The Meaning of Life, 42 and Covfefe

As profet of the Fridge I’ve learned to recognize when the coolness of the Stainless Wonder in the corner of my kitchen is guiding my life. Some would think they are coincidences, but I know better. When in a matter of days I have multiple brushes with the search for meaning that we humans engage in. I realize it is a sign that the profet must post.

It started a few days ago when the leader of our American Republic fat fingered a tweet ending in covfefe. The nationwide furtive search for meaning in the word gave me a smile.

Then a little while later I responded on a friends post about meaning with the number 42. Knowing that the chosen ones of the Fridge (even if they don’t know it yet!) would understand that cryptic response.

Then this morning I stumbled onto a trailer for my favorite cartoon that constantly delves into this very topic.

Is this coincidence? I think not. This is clearly the Fridge inspiring me! Or rather as I have found many who despise my lack of belief in god would say. “I choose to believe it.”

When my own faith collapsed I balked at the abyss of lost meaning, it scared me. I feared this lost purpose when I began to doubt the script I’d been given. You see that is one of the more beneficial things religions produce. A sense of meaning, and to bolster it you also get a sense of belonging when you join in ceremonies with others that share the same sense of meaning.

I’m convinced there is some good in providing a sense of meaning in a universe so vast and unfeeling that looking up at the night sky can make you feel smaller than the ant you recently crushed because it bit your ankle.1 The belonging part helps with that too.

But is it possibly a notch better to come up with your own meaning? After all, if you get right down to the brass tacks maybe the real meaning of life is found in laughing at the butter robot. Or giggling at the reason for earth was because no one could figure out what the Fridge ’42’ was all about. Because on the other side of that abyss of lost meaning is a discovery.

The tiny moments do matter. They matter to me and to you and to those around you. Even more so because they happen in a vast universe that will toodle along just fine even when I’m gone. What meaning we assign to that is really up to each of us. Maybe the real purpose of life the Fridge is trying to tell us is that it’s all up to us. Sure it might help us find lost keys once in a while, but being part of the human dance called life is about what we are gonna do with it.

What will we choose to do with it? Will we take on that challenge to go off script and create? Or will we just mark our time in the paradigm we’ve been given by others? I suppose that is up to you. Right after you pass the butter.

 

 

  1. True story, happened yesterday, the signs of the Fridge never cease! If you are but willing to look for them.

Loving a Beast is Normal 

Beauty and the Beast won’t get my money!! Disney, how could you ruin such a great story of implied beastiality with a sideline gay character!!!

Or at least that’s how the uproar over this latest appearance of homosexuality in a major production appears to me.

I mean sure the beast magically becomes human after the girl sees he’s really a good person on the inside, but doesn’t that same metaphor apply to seeing a gay person for who they are on the inside too?

The irony of this great example of cognitive dissonance in religion vs reality is about as high as I’ve ever seen it.

Next time someone goes off on Beauty and the Beast over the implications that being gay is ok, point out the homosexuality is implied no more than the beastiality was long before it made it to the big screen… Girls don’t fall in love with animals (beasts) every day you know!

Maybe the real point of this timeless tale is we should stop judging people by how they look… or the bodies they have! Seems like a good idea don’t you think ?

 

The Crazy Logic of Belief

Imagine for a moment that you are a backyard scientist and you are running an experiment on gravity. Your hypothesis presumes that a roll of quarters will fall faster than a marble. Your logical reasoning for this happening is because the roll of quarters is heavier by about 10 times than the marble.

You set up the experiment and discover they fall at exactly the same rate. What do you do? Do you realize your hypothesis is false? Or do you come up with a reason for why the data didn’t match your prediction?

If you are a bit of a science history nut, you will recognize this as a popularized experiment where Galileo proved the previous ideas about gravity wrong. It was a big enough deal for the progress of experimentation and scientific method that astronauts even repeated the experiment on the moon.

Now given the hammer and feather example in the video you can see how it might seem like lighter objects fall slower than heavy ones, a result that also happens to make sense and be a little more intuitive. Changing the object shape but not changing the weight produces a very different result as also seen in the video. So what gives?

Well these days it’s all pretty well known, the difference is air. Gravity without any air resistance pulls on all objects with a constant acceleration.1 Since air can get in the way and mess with the results so much. It turns out in your backyard experiment it is quite possible you could totally miss the underlying law of falling objects. Especially the result showing that without air getting in the way a hammer and a feather fall at exactly the same rate.

This happens because it is counter-intuitive. A person having dropped a lot of feathers expects them to fall slower than a hammer. Their experience builds up an expectation that is not representative of the core reality. But sometimes our intuition is wrong.

Intuition is not necessarily a rational process, it’s something that is trained by repeated observation. It’s often very useful because we can quickly jump to a conclusion when needed. That very skill helped our ancestors not get eaten by tigers when they noticed that rustling grass meant there were bad things sneaking up on them. The guy that took time to logically deduce if it really was a tiger typically ended up as lunch though. So we didn’t get as healthy a dose of his genes.

My point isn’t to say intuition is a bad thing. Just that sometimes it can be wrong.2 That’s why sometimes results are counter intuitive.

