Sometime during party, I sat for a caricacture portrait done of me by an artist there ...
On a serious note - been meaning to post a link to it for a while: Scott Adams, probably best known for Dilbert cartoons, recently released his book "God's Debris" as a free PDF download - a nonhumor, fascinating book on philosophy, free will, probability and evolution.
“Very few people believe in God,” he replied.
I didn’t see how he could deny the obvious.
“Of course they do. Billions of people believe in God.”
The old man leaned toward me, resting a blanketed elbow on the arm of his rocker.
“Four billion people say they believe in God, but few genuinely believe. If people believed in God, they would live every minute of their lives in support of that belief.
“A belief in God would demand one hundred percent obsessive devotion, influencing every waking moment of this brief life on earth. But your four billion so-called believers do not live their lives in that fashion, except for a few. The majority believe in the usefulness of their beliefs—an earthly and practical utility—but they do not believe in the underlying reality.”
I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.
“If you asked them, they’d say they believe.”
“They say that they believe because pretending to believe is necessary to get the benefits of religion. They tell other people that they believe and they do believer-like things, like praying and reading holy books. But they don’t do the things that a true believer would do, the things a true believer would have to do.
“If you believe a truck is coming toward you, you will jump out of the way. That is belief in the reality of the truck. If you tell people you fear the truck but do nothing to get out of the way, that is not belief in the truck. Likewise, it is not belief to say God exists and then continue sinning and hoarding your wealth while innocent people die of starvation. When belief does not control your most important decisions, it is not belief in the underlying reality, it is belief in the usefulness of believing.”
“Skeptics,” he said, “suffer from the skeptics’ disease— the problem of being right too often.”
“How’s that bad?” I asked.
“If you are proven to be right a hundred times in a row, no amount of evidence will convince you that you are mistaken in the hundred-and-first case. You will be seduced by your own apparent infallibility. Remember that all scientific experiments are performed by human beings and the results are subject to human interpretation. The human mind is a delusion generator, not a window to truth. Everyone, including skeptics, will generate delusions that match their views. That is how a normal and healthy brain works. Skeptics are not exempt from self-delusion.”
Fun weekend reading for the philosophically-minded ... while I am still trying to clarify my own thoughts about Adams' ideas, I would be most curious to hear your reaction as well - particularly candid, dianma, ernunnos, kenshi, resipisco, theferrett, and troyworks.
Now ... back to work.