Star Trek Pagh

I just got through watching “A Matter of Honor”, the Star Trek TNG episode where Riker is temporarily posted to a the Klingon ship Pagh. At the end of the episode, he takes command by deposing the Klingon captain and says to the Klingon crew, “I’m your captain now”.  With weapons armed and a crew which is ready for a fight, he hails the Enterprise and orders Picard to lower their shields and surrender. So I started thinking… what if the Klingon weapons officer had fired a photon torpedo at that moment?

Suppose the Enterprise were destroyed by the hit. Kargan was aboard the Enterprise at that moment. That leaves Riker as permanent captain of the Klingon ship Pagh. His first office is now Lt. Klag. Naturally, Captain Riker would chastise the weapons officer, possibly kill him. But it would be too late to undo the damage.

Neither Troi nor LeForge appeared in that episode, so it’s possible that they were not on board the ship at that moment. Also, Beverley Crusher was at StarFleet Medical during season two, so she would have survived as well. Maybe some strange twists of fate would get Troi, LeForge, and Crusher transferred to the Pagh as well, and then Captain Riker and his mostly Klingon crew could travel the galaxy having adventures aboard the Pagh.

I think this is an interesting though experiment.

And, according to Rule 34, somebody somewhere has made porn about it.

Bring out the popcorn!

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ten crazy theories you can’t disprove

Everything you know is based on information you gather with your senses, compared to memories that are stored in your mind. You believe that this knowledge comes from your interaction with the real world and the objects and people which inhabit that world. Plato pointed out that a person who lived their entire life in a cave, seeing nothing but shadows and never seeing the objects which cast the shadows, would think the shadows are real, just like we think the world we see is real. But what if that’s all an illusion? Could you prove it?

Here are ten crazy theories about the universe which cannot be disproved.

#1 This life is really just a dream you’re having while you’re lying in a hospital bed somewhere, in a coma.

Every detail of your life, and every memory you think you have of it, is really just a highly detailed dream you’re having. None of it is real. Any minute now, you might wake up and find yourself lying in a hospital bed, in a world with a completely different history, and say to yourself “Oh, it was all a dream.” Right now, you think you’re a 32-year-old real estate agent with 2 kids but the truth is that you’re a 60-year-old school teacher who never got married, having a dream about being a 32-year-old real estate agent with 2 kids. Some dreams can seem very real when you’re in them and you never know for sure until you wake up.

#2 This life is really just a dream and Earth doesn’t exist at all.

Similar to #1 above, you’re in a coma having a dream but the hospital bed is on an alien planet which is very different from Earth. In fact, Earth doesn’t exist. You just dreamed it up. You think you’re a Homo Sapiens but you’re not. As the philosopher Chuang Tzu asked, if a man can have a dream about being a butterfly, how do you know that you aren’t really a butterfly who’s having a dream about being a man?

#3 The entire universe doesn’t exist, except for you.

This world is a dream all right, but you aren’t lying in a hospital bed on Earth or any other planet because there are no planets. You dreamed the very concept of stars and planets. The truth is that your mind is the only thing that exists in the cosmos and everything else (even your body) is just part of this dream you’re having. Rene DesCartes famously said Cogito Ergo Sum ( I think therefore I am ) but the only person you know for sure to be thinking is yourself, so you exist and maybe that’s all there is. Just you. Thinking and existing.

#4 The universe is real but it was created five minutes ago.

For reasons unknown, an omnipotent god decided to create a universe with you in it, complete with galaxies and stars and planet Earth, and everything on Earth, including other humans. But this god didn’t have the patience to spend 6 days creating the universe and then wait 6,000 years for history to unfold gradually, leading us to this exact moment in time. This impatient god decided instead to create the entire universe, just as you perceive it to be right now, five minutes ago. Any memories you have of things that happened more than five minutes ago are false memories. Those memories were created five minutes ago. Any artifacts you find which appear to be more than five minutes old were actually created five minutes ago, complete with features which give them the illusion of being much older, and those features were created five minutes ago.

#5 The world as we know it is just a computer simulation.

