Archive for the ‘ Evolution ’ Category

What Is On The Other Side?

Women are not more important than men. Women and men are not important, no, not in the long run. Humanity. Humanity is important to all men and women yet they blind themselves to this simple fact, this simple idea, with all the hatred their minds can muster in the dark, dank places they do their thinking. The explorers we read about search new destinations not for the fame or glory but for humanity. Fame and glory are fleeting. Identity is fleeting.

http://totallyhistory.com/biography/famous-explorers/
300,000 years ago there was an ape who thought “I wonder what is on the other side of that mountain”. Her cousin had a similar thought. His nephew a similar one. Eventually one of those curious apes found themselves in northern Europe. More spectacularly, though that sounds like a nice story these apes full of wonderment were not explorers. No, they simply were looking for more food to feed their babies.

https://i0.wp.com/images.fineartamerica.com/images-medium-large/a-female-mountain-gorilla-and-her-child-michael-nichols.jpg
Those amazing minds among us that strive to keep alive drag the rest of us kicking and screaming into the future. No plan, no guide book, just the unmitigated gall to survive. Those that sit back and stake a claim to some branch of a tree are simply too stupid to go look on the other side of the mountain. It’s never important what is on the other side of the mountain. What’s important is going to see what it is.
https://i2.wp.com/izquotes.com/quotes-pictures/quote-violent-irrational-intolerant-allied-to-racism-and-tribalism-and-bigotry-invested-in-ignorance-christopher-hitchens-237657.jpg https://myatheistlife.files.wordpress.com/2015/04/db13d-10632352_830314300359069_1440023650_a.jpg?w=306&h=306

When the human mind stifles itself to maintain some paltry position of power it causes all of humanity to falter briefly. We’ve been stumbling toward the future of humanity for quite some time now. Do not listen to those that don’t want to go see what is on the other side of the mountain. Leave them under that tree to rot. Think not another thought for them. If they hold you back and beg you not to go to the other side of the mountain, pick up a stick and beat them with it. Their whimpering sounds will fade as you climb up the mountain, sun warming your back and the wind in your hair. No matter what you find, on the other side of the mountain is the future and it does not need that whimpering ape with the tiny mind and tiny thoughts.

https://i1.wp.com/highvibrationfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/Touched-by-a-Wild-Mountain-Gorilla-Uganda%E2%80%99s-Bwindi-National-Park.jpg

What Scares The Atheists?

I found an interesting post. The entirety of it is below.  One of many inspired by Gray’s article. I won’t reply to his post directly or even this post (shown below in it’s entirety). I am an atheist, anti-theist, monist, materialist, nihilist and a few other labels that are not used too often. I accept them. I like them. They each begin to describe my thoughts and feelings on life. None is complete on its own. I speak only for myself and no other. No other person speaks for me in these matters, certainly not John Gray. I think that it is convenient for people to think a single label is all that another person is but it is not. We humans are far too complex (generally speaking) to be held up under a single banner or label. That works for all sorts; have you ever met a Christian bigot or racist?

The post below throws out few points, the main being that a thinking non-theist should have a struggle with the concept of morality without inheriting morality from a faith tradition. As it happens I  have a problem with that thought. A big one. For a start, if morality only comes from a faith tradition, why are there so many of them? The three big monotheistic religions have one set of books each. If morality springs from them, then there should be only the three sets of morality yet we see tens of thousands of sects, each having their own moral values. We are left to believe that one book creates many moral codes, divinely inspired, without the input of humans yet it is exactly this unstable, mutable, malleable morality which I stand accused of using as my own.

In response I can only say that this thought insults me. It presumes that I am incapable of creating my own moral values. It further insults all humans in the very same way. Pity the human who lacks the ability to form their own moral values for even those who choose morals you do not like have chosen moral values. Even the young children choose moral values before they are able to follow any faith tradition.

I could ‘defend’ my position by criticizing the post below and that would be easy. I could defend my position by splitting hairs over whether other atheists are like me or not. I choose neither of these. My position does not require defending. It, like I, stands on its own. It does not need defending. It is, in its own right, a position that does not require defending for it does not care what you or anyone else thinks of it. It is not a shameful position without virtue and value. It is not a position of less than or alternative.

The very idea that I need to defend my position is ludicrous. Just the same, it is what is called for. We are each responsible to know our minds and speak freely of how we understand the world around us. This I can do.

