Just A Few Reasons Why I’m An Atheist

I wrote this in response to someone saying that it doesn’t matter whether God exists or not–it doesn’t hurt to try to pray (for my cat). He said this in a more existential way, so I didn’t hesitate on my pedanticism. He seemed alright with my short answer of “God doesn’t exist. Heaven doesn’t exist…” (truncated), so I wrote a lengthy response:


 

Humans have invented the gods. The majority of Gods were invented at a time when we knew little to nothing about how our surroundings worked and what is possible or impossible. We created our own little explanations to how things may work. We do that today too–I used to think that all black holes were interconnected in some form. Looking back on it with more knowledge about black holes, I see now that my idea was dumb. But say we didn’t know anything about black holes–that they were just discovered. Then this idea would have been considered seriously, even if it is but malarkey now. The same goes with alchemy. Before we knew anything about atomic theory, the idea of turning lead into gold may not have been far-fetched. Of course we look back onto it as malarkey now.

In the past, the idea of a God-driven chariot tracking across the sky being the Sun didn’t seem too far-fetched. We didn’t really have a method to be so sure exactly what a star was, nor did we have a method (due to the fact our mathematics wasn’t developed enough to demonstrate such) to show we go around the Sun. We thought the stars were our guardians, and the planets were Gods. We thought the Earth was flat. All of this has since been disproved by science–but at the time in the ancient world, did we really have a method to do these measurements? Not at all; telescopes weren’t invented until the time of Galileo to peer at the wandering dots in the sky (the word “planet” means wanderer), to see what they really are. Until we could sail across the seas, we couldn’t really understand the curvature Of the earth.

My point is that God theory would have been acceptable back then. Any theory would have been acceptable. Without science or sufficient mathematics to explain the natural world’s behavior, we would have jumped to the conclusion that “this world is too complex not to have a creator.”

If a theistic God really did exist, then every religion would have the exact same set of rules–every representation of God would look alike. There would effectively be only one religion–one that didn’t evolve. Religions like Hinduism and Paganism are wildly different from the Christian/Islam/Judaism faiths. If we analyze the God’s appearance of the many religions of the world, save for Islam (God is represented as a bright, shining light–unfortunately this is where my name derives from, which is why I plan to legally change my Islamic name), almost all of them represent God in a way that God looks similar to that of the followers.

God is a construct of the human mind–an existential defense mechanism created to repress the fact we aren’t but the result of statistics. It’s denial of our insignificance. There are a minimum of one sextillion (1 x 10^21) stars in our observable universe alone, each per capita having about 1.5 planets. From our Kepler observations, we estimate that at least 75% of stars have planets, and at least 22% of those planets are Earth-like. Even then, this is a gross underestimate, as we haven’t been observing the stars enough to detect the slower-period planets, and the potentially smaller worlds that could themselves be Earth-like. If we manage to detect the smaller worlds–both percentages, especially the second one, could shoot up drastically. And what of the red giants? They could have easily in the past harbored planets. What of the moons around those planets? Somewhere, there could be a Pandora-esque world that harbors alien life. The chances of there NOT being a plethora of life elsewhere in the universe is slim to none. Using statistics alone, it’s statistically certain that there is TONS of alien life out there–some of which is as intelligent as if not more intelligent than humans.

We tend to fall victim of an existential observational bias–if we didn’t exist, we obviously couldn’t ponder our own existence. It sounds tautological, but think about it. Say that life exists on five percent of planets in the Goldilocks Zone of other planets (i.e. Earth-like planets have to be in this zone to be considered “Earth-like”). A percent of those spawns of life evolve life capable of existentialism. But if that existential life didn’t evolve the capability to ponder its existence, then of course it wouldn’t. In that sense, we ponder our existence because we’re able to do so. My cat likely doesn’t ponder its existence, as his brain isn’t complex enough to make the connections. If we were all cats, we’d still exist–but we wouldn’t truly think about where we came from.

