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Offline SimpleCaveman

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Re: why heaven is effing dumb
« Reply #58 on: December 21, 2012, 11:01:43 AM »
Good Morning Bagheera,

We got our first real snow today (the Mayans and all that, I’m sure :)). You guys have had snow for a while, right?

Partly tongue in cheek, of course. But this is the problem with heaven; it sounds a lot like the idealized version of what the animal part of us wants. No pain, no decisions, no thinking, just bliss. Forever. Not even a chance to want to feel something different for a nanosecond so you can have something to compare that bliss to, nor any desire. At all. Forever.
And this understanding is the only one possible? It couldn’t be, even remotely, that we – given our limited experience, viewpoint, knowledge, etc – can’t imagine what Heaven could be like? Are you saying that there’s no way we could be wrong in our understanding of Heaven (assuming it exists, of course)? Why do we claim that we, who are finite, flawed and selfish, can imagine what it would be like to be enraptured in eternal, perfect, complete and unconditional love?

Have you ever been in love? Deeply in love? I love my wife deeply and as perfectly as I can manage. I want only to love her and for her to be happy. I want my love for her to be complete, total and unconditional. I don’t want to desire other women so that I “feel something different.” If I did that, then I would not truly love her. I would be selfish and self-centered. Many people in our society think you can “love” other women or men and still “love” your wife or husband. They’ve done that by redefining love.

Heaven is to be enraptured in eternal, perfect, complete and unconditional love. We can want to feel or desire other things, because we will still have free will. But we won’t want to. Go back to my earlier analogy. . . It’s like eating mud all your life and then being given real food – such as a nice, thick, juicy steak. We won’t even think of wanting to eat mud again. Why would we?

Offline SimpleCaveman

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Re: why heaven is effing dumb
« Reply #59 on: December 21, 2012, 11:13:30 AM »
Good Morning jetson,

It’s been cold, windy, wet and snowy here in Michigan. I thought you might like to know that. :)

I don't claim to have any truth.
No, you don’t. You just claim that everything you say is true.

Sounds to me like you've filtered everything down to a fine point that suits you. 
No, I don’t think so and I apologize if I’ve given that impression. I filter it down to make a point and to make it easier to talk about. You and I both know that you have to do that in order to have a discussion. Since it’s all interconnected in an economy of faith, if we include all the ins and outs, then we’d be here for a long while!

And to be honest, none of that pomp and circumstance even remotely mirrors the message of that guy...the one who had no possessions, walked around preaching...twelve apostles?  Jesus!  Yeah, that guy.

I don't recall anywhere in the good book where Jesus tells us to go be a Catholic and follow their rules?  Can you point that out to me?  Maybe where Jesus said "let the Pope take it from here"?
:) What do you know about the history of the Catholic Church, especially the first 300 years or so?

By the way, Jesus did essentially say that. Matthew Chapter 16.

Offline jetson

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Re: why heaven is effing dumb
« Reply #60 on: December 21, 2012, 11:17:54 AM »
Simplecaveman,

Two things:

Where have I claimed that everything I say is true?

How does Matthew 16 relate to becoming a Catholic and following a Pope?

Offline SimpleCaveman

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Re: why heaven is effing dumb
« Reply #61 on: December 21, 2012, 11:28:08 AM »
Hey! I see that as of this morning you have 6666 posts. Not sure if that’s a win or not, but here’s a picture of it for you. (If I can figure out how to do it. Okay, not quite what I was looking for, but this works.)

It takes objectivity and humility, mostly, but a degree in the behavioural sciences and a good deal of knowledge of history helps too.
Humility? You? I don’t think so. I’ve seen your posts. Even this thread is evidence against you. First, you make statements about me even though you don’t know me. Second, you imply that you would know more than God, if he existed, of course.

You may have humility, but I don’t see it in your posts.

