I would like to think of myself as a "freethinker", so I appreciate your statement...
Also Dick, I think you may have taken my post that you had referenced out of context. Allow me to make myself clear for you and anybody else who happens to read this reply...
I am NOT A believer in God (for the most part). When I say "for the most part", what I mean is that although I do NOT believe that God appears now & then to hand stone tablets to bearded men and call them "Commandments"... and I do NOT believe that God sits upon a throne in the clouds and listens to each and every three to four billion prayers every night and then take time to consider and answer such hopes and desires... and I do NOT believe that God entices us humans to fight "holy wars" against the "infidels"... I cannot negate the possibility of their being some "philososphical deeper meaning" to what seems as an otherwise utterly pointless and disappointing "jitter/dance" of quarks, leptons, etc (=strings)...
Although the implications of "hyperspace theories" (strings, supersymmetry, scatter-matrices) are in their own rights, VERY "beautiful" (indeed mathematicaly and philosophicaly), they are nonetheless OUT ON A LIMB when it comes to explaining the very origin of the rules, axioms, postulates, etc, from which these mathematical identities arose. For that realization, I am in indebted to none other than Harv... for he is the one that has shifted my previous stubbornness and narrow-mindedness (my belief that there is absolutely NO ROOM for a higher being within the framework of logic/mathematics/physics), into a whole new outlook. He has shown me that indeed the entire universe can be reduced to but a few mathematical identities and principles, however ALL OF THESE FUNDAMENTAL AXIOMS are at a loss to formally derive their own existence! WHAT A PROFOUND ASSERTION!! I now realize that a formal system of logic, cannot logically derive its own foundation (fundamental axioms); (analogous to the chain with no beginning)... If the chain of logic (mathematics) can explain nature (physics), that's very impressive and intellectually stimulating. One is even lead to refute the notion of there being a possible "God".
Until somebody like Harv comes along and points out, "Well how and where does this chain begin." The beginning of this chain cannot beget itself, and the formal system cannot derive its own initial axioms (meaningless circular reasoning; opposite of the term "formal system"), therefore Dick, I ask... What were the first "assumptions, principles, axioms" upon which the universe logically followed? If your answer is there are no "platonic" or "divine" axioms (axioms that existed prior to big-bang or logic)... then how do we have a foundation upon which to build a formal system, and derive the laws of nature?
Somebody or something must have predated the big-bang in order to say... "A!!!".
Now the ball gets rolling from that point. If "A" then "B", and If "B" then "C", and If C then logically NO D! So if A then of course no D, however E,F & G... conservation laws... blah blah blah...
See what I mean? If logic is a chain of IF-THEN statements... then what the heck does the first "IF" in that chain refer to? The answer is... it just IS without derrivation. This mysterious origin cannot be mathematically explained nor scientifically explained, because by doing such, you are using a system of logic derived by "A" to attempt to logically derive "A" (once again 'circular reasoning'; system falls apart)! Now you realize that we must just accept A as being true on faith... because it seems as A is obviously true (such is the definition of the words 'postulate' or 'axiom'). Since we accept A on no more than "faith that it's obviously true", then we must also accept science and mathematics on faith (to be "obviously true" as they are derivatives and consequences of A.
Anyways after all that rambling, I'd just like to make it clear that whenever I engage in discussions of God... I am "walking the fence". Harv is yelling at me to jump on his side (faith), and Alex is yelling at me to jump on his side (sound logical explanation backed by rock solid mathematics and many years of rigorous testing/experiment). I choose to deliver clever arguments to the best of my ability... just to see who can come up with the more convincing persuasion. (For now Harv is winning, because Alex's post are usualy one-liners saying nothing more than "that's just how it is").
What I do is simply argue with the both of them. I entice them both to respond to opposition, thereby allowing myself to be exposed to both equally powerful schools of thought; and helping me to make a decision as to whether there really is a "God" or better yet, what the heck is "God"? So don't take my arguments to seriously when I debate science vs. religion... All I'm really doing is provoking advocates of either side to defend their position. I have become very enlightened listening to both Alex and Harv defend their views.
One last thing Dick,
>>>I can already see him subtly slipping into "belief"