This is the html version of The Bibbble. The pdf version should be used for printing.
(Human edition 1)
the better alternative
(Human edition 1)
The story of DAYO
creators of our Level 3 Universe
and their Ethical Principles for a Level 3 Universe
© David Swanton 2010.
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Many people aspire to live good lives. Sometimes however, they are prevented from doing so, because other people, organisations and governments impose views on them that adversely affect their individual lives.
Mainstream religions, especially those with a god or gods, are guilty of being the major protagonists in this regard. These religions have denied people the option of euthanasia and have regularly opposed abortion, homosexual relationships, and persecuted those not of their religion. Most religions’ gods have been fabricated as a security blanket for the predominant cultures of the time. These gods can have sexist, racist, religist, and homophobic characteristics. Perversely, it is not uncommon for people to follow gods that they believe and openly acknowledge as murderous, having killed people, including children. For thousands of years, some religions have retarded the advancement of knowledge by denigrating scientific progress and anything that conflicts with their primitive religious texts written in antiquity. Worse still, religious and political leaders allow religions to continue to indoctrinate the young, and do nothing to stop religious-based discrimination.
All this can change, and The Bibbble is a start. It is a short light satire of a standard religious text, it contains modern and ethical principles by which we can all live our lives, and some tests to determine the resolve of the religious, because people must appreciate that religious leaders can no longer justify their denial of scientific evidence, their discrimination, and the imposition of their religious beliefs on others, amongst other failings. As educational standards improve, more and more people will seek more ethical ways to live and more rational, evidence-based solutions to the world’s problems.
Donations in lieu of a specified purchase price and to support the further development of this online book are welcomed. This book can and should only be downloaded and printed from the Ethical Rights website at www.ethicalrights.com.
If more people download and print this book, and The Bibbble Companion (available at www.ethicalrights.com), and think rationally and constructively about issues, then we can all help make a better world. This world would be respectful of an individual’s human rights, respect the equality of all people, and use evidence-based decision making to solve problems.
Let us all live a fulfilling and ethically good life. Come on world, we can do better.
And actually, many thanks to DAYO for their digital download of this information.
Chapter 1 DAYO 1
Chapter 2 The Project 2
Chapter 3 The Nature of the Level 3 Universe 3
Chapter 4 Ethically Good Beings 4
Chapter 5 Beings That Do Not Develop Well 5
Chapter 6 Imaginary Gods 6
Chapter 7 An Individual’s Choice 7
Test 1. The Brainwashing Test 15
Test 2. The Gullibility Test 17
Test 3. The Delusion Test 19
Test 4. The Circular Argumentation Test 21
Test 5. The Test of Hypocrisy 22
Test 6. The Test of Moral Fortitude 24
Test 7. The Test of Reality 25
Test 8. The One Minute Test 27
Test Analysis 29
The Level 3 Universe
n the beginning, Dosuaxdip, Adaei, Yowkq and Ojqo (DAYO) constructed a Level 3 Universe. The Bibbble is the story of DAYO, four superbeings attending superbeing school, and the universe they constructed.
As ethical superbeings, DAYO respect individual liberty and have a strong commitment to make their superbeing world the best possible world for the superbeings living in it.
The construction of their first Level 3 Universe is a direct consequence of their lives as ethical superbeings. DAYO worked hard to construct a universe in which some beings would evolve with intelligence and, as in their superbeing world, have a desire to make the universe a better place for all who live in it.
DAYO are as benevolent, knowledgeable, skilful and capable as young superbeings can be. They are excellent students, but they, like anybody, are not perfect. Although their universe is a good one, it is a Level 3 Universe, and it necessarily has imperfections.
This Bibbble reveals that DAYO are indeed the creators of this wonderful universe.
nd it came to pass that, for a school project, DAYO were required to construct a Level 3 Universe; the universe inhabited by some intelligent species, ynots, and human beings, amongst many others. The satisfactory development of this universe will earn DAYO sufficient credits to graduate.
DAYO are happy, fulfilled and enjoy their work, and they know that if they continue to work hard, they will graduate to construct more complex and sophisticated Level 4 Universes. At DAYO’s current stage of development, construction of more complex and advanced universes is beyond their capabilities, although they ultimately aspire to this goal.
DAYO hope that soon they will have the opportunity to construct other universes that will also make them proud.
