Further Ruminations on the Appeal to Nature

Sometime back, I wrote a post about the Appeal to Nature fallacy. It is a fallacy that bothers me quite significantly; the main reason is because its assumptions and consequences are unspoken or, in most cases, never addressed.

For those who don’t know the Appeal to Nature (ATN) usually involves a dietary and medicinal claim that natural products are, directly or otherwise, better than artificial (read: man-made) products. Anytime you read the words “Natural”, “All Natural,” “Organic,” you are reading an Appeal to Nature; specifically, to nature’s goodness–I’ve never seen arsenic used in an ATN. Notably, it tends to rear its head in relation to conditions and diseases that our current medical knowledge is unable to address—Alzheimer’s and cancer being two examples among many. (In that light, the ATN might be considered the exploitation of severe emotional distress among those at the least rational stage of their life as they face daunting, perhaps hopeless, odds to make money, but that’s just the pessimist in me talking.) The selling of natural supplements is often marked as a way to give back power and certainty that psychological wellbeing demands; subsequently relieving cognitive discomfort, albeit at exorbitant costs (in relation to their benefit that is—except for a few, genuinely exorbitant price tags such as Stanley Burzynski’s supposed cancer cure which rings in at several hundred thousand dollars). From multivitamins to gingko bilboa, the ATN is a powerful train of thought.

However, despite its popularity, it is so full of holes, contradictions and—what really gets me—unspoken assumptions and conclusions. I’m not going to bother debunking it; that has been done many times; once here on this blog, and many other—far better—denunciations on the Internet (my favourite being Kyle Hill’s Does Mother Nature Always Know What’s Best). Rather, I plan on taking the ATN through to its logical conclusion.

Continue reading “Further Ruminations on the Appeal to Nature”

The Kingdom of God

In the 17th chapter of Luke is written the phrase, “The kingdom of God is within man.”

In this post, I am not going to go into how the Bible contradicts itself at every turn, how God commands Moses to slaughter hundreds of thousands of people for fun (as God put all those people there to be slaughtered), or any number of things that just don’t make sense. (I know I kind of just did.) I want to talk about just that one quote above from the Gospel of Luke, and show how it reveals the true nature of God, and how it’s not where you might think it is (if you’re a believer that is).

It is the truest representation of God ever committed to paper. God is not out there, he’s inside us. We are God. We have created Him in our image, not the other way around. When viewed in this light, it seemingly explains the varying interpretations of God that religions and people have. One book says this, the other says that, and the third says “No, it’s this.” Then some other group claims to have all the answers, while still another starts a religious war in His name and others curtails this right or that in some society here or there. God is not up there, He is in here. We are him and that is why he is so stupid like us. Everyone thinks they have the right answer, yet only one answer can exist.

God is the gift of consciousness, though the answer was invented before we ever knew what that meant and before we began to ask the unanswerable (at the time) questions for which we used Him as an explanation for. It is the ability to look into the mirror and know that you are staring at yourself. To have the knowledge to remake the world in your image. To not be constrained by Nature’s laws, but to go above them and beyond. Yet most of all, the choice. To be a part of nature, or to be separate from it; We have chosen the latter. This has given us some remarkable things such as cities, automobiles, crops and medicine. However, before we had the knowledge of how such things worked, we started asking questions like where does lightning come from? Why does it flood? Why does the Sun rise and set, or more appropriately, why does the Earth spin on its axis at 23.5 degrees creating the illusion of the sunrise and sunset? Why do some stars (planets) wander across the sky?

When we started asking these questions, we didn’t have the knowledge to answer, so we resorted to our imagination. We made up Gods, internal approximations of our selves and externally projected them into celestial beings who involve themselves in our daily lives and make the world work in order for us to live and prosper. But, now that we have the real answers, we are unwilling to let of the original answer, wrong and unfulfilling as it is due to the emotional attachments that have been artificially created for us through external forces such as religion.

As time went on. Religion itself evolved, along with our societies. We went from Polytheism to Monotheism beginning with Judaism, then Christianity, and finally Islam. Monotheism is now the predominant form of belief now. But is it really that different from the days of Polytheism? Much as ourselves, are we really that different from our ancestors 7,000 years ago at the birth of civilization?

Monotheism has hundreds of saints, angels, prophets and Messiah’s whom all have a job to do as they serve God, though God is all-powerful, all-knowing, and everywhere at once, yet cannot be without help. How can this be? Because he is a personification of ourselves; we have manifested him, created him from our imaginations, and we have projected our societies and characters upon his imaginary shoulders so that we may turn to Him for consolation.

There is no good reason to believe in God. Far better and far more satisfying it is, to believe in one’s self and in the human spirit. Something we have evidence of and see in action everyday.