Sunday, July 30, 2006

Guide to life:
1. Obtain a small plastic tub
2. Puncture the tub using a small knitting needle, creating four small holes in the base of the tub.
3. Fill your tub with a small amount of potting mix.
4. Fill a saucer of water and place the tub containing the potting mix in it.
5. Allow the soil in the tub to soak, so it is moist right through.
6. Take some seeds and place them approximately 1 cm beneath the soil surface.
7. cover the tub with a lid which has also been punctured to allow air flow, place this in a warm dark cupboard.
8. Every few days check the water levels to make sure that the soil does not dry out.
9. Eventually the emerging plant will puncture through the seed coat and move towards the surface.
10. On the emergence of leaves the plant may be moved into full sun.
11. As the plant grows it will need transplantation into a larger container, it will also require shaping and moulding through years of care.

Life even simple life never ceases to amaze me, Inside a tiny seed is contained all the genetic data to create a giant tree. The information for different cell types for the root, for photosynthetic cells, for nutrient transport, and to allow the passage of gases. In a world where there is so much death and destruction to focus on sometimes we forget to focus on the real miracles. Life

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Recent Editions to the oxford esoteric dictionary
Thanks Stacy for the email.

TESTICULATING. Waving your arms around and talking Bollocks.

BLAMESTORMING. Sitting around in a group, discussing why a
deadline was missed or a project failed, and who was

SEAGULL MANAGER. A manager who flies in, makes a lot
of noise, craps on everything, and then leaves.

ASSMOSIS. The process by which people seem to absorb
success and advancement by sucking up to the boss
rather than working hard.

SALMON DAY. The experience of spending an entire day
swimming upstream only to get screwed and die.

CUBE FARM. An office filled with cubicles.

PRAIRIE DOGGING. When someone yells or drops something
loudly in a cube farm, and people's heads pop up over
the walls to see that's going on. (This also applies to
applause for a promotion because there may be cake.)

SITCOMs. Single Income, Two Children, Oppressive
Mortgage. What yuppies turn into when they have children
and one of them stops working to stay home with
the kids or start a "home business".

SINBAD. Single working girls. Single income, no
boyfriend and desperate.

STRESS PUPPY. A person who seems to thrive on being
stressed out and whiny.

PERCUSSIVE MAINTENANCE. The fine art of whacking
the crap out of an electronic device to get it to
work again.

ADMINISPHERE. The rarefied organizational layers
beginning just above the rank and file. Decisions
that fall from the "adminisphere" are often profoundly
inappropriate or irrelevant to the problems they were
designed to solve. This is often affiliated with the
dreaded "administrivia" - needless paperwork and processes.

404. Someone who's clueless. From the World Wide Web
error message "404 Not Found," meaning that the requested
document could not be located.

OHNOSECOND. That minuscule fraction of time in which you
realize that you've just made a BIG mistake (e.g. you've
hit 'reply all')

BEER COAT. The invisible but warm coat worn when walking
home after a booze cruise at 3am.

BEER COMPASS. The invisible device that ensures your safe
arrival home after booze cruise, even though you're too
drunk to remember where you live, how you got here, and
where you've come from.

BOBFOC. Body Off Baywatch, Face Off Crimewatch.

BREAKING THE SEAL. Your first pee in the pub, usually
after 2 hours of drinking. After breaking the seal of your
bladder, repeat visits to the toilet will be required every
10 or 15 minutes for the rest of the night.

BRITNEY SPEARS. Modern Slang for 'beers', e.g. "Couple
of Britney's please"

JOHNNY-NO-STARS. A young man of substandard intelligence,
the typical adolescent who works in a burger restaurant.
The 'no-stars' comes from the badges displaying stars that
staff at fast-food restaurants often wear to show their
level of training.

MILLENNIUM DOMES. The contents of a Wonderbra, i.e.
extremely impressive when viewed from the outside, but
there's actually naught in there worth seeing.

MONKEY BATH. A bath so hot, that when lowering yourself in,
you go: "Oo!Oo!Oo! Aa!Aa!Aa!".

MYSTERY BUS. The bus that arrives at the pub on Friday night
while you're in the toilet after your 10th pint, and whisks
away all the unattractive people so the pub is suddenly
packed with stunners when you come back in.

MYSTERY TAXI. The taxi that arrives at your place on
Saturday morning before you wake up, whisks away the
stunner you slept with, and leaves a 10-Pinter in your bed

NELSON MANDELA. Rhyming Slang for 'Stella' (the lager)

PICASSO BUM. A woman whose knickers are too small for her,
so she looks like she's got four buttocks

SALAD-DODGER. An excellent phrase for an overweight person

Monday, July 17, 2006

Moral Evil and Free will.

