Thursday, October 29, 2009

Dios mio! Quasifame undeserved. Robgene's clever.

So ego searching today I found an interesting bit credited to me. Tatarize is unique enough that other than Tatarizing a region of some former soviet somethingorother, it's all me. So crazy people I pissed off who think the swastika was made to look like the S in Adolf Hitler's signature (there's no S there), or several year long slow motion debates on TANG on some distant board about some monkeys or something or some comments I made on the Raging Atheist's blog before he became the Raging Theist (he never was right in the head). Well I came across this little chestnut:

Dios y Superman

Querer demostrar que Dios existe con la Biblia es como querer demostrar que Superman existe con un cómic

— Tatarize (vía Microsiervos)


Wha? It says trying to show God exists with the Bible is like trying to show Superman exists with a comic. Which is close to a demotivator I posted on Flickr,

Proof

But the actual quote itself is by robgene on About's Atheism/Agnosticism forum (a forum I've frequented for years) and picked up as part of a large quote file compiled by Twsh.

Microsievos gives the following attributions:

Demostraciones

Querer demostrar que Dios existe con la Biblia es como querer demostrar que Supermán existe con un cómic.

– Proof
(vía Maikelnai)


The proof links to the original flickr image and the Maikelnai links to a twitter post.

Querer demostrar que Dios existe con la Biblia, es como querer demostrar que Supermán existe con un cómic http://tinyurl.com/m6yz4c


The URL of which links also to the flickr. Which was one of the images I added to the atheism pool on Flickr. And apparently lead to the latest comment on the flickr image:

JulissaMirabal says:

ignorantes! ninguno de ustedes tienen idea de como se escribió la bilbia


"Ignorant! None of you have any idea what was written in the Bible!"


The internet is weird, and to make it worse... now I'm blogging on this really odd chain of semi-interrelated events.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Ingersoll speaking contest.

Good selection. Good rendition.



http://www.thomaspaine.org/bio/ingersoll1870.html

"Mental phenomena are considered more complicated than those of matter, and consequently more mysterious. Being more mysterious, they are considered better evidence of the existence of a god. No one infers a god from the simple, from the known, from what is understood, but from the complex, from the unknown, and incomprehensible. Our ignorance is God; what we know is science. " - The Gods, Robert Ingersoll

Damn it Mal! Watch the gorram heartstrings!



* Nathan Fillion in Castle.

It's shiny to see 'em browncoating again, but even after half a decade... the wound's still a might fresh.

Ashes to Ashes, Air to Air

Most of the matter in our bodies comes directly and indirectly from plants and those organisms lower on the food chain. Most of the actually molecules from those plants come from the atmosphere rather than the ground. If this weren't the case, trees would grow themselves into giant holes in the ground and we'd have to truck new dirt constantly to the heartland to fill in the holes produced by cornfields. Most of your molecules weren't dirt, they were air.

Ashes to Ashes, Air to Air.

Felicia Day: NASA PSA, cute as button



If you don't know/love Felicia Day just crawl in a hole. That or find yourself a copy of Dr. Horrible Sing Along Blog and the last few seasons of The Guild.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Strategy, Epistemology, Argumentation, Dhorpatan and Ignorance.

Behold a terrible argument for the non-existence of God.



The argument is unsupported, circular, fraudulent, false, incorrect, fallacious, and utterly idiotic. On top of this it's part of a terrible strategy apparently in favor of atheism. To be fair, Dhorpatan is a dumbass. He can't even reason himself out of the paperbag called objectivism. And his purpose seems to be to use a bunch of big words and try to confuse the Jesus out of people.

Let's look at the argument in question:


P1) The Christian God is said [to] exist by definition, as an Omnipotent, Omniscient, Incorporeal mind.
P2) The Christian God cannot prevent Quantum Tunneling, as an immaterial mind lacks the means to instantiate violations of Schrodinger['s] equation and evanescent wave coupling.
P3) No mind can know the exact amount of information loss from a system into the environment through Quantum decoherence, nor instantiate as well as exemplify, the mediated attachment between state crossing relations of the microscopic, and macroscopic "worlds", to prevent thermodynamically irreversible actualization, from Quantum decoherence.
-- Supporting P3) An Incorporeal/Immaterial mind lacks kinetic actuality, as energy is of the material realm.
P4) Thus, the Christian God cannot exist as an Omnipotent entity. (From P2 and P3)
P5) Thus, the Christian God cannot exist as an Omniscient entity. (From P3)
Conclusion) Therefore, the Christian God does not exist. (From P1)


