Mankind

When mankind comes to the realization that we are not the favorite of God; that we were not specifically created, that the universe was not made for our benefit, and that we are subject to the same laws of nature as all the other forms of life, then, and not until then, will we understand that we must rely upon each other, and only each other for whatever benefits we are to enjoy; and devote our time and energies to helping ourselves and our fellow-man to meet the challenges of life and to set about to solve the difficult and intricate problems of living.

1 Response to Mankind

  1. tegthesnake says:

    Yeah, it really is true that man created god(s; this is true of polytheistic religions like Hinduism or the pagan religions of the Greco-Romans, Celts, and Germanic peoples) in his image. Some religions have gods that are based on animals or weird mythological beings, but they’re always derived from some real.

    You’ve mentioned in your site that you think it’s likely that life has evolved on other planets in the universe. I agree, but I think life that evolved on a different world would be extremely different from us. Even on an earth-type planet (you know, with large amounts of water, a Sol-type sun, similar atmosphere, etc. — the kind of planet they call “class M” on _Star Trek_ 🙂 ), the setup would still be unlike ours in lots of ways: the geography, the shapes and arrangement of the oceans and continents, amount of land mass with particular climates and habitats, the exact size and temperature of the star, distance of the planet from its sun and shape of its orbit (and therefore the seasonal patterns in particular climate zones), size of ice caps, number of moons (if any), number, size, orbits, composition (what are the various layers of each planet made of and in what state (solid/liquid/gas)), etc. of other planets in the system (which might affect the orbit of the inhabited one…assuming there is only one in the system that has life on it) and so forth. The life on this hypothetical planet, moreover, would have evolved without any contact with Earth life. It would be extremely different from life on Earth — so different that we might not even recognise it as life. You’ve heard about the debate over whether viruses count as life, haven’t you? I admit that I don’t have that great a background in biology, but I do at least have a general understanding of how viruses deal with all the universal annoying little difficulties of life, and it seems to me if we can’t accept something that has the really important defining qualities of life (they reproduce, they evolve via natural selection, they have a life cycle, that sort of thing), imagine something that has intelligence comparable to or greater than that of humans, and has all the basic characteristics I mentioned, but achieved these qualities through biochemical mechanisms so unlike those employed by the forms of life that evolved on Earth and are familiar to us…I would not be at all surprised if we, with our Earth-centred, human-centred world-view (even atheists are often guilty of this) would be at best very reluctant to call such beings “life.” This is one of a number of things I always had trouble buying into about even the best SF (along with stuff, usually either circumvented by some technobabble-based device or just ignored, like faster-than-light travel, the language barrier problem, etc.): the way the aliens are so often almost identical to humans (only with weird forehead ridges, and they never explain what purpose these might serve…though presumably it has something to do with justifying the amount they pay the makeup artists). I always loved the way Douglas Adams (another famous atheist) parodied these implausibilities with stuff like the Infinite Improbability drive, the Babel fish, and Zaphod Beeblebrox with his two heads and three arms.

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