I’ve always found it puzzling that my Christian friends find it puzzling that I celebrate Christmas even though I’m not a Christian. Or that my Jewish and Muslim friends correct me when I bid them a “Merry Christmas!” Sometimes it seems that the only non-Christian demographic that doesn’t mind being wished good Yuletide wishes is the atheists among us. But, then, if a recent University of British Columbia study is accurate, atheists are already as distrusted as rapists, so we’ll take whatever warm wishes we can get.
Yes, we. I’m an atheist who loves Christmas. And growing up, our Christmas was the sort of pantheist hodge-podge (or “synthesis,” as I’ll explain) that only a family of atheists would come up with, including Jewish gefilte fish during Christmas dinner right after a half-pagan half-Catholic garlic-wafer-honey ritual to ward of demons, a Buddha and a Shiva on the mantle next to the Nativity scene, and so on.
Continue reading Santa, Odin and the Castrated Chicken
An old post that I’m bumping back up to the top because of the interest it has generated…
In finishing up my new science fiction novel I went through a lot of research on Laplace’s Demon. In the process, I stumbled onto the computational limit of the universe. Based on the minimum amount of time you need to move data across the Planck length, at the speed of light, there’s a limit to the computational power of the universe that’s about 10-to-the-power-of-120 bits (actually 10^120 operations on 10^90 bits of data). Anything needing more data can’t be computed in the fifteen billion years or so that the universe has existed so far. Calculating the location of every atom in the universe would require more than 10^120. Ergo, omniscience is impossible even for a computing organism the size and age of the universe.
Continue reading Accidental Proof that God Does Not Exist
Reprinted from C-Arts Magazine, January 2010.
“Homo vult decipi; decipiatur.”
.Through years of traveling the world and writing articles in magazines, I’ve developed psychic powers. I can influence your actions by controlling the cadence of the text on the page as you read it. Unlike some charlatan astrologers, psychics and witch doctors, my skill is based in science, a lifetime of studying how the rhythm of language influences brainwaves, particularly certain passages buried deep within the English language, passages that were dictated to me by an old woman, a hermeneutic. The study of those passages demanded supreme scholarship to interpret, years of intense application, and it has still not been wholly worked out. In order to help me, the old woman gave birth to my grandmother, who bore my mother. When my mother gave birth to me, there I was, deciphering the dictations of the old woman.
Continue reading Magic
Reuters is reporting that “Farmers in an eastern Indian state have asked their unmarried daughters to plow parched fields naked in a bid to embarrass the weather gods to bring some badly needed monsoon rain, officials said on Thursday.”
Continue reading Among the things the 3rd world does far better than the West…
A response of sorts to Stanley Fish’s column, Fathers, Sons and Motorcycles.
I have never in my life had a sentimental attachment to an object — I’ve never spent more than four years of my life in one city, and leave objects behind constantly. But then I bought my motorcycle.
Continue reading Motorcycles and Authenticity
So far I’ve found three downsides to atheism besides the obvious, if cynical, problems with being on the losing end of Pascal’s wager:
1. Nobody to talk to during sex.
Continue reading The drawbacks of atheism
I was at the gym a few days ago, and a man came up to me out of the blue with perhaps the one sentence, of all possible sentences, that I was expecting to hear least: “You look like you’d make a good Buddha.”
A few days later, a different man told me, “You look like you’ve bludgeoned a few people.” It started to make me wonder whether — are the two mutually exclusive?
Continue reading Bludgeoning Buddha