Archive for the ‘Spiritual/Religious’ Category

Another reason to be pro-abortion in case of rape

Friday, November 11th, 2022

So, we’d all like to pretend that humans have perfect free will and are always making conscious decisions about everything they do. Among other things it makes us feel better when we punish them for being bad. However, statistically speaking, a taste for rape *should* be baked into our genome as it is a evolutionary successful strategy. Most of us learn to overcome such things just as a puppy learns bite inhibition *however* if you want to have more rape (and incest!) in the future, one good way to make sure of it is to force mothers to bear the children that are the fruit of rape – some of those fathers may have never been exposed to the necessary socialization to learn bite inhibition, but others will be, for various hormonal or neural network shaped reasons, immune to it. See, that’s how evolution works. Aborting fetusi that are the results of rape and incest is lowering the odds that in the future those things will occur, because even though we like to pretend that we are entirely creatures of free will, in fact our decision making is colored a lot by the chemical soup wandering around in our blood. We’re loose confederations of subnets.

Just one more reason to be pro-choice, if anyone needed any. Also one more reason to not let the people who put religious beliefs in front of clearly observable science run the place. They will build a nightmare dystopia that even *they* don’t like – because evidence-based decision making really is the way to go.

Conflicting Interests

Thursday, October 20th, 2022

So, I just learned that one of my best friends from high school has cancer – hopefully is beating it, but has been paralyzed. The awkward bit here is that she’s from the era before I pretty much eschewed all religion and is very religious. I’m already on record as saying from my point of view cancer is proof that we’re not the product of intelligent design as a intelligent designer would freeze mutations with something like a CRC-32 after the initial mitosis of the egg.

And, we haven’t talked in like ten years, so odds are she isn’t going to call me out of the blue. If she did, though, I would likely not mention that theory because the last thing I would want to do is take any energy away from her healing.

I hate that I’ve gotten old enough that friends are dying, getting cancer, etc. I know it’s a normal part of life – that indeed I myself will be dying in 30 or so years. After which persumably I’ll know the answer to whether there’s life after death – or I won’t. 😉

I wish there was something I could do for this particular one – I’ve sent messages of support to her and her partner (who is also a lifetime friend), but since I’m 3000 miles away it’s not like I can pop in to do baby-sitting for them. I guess if they need money I can send some of that. I hate the powerlessness as well.

There is the part of me that worries – and I think this underlines to what extent religion is a mental illness in me – that if I *had* believed this wouldn’t be happening.. possibly that I’m seeing a custom mix where my friend dies while she’s seeing a custom mix where everything is fine to punish me for not believing the right things. But on the other paw I also think that idea is absurd and not in any way compatible with anything other than evil being in charge of the universe.

Anyway, so, apparently if you’re fighting cancer, you get a pass on believing absurd things. I wish I could stop worrying about the situation.

Additional thought – I would ask the CEPT team at alt.callahans to do a CEPT, but the last time I did, the guy died. In addition, scientific research suggests remote prayer does nothing at all if the person doesn’t know, and makes things *worse* if they do. And, I don’t really believe in remote prayer doing anything useful anyway, other than making the person doing the praying feel better. (But then, see above bit about mental illness, I wonder, if I believed different things, would the results be different?)

Entropy and human systems

Wednesday, September 28th, 2022

So, I’ve been doing some more thinking (partially because of reading Einstien’s Fridge, which I’d recommend as a great read) about entropy and human systems. Specifically human systems tend to get progressively more corrupt as they age and/or grow larger until eventually they collapse and new systems are created out of their ashes. This is also true of individual human bodies.. our bodies run well for 30 years or so and then various forms of aging start to win – a form of corruption, if you will. And then, obviously, we die. Again with the reset.

Life in general seems like, while it’s not violating the laws of thermodynamics, it’s doing something funny on the stage of ordering information. Of course great writers and musicians and actors and whatnot are all ordering information in their own uniquely recognizable ways, and therefore resisting the tendency of the universe to slowly remove all ordered all information and move towards a totally random – and energy-equal – state.

