Friday, 8 June 2007

Cleaning Out My Closet

One might ask, by renouncing religion and God am I also throwing a lot of other supernatural, and metaphysical ideas out the window also... isn't life real bleak and boring without any "faith?"

Good question, and yes I am throwing it all out the window, and no, life is not bleak and boring, in fact it's quite the opposite - but first, while I am cleaning out my closet, just WHAT am I throwing away by denying the existence of a god, or gods? Lets take a look:

Heaven, Hell, Satan, Devils, Angels, Jesus, Saints, Souls, The Bible, The Quran, Life After Death, Re-Incarnation, Resurrection, Miracles, Faith Healing, The Pope, The Holy Spirit, Eternal Damnation, Apocalypse, The Second Coming, Soul-Mates, Twin Souls, Cupids, Cherubims & Seraphim's, Noah's Ark, Adam & Eve, Bishops - especially the child molesting gay ones, Virgin Mary, Virgin Guadalupe, Turin Shroud, Blasphemy, Divine Water, Baptism, Fate...

Wait, there is more - also out the window goes:

Ghosts, Gnomes, Fairies, Goblins, Monsters, Elves, Unicorns, Dragons, Trolls, Witches, Black Magic, White Magic, Sea Monsters, Yeti's, Sasquatch, Chupa-Cabras, Dracula, Vampires, Middle-Earth, Santa Claus, Flying Reindeer, Zombies, VooDoo, Walking Dead, Paris Hilton, Merlin, Camelot, Runes, Werewolves, Sea Monsters, Loch Ness Monsters, Bogey Men, Sandman, Haunted Places, Exorcisms, Diabolic Possessions, Barney...

See how full of junk this closet is, and there is still yet more to throw away:

Good luck, Bad luck, DejaVu, Clairvoyants, Telepaths, Psychics, Fortune Tellers, Magicians, Astrology, Zodiacs, Tarot Cards, Ouija Boards, Uri Geller, Eric Von Daniken, Pyramid Power, Crystal Power, Aroma Therapy, Acupuncture, Ginseng, Incense, Time Travel, UFOs, Destiny, Ley-Lines, Numerology, Hippies, Tie Dye, Nirvana, Perfection, Einstein's Theory Of Relativity, Worm Holes, Black Holes, Star Gates, Number 13, Friday 13th, Number Of The Beast 666, Prophecies, Microsoft, Che Guevara, USA, Tibetan Monks...

Wow, look at all that crap I have been carrying around with me, I am going to write a note to myself and leave it in that cupboard as a reminder for the future - "There is a whole universe of possibilities out there - Explore it with an open mind and don't fill up on rubbish".


Remember how it feels when you are faced with cleaning up the home - yeah you put it off and put it off, you hate it while you are doing it but once it's done, doesn't it feel good? Almost like you are living in a new home - and that is exactly my point here. Just look at all that stuff we carry around with us, it's really a perfect example of "Not Seeing The Wood For The Trees" - well, perhaps the person that coined that timeless phrase also cleaned out his, or her, closet.

Thursday, 7 June 2007

Religion - The Worlds Deadliest Cause

Throughout mankind's history, his "animal side" while controlled and oppressed to some extent, has never really been dominated. Animals are territorial - so are humans. Animals fight for superiority within their own species - so do humans - animals protect their young from threats - so do humans - animals kill to eat, well so do humans, but only humans kill for pleasure (pleasure here includes sport, sex, entertainment, money, vengeance, greed, ego, etc.) There are a lot of other things that humans do that not even animals would consider doing.

Hitler and his regime destroyed how many, 6 million Jews? and with particularly gruesome and cruel methods, not to mention the torture, abuse, live surgeries and experiments. Many people have claimed Hitler was a christian, (he was in fact born and raised a catholic) - should we care whether he was christian, catholic or whatever? No we shouldn't, Hitler is merely one of millions of examples of the human animal - predator, destroyer, dominator. At this point many catholics and christians will jump up and say, "look, isn't this proof that with religion these things would not have happened?