I am not afraid. I know I will, from time to time, fail to live up to my own chosen goals. A goal that is easy to achieve is no goal at all. I will stumble, perhaps fall, get up again and carry on – wiser, more experienced, more determined and controlled. My morality is to myself. Should I find that I like you or something about you I can choose to help you in your time of need. You in turn might choose to help me and together we are stronger than either of us alone. In this bond is my second morality. Outside of these moral obligations there are none except that which I choose to extend beyond this basic circumstance. It is my choice, not a tradition or rule book. My choices are not yours and yours are not mine. By definition we cannot have the same moral values. They might well be very similar but they are not the same.

I was taught moral lessons by my parents and by society. My parents taught me to respect women. On my own I learned that I respect people. They taught me to respect my elders. On my own I learned that even they must earn respect. Society taught me to respect country and kin that are forced on me. On my own I learned to respect only that which benefits me and motivates me. Society gives me a vote to argue against what I do not accept. I accept society only in so much as it benefits me. I stand alone. I was born alone, I will die alone, and I walk alone. I am not afraid. There are those that will choose only safe harbors and warm fires. They may fear standing alone. I do not. They may require society and other peoples morals. I do not. I am not blind to the harsh, cold, brutal reality of life on this planet.

My morality comes from the law of reciprocity, not from a book or a tradition. I was born with the capability for it, learned it as a child before I could understand what faith was. My morality is the same as that of other animals. I am insulted that a believer would think it acceptable to deny it, accuse me of copying their poorly reasoned rules and laws. My morality stands head and shoulders above that of the believer. It is MY morality not that of someone else, not that of a book, not from someone that desires to tell me how to behave and act. My morality is far better than any from a book or tradition. I can defend it, explain it, live it true.

I am not afraid or scared. I know who and what I am. I know my failures and have found peace with them. I have no reason to think there is more than this life, this day, this moment. When I live this moment well, over and over again, the rest takes care of itself. I will worry about the next world when it comes to be that I am in it. I am not afraid, least of all do I fear what a next life might be like. If I have a duty of any kind it would be to live this life (moment by moment) as best I can within my moral values. Anything else is to live someone else’s life. I can only live mine. I will gladly hold my moral values up against the inspection by others. It is better than that of believers. It can be lived up to.

 

“What Scares the Atheists”

John Gray writes a lengthy and worthwhile piece on the New Atheism’s difficulty with the growing spread of religion.  He calls them “missionary atheists” and points out that they want to proselytize converts every bit as much as missionary Christians.

Gray, himself an atheist, also outlines the role of the Judeo-Christian tradition in the Western civilization concept of liberality.  He rightly notes that atheism doesn’t exactly have a clean slate when it comes offenses against liberal values–its 19th and 20th century taste for eugenics and colonialism being the conceit he uses.

This is a difficulty for atheism: No one who is serious about these sorts of conversations thinks that atheists can’t be moral or that atheism can’t have a moral code;  however, many a decent brainiac do struggle with the concept of atheism possessing and exercising a morality without having inherited it from a faith tradition.

Of course, Gray doesn’t think that an inherent morality exists at all, but that’s an entirely different topic for another day.

Empathy Is For Monkeys, And Rats, And Babies

Yes, it’s a video. Are you excited? Really? Yes, you’re going to have to watch the video to keep up with this post so go on, read it. I’ll wait….

No doubt, Jeremy Rifkin is a smart individual, however, that does not make him eternally correct. Yes, I’m about to say that I think he’s got a couple of things wrong. Observation is a really big part of science but the conclusions we draw from them are not always right.

Before we get into it I’ll set out the two presuppositions I’m relying on here. I’m not going to try to explain them in a short post so forgive me this shortcoming for the purposes of this post.

  1. In our heads is a simulation of the world around us. We live in that simulation, not the real world, and remain always isolated from the real world by sensory systems and motor systems.
  2. There is no one watching the simulation. That simulation is what we refer to as our consciousness. It runs 24/7/365 except when we are unconscious and even then, some parts of it are still running. Anaesthesia works by stopping the simulation. Without it we feel no pain, acquire no new memories or experiences etc.

