Friday, 20 April 2012

19/4 God and the Deicidal Babel Fish

Douglas Adams' piece on the Babel Fish is marvelously silly but the of substitution "Babel fish" with "free will" reveals an interesting inconsistency.
God: "I refuse to prove that I exist, for proof denies faith, and with without faith I am nothing."
Man: "Free-will is a dead give away isn't it? It proves you exists and by your own argument you don't. QED"
This argument poses two problems, either the problem stated my mans rebuttal, or the possibility the there is no free-will.

Those that absolutely adhere to the arguments for free-will, must sacrifice God in order to do so if they also hold that God is a matter of faith that would be destroyed by knowledge of God.

The "there is no god" position remains the null hypothesis.

Now that cognitive neuro-science and FMRI studies are giving us insights into the in working of the brain and mind. It looks more like free-will is a man made myth much like God.

Not only do we see and understand how the brain works more than ever, we can demonstrate that it works in a way the is to be expected without the intervention of any super-natural influence, we see how our responses line up with our evolutionary heritage.

Presuppositional Apologetics
Also known as presuppositionalism, this argument attempts to put God in place of the usual assumptions in parlor trick style.
Critics note the PA begs the question of the truth of the apologist's religion, and of the non-truth of other systems of thought.

The two most popular refuting arguments from the "Ghost that never lies" which looks suspiciously like whatever theist god model presented and the matrix scenario in which the inhabitants are presented with a picture of a universe in which the laws are different any respect such that 2+2 might equal 5 which is used the explore whether logic depends on god or god depends on logic.
The of the more practical observations, is the fact that we have experience that Methodological Naturalism, gives us tools that allow us to examine the world we live in and make useful predictions. These predications allow us to build computer components less then 40nm across. The transistor was it self predicted by theory worked in quantum mechanics. We can now cure some genetic conditions including "boy in a bubble" syndrome where a single gene mutation prevents infants from developing marrow based T-cell factories. The world food supply is vastly greater than it could have been with out the observations of methodological naturalism.

I can't help noticing how PA attempts character reality as something that mercy of their invisible friend. If you've read the invisible friends book, you find it has an incompetent author demonstrably incapable of remembering the name of a leading character after a name change (Jacob-Israel). It has all the hall marks of being author not by committee but by four committees

One of the issues I've noted is a difficulty in finding a quick direct refutation of PA. Since PA is so closely connected to the transcendental argument for god (TAG), renowned for being a philosophical mess. There might not be a full refutation only that TAG and PA remain a bald assertion without support.
One big flaw in these arguments that they assume something that should be testable. If a god existed that fiddled with reality in order to exert its will, we would see evidence in miracles. But when look at what are claimed miracles we find only unsubstantiated claims, rare events, and phenomena that we simply had no explanation for at least until at a later time when someone explores the question and finds real answers, like Ben Franklin and his kite.

Other problem of PA, is that sails too close to post-modernism, which says there is no reality only perception. It's an argument which is useful those want to control opinion regardless any concern for anything that might be observed as truth or that which corresponds to reality, at as it has been observed.

A useful strategy in dealing with those who present PA, is to press them on the logic of their argument until their logic breaks down into absurdity. Questions like "can god create a boulder so big he cannot lift it?" whether the answer is yes or no, the implication is that god is not omnipotent.

What do you think?

See Also Vanaloid's "I like the Ghost that Never Lies"(2m19s) on Youtube

Monday, 16 April 2012

16/4 Is Christianty the cause of the current rise in Atheism?

Op Ed. During and after the second world war many privations, and the pandering of politicians encouraged the worried and insecure populations to have courage and faith of various kinds and the value of community had very practical benefits. Eventually victory was declared and while the fascist menace had been defeated, there lurked on the horizon the new threat of the Communist march and the cold war was well underway by the mid 1950s. The west determined itself to defeat the evil behind the "Iron Curtain".
During the cold war, America especially distinguished on a cultural level or "spiritual" level has having God in their side against the "Godless communists". By the late 50's "In God We Trust" appeared on the currency notes and "under God" was added to the pledge of allegiance. The respect held for the Russian Orthodox Catholic Church in the United Soviet Socialist Republics was ignored for political expediency, which was made easy by Lenin's and Stalin's purges.
In 1962 the Second Vatican Council (Vatican II) was opened. This saw a liberalization of various Catholic positions, including biblical literalism.
Vatican II closed in 1965.
But then there was Rowe versus Wade. The various sects of Christendom, could up until this agree on little. But for Rowe v Wade they put down their pitch forks, and fought the pro-choice lobby as a united "Christian" movement. Even though they did not entirely win the fight they learned they could word together.
Once the churches had learned to work together, they set about encouraging right wing policies in politically conservative parties and even encouraging influential church friendly people be political candidates. This is called the wedge strategy.
Over time the wedge strategy lead increasing to policies which don't make any sense to people who make an effort to understand economic, medicine, population preventative health-care.
Some time in the late 20th century Atheism went into a bit of a decline, perhaps because, people saw less need of it, because catholics had eased up on stepping on everybody's toes. Or perhaps it was really hard for people to come together as a community, exacerbated by the terrible liables, and bigotry leveled at Atheists.
In reaction to 9/11, the actions of fundamentalists and the above political maneuvering, people started look more closely at where the Right's policies were coming from. Over time it became clear, that the churches role in public policy making was causing real harm. From Preachers beating the drums of war for the Bush Administrations, to abstinence-only education policies leading to more abortions. The Christian Scientists and Jahovah's Witnesses medical neglect of their children, the disaster of Branch Davidian Cult in Waco.
Now to get to the point, with policy of the religious creepingly working to deny the rights of people to act in their own best interest and for people to live as they themselves were Christian under penalty of law has created a context, where people cannot avoid noticing that their rights and the rights of those around them are in danger of being stolen by Churches that proclaim loudly that they are protecting freedom.
Combined with the various scandles of the churches, fraud, destruction of families, sexual indiscretion, conspiracies to hide sexual offending, use of bullying tactics, spying, intimidation, break-ins, kidnapping, it was inevitable that people would start to put together the evidence that shows that churches cannot be usefully separated from cults.
In summary Churches have indicted themselves in the minds of many who now have looked closer at what churches are really offering by looking past the pretty words and magic stories and examining their works.

