Nietzsche Reconsidered

January 14, 2012

Readers of this blog know that I have been hard on Nietzsche.  Maybe I’ve been too hard on him because of the nutty followers he attracts – but that’s not his fault.  Through the prompting of a young philosophy grad, I have been reading through The Gay Science in a ‘modernized’ edition of an old public domain translation (T. Common & B. Chapko) available on the Kindle, and I’ve found much to like.

Well, I am preoccupied with problems of knowledge and the mind-body relationship, and Nietzsche is not, but he does address many over-arching concerns of philosophy; philosophy in the general sense of a discipline that asks, “How shall we live?” or “How do we reconcile ourselves to the world as it is?” quite well.  In many ways, he is similar to what Huxley called The Perennial Philosophy, the ideas found in Zen Buddhism as well as the Twelve Steps of AA.

Step One:  I am powerless over…  Grant me the serenity to accept what I cannot change…

I want more and more to perceive the necessary characters in things as the beautiful… I do not want to accuse the accusers.  Looking aside, let that be my sole negation.  …I wish to be at any time hereafter only a yes-sayer!

Poor guy, Fred!  He lived at a time when the most stupid, racist, self-serving, and morally smug notions were trumpeted as eternal truths from the press (You vomit your bile, and call it a newspaper! – Zarathustra) and in which bald-faced lies were presented by pillars of culture as true.  Not so different from today.  In addition, a ‘muscular Christianity’ was the excuse for all sorts of international brutality and oppression over less technologically developed cultures.  Perhaps all his talk of war and battle is his metaphor for moral struggle, similar to the Islamic take on jihad, or perhaps he is ironically tweaking his contemporaries for their preoccupation with tin-horn glory, the military ‘virtues,’ and their genocidal violence – the Philosopher vs. Teddy Roosevelt.  Worth considering.

His writing shows a keen understanding of science, and of Darwinism in particular.  In his desire to embrace the whole person, intellect and instinct – he recognizes that instinct lives on, and is not eclipsed by culture – he denounces those who condemn the ‘natural’ in man.  It’s easy to take this as a romantic and irrational rebellion against the materialism and moral dogmatism of the 19th century, but he is more subtle than that.  He sees man as a unique element in nature, part of nature, but ‘existentially’ different, because aware of nature.  A difficult concept to navigate:

Let us beware against thinking that the world is a living being.  How could it extend itself?  What could it nourish itself with?  How could it grow and increase?  … Let us now beware against believing that the universe is a machine:  it is assuredly not constructed with a view to one end.

Beware New Age Gaians!  Beware vulgar mechanists!  Beware creationist teologists!

Nor is he too bad when he considers technical issues dear to my heart, such as the usefulness of assessing the nature of knowledge from a historical and Darwinian point of view, rather than a contemplative, Cartesian one:

Throughout immense stretches of time, the intellect produced nothing bu errors:  some them proved to be useful and preservative of the species:  he who fell in with them, or inherited them, waged the battle for himself and his offspring with better success.  … Those erroneous articles of faith which were successful were transmitted by inheritance and  which have all become almost the property of and stock of the human species, are, for example the following:  that there are enduring things; that there are equal things; that there are things, substances and bodies; and that at thing is what it appears to be; that our will is free; and that what is good for me is also good absolutely.

Necessary notions for the fledgling hominids.  Philosophers are not known for their rough and ready survival skills.  Logic, too, evolved from this basis, so what is its status as an ultimate truth?  And why seek for the analytic justification of it?  (Ernest Mach addressed similar questions about the fundamentals of scientific investigation.)  And this, on the ultimate epistemological notion:

Cause and effect:  there is probably never any such duality; in fact there is a continuum before us from which we isolate a few portions:  just as we always observe a motion in isolated points, and therefore do not properly see it but infer it.  … An intellect which could see cause and effect as a continuum , which could see the flux of events not according to our mode of perception, as things arbitrarily separated and broken – would throw aside the conception of cause and effect, and would deny all conditionality.

There is energy, and minds, such as they are, divide it into quanta which ‘we’ take for reality.  And the success of this strategy is the evolution of organisms with minds like ours.  But our minds are limited:

Sometimes I wonder if all these questions aren’t just a problem of scale.  As the scale of things changes, some things disappear.  As we walk around, we are not aware of quantum effects at the sub-atomic level; we aren’t even aware of molecules…  What if the same sort of effects relate to time – what would that do to our notion of causality and determinism?  As we ‘zoom’ our time-scale out to the enormous, everything would appear to be happening at more or less the same time … [from Free Will and All That]

Nietzsche, my brother?


