The Blind Idiot and God

An Alien God – Less Wrong

The ecosystem would make much more sense if it wasn’t designed by a unitary Who, but, rather, created by a horde of deities – say from the Hindu or Shinto religions. This handily explains both the ubiquitous purposefulnesses, and the ubiquitous conflicts: More than one deity acted, often at cross-purposes. The fox and rabbit were both designed, but by distinct competing deities. I wonder if anyone ever remarked on the seemingly excellent evidence thus provided for Hinduism over Christianity. Probably not.

Similarly, the Judeo-Christian God is alleged to be benevolent – well, sort of. And yet much of nature’s purposefulness seems downright cruel. Darwin suspected a non-standard Creator for studying Ichneumon wasps, whose paralyzing stings preserve its prey to be eaten alive by its larvae: “I cannot persuade myself,” wrote Darwin, “that a beneficent and omnipotent God would have designedly created the Ichneumonidae with the express intention of their feeding within the living bodies of Caterpillars, or that a cat should play with mice.” I wonder if any earlier thinker remarked on the excellent evidence thus provided for Manichaen religions over monotheistic ones.

I think there is something wrong with me, in the psychological sense, because I have considered these things before, and they don’t bother me. Maybe I am an intuitive Calvinist, insofar as I don’t require God to make His creation fit my idea of justice.

In a way, Darwin discovered God – a God that failed to match the preconceptions of theology, and so passed unheralded.  If Darwin had discovered that life was created by an intelligent agent – a bodiless mind that loves us, and will smite us with lightning if we dare say otherwise – people would have said “My gosh!  That’s God!”

But instead Darwin discovered a strange alien God – not comfortably “ineffable”, but really genuinely different from us.  Evolution is not a God, but if it were, it wouldn’t be Jehovah.  It would be H. P. Lovecraft’s Azathoth, the blind idiot God burbling chaotically at the center of everything, surrounded by the thin monotonous piping of flutes.

Which you might have predicted, if you had really looked at Nature.

I have also considered this before, and previously concluded that Darwin did discover this Lovecraftian god, which many of his followers happily serve. That is why pantheism is the final state of popular science, to the great dismay of many scientific atheists: because paganism is not conducive to a thoroughgoing universalist rationalism, but a benevolent monarchical theism is offensive to the modern ego, and radical humanism is essentially irrational. All that is left for the romantically egotistical rationalizer is pantheism.

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Instigate some pointless rambling

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