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Metaphysical Boundaries

Chapter 4 part 1
Here, There, or No Where

©07 Levite
Metaphysical Thesis
Web Published on The Media Desk

Overview and Index
      [Note: For the purposes of this paper (which is not a Christian Apologetic piece but a non-religious examination of the topic 'metaphysics') the words 'divine' and 'supernatural' and so on will stand in for any and all variations and perambulations possible for any extra-natural, non-human, spiritual, or otherwise intelligence or entity with regards to its role in the mundane world. The author's own definition of God is best defined as 'the uncaused first cause' alluded to in Aristotle's works. Thank you]
      [Further Note: No disrespect or slight of any named Deity is intended. Superior Beings of many faiths are named in this discussion and all are treated as they are presented by their followers at face value. No judgments by the author are made or intended to be inferred from this work.]

As an Academic Work In Progress-
portions of this paper may be revised at any time.
Some sections of this work deal with decidedly adult themes although those sections are intended as academic discussion, they may offend some persons who wish and are looking to be offended. You have been warned.

[warning: this chapter is a twenty three page tangent with a one page conclusion.]

"all the darkness in the world cannot put out a single candle"
fortune cookie saying

      We'll start this chapter with an easy question:

           So, just what are the definitions of 'God' and the 'universe'?

      In the last chapter we mentioned the fact that most people will say they 'love God', and for what it's worth, they probably do. However, God, by the very definition and job description of the term: the Uncaused First Cause, is beyond any possible level of our reasonably being able to understand or comprehend... just exactly what is it that they love?
      Most likely, it is as we said in Chapter 3: "instead of their loving God, they love the idea OF God". And that idea may have more to do with an image in a painting on the ceiling of the Vatican than any representation of a true spirit. "Can a mortal ask questions which God finds unanswerable? Quite easily, I should think. All nonsense questions are unanswerable."
C.S. Lewis
British Novelist

      In this edition we're going to look at real existence itself, but not solely as an intellectual exercise. From "I think, therefore I am" to just the "I AM" of God. And where does Mankind as an entity fit into the equation? Is our concept of God part of the picture? And is thinking required, and while we're at it, what exactly IS 'thinking'? the Universe? Reality? And so on. And what is the final objective of the entire exercise, but that'll be last.

      René Descartes' original statement was "Je pense, donc je suis". However, heavily intellectual stuff tends to sound better rendered into Latin. So his French line became: "Cogito, ergo sum".
      And through all of this his phrase also changed its meaning somewhat. The Latin phrase is more properly translated to English as "I am thinking, therefore I exist", but that is a little cumbersome so we usually hear it stated as: "I think, therefore I am."
      (We will not go into whether or not the current population of France is capable of any thought whatsoever.)
End Note

      Of course, going in we are basing the entire discussion on one basic assumption. And that would be that WE exist in some form (if we don't, we're wasting a lot of time thinking we do, right?). The same applies to the Universe, if it doesn't exist, then our choices about where to go out to lunch are severely limited. Whether or not God does is something that by definition is a matter of faith, but we are approaching the argument with the idea that even if there IS a God, we probably couldn't prove it to those that are now steadfast in their denial no matter what, and if there isn't, those that believe will continue in that belief regardless.

      In the movie "What the 'bleep' do we know?" the premise that thoughts alone can and do alter the perceptual universe is faced head on and at full speed, with a good soundtrack too! Controversial scientists both mainstream and 'alternative' challenge the norm by presenting some evidence that thinking about a thing can indeed affect the subject of those thoughts in the real world.
      And to some degree this is known to be the case.
      It does explain psychosomatic illness and as mentioned in the last chapter, psychosomatic orgasm. Then there is also the ability of some practitioners of meditation and self hypnosis to control pain or other bodily processes even to the point of enabling surgeons to perform operations on them without anesthetics or restraints.
      It would also appear to explain some aspects of Murphy's Law....