Say for example you and a friend were debating this falling object phenomena and he insisted that the weight of the object was related to the speed at which if fell. He kept pointing at the feather and the hammer results to confirm his point.

You try to show him a result using a bouncing ball and a cannon ball and he dismisses your example out of hand, even refuses to run his own test because he has already ran the hammer and feather test and ‘knowns’ without a shadow of doubt the feather falls slower. 

When you get him to discuss it he comes up with a theory that your balls are shaped such that air pushes down harder on the bouncy ball making it catch up to the cannon ball. He even produces complex equations that explain your result and allow him to keep believing that lighter objects fall slower.

What gives? Is it possible that someone would be so stubborn to not let go of their intuitive understanding and accept a new idea, in this case the law of gravity?

To us it seems silly right? Yet exactly this kind of bizarre reasoning, justifying ones own belief happens all the time when it comes to religious discussions. 3

The fundamental logical flaw that occurs when a person takes the apologetic route for justifying their beliefs is simple, they don’t weigh evidence the same. Evidence that supports belief gets all sorts of rationalizations while the same kind of evidence that would negate the validity of their belief is dissmissed out of hand.

This is a human flaw that knows no bounds of intelligence or education, in fact in a lot of cases a smart person is quite capable of coming up with such complex reasoning that you can hardly follow it. The great Randi points out in this clip its precisely because of their education smart people are sometimes the easiest to fool.

All this came to mind as I recently debated the historicity of the Book of Mormon with several LDS apologists. Their best proffered evidence of authenticity was the NHM = Nahom idea. Proving that Nephi’s bountiful is a really place in the old world was the best actual proof for the book.

Ignore the fact that things like smelted steel, swords, elephants, coins, chariots, horses and even DNA, are completely lacking in the new world… Oh, look over there! It’s is a place that shares 3 letters and some grass and trees in the description! That MUST be proof!

I pointed out to these guys the Vern Holley maps that were part of what collapsed my own shelf. They dismissed by my evidence out of hand just like the gravity example above.

The 30+ correlations with names from that area and time meant nothing to them. I had spent a bunch of time digging through old geography maps to make sure they names were there so I knew they existed in the past and I said as much. But the apologists still insisted it was a meaningless correlation.

Why did they mean nothing you ask? (Because I did ask.) We’ll geez you know just because some letters match up with other words it just isn’t proof!

Really? Like NHM = Nahom? I postulated. That lead to them accusing me of  being a horrible anti-mormon. The idea that I would challenge their expertise showed my lack of knowledge and or intellect. Then they ejected me from their group.

Later, following up on some of the references presented by these guys. I found some more of the arguments promoting the idea that Vern Holley correlation is meaningless. Here are a few:

  • These names are only 11% of the BoM. (using the same calculation the NHM = Nahom correlation is 0.2%) Are you starting to see what I mean about not weighing the evidence equally?
  • These places don’t show up in a google search as existing back in the 1800’s. Seriously, that is fundamentally the point of this guy on the topic. You’d think a PHD in physics would realize that the internet wasn’t a thing back then! Seems obvious to me that not ALL the worlds information is on the web, you might need to go beyond Google. 🙂 4
  • Not all the names match up so therefore none of it is valid. Are you willing to reject your entire NHM = Nahom theory out on a single failure or mistake?

It becomes pretty apparent, pretty fast that we humans are far more likely to confirm our bias than we are to willing to challenge the status quo.

My point in this post to the Fridge door today… I’m not really sure. The more I think about it just doesn’t seem all that effective to try and teach critical thinking post commitment. People need a reason to change their mind about something, an emotional one for the most part. 

You just can’t logic someone out of a crazy belief. Trust me, they will just come up with crazier logic that makes complete sense to them. I honestly doubt I seriously affected the apologists position with my reasoning at all.
So maybe this post is for the select few that think its worth looking behind the curtain to see what Oz really is. There has to be a half a dozen or so of you out there right?

  1. Technically a mutual force that includes both bodies mass but since the earth is so much bigger percentage-wise it’s mass is all that matters, even more technically there are some more effects that show up with more mass that are explained via Einsteins work.
  2. Side note; if you want to be a particularly effective problem solver, use experimentation to repeat known counter intuitive results. By doing it you can effectively retrain your intuition to more accurately depict reality. That is a hugely useful skill in any complex field. I personally did it in electronics, my chosen profession, and it repeatedly helps me solve problems quickly and accurately. A very employable skill!
  3. I don’t think it is a small coincidence that the Fridge inspired me to use Galileo’s example for this post, after all the guys that tried to prove him wrong were none other than the Catholic church itself.
  4. But a lot is if you dig deep enough. There are some really old maps of the area that have been scanned into the system that  can be searched out and looked up to find the existence of them. It’s just a huge pain in the ass, took me several days of eyeballing old maps on my own. Drop me a line if you want me to point you to them.

Stealing Christmas

Christmas is a great holiday. It’s a time when much of the western world gets uptight about the latest Starbucks cup. It’s a time when you get judged by the number of lights on your house. The time of year when snow flies and baby it’s cold outside.

