I’m not much of a follower. Not being a follower only explains a small part of why I think gods and the religions based on them are a bunch of hooey, though. To me, the idea of the existence of gods simply doesn’t make philosophical sense. Now, if you want to compartmentalize me as an atheist – because compartmentalizing is what we humans do – you’ve categorized me with a group of people I don’t have much in common with. That is to say, scientific atheists (those who believe reality can be explained in scientific terms, thus, there is no need for religion to explain reality) comprise most of the population of atheists, at least in the Western Industrialized world. [Full disclosure: I have no citation for such a statement and I am arguing from anecdotal evidence.]
While I believe scientific explanations give us a more accurate picture of reality and as such leaves less room for religious explanations, I feel that scientific explanations are not sufficient enough to completely absolve us of the possibility of the existence of God or gods. Philosophy alone is sufficient enough to conclude gods do not exist but you won’t catch too many atheists using philosophical arguments to deny, say, Creationism. Instead of saying Creationism is false because they have reasonably concluded there are no gods, atheists typically use the scientific explanation of Evolution to counter the idea of Creationism. This tactic has had limited success; for every victory for Evolution like the one in Kansas 2005, like a venereal disease Creationism keeps coming back because its proponents core beliefs haven’t been properly challenged.
What is worse is that in pressing creationists on their explanation of life instead of their explanation of God, scientific atheists are as militant as any theist ever was. Having once been the object of scorn, these atheists apparently feel there still isn’t enough vitriol in the world. Worse than that, is that in giving their side of the argument, scientific atheists often commit as many logical fallacies (e.g. ad hominid attacks, straw man, etc.) as theists do. It appears as though scientific atheists want a reality based upon scientific explanations, logic, and reason but often couldn’t tell you what the scientific method is much less act with logic or reason in their everyday lives. Personally, I bear little respect for hypocrites.
I’m not going say I’ve never been a hypocrite but I do try to act with reason and logic in my life. I also do not commit ad hominid attacks in the course of a debate (unless you’re a Scientologist). Instead, when dealing with people I try to be patient and understanding. I also try to be humble, though that is difficult given how smart and handsome I am. So while I may be an atheist, what I have in common with other atheists is often superficial.
I told you I wasn’t a follower.