The first point that should be stressed is most of those buzzwords are just made up bullshit. Your first sign should be his inability to use grammar. He randomly capitalizes words like "omnipotent", leaves out other words and possessives etc. But, from a scientific sense, most of this is just gobbledygook. It's akin to post-modernism where the hope is that nobody really understands what was said so people just sit there nodding and not pointing out that the emperor isn't wearing any clothing. Lets confuse the Jesus out of them! To really understand how true this is, we must understand the underlying serious flaws in the argument.

Let's simplify and analyze:

* God is an all powerful, all knowing, incorporeal mind.
* God can't do "X" because God is immaterial.
* No mind can do "Y" BECAUSE immaterial minds lack property "A" BECAUSE "A" is associated with material.
* Therefore God isn't all-powerful.
* Therefore God isn't all-knowing.
* Therefore God doesn't exist.

Ultimately, then the real argument is entirely predicated on premise 2 and premise 3. Why can't immaterial minds do X? Why can't immaterial minds do Y? This are simply asserted without any good reason to accept them and since they pretty much guarantee the conclusion, we are left to ask how these are supported? And moreover how one rules out the other possibilities?

And how are you establishing that there isn't a non-energy of the non-material that doesn't do the same fundamental thing. How are you excluding all the other possibilities in order to make substantive claims about the non-material?


Dhorpatan was kind enough to clue me in:

Hahahaha! An immaterial mind itself is by inherent definition, contradictory, since nothing can exist, by what it's not. Nothing can exist, and not have a compositional identity, as that violates the Law of Identity.


This argument suggests the inability of immaterial minds to do things by arguing that they don't exist. So the support for the premise on which everything hinges is inability via non-existence. Immaterial minds are contradictory and thus don't exist and thus can't do X and thus aren't all powerful and thus don't exist.

The given support renders everything else moot. All that out of context QM crap is a moot point and irrelevant to the argument. One might as well suggest that because non-existent things can't play baseball they aren't all-powerful and thus do not exist and call it an argument from baseball.

When pressed on the lack of support for the argument further, I was given the delightful insight that:


The second and third premises don't require support.

They ARE the support for premises FOUR and
FIVE. Haahahahaha. This is what I've been saying.


That's right, any premise used for support do not themselves require support.

So even a causal scratch at the surface of the argument results in pretty serious flaws being uncovered, worse logic, and terrible reasoning.

Apparently being pressed for reasoning rather than being blindly accepted annoyed Dhorpatan some, "I'm growing fairly tired of your stick" he managed to offer between claiming I don't understand logic or was committing fallacies by asking questions. Rather than beat a deadhorse with a shtick, let's sum it up to say he's a terrible anti-apologist and not a logical person. Now, why should we care?

Because his entire strategy is flawed.


Don't get me wrong, I've read a lot of deconversion stories on Ex-Christian.net they are often heartwarming and give you an understanding of the freedom deconverts often feel. However, not once have I seen one where the one key element was having some postmodernist-wanna-be objectivist confuse the Jesus out of them, I've seen people lose their faith after being asked 'why their reasons for believing should suffice for any other purpose.' I've seen people lose their faith when explained what platypuses mean for mammalian evolution (Oh, it's not a refutation for evolution but actually really good evidence).

But, Dhorpatan's strategy? It's probably never going to work. So for the most part because confusing people with fallacious arguments is probably not effective (though it seems delightfully reinforcing amongst theists), we can venture that this strategy probably has no up side (as far as pragmatism is concerned).

I've seen more than a few good Christian responses to Dhorpatan's videos that often portray such arguments as somehow indicative of most atheistic arguments. They usually raise a good point or two and certainly do a lot to let Christians pat themselves on their back and reassure themselves that they are right. And I think even small examples of terrible arguments on the counter-apologetic side is an extremely bad thing.

