Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Random Thoughts on Religeon, after death, evolution, and the start of life.

Posted this in a forum but felt it was worthwhile to post here as well. These posts were answers to questions in a forum poll about the Belief in "God/Gods". Here's the link for more info...

Natural Born Atheist.

I guess you could say I was a Natural born athiest. When I was born I was baptizd in the hopes I would follow some religeon.

When I was 5 or so my parents brought me to my mothers church first (philipino catholicism) and though I didn't understand tagalog my mother translated the sermons for me.

The things she said didn't resonate as truth with me and sounded suspiciously like fairy tales. Grand figures doing things for the good f the people. Then came the talk of sins, and heaven and hell.

I was a smart kid mind you and even at this point and I knew then that the planet was solid and full of lava, and that the earth was a planet in the solar system with other planets.

I couldn't reconcile hell with the center of the earth or heaven with space. It just didn't jive to me. So they brought me to my fathers church. Protestant I think. I just remember more of the same basic stories, a lot of standing, kneeling, sitting, over and over. There was even singing.

It didn't make sense to me. I told my parents that I didn't understand and didn't want to go anymore. Apart from a few weddings, and midnight mass (my girlfriend at the time was catholic or some flavor of catholicism.) Ihaven't been back since.

Maybe I wasn't designed for religeon. I didn't believe in the easter bunny (a rabbit with chicken eggs?), the tooth fairy (I just couldn't see the point of someone paying me for my useless teeth, I mean who does it benefit?), or even santa clause for long (though I did play along for a while).

My parents respected that I didn't believe and didn't push. I was always inclined to science, and how things worked. I guess at a young age I realized if something sounds to fantastic (not great, but outrageous) to be true, in all likelyhood it isn't. Miracles can be attributed to statistics, creationism is a fairy tale, and the ten commandments can be boiled down to simply "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you".

The whole thing smacks of either fairy tales or fables to me and I can't for the life of me understand how anyone still needs to believe in something that was written to explain things we couldn't and to put on paper how best to live. Morals, ethics, trustworthyness are all that are necessary to live happily in my way of thinking.

I always thought that the belief in heaven was putting to much hope in something that you won't know is real until you die, and what if you end up being wrong? You'd miss out on so much because some book, someone wrote about a guy who lived 2000 years ago said its wrong. I couldn't fathom it. Living life to its fullest makes so much more sense to me.

I'm not trying to push my thoughts on anyone, or try to convert anybody. These are my experiences and beliefs (or lack of depending on point of view) and nothing more. I only write them because I have a habit of typing to much, and to explain my way of thinking and perhaps inspire some thought.

Life after Death of a sort....

I can almost give you that heaven and hell could be alternate dimensions. String theory works because it is based in a universe that has 10 dimensions. We exist in four and it mathematically states that a 10 dimensional universe would be incredibly unstable. One theory that I rather like is originally there was a 10 dimensional universe that was so unstable it split itself into our universe and its self. So it could be 2 universes, though what a 6 dimensional universe would be lke is anyones guess. Most people have trouble with the 4 dimensions we have now (length, width, height, time).

Of course if there is another universe we probably can't detect it, nor they us. So if heaven and hell are alternate dimensions then I doubt we vacation there after death.

Mind you I don't thik we as souls go to a reward, but I do have a afterdeath theory of my own, and it sort of explains both reincarnation and ghosts.

The human body loses weight at the moment of death.a miniscule amount but tangible. The human nervous system is electrical in nature and creates an electromagnetic field. I think that the field generated by humans survives after death. It's not really concious or even sentient but I think it moves on.

Now this electromagnetic field is what I would term a ghost. It moves and has memorys. When its traumatized it may loop over and over through its death as is always talked about in ghost stories. And humans may not see these ghosts with their eyes so much as sense their presence and see (not optically, but more like visualization/imagination) the ghosts.

Now take this a step further, because its now an electromagnetic field but somewhat aware and still storing the old memories I think reincarnation is basically when a ghost comes in contact with a pregnant woman and the developing child is unformed mentally, the ghost can through induction imprint itself on the child. I don't think this means it inhabits the child, but makes a sort of copy on the child.

