Islamic law is adopted by British legal chiefs

New rules that allow for discrimination against women, non-believers and illegitimate children. Exciting times!

As a followup to THIS POST which discusses the idea some hold that the universe having a definite beginning is proof positive of the existence of God, I suggest a new discussion topic: how to prove Gods existence.

For simplicity, “God” in this discussion can be reduced to something like “an intelligent, thinking entity that created, intentionally, the Universe.” Probably add in “omniscient and omnipotent,” though that’s probably not necessary. Never mind whether that’s Jehovah or Zeus or Shiva or Feklar or Odin. Just “Prime Mover Guy.”

 

First off, any potential Proof Of God would have to be able to get past the concept of Really Powerful Aliens. Something like turning the moon blood red would have impressed folks a few millenia ago (or even just a few centuries ago), but today it could be explained via any of a number of physical phenomena that Really Power Aliens could employ. Or something like The Rapture: hundreds of millions of people get bodily borne up into Heaven… by, say, Really Powerful Aliens with tractor beams or transporters or phasers set to *disintegrate.* Or something like the dead returning… thanks to Really Powerful Aliens who have been watching us for a while, recording our minds, and then uploading those recordings into cloned bodies. Stuff like that doesn’t work as Proof Of God, since it could easily be explained by forces far lesser than Omniscient and Omnipotent.

OK. So, if God wanted to prove his/her/its existence, how might God go about doing it? Science Fiction brought us two possibilities that I think would be pretty damned convincing, if they came to be:

1) Carl Sagan’s “Cosmos” included the notion of a message embedded within pi. Pi is an infinitely long string of seemingly random numbers. Within any infinite string of random numbers, statistically speaking you will find sections that look like messages, but are just happenstance. But if the “message” is sufficiently complex and ordered so as to be beyond statistical probability, that would argue that the message was intelligently created. And a message embedded within pi, or the natural log of 2, or the square root of 2… this would argue strongly in favor of an intelligent creator of the universe. The hypothetical message may only start ten trillion digits into pi, and, worse, pi in base 42… but still, the message would be there and it would be accessible to anyone. Across all time and space, the message would be discoverable by anyone with sufficient math skills and number-crunching capability. Really Powerful Aliens would seem incapable of actually tinkering with the constants of the universe.

2) Stargate: Universe featured a starship billions of lightyears away, built by a long-dead species of vastly intelligent and powerful aliens who were on a mission. That mission was, as memory serves, to cross the universe in order to get observations as widely spaced as possible of the cosmic background radiation. Because they had detected a message within the CBR. Here again, Really Powerful Aliens would seem insufficient to explain a message embedded within the Big Bang.

Either of these, if confirmed and *rigorously* re-re-re-confirmed, would be strong arguments for the existence of some “god” or other. It would not necessarily follow, of course, that a message embedded within pi would imply one *particular* God. But then… it *could.* If the message in pi started off as a geometric thesis, in order to grab the mathematicians attention, and then turned into the Old Testament in binary code, ending with “To be continued in the square root of 2,” and then the New Testament is found in the square root of two… that’d be a pretty fair argument in favor not just of a generic creator-god, but the Christian God. Of course, the New Testament in root-2 might end with “To be continued in the square root of pi.”

So: what physical/scientific/mathematical discovery could, if it was made, serve as a really good Proof Of God? Discuss.

It’s a blog. But it’s a CNN blog, so…

Does the Big Bang breakthrough offer proof of God?

Oy.

If the universe did indeed have a beginning, by the simple logic of cause and effect, there had to be an agent – separate and apart from the effect – that caused it.

Ah… no.

As we observe the complexity of the cosmos, from subatomic particles to dark matter and dark energy, we quickly conclude that there must be a more satisfying explanation than random chance.

Ah… no.

I get a pain *right* *here* when people use bad, bad “logic” to support their positions. And people misapplying the findings of science to support their religious beliefs has long been a particularly effective abuser.

 

If you’ve never heard of a “Chick Tract,” how to explain them? Well, they are comic strip-like illustrated screeds that give Biblical lessons via modern characters. But they are more than that. They are a view into straight-up crazy… everything is  a conspiracy, the Catholic Church is Satanic, evolution is a lie, that sort of thing. All the nuttiest chain-emails you ever got, doped up on meth and Jesusjuice and with a couple thousand volts running through them. What really astonishing is that the guy behind them, Jack Chick, really believes it all.

