December 3, 2010
Stream of thoughts on existence of a god or group of gods.

This isn’t totally mapped out or written prettily but I thought I’d put it out there anyway.

biblebeltatheist and seekthetruth-islam have been having a bit of debate about Islam the Qur’an. seekthetruth-islam seems to put a lot of stock in the Qur’an being a miraculous text. biblebeltatheist disagrees and rightly asks for proof. However, what I want to note is that even were biblebeltatheist to grant that there was proof that the Qur’an was miraculous, it would still not be proof of Allah’s existence. It would only be proof that the Qur’an is miraculous. To say otherwise would be to make an assumption of attribution.

There are significant problems for those attempting to prove any god’s existence and it becomes even more problematic when attempting to prove a specific god or a specific group of gods.

Firstly, you must coherently and logically define what a god is. If you say a god is ineffable, you lose: if god is ineffable you cannot know god or attribute anything to god. If your definition is illogical based on premises you accept, you lose: for example, god cannot be omniscient, omnipotent and omnibenevolent if evil exists; god cannot be omniscient, omnipotent and omnibenevolent if god is the creator and the creation is flawed, and so-on.

Secondly, you have to prove that a god exists. This will be tough. You need evidence. As explained above, miracles are not evidence. I, for one, have my doubts as to whether there can even be evidence. But feel free to try and prove me wrong.

Of course, after that, you still have a significant problem in that even if you have a coherent and logical definition of god and you have proved its existence, you still have not given me reason to care. Even were god to exist, I am fine living without it. You have no way to make your god meaningful to me without the threat of coercion or it directly interfering. And so, we get religion.

Now you have a problem in that you have to prove that your religion is correct. Unfortunately, this means you have to have defined god coherently, proved god exists as according to your definition of god and you have to link that god to your religion.

Once again, I note that miracles are not proof that your religion is correct because the existence of god does not preclude other reasons for what is seen as miraculous. It does not even mean god is the most likely reason for what is seen as miraculous. (Of course, that may hinge on your chosen definition of god.)

The most logical first step would seem to be to see if the traits of the coherently and logically defined god you have proved the existence of line up with the traits of the god of your religion. If they do not, your religion is wrong.

Another step you could take would be to check for contradictions in your religion. If there are contradictions, your religion is wrong.

If you do manage a solid link to this god you have defined and proved and the traits do not line up or there are contradictions, surely you have to ask if you should take your religion seriously. (“What are the motives of god?”)

December 2, 2010
Atheist bus adverts

Some people are getting upset about bus adverts which state: “Millions of Americans are Good without God”. Some companies refuse to accept them. There is even a reasonably subtle bias in the article. But what exactly is the problem? The advert does not say that those Americans who feel they are with God are not good. The implication is not even there.

Keep on with the religious hysteria. Those nasty atheists sure are out to get you. Or maybe they just expect fair and equal treatment from society. Maybe they just want to put it out there that one does not need religion to be “good”.

You may as well have a look at the Euthyphro Dilemma while you’re at it.

November 19, 2010
ilovecharts:

God and The Devil

Amusement ensues.

ilovecharts:

God and The Devil

Amusement ensues.

July 27, 2010

This is an accurate depiction of Christian beliefs, although most Christians will not put this slant on it lest there be more cognitive dissonance on their part (given they typically believe their god is merciful, just and loving, and aren’t really all that inclined to confronting the idea that their god is not).

May 29, 2010

"Creationism in the classroom" is a clip from the BBC1 documentary Science Friction: Creation. What is shown in the clip represents the triumph of faith over reflection and the perpetuation of this cycle. It disturbs me.

I really don’t understand how that man became a science teacher. Not because he has such beliefs, but because as a science teacher, you teach the science, which utilises the scientific method I might add. You don’t teach your beliefs just because you and the students might have them in common, especially as there is no scientific backing for your beliefs as valid science. It’s bizarre.

If I were an English teacher and I didn’t believe in the merits of Shakespeare, I wouldn’t teach students along the lines of such belief by contrasting it and giving a significant amount of time to a piece of work I felt to be more valid (despite assertions to the contrary by those who specialise in English literature) - even though I know many students would agree and prefer to learn about the contrasting piece of work. It would be wrong and I would probably lose my job as I would be there to teach specific things and failing in that role.

But let’s not worry, it’s from the mid-90s. Things have changed since then, right? I expect most of those teenagers will have become adults, and in line with that their beliefs will have become more sophisticated and their knowledge will be greater, right? Right?

April 18, 2010
Links dump.

Technology
DIY Cleanroom
: How to make a basic cleanroom.
Garage Biology: Considering garage biology and detailing a garage biology lab in silicon valley.
Micro-brewing the Bioeconomy: Craft brewing as an example of distributed biological manufacturing.
Chat Roulette: Somewhat amusing chat roulette image. Oh the mighty advances of technology, eh? Bringing meaningful communication to the masses.

Politics/Economics
The Three Horsemen of the Global Depression: Positing the drivers of the current depression and postulating that the recovery is fragile and probably perceived rather than real.
The Collapse of Complex Business Models: Positing eventual collapse because of sophistication in the system which has led to inflexibility in responding to change.
The Financial Oligarchy Tax: Considering the costs imposed by the global financial oligarchy.
Technology, Human Development and the Social Energy Grid: Considering the necessary expansion of technology for the creation, storage and allocation of social energy.
Huckabee Rips Steele, Romney, LGBT Activists: Huckabee expresses his homophobia and infers that atheists live as if they have no moral groundings - making the false conflation of religion with morality.
Six Psychological Reasons Consumer Culture is Unsatisfying: Considers why purchasing goods can often be unsatisfying with reference to maximising and satisficing.

