"Begin at the beginning,and go on till you come to the end: then stop." (Lewis Carroll, 1832-1896)
Alice came to a fork in the road. "Which road do I take?" she asked."Where do you want to go?" responded the Cheshire cat."I don't know," Alice answered."Then," said the cat, "it doesn't matter."
"So long as I get somewhere," Alice added as an explanation. "Oh, you're sure to do that," said the Cat, "if you only walk long enough."
"All right," said the Cat; and this time it vanished quite slowly, beginning with the end of the tail, and ending with the grin, which remained some time after the rest of it had gone. "Well! I've often seen a cat without a grin," thought Alice; "but a grin without a cat! It's the most curious thing I ever saw in my life!"
I am diagonally parked in a parallel universe. Like Arthur Dent from "Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy", if you do not have a Babel Fish in your ear this blog will be completely unintelligible to you and will read something like this: "boggle, google, snoggle, slurp, slurp, dingleberry to the power of 10". Fortunately, those who have had the Babel Fish inserted in their ear, will understood this blog perfectly. If you are familiar with this technology, you will know that the Babel Fish lives on brainwave radiation. It excretes energy in the form of exactly the correct brainwaves needed by its host to understand what was just said; or in this case, what was read. The Babel Fish, thanks to scientific research, reverses the problem defined by its namesake in the Tower of Babel, where a deity was supposedly inspired to confuse the human race by making them unable to understand each other.
Beepbeepitsme has been added to The Atheist Blogroll. You can see the blogroll in my sidebar. The Atheist blogroll is a community building service provided free of charge to Atheist bloggers from around the world. If you would like to join, visit Mojoey at Deep Thoughts.
"Who breaks a butterfly upon a wheel?" Alexander Pope
"The primary function of myth is to validate an existing social order. Myth enshrines conservative social values, raising tradition on a pedestal." Ann Oakley
"Some treat their longing for God as proof of His existence." Mason Cooley
"The god of the Christians, as we have seen, is the god who makes promises only to break them; who sends them pestilence and disease in order to heal them; a god who demoralizes mankind in order to improve it. A god who created man 'after his own image', and still the origin of evil in man is not accredited to him." Johann Most
"In love, we worry more about the meaning of silences than the meaning of words." Mason Cooley
"My philosophy is such that I am not going to vote against the oppressed. I have been oppressed, and so I am always going to have a vote for the oppressed, regardless of whether that oppressed is black or white or yellow or the people of the Middle East, or what. I have that feeling." Septima Clark
"Secular humanists suspect there is something more gloriously human about resisting the religious impulse; about accepting the cold truth, even if that truth is only that the universe is as indifferent to us as we are to it." Tom Flynn
"If the question is put to me would I rather have a miserable ape for a grandfather or a man highly endowed by nature and possessed of great means of influence and yet who employs those faculties and that influence for the mere purpose of introducing ridicule into a grave scientific discussionI unhesitatingly affirm my preference for the ape." Thomas Henry Huxley
Project Gutenberg is the oldest producer of free ebooks on the Internet. The collection was produced by hundreds of volunteers.
"Give the right man a solar myth, and he'll confute the sun therewith." James Russell Lowell
"Oh let me see your beauty when the witnesses are gone. Let me feel you moving like they do in Babylon. Show me slowly what I only know the limits of. Dance me to the end of love." Leonard Cohen
"If God is male, then male is God. The divine patriarch castrates women as long as he is allowed to live on in the human imagination." Mary Daly
"If the people were a little more ignorant, astrology would flourish - if a little more enlightened, religion would perish." Robert Green Ingersoll
"In other words (so to speak): not two and also not not two." Magellan's Log V
"History is, strictly speaking, the study of questions; the study of answers belongs to anthropology and sociology." W.H. Auden
"Archaeology is the peeping Tom of the sciences. It is the sandbox of men who care not where they are going; they merely want to know where everyone else has been." Jim Bishop
"To excavate is to open a book written in the language that the centuries have spoken into the earth." Spyridon Marinatos
"Science commits suicide when it adopts a creed." Thomas Henry Huxley
"The place has changed but little since Diana received the homage of her worshippers in the sacred grove. The temple of the sylvan goddess, indeed, has vanished and the King of the Wood no longer stands sentinel over the Golden Bough." Sir James George Frazer
"Babylonian king (1792BCEâ€“1750BCE) who made Babylon the chief Mesopotamian kingdom and codified the laws of Mesopotamia and Sumeria." The American Heritage
"We are ourselves history and share the responsibility for world history and our position in it. But we gravely lack awareness of this responsibility." Hermann Hesse
"Astrology: do we make a hullabaloo among the stars, or do they make a hullabaloo down here?" Mason Cooley
"Readers are plentiful: thinkers are rare." Harriet Martineau
"The Christian religion is a parody on the worship of the Sun, in which they put a man whom they call Christ, in the place of the Sun, and pay him the same adoration which was originally paid to the Sun." Thomas Paine
"Zoroaster was thus the first to teach the doctrines of an individual judgment, Heaven and Hell, the future resurrection of the body, the general Last Judgment, and life everlasting for the reunited soul and body. These doctrines were to become familiar articles of faith to much of mankind, through borrowings by Judaism, Christianity and Islam; yet it is in Zoroastrianism itself that they have their fullest logical coherence.â€ - Mary Boyce
"My esoteric doctrine, is that if you entertain any doubt, it is safest to take the unpopular side in the first instance. Transit from the unpopular, is easy ... but from the popular to the unpopular is so steep and rugged that it is impossible to maintain it." William Lamb Melbourne
"With reason one can travel the world over; without it it is hard to move an inch." Chinese proverb.
