Quotes: about Nature

Mark Twain in one of his lectures writes about the Law of Periodical repetition

Nature has no originality. She has a superb and amazing and infinitely varied equipment of old ones, but she never adds to them. She repeats- repeats- repeats. When she puts together a man and is satisfied with him, she is loyal to him, she stands by him through thick and thin forevermore, she repeats him by billions and billions of examples, and physically and mentally the average remains exactly the same, it doesn’t vary a hair between the first batch, middle batch and last batch


Why I am a naturalist

Since Bertrand Russell wrote his why am not a Christian article and Sam Harris’ Letter to a Christian nation and many other such tracts by numerous people, I don’t think I have to write such a polemic against Christianity. Those who may not be aware, I was brought up Catholic. I attended mass regularly and on occasion went for confession until some point when it occurred to me these were just a sham and stopped doing them.

This post is a response to why am not a naturalist. Don’t ask me where I find these people 😀

I am a naturalist not because I want freedom from moral accountability to god. I don’t know how this would be possible if the god is omnipotent. How would one defeat his will? If I must give an account, it is to those am capable of harming. Many believers have been stopped in their tracks of causing harm not by the fear of god but the fear of jail or the reproach of their fellow mortals.

For our purposes,

Philosophical naturalism is the doctrine that the observable world is all there is.

Methodological naturalism is the label for the required assumption of philosophical naturalism when working with the scientific method.

One realizes the scope of naturalism is quite wide. It is not limited to gods alone. A critique of naturalism cannot then limit itself to deities alone. To start a critique of naturalism and end up critiquing atheism only is to me a lack of understanding of the subject.

The OP’s first argument is to claim atheism is illogical. He starts by rephrasing Paley’s watchmaker argument as a proof for god. I will say even if we were to grant a creator for the universe, there is no contradiction is thinking of many creators of the different parts. In fact the comparison to man-made things weakens the design argument. A car is designed by many people and improved over time. It is possible, to infer from the car argument, that the present universe is a result of many failures and improvements by different designers with differing amount of knowledge. I don’t know whether the universe had a beginning or always was and I would love to know. The universe is not evidence for a god. The much we can deduce from its existence is that it is, nothing more.

To me, evil is anything inimical to my well-being. It need not be justified or rationalized. I believe the universe is indifferent to my joy or suffering. The OP does not seem to understand the old Epicurean formulation of the problem of evil. As I said in my earlier post, the argument does not say that evil is an argument against god, rather a given conception of god. The claim that the universe has an overlord who is loving, powerful and all-knowing is inconsistent with evil. It leaves it open for a god who isn’t loving, powerful or all-knowing to exist.

Hope is a useless word. We would not need it. It exists in our vocabulary because we have so many unmet desires. To tell a person who is terminally ill that they will be better in the future is to sell them a balm they don’t need. What reason has the believer to expect that their god would fare better in another world when it couldn’t make things right here? What right have you to tell a person who has seen all his family killed that there will be justice in a future world. I want justice where it matters to us. If there has to be justice, let it exist where it counts and that is here. Should there be a netherworld, let us meet it as it comes but please let us solve the problems of this earth here. I am a naturalist because I believe that we have the capacity to make the world a just and peaceful place for all of us if only we would be reasonable.

I believe no god has dictated our morals. In fact, a brief survey of our history shows that man has been better behaved than his god. That the more a man is godless, the more he is likely to be just in his dealings with his fellow man and beast. The believer in the Christian conception of god must be really blind or ignorant to not see the evil nature of his god. That humanity has a sense of good and evil is not proof of god but of our shared humanity. In my neighbour I see one like me. It is this shared humanity that gives morals the appearance of objectivity.