Bad arguments muddy the water and make it a little hard to judge how overwhelmingly one-sided the actual argument. The arguments for God are always, without exception, tissue-paper thin and riddled with the most obvious and trivial errors. Any debates with regard to logical arguments for God are heavily weighted towards atheists.

Likewise arguments dealing with science are often heavily slanted towards atheism. It has been the case since Darwin that a functional epistemology terminates in atheism. It use to be that rational individuals in the time of Hume would be deists, or in the time of Galen theists. But, since Darwin atheism has been the logical endpoint of a functional epistemology. If you care whether your beliefs are true and you want the most true beliefs and the fewest false beliefs then you're probably going to review the facts and end up being an atheist.

So the logic, reason, and science is all in favor of atheism. However, on the flip side, it is for these reasons that I think a number of atheists are terrible debaters. They have never had to vigorously defend a losing proposition, or fight tooth and nail in favor of a falsehood. Most of the debates one witnesses online and in various forums are such that one poorly educated teenage atheist can seem ninja-like in dismantling the most time honored claims of large groups of religionists. It's not really a challenge and thus many of the arguments are completely terrible. I once witnessed an atheistic argument with ten premises, of which nine were factually false, with three obvious fallacies have a theist respond with a flawed understanding of the second law of thermodynamics (a criticism that wasn't even applicable to the argument). Such things are pathetic, but amazingly common. However, I think the staggering lopsidedness is a great argument in itself, and one of the more compelling ones for atheism. Though, it's screwed when one considers a few bad apples.


What about self policing?

With Dhorpatan's complete failure with regard to logic and rationality, shouldn't this expose some tender tissue to the evisceration of fellow logical atheists who don't want bad arguments in support of good positions. Let's see:

-.- Do you accually think you understand quantum machanics? I bet if einstein was alive, he would have no clue how to solve or explain quantum machanics properly if he studied it for years...
 The point is, we haven't even scratched the surface of this science, which is scary becuase it's already disproving god... This is all theory...
God might not be real after all, you might have to throw in the towel christans. Don't try to explain stuff that not even the best phisicst in the world can't.


First off Albert Einstein is one of the fathers of Quantum mechanics. Secondly we've scratched the surface. We've looked under the hood. We've thought about the implications, we've built hard drives and innumerable devices based on our understanding of quantum mechanics. It's simply rather alien. A lot of our natural intuitions about how the universe work, break down at the quantum level. We understand exactly what the answers will be, we just aren't exactly sure there's a reason why that's the answer. It's great if you want to build an insanely fast computer. It's not so great if you want to portray the entire universe as Newtonian or relativistic.

This commenter seems amazed for as little as we know about the theory it's already disproving God and Christians might want to give up now. This might be interesting if not for the fact that the entire argument is a complete crock of shit, and QM doesn't matter a jot to the argument.


On this point, I argued with a pretty reasonable Dhorpatan fan for a while concerning this argument and he finally arrived at the conclusion:

I think there must be some kind of point in it, but its structure is invalid.


Just because something is full of crap, doesn't mean it's pointless? If one accepts that then why not be religious?

---

I think that terrible arguments hurt the cause because terrible arguments on both sides allows for one to offer a tu quoque to suggest that there are bad arguments on both sides of the debate (Dhorpatan is also find taking on the burden of proof for no reason whatsoever). However, on top of that, muddying up the waters ruins the best argument for atheism which is largely a meta-argument: "all the arguments for theism are utter shit and atheists bring up a number of good points." There's something delightfully powerful about having theists always be wrong. Throwing them a bone with terrible arguments is just going to encourage them.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

If evolution is true, why haven't mothers evolved extra arms?

Development works like a pattern triggered on and off by various genes. Certain parts of the program code for certain things so things like arms and legs are triggered by limb buds and follow very similar programs. The primary bone is a single bone be it the femur or humerus then a joint and then a lower limb of two primary bones (tibia and fibula or ulna and radius). The same pattern is followed with modifications.

For example the knee cap is actually an ossified tendon that evolved early within the placental mammals. You won't find them in marsupials or any more diverse tetrapods. Likewise other tetrapods like some of the hoofed ungulates have modified limb ends, or sloths have fewer digits, or pandas have heavily modified wrist bones to make a thumb (look at their hands they have 6 digits because their thumb is not a digit).