"Our earth is degenerate in these latter days. Bribery and corruption are common. Children no longer obey their parents. . . . The end of the world is evidently approaching." Sound familiar? It is, in fact, the lament of a scribe in one of the earliest inscriptions to be unearthed in Mesopotamia, where Western civilization was born. C. John Sommerville
"The sun, the moon and the stars would have disappeared long ago ... had they happened to be within the reach of predatory human hands." Havelock Ellis
"It (myth) expresses and confirms, rather than explains or questions, the sources of cultural attitudes and values... Because myth anchors the present in the past it is a sociological charter for a future society which is an exact replica of the present one." Ann Oakley
"Starry, starry night. Flaming flowers that brightly blaze, swirling clouds in violet haze, reflect in Vincent's eyes of china blue." Don McLean
"NOT from the stars do I my judgment pluck, and yet methinks I have astronomy, But not to tell of good or evil luck, Of plagues, of dearths, or seasonsâ€™ quality..." William Shakespeare
"Moreover, the universe as a whole is infinite, for whatever is limited has an outermost edge to limit it, and such an edge is defined by something beyond. Since the universe has no edge, it has no limit; and since it lacks a limit, it is infinite and unbounded. Moreover, the universe is infinite both in the number of its atoms and in the extent of its void." Epicurus
"Most people today still believe, perhaps unconsciously, in the heliocentric universe every newspaper in the land has a section on astrology, yet few have anything at all on astronomy." Hannes Alfven
Pascal's wager is betting on the existence of god. It suggests that belief in god has everything to gain and nothing to lose. Blaise Pascal argued that it is a better "bet" to believe that God exists, because the expected value to be gained from believing that God exists is greater than the expected value resulting from non-belief.
This argument has some major flaws. Some of them are: 1. It assumes that god (if it exists) rewards belief and punishes non-belief. 2. It assumes that the individual has chosen the right god. 3. It assumes that the individual is a member of the right religion or sect of that religion. 4. It requires that any person who is believing in a god to avoid punishment or gain reward would need to believe in all the religions which consider non-belief punishable. 5. It assumes that god/gods would not know that you are believing in order to avoid punishment or to gain reward.
So, if you claim that we should believe in Christianity just because of the possibility of being punished for not believing in it, then what are you going to say about other religions which also make such a claim? Based on Pascal's wager, Islam, Christianity and Hinduism cannot all be correct as they do not worship the same god/gods in the same way. So, to escape punishment, for Pascal's Wager to work, you would need to believe in all 3. Or some unknown non-Christian gods might exist, and punish Christian believers for their failure to believe in them. Or some powerful entity might decide to punish those who believe in a god while rewarding non-believers. To avoid punishment from believing in the wrong god, one would need to believe in all of them. This is bound to upset at least one of them, if any of them exist in the first place.
Also, if the belief is basely solely on the expectation of reward and the fear of punishment, instead of other things as well, such as the desire to do good, it is not belief with pure intent, which, if any of the gods exist, is bound to piss off at least one of them. I am not sure that "pretending to believe just in case" would score many "god brownie points." This is apart from a lifetime spent in worshipping which my turn out to be the wrong god, or a non-existent god. Thus a life spent on either a wilful delusion or a lie. So it is a fallacy that those who believe have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
"Men never do evil so completely or cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction." Blaise Pascal
(Pascal's Wager always reminds me of the part in "The Mummy" where Benny is confronted by the mummy as it is hunting for body parts from which to reconstitute its own body. Benny is trapped against the wall inside the burial chamber with the egyptian mummy advancing towards him. Benny begins to pull out a dozen or so religious amulets from around his neck, and tries to use them as religious talismans to warn off the advances of the mummy. What saves him from the mummy, according to the story, is not his belief in any of the religions, but the fact that he can speak ancient hebrew. The moral of the story seems to be that it isn't belief that is going to save you from a dangerous situation, but knowledge. Specifically in Benny's case, it is the knowledge of another language which makes him useful - even if it was only on a temporay basis. Nonetheless, that part in the movie always makes me laugh as Benny is in effect, pretending to believe in all the gods, in the hope that none of the others, should they exist, be offended.)