Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear.–Thomas Jefferson
Give me the storm and stress of thought and action rather than the dead calm of ignorance and faith. Banish me from Eden when you will but first let me eat of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge.–Robert G. Ingersoll
As I pause to think about what to say about myself, I suddenly realize that I am in the company of some impressive gentlemen. Bud is a martial artist (a veritable ninja—but does he have ninjitsu teleportation, that’s what I’d like to know?), Mike is a rock star/body builder (more or less), and both of them are intellectually savvy. Then there is me. Some guy … who’s left handed. Exciting, right?
Briefly, about myself, I suppose the most exciting thing about me is that I have lived in Japan for over half a decade, and I speak fluent (at least relatively fluent) Japanese. I have two college degrees (one in English Literature and one in Japanese History). Not that it matters, but my graduation theses were both related to graphic novels (i.e., my research for my Lit. degree involved analyzing the political and satirical themes in the works of Dr. Seuss political cartoons and children’s stories and for my History degree I wrote on the historicity of the image as language and storytelling in Japanese culture: from kanji to manga). That probably depicts the sort of “intellectual geekdom” I enjoy. Meanwhile, I am an avid science fiction fan (especially Hard SF in the genre of Space Operas, e.g. Battlestar Galactica, SGU, and films like Sunshine and The Matrix; or in animation such as GITS: Stand Alone Complex. Whereas films like Star Wars, which I esteem as the pinnacle of movie storytelling, are not technically Science Fiction but Fairytale/Fantasy). As it turns out, I read more non-fiction than fiction. I’m privileged to be married to the most beautiful Japanese woman I have ever known. Equally as wonderful, I’m the proud father of a lovely, and dynamic, daughter.
As for my personal beliefs, or appreciations as I like to call them, I believe in too many things to list here—but I can tell you what I don’t believe in. I don’t believe in any god—or more accurately any man-made concept of God.
Whether or not there is such an entity as a god, some form of deity, I remain agnostic—and highly skeptical. After all, aliens are more probable than God, but Christians will often call you deluded if you say you believe in aliens. I believe in aliens because the statistical evidence filtered through the Drake equation suggests they are so highly probable as to constitute an actuality. Based on (real life) observations from the Hubble Space Telescope, there are at least 125 billion galaxies in the observable Universe. Accounting for all the sun-like stars which have a system of planets, we can estimate that there are 6.25×1018 stars with planets orbiting them in the Universe. Even if we assume that only one out of a billion of these stars have planets capable of supporting life, there would be some 6.25×109 (billion) life-supporting planetary systems in the Universe.
Allow me to shed light on what this means. For any rational person—this means aliens assuredly exist—since it would be an even unlikelier scenario (i.e., more unbelievable) if they did not. Yet the same cannot be said for God. There is no observable evidence for God, there is no estimate we can generate using statistical information, and as for tangible evidence for the existence of god (any god) there is the total sum of zilch, nadda, nothing. Evidence for God, for all intents and purposes, is entirely non-existent—which strongly suggests that God may be equally non-existent. What does this ultimately mean? It means that if you want me to take your god-concept seriously, you’ll have to offer some trustworthy evidence in return, otherwise all you have is conjecture. In other words, the burden of proof lies entirely on the believer—not the skeptic.