Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Does God Exist?

This is a question as old as the human race that has arguably remained unanswered.  There are many arguments for the existence of God or the lack thereof but I won't explicitly go into any of them to present my answer to another, similar question.  I cannot answer the question "Does God exists?"  But I do believe I can demonstrate a situation where God's existence can neither be proven nor disproven, thus giving him the power of reality for anyone who has faith in Him.
An important question to ask yourself before you question the existence of another being is, "Do I exist?"  A famous French philosopher named Rene Descartes once explored this question.  He tested each of his five senses, sight, touch, taste, smell, and hearing, and concluded that any or all of his senses could be constantly hallucinating.  Thus he could not prove he existed through any of his sensory receptors.  But he realized that he had the power to contemplate and inquire about the world only by thinking; and that is where the quote "Cogito ergo sum" - "I think; therefore I am" - came from.  This implies that outside of your own thoughts, outside of your own mind, everything else you know could be false.  You could live in your own world that's separate from everyone else's, supposing that you aren't the only world that exists.

This brings us to another question, "Is life a dream?"  In a dream, all your senses are producing false messages for the brain to simulate what we consider to be a false reality.  Except that Rene Descartes
proposed that, for all anyone knows, our senses are forever hallucinating and simulating a false reality.  There are other parallels between dreams and reality:  In both a dream and reality you cannot remember precisely when nor where you started and you cannot discern anything with accuracy but the present.  You also have limited control as to what happens in a dream and reality.  To assume that all this is true, then anything in both a dream and reality has as much power, truth, and potential as you give it.

Everyone in effect is living their own dream and faith is the most powerful component of that dream.  Whatever they choose to believe in is what becomes real to them.  In a world that is full of what could be all lies, the only thing you can know is that you exist and your thoughts are conclusive evidence.  Therefore I say that so long as you have faith in Him, he exists.

This definition of God does not fit the traditional, American Christian concept because this definition includes multiple, different realities, or one, ever-changing reality.  However, I do believe there is one way that God can exist in a reality that is independent from our minds; but it still breaks the traditional concept and I cannot prove it.  I will write about this possible incarnation of God in my next post.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Sasha's Cute!

I have put a link in this post to the rules for a game my brother and I have created.

BE WARNED that if you learn the rules to this game, you are a player! (We do strongly recommend you read the rules.)

Here's the link: Sasha's Cute!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

How Much Empty Space is there within the Atoms of the Human Body?

To answer this question, two other questions must be answered before it:  How much empty space is there within an atom? and What is the average volume of the human body?

An atom is composed of two basic parts: its nucleus, which is a ball of protons and neutrons, and its electron cloud, where all the electron orbitals are.  The distance between an atom's nucleus and its first electron orbital is enormous.  If the first electron orbital is the perimeter of the atom, its nucleus would be the relative size of a marble in the center of a football stadium.  The volume of the smallest atom's nucleus, a hydrogen atom's nucleus, is 2.5x10^-45 cubic meters and the volume of the atom itself is 6.2x10^-31 cubic meters.  To find the percentage empty space is in an atom, the volume of the nucleus must be divided by the volume of the entire atom, which would equal 4x10^-15 cubic meters of empty space.  (That is, 99.9999999999996% of a hydrogen atom is empty space.  This ratio stays roughly the same for every other atom.)

To answer the second question, we must plug in the average human weight (70kg) and the average human density (100kg/m^3) into the equation for volume in chemistry.  The resulting number would be 0.07m^3.

Now to answer the original question:  It is common knowledge that atoms are the basic building blocks for all matter in the universe.  Henceforth, all of what makes up the human body can be broken down into atoms.  We now know that the ~99% of an atom's volume is empty space and that the average volume of the human body is 0.07m^3.  So to find out how much empty space is within the atoms of the human body, the average volume of the human body must be multiplied by the empty amount of empty space within an atom, which would equal 0.0693m^3.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Spike (William the Bloody), Buffy the Vampire Slayer: What Could've Been Done Better


Arguably Joss Whedon’s finest work, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, birthed one of the coolest,  most bad-ass and most thought provoking characters (at least for me): Spike, or Bloody William. 
Spike is an infamous vampire who got his name by torturing his victims with railroad spikes.  For the first few seasons, Spike kicked serious ass and was Buffy the Vampire Slayer's arch nemesis.  His downfall came when Buffy's boyfriend, Angel - a vampire who had regained his soul - lost his soul and regressed to his bloodthirsty, vampiric state.  In consequence not only did Buffy lose her boyfriend but Spike lost his girlfriend, Drusilla, who went head-over-heels for the new Angel.  Spike and Buffy make a deal with each other that Buffy would not kill Dru on her hunt for Angel, so long as Spike left Sunnydale and with Dru and never came back.  Spike upholds his end of the deal until he comes back to Sunnydale after Dru broke up with him.  He comes back to finally kill Buffy, but to his dismay he falls victim to the Initiative, a black ops corps of the government that performs tests on vampires and other demons.  The Initiative plant a chip in his head that prevent him from drinking the blood of humans or harming them in any way.  If he tries to do so, the chip will give him a searing and immediate shock of pain.  He eventually escapes and Buffy lets him live on account of his incapability to hurt anyone.  Soon after Spike gets situated in an empty tomb at Sunnydale's cemetery, a new-found love for Buffy grows within him.  After confessing his love to Buffy, she tells him there is no possibility that she would ever be with him because of the fact that he has no soul.  And there is where my criticism comes in.