The bible and the first sin: Genesis 3:16-17… And the lord commanded the man saying, of every tree of the garden thou mayest* freely eat. But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it, for in that day thou shalt sure die.

First problem. Is there any guesses as to what happened shortly after? This is analogous to placing a large red button in the middle of a kinder garden and saying "What ever you do not hit this red button, I'm not telling you fully what it will do, just don’t press it." How long do you believe it would take before little hands found it? Maybe 5 or 10 minutes?

The second is an offence to logic. Yes it is the tree of good and evil, but how would one know disobeying god was a sin unless they had partaken of the fruit? Would it be fair or in the modus Operandi of an omni benevolent being to punish one who did not know that their actions were in fact wrong? This does not absolve god** of moral evil, if anything God is too blame for its entrance into the world.

God, Omniscience, and fate: Almost all world religions have an aspect of fatalism. All of our actions are predicated by the Gods. Our actions good or ill, are already known and written in the heavens, sometimes relayed to those on earth, angels visiting Mary, the dreams of Joseph and Pharaoh, the book of revelation, and the promises to Moses. Fate removes free will; perhaps we are free to choose if we accept our fate? Perhaps, but many of the bible seem cruelly coerced into doing the bidding of the master. Death in the family, war and famine all leading onto "Gods great plan."

Moving on from biblical references God in most religions appears to be an omniscient being. God is all seeing all knowing, so the future has already been revealed to God. How can we still have free will if our future and fate is already known? Our future is inescapable; we march towards our doom blindly. We can not change our future anymore than we can change our past.

Illusion of Free will: You are free to minimise this window… to stop reading this blog…what if I said the minimise button was disabled? I gave you a choice, yet only one path was actually feasible. Is that free will, I knew and was able to predict that you would wish to continue reading this idle Tuesdays work, instead of minimising and doing something else. How many people have just pressed the minimise button to make sure?*** This is a nice lead in to Determinism.

Determinism: We are lead once again back to mouse trap. Why does the cage fall? Because of elderly gentleman breaking his neck diving into an empty tub, so on and so forth….all the way back to the turning of the handle. All events happen due to events preceding them, from social problems, alcoholic parents having alcoholic children, to world wars. Why did you bomb them? Because they bombed us. Why did they bomb us? Because we bombed them. All things happen for a reason unfortunately we tend to look in front to find it, the past controls our future. Any "free action" could have been in fact predicted once we understand everything about everything. Genetics, chemical signalling, the electrical impulses in our brains, physics and chemistry, we will be able to predict with 100% certainty the actions of the individual or group, when we fully understand such maters.
There comes a time in the life of a philosopher or other person with his head in the clouds, to make an actual point. Moral evil is only an extension of natural evil due to an illusion of free will. The suffering we impose upon each other does not come from free or moral choices, regardless of religious (fatalistic) or philosophical (determinist) ideals. The "choices" we make are determined by multiple social, economic and genetic factors, and given an infinite knowledge of said factors we could accurately predict the so called free choices of any individual or group. As indignant as it sounds we are merely cogs in the machine that is our Earth, Yes we make decisions but these decisions are not in fact free, it is merely an illusion.

* Mayest: This was in common usage until human beings discovered spell check.
** The creation story not only tries absolve god of guilt it then tries to shift the blame onto woman. Eve is the foul temptress that lures Adam into sin. In many ways the bible can be a misogynistic handbook.
***Nostradamus eat your heart out.

Thursday, July 13, 2006
I read from the site Not Good Enough Dot Org. I am filled with a sense of hatred and loathing for my fellow man. I hear their petty complaints they screech at me, they hurt me. Words wasted on such triviality, people complaining about delays in airports rude service, companies taking products off the market because they don’t sell.

Pathetic wretches, completely oblivious to how amazing it is that they are alive, the incredible improbability of their own existence, their complete ingratitude that they are ok, in one piece. In thanks of the miracle of life; they complain over things which are of no consequence. Imagine their live if they had something truly worthwhile to complain about, every day we illegally detain refugees in this country, imagine a day in their shoes, imagine their thoughts of someone who's most pressing concern was a 5 minute wait at the bank. Imagine having to live a week in the war torn west bank, your most pressing concern is survival, not the delivery time of your pizza. It is all a matter of perspective.

We have been given great gifts in our lives, the ability to think, to speak, to be conscious of our own existence. With communication, we gripe, we complain, we loose all perspective wrapped up in our own personal pointless struggles, we flounder like the fat pigs that we are. Our intelligence and our minds we squander, we stare idly at coloured boxes for hours on end instead of challenging ourselves, we let people tell us what to think instead of thinking for ourselves. We destroy our minds with intoxicants and drugs because we can no longer face ourselves. We pay heed to advertising, and the petty escapism of reality TV instead of facing the true struggles of our time. Poverty, crime, wars in country names we can't pronounce these things do not trouble us, not if we have credit cards, cars, microwaves and digital televisions.