Remember the game The Sims? If computers keep getting better and better, it may become possible to program a simulation which is so detailed that the characters in the simulation become self-aware. The world they inhabit seems very real to them. It’s the only world they have ever known. It’s perfectly consistent for them, even if the rules are slightly different from those of the world inhabited by the programmer who wrote the simulation. Now, given the idea that there could be thousands of such simulations running on thousands of different computers, and only one real world, what are the odds that this world, which you think is real, is actually the one real world? Isn’t more likely that it’s one of the many many simulations? Perhaps it was created by a programmer in the far off future who wanted to see what life might have been like here in our time, which is the ancient past from the programmer’s point of view.

#6 You’re in a simulation which is running parallel to the real world, on trial for a crime you haven’t committed yet.

Similar to #5 above, you’re in a simulation, but it’s not the ancient past, it’s present day. There’s the real you who inhabits the real world, and there’s a thousand simulated yous who inhabits a thousand simulations. The real you has been arrested by the thought police who suspect you are about to commit a crime. They’ve programmed a thousand computers with a simulation of the real world, and put into each one a highly detailed simulation of you and your personality. They are monitoring the simulations to see what you’ll do. In each simulation, there will be a situation where simulated you will have an opportunity to commit a crime where simulated you thinks no one will ever find out. If the majority of the simulated yous go through with the crime, then the real you will be punished with horrific torture. So, dear reader, you think you’re real but actually you’re just a simulation and the real you is handcuffed in a police station awaiting the results of this test. If you, the simulation, commit a crime (which crime? impossible to say…) then the real you will be tortured for a very long time. So watch yourself.

#7 You’re in a parallel simulation, accused of treason and being tested for loyalty.

Similar to #6 above, you’re one of a thousand simulated yous whose actions will have dire consequences for the real you which is handcuffed in a police station. This simulation is your chance to prove your loyalty. The problem is… loyalty to whom? You don’t know. Perhaps the programmers are Nazis who are giving you this chance to prove your loyalty to the Nazi Party. If you denounce the Nazis in this simulation, the real you will suffer for it. Or maybe the programmers are Communists fighting the Nazis who are expecting you to denounce the Nazis and demonstrate your loyalty to Communism. There’s no way to tell what it is they want you do do or say. But if you make the wrong choice, the real you will tortured for a very long time.

#8 You’re in a simulation which appears to be 14 billion years old but really it was created just 6,000 years ago and you’re being tested for… something.

Is the simulation real, or does it just seem real? Either way, you find yourself on planet Earth, surrounded by people, a few of which are desperately trying to tell you that the universe is only 6,000 years old. You laugh at those people but actually they’re right. And you’re being tested. The creator/programmer wants to see how you will act. Certain actions will prove your loyalty and the real you will be rewarded, other actions will show your disloyalty and the real you will be tortured. But which actions are which? The creator/programmer has deliberately put false clues into the simulation regarding the age of the universe. What if there are other false clues telling us to do certain things and not do others when really that’s precisely what condemns us to torture? Does the creator reward people for being gullible? Does the creator reward people for being skeptical? There’s not way to cover all the bases. No matter what you do, there’s a risk that you’ve chosen the wrong answer. In the words of Bill Hicks, “Does that bother any of you? That God might be fucking with us?”.

#9 You are immortal.

The world is real, you are real, but you can never die. You see other people dying around you and you believe that some day you will die but the truth is that you’ll keep avoiding death, somehow. Every bullet fired at your head will miss by a few inches. Every disease you catch will just fail to kill you. You’ll keep getting older, of course, but no matter how bad your health gets, you never… quite… die. The only way to disprove this theory is to actually die but then if and when that happens you aren’t conscious anymore so you never have that “Aha!” moment where you can say “Look, I’m dead!”. So there’s no way to know for sure that you aren’t immortal.

#10 Everyone is immortal.