If you think Hitler was bad, then just take a look at history and see how many people have been slaughtered in the name of religion - hundreds of millions? Equally vile and cruel deaths have been applied to everyone from grandfathers to new born babies - global slaughter that continues today even as you read this. How many native americans (not just in north america, try south america also) were slaughtered for being "heathen" - their cities and temples destroyed, churches erected on top of the ruins by christians and catholics claiming supremacy? C'mon, this history is within the last 400 years, it's not so old - how many innocent women and children were burned alive because they were thought to be witches by the "religious persecutors?" - it goes on, the Vikings, the Norsemen, the Moors, the Crusaders, the Greeks, the Romans, the Persians, the Maya, the Aztec, the Taliban, the Sunni, the Shiite, the Iraqis, the palestinians, the Jews, the Hindu...

How many millions, if not billions of people have been slaughtered throughout history in the name of religious beliefs?

Is there any religious group out there not guilty of slaughter?

I think not.

Do you expect me to become a Muslim, while daily there are executions, muslims against muslims, bombing, killing, torturing each other, killing their own women and children? They have been that way for centuries - how do you expect me to respect such a religion?

Do you expect me to become a Christian, while christians are responsible throughout history for genocide on a scale far worse than Hitler. Entire countries and peoples destroyed mercilessly in the name of "The Righteous God" - forget it - how do you expect me to respect such a religion?

Should I become a Jew, a Hindu, a Buddhist???

Forget it, forget all of them - enough of all this religious mumbo jumbo god crap - It isn't working. It has never worked. It never will work. Period.

To all the intelligent examples of our species, the human race...



Tuesday, 5 June 2007

Are You Here Or Are You There?

I first came across this analogy about 3 years ago while studying the internet for nano-technology and its possible applications for storing a human mind in a computer. Life extension was the purpose of the website, which I have since lost, however, they gave this clear, and, and for me, unforgettable, scenario about who and where we are with regard to the mind.

Imagine yourself in a locked room, you are sat in one corner on a chair, in the opposite corner is a refrigerator and on top of the refrigerator is a super- computer.

Your legs are removed, cut from your body (no pain no blood, this is imaginary) and they are placed in the refrigerator. A voice speaks out and ask you "Where are you?"

Naturally you will answer that you are still on the chair in the corner.

Next your body is removed from the neck down and placed in the refrigerator, your head sits on the chair. Again a voice asks "Where are you?" and again your answer is the same as before "I am here on the chair in the corner."

Next step, your brain is removed from your head and placed on the chair, your head is also placed in the refrigerator along with the rest of your body and once more a voice asks "Where are you now?"

Yes you guessed, you are still on the chair in the corner. You are the same person, with the same thoughts and the same emotions, the only thing that is different is that you do not have any sensory input into your brain, but apart from that you still exist, you know who you are and where you are.

Now, can we take that part which is you out of that brain and transfer it to the super-computer sitting on top of the refrigerator? If if were possible then we could put your brain in the refrigerator along with the rest of your physical body. Your body is dead but you are not.

This is where the idea begins to get complicated. You are the sum of your lifelong experiences - memories - because everything that is happening now, this split second is not yet a memory, but everything that has happened before this split second is a memory, which can be mapped and sent to the super-computer and stored on its hard drives. So we conclude this process of mapping your memories and sending them to the super-computer and again we ask "Where are you now?"

Well of course you are still in the brain on the chair in the corner - YOU are not in the super-computer, every thing about you is in the super-computer, every memory, every experience, but you are not there. So it seems we need to make one final step to get YOU out of that brain and into the super-computer.

Woah, this is where it all fails - the mind - where is it? We know it resides in the brain. The brain is part of the body, and physically at least, the brain needs the body to function, however the mind does NOT necessarily need the body to function. Steven Hawking is a fantastic example of a great mind that is alive in a mostly useless body. But if we destroy the brain the mind will cease to exist, can we say therefore that YOU, that free thinking part of you, is MORE than just the sum of your memories - even if we cloned your brain, and fed the new cloned brain all your experiences and memories and asked you once again "Where are you?" you would still be exactly where you are now, even if the cloned brain thought, acted, behaved just like you do, it would not be you.

So where does all this lead us? Not to god, neither to religion, all though many people will invoke gods and deities and magic and fantasies to explain all this, the simple and chilling answer at our moment in time is that we simply do not yet know.