We are selfish, horrible and unworthy of the infinite love of any being, until we can find ourselves, we are nothing. The distractions of life will always prevail.

Know Thy Self

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Genesis 1:26
And God Said. Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: but lets make him from a distance, lets try and design the earth over my shoulder using a mirrow, or perhaps just by proxy while chilling out with the other gods.

Welcome to Irenaean Theodicy. Which states that we were made at a distance to our creator, not a spacial distance, but an epistemic* distance. If man kind had been created in the direct presence of god and recieved the full force of his grace we would have no true freedom from God. Humans making free and moral decisions is ultimately more valuable than a world created in which all decisions could only be good.

It is suggested that this earth is one of soul making, one in which we are come freely to God making our own choices independent of the will of the maker.

This distance seems contradictory to our (xtain) conception of God. This is almost a reversion to the remote god of Aristottle, not one which someone could build an inter personal relationship with as most evangelistic christains believe.

As per usual moral evils are rescued by the existance of free will. For now. But what of natural evils, the pain and suffering that plaugues our lands. Fossil records indicate the presence of disease, arthitus and various medical conditions before man had set foot upon the earth, was this suffering nesscessary. Unfortunately here is where this theodicy falls drastically short unless we subscribe to a being that finds
the needless suffering of animals to be nesscessary, or a God of inconsistancies (see the bible) god will never be absolved.

*a distance in this case in knowlege. Not all of Gods Grace, or goodness in terms of knowlege.

Friday, July 07, 2006

There is many references within this to John Hick and The Problem of Evil.

Continuing on from the actual problems itself there are many Theodicys to combat the problem of evil or at least lessen the blow.

Augustinian Theodicy: This holds firstly that the universe and all things contained within it are good. It was created by a good god for what was clearly a good purpose.
Augustine uses the example of blindness.

'The only "thing" involved is the eye, which is in itself good. The evil of blindness lays in the improper function of the eye.'

Put simply evil is the perversion of what is good.

How did evil come about, why did god permit evil to come about? Evil came about due to the existance of free will, which is "good", that is the free will of humans and gods angels (lucifer). This fall from gods grace is the begginings of moral evil. Free will goes a long in explaining moral evil, but what of natural evil? Augustine attempts to answer this seeing evil as. "All evil is sin or punnishment of sin"

He goes on further to tie in the existance of hell, saying the punnishment for sin corrects the dishonour of sin. This is a moral balance cancelling out sin, restoring god perfect and good universe. This takes the responcibility from god and places it with us, the sinners.

Omnipotence is the fatal flaw in this theodicy, would not a perfectly good god, design the best, and good creatures. Surely an omnipotent being could design perfectly good creatures, being who would not stray. The universe is not how god wished it to be, therefore either god is limited. God still created the beings who went evil, (knowingly due to omniscience) so god is still responcible for the evil.

Punishment of sin? Unfortunately, as avidly shown in fossil records, disease, starvation, and natural evil, existed well before the time of man. Unless god has decided the suffering of animals is nesscessary?

Punnishment of sin cancelling out the existance of sin. Firstly i have a huge logical objection to the concept of hell. Eternal Punnishment serves no logical purpose. Prisons and punnishment are there firstly to deter one from a less than moral life, secondly if the deterent fails to reform one back onto the "right Path". My second objection is a matter of scale, how can a finite crime be punnished by an infinite punishment. Surely this is incongruous with an omni benevolent being. Punishment does not cancel out sin, it merely provides more suffering, a universe of infinate suffering for an infinite time.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

*** This post has appeared previously and was deleted due to the original shambles I made of it*****

Our world runs rife with evil, companies profiting from the misery of others, children exploited in sweat shops to produce shoes, women forced to choose between destitution and selling their bodies. We live in a world full of crime, full of anger and injustice how can an omni benevolent being permit such atrocities to continue.

Before we dive head first into a topic that is very close to my heart and the hearts of other atheists / agnostics, the Problem of Evil; we need to explain certain terms and what is classed as evil….

Evil can exist in 2 forms. Moral evil and Natural evil.

Moral evil is the actions of men, the things that we do individually and collectively to each other and to other groups. Examples of these include theft, murder, rape, John Howard's IR laws, war, duct taping someone to a chair and making them listen to Celine Dion's greatest hits album for an entire day. Put simply the actions of people which lead to suffering of varying degrees.

Natural evil is what we have no control over which leads to suffering on the planet. Some examples are earthquakes, Tsunamis, horrible accidents (for example the derailment of the Spanish train last week), Celine Dion. All of which has happened without the intervention of man.