According to the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics, every event splits the world into two worlds, one where it happened and one where it didn’t happen. Suppose the real you branches into this world and a ghost you branches into the other world. This happens millions of times each second. At every single branch point, there is at least one branch which leads to a world where you survive. For example, someone points a loaded gun right at your head and pulls the trigger. Will the gun misfire, yes or no? That event splits the world into two worlds, one where you are alive and one where you are dead. The real you follows the branch into the world where you are alive and in the other world it’s just a ghost you. The ghost is dead. But the real you is still alive, in another world. So the real you is immortal, because every single event has some possible way that the real you could survive (even if the odds are astronomical), so the real you always will survive. In those other worlds, other people see you die but it’s not the real you, it’s a ghost you. And the same thing is true about other people! Their real selves always branch to a world where they survive, but it may not be the same one that the real you is in. So you see people dying, but it’s just ghost them. The real them is still alive. And they see you dying, but it’s not the real you either. Everyone is immortal. Again, the only way to disprove this would be to have an “Aha!” moment after you’re dead. But if you’re dead, it’s too late to have that moment.

None of these theories can be proven false. There aren’t any experiments that you could conduct whose outcome would confirm or deny the truth of these theories.

But hey, there’s probably nothing you can do about it anyway, so don’t waste time worrying about it.

Freedom of Speech

I’ve seen dozens of articles where people complain about being told they can’t fly the American flag and they say it’s violating their right to Freedom of Speech. Pretty much every single case I’ve ever seen, when you dig down into it, you find out that the real problem had nothing to do with the flag itself. For example, somebody puts up a flagpole at the edge of their property and it turns out to be on the public right-of-way. The government tells the property owner to move the flagpole. The next day, you read a story about “They tried to stop me from flying the American flag!”. Nonsense.

Here’s one about some school kids who almost started a riot on Cinco de Mayo. http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2014/02/27/not-safe-to-display-american-flag-in-american-high-school/ It seems the white students were trying to intimidate some Mexican students, basically sending the message “we belong here and you don’t”. At one point, they chanted “USA! USA!” while waving a giant American flag, and the Mexican students replied with “Fuck those white boys”. The school administration told them to knock it off. And then someone says “OMG they won’t let you fly an American flag? What about Freedom of Speech?”

This sounds a lot like the shouting-Fire-in-a-crowded-theater exception to me. Basically, SCOTUS is saying Freedom of Speech doesn’t give you the right to shout “I hate negroes!” in a crowded lunchroom. In that Cinco De Mayo story, the flag itself wasn’t a problem, it was the way that certain students were using the flag. If you read the details of what they did and understand the emotions behind it, it seems obvious to me that it was a huge disruption. That’s why the school told them to knock it off. Disruptions don’t stop being disruptive just because you incorporate a “sacred” symbol into it.

People get bent out of shape over Freedom of Speech and I shake my head and think “You ain’t seen nothin’ yet.” When the President dissolves Parliament and orders the arrest of anyone who complains about it, THAT’S violating Freedom of Speech. When the President runs for reelection and orders the arrest of anyone who runs an advertisement suggesting a vote for the challenger, THAT’S violating Freedom of Speech. When the President-for-Life starts a war and orders that anyone who criticizes the war should be rounded up and prosecuted for treason (or better yet, just detained indefinitely without a trial) THAT’S violating Freedom of Speech. The whole point of the 1st Amendment is that, if the government does something bad, the problem will never get corrected if it’s illegal to complain about the problem.

While I think it’s ludicrous that the FCC slaps broadcasters with huge fines for not bleeping certain words, that’s a far cry from slapping broadcasters with huge fines for criticizing members of congress. THAT would be violating Freedom of Speech.

Having said that, I do think that there are times when we’ve come close to the line. I heard several conservatives in 2002 saying that criticizing POTUS during a time of war is borderline on treason. Luckily, they didn’t actually start arresting people for it (or if they did, we never found out about it). Edward Snowden is another example; he blew the whistle on some nefarious government spying and he they want to prosecute him for treason. There was a time when children were compelled to recite the Pledge of Allegiance, basically violating Freedom of Speech by in a backwards way by not giving them the option to refrain from declaring their loyalty to the government. But thankfully that changed and SCOTUS recognized the right to refuse a loyalty oath.

So you gotta ask yourself. Would you rather live in a country where once in a while somebody has to take down their flag? Or in a country where failure to show respect for the Glorious Leader gets you arrested in the middle of the night?