We fail to realize that we’re just the statistical outcome of that percent of that five percent of that 22% of that 75% of exoplanets out there–and that’s not even counting the exomoons. This alone says that about 1.2*10^17 of planets out there harbor intelligent, existential life on planets, not even counting exomoons. And my percentages may not actually be an overestimate–they may in fact, be a gross underestimate. My point is that there are literally quadrillions, if not more, of spawns of intelligent life in the universe, yet we’re naive enough to believe that our one measly species on one tiny planet around such an average main-sequence star is the entire reason for the existence of this universe, and that for whatever reason, God happens to look like our species, even IF God happened to be a being that cared for all life in the universe. God is perhaps our greatest folly.

Even within the religions, we tend to only look at and believe what we want to hear and believe. Why are Christians so mad over gay people, if gay couples exist in over 470 species? If God was so against gay people, it’d be part of the Ten Commandments. God would be more angry that they committed the sin of wrath against gay people, than of people being gay. And why aren’t Christians so angry about people consuming shellfish? There’s so many discrepancies with all religions everywhere, that it’s almost as if it can’t be real. It’s like living a satire.

Now a “deistic” God wouldn’t be out of the question. Deism would suggest that there IS a God that kickstarted our universe, but doesn’t really care to intervene with anything. I’ve used the analogy of Conway’s Game of Life and other cellular automata before, which seems to work decently. God wanted to simulate an entire universe. It decided upon the rule by which the universe behaves, and the time between generations (one Planck time). This is what we would refer to as our “Theory of Everything.” This rule essentially allows everything to propagate outwards and clump into small groups that behave in particular ways. If I could tell you what this rule is, I’d be rich and famous, as I’d have figured out the Theory of Everything (which I do in reality think relates to cellular automata). God lets this universe play out for about 2.3e62 (If I remember my calculation correctly) generations (that is, the universe’s age in Planck times). Now we represent only a teeny, tiny fraction of this–we as planet Earth.

But would this deistic God really put all of its time and effort into pleasing specifically this one tiny species on this one tiny planet among the 1.2e17 other spawns of intelligent life? The chances of that, in sigma, are so tiny, that my calculator can’t process this (the number is THAT tiny, and it can handle numbers of as small as e-999 to e999… e100 is a googol, just for some perspective). At the same time, do you really think that the God would listen to the cries and pleads of all the spawns of life–and that’s just the existential intelligent life–in the entire universe? This is assuming it knows what life looks like. In Conway’s Game of Life lingo, we’re like gliders. We’re statistically so common-place in the universe, that no God would be sane enough to keep track of one particular glider out of the quadrillions that make up the system. It likely just sits back and observes the universe to see what happens, much like I sometimes play with the rules in an automata simulator to see the result. It might run this immense simulation as a means of finding out the chances of life’s spawn. Perhaps some other spawn of life had figured out the Theory of Everything and perfect quantum computing, and managed to simulate our own universe–i.e. the universe is self-contained. This makes more sense than religion, at least.

But as long as we’re talking existential philosophy, I’ll link you to something I made before. It’s a narrated version of something I wrote a while back:
youtube.com/watch?v=J9F37rVAu_0 [edit: link truncated to avoid embedding]

What does this all have to do with the death of my cat? My cat’s not going to any heaven. Once he dies, he’s dead. He’s an inanimate object. He’s nothing more than an organic tetranary supercomputer that’s no longer used. So much sadness… but does my sadness mean anything to the rest of the universe? No. I don’t bother to pray for something that’s pretty much statistically certain not to exist in a way that would actually help.

I could go on and on and on about why God doesn’t exist, but I think this is enough for now…

 


It still won’t take Mitu’s cancer away. I doubt even chemo could.

 

Just A Few Reasons Why I’m An Atheist

All Infinities Are Big, But Some Infinities Are Bigger Than Others

Someone on EP asked the following question:

If you combine two infinite continuums to make an infinite plane, would the number of points be infinity squared?

Of course, the site’s math nerd HAD to answer this question! And my response got rather long.  Not infinitely long, though!


Continue reading “All Infinities Are Big, But Some Infinities Are Bigger Than Others”

All Infinities Are Big, But Some Infinities Are Bigger Than Others

The Story Of My Life From The VERY Beginning (As In, The Big Bang)

Someone asked a question on EP wondering if they’d understood the universe from the Big Bang to the present day. There were a few flaws in his thought process, but instead of trying to… hang on, it’s 11:11PM on 11/11 heh heh… correct individual parts, I thought I’d just start from the very beginning and elaborate as much as I felt like concentrating. One could go very, very, very in depth with this, but then it gets too long and uninteresting as part education, part philosophy, and part humor.