Saturday, 14 April 2012

14/4 Timbuktu(Mali) destroyed in islamic conversion

A ragtag mob of Muslim fanatics have taken over the town of Timbuktu in Mali( looting the hospital, banks, schools and government offices destroying their ability to operate. these rebels are demanding Sharia Law in Mali.

The hospital which had a staff of 40 doctors now see only two who still come in. However looting means they have little supplies to work with. and no equipment of any kind.

Looting in the banks, has seen all records destroyed. this has been devastating to local residents who have lost the jobs and there savings. Fanatics say they have closed the banks because the charge interest.

The town only power station has four generators, only one of which is operating and the company says the have only enough fuel to run for one month.

90% of public employees have left or stopped work leaving control to Zanda of Absa Alden.

Source Youtube (al jazeera)

Friday, 13 April 2012

13/4 Ex-gay Therapy researcher drops bomb on findings

Practitioners like Dr Joseph Nicolosi of The National Organization of research and therapy of homosexuality attempt to use quack therapy techniques with goal of changing the sexual preference of people who are homosexual. Nicolosi himself said :
"I would say to a teenager 'Do not label yourself, I don't care if you have feelings, attractions, If you act out don't label yourself gay because that seals your identity. it shuts off your options. Be open, experience, think, feel, reflect, learn and you will see that your heterosexual potential is underneath."

Dr Spitzer, in 2001, did a study of "ex-gay" supplied by one organization. The study is hailed by the right wing as demonstrating  that the therapy was successful. However, Dr Spitzer now says the study demonstrated no such thing and that it only demonstrated what people were saying about the therapy. Dr Spitzer has recently commented
In Retropect, I have to admit I think the critiques are largely correct. The findings can be considered evidence for what those who have undergone ex-gay therapy say about it, but nothing more.
Dr Spitzer has helped change the definition from Homosexuality as a disease to a normal variant of human sexuality.The study took samples from Exodus International.

Since Exodus International made the following statement there is some chance they have some kind of bias
So what is a nice faith based ministry like us doing hanging out with secular therapists? We were giving testimony to the righteousness of Christ of course. ... orientation shift is not (the) goal of Exodus. Jesus Christ himself is goal worth pursing.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

12/4 USA not insane, its just the GOP

While 76% of Americans claim to be conservatives, when asked about policies they support progressive positions.
Americans are for:
  development of alternative energy.
  Gay marriage
  increasing the tax burden of the rich.
  protecting the reproductive rights of women.
  Teaching science in school science classes - not mythology

Source The Young Turks

Friday, 6 April 2012

5/4 Why does Mitt Romney not attract Women Voters? ;)

This article is not suitable for the very young, 
the very old, people of a religious disposition, Republicans, small dogs
and Justice Antonin Scalia.

This image was leaked after a lighting boom fell on the Republican nomination candidate during a photo session. Many have criticized Romney for a some what robotic style. We now know James Cameron T-1000 provided the blue print for the Bain Capital T2012 Candidate Bot. Its features include an aloof lack of understanding of the nature life on less than $20,000,000 per year. Subroutines for demanding that corporations are people, denying medical service for women and demanding single women give up their children and changing opinions faster than any computer available on the open market.

Thursday, 5 April 2012

4/4 CISPA to bring cyber peeping

The new CISPA bill is set to attack privacy and civil liberties allowing government access to citizens' private on-line data. The bill also allows companies to go fishing in that data.
All government agencies need to do to get access to this private data is cite cyber security as the reason that they require it.

Source: Russia Today

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

3/4 Terrorism alive & well in USA

Molotov Cocktails and home made bombs are being used to commit terrorism with in the USA  and it has nothing to do with Islam.

Wisconsin. A home made bomb detonated at a Planned parenthood 7:30pm Local time April 1.
Offices of Democratic representative Wendy Davis(D- Tx) were firebombed few weeks ago.
Dr Tiller referred to by Fox New as "tiller the baby killer" was shot in church.
Since 1977, 59000 acts violence, 7 Murders, 343 death threats and 942 act of vandalism directed at abortion clinics and their staff accord to The Nation Organization of Women.

This comes at time where right legislation is being proposed and passed in record numbers. 1100 bill proposed in legislatures, 135 passed in 2011 chipping at womens reproductive rights. Compared enacted legislation previous years 89 in 2010, 77 in 2009, 34 in 2005 we are seeing and attack womens rights too many in Pakistan would consider something to be proud of.
Conservative Legislators are directly supporting domestic terrorism, by putting forward and passsing legislation to publish the names of abortion providers, and sometimes very detailed information about the women who use the service.

Yes, if you've missed it, I spell it out.  Terrorists and legislators are targeting those least likely to attack back - your sisters, aunts and mothers.