So biology and genetics is more like a toolkit and the various cells and different cell types follow a decentralized build scheme to invoke specific organs in specific places. So it only takes one mutation to make limbs into hooves or to make humans largely hairless (by changing the growth rest cycles) rather than coding for individual parts.

This evo-devo scheme of developmental biology combines the understanding of evolution, development, genetics, and embryology into a single coherent field. So we know interesting things like octopuses, like squid, have ten legs but, unlike squid, have two of their legs suppressed by other genes. So you'll encounter an occasional "mutant" octopus with nine or ten legs, but never eleven. Or that the gene used in mice and fruitflies to start the program to build an eye is the same, even though mice have a lensed eye and fruitflies have a compound eye. You can simply move the gene from one to the other and it works just as well. Or that snakes still have functional leg genes that don't get activated and are just invoked elsewhere for non-leg purposes.

To properly change a lot of the patterning you need to change a lot of the structure, you'd need to make another upper torso section or otherwise cause the patterning to start the arm creation program multiple times. But, as the program only really takes small tweaks it would be hard to cause such a duplication and have a viable resulting phenotype.

It's like asking if there's some step you could tweak in making a chocolate cake that would actually end up making cookie dough icecream instead. If you want to gradually make a larger cake or tweak the coloring or flavor, that's easy, but you can't make a small tweak to the recipe to make a cake into cookie dough. Even if cookie-dough icecream were a great thing to make, using slight modifications of a cake recipe you'd likely end up with a cake that mimics cookie-dough icecream rather than the real thing. You can't really change the plan you already have down in the books, that's the reason why animals have vestiges. It's why humans have an eye with a blind spot. It's why aquatic flightless penguins have wings. You can only tweak the previous recipes, rather than change them wholecloth. And the recipe for land animals with four limbs was set down during the evolution of fish prior to migration on to the land. Tweaking that bit is going to cause serious problems for every step that comes later, which is pretty much every step.

We can tweak the expression of genes a lot easier than the pattern. So longer arms or more hair or to change the degree of anything is easy. However to actually change the recipe itself is not so simple. Which is why things typically evolve gradually from very small nearly inconsequential traits to large robust developments. Rather than encountering freakish but awesome new organs like sharp spikes on one's knuckles or extra arms or whatnot.

Humans like all the tetrapods are really just a jerryrigged fish.

Sorry if I'm cryptic at times, but evo-devo is very impressive science and somewhat cutting edge biology. And is actually the correct answer to why if extra arms might be evolutionarily advantageous could humans never evolve them. A lot of organisms get locked into certain patterns. For example humans have seven neck vertebrae, want to venture a guess as to how many a giraffe has? How about a mouse? A cat? A dog? A cow? -- The answer to all of these is always seven. Giraffes and humans have the same number of neck vertebrae they just get longer and shorter rather than more common like one would find in long necked birds, because, for some reason, nearly all mammals are locked into this pattern and the recipe is really hard to change.

Ingersoll on the Temptation of Jesus.

The fact that Christ could withstand the temptations of the devil was considered as conclusive evidence that he was assisted by some god, or at least by some being superior to man. St. Matthew gives an account of an attempt made by the devil to tempt the supposed son of God; and it has always excited the wonder of Christians that the temptation was so nobly and heroically withstood. The account to which I refer is as follows:

"Then was Jesus led up of the spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. And when the tempter came to him, he said: 'If thou be the son of God, command that these stones be made bread.' But he answered, and said: 'It is written: man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city and setteth him upon a pinnacle of the temple and saith unto him: "If thou be the son of God, cast thyself down; for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee, lest at any time thou shalt dash thy foot against a stone.' Jesus said unto him: 'It is written again, thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.' Again the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them, and saith unto him: 'All these will I give thee if thou wilt fall down and worship me."

The Christians now claim that Jesus was God. If he was God, of course the devil knew that fact, and yet, according to this account, the devil took the omnipotent God and placed him upon a pinnacle of the temple, and endeavored to induce him to dash himself against the earth. Failing in that, he took the creator, owner and governor of the universe up into an exceeding high mountain and offered him this world -- this grain of sand -- if he, the God of all the worlds, would fall down and worship him, a poor devil, without even a tax title to one foot of dirt! Is it possible the devil was such an idiot? Should any great credit be given to this deity fear not being caught with such chaff? Think of it! The devil -- the prince of sharpers -- the king of cunning -- the master of finesse, trying to bribe God with a grain of sand that belonged to God!

