Religion, My View


Alexander P. De Filippi



Until a few years ago I was an atheist, then I became an agnostic and finally I became a believer in God, or did I? Although I have accepted the existence of a benign universal force that is everywhere and I have also become a believer in the existence of a very malign force equally powerful, I have a great deal of issues with the interpretation that all religions give of God. People have said trough the years that the devil is in the details, I can’t agree more with them, "the Devil is in the details" and religions are full of details that instead of taking people closer to God they are in fact moving people away from God or at least keep them at a distance. In fact those details are so dangerous that make many believers fanatics, and no religion is exempt of them, especially Judaism and the two religions that emerged from it, Christianity and Muslims.


I believe that God, or this benign universal force, if you don’t want to call it God, is communicating or attempting to communicate with all of us at all time, and is trying to steer us in a very constructive way. I see this benign force wanting us to be concern with our bodies, to take care of them properly, that we eat right, we don’t smoke, we drink moderately, work out, etc. Also I am of the opinion that this benign force wants us to live in peace, to make progress socially and industrially, that we take care of all of us like good people care about the rest.


By the same token I believe in this universal, evil force, that is attempting to steer us precisely in the opposite direction, to be absolutely individualistic, to live life like the atomic bomb is going to fall in the next few hours, or days, so what to care of the environment or anything by that matter but having the most fun we can regardless of the pain we cause to everybody else.


I have come to believe that religious people emphasizes so much the details that in fact they have become stern allies of devil forces; they scare people away from them; they antagonize people that were in fact getting close to them. Also they are very absorb in the idea that someone "has" to believe in God and attend to church service to be a good person. According to that version many Mafioso are good Christians and many environmentalist friendly "atheists" are evil.


What God wants? How God define when you are being good or bad, when you are walking toward the light or toward the darkness. Here we have the first and biggest problem of all, how me, or anyone, including the pope, can know God’s will? Every religious person can tell you, that God is everything, that God is everywhere, that God is bigger than the Universe, existed before and will exist after the Universe is gone. Then how any person knows His will? If God is bigger than the Universe, and we know that the Universe is massively huge, meaning the earth is to our galaxy what a grain of sand is to all the grains of sand of all beaches on the planet, and the same goes for our galaxy in its relation to all the galaxies, then how a human on this earth, can know the will, the thinking of God? Many religious people strongly believe they know the will of God to the point they can even regulate "the time we suppose to get out of our beds".


I find offensive and terrible dangerous when religious people arrogantly assume to know the will of God to such degree. My views, considering that I can’t comprehend God’s will to that degree, takes me to guide myself using principles. For example, I believe God wants us to take care of this planet, to take care of the environment in the same way He wants us to take care of our bodies, keep it clean and healthy, do not pollute it. Nevertheless, taken care of the environment is an idea that did not come from religious people, in fact is an idea that came from the liberal atheist side back in the sixties, from the hippies movement, from them it expanded to today to everyone, in fact religious people have become environmentally friendly over the last decade. Therefore, about the environment, who was acting according to God’s will first? Religious people or precisely those that in the sixties were seen as lazy and godless? In fact even today the most radical people in protecting the environment aren’t religious, they still in the non religious side of the equation. Why this happen? How come, protecting the Earth, protecting the environment, protecting God’s creation is an issue that religious people still do not take to heart as much as the non religious? Because God is talking to "everyone", to "everyone", all the time, if religious people could not hear or doesn’t want to hear the message "protect the home I have given you" then He talks to others, using a different language. How many times have we have heard the phrase "God works in mysterious way"? well it is true.


Religious people believe that you have to believe in God to be in touch with God, I do not believe so, I believe that you are in touch with God’s design if you walk toward the light more often than when you walked to the darkness. I believe you are closer to God or to the benign force by your actions according to principles related to the main design than to the details specified by those people interpreting "God’s will". The example I just gave about the environment and the "hippies" and religious people approach to it trough the decades, illustrates who was walking, in that major respect, to the light and who was walking to the darkness, today is easy to understand and accept this example, but try to explain it to religious people in the sixties, it would have been impossible, the same thing happens today about other issues.