As soon as you mention something ....
           ... if it's good, it goes away
           ... if it's bad, it happens.
Murphy's Unspeakable Law -many sources

      The humorous line is a truism. And now it would appear to have some basis in reality.
      There are some schools of thought that there is a measurable 'Observer Effect' on things ranging from subatomic particles to even people and stars. It is the old "if a tree falls in the forest and there is nobody to hear it...." adage.
      The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principal (in short: You can measure a subatomic particle's position or speed, but not both.) states that the very act of observing a particle changes its behavior. We know this to be true with people, the very presence of an observer (TV camera or live reporter) or any sort of audience ('hey- watch this') changes their behavior. It also seems to be true with whales and apes as well. They know we are watching, and so they change their behavior.
      Now here's where things start to get murky. And no, we're not going to talk about the Cosmic Consciousness or anything like that. Well, we are, just, not yet.
      If, humans are simply half bright apes that are follicle-ly challenged and have toes that are basically useless, then why would anything else even care that we are watching it?

A man said to the universe: "Sir, I exist!"
"However," replied the universe.
"The fact has not created in me a sense of obligation."
Stephen Crane (1871 - 1900)

      On the whole, the Universe shouldn't care that we are here. Yet it seems to.

      As we as a people have grown and developed and become ever more sophisticated in the scientific and philosophical realms ....

     .... right here and right now we're not talking about the personal sophistication of the individuals in the overall population as a whole. If 'people' were sophisticated, there would be no 'reality TV' in any form and nobody would be forwarding the 'Bill Gates is sharing his fortune' email. And the concept of 'Flash Mobs' would have died on the vine.
     Jay: Why the big secret? People are smart, they can handle it.
     Kay: A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky, dangerous animals and you know it.
Men in Black (the movie) 1997
Sony Pictures

end sidenote-

      ..... things turn up in the Universe at large that challenge us to become even more sophisticated.
      As we dig deeper into ourselves, things turn up about us that nobody seemed to expect.

Using magnetic resonance imaging, scientists at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland have shown that the brains of children with high IQs show a distinct pattern of development.
News Release
29 March 2006

      As we discover more about our world, things turn up to remind us that there are things yet to be discovered.

A new native spider, a perfumed mushroom, a snapping turtle, and a wandering vegetable are just a handful of discoveries made in West Auckland this weekend.
News Release
25 March 2006

      As we learn more about how the Cosmos works and is put together things come up to let us know we don't know everything yet.

Most scientists agree that core accretion is how terrestrial planets such as Earth and Mars were created, but the model can't convincingly explain how gas giant planets like Jupiter and Saturn came to be.
Article Title "Death Spiral: Why Theorists Can't Make Solar Systems"
28 March 2006

      As has been stated elsewhere, five hundred years ago it was heresy to believe the Earth was not the center of the Universe. Now it is almost heresy to believe it is.

      As a species, we are more sophisticated than we were. We have learned a great deal about all things great and small. We have a good working understanding of the various dynamic processes of life and are now so arrogant as to think that we can control hurricanes.

Many scoff at the possibility of weather control and simply refuse to believe it exists. Attempting to even engage such people in conversation on the subject is fruitless because their mind is set. Yet the reality is that weather modification has been in operation and continual development since the 1960s.
Article: Former Naval Physicist: Government Can Control Hurricanes
14 October 2005

      And yet, as was mentioned before, we as individuals still forward hoax emails and go into lemming-mode whenever there is a new fad to clamor over.
      Face it. The newest style in men's suits, with the tiny lapels that form a 'V' a few inches before the knot in his tie, looks really stupid. Yet all the talking heads on TV sported them for months, and so well meaning grandmothers across the land are hauled their grandsons out to stores and outfitted them with the new style of suit. Let's hope they soon go the way of the leisure suit, which went the way of the zoot suit before it, back to something that makes sense.
      As was mentioned in the note above, fads like the cell phone 'flash mob' captivate those that strive to be 'in' or 'hip' or whatever the current phrase is for 'cool'. Fancy coffee and even fancier beer, candy flavored miniature cigars, huge gaudy watches, and the latest in electronic gadget. Nobody actually needs it, like the 'must needs' list of food and shelter, if it is new and popular you'll probably pay way too much for it, and if it is that new and essentially unproven- it'll probably break or make you sick inside of a week, but they have to have it, and now, and they'll stand in line to get it.
      Our old friend Phineas would be proud.