Science, construed broadly, is our only way of gaining knowledge. Revelation is not universal. Mystical experience is not universal. There is no way of testing them. It would be unjust for a person who has received a revelation to expect the rest of us to believe it on his word. All we can say is that to her, the revelation is true, but not the rest of us. I hope the OP will tell us what method he/she has in mind that we can apply to gain knowledge or arrive at truth. We must all reasonable people agree that theology is a subject without an object. It is best described as the study of nothing. If my reliance on science is a critique against naturalism, so be it, but am not about to believe that revelations or claims of revelations by some deranged man in the desert holds true for everyone.

I accept the charge of nihilism. I will qualify my nihilism. In my view, and you are open to disagree, I see no cosmic meaning for our being here. We will live, we will die and the universe will continue to do its thing. All life is vanity. All work is vanity. I agree with the words of the writer of Ecclesiastes about life. All our striving comes to naught at the end of it. Some of us are remembered, some, in fact the majority, not so. For those things we give meaning, we do so to make life worthwhile. In all honesty, the question to what end, for me, points to the vanity of our existence.

I am an honest fellow, I lie sometimes. I fear the reproach of my fellows. I do good to my fellow-man not because a cosmic overlord counts the times I do good, no, because it is the only way I know how to live with others. One may ask why, if I accept nihilism have I not popped my head out. That there is  no cosmic significance does not rule out personal significance plus there is a book I haven’t finished reading :D. The universe does not become less beautiful because there are no fairies. It is full of wonder and mystery. Every time I wake up from my sleep, it is like a resurrection. I was dead for a while and I have come to life. I am amazed at why I must die every day. I desire a just world. I would like to see the end of hostilities between nations. I wish for a day when no child will die of hunger because they are too poor. I long for a world without the homeless. Most of all I long for a world where the right to believe or not believe is granted to all. My naturalism and humanism tells me we got only us to make these dreams come true.

This, my friends, is why am a naturalist. I may add here that god[s] have not been defined in a way that we can have a conversation about them. My god position is igtheism.

IS atheism rational?

Do people still ask this question? I thought every rational and reasonable person would have come to this very conclusion on their own without my help even if they continued to talk loudly to themselves in the hope their plans would turn out differently.

It seems I have been ambitious, too ambitious. We have this author  who thinks they have done the world a favour by exposing the irrationality of atheism. Their post starts by a strawman and from there any conclusion they arrive at is true. They tell us

Many people believe that atheism is based on reason and science, while religion is based on emotion and faith. But in this video, I show that atheism is not rational, is not based on science, and in fact is just another religious belief.

As am wont to say, one has to be really daft to claim with a brave face in public that atheism is a religious belief. This type of person can only be thick as a stone. Atheism has nothing to do with science. You can know zilch about science and be an atheist. Atheism is a response to whether one believes deities exist. It is not whether one knows the Newton’s Laws of motion.

The atheist is under no obligation to give any reason for the non-existence of god. All the atheist need to do is ask the theist to present the evidence for his claim. There is no need to shift the burden of proof here.

I don’t know about you, but I didn’t know we had dogma. The good book of atheism has the following dogmas that we heathens must recite every morning.

1. There is no God.
2. There is no objective truth.
3. There is no ground for reason.
4. There are no absolute morals.
5. There is no ultimate value.
6. There is no ultimate meaning.
7. There is no eternal hope.


I love this list. And like the god claim, the theist has the burden of showing that the positive claim is true. I am patient and will wait for the proofs. While we are on it, I will remind this theist and many others who visit us that atheism is a lack of belief in gods.  We have covered morals in several posts. Jesus asked what is truth did not answer. There is nothing in the definition of atheism that got to do with meaning, value, morality, truth and so on.

The OP gives the following as the standard arguments by atheists and I will respond to each on its turn.

1. The existence of God is incompatible with the existence of evil.

This is a strawman. The argument states that the presence of evil is inconsistent with the existence of an all loving and all-powerful god. It leaves room for a god that is malevolent and not powerful.

2. God is a projection of man’s imagination.

I will wait for the theist to show this is not the case.

