Above us, Only Sky

Politics, Philosophy, Science, and Everything Else.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Why they bug me so much

For reasons too boring to go into, I spent some time today considering how I would explain my aversion to religious types to some reasonably intelligent person who didn't share it. Indeed, I can respect people who aren't as averse to the god-monkies, because I realize that while my disbelief is a rational thing, the intensity of my feeling about that disbelief is emotional, and the result of events in my life rather than merely common sense. So anyway, how would I explain to someone who didn't share my feelings why I do believe as I do, and to the extent that I do? Well, here it is.

Morality springs from choice. If I throw a rock at someone, that act has moral meaning. If a rock rools down a hill and hits someone, it has no moral meaning- the event was random. So as long as you're an atheist, things like hurricanes, plagues, and earthquakes have no moral meaning- they're ranom, horrible events. We can lament them, try to protect ourselves against them, but we can't talk about them in terms of good and evil, because those terms simply don't apply. If you're not an atheist- if you think there is a big thingy in the sky pulling all the strings, choosing for all of those events to occur, or at least choosing not to prevent them, then those events take on a moral character. That is to say, they become evil acts. Sure, you can point to some natural events, like the existence of life itself, and say, 'well, here is some good stuff to balance that out'. But that simply doesn't cut it. Being the progenitor of life does not justify the endless cruelty in which life is forced to exist. If there were a creator, then the acts attributable to that being would contain so much evil, that describing that being as anything other than pure evil or utterly inhuman would be absurd. But that is precisely what religious people do- they put this being at the centre of their morality, and claim it is the source of all good. It is this moral absurdity that makes me so disgusted by religion and those who embrace it.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

In praise of Jared Diamond

I'm working my way through Collapse, a book by Jared Diamond. There is a lot of doom and gloom in this book- he relates the storeis of several human societies that have gone from a heyday when anyone within the society would likely have thought it would last forever to a total collapse leaving most of the people dead or adrift. I'm not far enough to know what he says about our own society, but I'm going to take a wild stab in the dark and guess that we're not immune to collapse ourselves. All our technology and culture and yadda yadda just shifts the burden of all the crap we're doing into the future. Not that I'm expecting doomsday, but our leadership doesn't seem to have anything on the guys who ran all those others civs into the ground.

Anyway, I highly reccomend Collapse, as well as Diamond's earlier work 'Guns, Germs and Steel'. I haven't linked these names to a book store because I figure people should support their local independant booksellers. Ok, that's pretentious, really I'm just too lazy to go out and find them, but seriously, google the names and you'll find a dozen place's that will sell them to you.

My favorite part about 'Guns Germs, and Steel' is that it shows the old stupid white-person assumption that our current dominance has something to do with natural superiority to be total crock. See, ignorant yahoos look at the world and see that people of a certain hue are more likely to be in charge of big countries and corporations, and they make tribalistic assuptions (from those of similar hue) that that hue is indicative of a positive set of qualities), or (from those equally ignorant types of other hues) that there is a big conspiracy going on. It has nothing to do with race, you morons, it's a historical quirk. The sole advantage (not a negigible one, admittedly) is that the natural tribalism of people will cause those already in power to promote the power of those like themselves, rather than basing their favor on things like ability and need. Race is an empty concept- it has no meaning beyond what is created by those who believe in the concept itself.

Arg. Book reccomendation turns into rant. Sorry. Ignorance pisses me off.

So, anyway, beat back the stupid by reading smart books. Read Diamond's two books.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

I'm Back....

Just spent ten days on vacation. Not that my blogging before that was a daily thing, but it at least has the potential to be now that I'm in the same city as my computer. Also i wanted to send a thankyou to Brent at UtI for linking me. I will strive to be worthy.

Friday, July 15, 2005


Or, an Unreasonable Reason to be Reasonable.

Whatever you do, Don't believe in the being I am about to describe to you. your immortal Soul (or something) may depend on it! (probably not)

You see, the universe, Earth, all living things, all human beings and all the works of said beings- all is the creation of one, all-powerful being! Whether it was all created a few billion years ago or five thousand years or twenty seconds doesn't really matter- this being made sure when he/she/it created it all that it left no specific evidence of itself in the creation! Evolution? Ha! probably never happened, all those dinosaur bones and DNA and other mountains of evidence were all manufactured just to make people believe evolution. The same is probably true of things like the sun and various other celestial bodies, and hey, probably the ground beneath our feet a few miles down. Even if this being has never directly manufactured a human sensation, or created human beings full grown with memories of events that never really happened, It could easily be just around the corner, just out of sight, manufacturing everything we see, feel or otherwise sense indirectly about the world beyond our immediate vicinity. Such is the nature of Ungod, for that is what we shall call our omnipotent overseer. But why does It do all of these things?
It's all a big, elaborate test! Ungod created all us humans, gave us free will (or made us think we had it) and then set up this huge elaborate lie for us to live in. It didn't do this to use our brains as batteries, It could have made some nice nickel cadmium ones for that. It sure didn't do it to make more beings in it's own image- we don't look, act, think, or even smell like Ungod. It was all a test, to see who would believe the lie! To see who would fall for it, and come up with theories of relativity and evolution and gravity- all things that don't really exist. To see who would ignore the lie that UnGod provided and come up with their own more interesting lies. To see if anyone would see through everything and determine the existence of UnGod, despite the absolute absence of evidence.
Who passed the test? Well, it's obvious, isn't it? The people who believed the lie. The ones who used their little brains and the evidence of the world they were presented with and came up with explanations for it. The world UnGod built around us was absolutely internally self-consistent, so any rational being would have to believe the lie It told. The ones who ignored the world they saw and made up their own little lies UnGod considered failures. The ones who actually stumbled, utterly at random, upon the truth? These UnGod might laugh at, if It had a sense of humour, but for them the fate was the same as those who made up their own lies- because after all, if there is no evidence for what you believe, it might as well be made up.
What fate awaits us all? Well, those who took the world as they saw it and ran with it, in other words, the atheists, will spend their afterlife in rather surprised bliss. Everyone else, all those who made up and believed the much less consistent mortal lies, will spend their afterlife in even more surprised tedium, having to listen to an eternal lecture from UnGod about how dumb they were to believe any lie but It's own.