Sketches on Atheism

The magnificent ruiner of the gods

StardustSpacecraftA statue to this frighteningly brilliant 1.7 meter tall piece of manmade machinery should stand in every town square across the planet. The landing spot of its sample return capsule in Utah should be a temporal shrine where families visit and awe at celestial maps detailing its 7 year journey through the solar system. Its name, Stardust, should be a synonym for all that is good. Tattoo artists should know its intricate design from every angle by heart. A 1/10th scale model should hang from classroom rafters from Maxfort School in New Delhi to Clifton Hall in Edinburgh, daring pupils from  Invercargill to Reykjavik to dream large. All this, and more, should be done because this glorious bastard killed every god ever dreamt up by us superstitious naked apes… and it did it without ever saying a word.

While 19 lunatics screamed Allah Akbar and buildings erupted in flame this extraordinary package of space-going Fuck Yeah! quietly went about its secular business and blew past asteroid 5535 (Annefrank). While George W. Bush dreamed of Gog and Magog and the start of a new Crusade this implausibly stunning piece of man-crafted kickass radioed back to a shrinking blue dot that it was on its way to Jupiter. While fundamentalists gathered and the world spiraled out of control in another Abrahamic shitstorm this 300 kilogram parcel of awesomeness slipped into the coma of comet 81P/Wild (Wild-2) and unfurled its tennis racket sized aerogel Sample Collection plate. And while the bodies of 362 people killed in a stampede on the last day of the Hajj were still being collected the return capsule of this formidable beauty touched down in western Utah with news that while it was away it’d put a bullet between the eyes of any self-indulgent assumption that life on earth was the express product of some self-aware artist. Wild2_3Captured in its gel were organic compounds from the simplest amino acid, glycine, to more complex aliphatic hydrocarbons, methylamine and ethylamine. 4.5 billion years old, the age of the earth give or take, comet Wild-2 was proof giant seeds pregnant with the organic building blocks of life were hurtling through space; dormant for now, but full of potential should they just find the right conditions. 53 years earlier Stanley L. Miller and Harold C. Urey might have proven amino acids could be cooked up in a lab on earth, but it was Stardust that showed us all that life (like a weed) is pounding at the door wherever we look. What wasn’t anywhere to be found behind that door was, once again, a god.

Now tell me, when was the last time your local church captured comet dust out past Jupiter and brought it home?

31 thoughts on “The magnificent ruiner of the gods

  1. If we survive the mindlessness of religious, anti-science extremists we may yet figure out how to keep from destroying this shrinking blue dot. I fear that what knowledge this information reveals about us will take a few hundred years to permeate the layers of crap man’s religious institutions have insulated us with.


    • Agreed, Larry. I remember the week the probe returned (2006). It barely made a blip on the News cycle which was more focused on (religious) violence in Iraq, Russia cutting gas to the Ukraine, and the stampede at the Hajj during the stoning of the devil ritual. Sad.Our priorities are just all wrong.


  2. Ah, now I see where the chemistry comes in! Awesome post. It always amazes me that Christians cannot accept the world as it is. Could not their god create this . . . as it is? Thomas Paine’s “atheism” (he was actually a deist) stemmed from the fact that he felt God’s creation was right in front of us and if it conflicted with a 2000 year old book, then the book was wrong in that the creation was closer to the creator than any book could be.


  3. A very well kept secret. 😦 I don’t think I would have understood much of it, but it sure would have been nice to just read the headlines someplace .. like on Fox maybe. But I don’t read Fox….so maybe it was reported there.

    That thing in the picture looks like it was designed.


  4. Brilliant, simply brilliant.

    if homo sap lasts long enough, which sadly seems unlikely, god and religion will simply fade into obscurity and eventually, inevitably, vanish utterly. It could not possibly be otherwise.

    “There is no shortcut to truth, no way to gain knowledge of the universe except through the gateway of the scientific method.”
    Karl Pearson, influential English mathematician who has been credited with establishing the discipline of mathematical statistics.


  5. Sir, I am heartfully offended, and you don’t seem to know much about much …

    My guardian angel, Simpsonite, brought me a gem from Alpha Centauri Bb. It’s a mysterious gem which looks similar to a ruby, and he says it will be keep safe.

    Perhaps you should talk to your own guardian angel, before you write posts like this.


    • Thanks, Bill! I heard something similar recently about a student oil engineer who didn’t believe in geological records. Facepalm!

      Plug away. That’s what this is all about, isn’t it 🙂


  6. If there’s an antikythera machine then someone was scared enough of kytheras (kytherae?) to go to all that bother. Should we be worried? Do we need to pray in case hibernating kyther-things resurrect and attack us in our slumbers?

    Dammit, I shan’t sleep tonight …


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