A Simple Juxtaposition

I miss the Greeks. The first true thinkers in the context of Neolithic civilization.

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This argument was a type favoured by the ancient Greek skeptics, and may have been wrongly attributed to Epicurus by Lactantius, who, from his Christian perspective, regarded Epicurus as an atheist. It has been suggested that it may actually be the work of an early skeptic writer, possibly Carneades.

So, a Juxtaposition, the fruits of true thought vs. the consequences of unthinking and dishonesty.

The Worst

Yea, I could have put up a ton of pics—they’re easy to find—but in the words of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn: “To taste the ocean needs only a single drop.”

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Richard Nikoley

I started writing Free The Animal in late 2003 as just a little thing to try. 20 years later, turns out I've written over 5,000 posts. I blog what I wish...from diet, health, lifestyle...to philosophy, politics, social antagonism, adventure travel, expat living, location and time independent—while you sleep— income by geoarbitrage, and food pics. I intended to travel the world "homeless," but the Covidiocy Panicdemic squashed that. I became an American expat living in Thailand. I celebrate the audacity and hubris to live by your own exclusive authority and take your own chances. ... I leave the toilet seat up. Read More


  1. neal matheson on December 5, 2012 at 01:19

    Depends who your god is and your relationship with him. A happy loving benign god would never allow suffering and hardship so the presence of these things on earth easily disprove “his” existence. Odin never said he was a nice guy however
    Come to that the God in the old testament is a bit of a shit too!

    • marie on December 5, 2012 at 15:45

      Odin….meh, très passé.
      Today’s god is a bloodless, heartless and very mischievous supreme Imp.
      It is something which would create and enjoy the current supremely ironic situation where the same tools that created the explosion in information, which Could educate and free more people from ignorance, also created an explosion in confusion, pseudo-science, false authorities and assorted mumbo-jumbo, which at the same time keep more people misinformed.

  2. josef on December 4, 2012 at 10:23

    I can’t understand why people in the 21st century still believe in these superstitions.

    Why are people willingly putting a joke around their necks with this religious stuff?

    Are people so insecure?

    Is it helping?

    • Richard Nikoley on December 4, 2012 at 10:33

      What offends me most, Josef, is not the original primitivity of it, but the perpetuity.

      This was slammed logically 300 years BC—more time than the US has existed.

      So, what? Live your life, I guess. “Nobody every went broke underestimating the intelligence of….”

  3. Tatertot on December 4, 2012 at 10:53

    That kid was totally pwned, by god.

    • neal matheson on December 4, 2012 at 11:56

      bit of respect eh mate?

      • Richard Nikoley on December 4, 2012 at 12:12

        neal, thank you. That image has basically haunted me for three weeks since I saw it and I can’t entertain the slightest joke or anything of the sort about it. Rather than toss it up with a bunch of commentary I mulled over 3 weeks how to present it. In the end, I decided it basically spoke for itself and all that was needed was a bit of logic served up on the side.

      • Tatertot on December 4, 2012 at 16:09

        Yeah, sorry, my first reaction to just about everything is to make a half-hearted joke. I’ll stick to commenting on potato blogs…

      • marie on December 4, 2012 at 19:41

        Don’t be silly, joking in the face of horrible things is a very natural reaction. Decent people can’t fathom misery, pain, death, violent horrors….its of course one of the main reasons so many still choose to join some magical mystery tour.
        What gets me is when they try to ‘comfort’ someone with nonsensical platitudes. Recently I had an accident that led to a life-threatening complication and I can’t count how many people told me to “Thank god” I survived. My response invariably being, “Oh, I already thanked him for sending me the accident”. Being on heavy narcotics excuses you to say f*-off with impunity, now there’s something I am Thankful for 😉

      • Richard Nikoley on December 4, 2012 at 20:37

        Typically I agree. This is different for me, from the moment I saw it. I’ve seen starving kids before. It’s starvation with a slap in the face and it really, really makes me want to lose it with people who thank god because they found their keys, their team won the game, or they got to their destination with Starbucks having got their complex order right.

      • Tatertot on December 5, 2012 at 09:46

        I showed this to my good Christian wife, and she said of the picture: “What if God brought the photographer there to save that kid?” I can’t imagine the photographer just walked away and let the child die, so maybe she has a point.

        Then she thought a little more and said, “What if that kid was lost in a sand-storm or Tsunami and the parents have been searching for her for weeks and found her in this condition..they’d think it was a miracle and be very thankful to God that he saved their child.” It is pretty miraculous that a person that age and that starved is still alive.

      • Richard Nikoley on December 5, 2012 at 10:28


        Thanks for the lesson in rationalizing away the obvious.

  4. Richard Nikoley on December 4, 2012 at 15:13


    Switch out “mysterious” for “evil,” and call me a believer.

  5. Franklin Mason on December 5, 2012 at 13:56

    I find the reference to Solzhenitsyn curious. He attributed the evils committed by the Soviet Union to its atheism.

    • Richard Nikoley on December 5, 2012 at 14:36


      That’s a whole different subject.

      What can’t a quote stand on its own merit? Really, if someone says something that’s prescient or true, we have to backtrack and make sure they don’t have ideas we disagree with? Really?

      At any rate, the USSR wasn’t atheist. Their deep mysticism simply found an outlet for another God: the State. Didn’t pan out. So far, though billions are still clamoring worldwide.

  6. […] I miss the Greeks. […]

  7. Bryce on December 10, 2012 at 14:14

    We are certainly in a pickle: we have to deny the existence of any objective, intrinsic, immutable good, and in so doing we deny the existence of an objective good’s opposite in the form of real evil in the absolute sense (vice just an immediate, subjective, utilitarian sense, a la Dr. Sam Harris). But at the same time we are understandably horrified at the evils we perceive.

    Explanation #4 which epicurus (or other) has failed to mention, is that God (if He exists) could have a morally valid reason for evils to exist, one that is for the time being beyond the scope of understanding. Queue accusations of over-rationalizing. In a discussion of philosophy, I’m hoping that honest discussion won’t be bashed to quickly.

    Of course, if we presuppose God cannot exist, the explanation of a morally valid motive for allowing evil doesn’t hold, but then there’s the rub: presuppositions are everything.

    • Bryce on December 10, 2012 at 14:22

      The general response to explanation #4 is “I can’t conceive of any reason why a good God would allow such evil to exist.” This seems, to me, to be guilty of the following fallacy. “I wouldn’t do it this way, therefore an infinitely superior intelligence (in goodness and capacity) wouldn’t do it that way.” My two year old often can’t conceive of why I do things, but this doesn’t necessarily mean I don’t have a valid reason for doing them.

      Don’t mistake me: I don’t offer this as any sort of proof of a god’s existence, but merely to say that I think Epicuru’s “proof” isn’t one. Other, better arguments have been made against God’s existence, but this one, the so called “problem of evil,” is in my opinion more a problem for the atheist than for the theist, for the reasons stated in the first paragraph above.

      • Richard Nikoley on December 10, 2012 at 14:42

        “in goodness and capacity”

        Oh, my.

      • Richard Nikoley on December 10, 2012 at 14:44

        “more a problem for the atheist than for the theist,”

        And all this time I was talking about humanity and common sense.

    • Richard Nikoley on December 10, 2012 at 14:24

      “presuppose God cannot exist”

      I’m presupposing that those who purport his existence presuppose he’s good and just.

      “God (if He exists) could have a morally valid reason for evils to exist, one that is for the time being beyond the scope of understanding.”

      You think you came up with that?

      “God works in mysterious ways.”

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