Saturday, February 2, 2008

Introduction to Very Special Monkeys

“Such is the human race, often it seems a pity that Noah and his party didn’t miss the boat.” – Mark Twain

It is often noted that humans are not nearly as superior to other animals as we like to think we are. There is certainly an abundance of negative traits that are uniquely human. Our existence is not beneficial in any way to our environment, and we seem to care very little that we are actively destroying the planet we call home. Defending the human race is a near impossible task. But I’m trying to be an optimist, and I genuinely think we can justify our existence if we utilize the positive traits that are uniquely human.

Through the clumsy process of evolution, we have stumbled upon some wonderful gifts—reason, a sense of justice, and the desire to understand the universe—that could prove to be the tools we need to save our species.

“It is possible that mankind is on the threshold of a golden age; but, if so, it will be necessary first to slay the dragon that guards the door, and this dragon is religion.” – Bertrand Russell

Without question, religion is one of the biggest hindrances to human progress, especially moral progress. Religion promotes willful ignorance and blind faith over skepticism and reason. Religion undercuts the potentially unifying traits of humans because it proclaims itself to be sheltered from reason, and different religions have polarizing beliefs that make peaceful coexistence impossible.

I am an atheist and damn proud of it, but Very Special Monkeys is not meant to be a direct attack on religion. It is a direct attack at the broader problem that makes religion—but also several other human errors—possible: irrationalism.

Irrational thoughts are a trap for all people. And it’s not always bad; the emotions that we value (and the ones we detest) are results of irrationality. But when we are searching for Truth, and in order to find a way to peacefully coexist, we have to be able to put our own self-interests and subjective points of view aside.

The things that make us uniquely human allow us to experience happiness that goes far beyond any physical pleasure. Very Special Monkeys is a celebration of this ability, but more importantly VSM is a call to end the irrational thoughts that are keeping us from crossing the threshold that Russell spoke of. Sometimes I will make attacks on widespread irrational thoughts. Other times I will make attempts to advance contemporary explorations of reality. At all times, I will implement reason, logic and most importantly, skepticism.

Because I am somewhat of a perfectionist (I challenge you to find a grammatical or spelling error on my blog), my posts tend to take a long time to construct and usually end up rather lengthy because I do not want to miss any of the thought’s potential. In my blogging experience, this has meant a lot of large time gaps between posts. So to make it easy on my readers, I will simply promise you a new post every Wednesday night. If you need something substantial to chew on after a long week of your mindless job, check in every Friday morning and I’ll have you covered. If you only have time on the weekend, stop by then. The point is, I’ll make sure I have something fresh for you every week. I may make additional posts depending on newsworthy events, but the meat of my thoughts will go into my weekly post.

During the rest of the week, check out the other blogs I have linked, most of which make much more frequent posts. I promise they’re all good, but I have no problem telling you that my personal favorites are Atheist Revolution and Greta Christina’s Blog.

I hope you enjoy the thoughts of this very special monkey.


vjack said...

What an absolutely perfect introductory post! Man, I wish I had put this much thought into what I was doing when I started out. Are you planning to maintain this blog and A Godless Nation both, or will you be migrating to one? In any case, I look forward to seeing where you go with this one.

Nathan said...

I will not be posting further at A Godless Nation. I don't have it in me to maintain two blogs. I will leave the site online and will likely refer back to it from time to time, but any new posts will be posted here.

vjack said...

Gotcha. I'll be sure to update my blogroll.

Just a Monkey... said...

"vjack said...
Gotcha. I'll be sure to update my blogroll."
Me too!

Just a Monkey... said...

s you see, I'm just a monkey... but I feel much 'special' now :)