The most amusing thing you’ll see all day — a mashup of Carl Sagan‘s Pale Blue Dot and the Old Spice commercial:
**Warning** **Warning** You have reached critical geek mass. Continuing online will provoke the creation of a hyperintelligent shade of the color blue. **Abort** **Abort**
This is beyond cool.
Carl is almost as hot as the guy in the guy in the Old Spice commercials.
jonezart! I was thinking the same thing!
this is the most awesome thing I’ve seen since February 19th.
The Taj Mahal was built because of the life of one single person.
Imagine this Carl Sagan commercial contrasting the enormous size and scale of the Taj Mahal (universe) with the seemingly insignificant life of Shah Jahan’s wife, (a mote of dust.)
Perhaps He should have built a slightly less awesome, less beautiful structure to demonstrate a little bit less of His impressive, undying love.
I wonder if Mr Sagan would find God more believable if the universe was as boring as a shoe box wrapped in brown paper and if the people living inside it were dull and ignorant – refusing to believe there was anything beyond the shoe box – because empirical evidence is only good for when you are measuring stuff like cardboard.
Kind of ironic, the picture of Sagan on a horse is a photoshopped version of a Ronald Reagan. I wouldn’t say they were enemies, but Sagan was a vocal opponent of Reagan’s “Star Wars” Initiative, and Reagan got a mention in The Demon-Haunted World.
Just a digression.
Guys, the gig’s up. Lion IRC figured out we’re only atheists because, um… the universe is pretty?
I’m sure that Carl Sagan could have made even a cardboard universe interesting. After all the cardboard is made largely from carbon and carbon is created in the embers of dying stars. We are made of star stuff…even if it is brown and ordinary. He, like many of us, saw no need to invent a creator to find wonder and beauty in the universe.
At least we know Shah Jahan existed – since we have proof in his architecture and history. God… just doesn’t make his presence known. If God made his presence known, I’m sure I would accept it as a definite possibility that, y’know, gods exist.
Why, though, should I throw away science, curiosity, rationality, self-discipline, identity, and altruism for a being who has never identified himself, who I see as a hateful, genocidal monster, and who cannot possibly exist as defined by the stories written about him?
Because of hell! WOooooOOOOOOoooOOO! Scary!
Oh, well in that case I better repent. After all, the existence of Hell is a well-known fact. I can even open up a map and point straight to where it is.
Yup, good ole’ Hell, Michigan. Wouldn’t wanna go there, it’s a bit cold, I hear.
…proof of Shah Jahans existence in his architecture…
but dont “throw away science, curiosity, rationality, self-discipline, identity, and altruism” for anybody.
Like the architecture of the Taj Mahal, those features we have exist for a reason.
architecture and history
I’m WELL aware of the ignorance of people who say the whole ‘painting without the painter’ thing, but you forgot the second part of the whole statement. History. We know from history that the guy existed. We have records from multiple sources documenting his life and his reign. We have objects that he owned, places he had built, and can see all this.
We do not have any of this when it comes to gods. You can say ‘the universe looks created’ but I do not see any god’s signature on it. Everyone’s interpretation of their god is different, even people within the same household and sect of their religion. There is no verifiable proof that god existed or exists. That is why I choose not to believe. If I had proof, I would.
The anthropic principle you’re speaking of (the universe was created for us) is old, refuted, bad science. A hole was not made for a puddle.
Well I didnt actually FORGET the second part (history) but nor can you deny the first half of your OWN post. And its an important half which I am not going to let YOU forget.
Anyway, I am happy to focus instead on the second proof if you like. I dont suppose you accept the bible as history do you? They were human beings, just like you and me, recording stuff they thought was worth preserving for future generations. Maybe you dont accept history from the bible notwithstanding that Babylonian historians and Persians and Greeks were every bit as theistic and influenced by theism as the bible historians. Anyway….
It is a historical fact, is it not, that Mr Sagan and the mote of dust on which he lives and the surrounding architecture I mean universe has NOT always been there. Surely historical facts like that require further consideration.
The Bible isn’t a history book, nor is it a science book. It is mythology. Why don’t you appreciate this?
What you see as architecture, I see as the natural inevitability of elements fusing together and ripping apart under natural forces – sometimes spectacularly violently – to create a beautifully diverse universe. I see nothing to suggest that the universe was the creation of anything besides natural physics. To suggest such is to cheapen it. I do not find amazement in thinking the universe was made for me – I find amazement in how much the universe isn’t made for me.
