Okay, I'm doing this in memory of my favorite radio program that was canceled this year when the economy tanked - the Tom Leykis Show. For those who don't know, Tom Leykis was an opinionated loudmouth who had... unorthodox views on dating. I happen to agree with his way of thinking on a lot of things. He was also an unabashed atheist, which I also am. Every so often, he'd do a segment called "ask the atheist", where callers would get a chance to call in and ask him whatever they wanted about his views on religion or atheism. It was always fun to listen to, but always felt restricted because of the artificial limits on discourse forced by radio. Conversations couldn't go on for more than a minute or two thanks to format limitations.
So I'd like to try the same thing, only right here. I'm an atheist, and I'm not scared to face "tough questions" in any way. Now, please keep in mind that anything I might say I say only for myself. I don't speak for all atheists, since by nature we're a very difficult to pin down bunch. There's only one thing all atheists have in common:
We don't believe in any gods.
That's it. Please note, that statement is very different from "we don't believe god exists" - that's a different issue altogether. We simply lack belief in any deities. Some atheists haven't given it any thought and never formed a belief one way or the other. That would be the "apathetic agnostic" position: I don't know, and I don't care. Also note that agnostic means "lack of knowledge" - as in, "I don't know if god exists". Knowledge is different from belief. If you were to chart it out, it would look like this:
Technically, I'm an agnostic atheist. I don't believe in god, but I don't know with certainty that there isn't one. I'm pretty sure, but that's not the same as knowing.
I'm not just an atheist, I'm also a skeptic. As far as I know, ghosts, psychics, homeopathy, past lives, reincarnation, chiropractic or any other type of 'alternative medicine', moon landing conspiracies, astrology and bigfoot are all bunk. If you would like to ask about anything along those lines, go ahead.
Something to keep in mind: please don't try to turn this in to a 'stump the skeptic' thing where you ask a question and then go "ha!" and declare victory if I can't answer it. I personally don't know everything (though I often pretend to), so just because I can't debunk some claim doesn't mean it can't be debunked. If any other skeptics/atheists want to chime in and expand on something or outright answer a question themselves, go for it! Other than that, fire away. Want to know how a skeptic thinks? Want to know how a skeptic derives morality? Want to know something else entirely? Go ahead. I'll try to keep it friendly (at least, more than I usually do which doesn't say much ) if you promise to do the same.