Sunday, August 31, 2008

God The Creator - What a dick

The case for Idiotic Design.

The idea that God created man, and created the world just for men, is an appealing one at first encounter. It makes us feel special, loved and unique. Many people feel that characteristics that earth has which makes it supportive of human life are just too perfect to have come about without intelligent design. From looking around, however, I can't help but come to the conclusion that if there is a God, and he did create this world and us to live in it, then he's either a prick or a lousy creator. If God were an engineer working for me, I'd fire him. But before I did, I'd ask him the following questions:

1. Why did you give me more teeth than my mouth can fit, this wisdom tooth really hurts.
2. Why do I shit? Could you not have thought of a better way for my digestive system to work?
3. Why is human excrement so harmful? Why did you give us that but then leave us to come up with sewage systems by ourselves? A cruel prank?
4. Why is child birth so painful? Do you really hate women that much?
5. Why do babies inherit drug addictions and disease from their mother's in the womb? Something you overlooked in the design?
6. Why did you design the human mind to be so susceptible to figures of authority? Why do so many people end up in harmful cults? Why do you design some people gullible?
7. Why did you give animals sentience if we have to kill them for food?
8. Why did you make rabbits so fast? To out run foxes and dogs? Then why did you make foxes and dogs so fast in the first place? That was a bit of a waste of time!
9. Why did you bother creating so many animals that would just go extinct?
10. Why do people get so nervous during interviews that they mess it up?
11. Why do nervous people wet their pants? A Glitch?

(If anyone has any more please leave a comment and I’ll add them to the list!)

All in all, if the god that Christians believe in does (or did); he's either pretty incompetent or pretty malicious. Either that or we're just the beta version of a soon to be finished product!

Even for Christians who accept and understand evolution, the concept of an all knowing God that would have foreseen these malfunctions arise could not be a very nice god at all.

It makes me worry - because I'm a nice guy and I'm nice to other people - that if these religious myths are true I might spend an eternity in the presence of this guy..... and man.... that would be hell!

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Friday, August 29, 2008

God wasn't listening

Looks like God doesn't answer the prayers of Pro-life or anti-gay marriage christians.....

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Sunday, August 10, 2008

Do things have tastes?

I was told the other day that apparently there's a gene for tasting cucumber, and some people can taste it and some can't. I'm not sure if that's true or not (I have no doubt that there is a gene for tasting it, but I didn't know it's absence was common) but that's not really the point of this post.

It got me wondering does cucumber "have" a taste? Or does anything have a taste for that matter? Does something we would describe as tasteless (say like, i dunno, a leaf?) really lack a certain quality when compared to something we would describe as tasty (e.g. meat)? Both the "tasty" meat and "tasteless" leaf have unique chemical compositions, that in their own right have nothing to do with endowing them with taste. Their taste is note a feature of their constitution, it is just a qualitative way in which we interpret them using our sensory organs (mouth, tongue etc.) It would seem more logical that taste is something we impose on an item, and not something it actually possesses.

I know this thought isn't overly serious, and isn't meant to have any deep meaning, it's just a different way of looking at the concept of taste. I suppose evolution explains pretty well why this occurs:
1. Gene's that allowed us to discern beneficial food stuffs by interpreting them as "tasty" added to the success of the body they were in, making the individual better able to consume foods that would ensure it's survival (and therefore the replication of that helpful gene!)
2. Our language evolved in this way, so that we endow items with the characteristic of taste. This, I presume, is because taste is an individual experience which is always used in a subjective manner. Strictly speaking, from an objective and neutral point of view, something doesn't "have" a taste, but it does however, taste a certain way to each person. When human language was evolving, no one could ever taste food through someone else's mouth, or through any sensory system other than their own. For that reason, even though no item had a universal taste (what tastes nice to a maggot may taste awful to a man), an item's perceived taste was always constant for every individual human, no person could ever borrow someone else's tongue to see how they interpreted the taste of an item, and so it was only natural to talk about an item as "having a taste." Every person views an item as having a constant taste because even though it may taste different to others, the difference is not something anyone can ever experience.

I know none of that is really ground breaking or revolutionary, it's just a little thought experiment that occurred to me today that I thought I might share! I suppose you could think the same about other characteristics too, like does something have a colour in a universal sense, or is it just the way our eyes and brains have evolved to interpret light rays bouncing off them; do things make sounds or do our ears make sounds from the waves that other things happen to create?

It's all just a bit of a play on words, and a different way of looking at that old philosipher's question "If a tree falls in the woods and no-one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?" I used to loathe that question and give an answer along the lines of.. "of course it does you arrogant ponce! The universe was ticking along just fine for 13.4 billion years without needing us to experience it, i doubt a falling tree holds back it's sound until we're there to hear it!" But I suppose after this post I may have to rethink that answer! We evolved language as a tool to help us, it is a way in which we interact with the world, and naturally it's constructs can be very human-centric. So if our auditory senses take vibrations made by a falling tree (which we call sound waves) and interpret them as sound, we say that the tree made a sound, because our language is our tool. But I guess in this new stricter sense that I talked about above, the tree doesn't actually make a sound if there's no person around to make a sound out of it!

Sometimes I think I think about things too much......

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