Mentalités: Old and New

September 9, 2011

A relief in the apse of Narbonne Cathedral showing the mouth of Hell filled with damned souls.  To the right, a donkey pulls a cart with more unfortunates destined for the same.  The Virgin surmounts it all.

A storefront on a small street in Narbonne.  Not quite sure what the missing link between shopping and Darwin is, but clearly our view of mankind and its needs and ends has changed a bit.


Chabrol vs. Chesterton on cavemen among us

March 7, 2010

In Error there is truth

The universe includes everything right and wrong that can be said about it, so I always pay close attention to statements that are very, very wrong.  You might learn something!  So too, with nasty and critical comments on this blog.  I have a thick skin.

I received a nasty one recently on my post deriding William F. Buckley:

Gessi Says: March 7, 2010

“But only a blockhead or someone uninterested in testing their ideas would be so confident that there is nothing more to know.” And yet the author of this blog is just as arrogant in his certainties as Buckley.

Well, maybe I spoke too harshly of the recently dead, but no matter.  This jibe at my personality led me to other comments on the same post by a Libertarian Catholic blogger with whom I occasionally exchange views.  He mentioned G.K. Chesterton a lot, a man I’ve never read, and one who came up in conversation recently.  And that led me back to Chabrol, and to my lingering feeling that there was something very unsatisfying about his acclaimed film, Le boucher.

Cavemen among us

In an article by Dorian Bell, Cavemen among us*, the author connects Chabrol’s film to Zola’s novel, La bête humaine, and traces the idea that within modern “civilized” man, there lurks a primeval savage that sometimes finds its way to the surface.  This idea is very much associated with Chabrol’s film in many treatments, and Chabrol himself is quoted in the Bell article as saying, “Je me suis demande´ si l’homme était toujours “cromagnonesque.” [I asked myself, if man is always cro-magnonesque.]

Bell does a very good job of dissecting the presence of this idea in the film:  the images of flesh and meat, dialogue about butcheries, human and animal, the juxtaposition of the pre-historic cave drawings with the young children on an outing with their sophisticated teacher, etc. etc.  Unlike most critics I’ve read, he actually hits the point that Hélène is complicit with Popaul in his murders, stating (my emphasis):

Popaul’s violence seems extreme in part because it was successfully consigned to the periphery for so long.  Now it is back, borne by a returning colonial soldier whose crimes Hélène, the picture of purity, cannot bring herself to reveal. Remember that in the years leading up to Le Boucher, the state-sanctioned torture employed by France in the Algerian war had been met by many with similar silence. Complicity, like Freudian atavism, spares no one, and in the guilty figure of Hélène, Chabrol updates the thematics of atavism for the postcolonial era.

Typically, for an academic, he situates the discussion in the cross-currents of imperialism, Freudianism, and an arcane reading of la representation, but he is on to a lot of things here.  Problem is, what if you reject Freudianism?  What if you are not a Marxist?  The article assumes that these points of view are beyond question, or at least that it is not interesting to question them.  After all, how then would academics meet their quota of publications?  Alas, I wonder if Chabrol questioned them when he made this film.

Freud’s troglodytes

Underneath all this talk of atavism, primitivism, and savagery -walking through the cavemen’s haunts, Hélène asks her students on the outing, “What do we call a savage desire that has been civilized? An aspiration!”  If this were an irony, I would like it more, but I think it represents a serious attempt to make sense of civilization by Chabrol.  Why should we accept this?  Freud’s very influential but very absurd book, Civilization and It’s Discontents was surely more popular in 1970 than it is now, even in France, and it proposes the idea that civilization prospers by repressing and sublimating the savage impulses of mankind.  What is absurd is that the book was written by a man who remarked, “As a young man, I felt a strong attraction toward speculation and ruthlessly checked it.” Ah, well, maybe not quite well enough, because Civilization is little but an extended daydream.

Perhaps our ancestors were just as gentle and artistic as we are?  And here we have Chesterton, who writes of the popular notion of the caveman:

So far as I can understand, his chief occupation in life was knocking his wife about, or treating women in general with what is, I believe, known in the world of the film as ‘rough stuff.’ I have never happened to come upon the evidence for this idea; and I do not know on what primitive diaries or prehistoric divorce-reports it is founded. Nor, as I have explained elsewhere, have I ever been able to see the probability of it, even considered a priori. We are always told without any explanation or authority that primitive man waved a club and knocked the woman down before he carried her off.

