Has Science Killed God?

Has Science Killed God?

No…  Next?

Wow, that was a quick one.  Maybe I should put more effort into the next Musing.

 

What?  You still here?  You want more?  OK.  But please remember, you asked for it.  You could have stopped reading after the first or second paragraph.  Shit, you could stop now if you wanted to.  And as I mentioned the word ‘God’ in the title, you just know someone is going to end up being upset, no matter what I say.

 

You were warned!

Science vs God

Lawrence Kraus and Richard Dawkins are kinda the modern poster boys for Atheism.  Yeah, there are many others that fight the cause.  James Rhandi and those like him blazed the way.  Many shout the shout and wave the flag.  But as far as I’m concerned, not one of them has given a conclusive argument to convince me that God does not exist.  Not just the Christian god.  Any god.  Which is quite interesting, because if you pay a bit of attention… they can’t all exist.  According to the various doctrines, some of them are mutually exclusive.  But what can you do?  Who are you going to choose to believe?

Perhaps this is an appropriate time for some self declaration.  I live in the UK.  A Christian nation.  So that is what I am most familiar with.  I have a passing knowledge of several other religions, but would never claim to be an expert on any of them.  Including Christianity.  So if I make any points about any religion that are not completely accurate…  Yeah.  So?  I already said I wasn’t an expert.  And before that I warned you off reading any further.

 

As for my personal beliefs…  That would be a spoiler.  No, I don’t think that what I believe is either exciting or tantalising.  And if I told you now, it would add bias to how you read the rest.  I don’t want that.

So, where was I?  Oh yeah.  Scientific destruction of deities.

[From this point onward… when I use the word ‘God’, please insert the name of your preferred deity.  Trying to cover all the bases would get old very quickly.  But pretty much all of my points will refer to Christianity.  Deal with it.]

Evolution exists, so God can’t.  That seems to be the argument.

This is where I get a little confused.  I know I have oversimplified the issue.  But from all I have read, heard and seen this is what pretty much all of the scientific atheists arguments boil down to.

Dinosaurs were knocking around a few million years ago.  God didn’t put a bunch of bones in the ground to mess with us.  Fish eventually evolved into monkeys, monkeys eventually evolved into us.  This I believe.  But why does this necessarily mean that there is no deity?

As far as I can see, scientific atheist’s arguments only prove that the Bible is a work of fiction (or parts of it at least).  I kinda worked this out when I was quite young.  Hell, it’s not rocket science.  In act 1, he was a bit of a bastard.  He burned stuff by the bucket load.  He was vengeful and wrathful (and I think that may be a quote).  But in act 2 he had a sudden and complete change of heart.  He got much nicer.  And now we are to respect his nicer side.  In fact if you try to emulate some of his earlier works, people will properly frown at you.

Hell, he became so nice that he gave us his son and let us nail him to a plank.

Just as a small aside, did you know that the Egyptian god Horus was born of a virgin, he was baptised in a river (by Anup the baptiser) and he was later beheaded.  Horus spent a time alone in the desert (before being beheaded…  I think.  I’m a bit hazy on when the beheading actually happened.  I can only assume that he got better at some point).  This may come as a bit of a shock but, during his desert  wanderings…  He was tempted!  In his time he also healed the sick, the blind, cast out demons and walked on water.  He also raised ‘Asar’ from the dead.  (Rumour has it that ‘Asar’ translates to ‘Lazarus’).  Oh, and did I mention that he had 12 disciples?

Would it just be cheesy if he was also crucified?  Guess what…  And three days later he was announced to be the saviour of humanity by two women

Incidentally, Mithras was born on Dec 25th.  As a babe he was wrapped in swaddling clothes, placed in a manger and watched over by shepherds.  He had 12 companions.  He did miracles…  I could go on, but you’ve probably got where this is headed.

And both of these guys were a couple of years before Christ. 

(Of course, I don’t know this for a fact.  I wasn’t there.  This is just what I have read).

Can anyone spell plagiarism?

This is one of the many, MANY, reasons why I believe that the ‘Good Book’ is nothing more than that…  A good book.  Have you read it?  I haven’t.  Well, not all of it. I cherry picked (not unlike some Christian fundamentalists).  Some of it is fantastically written.  There is some beautiful oratory in there.  And I’d bloody hope so too.  It was edited quite a few times over a period of around 800 years.  Shit, L. Ron Hubbard’s works only got around 0.1% of the same care (yes that’s right, around 1/1000th) and he still got a religion out of it.

