Tag Archives: God

Heaven is Virtual Reality. Heaven is a fantasy. This is heaven.

Imagine this:

Sometime in the future, everyone on the planet decides to live in a utopian virtual world [think Second Life 100 years from now], however they don’t access that world via a computer screen and keyboard.

The physical body would be stored away on life-support. Everyone would be tube fed the perfect amount of energy, fat, vitamins and minerals; delivered in a constant stream throughout the day.

We would have electronic messages sent right into our brain so our eyes wouldn’t have to be open. Smells, tastes and touch would all be created in our brain or spinal cord.┬áThe mind would be free to escape the physical disabilities of real life; the paralyzed would be able to walk, no one would have AIDS or bird flu. We could all choose to live our lives however we chose, free from the constraints of real-life.

In a utopian virtual world, where resources are unlimited, would we have to buy products and services, would we have to work to earn currency, and how would goods and services be priced?

Some other questions:

  • In the absence of work, what would we do all day?
  • What would we talk to our friends about?
  • Would we be immortal?
  • What value would life have if we were immortal?
  • Would there be a government; someone to make decision about the world?
  • How would that government be chosen?

How would heaven be different to this utopian virtual life?

If every ‘good’ person goes to heaven for eternity, there must be quite a few people up there. Just like in a virtual world, they won’t need physical things like food, water, medicine, money, and they won’t need to go to work to buy things.

  • What would these people do and what would be their purpose?
  • How would they feel fulfilled?
  • What would their dreams and aspirations be?
  • What would they talk about with their friend and family?
  • Maybe they will decide to learn and gain knowledge and wisdom. But, for what purpose?
  • Maybe they will decide to play sport or compete against each other. But how will teams be chosen?
  • Will there be rules and regulations for competitors? Who will make these rules?
  • Would they compete for a prize? What could the prize be?
  • What if I am really passionate about my team and someone says they’re rubbish? Could I dislike them?
  • Would there be arguments? How could arguments be resolved?
  • Would music, art, movies, entertainment or literature exist in heaven?
  • If I was passionate about writing theatre, film, music or poetry, could I continue with that in heaven? Could I share my work with an audience, maybe in a theatre? Who would perform my work? How would they be chosen over the many others who wanted to perform? Who built the theatre?
  • How would someone passionate about food or wine get on?
  • What if my whole family was here except my very lively and entertaining gay sister and her caring partner? Their two adopted children are here though, forever without their parents.

Heaven is a fantasy. This is heaven.

Toothpaste will save Africa!

I was reading an article today and got really depressed.

(Azeem Azhar (2005). “Better and Faster than politics” New Stateman 18(878) p. 24.)

Here is a snippet:

The bottom of the pyramid is a new competitive business space, with new demands. If you want to sell toothpaste to an Indian villager, you need to know that he may not have access to running water, that he can’t afford to throw away the packaging, and that your main competitors are the twigs from the neem tree.”

And another:

“…the organisations best able to rapidly design and deliver the products and services that poor people need are the world’s multinationals.”

I totally understand his argument. Sure the world’s poor people are an untapped market for large multinationals and there is money to be made. But does this Indian villager really need to spend money on toothpaste when he can get free twigs from a tree to brush his teeth. I mean, is that really an effective use of his/her wage, over say clean water or a flushing toilet.

It really comes back to how we measure poverty. And I think we do that by living standards. Therefore the fact that someone has a toothbrush, raises their livings standards and moves them out of poverty. Please someone explain how this works in intricate detail.

This also doesn’t help the country that this new toothbrush owner lives in. All the money he spent on it his lovely toothbrush gets flown out of the country back to the United States (or somewhere else equally rich). The country doesn’t really benefit from the creation of jobs to make the toothbrush, nor any money from taxes (other than a value-added tax) earned from the manufacturing plant (land tax, capital gains tax, company tax).

The author finally gains some considered thought and suggests:

“Am I saying that there is no role for government in this sort of work, that politics is useless? Far from it. Government and civil society – politics, if you like – are urgently needed to foster the basic conditions, such as physical security, that allow the poor to connect to the world economy.”

Thank God (Side note: I don’t believe in God. Who should I thank?). The governments of developing countries need to apply restrictions on multinational companies operating in their country if they want to extract some of that wealth for themselves. Don’t sell out to McDonald’s!

Andrew Denton’s “God on my Side”

There are going to be a lot of very disappointed dead people.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting that I am super knowledgeable and know that heaven doesn’t exist. But there are an awful lot of people on the Earth who believe that their special brand of religion is correct and that everyone who doesn’t believe, will not be going to heaven. Some of these people have got to be wrong. (The atheists are doomed; they’re not going no matter who turns about to be correct > although I suppose that is a realisation they have already accepted.)

So why do the people in this documentary believe that their religion is correct and all others are ‘the work of the devil’? Maybe they were born in a certain country with a certain religious heritage, or maybe they happened to be brought up by parents who believed a certain belief, or maybe they simply found a God that made sense to them. Think about this: If the devout Christians featured in “God on my Side” had been born into a different country with a different dominant religion, had been born into a family with different religious beliefs or had found a different religion that seemed to solve their problems, would they believe in that other religion with the same enthusiasm.

So if everyone on planet believes that only the people who believe what they believe, will live for eternity in heaven, there are going to be a great number of people who end up feeling very disappointed.

Wouldn’t it suck if you thought that you were definitely, without a shadow of a doubt, going to rise up into heaven, and then you turned out to be wrong and the Hindus were the ones who were actually correct, or the Egyptians, or the Greeks, or the Muslims or whoever. You were wrong, and well, you are going to hell. Too bad that you were an outstanding individual who cared for your family, always followed the law, were totally ethical, cared about the wider community, gave your entire estate to the poor, helped save the endangered tree frog…

TOO BAD! Your goin’ to hell, because you were wrong dude. You were a Muslim, but actually the Catholics had it right.