Offline SimpleCaveman

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Re: why heaven is effing dumb
« Reply #62 on: December 21, 2012, 11:49:46 AM »
Two things:

Where have I claimed that everything I say is true?
Are you saying that not everything you say is true? I don’t think so. I’m saying that I think you’re just like the rest of us. We post things on here because we think they are true. (Okay, some do it just to antagonize, but besides them.) We don’t show that everything else is false in order to back up what we say. We, as humans, don’t need to and it would be silly to try.

How does Matthew 16 relate to becoming a Catholic and following a Pope?
Yes, unfortunately, when we were raised Catholic (I’m the same age as you), we were not catechized well. (For other’s sake, that means we weren’t taught well about the Catholic Church.) It’s only after college when I started learning again on my own that I was taught these things.

Here’s a page “Matthew Chapter 16, Verse 18: The Primacy of Peter” that explains the connection you’re asking about. As the title says, it is focused on the primacy of Peter and it fits into the bigger question. Jesus founded a church led by the Apostles. Peter is the leader of the Apostles, particularly under the title of “The Servant of the Servants of God.” (cf John 13)

Now, let’s go back to the third thing which you accidentally missed. What do you know about the history of the Catholic Church, especially the first 300 years or so?

Offline Bagheera

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Re: why heaven is effing dumb
« Reply #63 on: December 21, 2012, 12:12:07 PM »
And this understanding is the only one possible? It couldn’t be, even remotely, that we – given our limited experience, viewpoint, knowledge, etc – can’t imagine what Heaven could be like? Are you saying that there’s no way we could be wrong in our understanding of Heaven (assuming it exists, of course)? Why do we claim that we, who are finite, flawed and selfish, can imagine what it would be like to be enraptured in eternal, perfect, complete and unconditional love?

Have you ever been in love? Deeply in love? I love my wife deeply and as perfectly as I can manage. I want only to love her and for her to be happy. I want my love for her to be complete, total and unconditional. I don’t want to desire other women so that I “feel something different.” If I did that, then I would not truly love her. I would be selfish and self-centered. Many people in our society think you can “love” other women or men and still “love” your wife or husband. They’ve done that by redefining love.

Heaven is to be enraptured in eternal, perfect, complete and unconditional love. We can want to feel or desire other things, because we will still have free will. But we won’t want to. Go back to my earlier analogy. . . It’s like eating mud all your life and then being given real food – such as a nice, thick, juicy steak. We won’t even think of wanting to eat mud again. Why would we?

This is part of the problem. People make promises like 'this is what Heaven is' and then when I comment on how from my perspective it seems undesirable 'but we can't imagine what Heaven is like, it could be even better than that'. Why are we even discussing it if even the people telling me what its like then tell me that even they can't actually imagine what its like? What are you basing your statement on when you say how wonderful it will be? It's an exercise in futility.

I can imagine what eternal bliss without desire is like. I can imagine its like hooking a monkey up to a pleasure machine and giving him the button. In the absence of any needs, it just pushes the button, my precious; it pushes it forever. And that in a nutshell, is what our internal monkeys want from heaven. So that is what I imagine Christian Heaven to be; an infinite number of monkeys, each with a button in their hand, lined up to the end of an infinite horizon.

Given our limited viewpoint and experience (indeed, yours and mine both) proposing that an afterlife is anything more than that doesn't really make much sense. Our limited viewpoint and experience is how we get our information about the universe in the first place.

Offline jetson

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Re: why heaven is effing dumb
« Reply #64 on: December 21, 2012, 12:14:57 PM »
I have a general understanding of the history of the Catholic Church, but not a detailed one.  You can point me to information that you think is relevant to the first 300 years, and I will take a look.  I hae several books at home as well, that I have read, but maybe they are not as detailed as what you are thinking of?

I do think I have a better position as an atheist, but I don't claim any absolute truth, nor do I expect people to simply take my word for it.  If I were shown compelling evidence that I am wrong, I would change my mind.  I'm not hardened to deny what is obvious.  But I am skeptical by nature, and choose not to accept things that don't have a strong basis in scientific understanding.  Philosophy is a different thing, so while it can be fun, it is not something I choose as a way to discern actual truth.

