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ISS007-E-10807 (21 July 2003) --- This view of Earth's horizon as the sunsets over the Pacific Ocean was taken by an Expedition 7 crewmember onboard the International Space Station (ISS). Anvil tops of thunderclouds are also visible. Credit: Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, NASA Johnson Space Center

Image Credit: ISS007-E-10807 (21 July 2003) – Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, NASA Johnson Space Center

Thoughtful Blasphemy


Read Richard’s current thoughts about transhumanism and related fringe topics here.

05 September 2022: Updated to fix links and add updated title of Marshall Brain’s essay.

Marshall Brain used his engineering and computer science experience to help an Internet audience learn How Stuff Works, and then turned his attention to exploring The Robotic Nation. While finding Robotic Nation Evidence everywhere and contemplating on how this may lead to The Day You Discard Your Body, Brain has also written several books, published online advice about How to Make a Million Dollars, distilled his knowledge about creating a website for profit, and lamented at how Sad Tech can look today compared to expected future technologies. Now Brain has turned his curiosity, insights, and approachable and easy-going writing style toward religion, by asking Why Does God Hate Amputees Why won’t God heal amputees?

The title is immediately blasphemous to billions of humans around the globe that believe in God. Brain’s latest work emphasizes the troubling paradox of God – why does this entity, if He exists, allow pain and suffering? Brain is not content with the typical religious response that pain and suffering are somehow part of God’s plan. Instead, he begins by examining particular stories of horror in this world, each leading to the same paradox. Then he asks, in a world where the religious believe such pain and suffering can be vanquished through the power of prayer, why have there been no miraculous regenerations of amputated limbs? Of all equally as amazing supposed miracles documented throughout history, why have amputees alone been left out in the cold?

The answer, Brain argues, is that God does not exist.

Although some Christians may insist that his style is confrontational, Brain uses the trademark approachability of his previous works to carefully navigates from point to point toward his conclusions. The paradox of God is not new, but the illustration of this paradox using the plight of amputees and the lack of limb regeneration in the record of miraculous events sheds new light on the issue, leading to his blasphemous (to many) conjecture that God cannot exist.

Some might call Brain brave. I instead call him an epitome of the Cybernudist, that person who willingly and without anonymity exposes his memetic processes while releasing the resulting memes to cyberspace and to the larger noosphere. This is not at all like the majority of citizens in cyberspace who remain anonymous while spouting off their own opinions. Brain does not hide behind a handle – yes, Marshall Brain is his real name – and he does not rest on the laurels of his past achievements.

Rather, he emerges fully nude and fully named, Marshal Brain, an explorer utilizing cyberspace to both facilitate his exploration and deliver the fruits of that labor, who in the process exposes himself in a way that only the immediacy and pervasiveness of cyberspace can, unmatched by verbal communication, books, radio, television, or other traditional media alone.

Cybernudism requires ownership of your thoughts, just as nudism requires ownership of your own physical body. That Brain openly identifies himself does not prove that his work is the truth. However, it does show that he takes ownership of his thoughts, unlike many of his critics who, quite literally, have allowed themselves to be named “Anonymous” by the automated tools of Blogger. Those who hide in the shadow of their anonymity remain fully clothed and safe, and yet they shout the loudest. They do not deserve a listen.

Marshall Brain deserves a listen.

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