Monday, November 6, 2006

Persistence of love after life

Do we persist after or wiring stops to function and our gears cease to mesh?
Should the microscopic details surrounding our parting circumstances be grieved upon? Or, as time persistently marches on, should we love the impact and impressions a person has left on the lives around him. Of course, there is time for grief and inspection. Like a mighty boulder, cast in to a river, a turbulent, gaping hole is wrought and the water is projected in all directions. The river will eventually calm. Ripples from the disruption continue but the observer downstream cannot make sense of them amongst ripples made by the wind and the rain and soon signs of the disruption all but disappear. One cannot avoid thinking about the gaping whole in life and how it might project in the future. Life does not stop though. When curiosity defeats thought of self, we learn. When acts of preservation for others are not reflected, we rejoice in the deed and weep for the response. But the important thing is to love what was loved, cherish the values we admired in those lost and let those memories ripple through our lives and in to others.
There are those that dwell on changing the past, in the darkness to expiate mistakes. I don't know that all people have the same problem with death. People are not all alike. Would it be, that if I were truly a good person, that death would sometimes be a blessing? Verily, I say no. Death is like the rain; and the rain falls on both the good and the wicked.
So now, I shall go out and toil in the world. Expense reports, contracts, schedules, bugs. To some unknown end. With the other life forms, fraught with troubles, full of "sound and fury." When confronted with their passions and their human nature I often feel "ordinary, and not up to the task." But I know I love and I am loved by those that surround me.
Grant me the serenity to see some of the blessings already granted. It is no comfort that things are worse for so many other people. But it forces me to consider that the significant possessions in life are the ones who we know and love, and the opportunities that are given us to affirm that gift. Life and labor make so many competing demands, and time seems to be too much in short supply. If this is the fabric with which we must work, let us work diligently to weave in the strong threads of family and friendship so that it will last and be a blessing to ourselves, our children, and, in times to come, our children's children.

Nick, your calmness and kindness, your intelligence and curiosity, the love you gave to your friends and family, they will carry on and that is enough. Thank you.

"Success is to laugh often and much.
To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children.
To gain the appreciation of honest critics
and endure the betrayal of false friends.
To appreciate beauty.
To find the best in others.
To leave the world a little bit better
whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition.
To know one life has breathed easier because you have lived.
That is to have succeeded."


Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Freedom of the will

A prescient deity would be fixed in the timeline just like us. Seeing ahead means being behind. But the center of time is outside the line.
All things all at once. And yet.
What difference could anything we do possibly make?
Unless there's layers there too.
And what we're taught to see as God is an impostor.
A little impostor.
A little desperate impostor who depends on belief and obedience to exist.
The closed system of our choices means we act out the inevitable. So that choosing isn't any more than bud and bloom. This much sun, that much rain, and there you go.
Unless there's more.
Unless there's a lot more.
A quick glance around shows opportunists in every nook and cranny pretending to be this, pretending to be that, in order to procure the energy of the credulous.
And for the credulous, the safety and security of pretending not to see, as well.
The givens always give it away.
The assumption is the Biblical God is what's there. Because he says so, or rather because the Bible says he says so. The tautology of mightiness. The chain of command arcs with lightning from a roiling sky. The unknowable has no advocacy in the arena of forensic publicity.
This life matters, this life is meaningless.
Would that choosing alone could make it so.
What is it all by itself? Without our prejudice, without our propaganda and cunning?
Ask a cow stumbling toward the ramp.
The answer's in the twinkling fractals of the micro-infinite. I really believe that.
Negative proof in the persistence of identity below the nominative threshold. I am sort of, in a way that's not stuck in the mirror of name and face. And my being proves something, you too. I think. We are. There's proof in that.
And in the scornful snorts of the priest/scientists confronting the childlike wonder of the uninitiated questioning and contemplating that one observable infinity we all can point toward.
The stars below us.

Tuesday, March 7, 2006

Dear South Dakota, you're fired.

It is called a grey area. You religious twits insist on making it a black and white issue for everyone and pushing your moral agenda in to law. I don't believe what you believe but I allow you to make descisions for yourself. All I ask is that same courtesy in return. You keep your personal hang ups out of my business and government.
We can all agree that killing a new born baby is murder. The baby is alive. Its autonomic nervous system is firing, it lungs can process the air that fills them, the heart pumps that air and nutrients around the body. That is life.
Most of us can agree that everytime a woman has her period instead of getting fertilized or every time a guy jerks off in to a sock instead of a woman, they aren't committing murder (except you Catholics and your Onan story but by your logic, God should be striking me down every damn day. Still here). Everything in between is subject to grey areas of religion and basic human morality -- do un to others and all that jazz. Leave it alone. Not everyone believes a soul enters the cells as soon as the mitotic cells join up. I think people who go around killing animals when there are other perfectly good food sources around are violent hypocrits but I don't get in anyones face about it. Wouldn't you be pissed off if I got the government involved and made eating meat illegal? Yes, people who get abortions are irrisponsible for needing one (for reasons other than personal health or rape) but those people have to live with there actions. It doesn't affect anyone outside of the two people who screwed up and got pregnant.
So, South Dakota. You push the supreme court to overturn Roe V Wade. I will make it my peronsal mission to remove every religious symbol from every piece of public property starting with the money in my wallet. To borrow from Steven Colbert; South Dakota, you are dead to me.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Would that choosing alone could make it so

The issue of theism and a-theism is concealed by waste products and the debris of confusion. It's a desperate thing.