We know a lot more about pre-historic man now than we did when he wrote, and this image of the caveman lives on mostly in cartoons and satire, even to the point where it has been recycled ironically as the Geico caveman who is insulted at the prejudice directed against him, but it lives on rather untouched among many intellectuals who are more interested in culture than the science of paleolithic archaeology.  Chesterton is absolutely right – what reason do we have to think that the cavemen was a savage in temperament as well as in material circumstances?   If one is committed to the Freudian view of civilization, it’s a no brainer, but what if civilization (culture) are, as someone somewhere said, simply things to make life easier? People haven’t changed that much – we just get better at making our lives run smoothly…most of the time.  The myth of atavism is just a convenient intellectual crutch for those who would rather not think the hard questions of why we are as we are.  Not so hard, after all, because we’ve always been as we are.

Does Chabrol know what a cro-magnon man was like?  Does he care?  Or has he simply used an idea in-the-air to make a taut thriller with an intellectual gloss that dazzles lots of his followers?  Hélène’s student asks her on the outing, “What would Mr. cro-magnon do if he lived with us now?”  She answers, “I don’t know, maybe he would die...”  [Of course, how could he survive in this civilized hell-on-earth?  Really, Popaul is barely making it as it is!]  Ah, but the little girl says, “Too bad, I think he would be nice.”  We are supposed to think that is childish and cute, but perhaps she understands more than her teacher.

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Darwinism and materialism were subject to so much polemical vulgarization, that the elegant refutations of them by G.K. Chesterton have no interest for me, an atheist.  We’ve moved on, or at least I have, but his dissection of the caveman myth is wonderful.  Similarly, Freud’s grand theories about sex, death, and culture, whether in his own words or those of his descendants like Herbert Marcuse, should be consigned to the realm of interesting literary ideas that have had too much influence.  Nobody but scholars of French literature puts much effort into fathoming Zola’s reconfiguration of Darwin into Le Rougon Macquart cycle.  We read the books for their literary value.  Atavism, an idea for the dustbin, along with it’s twin fantasy, the noble savage.

*Dorian Bell – Cavemen among us:  Geneaologies of atavism from Zola’s La bête humaine to Chabrol’s Le boucher.   French Studies, Vol. LXII, No. 1, 39–52


The inevitable backlash

March 4, 2010

Creationists don’t understand science, but they are not stupid.  According to the NYTimes [link below], they are now latching on to the controversy over global warming to promote their faith-based agenda.  The AGW folks brought it on themselves.

I have often said that one of the worst effects of the polticization of the science by the AGW backers is that they setting us all up for a massive backlash against science.  Perhaps it has begun here.  Once you get evolution and religion mixed into it, there’s no way out.

The IPCC fans have helped bring this on by turning a scientific debate into a battle between “science” and deniers, flat-earthers, and so-called conspiracy theorists.  This view is tacitly accepted by the NYTimes as well, as evidenced by the article yesterday about the rear guard protective action the IPCC/AGW folks are trying to ginn up.  (Such know-nothing attitudes are part of the screaming, but not the substantive debate.)

For the record:

  • Creationism and Intelligent Design do not meet any criteria for consideration as scientific hypotheses.  They are notions rooted in religious faith. 
  • Evolution by mutation and natural selection is a well-founded scientific hypothesis that has been so well supported over generations that it is dignified with the designation of “Theory.”  (Theory does not mean guess, or hypothesis!  More at this post.)
  • Antropogenic global warming (AGW) is a plausible scientific hypothesis that has, I think, a very weak supporting body of evidence.
  • The sceptical view on AGW is not a theory or competing hypothesis:  It is simply a recognition that one should not be convinced by the AGW case.  The null hypothesis, that our climate system is very complex and shows many historical examples of rather wide variation remains in force.  In addition I would say that humans probably do have a noticeable impact on regional climate, but not necessarily or principally as a result of CO2 discharges.  This is a long-standing view of many climatologists and geographers.
The fact that creationists don’t accept the AGW view does not mean that those who don’t accept the AGW view are creationists.  The fact that many good critics of the IPCC are libertarians or politically conservative does not mean that one is a conservative or right winger for criticizing the IPCC.  Let’s keep politics and science separate, despite the ramblings of those deconstructionist philosophes.