The Nature of the Level 3 Universe
AYO wanted their first Level 3 Universe to be truly exceptional and different from the universes developed by other superbeings. They constructed a universe governed by the immutable laws of physics that human scientists are continually discovering through a process of inquiry, formulating theories, testing them through experiment, analysing results, drawing conclusions, and reformulating and refining their theories using rational and inspired thought processes.
For their universe to be different, DAYO incorporated some special features, including what scientists refer to as uncertainty, into their universe. These features introduce unpredictability and variety into the universe.
DAYO were aware that by incorporating uncertainty they forfeited the ability to determine the outcome of all phenomena. Moreover, although superbeing school rules do not specifically prohibit interference with the course of events in a universe, Level 3 universes exist for but a short period of superbeing time. It is therefore impossible for DAYO or other superbeings to interfere with events in the Level 3 Universe.
A requirement of Level 3 Universe is that beings will evolve that have the capacity to choose to make their own decisions and determine how they should live. It is unfortunate for many beings that wrongs might occur because of some of these beings’ choices and the uncertainty introduced into the universe.
Ethically Good Beings
n DAYO’s universe some species evolve to become highly intelligent. Some members of other species, such as humans, do not attain an overall high level of intelligence. However, DAYO consider that humans, who use their abilities and intelligence wisely to live fulfilling and ethically good lives, to the extent they can, and aim to make the universe a better place, have developed well.
DAYO assess the extent to which capable and adult humans develop by considering how these humans perform against two criteria.
1. Whether humans use The Bibbble’s Ethical Principles for Level 3 Universes (EP3) as a basis for their behaviour.
2. How humans fare on The Bibbble Tests.
DAYO stress that humans who fare well against these two DAYO criteria have the satisfaction of knowing that they are living fulfilling and ethically good lives. DAYO designed humans to live fulfilling and ethically good lives so that they could make the world a better place to live for all.
DAYO determined that many humans would evolve with the intellectual capacity and independence to act ethically and make the universe a better place for all. The principles upon which these humans’ ethical behaviour is based are directly or indirectly reflected in The Bibbble’s EP3.
Some desirable human characteristics include behaving ethically, respecting individual liberty, treating others equally and not discriminating against others, enjoying their life but not so that it overly adversely affects others, not imposing their views or values on others, critically examining phenomena, appreciating and accepting rational, objective and scientific reasoning, thinking for themselves, respecting the environment, and fully using their abilities.
Beings That Do Not Develop Well
AYO consider that otherwise capable humans who believe in things such as gods and miracles, who subscribe to dogmatic and irrational beliefs, who do not treat others equally, who discriminate against others, who do not aim to make the world a better place, and who do not fully use their abilities have not developed well. These humans will generally feel unsatisfied and will not live as fulfilling and ethically good lives as they could. They will occasionally feel guilty that they cannot meet the primitive requirements laid down in religious texts formulated by uneducated people trying to explain what they did not understand.
If some of these humans choose to lead others and to act as religious bullies and impose their moral values on others, whether physically, emotionally or through laws enacted for the governance of human societies, they are considered to have developed very poorly. These humans have violated an important Bibbble ethical principle, and DAYO refer to their behaviour as non-objective non-good, or NONG, behaviour.
DAYO desire that humans who exhibit NONG behaviour and humans who do not fare well against the two DAYO criteria should be able to attain the necessary skills to live fulfilling and ethically good lives in their future. It is an individual human’s choice whether they wish to live a fulfilling and ethically good life or not. They should choose wisely.
DAYO realise that if they are to progress and develop more sophisticated universes in future, they must work to ensure that any beings that show NONG behaviour have the ability to change and become beings who can live fulfilling and ethically good lives.
AYO find it rather bemusing that many humans do not realise that a desirable quality for all intelligent beings, particularly superbeings, is humility. DAYO are not jealous, vain or indignant. DAYO do not have egos requiring massaging.
If verifiable scientific evidence were available that DAYO existed, then DAYO would not demand or require any adulation or attention. DAYO understand that humans will never have credible evidence for their existence, or indeed of any gods or God.
DAYO do not expect well-developed humans to believe in their existence any more than they would believe in imaginary beings, as there is no credible evidence supporting their existence. Beings with great intellect in the universe realise this and have no need to fabricate, pray to, or idolise imaginary gods.
