Belief is a wonderful way to pass the time until the facts come in.

~ Carl R White

THE NEXT DAY WAS RAIN-SOAKED and smelled of thick sweet caramel, warm coconut and ginger. A nearby bakery fanned its daily offerings. A lapis lazuli sky was blanketed by gunmetal gray clouds as it wept crocodile tears across the parched Los Angeles landscape.When Ivy was a child and she overheard adults talking about their break-ups, in her young feeble-formed mind, she imagined it in the most literal of essences. She once heard her mother speaking of her break up with an emotionally unavailable man.She said they broke up on 69th Street. Ivy visualized her mother and that man breaking into countless fragments, like a spilled box of jigsaw pieces. And she imagined them shattered in broken shards, being blown down the pavement of 69th Street.For some reason, on the drive home from Marcel’s apartment that next morning, all Ivy could think about was her mother and that faceless man in broken pieces, perhaps some aspects of them still stuck in cracks and crevices of the sidewalk, mistaken as grit.She couldn’t get the image of Marcel having his seizure out of her mind. It left a burning sensation in the center of her chest. An incessant flame torched her lungs, chest, and even the back door of her tongue. Witnessing someone you cared about experiencing a seizure was one of those things that scribed itself indelibly on the canvas of your mind. It was gut-wrenching. Graphic and out-of-body, it was the stuff that post traumatic stress syndrome was made of.

~ Brandi L. Bates

We did not make ourselves, nor did we fashion a world that could not work without pain, and great pain at that, with a little pleasure, very little, to string us along--a world where all organisms are inexorably pushed by pain throughout their lives to do that which will improve their chances to survive and create more of themselves. Left unchecked, this process will last as long as a single cell remains palpitating in this cesspool of the solar system, this toilet of the galaxy. So why not lend a hand in nature's suicide? For want of a deity that could be held to account for a world in which there is terrible pain, let nature take the blame for our troubles. We did not create an environment uncongenial to our species, nature did. One would think that nature was trying to kill us off, or get us to suicide ourselves once the blunder of consciousness came upon us. What was nature thinking? We tried to anthropomorphize it, to romanticize it, to let it into our hearts. But nature kept its distance, leaving us to our own devices. So be it. Survival is a two-way street. Once we settle ourselves off-world, we can blow up this planet from outer space. It's the only way to be sure its stench will not follow us. Let it save itself if it can--the condemned are known for the acrobatics they will execute to wriggle out of their sentences. But if it cannot destroy what it has made, and what could possibly unmake it, then may it perish along with every other living thing it has introduced to pain.

~ Thomas Ligotti

Atheism is the default position in any scientific inquiry, just as a-quarkism or a-neutrinoism was. That is, any entity has to earn its admission into a scientific account either via direct evidence for its existence or because it plays some fundamental explanatory role. Before the theoretical need for neutrinos was appreciated (to preserve the conservation of energy) and then later experimental detection was made, they were not part of the accepted physical account of the world. To say physicists in 1900 were 'agnostic' about neutrinos sounds wrong: they just did not believe there were such things.As yet, there is no direct experimental evidence of a deity, and in order for the postulation of a deity to play an explanatory role there would have to be a lot of detail about how it would act. If, as you have suggested, we are not “good judges of how the deity would behave,” then such an unknown and unpredictable deity cannot provide good explanatory grounds for any phenomenon. The problem with the 'minimal view' is that in trying to be as vague as possible about the nature and motivation of the deity, the hypothesis loses any explanatory force, and so cannot be admitted on scientific grounds. Of course, as the example of quarks and neutrinos shows, scientific accounts change in response to new data and new theory. The default position can be overcome.

~ Tim Maudlin