[ExI] Nature (was: Re: religious question)

Ben Zaiboc ben at zaiboc.net
Fri May 1 08:42:32 UTC 2020

On 01/05/2020 07:08, Kunvar Thaman wrote:
> My dad thinks that's there's 'something' at play making everything 
> around us so complex yet so simple. That something may not be someone. 
> He's more of a 'some universal power' sort of person. He says that the 
> more we find out the we know less. There's an inherent beauty to 
> everything, and my dad calls that 'nature'. He believes that nature is 
> cleverer than we are, and if there's something disagreeing with the 
> nature, it's wrong.

Ironically, that 'something' or 'universal power' is Evolution (maybe 
not ironic for your dad, but certainly for some people).

I certainly can sympathise with the feeling that the more we learn, the 
less we feel we know, but that's just a consequence of the learning 
revealing that there is more to know. We still know more than we did, 
but realise that there is more to know than we previously thought. So 
it's not a reason to stop learning.

I'm not sure I understand the rest, though, about nature. Defining 
'nature' as an inherent beauty to everything, and saying that there are 
things that can disagree with it is contradictory.

I'm not sure where the fairly widespread idea that 'nature knows best' 
etc., comes from, but it too is contradictory, given our use of 
technology, medicine, etc. Even wearing clothes. We constantly do 
'unnatural' things, and benefit greatly from it. In fact, we'd be 
long-extinct (or at least never have become what we are now) if not for 
our propensity to do 'unnatural' things.

I don't understand how the idea persists, either, given the glaring 
bodges that nature has produced, not to mention the extreme cruelty 
that's inextricably embedded in it.

I guess your dad would consider me very wrong, because I see nature as 
our implacable enemy, to be constantly striven against. Nature 
(especially biology, and evolution in particular) is like an abusive 
parent, in my view. We wouldn't be here without it, but it has done us 
grevious wrong, and our highest priority should be to get away from it 
as soon as possible. Except we can't. So our only choice is to master 
it. The way to do that is to learn as much about it as we can, and with 
that knowledge, build tools to overcome it.

Ben Zaiboc

More information about the extropy-chat mailing list