Saturday, September 24, 2011

Reality check

If you're watching the current self-inflicted economic disaster, caused by a failure to learn anything from the last self-inflected Great Depression; or if you're looking at the current crop of Republican candidates for loser in Nov 2012, and wondering when people will finally learn from the past, here's a depressing reality check:

"The universe is infinite because it has not been produced by a creator. The causes of what now exists had no beginning."

"There is an infinite number of worlds of different sizes: some are larger than ours, some have no sun or moon, others have suns or moons that are bigger than ours. Some have many suns and moons. Worlds are spaced at differing distances from each other; in some parts of the universe there are more worlds, in other parts fewer. In some areas they are growing, in other parts, decreasing. They are destroyed by collision with one another. There are some worlds with no living creatures, plants, or moisture."

"The material cause of all things that exist is the coming together of atoms and void. Atoms are too small to be perceived by the senses. They are eternal and have many different shapes, and they can cluster together to create things that are perceivable. Differences in shape, arrangement, and position of atoms produce different things. By aggregation they provide bulky objects that we can perceive with our sight and other senses."

"By convention sweet, by convention bitter, by convention hot, by convention cold, by convention color: but in reality atoms and void."
- Democritus, 5th century BCE

That's right. Over 2,500 years ago a Greek philosopher laid out the basics of empiricism. And yet Heaven is for real recently made the NYT Bestseller list.

So, reality check: progress is measured by the fact that only 98% of the populace believes in nonsense, instead of 99%.

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