Tuesday, January 08, 2013


Reading John Loftus recount his poignant tale about the size of the universe reminded me of how I lost my faith in God in 1st grade. But that was just the culmination of a painful process of disillusionment.

As a baby, I was a convinced cribocentrist. Being a precocious scientific observer, I noticed that everyone moved in relation to my crib, but my crib never moved in relation to anyone else. People would come over to my crib and go away from my crib. Based on solid empirical evidence, I inductively inferred that my crib was the center of the universe. All by myself I developed the cribocentric theory of the universe.

But when I outgrew my crib, my parents removed my crib and replaced it with a bed. This was shocking. I suddenly understood that my crib wasn’t the center of the universe after all. However, I sought temporary intellectual consolation in the thought that my bedroom was still the center of the universe.

After I got old enough to roam the neighborhood, I used to visit a playmate two houses down from me. He had a bedroom, just like I had a bedroom. This is when I suffered another existential crisis. A body blow to the solar plexis of my Weltanschauung.

Both our houses couldn’t be the center of the same universe. Moreover, how could God hear me pray in my bedroom, but also hear my playmate pray in his bedroom? Could God hear through solid walls? Maybe God had a very acute sense of hearing.

However, having the limited attention span of a young boy, I quickly forgot my flash of insight the moment I switched on the latest episode of The Wild Wild West.

When I was old enough to go to school, I began attending kindergarten. Up on the classroom wall was a map of the USA. I could proudly see that my country was the center of the universe. Smack dab in the middle. Every other nation surrounded the USA. Canada was above us, Mexico below us, with other countries to the left or right.

Still, I found the map theologically disturbing. If there really was a God, why would he waste so much valuable space on something as useless as…Canadians?

But I managed to hold my faith intact through little rationalizations until I started 1st grade. Our classroom had a world globe. This was devastating. I could now see for myself that the USA wasn’t the center of the universe. If you spun the globe around, there were other countries just above and below the equator. There was no such thing as “right” or “left.”

It was even worse when a student accidentally knocked the globe over. Then I realized that there was no such thing as right side up or upside down. It was all relative, dude.

That’s when I organized the 1st grade Humanist Club. I invited Antony Flew and J. L. Mackie to come and give presentations. We had some fascinating discussions about the Gödelian ontological argument, the Leibnizian cosmological argument, and the problem of boll weevils.


  1. Wow! Cribocentristy!! Never thought of it from that point of view before, ever!

    In my culture in the old days before the White man came if you cried, you got hung in a tree until you stopped crying. The moment you stopped crying you got to be picked up!You learned to not cry that way! Barbaric isn't it?

    Then there were feathers in the hair. That's another story.


    I think I am going to close my eyes and just imagine cribocentrism for awhile and relax!

  2. That was hilarious, Steve!

    Especially, "Still, I found the map theologically disturbing. If there really was a God, why would he waste so much valuable space on something as useless as…Canadians?". LOL!

    1. For the record, I want to publicly state I have no problems with Canada or Canadians. I don't want to be on their list if they ever decide to "Red Dawn" or "Canadian Bacon" us.

  3. We'll see how useless Canadians are once you guys start running out of water and trees and...

    ...maple syrup.

    1. Supposedly, tree sap, when the water is is removed, is flammable. Maybe there's an ulterior motive for why Canadians are stockpiling maple syrup...

    2. Mathetes1

      "We'll see how useless Canadians are once you guys start running out of water and trees and...maple syrup."

      If it ever comes to that, I will, of course, shamelessly backpedal from my statement, chalking it up to a youthful indiscretion (I was, after all, 5 years old), and denounce the land of my birth. As a great moralist once said, "Those are my principles, and if you don't like them...well, I have others."

    3. You can just call it "development".

    4. Thanks to a few sticky fingers, it sounds like there's a little less maple syrup to go around for the Canucks! :-(

  4. If with each revelation of "larger than expected" universe,someone is said to become "wiser," why should we think they have finally arrived now?

    Einstein was attributed as saying, "Continually repeating the same experiment and getting the same results was the definition of insanity." Then, why is it wisdom to always be "surprised" that I as a finite self do not know everything infintely?

    This is Existentialism epistemology on display! This belief says, "The only things that I know to be true are the things I know to be true!" Which is only a fallacy called SOLIPSISM, "Theory holding that the self can know nothing but its own modifications and that the self is the only existent thing; also: extreme egocentrism" http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/solipsism

    There is only one infinite Godhead that knows all etertnally!

    In the Lamb

  5. C. S. Lewis took this one out long ago.