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.