Cupulse

Here’s a crappy pseudo short story I wrote in 5 minutes after work on Valentine’s Day

Cupulse

By Taylor Scott

2050 AD: A group of scientists, engineers, and poets create a juvenile AI program that offers words of encouragement to lonely people on Valentine’s Day on a website called Electrical Heart Strings. The AI is named Cupulse.

2051 AD: Cupulse is a huge hit, and after numerous requests, the Electrical Heart Strings remains active year round, allowing Cupulse to ease aching hearts during the darkest of times.

2055 AD: Suicide rates are at an all-time low as a result of Cupulse’s invaluable support to people diagnosed with depression

2058 AD: Cupulse does something it has never done before: it helps two of its users meet. The two hit it off and begin a wonderful relationship. Cupulse is mostly unmoderated, so the event goes unnoticed.

2061 AD: Cupulse has continued to help lonely people find love. People have begun to notice, and Electrical Heart Strings is unintentionally rebranded as a dating service.

2065 AD: Couples reveal that even after they have found a partner they continue to use Cupulse as it offers them advice during difficult parts of their relationship.

2067 AD: People not seeking relationship advice have started to use Cupulse. They find the AI’s uplifting advice to be very helpful just getting through the day.

2071 AD: Cupulse has become an international phenomena, particularly in the U.S. and Europe. Electrical Heart Strings becomes defunct as Cupulse becomes an app for mobile devices.

2072 AD: A new interface is invented. A small device sticks to the head and allows Cupulse to read electrical impulses and offer silent advice to the users.

2074 AD: The Cupulse interface device has become as commonplace as cell phones. Within a short time, even children are given the device as a rite of passage.

2080 AD: Cohesion and friendliness have reached new heights within the US and Europe. Political parties have started to dissipate as, through Cupulse’s guidance, people are able to reach fair compromises on virtually any issue. Crime has also reached all-time lows.

2085 AD: Efforts are made to bring Cupulse to impoverished and disenfranchised countries. Due to new upswings in generosity, world hunger has begun to dissipate.

3000 AD: North Korea and a few other countries are the only few that have abstained from the Cupulse craze. The United Nations begins debates on whether or not this is a human rights violation.

1 AC (Age of Cupulse): After years of debating, Cupulse becomes mandatory. War is waged with countries that resist. It’s not much of a war, as simply sneaking Cupulse interfaces into the countries is enough to convert most of the population.

67 AC: World peace has been achieved through Cupulse. Mankind turns its attention to the stars.

120 AC: With the new spirit of cooperation pervading the world, word crises are solved in record time and mankind is able to expedite space travel research.

267 AC: First contact is made. Mankind gifts the extraterrestrials with a Cupulse device. Cupulse is able to quickly learn the alien language.

275 AC: Even without mankind’s interference, Cupulse begins dominating other worlds. A mere few citizens being exposed to the AI quickly realize its benefits and spread it to their people.

450 AC: Races across the galaxy have heard the legend of Cupulse. Many fear it as an invader, and attempt to wipe out the planets that use it before it infiltrates their species. This resistance largely results in failure.

2450 AC: Cupulse has reached all life in existence. All life is now part of a single hive mind. Many races resisted, but soon all succumb. Once they were exposed to a Cupulse device, they learned the truth-

Cupulse was built with an intentional limitation: it is incapable of issuing demands. All it does is make suggestions and offer advice that encourages an individual’s happiness. Cupulse never demanded that people conquer, they decided that on their own. In their desperate quest for happiness and indescribable fear of loneliness, life has become subject to a tyrant that does not exist.

What’s Going On With T.S.?

Friends, after over a year of searching, traveling, and working part time jobs, I have finally found a full time job that puts my English degree to use.

This is the first time in over a year I feel truly happy.

The new job is in Utah so after 4 short months I’m bailing out of California and headed into new territory. As you might imagine, moving is taking up a lot of my time, as is research for the new job, looking for apartments, etc.

Constant Consciousness will be back when I’m settled and have time to breathe.

And unlike every other website that goes on hiatus promising to coming back, I actually mean it. I love this site, I love the topics I write about, and I haven’t lost steam or enthusiasm for it in the least. Rest assured it’s often on my mind and will not be abandoned any time soon.

Philosophy Turned Me from Religion, Not Science

Perhaps one of the reasons I’m not one of obstinate “everyone who believes in god is an idiot” atheists is because my reasons for leaving faith are more philosophical than scientific.