Religion
If There Were No God: Offering the perspective that the world is as it is because there is no God.
Trouble in Paradise: Giving a critique of Lisa Miller’s book, Heaven.
FML: Religious person tells their five year old son about God.
The Logic of Intelligent Design: Shown in a hypothetical debate where a scientist uses the logic of intelligent design to highlight its absurdities. Very funny.
Why Every Moral Person Must Take a Stand Against the Bible: Explains that the Bible makes claims which people base their decisions upon and negatively impact others with and that as such, as moral people, a stand against the Bible must be taken: “Agreeing to disagree is only an option for beliefs, NOT CLAIMS.”

Psychology
How to Increase your Self-Control Without Really Trying: A study suggesting abstract thought can automatically and unconsciously bolster one’s self-control.
Boost Creativity: Psychological techniques to boost creativity.
Belief Biases: Biases in belief which can reduce pleasure.

Art Miscellany
Parkour: Generations: Parkour training camp. This is not a mistake. Parkour is an artform.
Night Moves, 2.19 A.M.: Insomnia-inspired piece of art.
So You Need a Typeface: Typography infographic.
The Sky Before Katrina Struck: Beautiful images of the sky prior to Katrina striking.

Alcohol
The Beer Mapping Project: Beer-related places near you.
Scotchka and The Room: The Best Bad Drinks for the Best Bad Movie: Drinks from and also how to get through the movie, The Room.

April 17, 2010
Agnosticism a form of atheism? [updated]

Most atheists will tell you that atheism is not a proscriptive concept defining what you do believe, but is instead the non-belief in the existence of a god or gods. Despite this, there are many people, atheists and agnostics included, who will argue that agnosticism is not a form of atheism. I intend to argue, using the most logical definitions of atheism and agnosticism, that agnosticism is a form of atheism. To do this, I will consider from whence the term “atheist” is derived – in order to convey that I am not being disingenuous by trying to redefine parts of the basic concept - and follow this up with a very basic definition of atheism. I will then consider agnosticism and show how the two are not only compatible, but further that agnosticism is a form of atheism.

Read More

March 27, 2010
Links dump.

Religion:
God records a PSA: using God as a device to point out the logical fallacies of theistic apologists.
Papal Resignation Betting: Paddy Power are taking bets on the Pope resigning. At present, odds are 6/4. This amuses me.
Cyanide and Happiness: inspired by Jesus.
Lesson #579: Blasphemy: explains why using “Jesus Christ” as an epithet is not blasphemy.
Doonesbury: exploring resistant pathogen strains and Creationism in a very witty manner.
The “issue” of gay marriage: nice quote.
Is God a delusion?: Law’s notes on his debate with Tzortis.
The Psychology of Biblicism: Robert M. Price takes a critical look at Biblicism.
Overcompensating: Yeast Infection.

Social Commentary:
Exposed: Green consumers dirty little secrets: New research suggests that those who make “green” purchases are subsequently more likely to behave selfishly, cheat and steal.
Electric Cars Harm Environment - Report: the dirty little secret is out, it seems. The so-called “green cars” are on the whole a myth to get you to part with your money. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for being kind to the planet. I don’t even own a car, I recycle, I compost, etc. Nonetheless, shit’s got to do what it says, or else it’s no solution.
The most dangerous drug isn’t meow meow. It isn’t even alcohol …: Charlie Brooker argues that newspapers, or in reality, the media are a larger threat to a nation’s mental wellbeing.

Politics/Law:
Japanese politics: Self-immolation thwarted: Yukio Ubukata criticises the dangerous concentration of power and money in the hands of his boss, Ichiro Ozawa, and survives, for now.
Defense expenditure in the USA: exploring what would happen for just one year if the USA spent the money it does on defense on infrastructure instead.
Social Security to See Payout exceed Pay-In This Year: The government-funded Ponzi scheme that is social security may have reached a tipping point, unless Congress “strengthens” its finances. By this, I hope that what they mean is they get rid of it. (I’m not saying something shouldn’t be instituted in its place.) If it is illegal in the market because it inevitably rips people off, as eventually the scheme can no longer be expanded, then it should not be considered alright for government to do it.
A court decision that reflects what type of country the U.S. is: Glenn Greenwald on Arar v. Ashcroft.

Copyright/Digital Rights:
F. Scott Fitzgerald Made $8,397 On Great Gatsby; His Daughter Gets $500,000 Per Year From It: raising questions about the length of, and provisions surrounding, copyright.
Digital economy bill to be pushed through parliament next month: the government capitulates to an out-of-touch and failing media industry and endeavours to push through a poorly thought out bill in an utterly disgusting fashion. Make them suffer with your votes, people, and if the next government fails you, change the system.

February 26, 2010
Links dump.

http://www.apathysketchpad.com/blog/2007/12/01/religious-crackpot-of-the-month-december-2007/
Religious Crackpot of the Month at Apathy Sketchpad.
http://stephenlaw.blogspot.com/
Stephen Law’s weblog.
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/guest_contributors/article7036871.ece
Tallis on the Chiropractor Association v. Singh lawsuit.
http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/02/10/clueless/
Krugman blogs on Obama.
http://lawpapers.blogspot.com/2009/06/evil-god-challenge-forthcoming-in.html
"The Evil God Challenge".
http://www.butterfliesandwheels.com/notesarchive.php?id=2140
"Varieties of relativism".
http://www.jesusandmo.net/2008/01/15/smart/
Jesus and Mo on faith.
http://www.jesusandmo.net/2008/01/18/piety/
Jesus and Mo on piety.
http://yoism.reality-movement.org/media/JS-PrayerStudy.wmv
John Stewart clip on prayer.
http://www.pbs.org/jefferson/archives/documents/ih195802.htm
Thomas Jefferson and the “Statute of Religious Freedom”.

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