Wednesday, May 11, 2016

There's Nothing There - The End

Now I'm going to say something that will irritate some of you.

Here it comes.

Nobody is smart enough to be an atheist.

Go ahead. Write me nasty letters. Be a troll. Find your inner troll and let it out to stomp me into troll-stomping oblivion.

Wait, though.

I'm going to say something that will irritate the rest of you.

Here it comes.

Nobody is smart enough to be not an atheist.

Go ahead. Write me letters that pray for me and consign me to the darkest depths of hottest hell. Send the demons after me. Find your inner demon and let it out to stomp me into demon-stomping oblivion.

Wait, though.

Let's think about it for a minute.

'Cause what we're really saying is that belief is not really a matter of intelligence.

Now THAT will open up dozens of worm cans. Cans of worms. Whatever.

Belief is also not a matter of information. As in, the more you know, the less you believe.

There you go. More worms in more cans.

Let's do the easy part first.

As in. No matter how smart you are, there's somebody smarter who has different beliefs about The Old One (as Einstein called God).

Bingo. Einstein believed in The Old One, and he is officially smarter than nearly everybody except for maybe Isaac Newton (who believed) and maybe da Vinci (who believed, even though he painted naked people)(that is, he painted pictures of naked people, not, he painted
people who were naked. I mean, he did, but not on their actual nakedness.)( I think he may have opened a tattoo parlor in his later years.)(Some of that was not strictly speaking true.)

So. But. Einstein was not a practicing religious person. Not as a Jew. Not as a Christian. Not as anything.

So he's the metaphor. If you want to disbelieve, you can't point to Einstein as your example, and if you want to believe, you can't point to Einstein.

And you are not smarter than Einstein.

Of course, you're not smarter than Newton or da Vinci, either. Sorry. No offense.

For most of you, there's a lot of people that are smarter than you.

Some of them believe. Some of them don't.

So it's not really an intelligence thing.

How about information then?

Well. The problem with information is that it changes all the time.

And when information changes, evidence changes.

And when evidence changes, facts change. 

And when fact change, science changes.

'Cause science is about facts, facts come from evidence, and evidence changes all the time.

We used to think, for example, that the universe made sense. That it was predictable. That the laws of physics caused everything to happen. That we didn't need God to explain anything. That the universe was infinitely large and old and everything had always been here, including the laws of physics.

But we didn't know what the laws of physics were yet.

We thought there was just gravity. And as it turns out, we didn't even understand gravity.

And then when Einstein explained gravity to us, all of sudden, the universe wasn't infinite at all.

And the laws of physics hadn't always been here. Which means that something that wasn't the laws of physics caused the laws of physics.

And boy, were they weird.

So everything changed. All of science changed. All the evidence changed. All the information changed.

And it might change again.

No. That's wrong.

It will change again.

So you can't base your beliefs on information that can and will change.

Sometimes it'll make it seem like there is no God, no creator.

Sometimes it'll make it seem like there might be one. Or there must be one.

And then. It'll change again.

So even if you are Ed Witten. He's the smartest guy alive at the moment. Or Stephen Hawking. Or Marilyn Vos Savant (she has the highest IQ on the planet). Or my friend Chip Diggins (his IQ is scary high.) Or Richard Dawkins (he's only kinda smart.) Or Father Andrew Pinsent at Oxford (my very very smart friend Simon says Fr. Andrew is smarter than Simon is.)(Simon got his PhD in particle physics from Oxford and did his dissertation at CERN, so as we say in Texas, he's pretty dad-gummed smart.) Or Rev. John Polkinghorne. Or Paul Davies. Or Fred Hoyle. Or Neil deGrasse Tyson. Or Stephen Weinberg. Or, frankly, anybody. Even Sheldon Cooper.

It doesn't matter how smart you are, or how much you know. Because there's someone smarter who believes differently than you do, and what you know, will change. And then it will change again.

It's not about intelligence. It's not about information. It's about something else.

And what, you may ask, might that be?

Now that is a stellar question.

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