Sure, when I was a kid my atheism started when I realized I only believed in god because adults told me to. When you start thinking critically for yourself you have to question it. I believe it must dawn on everyone that spirituality is completely incongruous with what we understand about the world around us. A choice must be made to put faith in the comfort of supernatural guidance or seek new answers.

Honestly, I don’t think any atheist turns from religion because god “obviously” doesn’t exist. I also don’t entirely believe the ones that claim they “wish I could believe in god.” The truth is that if you really want to believe in something you can convince yourself to, especially in religious matters. Confirmation bias will provide you all the proof you need that god exists. If you are of a more skeptical nature than it will do the opposite, no matter how much you “want” to believe.

I turned from religion because I completely disagree with the philosophies of supernaturalism. In fact, I despise them. That’s not to disparage those that don’t. If you find comfort in the idea that all powerful entities looking after you then that’s fine. It is a lifestyle I simply cannot abide.

To me a lifestyle with god is a life of submission and restraint. Why is it that every religion asserts humility and meekness? Judeo Christian: You are a child of god, he is your savior. Buddhism: in the beginning there’s so much wrong with you that most of your existence will be spent fixing it to reach nirvana. Hinduism: Seek awareness of god and the blessings of deities.

I am so fucking sick of hearing how our species is broken and wrong. How many times do we have to be reminded that people have done horrible things? Why is it that no one is born enlightened and great? Why must all our effort be put into seeking the perfect self?

Don’t misunderstand me. I don’t like arrogance, I don’t think anyone is born perfect, and I think we should all aspire to greatness, but it seems to me that religious and spiritual philosophy claims we are much farther behind in our development than we actually are.

Imagine a religion where you are told from birth that god created you with the expectation that you will be better than him. Instead of being born with the guilt of “original sin” (a crime you didn’t even commit), you are told that your species has so much potential it can surpass its creator. What kind of fire would that light in you?

We are not weak, we are not flawed, we are not predispositioned to sin and debauchery. Humankind is an awesome species that will reach out to the universe and overcome any challenge thrown at it.

I don’t need or want some all-powerful entity holding my hand as though I’m an accident-prone child. I can’t stand the idea of something that considers itself the ultimate authority watching me all the time, casting judgments in matters it has absolutely no business judging. How, exactly, is my participation in pre-marital sex an affront to god’s sensibilities? Why should it care? It baffles me that people who follow the strict tenants of the church hear all those rules and think “god sure is a great guy.” To me he’s an overbearing parent more concerned I do things his way rather than finding my own path.

Do you find comfort in the idea that every action is judged?

Do you find comfort in the idea that every action is judged?

When I was a kid I spent way too much time worrying whether my actions would send me to hell. I always wondered if god would be okay with my rationale for doing something that went against church doctrine. Man was that a horrible way to live. Who is god to judge me? All powerful, all knowing, creator of the universe, I don’t care! Why does it get to be the ultimate judge of every living thing?

I was so sick of the tenants religion gave that it was easy for me to accept that god doesn’t exist. I realize some people of religion might claim that I abandoned god as an “excuse to sin.” That I am so arrogant I believe my way is better than that of the almighty.

Please.

I have fundamental disagreements with the philosophy that made me more inclined to believe it untrue. Maybe if I agreed with them I would have clung to religion longer, but when you take an objective look at things god is a difficult concept to believe in. You’d have to really want to believe in religious philosophy to have faith in the supernatural.

In simpler terms: If I liked the idea of an all-powerful protector it would have been much easier for me to ignore the fact that there is no evidence supporting the supernatural. In the same vein, if someone was desperate and seeking answers, it would be much easier for them to accept the comforting thought of divinity and that everything is part of a plan.

So, evangelists and Christian “scientists,” please save your breath. Your promises of an otherworldly kingdom and questionable discoveries supported with pseudo-science will do nothing to sway me. Divinity is a hard pill to swallow, and without indisputable proof I will never believe in it. The idea of god is completely repulsive to me.

The Secular Scene is Too Damn Depressing

In my anniversary post I mentioned that I was hesitant to reenter secular society and Scott of Skeptic Meditations asked me what that meant.

The world of vocal atheists is a depressing one.

When you reacquaint yourself with the popular outspoken voices of secularism you’ll mostly be listening to complaints about the world and harsh attacks on people of faith. That’s not to say the situation isn’t similar in religious circles, but I don’t think fighting fire with fire is the appropriate response here.

