The Taking of IOSA 2083
I'll Never Find Another You
Inconstant Nature
Imaginary Enemies
Pink Ice in the Jovian Rings
All the Things We Gave You
Consequences of a Clockwork Theology
Love In A Time of Bio-Mal
The Unfortunate Necessity of Regular Upgrades
Exchanges in No Man's Land
The Uploaded
A Forgiveness of Wolves

End of the World

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Consequences of a Clockwork Theology

WHERE Read it at Kasma SF

This story has some hints of the embarrassing "Angry Atheist" stage of my life, when I had it in for most of the Abrahamic religions, particularly Islam and Christianity. I still have major issues with religion, but nowadays I don't see atheist lefty types as being any better, and I think many failings of religion are actually failings of human groups in general. Furthermore I think that some religious ideas, like the idea that there's an adversary constantly out to mislead you into doing evil, have value. Let me clarify: I don't believe in the devil, but I think it's a useful thought-experiment to imagine such an adversary, because there are very many perfectly human threat actors out there who will play the role of the deceiver if you let them.

But I do still stand by most of what this story says, and I'm glad to say it doesn't characterize religious people in any particularly negative light. Yes, it does feature an example of 'religion gone wrong', but it's clear from the outset that this is a somewhat warped religiosity and that other faith viewpoints are available. The core point is that the rejection of evolutionary theory by religions is a foolish own goal. Evolution has much to offer theology, solving the problem of evil. and also the problem of appallingly sucky design. The problem with 'Intelligent Design' is that much in nature is manifestly not intelligently designed, it's a ****ing mess, and so if we insist that God made all of it by hand, we have to conclude that God is guilty of drinking on the job. For though nature is astoundingly complex and still little understood, it undeniably contains appalling bodges and ugly hacks. Furthermore the natural world is full to the gunnels of the most horrific cruelty, and God is responsible for that too, so that s/he's not only incompetent, but also monstrously cruel (and also completely unable to delegate). Finally, as we are moving now into the age of self-organizing technology that employs evolutionary techniques, we have to conclude that we have discovered something that God didn't, and are on the verge of surpassing God. None of this is acceptable from a theological standpoint, but it can all be solved by bringing evolution into the religious fold, and saying that of course evolution is a method in God's toolbox, because what's the point of a clockwork universe that can never develop its own identity or produce any surprises? Any parent has to let the offspring run on their own path eventually, and if not everything they do is to the parent's liking or approval, well, that's life, isn't it?

This was another story beautifully illustrated by Jose Baetas'. I do recall giving him a bit needle about how he depicted Professor Sarah Hemmington. I don't know why I felt that way at the time, I said she was pretty, he made her pretty, if I wanted something else I should have said so. He did however nail the expression on her face, that "I'm so clever, I'm dangerous" look that we also see when we first encounter Orson Well's depiction of Harry Lime in "The Third Man".

For some reason this story went down very well with the readership of Kasma SF, with thousands of people viewing it, and later voting it to win Kasma's "electronic ant award". Perhaps I was a hit with the 'angry atheist' crowd.