What does the Devil do then?
I shudder when I think that this is a world in which the good guy is in charge and that we got the good end of the deal.
I can already hear Christians telling me that if the world is horrible it’s because humans have decided it would be. They are always very quick and willing to remind everybody, who wonders why life on earth is so horrible, that their god gave us free will and the power to choose right from wrong. We inherited a Paradise on earth, we are the ones who transformed it into hell! God’s plan was for us to stay in Eden forever. God didn’t want those extremists to shoot all these people in Paris. Trust us, our god is totally against this. The terrorists just made that choice because god wanted us to be free and be able to choose so we could later be judged for our actions. I will demolish this argument in another post with half my brain tied behind my back.
So today Christians tell you that if those kids in the pictures below are having a rough life it’s because somebody in their ancestry did something bad. We agree it can’t be the kids. I’m just a puny human and it wouldn’t come to my mind to punish the kids, 20 generations from today, of anybody who’d do something bad to me today. But the Christian god can. Simple men were able to forgive and show remarkable acts of generosity, but the Christian god doesn’t seem to be able to do that. The US rebuilt Germany and Japan at the end of WW2. The Vietnamese people are not mad at the US anymore for all the Agent Orange dropped on their forests. Humans forgive and move on all the time. Not God, it seems.
If the free will argument was remotely true and intellectually tenable it would still be applying only to humans.
Animals don’t have the intellectual capacities for free will, only the ability to suffer. So in the absence of any choices animals could have made, how do we explain the horror in which wild animals live every single day of their lives? Either you believe that animals have free will, and by consequence some are truly evil, or you believe they don’t? What is it that you believe exactly? Do you think animals are truly evil or prisoner of their biological realities? A lion simply can’t digest grass. It must eat meat. Doesn’t look like free will to me. So basically we go back to what Camus said: Either there is free will, but we can tell animals don’t have it, since they don’t have any choice in what they can eat, or there is an all omnipotent god that decides for everything. So basically it looks like since animals can’t decide, god, who created everything, is at the origin of the horrible conditions of life endured throughout the animal kingdom. The killing, the bowels spilled on the grass, the eating alive is something He wants. There’s no way around it. Turn it around in your mind all you want. Read again Camus’ statement; there is no other way. I have no doubt that believers will get out of this one by some kind of dishonest explanation that will have nothing to do with facts and knowledge but with pure speculation and wishful thinking. Some kind of acrobatic manipulation of the English language on the theme, He works in mysterious ways!
How do you explain the video below in the context of free will and all the non sense found in all sacred texts, bible included? Can you find in any of those texts some indications that at one moment in their history antelopes and other animals made some horrible mistakes, at least some bad choices, that brought on them and on their descendants what we see in that video?
What is nature?
A collection of organisms belonging to many species killing each other according to the rules set by how organic life got organized on this planet. It’s a nasty system, incompatible with the mind of evolved mankind and we got out of that “Eden” as soon as we could. Nature is just suffering, quick sex without love and foreplay, pain with no painkillers. Species are exactly behaving like any armies would behave, or like serial killers. You can do anything to any other creatures, it’s fine, it’s actually within the law. The system requires it to keep going. Males kill other males to have access to females, females can sometimes be killed during, before or after copulation by males, accidentally or not, and at the end everybody will be killed by the lions, who eventually will starve to death when they can’t hunt anymore. Elephants one day lose their teeth stop being able to eat. But because of their huge body mass and access to water it takes months for them to die in an equatorial climate in which they can drink until the end. One day, very week, they can’t stand and are eaten alive by hyenas, lions, etc. Sometimes they’ll meet that fate way before old age, as shown in the video below.
Anybody who looks at nature and see some bucolic painting, animals going their business, happy and serene has way too much Disney under his belt. Animals in nature are in a perpetual state of war. Complex animal life was here hundreds of millions of years before humans appeared. For countless eons before we arrived, animals have been murdering each other on this planet with no humans to witness it and derive any kind of “lesson” from it. So the argument that suffering, and animal suffering was created to make man think about his morality and his behavior just doesn’t hold. If man was not here to learn something from watching dinosaurs kill each other for hundreds of millions of years, then what was the senseless killing for? Was it so these behemoths with brains the size of a kiwi could appreciate life and ponder about it and improve their manners? Enjoy sunsets, maybe? How do you make sense of Nature’s carnage in the frame of the bible and with no human witnesses for millions of years?