Offline SimpleCaveman

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Re: why heaven is effing dumb
« Reply #65 on: December 21, 2012, 12:31:42 PM »
Hi Bagheera,

Very good points.

Why are we even discussing it if even the people telling me what its like then tell me that even they can't actually imagine what its like? What are you basing your statement on when you say how wonderful it will be? It's an exercise in futility.
I guess I’m trying to explain what it means when the Church talks about Heaven. They get this from Jesus who, we believe, has been there and is there. He gave us parables and imagery that takes something beyond our understanding and brings it into our terms.

I see your perspective as an incomplete one and, honestly, mine is an incomplete one, too, but given what we were taught by Jesus, I think that mine makes more sense. If we want to change the assumptions we are making for this discussion to not include what Jesus said as admissible, then I might agree with you.

an infinite number of monkeys, each with a button in their hand, lined up to the end of an infinite horizon.
Speaking of monkeys, I just saw the movie “12 Monkeys” again last night. Great movie, tragic movie. Have you seen it?

Offline SimpleCaveman

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Re: why heaven is effing dumb
« Reply #66 on: December 21, 2012, 12:52:11 PM »
I have a general understanding of the history of the Catholic Church, but not a detailed one.  You can point me to information that you think is relevant to the first 300 years, and I will take a look.  I hae several books at home as well, that I have read, but maybe they are not as detailed as what you are thinking of?
I’d be happy to give you references. The question would be on what aspect since there are many. One that I’m listening to now is a series of podcasts by Fr. Micheal J Witt, http://www.michaeljohnwitt.com/. He is an Associate Professor of Church History at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary. He has 46 podcasts that go into early Church history, 43 on Medieval Church history, and 80 on modern Church history. Talk about detailed! He gives references for the things he says, too.

I do think I have a better position as an atheist, but I don't claim any absolute truth, nor do I expect people to simply take my word for it.  If I were shown compelling evidence that I am wrong, I would change my mind.  I'm not hardened to deny what is obvious.  But I am skeptical by nature, and choose not to accept things that don't have a strong basis in scientific understanding.  Philosophy is a different thing, so while it can be fun, it is not something I choose as a way to discern actual truth.
Fair enough. Very fair.

I like your statements. Believe it or not, I don’t claim absolute truth either in many things I say, because my understanding of things, Heaven for example, may not be correct or complete. I also allow (and very easily at that) that the scientific side of what we know may not be correct or complete. It’s the best we have right now, but we may find new things that change it. The thing I claim as absolute truth, in the sense that I will die for what it says, is the Nicene Creed. Everything else, yes everything, I question. I am skeptical by nature as well, but I don’t limit myself to just scientific understanding. (I don’t think that in reality others do either, but that’s another discussion.) I allow for scientific understanding, logical understanding, emotional understanding, philosophical understanding, relational understanding. I think we can and do know the truth of things from many different perspectives.

Offline Ambassador Pony

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Re: why heaven is effing dumb
« Reply #67 on: December 21, 2012, 04:27:58 PM »
Humility? You? I don’t think so. I’ve seen your posts. Even this thread is evidence against you. First, you make statements about me even though you don’t know me. Second, you imply that you would know more than God, if he existed, of course.

You may have humility, but I don’t see it in your posts.

You're a human being. How do I have to know you in order to make some general statements about a behaviour you share with the rest of species?

Do I need to have close ties to you, in order to determine you breath air and eat food? Do I need pretend I have more knowledge than a fictional sky wizard to say you poop?

You're a great ape, like me and the rest of the species. And, we know a lot about ourselves, including what sorts of things we can be led to believe absolutely are real. Don't take it from me, study the science yourself. Better yet, talk to Tom Cruise or Cat Stevens. They know they're right too. Humble guys like you, they are, they've gotten themselves into the one true religion too. 

The thing I claim as absolute truth, in the sense that I will die for what it says, is the Nicene Creed.
« Last Edit: December 21, 2012, 04:30:47 PM by Ambassador Pony »
You believe evolution and there is no evidence for that. Where is the fossil record of a half man half ape. I've only ever heard about it in reading.