      Phineas was born the son of a storekeeper. He tried his hand at, among other things, running his own newspaper. After a series of lawsuits over libel and a stint in jail he moved to New York and got into show business. His first show was pure exploitation (even by 1830's standards). In 1835 he was exhibiting an elderly African woman whom he billed as being George Washington's 'nursemaid', claiming she was in excess of 160 years old. (Washington was born in 1731, you do the math.)
      And now somebody is asking.... "But of course the New Yorkers of the time were too sophisticated to believe that, right?"
      Well.... No....
      The show was a raging success. He toured with her and a small company for four years. When the woman died it was proven she was probably no older than in her seventies. The truth didn't even slow him down.
      After touring with exhibits like the 'Fiji Mermaid' (a monstrosity constructed of the head and body of two different apes and the tail of a fish and no small amount of plaster), General Tom Thumb the midget, and assorted other oddities both human and otherwise, Phineas was able to retire in 1855 to write, and promote, his autobiography. His life story was second in sales only to the Bible in the nineteenth century.
      His outstanding bills and unhappy creditors forced him back into business a few years later. Eventually his various exhibits and museum turned into 'The Greatest Show On Earth'.
      Of course Phineas is none other than Phineas Taylor (PT) Barnum.
      The reason we have reviewed his life here is that he said the following... or at least he repeated them or had them said about him or... well, it doesn't matter. The legend of the man is probably just slightly less spectacular and over-hyped as the truth.

      Barnum was a master of duping the masses into if not believing whatever his current claim was, at least getting them to pony up the gate admission to see it.
      Which is the point of the exercise if you are the showman. Or the one making shiny little gizmos.
      To be 'In' or 'Cool' you have to have and do the right 'stuff'.
          as in the definition: "Having acquired worldly knowledge or refinement; lacking natural simplicity or naiveté."?
      Not a chance.

      NOW. Back to the point. yes there is a point... somewhere

      If these people who are thinking and therefore existing, are willingly and happily spending their money to fit in... don't they exist?

      Well that depends. What level of existence are we talking about?
      In the pure physical sense of the word. Yes. Undeniably. They live and breathe and consume. They buy tickets to Mr. Barnum's menagerie and then go out to coffee shops for double mocha latte with almond essence and butter cookies.
      In every other sense of the word.... Maybe. Then again. Maybe not.
      How much high level sophisticated thinking are they engaging in, in the "Cogito, ergo sum" sense, are they doing beyond answering the debilitating complex question- 'regular or decaf?'
      Are they making a mark in the column of the sum total of human knowledge with their contemplation of the latest offerings on 'must see TV'? Or for that matter, is the inane drivel with laugh track and 'paid product placement' that passes for prime time television in America adding to it?
      Are they the ones that the Universe feels that it is better off ignoring?
      An honest answer would be too harsh even for this series.

      OK, this isn't saying that everybody needs to go out and meditate and contemplate and do a bunch of soul searching and navel gazing and agonizingly prolonged self-absorbed introspection to validate their own existence. No. For starters, that's usually pointless.

[NOTE: Right here and now we are taking all things related to the somewhat 'New Age' headline concept of "existentialism" off the table. We are pursuing existence as a fact, not as a concept. Perhaps we'll examine that idea in a later edition... ... perhaps not. ]

      Yeah. You read that right. Sitting in the lotus position thinking about thinking may be a courageous voyage of self discovery, but after you've discovered yourself--- then what?
      OK wonderful, you are really in touch with your inner self. Exactly what does that mean? You know who you Really are. Again, that's nice. Will this knowledge speak of you equally well and accurately in twenty years or with the Real You have changed by then? How about after the next time you have a sinus infection? As we've discussed in the earlier installments but may have never said in so many words we'll state plainly here: if a human being ceases to Grow and Change they stagnate and... well, that's another chapter.