I welcome comments on these presuppositions but cannot explain them at length in this post. On to the video.

https://i2.wp.com/multimedia.uga.edu/media/images/Adult-juvenile-watches-BWright.jpg

At about the 1:50 mark he says two things that drive me ‘nuts’:

  • Mammalian brains are soft wired to do things
  • He uses the term ‘mirror neurons’

Specifically he says: ‘We are soft wired to experience another’s plight as if we are experiencing it ourselves

This implies that it is mechanically oriented in some way that our brain does something when we observe it happening to others. I believe this is a naive understanding of the neuronal network in our brains and that it is a simplistic look at what neurons do.

Think for a moment about the knowledge that you need to understand what a human is doing when they try to open a nut. What skills must you understand? What knowledge must you possess to determine even what the human is doing before figuring out why or to what purpose. These things are things which we all take for granted. We learn a lot of them as children: how to move our limbs, what food looks like, the position of our fingers as they move to action and how to predict the forces being exerted when fingers move a certain way. What it looks like when a primate is ingesting food. What the body language of a primate is when being studious, eating, masticating and so on. We humans learn this before the age of 5.

All of these things are stored in our brains like rules. The rules of physics, rules governing ‘normal’ behaviors, rules governing recognizable objects or objects of familiar shapes. You can look at 1437 different mugs, cups, and glasses and in probably all cases determine what the object is probably for without any help. This is because of the rules you have stored up over time in your brain. With each of these stored patterns are also patterns of muscle movement. The way that the simulation in your head works is that you model things. If I ask you how to open a jar of peanut butter, in your mind you can see yourself (hands) going through the motions of opening the jar. As you do so, all those ‘mirror neurons’ are firing up exactly as if you are opening a jar of peanut butter. Whether you imagine it or actually do it, your brain does the same things because you LIVE in that simulation. The difference between imagining it and doing it is whether you actually orient your body toward a physical object and engage physical sensory systems and physical motor systems. Either way you are modelling the action in your head applying all the stored up rules and pattern recognition. This gives you reasonable expectation of what should happen as you open the jar. If the lid does not come loose in the expected manner you don’t stand there waiting for things to change, your brain engages new patterns and rules in order to effect the actions that you expected.

What the monkey was doing was learning patterns and rules storing them as he watched the human open the nut. Those patterns can then be used later by the monkey to acquire a tasty morsel. The monkey used observation to effect a model of how to open that kind of nut. As the monkey built the rules and patterns it looks exactly as it does as the monkey is trying to figure it out on his own. Try to observe this in your own brain as you have someone teach you some trick that you have not yet learned: a card trick, how to yo-yo, how to balance a pencil on your nose … anything.

That is not soft wiring. This is the function of our brains. This is it’s purpose: to simulate the world around us, being informed by our senses as to the rules and patterns we can use for the simulations we do. Soft wiring implies there is something else going on. No, this is the whole thing.

He goes on to state that our brains are soft wired for empathy. Bad mistake. Humans with no empathy will show the same results in the MRI, just like the monkey and the nut story. From there he goes on to say stuff that should make a use car salesman blush. The premise that we are wired for empathy is false. When our brains simulate the experience of others in order to build patterns and rules it triggers the calculations as though we experienced it. Remember we live in that simulation and modelling the experience of another in the simulation is the same thing as experiencing that simulation model personally. This isn’t ’empathy’ as it is classically defined, it is simply how the simulator in your head works. Nature is frugal. Why have multiple simulators when a single simulator can be reused for many applications.

Empathy: the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.

When people say they got lost in the movie they were watching it is exactly because the simulator was busy simulating the world presented to them on the screen and was too busy to keep running a simulation of the physical world directly around them. When we empathize it’s because we understand the feelings of another and we understand those feelings because we modelled them in our simulation and ACTUALLY DID FEEL the same things, or what we imagine them to have been. We can never know exactly how something felt to another person except in vague generalities. Empathy is not something we are ‘soft wired’ for – it is a side effect of our consciousness, the simulator in our heads.

To conclude: There are NO mirror neurons and empathy is proof that we live in the simulation running in our heads, not  some wiring mistake.

The Impotence of Atheism – A Reply

Here we go again. Poor poor atheists. They just don’t understand. God did it… in which I comment on such a post. Let me know what you think in the comments.

https://hateandanger.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/neil-degrasse-tyson-it-doesnt-mean-if-you-dont-understand-something-and-the-community-of-physicists-dont-understand-it-that-god-did-it-if-thats-how-you-want-to-invoke-your-evidence-f.jpg?w=720&h=475

Now, for the post I am talking about, shown in quotes. Not linked = less traffic for them but if you must, search for “The Impotence of Atheism” and I’m sure you’ll find that gold mine.