3. Since God cannot be scientifically demonstrated, he cannot exist.

Can the theist demonstrate in some other way that god exists. We are open to suggestions and demonstrations.

4. People believe in God because they are culturally conditioned to do so.

This should be obvious even to an idiot!

5. The idea of God is nonsensical, like the idea of a square circle.

Can the OP give us a coherent definition of god.

6. If God made the world, who made God?

For stupidity, this theist would receive the first three trophies! This argument is a rewriting of the cosmological argument which attempts to leave god out of the cause effect continuum. The theist tells everything has a cause except his god without giving us a good reason this is so.

7. Since there is no evidence of God’s existence, he does not exist.

Please god help us here. What are you and where are you?

It is true that

The arguments of atheism do not stand up to rational analysis

when the arguments you have listed are a strawman. They would not stand up. The theist has made a claim there is a god. I ask the theist where is the evidence. He presents arguments- word plays- as evidence, I show that these are inadequate, why cry foul? Why can’t the theist ask his god to settle the matter by presenting himself or itself.

To appeal to arguments of the type

No-one, however, can prove that God does not exist, because that would require having all possible knowledge. The atheist would need to have infinite knowledge throughout all time, and be everywhere at the same time, to be absolutely sure of everything. In reality, the atheist would need to be God in order to prove that there is no God!

is to raise the stakes to such a level that allow the theist to claim that his god is hiding under the stone that you haven’t checked. His god will always be hiding somewhere. This claim although looking valid doesn’t help us in our quest for knowledge. It is a weak defense. The person employing it can’t defend his position as rational.

The claim that

Atheism is not rational because it is impossible to prove that God does not exist

attempts to go round the problem unsuccessfully. The onus is on the theist to tell us what god is and if god is. Trying to shift the burden of proof will not take us anywhere.

If it is true that

The principle arguments put forward by atheists to disprove the existence of God are
invariably based on unproven assumptions and unreasonable tests

it can only be said all the arguments so far advanced by theists have been defective. Atheists offer rebuttals to the arguments. I don’t need to come up with any argument. The ones offered by theists are just as good to show the impossibility of god- whatever you define it to mean.

And we would not deny

No matter what criteria the atheists employ, there will always remain the possibility that God exists outside of their knowledge and beyond the confines of their naturalistic view of the world

our only question to the theist would be how does he know? Does the theist have some secret knowledge the atheist lacks? Is it also not true based on the argument above that the theist could be wrong on all he thinks he knows about god? Is the theist open to this possibility?

The OP concludes

Atheism not only fails to prove its case, it also fails to disprove the evidence for the existence of God. In reality, there is abundant evidence to support the view that the cosmos was created by an intelligent, purposeful and supernatural being. It is not enough for atheists to dismiss this evidence out of hand simply because, by their own definition, there is nothing to investigate. Saying that God does not exist, does not make it so.
It is more reasonable to believe in God, because the existence of this life is impossible to
understand without God.

To which we call bull! The existence of god is a hypothesis in need of proof. The theist has his work properly outlined for him/ her. The theist claiming a god exists has first to tell us what god is, and whether god is. Assertions and arguments will not hold. To claim arguments can be used to demonstrate a god exists is to define god into existence and anything can be argued to be in this way. The claim that the universe was created by an intelligent being is not an argument for theism. If anything, this argument could only be used by deists. It is a leap of faith to claim that the author of the universe was intelligent, purposeful and supernatural is not supported by any evidence. It is an assertion in need of proof. The universe could as well be the result of a malevolent creatures. Nothing stops it being the work of different creators. One creating trees, another water, another elephants and another idiots. Who knows, there could be a god who multiplies the number of idiots and another who creates genius one after every so long? Saying that god exists does not make it so. It is more reasonable to believe the universe is atheistic, that it is indifferent to whether you have an orgasm or not, that it doesn’t give a rat whether you have cancer or not. All advancements we have made in science have not had god in their explanations. The word god has no explanatory power. To understand the world around us, we must ditch the god belief. We then begin to look at the world as is.


