<!DOCTYPE html><HTML lang="en"> <head> <meta charset="utf-8"> <link href="../../TheosStyle.css" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css"><link rel="shortcut icon" href="../../TT_ICO.png" /> <title>Note: Blog - Simon - T1S1 (Theo Todman's Web Page)</title> </head><body> <a name="Top"></a> <h1>Theo Todman's Web Page - Notes Pages</h1><hr><h2>Blog</h2><h3>Simon - T1S1</h3><CENTER>(CORRESPONDENT'S COMMENTS)</CENTER><p class = "Centered">(Text as at 16/08/2007 14:44:10)<br><br>(For earlier versions of this Note, <a href="#TableOfPreviousVersions">see the table at the end</a>)</p><hr> <P><FONT COLOR = "800080">Dear Theo,<BR> <BR>I have written and re-written a reply and almost given up because I m arguing with myself. However it occurred to me (actually while luxuriating in the bath) that you didn t really tackle my core questions, which admittedly were not well defined. Here s a better recap:<ul type="disc"><li>If I am an animal that has evolved through random mutations and Darwinian selection, what <a name="1"></a><A HREF = "../Notes_5/Notes_522.htm">benefit</A><SUP>1</SUP> is there to me from committing random acts of kindness?</li><li>Shouldn t I have an overwhelming <a name="2"></a><A HREF = "../Notes_5/Notes_523.htm">desire</A><SUP>2</SUP> to just hunt, steal and procreate?</li><li>Outside of protecting my [family] genes, what possible [selection] <a name="3"></a><A HREF = "../Notes_5/Notes_528.htm">benefit</A><SUP>3</SUP> is there to helping another human being?</li><li>Can natural selection <a name="4"></a><A HREF = "../Notes_5/Notes_550.htm">alone</A><SUP>4</SUP> explain why I sometimes feel the need to help another person with no apparent return or benefit to me?</li><li><a name="5"></a><A HREF = "../Notes_5/Notes_529.htm">Why</A><SUP>5</SUP> do I risk my own life to save a drowning child when the risk/reward is apparently so poor?</li></ul>And this, for me, is where an <a name="6"></a><A HREF = "../Notes_5/Notes_524.htm">atheist/evolutionary</A><SUP>6</SUP> point of view breaks down. <BR> <BR>Don t get me wrong, I don t believe in a god or any other omnipotent being. I look upon the religious texts as terrific stories  equivalent to soap operas of their day  but essentially a <a name="7"></a><A HREF = "../Notes_5/Notes_525.htm">tool</A><SUP>7</SUP> of the ruling class to create fear and to be used to control the masses.<BR> <BR>But something is awry; evolution doesn t seem to have an explanation for why there is such apparent diversity in the living world, but no <a name="8"></a><A HREF = "../Notes_5/Notes_526.htm">other</A><SUP>8</SUP> animals that have developed our ability to be  self aware , conscious of ourselves.<BR> <BR>The central argument of whether God exists, seems to be an unnecessary use of brain-power. Expending energy on  does he/doesn t he is a bit like Schrdinger's Cat; we won t know until he/she has been <a name="9"></a><A HREF = "../Notes_5/Notes_527.htm">observed</A><SUP>9</SUP>  so for now God exists in both states, so get over it! <BR> <BR>So let me tackle a central question that you pose, albeit from a lay-person s perspective& .<BR> <BR>Q:  But isn t a dispassionate search for truth one of the things that makes life worth <a name="10"></a><A HREF = "../Notes_5/Notes_530.htm">living</A><SUP>10</SUP>? <BR> <BR>You know, I suspect less than 1% of the population would think this way. If you ask an  omnibus person the question:  what makes your life worth living? I believe the answers would include:<BR> <BR>a.  Freedom from oppression <BR>b.  Pursuit of happiness {21st century hedonism}<BR>c.  