The human body is certainly a marvel of biology, and its capabilities which we witness everyday in sports, dance, music, artistic achievements, etc. are truly amazing, yet it is the mind that drives the body and makes all this possible.

Science will one day understand the mind, it will not happen in the next few years though, it may take centuries - but the day will come when it may be possible to send the mind to a super-computer where it might be stored until a replacement body becomes available - perhaps some people might be happy just being a mind stored on a super-computer, the techy geeks amongst us might find that idea in itself satisfying... but is this life after death? No it is not. The body might be dead as demonstrated above, but the body is not you (it is part of you but it is not you). As long as your mind exists, you are alive.

Monday, 4 June 2007

And God Created Man

The bible tells us that god created man, but that since man was bored using his right hand all the time god created a woman to play with man - and play they did. Since god was not too good on contraception the woman became pregnant and later had 2 sons. The sons grew up and also wanted to see some action, but since there were only 4 people in the world their choices were very limited - they could either hump their father, hump their mom, or hump each other. No wonder they got to fighting with each other.

People who believe the story about Adam and Eve must realize that incest is bad. Either all humanity is based on incest or the whole story is rubbish.

No God Arguments

"If God is inside me, I hope he likes beer."

"Jesus Saves: By clipping coupons and shopping wisely"

"Give a man a fish, and he'll eat for a day. Give a man a religion, and he'll starve to death while praying for a fish."

"Science needs a restraining order against religion. Religion must stay 1000 feet away from science at all times."

More good arguments can be found at "NoGodPeriod"

Who We Are

Where do we come from? Why? Is there life after death?

These and other similar questions have been pondered by every human being that has ever existed at some point in their lives. That we are the result of evolution, to me at least, is obvious. No god is needed to explain the miracle of evolution. Take the whale for example, the whale was once a bear like creature, a mammal, like other mammals, that evolved from earlier reptiles. However this bear, seemingly not happy with it's land based lifestyle, returned again to the water, and over several more million years evolved again into the creature we call a whale.

Given the many millions of years that have passed on this planet it is not hard to see how natural selection, necessity, climate change, etc. have caused the life forms to diversify, adapt and change to maintain the most important status of all - life.

From the most lowly simple cell life forms, to us the most complex, there is a common and simple ingrained characteristic - maintain life at any cost - and nature has created 1,000's of ways that the creatures on this planet can use to maintain life. Nature has also created creatures that are powerful in their methods of taking life - the predators. Yet the predators kill to eat, to survive, to protect themselves. The prey of the predators rely on size, speed, cunning, or sheer numbers to survive and protect their lives. Plants also compete to survive by growing faster, or taller, than their neigbouring plants.

In the midst of this evolucionary cocktail there was one group of mammals, apes, from which one further group was later going to develop into us. They were not powerful predators like the big cats, they were not fast, they were not strong, they were small and weak and they ate what they could find be it meat, vegetable or fruit. They were our ancestors. "The Awakening" did not come in a sudden moment as in the 2001 A Space Odyssey film when an ape discovers a bone can be used as a weapon, but several millions of years passed by and this one particular creature, though small and weak, adapted to change quickly and survived well in that aggressive world of predator and prey. Not having powerful fangs or sharp claws, this species learned over time to use rocks and pieces of wood and bone to help it find food - and thus a new predator was created by the forces of evolution - Mankind.

Early man was not of course a thinker, he was simply fullfilling the in-built need to survive, and his daily life simply revolved around finding food and a mate. However, at some point through his continuing development, he became aware of his surroundings and himself in a way we have not witnessed with certainty in other animals. The mind. With this new weapon, the world would be changed forever - the supreme predator was born.

Approximately 2 million years have passed since those moments. Man is still evolving, as are the other animals on this planet - evolution does not stand still.

Where do we come from, why, is there life after death. The questions have always been there. Do we humans need to invent gods and magic and fairies to explain all this? Seems for many people yes, they do.

"Where we come from" has been answered - Evolution - applies to all life forms on this planet.

The "why" has also been answered - Maintain life - The continuance of the species - applies to all life forms on this planet.

