Monday, June 7, 2010

Fair and Just

Is it fair to stab a faultless newborn child with a syringe of vitamin K?  Surely the needle puncture is painful to the child, and it's not like a newborn has had the time yet to do anything deserving that pain.  Of course it's necessary for the health of the child who lacks the intestinal bacteria that would be making this vitamin and we do this to prevent possible bleeding problems until the child has the ability to produce this on their own.  But the infant neither knows nor understand this, and I would bet that if offered the choice, none of them would accept the needle.

I believe that the human rationality is limited, even crippled, by our incomplete information about the universe.  If you trace any line of reasoning back far enough, you will meet a place where it has to be bootstrapped up, not out of logic, but from observation and assumptions about the cause and meaning behind those observations.  These assumptions are nothing more than wild-ass guesses for which we have not yet found a counterexample.  This defines science, and the scientific quest to understand.  Given the vast size of the universe, and the tiny sample size of what we've been able to observe, I have little faith that anything we currently believe to be true will never be shown to be at least a little flawed.

If this is so, then is it reasonable to assume that events we view as unfair with our limited understanding can indicate that:
  • God is unjust,
  • God is uninvolved, or
  • God does not exist.
I think that it is simply the case that we do not understand the purpose, and we do not really need to understand the purpose any more that an infantryman needs to understand all the nuances of the political aims of his country in order to advance those aims on the battlefield.We would dearly like to understand, we want to understand, we wish we understood, but a wish is not a need, and sometimes life is as cruel as a syringe of vitamin K.

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