Ripley’s is bad at math

 

Okay, pop quiz. Grab a random person off the street. Find out what day of the week they were born. What are the odds that they were born on the same day of the week as you?

Wait. Before you answer, consider this alternate version. Grab two random people off the street. Find out what day of the week each of them were born. What are the odds that they were born on the same day as each other?

Do you think both versions have the same solution? If so, you’re right. The answer is the same for both. The answer is 6 to 1 against.

There is 1 chance out of 7 that two people were born on the same day of the week, and 6 chances out of 7 that they were born on different days of the week. That’s a ratio of 6 to 1.

Suppose you were born on a Friday. And you meet someone else who was also born on a Friday. What are the chances? 1 out of 7. “Aha”, you say “but it should be 1/7 for me times 1/7 for the other person, which is 1/49” but you would be wrong to say that. The reason you’re wrong is that this story works equally well for any day of the week. It doesn’t matter at all what day you were born on. Whatever day it happens to be, it’s the same day as itself. The only thing that matters is what’s the chances of the SECOND person also being born on the same day. So it’s 1 chance in favor and 6 against, ratio of 6 to 1.

Alright. You meet a couple walking down the street pushing a stroller in which is their baby. You stop to chat. They tell you that they have an amazing family because all three of them were born on a Tuesday. How amazing is that? What are the odds?

The chances are 100% that the dad was born on the same day as himself. The chances are 1 out of 7 that the mom was born on the same day as the dad. And the chances are 1 out of 7 that the baby was born on the same day as the mom and dad, so we multiply 7×7=49 and we get 1 chance out of 49 in favor and 48 chances out of 49 against. So the odds are 48 to 1 against.

Not really all that impressive, huh. On average, every 49th couple has this same story to brag about.

Finally, let’s take a look at the April 8th 2015 Ripley’s Believe It or Not cartoon. It says that there’s a couple with a baby and all three of them have the same birthday. What are the odds? Let’s ignore leap years to keep it simple.

What are the chances that the dad was born on the same day as himself? 100%. What are the chances that mom was born on the same day as dad? 1/365. What are the chances that the baby was born on the same day as dad? 1/365. Multiply those together and you get 1/133,225 which means 1 chance in favor and 133,224 against, hence the odds are 133,224 to 1 against all three having the same birthday.

But Ripley’s said 1:48,000,000.

This is the third time I’ve seen Ripley’s make a math error.

thank you thank you thank you

When being polite, you should say please, thank you, and you’re welcome. It annoys me when people get it mixed up.

Imagine you’re in a restaurant and the server asks you if you want some water. You say “thank you”. Then the server pours you a glass of water, and you say “thank you” again. Then the server says “thank you” and leaves the table. WTF? That was supposed to be PLEASE, when you wanted the water, then “thank you” when you get the water, and then the server was supposed to say YOU’RE WELCOME. It’s like we’re actors who can’t remember our lines here.

What’s even more messed up is if you don’t any water, then you say “No, thank you” so now you’re thanking them for something you didn’t even happen! But people would look at me funny if I said “No, please”, even though that’s the logical thing to say.

SEVER: Do you want some water?

PATRON: Yes, Please.

(Server pours water)

PATRON: Thank you.

SERVER: You’re welcome.

or it could go like this….

SEVER: Do you want some water?

PATRON: No, Please.

Okay, one more thing… if you’re not comfortable saying “you’re welcome”, you could also say “no problem” or “you bet” or “sure thing” or just mumble “mm hmm”. Anything but “thank you”.

Please.

Who’s next?

I’m very happy to see that Alabama has started issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. They seem to have a glitch in the fact that some counties are turning people away, but that will be straightened out soon. In a very short time, we can expect that the US Supreme Court will issue a ruling which says same-sex marriage bans are unconstitutional because it goes against the idea of equal protection under the law.