My mum/spouse/lover/child/etc. <BR>d.  My friends <BR>e.  My job <BR> <BR>Possibly a response might also include:<BR> <BR>f.  To serve God s purpose {which I think is just a roundabout alternative to b.}<BR> <BR>There is no question in my mind that religion is a  catch all answer that people can use to explain away and rationalize bad things that happen to them, such as the tragic loss of a child, etc. How often do we hear  he s in a better place or  It was God s plan etc. For people who can t rationalize suffering, belief in religion provides an escape route from their torment, it s the <a name="11"></a><A HREF = "../Notes_5/Notes_531.htm">consolation</A><SUP>11</SUP> prize for failing to get to b. (above).<BR> <BR>Buddhism has a saying that  Suffering is an ocean with no beginning and no end . If suffering is a universal and ever-present feature of our animal-planet lives, then religion can provide a crutch for many people. As an aside, I find my daughter and her generation to have a real problem with the concept of  suffering . They have grown up in a media world that pushes the belief that all problems are surmountable; that the achievement [not just the pursuit] of <a name="12"></a><A HREF = "../Notes_5/Notes_532.htm">happiness</A><SUP>12</SUP> is an inalienable right; and that suffering is wrong and unnecessary.<BR> <BR>So our children s generation may have significant problems when they are our age. They have largely lost the notion of the  pearly gates as representing an acceptable consolation prize; they have little to fall back-on when things go wrong, so consumerism and serotonin inhibitors have attempted to fill the void.<BR> <BR>This isn t intended to be an argument for religion. I m merely trying to think through why religion has been so attractive to both the ruling classes and the down-trodden for such a long period in history. Again whether God actually exists or not, is probably moot until he/she is actually <a name="13"></a><A HREF = "../Notes_5/Notes_527.htm">observed</A><SUP>13</SUP>. When I think about radical <a name="14"></a><A HREF = "../Notes_5/Notes_533.htm">Islam</A><SUP>14</SUP>, I m again reminded that it s particularly attractive to its adherents because they generally have no other options or economic consolation prizes; they need something to believe in so they can answer the question:  What s my life all about? <BR> <BR>That s it for now; sorry to ramble. To tie together my central questions:<ol type="1"><li>Is belief in a god <a name="15"></a><A HREF = "../Notes_5/Notes_534.htm">justified</A><SUP>15</SUP> because it s the only freely available antidote to the natural ocean of [Darwinian] suffering? <BR> </li><li>Something s missing from the evolution-only theory because: a) selfless acts don t <a name="16"></a><A HREF = "../Notes_5/Notes_522.htm">correlate</A><SUP>16</SUP> to a survival imperative; and b) how come humans are the only <a name="17"></a><A HREF = "../Notes_5/Notes_526.htm">sentient</A><SUP>17</SUP> animal on earth, if evolution is a random walk in the gene park? </li></ol>Simon (5<SUP>th</SUP> May 2007)<BR><BR>Theo s <a name="18"></a><A HREF = "../Notes_5/Notes_521.htm">Response</A><SUP>18</SUP></P> <a name="TableOfPreviousVersions"></a><BR><HR><h3 class= "Left">Previous Version of this Note:</h3> <TABLE class = "ReadingList" WIDTH=700> <TR><TD WIDTH="20%" class = "BridgeCenter"><strong>Date</strong></TD> <TD WIDTH="10%" class = "BridgeRight"><strong>Length</strong></TD> <TD WIDTH="70%" class = "BridgeLeft"><strong>Title</strong></TD></TR> <TR><TD class = "BridgeCenter">12/08/2007 10:17:46</TD> <TD class = "BridgeRight">4773</TD> <TD class = "BridgeLeft"><A HREF = "Notes_397_39306429.htm">Simon - T1S1</A></TD></TR> </TABLE> <BR><HR><BR><CENTER><TABLE class = "Bridge" WIDTH=950><TR> <TH WIDTH="25%">Note last updated</TH> <TH WIDTH="50%">Reference for this Topic</TH> <TH WIDTH="25%">Parent Topic</TH></TR> <TR><TD WIDTH="25%">16/08/2007 14:44:10</TD> <TD WIDTH="50%">397 (Simon - T1S1)</TD> <TD WIDTH="25%"><A href ="../../Notes/Notes_3/Notes_396.htm">Simon - T1</A></TD></TR> </TABLE></center> <hr><h3>Summary of Note Links from this Page</h3> <CENTER> <TABLE Class = "Bridge" WIDTH=950> <TR> <td bgcolor="#ffff4d" WIDTH="20%"><A href = "../../Notes/Notes_5/Notes_531.htm"><span title="Medium Quality">Consolation of Religion</span></A></TD> <td bgcolor="#ffff4d" WIDTH="20%"><A href = "../../Notes/Notes_5/Notes_522.htm"><span title="Medium Quality">Darwinian Altruism</span></A></TD> <td bgcolor="#ffcccc" WIDTH="20%"><A href = "../../Notes/Notes_5/Notes_528.htm"><span title="Low Quality">Darwinian Altruism 2</span></A></TD> <td bgcolor="#ffcccc" WIDTH="20%"><A href = "../../Notes/Notes_5/Notes_550.htm"><span title="Low Quality">Darwinian Altruism 3</span></A></TD> <td bgcolor="#ffcccc" WIDTH="20%"><A href = "../../Notes/Notes_5/Notes_529.htm"><span title="Low Quality">Darwinian Altruism 4</span></A></TD> </TR> <TR> <td bgcolor="#ffcccc" WIDTH="20%"><A href = "../../Notes/Notes_5/Notes_524.htm"><span title="Low Quality">Evolution - Problems</span></A></TD> <td bgcolor="#ffcccc" WIDTH="20%"><A href = "../../Notes/Notes_5/Notes_532.htm"><span title="Low Quality">Happiness and Suffering</span></A></TD> <td bgcolor="#ffcccc" WIDTH="20%"><A href = "../../Notes/Notes_5/Notes_526.htm"><span title="Low Quality">Human Uniqueness</span></A></TD> <td bgcolor="#ffff4d" WIDTH="20%"><A href = "../../Notes/Notes_5/Notes_523.htm"><span title="Medium Quality">Hunter-Gathering Psychology</span></A></TD> <td bgcolor="#ffff4d" WIDTH="20%"><A href = "../../Notes/Notes_5/Notes_533.htm"><span title="Medium Quality">Islam</span></A></TD> </TR> <TR> <td bgcolor="#ffcccc" WIDTH="20%"><A href = "../../Notes/Notes_5/Notes_534.htm"><span title="Low Quality">Justification of Religious Belief</span></A></TD> <td bgcolor="#ffcccc" WIDTH="20%"><A href = "../../Notes/Notes_5/Notes_530.htm"><span title="Low Quality">Life Worth Living</span></A></TD> <td bgcolor="#ffff4d" WIDTH="20%"><A href = "../../Notes/Notes_5/Notes_527.htm"><span title="Medium Quality">Observing God</span></A></TD> <td bgcolor="#ffcccc" WIDTH="20%"><A href = "../../Notes/Notes_5/Notes_525.htm"><span title="Low Quality">Religion as State-Control</span></A></TD> <td bgcolor="#ffcccc" WIDTH="20%"><A href = "../../Notes/Notes_5/Notes_521.htm"><span title="Low Quality">Simon - T1S1T1</span></A></TD> </TR> </TABLE> </CENTER> <P class = "Centered">To access information, click on one of the links in the table above.</P> <BR><HR><BR><h3>Summary of Note Links to this Page</h3> <CENTER> <TABLE Class = "Bridge" WIDTH=950> <TR> <td bgcolor="#b3ffb3" WIDTH="20%"><A href = "../../Notes/Notes_3/Notes_396.htm#1"><span title="High Quality">Simon - T1</span></A></TD> <TD WIDTH="20%">&nbsp;</TD> <TD WIDTH="20%">&nbsp;</TD> <TD WIDTH="20%">&nbsp;</TD> <TD WIDTH="20%">&nbsp;</TD> </TR> </TABLE> </CENTER> <P class = "Centered">To access information, click on one of the links in the table above.</P> <a name="ColourConventions"></a><br><hr><br><h3 class = "Left">Text Colour Conventions</h3><OL TYPE="1"><li><FONT COLOR = "800080">Mauve</FONT>: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); 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