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Well played, RMIT Secular Society… but how dare you discriminate against me?!
Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.
Soul already sold. *slow golf clap*
Yum: free brownies.
Whatever will the gingers do if they want a brownie?
As a mathematician, I expect you can play some games here with the oddities of zero. For instance, if the soul doesn’t exist, you have nothing to transfer in the transaction. You can transfer nothing an infinite number of times without affecting what you don’t have, right? Or with what the buyer doesn’t have?
So, if you want two brownies, sell your soul twice!
(However, if the sale involves a signature in blood, go slowly, and make sure the brownies have lots of sugar.)
Are these special brownies?
You know, made with Ghirardelli chocolate….
Bring a friend?
Hemant, you need to split your soul into multiple fragments and store them in horcruxes (or is that horcri?) obviously. Then you take the horcruxes and exchange them for brownies.
Granted you have to kill someone to split your soul, so there’s a minor problem with this plan. But still, there is an option.
I came here to complain about that very thing …
This made me laugh!
Needlessly complex. Just sell other people’s souls.
*points* “That guy over there gave me resale– yeah, HEY BOB! HI! Uh, resale rights on his soul. So, you know…2 brownies please.”
What? No, that’s horrible, you are depriving that person of getting their own brownie. That’s essential theft of baked goods. That’s just not right.
With my method you merely wait until an innocent person has exchanged their soul for a brownie and, now this is important, has enjoyed their brownie. Then you murder them, thus splitting your soul. Then you get your brownie. No one is deprived of their brownie. OK, yes, someone died, and that is wrong, but if they got their brownie first is that so bad?
A diabetic friend?
Didn’t you already sell your soul? No brownie for you!
You also touch on a profound question many a great philosopher has struggled with over the ages…
Are brownies, in fact, more important than life?
Why wouldn’t you steal their soul and then make the horcrux ? In such a case you would have two brownies per killing and can even give back the second brownie to the person you just killed. Ok, given it’s dead it won’t be able to enjoy said brownie so you’ll have to take back the brownie to avoid waste of baked goods, but that’s an implementation detail…
Certainly not. But they’re most definitely more important than the soul!
To get the second brownie, you’ll have to do it the tried-and-true, old-fashion way: sell your firstborn’s soul. Unless it’s ginger. Then you’re out of luck. Sorry, too bad, but not second brownie for you.
What if you want one brownie.
Well now you’re just being greedy. Lord Voldemort showed that you can split your soul many times, so therefore you can get multiple brownies without stealing someone else’s soul and depriving them of their rightful brownie.
Now a problem might arise if multiple people go this route and kill one another in order to split their own souls. But if the people at RMIT Secular Society already have one of your horcruxes and are kind enough to revive you, it’s all good.
I just found a way to game the system. Persons A and B could team up to repeatedly kill one another in order to make multiple horcruxes and thus get more and more brownies. Now to start things off Person A will have to kill someone else to make his first horcrux. But then Person B kills A, thus making their horcrux, and then revives A, then A kills B, and repeat. Each time they are revived and kill the other, they get an additional brownie. It’s a win-win, except of course for the first person that died.
No…bring the local diabetic support group. Imply that the brownies are sugar free, and receive multiples!
Open a gateway to purgatory and harvest the untold number of souls imprisoned there in exchange for all the brownies you can eat! Muhahahaha! (p.s. watch out for Leviathan)
Perhaps the first person should be a ginger ? After all, it’s well known that gingers are soulless, so noone would be deprived of its brownie.
Funny how I haven’t thought of Copper Cab in years.
Hindus get half a brownie since their souls are pre-owned
You beat me to it, but this is an opportunity for me to ask a mathematical question to C Peterson or Hemant or anyone: Is zero an infinitely small number, or is it just zero? What I mean is, is one infinitely larger than zero, or is it just one larger than zero?
This is why I became an art major.
Don’t worry! Mathematics, like art isn’t real. It’s all in your head. That’s what has really begun to annoy me as I get older and wiser–we spend so much arguing about things that aren’t real, like gods, race, and most other controversial topics. Like the Romans said: “De gustibus non disputandum est.”
It’s a complicated question, and trying to answer it with simple English generally leads to the sort of nonsensical constructions like I used above. Sometimes zero is just zero (I know… not too helpful). Mathematicians usually use the concept of limits when dealing with the more esoteric aspects of both zero and infinity… two concepts that tend to get pretty badly mangled when used in ordinary language as if they were tangible things.
That said, zero is a number, whereas infinity is not. That’s why things fall apart when asking if something is infinitely larger than zero. You’re kind of playing with apples and oranges. For most people, it’s best to just treat zero as a number- as far from one as two is. After all, arithmetically, it follows all the same rules as any other number.
Bowen street? Well , I’m flattered…
I will give .666 of my “soul”! ;)
That’s a good point. I too am growing increasingly annoyed by so much conflict over such absurd things.
Actually that is a helpful answer, and I can basically understand it. Thank you.
It’s certainly easier to understand than light is a particle (sometimes) and well, light is a wave (sometimes). I’ve tried for decades to get that one explained in English.
No brownies for Hemant. He already sold his.
It’s even more complicated than that. What you say is correct if you’re talking about “real numbers”. (That, by the way, is a misnomer; so-called “real numbers” are no more or less “real” than any other kind of number.)
There are systems of things which you can reasonably call “numbers” which include elements that correspond to “infinity”. The real projective number line, for example, contains a point at infinity. There are even more systems which contain more than one transfinite number. The catch is that such systems don’t obey all of the rules that you expect of real numbers.
Selling souls for brownies? I love getting free food! The best thing about selling your soul for stuff is that it’s impossible for people to tell if you’ve already sold it before, so you can just keep selling it to more people, for free stuff. As long as you remember who you sold it to so you don’t try selling it to someone twice, you’re okay.
You’re going to have to steal someone else’s soul to sell for it.
As I’m lucky enough to work at RMIT I’ll try a brownie and post back so you can see the difference in my posts after I have no soul.
And I’m full of chocolate.
Who says you don’t have more than a single soul?
There isn’t anything on that poster telling you the number of brownies you’re limited to. In fact, it clearly uses the plural form of brownie thus implying that they want you to request more than one.
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