Moving the Backpack

The malfunctioning Simulacrum, guiding me to put my backpack on a specific part of the bench I was sitting at.
The malfunctioning Simulacrum, “guiding” me to put my backpack on a specific part of the bench I was sitting at.

Andre Augustine:

Hey Evid3nc3. Love the series so far. I’m now looking at the Losing God chapter in which you spoke about doing random things like putting you backpack on a specific part of the bench

What was that about? I don’t get it.

Evid3nc3:

Think back to 2.5 (part 1) [Personal Relationship]. I felt like I was directed by God. I felt like God specifically guided me to take certain actions.

Meaning: whenever I had an inclination to, for example, read a specific chapter of the Bible or work on a specific homework assignment, I interpreted it as God’s guidance. And I followed these inclinations solemnly and resolutely as if I were being pushed by an omniscient being.

When I started to finalize my deconversion, this pattern of cognition (which had apparently been myself, unconsciously) started to malfunction. It pushed me to do bizarre and random things, like placing my backpack on a specific part of the bench I was sitting at. Then a new part of the bench. Then another, in rapid succession.

The fact that the “guidance” emotions were associated with these inclinations was evidence to me that they were just my own mind, all along. Yet, I still had them and impulsively wanted to follow them. Thus a feeling of going crazy, experiencing a kind of living hell.

16 comments on “Moving the Backpack

  1. sable says:

    Would it be fair to say then that your mind might have been sorting out impassivity and control?

    In that previously you mind relied on the simulacrum to handle those functions, but when lost the god simulacrum, you mind had to create a new, more aware, system of managing random inclinations.

  2. jamie says:

    sounds to me like a good old fashioned case of heightened anxiety. although we so readily call these sort of behaviors OCD, they can be experienced by people who are healthy but just under the influence of excessive stress chemicals in the body or, as some of us have witnessed, drugs like meth, when users “tweak” out.

    we see this behavior in all sorts of animals, not just humans. some animals are so stressed out, so anxiety-ridden, that they perform lots of behaviors that are eerily similar to what we think of as human OCD traits. what’s most interesting, to me at least, is that animals aren’t socialized in the same way as humans, and yet they share with us some of the very same physical responses to the overflowing of stress from the body.

    at the very least, it should make all of us feel less weird or self-conscious of these unexplainable and odd behaviors that happen when we’re under a lot of stress, since they seem sorta hard-wired and universal.

  3. wouter says:

    I know what you went through Evid3n3. Only not for a few days, but for several months I suffered from it. Listening to a voice in my head I sort of knew it was my own mind deep inside, but I didn’t have the power to stop it. I am now quasi-Christian because of unexplained factors, but I have not forgotten this.

  4. Roger says:

    Having successfully watched all your series on Youtube, I can now post a comment. First of all I am so impressed by your videos. I have yet to find someone who is passionate and zealous enough to actually do what you did in defending His/Her position as you did. and I have to admit, there are very few Christians who can clearly state the reason of their faith because many of Christians, they just follow blindly without questioning why. A recent comparative survey of churches and religions highlighted that there are 19 major world religions which are subdivided into a total of 270 large religious groups, and many smaller ones. 34,000 separate Christian groups. that quite remarkable considering that there is only one bible (of course translated into so many different versions making it even harder to comprehend without cross-referencing). The most important thing in life is being comfortable and happy with the choices we make, and if your new found faith (of not believing in God) satisfies that , then that’s good. But I couldn’t help but Imagine IF just IF for some reason you decide to change back to Christianity, will you be honest enough to re-edit all your videos to reflect your new way of looking at things? I am not saying that it will happen i am just hypothesizing. and the reason I am saying this is because you seem to be a very young Man and it has taken you a very short time for your transition to occur, and based on the fact that nothing on this planet is perfect, it is arguably possible that you may one day find something wrong with Atheism and maybe convert to Buddhism or any other religion just as the other conversion happened if we treat both events to be mutually exclusive. as for me I am a Christian, and I strive to be good all the time not because I fear God’s wrath that might befall me if I do otherwise, but because I think its the right thing to do. and I believe you might agree with me that the bible has so many good stories , life-changing stories and many others that we may never understand why. and also since no one can know how to program in 2 weeks ( as some computer programming books states) I don’t expect to find an answer to every problem i will encounter in life, but I am pretty sure that I will find more answers as compared to what I would find in any other book. one question I have about the series is your approach to reading the bible, and i would like to ask if you may be willing to retry again but using a different approach maybe, because I agree too, the first time I tried to read it using cover-cover method as you did, I did not get passes the sacrificial system in Leviticus and numbers even Deuteronomy.
    sorry for writing too much, next time I will be more specific and brief. I have tried to choose my words carefully not to offend you , and If I did, I apologize in advance.

