we are increasingly “Reason Bound”, as bullshit is much less able to hide from Google, Wikipedia, and skeptics on the internet with way too much free time.

Ok, that’s enough simplistic and contrived justification of the blog’s title…

This isn’t just a blog about atheism or science, though I am both an atheist and a scientist. I will try to distill controversies into central questions about reality. Being a good scientist means taking a mystery or a conflict and designing an experiment or question that will distinguish conflicting narratives. Our debates, however contentious, should follow a similar model.

Rather than demonize anti-vaxers, 9/11 truthers, racists, religious fundamentalists, and other bigots, I want to know why otherwise reasonable people have come to different conclusions. I believe that hate is a symptom of false beliefs, and that people are overwhelmingly compassionate and trustworthy by nature.

The typical ad hominem, “take-down” piece may satisfy bitter or voyeuristic readers, but it’s not my style. I work hard to give people who I often disagree with the benefit of the doubt. However, I understand that my writing and personality can be intense. I will no doubt be issuing harsh critiques or use the writing of others as launching pads for my own. However, please understand that my attacks are almost always directed at ideas rather than people. Scumbags like Deepak Chopra, on the other hand…

And so it begins! You can expect regular (as regular as I can manage) posts about science, religion, sex, politics, and other interesting things that I think about in the shower. Please don’t hesitate to shoot me an email if you have questions or suggestions. I hope that I can stimulate some interesting ideas and conversations.