About now, I’m guessing that some of you are a little confused about which side of the argument I’m going to come down on.  Hang in there.  You got this far.  No spoilers just yet…

You may have noticed that I have thrown in the term ‘scientific atheists’ a couple of times.  This is because I believe that atheists fall into two camps.  Both camps agree that there is no god.  Where they differ is the ‘theology’ behind their belief.  And you really have to spend a bit of time with each of them to work out which camp they belong to.  The ones that quote Klaus, Dawkins and Hawking are the ‘scientific’ atheists.  The ones that use the whole evolution thing (and other scientific facts) as proof that there is no god.  The others are what I dub ‘apathetic’ atheists.  These are the ones that have put no real thought into it, and haven’t managed to come up with a good reason that a god doesn’t exist.

“Well, he hasn’t done anything for me…”

I just wanted to point out that I believe there is a difference.

 

Just as I’d also like to point out that I think there is a difference between the people that believe in God.  Some believe that the book is the word of God.  That there is absolutely no chance that a book that has existed for around 1800 years (yes, manuscripts ‘included’ in the bible did exist way before the birth of Christ.  But the compendium wasn’t put together until a couple of hundred years after his death… or so I have heard) may, possibly have been edited enough to obscure the original idiom.  Incidentally, it wasn’t originally written in English.  So there may have been a few translation discrepancies in the few English versions available.

Oh, did I forget that bit?  Gideon did not do it first.  Here’s a few you could choose from…

Wycliffe’s Bible (1388), Tyndale Bible (1526), Coverdale Bible (1535), Matthew’s Bible (1537), Great Bible (1538), Taverner’s Bible (1539), Geneva Bible (1557), Bishops’ Bible (1568), Douay–Rheims Bible (1582), King James Version (1611), Douay-Rheims Bible (Challoner Revision) (1752), Quaker Bible (1764), Murdock Translation of the Western Peshitto (1852), Ferrar Fenton Bible (1853), Julia E. Smith Parker Translation (1876), Darby Bible (1890), American Standard Version (1901), Emphasized Bible (1902), Concordant Literal Version (1926), Moffatt, New Translation (1926), Translation of the Vulgate (1933), An American Translation (1935), Bible in English (1949), Knox’s Translation of the Vulgate (1955), Berkeley Version (1958), Children’s King James Version (1962), Amplified Bible (1965), Jerusalem Bible (1966), King James II Version (1971), The Bible in Living English (1972),An American Translation (1976, the ’35 version was obviously not translated enough),  Good News Bible (1976), Knox’s A Literal Translation of the Bible (1985), Christian Community Bible (1986), Easy-to-Read Version (1989), Contemporary English Version (1995), God’s Word (1995), Complete Jewish Bible (1998, yeah.  This one confused me too), American King James Version (1999), English Jubilee 2000 Bible (2000), King James 2000 Version (2000), EasyEnglish Bible (2001), English Standard Version (2001), Hebraic Roots Version (2004), Holman Christian Standard Bible (2004), The Beloved and I: New Jubilees Version of the Sacred Scriptures in Verse (2005), Dabhar Translation (2005), Clear Word Bible (2006), The Inclusive Bible (2007), Catholic Public Domain Version (2009), HalleluYah Scriptures (2009), King James Easy Reading Version (2010), International Standard Version (2011)…

Yeah, these are only the ‘complete’ versions in English.  This isn’t even the complete list (I got bored about 2/3 of the way through).  And it took me fuckin’ ages to compile and order this incomplete list [please notice and appreciate the amount of effort that I put in to provide a lot of information that you just skipped over].

So why did I bother?  Do you really think that all of these works were rendered from the original texts?  Or maybe they just kinda polished and rewrote a previous version.  But surely someone would have managed to create the perfectly poetic version that contained the entire idiom of the original text within two or three hundred years.  Right?

You ever played Chinese whispers?  Or maybe some of these were the works of one of an infinite number of typing monkeys…

This may sound like I’ve gone off topic.  I really haven’t.  So far it has all been preamble for me to make the point I have been struggling towards.

 

I believe there is a huge and fundamental difference between faith and religion.

For me, religion is all about what is written, taught and told.  And as I think I have indicated, this varies depending on which version of what was written and the interpretation of what has been read.  And there are so many versions that you can choose from.  And then there are many more interpretations of what was read (which can be applied to both those that are teaching, and those that wrote the version that is being taught).  So whose version of ‘the Gospel’ are you buying into?  Is it the ‘right’ one?

Faith is completely different.  It is what you, deep down, believe.  What helps you get through the next day.  It could be faith in a god, or in people or … hell [maybe I could have chosen a better word there.  Oh well]… in a telecommunications company.  The important thing is that it not fixed by a doctrine.  It is yours.  And if you are presented with immutable facts that you were previously unaware of, you can adapt your faith.  This is not so easy to do with a religion.

