Archive for November, 2009

Whither God?

November 23, 2009

Every once in a while I run across people who make fun of the idea of god, saying something along the lines of

There’s two things I know about god – he’s mean, bigoted, ill tempered, quick to judge and generally ornery. And he has terrible aim.

This sort of objection seems to me to be completely backwards.

One of the fundamental questions people in any society have to answer is: why does ethics work? Why is it that people who behave ethically are in fact more prosperous, have better lives and are more successful than those who don’t?

Nowadays, we have game theory, which seems to do a pretty good job of explaining things, but before the 1940’s people did not have the luxury.

How does one explain how people who try to get ahead by any means necessary – lying, cheating, stealing, etc. get out competed by those who abstain from such activities? It would have to be that the universe itself has a fondness for virtue and a hatred of vice. And what is god but another name for a conscious universe?

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