    All the best in life.

    • evid3nc3 says:

      I appreciate the calm and respectful attitude. You did not offend me.

      “if your new found faith (of not believing in God) satisfies that , then that’s good”

      It’s not a faith. I am still open to evidence that God exists. My concern is the evidence itself, not any particular belief system that can come from it. Beliefs can change. The evidence doesn’t.

      “will you be honest enough to re-edit all your videos to reflect your new way of looking at things?”

      Why would I edit my videos? The videos are a story. And no matter what happens in my story’s FUTURE, my story’s PAST will never change. If you have learned anything from my videos, I hope it is that I present my life, *all* of my life, in completeness.

      I present my Christian life, I present my atheist life. If I become a Christian again, it will only be in the context of having once been an atheist.

      If I become a Christian again and want atheists to understand that, I MUST show them that I understand their perspective. Just as I am doing now with Christians. So, no, I would absolutely never edit or delete videos. I would only create new ones that correct the ideas in old ones. But the old ones are necessary to show the progression in my thoughts.

      “the first time I tried to read it using cover-cover method as you did, I did not get passes the sacrificial system in Leviticus and numbers even Deuteronomy”

      That is what happened when I tried to read it *cover-to-cover*. But I have read almost all of the books in the New Testament and many other random books in the Old Testament. Trust me, I was not a light-weight when it came to reading the Bible. I carried it with me and read it every day for several years and have studied it my entire life.

      “I believe you might agree with me that the bible has so many good stories, life-changing stories and many others that we may never understand why”

      I once thought the Professor would uncontroversially agree with me on this also. I was wrong about him and, unfortunately, you are wrong about me as well as well.

      I think it is actually fairly straightforward to understand the Bible just as much as we could understand any ancient book. I think that you devalue and misrepresent other books by thinking the Bible has uniquely good and life-changing stories. Since I allowed myself to start looking, I have seen that there are many, many books that are just as positively transformative as the Bible. And the Bible is far from the best, in my honest opinion.

      Just one book that I find to be light-years more insightful is the book Think by Simon Blackburn, especially the chapter on Free Will. The writings of Robert Ingersoll in Some Mistakes of Moses are much more comprehensive and uplifting. The podcast Radio Lab, especially the episode on Stochasticity, is orders of magnitude more awe-inspiring.

      What you start to see, when you allow yourself to actually look, is that the Bible is just another work by human beings. And it is far from our best work. It was only the beginning.

  5. Roger says:

    The reason why I used “new-found faith” is because I believe that Believing that God exists is faith based, therefore disbelief in God’s existence is also faith based because it is equally difficult to dis-prove that God does not exist. However the burden usually falls on the believer to try and prove the existence of God rather than falling on the Atheist to prove why He doesn’t and i think this is bias. therefore since i m a believer and you are not lets leave God out of the picture, I just want to ask a philosophical question. Of all the knowledge in the world how much do you know? do you know 50% 60%? of all the chemistry, physics, astronomy , biology that there is to know how much do you know? 70% 40% of all the 13th Ming dynasty of china how many emperors do you know? of all the 1500 known languages of the world, how many do you speak? of all the books in the world just printed this year, how many have you read? [I think you can see where i am going with this] lets say that you know 5% of all the knowledge that there is to know, is it possible intellectually that God might exist in the 95% knowledge you don’t have?
    another question: lets say you have 2 alternatives. the first alternative is you live and you die that’s the end of story. your second alternative is that there is a loving God that loves you and cares for you and though you cant explain all the question in life such a why bad things happen to good people etc and when you die He has eternity of happiness prepared for you. if these two alternatives were the only ones you had and both were believable which one would you chose?

    • evid3nc3 says:

      “However the burden usually falls on the believer to try and prove the existence of God rather than falling on the Atheist to prove why He doesn’t and i think this is bias.”

      Do you believe it requires faith to lack a belief in greek gods, UFOs, ghosts, or leprechauns? Does a lack of belief in any possible entity we can imagine require faith? What would you say to a leprechaun believer who told you that he thinks there is a bias when people say that the burden of proof for leprechauns falls on him?

      Lack of belief is absence of belief. It does not require any active application of faith.

      “is it possible intellectually that God might exist in the 95% knowledge you don’t have?”

