The Pale Blue Pixel December 22, 2013

The Pale Blue Pixel

I don’t know what it was about this freakishly long image thread, but it really put things in perspective…


Click on the Earth to see the full story 🙂

(Thanks to Kimberly for the link)

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  • A3Kr0n

    Another layer of the onion that is our universe has been peeled back!

  • CanuckAmuck

    I thought I’d seen this here before. Elsewhere, I guess. Regardless, it’s hilarious.

  • MN Atheist

    Don’t masturbate…awesome.

    It is amazing to see comparisons of the Earth to the Sun…comparing it to the observable universe is almost impossible to comprehend.

  • joey_in_NC

    And how exactly does substituting Jesus’ message with “Value human life” change the thread’s message that everything is insignificant compared to the sheer vastness of the universe? It’s kind of a bizarre argument.

  • It doesn’t, and who’s making that “bizarre argument”?. If some vast otherworldly intelligence were to order us to “value human life”, it would mean just as little as “don’t masturbate” or “every seventh full rotation of your planet you should rest because of that time I got tired”. These values cannot be extrinsically bestowed, only intrinsically derived. I tend to think the idea that a person needs to be told by an authority to be good in order to justify being good is quite terrifying. At a certain point, either the person comes to the same conclusion on their own and figures out reasons that make sense to them, or are just monsters-on-a-leash who only behave well out of fear of getting caught; woe betide us if such a person happens to be more clever than the average bear.

  • Trickster Goddess

    Looking at this perspective makes it starkly obvious that God was created in man’s image and not the other way around.

    I have long been in awe at just how vast the known universe is and I love this sequence that steps our perspective outward to give us a chance to get an inkling of its size in relation to ourselves.

    And the punchline illustrates exactly the argument I’ve been putting to my relatives and other Christian acquaintances over the past couple of years:

    If we assume that a creator god created the earth and moon and sun, then it also created all the billions of other stars in the galaxy. Not only that, it also created over 100 billion other galaxies, each also full of billions of stars. Given that knowledge, it is quite apparent that the God of Abraham is much too puny to have been the creator. Furthermore, it is both naive and arrogant to think such an incredibly powerful being could have been definitively summarized in one slim anthology written by bronze age nomads.

    Then I ask them, given such an unimaginably powerful being who can create billions of galaxies, do they really think it would be so emotionally insecure that it would be so hurt and offended if one being of out billions on one planet around one star among billions in one of a hundred billion galaxies didn’t acknowledge its existence that it would torture them until the heat death of the universe and beyond?

    The most common response I get to that question is nervous laughter.

  • Well, if “don’t masturbate” is a fair restatement of “value human life” in the mind of this Jesus character, he is clearly insane, and therefore an extremely poor choice of a model to base a religion upon.

  • Neko

    You’re not the first to have made this observation. The 2nd century heretic Marcion thought Yahweh so petty that he demoted him to Demiurge. However, Marcion did affirm a higher god in Yahweh’s stead, the Father of Jesus, a precursor to the loves-everybody except teh gays and the bad girls Christian god of the present day. Still the fickle Father is right there in Luke:

    Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!

    If you’re not on the A-list good luck crashing the party.

  • Neko

    No views concerning masturbation are attributed to Jesus. The masturbation nonsense is a Catholic position extrapolated from the story of Onan in Gen 38.

  • I’m not the one making that assertion. That’s coming from Joey. If Christians wrongly associate ideas with their god, that’s just as bad as the ideas coming from that god itself.

    We know that, as a group, Christians are the most ignorant about Christianity. That certainly makes for a screwed up religion.

  • wallofseparation

    And its that simple logic and perspective that has believers fighting tooth and nail to devalue science. To make our universe a small universe, to invalidate the speed of light, to put irrational skepticism of stellar evolution and the big bang into the common persons mind, to teach we were created onstead of fighting like heck to find answers.

    This fear is the root of the fundies war on science, keep us small and ignorant so we dont dare question “god” with our knowledge of this vast and amazing universe.

  • Neko

    OK, you’re right.

  • Stev84

    It’s a reflection of American-style Protestantism’s fixation on Jesus. It’s always “Jesus this” and “Jesus that”. Sure, he is the central figure for all of Christianity obviously, but many other sects don’t emphasize Jesus that much compared to God.

  • joey_in_NC

    “Don’t masturbate” and “value human life” are both statements of morality. Why should one moral statement be more reasonable than another considering the vastness of the universe, where everything that concerns man supposedly becomes insignificant? The point is, why does the size of the universe matter regarding questions of morality?

  • joey_in_NC

    …or are just monsters-on-a-leash who only behave well out of fear of getting caught..

    Would you have an objective basis for labeling such people as “monsters”?

  • “Don’t masturbate” and “value human life” are both statements of morality

    Morality is meaningless in the context of the Universe. That does not make morality meaningless. There are those who would consider the two moral statements above to be of equal weight. The graphic simply helps demonstrate the absurdity of that view.

    Were there a god of all creation, it might very reasonably say to every sentient life form, “value life”. That’s a moral dictate that we can easily imagine being universal. The idea of that god passing moral judgment on a trivial reproductive detail of one species amongst billions, however? Change the wording in the graphic from “don’t masturbate” to “value life” and you radically change the meaning of the entire thing.