Reblog: Iranian Sentenced to Death for Insulting Prophet Mohammad

How in this day and age a person can be found guilty for a offending a pedophile prophet by a post on facebook is beyond me. If for any reason these people believe their god is powerful, why not defer these punishments to him and relax easy?


Via Kaveh Mousavi:

A blogger found guilty of insulting the Prophet Mohammad in his postings on Facebook has been sentenced to death. An informed source told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran that the blogger, Soheil Arabi, will be able to appeal the decision until September 20, 2014.

Agents from the Revolutionary Guards Corps’ (IRGC) Sarallah Base arrested Soheil Arabi, 30, and his wife in November 2013. Arabi’s wife was released a few hours later, but he was kept in solitary confinement for two months inside IRGC’s Ward 2-A at Evin Prison, before he was transferred to Evin’s General Ward 350. Branch 76 of the Tehran Criminal Court, under Judge Khorasani, found Arabi guilty of “sabb al-nabi” (insulting the Prophet), on August 30, 2014.


“Soheil had eight Facebook pages under different names, and he was charged with insulting the Imams and the Prophet because of the contents…

View original post 84 more words

I have seen the light and will receive the lord soon

The god of the bible, YHWH and Jesus his son are all loving, all good, all-powerful god.

You see I have been think hard and deeply and it occurred to me only a loving god would do the things am about to count and I hope when you finish reading this, you will all be saved.

Adam and Eve got punished for their first ever crime and generations after them are still suffering for this crime. This loving god expects us to forgive 70 times 7 or is it 70 I forget sometimes but could not forgive the first two ignoramuses their first misdemeanor. You know he did not have to put the tree in the garden in the first place. This god is truly loving.

When he told Noah to build the ark, he helped him secure houseflies, mosquitoes, tsetse flies and cockroaches among many others to make sure that apart from the other punishments he had inflicted on man, there was going to be sicknesses or agents that would spread the diseases all through to the end of time. This was an act of love.

His other act of love during the design, construction and commissioning of the ark and later during the deluge was to find all animals guilty with man in partaking of the fruit. The world is no better for it. And because of his love, those animals that could not make it to the ark drowned. What a mercifully god.

When after he got the sons of Israel {Jacob] into Egypt and hardening Pharaoh’s heart, he killed the first-born of everything including hens to show he was angry. Here was his mercy most shown to the Egyptians for he even asked the sons of Israel to pillage on their way to the desert. Who would not count this an act of love and mercy?

His great power is displayed in the wilderness when after feeding the people of Israel on manna for dog years, he got offended at their golden calf and ordered the priestly class to slaughter all those who were involved in this unforgivable crime.

For the crime of occupying land that this god had earmarked for the sons of Israel, the Canaanites had their women and children killed, virgins taken as slaves and their land forcefully acquired like the way the Chinese government does. This here was an act of love.

In a show of power, he stopped the sun for several hours to help Jacob in his killing spree. Now that is being all-powerful.

In the NT, we have his son superstar Jesus H. Christ calming seas, walking on water, healing a few blind men, being tempted by Satan and many heroic things, they did not find it in their all loving and all-powerful natures to completely eradicate blindness, ignorance, make wine readily available for all.

The crowning glory of love, power and mercy we see when to save us from his wrath- don’t ever forget he is all loving, all merciful, all just- he had his son commit suicide by the Centurion. Many men have lost their limb and life in defending or fighting for this great act of love, mercy and justice. I know you will say that an all-powerful god could just say I forgive you, go and sin no more, but that would not be truly loving.

If you have managed to read this far, you understand why I have seen the light and I will join the brigade of love, justice and mercy. Hail Christianity, Hail religion. One really has to be daft to believe in this as being an act of love.


For his love of Job and in the need to settle his ego issues with the all malevolent creator, he made job go though agonizing pain both physical and emotional. Don’t no one tell me I got ego issues, one thing I know for certain they don’t match this god’s.

