- I am a disappointed atheist. I really, really, wish there was even the faintest evidence that there was something beyond the material reality. Sadly there isn’t.
- I have an unpronounceable surname.
- Asking me to pick a favourite film is almost as bad as asking me to pick a favourite book. My tastes change depending on mood and range from Arsenic & Old Lace, to Edge of Tomorrow, to Layer cake. The one unifying factor is escapism; If I wanted reality I’d be out in the world, not watching movies.
- I have long been interested in psychology and counselling, which fuelled my brief tenure in Mental Health. The problem with understanding how the human psyche works is that you recognise how much damage working in Mental Health does… so I got out.
- Music. Yes. All of it (excluding rap/country and auto tune)
- I write. I write lots. Some of my stuff is mainstream, some is fiction, some is confronting, some is plain crass. To prevent overlap I maintain several online personas.
- I can neither roll my tongue nor wiggle my ears.
Quick & Dirty, some suggestions for minimalist changes to the Australian flag.
Minimal Change, with indigenous Colours
Minor Change, with sporting Colours
For some more (professional) suggestions http://www.flagsaustralia.com.au/newflag.html
There is a Facebook trend going around where you are supposed to tell people what you would say were you to die and find yourself at the pearly gates. It appears to be one of those ‘gotcha’ questions that evangelists keep on asking, only to be shocked at the answers. I think Fry answered it best (so I’ve dredged up that clip) but here is my answer.
What would I say to him? Well I guess that would all depend on what He was.
If god was an awareness at the very beginning of things, who gathered together the raw materials and announced “let there be light”, then that is different. I’d love to sit down with that being and ask him about pretty much everything. What bits did we get right, where did we not understand something, where were we so close to understanding the truth but just missed it. I’d love to sit down beside that being and watch it all play out, beginning to end. That would be incredible.
If God was a being that developed creation, then decided he wanted something more. He reached down into one little creature and tampered with it to give it both self-awareness and free will, then sat back to see how thing would unfold. Then that would be amazing too.I’d want to talk to them too, ask them where humanity surprised them, learn about what they found disappointing, and what things we did that impressed or surprised Him. I’d love to know what He thought about our many bumbling attempts at religions, and if any of them even came close.
If we’re going back to early polytheism with the Sumerian,or Greek gods, then I’d still have questions. We know these gods were practically human, they may have been gods but they were flawed. they were prone to petty jealousies, big mistakes, and temper tantrums. They were beings with power but no one to answer to, no consequences for their actions unless they upset another of their kind. They made no claim to being good or evil, they were just capricious and powerful. I could respect that, kind of like kids with an ant far, sure they might not be benevolent, but I can understand why.
However if you’ve got a god that is able to intervene in our world, is all knowing, and claims to be benevolent, then we have a problem. To quote Stephen Fry, “bone cancer in children, what is that about?” So much misery in this world is outside our control, but if it was within the control of an ultimate being its existence goes from being unfortunate to downright evil. Parasites that clog our bodies until we die? Diseases that leave people deaf, blind, crippled, or in pain. Each natural disaster becomes a petty attack on humanity, because as much as we are damaging the planet, we’re not the direct cause of it all. If that is God, I have no interest in meeting it, much less talking to it.
An all powerful creator could have removed all of these factors, without in any way compromising our free will. If He was leaving them to see how we would react, then that is not a being that could in any way be described as good. What sort of deity would send a thousand prophets, each with a different message? How is depression, or Alzheimers a divine blessing? Why give us organs that try and kill us, bodies that break down painfully as we age, and an inability to empathise with others of our own species. Worse still if God really does have a plan for each of of, if that’s the case we don’t even have free will, the terrible things that happen to us that we think are within our control are just as unavoidable. That would be a dark god that exists just to make His creations suffer, a psychopathic megalomaniac that is so ancient that only sadism truly entertains it now.
Stephen Fry’s answer below.
I’ve taken up a day job, a permanent job, and it has been brutal on the writing schedule. Things are starting to calm down now, and hopefully I’ll be able to put pen to paper more often. Or fingers to keyboard to be more precise.
So in the interest of flooding the internet with more inane band-width devouring chatter I’m going to be back here more often, possibly not so much with updates on my progress, but with updates on the world… you know, in case you haven’t gotten out of the house this month.
Lets start with a bit of inspiration Lindsey Stirling, also know as Lindsey Stomp, check out this talented young lady on YouTube, and if you like what you hear and see buy her stuff on iTunes.
Now I wouldn’t normally spruke on my pages but this is a way of supporting an independent artist and hopefully keeping alive alternatives to the ($ over art) stranglehold of the larger distributors.
Okay, wow isn’t sinking… and SWTOR isn’t all about the romance. What it is can be summed up as Not Wow, Sci-Fi rather than fantasy, and something new with player being more than just a plot tool, as well as a extensive world. I’m moving because wow has served me well, but a relationship that has lasted this long tends to go stale. It didn’t propose, so time for me to move on. On to a game with real voiced characters, massive Lore background, and COMPANIONS. That’s what sold me really, Dragon Age and Mass Effect style companions, sorry Blizzard, don’t slam the door on your way out.
So I’m leaving the Twisting Nether behind (free gold to the first one who talks to my toons and identifies this post) and heading for a place far, far away.
George Lucus may have done what he could to gut the franchise (all hail the far superior Phantom Edit), but not even he could make a Bioware game suck. All I wanted for x-mass was a Mass Effect MMO, and by gods I’ve pretty much gotten it. So goodbye to Wow, you have served my procrastination well… it’s been a steady progress of culling my alts down to 2 servers, and now to have them fall on their swords.