  • SeekerLancer

    That was a good one. It’s been a very tough holiday season for me this year and I needed that laugh this morning. Thank you.

    That simple image is not just funny but a beautiful demonstration of how absolutely absurd the notion of a theistic god is.

  • kickinitincrik

    If you think in terms of vastness or size then you may have a point. Unfortunately there’s more too it than that and your argument has force only with people who think in simplistic terms.
    1) Size goes both ways. The molecular micro-machinery in your body tips the vastness the other way and humans find them selves somewhere in the middle.
    2) Greatness is not just in the size. Your brain is more complex and intricate than a Solar System.
    3) Humans can do it. Puny humans create their own universes in the virtual world. Physicists sometime hint at the possibility that our own universe is such a system. The internet is a universe. We can do such a feat but God can’t?

  • WallofSleep

    “What’s that, Jesus? Oh, fuck you! Nobody watches for free, asshole. Either pony up some dough, or I’m closing my blinds. I mean it this time!”

  • Neko

    The point was that if there is a creator god would the god be as prickly and picayune as a man.

  • Madison Blane

    So if we are ‘somewhere in the middle’, size-wise, the concept of a God who ‘counts the hairs on our head’ and ‘sees every sparrow fall’ and sends bad humans to hell is as absolutely absurd as a human who counts the cilia of every amoeba and cares about every bacterium that dies and then bothers to torture after death the ones who don’t behave in the way he expects them to!

  • tinker

    I am sorry, but lmno is right. People that have stated that the only thing keeping them from mass murder is their belief that a mythical being is going to send them to be punished for all eternity are very scary. I don’t really believe that these monsters exist except in rare cases but what I hear when people tell me that they have no internal conscience is that they are ‘monsters-on-a-leash’.

  • baal

    You are here. And yeah, that guy on the outside can keep his opinions to himself.

  • baal

    Your views on science kick are at best laughable and dwell in the land of delusion. Your conflating video games where all the data can be stored on one DVD with everything which would take an infinite stack of DVDs to hold all the data is a misunderstanding of literally the higest order.

  • kickinitincrik

    Immature, spoiled and fussy children sometimes view their parents as prickly and picayune, which is a misinterpretation of love. It’s no surprise then that many atheists (and most famous hardcore atheists) have daddy issues and tend to be the more “spoiled” segment of human population. Atheism appears to be symptomatic of a psychological disorder.

  • Cake

    This seems to be another christian redefinition of words problem.

  • kickinitincrik

    The idea of us counting and caring about amoebas is absurd. Are humans and amoeba equal? Do we have the same abilities as the architect of the universe? All analogies limp but foolish analogies with built in categorical errors just make you look foolish.

  • Neko

    Interesting armchair psychology there, pal. The literary record portrays Yahweh as a hectoring dad, as if he were a projection of the human instinct to domination. Or do you believe I Am gave Moses the Law on a mountain?

    By the way, most children find their parents insufferable at some point.

  • Monster (like the English words ‘monitor’ and ‘admonish’) comes from the Latin root verb moneo (“I warn”), and indicates some being to take care around or avoid, some creature that others would think to warn you about because they are dangerous in their behavior to your well-being. That remains the essence of the concept. And certainly, a person who actually and truly decides they would do abominable things because they lack an external leash are not, in an objective sense, conducive to bystanders’ continued health and longevity.

    Now, I happen to believe that most people who assert this about themselves are either engaging in a rhetorical (and perverse) flight of fancy or are victims of ideologically-inflicted fear. The conscience doesn’t go anywhere when you realize there isn’t an invisible man tallying eternal naughty-and-nice lists or otherwise keeping score, as many millions of atheists who were formerly believers can testify. Most people are much better people than their religion has convinced them they must be. The relentless focus on the supposed depravity and inherent brokenness of humans takes a terrible toll on proper self-assessment.

    But, of course, there are a handful of people who are actually missing that bit of brain equipment which allows them to understand other people as beings-like-themselves and act accordingly. There is a bit of self-deception in the other direction, with people who truly are terrible but believe they are saved by their beliefs. Thing is, of course, and it doesn’t exactly take much effort to come up with examples (I’m sure you yourself could come up with a laundry list without even trying) of how religion is an ineffective fetter for true monsters. The problem with the leash is that it is easily broken. The secondary (and more socially damaging) part is that religious people for some strange reason still believe that said monsters are effectively fettered, and so they become predators in prey’s clothing and are able to hunt at their leisure secure in the knowledge that any victim of their predations has to surmount ridiculous presumptions against their being believed.

  • Immature, spoiled and fussy children sometimes view their parents as prickly and picayune, which is a misinterpretation of love.

    Are abused children likewise merely misinterpreting the love of their abusers? Are children completely ill-equipped to tell the difference? This adult is hitting me, but I’m supposed to trust adults, therefore even though it leaves bruises and breaks bones it must somehow be love? I must be failing them in some way, or else they would not hit me.


  • joey_in_NC

    And certainly, a person who actually and truly decides they would do abominable things because they lack an external leash are not, in an objective sense, conducive to bystanders’ continued health and

    Do you have an objective definition for “abominable”? Do these “bystanders” have to be human? Some vegans think that killing animals to eat them is abominable. Does that make meat-eaters objectively “monsters”?

    Isn’t everything subjective? A monster to you is not a monster to someone else.

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