Lucille 2: La gaudière

Lucille 2

La gaudière

n. the glint of goodness inside people, which you can only find by sloshing them back and forth in your mind until everything dark and gray and common falls away, leaving behind a constellation at the bottom of the pan—a rare element trapped in exposed bedrock, washed there by a storm somewhere upstream.

The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows

Dear Lucille;

Can you see the music and the dance all around?

Can you see the melodies, the codas, the rare refrains, the flanged bridges, and the occasional, but unforgettable  reverberations that string together one and all? Do you feel the sea of pure music, abounding all around, permeating all and one, and setting forth basal harmony to all that abide by it? Does the heavenly resonance touch your heart, and quicken it, and leave you in a turmoil of emotions and longings? If you do, Lucille, I heartily welcome you to my world – a world of symphonies, and in which every single sentiment, every single profundity, and every single chord, has a place on the eternal staves of cosmic music.

At one time in the past, you posed a question unto me, Lucille. You asked me what it was that I saw in you, and that attracted me so intensely towards you. Alas, I found myself speechless then, and I asked for some time to actually think over the question. And, in my solitude, I tried to hack away at the question, trying to reduce it to elemental artifacts, as my professional training was wont to do. It is upon this reductionist paradigm that, for many restless moons, your question remained unanswered. Until, one day, I decided to gaze at the composition, the wholeness of the question, rather than at the composites. And lo, the heavens opened up, light came unto my mind, and the answer came rushing at me, almost immediately:

Lucille, I am privy to a dance that you perform, every single second of your life, and that no one else perceives.

There is an ethereal gait… an other-worldly elegance to your steps, and to your body movements, that I have never observed in anyone else. It is like a unique fingerprint – a primordial signature by which you ceaselessly authenticate and weld your spirit to mine. I have, on various occasions in the past, watched you as you went about your life, and got struck by the sheer grace and fluidity that you seemed to command. Like a ballerina, you’ve always stepped the right way, swayed the right way, gyrated the right way, shrugged the right way, and consistently held me captive, with your movements, the right way. Never have I ever seen a misstep on your path, nor a stumble, nor a tumble, nor a sprain.

There is one particular vision about you that I remember vividly, Lucille. We were on a nature trail, when suddenly, you run up ahead of me, and cast yourself as a silhouette against the setting sun. Then, you executed a perfect arabesque – à demi hauteur, straightened out, pirouetted, and finished off with a grand jeté right across a stony brook. I was mesmerized. But what made the moment even more magical was the fact that, up in the evening skies, a large murmuration of starlings was, right then, performing the most intricate, and iridescent, whorls, swoops and loops… in perfect rhythm with your body movements. It was like both you and the passerines had suddenly, somehow tapped in to a common, ethereal symphony, and were dancing right along to it. Afterwards, we walked the rest of the way in an enchanted… almost divine, silence.

By Tao, it’s said that certain streams hold every single song that has ever been sung. If this is so, then I think that you, Lucille, have somehow bathed in certain such streams, and inherited their precious melodies. For within you, there is a resonance to a cosmic song that never terminates, never pauses, and that never ceases to tug at my soul strings. There is, within you, a harmony and grace that would make even the loftiest angels weep with enchantment. And yet, so innocently and naturally do you carry about your daily chores that I’ve wondered, on many an occasion, whether you are actually aware of this dimension of yourself. Lucille, are you aware that, by a simple flick of your slender wrist, you regularly hypnotize me, and cast me, quite bodily, into Nirvana? And are you aware that, by your presence, every single nature walk feels like a retreat into the verdant fields of Arcadia?

