This entry is inspired by a chapter in the book 50 Simple Questions for Every Christian, “Is the world fine tuned for life” which suggested an exercise in designing the perfect world for humanity, to show how far ours is from perfect. This really caught my fancy. I want to give it a shot. Part of what follows is shamelessly ripped from the book’s author (Guy Harrison) but most of it is my own. This is not at all scientific and probably completely unworkable. Not to mention very silly. The point is not to actually create a utopia — I don’t think that’s even possible. The point here is simply to poke a little good-natured fun at those who claim the universe it indeed “designed” for humans and to “reveal the glory of God.” No way. But if it were possible…
If I were God, I could design the universe as I saw fit. I wouldn’t have to worry about pesky laws of nature, because after all, I get to make them up, right? So I wouldn’t worry about whether the attributes of my hypothetical cosmos made sense or were even compatible with one another.
I would not bother with evolution. I’m God, so I get to create by fiat. As everyone knows, evolution is a blind process, completely at the mercy of the environment and pure chance. And it takes a very long time! I much prefer to create everything at once so I don’t have to worry about “guiding” the process along or stacking the deck in advance to achieve my goals. So I would do it much like the religious creation myths describe. Except that my creation event would be just one big BOOM! and suddenly everything is there as I want it. It would look something like this.
On the largest scales, my cosmos would look much like the one we inhabit, with large scale structures much like our galaxies and clusters of galaxies. These would be composed of billions of stars and trillions of planets, as is ours. The main difference in my creation is that I would have no vacuum of space. Well, maybe in between galaxies. But for the most part, within galaxies at least, all space would be filled with an atmosphere identical to ours on Earth. Also, there would be no radiation or flying debris to inhibit travel between worlds. Getting to the moon or planets in our solar system would be as simple as flying a plane there. I’m not sure how gravity would have to work to make this possible, but I would figure that out. I just don’t see the point in creating trillions upon trillions of extraterrestrial worlds and then making it next to impossible for my people to get to any of them.
In my universe, most non-terrestrial worlds would be populated by plants and animals — but no humans or other so-called intelligent beings. I would plant all of humanity on Earth, so they would have the rest of the cosmos to explore and colonize at their leisure. I would create fantastic life forms of incredible diversity and scatter them among the galaxies. Every planet would be different in terms of landmass, oceans, and life. I think I would make them all different colors. Green is boring. Some of my planets would have plant life in which the dominant colors are red, blue, yellow, orange, and even taupe. Oceans would be purple on some of them. Snow would be pink or lime green in some cases. But all of life would be compatible with life on earth: carbon-based, bags of mostly water. There would be much to explore and enjoy, but it would all be quite safe. No fire-breathing dragons or big man-eating cats. And for all the apparent diversity of life on other worlds, I would make sure they were all compatible enough with humans so as to make domestication and consumption (of plants only) possible.
In my creation, all animals — including, naturally, humans — would eat nothing but plant matter and maybe some mineral matter. There would be no predators and no prey. (Naturally, there would be plants that taste just like bacon and others that taste like rib-eye steak.) There would also be no harmful microbes or diseases of any kind — and definitely no Beiber Fever. Without the need for evolutionary change, life would get on just fine without these pesky dangers. I think insects and other creepy-crawly things would be pretty much non-existent as well.
I would reveal myself clearly to the first generation of people I place on Earth — and probably stay in touch through the eons as well. I would appear to them in some form, and talk with them. I would explain to them how best to enjoy life as I designed them to, but would not forbid them from trying pretty much anything they like, as long as they refrain from hurting one another. Oh, and they would be expressly forbidden from ever inventing the YouTube comment section.
I might even write a small book to help guide them. Actually, more like a pamphlet. Something like “How to be happy & enjoy life” in 12 pages or so. I would explain enough of how the cosmos works to let them know that I really am in charge so they know to carefully consider my words. But there would be no spoilers in my book. I’d rather let them enjoy the thrill of discovering the cosmos at their own pace. Oh, and no religious crap and certainly no worship — of me or anything or anyone else. Well, maybe Kari Byron. I could totally see that.
Speaking of worship, I think I would keep myself on my godly toes, so to speak, by not claiming eternal rights to my throne. I would allow free and open elections for the office of God every few centuries. Anyone could run against me. Granted, the election is rigged from the start — what mortal can compete with God? But it’s still a nice gesture, right? It would remind me and all my people that I need to stay aware of their needs.