That could explain why several people claim to be Cleopatra reincarnated. The conventional thought is they're all crazy. But it could be that as a ghost she's prolific and they really are all her.

Now the child thats imprinted isn't really a copy, it just has a bunch of memories that are a bit unformed but came to be in fact from a reality it never saw.

I know there is a lot there that I don't know the mechanisms for but I think are plausible and likely true. It sounds fantastic, but it probably works like that and we just do not yet know why. And it seems like magic because we don't understand. OF course at one point we never thought we'd be able to travel faster than 30 miles an hour either. Times change, technology changes, ideas change, and our knowledge grows. What we don't know now, we probably will at some point.

I know, its a long post but how else do you explain these things :)


I know I believe it. The human genome project (the real one not the one fromthe show) has shown that our DNA is virtually identical to the DNA in a chimpanzee. Now saying virtually identical is still saying different but only a little. When you realize that chimpanzees and orangutangs have a much larger variation in dna than humans and chimps. That being said, that makes us monkees, or rather members of "The Great Apes". I believe what truly started the differentiation is our thumbs. Our opposable thumbs allowed us to use and make tools. We used the tools to hunt and consequently we got more protien. The protein and the drive it gave us feuled our expanding brain. We got smarter and more different. What I think happened next goes a bit in the conventioal view of our development but it makes a lot of sense. Its called the aquatic ape theory.

The aquatic ape theory posits that at one point in our evolution we ended up spending a lot of time in the water. Now the reason could be as simple as its safer in the water and the tigers can't eat us there (they don't like getting wet). Our bodies adapted to our spending so much time in the water, we have vestigial remnants of webbing between our fingers and toes for swimming. We developed body fat below the skin as insulation from the cold water the same way seals and walrusses have blubber. We lost our body hair and what we have left is streamlined and allowed for easier swimming.

We becane more human. As we started spenidng less time in the water our development towards becoming aquatic mammals stopped and we consequently continued developing to what we are today. Slightly different genetic makeup from other great apes but vastly more intelligent and just diferent enough from the other animals we think we're special. But once you go right to the heart of the matter, we're all still animals underneath the bravado. We're all made of the same stuff monkeys and other mammals are. We're very accomplished monkeys but still just monkeys.

All because of our thumbs :)

Now we understand how to answer the question of "Which came first, the chicken or the egg?". The answer is the egg, because before it was something that was almost a chicken but not quite.

Evolution will turn a fish into a parrot and a monkey into a man.

The Start Of life on this planet....

What created those. Now that question made me step back. Not to rethink my views but to try to figure out how to describe it and not go into pages of text.

An incredibly good book that describes the process (briefly) that created life on this planet is called "The Blind Watchmaker" it is written by Richard Dawkins and he is in fact on of the great intellectuals of our time. It adresses creationist theory and systematically debunks every argument in the name of creationism put forward while explaining in clear not technical jargon evolutions role in the creation of life on this planet. An excellent read.

The premise is if someone were to find a watch and examine its complexitiess it could not have arisen by chance and must have been designed, and thus life in its nearly infinitely greater complexity must also have been designed and couldn't have arisen by chance.

Scientists have attempted to explain lifes origins by recreating the initial state of the planet, its chemical makeup, atmosphere, and enviroment to see if life can be created from nothing. The earth in those times was violent and radically different. The atmosphere was predominantly carbon dioxide, chlorine, sodium and toxic to todays life. Violent storms with great lightening strikes constantly hitting the primordial ocean, and the existing chemicals.

This is the enviroment that scientist have created. The lightening strikes into this environment created certain amino acids and that was the precursor for life. The primary building block if you will.

While they never created the spontaneous life they intended, its not so much suprising. Evolution is a process that took thousands of millions of years. The creation of life took time. Thousands of millions of scientists working for a year wouldn't generate life.