It’s not that atheist explanations are wrong, so much as that, qua explanations, they are simply impotent, in the final analysis. At bottom, they have no basis in necessity. So, at bottom, they end up able to say no more than, “this is the way things happened; er, that’s all.” They are descriptions, rather than explanations. Not wrong; not uninformative; often utile; but, just inadequate. Atheist explanations cannot close the deal; for, they have no ultimate cash value.

I’m left wondering if the explanation for why ice tea is brown is simply impotent. It seems to me that the author is expecting more than an explanation, setting their expectations higher than is reasonable so as to be unsatisfied by a valid explanation. I do see what they are hinting at when they call explanations just descriptions rather than explanations. Now we know that by explanation the author means: “reason or justification given for an action or belief” When we look at the two common uses of explanation we see that they are not synonymous.

 a statement or account that makes something clear.
“the birth rate is central to any explanation of population trends”
synonyms:    clarification, simplification;
description, report, statement;
elucidation, exposition, expounding, explication;
gloss, interpretation, commentary, exegesis

a reason or justification given for an action or belief.
“Freud tried to make sex the explanation for everything”
synonyms:    account, reason;
justification, excuse, alibi, defense, vindication, story, answers

When we ask for an explanation of rainbows, this author wants to hear something like ‘god made them to remind us he’d never kill us all with a flood … again’ rather than the actual explanation for the existence of rainbows.

This is why the juridical question is efficacious against an atheist. Just keep asking “Why?” Eventually, he will be forced to reply with an exasperated, “Because that’s just the way it is; there is no further explanation.” So saying, he cannot but reveal his unreason; which, as sapping the very foundations of his doctrine, so vitiates the whole structure thereof – and, could he but see, ruins it utterly. His triumph is in the undisputed possession of a castle fallen into complete desuetude, that lost its strategic value long since.

Yes, on this bit I had to look a few things up. To my  knowledge there is no atheist doctrine with foundations. I can kind of see where they are headed with the word doctrine but that technically requires atheists to be a group, organized in some fashion. (a belief or set of beliefs held and taught by a church, political party, or other group.) The problem is that saying atheist doctrine is like saying non-golfer doctrine. It is meaningless as is the rest of the straw man they are building there. The one question that bothers theists? How? Keep asking them how and they have to admit ignorance or claim magic via their favorite deity.

It may be objected that the theist foundation of explanation is in a way just as arbitrary and ‘brute’ as that of the atheist. The atheist says, “this is the way the world is, and that’s all there is to say about it;” meanwhile the theist says, “this is the way that God is, and that’s all there is to say about it.” How is one of these moves better than the other? Indeed, don’t they amount to the same thing, in the end, if God is among the things that exist, and thus a member of the world in the broadest sense?

Well, that’s a mighty big ‘if’ in that last sentence. So, if you are like me you already know that there is probably not much point in reading this authors post. It presumes that there is a extant god and that this presupposition trumps reason and science.

From our perspective, so it certainly seems to be. We come into the world and find that it is the way it is, and that God is the way he is, and that’s all there is to it. Indeed, by the definition of “God,” there can be no explanation for God, for nothing is prior to him, that might explain him.

Note that there is some less than polite discourse as to the way god is. In fact, among those that believe in a god there is little agreement at all. Sure, the adherents of one religion seem to agree mostly but this is not proof of their belief. For any religious sect, more than 60% of the rest of the world population disagree with them and many in a vigorous way. There is clearly no consensus on ‘the way god is’ among humans. As for physics and how the world is, well there is consensus on that. So to clarify this author is equating a known data set with a data set which looks to be made up by all measures and despite any claims otherwise is a hotly contested data set. Many have fought and died in an attempt to prove their version correct over all competitors in an argument which is far from ‘settled science.’ These things are not in the same grouping. There is a reason that if you go to a book store looking for information on ‘how god is’ you will never find it in the ‘science section’ of the book store or library.

