Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Great Debate

Outside the Town Hall, thousands of citizens gather at the "Kirk Robertson Vs. Stephen Dawkins" debate. 
Inside, well dressed and sitting behind a large oak table, is the commentator, Tom.
Tom: Welcome to tonight's main event, where we will see Kirk Robertson challenge Stephen Dawkins' more controversial ideas of what happens to us when we die.  Not sure why everyone is so interested to hear these 2 men speak, but let's just dive right in. Alright, Mr. Dawkins, what is it that you believe happens to us when we die?
Stephen Dawkins (who speaks through a machine): I believe that the human brain acts just as a computer does. As we've created computers and computer programs, we've gotten a better chance to see inside the human mind, to understand how our brains compute and manipulate data. Thousands of years of evolution, not just of our universe, but of our species, has led us to a point in time when we are able to create machines that mirror us....  Nature has developed into a creature that can now study the very nature of its being. With these machines, we're discovering how much of our world is subjective, how much is determined simply by our own perception....  And when that machine dies, it's gone. There is no heaven for a dead computer.
Tom: Wow, the way Mr. Dawkins so eloquently described the nature of our selves, machines and the universe sounded almost beautiful for a moment, save for the dire conclusion. Let's see how Kirk responds.
Kirk Robertson (Pointing a finger at Stephen): You can't say that!
Tom: Okay, and back to Stephen for a rebuttal.
Stephen says nothing. 
Tom: Back to Kirk.
Kirk: Thank you, Tom. What Mr. Dawkins just said shows the kind of ignorance I've been talking about. It's as if I can't even talk to him. He's just believing in crazy ideas. Mr. Dawkins is suggesting that everything came from nothing. To me, that sounds crazy. The bible accurately accounts for much of our history, and because it can give an answer to where everything came from, and it IS THE WORD OF GOD, then heaven must also exist!
Stephen: Heaven is a place people invented because they are afraid of the dark.
Kirk: You can't prove that! You can't prove that nothing happens when we die!
Stephen: You can't prove that Heaven or God exists.
Kirk: I can, it says so in the Bible.
Stephen: You're crazy.
Kirk: You're crazy if you think everything came from nothing. Oh, the odds of us being here are a batrillion to one, you think we're just some accident!
Tom: Gentleman, surely some middle ground can be found. I think you've both proven quite well that no one can prove or disprove either argument. Do you think either of you is willing to...perhaps discuss what the possibilities, in a reasonable sense, might be. 
Kirk: He's just crazy, Tom.
Stephen: Tom, you know me. I'm not crazy.
Tom: I can't believe how biased the two of you are- I can't believe people are actually listening to what you two have to say on the subject. You're like two little kids arguing over what's inside an unhatched Egg. Why are you both so quick to label the other as wrong? I mean, if you aren't going to be reasonable, why should any of these people listen to either of you?
Kirk's mouth drops open.
Tom: Kirk, you are a born again Christian, your faith is what you live for, it's your purpose. Because your purpose has you relying on a book called The Bible, I don't think you can coherently discuss possible alternatives to what our current ideas are on the big picture. And Stephen. You are a brilliant man, but listen to you. Is a machine alive, does it have feelings and emotions? Was it born of nature?
Stephen: No. I guess not.
Tom: You spoke beautifully of nature seeing itself. Of man getting  a glimpse, not only of this enormous world outside of us, but the even greater one within. You talk about touching on something that not only connects us to ourselves, but connects who we are to everything around us. Is it possible, that the real answers aren't as black and white as the 2 of you say they are?
Neither answer. Kirk looks down at his shoes. Stephen turns his chair around to face away from the audience.
Tom: Stephen, do you really think that all you are is a machine? Do you really think that when you die, absolutely nothing happens? What about the energy inside your body? What about the consciousness generated by your brain? If these energies can never be created or destroyed, do you think it's possible, just possible, that something besides a blank screen happens? And Kirk. Seriously, do you think that all of life's answers were come about in the same time that people thought the Earth was flat and the center of the universe? Do you think it's possible, just possible, that the bible isn't exactly right? That out of the 4 or 5 major religions, perhaps it only touches on a part of the truth about who we are? Maybe we are more like Adam than even we thought, perhaps we are not yet ready to comprehend where we really come from.  But if Death is something that happens to everything and is apart of the very nature of our design, is it something we need to worry about? To fight about? Maybe the real answer isn't as empty as Mr. Dawkins's, and maybe it isn't as magical as Mr. Robertson's. Maybe the real answer is somewhere in the middle. But if we are too stubborn to admit that our ideas are opinions, we will never find that middle ground.

Kirk: You're both going to Hell then!

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