2012: Cold Fusion, Atheism, and Doubt

One article from Forbes, one from Huffington, suggesting that this year could be either the Year of the Atheist, or the Year of Cold Fusion.

Ooh, baby, I favor both!

First, Huffington: Brandon G. Withrow, Assistant Professor of History of Christianity, Winebrenner Theological Seminary, weighs in on atheism:

I am certain there are religious people in my own community and elsewhere who welcome these numbers, but I suggest three reasons to reconsider that reaction and to resist the urge to silence the atheist voice. Underlying each of these points is The Golden Rule: to treat others as you would have them treat you.

If religious folks need a selfish reason to accept their atheist neighbors, consider this: it may not be too long before the shoe is on the other foot and the religious minority will be the ones hoping for a place at the social table. What I can say for sure is that inviting atheists to be open and engaging them as valuable neighbors is not only best for all involved, but also, simply, a better practice of The Golden Rule. Don’t suppress the voice of others if you do not want them to suppress yours.

Wait, don’t Christians already feel suppressed? The loud ones certainly do, which makes me doubt the Golden Rule argument — which sort of depends on a rational mind to appreciate, doesn’t it? — is going to carry any weight with them.

Second, Mark Gibbs writes, somewhat doubtfully, about cold fusion:

I could go on and on with boos and hoorays for pages but there’s one topic I want to focus on: Rossi’s Energy Catalyzer or “E-Cat” system that is, despite everything we know so far, still in limbo somewhere between Boo! and Hooray!

If this topic is new to you, the really short summary is that the E-Cat is a Low Energy Nuclear Reaction (LENR) or “cold fusion” device that generates large amounts of heat for a miniscule cost.

Alas, despite a large amount of mainstream press coverage (most of it pretty uninformed and uninformative) and an incredible amount of blog coverage, the question of whether the E-Cat really works remains unproven because over the last year the E-Cat’s inventor, Andrea Rossi, has given a number of impressive but inconclusive demonstrations. These were inconclusive because they weren’t run in such a way as to remove doubt about what’s really going on and whether more energy was being generated by the E-Cat than was being put into it.

If the whole thing is a fraud it’s going to be one of the greatest in modern times. If it’s not, 2012 is going to be the year when everything changes.

We may not get cold fusion anytime soon, but as far as atheism is concerned, to me it looks like things are going along just fine. The critical fact of atheism is that there is now an international community of atheists. Which means, mainly, that it doesn’t matter what one family or another does, or what religious people think. The community itself, as a body, is moving forward boldly.

2012: The Year of Cold Fusion? Eh, probably not, but … we’ll see.

2012: The Year of the Atheist? Yes. Oh, yes.


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