Nevertheless the theist explanation of things does have one key advantage over the atheist, reductionist explanation: it completes, in the sense that it terminates upon necessity. This the atheist explanation cannot ever do. The theist ends by saying, “this, or something very like this, is just the way things must be, in logic, and by definition, and so by metaphysical necessity.” The atheist explanation terminates upon radical ignorance: upon, “no idea.” Under atheism, all and any of this might not have come to pass, and whether or not it did, there could be no explanation for any bit of it: it *just happened.*

Didn’t this writer just state that there can be no explanation for god? So the theist argument ends with ‘because god’ … without explanation. That’s not half full or half empty argument. It’s full on empty with a claim that it’s full. You  know, because god.

For the theist, everything happens for a reason, even if he can’t see it. Everything is for him therefore intelligible, at least in principle. For the atheist, on the other hand, nothing that happens bopttoms out in a reason that cannot be controverted, and so nothing can be intelligible.

So, only those that claim to know all the answers can see the world as intelligible. I believe that there is a medical term for this: delusional. Remember here that the claim of theists is that there is a god. There is no proof or credible evidence for that god and of course there is no explanation. To the theist god simply is, and from their god comes all the magic that makes the world intelligible to them. The writer here is not offering any explanation further than ‘god did it’ for anything and everything. I remember the last time such make believe was acceptable. It was back when I got 8 oz of milk and a nap mat in the afternoons.

The theist lives in an ordered world. It is ordered ex hypothesi, whether or not he can himself discern that order. The atheist lives in a world that rejects the very notion of order. The latter move is of course not something that can be rationally completed. As a motion of the reason, it is forestalled ab initio, as the antithesis thereof.

To the theist, things cannot but be ordered. To the atheist, they cannot be ordered.

Pity the poor atheists! So lost are they, and adrift! We should all pray for them that they may be relieved of their sufferings.

There it is: The world is ordered. No explanation, just the proclamation that it is so. Don’t question that or you’ll be told that you’re just not trying hard enough to see it. The non-believer does live in a world of order and can see it, look it up in books/online, and study it for themselves. It’s a world of mathematics and science. Fibonacci , the golden ratio, Pythagoras, E=MC2, chemistry, biology, and on and on. The world is ordered by the laws that govern it, from the very small to the very large. It is all out there for us to learn and discover. The theist believes they already know all the answers and do not bother to look. Sure there are theist scientists, but they are few and far between. What theists demonstrate most when talking about atheism and atheists is a complete lack of understanding and worse than that, a complete lack of desire to understand. Order is all around us, because of chemistry, biology, the laws that govern the natural world.

 

https://i1.wp.com/www.patternsinnature.org/Images/Book%20Gallery/BookGallery-164.jpg

Why Is There Evil In The World?

Let’s start this out with the right perspective. Those who claim to know the most about evil are theists so let’s see what the Christian Bible says.

Isaiah 44:24 and Colossians 1:16-17

  1. God created all alone (Isaiah 44:24)–“Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, and the one who formed you from the womb, “I, the Lord, am the maker of all things, stretching out the heavens by Myself, and spreading out the earth all alone.”

  2. All things created by/through Jesus (Colossians 1:16-17)–“For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created by Him and for Him. 17And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.”

Well, that clears things up. The god God made everything of every description. There doesn’t seem to be much wiggle room to tack ‘except evil’ on the end of it.

Of course atheists have a lot to say about the ‘problem of evil’ and the issues surrounding arguments for and against. It is difficult to argue about something which is very poorly defined. Webster’s (my favorite) says:

adjective \ˈē-vəl, British often & US also ˈē-(ˌ)vil\

: morally bad
: causing harm or injury to someone
: marked by bad luck or bad events

1 a :  morally reprehensible :  sinful, wicked <an evil impulse>
b :  arising from actual or imputed bad character or conduct <a person of evil reputation>

2 a archaic :  inferior
   b :  causing discomfort or repulsion :  offensive <an evil odor>
c :  disagreeable <woke late and in an evil temper>
3 a :  causing harm :  pernicious <the evil institution of slavery>
b :  marked by misfortune :  unlucky

Clearly it’s not so easy to define this word. Many people would define it as pain and suffering or the cause of pain and suffering. Whatever the definition we now know what the god God created it or allowed it to create itself. This is all problematic for a number of reasons.