Critics of evolution are gaining ground by linking the issue to climate change, arguing that dissenting views on both should be taught in public schools.


Darwin – Happy Birthday!

February 12, 2009

1855_darwin_cc184a

Copernicus, Newton, Darwin, Einstein…how do you rank great scientific thinkers and their works?  Is it possible?  Certainly, Darwin is one of the most important scientists in history, and his ideas have probably had more popular and widespread impact than any other scientist.  Sure, everyone gabs about relativity, how many people really are bothered by it?

Here is a listing of other posts on this blog with Darwin as a major subject.

For Darwin, the man, read Janet Browne.  Her two-volume biography of Charles deserves every bit of praise that has been heaped upon it.  I have never read a biography that so strongly impressed on me the feeling that if I were to go back in time and actually meet the subject, I would know how to sit and talk with him or her!


Moths & Men

March 7, 2008

Those Peppered Moths

The Peppered Moths of the area near Manchester, England hold a special place in the history of Darwin’s theory of evolution. He doubted that evolution by natural selection would ever be observed in the wild – it would be just too difficult to find it and it would happen too slowly. These moths seemed to prove him wrong and to give a huge boost to his theory when it needed one most, at the end of the 19th century.

In the 1890s and early 20th century, Darwin’s theory was under attack by people who had discovered Mendel’s ideas on genetics – totally unknown to Darwin because they were published and then forgotten for a generation or so – and by other evolutionists who favored Lamarckian ideas or more mystical fare. The idea of evolution itself wasn’t in danger of abandonment, but the mechanism, was disputed, and there were implications from that. Darwin, himself, without benefit of Mendel, was somewhat fuzzy and uncommitted in his notions of precisely how selected traits were passed on, even though he was confident in the outlines of his theory. Only in the 1920s to the 1940s was synthesis worked out that joined modern genetics to Darwin’s theory, wrapping it all up in a rigorous bundle.

Along the way, there were those moths. They seemed to clinch Darwin’s case because as the air around England, especially Manchester, grew black with smoke, the trees too were blackened under a pall of soot. Of course, the mutant black variety of the moth would be less visible to predators and would tend to squeeze out the white moth in the local populations. That’s exactly what was observed – the populations did change. It fit nicely with Darwin’s theory, but it turns out that the science behind the field observations was not so reliable. In fact, it may have been downright wrong.

Judith Hooper has narrated this story in her book, Of Moths and Men: An Evolutionary Tale. I happen to think she’s a rather good writer and that she does a very good job at explaining the details of how Darwinian Theory was given a firm quantitative and experimental basis with genetics. Yes, she’s a journalist, and she wants to tell a good story, so she emphasizes personalities a lot, but that stuff is part of the day to day mess of scientific advancement. Scientists are people like anyone else: it’s just that they all subscribe to a culture that provides some ruthlessly objective methods for winnowing fact from fiction. It can take a while, however.

I find it very interesting that this book is cited by creationists as “evidence” for the stupidity of Darwinian Theory. Does the fact that one piece of evidence may be wrong mean the entire Darwinian theoretical structure is wrong? Does it matter that this example was highly publicized and included uncritically in inumerable textbooks? Is this an evidence for a conspiracy? I think it just shows two things: science is hard; most people don’t bother too much about scientific details – especially textbook publishers. (This fact was discussed a year or so ago in the context of scientific “cliches” about basic physics.) After all, the principals in the controversy were all scientists, all evolutionists, mostly Darwinians, and none was a creationist or proponent of “Intelligent Design,” yet these know-nothings will trumpet this controversy as proof that Darwin is a fraud. (See Icons of Evolution.) The simple fact is, as one blogger put it, these people use their religion to “correct” science.


A Memory of William F. Buckley

February 29, 2008

Monkey Typing Shakespeare

When I think of William F. Buckley Jr., I think of a piece he wrote for the New York Times Op-Ed page a few years ago on Darwin and “Intelligent Design.” (I cannot find the piece in the Times archive online, and I’d be grateful for a link. I know my memory of it is correct, because Buckley refers to the piece himself elsewhere.) In that piece, he reprised an argument that he had used before, and that has been popular with religious anti-evolution critics since Darwin first published his theory.

