Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Killing the cat, metaphorically speaking...

You know what bugs me... Hang on, that's not the way to start this...

Let's try this...

Go to a mirror. Look at your reflection. Something you've seen all your life. Sure its changed a bit since, well, every other day, but it's you. Big deal. But try this.

Feel the area of your skull just above your eye sockets. If you're a male, you probably have a ridge there. Females usually don't have this, even though its pervasive through all the races of humanity. This brow ridge is there mostly as an anchor spot for muscles in the face, and for some reason males have bigger muscle scars on their bones than females do (just ask any forensic anthropologist!). There are other muscle scars on other areas of the skull, like behind the ear and the jaw insertions that males seem to have more of than females do. Why is that? We still don't know, but are ya curious?

Now close your eyes. Express happiness. Did you smile? Of course you did. Did you know that people who are blind from birth smile when they're happy? They do. Why? If you go to the animal kingdom, the bearing of teeth is usually used as an expression of aggression. Feral children don't smile. Why do we smile? We think we know, but are you curious yet?

Now just stare at your reflection. See your face? It's composed of atoms, basically. These atoms were cooked up in the furnace of a star, billions of years ago. The carbon in the proteins, the calcium in your bones, the iron in your blood, all that stuff was thrown from a star as it exploded in its final stages of life. Did you hear that? A star died so you could be here. How does this happen? You curious about that?

All those atoms have been kicking around space for eons, millions of millenia. They coalesced into one form in one sliver of time to make you. And you can contemplate that. Imagine how precious that is! All those billions of years and nothing. Now, in this brief period of time, you are here where nothing once was. You, imperfect, spotty, farty, goofy, perverted, bad habit-having you. You can think about this fact. Isn't that amazing? For almost fifteen billion years there was nothing as far as you're concerned, and now you're experiencing it.

The universe is almost fifteen billion years old. That's fifteen BILLION. That's a large number. It's kind of hard to contemplate. Dinosaurs died out sixty five million years ago. One million years ago our ancestors were just going bald and figuring out that the sharp pointy bits of a stick can bring down a big ole beast to eat. We think that a person who is a hundred years old is really old. Balls. Old is the earth. Over four billion years old. Huge swaths of time passed between the beginning of the universe and the formation of the earth, and more huge swaths of time passed between the beginning of the earth and the formation of life. Huge swaths of time passed between the beginning of life and us. Hundreds of millions of years. There were only five hundred thousand people at Woodstock, and if you pretend each person was one year, that is almost 1/800th of the number of years just multicellular life has been on the planet.

The earth! What a wonderful place. It seems huge, doesn't it! It's massive. It's where everything we know... is! All that has happened , all history, all discovery, all murder, love, war, peace, tyrants and saints, from spears and arrows to rockets and nuclear bombs. All of it is here. At best, we've got a plaque, some footprints, and a flag up on the moon, some bits of metal floating around deep space, but who we are, all of us, is here on this huge planet. Now go to the orbit of Mars and look back. We're nothing but a pixel. All we are and know is on this tiny speck of rock floating in the middle of nothing.

All this grandeur, all the improbable circumstances, all the wonderful things, painful and pleasing, that happened for you to get here are amazing in their scope. To be alive and realize you're alive is awe-inspiring, and now that we know what we know about the universe, it's even more mind boggling! Evolution molding us into what we are today, with no reason or purpose, just natural laws and biology. You are the culmination of an evolutionary journey. You did it. You hit the genetic jackpot, and you didn't even try!

All this amazing possibility and room for growth, the terrifying vastness of the universe, the arrangements of atoms that make up the molecules that make up the DNA that make up you- all a natural process. All explainable. And all you have to do to know about it is learn! To pick up a book about genetics, or astrophysics, or evolution, or geology, or whatever you don't know about, and find out that we figured all this out- talking monkeys figured out all this amazing stuff- is truly a wonderful thing. We are a smart and wonderful species, and our curiosity is something that has propelled us to what we are now. For good or ill, it has been there, helping us.

And then, there are the willfully ignorant, the liars, the people who want to scare you into the small, ever shrinking universe that they find comfortable...

Evolution has no explanation as to why and how around 1.4 million species of animals evolved as male and female .
- Ray Comfort

To say that the banana happened by accident is even more unintelligent than to say that no one designed the Coca Cola can. - Kirk Cameron

The real purpose is to say the Bibles true, and its history. Genesis is true. - Ken Ham

Oh, absolutely, ... because, you know, the Bible teaches that God made land animals on day six, alongside of Adam and Eve. - Ken Ham

Only Christianity and its teachings can explain the purpose and meaning of this world--and also gives the basis for right and wrong, good and evil, etc.
- Ken Ham

"The Earth is billions of years old. The geologic column is the way to interpret it, and Charles Darwin's evolution is right." That is what they teach in order to be a good communist. Did you know that Russian teachers come to America to study education because the American educational system is considered the best in the world for teaching students these three principals. This prepares them to be good communists and to doubt the word of God. - Kent Hovind

“Who are you gonna believe, the scientists or God?"
(Mewling crowd OF CHILDREN) “God!”
"That's right, and don't you forget it!”
- Ken Ham

Cain promoted the evolutionary doctrine that man can progress by his own efforts… When God rejected his [sacrifice], he became angry at God. Since he could not hurt God, he took out his anger on God’s servant, his brother… Cain’s efforts to “evolve” closer to God met with disaster... The story of evolution continues in Gen. 9:22, “And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren without.” ... When the people left the Tower of Babel, they took their false religion of evolution with them. - Kent Hovind

These people are evil. They want to take your awe, curiosity, and wonder and throw it away, replacing it with shame, flagellation, and the "honor" of begging for forgiveness for being human. They lie, cheat, and in some cases, steal, to have their way with your sense of adventure to make it fit in with their tiny little worldview.

Don't let them do this.

Keep your awe. When you look in the sky at night, don't think that it's a pretty decoration created for you, think of it as a frontier to be explored. When you smell a flower, or pet a puppy, or hold a baby, don't think that it was just a whim of a bored skybeast that brought it into your path, think of how the flower came from other plants, whose evolution is directly linked to the evolution of the insects that pollinate it, or that the puppy came from wolves that inhabited human settlements ten thousand years ago, or that the baby came out of the womb in a time where its chances for surviving were greater than its chances of dying by a huge margin, thanks to medicine, science, innovation, and curiosity.

We are cheated by the people who demand reverence for a bronze age deity. Cheated out of our wonder. Cheated out of our awe. Cheated out of our lives.

Give them nothing but skepticism, and don't take them seriously. They don't love you. They want to destroy the only thing you have that is insubstantial but powerful enough to destroy them...

They want to destroy your curiosity.

Song of teh post: Rise Above, by Black Flag
World view of teh post: Skepticism for the win, baby!


  1. First, I like your new layout.

    Second, beautiful post. I like to get all gestalt once in a while and just be amazed that I'm here and we're here and this computer is here... No, really, I love to remind myself the the universe is really fucken special. And I've never thought about how creationists want to keep it from being special and awesome.

    Thanks for making my day.