It does make me wonder if it would be possible to create a religion that would do the *opposite* of growing steadily more corrupt, and what would have to be written into it to make it do that?

Interesting thought to mull over.

Tuesday, September 6th, 2022

Someone really needs to create a religion to be what Scientology *should* have been.

The assholes over at are well aware that we now have things like FMRIs but their idea of a major advance is to make their skin conductivity tester (e-meter) *digital*. Yah, that’s going to help a whole bunch. Seriously, can we get a religion that is

1) Based on only observable or derivable truths
2) Not written by old men wandering in the desert thousands of years ago
3) Designed to be positive to the lives and experiences of it’s users and everyone they come in contact with
4) Carefully designed so that it *never* ‘freezes’ like the bible has (i.e. gets modified in such a way as to become unmodifiable)
5) Is not inherently internally contradictory
6) Bonus points for being based on science
7) *Major* bonus points for accepting that some things are unknowable instead of pretending to know them because it was written by a bunch of lying old men who craved power
8) I’d like it if it promoted hedonism and encouraged solidarity and helping each other
9) I’d also like it a lot if it did not claim to be the one true way
10) Anti-war would be a big plus, especially if it laid out what war costs us, both in the sense of the destroyed resources and in the sense of the generational trauma that has to be healed
11) Bonus points if it smashes the patriarchy and builds a system of equality in its place
12) Bonus points if it smashes the idea children are property
13) Bonus points if it promotes the development of tasty synthetic meat and a transition to synthetic meat
14) It’d be nice if it promoted living within the means of the ecosystem we’re in, either by developing technologies that permit us to grow food more efficiently or by promoting a smaller population than we currently have
15) Would be *great* if it could include a long term search for a understanding of how to construct neurological software – how to literally edit the structure of our mind to do what we want it to do
16) Would also be awesome if it could include long term searches for cures to every known disease for every form of life that can be considered sentient

I’ll stop there for now. But Scientology.. you could have been so great, and you so aren’t. I mean, people have been writing religions for a loooong time. Clearly the bible is made up, clearly the book of mormon is made up, humans are storytellers. Can we get a better one, with baked into it perpetual improvement until it is freeing and empowering and encouraging of love and life?

(The list of things I find *not* freeing and empowering about Christianity, for example, is quite long)

More antireligious thoughts

Tuesday, June 28th, 2022

So, I’ve been pondering the behavior of God in the book of Job, and how Christians always assure me that God should be allowed to behave like that because *e was here before we were and therefore is under no obligation to behave morally, decently, or reasonably.

Now, I remain convinced the Christian God is a work of fiction and that we should all be profoundly grateful for that fact. But I also remain convinced that Christians think evil is good and hate is love – and one example of this is that they want to worship a diety that they think plays games with them and deliberately torments them to test their loyalty – or through inaction and encouragement, allows said torment to happen and makes bets on it. What would we think of a human who behaved as God did during this little endevor? And how horrifying is it that Christians assure us God gave Job back everything at the end – except, um, his daughters were dead, so he gave him different daughters, but hey, humans are interchangable, right?

Heinlein pointed out most (fictionally created) Gods have the manners of a spoiled child. This isn’t surprising, humans can’t imagine things smarter and more capable than them – it’s the same problem as sci-fi authors writing smarter aliens – and of course most of the people writing religions are doing it because they think they should be allowed to tell other people what to do (and usually get paid for it) and therefore have the manners of a spoiled child themselves.

I do remember a recent argument with someone who is convinced I’m going to hell for not beleiving in Jesus (and one indication I have that Christians have flawed morals is *they’re okay with this* – as Spider Robinson once observed, you’d think if Christians really believed in God they’d be trying to figure out how to declare war on h*, not worshipping h*) – kept saying over and over “You’re not God”. It’s true, but I’ve built worlds, I’ve used evolution as a force – I think I’m probably in a better place to get inside the mind of a God than most people and I don’t find their God of hate and evil believable at all. That type of creature would never create something with the beauty and subtlety of this universe. I understand that selling their God of hate and evil lets them do the horrible things they want to do. But I also have hopes that someday we’ll refuse to buy it any more.

