David Goodger’s Personal Beliefs

pronounced:like “Badger”, but Good!

A collection of truths, axioms, and biases.



I am a humanist/rationalist/naturalist, and therefore an atheist.

In the past I eschewed the label “atheist” because it describes only an absence, a negative. If I label myself an atheist it would only describe what I am not: I don’t believe in supernatural creators. This is true, but it’s only the consequence of what I do believe, which is much more important. When asked [e.g. on a census form] what my religion is, I answer “none”; atheism is not a religion, it is the absence of religion.

Now I embrace the label of atheist, as a shorthand for “agnostic to the point of atheism”. Of course, it’s impossible to prove the non-existence of a creator, as it is impossible to prove a negative (“the absense of evidence is not evidence of absence”). However, as Carl Sagan stated,

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

The existence of a supreme being is a very extraordinary claim indeed, and I have seen no convincingly extraordinary evidence to support it. Anecdotes, feelings of awe, ancient scrolls, questionably-reported history, tradition, the beliefs of others, and ignorance, are not evidence.

(By the way, you’re an atheist too. Even if you believe in the Judeo-Christian “God”, you certainly don’t believe in Osiris, or Vishnu, or Zeus, or Odin, or Amaterasu, or any of the other gods of human history. You’re an Osiris/Visnu/Zeus/Odin/Amaterasu/etc.-atheist. So am I. I simply believe in one god fewer, for a grand total of zero. It’s much simpler that way.)

I am an ethical, moral person. My ethics and morals come from respect, love, and awe for the nature of the universe, society, and for life itself.

I “believe” in science, but it is a rational and revisable belief, based on evidence and reproducible, verifiable, and falsifiable experiment. The essential difference, as I see it, is this: science is evidence without faith, while religion is faith without evidence. I try to remain open-minded: I am willing to entertain the idea that I am wrong, and I am willing re-examine my beliefs, given compelling new evidence.

Rather than stating “I believe in science,” it may be more accurate to state that “I trust the process of science and the scientific method,” because science works. Given enough time and resources, I could reproduce the experiments and observations that have produced our current understanding of the laws of nature. Is it complete? No, but it’s more complete than it was yesterday, and will be more complete tomorrow.

I am generally tolerant of religions, superstitions, and other supernatural belief systems — even though I find them irrational and misguided at best — as long as it is kept personal. What I cannot tolerate is someone imposing their worldview on me or on others.



A great book for new parents is The First Three Years of Life, by Burton L. White. Rather than giving a cookie-cutter recipie for all kids (who are all different), it gives insight into the thought processes of children from newborns to 3 years of age, and tips for humane discipline. A newborn’s cry is very different from a 1-year-old’s cry.


Operating Systems

Windows users are simply the unfortunates who have never tried Macs. They should be pitied, and they should be enlightened.