SDB is continuing his excellent explanation of his atheistic beliefs, and Robin Goodfellow discusses it some more, Brian Chapin used to be an atheist and talks about evangelism, and Mark Byron mentions some studies on the power of prayer (and its non-power). Fascinating stuff to read by some very smart people.

I'm an engineer, as SDB is, and my general reaction to new knowledge seems to be the opposite of his. I want to know everything, and the more I learn the more certain I am that our universe could not exist as the result of pure chance. Life as we know it could not have just happened randomly... I've run enough evolutionary AI algorithms to be very skeptical of the power of the evolutionary process. (One of the main foci of artificial intelligence research is in so-called "evolutionary algorithms". These algorithms are patterned on the theory of biological evolution and attempt to harness recombination, mutation, and natural selection forces to generate "emergent effects" that are greater than the information content that is put into the system. That's it in a nutshell... I can write a more thorough description later if anyone is interested.)

The general concensus of the artificial intelligence folks that I know is that we just aren't doing evolutionary programming "right" yet, which is why we aren't getting the types of emergent effects that they believe real evolution produced... but because of my own pre-dispositions, I don't think that we'll ever get the type of power out of evolutionary programming that some hope for. We all look at the same evidence and come to different conclusions, based on our philisophical backgrounds.

The existence and nature of God is the central question of life, and a great deal depends on whether you are right or not. I'm a Christian, and if my beliefs are wrong then my beliefs are worthless.

I Corinthians 15:14 -- And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.

Similarly, if I am right and SDB turns out to be wrong then there will be consequences for his wrong beliefs. The matter is not one to take lightly, no matter what you believe.



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