Occasionally, the characters in the show say that when a person is bit by a vampire, another vampire demon takes over their body.Whether the vampire demon destroys or removes their soul from their body is unclear.  The show was also unclear about how it defined the word soul.  I interpreted the show's definition of the word soul, even though it never said so explicitly, to be the personality - all of the beauty and ugliness - of the individual that would survive death and then enter Heaven or Hell.  But there are other, simpler ways to define the word soul; Google defines soul as "the spiritual or immaterial part of a human being or animal, regarded as immortal."  (This definition does not necessarily include morality as contents of the soul.  For example, this definition says you could be soulless and still be a good person; however the personality occupying your soulless body would not survive death.)  The actions partaken by Spike, and other vampires, contradict all definitions of the word soul listed above.

Starting with the first definition (the soul being the personality of an individual), the vampires in the show appear to retain traces of their old personality before they were bit.  Some vampires (such as Harmony) who were dumb and snooty before they were bit still act dumb and snooty; and other vampires (such as Holden) who were intelligent and knowledgeable before they were bit still act
intelligent and knowledgeable.  This suggests that the personality, or at least a part of it, remains within a vampire after they are bit.  I imagine in a conversation such as this with Buffy, she would retort "well all of the good within a person is contained within their soul; and when a person is bit, their soul leaves with all their goodness but the vampire still keeps their old mannerisms."  Vampires such as Spike and Harmony would prove her wrong.  The show explores the idea of vampires, supposedly soulless creatures, feeling love.  If vampires could feel love, would that not say they have managed to retain some virtuous qualities?  While many vampires in the show claim to have the emotional capacity for love, only Harmony and Spike proved to me that they did.  Harmony, once Spike returns to Sunnydale after his break-up with Drusilla, becomes Spike's girlfriend.  As she tolerates massive amounts of angry fits from Spike which sometimes include physical abuse, she tolerates not out of fear - she does eventually break-up with him on her own terms - but out of love:  She truly wants Spike.  And Spike has a very long list of acts of love: he risks his own life saving Drusilla from death at the hands of Buffy; after his break-up with Drusilla, he returns to Sunnydale in search of a love potion to revive their past relationship (that plan fails); once in love with Buffy, he endures torture for the sake of Buffy's family from Glory - an evil goddess - who wishes to find
Buffy's little sister, Dawn, and kill her; he periodically babysits Dawn for Buffy who knows he cannot do anything harmful since the chip was put in his head; he has a Buffy-bot - his own sex toy - built for him but after Buffy dies (she's eventually resurrected) he wants nothing to do with the Buffy-bot; and finally, he sets out to regain his "lost soul" for Buffy and succeeds.  Spike time and time again proves that even in his "soulless" condition he can be sincere and good.  Thus, I say that he is not soulless according to this definition of the word soul.

The second definition (Google's definition) still does not fit Spike and the other vampires.  The soul, according to this definition, has undefined contents, meaning the soul could be any part of the person so long as it is immaterial and survives death.  The body by definition is material and does not
survive death.  This means the soul has to be at least one small part of the personality if it is not the entire personality.  So when a person is bit by a vampire, losing their soul is losing one small part of their personality.  I find this much more believable so long as the soul is not any form of virtue, as I proved that virtue can exist within a vampire in the last paragraph.  So the question now is, what is lost within a vampire?  What is the one universal thing that vampires lack?  In search for the answer to this question, I came up with nothing.  But when I changed the question to what is the one universal thing that vampires possess? I found what I was looking for.  I found that instead of vampires lacking something that humans possess, vampires possess something that humans lack: an insatiable desire for evil.  All the vampires in the show take joy and pride in doing evil and are anxious to start an apocalypse.  Despite this, I do not agree with the show when it describes "evil" creatures as "pure evil", such as the vampires.  Every good person has evil within them and every evil person has good within them.  That is why vampires - blood-lusting, fear-hungry, and evil-craving creatures - can be virtuous in my opinion.  This is why I say that Spike hasn't lost his soul even in this definition of the word.  He and the other vampires have gained, not lost, something.

I can understand the argument being posed that vampires have a duller sense of compassion and kindness.  The reason I don't think that proves vampires are soulless is because Spike proved to me that he could be compassionate and kind if he had motivation.  Another broader statement is that vampires have a lack of a moral code.  To that I say that vampires do have a rather strong moral code, but their morals are generally the polar opposite of everyone else's.  Plenty of the vampires worked together for a common goal, though it was always an evil goal, and there was often a strong chain of command that the vampires obeyed.  While us humans destroy with good intent, vampires destroy with evil intent.  The last argument I see being posed is that Joss Whedon wrote Spike and the other vampires this way to stimulate this kind of thought.  I wouldn't put it past him, he is an amazing writer.  However, I do think it's more likely that Joss Whedon and the other writers for Buffy the Vampire Slayer weren't paying too much attention to that kind of detail.  Spike was the coolest character of the show for me; his story arc was probably the most complex and drastic of all the others and was spectacular to witness its progression.