Re: The Unfathomable

Lee Daniel Crocker (
Wed, 3 Nov 1999 08:28:46 -0800 (PST)

> > Like "infinity", this "God" is a symbol and a useful meme.
> "infinity" may be useful - "God" is not

A silly naked assertion. I'm as militant an atheist as anyone, but I cannot honestly deny that the "God" concept is a very useful part of the language, and that it is likely that our brains have evolved in such a way as to make it useful, for reasons I can only imagine. It is a very convenient way of expressing superlatives, ideals, unexplained things: God's algorithm, God's intent, acts of God, God only knows, thank God; these are all useful expressions that convey their meaning far more clearly and powerfully than many alternatives.

I think the analogy with "infinity" is perfect: we all know that infinity doesn't exist either, but it is quite a useful concept for expressing ideas about the limits of things. Similarly, "God" is a useful way of expressing the ways of the universe by personifying it, much the way we often personify cars and computers to describe their behavior.

It is good that we fight dogmatism and irrationality; but let's not get so hung up on a word that we sacrifice the elegance and power of the language available to us.

Lee Daniel Crocker <> <>
"All inventions or works of authorship original to me, herein and past,
are placed irrevocably in the public domain, and may be used or modified
for any purpose, without permission, attribution, or notification."--LDC