Yet another weird SF fan

I'm a mathematician, a libertarian, and a science-fiction fan. Common sense? What's that?

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Yet another weird SF fan

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Contrary to the Book of Job

I disagree with Hugo de Garis's definition of theism:

Let me state my views on theism vs. deism at this point. Deism, as just mentioned, is the belief that there is a “deity,” i.e., a creator of the universe, a grand designer, a cosmic architect, that conceived and built our universe. Theism is the belief in a deity that also cares about the welfare of individual humans. Deism I am open to, whereas I find theism ridiculous. The evidence against it is enormous. For example, last century, about 200-300 million people were killed for “political reasons,” e.g., wars, genocides, purges, ethnic cleansings, etc. It was the bloodiest century in history.

I suppose that means Jonathan Edwards was not a theist and that the Book of Job must be removed from Bibles.

He also went on to say:

If this theity was so concerned with human beings, why did our species come on the cosmic scene so late? Our universe has existed for the order of 1010 years. We humans have existed for about 105 years, i.e., only a thousandth of 1% of the age of the universe – “a mere afterthought of an afterthought.” Every primitive tribe has dreamt up its own gods, and those gods have properties familiar to their human creators. For example, New Guinea gods have a lot of pigs, Chinese gods have slitty eyes, etc. Cultural anthropologists of religion have estimated that humanity has invented more than 100,000 different gods over the planet and over the broad sweep of human history, most of which are no longer believed in. They have become “extinct religions.”

What counts as late? The odds are the human clade will persist for far longer than 1010 years. As for the “variety of gods” argument, as I've said before:

For the record, I believe in God and Allah and Brahman and the First Cause and that Existence exists … and I also believe they are the same entity.

Maybe I'm making too much of this. I have no objection to his arguments for deism and I even agree that there is a distinction between deism and theism, although I put the boundary elsewhere.


Anonymous Vader said...

I think this is the point about Christianity that other religions need to understand, even if they don't share the belief: God made Man in the person of Jesus, who was then unjustly tortured to death by the Romans, is a powerful demonstration that God is deeply sympathetic to the human condition, and He would not put us through it without a damned good reason.

The other point, about the Unverse without us for 10e10 years being wasteful, is silly, as Tolkien pointed out in The Silmarillion. But even if you insist that it is somehow a problem, there are other theistic solutions to it.

11:53 AM  

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