I Don’t Know

The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not “Eureka” but “That’s funny…”

Isaac Asimov

I have always been fascinated by science and scientific discoveries. It amazes me when a technological marvel created on earth lands on Mars and is able to, almost immediately, send pictures back of its landing spot. I am in awe of the deep space exposures from the Hubble Space Telescope where thousands of galaxies are visible in a tiny spot of “empty sky”. I wish I could have been alive to see the moon landing live on TV. To those that were, know that I envy you greatly.

Those few things and many, many more all started out without knowing whether or not they could be achieved. “Could man go into space and walk on the moon?” The first answer was likely, “I don’t know.” Well, they tried and they succeeded. It all started without knowing whether they could or not.

I love unknowns. There are very big unknowns, such as the origin of the universe and the origin of life itself. We don’t know the answers…yet. It doesn’t help to fill in those unknowns with unscientific guesses or unwarranted belief. Richard Feynman said it best:

You see, one thing is, I can live with doubt, and uncertainty, and not knowing. I think it’s much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers which might be wrong. I have approximate answers and possible beliefs and different degrees of certainty about different things. But I’m not absolutely sure of anything, and there are many things I don’t know anything about, such as whether it means anything to ask why we’re here, and what the question might mean. I might think about it a little bit; if I can’t figure it out, then I go onto something else. But I don’t have to know an answer. I don’t feel frightened by not knowing things, by being lost in the mysterious universe without having any purpose, which is the way it really is, as far as I can tell — possibly. It doesn’t frighten me.

Richard Feynman

Not knowing something is the starting point for learning it. There are a lot of things that we will not know in this lifetime and that’s okay.


I have finished Exodus and will eventually start on Leviticus, which I am not looking forward to, but I will get through it.

The month of November is NaNoWriMo and I will be participating this year. I have a few project ideas in mind and will probably post some of that work on the blog.

Questions For Atheists Answered

From time to time, I will run across questions from religious folks to atheists. Most of them contain many of the same questions, but seeing as how this is my first time posting any of these, they might be all new to you. Seeing as how I’m an atheist, I decided to try answering some of these. These questions come from Cornerstone Church Kingston in the United Kingdom.

Question 1. How do you know there is no God?

Short answer. I don’t.  OK, I’ll give a longer answer. My first question, if I was asked this point-blank without knowledge of my interlocuter, would be, “What do you mean by god?” since many people have their own ideas about god, so I would have to find which faith tradition he/she belongs to.

Since I can tell from the website that this is an evangelical Christian church, I feel safe in assuming that they mean the God of the Bible. First of all, as an atheist, I do not assert that there is no God. I don’t believe in God or gods, it’s really that simple. However, I feel rather confident saying that I know the God of the Bible does not exist simply because he is an amalgam of contradictions. As I am slowly making my way through the Old Testament, I am wondering where this idea of an all-powerful, all-knowing, all-good, and all-loving God comes from. It certainly isn’t this book (I am familiar enough with the rest of the Bible to make this assertion).

Question 2. Where did everything come from?

I’m an electronics technician, not a cosmologist or astrophysicist. Apparently, as an atheist, I am required to know the origins of the universe, the galaxy, the solar system, the planet, the continents, life, species, and everything else. In my day to day life I give very little thought to origins of anything except a) my paycheck, and b) my next meal. This is usually posed as a gotcha question because science doesn’t have all the answers, so it must be the God of the Bible who poofed everything into existence. My answer to this question is, “I don’t know.” And that is a perfectly suitable answer.

Question 3. Why are there human beings?

See my above answer.

Question 4. What is the point of life?

This question is asking about the purpose or meaning of life. I believe that we assign our own meaning to our life and that meaning can change several times. At one time, my purpose was to learn as much as I could about electronics and start a career in that field. These days, I think my girlfriend and her pets give me a pretty good purpose to my life.

Note: I am skipping some of these because I’m not really interested in answering them.

Question 7. Why are you scared of death?

I once heard somebody respond to this question, “It’s not being dead that scares me, it’s the getting dead part.” I like that answer. I believe that death is the end of the line. Once we’re dead, that’s all folks. That makes this life, the one I’m living right now, so much more valuable. I wrote about Heaven and Hell a couple weeks ago, but I believe that if I’m a good person in this life, people will remember me for that and that’s how I want to be remembered.

Question 42: What is the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything?