David Musick (David_Musick@msn.com)
Mon, 18 Nov 96 04:00:15 UT

John Clark said he has chosen to feel sorrowful because it seems that I was
personally offended by his response to my original 'God' post. John, let me
assure you that I did not choose to be offended by what you wrote, and I in no
way chose to interpret it as a personal insult. I don't think you intended it
to be insulting to me, and even if you did, it would be silly for me to cause
myself to be "offended" simply because you chose to be "insulting".

What really happened is that I interpreted your response to my 'God' post as
not really responding to what I had actually writtend and intended. I figured
that you saw the word, "God" and that triggered off all your typical arguments
against the common, Christian myth of God. I was puzzled why it wasn't clear
to you that I was referring to a different concept under the same name, a
concept which I described in my post. One possible reason that occurred to me
at the time is that you were dogmatically athiestic, that you were determined
not to believe in any sort of conscious creator of universes no matter what
and that your fervor for this caused you to mis-read what I had written or to
purposely mis-interpret it. Another possibility that occurred to me was that
I wasn't clear enough in my post in my descriptions of the nature of this
"God" I was conjecturing. So, I wrote a second post, in which I attempted to
address both possibilities. I explained my "God" idea more clearly and
inserted a few attacks on atheistic dogmatism and dogmatism in general.

I think I went a bit heavy with my attacks on dogmatism, and I think that led
to your interpretation that I was personaly offended by your post. I view
dogmatism about the same way as I view self-lobotomization, and I am a strong
advocate of people advancing themselves beyond crippling, dogmatic ways of
thinking; hence my traditional signature line, - question tradition -.

I didn't know whether you were truly dogmatic in your thinking, nor did I care
much at the time; I was just enjoying attacking dogmatism, just like you were
enjoying attacking goddism. We may have looked like we were attacking each
other, but I think it was very jestful, like children pretending to fight. I
sometimes enjoy engaging in those kind of intellectual mock battles, and I
never become offended by them, not *really*, although it may seem like I am
offended to observers, but that is just a way of making the play fight more

As you observed, "God" is a worn-out, old word, with much extra baggage, and
unfortunately, it is difficult to use that word without evoking all of the
unintended meanings. I like the word, "U-Prime", which I first saw Michael
Lorrey use. I use this word to refer to the hypothetical creator of
universes, one of which we find ourselves inhabiting. It says nothing about
the powers of this entity, except for the ability to have created our universe
and possibly others, nothing more.

Also, you were wondering why U-Prime would use Darwinian evolution with all
its eons of suffering, when Lamarkian style evolution is much more humane and
rapid. First, a U-Prime may not have much choice in the matter; perhaps it
can only specify a few parameters, and let the universe run from there and
only influence highly conscious and intelligent systems which develop in that
universe, or maybe not even them. It also may not be possible to create a
universe with sufficient complexity, at the outset, to exhibit Lamarkian
evolution. Universes may have to evolve Darwinianly for a while before they
become advanced enough to evolve by passing on acquired characteristics. If
one views the long, drawn-out suffering of conscious beings in Darwinian
evolution as a necessary step to truly advanced evolution, then it does not
seem so horrible to create universes which pass through this stage, to emerge
as glorious entities, *far* more conscious and wonderful than the
comparitively insignificant beings who had to suffer in order to allow the
emergence of such a wonderful, gloriously conscious universe. Beings such as
ourselves may be considered hardly conscious at all, and our suffering may
mean little to truly advanced beings, any more than we're likely to care about
the suffering of bacterial cells, or considering that it counts as *real*
suffering. (But watch out for the emerging BioActivists: after animal rights
are established, plants and bacteria are next. Use of one's immune system
will be considered a crime, and washing one's hands even worse than that :-)

Well, John, I enjoyed your fine post about the question, "Why is there
something, rather than nothing?" I've been pondering that question for a
while now, and I was going to bring it up if no one else did. Maybe it's a
ridiculous question, if you really think about it, but then again, maybe not.
Although, a truly ridiculous question, which I enjoy asking often is, "Is
there really anything?" Of course there is; there is this experience right
now. But, "What is the nature of this experience right now?" And this
question is not so ridiculous, and it makes me wonder about a great many
things. It also encourages me to be more watchful of my current experiences,
to understand what it's like to experience this moment right now. It seems
such a profound mystery that this moment of experience exists! Rather than
nothing. Why?

- David Musick

- question tradition -