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We shouldn’t live with absolute frivolity

Published August 12th, 2011 by Bobby Henderson

While life should not be taken too seriously, this doesn’t mean we should live with absolute frivolity. Yes, so-called religions attempt to mandate all sorts of opinions and behaviors about morality and social conformity. This does not mean that actual religion — the sincere attempt to understand the unknowable — is inherently stupid or necessarily bullshit.

Quantum mechanics tells us that all possibilities exist simultaneously until foreclosed by inconsistent observations. So, with regard to what we truly cannot know or observe, it’s possible that all beliefs are equally "true" and very much real. It’s an incredibly powerful thought: that we can design our own eternity simply by imagining it.

Personally, I’d want much more from my eternity than to party on a pirate ship with a bunch of beer and strippers. The ability to have that experience at any time and for any duration? Sure, that would be great. But plain old life has plenty to offer that’s much more sublime and extraordinary than simple hedonism. And it’s not even a very ambitious vision of hedonism.

World history is replete with terrible evils committed in the name of "religion." Certainly, it’s an important message that moral and social "values" should not be elevated to the level of religious beliefs. But our ability as humans to recognize the fundamental unknowable questions — where are we from, why are we here, and where are we going — creates a fundamental human need to discuss and confront these questions.

Pastafarianism does indeed celebrate the power of the individual to choose his or her own answers to these questions. Some might like the idea of choosing answers that are deliberately silly or absurd. But to do so simply to make a point about the beliefs of others is to degrade and dishonor one’s own spirit.

-Tom



945 Responses to “We shouldn’t live with absolute frivolity”

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  1. StJason says:

    Quantum Mechanics does not tell us that. The only thing that even remotely resembles what you have said, is that a PARTICLE has a range of possible positions at any one time, and it’s easier for us to assume that it is in all those positions rather then MECHANICALLY influence it by bombarding it with particles such as photons or electrons. An electron around a Hydrogen nucleus is not sometimes here, sometimes there, sometimes in orbit around Pluto.

    QM aside, the logic of your assertion falls apart under any scrutiny. “We can’t know which belief is true, therefore they all are”? Really? Okay, I believe that this baseball bat will pass harmlessly through your head. And if it doesn’t the first time, maybe it needs a few times to warm up…

    However, I agree with your statement that purposeful belief in silly things only degrades the spirit. Why just the other day, I ran into this guy, who actually believed that his supreme being so loved all his creation that he routinely inflicted plagues and floods, forced parents to sacrifice their children… And had a whole book full of laws, but because they were so old, many of the laws didn’t apply (like eating pork, venison, and shrimp, or shaving your beard), but some were to be pursued strongly (homosexuality), and still others were to be ignored (taking care of the poor and sick). It’s so creepy and silly and funny! Thank the Spaghetti Monster that we have a sensible and logical religion!!

    • Roderick, Pursar says:

      To be honest, that Quantum Mechanics is bogus anyway. Something should have one position at one time, and humans can’t be the all-determining observers- that’s what His Noodliness should be doing. If you also consider the guiding equation of Bohm-deBroglie mechanics, it accounts for such facts like particles going through two slits in wavy patterns. But, each can only hit the display at one spot- a definite position. Some nice recreational explanation here: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/qm-bohm/

      • Tom says:

        Not that I feel bound by their conclusions, but I think the scientific community pretty much agrees on the concept of quantum superposition at this point. So far as I can tell, there’s no better explanation for,e.g., quantum entanglement or the results of the delayed choice quantum erasure experiment (published in 2007, subsequent to the last revision of the article linked by Roderick).

        As far as the notion of an all-determining observer, I’m on the fence. Perhaps this is only relativistic, and possibilities collapse differently depending on different perspectives.

        I think this is a good metaphor for contemplating religious/philosophical/spiritual beliefs. StJason appears to have read it too literally.

        • Noodly Goodness says:

          No, it didn’t seem like you were providing a ‘metaphor’ at all. You were making a wrong assertion about QM, using it do defend something it had no bearing on whatsoever.

