Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Do We Have a Soul?

Everything that is me, my conciousness, emotions, thoughts and dreams are the result of electrochemical reactions in my brain responding to, and trying to make sense of, the universe i inhabit. Distorted by the failings of biological sensors, filtered to exclude extraneous information, applied to inadequate models, interpreted in relation to my own idiosyncratic world view the thing I call reality only exists in my head. True reality, what the universe is actually like will always be shrouded from me. I percieve just a narrow band of the electromagnetic spectrum and can exist only in a very small nich environment if you consider the extremes of heat, gravity and radiation that abound "out there".
So me, my brain and all that is me, finds itself trapped in a bone prison. Percieveing in a grossly filtered, distorted way the reality that lies a mere inch or so beyond the walls. Contact, even with my loved ones, must pass through two of these distorting fortress walls. So I can never know what another feels, thinks or sees except dimmly through imperfect senses. We are all inconcievably alone, and when we die the reactions of nerve and charge. The myriad connections of neurons blindy reaching out to touch their neighbours, the receptors hungry for the nurotransmitters to slip like hand into glove to fire in chemical release down the multitude of pathways that form the models I use to make sense of "outside", that strive to see patterns in everything, that create love, pain, wonder and loss. All this will end. Rot. Become a seemingly amorphous mush with no hint of the vistas, life, hopes and experience it once allowed itself to imagine. End of existance for anything that could be called self.
That a part of the universe, some matter that, at even the scale of molecules. Let alone atoms or their component particles, is indistinguishable from rock, comet, supernovae remnants, could become concious of itself and strive to understand the universe is stunning. The universe concious of itself. Enough to wonder at, enough beauty, enough tears for anyone without resorting to anything so tawdry as a christian soul don't you think?

Monday, February 06, 2006

Flying Spaghetti Monster Epiphany

Discovered FSM last night. http://www.venganza.org/index.htm

I partook of the FSM Erotica http://www.dildoart.com/fsm/thumbnails.html

And must have been touched by His noodly appendage because today my job took me to Spaghetti Junction http://www.birmingham-photos.co.uk/PB3/C4/PB3p56.htm

His noodlyness really does move in mysterious ways. Perhaps I'll give up this atheism lark and become a Pastafarian!

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Refreshing Billboard

Hell. To Good for Some Evil Bastards!

The End of Religion?

I was just thinking that it feels like the battlelines are being drawn. Just seen on the news that the 400 year old catholic sect in Iraq is now upping sticks and pulling out. 400 years of co-existance with Islam, through the "Great Game" the 19th-century imperial rivalry between the British Empire and Tsarist Russia. Through the discovery of oil and the Saddam years it is now finally all breaking down. Demonstrators in London calling for the beheading of people who insult Islam and our police do nothing. If I went into parliament square with a "Eat the Rich" sign I would be nicked so fast my feet wouldn't touch the ground!
I can't see any way back from here. The last global war, The Cold War, was between two conflicting political ideologies. This century it's religion. Sheesh! At least Stalin existed! You can't asassinate a mythical being. And the one thing that we're facing that is totally outside our experience this time is that to die for allah is a bonus! Fighting an enemy that is truly unafraid to die. Communist Bloc & NATO troops would be happy to wave the white flag if needs be. it's different this time. It's the one thing that could not happen without religion. Like the 911 hijackers, they're sure of going straight to heaven. (Bush called them cowardly, I can see nothing cowardly in flying a plane into a building and facing certain death without flinching) It's the religiosity of both sides that is to blame for the mess we are in. Bush & Blaire publicly admit to being theists. And theism is the very bedrock of the terrorist threat from Islam. The irony of both sides shouting "Allah Akhbar" and "With God on Our Side" as they kill each other has been noted since the original crusades. It's still happening. On Radio4 here in the UK we get a theist spot in the morning news. Christians calling for restraint on both sides and understanding between religions. Sickening! Not able to see that they are part of the problem. It's ALL religion, not just islam. Perhaps the one good thing to come out of all this, when it's finally over. Might just be that the majority will see that it is theism that is the problem. Could this period we are in be the last throes of religion?

Friday, February 03, 2006


So it was cartoons that finally did it. The elephant that's been in the room since the invasion of iraq ( and back to the first crusades) has finally materialised in the conciousness of the west. Muslims have known it for millenia and we knew it once too.
What is this pachyderm squatting amongst us? It's the huge schism, the gulf that can never be bridged, the gap between the west with christianity that has been through the reformation and now takes a back seat in most of our lives ( i'll exclude the american christian taliban for now ) and the muslim world. Unreformed, dogmatic and inflexible. There can be no easy point of contact between the two, period.
What we are seeing now is the birth of the problem that will shape the next century. Islamic dogma versus a christian america and a largly secular (with christian undertones) "rest of the west". This has to be the end of the, largely british, multicultural experiment. The battlelines are being drawn as I type this sentence. Plackards in London saying "Behead Those That Insult Islam" and white, anglo saxons on the news pinning their colours to the mast of free speech.
The mere fact that theology is the study of fiction. That perhaps 99% of both side just want a quiet life and the hurt and insult are pure societal and political constructs means little. These cartoons will be used as the kernel to unite the muslim world like the invasion of a secular Iraq never did. The terrorist groups must be rubbing their hands together in glee. As is the British National Party here in the UK. Expect racism, expect hatred and most of all, expect violence.
The embarrassing platitudes of the british government, trying desperatley to keep the lid on the tinderbox of UK inner cities, seem to me to be trying to keep feet in both camps. It's time to pull back from both entrenched positions and come out against religion. The real enemy of the piece. All this death, pain, insult and dogma stem from religion. It's time to treat the religious as bad, mad or guilty of using religion for their own personal or political ends. This applies to all side, all religions. It's time we left our childish creation myths behind and treated people who think they are in touch with the thoughts of a mythical being as the lunatics they truly are.
I don't hold out a whole lot of hope though. Keep your heads down folks. The lurch towards controlling faschism in the west of the 1984 ilk, to the fanatical islamic jihad in the east. It's going to get a whole lot worse before it gets better. And the schism will deepen, and people, and hope, will die.