This is basically the story of my life from the VERY beginning… only I don’t really elaborate on my conscious life as much.

I could go into the Multiverse and Parallel Universe and Many Worlds hypothesis and state what might have happened before the Big Bang, and other possible nuances in what could have happened afterwards, but hey, I was just having a little bit of fun with this, How-The-Universe-Works style!

Wooo #spaceweek!


The Big Bang was more of a huge expansion than an explosion. It created pure energy–equal amounts matter and antimatter that for the most part annihilated each other. Why matter reigns is a big problem in cosmology. We think that there’s an antimatter universe twin somewhere across the universe. Once the universe was cool enough to start making bonds, energy converts into mass (because E=mc² allows this to occur), and starts making primitive subatomic particles, which in turn start making electrons, protons, and neutrons, forming primarily hydrogen atoms and such. With all this hot gas swirling around, many enormous stars formed, living fast and dying young with the true bangs of the universe, far more explosive even than a hypernova (which is itself more explosive than a supernova). This creates many black holes, which then eat each other up to form supermassive black holes, which become the seeds to start forming galaxies. Hot gas starts swirling around these seeds and form the protogalaxies in which solar systems start to form. Each star starts off as a swirling mass of hot gas. This begins to have some gravity, which pulls the gas closer together and pulls in even more gas. This creates an even more massive cloud with even more gravity, and even more gas is pulled in. This keeps going on until the gravity causes enough pressure at the core of the protostar to ignite fusion. Fusion starts colliding hydrogen atoms together to form helium atoms, in the process releasing radiation, and this star burns for millions to billions of years–a battle between the intense gravity pulling the star together, and the intense fusion pushing it outwards–before finally running out of fuel. After the star uses up all its hydrogen, it starts fusing together helium atoms. Once all the helium atoms are fused together to form carbon, it starts burning the Carbon. It eventually gets to a point where it creates iron. Iron is the most lethal thing to a star, since it requires an *intense* amount of energy to fuse it. The star keeps pouring in energy into the iron atoms, but it doesn’t give. Once it produces iron, it has only seconds to live. With no more fusion to fuel the star’s fusion reactor, the battle between gravity and fusion ends. Gravity always wins. The star’s dead before it even hits the ground. In the final moments of the dying star, the star’s core shrinks to a size that’s less than a thousandth of its original size. This creates an incredible amount of energy in which the stars eject two powerful beams of gamma ray energy–its death cry (sometimes the birth cry of a black hole)–out of its sides. In this few second release of energy, iron fuses together and forms heavier elements, and so on. The energy released in this moment is more than the star will have ever outputted in its entire lifetime. This is known as the gamma ray burst, and while this death ray hurtles through the universe, blasting gas and stardust all around, leaving a nebula behind. This stardust contains the heavier elements needed to create life. Sometimes the star leaves behind a neutron star, others, a white dwarf, and others yet a black hole. From this cloud of dust and gas, a new star can be born from the unused hydrogen. The process repeats. This time, when the clouds of gas and dust circle around the protostar in order to create the new star, the heavier elements are flung outwards in an accretion disk. These tiny particles eventually collide-but don’t necessarily fuse–with each other, which, over time, builds up to form mini asteroids, which continue to build up. Eventually a proto-solar-system is born, in which there’s but chaos throwing planets around left right and center. Over billions of years, this system stabilizes. One of these planets was the right distance from its star–its Goldilocks zone, and collected the right elements from its surroundings. It was in perfect conditions to avoid asteroid collisions and collected the most amazing chemical in existence–dihydrogen monoxide, more affectionately termed as water. This, along with carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, and phosphorous, and a little zap of energy, created the first amino acids–the first organic molecules. Eventually, these amino acids arranged themselves into a particular pattern–RNA, surrounded by a protective phospholipid bubble–the first cell. Gradually, over time, these cells became more complex, eventually forming the first prokaryotic cells–bacteria. These became ever more complex, creating eukaryotic cells. From this stemmed the process of evolution, the ever fractally branching process of a genetic algorithm that either survives or doesn’t, allowing only the best of the generation to go on. Replication isn’t a perfect process, causing small mutations per generation, that can either help or debilitate the species as a whole. Eventually there’ll come a time when the species branches into a completely different species… with enough time, due to Chaos Theory, the tips of the tree will be vastly different. One of these paths involved one branch of the bacteria evolving into strange aquatic creatures, which one branch evolved into fish, which one branch evolved into amphibians, which one branch evolved into a rodent-like mammal, which one branch evolved into the first primate, which one branch evolved into ape-like primates, which one branch evolved into the hominids, which one branch evolved into the homo-sapiens, which has since evolved into a better developed version of the homo-sapiens (homo sapiens sapiens), which became us today. These humans originated in Africa, from which they migrated to different locations as the earth’s plates shifted and such. One such group migrated to India, and generations later, developed civilization. Further civilization by other humans (the British) developed certain areas in a certain way. Two of these humans in a developed area arranged a marriage between two individuals that after having one son later migrated to the United States in Minnesota, and had a daughter. After a few years, they moved to Orlando, and the daughter grew up there, facing severe bullying but learned to develop apathy, as she fell in love with math and science, and learned not to care about what other people think. Over time, she fell in love with cosmology and mathematics in particular, and loved teaching such. Having joined a site called ExperienceProject, she then vowed to educate people as much as possible. One day, she stumbled across a question that involved the origin of the universe, and she started typing a self-referential wall of text, of which she can’t say anything more since it hasn’t happened yet. All this to remind you that she and everything around her is literally stardust, since everything around her and herself at an atomic level was forged in the belly of a star.

