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Options for the middle class May 20, 2010

Posted by olvidadorio in Earth, Economics.
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Even though I study Cognitive Science, oftentimes I introduce myself as a computer scientist – as that is what I am  effectively. So I told this guy, while waiting in line at a state office that I study Computer Science. And he said “Good, you know that’s where all the money is.” My reply was kind of “um, well who knows how long..”. Here’s why:

Every Google search supposedly uses as much energy as burning a light-bulb for one hour (it makes sense that Google is getting into the energy-supply business). Computing devices are really the tip of the iceberg of a vast and complex, resource-hungry non-locally maintainable industrial complex that is geared towards constant growth and development, always making this year’s second coming next year’s plastic crap.
I don’t think this’ll go on forever. No bets when things will change, but this world of ever-expanding mass-computing won’t go on they way it is today; I am unsure what its state will be at the end of the great energy-shrinkage that I expect, because there’s no good idea what this energy shrinkage will look like, specifically when it starts and how long it will take.

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The Case for Atheism May 20, 2010

Posted by olvidadorio in Me.
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Those who know me might find this post odd, as I usually defend myself from saying most anything definite on religion whatsoever, a la ‘How dare you call me an agnostic. I can’t tell whether I don’t know.’ Well, I don’t really break tradition in the end, but I just showcase an argument that I find compelling and at some level deeply culturally relevant.

The Good old epicurean argument slightly rephrased:

  • Is God willing to prevent suffering but not able?  Then he is not omnipotent.
  • Is he able but not willing?  Then he is malevolent!
  • Is he both able and willing? Then whence commeth suffering?
  • Is he neither able nor willing?  Then why call him God?

I guess a lot of religious people from our cultural setting will say that he is able and ‘kind of willing’, but that he prefers to give us our freedom so that we can show whether we love him out of our own free will. But what kind of self-serving approach is that, to put us through our misery only to see whether we’re ‘good’, whether we ‘love’ God? And if God is omnipotent, why can’t he make us be free, without suffering? All of this sounds to me more like a sadistic game than benevolence. But what if suffering is just an integral part of our existence? What if we can’t be ‘us’ if we do not suffer? What if our personality, our self essentially hinged on suffering? I personally could not agree more, the question however is how this plays out in the mainstream monotheistic religions; So the idea would basically be that for God to make us be us we would have to suffer. But this directly contradicts the idea of redemption and eternal glory. If the afterlife is – unlike in Greek mythology – more than just a pale aftershadow of this life, and instead a life of sufferingless bliss promised to the people of this world, then how in hell do we get there, being ourselves, assumed that suffering is an essential part of us? Now even out of this argument one could still weasel out by saying that it is essential to us to be part of a process, from suffering to non-suffering. Which is interesting and I currently have no retort to that. So in the end I guess it just doesn’t make sense to discuss religion. You believe it or not. For my own part, I disbelieve words. But religion isn’t just words. There’s a lot of BS.

But to make one thing perfectly clear, I despise most Atheism, with all its scientifico-centric rationalistic hogwash.