Sunday, May 31, 2009

Murder for Jesus

It is nice of the Christians to wait until I have posted about how evil their religion is before doing something to prove me right. Whoever the terrorist is who murdered Dr. Tiller will undoubtedly be a Christian and he will say he was doing it for the "babies" and you know what? A lot of Christians are going to think he is a hero. Even the ones who don't will, because it is what their religion requires, accept that he has repented and Jeebus will welcome him in to heaven. This is exactly what I was talking about. Well not exactly, according to this report Tiller was also a Christian so he is just as likely to be in heaven according to Christian myth as his killer is. Although I bet we will here many Christians claiming Dr. Tiller is going to hell. However the murdering dirt ball, who killed him will get to be a hero, then pray to Jeebus and get a clean conscience out of it. While Dr, Tillers family grieves. I am sure they are in no mood to forgive this piece of shit.

I just recently read a reply from some Christian hag who said. "Maybe Christianity was used to justify bad things a long time ago but just name someone in the last hundred years that has used Christianity to justify killing people." After I decided laughing at her stupidity was a better response than punching my monitor, I opened up a tab to Google. I then got a list of abortion clinic murders and posted it with the message "How about these for starters." I didn't get a response back which is unfortunate because next I was going to start posting Irish terrorists from both sides.

I never knew Dr. Tiller. Despite being pro choice I can't say that I have to many positive feelings about his profession, I have no idea what sort of man he was, but today I mourn him. I extend heartfelt sympathy to his family and regret the loss of yet another victim of religious fanaticism. Rest in peace Dr. Tiller.

I also have hopes for his killer. May he resist arrest and be painfully killed before he has a chance to spew his insane and idiotic martyr speech in a courtroom.

Proof that religion is evil normally makes me happy but not when someone dies because of it, which sadly is all too common.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Sorry no good acronym, here I refute the Cosmological argument.

I have already written about the Ontological and Transcendental arguments for God. The last of the three arguments for Christianity which I want to address is the Cosmological argument. It is the supposition that the universe itself is proof of the existence of God. It hinges on two precepts. The first is infinite regress. This is the belief that the universe can not have existed eternally because if it had an infinite number of things would have had to happen before now therefore now would never arrive. Christians tend to ignore the fact that infinite regress would apply also to a God or any other "first cause" they in fact say that because their God is "outside of time and space" that he is the only possible first cause. They conspicuously neglect to explain how something can be outside time and space. I will demonstrate how infinite egress is meaningless and the universe can be eternal without suffering infinite regress or being "outside time and space"

The second premise is that if there were ever a state of nothingness then there would still be nothing because nothing can not cause something. I will demonstrate the irrelevance of this by demonstrating that there was always something. I also postulate a reasonable possibility of how that something caused everything else. This last is speculation I am not a quantum physicist, I can follow along with basic quantum mechanics but can not describe original complex functions. However my speculation is within the realm of what quantum mechanics indicates is possible. Although it is beyond any hypothesis that I know of, so please don't read more into it than it being a reasonable speculation. It is at any rate incidental to my main argument and serves only to demonstrate that a non sentient first cause is possible.

Neither infinite regress or the origin of energy are valid dilemma. The first is refuted in trivial fashion by the nature of causality. The latter is potentially explained through principals of quantum physics.

As to infinite regress. Causality requires multiple identities, if there is only one identity then no causation is possible. This is a principal of logic. A thing may only be itself therefore multiple things are required for causality to occur.

In the existence of space, which has been determined as an identity. It has structure and obeys rules, therefore it is something. It is eternal and immaterial, but it is something. Space alone would not allow causality as it is a single identity. Space alone would allow for nothing to happen yet space would exist. Non contradiction confirms that "no things" can not be "an infinite number of things" therefore in the absence of causality infinite regress can not apply.

The second problem, where did energy originate is also do to the nature of space as something. The principal of quantum vacuum friction, shows that particles can come in to existence uncaused. This is evident even in the limited "nothingness" possible under current conditions. Theoretically a similar phenomena could have created that which is commonly referred to as the singularity.

This is not a problem of something coming from nothing. Space is determined to be something. It is no a matter of a material something being brought into existence by an eternal immaterial something.

