March 9, 2014

Brett's Belief Set 2.0

I read a book this year, which I believe allowed me to upgrade my belief set. Let me re-phrase that:  I now feel like my beliefs, about how the universe works are way more legit now than a year back.  

I feel about my beliefs from last year like a guy who broke up with a girl for whom he had been totally settling.  And now he's a bit sheepish about the fact that he dated her at all.   "Oh, her?, I'm not with her any longer.  It was good while it lasted, but I've moved on." 

Or maybe it's more like upgrading from a functional, if shabby, 1998 Corolla to a sweet new 2014 Audi S6.

Had it a bit too long.

Ah, this is much better!

Now SO FAR, this probably strikes you as nothing new.  People switch from Christianity to atheism all the time, and you might assume I'm going that route.  I'm not.  I assert that that switch would be upgrading to a Corolla from taking the goddamn subway.

Until eight months ago, I espoused the Dawkins-atheist point of view.  On some level, I would definitely say that I was smug about it.   And to be sure, I still am, and still do believe it -- although it's much more than that now.   

I mean, when I hear that people believe in Noah's Ark, or the Adam & Eve, I still assume they are idiots.  That hasn't changed.  (I still don't see how anybody falls for this legendary mythological obvious-metaphor nonsense.)

But in this case, I feel that I have outgrown the utter lack of imagination that traditional Dawkins-atheists espouse. The Dawkins-atheists would tell you the universe goes something like this:
  • The Universe started with the Big Bang.  It is ridiculous/nonsensical/unknowable to inquire as to "before the Big Bang," as there is simply no way we could ever possibly speculate.  It is Before Time Existed.  
  • Matter swirled around, and due to a variety of constants and processes and behaviors and whatever, the (still murky) path to life began.  Fast forward 4.5 billion years and here we are.
  • The only issues left are honing in on universe's constraints:  What is dark matter?  What is dark energy?  Is there really no goddamn way we can't travel faster than the speed of light because how are we going to colonize the universe if not?  Can we, like, fax ourselves to Alpha Centauri or something?
  • You might wonder why all of these constants and constraints seem set so perfectly for life.  This is probably an illusion -- it just seems that way because we're here, and if other constants had been used, then other forms of complexity would have evolved.  
But now I think I have a much clearer understanding of what is most likely going on BEYOND our universe.  Or at least a rough idea of how it must go.  For this, I have Thomas Campbell's book "My Big Toe" to thank.

I'm probably going to write many MANY posts on this topic, but in short, you should check out this book:

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