I’m an atheist, I’m a kind, generous, thoughtful person, but I’m wrong and I’m going to hell anyway. Fair is fair.

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Beginner’s Bible Coloring Book!

Dad, did dinosaurs really exist?
Sure they did, son. The Bible says so. They didn’t call them “dinosaurs” back then, but instead they were known as “leviathans” or “behemoths”.
But, my science teacher says dinosaurs lived millions of years ago. Is that true?
Of course not, son.
Then how old are they?
Well, let’s see. The Bible tells us [from Adam and Eve’s family tree] that the Universe is only a few thousand years old. So dinosaurs had to have lived within the past few thousand years. That’s simple logic, son.
Oh. So that means they were on Noah’s Ark?
Absolutely! The Bible says two of every animal were brought [by God] to the ark. Dinosaurs were animals. So, using your logic again son, dinosaurs had to be on the ark.
Huh. So how come scientists say they’re older than that? and died way before Jesus?
Well, son, they just make that up. Dinosaur bones don’t have labels on them to tell how old they are. In fact, there is no proof whatsoever that the world and its fossil layers are millions of years old. No scientist saw dinosaurs die-
No I’m serious. Scientists only find the bones in the here and now, and because many of them are evolutionists, they try to fit the story of the dinosaurs into their view.
That’s sad. But I thought scientists were smart?
Sure, but they don’t know everything. So they have to make stuff up to fit their beliefs. While you and I, we have the facts, straight from the Bible.
I don’t want to be a scientist!
Ha! That’s ok, son. It’s better to be right, than smart. C’mon, wanna learn how to flip burgers like your Dad?

World Swimming Championships – Uh oh

SMH: Tribal Mind reports:

They were breaking records and faces at the World Swimming Championships last night, but most Australian viewers didn’t want to know. Channel Nine’s devotion to the water was able to earn it only 23.3 per cent of the prime time audience, putting Nine in an unprecedented third place behind Ten on 23.5 per cent and Seven on 36.3 (ABC 12.0, SBS 4.9). Thorpie is sadly missed.

What Australia watched, Tuesday
1. Dancing with the Stars Seven 1.856m
2. All Saints Seven 1.576
3. Seven News Seven 1.448
4. Today Tonight Seven 1.307
5. Nine News Nine 1.276
6. NCIS Ten 1.255
7. A Current Affair Nine 1.204
8. Home and Away Seven 1.167
9. The Biggest Loser Ten 1.162
10. The Simpsons – 7:30pm Ten 1.142
11. The Simpsons – 8:00pm Ten 1.100
12. ABC News ABC 1.007
13. World Swimming Championships Nine 0.976
14. Deal or No Deal Seven 0.883
15. Ten News Ten 0.878
(OzTAM preliminary estimates, mainland capitals)

Will Nine cancel its Swimming Championships coverage or push it back later in the night? Or will they continue to put a program on in prime time that attracts less people than the ABC news. Oh my god – what have they done? I wonder if it is doing this badly in Melbourne. Do they have to keep it on due to media sponsorships?

I am having a wonderful week watching Channel Nine do so badly. What a gift!

My life support is back on

You don't know how amazing I felt when today at uni I could once again access my CIF (Creative Industries Faculty) Z: Drive from across campus.

No more FileZilla installations and transfers and no more downloading from my CIF 'website'. No more having twenty copies of everything in different location.

And even better, our CIF 'website' thing is going to become once again available to non-university students and staff.

Thankyou God, Thankyou QUT.

Companies are ‘monitoring’ this blog right now.

Did you know that companies are ‘monitoring’ blogs and messageboards to determine people’s opinions about brands and advertising campaigns?

Computers are used to “peruse” millions of blogs and messageboards and measure the amount of “chatter” or “buzz” present in the “blogosphere“. Natural Language Processing is used to analyse the language used in posts, to estimate the demographic information of the author (including their age and gender, and maybe even their ethnicity) (Morrissey, 2005) and determine if the “chatter” is negative or positive.

Umbria Communications and BuzzMetrics [now Nielson BuzzMetrics] are two companies that currently gather and analyse online chatter. Umbria’s Buzz Report, analyses content from 16 million blogs, message boards, opinion sites and other public forums (Umbria Inc., 2005). The BuzzMetrics’ Discussion Miner scours blogs, community websites, listservs and Usenet newsgroups and, according to the company website, is able to “track particular users over time” (BuzzMetrics, 2005), or more accurately track particluar user’s opinions over time.

Unlike traditional market research, this form of research does not require participants to give approval for the use of their opinions and comments because blogs are publicly published. However, as Godes and Mayzlin (2004, p.26) point out, the participation of consumers in online communities is “undoubtedly made without the consideration that firms may be observing these conversations and drawing inferences from them”. These technologies may especially cause concern for consumers who consider blogs to be personal online diaries, and use messageboards to provide personal comments.

Some ‘bloggers’ who have discovered the use of these measurement techniques have used their blogs to discuss the topic. One such blog, called Pop Occulture Blog (2005), contains posts which describe this technology as ‘amazing’ and ‘fascinating’, as well as questionable. Jonathan Carson, president and CEO of BuzzMetrics, also took part in the blog. He suggests that the company is helping marketers engage in conversation-based relationships with customers (rather than disseminating information to them) by helping marketers listen to consumers more effectively.

Which means, no doubt, that the companies mentioned have read what I have written about them (and if so I did try to be accurate and neutral).

What do you think? Please comment.

References/More Information:

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This article first appeared at the M/Cyclopedia of New Media.