Is there life after death? Mankind is wrong to assume that only he benefits from this idea - if there was life after death it would logically apply to all animals also since man is as much a part of the animal world as are the animals a part of us. It is written in our genes, our DNA, our history, our skeleton, our biological makeup. No, there is no life after death. Life after death would make a mockery of evolution. Evolution, or nature if you like, needs the presence of death to function. Without the fear of death, the driving force behind the of survival of the species would be weakened - why worry about survival if there is always another life waiting for you? Evolution would fail.

Perhaps then, it is the question that is wrong. Perhaps the question needs to be rephrased. Perhaps mankind has not evolved sufficiently yet to know what he wants to know. Perhaps then, the void is filled with gods, and fairies, and goblins, and a whole heap of fantasies that make all this have a reason.

"Life" does not need a reason - it simply IS.

What It's Like To Drown

I was only around 5 or 6 years old when this happened yet the memory of the experience is as vivid today as was the experience back then.

My parents had taken me and my younger sister to an open air swimming pool during that cold British summer. I could not swim, and was generally wandering around the pool as kids do, but somehow I found myself in the deep end of the swimming pool. Whether I jumped in or fell in I will never know, but I do remember lying at the bottom of the pool on my back - I was breathing water, and the water in my lungs kept me down there. I did not struggle because the experience was amazingly pleasant - breathing water did not hurt, neither did it feel uncomfortable. I just relaxed and lay there looking up. I was mesmerized by the surface of the water some 6 feet above me, the sun was shining and gentle rays of sunlight danced through the dappled water - I remember the colors - orange, rose, and turquoise. It was so relaxing there - really peaceful. Who I was, where I was, why, etc. never crossed my mind - there was no sense of time, there was no sense of warm or cold. All this came to a brutal end when I felt I was being dragged forcefully through the water. Next thing I remember was people slapping me and shouting at me - "breath, breath", they were shouting - it was like a rude and painful awakening - breathing hurt, I was coughing, my throat and lungs hurt, I felt really cold, icy cold, and dizzy, confused. I didn't understand why these people were shouting at me and hitting me, but as my consciousness slowly returned I realized the people hitting me were my parents. I was vomiting water, it was painful and horrible, and it is there where my memory ends. I simply do not remember any more of that day, neither do I remember the rest of that year.

Of all of my childhood memories, this is one of the strongest and clearest. Some 4 years later I was to find myself in deep water once again - caught by a rip tide and washed out towards the open ocean, exhausted from swimming against the current I realized I could just give up, and breath in the water as in my previous experience, I was ready to let it happen, but this time it never did, a parent had swam out and rescued me and dragged me back to shore. In later years I was to become a regional county swimming champion, and set a record for swimming under water the furthest and fastest distance.

I love the water, I have made sure throughout my life that I have always lived close to water. Now I live in a beach resort and despite all my "incidents" with water I will always regard it as a "best friend".

The point of the above is this, did it make me religious? Hell no, if anything it taught me the opposite, but not while I was laying on the bottom of the pool, I was too young to have any concept of religion, but later in life I realized that life can be fragile - in a moment it can be gone. Accidents are accidents, they happen to millions of people everyday - this is not the "wish" of some bearded deity sitting around in the sky with nothing better to do than to dish out accidents on unsuspecting mortals - it is just part of that great force of nature, natural events - 2+2=4, but sometimes 2+2=5.

Sunday, 3 June 2007

There Is No God - Wake Up

That's right, and I can write those words without the fear that I am going to be struck down with a horrible illness (and if I do fall to cancer its because I smoke, and not gods will), I will not loose my job, and I won't burn in hell when I die. Whatever was the point of burning in hell anyway - what a waste of time.

However, this statement is not a spur of the moment statement, I have actually been mulling this over for some months now (well in truth I have been mulling it over all my life) but something struck me in the last few months. Why do we humans invest so many resources in a 2,000 year old fantasy tale?

Just take the Middle East - a world at war over religion - Shiites and Sunni's, Palestinian and Jew, and more lately Somalia and Ethiopia - and the Christian Americans putting their foot in it because their Christian based political system obliges them. How much money, how much bloodshed, how much suffering, how much inhumanity goes on there is incalculable - shame that all those resources are not invested in something more worthwhile.