So, has science killed God?  No, I don’t think it has.  God is where you find him, her, it or them.  God will always be where you need God to be.  If God is an actual deity…  Do you really think that a book written over the span of over 2000 years and reinterpreted many dozens of times will be a concise and accurate rendition of his intent and plan?  Really?

Now…  Has science killed religion?  That is a better question.  Not yet, but fingers crossed, huh?

Still not sure where you stand on the issue?  You better make yer mind up quick.  Christmas is coming, and you wouldn’t want people to think that you’re a hypocrite.

…  Ok, I held out til the end.  Do I believe in a God?

I dunno.  I’ve never seen evidence of one.  But then I’ve never seen electricity, and yet my lights still work.

(If any of you say ‘Ah, what about sparks?’ I will hunt you down and slap you silly)

Darwin vs Jesus

 

 

 

Agnostics are overlooked.  But we exist.

(And I don’t give a shit if people think I’m a hypocrite.  I just don’t want my nephews to lynch me.)

 

[Note:  All of the ‘facts’ I have quoted above have been researched.  But I am only restating the words of another.  A couple of these facts are completely contradicted by the words of yet another ‘another’.  I have tried to stick to stuff that is quoted by lettered ‘experts in their field’ or opinions that are also expressed by other people that do not appear to be zealots or crackpots.  When the balance was equal, I went for the one that fitted the idiom of the post better.  That said…  The only statments that I can confirm are both completely true and factual are the ones starting with ‘I’…  including the one that ends ‘… will hunt you down and slap you silly.’]

Forgetfullness

Forgetfullness

It’s amazing what one tends to forget.

I was once told I had an 18 year old son. Now, I can understand that not all men know of all the children they’ve fathered, but I’m pretty sure I would have remembered giving birth.

I’ve been trying to remember where I put the key to the safe – I know that I checked it this summer (or was it spring?) so I do have the key. I used to hide it in a shoe hanger that I gave to the local flea market – and woke up with a fright a few months later, terrified that I’d forgotten to take out the key, and I spent the remainder of the night searching desperately in case I’d moved the key. I found it in a shoe in a different shoe hanger. So it’s somewhere in the house, though I fear one of the cats has hidden it from me.

In my past life (ie before I moved out into the middle of nowhere), I did a lot of different things. One of them was running my own record lable. I didn’t really mean to, it just happened. One of my all-time favourite Oslo-based bands was a group called Behind Bars – and they’d recorded an album that had never got pressed. My mother died in January 1994 and had left me a small sum of money – and I decided to use it on getting that album pressed, since I really wanted it in my collection.

But things take time, and word got around, and suddenly I’d had several releases before we finally got the Behind Bars album out. In the five years that Siri Rekkårdz was active, there were 26 releases. We used a pressing plant in the Czech Republic – Gramofonove Zavody – who could produce almost any colour and size of vinyl, so we used our imagination and their resources and although most of the releases ended up as 7”, there were some 10” and a lot of coloured vinyl.

Bilde6The last album, Siri 5.0 – "An eclectic compilation of Norwegian underground music" – came in 1999, just over 5 years after the very first release. Although there were many other releases planned, things don’t always go according to schedule.

But I’d forgotten how much fun it was. The Christmassy feel of going to Fornebu airport to pick up boxes full of delightful vinyl, doing the paperwork, then coming home and opening the boxes and looking at the finished product. Putting the vinyl on the record player and listening to great Norwegian underground bands. Going out to alternative record stores to deliver substandard boxes with great music from new bands, going to gigs to sell merch, listening to demo tapes – some were really good (and resulted in releases), some had horrible quality but the band was good, and some were just plain horrible.

I’ve had the remaining stock in my basement since I moved here in 2002. They’ve just been cardboard boxes to me, stacked alongside other cardboard boxes, that’s it. Nothing special. I’d long since forgotten the joy it brought me.

Last week I decided it was time to check out my inventory, make a facebook page, see if there was any interest for the back catalogue.

And that’s when it happened.

It all came rushing back. That amazing feeling I used to have when handling the vinyl. Remembering “that life”, the one where I was young and foolish and could do whatever I set my mind to, for no other reason than just wanting to.

And it wasn’t an aged feeling, it wasn’t “I used to do this”, it was my mind remembering how much fun it used to be and still should be.

Not that I have any plans of starting up again. Siri Rekkårdz was five years of fun – and it should stay that way in my memory. But I’m glad I remembered having fun with it.

Some memories are better left suppressed. I have plenty of those. The joy of running a small, independent, mainly vinyl-based record company – that’s one that should never be forgotten!