I love Christmas time. In fact it’s one of the reasons I came up with this blog. From a secular perspective I see this holiday as a religion that has been defanged by crowds that love the idea of Santa and spreading genuine care to others.

It’s probably the most powerful example of a myth’s power (treated as a myth outright) to effect change in our behavior.

We look for that perfect gift for someone we love. We think more than normal about the poor and needy among us. Charity is rampant and generosity is common. Stories of Santa Clause fill the airwaves as everyone indulges in a little make believe.

Religions do the same thing. They engage in make believe. But it comes with a price, dogma. Antiquated ideas, like the cursing of black people or the sin of being homosexual live a life far longer that they should as human morality matures beyond stoning people for working on a Sunday.

Dogma even causes people to get wound up about loosing the ‘true meaning’ of Christmas. They actually get annoyed at those who are buying gifts for others and not being Jesus-y enough about it. Think about that. Here are people being generous and thoughtful without their particular faith involved in the process and somehow that makes it a bad thing.

Why you ask? Because you can’t steal all those good things from Christmas!!! Hell, those heathens even use the letter X in place of Christ in the name! (Please ignore the fact that the letter X represents the cross so you can be properly pissed off!)

But here’s the thing. Just a little research and you find out that Jesus had already stolen Christmas from the pagans before them. The celebration of winter solstice and the dawning of a new year when things would get warm again was a pretty big deal for humans surviving the last ice age!

Like Windows interface was stolen from Apple… who stole the idea from Xerox, good ideas survive because great artists steal the best ideas to work from.

Christmas is a stolen idea of new beginnings with a sprinkle of sacrifice added to the mix. Gift giving symbolizes that process and reminds us to be more generous to our fellow beings on the planet.

I think that same transition is happening now as Christmas is celebrated by millions that have no belief in deity at all. They are discovering that you can still be generous and kind, that you can have a community without shared dogma. A place that is truly inclusive because there is no doctrinal tribal exclusion.

Yes Christmas is being stolen again.  All that’s left is to do is what the last guys that stole it did.

Rebrand it.

Merry Fridgemas everybody!!

May your holidays be cool and bright!

Tribal Loyalty 

So today I had an epiphany. Well actually it was a few days ago, today I figured out how to write it down.

Our human default wiring is set to “tribal loyalty.”

That means we tend to cherish those of our own tribe more and those that aren’t part of it not so much.

I have even noted that those that break ranks with the tribe are often most vilified because of this natural default setting.

This came to me after a discussion with a friend. He was very upset by poor Chinese people willing to work for less money just to put rice on the table and thus steal the job from a poor American with a Fridge and a cell phone. Clearly America is in his tribe.

I personally only see poor people in these two groups now, some clearly worse off than others. It dawned on me I have been going to China a LOT lately for work. I realized by getting to know them and their families and their lives that my ‘tribe’ was now bigger than it used to be.

So moral of the story?

-> Try to expand your tribe <-

Get to know someone you wouldn’t normally know. It leads to great epiphanies and just might change that natural default setting a notch or two!

If You are Gay Leave the LDS Church Now

You might be suffering

There are lots of people in the LDS faith suffering from same sex attraction (as the church calls it). It’s a difficult topic for sure. The people in charge are basically telling you that God says you are broken and in need of healing. This isn’t a new concept or policy in the faith, its just the way it is right now. Not unlike how it was for the black people a couple of generations ago.

If you are gay or lesbian, or a transgender Mormon you might be hoping that God will understand. You might yearn for God to tell his leaders you aren’t broken, or the enemy or some sort of deviant in need of help. Because deep down you simply feel misunderstood.

You might even be contemplating drastic action like so many in this same desperate situation have done. To all of you that don’t feel loved by the God you have been taught about since you were little. Please. Please hear the council of the Fridge and hearken to the word.

The LDS Leaders are wrong. You matter, you are valuable, you are worthy, you are fine as you are. If you needed a push, an understanding about these guys and how they really feel about you, just watch this video.

Save Yourself

These aren’t people that care about your welfare. These are old men, stuck in their ways like the prophets 50 years ago. Stuck on the idea that black people had the curse of Cain. There may come a day when they admit their mistake, but it sure ain’t gonna happen while they are alive. Best case given the track record? Fifty years from now they might accept you.

 

left-comic

 

History repeats itself. This just another example of too little happening too late right before you eyes, it follows if you are LGB or T you should leave the faith. Leave it now for your own safety and peace of mind. Don’t fret about where you will go. Thanks to the connectivity of this generation you will find your home quickly. Reach out to those that post on social media about their disillusion with the faith, you will find acceptance and love for who you are. Not for who some old fart wants you to be.

Save yourself my friends. Don’t let your life be wasted by old men so concerned about the insidious ‘gays’ that they totally screwed the pooch and missed the lesson on cyber security about not letting their secrets get leaked online. You will find love for who you are, it can save your life. Trust me on this one. Leave now. Please seek out the better life beyond the hand you have been dealt because it is waiting there for you. Reach out and grab it. Don’t worry about where you will go. There are sympathetic people waiting to catch you. Have faith to take the leap away from the church. You will find your place. I’m sure of it.