The cosmological argument claims that only an eternal immaterial entity could cause the universe. I agree. The cosmological argument claims that the eternal immaterial something is a god. However that has not been demonstrated. The "cosmological argument in no way substantiates such a premise. Space is also shown to be an eternal, immaterial entity. It is also a candidate for first cause, it unlike a god does not have to be "transcendent" because unlike a god it is not subject to infinite regress. One possible counter to this would be to claim that a god is a singular identity as well. This is unlikely because a god is a complex and powerful entity and lacks the simplicity to not allow causality. However since theists tend to define their gods however they wish I will concede the point.

However this still removes the god concept as the only possible first cause. It refutes the claim that the existence of the universe proves god, and reduces God to simply one possible hypothesis, which is where it belongs. Then we can weigh the evidence, on one hand space which we know exists, we can witness its behavior, science can measure and evaluate it. On the other hand we have God which can not be seen tested or evaluated and must be believed on faith alone. It also is derived from old legends who's claims conflict with all known science.

There are some who will still say "God did it" but they can not use the cosmological argument to back it up.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Worshipers of an evil god.

There is a simple truth. The god described by Christian mythology is evil. The documentation of this is overwhelming. Accepting human sacrifice Judges 11:29-39. Ordering genocide 1 Samuel 15:2-3. The sacking of Amelek is just one example of the many peoples the Christian deity is said to have ordered his people to exterminate. Ordering the capture and rape of little girls Numbers 31:15-18. Forcing people to commit cannibalism Leviticus 26:16, Leviticus 26:29, Deuteronomy 28:53, Deuteronomy 28:57, Isaiah 9:19-20, Jeremiah 19:9, Ezekiel 5:10 among others. Commanding parents to abuse and murder their children and even sell them as slaves Proverbs 23:13-14, Leviticus 20:9, Exodus 21:7.

On the subject of slavery the Christian god figure was very fond of that as well Exodus 21:2, Exodus 21:7, Exodus 21:20-21, Leviticus 25:39, Leviticus 25:44-46, Ephesians 6:5, Colossians 3:22, 1 Timothy 6:1, Titus 2:9-10, 1 Peter 2:18. These passages lay out clear instructions on buying, selling and beating your slaves. It also exhorts the slaves to be obedient and not rebel. These verses were used by Christians to support keeping African slaves in the United States.

This alone should be enough to display the vile nature of the myth that Christianity calls good and just. It is not however the greatest evil. That is reserved for the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross. This variant of the ancient harvest god myth has been perverted by Christianity to make a mockery of justice. In the Christian version of this myth, the corn god was sacrificed as atonement for the sins of mankind. On the surface this seems nice enough, get out of hell free card just accept Jesus. The problem is no one thinks about what it means. It means that Christianity denies morality in exchange for worshiping its god. It is no longer important to be good and just. There is no punishment for evil, the punishment is for those who aren't saved, who don't accept or trust Christ or however they say it. Some Christians will claim that the punishment is for sin and Jesus forgives them. This is just semantics because they have to admit that "all humans are sinful" and there is no way to the father except through Christ so the result is the same.

It doesn't matter what you do, if you suck up to their deity you are spared if you don't you are tortured. That is why Christianity is evil. It destroys morality for those who believe it. Older religions believed in works and justice. They may have been no more real but they had value. People were given the choice of reward for good or punishment for evil. Christianity gives reward for being a Christian and punishment for not being one. Christians can be as wicked and sinful as they like, and many are. It doesn't matter because "Jesus Saves".

That leads to scenarios' like this. A man abducts and rapes a young woman, to avoid any age of accountability dodges we will say she is thirteen. He brutally rapes and tortures her for days, before finally killing and eating her. Afterwards he feels bad about it and scared of punishment and worried about hell. He crosses the street to a church, repents his actions and "makes a decision for Christ" or whatever phraseology that particular cult uses. He then dies a true Christian. He is rewarded with eternal bliss in the presence of his god. His little victim however was a Jew, or Wiccan, or atheist. She is damned to hell and eternal torture because she was murdered and eaten before accepting Christ. That is the true evil of Christianity. The true evil of Christians is that they call this "perfect justice". They will dance and dodge and claim that doesn't happen and it is just made up, some will even say out of ignorance that "God doesn't do that" however it is the fact of their doctrine. It is not made up, it has happened. Stacy Moskowitz was a practicing Jew when she was murdered by David Berkowitz. David Berkowitz was the Son of Sam serial killer, he murdered several other people also. David was found guilty and now serves multiple life sentences in jail. While in jail, David has become a born-again Christian. According to the Christian myth Stacy is in Hell being tortured by demons and the serial killer who murdered her is assured a place in heaven. Christians call this good. Berkowitz is their brother in Christ, and Stacy is just a miserable sinner recieving the punishment she deserves.

