god is making popcorn: my deism and the multiverse

There was a period of time where I could best describe myself as a deist, and it was in a rather grey area of time between my being a theist, specifically a Jehovah’s Witness, and the atheist I currently am. I want to share the idea I had that tried to make sense of the existence of God and the multiverse theory. I’ll go over the problem of evil as well, since it was the pivotal argument that started this thought of reasoning. For the remainder of this piece I’ll consider myself a deist to make explaining it easier for me, after all this idea of mine isn’t difficult to simply return to and readopt. And I apologize beforehand for referring to God as a male; that’s the most popular understanding of God.

A deist in traditional sense is one who believes that God doesn’t intervene in humanity’s affairs, or won’t. This isn’t to say God never did, it’s a formal way of saying “Yeah, but he just doesn’t care, or he gave up, or he’s busy somewhere else, not prioritizing us.” This belief was my answer to the Problem of Evil, a logical argument against the existence of God, which goes as follows:A deist in traditional sense is one who believes that God doesn’t intervene in humanity’s affairs, or won’t. This isn’t to say God never did, it’s a formal way of saying “Yeah, but he just doesn’t care, or he gave up, or he’s busy somewhere else, not prioritizing us.” This belief was my answer to the Problem of Evil, a logical argument against the existence of God, which goes as follows:

1. God exists.
2. God is all-powerful.
3. God is all-knowing.
4. God is all-loving.
5. Evil exists.

Before I continue, if you know of the problem of evil and all the responses to the argument than by all means skip ahead to the phrase I’m done with the problem of evil. I will go over it all as I have understood it. To start I say we should define evil, and my definition of evil is unjustified suffering. There are inexplicable reasons why given people had to suffer, like when people are randomly murdered or raped or taken by some natural disaster, where it doesn’t appear they really “deserved” it.

Evil can not possibly exist with the given accepted qualities of God in premises 2-4. If God were all-powerful, he’d have the power to remove evil from the world. If God were all-knowing, there’s obviously no way he couldn’t have known a particular evil act was happening on someone, and if he were all-loving, he would want what’s best for us and would desire us to no suffer unjustly. But evil remains, where a God has no excuse not to act to save a baby from a burning building; this is a famous example. Because how can we make sense that the baby deserved to die in the fire, when there is someone there who can possibly help it. God certainly can, but he doesn’t. He doesn’t interfere with what happens to us.

Now, some might say the problem of evil is too simple of a problem to even begin to deal with; it’s too reductionist of what it means for there to be a God in the world as we know it. It still raises a question though about the nature of a god who possesses these qualities given there are helpless newborns in hospitals dying when an earthquake hits.

We “solve” this problem by simply removing a premise, by rejecting the truth of a given premise. If we reject the first premise, then the problem is solved the easiest way: If God doesn’t exist than we don’t need to wonder about his qualities and can accept that evil simply is a part of this world. But that’s almost too simple an answer, too satisfying in the short term.

If we remove out any of the 2nd to 4th premises, we have a big issue; most religions understand God to have these qualities of God, it’s absurd to think of God as a not-all-powerful or not-all-knowing or not-all-loving entity, because then you’ve separated yourself from the majority of theists. But let’s say you do remove any of these given premises. To reject the idea God is all-powerful is to mean that God can’t help all of us always, not to the extent he would wish. This leaves room for evils to go by unstopped. To reject the idea God is all knowing is to mean that God simply doesn’t know some things are happening in places he isn’t at. This leaves room for evil. To reject the idea that God is all-loving is to mean he doesn’t care. This is something many theists will not play with, because these qualities can not be taken out for the major religions, otherwise we’d need new sets of churches to cater to these fundamental changes.

The 5th premise may be rejected instead though, and we would have a world in which evil doesn’t exist, at least my definition of it, there being unjustified suffering. We can’t deny suffering exists, but the justification can be played with: One can say we have free-will to account for the suffering of otherwise innocent people. But free-will only takes into account the things people do onto others; it does not factor in the newborns being taken by the earthquake. And if we say God is “working in mysterious ways,” to show us the way to him, well why didn’t he give the newborns an equal chance to know him?

I removed the fourth premise to explain the existence of evil and God. He just isn’t interfering with us, or he doesn’t care. But maybe he does…

I’m done with the problem of evil.

Now to combine the multiverse theory; the idea that we are in one of an infinite amount of universes. This is a difficult theory to prove, since as of yet we can not remove ourselves from the universe we are in to prove it, but proving God exists and is the ultimate way would require just as much faith, so why not we infuse both ideas?

Let’s say God made our universe, and let’s say our universe is one kettle in a bag of popcorn. Some of the popcorn is rich in flavor and texture and puffness and whatever else we consider the ideal popcorn, and this is the case for a fraction of the popcorn. Another amount didn’t even pop, or popped poorly, not in the ideal sense. Well those poorly popped popcorns would represent the universes in which we can not possibly exist, and if you look into the fine-tuning argument (a fine argument), the conditions to have a universe like ours are very rare, The perfectly popped popcorn. And given that there are an infinite amount of universes coming into fruition, it might be possible a universe exists where I did not use the popcorn analogy, given how poorly puffed it is (I’m coming up with it on the fly, or .. POP!)., and everything else could be the same, I can be just as terrible at everything else and there will be an infinite amount of worlds where you and I are slightly better or worse in any given quality, or a slightly different or very much different action had changed even the smallest of decisions. You get it by now, lot of popcorns are fine enough though.

God is making popcorn. He’s throwing bags into his microwave and making popcorn. He finds a world that fits our description, where we can live, and proceeds to restart our world as we know it. His goal is to reconcile a world where evil does not exist. Once he finds what he’s looking for than he might do something with those who believed in him or something.. I never thought too hard on that part. But deism makes sense here because the lore would go that he failed in our universe, in this attempt, and he’s somewhere else, outside our dimension, working on it. We know god works in mysterious ways, if I’ve brought that up yet, so this is still worth experimenting with. That was my proposal. But of course this has its many flaws. How can we have evil not exist and yet have free-will and all the problems that rose from looking at the problem of evil?

I have not dealt with free-will, and frankly I won’t, because I don’t know anything about the debate. I understand free-will as “the ability to do otherwise,” but I do not have the will power to get into determinism here. I think that coming to understand the idea will help me further my little model of understanding a world with god, as I live my life without.

Sorry for any grammatical mistakes, and the word ‘popcorns.’ I’ll fix mistakes as I catch them.

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reflecting on a group discussion on God’s existence

It was a group of seven of us, and I was one of the quietest ones in the discussion. It wasn’t until the last part of the discussion, where we opened up to the others in class who had watched the discussion, that I was able to speak. It was only because someone specifically wanted my opinion on a question I don’t remember anymore. My answer had something to do with rationalizing against a response to the problem of evil (an argument against the existence of God). I’m not going to raise my response here because I don’t remember the whole context of the moment, and it would be wrong to assume I could give it without any other given person not in the event being able to grasp what I’m saying.

But to be more clear, I’m an atheist. I was one of the two in the group, and the quieter one, so I guess it was expected that someone would be singling me out for an opinion, because one really didn’t come from me until then.

I can only reason my inability to participate equally in the discussion was due to a few reasons:

  • I have no, or rather little, value on my opinion on anything. I place more value on others’ opinions; I want to listen to the conversation, not exactly be a part of it.
  • I was raised to speak only when spoken to, as I did in this case of being singled out.
  • I’m not strong on coming up with any kind of quick reply. I don’t like having impulse opinions, I usually enjoy watching others go at it, especially when they’re good at responding.

Someone had a specific question to the theists: did the discussion change your views in any way. None were swayed much. I mean, my response that first time was well received (understood) and conceded. My favorite part was others outside of the group trying to grasp what I was saying.

One question within the group was “how to find morality without God,” and my response was the use of rationality, coming to some sort of code that would work with that little we knew we had: ourselves and this earth we seem to be alone in; I became a consequentialist, and argued that we should do our best to further humanity in a way that served the most possible people (utilitarianism) usually at my own expense (moral altruism). That is my specific moral code.

A response was an example of being completely alone in a place where no one could ever know I could do something immoral, but then the question used the specific example of finding a wallet on the floor with money and an address and phone number etc… The obvious thing for me is to simply ration “if that were my wallet I’d want it return, therefore I would do everything I can to return the wallet. Similarly I do what I can to not unjustly hurt people because I wouldn’t want to be hurt unjustly.” Something like that.. which led to a final discussion of the golden rule, something that was fairly acceptable for everyone. We ended on that positive note.

To add more context: Tat was about 5 minutes of my responses, in a one our session. The discussion started with the philosophers we had read about, what we agreed with from them and disagreed with, then talking about the validity of a holy scripture over time.