Offline SimpleCaveman

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Re: why heaven is effing dumb
« Reply #68 on: December 22, 2012, 07:04:12 PM »
Hi Ambassador Pony,

How’s it going? We’re heading out to see Skyfall later. (late, I know. It’s at the cheap theater.) Have you seen it?

You're a human being. How do I have to know you in order to make some general statements about a behaviour you share with the rest of species?
You are correct, of course. It’s safe to make general statements about me, as in your examples of biology (not behavior) - breathing, eating, pooping. And I do all of them quite well, thank you very much. :) But the statement you made to start this was not about biology. It’s a much more personal and much more profound statement. (Hmm, although, now that I think about it, biology is both personal and profound.) I do not think it’s good for productive conversation to assume that you know the other person as you do. I try to treat each person on this forum as an individual because each person has something uniquely important to contribute. When we don’t do that, then we lose compassion and love.

Your statement also belies your claim to objectivity. It clearly assumes that there is no God, which you cannot state with moral certainty nor even scientific certainty, but only “practical certainty,” and to be as dogmatic as you are about it is not objective at all. The best you can say is that you have no evidence for the existence of a god and therefore you choose to act as if there is not one. Is that what you mean when you make your statements?

Offline Ambassador Pony

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Re: why heaven is effing dumb
« Reply #69 on: December 22, 2012, 07:29:05 PM »
You are correct, of course. It’s safe to make general statements about me, as in your examples of biology (not behavior) - breathing, eating, pooping. And I do all of them quite well, thank you very much. :) But the statement you made to start this was not about biology. It’s a much more personal and much more profound statement. (Hmm, although, now that I think about it, biology is both personal and profound.)

No. It's about biology. 

Quote
I do not think it’s good for productive conversation to assume that you know the other person as you do. I try to treat each person on this forum as an individual because each person has something uniquely important to contribute. When we don’t do that, then we lose compassion and love.

You should write hallmark cards. This sickeningly unenlightened pablum is useless in a discussion where only one of us remains armed with the body of knowledge appropriate to the topic.

Quote
Your statement also belies your claim to objectivity. It clearly assumes that there is no God, which you cannot state with moral certainty nor even scientific certainty, but only “practical certainty,” and to be as dogmatic as you are about it is not objective at all. The best you can say is that you have no evidence for the existence of a god and therefore you choose to act as if there is not one. Is that what you mean when you make your statements?

Ignorance isn't intellectual high ground. My suggestion is that you do some reading if you want to talk with me. I should make plain here that, I am not interested in educating you. I occasionally shine some light on some of the things I read and know about, hence my post in this thread.  Here it is again:

Quote
If I really wanted to convert you, we’d be talking directly about Jesus Christ. I am Catholic because of my personal relationship with Him and not by an accident of history.

No. It is an accident of history.

The most knowledgeable and moral reply possible, in kind, to your short public display of mental masturbation.
You believe evolution and there is no evidence for that. Where is the fossil record of a half man half ape. I've only ever heard about it in reading.

Offline SimpleCaveman

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Re: why heaven is effing dumb
« Reply #70 on: December 22, 2012, 07:42:25 PM »
The most knowledgeable and moral reply possible, in kind, to your short public display of mental masturbation.
I try to give people the benefit of the doubt. I am aware of your drive-by style of posting, but thought that maybe we could have a decent conversation. Clearly not. I won’t bother you again.

Offline SimpleCaveman

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Re: why heaven is effing dumb
« Reply #71 on: December 23, 2012, 09:45:07 AM »
Good Morning ParkingPlaces,

Happy 4th Sunday of Advent! How is life for you today? Very well, I hope.

I think you might be done with this conversation. However, a thought struck me this morning on how the arguments being made show the irony of the atheist attacks.