Let’s put God’s planning process in earthly terms. Imagine a huge lab; say a generous portion of Nevada. We’ll give it to brilliant, caring, humane scientists where they can create life from scratch with full control over everything. In that lab, they will be the creating “gods”. Do you honestly believe that any of these Nobel Laureates would intentionally shape a world where their creations are going to have to fight, maim and kill each other to stay alive? Only psychos would do that or the god described in the Old Testament. I think these nice, intelligent people would create a world in which all creatures derive all the nutrients they need from something totally benign — sunlight perhaps. They won’t need predators to control herbivores. The number of creatures would be controlled naturally to avoid overpopulation. They’d have hormones and pheromones to naturally control reproduction when their numbers are above or below a certain threshold. Our new creatures wouldn’t be able to reproduce if there were too many of them because of sets of genes that would be turned off and wouldn’t drive them to procreate. But they’d still be able to mate, because we’d make mating so good (but most of the time they’d be shooting blanks). Every creature will die naturally of peaceful old age.
I’m aware how most believers, particularly Christians say to all this; when cornered they will seek refuge behind two totally unacceptable, intellectually bankrupted behaviors:
- Faith, which allows the believing of anything that requires the disengagement of intellectual capacities.
- And the killing sentence: “He works in mysterious ways!” We humans simply can’t comprehend his plan, but trust us, ultimately his plan is all good!
Please, note the superior look and smile appearing on the face of the believers when they use (1) and (2). Don’t you feel like a stupid child suddenly facing an all knowing adult?
A god described as ommiscient and omnipotent would have had the power to create such a world that I describe in that fictitious experiment. If he had wanted to.
So the fact that we don’t live in such a world means:
b-There’s no god.
I have a tendency to favor b. Much safer alternative, don’t you think?
So do I care about nature? Of course I don’t. I do in a sense that I want to keep the environment clean but I don’t because I don’t care if species, mainly big mammals disappear.
I don’t care about what I see in the picture below and about all the pseudo-intellectual explanations, mainly religious gibberish, that tell me Nature is the creation of a loving god. As far as I’m concerned, polar bears can go extinct any time. Fine with me.
One species that goes extinct means less individuals suffering. In our culture we are cowardly looking at animals through the lens of the naturalist. Very conveniently, wild animals are not individuals but species. When we hear about natural selection and other biological events, we only refer to the bigger set, the species. But it is not the species that suffers. The individuals do. Just talk to anybody living with and studying closely animals such as apes, elephants, pigs, dogs, etc and they will tell you that these animals are individuals. Their suffering is real, totally distinct from the one of their species. A species can be stressed, if the condition for reproduction are not adequate, but the individuals might be free of suffering. The opposite can also be true. A species can be doing very well, but many individuals can be exposed to tremendous amount of personal suffering. I’m not going to consider animals as species, but as individuals. So when I hear that a species is going to disappear, for me it just means the end of suffering for the individuals of that species. As an existentialist, I simply can’t have any other position. I welcome extinction as it ends the suffering of individuals.
So what do I wish to the polar bears?
Very simple. I want each individual to remain pain free and not suffer and have a happy life. For a bear it mainly means not starving and avoiding physical pain until a quick death. I do wish to all bears to die in their sleep but that won’t happen. I simply hope that the species will go very gently and pain free. How could that happen? Could it be that one day, because of loss of habitat, females will stop having babies? That would certainly do it. Why should I be disturbed and bothered if it happens? Because I won’t be able to see bears anymore? Me, me, me!
We want wild animals to be around for our own voyeuristic pleasure. Nothing else. Do a favor to wild animals. Let them go. Don’t destroy nature, don’t pollute, don’t accelerate mass extinction, as a matter of fact don’t do anything to Nature, don’t interfere. But don’t be sorry when a species disappears or is about to.
As a Humanist, the only beauty in the universe is in the mind of some humans. Not in Nature or in the cold arrangement of stars and planet and dark matter. Not even in a sunset.
Please, find beauty and meaning in other humans, not in nature. We, humans couldn’t wait to get out of this insane system we call Nature, but today we seem mesmerized by animal shows on TV that depicts creatures at war in a horrible system. Nature is a dictatorship in which creatures don’t have any choice. Here you are born a lion, with the total inability to digest anything but meat. Here you are born a Panda, with the total inability to digest anything, but bamboo. Where is free choice, freedom here? Animals don’t have the freedom to eat what they want or to see a family grow happy, have projects. They don’t have the right or the possibility of a life free of harassment and pain. But they were granted a nervous system that amply allows for suffering. Is that vicious or what? It’s not if it’s the result of evolution. It is if it’s what a god wants.
If the world we see out there is just the result of organic life organizing itself through the force of Evolution, then there is hope that one day the Human mind will be able to bring beauty in this world.
If what we see is the work and creation of an all powerful entity, we are truly screwed.