          Science is interpreted literally. Not through metaphors. Part of the problem begins when difficult information has to be put into simile or metaphor to explain to laymen. Laymen, in turn, warp the explanations and run off in ridiculous directions with them.

      • midnight rider says:

        QM is bogus? But, it is science, is it not? And dictionary.com says science is “systematic knowledge of the physical or material world gained through observation and experimentation.” I appreciate science but it seems that knowledge is not always gained by observation and experimentation. Observation and experimentation lead to hypothesis and eventually theory about something. But then there are arguments between scientists about whose theory is correct. If a study is published containing results of experiments that suggest X is true or X functions a certain way and a great number of scientists refute the findings of the study because it doesn’t fit biases in their minds, knowledge can get buried.

        • Bob S. says:

          OK, I give up… How can “arguments” between scientists, or even preconceived biases, lead to knowledge getting buried (other than perhaps temporarily)? If observation & experimentation lead to data which conflict with a theory, so much the worse for the theory. Next, please! Say what you will about the shortcomings of scientists, but science itself is pretty good at self-correction.

      • Miha says:

        Its been a while, since I read about quantum mechanics, but I think it is not meant that the particles state is determined by being watched by a human. The way I understand it the particles state is fixed when it interacts with something and since we can’t observe a particle without having something interact with it we say that it was the the act of observing the particle that did it.

        But then again I haven’t studied physics and this is far from my field, so I am not a reliable source.

    • Mooky says:

      Sorry for the hijack (so this is completely unrelated), but a long time ago when the Gospel ink had not yet dried there was a forum on this website. Is it gone or am I just navigationally challenged?

  2. wulff says:

    “But our ability as humans to recognize the fundamental unknowable questions — where are we from, why are we here, and where are we going — creates a fundamental human need to discuss and confront these questions.”

    While I agree pursuing the answers to these questions is a worthwhile endeavor, the only answer religion has ever come up with is “That’s the way it is because (your deity here) wants it that way” and most religions consider any OTHER attempts to answer these questions improper.

    • Tom says:

      It’s the only answer religion has offered _so far_. If all cars ever made were Pintos and Azteks, would that mean no awesome car could possibly be built?

      • wulff says:

        If the automakers refused any and all attempts to design other cars, then yes.

      • TiltedHorizon says:

        “It’s the only answer religion has offered _so far_.”

        So far?? Tom. Are you really expecting innovation or something new from an ideology that fights change? The Pinto is perfection, all other cars are wrong, ask Ford for forgiveness before it is too late or ride a seat-less bicycle for all eternity.

        • Brennana says:

          “I don’t expect it, but it would please me to see it happen”
          Tomcentric- Everything (From religion to quantum mechanics) revolves around Tom. It makes as much sense as that the TV across from me can have a decent and noteable conversation with my dog.

      • Drained and Washed Clean says:

        Religion hasn’t changed its philosophy in 2000 years. What makes you think that they are going to start changing now?

        • Tom says:

          I don’t expect it, but it would please me to see it happen.

        • opiesysco says:

          I would have to say religion has not changed it’s philosophy in well over 2000 years. The Jewish faith, for example, has not changed in over 4000 years. Religion is religion is religion. They all have the same goals, money and power. Show me a religion that wants no money or power, and I will show you a religion that did not last very long.

        • stylusmobilus says:

          So how bad a car is the Ford Pinto? Really?

        • wulff says:

          My parents bought a brand new pinto that after two years would only start when it was towed to the mechanic. If it was in our driveway, it was staying there until they called another tow truck.

        • hamish says:

          Oh, yes they have. :D

          They said once that all heavenly bodies and orbits were spherical cos it was the ‘perfect shape’ designed by their perfect creator. Then, after a quick century or so after proper scientists showed elliptical orbits, they finally changed on that.

          They rejected that the earth revolves around the sun, cos dammit, we are the bloody center of the universe cos the space daddy loved us the mostest. After another blink of a century of so, most of them accept this is not the case.