People with ancient and primitive customs and poor ethical systems, and with little knowledge of the physical world, created these gods to explain what they could not. DAYO have sympathy for, but must ultimately be disappointed with, beings that choose to believe and adore these imaginary gods.
These gods are often alleged to have committed disgusting acts, murdered other humans, discriminated against people on the basis of sex, race, genome, sexual preference or other characteristics, been hypocritical, or otherwise violated The Bibbble’s Ethical Principles. Many humans, particularly those who exhibit NONG behaviour, have also behaved in atrocious ways.
As DAYO are the creators of the universe, they know that these gods, manufactured by humans with poorly developed reasoning skills, do not exist.
An Individual’s Choice
he universe, as observed by humans, is an original creation of DAYO. Intelligent species on many worlds will choose to live fulfilling and ethically good lives and help make the universe a better place to live.
Only those members of less advanced species, such as humans, who use their abilities and intelligence wisely, to the extent they can, and aim to make the universe a better place, have developed well, and will lead fulfilling and ethically good lives.
Those otherwise capable beings who do not fare well against the two DAYO criteria will not lead fulfilling and ethically good lives.
The opportunity to live a fulfilling and ethically good life exists for all beings. Advanced and intelligent species will take up the opportunity and be satisfied. Individual humans can choose whether they take up this opportunity or not.
— The End —
Not all chapters of The Bibbble have been retrieved in the digital download from DAYO. Attempts are currently being made to recover these chapters, and in due course, these will be reproduced.
Ethical Principles for a Level 3 Universe
DAYO have indicated that there are some important Ethical Principles, known as EP3, that must be considered in Level 3 Universes. If beings such as humans are to live fulfilling and ethically good lives, and make the world a better place, they must use EP3 as a strong basis for their ethical framework.
As individuals, humans should behave consistently with these principles.
1.Humans should give the same weight to the interests of other people that they give to their own interests.
Humans should consider issues from all perspectives, and not just from their own perspective. They should treat all people with proper consideration of their interests. Humans can debate issues freely with others, but they should not indoctrinate, impose or otherwise force their ethical values on others, including children, just as they would not want the ethical views of others to be imposed on them.
2.Humans should respect individual liberty and the autonomy of others.
Humans should respect that others might develop their own views on matters. The views of responsible humans on all matters concerning their own lives are particularly important. Responsible humans should be responsible for their own lives (abortion, euthanasia, and consensual sexual interactions are permissible) and respect the dignity of others. Similar to EP3.1, humans should not force their ethical values on other humans.
3.Humans should enjoy their lives without overly adversely affecting others.
Humans should enjoy themselves, but not so their enjoyment overly affects the capacity of other individuals to do the same. They should maintain and enhance their mental, physical and emotional well-being, and to the extent they can, the well-being of others. They should enjoy their lives, including their sex lives, and not impose themselves on the individual lives of others. They should gain satisfaction from every good deed and live life with a sense of joy and wonder.
4.Humans should act in a way that is not injurious to others.
The physical, mental and emotional health of others should be protected, and where possible, enhanced, if that is consistent with their wishes. Humans should try to alleviate the pain and suffering of other beings wherever possible, if that is consistent with their wishes.
5.Humans should treat other humans respectfully and equally.
Humans should not discriminate against people based on another person’s genome, sex, race, sexual preference, belief system, disability, or other irrelevant characteristic.
6.Humans should think for themselves.
Humans have a unique brain, and should use it wisely. They should think rationally (and hence not believe in matters without scientific or other credible evidence, such as imaginary gods), and should not blindly follow others (whether peers or groups with allegiances). They should not try to indoctrinate others or otherwise impose their views on others by force. In particular, they should think about what it means to lead a fulfilling and ethically good life, what is required to make the universe a better place, whether this is a good objective, and how these EP3 should be refined in the context of human activity.
7.Humans should learn to the extent they can, and use their abilities to the maximum extent possible.
Humans should learn and grow, question everything, continue to improve themselves, and not waste their abilities. They should try their hardest in what they do and be pleased with their efforts. Similar to EP3.6, humans should use their intelligence and reason to refine and extend these ethical principles, and consider their application in context and in practice.
8.Humans should cultivate their positive qualities, including
(a)integrity, honesty, trust, loyalty, and responsibility
(c)courage in the face of adversity
(d)love of themselves, their families and their friends
(e)tolerance of others
(f)respect and compassion for others, treating others with kindness and generosity, concern for the well being and dignity of other humans and other species, and caring for those less fortunate than themselves
Humans should behave in a manner that is consistent with being a good person and gain the respect of others.