More or less.

The Story Of My Life From The VERY Beginning (As In, The Big Bang)

Think

This post is very recent.
All I can think of saying is that I just let things go in this one, and just went on and on and on, because it was, after all, a stream of consciousness to try and explain all that goes on in my head (and what better way to do that than stream of consciousness).

Original Post Date: October 11, 2014
Original Post: http://bit.ly/1vjqEAz


Sometimes I’ll get a reply to a post, which I reply back with what starts out as a long comment, then ends up being too long to post as a comment, so I decide to post it as an experience, and allow it to be as long as it turns out to be.

When I do that, I’m essentially typing up a stream-of-consciousness, where I type whatever comes to my mind at the time, even if it seems like I’m jumping from topic to topic, and then eventually reach a conclusion that sums up everything I’ve mentioned through all the verbosity and redundancy and inconsistency of the text just to make it appear consistent while having definite deliberation as does the rest of the passage.

This is perhaps the longest passage I’ve ever written for EP, and I’d particularly like you to pay attention to the very last paragraph at the least, if this is TL;DR for you.
Continue reading “Think”

Think

EP Repost: Chaos Theory and Philosophy

I’m reposting the posts I posted on ExperienceProject onto this blog.
Some of the information in this is factually incorrect, but I’ve since learned.
I never did get around to updating it.

Original post date: November 26, 2013

Note: I’m also including various comment replies (with their usernames censored, of course), since I’ve generated some very long comment threads with this.


Chaos Theory And Philosophy

***Note***
I need to update this story. My arguments are weak and there is some inaccurate information. I will eventually post a stronger and better argument.

What is your opinion on free will? Chaos Theory dictates that randomness does not exist. Doesn’t that mean free will doesn’t exist? Everything is predetermined. But then we have to argue about the Uncertainty Principle. Is it truly random? Or is it quasirandom? If the Uncertainty Principle is truly random, then the universe would be over-run by chaos. It seems as if the universe is governed by a fractal-based ToE equation–a recursive fractal-esque formula. With any mathematically-generated formula, there is no “true” random. It seems that, if the Uncertainty Principle is not truly random, there can’t be free will. Even so, how can we be sure the Uncertainty Principle is random or not? We live in a universe governed by it, and you can’t take a measurement of a set from within the set itself. You can approximate the set, but you can’t make accurate measurements (you are bounded by the limits of the set). Unless we were an outside observer, we would never truly know whether or not the Uncertainty Principle is truly random. It may seem random, but there’s a set order to the chaos (Chaos Theory and fractal geometry). Everything, in this case, would be predetermined. What does that mean for our judgement and ethics? Doesn’t that give reason for everyone to do what they please (because it was their fate to do so? If we get answers that point towards “fate” (quasirandom outcomes), wouldn’t that alter our better judgement (even though we were “destined” to do so) and cause us to make rash “decisions” (even though the outcome was predetermined)? Chaos Theory raises many philosophical and ethical arguments. What’s your take on all this?