          They rejected the hypothesis that species can go extinct, cos oh, no! The ever watchful invisible spaceman would not let his creations die out. After about a million fossil excavations, most of the religious people have accepted that extinction does happen.

          The funny thing about these changes are – they would never accept that they changed their views. “What? Of course we accepted extinction. What rubbish…” The acceptance was so gradual and so low key that people just kinda forgot that these were controversial at one point.

          It would have been the same about evolution too, except… with so many documented evidence, it’s difficult to just forget the controversy (controversy between religious zealots and scientists… let me remind everyone – there is NO controversy on whether evolution happens or not… at least not amongst scientist. The scientists only debate about the process/ mechanisms through which evolution happens.)

          But of course, religion’s number one go-to answer “because God made it so” has never changed, and will never change.

      • no tom just no says:

        awful metaphor. cars are helpful. we benefit from cars, in what way will we ever be able to benefit from religion? and anyway, the whole thing with believing in the illogical is that it will always instigate farther lack of thinking. you can never have consistent level of belief in large religions. who can say what is crossing the line of insaneness? the line is very, very thin. and it will always be crossed. and there will be controversy, and there will be legitimacy gained through government institutions. religion is the way of holding back innovation, through reviving barbaric traditions through emotional politics. but religion shows no sign of dying. In fact, it seems to be gaining prominence in politics. an ‘awesome’ religion is not only not possible, but if created, would deem all other religions pointless, most likely losing its awesomeness through the members of old religions. ive always thought religion was a euphemism for scam. there will always be people trying to take advantage of religion. it would take quite an awesome religion indeed to be none of these things, but who knows?

        • TheFewTheProudTheMarinara says:

          You must be an American, no tom. Religion IS dying in Europe, anyway. And it seems strongest in American politics than in everyday life, as it’s almost impossible to be elected unless you’re wrapped in the flag, carrying a cross.

        • Keith says:

          “no tom” could be Australian. Religion is rearing its ugly head all over the place here. It seems to be well funded too.

  3. Atsap Revol says:

    So, how do you plan to spend eternity, TOM? You must have a high-minded schedule of non-hedonistic, fulfilling activities that will keep you occupied and productive indefinitely. Please give us a hint.

    I don’t want to spend eternity, period. But if I had to endure eternity, pirates, beer, and strippers would be better than one common Christian fundamentalist’s envisioned paradise wherein eternity is spent singing, chanting, and praising the Lord. That would be too much singing, chanting, and ass-kissing for me.

    I believe that PV = NRT, and that’s as close as I ever got to understanding Quantum Mechanics when I took Physical Chemistry. I think that’s known as the Schroedinger Equation, isn’t it?

    See you all in Pastafarian Paradise,
    Atsap Revol

    • Tom says:

      I’d like to have total knowledge of all history and properties of the universe, and to be able to experience any moment in that history from the perspective of any particle, being, or entity. Also, to continue fucking my wife a lot. Beyond that, I don’t know yet.

      That you contemptuously mock the notion of “non-hedonistic, fulfilling activities” says a lot more about you than it does about me.

      • Atsap Revol says:

        Tom, you missed my main point…I don’t want to spend eternity doing anything. And based on my paradigm, I won’t be burdened with developing an infinite schedule to occupy my time for all eternity. If we have just one lifetime, we should make the most of it. Of course I can’t prove that I only have a mortal life to live, but in 79 years, I’ve found nothing to lead me to believe there is anything else. None of the world religions, not even quantum mechanics, offers demonstrable life after death as far as I’m concerned.

        I’ve lived a fulfilling life, and I’m willing to pass from it with no regrets. The time that I might have spent worshipping one or more of the 3,000 or so gods of various religions has been devoted to meaningful activities.

        While criticizing me for “mocking non-hedonistic, fulfilling activities,” you state your hope to continue having lots of intercourse with your wife in some divine quantum mechanical afterlife. That sounds hedonistic to me, you hypocrite.