I wanted to bring a question into the discussion, but as I reasoned above why I couldn’t, I didn’t bring it up: can we separate God from religion? This question I am truly confused about. I try to answer it but I get confused quickly, because I don’t know what answer I’m looking for, but I guess one idea I can try is to pick a side and try to argue against it. I mean, that’s how most philosophers go about proving their ideas, right? I’ll try in a later post, eventually. And I’ll clean up any grammatical errors I made on here.. eventually.

Happy Birthday Cris

So few people listen to my music, fewer give any feedback. Cris is one of the very few people who was as close to a fan of my music as I’ve ever had. Cris constantly was psyched each time I had something new (back when I often had something new), always brought it up each time we met, and even wanted to collaborate somehow, though I’m not sure how we were going to combine my piano with his voice. xP

His death is a heavy one for me, as it has been with previous friends. His memory is a reminder of praise from a friend, and it keeps me from giving up on my music.

As a musician and friend, I raise a glass to you Cris. Miss you dearly. We’re gonna meet once again in musician heaven. 😉

cris on music

Mannequin Eyes EP

I delete a lot of my in-progress material as soon as I make a new version. The first three tracks in this EP are tracks from my unfinished project There Goes Everybody. The first track “One Heart’s Trash” would have been the 1st track to the album; I never recorded the vocals to it. The second track “Mannequin Eyes” is the most and only finished thing of what I had, and considered the actual track that would have been on the album. The third track “Toy Soldier’s Arms” includes my first or second take with the vocals, though I didn’t keep going for a final take. The album was planned to be from 11 to 18 tracks; I think I was settling on 14 before I gave up on it. I’ve pushed all the other tracks into my “ideas” folder, which is where I do derive a lot of sounds from. So, while the album There Goes Everybody won’t see the light of day, the music will still make it out in some capacity. I’m not planning on recording anything until next year; I didn’t bring my keyboard with me to Sacramento.

So the fourth track in this EP, “They’re All Crazy,” was not planned to be in the album, it was made after I had already quit on TGE, because I was stressed and upset that I didn’t go through with it. I gave myself only one day to create the track from scratch.

The last two tracks are sounds pulled right out of my “ideas folder,” since I felt like adding more to this release, and just to show a couple random ideas that had floated around for a while in that folder. They’re pretty nice. These ideas of course will have obvious mistakes, but not too great that I couldn’t share them here.

Mannequin Eyes cover

This is considered the last release of “My Ex Epilogue”

From now on I publish as “anErnestCastle”

emotions

The question goes: Are emotions irrational?

Well, I understand emotions as feelings, and feelings are brought upon us by outside stimuli, be it through literal perceiving with our eyes or touch or taste, or with abstract concepts that may come our way, like hearing someone’s ideas. And to me, what’s more real than the things we perceive in our day to day lives, in our adventure of life?  I understand rationality as the ability to use logic, to think, to analyse the world for understanding. It’s my inclination that the more we do, the more we are. And we can’t do if we don’t perceive, they might as well be the same thing. We can not reason if we don’t have the ability to know our surroundings. Of course our feelings will deceive our judgement, but if that didn’t happen how boring would it be understanding the world so simply.

How irrational is it to have my intense feelings with my dogs and my cat and my family and my friends (precisely in that order how dare you)? I think it makes too much sense that I love these individuals, because I experienced the world with them more often than other individual dogs or cats or families or friends. I shared more similar moments with them, perceiving like things more than with strangers, to be exact. The more time we spent together, the stronger the bond got. That seems rational to me.

I’m not saying emotions are never irrational though, how many times have we known of a person who made so many wrong turns over another they loved dearly but didn’t love them back? From the outside perspective, it seems irrational because we have more analytic eyes for the story, but to them, or hell forgive, if we were in that position we’d be calling it a rational thing to go the extra mile for someone who isn’t seemingly responsive.

Our emotions can drive us to a certain level of reason, let’s say, though to see the world and understand it using reason is preferable. In either case, that’s how I finish my understanding, thinking how does this makes sense?

I love a well expressed emotion. I enjoy wondering how it made sense.

If any of this made sense….

DACA

This is the most personal it has gotten. It directly affects my cousin and her family. This is my impulse response.

“I’m the world’s most conservative person – this isn’t conservative… this is passion… to a certain extent for a very limited number of people it would be considered amnesty, but how do you tell a family who’s been here for 25 years to get out?” Donald Trump ~07-08.

You made a lot of sense right there, Donald. Even during your recent campaign you made sense on #DACA, bur your obsession to reverse everything Obama did is reaching beyond insane proportions.

This isn’t a move out of passion. You’ve consistently shown you have no heart, no morality, no limit to the shame you will inflict to your own country.

And tell me “how do you tell a family who’s been here for 25 years to get out?” You can’t. You were too much of a pussy to announce it yourself, because you know these were innocent children, innocent people who have only known life in the US. You’ve abandoned them.

This act is fundamentally who you are.

a couple scary moments

I need to distract myself for a thousand words or so. I’ll try to remember things that happened to me on my travels in the past couple years. I’m not sure anything too intense happened, like life threatening, but definitely interesting stuff. Before I start remembering, let me give a mental picture of what I typically wear out: Always wearing a t-shirt of a plain color, wearing thin running pants, and a little bag that goes over one shoulder where, during most of these adventures, I’d also have my camera. I’m usually wearing earphones on public transit, and a thin gray sweater I can easily fit into the bag in case I stay our long enough for the dark.

The first memory I can recall was a fast one, early in my lonely ventures, on a Green Line station, likely Lakewood, waiting for a train to Norwalk. I had gone to Lakewood Center to find a book store that sold books cheap. I had never ventured this south on Metro where is wasn’t towards Long Beach or San Pedro, mainly because there is a limited amount of buses down here. I searched for bookstores when I began my journeys, hoping to find a  small book I could carry with me all the time. This time I didn’t find a book I really liked. On the station I remember it being dark already. I know the music was loud, because I didn’t hear the man screaming initially, not until he was right by me screaming into my ear. I must have seemed the most blissful on the platform, because I noticed no one was really near me after it happened, but as I said it was a fast moment. The man screamed around and walked towards me. When he came up to me he had screamed something to the effect of “I’m going to rape you.. up the ass,” loud enough so I could hear it. His face was facing right next to me, but I did not react. Not a single nerve moved while he made his claims at me and walked behind me further into the platform. I could smell the alcohol in his breath. After watching him go to I made my way to the other side and kept still again waiting for the train. That was the last time I stepped onto Lakewood Station, or gone to Lakewood Center.

This next moment is a long one. I had visited LACMA, La County Museum of Art, for the Nth time, being a member and this being one of the main places to visit when I had no real plan. I was on my way back to LA, it was dark, and I had left the 720 bus down to Wilshire Station. As I walked down on one end of the platform, I spotted a black man in a cool tan vest and suit with a number of books at his side, looking up at me. I meandered down to a seat, and next to me sat an old lady who worked at the museum. The man who was watching me came and sat beside me, lay his books own, and stared at me. Straight at me. Whispering things to himself. With eyes wide open, again, fixed towards my eyes. .. I removed my earphones and asked him if he said something to me, but it took another couple second of his voice to finally get him to speak up. He clearly said “You have the most beautiful eyes I’ve ever seen.” I responded with a long okayyy. He asked me where I was from, if I was Portuguese or Moroccan.. I revealed neither, that I was Mexican with Spanish ancestors. He nodded and kept whispering to himself how beautiful I was. I was weirded out of course, but didn’t want to leave him alone with the old lady. He asked for my name, where I came from and where I was going. I gave him half-truths, things like my middle name, coming from a museum and going to the station to get picked up (even in this situation I found it difficult to tell a lie). I remember one of the books he was carrying was a bible. It felt like forever for the train to come, and I did my best not-a-power-walk-but-still-a-power-walk I could down a couple train cars into one that was very lonely, then sat at the middle. The man showed up and sat across from me. There were so many open seats but he was clearly wanting me. I knew I was the more paranoid of the two, he was just acting cool and composed, keeping our conversation going. We talked the whole time to Union Station. The last thing we talked about was piano. I told him I played piano and how I recorded and what it sounded like and of course he was mesmerized. Approaching the station he asked me for a pen and paper, but I had no paper. He ripped a page from his bible and wrote down his number and email, offering me private piano lessons. I was grateful for the offer but I haven’t contacted him. I still have the paper somewhere, for memory keeping. I didn’t see him after that. Made my way to the bus and called it a day.

Those two I’ll end with for now. Those are the most eventful stories anyways, at least that I could think of.