Religious thoughts (tinfoil hat)

Tuesday, May 24th, 2022

So, one of the interesting variants of the religious thoughts that go through my mind is the possibility that certain aspects of Christianity are right and they explain the wrongness of all the rest of the religion.

Here’s the setup – one of the things that they do say is that hell is the absence of God. What if what this actually means is hell is the absence of the *memetics* of God – that is to say, we remove all the best ideas. So, no polyamoury? Strongly pushing pair bonds even though humans are wired to fall in love more than once? Pushing the idea that you’re fatally flawed and someone had to die because you’re so broken? All in fact not the best truth, but because we’re not in Heaven (i.e. in the zone of good memetics and good information) we’re assured by the priests, who are among the most confused of all, that we don’t deserve good memetics and we should be punished for being what we are. Get closer to the zone of not-insane-memetics and you’ll find some of the nuttiness fades – i.e. no more worshipping paper dollars over real value, no more telling people sexual hunger is wicked or they should only want to pet their One True Person, no more the republican party is pushing authoritarianism – basically the idea here is that you can steer for the world that you want to live in by coloring your beliefs and if you see the above sorts of nuttiness you’re aimed in the wrong direction.

Which gets tricky. What is it that I’m not believing that’s excluding me from utopia? I mean, lately I expect humans to hurt each other, to spend their technological energy on tools for hurting each other, to hurt each other over stupid reasons, to lie, to start wars, to try to punish people for having sex, to try and claim that babies belong to indiviudals rather than to all of us and that individuals should have to suffer because they chose to have them even though evolution has wired all of us to be real stupid about reproduction.

I’m sure you’ve all see me go on about all these topics elsewhere in the blog, but I am starting to wonder if part of my problem is I can’t stop believing the worst about us. I need to believe that we are better than this, can be better than this, and will be better than this. It’s obvious there’s no moral deities here.

It’s also obvious that everyone could easily be experiencing a custom variant of reality, and that there’s very few guarantees about how those realities even overlap. I just can’t believe that people can’t come up with a better future than what the GOP is currently pushing – while in the meantime I like the future the Democrats talk about but they seem like they don’t want to actually implement anything – they’ll even let the GOP cheat (Refusing to nominate judges for example) – I can’t decide if the problem is they all want slightly different things, can’t triage, and each think their one hobbyhorse is the most important, or they’re actually a bunch of scammers who really just want to donation farm and collect money from the electorate and they have to be very careful never to actually get anything done because they’d have less issues to use to push people’s emotional buttons with.

Anyway, I guess the thought that I was playing with the most here is that Earth’s religions are all so obviously wrong *because* we’re far away from the utopic axis. My sense that things are getting progressively worse is either just that all humans feel that way about all change or that I’ve been steadily sliding down that axis as my beliefs decay.

One of my problems with religion

Sunday, March 20th, 2022

So, I was just involved in a argument on facebook with someone who was under the illusion that there are no stupid people. I mean, I would love to live in a world where that was true – but it just really isn’t. Recent things coming from this person’s corner make me suspect that they have recently succumbed to a damaging information virus (translation: religion)

Anyway, this is one of a few different times today when I’ve been bothered by people who obviously believe things which are not true because of the religions they are infected with. Normally I’m all for whatever gets you through the night, but I think these beliefs in things which are not true are really starting to hurt us all. I mean, you have all the people who voted for Trump due to deeply delusional beliefs, but it goes a bit further than that. You have people pretending peak oil won’t happen, global warming isn’t real, and that if we just pray real hard everyone in the Ukraine will be okay. (You also have people ignoring that the US has over and over provided the weapons – and sometimes the soldiers – to destroy people’s houses and kill folks just as Russia is currently doing to the Ukraine – generally because we didn’t like their ideology surrounding resource allocation although occasionally just because it was profitable for US corporations)

Anyway, my point is, one of my problems with religion is that it makes people believe things that are clearly not true, and then make decisions based on those beliefs. I’m not saying this is the biggest problem facing humanity but it clearly is a problem.