Is there in all the religious literature of the world anything more grossly absurd than this?


From The Gods...

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

What is this dismissive crock I see before me?



Would it happen naturally? Probably not.

What about in a lab? Maybe, but how will they get funding. Who will give them permission to conduct the experiments?

* Chimps not sexy.
* Sex is hard.
* Differing numbers of chromosomes, more likely to be infertile.
* It's the evolutionary difference that counts.

However horses and donkeys are 10.10 million years apart and have different chromosome numbers. And we're only 6 million years off from chimpanzees.

* Ivanhov tried it three times and failed.
* Oliver was just a chimp.

--

No evidence that it's happened and not likely to happen.

--

Somehow this seems overly dismissive to me. The evolutionary distance is pretty close far closer than mules. And there are no confirmed barriers to reproduction as such. There's no evidence that it's impossible and less related species have hybrids quite often.

Kinds, Taxonomy, Clades and Macroevolution.

>>"otherwise you're just witnessing the allowable variations and ADAPTATIONS within a specific "kind" of organism."


Your definition of microevolution, suffices to explain all life on this planet. You have arbitrarily defined macroevolution as something that evolution does not suggest will ever happen.

Evolution includes to a large part clades. Which is to say the common ancestor of a given organism and all of it's descendants. At no point will the common ancestor of two species in a specific group ever be something other than in that group. Humans and mice are both mammals and so our common ancestor will be a mammal. And though the ancestral mammals have given rise to sheep, whales, platypus, kangaroos, humans, lemurs, aye-ayes, elephant shrews, shrews, elephants, dogs, hyenas, bears and all the other mammals alive today. They will never become non-mammals. That's not the way evolution works. It is always about modification of previous forms. Not the change of one form into another.

Animals will never be non-animals. And mosquitoes and I share a common ancestor that was an animal. You are simply abusing a rather silly platonic idea and misunderstanding clades. The truth is "An X will never evolve into a non X" is true for all clades. It's actually a prediction and explanation of evolution. Any grouping that includes a group of closely related species must by definition include them all and they will never stop being that group. Even if the group is as narrow as the great apes which is only five main species (chimpanzee, bonobo, orangutan, human, and gorilla) or as wide as all of the animals. At no point will a human stop being an animal or stop being an ape.

The thing is the allowable variations within a specific kind are nearly infinite. So bats may always be bats, but if after a large extinction event they were a group to survive and have many millions of years of allowable variations they might troll the skies like birds of prey, graze the fields like cattle, some primates, and iguanadons of yesterage. Or fill the seas like penguins, whales, fish, or plesiosaurs. Even as these hypothetical bats burrow into other animals and live as parasites burrowed just under the skin they will still be bats. They would be bats if they returned to the seas, they would be bats if they burrowed in the ground, they would be bats no matter what kind of diversity they achieved. Oddly enough there are a lot of birds with this kind of diversity, some burrow, some in the oceans, some graze, some hunt at night with ears on their cheeks, some take to the skies with unrivaled vision and speed, and some scavenge for carrion or sing intricate songs. But, all birds are birds and they will never be anything different, just as all birds are the only surviving dinosaurs and will never be anything different, nor will they stop being tetrapods or animals.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Went to beach, got burned.

I look a little lobster-like right now. Sun screen is for cowards.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

You want me to believe sorting algorithms work?

Statistics is the wrong math to use concerning evolution. Rather algorithmics is correct. Allow an analogy.

If I used a bubble sort to sort 1000 items in a list, the odds of getting the correct answer is going to be 1000! (1000 factorial). That's 1000*999*998*997...*3*2*1. It's absolutely astronomical! It would like having a tornado hit a beach of sand and just happen to build the Empire State Building and the rest of New York.

