The Moon

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Postby SBernard81 on Sat Jan 17, 2004 1:37 am

Well, you must remember that the "permanent presence" on the moon George Bush is talking about is not a moon city, but rather, a small contained research colony, much like the International Space Station. A lunar colony would be quite cramped indeed, but astronauts are used to claustrophobia. Honestly, I personally don't think that regular civilians will EVER live on the moon. Maybe someday in the fairly distant future, there will be research colonies populated by, I don't know, the hundreds? Thousands, maybe? Certainly nothing more than that, no matter how casual and affordable space travel becomes. There's simply no reason to live there. The moon, to put it quite simply, sucks. It's a dry, airless, lifeless rock, and you'd probably develop Seasonal Affective Disorder or something there.

As for Jerry Mander, I've never read him but I can tell I disagree with him. I think people have to be careful about distinguishing between the failings of technology and the failings of science. The latter, I personally believe, is a philosophy by which humans should live their lives. The former is the application of knowledge gleaned from science, and is of course subject to all of the familiar human failings. However, as dangerous as our technological evolution has become, I would argue that science has led us out of a dark cave of our past and has the potential to lead us into a bright future, so long as we don't fuck it up.

I remember watching a documentary on a tribal culture in Africa in which children and infants who, while out playing, recieved scratches or marks anywhere near their genitals (which is pretty easy to do when you aren't wearing clothes, I'm sure) are considered cursed. The infants are simply left in the wild to be carried away by predators. Children, however, would not go so easily, so they are tied to logs and thrown into the river. This happens multiple times per year, in a fairly small tribal society.

Sadly, cultures which have not accepted reason and logic as essential interpretive tools fall into this sort of madness regularly, and most all of the celebrated tribal cultures of the past had their own similar quirks.

I'm sure Mr. Mander would probably argue that our own highly technological, scientific society has it's share of travesties, and that children are murdered or abandoned or abused for stupid reasons in our society just as they were in any other. This is indisputable, and it is a good point, but I would argue that at least, in our society, we recognize our own faults and are actively trying (though not quite hard enough) to eliminate them, unlike the infants left to the jackals in a socially acceptable manner.
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Postby Dezro on Sat Jan 17, 2004 5:18 pm

SBernard81 wrote:The moon, to put it quite simply, sucks. It's a dry, airless, lifeless rock
Already it's better than Nebraska. Besides, the gravity is lower. That's pretty cool right there.
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Postby SBernard81 on Sat Jan 17, 2004 9:35 pm

I won't try to romanticise indigeones cultures as superior to ours, but I think there are many positive influences that can come from primitive cultures.


Oh yes, please, please do not mistake my statement that tribal cultures have gotten a lot wrong with an implication that tribal cultures have no wisdom to offer us. Every culture has nuggets of wisdom that the patient and intelligent person can discover, from stone age culture to modern American culture. It's all about avoiding an idealised view of an one time period or culture though (and, on that note, whenever possible, the demonization of cultures should be avoided as well). For example, this idea that the World War II generation was somehow flawless and 100% heroic... oh yeah, except for that whole thing about black people not voting or being allowed into our schools and facilities. Whoops! Again, this is not intended to "debunk" the World War II generation, rather, I am just pointing out that they had their flaws as did all other cultures.

You do point out an error in my reasoning that I am currently quite easily felled by: logic and reason CANNOT be a basis for morality (as evidenced by Nazi scientists). There can be no equation, X+Y/Z = GOOD. This has led many modern philosophers, such as Nietzsche, to decide that morality simply does not exist. Other philosophers have used this point to debunk the scientific, godless, mechanical view of the universe, in favor of a moral universe ruled over by God.

I have a lot of trouble with this, because I have no desire to throw good and evil out the window as concepts to live by, but I have not seen any evidence that has led me to believe our universe is anything but a beautiful, infinitely complex equation, a mind-numbingly grand arena ruled by phyiscal law rather than spiritual. I believe in science, but I don't want to give up morality in the process. What's the solution? That's for future philosophers to decide, I suppose.

To condense the problem, it is thus: can spiritual (or moral) law exist without a God?

Do we have any real, empirical reasons for believing in either, or are we letting our desire for order blind us from Nietzsche's truth, that good and evil are simply illusions dreampt up by man? CAN there be empirical reasons for believing in morality? If there COULD BE empirical reasons for believing in spiritual law, wouldn't that mean that morality is actually just physical law and thus quite different from our current conception of it? Tough questions.

Already it's better than Nebraska. Besides, the gravity is lower. That's pretty cool right there.


You can jump over a garbage truck!
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Postby SBernard81 on Sun Jan 18, 2004 10:43 am

Of course, accepting the main fiber of the universe to be something that is impossible to gain evidence for presents a whole new set of problems, and the main one would be "does blind faith really lead to good rather than evil?" I know the term "blind faith" is loaded, but let's face it... we're talking about a faith that denies the possibility of evidence.

If you don't think that faith can exist when combined with evidence, I need to point no farther than the aforementioned Nietzsche, who actually rather despised science, and despised the attempt to "know" anything. Even the evidence from his own eyes and ears was meaningless to him. To accept science you have to put faith in reality itself, as well as in a correlation between human senses and reality.

So, we're not talking about the scientist's faith here, we're talking about blind faith. Does it really lead to good? There are of course many examples of it leading to good and many of it leading to bad. I would argue that blind faith is simply a roll of the dice, that it is gambling with morality, because, in the end, what else could it be? If you are searching for a system with zero evidence, your chances of choosing a "good" system (some modern religions, I suppose) or an "evil" one (let's say the Nazis again, who may have had moments of logic and reason, but ultimately their core philosophy was nothing but blind faith) seem pretty damn random.

I believe that perhaps morality IS just an aspect of physical law. Perhaps it is much like your heaven/hell example about working together. Maybe the capacity of humans to prosper and be happy is linked to morality in a purely numerical way, and ultimately this law is not much different from the fact that you can only fit so many people into a phone booth. Yes, this would not please the hardline fundamentalist Christians/Muslims/Jews out there, but let's be honest, how often does the truth please them?

- Steve Out

P.S. - I had a dream just a few hours ago while I was sleeping about how the South Park guys made a second movie, but it was a fundamentalist Christian movie about how Cartman finds Jesus, and it was very visceral and disturbing, like "The Passion of Christ" is supposed to be. Yes, that is what my dream was about. Weird.
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