I suppose I should get around to doing this meme thing that jewish atheist tagged me for. But I'm not tagging anyone else, so there!
Q1. How would you define “atheism”?
Someone who doesn't believe in established religion, or 'god' in any conventional definition of the word. But I think beliefs such as that "God" is in actuality just the spirit or life or whatever that imbues most things to be perfectly compatible with atheism. Plus, atheists don't have to be 100% sure there is no god. I for instance, am not sure that there is no invisible pink unicorn ruling the world. It's a possibility. A small one, but it's there. Same with god. Small possibility he/she/it exists, but not in any way conceived by people.
Q2. Was your upbringing religious? If so, what tradition?
I was brought up modern orthodox jewish, although my parents were less modern and more orthodox. Actually, up until I was around 12 years old my parents were pretty modern, but then around my 12th birthday my mom started covering her hair, stopped wearing pants, and took away all my pants. Since then they have been becoming more and more religious. I was allowed to watch some tv and movies growing up (but not friends cause my mom pre-watched it and saw an episode with lesbians, oh my! more like star trek and sesame street and buffy the vampire slayer, which were deemed wholesome. Also was not allowed to watch rated r movies till I turned 17 and went there on my own). Throughout my childhood my parents kept strict kasharut and shabbat, had seperate beds for nidah purposes, although they did not keep chalav yisrael, and they consider black hatters to be 'extremists'. When I had a secret boyfriend at age 15 and my parents found out they grounded me for 4 months, since I should only be dating for marriage.
Q3. How would you describe “Intelligent Design”, using only one word?
Q4. What scientific endeavor really excites you?
Nanotechnology? sounds pretty awesome to me. Also I just read some article about how they are growing people's fingers back using some kind of something. I guess the only science I'm *really* excited about is sociology and demography, which some don't even consider a science (but I do, it's a social science!). I love making discoveries about the patterns of social life.
Q5. If you could change one thing about the “atheist community”, what would it be?
I think a big problem in the 'atheist community' if such a thing could be said to exist is that their arguments are not convincing to non-atheists, and only to themselves. So I guess I would like if their/our aguments were more convincing to the people who need to be convinced.
Q6. If your child came up to you and said “I’m joining the clergy”, what would be your first response?
I would talk to them and try to find out why they wanted to join the clergy. If they could convince me they had a good reason, then I would support it.
Q7. What’s your favorite theistic argument, and how do you usually refute it?
I think some of the most ridiculous and therefore entertaining arugments are those that ad-hoc explain things and can't be refuted. Like "god put dinasaur bones into the earth to convince us it is older than 5000 years". There's no way to argue with that, cause the argument is non-falsifiable.
"Q8. What’s your most “controversial” (as far as general attitudes amongst other atheists goes) viewpoint?
I have no idea? You tell me!
Q9. Of the “Four Horsemen” (Dawkins, Dennett, Hitchens and Harris) who is your favorite, and why?
I've read none of them! Was I supposed to? I guess I missed the atheist memo...
Q10. If you could convince just one theistic person to abandon their beliefs, who would it be?