402,387,260,077,093,773,543,702,433,923,003,985,719,374,864,210,714,632,543,799,910,429,938,512,398,629,020,592,044,208,486,969,404,800,479,988,610,197,196,058,631,666,872,994,808,558,901,323,829,669,944,590,997,424,504,087,073,759,918,823,627,727,188,732,519,779,505,950,995,276,120,874,975,462,497,043,601,418,278,094,646,496,291,056,393,887,437,886,487,337,119,181,045,825,783,647,849,977,012,476,632,889,835,955,735,432,513,185,323,958,463,075,557,409,114,262,417,474,349,347,553,428,646,576,611,667,797,396,668,820,291,207,379,143,853,719,588,249,808,126,867,838,374,559,731,746,136,085,379,534,524,221,586,593,201,928,090,878,297,308,431,392,844,403,281,231,558,611,036,976,801,357,304,216,168,747,609,675,871,348,312,025,478,589,320,767,169,132,448,426,236,131,412,508,780,208,000,261,683,151,027,341,827,977,704,784,635,868,170,164,365,024,153,691,398,281,264,810,213,092,761,244,896,359,928,705,114,964,975,419,909,342,221,566,832,572,080,821,333,186,116,811,553,615,836,546,984,046,708,975,602,900,950,537,616,475,847,728,421,889,679,646,244,945,160,765,353,408,198,901,385,442,487,984,959,953,319,101,723,355,556,602,139,450,399,736,280,750,137,837,615,307,127,761,926,849,034,352,625,200,015,888,535,147,331,611,702,103,968,175,921,510,907,788,019,393,178,114,194,545,257,223,865,541,461,062,892,187,960,223,838,971,476,088,506,276,862,967,146,674,697,562,911,234,082,439,208,160,153,780,889,893,964,518,263,243,671,616,762,179,168,909,779,911,903,754,031,274,622,289,988,005,195,444,414,282,012,187,361,745,992,642,956,581,746,628,302,955,570,299,024,324,153,181,617,210,465,832,036,786,906,117,260,158,783,520,751,516,284,225,540,265,170,483,304,226,143,974,286,933,061,690,897,968,482,590,125,458,327,168,226,458,066,526,769,958,652,682,272,807,075,781,391,858,178,889,652,208,164,348,344,825,993,266,043,367,660,176,999,612,831,860,788,386,150,279,465,955,131,156,552,036,093,988,180,612,138,558,600,301,435,694,527,224,206,344,631,797,460,594,682,573,103,790,084,024,432,438,465,657,245,014,402,821,885,252,470,935,190,620,929,023,136,493,273,497,565,513,958,720,559,654,228,749,774,011,413,346,962,715,422,845,862,377,387,538,230,483,865,688,976,461,927,383,814,900,140,767,310,446,640,259,899,490,222,221,765,904,339,901,886,018,566,526,485,061,799,702,356,193,897,017,860,040,811,889,729,918,311,021,171,229,845,901,641,921,068,884,387,121,855,646,124,960,798,722,908,519,296,819,372,388,642,614,839,657,382,291,123,125,024,186,649,353,143,970,137,428,531,926,649,875,337,218,940,694,281,434,118,520,158,014,123,344,828,015,051,399,694,290,153,483,077,644,569,099,073,152,433,278,288,269,864,602,789,864,321,139,083,506,217,095,002,597,389,863,554,277,196,742,822,248,757,586,765,752,344,220,207,573,630,569,498,825,087,968,928,162,753,848,863,396,909,959,826,280,956,121,450,994,871,701,244,516,461,260,379,029,309,120,889,086,942,028,510,640,182,154,399,457,156,805,941,872,748,998,094,254,742,173,582,401,063,677,404,595,741,785,160,829,230,135,358,081,840,096,996,372,524,230,560,855,903,700,624,271,243,416,909,004,153,690,105,933,983,835,777,939,410,970,027,753,472,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000, 000

That's roughly 4 * 10^2568 it's more than 100,000,000,000,000,000,000 googols all multiplied together! And you're going to tell me that the sorting algorithm just happens to get the correct answer? Any statistician would laugh at you!

You want me to believe sorting algorithms work? You have more faith than religion. THAT'S INSANE!!!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Monday, October 5, 2009

Simon and doubting Thomas.

So I get blog posts. The best place to respond is clearly on the blog.

Simon writes:

There are many different thoughts in Science and religion on the start of the world. So what is right? Are any of them right? The fossil record leaves more questions than it answers. The biblical guide to creation leaves more questions than it answers. So that gets me nowhere.