      Who this writer IS in the ultimate sense of the word (in its soul if you will) probably hasn't changed since it 'came of age' and was able to make the majority of decisions for itself from what to have for breakfast to whether or not it believes in God. However... Who it is Today in a 'how are you doing' kinda way changes depending on how many cups of coffee it had this morning.
      Which 'self' would it discover after an evening of crawling around inside its own head?
      And how valid would that information be if that 'self' suddenly found out that some closely held belief or value was absolutely worthless? That everything it knew about whatever it is was simply a tale....

(we were going to quote only the last few lines here, but the entire 'tomorrow' speech is simply so powerful and such a beautiful use of language, it must be presented in its entirety)

"She should have died hereafter;
There would have been a time for such a word.

To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
To the last syllable of recorded time,
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing."

Macbeth Act 5 scene 5

      Or to put it in Old Testament language:
"Meaningless! Meaningless!" says the Teacher. "Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless."
Ecclesiastes 1: 2 NIV

      Or if you'd rather hear it in the traditional King James... "vanity of vanities; all is vanity."

      Now that everybody is really confused. We'll bring this part around to a point.

      Nevermind who or what is God... What part of YOU is really you?

      Also. What is the 'you' that you actually own? Your body? Well, no, that can be taken from you in an instant, and it was given to you by your parents so you didn't create it, thereby it isn't ultimately yours. Your memories? Well, maybe, but we could submit that they are part of a larger whole 'you'.
      This writer will stand by the statement that the only thing of yours that you actually created and thereby own is your personality. And even that ownership is somewhat shaky.

      In brain damage patient studies, physical trauma to the gray matter inside the skull can produce absolutely astonishing changes in personality, intelligence, habits and every other aspect of who the person was before the injury.
      It is a well known maxim among those that deal with addicts and other drug abusers. "You can turn your back on a person, but never turn your back on a drug."
      How many people blame alcohol, caffeine, sugar, gangster rap music, video games, erotic fiction, narcotics... whatever it may be... for 'encouraging' them to do things they claim they wouldn't otherwise do. Making them 'lose control' as it were. Well, unless somebody held a gun on you, you weren't forced to take the first drink or listen to the song were you? You knew going in that you might get a little bent after the fifth drink. Most likely, you'd done it before too. Just this time, you got caught. Which means that whatever you did was within the realm of possible behaviors you are capable of and therefore, it was part of you. If you have doubts, this writer will pour you a coffee mug full of tequila and we'll see if your personality changes.
      Another example then we'll move on.
      Those that study group behavior point to the similarities between crowds of people (mobs and the like) and herd behavior among animals. If you have a large number of animals such as bison or geese, you don't have to spook all of them to start a stampede of panicked animals. Just get one to go and watch what happens, you don't even need a pack of lions to do it, not a survival situation, just startle one critter. The other three hundred of them have no idea why they're running, they just are. If you doubt that this applies to humans, just look at the cash register lines the next time you're at a grocery store, people line up behind others without thinking even though four rows over there is an open register with no line at all. Independent thought appears as foreign to a vast majority of people operating within their routine as it is to the geese on the lake.
      We're only talking about the majority of people here. People as a group, a population, the 'great unwashed masses' as it were.
      And even then, going back to the quote from the movie "Men in Black" we're only talking about people in the plural.
      It's like Congress.
      Individually, the members of the US Congress, House and Senate, are (for the most part) intelligent, honest, upstanding people who probably had the best interests of their constituents at heart when first elected to office. This writer has met several of them over the course of the years and found that to be true in nearly every case. However, you send them to Washington for a couple of years and they...

