This kind of staggering hypocrisy requires a vast amount of verbal fencing and befogging to avoid. Jeb must listen to prayers, rather than just read minds. Alternatively, try speaking to someone without making a sound or a movement. The properties and necessities of carbon-based life forms completely eliminate such a possibility. “No green costume” equals moral evil – “green costume” equals moral heroism. 12 Against the Gods: The Story of Adventure by William Bolitho As I wrote for Thought Catalog earlier this month, I picked up this book sight unseen after I saw Elon Musk recommend it. . We still encourage people to be “good” by following social standards and mostly arbitrary laws, and then violently attack them when they break the obviously arbitrary rules that have been invented. Jeb must have the interest and power to interfere in the universe. Thus, when the agnostic says “gods may exist in another dimension,” the “opposite possibility principle” applies even to his own words, which can then be rationally reinterpreted, according to his own principles, as the exact opposite of what he is saying, i.e. Each realm goes from level 1 to 10 before they can advance to the next one, the 10th level of a realm is considered the Peak of that realm. To the Egyptians of 6,000 years ago, the gods were living beings that you prayed to, feared, obeyed, and slaughtered virgins for. It is not for everyone, it is not necessary, and one can live a virtuous and happy life without taking on this kind of combat. Again, the answer is blatantly obvious – I need to create an alternate universe where North Korean children are not starving because I am extremely uncomfortable with not feeding them. To create a singular exception to a universal rule for that which makes you uncomfortable, rather than just admitting your discomfort, is dishonest and cowardly. If we want to lose weight, and go to a bookstore, and see 50 diet books on the shelf, how likely are we to choose the diet book written by a fat author? He cannot go to bed, because in another universe, it might be an alligator. It was thought during the Roman era only Gods could predict out comes however, with the development of probability theory even mortals are starting to predict future events. Perhaps I am sending a letter telling you that letters are only sometimes not delivered, in which case my argument may be somewhat weakened, but it is not entirely self-contradictory. Akhenaten upset the powerful priests of the god Amon when he replaced all the gods of Egypt with the single god Aten, the sun. The institutionalisation and profitable exploitation of this system has effectively barred philosophers from examining morality from a rational and secular standpoint. When an entity is proven to be self-contradictory, creating a realm wherein self-contradictions are valid does not solve the problem. Quantum physics is the latest in a long line of scientific bags that people like to dump their crazy, pseudo-scientific ideas in to. Since it remains a mere synonym for nonexistence, it cannot be used to reject nonexistence. Believing that consciousness can exist in the absence of matter is like believing that gravity can be present in the absence of mass, or that light can exist in the absence of a light source, or that electricity can exist in the absence of energy. The actions we dare to take, which depend on how free we are to make choices, are what the story of risk is all about. Even the statement “an alternate universe may exist” is completely invalid, because existence is a property of our universe, and since we know nothing about an alternate universe, we cannot use the term “existence” to refer to anything about it. It is in this sense that we are in fact created by an eternal pattern that precedes us, however primitively we may have anthropomorphised this basic truth. If I could communicate with Dr. Russell in his current state of nonexistence, I would ask him whether he would consider it possible that an eternal living horse was floating somewhere in deep space – and I respect his knowledge of biology enough to be sure that he would answer in the negative. Theists who try this particular con should at least be consistent, and not pay their taxes, and then, when said taxes are demanded, say to the tax collector that they have created a universe called “I paid my taxes,” and slam the door in his face.[2]. Science is a method, not a specific theory or proposition. What if a god is invented which does not possess self-contradictory characteristics? From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia A God Against the Gods is a 1976 historical novel by political novelist Allen Drury, which chronicles ancient Egyptian Pharaoh Akhenaten 's attempt to establish a new religion in Egypt. The agnostic, after all, does not claim that gods do exist in another universe, but rather only that they may exist. The moment that we hear the word “except” in a philosophical statement, we know that we are in the presence of Grade A nonsense. The alternate universe theory, as discussed above, cannot be specific only to gods, but is a universal principle that applies to everything. prior to quantum physics – conceptions of deities. My rule is: If I want a book, I buy it--cost be ! In the first instance, gods are viewed as similar to unicorns. I get many messages from religious people who tell me that although I am not a believer, their God loves me. “Is Susie an ‘X’?” There is no way to know – if “X” equals “female” then yes. Just as it took a secular mind to solve the problem of biological evolution, it will take a secular mind to solve the problem of secular, rational and scientific ethics. Even if evidence were to accumulate at some point in the future, this does not grant prescience to the accidental imaginings of past ages. In the same way, I cannot rationally put forward the argument that all language is meaningless, because I must use language to communicate my argument. Using the standard of nonexistence to reject nonexistence is entirely self-contradictory, the equivalent of saying “I reject the nonexistence of X by accepting that it does not exist, but using a different word.” If a surgeon said that a dead patient still lived because he used the word “gool” to mean “dead,” we would not accept his argument as particularly rational. Agnostics substitute “other dimensions” for “nonexistence,” while theists substitute “faith” for “falsehood.”