We are alone. Or we're in the belly of the whale of the mother. Or we're in the hands of God, who is like an insurance agent, faceless and exacting; promising great reward for our investment or at least our protection. What we know is a good place to start but we know so much, about so little. The catalog consumes whole lives of scholarship just to print. We do know these simple things:

All organic life on this planet is driven by the sun's engine. All life is composed of matter that, for all its transforming, is the same stuff of which all the rest of the visible universe is composed. The amount of sunlight that powers our lives is so small I hesitate to estimate it. Very tiny amounts of sunlight are the motivation of all living things. Very very tiny and for only half of time; the rest we turn toward the infinite reach of seemingly dark space but that darkness is itself another illusion. All we know of life comes from tiny bits of sunlight and that life is made from the same stuff as stars.

Jump to the sun's context and you have a vast number of stars out there, all spilling this wonderful powerful stuff. Keep in mind that a tiny bit runs all our doing. And there's billions of billions of those stars, each one pushing full-bore.

Now look at the self. These little neurons and synaptic connectors and the winking of electric bursts inside the brain. That's where we live, that's how we work, that's our minds and our selves; and the amount of distributed solar power that goes to that working is an almost immeasurable bit of an almost immeasurable bit of the power of the mass of stars. A mass likely to be an immeasurable bit on a higher order of something still further. And so on... It is certainly possible, even likely, that the organization and consciousness within us, may be a miniaturization of the order beyond us. The teaching of organized religions, which all appear to think they have a trademark copyright on the concept of God, is mostly brute muttering against the dark, and thuggish seduction and promises of security. To a lot of people the idea of theos (or God) is too closely associated with the powers that be, cowards, and ignorant, unquestioning people. This leads to nonsensical debates and directly away from what is purports to lead toward.

You may believe that the moon doesn't spin in its orbit, and you may believe that the stars are small objects just beyond Jupiter and that all heavenly bodies circle Earth. I may not listen to you about anything else once I know how wrong you are about what's going on with the sun and the stars, but that doesn't mean you're wrong about the moon.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006


So I got in to it with God boy... This is an old and tired debate to me but I indulged a bit.
I'm still dumbfounded and waiting for his (mcgrew's) response. My nick is panZ in this...

Theism (4.00 / 2) (..403)
by mcgrew

I believe in God mainly because He has manifested Himself to me. I have witnessed miracles. I know God. Perhaps I am insane.

However, there are questions that, for now, only religion can answer.

What is consciousness? What is sentience? Why is it there? How can a being that can even ask these questions exist? Does it really seem likely to anyone that the pyramids, skyscrapers, automobiles, laptop computers, are only accidents of entropy?

The aformentioned laptop, which was fashioned by humans, is incredibly complex, with millions of microscopic transistors (each an accident of entropy, in the athiest's view). But compared to the humans who designed and built them, they are laughingly simple. Yet they are fashioned by a consciousness, and we are not?

The very idea is so mind boggling as to be laughable.

laughable? (none / 0) (..694)
by panZ on Sat <--------------- Me

Why is the idea that your laptop is a result of entropy laughable? Please note that I'm not even discussing the existence of a god or personification of the universe and what consciousness is. Assigning human emotions and consciousness to the intangible needs of your mind is not critical to this debate. Only looking at the smaller parts of the big picture.

Is it laughable that, in the vast, nearly infinite expanse of our universe, that on some planet, some molecules formed amino acids, and that some amino acids formed a symbiotic relationship and became proteins, and that over time, these proteins also developed symbiotic relationships and made cells; then multi cell organisms; then specialized cells formed in small creatures; then larger creatures with even more highly specialized cells became efficient; developing clusters of organs and becoming mobile and interacting with their environment our; then creatures that created simple tools, then used simple tools to make more complex tools? Tools, like biology are a reaction of specialization which breads symbiotic dependency, efficiency and survivability. Is it so laughable that your laptop evolved from very simple tools and an organism's need just like a biological organism could have evolved from something very simple?

I'm not saying it did or didn't happened, just that the idea isn't laughable.

Moving on to the bigger picture; you argue that the laptop is so complex that is must have been designed by a conscious, intelligence. And you say that man is so complex that it must have been created by a conscious intelligence. By that reasoning, your god is so complex that he must have been created by some conscious intelligence. What created your god then? The "Intelligent Design" people out there have a recursive argument that is wholly fallacious once you think beyond the second iteration. The trouble is, none of them do. So who created your god? You did.

"I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than
you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours."

The problem.. (5.00 / 2) (..702)
by kitten

Is it laughable that, in the vast, nearly infinite expanse of our universe, that on some planet, some molecules formed amino acids, and that some amino acids formed a symbiotic relationship and became proteins, and that over time, these proteins also developed symbiotic relationships and made cells...

The problem with explaining this is that theists with a beef, and more specifically creationists, see the word "random" and absolutely latch onto it like a pitbull on a poodle. "How could the human body have formed 'randomly'?" they ask, all smirking, as though the postulation was that atoms sort of swirled together out of the void and "just so happened" to "randomly" arrange themselves into human form.

That very idea is what's laughable. Add that to the notion that interactions of matter are, by definition, not random, and it quickly becomes apparent that they literally do not have any idea what they're talking about.