I don’t think I would make humans immortal. I have given this a lot of thought and I just can’t conceive of an immortal life that wouldn’t eventually turn into a boring hell. I think I would give them each about 1,000 years to live. They could reproduce only for about a 50-year span starting at about age 100. That way, by the time they become parents, they know something and have some means. But they are still relatively young. Once the kids are grown, they have about 8.5 centuries to enjoy whatever activities they choose and to spoil the great-great-great-great-great grandkids. When they get about 20 years from the end of their life, they will notice that they are slowing down. This is the signal to start conveying their accumulated wisdom to their progeny. It won’t be a painful time, just maybe a bit melancholy. None of this crap about fading memories, wrinkles, aching joints, and getting up to pee seven times a night. Just a slight slowing down. Not at all unpleasant.
And while we’re on the subject of lifespans, here’s a great idea I just might implement: a demerit system linking deeds to years of life. Sort of a Karma that really works as advertised. If you are a jerk, you might lose a hundred years off your lifespan. If you are a rapist or murderer, you can expect your life to end very early. If you are into Jersey Shore, you’ll be lucky to make it to puberty.
I would leave vast stockpiles of every imaginable resource, mineral, fuel, etc. in plain view on the surface of the planets. No need to rape the planet to get to them. And burning naturally occurring fuels (they really wouldn’t be “fossil fuels”, would they) would do no harm to the environment.
Also, humans would be designed such that, once they consume enough food at a sitting to supply their bodies’ need for fuel, the next bite tastes like shit. Literally. I figure most people would learn very quickly to recognize when they have had their fill without the need for that warning bite. No more gluttony and obesity. You’re welcome. And just for good measure, the healthier the food, the better it tastes, rather than vice-versa. Godiva will sell expensive packages of luxury broccoli.
I figure that, with such long lifespans, humans will fill up Earth pretty quickly. They will then begin to colonize the rest of the solar system, then the galaxy and eventually the entire universe. I hope they would do so in peace. With pretty much unlimited resources (and no religion, too) there shouldn’t be much to fight over.
What would nature be like? Like I said, lots of cool flora and fauna to enjoy. Lots of spectacular geological formations to be inspired by, much as we have now. One big change would be with the weather. There would be no tornadoes, hurricanes, tsunamis, earthquakes, wildfires, or bad hair days. I like the day and night cycle, and I like seasonal changes; I would keep those. Also rain and snow, but in moderation. I think my seasons would be more regular, so you don’t wind up having 80 degree days in December and freak snowstorms in May. There would never, ever, be a washout on a Saturday or Sunday. Never. Most rains would fall on Tuesday afternoons. Feel free to listen to the Moody Blues while the rain gently taps at your window.
This could be easily accomplished by carefully placing the continents in the most habitable latitudes and spacing them in such a way that weather patterns are regular and predictable. Why waste land masses to deserts and frozen tundra? Everyone gets to live in areas where the climate has about the same mount of variability as most of the continental United States. You still have options, whether you prefer more snow or lots of sunshine, but you don’t get into the extremes of the Sahara and Antarctica.
With no disease or natural disasters, most well-behaved people should achieve the theoretical 1,000 year lifespan. However, there could still be fatal accidents. After all, skydiving and stunt-car driving are not much fun without the thrill of knowing you could kill yourself. But I would add a few touches to human physiology to ease the suffering. There would still have to be pain. You have to have a signal to tell you to remove your clumsy mitt from the hot stove. But it would not be so intense as to be debilitating, and it would never be gratuitous, like migraines. Lost limbs would regrow. Damaged organs would regenerate. Only the most horrific accidents would be fatal. I might even make it so that humans and other animals tend to bounce harmlessly when they fall from great heights. That would either ruin or greatly enhance America’s Greatest Home Videos, depending on your perspective.
Of course there would still be a need for medicine, given that injuries are possible. I expect human technology of all kinds, including medicine, would produce spectacular things rather quickly.
In my universe every human being would come equipped with an “undo” button. I learned this from working with computers. Say something incredibly stupid to your boss’s spouse at the holiday party? Just hit undo and you go back 60 seconds for another try. I think that innovation alone should get me re-elected on a regular basis.
I’m also toying with the idea of doing away with gender and making everyone come with the same plumbing. Everyone could bear children and there would be no need for such controversies as who gets to hold what roles in the family and society, which restrooms you get to use, and who is allowed to marry whom. There would still be sex, of course — but it would work differently. I have no idea how that might work physiologically, but it’s something I’m thinking about.
What about morality, and how societies form and function? You might think this strange, but I would leave much of that up to them. Because I truly believe that humans in the condition I describe here would thrive and would avoid hurting each other too much and too often. Then there’s my Karma demerit system described above. Like I said, I would appear among them from time to time and there is that leaflet I plan to give them. I might even feel the need to step in and intervene from time to time. But no smiting. That’s just not my style. Maybe put the bad guys on a remote island somewhere for a century or two and see if they shape up. Something like that.
But the first one that tries to stand on Mt. Sinai and speak for me, I will strike him dead with lightning, I swear to Me.