Dvarin (dvarin) wrote,


Some Jehovah's Witnesses came to the door yesterday, which is a hazard (?) of being a foreigner in Tokyo.
Them: Hi, we'd like to tell you about the good future waiting for us.
Me: Oh?
Them: If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be?
Me: I can't really answer that. I am sure that regardless of what I choose, the world will be worse off for my having done so.

Then I had to explain that, because English was not their native language. But it pretty much set the tone for the rest of the conversation, which was remarkably civil despite my essentially pointing out more depressing alternative explanations for anything they said.

It also reminded me that constant pessimism is an engineering occupational hazard.

And that I really dislike it when people take a single verse out of the middle of somewhere and use it as evidence for something where that something is not present in the plain reading of the text.
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"I am sure that regardless of what I choose, the world will be worse off for my having done so."

Hm. Is this the best of all realizeable worlds? That seems arguably optimistic.


May 25 2015, 08:10:16 UTC 2 years ago Edited:  May 25 2015, 10:53:37 UTC

It is not a comment on the state of the world relative to all possible worlds so much as relative to worlds I consider likely to result should I, being not omniscient, meddle on a large scale.

I guess I could have picked something small and relevant only to my personal situation, but they did ask me "about the world", not about myself.
What verse did they misrepresent this time?


May 26 2015, 08:04:53 UTC 2 years ago Edited:  May 26 2015, 08:17:54 UTC

Actually, now that I look at it it's kind of the opposite of what I was complaining about.

Job 26:7 "He stretches out the north over empty space / And hangs the earth on nothing."
as evidence that the bible revealed that the earth was a ball floating in space hundreds of years before the Greeks figured it out.

If you look at the rest of the chapter it is pretty clearly a list of metaphors sprinkled with poetic descriptions of natural phenomena meant to describe the power of God. Why this one alone should be literal (and only the second half at that) is not clear. I imagine I would get a better sense of what it's supposed to be if I more thoroughly read the entire book.

Edit: Also, I have no idea about the actual timeline of the development of the round earth idea versus the last major edit to the book of Job, so the assertion seems a bit dubious on that front too.