        AR

        • Tom says:

          I find nothing hypocritical about wanting to celebrate the best of everything, whether high-minded or crude. I don’t know where you got the idea that I have something against hedonism.

        • Atsap Revol says:

          Well, Tom, if your quantum mechanical paradise allows it, go ahead and chant, sing, praise the Lord, and screw your wife for all eternity. I hope you will allow your wife to have something to say about your scheduled activities.

          Or is a quantum paradise just for the individual? Your wife might be in some other lobe of the multiverse screwing your next door neighbor, because she gets to plan her paradise just as much as you do. The endless possibilities of infinite parallel paradises are awsome. Imagine even a menage a trois with your wife and your neighbor?

          This has got to be one of the looniest threads on this site! Thanks for introducing a little nuttiness into our serious discussions.

          Have a great eternity, and always remember that PV = NRT in any paradise
          Atsap Revol

      • stylusmobilus says:

        Tom, how you manage to get a disparaging opinion of Atsap from an off the cuff remark should make me query, but when I read your letter and divulge its true irrelevance to any piont, (I love that word) I am not surprised you would just fabricate an opinion from out of the blue.

        I have a little knowledge of what kind of person Atsap is and some of the things he has managed to achieve in his life. In particular, there are two things- the first verifies Atsap’s intellect and knowledge to an exceptionally high degree. The second, and the one for which I will be eternally grateful for, gives Atsap Revol the right to engage in as much State sanctioned and funded hedonism as he wishes, at the least.

        There is a third, too, in his reply to you, and that is his gratefulness for a fulfilling life and willingness to part from it which demonstrates the actions of a totally unselfish person. The fact that you did not see this, yet inferred that his cuff remark marks him as contemptuously mocking suggests a retarded ability in judging people.

        Now, to your letter. I think Sean Boyd pretty much covered it, there isn’t much to add to that. I have to commend you on grammar, but as far as relevant content goes, it is a bag of rubbish. The only thing I got out of that was the overpowering smell of incense and pot. To quote another of our fine Mateys, Mal, you owe me an aspirin and five minutes of my life for that.

        • stylusmobilus says:

          Oh, I must correct Atsap in some regard. PV definitely = nRT, but in your case it is at an elevated temperature.

        • Atsap Revol says:

          Stylusmobilus, thanks for your kind comments. Perhaps you have overrated me. In other threads on this site, I have been identified as a COF (Cranky Old Fart).

          I was wondering how the Pressure/Volume relationship applies to the flatulence of the Farting Chocolate Dude. Does he produce an “ideal” gas? Not too likely I’m thinking. But I guess that is be side the fucking piont.

          Keep Australia Laughing
          AR

        • stylusmobilus says:

          Mate, that’s fine. Remember, you can still hold the wonderful trait of being a COF and hold all those other fantastic traits. Tom here is a fine example. He can be a CYM (Confused Young Man) and still…hang on he was pretty rude to you so that is a bad analogy.

          I’m thinking PV=nRT, in reference to the Chocolate Farting Dude must have its key element in the density of the chocolate He is made of. I could be wrong here, it is in no way my area of physics, but I speculate that this density would increase with milkier chocolate due to the heavy proteins in milk. In turn, this affects the mass of His Chocolatey Body, applying increased pressure to His Chocoblurter, giving an elevated mass fart rate and henceforth increased momentum when fly-farting. In respect to it being ‘ideal’, I would have to agree with you on the piont that it is definitely be side the fucking piont.

          Since all Pastafarians are by virtue blessed with exceptionally high IQ levels upon joining the CotFSM, I’m sure we would have a physicist strong in this area who could shoot that down in flames. If not maybe Tom here can share his wisdom and incense in order to solve another of life’s great mysteries…PV=nRT in relation to the Chocolate Farting Dude.

          It’s an incredibly powerful thought…that the Chocolate Farting Dude can change His velocity simply by changing the cocoa to milk content of His chocolate.

