Welcome to my blog! I'm looking forward to being part of the growing and vibrant atheist blogosphere (or is it a sub-blogoshpere?). I'll be discussing a variety of issues affecting atheists, as well as anyone who holds rational thought and inquiry as important virtues. But more importantly, I'm looking forward to comments and discussions coming about. I'll try to present the reasoning process that lead to the opinions I express, and I hope that readers will comment and let me know what they think about my arguments, and introduce issues that I may not have thought of. I'm always eager to discuss these issues, and learn not only what others believe, but why they believe it. I hope we can all learn more about each other, and improve our reasoning abilities together.
To introduce myself, my real name is Jeff Satterley. I am currently a computer science student at Northeastern University in Boston, working on my PhD. My research currently has me processing text in a large corpus of biology and medical research articles, in order to extract useful information. This blog isn't really about any of that, so I won't be talking much about computers and language, although it may come up tangentially.
As for my atheist credentials: I was born a Catholic, although my family was pretty lax. I don't remember going to many masses as a kid, other than when my grandparents would babysit my brother and I on a Sunday, and made us go with them. I stopped going to religion classes shortly after making first communion because, from what I can remember, classes were extremely boring and cut into my video game time. I realized Catholic dogma was pretty ridiculous almost immediately, and I over time I found that more and more of the god beliefs out there seemed pretty "out there."
I called myself an atheist in my teens, although I still had a lot of questions. Throughout high school and college, I learned about biology, physics, philosophy and psychology, which helped me discover better explanations for the phenomena I previously had trouble explaining without a god. One of the biggest questions I had was how to explain human consciousness. As a young computer scientist, I got very interested in artificial intelligence, and read books like Society of Mind by Marvin Minsky, and Gödel, Escher, Bach: an Eternal Golden Braid by Douglas Hofstadter. Although their theories aren't perfect, I am convinced that consciousness is compatible with a materialist world-view. This insight probably gave me the most confidence in my belief that god is not a necessary hypothesis.
I decided to become more outspoken and active as an atheist after reading The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins a few years ago. I realized how much religion pervades most of our lives, and that its important to show people that there are those of us who don't believe in god, and that we are moral, productive, happy people. I hope that this blog will help the cause.
So I hope you all enjoy the blog, and I look forward to hearing from you all!