I have been up to see the Congress and they do not seem to be able to do anything except to eat peanuts and chew tobacco, while my army is starving.
General Robert E Lee, CSA

      ... they become Congress (you are free to mumble an explicative under your breath and spit in the corner).
      General Lee was talking about the Congress of the Confederate States of America, but the quote applies to the USA equally well today.
      It would be coming too far to say that most sitting members of Congress would be guilty of Moral Turpitude and intentionally do the horrible things most of them seem guilty of. But then again if you look down the checklist which defines the term in relation to a government official- selling influence, receiving kickbacks or funds from false statements, nondisclosure of a conflict of interest, intentionally making false statements into the official record, use of office for personal gain, and etc, it looks like a Congressional To Do list!
      Polls have shown that American Voters usually respect and even like their individual Representative and their Senators, yet they think the collective body referred to as the US Congress, both the Upper and Lower Houses, should be shipped off 'en masse' to Tuvalu and left there.
      In the words of those wiser than the writer of this current essay:

"No man's life, liberty, or property are safe while the legislature is in session."
Mark Twain
(Also attributed to Judge Gideon J. Tucker, a NY State Jurist in an opinion in 1866.
Both serve equally well here.)

      We have most certainly gotten away from the central point here. Or have we?

      Undoubtedly it is all related. But how?

      In one lifetime people have gone from steam engine trains to the space shuttle. From manual typewriters to word processors that can type what you say out loud then repeat what was said while correcting both spelling and grammar, and can do it in German if you so desire.
      At one time it would take well over a month for news from Paris or London to reach 'the Colonies', before the retirement of the Concord SST you could fly there in less than four hours, traveling at over thirteen hundred miles an hour, or around twice the speed of sound. Today the news from Moscow or Mumbai is broadcast live and in color into the heart of Iowa.
      You do not have to go to far to find a human interest story on local TV stations or in the paper about somebody's grandmother who is turning a hundred years old who marvels at all the wondrous changes she has lived to see.
      Which is, as we just observed, very true.
      But then if they ask her how people have changed you seldom get a glowing report from the old lady. Usually the Centenarian will talk about how people are not as kind or respectful as they used to be. Or perhaps they will go into how all sorts of perversions are now out in public, like gay marriage or mixed race couples and their children.
      Which may or may not be true, depending on your take on it. Yes, 'manners' have indeed slipped. It wasn't long ago that this writer was discussing the subject with someone who was raising young children. They were not teaching their kids to say "yes ma'am" and "no sir" because they wanted their children to be 'Equals'.
      A marvelous concept that, except for the fact that is isn't true, and will most likely come back to haunt the kids as they grow up (like the first time they face a traffic court judge). Grade school children are Not Equals. They are minors, wholly dependant on their elders for everything from the time they draw their first breath of life until they achieve the Age of Majority in their locale (16, 18, 21- whatever) or are emancipated by an act of the courts.
      Even in the Eyes of God, a Child is NOT equal with an adult. Unless you accept Original Sin, which isn't in the Bible by the way and requires some theological gymnastics (including that no woman in the bloodline of the Virgin Mary could have ever been conceived normally, going all the way back to Eve) which we will not go into here. A child is an Innocent to the Lord until they reach their age of accountability, which is in reality only known to the Lord.
      And there is more of this kind of thing today. Flagrant disregard for common civility is a symptom of a larger problem. A lack of respect for others is just the starting point in a downward spiral that doesn't end until you get to a gangland culture where thugs gun each other down in the streets with civilians taking a few stray bullets is seen as simply a cost of doing business. A general sense that others don't matter is compounded by popular entertainment where wisecracking children tell adults, who are nothing more than buffoons and the butts of jokes, to "eat my shorts" with no consequences. Not even a rather impotent 'time out'.
      No, we are not blaming TV for the decline in societal values. No, this started a few years before TV had the kind of impact it does today. In fact, we can go back to... say... the Thirteenth Century.