  • It is difficult to discuss unless all parties agree to the meaning.
  • All parties will not always agree to the meaning.
  • Some people think anything that is not “godly” is evil, whatever godly means.

https://americangallery.files.wordpress.com/2010/09/small_hear-no-evil-see-no-evil-speak-no-evil.jpg?w=629&h=354

I’ve got a different view. There is no evil. That explains why it can’t be defined well enough for everybody to agree on the definition. Aside from the fact that there are no gods, there is also no “opposer” or satan or evil. Existence simply is. It does not care about humans nor morality. Evil, pain, suffering, wrong doing: all these exist or seem to because we humans (theists mostly) are trying to impose a made up set of standards for what is good and what is not. We do this from a completely anthropocentric position. Theists try to impose what they call absolute morality which does not consider any animals other than humans. It is hardly absolute then. We can clearly see that many animals exhibit moral actions and emotions.

http://www.ethics.emory.edu/pillars/health_sciences/Beastly%20Morality%20Pic%201

Any definition of evil has to compliment a definition of morality and good. Any definitions of either that do not account for the morality we see in other animals is incomplete at best and at worst a mere human contrivance to serve the speaker’s own ends.

There is no evil in the world as theists would define it, there is only pain and suffering and that is what we expect to see in a harsh cold unforgiving universe that does not care about our species one way or the other. The universe is unfolding as it should and unless we all work together we will remain caught in the trap of delusion and superstition, slaves of ignorance.

So how do you define evil? I want to know.

 

Five Is A Magic Number

I used to think so as a child, at least for a time. I also thought that perhaps 7 was a magic number too. By magic I thought that there was some special significance to the number. I didn’t have any knowledge of numerology or the significance of numbers in Judaism. I simply looked at the  world around me and all of the animal life I knew of had five extremities on their torso. Yeah, I knew about spiders but they were creepy crawly things so they didn’t count. Little did I know then that they didn’t count because they were on the wrong branch of the tree. So many animals and humans have the same basic body plan that I thought there must be some magic significance. Well, there is and it’s called evolution. It’s not magic but to a 5 year old or some theists it might as well be. It’s one of the successful body plans for life on this planet. It’s not magic yet it is magical on some level that so many species should have the same basic plan.

 

https://i0.wp.com/www.origin-of-mitochondria.net/wp-content/uploads/normal_tree_of_life.jpghttps://i1.wp.com/media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/f4/ba/08/f4ba08138987c2382884e49b8e6df818.jpg

There are a number of things that I have thought must have some magic quality in the time I’ve been alive. As it turns out none of them had magic qualities. It’s just how life is, how it evolved. Even whales have that body plan but several of the limbs  have been re-purposed over time as fins because it’s more effective. It seems like I’ve been doing science all my life. Observe, hypothesize, test, learn, change the hypothesis and repeat. Evolution made immediate sense to me when I realized (some years older) that the 5 point body plan is so popular because we all started out with a common ancestor that had a 5 point body. Why it is that this can make sense to a child but not adults baffled me for a very long time. To me it simply ‘just made sense’ that evolution explained the commonalities.

It doesn’t take long to find out why:

US Religious denominations that dispute evolution

On the other hand, in the U.S., many Protestant denominations promote creationism, preach against evolution from the pulpits, and sponsor lectures and debates on the subject. A list of denominations that explicitly advocate creationism instead of what they call “Darwinism” or evolution include the Assemblies of God,[80] the Free Methodist Church, Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod,[81] Pentecostal Churches, Seventh-day Adventist Churches,[82] Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod, Christian Reformed Church, Southern Baptist Convention,[83] and the Pentecostal Oneness churches.[84] Jehovah’s Witnesses reject both evolution and creationism.[85]

That’s right. Religion makes it okay to believe in magic. Take that in. Believing in your imaginary friend as a child is one thing but believing in magic as an adult means that you must deny the truth if it conflicts with your imaginary friend no matter how much evidence there is to support the truth. Those listed above do not simply deny the truth and facts, they actively admonish people to not believe them. This is akin to teaching children that the world is flat or the Sun revolves around the Earth. It is knowingly wrong and people who believe these things (flat-earthers etc.) are properly ridiculed and ostracized.

It’s time we stopped believing in magic and started ridiculing those who do and rebuking those who teach it to children. It is harmful to our future well being and currently deprives millions of people their right to happiness, health, or life.