9.Humans should mitigate or eliminate their negative qualities, including
(a)anger, hate, fear (including of the unknown)
(b)deceit, jealousy, greed, selfishness
(c)discrimination against others
(e)unreasonable application of, or submission to, peer pressure
(f)behaviour contrary to these principles.
Humans should not behave in ways that adversely affect themselves or others, that limit their opportunities in society, their ability to think for themselves, or their ability to develop as individuals and enjoy the world. They should learn from their mistakes and try to improve themselves to make the world a better place.
10.Humans should protect living things.
The interests of individual humans should be respected and protected, unless there is just cause such as self-defence. Animals and other living things should not be oppressed or caused to suffer, injured, or killed without just cause, such as for necessary food or self-defence.
As members of society, humans should behave consistently with the following principles.
11.Humans should comply with societal law.
Humans should not behave contrary to societal law, except when this law conflicts with more fundamental principles, such as those above, in which case civil disobedience can be acceptable. There should be justice, fairness, respect, liberty, and equality for all.
12.Humans should strive to lead a peaceful existence.
Humans should act to avoid war and destructive conflict, consistent with other EP3. War is unacceptable behaviour for intelligent beings.
13.Humans should respect the environment and use all resources in a sustainable manner.
Humans must use their planets’ resources in a sustainable manner to ensure that their current and future worlds are habitable by future generations. Selfishness is unacceptable.
14.Humans should interact peacefully and respectfully with alien civilisations.
Humans should treat alien civilisations with at least the same level of respect humans treat each other, regardless of whether the alien civilisation is more or less advanced.
15.Humans should act in a way to make the universe a better place to live for all living species, and ensure that EP3 are upheld.
Humans should ultimately aspire to making their universe a better place. This will include the objective of eliminating pain and suffering. Humans must consider how this can be done, in theory, context and practice.
The Bibbble Tests
(Human edition 1)
The Bibbble Tests provide some guidance for humans wanting to assess their level of development. Capable humans must fare well at these tests if they are to lead fulfilling and ethically good lives, and make the universe a better place to live.
Test 1. The Brainwashing Test
To determine whether people have been indoctrinated in their belief systems, the following brainwashing (or indoctrination) test applies.
Religious people should choose a country dominated by a religion that is not the dominant religion of their country or of their friends and peers.
What religion would people follow if they were raised in a country of a different religion by parents who fervently followed that other religion?
As an example, a Christian should speculate about being raised by Muslim parents in an Islamic country, and Muslims should speculate about being raised by Christians in a Christian country. Buddhists, Jews, Hindus and other religious groups should ask similar questions.
Would they still follow the same religion? If their answer is no, then they should question why they follow the religion that they do, because clearly their religion is dependent on their education and indoctrination. They have admitted that if they were indoctrinated in a different religion in a different culture, they would change their religion. Given that they are not wedded to any one religion, it is particularly important that they not impose their religious views on others by physical, emotional, legislative or other means.
If their answer is yes, then perhaps they should try to explain objectively the geographical distribution of religions around the world. If Catholic people said they would be Catholic regardless of whether they were raised by Muslim parents in a Muslim community, it should be asked why they are so special, because the overwhelming majority of children raised by Muslim parents in Muslim communities become Muslims. Children growing up in a Muslim community do not suddenly have a revelation of ‘Yes, Catholicism is for me’.
Many people might think that, as adults, they are making a choice about which religion is right, but this does not explain the high correlation between the religion of indoctrination and an adult’s final religion. The geographic distribution of world religions and cultures is best described by this indoctrination theory.
Of course, if a person bases what they understand of the world on evidence, rather than what their parents, or culture, indoctrinates, then they fare well against this test.
To choose to believe in something, contrary to known evidence, is irrational and delusional. This is a particularly serious human flaw.
Test 2. The Gullibility Test
To determine whether people are gullible in arriving at their beliefs, the following test applies. People must consider whether they use reason to determine solutions to problems or whether they can be easily deceived.
What would a person think of a doctor who diagnosed their medical problem as something contrary to all available evidence and knowledge, because the doctor is convinced that the doctor’s belief is right?