Such is the mellifluous hold you have over me, Lucille, that I have but one recurring dream. I dream that one day, our essences will transmogrify into twin rivers, which will race alongside each other, singing and chanting and dancing to the sweetest melodies ever visited upon mortals. And at the end of our journeys, we will cascade over a cliff, twisting and weaving into each other, until we submerge into the silent pool at the bottom. Upon which, with a final sigh, we will become but part of a larger lake – a large confluence whose myriad tributaries render it immortal. And there, we will ebb and flow, swirl and pirouette, in harmonious eddies, till the ends of time

Yours forever enchanted,

Cystorm Cintanex

N/B: For a related note, see Lucille 1: Sonder

The failure of atheism

I hate idiocy and I hate to call anyone an idiot even when it is clear they are. We are not sure whether the author of this article has their head in the right place nor if they live in the same world I and many others inhabit.

Someone tell me where

Atheism, along with and its handmaiden science, is now the predominant worldview, in other words the predominant way which people in the West look at, interpret, and deal with the everything in the world. That includes the spiritual world. The Western/atheist response to the spiritual world is to ignore it.

this is the case. Poll after poll show that we live in a world overpopulated by religious, in some places, over 80% of the population profess a belief in one god or other. Atheism is not a worldview the same way not believing in Santa is not a world view. It is an answer to a question whose content is not enough to form a world view on. How, for example, would a world view based on not believing in big foot be structured? And science is not the handmaid of atheism or the other way round. It just so happens that most reasonable people are atheists. You can throw stones about this if you like!

The atheist worldview is thus described,

And what is the atheist worldview? Once you take God out of the picture, what’s left? Briefly, this is what we’ve got in the West, now:

All human beings are creative, unique individuals. We know that because human beings display those tendencies.

Maybe the author meant humanism. Atheism simply for the umpteenth time is a lack of belief in god[s]. It says nothing whatsoever on view of man in the cosmic scale. Humanism on the other hand among others teaches respect to the person and a belief in our collective abilities as men to solve our problems. With or without religion and gods, human beings are creative people unless the religious admit that in their worldview human beings are sheep in need of a shepherd.

And the believer can’t help hide their bigotry. It pains them so much that people should have rights to live their lives as they see fit. The

right of people to fulfill their desires is, for lack of a better word, Sacred. This is why supporting gay marriage, sex-change surgery, abortion and euthanasia are so popular with atheists.

so pains them that atheism is seen as the greatest evil second only to god tempting Adan and Eve in the garden of Eden. It is important to note that atheists support the right to choice, whether to carry a pregnancy to term or not. If you construe that as supporting abortion, so be it but I know of several bible carrying Christians who have made doctors in abortion clinics busy. Whether they are also atheists remains to be proved. The right to die in dignity is one that should be guaranteed for all. The christian obsession with suffering should not become a world phenomena. No one should suffer in agony waiting for a death that will come sometime anyway because some christian is obsessed with suffering. Let the christian suffer but leave the rest of us alone.

Atheism got nothing to do with the origins of the universe. That is in the purview of cosmology. The atheist demands evidence for your god. If you feel this challenges your fairy tale of creation with a few let there be- too bad. We can’t help you here. To write

This point of view is exemplified by the atheist explanation of the creation of the universe — it was a cosmic accident, and it doesn’t really matter how it happened, and it doesn’t really matter, period. The only thing which matters is the individual.

is to create a strawman of atheists/atheism that in truth doesn’t even deserve a response.

It is a lie to say

So, atheism is on top now.

And to then go ahead to write that

the problem with atheism is that it simply can’t solve the problem of Islamic terrorism. It lacks the capability to deal with it.

is both imbecile and asinine. If some idiots believe their god demands blood sacrifice, all I can point out to them is that they are misguided. They need to rethink. You see, am a rational being and it would take a lot of convincing to make me join the army to follow commands without asking why. I mean no disrespect to the men and women who have served their countries in such capacities. I digress though, what would this christian have us do? To go killing Muslims for being stupid in the belief that Allah loves blood?