"The corruption of the people has its chief source in the clergy. From this arise the evils of Christendom: faith perishes, religion is defaced, liberty is restricted, justice is trodden under foot, the heretics multiply, the schismatics are emboldened, the faithless grow strong, the Saracens are victorious."
Pope Innocent III
Fourth Lateran Council 1215
      While we are talking about religion we can slide right from the Pope's remarks to those of certain leaders who stand in front of their people and preach that God desires that you HATE your fellow man unless they happen to be sitting next to you in that particular gathering. No, we are not talking about Saudi Arabian Wahhabi Imans. Not this time.
      In America, there is the Westboro Baptist Church in Kansas under the leadership of Fred Phelps Sr. who actively preaches that "God Hates Fags" and the attacks on America of 11 September 2001 were His punishment for allowing homosexuality to flourish.
      Not to just pick on Mr. Phelps, there is also the Minister Louis Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam who says "God wants you to hate...." and then he will run through a list that may include white people, Jews, non-Muslims, large companies, politicians and anybody else that has rubbed the Minister the wrong way of late.
      A web search on either of the 'religious leaders' above will bring back several sites dedicated to collecting and publishing some of the more 'profound' statements by them. Sometimes you can even run across a video of them saying it, which is far better than so called 'reality TV'.

      It would seem that Pope Innocent was onto something that has taken about eight hundred years to come full circle.

      We're getting there, hang on.

      Most Religious Westerners- Catholics of various sorts, Lutherans, mainstream Baptists, Methodists and so on grew up with the phrase 'God is Love' on their Sunday School papers and hand painted it on T-shirts during VBS.
      It is even a little sing-song ditty that is recited with appropriate rhythmatic handclaps to punctuate it as is rendered in the King James Bible:

(sing along please....)
"Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. First John chapter four verses seven and eight!"

      Where in that does it say God wants us to Hate indiscriminately?
      A fairly solid case can be made toward the "Hate the Sin but Love the Sinner" side of things. And there is a Biblical prescription for dis-fellowshipping various ones for continual sin. But to Hate somebody because they voted a certain way in an election? That's a bit of a stretch.
      Yet there we go, back to the Westboro outfit and their blanket statement that "God Hates Fags" and therefore, you should too. Or the Minister's presumption that God now Hates his formerly Chosen People, the Jews.
      You'd think that those that follow the leaders who preach such a message would at some point realize that what they are hearing isn't exactly on par with the message in their Holy Book, whatever that may be. However, given the history of the abuse of religion for reasons from false heresy (including the Pope's Albigensian Crusade against French Catholics (albeit a small non-orthodox sect) by the Catholic Church and the King of France during the time of the Lateran meetings), including the Holy War of your choice (one eye on Ireland) and so on... well... Scriptural Truth has never stopped anybody, or actually even slowed them down.

      Back to the premise we stated some time ago....

      ...just what are the definitions of 'God' and the 'universe'?

      Evidently we as a people cannot agree on the first half of that, so what makes you think we can agree on the rest of it?

      Let's take a look.
      We looked at the Stephen Crane quote a bit earlier... "A man said to..." According to the poet, the Universe doesn't seem to regard us as anything of note.

      If you talk to Cosmologist the Universe sprang from a unique superheated quark or other singularity in a single event (the famous Big Bang (which we will come back to)) that has not been repeated since. This event occurred on the order of fourteen billion years ago.
      The age 13.7 billion years (give or take a couple of weeks) is looked at as fairly reliable based on current science and certain predictions based on Relativity and other branches of physics. Those that do this kind of thing for a living look at the proportions of radioactive elements in rocks and stars, the red shifting and life cycles of distant objects (Quasars, Globular Clusters and etc.) through the various space telescopes, and some serious hardcore number crunching involving something called the 'Hubble Constant', a mathematical formula devised by astronomer Edwin Hubble, 1889-1953, whom most in the field consider the father of modern Astronomy and Cosmology.