What an unimaginative creator this supposed god of Christianity is. He only came up with a short list of body plans and made some of them so poorly that those animals are no longer in existence. Everything he is supposed to have created is messed up and so haphazard as to look like an accidental mutation of previous things. Evolution is the only explanation that makes sense. It’s not magic, it’s biology. How fortunate I am that I live in a time when this is understood and I don’t have to accept the idea of an invisible sky daddy who works in mysterious ways. We humans have worked for hundreds of thousands of years to acquire this knowledge and I go through my days thinking of it a birthright, a debt owed to me. In the next hundred years we’ll learn more than has been learned in all of human existence so far. I’m sad that I probably won’t be around to know it too.

Life is not magical, but the experiencing of it has a kind of magical feeling. For me, numbers are no longer magic, but there is a wonderment I feel when I read about how many stars there are in this universe. Billions and billions of chances that there is someone, perhaps a lot like me, somewhere else in this universe thinking thoughts much like my own: knowing that the universe is not made for us and our best hope is to reach out and work together to find better ways to survive, thrive, and build great things.

 

The Immorality Of Immortality: Why Forever Takes So Long

American Heathen has a post entitled The Immorality Of Immortality in which they ask “If it were possible to become immortal, would you do it? Would you step boldly into a life of eternal existence? If so, have you considered the ramifications, the consequences of living forever?”

I encourage you to go read their post but here I’m going to answer the question.

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I don’t imagine that many people think of immortality much differently than American Heathen. I doubt many feel as I do but then I see life a little bit differently than most seem to.

When I was a kid, life seemed to go so slow and I got bored. Now, later in life, it goes so fast and I have no time at all. No time for the things I want to do or accomplish, not for the pleasures I’d like to experience. There is not even enough time for the very simple things that I can’t seem to get bored with. I would like for time to not be part of the equation for me. Oh, I know there would be problems and AmericanHeathen seems to cover the problems I can think of plus a few that I don’t think would be a problem in my case.

Between the birth of my great grandparents and myself the world has changed more than ever imagined by kings or popes. Because the world has come so far in that time, my grandchildren will never be able to or need to go back… we hope. I can; I can go back. I can travel there and be okay. I stand on the shoulders of giants to reach farther than they yet I watched them, learned what they knew as handed down knowledge from their family lineages. I am both their peer and their patron. I am thrust at the future by their hands, never having left their hearths. My mind is timeless in a sense. I remember their tales as if they were my own and mine as if they were theirs. Yet I yearn for more knowledge, more experiences as if my body is addled with the stuff and craves more. My thirst for more knowledge and experience frustrates me because I cannot cram enough information into my head fast enough for the little time I have in this life. Sometimes the information I try to jam inside my head does not stick so well. I’d really like to have a jack in the back of my head to make the job easier.

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There are millions of experiences that I’ve not had yet, and that is just in this country. I’ve also not been into space, to another world or galaxy,  nor have I had a beach side cookout on a planet with two moons. The number of things I’ve not experienced yet but could is as large as the universe.

We meekly admit to ourselves that we’ll never know all there is to know and many of us give up trying. I do not no matter how vain the attempt might be. I want to know everything.

If somewhere along the line I stop being what some might define as human I’m okay with that. I’m okay with being different. I’m sure there is an Aesop’s fable just waiting to hit me in the face here. Never mind. I don’t want to be mere human. I do want to know everything. If that seems heretical, so what? I want to compose music, mine for fun and profit on comets, design warp engines, dine at 7 star restaurants at the end of time and on and on. 80 years is not enough. 80 million years is not enough.

I have a modicum of pity for those that think they would get bored. My mum used to tell us as kids ‘go outside and play if you’re bored’ and that is what I’d do if I were immortal. Send me to Mars… I’ve not been there yet. Let me learn millions of foreign languages from millions of planets. Let me perform magic for the emperor of a galaxy, dance with the princess of 4 worlds and on and on. Let me broker peace between worlds, discover unknown life forms, map vast sections of the universe, find it’s edges. Let me be everything at one time or another.

For those that think immortality is for crazy people, I say that you have no considered the possibilities of infinite experience and reward. The thought that humans are alone in the universe is astoundingly arrogant. There are other life forms, other intelligences. I want to meet and know them. Our future is limited only by  our imagination’s limitations. Mine is not so limited as to think I’d get bored. I’ve always been a bit more industrious than that.

Yes, I know the title doesn’t seem to match, but I wanted a direct relation to the original post that asked the question.

Forever takes so long… well, only if you’re sitting around waiting for it. If you’re busy being out and about and re-arranging the universe, time flies and forever comes along way too soon.

 

 

 

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