Simply stated, the argument is that organisms are too complex and perfectly suited to their environments to have evolved by random mutation. To bring this home, Buckley and others employ, with various degrees of derision and sarcasm, the reductio ad absurdum of the room with ten monkeys and ten typewriters on which they bang away happily, and randomly. Could we expect this monkey business to produce Shakepeare’s Hamlet? Well…since the play has a finite number of words, and since the number of possible combinations of the letters in the text of the play is finite, albeit unfathomably large, it is possible if there were enough time provided for the (immortal) simians to do their work. Now, Darwin shivered at the colossal lengths of time his evolutionary scheme required, but that was as nothing compared to the duration we are contemplating here! Intelligent Design triumphs?

Of course, the entire argument is based on a complete misunderstanding, a profound ignorance of what Darwin’s theory entails. Evolution is not a random process. Genetic mutations occur randomly, but their selection and propagation is based on their survival value for the organism. As Ernst Mayr says, it’s a two-step process: mutation, then selection. Sort of as if those tapping monkeys had an editor in the room looking at their output, saving the good scraps of random prose, and somehow feeding that back into the process. Except, of course, the “editor” in evolution is not intelligent or active, but only the blind, crushing, indifferent force of the environment that leads to the disappearance by death or disuse of most mutations.

This fundamental ignorance is how I recall Buckley. He was clever and genial, and ever willing to evade a hard question. When verbal puffery wouldn’t do, he would employ snide humor, innuendo, or sarcasm. He was serenely confident of his opinions, bigotted and otherwise, and acted as though it was bizarre that anyone would question them. When an interviewer asked him if he had felt isolated from “real life” as a young man – he was home schooled – he replied that no, of course not. After all, you don’t need to experience things to understand them. He read a lot. Yes, true, reading is wonderful. But only a blockhead or someone uninterested in testing their ideas would be so confident that there is nothing more to know.


Anatomy of the “Dismal Science”

February 9, 2008

am_i_not.jpg

Reading Carlyle’s history of the French Revolution got me curious about him. A friend of liberty? He describes the epochal event in 700 close print pages of exciting narrative. A stormy, breathless, you-are-there quality, with dashes of sarcasm and much heavy irony, makes it fascinating reading. What did he mean by writing On Heroes and Hero-Worship? No, he was no friend of democracy, liberty, and the common man, though he did begin as a radical. In fact, he seems to have been a rather tortured intellect, maybe a tormented soul.

While thumbing through his life, however, I came upon this interesting tidbit about him and his coinage, perhaps his most famous, i.e., economics is “the dismal science.” It can easily be interpreted as a protest against the pessimistic, inhumane, and souless discipline of a “science” devoted to money. Well, think again…

Everyone knows that economics is the dismal science. And almost everyone knows that it was given this description by Thomas Carlyle who was inspired to coin the phrase by T. R. Malthus’s gloomy prediction that population would always grow faster than food, dooming mankind to unending poverty and hardship.

While this story is well-known, it is also wrong, so wrong that it is hard to imagine a story that is farther from the truth. At the most trivial level, Carlyle’s target was not Malthus, but economists such as John Stuart Mill, who argued that it was institutions, not race, that explained why some nations were rich and others poor. Carlyle attacked Mill, not for supporting Malthus’s predictions about the dire consequences of population growth, but for supporting the emancipation of slaves. It was this fact—that economics assumed that people were basically all the same, and thus all entitled to liberty—that led Carlyle to label economics “the dismal science.”

The Secret History of the Dismal Science: Economics, Religion and Race in the 19th Century
by David M. Levy and Sandra J. Peart

The image at the top is a medallion produced by the abolitionist industrialist, Josiah Wedgewood. JW was good friends with that practitioner of the dismal science and fellow abolitionist, Adam Smith. (Darwin was married to one of JW’s family, and was also an abolitionist, as well as being about 100 years ahead of his time on the question of race. Not only was he against slavery, not only did he think that Africans were the same (species) as Europeans, but he was actually friends with some.) This children of The Enlightenment – that fearsomely evil, anti-moral, godless, soul-destroying ideology – seem like pretty good guys compared to Thomas Carlyle, romantic apologist for dictatorship and slavery.

Still, he was a pretty nice looking fellow, don’t you think?

carlyle.jpg


Bumper Sticker Debate on Evolution & The 2nd Law

September 1, 2006

Some people who are irritated with the creationist/ID crowd have bumper stickers like this one, but I don’t want to get in peoples’ faces: I just want to get my views across, so I chose a bumper sticker that didn’t satirize or appropriate their religious symbols.  Here it is:

evolutionsticker.jpg.