If I were a good christian and felt that I was doing a good enough job to get into heaven and then was told I would suffer eternal bliss when i got there, I think I'd go rob a bank to get out of it. I could deal with an eternity burning in hell better than I could with constant bliss.
You argue here against the eternal bliss of Heaven and in other places others (maybe you, too) argue against the suffering here on Earth. I find that brilliantly ironic, don’t you? How can you be against suffering in one place and for it in another? That’s not only a contradiction, but backwards, since the first is temporary and the second eternal.

I think it points out that really some (I won’t say all) just want to argue against. It doesn’t matter what it is, if theists say it’s true, someone will argue against it and it doesn’t matter how contradictory the statements are, since they are made at different times, we miss it.

I think this irony shows up quite a bit. I’ll have to look for it.

Have a great day.


Offline ParkingPlaces

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Re: why heaven is effing dumb
« Reply #72 on: December 23, 2012, 11:52:33 AM »
Good Morning ParkingPlaces,

Happy 4th Sunday of Advent! How is life for you today? Very well, I hope.

I think you might be done with this conversation. However, a thought struck me this morning on how the arguments being made show the irony of the atheist attacks.

If I were a good christian and felt that I was doing a good enough job to get into heaven and then was told I would suffer eternal bliss when i got there, I think I'd go rob a bank to get out of it. I could deal with an eternity burning in hell better than I could with constant bliss.
You argue here against the eternal bliss of Heaven and in other places others (maybe you, too) argue against the suffering here on Earth. I find that brilliantly ironic, don’t you? How can you be against suffering in one place and for it in another? That’s not only a contradiction, but backwards, since the first is temporary and the second eternal.

I think it points out that really some (I won’t say all) just want to argue against. It doesn’t matter what it is, if theists say it’s true, someone will argue against it and it doesn’t matter how contradictory the statements are, since they are made at different times, we miss it.

I think this irony shows up quite a bit. I’ll have to look for it.

Have a great day.


I was being ironic, not literal. As an atheist, I'm not quite so vexed about suffering on earth, nor am I the least bit concerned about hell in any form, so I get to play around with the religious idea that a heaven and hell exist, as well as real life.


My point (which I may not have stated to clearly) was that enforced bliss (i.e. eternal, whether you want it or not) has no appeal to me, and even if I knew for certain that it was my fate once I left this world, I wouldn't be the least bit happy about it. No, I wouldn't actually rob a bank, and of course I wouldn't actually choose to roast in hell over walking gold streets, but I wanted to make it clear that the heaven you describe has no appeal.


As an atheist, I am always amazed at the casual acceptance believers have that this world is terrible, yes, but the next one will be wonderful. Because god loves us. It is such a convenient out for religion. Adherents get to a) believe in a god, b) worship his wonderfulness and c) explain away the dissonance between a wonderful god and a world that doesn't quite fit with that perceived reality.


It is so lucky that Satan, you know, God's favorite angel, rebelled against him and brought evil to the world and tempted the newbies and provided a nice warm afterlife for the bad guys, otherwise the story would suck. Had Satan gotten along better with the boss and earth still been a less than 5 star experience, there would have been a lot of 'splainin' to do. This way, all the bases are covered. So well that some people believe it.


As one who accepts that evolution occurred and who is pretty darned sure no gods were involved, I am not as vexed by the bad in this world as you might be. Because I have no expectation that either evolution, humans, groups, societies and/or governments have the ability to be perfect. And I accept the various natural disasters as natural, not the work of a gay-bashing god. Hence existence itself, as a less than perfect experience, does not surprise me.


I've seen plenty of death in my life. From kitties when I was young, to crushed bodies in car wrecks to parents as I aged. I have no expectation of living forever, either as a human or an angel. It doesn't even have any appeal. I find life interesting, I enjoy it, I wish that I could live a lot longer, but not this forever thing. That's a little excessive.


And I can't live longer. Nature doesn't allow it. I might have five minutes or 20 years, but that's about it. I accept that. Rather than playing with my brain cells, looking for outs and futures and dreamworlds, I just fit the reality of my finite self into my brain and work around it.


But it is this life I would want to have forever, not the one where I have been sanitized and civilized and dressed in robes and told to enjoy or else.


