sminhinnick
  • 52, Male
  • Auckland
  • New Zealand
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Latest Activity

sminhinnick replied to R.Vasanthan's discussion Fuck the motherfucker! in the group Atheist Humor
Friday
sminhinnick commented on Bryan McDowell's blog post Proving a Negative
"Anthony is correct. "You cannot prove a negative" is equivalent to "A proof of a negative statement does not exist". This is itself a negative statement (in the same sense as the statement "God does not exist") which,…"
Friday
sminhinnick replied to sminhinnick's discussion Getting Unconfirmed in the group New League of the Militant Godless
"Sent: Mon 28/09/2009 9:19 AM To: David Moxon Subject: RE: Unconfirmation David I appreciate your response. Just to clarify, are you saying that the Anglican Church no longer performs baptisms on babies? I am surprised at that, if I understand…"
Sep 30, 2009
sminhinnick replied to sminhinnick's discussion Getting Unconfirmed in the group Strong Atheists
"A follow-up question... Sent: Mon 28/09/2009 9:19 AM To: David Moxon Subject: RE: Unconfirmation David I appreciate your response. Just to clarify, are you saying that the Anglican Church no longer performs baptisms on babies? I am surprised at…"
Sep 30, 2009
sminhinnick replied to sminhinnick's discussion Getting Unconfirmed in the group New League of the Militant Godless
"It's worked! From: David Moxon Date: Mon, Sep 28, 2009 at 9:02 AM Subject: RE: Unconfirmation Thank you for your response and information. I will arrange for your name to be removed from the register at ---- College Chapel as requested. You…"
Sep 30, 2009
sminhinnick replied to sminhinnick's discussion Getting Unconfirmed in the group Strong Atheists
"It's worked! From: David Moxon Date: Mon, Sep 28, 2009 at 9:02 AM Subject: RE: Unconfirmation Thank you for your response and information. I will arrange for your name to be removed from the register at ---- College Chapel as requested. You…"
Sep 30, 2009
sminhinnick added a discussion to the group Strong Atheists
Thumbnail

Getting Unconfirmed

(Note, I have also posted this into the "New League for the Militant Godless" group.An email correspondence that you may be interested in...-------------------------------to David Moxon, Bishop of Waikato, New Zealanddate Apr 5, 2009 10:50 AMsubject UnconfirmationGreetingsAs a fifteen-year old in 1977 I was pressured into being confirmed into the Anglican "communion", despite my doubts and strong feelings that it was a primitive rite-of-passage ceremony enforced by tradition but with no modern…See More
Sep 26, 2009
sminhinnick added a discussion to the group New League of the Militant Godless
Thumbnail

Getting Unconfirmed

An email correspondence that you may be interested in...-------------------------------to David Moxon, Bishop of Waikato, New Zealanddate Apr 5, 2009 10:50 AMsubject UnconfirmationGreetingsAs a fifteen-year old in 1977 I was pressured into being confirmed into the Anglican "communion", despite my doubts and strong feelings that it was a primitive rite-of-passage ceremony enforced by tradition but with no modern meaning.Now, as a strong atheist, I want to be officially unconfirmed, and my name…See More
Sep 25, 2009

Profile Information

City (For Member Searching)
Auckland
Country (For Member Searching)
New Zealand
Website Address
http://sminhinnick.wordpress.com/
About Me:
As a 17 year old in 1979, in Auckland, New Zealand, I had been a pupil of a particular Anglican boarding school for five years. We had Chapel every weekend, usually communion, a short morning service or two through the week, plus a weekly religious studies class for good measure. The Anglican message was pretty well drummed in.

My academic strength was in science, particularly physics. A perceptive physics teacher noticed a lecture series happening at Auckland University, and suggested that I might enjoy it. So that is how I personally attended a couple of lectures by nobel-prize winning physicist Dr Richard Feynman, on the subject of quantum electrodynamics.

The Physics Department at Auckland University has put that specific Feynman lecture series on the net and you can still watch them here - http://www.vega.org.uk/video/subseries/8. This series was chosen by the New Scientist as the best on-line videos in 2007.

During question time at the end of one lecture I asked him about his safe-cracking exploits during his days at Los Alamos when we has working on the Manhatten Project. Off topic I know, but the only thing I could think to ask him at the time. To general laughter he replied "I see my reputation precedes me!", and he went on to say the safes holding plans for the design of the first atomic bomb were often not changed from their default combination, or had guessable combinations. Sadly my question seems not to have been included in the Q&A on the video.

Neither was some woman's question that eventually awakened my atheism. She asked "Where does God fit into all this?".

His eventual answer was profound. First he started to answer by pandering to her obvious religious beliefs, along the lines that religion and science were non-overlapping disciplines. But then stopped his answer - paused - and said "Dammit, actually there is no god!".

This was the first time I had ever heard anyone say this so bluntly.

Dr Feynman then went on to explain that physics was so accurate that there was no gap for any supernatural explanation to fit into. He explained that we know the fundamental constants of the universe such as the charge on an electron, or the Planck constant to an incredible degree of precision. He said that the resulting uncertainty in quantum calculations was so miniscule that if an answer was represented as the distance from you to the moon, the uncertainty would be as small as asking "Is that measuring from the top of my head, or from my shoulders?".

And the calculations match the experimental results to that level of accuracy, so that there is no room for a question of god to enter the equations. God is simply not needed for the theories to work. If god existed, he said, the level of accuracy known in the fine detail of the universe would reveal gods presence in some way. But there was no trace, and hence no need of god.

There was no gap larger than this infintesimally small margin of error for god to fit into. And a god hidden in such a miniscule gap could have no effect on the universe.

It still took two more years before that explanation really sank in. By age nineteen I called myself an atheist and have been so ever since.

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Comment Wall (7 comments)

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At 8:11pm on February 22, 2009, Patch said…
Happy birthday! Ask A|N member Mary to bake you a cake! She's an awesome baker! :)
At 8:24am on February 22, 2009, Martin said…
And now it's official - happy birthday
At 1:45pm on February 21, 2009, Shlarg said…
Happy birthday !
At 12:27am on February 21, 2009, Martin said…
Happy birthday from afar
At 1:28pm on December 20, 2008, A Former Member said…
Thanks for joining ARS POETICA.
At 7:36pm on December 19, 2008, Kevin said…
Welcome to AN fellow strong atheist.
At 6:56pm on December 19, 2008, A Former Member said…
Welcome to Atheist Nexus. You're the first I've seen from NZ. Do you like the singer Wing?
 
 
 

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