Here’s something fun to consider: the universe is just a computer simulation. Scientists at the University of Washington think they’ve found a way to test this hypothesis: http://www.washington.edu/news/2012/12/10/do-we-live-in-a-computer-simulation-uw-researchers-say-idea-can-be-tested/
Far-fetched sounding, of course, although anyone who has spent any amount of time contemplating the scale of the universe, the nature of consciousness, theology, philosophy or pretty much any of the questions beyond “What topping do I want on my pizza?” will have at least considered the possibility nothing is as it seems.
I lost my religious faith decades ago. I was a staunch atheist for a long time. While I still have no belief in the gods of religions and am utterly skeptical of the cartoonish versions of spirituality touted by the mystic set, I have retreated slightly from my atheism to a position on the borders of agnosticism. In short, I have no idea, and don’t presume to have any idea. The idea there’s a blackhole billions of times the size of the sun is unfathomable to me. So is the speed of light, subatomic physics and all these other things we so blithely accept the existence of, myself included, without really having the faintest clue how or why the universe is what it is.
I don’t believe in fantasy, I believe in reality, but I believe reality may be far stranger than our day-to-day experiences indicate.
Contemptible, pathetic or just plain sad? A pregnant mother of nine will give birth to her 10th child in jail, because she had one of her children shoplifting food for her: http://www.leaderpost.com/news/Saskatoon+woman+sent+jail+using+daughter+shoplift/7688962/story.html
I’m fascinated by the nature-nurture debate, and the concept of freewill (where would it come from?), and stories like this one pose a real challenge to the concept of personal responsibility: if the children of the cocaine abusing, alcoholic mom with 10 kids grow up to be a mess, what percentage of that is their own fault and what percentage will be the fault of their mom? And how much responsibility does the mom have for her own failed circumstances? Tough questions with few answers. But maybe we don’t need the answer. A persuasive utilitarian argument might be simply that the best outcomes for the most people are realized when we hold people individually accountable for their actions, regardless of where they came from, while still allowing rare exceptions for mental illness and the like.
Duckling Dell and Gosling Glen? Who came up with those terrible street names, and could you please identify yourself? Totally brutal. (No offense, eh: nice homes, nice neighbourhood, but even residents must know those street names suck).
I should talk, though: I grew up on the corner of Robin’s Road and Swan Street. Crummy names, but without the upside of a nice neighbourhood (my house was the fourth one to the right, on the left side, seven houses up: http://www.flickr.com/photos/dreamindly/2440538959/in/photostream/)