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I wrote this letter a few weeks ago explaining how and why I no longer believe in a god of any sort. I think all the people who have asked me how I made this important decision deserve some kind of reason why. I am not sure if the time and effort I have spent in articulating my thoughts and retracing my mind steps in arriving at the conclusion will seem sufficient or will prove helpful in explaining myself on the point, but it was definitely fun writing it. I just talk about how the concept of God fails as it is a part of language and it also fails scientifically (I mean if used to explain worldly phenomena of any kind). Email me if you want to read the whole thing.
I believe that we, the human race, are part of Nature, not just any part as some scientific results would make the unlearned feel. We are a unique and great part, and even though our lives might turn out to be only a chapter in history of the Universe, it is a pretty interesting chapter. Our complicated life as part of the Earth’s Ecology is an example of a state which Smolin Lee likes to call a self-organizing stable non-equilibrium system, which is one of the Nature’s favorite and repeating tunes. A galaxy as whole is an example of this. I stumbled upon this Cosmic Variance post by Sean Carroll about the popular film “What the bleep do you know?” (Sean wrote a great General Relativity textbook which my GR course along with many others are using now). Apparently a physicist called David Albert didn’t like the way the film makers “abused” his quotes. I must admit I haven’t watched the movie myself, but I don’t think there is any connection between Quantum Mechanics and human existence, even though on occasions of long winding nights of QM homework I have glimpsed into how miserable this connection might have been if there was one. If it took me 2 hours to solve 4 problems of undergraduate QM, how long would it take me to use my QM powers to change my life and reality and all that good stuff? Now that would make a nice PhD thesis project.
The interesting part of the post was that David Albert called out this human tendency to tie the human race with the Master plan of the Universe. The problem with this tendency is three things: First, as he says, science is precisely the opposite of this, it is to try and view what your study with the least subjectiveness. I must say that without looking from the subject’s point of view must be done in science, but only in retrospect. Otherwise science isn’t telling us anything interesting. Second, the words “Master” and “plan” lose all meaning when applied with a scientific (non-religious) view to such a thing as the whole Universe. Nature didn’t have anything in mind when it began cooking up this Universe. I kind of talk about this in my letter when I say that the question of “how stuff happens?” is science, “why they happen?” is something else. There are only “empirical fundamental relations” (sometimes called “laws” even though I detest the word) and “most probable outcomes.” I don’t think anyone who can understand these two concepts and is able to live with them is still able to believe in miracles, not to mention all kinds of crap about how your will determines reality. Third, each scientific revolution confirms that we are not in a special position in this Universe, and it becomes clearer that we are only one part of the Universe, yet not all parts are alike. I think we have to accept our place in the Universe otherwise we will be forcing an incorrect place on the Universe in our understanding: a major cosmic miscalculation that might turn out to be very costly. Speaking for myself, something like this might ruin my whole afternoon now that I think about it.
Yesterday was a totally male-dominant world and men used to set the rules. In some cultures/traditions/religions they were considerate and they chose to respect women, be it out of humanity or fear of God and His judgment. (If you don’t believe me, here is evidence that this consideration and mercy is well and alive to our presently “free” age. It is not far from a totally male-dominant world today but some cultures/traditions/religions follow the steps of their forefathers in these time honored practices of women abuse, I mean women respect. Some of the followers of such communities, however, deviate and they sometimes go ahead and improvise on these set rules of mercy, and they take them to a higher level. One example of such practices is this: a guy throwing his wife (I am only assuming) out of a window. I am sure this happened after she did something terrible, like cheated on him but clearly he was man enough to spare her the shame and end the whole story mercifully. How could she and her family face life with a scare so ugly like a cheating incidence. Hell! this scare is uglier than a family member murdering another.
In all seriousness, women should stand up against any doctrine (call it brought down on us by God or politically cooked up) that allows for women abuse. Western feminists have written milestones in the book of freedom of sexuality and sexual expression. But I feel no serious questioning into the doctrines/practices which have allow for abuse of their women. The question should be “Does your religion approve of physical treatment of women?” If so, re-consider it. This is the stronger version of the question ” Does your religion view women as unequal to men, does it assign them a social role inferior to men?”
It is ridiculous that this is an issue today. But if anyone thinks his/her religious truths are above reason and must be taken for granted, and his (her) God approves of treating women this way (or being treated this way), then I can’t change their mind about it by argument. The question must be “Do I accept to live with someone with such religious views?” This is not discriminatory to any religion. This is against a community with an unchanging set of beliefs who don’t question their own rules, and violently inhibit the questions of others. More on such views later.
I call this piece “In Between”:
Living the days, by the hand. Reliving the nights, all over again.
It is a mix of balance and diving head first in sand.
Taking back stories, achieving the boring. Going to the stacks, digging deeper for bones.
It is a dream but it is real.
Drowning puppets in the sweet, fresh ocean. Riding waves of darkness for a distant, dim light.
It is a swing of clean and dirty emotion.
This one is “Traffic”:
Thoughts screaming, ideas pushing each other.
Now I’ve reached what I longed for … ?
Oscar Wilde can write. When it comes to fables and fairy tales, he rules. check his “The Nightingale and the Rose“:
“Be happy,” cried the Nightingale, “be happy; you shall have your red rose. I will build it out of music by moonlight, and stain it with my own heart’s-blood. All that I ask of you in return is that you will be a true lover, for Love is wiser than Philosophy, though she is wise, and mightier than Power, though he is mighty. Flame-coloured are his wings, and coloured like flame is his body. His lips are sweet as honey, and his breath is like frankincense.”
“So the Nightingale pressed closer against the thorn, and the thorn touched her heart, and a fierce pang of pain shot through her. Bitter, bitter was the pain, and wilder and wilder grew her song, for she sang of the Love that is perfected by Death, of the Love that dies not in the tomb.”
I can’t resist to put 2 lines from his must-read “The Picture of Dorian Gray“:
“In nearly every joy, as certainly in every pleasure, cruelty has its place.”
“The next day he did not leave the house, and indeed, spent most of his time in his own room, sick with a wild terror of dying, and yet indifferent to life itself.”