        • Atsap Revol says:

          Stylusmobilus, the Flying Spaghetti Monster has Balls, but as you will recall, the Farting Chocolate Dude has Nuts. This will no doubt have a bearing on the FCD’s mass and on His velocity and elevation while levitated. I’m sure some of our physicist Mateys will ponder this profound phenomenon and deduce appropriate mathematical solutiions. I hope I adequately made my piont.

          Atsap Revol

    • Spammyboy says:

      I don’t want to have anything to do after death that is worthwhile. Because otherwise I could just plan to do everything in that infinite stretch of time and balls-up the only life that I know is real. So something fun and utterly pointless, say, partying on a pirate ship with a bunch of beer and strippers, would be perfect. I hope my jumbled teenage mind made that understandable to some people at least…

      • stylusmobilus says:

        That is proven, time and again, by the desire of the religious to balls-up the only life they know they have. Spammyboy, you are to be congratulated. You may have discovered the only replicable, provable fact about religion.

        Spammyboy’s Law of Religion….

        L(e)= L(y)bT(i)

        or

        (life in years)(ballsed-up)(infinite time)= (everlasting life)

        • Atsap Revol says:

          This is nearly as profound as PV=nRT !

          AR

  4. TiltedHorizon says:

    “This does not mean that actual religion — the sincere attempt to understand the unknowable — is inherently stupid or necessarily bullshit.”

    Attempting to understand the unknowable is philosophy’s job, religion does not attempt to understand, it claims to already know.

    • Tom says:

      This is a semantic distinction, and one you are entitled to make. Feel free to substitute “philosophy” or “spirituality” for religion, as you may find appropriate or helpful. I do not find the distinction to be of consequence, and I do not want to cede “religion” to those who have claimed it for improper purposes.

      • cadbrowser says:

        No Tom, there is a complete distinction and you failed to comprehend it.

        Religion already knows the answers and forces observation and data to fit it’s preconceived mold; even to the point of absolute fabrication!

        Philosophy observes much like science; but it’s explainations are not testable or falsifieable. Even more so, modern philosophy strays away from supernatural causation in favor of natural ideas.

    • Horrible_asp says:

      Theology – an effort to explain the unknowable by putting it into terms of not worth knowing.
       
      H.L Mencken

  5. Randy says:

    Perhaps we all spend an eternity “up there” just “smiling down” on everyone….

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3PiZSFIVFiU

  6. Nicholas says:

    If you can’t prove something DOESN’T exist, it exists?

    I’m calling bullshit

    • Tom says:

      I can’t prove you’re wrong.

    • READRichardDawkins says:

      As Hitchen’s states, “What can be asserted without proof can be dismissed without proof.”

  7. MaleVolens says:

    One should always be wary of those who claim to understand quantum mechanics: they understand them even less than the rest of us.

    Tbh, this mail is more masturbation than anything: decent verbosity (let it be recognized, appreciated and lauded, it’s such a rare thing on the ‘nets!), but no real point to defend; what little there was to refute has been taken care of by TiltedHorizon.

    F’thagn!

    • Tom says:

      To summarize: If religion sucks, we can show that — and move forward — by imagining a satirical religion that’s even more ridiculous. But there’s no point doing so unless we are willing, once our minds are open and free, to postulate a sincere, superior alternative, whether that be called religion, philosophy, spirituality, or srgoisdflknasdfaeto.

      • READRichardDawkins says:

        Lets call it science.

        • Vlad says:

          What difference would it make anyway, even in the unlikely case that there was some kind of FSM involvement. It changes absolutely nothing. Science will move on no matter what, if it’s there we will find it, if not who cares. The reason why people clang so desperately to creationalism and religion is because they need a reason to live, having a FSM, god or whatever gives them someone to serve, it gives them purpose. You shouldn’t laugh at religious nuts, be sorry for them. They don’t want truth, they want purpose.

      • The Reverend Toni Rigatoni says:

        Actually, I prefer srgoisdflknasdfaeto! Rolls of the tongue nicely.

        Sauce be with you

        The Reverend

  8. Logalmier says:

    It is because I take life so seriously that I can’t take it seriously.

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