Fortunately it is just a story. Those of us who reject it can be good and moral. We can live life knowing it has value and meaning outside of flattering some ancient storm god. We can live by the moral instincts nature has provided, the codes of ethics that humanity has cultivated over centuries, and the codes of law implemented by our respective governments. If we desire forgiveness for our wrongs, we can seek it from those we have wronged. That is true forgiveness, not the fake forgiveness that comes from praying to an imaginary god.

Thanks to Beamstalk for the information about David Berkowitz, I quoted him directly.

I needed this so bad I thought I would share.

Whenever someone like Ray Comfort makes me start hating Christians, and wishing I owned a lion, I just watch a little Carlin. After that I simply pity them again.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Richard Dawkins has been stealing all of my arguments.

No not really. The gentleman has two decades on me so he has a clear first claim to our mutual opinions. It is however a bit eerie. I just finished reading the God Delusion and from chapter one on, my most common response was "I've been saying that for years." Not so much in the area of science, Professor Dawkins clearly has the advantage on me there and I found his thoughts very enlightening. In the philosophical realm however it was like reading something I had written. The idea of Christianity as immoral even down to the scripture I use to support that premise. The reasoning behind why naturalism is a moral system are also very similar to mine. The ideas about comparative religion, also familiar. The list goes on.

This of course makes sense, I didn't form my ideas in a vacuum. I was reading Carl Sagan from a very young age, I have read the work of many prominent atheistic thinkers. So I am sure has Mr. Dawkins. In fact we share a mutual admiration for Douglas Adams, who I rank along with George Carlin as being one of the two greatest wits in history.

One area I do disagree with Richard Dawkins on is the origin of religion. Professor Dawkins believes it is a misplaced survival instinct. He speculates that making quick casual connections is necessary for survival, because reasoning out a dangerous situation logically is not quick enough to deal with, say a tiger attack. I agree that this is the instinct that religion relies on, I just doubt it is the source of religion. I doubt that humanity is the creator of religion at all. In an earlier post I make the argument that religion is a vestigial practice from our pre-human ancestor. I believe that like Mr. Dawkins said the ability to make casual connections evolved first because it is key to survival. I believe our pre-human ancestor had not yet developed the ability to make causal connections at all. They simply went by how things appeared to be and learned by trial and error only. To them religion wasn't a misplaced instinct it was the only instinct they had. Our primitive human ancestors who had developed logical reasoning also retained the survival based casual reasoning. They continued with the religious thinking that was passed down to them but have been continually replacing it with logical explanations whenever possible. In the last few thousand years logic has begun to first alter and then replace religion. In the last few hundred years logical thought has eliminated any relevance that religion may have. Now religion is just a vestigial practice that survives through tradition and indoctrination without fulfilling any useful function.

Of course Dr. Dawkins is the biologist so you may wish to defer to his opinion on the matter, but I am quite happy with mine.

I would like to close with giving "The God Delusion" every endorsement. It is an excellent book and I highly recommend it. I would say go read it but I was probably the last atheist on earth who hadn't so that is probably pointless.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The California Supreme court upholds Prop 8. It is time for a challenge to DOMA

This is Pretty much what I expected Constitutionally it makes sense, even though it is morally repulsive. At least the court did protect existing same sex marriages which I believe is also constitutionally correct. Now the question will be is the Defense of Marriage Act Constitutional? Clearly it isn't from a legal perspective. There is no way that a law DOMA can overrule the full faith and credit clause of the Constitution. Unfortunately judges are chosen for playing ball with the government not Constitutional expertise so we will have to wait and see what happens. I am guessing that if Californian gay couples who have married out of state, mount a challenge to DOMA. The Ninth Circuit Court will overturn the Defense of Marriage act, but the Supreme Court will overturn the decision. This is however one of those cases where I very much hope I am wrong. DOMA is an assault on the Constitution, if it stands we have told congress that they can make laws that nullify our Constitutional protections. Once we do that all is lost. The amendment process is supposed to be the only way to alter the US Constitution. It is meant to be difficult. If we do away with that and let congress impose anything they want by simple majority, why have a constitution or Supreme Court at all?