. We do not have to hunt the entire universe from edge to edge to know that a square circle does not exist; it is not an act of will to accept that a square circle does not exist, it is simply a recognition of reality and the nature of existence. If my proposition that language is meaningless is true, then using language to communicate that proposition would be ridiculous – if my argument that language has no meaning is heard and understood – to any degree – then it is automatically invalidated. If someone argues that existence is equal to nonexistence, challenge them to walk through a wall rather than an archway.[3]. “Against the Gods” is the prime example of a series that is steeped in emotion, playing to the common denominators to keep the reader interested. In the same way, when agnostics affirm that no statement can be proven or disproven, are they creating a magical exception for that statement? Pinterest. If I want to sell a dessert, I do not describe it as an appetiser, a mountain or a virus. In other words, the violent enforcement of certain perspectives is perfectly acceptable to the agnostic, but mere arguments for other perspectives must be aggressively and endlessly opposed. The scientific method rejects self-contradictory theories as either erroneous or inconclusive, just as mathematics rejects the results of any equation that starts with the proposition that two and two make five. Well, as the Latin phrase has it – Credo quia absurdum (“I believe because it is absurd”). This is one of the many, many challenges of atheism. In the same way, we may meet among the stars fantastically advanced beings – however they will not be gods, but rather just highly evolved life forms. You frown. Why on earth would I need to create an alternate universe in which North Korean children were not starving? I suppose we can accept it as a compliment to science that agnostics and theists are using it to attempt to resurrect the primitive fantasies inherited from the infancy of our species, but the powerful electricity of modern thought cannot be used to resurrect the Frankenstein of superstitious falsehoods. A conscience is nothing terribly complex; it is simply the extrapolation of our stated principles into universals, followed by the comparison of our actions to these universals. Every morning, Bob reminds his bewildered and mentally challenged wards that the air is full of invisible demons who will attack their brains, eyes, teeth and tongues if they ever disobey one of Bob’s Commandments. Agnostics do not strenuously advocate for the legalisation of rape, arguing that it might be moral in some other universe – yet they strenuously oppose atheists who deny the existence of God. That which is self-contradictory cannot exist. To take another example, it is illegal to sell bogus cures for real illnesses – however, not only is Christianity’s “cure” utterly unproven, but even the “illness” itself – sin – is completely invented. Reklam. Thus Sam Harris says that we need to solve the problem of war by creating a world government, while Richard Dawkins remains fundamentally unable to criticise the state, since he is fundamentally an employee of the state, while Christopher Hitchens is still recovering from his totalitarian Marxist impulses, and continues to praise the obviously unjust and immoral Iraq war (though in charity we can safely assume that results more from his family military history than any objective judgement). “there can be no other dimensions, and gods cannot exist.” If the agnostic protests that this was not his meaning, he can be told that he cannot affirm his meaning in any way, because in this other dimension, his words may have the exact opposite meaning. The answer is obvious – because agnosticism would be revealed as absurd, offensive and ridiculous if it were applied even remotely consistently. If you want to contribute you can try the links below to help get you started. Furthermore, he cannot actually go to school, because in another universe, the school might be located in the opposite direction from his house. The more intelligent among them know that this is impossible, so they create a bewildering miasma of contradictions, foggy stall tactics, bizarre combinations of moral relativism for adults (“this passage is metaphorical”) and abusive absolutism for children (“Jesus died for your sins!”). If the possible existence of alternate universes where truth equals falsehood invalidates any positive declaration of truth, then this applies universally, and not specifically only to gods. Some theists – and even agnostics – use the same “Dimension X” argument examined above, but place the alternate universe in a time before our own, rather than parallel to it in some manner. “The word 'risk' derives from the early Italian risicare, which means 'to dare'. We don’t all have to be good at everything. If such a mathematician existed, and loudly proclaimed his opposition to that particular equation, and founded a society called “against two and two making five,” he would be considered beyond eccentric, and it would be generally understood that he had utterly failed to grasp the most basic principles of mathematics. However, we cannot put only children into the category of “mentally deficient,” since there are those with impaired mental faculties either due to a physical brain problem or injury, or due to age- or illness-related deterioration. Against the Gods chronicles the remarkable intellectual adventure that liberated humanity from oracles and soothsayers by means of the powerful tools of risk management that are available to us today. A man who claims an imaginary illness – even to himself – is a liar, who is obviously uncomfortable with his own choices, and chooses to bewilder and confuse others rather than be honest at least with himself. If you are afraid of sticking your neck out in this highly unprofitable realm, that’s completely fine. Historically, the word “God” has never meant, “things that may exist in other dimensions of the multiverse, as described by modern physics.” “God” has never referred to some unknowable X factor, Schrödinger's cat, the unified field theory, the cosmic craps player so derided by Einstein, or any of the other trappings of modern science. The truth of the matter is that we can say absolutely nothing about this other dimension; even if we accept that it may exist, which is problematic enough. Genre/Form: Biographies: Additional Physical Format: Online version: Bolitho, William, 1890-1930. We still have wars, and torture, and child abuse, and national debts, and the forced indoctrination of the young – and we cannot come to any moral standards that can be generally accepted by reasonably intelligent people the world over. 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