We're off to a staggeringly confused start. Which one is right, science. Why is science the correct answer, because it changes it's opinion all the time based on the evidence to have the answer that gets closest to the truth and when it finds errors it corrects them. The fossil record sometimes does raise interesting new questions and sometimes there are more questions than answers. Likewise religion's claims in genesis certainly does give us more questions than answers. The problem here is the quality and quantity of the answers given and the questions raised. For example the latest bipedal ape fossil is that of Ardipithecus does the critter raise more questions than it answers, perhaps. The staggering difference between this and the Biblical account is that it actually answers *some* questions. And the questions that it raises in turn are smaller and more specific. We have a much clearer picture as to what our side of the family looked like some 4.4 million years ago, however is Ardi a prime example of what such bipedal apes looked like or is there more variation among bipedal apes. How much did the chimpanzee line change if bipedalism was already pretty common 4.4 million years ago? The questions we ask because of the fossil finds are specific and able to be investigated.


Now, comparing this to the Bible we note that Genesis solves no problems whatsoever. And it does raise questions like what the fuck? And seriously dude, clay?

Fossils in areas that we don't have much information on do give rise to questions, but these questions are a result of our mapping the perimeter of our ignorance. We may not now know what we want to know but we have a better idea of what we don't know. We have better questions to ask. Science and religion differ greatly on this point, because regardless if we become better versed on what we don't know the absolute volume of our ignorance goes down. We actually learn things about the world. And answer one big question and replacing it with three smaller questions is an a fantastic deal in my book.



So you then have a dilemma. Do you accept flawed model 1 or flawed model 2?
You can argue either case as much as you like and never find a happy common ground other than "I believe this because I think it seems reasonable" So I wanted to have a better reason to believe either.


Wrong. I can find fantastic ground that certainly isn't common ground. I'm fine basing many of my beliefs within the firm foundation of science. I don't want common ground with religion. Religion is a swamp of nonsense and flawed epistemological reasoning. I'd rather use a good foundation and get rid of things that do not work. It isn't that I think it's reasonable. It's that there is literally a world of evidence supporting it.


I know you probably think Jesus is just a big joke, but he is historically proven.


As I said before, I'm about the evidence. Go ahead and show me this historical proof. I'm actually quite well versed on the evidence for historicity of Jesus and this is part of the reason why I don't believe in a historical Jesus. Further historical evidence is hardly proof of anything magical. Unlike Jesus or Buddha (though the Buddhists don't really care) there is fantastic evidence that Muhammad existed. I'm talking real evidence of actual places and actual people who saw and recorded his existence, contemporary sources, and archeological evidence. There's really no question about it. Does that therefore prove Islam?



There is as much evidence for Jesus as Julius Caesar (more in fact, but not the point here).


There is significantly less evidence for Jesus than for Julius Caesar. In fact, if there were as much evidence or even a fraction as much then there would be no place for any debate. Julius Caesar likewise has actual people and places contemporary which record his existence, extra-Roman sources that speak of the same events as the Roman sources and clear archeological evidence of the events. Julius Caesar is said to have taken Rome from a Republic to a Empire, and we find exactly that in the historical records as well as many independent confirmations of various events within Roman politics.

SO if Jesus existed, he was either a) the biggest liar ever, b) totally deceived, or c) telling the truth. You probably wonder why I am even writing this.


I'm certainly not wondering why you are writing this, I'm quite well versed on apologetics and notice the most blatant attempt at invoking C.S. Lewis' Lunatic, Liar, and Lord argument ever. What's more amusing is that you don't even bother to follow through with the rest of the argument. You're suppose to say he wasn't a liar because he said some general platitudes in the Sermon of the Mount that people agree with, and he wasn't a lunatic because something-something, and therefore he was really Lord. The argument itself is rather silly and is an obvious false trilemma and excludes more the reasonable answer of Legend. I'm not sure if Robin Hood existed and he certainly seems like a stand up character so am I to accept that if he claimed to be God incarnate he really would be? He's a character in a book and a corpus of various legends that builds up remarkably quickly. King Arthur sounds like a stand up guy, but am I really suppose to accept that he pulled the sword from the stone and was given Excalibur by the Lady of the Lake? I certainly shouldn't call such stand up people liars or lunitic.

