Australian skeptic EoR, whom I have referenced before in this blog, has just been kind enough to note in his blog that he's spotted my blog, and was kind enough to refer to me as an "Australian skeptic". Which is true, but makes me sound more knowledgeable than I really am :)
I thought, however, that I would firstly say Welcome! To any of EoR's readers who dropped by to see who I was, and secondly state my beliefs.
This blog is not a skeptical blog, it is a blog which contains skepticism among other things. I doubt most things in life, and hate some of them, and this leads me to trawl a great many skeptical blogs and websites (I have six in my Google Reader registrations, most of which reference the rest of them) for my own knowledge and edification.
I believe that the processes of science are the best tools we have to understand the world and everything in it.
I believe that one day neuroscience, with the assistance of psychology and computer science, will explain and be able to (in some small way) create consciousness.
I do not believe in a creator God. I do not believe in a God that influences the world or that can be described using the language of human psychology and/or personality. I am prepared to consider the possibility of a god who does not influence the world, but I can't really see the point (I have an invisible elephant in my desk drawer...)
I believe in, and am passionately interested in, evolution as the process by which biology as we know it came to be, including consciousness.
I do not believe that there is any great difference between homo sapiens and other animals except by degree. I do not believe in causing suffering for our benefit (although I'm hypocritical enough to wear leather and eat flesh) and I believe that if it is okay to put down an animal in pain it is okay to euthanise a human in unmanageable pain.
I believe that euthanasia is acceptable, and so is abortion.
I reserve judgement on the death penalty, but I don't think I've seem it managed in an acceptable fashion yet.
I believe that the "alternative medicine" industry, no matter what label it lives under, needs to be regulated and that the laws on product labelling and advertising need to be tightened considerably with regards to proof of claims.
I don't believe that Big Pharma is any more evil or untrustworthy than any other large commercial entity in our current Western system of commerce.
I believe (a belief strengthened considerably by my own employment in the area of neurological disability) that there is an unacceptable level of ignorance of science process and science fact in the general community.
I firmly believe that journalists who have no background or knowledge in science should be barred from reporting on science or scientific issues because they only make the situation worse. EoR's recent post on dowsing is a case in point.
And I firmly believe that we don't yet know it all, never will be able to, and need to reserve a healthy dose of humility and caution when faced with life, the universe, and everything.