One of the most popular of the Chick Tracts is “Dark Dungeons.” Dating from way back in 1984, when a lot of people were freaking out over Dungeons and Dragons, this one tells the tale of lives ruined and souls lost to D&D, which turns out to be an actual pathway to Satan. Don’t take me word for it, GO HERE and read it.

Someone is finally getting around to making a full movie of “Dark Dungeons.” And they are doing so with Chicks permission, and apparently the script is sticking directly to the original Tract. One might think that the only way this could happen is if the movie makers are themselves Believers. But all evidence, including the FAQ, seem to point to the direct opposite. It appears that what’s going on is that they are going to allow the over-the-top nature of the source material serve as self-parody. Kinda like “Noah,” but on a lower budget. A *much* lower budget.

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Founder of Westboro Baptist Church, Rev. Fred Phelps Sr. dies

Will there be protests at his funeral? The mind boggles.

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twain

Chancel repair liability: The ancient law that could hit house prices

In short, a law can hold private home owners responsible for paying the bills for repairing churches built before 1536. This seems to mean that individual homeowners can be on the hook for up to £250,000 to fund the repair of a church, simply because they happen to be nearby.

Of course, there is similar insanity in the US. If an endangered species is found on your property, your right to modify your property as you see fit can be wiped out. The differences are important; not least being that if *you* find the endangered species first, you can whack it upside the head and bury it. If a British homeowner decides that the best approach to a massive repair bill for something he doesn’t own is to burn that something to the ground, someone will probably notice.

How many times have we seen some religious – or at least self-righteous – figure massively screw up and wish that some divine retribution would lay a smackdown on ‘em? And how often are we disappointed? Sometimes, though, Odin comes through…

Pastor dies during “confession”

In short: Bishop Bobby Davis keeled over while being yelled at by his congregation for apparent infidelity.

Oops.

 

The premiere episode of the new Cosmos (ultra-brief review: promising… but the music? Meh) had only the briefest mention of evolution in it. But even that was too much for an Oklahoma Fox affiliate who *conveniently* ran a promo for the news right over that one little mention:

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There are many possible responses to that, but the two best come from this brief article about the issue on io9.com:

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And…

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No longer loyal to Scouts, boys join Trail Life

Short form: some Christians who dont want their younguns getting contaminated by Teh Gheys in the Boy Scouts have formed their own homosexual-free alternative, “Trail Life USA.” Uh, whatever. So long as they’re not taking government funds or using government property, go ahead and ban whoever you like, I suppose. But what’s Sick Sad and Awesome? The photo in the article. Go ahead. Go take a look at it. I friggen’ dare you.

….

Heh. Now, I bet that that shot was the result of catching a brief moment in time as kids go through something like a little dance, but boy howdy does it look *bad.*

Spectacular.

In the news recently have been several breathless reports that claim that followers of the old Norse faith believe that Ragnarok is upon us. What’s actually going on is that a Viking history center in Britain is simply ginning up interest. However, on a Fark.com discussion thread on this topic, one of the commenters raised some good points:

atomicmask 2014-02-22 06:49:39 PM

so according to the norse calendar, ragnarok begins today and this marks the end of fimbulwinter (3 years of winter, cold, wet and with record lows) So according to norse myth the following will happen..
1. fenrir will devour odin
2. Midgaard serpent will poison thor
3. Loki will kill hemdall the keeper of the bridge
4. The hound garm will kill the god Tyr
Sounds like silly jargon? Lets look at it like a metaphor..like most myth should be observed.
1. Fenrir is a giant wolf, a symbol of wrath and gluttony. Odin is the symbol of wisdom, forethought, and memory. When war takes president over forethought, when gluttony and greed devours wisdom, it foretells doom.
2. Jorgamundr or the midgaard serpent is a symbol of corruption and and deceit, thor is a symbol of leadership, honesty, bravery, and strength. When corruption poisons leadership, and honesty bravery and strength dies, it brings doom.
3. Loki is a symbol of trickery, pranks, and the father of hel. Hemdall is the symbol of watching, vigilance, guarding, and protection. When the world is more interested in entertainment it destroys vigilance, and thus the above two may happen. A note of interest is that loki is the father of hel, death. How a god of pranks and trickery can be such a major deity in the cosmology is evident if you look at it from this perspective, inattentiveness leads to disaster. It allows doom
4. The hound Garm is a symbol of pure evil, it is malace without logic or intent, a snarling, vicious dog out for blood. Tyr is the god of noble sacrifice, heroic deeds and soldiers, he who sticks his hands in the mouth of fenrir to quiet him. When Pure evil rules the world, soldiers die by the thousands. tossed into the jaws of death. Noble sacrifice becomes meaningless slaughter. It is doom.
5. Yggdrasil the world tree, will shake. No one in the world will be without fear and upheaval.
Now armed with this knowledge, it is far easier to reflect the wisdom of this ancient mythology.
1. If you are more interested in entertainment, you will make it easy to fail at vigilance against those out to wrong you.
2. If you allow corruption and deceit to rule you, it will poison the good in you, just like a serpent.
3. If you allow wrath and gluttony to devour you, wisdom will die, you will not see what is coming, and forget what has been. Stupidity devours all that is good.
4. If you allow evil to rule you, you sacrifice good for your own gain.
5. While the above is going on, massive amounts of upheaval and terror will be going on, the world will be ruled by fear.

How this relates to the modern world, and why it may very well be true and happening.
1. Greed and gluttony are currently destroying our environment. Wisdom states that if we destroy the world we live in, we cant feed ourselves or breathe the air.
2. Corruption and deceit plague our government. No leaders exist, only politicians.
3. Every time a change in policy occurs, a new bill, or some major world event (Riots in Kiev, Singapore, greece, france, etc…better see what justin beiber is up to!) the media instead focus on some celeb and what silly fux pas they did this week.
4. wars over oil, soldiers sent to battle simply to expand corporate interests instead of defense of our nation.
5. Terrorists, and a terror based world. We are so afraid of our own shadows that we allow constant spying on ourselves and wavier our rights for a little bit of security.
It isn’t all bad, much like the book of revelations in the bible after the events come and pass, the world becomes a veritable paradise. The earth reverts to a standard of extreme growth and fertility, food is plentiful and peace reigns for thousands of years. Humanity survives and becomes enlightened from the event. The god Vidar, or “rightous fury” will survive, he hunts down fenrir and rips him apart with his bare hands. Justice survives in this analogy, and we put those responsible on trial.
Vali survives, the god of “old justice” who was birthed specifically to kill a murderer. Executions are the punishment for the previous.
Magni survives, the son of thor, whos name means strength. The strong survive and those strong willed.
Modi survives, the god of berzerkers. Soldiers survive the event and lead the world post apocolypse
Lif and Lifbrasir, man and woman survives, humanity lives threw it all, and goes on to repopulate the newly fertile earth.
Baldr and Hodur return from death, a love of beauty, art, and song. Hodur returns also, a caring for the sick and weak, the disabled and poor.

Looks like Ragnarok *is* upon us. However, I disagree with the commenters view that it ends well. If you’ve read the Eddas, you might agreed that the happy ending where the Earth is reborn seems kinda tacked on. Up until that point, the tone and teachings of the Eddas are quite distinct from those of the Bible, yet there is a 90 degree left turn at the end. I’ve long believed that that ending was simply added to the Norse beliefs by the Christian Snorri Sturluson, much as he added a preface claiming that the Aesir and Vanir were misremembered tales of the likes of the Trojan kings. So… if you eliminate the last little bit, the forces of chaos and stupidity win at the end of Ragnarok, or at the very least the forces of good and order lose. Everything in the Norse tales lends a sense of foreboding and impending doom, a recognition that all the efforts to fight the forces of evil are not to defeat evil, but to delay the inevitable. And that seems to me far more likely than a happy ending, the way things are going today.

If for no other reason: if western civilization gets taken down, by plague or asteroid or EMP or war, how will we build back up? All the easy energy sources are gone. If you want coal or oil to heat your home, you can’t exactly go get it with a rusty pickaxe. And a civilization that has been knocked down is hardly likely to ever again be able to reach for the stars without nukes and the products of petroleum (not just gas to drive cars, but chemicals to grow crops, plastics to build stuff out of and meds to keep us marginally healthy). And if we don’t reach for the stars… then even if mankind lasts another geological age, it will have all been for nothing. The stupid, strong unteachable monsters are certain to be victorious at last.

 

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