Imagine that your doctor diagnosed your medical problem (perhaps presenting with classic heart attack symptoms) as a knee problem. After some intense debate about the symptoms, the doctor did not budge on his opinion because of the doctor’s conviction that the doctor is right, regardless of the conflicting evidence. If people were to believe the doctor, then they would soon absent themselves from the gene pool, which can be a natural consequence of extreme gullibility. Most people, however, would disagree with such a blatantly wrong diagnosis. The next gullibility test should be considered.
What would people think of a minister of a new religion, who claims that flying pink elephants are responsible for the world’s existence and events, but whenever someone conducts an experiment to check on the existence of the elephants, the minister claims that they are invisible, yet pink, and undetectable by experiment?
Most people do not believe in flying pink elephants that are undetectable by scientific experiment. It is such a far-fetched notion that they might assume the minister was either joking or had some delusional mental condition. Although there is no specific evidence against these flying pink elephants, there is no supporting evidence. The minister’s assertions do not constitute evidence. This is an extraordinary theory, but it is not supported by extraordinary evidence.
The next gullibility test should be considered.
What would a person think of a minister of religion who claims that a god exists contrary to all available evidence and knowledge, because the minister is convinced that the minister’s belief is right?
People who believe the doctor and the ministers are gullible and easily deceived.
If people do not believe any of them, then they are not easily deceived. Presumably, they seek answers based on evidence. Hopefully they act consistent with EP3, and have developed well.
If people believe the statements of at least one of the doctor or ministers, but not all of them, then they are being selectively gullible. On many matters they may use reason and logic, but in other matters they reason as if they have been indoctrinated. Many religious people might not believe the doctor or a minister of a religion that is not their own religion, but they would believe a minister of their own religion.
However, there is no objective basis to believe one minister and not another. One minister’s contention is no less subjective or far-fetched than the other minister’s contention. There are many religions in the world and all are mutually exclusive. They rely on faith, and no more than one could ever be ‘right’. There is no scientific or other credible evidence for flying pink elephants or gods. Clearly, religions that are inconsistent with scientific evidence are inconsistent with testable reality. As humans view matters, these religions are wrong.
The doctor and ministers are proposing something contrary to all scientific evidence. To believe some or all of them is subjective, unjustifiable, gullible, and wrong. Gullibility and selective gullibility do not allow humans to lead fulfilling and ethically good lives.
Test 3. The Delusion Test
To determine whether people are delusional, the following test applies. People should consider whether they have a belief contrary to all evidence that cannot be modified by reasoning.
Do people believe in gods, devils, fairies, angels, ghosts, that the universe was created, heaven, hell, a resurrection, a virgin birth, souls, miracles (events that are contrary to scientific understanding), or that prayers work?
People who believe in something contrary to all credible evidence are delusional. Faith in something does not constitute evidence that the something exists or occurs.
There is no evidence in the scientific literature, and no experiment has been done, that would confirm or even suggest that belief in any of the beings or things in the test is rationally justifiable. Most of these beings and things are linked to gods, which are generally imaginary beings with the perplexing characteristic that they are undetectable and immune from experimental testing.
Prayers do not work, and no matter the conviction of people who might pray to resurrect a dead person or spontaneously regrow limbs on amputees, these events do not and will not occur because they violate the laws of physics (as currently understood by humans).
That someone prays, and someone may recover from a serious disease, is no evidence of a relationship between the presumed cause, prayer, and the desired effect, cure from disease. When people pray to recover from an illness then they can recover quickly, recover sometime later, or not recover. When ill people do not pray then they can recover quickly, recover sometime later, or not recover. An unlikely recovery can be considered as a fortunate occurrence by chance, while an unlikely adverse outcome can be considered as an unfortunate occurrence by chance. Both occur, but prayer does not affect any outcome. It is certainly not a miracle that one person survives a disease or natural disaster, when thousands are killed.
If prayer worked, then those who prayed would have no need for tangible things such as money or anything it could buy, for surely they would be able to pray for something that could give them a financial advantage. If prayer worked, then those who prayed would have no need for intangible things such as health insurance, because their prayers should cure them of their ills. However, the failure of prayer is realised by health care funds, which do not reduce premiums for those who pray. That there is no evidence, statistical or otherwise, in support of prayer is not a surprise to humans who use their intelligence wisely.
