Friday, August 20, 2010

The Highest Power

There are many versions of the story I’m about to relay, but I’m going to tell it the way I like.

During a lecture on cosmology, the professor was interrupted by a student who took particular offense at the complete lack of religion in the explanation.

“The world,” said the student, “It flat, and it rests upon the back of an elephant.”

“Oh really?” chimed the professor.

“Really,” replied the student.

“And what, may I ask, is the elephant standing on?” asked the professor.

“Why a hippopotamus, of course,” said the smiling student.

“And the hippo, what is it standing on?”

The student begins to look frustrated and says, “A turtle.”

“And the turtle?”

The student sighs and says, “It’s turtles all the way down.”

I like adding the hippopotamus to the story, because all good stories and jokes rely on the number three (bad ones, too).

This is an example of an infinite regression. My favorite infinite regression is the one for God.

“What created the world?”

The sun

“What created the sun?”

The Milky Way galaxy.

“What created the Milky Way galaxy?”

The Big Bang.

“What created the Big Bang.”

I’m not sure.

“Well, then clearly it was God.”

The end. What a tidy little proof for God. Except… what created God?

“God is uncreated.”

Why can’t the universe be uncreated?

“Um…”

Yeah, exactly. If something can just come about uncaused, then what would ever possess someone to simply name that step “God?” Is it so hard to just say, “I don’t know” and keep looking for the answer?

What we are witnessing are the last gasps of traditional religious cosmology, trying desperately to hold onto some small role in the process of creation. But to me, it’s just an invitation to make up any tale for God’s origin that you wish.

Where did God come from?

It was born of the Great Sky Bull.

Where did the Great Sky Bull come from?

It was wrought from adamantium by the Mystical Monkey of the Maroon Mountains.

Where did the Mystical Monkey come from?

Duh, it was cut from the thigh of the Kindly Rhino.

And the Rhino?

Coalesced from the steam of the Icelandic hot springs.

The Icelandic hot springs… how did they exist before the Kindly Rhino cut the Mystical Monkey from its thigh, which then wrought the Great Sky Bull from adamantium, which gave birth to God, which created the Big Bang, which created the Milky Way Galaxy, which created the Sun, which created the Earth, which is where the Icelandic hot springs are located?

Don’t you see… through the Kindly Rhino, all things are possible, even vicious cycles!

In the end, none of it even fits into Christian cosmology. There is no “Big Bang” in the Biblical creation myth which posits God as the central architect of creation. The sun and stars are created after water already exists on Earth, for crying out loud. Talk about anachronistic.

This must be a different god, not Yahweh. Yahweh is the Biblical god (or God, with a capital “G”), but the god people try to explain as “Nature” or “The Universe” itself are not the same being. They share none of the same characteristics beyond the title of Creator, and their methods are distinctly different. The claims of Yahweh do not in any way match up with the features and abilities attributed to this New Age, post-Enlightenment, Deistic figure.

More importantly, calling the universe a finely tuned watch and God the “the watchmaker” does nothing to explain creation. The universe is, in point of fact, not as complex as a watch, nor as regular (what watch is constantly expanding and changing, failing to keep accurate time as parts of it explode?). The universe is simple, a little chaotic, and highly unorganized.

God, on the other hand, is complex. The complexity of an omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent being is so beyond the scope of human understanding that it approaches a complexity bordering on infinite. Saying “God did it” does not answer anything, it merely creates a question too complex to ever possibly be answered.

Someday, when we can explain in great detail and relative certainty the full nature of the Big Bang and its origins, there will be a new period of time and mechanism of action which we cannot explain. If there are religious people still around (and there’s every reason to believe there will be, so long as we are still human), I’m sure their God of the Gaps in Human Knowledge will retreat once more behind this new bunker of the unknown.

What a sad, ever-shrinking kingdom this lowly deity inhabits…

11 comments:

  1. *SIGH*

    I forgot the first rule of blogging: keept it short and funny. I bored myself reading over it again.

    ReplyDelete
  2. http://vimeo.com/13704095


    but with recent revelations about James Randi, I think he likes DICKS!


    ____________________

    THE SECOND COMING!

    THE END OF ATHEISM

    FOLLOW THE WHITE RABBIT...
    ...
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Smwrw4sNCxE
    ____________________________________________

    THE B**BQUAKE - 911

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yeblvLoVJCA&feature=related

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cpZZ2PPBzP8&feature=related

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EvSljPf9on4&feature=related

    you are going to pay the price for this….

    THE RUBBER DUCKY OF PSEUDOSCIENCE III - JAMES RANDI



    http://daddytypes.com/archive/hofman_rubber_duckie.jpg

    there is a lot of sh*t to flush!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cg2AezJo8aQ

    THE HEAD OF THE INFIDEL!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ojR-XRt4rrA

    Is America burning yet?

    Maybe we need some more...

    we use the DIVINE against the ESTABLISHMENT... you?

    we do better DEMOLITIONS than you, savage...

    RENOUNCE YOUR ATHEISM AND JOIN THE SOCIALIST FAITH!

    let them know if the MDC continues more people will die...

    the WORLD TRADE CENTER PROPHECY - THE DANCE OF DEATH

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X0Hez25fFrg

    FLUSH ATHEISM!

    Actually it is a ROYAL FLUSH!!!

    Let me show you how ATHEISTS were partially responsible for 911

    These ATHEISTS NEED TO BE ON THE TERRORIST WATCH LIST!

