Why Not? Christmas Eve is a Great Time to Debate the Existence of God.

December 24, 2014

And a funny one.

For the record, I don’t think I’d be welcome in either camp, because, like Groucho, I couldn’t belong to any club that would have me as a member.

Happy Holidays, whatever your persuasion.

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12 Responses to “Why Not? Christmas Eve is a Great Time to Debate the Existence of God.”


  1. I really don’t have any interest in debating the existence of God. Why? Because nothing depends on it. If He exists, He exists; and if he doesn’t, he doesn’t. Nothing depends on it, either way.

    Unlike climate change; chacun à son goût.

    • astrostevo Says:

      Nothing depends on it? That’s not what some of the religious folks (of which I’m NOT one) would say!

      Good comedy skit and people there. Thanks.

      PS.Watched Monty Python’s ‘Life of Brian’ movie which was broadcast on my TV last night too – that seems to me to sum up religion very well and is still my all time fave comedy movie. ‘Dogma’ is up there there too!

  2. andrewfez Says:

    Well I went all the way from CA to WV, thinking the weather would be cold enough for a proper X-mas, but it was 70F today in Charleston. Out of the lukewarm frying pan and into the tepid sauce pan….

    Have a safe and happy X-mas and New Years, one and all!

  3. dumboldguy Says:

    It is a measure of both how far humans have evolved and how VERY far we still have to go that we need “religion” and “god” and are spending any time at all “debating” that non-issue.

    johnrussell got it right.

    • jpcowdrey Says:

      Religion, should one look past the forms of particular religions, is a cultural means of coming to grips with the apparent paradox (mystery between our perception of our selves as having immediate reality and importance, and:

      A.) Our perception of the Cosmos as vast and indifferent.

      B.) Our recognition of personal mortality.

      Regardless of how strongly one may denounce Religion in all its forms, we all engage in some form of mythopoeia (creative allegorical narratives) to make sense of our personal lives and relationships.

      Some may be harmful to ourselves and others, some may be helpful survival strategies, or, for goodness sake, enlightening and ennobling. They all may, at times, be all of these, depending on what use we make of them.

      It’s only human.

      • dumboldguy Says:

        “….we all engage in some form of mythopoeia (creative allegorical narratives) to make sense of our personal lives and relationships”.

        Really? Maybe it’s because I am nearing the end of my little piece of “personal mortality” and that has changed my perceptions, or perhaps it is due to my science training, but I think I have always thought that individual humans have no real “importance” beyond the superficialities of our “lives and relationships”.

        To paraphrase johnrussell—-we exist, then we don’t—-and it doesn’t matter one way or the other if we ever make “sense” of it all. The Cosmos is beyond being “perceived” as “vast and indifferent”—-that’s just the truth of the way it is, and our hubris has led to our nemesis.

  4. jpcowdrey Says:

    …but I think I have always thought that individual humans have no real “importance” beyond the superficialities of our “lives and relationships”

    Easy to say in the abstract. I doubt your closest friends and loved ones would find much comfort in knowing your affections are ‘superficial’.

    The Cosmos is beyond being “perceived” as “vast and indifferent”—-that’s just the truth of the way it is…

    That’s what I mean by mythopoeia. You are merely ascribing ‘truth’ to a simplistic narrative substituting for deeper understanding. What’s your take on the anthropic principle? Is not the Cosmos, at the very least compatible, if not downright friendly to life and consciousness?

    What is consciousness?

    • dumboldguy Says:

      What’s my take on the anthropic principle? It’s something humans have cooked up to give them something to “think” about and debate in their spare time. This has happened only because we have evolved to the point that we are “smart” enough to think such big thoughts AND have developed technologies that have freed us from the daily survival struggles of our ancestors and given us that spare time to sling BS.

      It is not a “simplistic narrative” to say the Cosmos is vast and indifferent. It IS anthropocentric in the extreme to talk about the Cosmos being “downright friendly to life and consciousness”. Lord love a duck!

