I don’t know what to say.
Christians foretelling doom for me because I no longer believe is like someone insisting that any second now I’m going to be impaled by an invisible unicorn. “Any second! Well, just wait and see. Someday you’ll get a hole punched through your chest and you’ll wish you believed me.” I continue to live a normal life with no impalement and no reason to think there’s a vengeful invisible unicorn stalking me.
It’s been nearly seven months since I last wrote an article specifically about LGBT issues. The main reason is that for the past year I’ve been caught up in the fallout of leaving my childhood religion, which greatly overshadows my evil attraction to people of incorrect gender. But despite the rising acceptance of variations in gender identity and sexuality among some Christian groups, there are still plenty of people spreading vile opinions and publicizing their ignorance.
This is a picture of the visible universe as it was over 13 billion years ago, constructed from actual light that we have actually observed. It’s amazing.
“I can’t imagine any way for this universe to exist other than an intelligent designer.” -Lots of theists who apparently don’t have much of an imagination.
When I try to demonstrate why the Christian god in particular is incompatible with reality, most Christians fall back on deistic arguments to maintain that there must be a god because of X and Y. The variables are many…life, consciousness, morality, personal feelings, and so on. Most arguments structured in this way are fallacious and/or employ untrue premises, and even if they’re valid they can at best only point to the vague and absent god of deism.
The cosmological argument is something I haven’t addressed much, due to my own lack of knowledge. I even used it myself in one of my old articles when I was still loosely a Christian, as I hadn’t learned enough about cosmology at the time. The argument goes like this: according to all known laws of physics, something cannot come out of nothing. If at some point absolutely nothing existed, then absolutely nothing would exist still. The fact that the universe exists (if it’s truly a fact) offers us two options: either the universe is eternal, or it was caused by something else that is eternal.
I know nothing about these chicken nugget makers but their picture has apple slices in it so they’ve clearly earned the product placement. Check back next time to see another random company get free advertising!
What’s on my mind, Facebook? I was thinking about how if I get free ketchup, I will eat it with chicken nuggets, but I have to douse it in Tabasco first. Or I might use it on a hot dog, although bratwurst and sauerkraut with spicy mustard is the German way to go. And I’m mostly German in ancestry. But I do have a Cherokee ancestor, who I don’t know much about, and I’m relying on other people’s online family trees to verify our connection. I’m still waiting on the results of a DNA test for a detailed analysis of my genetic heritage. Which reminds me, I’m often binge watching SciShow and other educational science and physics and mathematics channels on YouTube, and free information is a pretty wonderful thing.
It’s interesting that a large portion of our daily life now is comprised of information…we invest time and energy into video games, social media, videos, music. We sell pictures on computer screens and buy them with money that we don’t physically have. So much of our lives comes down to zeros and ones on the hard drive and RAM of a server, computer, or gaming console.
I was involved with several groups of predominantly Christian young writers throughout my teens, and we used to lament how difficult it was to put a Christian message into a novel without making it cheesy or annoying. Now I know why: it’s simply difficult to present a silly claim in a serious way without coming across as either a con artist or an oblivious simpleton. It’s hard to create the illusion of reality when you’re in denial about what reality even is.
Religion began long ago as a way for humans to explain the reality they observed. At the time, the idea of gods was more reasonable because nobody had the tools to learn the truth about many aspects of reality. That changed when the development of science repeatedly found verifiable answers to our questions. Now, scientific explanations have displaced religious ones thoroughly in most areas, and given us both the tools and knowledge we need to probe deeper into reality than any religion has ever reached. No religion has replaced an amputated limb, but science has. No religion has eradicated a disease, but science has. No religion has developed ways to keep younger and younger premature babies alive, but science has. No religion has accurately explained matter, energy, gravity, light, or anything else with fundamentally counter-intuitive traits…but science has.
I know a lot of people who are so enamored with free market capitalism and individualism that they oppose any social programs to reduce poverty and fix wealth inequality. In previous articles about government I mentioned why extreme inequality is a problem. Some capitalists disagree that it’s even a problem, or if they do they blame the poor for not earning more money. But others think government interference is what causes economic problems, and an unregulated capitalist free market would fix wealth inequality. I believe this view is inconsistent with what we’ve actually observed in the past, and social programs are necessary to offset the inherent problems created by capitalism.
The main problem with capitalism is that it’s specifically designed to make use of greed. It’s actually not a bad concept, to direct our more negative human traits into producing goods. However, capitalism assumes this is the best way of running an economy, and therefore tends to promote and reward greed.
Perhaps it was the best at some point in the past, when humanity was more spread out and individuals were more dependent on themselves and their families. But over the last couple centuries, the exponential growth of technology has led to a much more populous world and very different ways of life. You could see this as analogous to a single cell joining with others to form a multi-cellular organism. We started as small tribes, then cities, then nations. Now almost all of humanity has been brought into a single tribe, if you base your criteria for tribal membership on the length of time it would take to communicate with any other member. Instantaneous communication and faster methods of travel have brought almost everyone in the world as close together as the population of a city, whether we remain divided into separate countries or not.
I wanted to do something special for my hundredth article, and then I had this idea and thought it qualified. Here’s to celebrating a hundred articles of skepticism, and hoping for a hundred more!
The universe seed, unbelievably tiny compared to what it will become, is made of an extremely dense homogeneous material. When the seed abruptly expands in the first few nanoseconds, its material clumps together into particles like minuscule bubbles. The particles react with each other, and as the newborn universe becomes much less dense, the temperature drops and reactions change. The particles tend to stick together, sometimes merging to form larger composite particles, sometimes destroying each other. As this process continues, it results in something that will eventually be the nucleus of a simple atom that an intelligent clump of particles called Antoine Lavoisier will name hydrogen.
At this point, the baby universe is about one millisecond old. It continues to grow.