      But there is still that nagging idea that the Earth and the Universe it is in were created in October 4004 BC. On the twenty-third to be exact. And according to some, the most notable being Andrew Dickson White 1832-1918 (one of the founders of Cornell University and a Skull and Bones member at Yale!), at nine in the morning.
      Most religious leaders have dismissed James Ussher's (died 1656) claim and all the works based on the Irish Archbishop's reasoning as wishful thinking and totally unsubstantiated by anything other than a very fanciful reading of scripture.
      Then again there are those, one of them probably being Mr. Phelps in Kansas, who take a very literal view of the scriptural passages that suits them, while totally disregarding anything in the Book that is 'inconvenient'. For example, how do you reconcile the line in the Gospel of John "For God so loved the world..." with the Westboro teaching that "God Hates Fags (and assorted others)"? Ahhhh.... this discussion belongs under another heading besides Metaphysics. But the example serves its purpose here.
      Those who wish to believe a more literal interpretation of anything from the Bible, including in the divine inspiration of the King James Translation (which wishes into existence Unicorns, as is mentioned elsewhere) are free to do so. Also, those of us who are given to a slightly more realistic interpretation of the passages which are not black and white clear are also free to do so. This is a matter of your faith, as dictated by your own conscience.
      The same applies to believing in the Big Bang.

      It is no less a leap of Faith to believe the universe we call home sprang from a superheated speck so small you couldn't see if it was floating in your coffee.
      It is an equal leap of Faith to believe that Life as we know it on Earth erupted from a spot of goo floating in a primordial sea that happened to get struck by lightning at exactly the right time to evolve into toy poodles and jellyfish.
      Yes, there is some good evidence that Both the Universe and Life have happened. But there are also some surprising gaps in the chain of evidence that raises a few rather pointed questions that unnerve high school science teachers. Such as: a partially formed wing is useless and actually a hindrance to survival; Given that the process takes thousands upon thousands of years over hundreds of generations, how is it that those with proto-wings survived, and where are the fossils of the intervening steps?
      And there are lots of other questions involving flowers, eyes, emotions and other factors of modern plants and animals that do not fit neatly into the evolutionary pattern. One of the favorites is symbiotic relationships such as between termites and the bugs in their intestines that actually digest wood pulp, they are separate animals that cannot live without each other, how did that come about?
      Ahhhh, we can go skipping down that road until we reach the Wizard and still not get an answer.
      And it really isn't important. Not to our present discussion, and more importantly, at all.
      No. It's not. Termites Exist. The bugs in their guts digest your kitchen floor and keep their hosts alive and breeding. Wild Turkeys Exist. They can fly at about thirty miles an hour through forest undergrowth that you can't walk through. Neither the insect nor the bird has sought our blessing or permission to do what they do, and both do quite nicely without our intervention in their affairs.

      Moving on.

      To accept everything from: there had been an actual beginning to the Universe, to that Tasmania exists somewhere just south of 'The Land Down Under' (unless one has actually been there), to that there is a God who is in charge... are all based on faith.
      A case could be made that even accepting that the Universe exists is an act of faith on par with believing that praying the Rosary every day is fire insurance for your soul.
      We won't go into the assertion that the World is a figment of your own imagination, or that all this is a Dream that God is having, or that everything is being created and happens for your benefit and as soon as a passing train is beyond your field of view it ceases to exist. No. We've mentioned those kinds of things in passing in this series, and we'll dismiss all of them here and now. Quite possibly to never surface again as all are pointless exercises in self-aggrandizing delusion.
      The foundation of this entire discussion must be that at some level the Universe Exists and we are all really here and Reality is more or less as it Appears. What you see as a little black dog the rest of us see as a little black dog. We may argue that he's not really black as there are some silver hairs in his coat and that the term 'little' is subjective, but the overall truth that it is that toy poodle we mentioned before instead of a jellyfish can be accepted at face value. Then we can discuss whether or not the dog has a soul.


      Now, where were we?


Continued In part two

Overview and Index

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