I don’t know why it rubs me so much the wrong way today to have people making clearly untrue assertions and suggesting useless actions in response to disasters. Maybe I’m just in a bad mood because of other factors. But the appeal of just deleting my facebook account seems larger than usual today. I do continue to think it will be useful as a vehicle for getting people to listen to my music, although it also may be that I’m never going to have that large a audiance because I am not sure I can be what most of the world would apparently want me to be – I mean, the odds of someone as anti-religion as me being cancelled seem pretty high.

I did unfriend the person – they haven’t contributed anything positive in my life in the last several years and various aspects of their smug superiority combined with lack of connection to observable reality made me think I’m better off without them. My patience with people who are convinced they are vastly superior to me seems to be wearing very thin.

Christianity and that rat bastard Paul pt 2

Thursday, January 27th, 2022

So, one interesting question that occured to me is whether Paul genuinely believed that worshipping Jesus was the best idea – that God wanted worship, that one shouldn’t emulate Jesus but rather consider Jesus above one and a different type of creature – whether in fact the message of the sacrifice being necessary for God to forgive us and Hell being what would happen to anyone who didn’t believe in the sacrifice – and of course the ever-dangerous-and-stupid message that Christianity was the One True Way and all non-Christians were Less Than – whether he believed all that, or whether he found it a convenient thing for Rome to make others believe that.

Remember, Paul was originally Saul, who was tasked with squishing these peace-loving hippies before the love started to overrule the desire to run a militaristic empire. Gee, this story’s never happened before – or again … anyway, maybe he figured out that he couldn’t *actually* squish them like grape, but what he *could* do is subvert and confuse their beliefs into patterns that were useful to the empire, or at least not as dangerous to it.

Or, maybe he genuinely believed himself in all the things he wrote. He clearly had some moments of genius – as I said, 1 corinthians 13 has the ring of eternal truth and is some of the best poetry in the whole book – but he also had a lot of moments of confusing local truths (the customs of his tribe) for eternal truth, and he encouraged a lot of things that have hurt us memetically for centuries.

Christianity and that rat bastard Paul

Thursday, January 27th, 2022

So, the other day I was musing about how that rat bastard Paul, who otherwise caused all sorts of unfortunate things to occur, may have written the most beautiful lines of the entire Christian Bible (1 Corinthians 13)

Howsomeever, he also did a lot of really awful things. Not that Paul started the patriarchy, but he certainly codified it into a document a awful lot of people have believed was the word of god.

And, as I’ve been discovering, he did something else that in some ways is even worse. If we accept the idea that Jesus existed as canon – and even if he was a fictional character I think we can safely accept he was created in the mind of his author – or lived – or something – around 30 AD – then I would hope we could all agree that Jesus’s message was “Be excellent to each other”. Over and over he talks about empathy, talks about using your gifts, talks about being a good friend, citizen, neighbor, etc.

Paul warped this into being all about ego, all about names. Got people to worship Jesus, worship Jesus’s name, to think that they needed to pray in Jesus’s name. He turned a “treat each other well, love each other well, be wonderful and live well” cult – a bunch of pot smoking hippies basically – into .. well, what we’ve got now. People who think God wants and needs worshipped. People who think they should be judging other people not just based on whether they treat each other well, but based on some very strange ideas about what is “sinful”. People who are anxious to condemn for everything from sex to being a “illegal immigrant”. And, people who think that God is completely broken internally and insane.