The sad thing is that, just when we can see the light at the end of the tunnel for this group of people, it seems to be getting darker for another group. I’m talking about transgender people. There’s a new bill up for vote in Florida which would require businesses to track who uses which bathroom and prevent people from using the wrong bathroom. This means that business owners would be, not just permitted, but required, to look at every single person who uses their bathroom and judge them as to what gender the business owner thinks they look most like and then refuse to let the customer say for themselves which gender they are and which bathroom they should use.

So… if you’re a woman who is only attracted to other women, the good news is that you can marry the person you fall in love with. But… if you’re a man trapped in a woman’s body, the bad news is that you will be hassled when you go to the bathroom. And maybe arrested.

It seems that there’s this big pile of hatred and intolerance which just has to be applied to somebody. So if one group manages to escape the hatred it just gets redirected at someone else.

Here’s a message to anyone who is upset by the idea of letting people choose what bathroom they use. The world you think you live in is make-believe. You imagine that everyone fits into these neat categories of “men” and “women” and you think that if you go into a bathroom which is reserved exclusively for your gender that you are magically protected from people who might secretly look at you funny. This fantasy world doesn’t exist. Most men are attracted to women, some are attracted to men, some are attracted to both, and some of them are crazy sociopaths who enjoy humiliating and terrifying other humans and don’t care too much about their victim’s gender. So you aren’t safe in the men’s room. You never were. You have this irrational fear that letting people choose their own bathroom will let some pervert attack you. Guess what. You’ve been vulnerable to pervert attacks already. Somehow you’ve managed to live with it up until now. And, unless you’ve led a very sheltered life, chances are you’ve already shared a bathroom with a transgender person and you didn’t even know it. Were you traumatized? Of course not.

The place where I work only has one bathroom anyway. It’s barely big enough for just one person to use at a time. Nobody cares what gender you are. And the bathroom in my house is like that too; only one person uses it at a time so nobody cares. Most public bathrooms have individual stalls anyway, so why get freaked out by the face of the person who’s washing their hands at the sink next to yours? That’s the easy solution, just make all bathrooms unisex with individual stalls.

I’ll admit that locker rooms are a bit trickier problem. People want to change clothes without being ogled. But guess what… separating by (supposed) gender doesn’t accomplish that goal. When you’re in a gender-segregated locker room, you can still be ogled. Speaking for myself, I don’t care. I don’t worry about whether someone will make rude comments about my body or if they’ll make unwanted sexual advances at me or if they’ll fondle me or rape me. I don’t worry about it because I trust people to respect my boundaries. And I’ll extend that some trust to anyone regardless of whether they are the same gender as me, or a different gender, or transgender. And I promise that I’ll respect their boundaries too.

That’s how it works at nudist resorts. You can glance at someone’s body, just like you might glance at someone’s shoes, but you don’t stare with your tongue hanging out, and you don’t make rude comments or unwanted sexual advances, and fondling will get you kicked out, and rape will get you arrested. We all know that those things are unacceptable. Trust people to act like they’re supposed to act. I trust people and people can trust me. That trust is not conditional based on your gender.

GMO’s and overpopulation

I have good news and bad news about overpopulation.

The good news is that the rapid increase in the world population of humans seems to have been caused by the industrial revolution but once we’ve gotten past the transition, population is finally beginning to stabilize. The total number of human babies being born each year has leveled out in the last quarter century or so. It’s highly likely that we’ll peak at 11 billion and won’t go any higher than that.

The bad news is that 11 is probably way too high to be sustainable in the long run. Even if each of those people have a very small ecological footprint, it’s just too damned big when you multiply it by 11 billion. The question of what size human population actually would be sustainable is the subject of much debate, but I think the answer is someone around 1 billion.

Overpopulation is still a problem. And GMO crops are going to make it worse.

Even IF it turns out that GMOs are 100% beneficial and harmless, with no unintended consequences, the mere fact that it promotes population growth should be enough of a reason to dislike it. Add in the fact that GMOs promote monoculture and you’ve got a recipe for disaster. And that’s even assuming that they DON’T have dangerous side effects which we haven’t had time to identify yet.