      To be vulgar about it, the Cosmos is just a collection of “shit happens”. Things happen because of certain natural laws, and it all “began” many billions of years ago from a source that we will never fully discover, understand, or explain. Talking about “deeper understanding” and “enlightening” and “ennoblement” is mere hubris.

      How old are you, JPC? As I said, I’m probably 90% of the way through my “allotted” years and have more to look back on than forward to. Doesn’t mean I don’t live every day as fully as I can and seek to do some good and have some fun. Doesn’t mean I can’t remember how my “affections” and those of my significant others have ebbed and flowed as the years have passed. I am now a grandparent, and have as little impact on my grandchildren as my grandparents had on me—-my grandchildren are about to leave their parents and embark on their independent lives, marry, have children, have careers, etc—–and the cycle repeats. My “closest friends” are all in the same boat, and I have attended too many funerals lately.

      So when you say “I doubt your closest friends and loved ones would find much comfort in knowing your affections are ‘superficial’”, I hope that someday you will understand that EVERYTHING about ALL human existence on this planet is “superficial”. If you, me, everyone in the U.S., or everyone in the western hemisphere were stomped flat in an instant, the Cosmos and the planet wouldn’t even notice, and what you, I, or anyone “think” matters not a bit.

  5. Gingerbaker Says:

    “What’s your take on the anthropic principle? Is not the Cosmos, at the very least compatible, if not downright friendly to life and consciousness?”

    The Cosmos, to any statistical approximation, is completely devoid of life and consciousness. This is the only planet with any known life. And only parts of this planet are friendly to the species which could be argued have any consciousness.

    The rest of the planet, the entirety of space, all stars, and almost certainly the near complete entirety of the non Earth planets are completely hostile to life.

    The Anthropic principle is absurd in its statistics and completely useless as an argument for any god. Because any argument for a god must first define a god that is not itself self-contradictory, which is not an easy thing to do or is downright impossible. But more importantly, any argument for the existence of a god must present good evidence for the claim – and there is not a shred, a scintilla, the merest hint that any such evidence exists, now that science has developed to a point which provides natural secular explanations for grand mysteries of the world.

    Which is actually very disappointing to me. I would love to worship a god truly worth all the genuflecting involved. But I have bad knees, and I am not going to countenance the pain all that getting up and down entails for some tin pot god who never shows himself, allows evil and suffering to exist unnecessarily, and who never answers prayers in anything more than would be predicted by pure chance.

    If there actually WAS a benevolent god who cared about humans, it would be obvious. And we would not be needing to be floating trial balloons like the Anthropic principle to make a case for him.

  6. jpcowdrey Says:

    The anthropic principle is not an argument for the existence of god. It is the inference that the physical laws of the sensate universe are narrowly tuned to allow for the existence of life and consciousness.

    It is a big argument in cosmology, quantum physics and the struggle to reconcile the two.

    To be scientifically observable, a robust definition of god requires god to be a discrete material entity governed by causality. This kind of ‘god under the microscope’ definition does not seem at all compatible with the theological definition of god as the omniscient, omnipresent and omnipotent source of all being. What can be said, scientifically, about god defined as infinite and eternal spacetime in which is embodied the entire spatially and temporally finite, yet unbounded, sensate universe we inhabit and the laws governing it? Not a separable entity, but the integrated and unified whole enchilada. Not much as far as I can see.

    All attempts at a robust scientific definition of consciousness suffer from the same kind of intangibles. What if consciousness is at root a recursive and interactive process of ordering and disordering information at any scale?

    Joseph Campbell defines the problematic nature of religious mythology thusly:

    There are two pathologies. One is interpreting myth as pseudo-science, as though it had to do with directing nature instead of putting you in accord with nature, and the other is the political interpretation of myths to the advantage of one group within a society, or one society within a group of nations.

    As I see it, both atheists and fundamentalist theists arguing about the existence of god are guilty of both these pathologies.


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