OK, so do you believe in god? Then you must also believe in Santa Claus, he is a saint after all, and how about the tooth fairy? Maybe Spiderman and Shrek also? You can see them at the cinema or on DVD, so they must be real, right?

We also have a new Pope - not a normal man by any means, and even less representative of a normal man - he dresses in white robes and lives as a hermit - what the hell does he know about marriage, divorce and all the problems that surround human sexuality??? So why on earth is he dictating about how we should live our lives??? What the hell does he know about anything??? Actually he kinda reminds me of Michael Jackson, two people living in their own fantasy worlds that are far removed from reality - do you see the connection?

Here's another thought that struck me in a conversation with a catholic - I asked, "How does god look", " does he have two eyes, a nose, a mouth, two arms, two legs,?" "Of course" said the catholic...

Waitup, waitup.... this god has a human countenance??? Well we are, according to the bible, created in His image.... so what about all the alien life forms out there (if there are any) in whose image were they created? In whose image are the animals created? Are all the animals going to burn in hell for being non-believers?

Humans have created god in their image, this behaviour to create things in the human image is actually quite widespread, just go to any food store and you will see all kinds of packaging bearing humanized images of buns, cakes, sweets, beer, chickens, etc. - and the most famous of all Mickey Mouse - a mouse that wears clothes and talks like humans. Well fine, I accept the advertising strategies, and the entertainment value of Mickey Mouse, but I can't accept the idea of a human looking god, typically described as old looking, grey haired, and obviously a man - but dammit why a man, why not a woman??? Why old and gray-haired... and he is never depicted as chinese, or even less as black!!! But why not??? What brand of toilet paper does he use, does he eat, does he drink, do we look like him or does he look like us?

It just doesn't make sense !!!

Religion doesn't make sense, the Pope doesn't make sense, heaven and hell don't make sense, fighting over religion makes even less sense. All this crap is based on a 2,000 year old fantasy tale.

You don't HAVE to be religious to be a good person... and if any religious person thinks that non-believers are bad persons then they are truly warped by their own religious egos.

John Lennon said some very memorable words in his song Imagine - "Imagine no religion" - sadly some sick bastard killed John Lennon... but those words, in fact that whole song, was a powerful statement that was intended to show that there are alternatives.

Humans around the world tend to fall into 3 camps, there are the "religious", the "atheists" (hate that word), and there are the "unsure". Should we care ? Yes we should, put it this way, if you want to interview for a job and you tell the interviewers that you are a god fearing christian you probably stand a better chance of getting that job than if you told them you were an atheist. Why, because religious people are good, honest people.... total crap - but that's the way society tends to believe. There are just as many christian and catholic and Muslim rapists, robbers, murderers, etc as there are atheist rapists, robbers, murderers, etc.

But try telling someone that you hear voices, that you talked with god - lol, now gets you locked up in an asylum for the mentally deranged. So believing in god is ok, talking with him is loony.

"In God We Trust - God Bless America" - why should he, why can't he bless other countries? What does the word "bless" actually mean here? Do the US and other "influencial" countries make political and military decisions based on their "righteous religeous" outlooks? Then it's no wonder that the world is in a mess.

And to think that all this "religion" comes from some badly written, incomplete story on some papyrus scrolls that have been badly translated and re-translated over the years... supposedly rational intelligent human beings choose to believe in those stories, they make decisions based on those stories, they justify their actions based on those stories, and they answer the absurdity of those stories with even more absurdities.... this, is religion? Then I say to hell with religion.

Ok, lets let up awhile here, I am not writing all this just to bash the religious, I accept that my words here will probably have no effect whatever on the world - but I would like to walk down the street in the knowledge that no-one is going bother me for my color, that no-one is going to bother me for my country of origin or my language, that no-one is going to try and rob me, and that no-one is going to have problems with my mode of dressing... do we have this kind of world yet??? NO WE DON'T - and religion is certainly not capable of providing it, so why don't we all just cut out the crap and put the effort into who we really are... and WHO WE REALLY ARE is going to be my next blogging effort, and it's going to cut deep.

Relevant Sites:

Just say NO to Imaginary Bearded Sky Daddies