Greetings of accurate and precise predictive good, rationality, and verifiability to one and all.
My name is Groff Schroeder. I am vice president of the Freethinkers of Colorado Springs, a local 100% non-profit, created in response to Colorado's infamous “Amendment 2” in 1993. The Freethinkers of Colorado Springs advocate the use of reason and work to defend the separation of church and state. I joined Freethinkers of Colorado Springs in 2001 as a personal response to the alleged religious aspects of the “terrorist” attacks of September 11, 2001.
As the local “freethinker on duty” in Colorado Springs Colorado in late January of 2012, I repeatedly agreed to be interviewed for television and newspaper stories regarding the “atheist” billboard that was erected in Colorado Springs by the Colorado Coalition of Reason (COCORE). Specifically, COCORE's billboard (appearing along I-25 in Colorado Springs and on two other billboards in Denver) states: “God is an imaginary friend. Choose reason, it will be better for all of us.”
Although the Freethinkers of Colorado Springs is an affiliate of the Colorado Coalition of Reason, our small, 100% volunteer operated nonprofit had little to do with the billboard's creation, message, or placement. Ironically, despite my repeated television interviews about the billboards in which I am presented as a “spokesperson for COCORE,” I opposed, and attempted to change, the “in your face” character of the billboard's “God is an imaginary friend” message - instead advocating “Are gods imaginary friends?” for the billboard campaign as a more suitable message in support of COCORE's published goal of “encouraging communication.”
Only the most rigorous verifiable tests appear to have value in assessing the prioritization of objectivity over subjectivity, and many people today appear sadly unaware of the difference between objective and subjective sources of information. As a recovering religion addict and survivor of religious abuse, I strongly support any attempt to encourage those involved in religion of any kind - and especially religious “worship” - to test their their subjective belief system(s) against the demonstrably accurate, objective, and precise aspects of logic, reason, and the scientific method. Furthermore, the persuasiveness of personal preference and the stunning power of religious belief demand the most rigorous tests in service to religion's alleged pursuit of all that is good – and democracy's foundations of civil, human, and religious freedom.
At the same time, the value of diplomacy and the importance of building upon the foundations of negotiation are clearly essential when attempting to advance one's point of view, especially when deeply held religious convictions are in play. In this context, I am cognizant of the dichotomy between my consensus-seeking personality and the “in your face” billboards for which I have (anomalously and) repeatedly been presented as the primary (and perhaps only) advocate.
Therefore, I encourage everyone involved in the practice of religion, and especially yhose involved in religious “worship,” to test their belief system(s) against the the founding principles of science - particularly the scientific principles of association and causality – and to actively defend (or at least carefully consider) points of view that they themselves might find abhorrent in service to exploring the foundations of objectivity, careful analysis, and the human and civil rights essential to the observance, maintenance, and advancement of personal and religious freedom in a free society. While we might often encounter points of view with which we disagree – only through exposure to different points of view can we hope to discover the reality upon which we all depend for survival. Furthermore, unlike religion, science actively seeks information capable of overthrowing the dominant paradigm because of the importance of such information in the elucidation of repeatable, verifiable, and predictable reality.
We are told that “knowledge is power.” However, knowledge is organized information, and power stems from action – not information, or its organization. Without access information, it appears impossible to accrue knowledge, and if one takes action without information – whether organized into knowledge or not - success appears unlikely.
The accrual of knowledge depends upon access to information, and power depends upon taking action based upon the the correct assessment of organized objective information. In this context, action based upon information stemming from tradition, ancient writings, or sources that have not been carefully assessed for validity, repeatability, verifiability, or predictability can only lead to survivable outcomes due to luck or serendipity, and successful outcomes can only occur by accident. Therefore, it appears that valid predictive models depend upon the repeated collection and correct assessment of double blind data sets, and that the successful modeling of reality depends upon the careful gathering of valid data sets – and the accurate and precise application of engineering, mathematical, and physical models - and their assessment with respect to the problem at hand.
Thank you for this opportunity to compete with other points of view. I look forward to your assessments and any positive and negative feedback you might care to forward to firstname.lastname@example.org . I hope you will join with me in the pursuit of the development of accurate, precise, repeatable, verifiable, and predictive models of the universe in which we live – no matter what your current point of view.
Live long – and prosper (thank you, Gene Roddenberry).
Thank you again,