The Myth of the Battle of Good and Evil

There is a small section in the book Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind that discusses “The Battle of Good and Evil”. In this section the author, Yuval Noah Harari, argues that monotheistic religions struggle with the notion of evil. If there is only one God, he argues, then when humans are face to face with evil people, circumstances or things, then the only conclusion is that God must be evil.

There is another possible conclusion.

Up to this point in the book, Harari posits that all of human culture, and the thing that separates humans from all other species on earth, is the ability to believe in myths. This belief in myths is what allows us to band together in groups larger than about 150 individuals. Myth is a commonality that transcends personal connection allowing humans who do not know each other to work together toward a common end.

Harari’s inability to imagine a different conclusion about the nature of God with respect to good and evil belies his exploration of myth in every other aspect of human culture. The other possible conclusion that he fails to recognize is that the notions of good and evil are also mythological constructs. They are human creations to help understand the world around us and the competing goals of other people.

In the Jewish and Christian traditions, God is God of all things. That means that to God, there is no good and evil. This is clearly described in the Bible’s Book of Job. Humans created the myth of good and the myth of evil as a way to understand the actions of people, the circumstances and things preventing them from achieving their objectives.

The irony is delicious. The foundational premise of Harari’s book is the very thing he fails to apply to The Battle of Good and Evil and the understanding of the great monotheistic religions.

California inching closer to Socialism?

California Democrats want businesses to give half their tax-cut savings to state

A proposed Assembly Constitutional Amendment by Assemblymen Kevin McCarty, D-Sacramento, and Phil Ting, D-San Francisco, would create a tax surcharge on California companies making more than $1 million so that half of their federal tax cut would instead go to programs that benefit low-income and middle-class families.

In order to accomplish this, the proposition has to go to the people as an amendment to the state constitution. Should it pass, the business tax environment in California will force many companies to relocate outside of the state.  I hear that Texas is accepting California’s tax refugees.

Could Stephen Hawking be wrong?

Stephen Hawking in the past year or so has presented some gloomy forecasts for humanity. One of those was presented at the 2017 Tencent WE Summit in Beijing last Fall:

He predicted the earth would be so severely overpopulated by the year 2600, that it would become red hot.

But what if he is wrong about the continuing exponential growth of the population?

The UN is projecting that growth will slow over the next century1, not grow exponentially as Hawking suggests.

Maybe he was just trying to use negative motivation to encourage humankind to come together to “Go where no man has gone before.”