    You don’t even have SCIENCE on your side…

    You’re a perfect example of when PHILOSOPHY becomes an ENEMY OF LIFE...

    http://stephenlaw.blogspot.com/2010/06/playing-mystery-card.html

    not quite samantha with her *supernatural spit*, eh?

    this isn't one of your little WORD GAMES...

    blasphemy is a DEATH SENTENCE

    you people actually BELIEVE the BS you preach!

    GOD 1 - atheists 0

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jQcNiD0Z3MU

    Atheists,

    you are ENEMIES OF GOD AND ARE GOING TO BE ANNIHILATED...

    Repent and turn to God or be destroyed...

    YOU HAVE NO CHOICE...

    my interpretation of the STATUE FIRE... it symbolizes the SPIRITUAL DEATH of atheism...

    http://www.salon.com/news/2010/06/15/us_lightning_strikes_jesus_statue

    http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2010/6/16/1276680110544/The-King-of-Kings-statue--005.jpg

    http://www.latimes.com/media/photo/2010-06/54332292.jpg

    http://friendlyatheist.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/butterjesus-1.jpg

    PRINCESS DI IS WEARING A NEW DRESS!

    http://www.princeofwales.gov.uk/speechesandarticles/a_speech_by_hrh_the_prince_of_wales_titled_islam_and_the_env_252516346.html
    ______________________________
    http://skepticblog.org/2010/04/06/would-i-ever-pray-for-a-miracle/

    Shermer, I WANT TO SEE YOU BEG FOR A MIRACLE...
    ___________________
    we do like your music Lady Gaga, but...

    The B**BQUAKE - 911

    Let me show you the FATE OF TRAITORS...

    http://www.loiterink.com/photos/products/182_3424_500x500.jpg

    they are incapable of telling the difference between SCIENTIFIC *FACT* AND
    RELIGIOUS AND PHILOSOPHICAL *TRUTH*... FATAL ERROR!

    they also preach a *VALUE FREE SCIENCE* called *POSITIVISM* that ignores the
    inequalities of wealth and power in capitalist civilization...

    for a sample taste of PZ Myers' GARBAGE...

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2010/06/sunday_sacrilege_imagine_no_he.php

    HIJACKING IN PROGRESS!!!

    http://hawaiiwebgroup.com/maui-design/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/website-hijacking.jpg

    HIJACKING IN PROGRESS!!!

    how can these HEADLESS IDIOTS BET AGAINST GOD!!!
    ________________________________________
    what happens when you LOSE Pascal's Wager...

    http://www.peterkreeft.com/topics/pascals-wager.htm
    ____________
    you FIGHT PAPER MONSTERS...


    THE BOOBQUAKE - 911!
    ****************************************************
    http://dissidentphilosophy.lifediscussion.net/philosophy-f1/the-boobquake-911-t1310.htm

    ReplyDelete
  3. I bored myself reading over it again.

    At least you could never be as boring as DM, even if you tried.

    ReplyDelete
  4. yes, but you little idiots talk about NOTHING!

    ReplyDelete
  5. oh yeah cause posting the same gibberish spam over and over and over again isn't "nothing." Jebus, try a little originality, I'm tired of deleting the same comment every day, shake it up a bit dude.

    ReplyDelete
  6. All time, space and matter came into being with the Big Bang, therefore, what created the Big Bang had to be outside of time, space and matter - something supernatural.

    ReplyDelete
  7. All time, space and matter came into being with the Big Bang,

    Really? All? What proof do you have for that claim? And can you please define "supernatural". And how exactly does something "supernatural" create time, space and matter?

    ReplyDelete
  8. Don't you get it, Nikk? He's trying to share his love for the Kindly Rhino with us, if only we would let Him stampede into our hearts.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Also, most atrophysicists and cosmologists are of the opinion the Big Bang isn't the beginning of everything, that there is strong evidence for there having been other universes that existed prior to our own, and that the Big Bang is merely the beginning of our universe. As so often happens, we tend to believe that which involves us is all there is, when in fact there is usually so much beyond that which related directly to us.

    ReplyDelete
  10. She, not "he", is hoping for open minds and a willingness to listen to the other side of the issue. However, maybe you only wish to converse on your blog with those of a like mind. I didn't think I would have to defend the Big Bang. This so called bang was a release of matter, space, time and energy that had a finite beginning. Many complex physical constants that would make life possible appear at the moment of expansion. If any of these constants were slightly altered, life would not exist. For example, if the rate of the universe’s expansion one second after the Big Bang had been smaller by even one part in a hundred thousand million million, the universe would have re-collapsed into a hot fireball. The chances that our universe should contain life is so small it is incomprehensible.

    Supernatural would be something outside the natural realm since all of nature came into being with the Big Bang. Takes too much faith to believe it could be some blind, unintelligent shot in the dark chance. So what scares you guys about the possibility that the universe has a cause?

    I am going to keep an open mind as to where the multiverse research will lead but at this point in time there is no "strong evidence" it is only big ideas with sparce evidence that will require a lot of research. The multiverse does not do away with the need for a cause - all capable multiverse models also require a beginning.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I'll tell you what. Show me a creation myth from any religion that even slightly synchs up with what we understand of how the universes began. If the gods who created everything really talked to us, they should have had no problem relaying the very simple process of the universe's creation.

    Furthermore, the "finely tuned" argument makes no sense. If the universe had different constants, there would probably be no Earth or no humans to debate it, and I'm okay with that. To believe the mechanics of the universe are finely tuned for the sole purpose of human life is egocentric on a colossal scale.

    ReplyDelete

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