stem agency

What is Post-Theism?

A few of you might be confused by the post-theist label. No, this does not mean I’m a theist unaffiliated with organized religion. This doesn’t mean I believe in a deity. Post-theism describes an attitude that we are beyond the god question. The atheist label no longer makes sense because the question of god is a settled fact; a god doesn’t exist and never did, so I don’t lack belief, but rather proceed with the knowledge that there’s no god and conduct my life as such.

I no longer dwell on the question or consider the question. Yes, this is compatible with gnostic atheism because it requires knowledge rather than mere non-belief sans knowledge, i.e., agnostic atheism. However, the question of whether a god exists no longer interests me; it no longer occupies my time in that it’s something I give no thought to. Religion and belief in god is a relic of human history. So I am as post-atheistic as I am post-theistic. 

Post-(a)theism is a stronger position in that it isn’t a proclamation of non-belief or even knowledge of there being no god. It’s a stronger claim: religion was borne out of human ignorance; our lack of scientific knowledge, historical knowledge, philosophical understanding and reasoning, and technological progress resulted in a belief stemming from agency over-detection, among other fallacious conclusions. Religion was the result of primitive thinking, underdeveloped reasoning, and a severe misapprehension of the world we live in. 

In many ways we are all post-theistic in that we don’t attribute lightning, tidal waves, strong winds, volcanic eruptions, and earthquakes to the wrath of a god. We moved passed polytheistic explanations of natural phenomena and remain only with the palpably silly idea that a god created the universe and world. I am at a point where those notions are as ridiculous as the idea that Zeus launches every lightning bolt everywhere – including on planets like Jupiter. What I’ve learned about causation, the dispositions of material objects, and the universe doesn’t allow for such an explanation; never mind that god is a human projection, a way of seeing our own image even behind phenomena we can’t even begin to control. 

God is the name of an idealized human, infinite in every domain we are finite in: infinitely knowledgeable, powerful, moral, and good; every one of us will die and yet god is considered eternal. God is the name of human naiveté and arrogance, the notion that the creator of the universe must be a perfect version of ourselves. God is the name of the lack of imagination of our ancestors. If anything, imagination hasn’t discovered a super-human controlling and governing the universe; imagination has discovered natural forces that move celestial bodies and oversee their formation; imagination has scaled down the universe to previously incomprehensible small scales; imagination has proven once and for all that the universe is probabilistic, that chance rather than agency is more prevalent in the universe. Imagination has shown that the idea of god was borne from a lack of creativity rather than masterful ingenuity. Whether you like it or not, we are beyond the need for god as ultimate explanation or temporary placeholder; we are beyond the question of whether one exists. This is the age of post-theism.

reuters.com
Trump administration tells EPA to cut climate page from website: sources
"If the website goes dark, years of work we have done on climate change will disappear," one of the EPA staffers told Reuters

U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration has instructed the Environmental Protection Agency to remove the climate change page from its website, two agency employees told Reuters, the latest move by the newly minted leadership to erase ex-President Barack Obama’s climate change initiatives.

The employees were notified by EPA officials on Tuesday that the administration had instructed EPA’s communications team to remove the website’s climate change page, which contains links to scientific global warming research, as well as detailed data on emissions. The page could go down as early as Wednesday, the sources said.

“If the website goes dark, years of work we have done on climate change will disappear,” one of the EPA staffers told Reuters, who added some employees were scrambling to save some of the information housed on the website, or convince the Trump administration to preserve parts of it.

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theguardian.com
European Space Agency accused of 'having a problem with promoting women'
Rita Schulz says she was ‘shafted’ by management when she was dropped as lead scientist on Rosetta mission six months before its culmination
By Hannah Devlin

A leading space scientist has accused the European Space Agency of having a “problem with promoting women” that has led to men holding almost every top job at the agency.

Rita Schulz, who was the lead scientist on the Rosetta comet-chasing mission from 2007 to 2013, also told the Guardian that she had been “shafted” by management when she was dropped from the historic project six months before its culmination.

The German scientist, who was ESA’s first and only female project scientist at the time, said she felt compelled to highlight gender bias after seeing so few women rising up the ranks during the past two decades.

“This is something that is not good at ESA,” she said. “Women are never promoted. I have to say I believe this is a problem.”

Schulz was hired as deputy project scientist on Rosetta in 1996 and said she expected many other women to follow. But by the time she was replaced as project scientist by Matt Taylor, in 2013, she remained ESA’s only woman in leadership on an active mission.

“I was the only one for 20 years, sitting in the room with all these men,” she said. “I really think there should be more.”

Schulz said she was not given an explanation for why she was moved off Rosetta after 17 years – and is not suggesting sexism played a part. But leaving the mission unexpectedly just before its climax had been “tremendously damaging” for her career, she said.

“It took me a long time to get over it,” she said. “I was shafted.”

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bbc.com
Mars methane mission lifts off
Europe and Russia launch a joint mission to the Red Planet to investigate whether methane in the Mars atmosphere comes from microbial life.

Europe and Russia have launched a joint mission to the Red Planet.

The satellite, called the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO), lifted off from Baikonur in Kazakhstan at 09:31 GMT.

The probe will investigate whether the methane in the world’s atmosphere is coming from a geological source or is being produced by microbes.

If all goes well, the two space powers expect to follow up this venture with a rover, to be assembled in the UK, which will drill into the surface.

That could launch in 2018, or, as seems increasingly likely, in 2020.

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