The World Is Simple, Miserable, Solid All the Way Through

Late as always, I just caught this Bill O'Reilly vid over at Andrew's. There's a portion of it in which O'Reilly impugns the notion of luck -- "We have life here, why don't they have it on the other planets? What are we just lucky?" I took O'Reilly as making a philosophical claim against "chaos" of the "everything happens by knowable design" variety. I don't think he's arguing, say, against the existence of atoms. He's not debating the processes. I realize he's saying "how," but I think he really is asking "Why?"

There's a great scene in The Prestige where a dying magician tries to explain his craft:

You never understood... why we did this. The audience knows the truth. The world is simple, miserable, solid all the way through. But if you can fool them, even for a second... then you can make them wonder. And you get to see something very special. ... You really don't know. ... It was the look on their faces.

Accepting that the Earth is "solid all the way through" really is a rejection of the "Why." It's an acceptance of chaos, and a recognition that, as far as we can tell, the universe doesn't much care. It's not so much that life is meaningless, but that the meaning is assigned by humans.

As an aside, this is obviously a touchy issue that takes us into religion vs. atheism argument. I don't have a problem with that discussion. But let's have that discussion understanding that it's highly unlikely that we'll convert each other. Please do not drive yourself into the margins trying to convince someone that religion is, in fact, the root of all evil.

Know the ledge.