The Bible is not a history. It has historical parts to it – multiple records from multiple sources have corroborated things like the Babylonian captivity, certain kings, the rebuilding period, and so forth. However, it’s more in the lines of a book like “Sharpe’s Tiger” than a book like “Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire.” It’s got a lot of embellishment and exaggerations and myths and legends plugged in.
I would more readily accept the information from a Greek history than that from the Bible. Similarly, I’d more readily accept a Hebrew history than a book of Greek myths.
The universe has (likely) not been around forever, but what this has to do with theology I don’t quite understand. Is the fact that we live in a finite universe somehow a proof for gods?
@Lion IRC: That’s remarkably similar to something Hitler said.
Lion IRC, Your use of the Taj Mahal as an analogy of something wonderful suggests a tendency to gloss over an idea for its romantic effect, and to ignore the ugly details. The Shah Jahal built that tomb and many other “splendid” buildings with the plunder of conquest and the blood of the innocent. His reign is sometimes called the “golden age of the Mughal Empire.” It wasn’t called that by the people whose land, treasure and lives he stole.
The universe is beautiful because WE have the talent for seeing beauty in the things around us. A more careful look also shows that the universe is brutal, deadly, prone to massive extinctions, and utterly indifferent to our fate in its deep, deep lack of self.
You imply that we have traits like science, curiosity, rationality, self-discipline, identity, and altruism because they are given to us by a deity. When people give the credit for those things to a source outside of themselves, they reduce their sense of responsibility to practice those traits.
We have those traits as a species because we survive better with them. We have those traits as individuals because we choose to have them. It is up to us to add love to the world, if that’s what we want. When we relegate that task to a deity, we put less effort into creating love for each other.
Every woman wanted to be with him. Every man wanted to BE him…. he rarely drank, but when he did, it was Dos Equis with an Old Spice chaser. He may well have been the most interesting man alive…we miss you Carl!!
@ Kev Quondam & Richard Wade
Do we agree the universe is spectacular, beautiful. something wonderful? Yes, it seems that way. Cheers! Or so I thought………
See, I am not prepared to say about you, that which you have inadvertently said about me.
I have no doubt that the atheist can find the universe equally as beautiful as I do. But the atheist, on the other hand asserts that my theist perspective necessarily cheapens its beauty. Kev Quondam wrote “…To suggest such is to cheapen it”
Similarly, I have no doubt that atheists, as fellow human beings in this universe, can elevate ideals like love, morality, scientific curiosity, spirituality, reason, self-discipline, identity, and altruism to a higher plane and regard them in as much reverence as I do being a theist. But the atheist, on the other hand, asserts when the theist says these are given to us by a deity (as part of our created freedom of thought in the likeness of God) that those ideals are cheapened and should be relegated to a lesser status.
Richard Wade wrote “…When people give the credit for those things to a source outside of themselves they reduce their sense of responsibility to practice those traits.”
IN other words, atheists think the universe is more amazing than theists and universal human ideals mean less if you think God made the universe.
There CAN be enlightened Socratic dialogue when the vehicle of communication is driven by the question – “why do you think that?”
There CANNOT be such a contest of ideas nor progress when the vehicle of communication has its path blocked by the blind assertion – “I don’t believe you really think that?”
Those are some pretty broad brushes that you’re using, Lion IRC.
Can we agree that the universe is a big place and it contains many wonderful and interesting things for the human mind to ponder? There are questions that just scream out to be asked by our curious little minds.
I think that Terry Pratchett said it very well in the Hogfather: “Human beings make life so interesting. Do you know, that in a universe so full of wonders, they have managed to invent boredom.”
What I find limiting is the unwillingness of some to say that the answers that they have are incomplete or even that they might be wrong. Science has this built into it’s foundations. You might be wrong.
Sagan said this: Science… is forever whispering in our ears, ‘Remember, you’re very new at this. You might be mistaken. You’ve been wrong before.’ Despite all the talk of humility, show me something comparable in religion.
In any case, with the Book of the Dead I can be assured a peaceful afterlife. Well do I know that the great dung beetle pushes the orb across the sky, as Horus looks down upon us.