Friday, July 5, 2013

A Lesson in Anthropology

Ouraka stood by the door of the craft and stared out the window. Parurda was late. And doing anthropological studies in primitive cultures was always dangerous, and that was worrisome. And if Parurda got in trouble out there, there was little they could do except try to recover the remains.

As Ouraka's digits were beginning to plait in nervousness, the purple light on the safety lock started to blink. The door opened, and what seemed to stalk in was a vision of one of the planet's pink-skinned residents. He stood firm for a moment, seemed to shake, and the vision, both skin and clothes, split down the front. As the shell collapsed it revealed Parurda's blue carapace.

"So what have you got for us this time?" remarked Ouraka, relieved.

"I have been studying the inhabitants' theological beliefs," returned Parurda, handing Ouraka a data crystal.

"What have you found?"

"Not much unusual for a culture of this age. There are a not really unusual collection of strict theists, ranging in emphasis from rigid enforcement to gracious forgiveness."

Ouraka marveled at the persistence of the strict theists. There seemed to be those in every culture who believed God had really spoken. He had to admit he felt a certain attraction for strict theism. But he had to maintain his objectivity.

"There are also many who are approaching nominal theism," Parurda continued. "They seem to be still sorting themselves out. All very much to be expected. At this stage in society, there always seem to arise those who cannot totally throw off the belief in a God, but wonder if much can be certainly known about Him."

"Anything really interesting?"

" There are some interesting revivals of primitive beliefs. There also appear to be those who believe in a Flying Spaghetti Monster and Invisible Pink Unicorn," Parurda's antennae waved in puzzlement. "I am not really sure, if they are serious or not."

"Anything else?"

"There is an interesting idea among the anti-theists."

"Go ahead," replied Ouraka. The anti-theists also seemed perennial.  There were always some who questioned if there needed to be a definite being to start the universe out. They tended to be a vocal minority because they could not explain where everything came from.

"They hold to this interesting idea that everything came out of nothing, absolutely nothing."

"How do they justify that?"

"They use quantum mechanics. They say that because there is a calculable probability that matter can suddenly appear, the universe could come about that way."

"But how could there be physical laws with nothing for the them to be about or a probability with no time or space for it to exist in?" Now it was Ouraka's antennae that were waving .

"It is a strange idea," responded Parurda. "But not without parallel. Besides it is difficult to be an anti-theist once you realize that the universe as we know it is runnning down."

"So tell about this Flying Spaghetti Monster?"


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