The conept of evolution itself is based on small change having large consequence. A lot of people wrongly assume that evolution happened with a goal in mind and that is hardly the case. As humans, a lot of us (myself not included) arrogantly assume that we are the goal of evolution but there is no goal in evolution.

When you consider the time that the earth has existed 4.57 billion years ago, and the first self replicating molecule (the original precursor to life on earth) formed roughly 4 billion years ago its not suprising a handful of scientists were unable to replicate this event in a few years of experimentation.

That initial self replicating module took another half billion years to become a true single cell organism that was the original common ancestor of life on earth. Later when photosynthesis came to be developed it slowly replace the carbon dioxide atmosphere with ozoze and oxygen. The ozone eventually became the ozone layer in our atmosphere that we're recklessly destroying.

Groups of different single cell organisms working together (not truly working together but these organism adapted to what was around them which was other single cell organisms.) soon developed multicellular life. Simple creatures existed later and evolution slowly made these more complex. Eventually fish, and these left the water, they became reptiles some reptiles became warm blooded and became mammals. Some Reptiles became dinosaurs, some became birds.

Follow down the lines and you get to us, we exist and continue to change.

The concept of evolution is so hard to grasp for most because it takes place in spans of time that we can't wrap our minds around. For us a few years is a long time but its NOTHING evolutionarily speaking. We're not the goal, we're another step.

Luckily enough for us intelligence is something we possess, and we have come to terms scientifically how we came to be, but large portions of our society still cling to what was a precursor to science and that is religeon.

We have developed a concept of right and wrong and these simpler ideas are what we need to govern our lives. What really counts is what you do and not what "God/Gods" you believe in. That truly is what is important.

There's no need to be a lost soul. Who you are and what you do defines you. The love you have and recieve are what counts. Where we came from is kinda unimportant if you just want to be a good person. There is no need for a rewards based system like religeon to guide you. If you look inside yourself and use the intellect that evolution has given us, moral decisions are easier without needing a book to guide you.


At 10:18 PM, Anonymous anthrosciguy said...

I have to point out that the "aquatic ape" idea is full of holes; I've been looking at the evidence given for it for over 10 years and it doesn't add up. Check out my site, Aquatic Ape Theory: Sink or Swim?, for details. For one thing, the predator angle is heavily weighted against the aquatic ape idea (long page on predators on my site). And even your example is wrong -- tigers not only don't mind water, they love it, and are noted for being the big cat which, after the jaguar, most likes water. But even cats which don't regularly swim (like tigers do) such as lions and leopards often chase their prey into water where the cat's leaps allow them to easily run down and dispatch their prey. And then there are aqautic predators.

And a host of other problems with the idea: our hair and fat are not like that of aquatic mammals and are rather clearly due to sexual selection rather than to environment. The tiny bit of webbing we see in human hands is also seen in several primates, such as gorillas and gibbons. Our hair turns out to be exactly what we don't want for swimming -- top swimmers either shave it off or use body suits which mimic the effects of a thickly haired body (or the dermal ridges of dolphins, which do the same thing hydrodynamically).

At 11:34 PM, Blogger Ryan said...

I appreciate your candor. I am not a anthropologist so I don't necessarily know the details you speak of. I'll have to get a good book on it.

Though I have to admit that I am glad that the comment on this post is from a science based guy rather than from someone comming blathering on about religeon.

At 1:43 PM, Anonymous anthrosciguy said...

rather than from someone comming blathering on about religeon.

The religious trolls are probably all hanging around PZ Myers blog like flies around jelly. :)

BTW, although I think people should be able to see major problems with the "aquatic ape" idea even without specialised knowledge, the idea is argued for by its main proponents so dishonestly that I can see why people think it makes some sort of sense. Folks like you read their stuff, which is written in a way that seems scientific enough, and assume they are reading real facts and someone presenting all the evidence, both pro and con. But they aren't. This means you have to go out yourself and find the reality of the matter, which is something most people don't have the time to do, so the falsehoods of the aquatic ape idea go on and on, presented dishonestly by the idea's main proponents and then repeated by people who've been taken in, perhaps naively but honestly. I just try to counter that.


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