This came from an unusual source, a friend laughing so hard I just ‘had’ to see what was so funny. The scary thing was that this wasn’t a office joke mail or a lol-cat, but an actual article. An apparently serious article too.
Okay, not that apparent once you start reading it. I got one paragraph in and I got the grins too.
Here’s the link http://www.ncregister.com/reasoning-with-atheists.html and even if you’re as sleep deprived as I am at the moment, the funny should leap out at you.
“I want to talk rationally with atheists but starting the conversation by suggesting that the discard the rational foundations of their thinking.”
Okay, that’s funny.
JENNIFER FULWILER says you can’t reason with atheists… and she is right; theism has NO rational tools which might be applied effectively. Rational thought is what causes people to leave behind their divine security blanket, you can’t use it to get them to do a 180 and come right back. In fact one of the most effective atheist ‘eye opening’ techniques is to get people to read their bible, look at the horrors it encourages, look at the contradictions, and look at how stone age morals and xenophobic writings apply to the modern world.
Faith is an emotional crutch, not an intellectual construct. Churches exist because of the sense of belonging, the spirit of community (on the positive side) and the feelings of guilt and need for a ‘force’ that forgives us our darkest urges and provides external constraints (on the negative side). Let’s face it, there comes a time when we all just want to stop worrying and have someone to tell us what to do, so much better when that someone has the authority of a thousand year old book behind them. Better still when you can shop around to find an interpretation that is telling us to do what we want to do anyway.
The scariest thing about being an atheist, other than having to face death as a end to everything we are, is that of the independence. You hurt someone, you have only yourself to blame. There is no bearded man in the sky telling us what to do, not force of evil usurping our will. We have to think out our every action and decide for ourselves whether it is right or wrong. More often than not this comes down to “would I want this to be done to me”. It’s actually a lot more difficult… who’d have thought that morality wasn’t black and white?
Back to Jen’s approach. (wonder if she minds being called Jen?)
Okay Atheist person, let’s sit down and for a moment assume that there is a God. Now from this starting point I want to convince you that religion X is rational. Hmmmmm… am I the only one that sees a problem with this? You’ve asked someone to accept something without evidence, that has no supporting proof, thus discarding any critical evaluation and rational understanding, and now you’re asking them to apply those rational processes to your case points.
I’m sorry but once I’ve put aside rational argument, scepticism and logic, then any case becomes presentable.
- The moon is made of cheese? Yes, certainly, cut me a slice.
- There a dolphins living in the bottom of my underwear draw? Let me open the draw a pinch to make sure they get some light.
- There is a God? Sure, why not let his mother be a virgin and his life-story be a carbon copy of the terrible pagan god that came before but was only a myth.
As an added bonus Jen quotes a bit from G.K. Chesterton that I’ve always considered completely insane.
“Poets do not go mad; but chess-players do…. Mathematicians go mad, and cashiers; but creative artists very seldom”
Really? No mad poets? Could it simply be that we expect madness from the creative and tolerate it as eccentricity? That when the linear and logical mind breaks down that madness is self-evident, but when the artist does the same we simply shrug and say, “he’s in his blue period” or “yeah, but he’s ‘creative’”.
“To accept everything is an exercise, to understand everything a strain. The poet only desires exaltation and expansion, a world to stretch himself in. The poet only asks to get his head into the heavens. It is the logician who seeks to get the heavens into his head. And it is his head that splits.”
The poet guesses, the theologian assumes. Worst still, neither can be proven wrong because their path places no value on truth, only on belief. The scientist studies, and wants to know. There is always another wonder, an undiscovered secret, no scientist is willing to pretend they know everything; such delusional self-assurance is the domain of the priest or fanatic.
Okay there is some good writing here, and I enjoyed the premise. Silly as it is.
Yet you can’t be taken seriously when the foundations of your argument might as well be fashioned of tapioca pudding. Oh and apparently PZ Myers is waiting for a follow up article about converting atheists using drugs and rapid cranial application of a Jesus approved conversion device (aka a hammer ).
It’s my curse……. no I am serious….. no really, you can stop laughing now.
A wise man, or possibly a textbook, once said that more time and resources are lost though indecision than bad decisions. Sad thing is that this is a truism that many of us forget. It doesn’t matter how much time and effort are spent on any one task, unless it is made solely for your own edification, it can’t be perfect. In an organisation that relies on dozens of people working together your perfect project will seem flawed to some, sometimes even downright foolish to others. It is pretty much unavoidable.
We all have our own styles, opinions, priorities, and those will influence how we look at the work we do, and the work others do. Every completed task has to be the result of compromise, thus ‘near-enough’ is the best result we can hope for in any given work. The trick is to know when it is better to deliver the work that meets the fundamental aims of the task, and when it will be productive to keep trying to improve the final result.
We are all, at our core, arrogant. Our way is the best way, our vision the most clear. It follows then that those we work with are the same. Their vision is the correct one (in their eyes), their way the best path. You cannot please all the people all the time, but what you can do is deliver a quality product, that meets the criteria you were given, with the resources and time you had available. You can’t really do more than that.
Far more importantly, it is both unproductive and unhealthy to try. Be good at what you do, trying to be perfect just leads to stress and disappointment when you can’t reach unobtainable goals.
…..and if all else fails, pretend that you’re here