The answer is that I was very much where you are now 10 years ago. I spent a lot of time trying to "prove" evolution and atheism, and all I got was more questions and issues.


Another classic claim and it is on the surface false. If you actually were where I am, you certainly wouldn't be making these claims today. I'm far better versed on theology and apologetics than you and your obvious ignorance of the serious problems precludes the chance that you were a healthy minded empirically driven atheist with a functional epistemology. This claim is often employed by people who weren't as churchy as they now are. It's a different category all together. I'm fine with evolution and atheism and I get more and more answers. Science is one of the only things that gets bigger and better and more beautiful the more you dig.


When I looked at God's principles and word, I had to ask a bigger question. I had to ask what the penalty for being wrong under either option was.


God doesn't have principles. God doesn't exist. And punishment is a smaller and petty question, not a larger one. It's a weak notion that doesn't really matter. You should always do what is right in every situation and damn the consequences.


This was my starting point. A lot of things happened after this that convinced me beyond doubt that God and Jesus are real, which I could go through but will refrain (unless you want to hear them at some point).


I'm quite interested. Evidence would be a nice change of pace. Considering how much Allah is going to have you tortured in the hereafter is a terrible reason to accept religion. If you don't give me 1000 dollars, you are going to be tortured by ants in the after life who spend all day long eating your eyes. Sounds pretty gross, so you should pay up. This is the sum of your "evidence": threats. I'd prefer actual evidence rather than bold-faced claims and threats.


Don't discount God because of his followers.


I certainly don't. In fact, I find the most reasonable religions to be the ancient pantheons like the Greek, Roman, and Norse. I think they are significantly more reasonable than the Christian God and they don't have any (many) followers at all. I don't discount God because of the followers. I discount God because God doesn't exist.

So many people stuff it up and make silly points because they want to look godly. You obviously have researched this, but in the end it comes down to weather you are willing to bet your life on it..


Pascals wager is a particularly pathetic argument. It's not even an argument for God, it's a pragmatic argument that you should accept God whether it's true or not.

I'm privy to the atheists wager as a reply because frankly it makes a lot a sense. There are three possibilities. Either God does not exist, God does exist and is an evil jackass who punishes people on the basis of beliefs, or God exists and is fair and just. The end conclusion is that you should do good. If God doesn't exist, then doing good is it's own reward. It makes life good and safe and prosperous. If God exists and is a jackass who thinks Anne Frank should be supernaturally abused and murdered forever for the same reasons the Nazis thought Anne Frank should be abused and murdered (Being Jewish and not accepting Jesus) then screw that God. Seriously any God who would damn Gandhi to burn in hell forever but feel that Torquemada warrants eternal bliss is a piece of shit. And finally if there's a fair and just God, then the obvious staggering lack of evidence makes it pretty easy not believe and certainly wouldn't punish individuals for having entirely reasonable beliefs. In which case doing good has an infinite reward. In all the cases the best answer is simply to do good.

You however argue that your God is the second variety the kind of God who does to Anne Frank what the Nazis could only do briefly forever for the unconscionable sin of failing to accept bad and lacking evidence for an absurd claim by suspending her basic use of reason and upbringing.


Thanks for your time.


And thank you for yours, I hope you respond.

Shroud of Turin, still fake.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20091005/sc_nm/us_italy_shroud

It's only a matter of time before we start mass producing them with the same techniques as the original was made with in the middle ages.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Using science and religion for good and evil...

People could use science for good or evil, just as people could use religion for good or evil.


I disagree with that assessment. Science helps give one a good idea of how to do things. If you want to create crops that are resistant to parasites or drought you use science to that end. It's a way of doing things more effectively. It has no real bearing on what things you want to do. It only answers the question of what you should do if you want to do this. Religion largely does the same thing but rather than providing a clear and functional picture of what you need to do get some result it paints a vastly flawed version of reality. So if one lives a purely scientific life and wants to help and decides to contribute to the green revolution, then they will feed people and help the world. Whereas if somebody is religious and has the same desire to help the people of the world, they might simply pray that the people be fed.

So yes, one could use science for good or evil, but I don't think it's the case that you can use religion for good or evil because, frankly, religion doesn't work.