If you can believe in God, then you can believe in anything. It's a gang mentality.
So much of the habitat destruction and pollution is based on the simple principle that we somehow have been given free license over other species to degrade the planet.
I don't bill myself as an atheist but as a naturalist. Naturalism is a belief system. A lot of scientists bristle at that. We all have to believe we can find the truth. Evidence is my guide. I rely on observation, experimentation and verification.
I was in a choir as a kid. It was from those early days that my outlook on harmonies and arrangements were nurtured. I always took that with me, even on the earliest Bad Religion record, which strangely was only about six years after that.
The naturalist worldview is a good way to feel grounded and feel part of something that isn't based on fairy tales. It's based on observable facts in the human and in the biological history of the planet. I think that can be a source for comfort.
We delude ourselves into believing that morality comes from somewhere else, whereas in reality we behave as we've been told to behave.
If you go back far enough and get a wider enough picture of history, we have let go of many things that follow a religious narrative. We don't burn witches anymore. Most people would consider that barbaric. We don't sacrifice human beings, which was a religious act practiced by numerous cultures on this planet.
I call myself a naturalist as opposed to an atheist, but there are different styles. Some people just like to be close to nature. And some people actually worship nature, which is too wishy-washy because - like a lot of religious believers - they don't depend on facts.
The vocal arrangements are a big part of the formula for a Bad Religion song - layered harmonies and background vocals. So when I start to describe the elements of Bad Religion's sound, it starts to sound like a Christmas choir.
I struggled to keep one foot in music and one in academia. I had worked on my Ph.D. for three years full time before I realized Bad Religion could be a legitimate career.
I've always been on a quest to use science in an artful way.
From a very early age, I was in tune with pop radio, and most of this listening was done driving. We had an old '67 or '65 Buick LeSabre, and whenever we would drive around, I would actually stick my head right against the speakers in the back and sing along to the music.
Folk music usually has an emphasis on the lyrics and melody. And those lyrics are usually relevant in some way. And it's populist in scope, which is also true of Bad Religion. So it's more meant to draw some parallels between the two. And I think even my voice and my delivery can be thought of as a little bit folky.
As a scientist, of course, we have to believe there is no supernatural. There are only natural entities in the universe. And those are the things that we study as natural scientists.
Unfortunately, science cannot be reduced to short, catchy phrases. And if this is all that the general public can comprehend, it's no wonder that we spend so much of our time in the interminable debate about belief in God, or lack thereof.
Most songwriters who have been lucky enough to have their song on the radio or be heard widely don't know anything about science. The best songs have a strong dose of metaphor. Most songs about science don't have that. Like 'She Blinded Me With Science.' It's a stupid song, no offense to Thomas Dolby.
A fossil is so powerful. It's moving. This is my ancestor. The naturalist is moved by the fossil... not the cross.
There are so many ways to characterize evolutionary success. If one criterion is the number of millions of years that the species persists, we're still just infants. We're way too young of a species to tell if we were a creative fluke or if we have any staying power.
I'm trying to champion the naturalist's worldview and show it's not as heathen as most religious people would make it out to be.
Naturalism teaches one of the most important things in this world. There is only this life, so live wonderfully and meaningfully.