I am an expert. Really.  Through a company, ORC International, I am available as an expert in sensing systems, particularly sonar, and signal processing.  I’ve been an expert on product designs, technology and legal cases.  My expertise is based on a lot of very specialized education and over forty years of experience.  If you need to know how to use adaptive noise cancellation, I’m your guy.  I’ve even published 12 refereed papers in my field, refereed meaning they were checked by other experts before being approved for publication.  I’m not bragging, just trying to make a point.  Here on Bud’s Blog, I post on variety of subjects: family, marriage, art, theater, music, movies, writing, the interesting process of getting older … and, on Sundays … spirituality.  I am an expert in none of the above.  Thus, most of what I post is experience and opinion.

OK,  The point.  For what seems like weeks, the Wall Street Journal Blog has featured an article by Ricky Gervais titled, Why I’m an Atheist.  If you were as uncool as I am, you’d have had to Google Ricky Gervais … or read the article … to know that Gervais is a very popular stand-up comedian.  Why, I wondered, would the Wall Street Journal offer a blog post by a comedian on atheism? then follow it up with another, Does God Exist? Ricky Gervais Takes Your Questions.   Well, yes, likely the same reason I sometimes turn my Inner Curmudgeon loose here on Bud’s Blog … views and comments.  And both articles spurred a spirited exchange of views in the comments section.  Good for you, WSJ.

Yes, I read both posts.  I could have written both posts because I once would have made the same arguments in favor of agnosticism and because they are the standard faire of crusading atheists (and interesting term, don’t you think?).  Several things stood out.  Gervais made his decision to be an atheist at eight when his mother refused to let his brother explain why he didn’t believe in God.  I made mine at eighteen.  Mine was revokable, his wasn’t. I wondered, Why?  Gervais offered a list of benefits of atheism … truth, science, nature. The real beauty of this world, he said.  And, yes, living an honest life -– for that you need the truth.  Funny … I thought I had those, too.  Then Gervais played the science card.  It just kills me when guys like Gervais do that.  Even with years of scientific education, I can only prove a tiny percentage of the science I accept as fact … that is, I accept it as fact based on faith in a system of thought.  I checked Mr. Gervais scientific credentials on Wikipedia.  He has earned an upper second-class degree in philosophy from University College in London.  What are the odds that Gervais can justify his belief in the Big Bang Theory as anything other than faith?

Why do I find these posts, which Mr. Gervais clearly acknowledges as his opinion, so annoying?  Maybe, I’m just jealous that Ricky Gervais’ posts got thousands of views and hundreds of comments, while my Sunday Spirituality posts are the least read of my posting week.  Maybe I’m sick of guys with degrees in philosophy using their hack understanding of science to assure me that God is a logical impossibility in this known universe.  Maybe I’m annoyed by an attitude of intellectual superiority from someone who clearly isn’t … or maybe I hate that we give our celebrities a platform from which to offer their unexceptional expertise on life.  And maybe, I just dislike snide comedians (that would be true).

Ricky Gervais would probably suggest that my annoyance reflects my own doubts in my faith.  Yet in Does God Exist? Ricky Gervais Takes Your Questions, when someone asks Gervais if he ever has doubts about his atheism, he ducks the question, spending several hundred words explaining why atheism isn’t a belief system.  That seems intellectually dishonest and, in the end, I don’t trust people who profess no doubts, whether it’s about knowledge of God’s will or knowledge of God.  But if I ever need to know how to make someone laugh, I’ll give you a call, Ricky.  Call me if you ever need a sonar.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, Tom Cruise wants to convert me to Scientology.

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4 Comments on “Experts”

  1. It is funny how some people are sought after for silly reasons. (Not that the debate over the existence of God or a higher power is silly.) I do know who Ricky Gervais is, I’m familiar with his comedy and I find him very funny actually… and because of that I probably take his writings with a grain of salt because I think he likes to tend toward the ironic – making people think he takes himself seriously. In the end, as someone once told me, “never feel defensive your faith. It is a belief, and it cannot be proven or disproven.”So people who argue against it don’t bother me – unless they imply I’m stupid. But then, I happen to be okay accepting God as the cause of all science.

    • oldereyes Says:

      I hope you know by now, I tend toward the ironic, too. And I find it ironic that non-believers use very much the same arguments and ruses to justify their “non-beliefs” as believers do but usually mask that under a facade of science they hardly understand. But I also admit … I am annoyed by evangelicals, for and against God.

  2. Although many folks tend to get very agitated if celebrities venture out and voice their opinions on lots of things -and especially if it is political or in this case, religious or atheism. Often, there’s a whole lot of criticism rained down upon them for that and though I do believe celebrities, like the rest of us, do have freedom of speech, I don’t believe that their celebrity status should give them a higher place in the realm of being regarded as having a stronger understanding or better thoughts than any of the rest of us. I have my beliefs, they have theirs and thought the twain will most likely never meet, I can ignore theirs, if I choose to do so. I’ve often wondered though about those who claim to be atheists or agnostics, if when a close family member or great friend is dealing with a terrible life-threatening disease or accident of some type, is there anywhere within their minds that they might go too and ask for help?

    • oldereyes Says:

      It doesn’t so much bother me that celebrities believe they have “better thoughts” than the rest of us, it’s that our society sometimes seems to agree by granting them a pulpit. Regarding your last thought, I found it interesting that in his book, It’s Not About the Bike, Lance Armstrong never mentioned spirituality or God in his cancer recovery. And I do know people that turned away from God when He didn’t help a loved one. I don’t think there’s a fixed formula for belief. I didn’t believe for many years until I noticed that i was happier if I did.

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