In fact the line he writes is quite sensible but am beginning to think the said author is so dumb to even realize. S/he writes the response from the west is

Any conspiracy to cut heads off people is going to affect the freedom of the owners of those heads. So, it’s bad. Therefore such conspirators should be stopped. As we stop them, though, we recognise that those conspirators come from a group which may have been marginalized in the past, and recognise that they have a right to live their life as they choose, free of hindrance, as long as that choice does not affect other people’s choices.

which if those idiots running the ISIS could listen to, they would let each person live their lives and square it out with god if they should so meet on judgement day whenever that will be. The world would be more peaceful place if the above ideal were followed. The Christian believes if everyone starts to believe in their hippy miracle worker then the world will get too stupid to even go to war. What a dumb way to look at life. I suggest this author reads has free thought a constructive side.

The often repeated claim that atheist killed when they were in power omits the very reason why these men slaughtered their countrymen. It was never in the cause of disbelief. They were tyrants, fighting to stay in power and they wanted people to follow their dogmas. I am open to be shown evidence to the contrary.

This claim

As for atheism, it doesn’t matter how right it seems, it just doesn’t get good results. This can be seen with its failure to deal with Islamic terrorism, or its grand experiments such as the Soviet Union. Atheists will probably say that these are aberrations, and the best is yet to come. But I don’t see it.

could only have been written by a person with less matter between their ears. Most of the western world have their leaders steeped in religion. When Obama and Cameron said ISIS doesn’t represent Islam, atheists called them out on this. And I believe that a society that is reasonable would be secure from such barbarity as ISIS.

How the Christian arrives at the conclusion that the Muslim worships the wrong god is one method I would like to learn. We have our author claim

Islam turns away from God by worshiping a false god and venerating a false prophet.

And the atheist is judged as turning away from god by rejecting his existence- and this is the christian god. The question any reasonable person would ask is why is Zeus not the right god and that the Christian has it wrong by worshiping some Hebrew god?

The author concludes by writing

I’ve said it before: Atheism just isn’t attractive.

and I agree. To be reasonable for most people is a tough call. And for most ignorance is bliss. I would not be the first to get you out of your ignorance. I will also not stop to mock, ridicule and satirize religion. It deserves nothing more than that. If you find nothing odd with a man having his ass talk with him or talking snakes, you have lost your head.

I will close by saying the correct title for the post should have been Failure of theism.

Lucille 1: Sonder

Lucille 1


n. the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own—populated with their own ambitions, friends, routines, worries and inherited craziness—an epic story that continues invisibly around you like an anthill sprawling deep underground, with elaborate passageways to thousands of other lives that you’ll never know existed, in which you might appear only once, as an extra sipping coffee in the background, as a blur of traffic passing on the highway, as a lighted window at dusk.

— The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows

Dear Lucille,

I know that you aren’t aware of this, but today, you passed by me on the motorway. I was just emerging from the service lane into the highway, when you whizzed by at breathtaking speed. I gave chase, but my old Jalopy was certainly no match to your pearl LaCrosse. So I hugged your wake, and tailed you till you disappeared far ahead. And for those precious minutes that I could still spot you ahead, I remained in Utopia.

Lucille, you left behind a portion of your essence on the motorway.

Perhaps it’s my imagination, but as long as I remained in that outermost lane, I could pick up your fragrance. It was a heady sensation – riding a Jojoba and Eucalyptus trail. Memories were unlocked; of idyllic meadows, of scenic nature trails… and of vast savannas. But at one time, a ChromaFlared roadster cut in ahead of me, and the scent abruptly gained some Tiare and bergamot notes. You used to wear these ones too. And once again, yet other memories flooded; of Samoan rainforests, of a great many lakeside walks… and of misty, sleepy skylines. I was enchanted. And I wondered whether I was turning into a synesthetic.