ProDuX #3: Journey into Noir

ProDuX #3: Journey into Noir

So, I went and made an arrangement. Actually, I have been stalled juggling at least three ProDuX projects at once. And that has not permitted me to finalise anything, so I thought I would just skip two of the projects for now, and focus on the one I found the most interesting. Here is an obscure game from the Macintosh. No, the original Macintosh. The game was released in 1985. It is even older than me. Give it a listen:

While I did not write the original music, I did put on a hreat load of polish to the original tune in this arrangement. The sound design took ages. You would think the sweet sweet sax was the hardest, but I struggled with the piano, but ended up with something passable. I am still not quite happy with it.

So the game is a point-and-click adventure detective game set in the 1940's, because that is where detectives ruled the world, and everyone in a hat and trenchcoat had an ulterior motive and agenda of dubious ethics. Seems that way, anyway. So obviously we are in Chicago and obviously due to the time of the 1940's, let us all say it together: it ties into World War 2.

The story is deemed a low point of the game, but I do not really care. I found one sweet track of music in the game and I will let that be its (perhaps only) redeeming quality. Taking the piece of context, it actually stands out as genuine noir music; catchy and melodic, and that says something as I have a generally unfavourable relationship towards anything that sounds remotely jazzy, with vanishingly few exceptions.

So I thought I would take a chance to look at the most recent attempts at detective adventure games and put into this arrangement everything I feel that a noir story needs to do, to be passable. Starting with a slow start to set the mood: Rain and flourescent lights. Keeping it ambiguous from the get-go here, on purpose.

Subtlety is a strong point and simplicity the key of a good story. It has to be comprehensible, so I have in this arrangement only four instruments to keep it easy-listening: a sax, a piano, a hi-hat and an acoustic bass. That is all. You could argue in order to make the music evolve in time, more instruments should be added and layered, but a detective story that has a surprise convenient element plop into its third act for the sole purpose of presenting the last piece of the puzzle, is contrived and poor writing.

Furhter, I needed a filler piece and while I have spent the better part of two entire weeks attempting to write a filler piece or adapt it from other themes from the game, I gave up and thought: I will add my own little drama. The contrast of the filler piece comes from it grinding to a complete halt with an ambiguous conclusion. And that is just the point:

Sometimes half a story is better than an entire story. That was my inspiration for these 32 brackets. If you are left to fill in some blanks yourself, well, the more interesting the story becomes as your reasoning and cognition is that way a part of the narrative. Here is a story (often attributed to Hemmingway) in six words: "For sale: Baby shoes, never worn." There you go. Fill in the blanks youselves – over one thousands stories told with six words. And to me this is better than quite a few fully fleshed out stories.

Now I took a great pride in making the filler piece audio play as ambiguous as possible. Anything could happen, was the idea. So I tampered with the sound effects and kept everything as intelligible as possible.

The arrangement here takes its time. It is slow and takes its time to develop and deliver a story. It is, or at least I attempted to make it, subtle. And subtlety is lacking in modern narratives, games and movies alike, because both these media have a tendency to put all the money on screen never realising that sometimes less is more. And yes, what I am saying is that I would rather have Half-Life's 15 minute opening of seemingly pointless commute and tech-demo presentation than I would have any modern shooter (looking at you Destiny, Battlefield and Call of Duty).

The game Deja Vu was developed by ICON Simulations, Inc. It was released in 1985 for the Macintosh and published by Mindscape and Kemco. The music was composed by Hiroyuki Masuno. It was since ported to DOS, Amiga and Commodore 64 in 1987 and the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1990. It is the first game in the MacVenture series consisting of four games, the first "Deja Vu" subtitled "A Nightmare Comes True", the second "Uninvited" released in 1986, the third "Shadowgate" released in 1987 and the fourth and final installment "Deja Vu II" subtitled "Lost in Las Vegas" released in 1988.

Finally for good measure: I do not claim any ownership of any material used in the video or the arrangement. I do not make any money off of this, nor to I ever intend to. All material is the IP of its copyright holder. The artwork in the video is based off of an image by "deviantart.com"-artist Sina P. Kasra (http://sinakasra.deviantart.com/art/Murder-in-Noir-195795207). I do not own or claim to own any of this material. It is sweet artwork though! :)


The NES opening sequence was a textdump that read as follows:

You are waking from a stupor that feels like a chronic headache after a week in Vegas.
You notice your right palm is covered with dried blood, but you can neither see, nor feel any wounds.
You feel a sharp pain on your left forearm. Rolling up the sleeve, you find a tiny puncture on your arm: "Has a doctor injected me with a medicine?"
The you realize you can not remember who you are!!
You have no idea where you are and why you are here.
You have no memory… Whatsoever!!


I dare say writing has come a long way since then. Or not (looking at you Destiny, Battlefield and Call of Duty)! Here's a challenge: re-write that intro text dump to make it, well, English – and post it below. I would love to see some better versions! :)