Why inaction is evil. Inaction is not inherently evil, for example; there is a house on fire, a man stands idly by while the occupants bash against a door blocked on the outside, the man could without risk to himself open the door but refuses to do so. These actions are not technically evil, it was not him who set the blaze, or he was not the man who blocked the door, he is absolved of guilt from the cause of the fire or the cause of death. However one could not say that he had acted in a fashion that one would call good. Is there truly and excuse for the inaction of god?

To take a reasonably current example... the 2004 Tsunami, which took a mind numbing toll of 186,983 dead . How could an omni benevolent stand idly by and watch such suffering?

"It is all part of god's plan" Possibly the biggest cop out to an actual answer that the church has ever put forward. In terms of moral evil, any successful action (an action which achieves it's aim) was right in happening, if it was not part of god's plan it would not have been permitted, men would be absolved of guilt from even the most heinous of actions. . By this excuse of god inaction we could actively, kill, maim, steal and all of the other horrible things we do to one another, safe in the knowledge that if it wasn't meant to happen god would not allow it...

"It's ok they all went to heaven" Christianity uses this when there is great suffering of an individual and the family is in need of some solace. This is ok for the individual, but misses/ misdirects the point of the argument. Not the reward of the individual but wether the suffering was necessary, and can god be justified in inaction. Does it excuse god when he could prevent the suffering yet does nothing.
Maybe god feels if he actively contributes we will loose faith. God says, "I don't need proof, proof denies faith and with out faith I am nothing"

Mental images begin to form as the hand of god sweeps the drowning victims from the water and back to the firmament. The people cheer, the church is vindicated, everyone buys an I heart god T shirt. For god to not be inactive it does not take an event of astronomical proportions. George bushes re election could have been avoided due to a small yet subtle heart attack. The suffering of the Iraqis under Saddam, a freak accident the people are saved no one suspects god. Faith continues the world is happy. God does not need to show himself to be active in the world.

"God uses suffering to produce a form of moral urgency/necessity" We do see some of the greatest moments of human achievement within the darkest hours of our time. Heroes, people risking their lives for others. Governments putting aside petty struggles for the "common good*" donations flooding in the help the people in need. Could this be done on a lesser scale, why the loss of life, why not the risk of loss of life, the same urgency is needed to avoid disaster. One would expect the same from a near miss as a hit for someone crossing the road, both will learn the lesson adequately with a lesser degree of suffering. A caring parent will allow a child to scrape it's knee to learn the dangers of riding a bike, however one could not say the same of a parent who tried o kill their child to teach the same lesson, or lesson to other children.

This also poses the problem. What happens when the levels of moral urgency drop below the desired levels, would we expect and omni benevolent being to take active part in causing evil, to bring us all together, to increase the level of moral urgency. Surely we could no longer see this as omni benevolence.

Free will: OK this is the knottiest of all topics, I do not actually believe in free will, this will discussed ad nauseum at a later date. This may excuse the actions of men.

*Yet even the bible takes a fatalistic view point that all fates are pre decided, that we are just part of gods plan. Moral evil and Judas. Without the betrayal of Judas of Jesus the church would not be as big as it is today. Jesus tells Judas of what his future actions will be it is predestined, how can an action in which you have no choice in be immoral, the overall cruel premeditation of the plan comes from the top. *

As for natural evil, free will has no impact on that’s outcome, there fore we shall move on.

This is quite a long topic and will be continued at a later date.



Sunday, July 02, 2006

Argument derailed......

I was going to continue on with the problem of evil but I have decided i am beging to take myself to seriously.. Also the post was a tad disjointed so i wish to revise the original....

Today is a look at a hobby of mine, watching people miss trains.

All aspects of the human condition for good or ill can be seen within something so simple.

Ambition: our runner see his goal, he knows what must be done, the eyes narrow, the head lowers he begins to run. All his hopes pegged on a single attempt, it's all or nothing, it is his moment.

Fear: The beeps,the horrible beeps, the doors are closing, he knows its too late, he will never make it.

Persistance and absurdity: He knows now his efforts are futile, still he runs, the absurdity coming from the pretence and the reality that he wont make it.

Hopes and Dreams: Even though he wont make he stil holds that one slither of hope, the driver may see him, god may be listening, someone might take it upon themselves to hold the door. Even in failure we still have hope.

Anger and desparation: He missed it, the briefcase come crashing down, "again" is the battle cry.

Absence of personal responcibility: Bloody (insert train provider here) ran early, 15 seconds early cant believe, they are always late thats why i took my time. Obviously their fault. Not enough trains running i have to wait 15 minutes now. Because of them i will be late.

Paranoia: It only happens to me, surely the driver saw me, he did it on purpose.

I love watching the full range f emotions, its funny how such a trivial event can produce so much, when people in the most stressful of circumstances generaly react calmly to survive.....