Imagine you have ten mice in a cage. Every day you put in enough food for ten mice. Come back in a year, how many mice will there be? Ten. Keep putting in enough food for ten mice and the actual population will hover around ten mice. But suppose you are a malicious, cruel, sadistic bastard who actually wants to see lots of starvation. What strategy would maximize your cruelty? Gradually increase the food in the cage to feed 20 mice, then 40, then 80, then 160, then 320, until the mice are so overcrowded that they are wallowing in their own filth, and then abruptly go back to only giving them enough food for 10 mice. Watch 310 mice die of starvation almost overnight.

Mechanized agriculture doesn’t cure starvation. It helps to create the conditions which make starvation more deadly, when the system eventually fails.

Sex is weird

When you think about it, sex is just plain weird. I mean, from a biological standpoint, the purpose is to get sperm from the testicles to the uterus. So what’s required is insert penis into vagina, eject sperm onto cervix, done. But that’s totally not what happens.

Think about getting an apple out of your refrigerator. Open the door, take the apple, bite it. Now let’s look at how it would go if this was like sex.

Approach refrigerator slowly. Compliment the refrigerator. Give the refrigerator a hug. Spend the next 10 minutes hugging. Slowly open the door. Now close it again. Open it again, a little faster, then close it. Open it, close it, open it, close it. Repeat for about 5 minutes. Reach in a grab the apple. Now put it back and close the door. Open and close the door rapidly for 2 more minutes. Grab the apple. Bite it. Close the door. Lean against the refrigerator for 10 minutes while you eat the apple.

Sex is weird.

exotic cars

Imagine that you live in a country where every car has a tarp on it, not just when it’s parked, but when you drive it too.

The tarps have holes where the windows of the car would be, so you can see out. When you open and close the door to get in and out of the car, you have to be careful that the tarp stays in place. When you drive home at the end of the day, you park the car in the garage, close the door so no one can see, and only then can you remove the tarp and look at your own car.

But most of the time you don’t bother to look at the car, because you hate your car. Your car is ugly and the paint is the wrong color. There’s a a dent in one of the fenders. Looking at it just reminds you of how unhappy you are and how much you wish you had a better car. So you’re fine with keeping the tarp on it all the time when you go out. You don’t want anyone else looking at your car.

The car you wish you had is a sleek powerful sports car with shiny paint. You have pictures of cars like that. The pictures are on calendars, in magazines, and on your computer. You spend about an hour every day looking at those pictures of exotic cars. You have several favorites. You almost never get to see one of those cars in person. Once in a while there’s a car show where you can pay $20 to go inside a dark windowless building and see these beautiful cars (just look, don’t touch!) but you personally never go to those places because you’re scared someone will see you there.

Then one day, you hear about towns where people drive around in their cars without tarps. Just bare paint and chrome right out there in the open! Your heart beats faster just thinking about it. You wonder if that town has a high car theft rate. How could anyone possibly control themselves when you can just see the car right there out in the open? Eventually you decide that the people who live in this town must be the bravest people in the world. It sounds like the kind of place you have to see for yourself. But you’re still scared that someone might see you there.

Eventually you work up the courage to go to one of those towns when you’re on vacation. You drive there (with your tarp firmly in place, of course) and then you reach the city limits. You take the tarp off your car and drive on in. Look! There’s another car driving around tarpless! It’s just a minivan, but you think there’s bound to be plenty of exotic sports cars nearby. You head for downtown. Pretty soon you’re surrounded by naked cars, hundreds of them. Minivans, pickup trucks, 4-door sedans, hatchbacks, and even a few 2-seater convertibles. But none of them are sleek and powerful sports cars like the ones you saw in the pictures.

The colors are all pretty ugly too. Very few of the cars are beautiful candy apple red or baby blue. Most of them are silver or tan (boring!) or navy blue or forest green (ugly!). And so many of the fenders are dented. Some of them even have cracked windshields. Your stomach turns over. This is a huge disappointment. You simply can’t understand why the only cars here on display are UGLY cars, the kind of cars which SHOULD be kept covered up all the time because nobody wants to look at them. You’ve seen more minivans and pickup trucks in one day than you ever saw in your whole life up to this point. You put the tarp back on your car and go home.