      I already told you that I am open to evidence for God. Present it and I will believe. Otherwise, I have no more reason to believe in a God than I do to believe in ghosts or greek gods, which could equally exist in the “95%” we don’t know. One should build their actions on things that they actually do have evidence for, not on things that are merely POSSIBLE.

      The list of POSSIBLE things is infinite. There is no reason to pick a God over Creator Aliens or the possibility that we are living in the Matrix. All are equally possible perspectives. And all are equally useless because we have no evidence for them.

      “if these two alternatives were the only ones you had and both were believable which one would you chose?”

      If there were evidence for a God, I would believe in it. There isn’t. So these are not both equally believable. The second alternative lacks any evidence.

      There is no difference between belief in a God with his heaven and belief in Creator Aliens, the Matrix, Greek gods who will welcome us to Elysium, or Egyptian gods who will take us to the Kingdom of the Dead. All of those perspectives equally lack any physical evidence and any usefulness.

      • Roger says:

        so from my point of view, you are not an Atheist, you simply don’t have enough evidence that He Exists, and I don’t think it only God who has this characteristic of not-being proven. there are so many things that we believe but cannot prove. I don’t know how far you are with your studies but i heard in one of your video that you were a computer science major student, and there was this lecture presented by an Electric Engineering Professor called Robert J in which He made it very clear that there are s many things we simply have to take by faith and I believe God is one of them.
        some of the theories I believe you are familiar with them.
        1.Computing has no theory of everything (T.O.E.). We’re uncertain whether physics has a T.O.E. as revealed in M-theory but, due to the genius of Kurt Gödel 75 years ago, smart people like Stephen Hawking are starting to doubt it. This is because of a new startling mathematical idea from algorithmic information theory (AIT): There exist things that are true that cannot be derived from fundamental principles. Some things are true simply because they are true.
        2.(Existence). There are some things we know exist that we can prove we will never know. Most doubt a computer program will ever write a deeply meaningful poem or a classic novel. How about something simpler? Can we look at an arbitrary computer program and decide whether or not it will ever print out the number 4? We can for some programs. But Alan Turing, the founder of computer science, proved it is impossible to write a program to analyze another arbitrary program to tell us whether or not a 4 will be printed. In fact, we can’t write a computer program to determine anything another arbitrary computer program will do. (This is called Rice’s theorem.) To find out, we need to run the program. We can also prove there are numbers of finite precision numbers a computer can’t compute. One of these is Chaitin’s number, an astonishing constant between zero and one we know exists. If we knew Chaitin’s constant to finite precision – one single number – we could solve a many of open problems in mathematics. These include the Riemann hypothesis, Goldbach’s conjecture and whether or not there is an odd perfect number. Chaitin’s constant exists, but we can prove we will never know it. These and other mind bending properties in the field of AIT seem too far fetched to be true.
        3.Meta statements. for example “If you write a book about how to fail at selling books and your book doesn’t sell are you a failure?
        4. Meta thoughts can reveal self refuting philosophies
        example 1:
        John:There is absolutely no right and wrong all is relative
        Mary:I disagree
        John:You’re wrong
        Mary: And You’re right
        John: Absolutely
        example 2:
        John: Only Things proven by science can be believed
        Mary: Can you prove this scientifically?
        5. we cannot prove why Chaitin’s number is not computable but we know it exists and we believe it

        and the list goes on and on.
        if you therefore base all your beliefs on what you can actually prove, there your list is endless its not Only God, I think in live one needs little faith.

        • evid3nc3 says:

          No. I don’t use faith. Period. Watch my latest video:

          And you don’t know what an atheist is. Watch this video:

          I honestly thought you had enough respect to watch all of my videos before trying to debate me. I see that I was wrong.

          This conversation is over. I don’t have time to manually educate you. Watch the damn videos. That’s why I made them.

          • Roger says:

            I have given your videos all the respect they deserve and i have honestly watched all of them. as you have decided to cut short this debate, I can draw one conclusion, you are not open to balanced arguments, you are just ONLY trying to convince and not being convinced and once you have that kind of mindset, it is very difficult to have a balanced argument. but the fact still remains: people will always convert from one form of belief to another, from Atheism to Christianity, from Christianity to Islam, from Buddha to Judaism and vice versa, and this will go on until the end of time, and i think there are so many videos on Youtube to prove that. And this all reminds me one of the most powerful passages in the bible.

            Ecclesiastes 1:9
            New International Version (NIV)

            What has been will be again,
            what has been done will be done again;
            there is nothing new under the sun.