And I don't seek bliss to the degree that I am going to spend my whole life hoping I'll get some after I kick off. The bliss I have experience in real life has been very much enjoyed because it comes in small packages and is often a surprise. I knew I was happy because I had lots of other emotions to compare it to. I appreciated the events that led to my various moments of bliss, I enjoyed the bliss itself, and I recognized that it wouldn't last forever, so I treasured it while I had it.


If bliss were the norm, it would feel the same as "okay" does in real life. It would get old fast. Folks in the afterlife would be trying to figure out how to make things feel different just to get out of the boredom. Imagine a room full of kids sitting around in heaven saying "I'm so happy. It's boring. I want something to do!" That's how it would be.


It is the invention of folks who haven't thought out the story quite well enough. If heaven were described as being a lot like earth, only fewer bureaucrats, it would be far more appealing.


If you are searching for a way to make religion appealing to me, you need to take a different track. I don't know what it might be, but a heaven full of folks who are way too happy is too uninviting a concept to appeal to me.


P.S. Hooray, I lived longer than five minutes!
Not everyone is entitled to their own opinion. They're all entitled to mine though.

Offline SimpleCaveman

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Re: why heaven is effing dumb
« Reply #73 on: December 23, 2012, 07:32:16 PM »
Hi ParkingPlaces,

Thanks for the clarity.

I was being ironic, not literal.
I knew you were not being literal. (I’ll have to take your word that you recognized the irony in your posts.) When we go into these discussions we have to have an agreed upon set of assumptions or they are meaninglessness. For example, here we have to start with “if heaven exists” in order to seriously talk about what it is.  As long as we stay with those assumptions, then the discussion is meaningful. If one were to fall back on “well it doesn’t even exist in the first place” then that person has copped out of the discussion.

My point (which I may not have stated to clearly) was that enforced bliss (i.e. eternal, whether you want it or not) has no appeal to me, and even if I knew for certain that it was my fate once I left this world, I wouldn't be the least bit happy about it.
I agree with you that forced bliss is not appealing, especially the kind of state that you and others describe. I am not arguing in favor of this situation.

This is where it helps to know what others believe. People here present scenarios of their own making and argue against that. (Actually, they argue both for the scenario and then against it. “For” in the sense that they say it’s the only scenario. “Against” in the sense that the scenario sucks.) Well, I say “Good!” I’m glad they do because I would argue against it, too. I am not arguing for the scenario that was presented in this thread. Far from it. I’m trying to say that there are other scenarios, but no one wants to consider them.

Had Satan gotten along better with the boss and earth still been a less than 5 star experience, there would have been a lot of 'splainin' to do.
Here’s an example of a scenario you are presenting that I’m not going to argue for. I agree with you. You can present this scenario because a) you don’t believe, b) you don’t know what others believe, and c) it’s an easy scenario to argue against.

not the one where I have been sanitized and civilized and dressed in robes and told to enjoy or else.
I agree. I would not want this one either. One point I’m trying to make is that you won’t be forced. You get to choose whether you want that life of eternal happiness or not.

I knew I was happy because I had lots of other emotions to compare it to.
I hope you don’t mind my saying so, but this approach by people on the forum is frustrating. You gave your points about happiness earlier. Good, that’s important. I listened and then I explained why I thought you were wrong and gave my points. Instead of responding to what I said, you just said your points again. This happens quite a bit in these threads. I’m not even sure people realize they’re doing it.

If you are searching for a way to make religion appealing to me, you need to take a different track.
LOL I’m quite sure that I’ve been very clear about my purpose here and it’s not that. To say it another, more blunt way, I’m trying to help people here not look so foolish. (Okay, they don’t look foolish here because no one knows any better.) To argue for these scenarios and then argue against them is foolish. I’d be better off agreeing with your arguments against rather than trying to explain that you’ve got the wrong scenario! What you’re doing is like the creationist who asks, “If we descended from monkeys, then why are monkeys still around?”

P.S. Hooray, I lived longer than five minutes!
Good for you. I hope you live a good, long life.

Thanks again for the post.