The scientific and medical literature does not recognise a soul. Similarly, there is no credible evidence for gods, devils, fairies, angels, ghosts, that the universe was created, heaven, hell, a resurrection, a virgin birth, or miracles (events that are contrary to scientific understanding). A serious belief in any of them, or a failure to accept well-established evidence, is symptomatic of delusional behaviour.
It follows that people and those who show NONG behaviour and who advocate belief in these imaginary things, and who seek monetary compensation in response to their representations, are taking unfair advantage of those who have been deluded.
Humans who have these failings do not lead a fulfilling and ethically good life.
Test 4. The Circular Argumentation Test
To assess people’s capacity for rational thought, the following test applies. When people argue a case supporting their belief systems to other people, they should consider whether they are making a circular argument or whether such an argument is implicit in their thinking.
Do people believe in a god as an almighty and perfect creator of the universe because it says so in some religious text, and, when asked about the credibility of the religious text, claim that it is true because it is the word of that almighty and perfect god?
Christians would argue that God is perfect because the Bible states that and they know the Bible is true because it is the work of a perfect God. Christians who assume this are constructing an invalid circular argument, and do so to validate their belief in God. Members of other religions often create similar invalid arguments.
Circular argumentation, or assuming what you are trying to ‘prove’, is a serious flaw in human reasoning. Capable humans who make this mistake do not lead a fulfilling and ethically good life.
Test 5. The Test of Hypocrisy
Hypocrisy is an undesirable trait in all species. People need to consider the following hypocrisy test.
Do people consider that
·it is wrong for parents to kill their child, and it is wrong for people to kill others against their will
·it is wrong for others to be punished because they have different belief systems
·women and homosexuals should be treated as the equals of others
and also belong to a religion that teaches
·their god is permitted to and, according to religious texts, does kill children and people, and that their religion has killed or can kill people in support of their god
·that those who do not believe in their god should be punished, possibly for all time
·and that women and homosexuals cannot occupy positions of authority in their religion, or that they are not otherwise the equals of men, or that homosexuals are not permitted to marry?
It is hypocritical for people to profess beliefs but also belong to a religion that teaches or practices an opposing position.
For example, it is hypocritical and inequitable to believe that:
(a)killing children or people is wrong, except when it is done by the god or people of your religion,
(b)people should not be punished unreasonably, but believe, or belong to a religion that teaches, that others who do not believe in your god should be punished in hell for all eternity,
(c)all people in a society have equal rights, and then claim that homosexuals cannot be married or that women cannot attain positions of authority in a church.
Most religions are based on paradigms developed by ancient cultures and primitive peoples. There are many instances in religious texts where ancient ethical values conflict with modern human ethical standards. Those who think for themselves should easily discern these conflicting ethical values. It is important for humans to identify this hypocrisy when it occurs, and, consistent with EP3 and through informed debate, eliminate it.
Test 6. The Test of Moral Fortitude
Humans should ask themselves the following question:
Do people believe in a god who, according to religious texts, kills people (against their will and not in self-defence), who is racist, sexist, and homophobic, who does not treat women, homosexuals and slaves as the equals of others, and who advocates punishing people simply because they do not believe in him/her?
None of the qualities attributed to this god are desirable. Religious people who choose to honour a god with such undesirable traits are ethically flawed. They need to consider why they follow a being with such poor ethical standards. They require the moral fortitude to change their position.
Even if, in a hypothetical situation where a god with offensive ethical values appeared to the masses, people would need to determine whether such a god would be worthy of worship or honouring. Rational people would not worship dictators who behaved in such a fashion. People living a fulfilling and ethical good life would not consider the god worthy.
Nevertheless, many religious people still worship such a god. They claim that the main reason they worship an unethical god is for fear of retribution by the god. Clearly then, the god’s ethical standards are reminiscent of many of the world’s most infamous authoritarian and totalitarian leaders, where subservience was demanded or retribution was paid.
This god’s alleged behaviour is an indication that the god is not perfect, and given that these people credit their god with being so, it further suggests that belief in the god is borne of indoctrination and not logic. It is also interesting that religious texts, purporting to tell the story of a perfect being, are far from perfectly clear in their interpretation.
It reflects poorly on humans if they aim to be good in the hope of reward and for fear of punishment. These humans do not live fulfilling and ethically good lives.
Test 7. The Test of Reality
Perhaps the ultimate assessment of the ability of religious humans to think clearly is whether they really believe that their gods, especially those that reputedly have great powers, could perform miraculous feats.
