Thursday, January 09, 2014

There must be Gods

For a very long time I have thought of myself as an atheist, an ardent believer in evolution, and a true foe of the idea of “creative design.” Of late I have begun having second (third, fourth, fifth, and sixth) thoughts on the subject. The main reason for my possible change of heart has to do with the nagging doubt that the natural process of evolution could have produced anything as utterly ridiculous and awful as the human species.

Nowhere in nature, as far as I know, is there another species so arrogant, short-sighted, mean spirited, greedy, violent, self-destructive and irrational. The human species is unique in these respects. While it is true that some animal species sometimes fight over territory, and often fight over mating, they do not completely destroy each other, and they certainly do not invent horrendous ways to torture, humiliate, and massively kill each other. Nor do they deliberately foul their own nests or ordinarily exhaust the resources they depend on for their very survival. Although human and near-human groups have existed for many thousands of years they still have not been able to live in peace with one another and their continuous history of violence, stupidity, theft, torture, and brutality is unrivaled by anything else we can even imagine. The history of European colonialism by itself is enough to make you doubt the sanity of the species, let alone what happened prior to that terrible period of time. It is as if the species were put on earth for no purpose other than stealing, brutalizing, and killing each other. It is a history so shocking we basically avoid ever telling the truth about it. And it is not that things have changed much over time, the greed, theft, torture, and killing, continue to the present day.

As there is nothing else like this in history, or in the natural order of nature, it makes one wonder how and why this completely unique species could have come about. Einstein said that “God does not play dice with the universe.” As he was a known atheist he did not really believe in God, but he did believe the universe was orderly, playing dice with it would have been out of the question for him. But it seems to me the only place in the universe that might well be out of order has to do with the behavior of the human species. Where one might suspect that reason would prevail among humans it clearly does not. Where it is perfectly obvious that certain activities are clearly not in the best interest of human survival they continue nonetheless. When humans praise peace and goodwill to all they clearly do not mean it. When they say “do not kill” they are apparently joking. Virtually the only thing about the world that is neither predictable nor orderly is human behavior, which is predictable only in the sense that it will be unpredictable in any given circumstance, especially when it has to do with humans and the environment. So it is that humans completely decimated the billions of passenger pigeons in a relatively short time, almost did the same to the untold millions of buffalo, destroyed many of the salmon runs, polluted and overfished the rivers, lakes, and oceans, and continue to destroy one species after another. In addition they have either destroyed or pillaged virtually all of the natural resources, many of which are non-renewable.

Einstein I fear was not much of a crapshooter. God does not place dice with the universe as god  does not play dice by himself. If there are multiple gods, however, that might be a different matter entirely. The existence of the human species might be little more than a fantastic cosmic dice game played by the gods for their entertainment. They might have looked around for a relatively stable ecosystem and placed bets on what would happen if they introduced a species with no instincts but the ability to make their own choices. Earth, being a tiny, inconsequential globe spinning around a lesser sun was a perfect setting for such an experiment (game), just part of their playground. It appears at the moment those who bet humans would destroy the system and themselves are winning. The game is not entirely over but the end is drawing near. I bet it’s at least 8 to five for those betting against the species. Will they win? Roll the dice, man, “Baby needs a new pair of shoes.”

It is entirely possible of course the gods are not merely playing a game. They could have a perfectly legitimate scientific interest in what happens when idiocy is introduced into an otherwise smoothly functioning world. After all, they must be responsible for hundreds, thousands, maybe even millions of other inhabited planets. Maybe earth is merely a test case. Who knows, it is beyond my crumbling brainpower.

There is no gambling like politics.

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