A few wistful wishes run across my mind then. Forgive me, Lucille, but my professional background rendered a rather bland dimension to the wishes. For instance, I imagined myself getting out of the jalopy, standing on the tarmac, and twirling round and round, until I robbed the earth a teeny tiny fraction of its rotational velocity, and extended the day by a single, precious millisecond. Doubtless, by the time I achieved this, my entire mind would be scrambled from all the twirling, but that extra millisecond would be a unique, original, and priceless gift from me to you. And as you experienced that extra millisecond, I would lie on that tarmac, oblivious to the world… having fried my mind completely. And I would smile, contended.

I imagined launching myself into a geostationary orbit, and acting as your personal sentinel from deep space. I would bear up with the freezing cold, the utter silence, and the vacuum of deep space, just to maintain a constant proximity between us. I would master celestial mechanics, and draw up intricate ephemerides of all asteroids. And whenever any asteroid broke free from the belt, and headed towards earth, I’d have you look into the skies, witness the shooting star, and make a wish for us. And upon the dusk of my days, I’d launch myself from orbit, descend towards earth, and turn myself into a shooting star in the earth’s atmosphere.

My mind explored the toil of time on your fragile beauty, Lucille. And I vowed, in my fantasy, to craft a space-ship for you, launch you into deep space, and activate a luminal-velocity space-drive. At this velocity, time for you would come to a standstill, and you would never grow old. Instead, you would transverse the hearts of galaxies, make acquaintances with quasars and pulsars, and skim along the event horizons of black holes. You would peer through the windows of the multiverse, tunnel through worm holes, and surf on cosmic gyres. Truly, you would become ageless, and your true spirit would emerge: the spirit of stellar dust… a heart after my own.

Yours forever enchanted,

Cystorm Cintanex

 N/B: For a related note, see Lucille 2: La gaudière

Divine Command Theory

my foot!

Here is WLC opening his mouth to exchange shoes on morality. He was asked what one were to do if the IS god is the one true god and it commanded rapine and murder if you hold DCT to be true. He starts by deflecting the issue by questioning the emotional status of the person asking the query.

I am going to lift a few of his quotes here and you can read the rest for yourself.

He writes, with emphasis by us

Most divine command theorists are non-voluntarists who hold that moral values are not grounded in God’s will but in His nature. Moral duties are grounded in His will or commands; but moral values are prior to His will, since God’s own nature is not something invented by God. Since His will is not independent of His nature but must express His nature, it is logically impossible for Him to issue certain sorts of commands. In order to do so, He would have to have a different nature, which is logically impossible.

And we must ask whether he admits that if his god exists, it cannot have free will. And in some sectors, theologians have said the nature of god is unknowable, me wonders how Craig has come to this knowledge and two is who invented god’s nature?

Craig the goes ahead to say

It is logically impossible that there be any other God. So if you were mistaken and believed in the wrong God, you would be a Muslim or a Hindu or a polytheist or what have you; but there wouldn’t be another God. Remember: on perfect being theology, God is a maximally great being, a being which is worthy of worship. Lesser beings are not “Gods” at all. In fact, in my debates with Muslim theologians, this is one of the arguments I use against the Islamic conception of God: that Allah cannot be the greatest conceivable being because he is not all-loving and therefore cannot be God.

And we must ask why is it logically impossible that there be any other god? What criteria does Craig use to arrive at the conclusion that the christian god is the only one and the right one to boot. Please god, I want such powers of cognition as Craig does! Amen. While still on this matter, JZ asked if being worshiped is to be seen as a virtue or vice. And how is YHWH all loving when we hear there are two paths, one to damnation and the other to the pearly gates? or are these lies to keep people in church?

And I think this

The idea is that moral values are based in God, but if your concept of God is inadequate, then your ethics are going to be messed up. The problem lies in a defective concept of God.

explains why those who are so steeped in belief and faith are not useful to the society. I am waiting to hear the one believer who will give a logically coherent definition of god. Am patient, I will wait.

In the end Craig brushes the problem away by making a claim that only his god is god, the rest are defective conceptions of god. I hope he will give us reasonable answers to how he comes to this conclusion without obfuscation and a wave of the hand.

Professor Coyne has written on this here.