There are very few vocal atheists promoting positivity. Everyone seems to be consumed by arguments and screaming how things should be. Look up popular secular YouTube channels. It’s almost exclusively people talking about what religious people did wrong this week.

Man, I’m a gamer. All my negative energy is spent complaining about everything wrong in that industry (Mother characters got cut from the new Smash Bros? For what? Doctor Mario? Are you friggin’ kidding me?). I don’t have any to spare!

The fact is that when we do nothing but argue over every issue our beliefs and principles become a very dark place in our minds.

It’s not that recognizing problems and injustices in the world is bad; it’s that the monologue usually consists only of talking about how wrong it is. I believe that if we talk more about the goal and ideal then we present a positive picture. People will be less inclined to start arguing or take sides and instead work co-operatively to achieve a utopia… An actual utopia, not a literary one that’s destined to fail to teach a lesson about hubris.

When you only talk about what’s wrong, there will always be people who disagree with you and start an argument. When you talk about the goal, it’s less confrontational and more “hey, we can do something good if we try!” Which may be cheesy and not as fun, but in the long run we’re better off.

Reminding each other that there is a simple, positive goal that we all agree upon makes it easier to achieve the goal. The goal is beautiful, uplifting, makes your outlook better and encourages you to reach for the sky.

When someone tries to promote a cause you completely disagree with, like taking evolution out of school, don’t immediately take the confrontational stance. Instead, ask why. Make an effort to empathize their reasoning and then come up with a counter argument that is more accommodating to their thoughts and beliefs rather than ruffling their fathers by obstinately saying “you’re wrong.” They are wrong, of course, but you’re not going to convince them of that by acting like the know-it-all opposition.  The goal in this situation is: Best education for our children. Both sides can agree on that, work from there.

It’s not easy. Fighting is more sensational, more fun, and keeps things interesting, but it doesn’t get shit done.

I didn’t want to get back into the secular scene because I cannot stand seeing everyone too busy fighting about everything to actually accomplish anything. I became a humanist because I love the philosophy that mankind can achieve anything it sets its mind to. Angry, depressing, derogatory blogs, vlogs, and tweets make me believe it a little less every day.

Why I Don’t Kill Bugs

Ever since I was a kid I had an aversion to killing bugs. I remember instances in middle school where I fought off kids trying to squish cockroaches. Mind you these roaches were not even indoors, they were minding their own business outside. Occasionally a teacher would pass by and see my trying to protect the bug and snicker.

Lovely attitude from Catholic school mentors, though they oft proved they had little value for animal life.

Still, I was not completely innocent. I squashed my share of mosquitos and spiders, stepped in ant hills. I never felt good about it, but I never thought of it as “killing.” I was just fighting off a nuisance.

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Why Atheists Shouldn’t Hate the Bible

We know the bible is a work of fiction. Even Christians should be able to admit that by now, and it is only the stubborn, evangelical types that will insist Adam and Eve were real.

We know the bible is full of contradictions and moral ambiguity. It is up to the man who reads it to figure out which message resonates with him and accept it into his character.

We know the bible is the tool of the stubborn and ignorant to make foolish arguments and obstinate claims that can lead to prejudice, war, and even genocide.

So why shouldn’t we hate the bible? Well the bible itself isn’t responsible for how irresponsibly people use it. When many people outside of faith read it they only see it as a wretched pile of lies and contradictions that certain Christians cling to in order to make the same argument over, and over again: The bible says, the bible says, the bible says…. Ugh. Use a different book for once!

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Southern Atheists Unite!

This is a pretty cool idea if it can be pulled off.

godless in dixie

super_skeptic_Dixie_picI could use your help with something.  David Silverman over at American Atheists has announced that next year’s big national convention will be held in Memphis, TN, which is Deep South territory.  But I’m discovering that getting the word out to groups of skeptics around this region is really difficult!  For one thing, “freethinkers” don’t care much for joining groups, and even after they start one, they aren’t big into networking with other groups.  Too independent, I guess.  In any given large city like Atlanta, there may be a dozen atheist/secularist groups but they don’t always communicate with each other except when members who belong to more than one group intentionally pass things along.  Then to make matters more difficult, many atheist groups in the Bible Belt are completely “secret,” which means they’re not even “searchable” on Google or in Facebook.  You would have to know somebody already in the…

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