It’s nice to be back home, where everything makes sense. You keep the tarp on your car like you’re supposed to. You still spend an hour a day looking at pictures of cars. Fancy shiny cars. Amazing sports cars. Race cars with stripes. Exotic rare custom built cars. Cars with perfect paint jobs. And every car you pass in the street, you’re glad they have tarps on them. Because you don’t want to know if their paint is faded or scratched. You don’t want to see dented fenders on boxy station wagons. You’re happier with the fantasy. Of course, you still feel bad that your own car is ugly. But that’s okay, because you don’t have to look at it. You just have to drive it.

5 BC

YAHWEH: Hey, Jesus, come over here a minute.

JESUS: Okay, dad. What’s up?

YAHWEH: There was a time when I just loved the smell of fresh blood and burning goat flesh. But it’s kinda getting old. I wish I could just forgive everybody without making them kill something first.

JESUS: So, what’s stopping you from just forgiving everybody?

YAHWEH: We made a contract. The humans kill things so I can forgive them for whatever they did wrong. I can’t just go and change the terms of the contract. They’ve got this new thing called “lawyers”. Trust me, you do NOT want to get on their bad side. But don’t worry, I have a plan.

JESUS: What’s your plan?

YAHWEH: They still have to kill something, but just one last kill and then that’s it. And it has to be big.

JESUS: What are they going to kill?

YAHWEH: You.

JESUS: Seriously?

YAHWEH: Yeah, I told you it had to be a big one. You can’t get any bigger than killing my only son. A man’s only son is his most valuable possession. You can steal a man’s money, burn down his house, murder his wife, but all those possessions put together aren’t as valuable as his only son.

JESUS: What about daughters?

YAHWEH: Oh, I agree that daughters are valuable possessions. You can sell a daughter for two cows, maybe three. A really pretty one might even go for up to five cows. But that’s still not as valuable as a son.

JESUS: So, what happens after they kill me. Do I stay dead forever?

YAHWEH: No, it’s only a temporary death. Three days, tops. Then you come back here with me again. No sweat.

JESUS: So, it’s not really like having your son killed at all. It’s more like a man having his son kidnapped and then three days later the kidnappers bring the son back. Not exactly a tragedy.

YAHWEH: You’re missing the best part.

JESUS: What’s that?

YAHWEH: the part where I forgive all the humans!

JESUS: All the humans? Not just the ones who actually kill me?

YAHWEH: I’ll forgive anyone who publicly claims responsibility for your death, even if they actually had nothing to do with it.

JESUS: What if they grow up in another country, years later, and didn’t even know about my death?

YAHWEH: Oh, they’ll know.

JESUS: How? Are you going to beam the information directly into their brains?

YAHWEH: Don’t be silly. That would never work. Instead, I’ll just make sure they have access to a book that explains the whole story.

JESUS: And, you want me to write the book, right?

YAHWEH: No, that’s a terrible idea. I’ll get a committee of ordinary humans to write it.

JESUS: How will they know what to say?

YAHWEH: I’ll beam the information directly into their brains.

JESUS: And when people read this book, how will they know it’s real?

YAHWEH: I’ll make sure it includes stories about you performing magic. That should convince them.

JESUS: What happens to the people who aren’t convinced? Do they still have to sacrifice goats?

YAHWEH: You’re not listening. No More GOATS! After this, they only have two options. Either they take responsibility for your death because they read about it in the magic book and then they go to heaven, OR they go straight to hell because I won’t forgive them. There’s no third alternative.

JESUS: So, heaven will be full of gullible people and hell will be full of skeptics, right?

YAHWEH: Yep, that’s the way I want it.

JESUS: Does Mom know about this plan?

YAHWEH: Umm… She’s not crazy about it. Especially the part where I impregnate a 12-year-old virgin.

JESUS: Okay. Wow. You kinda skipped over that part.

YAHWEH: Well, obviously we need a human surrogate to give birth to you. I just thought it would be more dramatic if she was a 12-year-old virgin. The book works much better that way.

JESUS: So, what did Mom say?

YAHWEH: She said it’s a terrible idea, she wants nothing to do with it, and we should just leave her out of the book completely.