Do religious people really believe that a god exists and that this god could perform remarkable feats, such as
(a) Spontaneously growing limbs on amputees
(b) Curing all people and animals of all illnesses and diseases and preventing all further disease outbreaks
(c) Making dead people live once again
(d) Eliminating all future natural disasters that result in human or animal deaths
(e) Arranging for the details of all crimes committed by people who have not been convicted, and the details of all crimes for which people have been wrongly convicted, to be sent to the appropriate law enforcement authorities
(f) Taking tours of people to other solar systems, and backwards in time
(g) Suspending the entire United States Pacific Fleet high above Manhattan Island in New York
(h) Finding solutions for the mathematical problems for which solutions do not currently exist.
Some of the examples above are highly desirable and produce noble and wonderful outcomes, some violate the laws of physics as currently understood by humans, some are statistically extremely improbable, and some are improbable from a technical perspective or with current human knowledge. All of these feats should be able to be achieved by many of the human gods, if they existed.
Gods with remarkable powers should be able to perform miraculous feats. If people believe that any of these feats could be achieved, and act on the basis that prayer or religious observance will help achieve them, then they have divorced themselves from reality.
No matter how hard religious people pray, none of the events above, and no other similarly implausible events, will ever occur. Religious people cannot explain why these feats, some of which are desirable, but all of which are certainly implausible, have never occurred? They must understand that there are no gods.
Belief in gods that are reputed to perform feats, especially in answer to prayer, despite the fact that in reality they will never occur, is not a wise use of one’s abilities. People who have such beliefs do not lead fulfilling and ethically good lives.
Test 8. The One Minute Test
(also known as
The Test of Ignorance of Mathematics and Science)
The one-minute test assesses whether religious people really believe that their gods can affect the universe. The one-minute test is simple.
Religious people should take two dice. They should roll them ten times in succession and endeavour to obtain double sixes on each of the ten occasions. Before doing so, they should first pray to a god that is not their own, asking the god to use its powers to ensure this improbable but desirable occurrence by chance does indeed occur.
Do religious people believe that praying to a god that is not their own could cause double sixes to be rolled ten times in succession?
Religious people might claim that this clearly would not result in an increased probability of rolling ten consecutive double sixes because, they might claim, gods other than their own do not exist.
Religious people should now repeat the test, but this time pray to their own god, or their gods of choice.
Do religious people believe that praying to their god, or their gods of choice, could cause double sixes to be rolled ten times in succession?
Religious people might want this to result in an increased probability of rolling ten consecutive double sixes. However, it does not.
Probability theory predicts that on both occasions (praying to another god or gods, or their own gods of choice), the probability for rolling double sixes is the same. The probability of rolling a double six with a single throw of two dice is 1/36. The probability of throwing two dice and achieving ten consecutive double sixes is 1/3 656 158 440 062 976. Ten consecutive double sixes is an unlikely event by chance.
Religious people should therefore realise that praying to any thing does not result in an increased probability of rolling ten consecutive double sixes. The reason is that their gods of choice do not interact, ever, with the observable universe. This is because their gods of choice do not exist.
The theorems developed by human mathematicians do not come in different versions: a theory of probability for non-religious people, a theory of probability for people who believe in one god or gods, another theory of probability for people who believe in other gods, or any other varieties.
Similarly, mathematical theories, such as those relating to probability, and scientific theories relating to physical, chemical, biological, geological and other processes do not come in different versions for religious people and for non-religious people. Probability, gravity, dynamics, evolution and every other mathematical and scientific theory come in one form for all people and for the universe. There is no evidence that prayer has ever caused, and no expectation that prayer will ever cause, an event that requires revision of mathematical and scientific theories.
Religious people who consider that prayers to gods work are ignorant of mathematics and the universe as understood by scientists. These people have developed poorly.
If people perform well against The Bibbble Tests then it is likely that their understanding of the universe is based on evidence. If so, they are to be congratulated.
If people perform poorly on The Bibbble Tests, then they have a poor understanding of the world, and are easily deceived. They have likely been indoctrinated, and their ability to think rationally has been suppressed.
Good performance on The Bibbble Tests augurs well for personal development. However, it is also important that all people consider and act according to EP3 if they are to lead fulfilling and ethically good lives.
Individuals must choose which path they will take.