            It was a great pleasure to have had this debate, and all the best in your journey as you dive deeper into Atheism. as for me I will stick to the belief have now despite it’s imperfections (as i believe that nothing on this planet will ever be perfectly free of flaws) rather than try something new from scratch, because I strongly believe that have other things to do in life and a lot of contributions to make in my society rather than spending enormous energy trying to find answers that may not even exist. maybe if i had been born in genesis time when people lived to be in the 900years range I could do that, but with the life this century’s life expectancy, I don’t think its a good Idea to use little time I have that way.

            it was nice encounter for sure, the one that i hope not to forget.
            and i don’t expect any reply, let this be the end of this debate.

          • evid3nc3 says:

            “as you have decided to cut short this debate, I can draw one conclusion, you are not open to balanced arguments”

            You are completely wrong, Roger. Rather, you failed to understand Evidentialism. I know this because you simply reasserted that “Yes, you use faith even though you say you don’t.”

            I don’t use faith. At all. You don’t seem to comprehend that. So I linked my video. Which you apparently watched but didn’t understand. So, I conclude that it is better that I spend my time making the next video, which further explains Evidentialism for thousands of people than to spend time manually explaining it to one individual.

        • Sasha says:

          Hi there. You’re addressing how we arrive at beliefs, which i find one of the more interesting aspects of the theist/ atheist debate. You seem to be listing things that we don’t know in order to say that it makes sense to believe in the Christian God by default. The question i’d pose to you is, does your own argument cause you to believe in the Greek Gods, unicorns, and fairies by default as well. If not, then I’d contend that you yourself don’t agree with your reasoning.

          When Christians say that belief as a default position is equally valid as disbelief, I don’t think they’ve thought much about whether or not they’re being consistent in their methodology of how they arrive at beliefs in general. And I don’t think they’re giving much thought into how their bias must be influencing them if the only belief they’d apply their argument to is their own (as opposed to the belief in unicorns, etc).

          • Adam Black says:

            “Belief ?” in unicorns…
            AS IF.. Maybe if you mowed the yard once in while, planted some wildflowers, and invited some girlscouts over— well Brownies at least, ( the Virgin -festish- appreciation of our Noble Horned is quite remarkable )… We Are not a “Religion” , just a spiritual community of nature lovers…
            Go on, ask Darwin if he believes in that hole in his arse?
            http://dcisgoingtohell.com/2010/12/

    • The burden of proof always falls on the person making a claim. In this case most theists are making a claim about the nature of reality. I’ve rarely witnessed anyone claiming God doesn’t exist, and even rarer still is anyone who can make a rationally sound argument as to why (still it never eliminates the possibility of God, especially when God’s role and nature become increasingly abstract in defence of that possibility). This is especially true when the other side isn’t actually making any claim, but merely withholding from making a claim until it can be backed up. Most atheists will not say God doesn’t exist, even though it is highly (and I can’t stress how highly) unlikely it is that he does, so absolutely zero burden falls on those people. This isn’t a bias, it’s simply how it is. If you didn’t believe in Santa, and I wished to convince you of his existence, if I merely pointed out you couldn’t disprove his existence (when I can simply invent more magical capabilities for him to excuse my lack of evidence) would you find this compelling in anyway or have any respect for my argument

  6. Zee says:

    I ran across your youtube documentary after watching another video on skinheads on a documentary site. I’ve finally classified myself as an agnostic theist. I’m 21, so about the same age you were when you were figuring things out. I’d like to believe there’s something all-powerful out there, it can’t be proven that there is or isn’t though. It’s just simply a comfort thing–to think there’s something “else” after death makes me feel less alone in the grand scheme of things, although logically we’ll never have a definite answer of the existence of God or an afterlife. Anywho, can you suggest any books to read on the subject? I’m not sure what to do as far as researching things further.

    • One of my favourite subjects is the after-life. Just noodling things out I came to a sort of compromise with atheism and the after-life, which I’m sure many many others have come to many many years ago. The first law of thermodynamics. The matter and energy contained in your body and which makes up your mind, your thoughts, your mood and memories, everything about you is as old as the universe and will endure until the end of the universe if such an end can ever occur. You are an expression of existence; matter and energy that is aware of itself. You can’t die, because you were never really separate from the enduring universe. But then a friend of mine pointed out that death is a change to that matter and energy, and that it won’t assume that form again, to which I pointed out that at every single moment your body and mind are undergoing minute changes so from moment to moment you are a different person, so that there is no constancy in being alive anyway. It doesn’t really help me all that much, but I never found comfort in the thought of an afterlife or God so that doesn’t count, but it’s still fun to think about.

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