Click Read More to read selected comment threads (Warning: GIANT wall of text. It’s organized, though). They contain more insight Or if you don’t want to sift through a wall of text, browse the actual page: http://bit.ly/12NTDWm


Continue reading “EP Repost: Chaos Theory and Philosophy”

EP Repost: Chaos Theory and Philosophy

Flatland MMORPG

This is a conversation that just now happened between a friend of mine and me on EP.

Someone asked me what my favorite book is. Of course, my favorite book is Flatland. The person didn’t know of the book and asked what it was about. So I started to explain, but my friend also decided to contribute. Then it spun off onto a weird tangent about a Flatland MMORPG.


OP: What’s your favorite book?
Me: Flatland.
OP: What’s it about?
Me: It’s a satire of the Victorian era merged with an element of mathematics. It’s told in the perspective of a square (literally named A. Square)–a two dimensional creature in a two dimensional world. Females are lines and are looked upon as lesser creatures (again, satire of the Victorian era). Males are polygons. Only regular polygons are accepted into society. If their interior angle varies by more than 2 degrees off of the proper angle, they’re classified as Irregulars and are shunned. Triangles are the low, soldier class. Squares are the middle class. The more sides the figure has, the higher his class. Circles are of priestly level.

The story goes into more detail about their life and all. A. Square is in charge of understanding the third dimension and trying to preach about its existence to the rest of Flatland. Of course, being a parody of the Victorian era, such a concept is shunned and turned away as heretic and insane. There’s much more to the story than this. It’s really less mathematical and far more a parody of the Victorian era as told through a mathematical tale. No more than fifth grade math is used. It is also meant to make us open our eyes to the possibility of a fourth, fifth, sixth–n-dimensions that might exist.

Here. Read it for yourself. Doesn’t take more than a few hours at most:
http://www.geom.uiuc.edu/~banchoff/Flatland/
Friend: ooo, I liked that one too – listen to it as an audiobook.

I want to be a three-dimensional god-being hovering over 2D flatland, speaking pronouncements inside people’s heads, making them explode by pushing my fingers into them.
Friend: * I listened to it as an audiobook, that is.
Friend: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flatland 
Me: I did. I listened to it as an audiobook while following along with a text copy. 

And lol that’s a bit morbid. But I’d sure love to mess with their minds xD

MAYBE THE VOICES INSIDE OUR HEADS ARE ACTUALLY FOUR DIMENSIONAL CREATURES TALKING TO US O_O x’DDDD
Friend: Holy crap, someone made a movie about this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eyuNrm4VK2w
…I’m not sure i like their interpretation, the talking Pac Men and such…
Friend: Flatland is an MMPORPG waiting to be built, isn’t it?
Me: I saw it a loooong time ago, but it’s nothing like the actual book.
Me:  OH MY GOD YES
Friend: You have your marching orders, MathematicallyMindedFractal. YOU are the person to make this happen. Seriously.
Me:  Once I’m in college I will make it happen. Especially if I go to MIT. Because there I can gather a team of programmers that will want that to happen as much as I do.

With optional first person POV! 😀
FLATLAND: THE GAME
With story mode and MMORPG mode. OMFG THIS NEEDS TO HAPPEN NOW
Friend: “optional first person POV” XD
I really want to play this game, Math. I don’t know anyone who would be better suited than you to pull it off, in all seriousness.
Me: You know, I’m going to take a few CS classes just so I can make this a reality. Follow me for the next few years, and pretty soon this will become a real thing. I’ll also put you on the team of alpha testers. x’D


That was the exact conversation.
In case the MIT admissions office is reading this, I can’t possibly repost all of my intellectual conversations to this blog. But I assure you–this is indeed what I do talk about in my spare time. In fact, it’s 1:50 AM 10/27/14. This. This is life. THIS IS MY LIFE, I TELL YOU. Ah Stream-of-Consciousness, why can’t I censor you when I’m sleepy… because my subconscience is funny and might lead to meta self-referential humor like this sentence.

Flatland MMORPG