One of the basic tenets of Christianity is that the reason Jesus had to die is “God is a just God, and therefore requires a sacrifice to avoid torturing people for having made mistakes”. However, if you’re me, what this actually reads like is “Two wrongs make a right”. There’s no way that hurting Jesus because other people were hurt makes anything better. That’s not justice, that’s just insanity, the same sort of insanity that keeps revenge going for cycle after cycle – exactly what Jesus himself preached against when he talked about turning the other cheek.

It does explain a lot of the bad behavior of the Christians that they completely missed the point, and thought they should be worshipping Jesus himself. Just as Buddhists do not worship the Buddha, but merely practice in a effort to become more like him, Christians shouldn’t be worshipping Jesus, they should be emulating him. Again, as I’ve mentioned, people who need and/or want unwavering worship – yes-men, in other words – are not all there. Stable, well developed personalities don’t need that sort of thing – I would think this would be *extra* true in the case of a larger neural network – which, as I’ve mentioned elsewhere, if God is anything that has a personality I would think God would have a larger neural net than humans and be *more* capable, *more* stable, and whatnot. That isn’t to say that there isn’t a place for both gratitude and positive reinforcement, because there certainly is – as there is in all our friendships and connections.

God and infinity

Wednesday, January 5th, 2022

(Note: This is going to go some places that most folks are not equipped to follow.)

So, I had a thought the other day – as you know, I’ve debated whether or not God is (or has) a neural network, whether or not God is static and unchanging, and talked about how even if God is static and unchanging our experience of God can change in much the same way that when you move a static and unchanging tape past a play head you experience dynamic and changing music. And, I know there are people who declare that God is spirit.

However, one thought that came to me on facebook the other day is that infinity – the infinite set of sets – must perforce be bigger than God, unless God is in no way a individual or self aware at all. The infinite set of sets also by definition displays a limit to God’s omnipotence, because no one can remove anything from it. You can remove data from the world, but you can’t make 3 not be between 2 and 4 on the number line no matter how hard you try – and this idea can be expanded multidimensionally in all sorts of ways. For that matter, I still believe God can’t change the value of pi – it’s defined by the relationship of two lines at 90 degree angles to each other, and nothing you can do will change it.

Nor can true infinity – the infinite set of sets – be a self aware individual, because it cannot exlude or remove or rearrange *anything*. This would seem to even exclude awareness as we understand it, although I won’t go as far as to assert that is true (after all, many native Americans speak of everything as being aware and I’m not in a good position to say they’re wrong)

Nor can any one entity claim ownership of the infinite set of sets. One of the sickest and most disturbing parts of capitalism is in order to make the system work we’ve got people claiming to *own* ideas, even though clearly other entities in other parts of the world or galaxy or universe or multiverse might be having those ideas at the exact same time, or had them long before. “Intellectual property” shouldn’t be property at all – this represents a fundamental phoniness, fundamental way of lying about the universe to ourselves and each other.

In any case, surely any “God” couldn’t know there wasn’t another “God” in another frame with access to the same set of sets. In a multiverse, you might have parallel Gods next door to each other thinking the same thoughts – or different ones. That the bible doesn’t speak of these things is part of how I know it isn’t really divine inspiration by a creature more advanced than humanity was when it was penned. These are thoughts that are much easier for people like me who have been immersed in everything from set theory to quantum mechanics, and even tried to accept and grok Copenhagen, MWT, and PWT to grok than they would have been for the folks wandering around 2000 years ago. But a religious text that was truly inspired by a diety would already know these things. I think part of what’s most annoying to me about the bible is that it’s so clearly a lie. Any *real* God would know these things.

(Of course, if God *isn’t* aware and *is* static – that is to say, God’s just a tape – this could fit the Christian bible in that a non-aware God would have no need to be ethical. It would make less sense though in that a static God certainly has no need to be jealous. Of course, the best explanation, by far, of God’s jealousy is it’s actually the jealousy of the priests, who need people to keep believing in this particular set of fictions if they’re going to keep getting paid.)