Summarizing the point above, you are, in my modest opinion, close to God, only, no a minute before no a minute after, when you do no hurt anyone else illegitimately (*), you contribute to the welfare of the rest of the population as much as you can, you care about you health mentally and physically, and you care and protect the environment, regardless of how you classified yourselves religiously. Therefore, if a particular Buddhist person is doing more about those issues I just mentioned than a Christian, then that Buddhist is following God’s principles better than that Christian person.

Drill, Baby, Drill: What will we look for when we mine on Mars?

It's unlikely that there's anything on the planet that is worth the cost of shipping it back

  • In the second season of National Geographic Channel's MARS (premiering tonight, 11/12/18,) privatized miners on the red planet clash with a colony of international scientists
  • Privatized mining on both Mars and the Moon is likely to occur in the next century
  • The cost of returning mined materials from Space to the Earth will probably be too high to create a self-sustaining industry, but the resources may have other uses at their origin points

Want to go to Mars? It will cost you. In 2016, SpaceX founder Elon Musk estimated that manned missions to the planet may cost approximately $10 billion per person. As with any expensive endeavor, it is inevitable that sufficient returns on investment will be needed in order to sustain human presence on Mars. So, what's underneath all that red dust?

Mining Technology reported in 2017 that "there are areas [on Mars], especially large igneous provinces, volcanoes and impact craters that hold significant potential for nickel, copper, iron, titanium, platinum group elements and more."

Were a SpaceX-like company to establish a commercial mining presence on the planet, digging up these materials will be sure to provoke a fraught debate over environmental preservation in space, Martian land rights, and the slew of microbial unknowns which Martian soil may bring.

In National Geographic Channel's genre-bending narrative-docuseries, MARS, (the second season premieres tonight, November 12th, 9 pm ET / 8 pm CT) this dynamic is explored as astronauts from an international scientific coalition go head-to-head with industrial miners looking to exploit the planet's resources.

Given the rate of consumption of minerals on Earth, there is plenty of reason to believe that there will be demand for such an operation.

"Almost all of the easily mined gold, silver, copper, tin, zinc, antimony, and phosphorus we can mine on Earth may be gone within one hundred years" writes Stephen Petranek, author of How We'll Live on Mars, which Nat Geo's MARS is based on. That grim scenario will require either a massive rethinking of how we consume metals on earth, or supplementation from another source.

Elon Musk, founder of SpaceX, told Petranek that it's unlikely that even if all of Earth's metals were exhausted, it is unlikely that Martian materials could become an economically feasible supplement due to the high cost of fuel required to return the materials to Earth. "Anything transported with atoms would have to be incredibly valuable on a weight basis."

Actually, we've already done some of this kind of resource extraction. During NASA's Apollo missions to the Moon, astronauts used simple steel tools to collect about 842 pounds of moon rocks over six missions. Due to the high cost of those missions, the Moon rocks are now highly valuable on Earth.

Moon rock on display at US Space and Rocket Center, Huntsville, AL (Big Think/Matt Carlstrom)

In 1973, NASA valuated moon rocks at $50,800 per gram –– or over $300,000 today when adjusted for inflation. That figure doesn't reflect the value of the natural resources within the rock, but rather the cost of their extraction.

Assuming that Martian mining would be done with the purpose of bringing materials back to Earth, the cost of any materials mined from Mars would need to include both the cost of the extraction and the value of the materials themselves. Factoring in the price of fuel and the difficulties of returning a Martian lander to Earth, this figure may be entirely cost prohibitive.

What seems more likely, says Musk, is for the Martian resources to stay on the Red Planet to be used for construction and manufacturing within manned colonies, or to be used to support further mining missions of the mineral-rich asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.

At the very least, mining on Mars has already produced great entertainment value on Earth: tune into Season 2 of MARS on National Geographic Channel.

How humans evolved to live in the cold

Humans evolved to live in the cold through a number of environmental and genetic factors.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons
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  • According to some relatively new research, many of our early human cousins preceded Homo sapien migrations north by hundreds of thousands or even millions of years.
  • Cross-breeding with other ancient hominids gave some subsets of human population the genes to contend and thrive in colder and harsher climates.
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A study started out trying to see the effect of sexist attacks on women authors, but it found something deeper.

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