That’s all there is to say, I think. Surprising to me, I’ve gotten reaction. Two within the last year, which is not much, but how often do you get comments on your bumper stickers?

Once, I was chugging along stuck in traffic and a guy in a van pulled up next to me, rolled down his window, and gestured with his thumb to the rear of my car. “How do you square that with the 2nd Law?” he shouted. I shouted back, “It’s not a closed system!” and we both drove off, after he waved away my response derisively. [Technical background on that below.]

A few days ago, I returned to my car in a parking lot and found a piece of paper wedged into the door handle, reading,

Nice bumper sticker. (…Evolution) They say it exists. But God and Evolution coexist. Big Bang says that something can come from nothing. It will be an interesting debate! Just don’t get arrogant. Have a good 1!

Cheery note from a creationist, I think. Well, what about this stuff?

The thermo argument is often made and it arises from complete ignorance of what the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics really means. Popularly, it is said to show that order cannot arise spontaneously out of disorder, and that the amount of disorder in the world – entropy – is always increasing. A teenager’s room will gradually degrade into a chaotic mess, almost on its own, but it won’t neaten itself up unless the guiding intelligence of a teen (parent) is applied. So, on the face of it, for complex forms of life to arise out of less complex ones would seem to be an increase of order (design) out of less order, without any intervention. QED, Darwin’s theory must be wrong. Well, not so fast…Let’s look at what the 2nd Law really says.

Imagine you have a box – a system – like the one shown below:
This box is divided into two compartments, and there is an opening in the partition that can be covered or opened by sliding a door up and down. There is also a min-turbine wheel just in front of the opening. The box is insulated so that no heat (energy) can get in or out of the box’s two compartments. This point is very important because it defines the system as closed, or separate from the rest of the world. Imagine also that the right compartment is heated up already (we won’t bother with how) and the left is more like room temperature.

This system, as we’ve decribed it, is highly ordered. It is neat and tidy. One half is hot with high energy, one side is cool with low energy. They are clearly separated, and it takes work to get it this way, like putting in some energy to the right to warm it up before everything is sealed for the experiment. Now, let’s imagine we activate a remote control to slide the partition door up and let the hot air move into the cool compartment. Of course, it will.

As the hot air rushes through the little hole, our turbine will turn and do work for us, like rotate a generating coil and produce electricity. But after all the hot air has rushed in and turned the wheel, then what? This is the key point!

The total amount of heat energy in the box (both sides, now connected as one, by the hole) will be the same as at the start of the experiment! No heat can get out because the box is insulated, a closed system. But, of course, the wheel will no longer turn! The energy will be diffused throughout the box, and the work was done only because the system was ordered, organized, with separate compartments that had vastly different energy levels. Once the door is opened, the temperature in the two sides will become equalized, and no more work (wheel turning) can be done. Thermo-people say that the entropy (disorder) of the system has increased.  It is obvious also that there is no way that the system will spontaneously re-order itself so that compartments have different temperatures again, allowing us to do more work. It’s like water running down a chute to turn a waterwheel: Once it’s down, it doesn’t spontaneously go up the hill again. It takes energy from sun to evaporate the oceans, make clouds in the mountains, then rain, then rivers, etc. And this brings me to my final point. 

God-talkers are wrong to equate this system illustrating the 2nd Law with our world and living creatures in it. The fact is, we do not live in a closed system. We live on a planet that is bombarded with energy from the sun that causes DNA to be mutated, moves water from the oceans to the mountains, and makes all terrestrial work possible. The energy inputs make the possibility of ordered systems arising out of disorder possible, and that’s just what happens.

It may be true that the universe as a whole is tending to a higher state of entropy, i. e.  a condition in which all energy is evenly dispersed throught the cosmos and nothing ever happens anywhere because entropy is at a maximum, but that doesn’t have anything to do with the local conditions now on our planet. It may not even be true…there are other cosmological considerations. 

And what of my anonymous debater who left me a note? Well, some people believe in God and accept evolution, it is true. My sticker says nothing at all about God. As for the Big Bang and creation from nothing, or ex nihilo as the theologians put it, what has that got to do with the issue? I don’t see how that’s relevant. Still, I’m glad to get such a good natured response.


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