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Presenting SATAN the Simply Awesome Transcendental Argument for the Non existence of god.

I posted this to Richard Dawkins forum where he asked for possible counters to the transcendental argument for the existence of God. I have been playing with this for a while. This is the simplest most straightforward one I could achieve. It declares that the presupposition of an interventionist God precludes any possibility of logic or reason.

Here it is.

If there were an omnipotent being in charge of the universe then natural laws and logical causality would be arbitrary and subject to its whims. In a universe so governed there would be no truth and no standards upon which logical thought could be based.

The only universe in which a logical chain of cause and effect is possible, is one in which the laws governing that universe are themselves the framework upon which the universe rests. This is precisely the universe described by non theistic science.

When one says that the universe is subject to a God, they deny that there is any possibility of knowledge, logic, or fact. Theistic people must assume that there are no truths or logic, and therefore they can not claim any knowledge without basing it upon the standards belonging to the atheistic perspective.

I would also add that even the attempts by theists to demonstrate the existence of their god are only possible using the concepts of truth and evidence which are only possible in the absence of God.

This becomes axiomatic. If there were a God then there would be no standard of logic upon which I could argue against it's existence. Since I do make such an argument there is no God.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Creationists do not actually like science, but I like Gods, or some of them anyway.

I have a great fondness for Einsteins pantheistic God. I refer to it frequently in poetry and introspective writing. Like Einstein I see it in the beauty of nature because it is the beauty of nature. It is a wonderful metaphor. Useful for both artistic and explanatory purposes. It could in a sense even be real. If you define the universe as God, and acknowledge the universe exists then, it is true.

Unlike Hindu, Kabbalah, and Suffi, practitioners I see no reason to worship this God or assign it any qualities other than being a metaphor for the universe.

I also have a great affection for the Jeffersonian "natures God" which also could be true. I have many philosophical reasons to not believe in the deistic God however it is of no real consequence. It is also a useful metaphor and excellent for the purpose of speech making and art.

I have finally started reading Dawkins God Delusion and he actually gives some excellent arguments against Deism, which make perfect sense but are ultimately unnecessary.

The Deistic Idea of an impersonal, non revealing, non interventionist God is no enemy of science and reason. In it's purest form it is nothing more than an anthropomorphic description of the "first cause".

You won't find Deists crusading against science education or trying to impose the will of God on people. A few hundred years ago Deists filled the same role as atheists do today. They were the scientists, philosophers, revolutionaries, and free thinkers of their time.

They were proportionately more numerous than atheists are today, which is probably why so many advances in government and personal freedom happened in the 18th century.

It is the theistic Gods that are the enemy of reason and science. The Catholic Church can accommodate reason because the Pope can declare anything he wants as the will of God. However even they cringe when science begins shining light in to the gaps their God hides in. As Jefferson said "Priests...dread the advance of science as witches do the approach of daylight and scowl on the fatal harbinger announcing the subversions of the duperies on which they live."

Theists, Christians in particular must oppose science. They can of course exploit the benefits derived from it, but they must lie about it, distort it, suppress it, condemn it, and in every way try to hide from the fact that it proves their God false.

A God can not claim dominion over what can be explained in its absence. As science is rapidly explaining everything that people once attributed to God. God is diminished.

Now he is little more than a shadow waving the carrot of salvation and the stick of Hell because those myths are the only powers remaining to him.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Theater Review. Shobe.

This evening I watched a stage production of the Japanese fable Shobe, performed in Japanese. The performance was absolutely incredible. The acting was top notch, the Taiko drumming interlude was well done as were the vocal performances.

Shobe is the story of a young working man. He labors hard but is getting nowhere. He asks the spirits to grant him a good life. A spirit grants his request by telling him he will stumble on the road and he must pick up what he finds and carry it. Shobe does indeed stumble and finds a rice straw. Even though he thinks it is worthless he keeps it. Along the way a dragonfly begins buzzing around his head. He catches the dragonfly and ties it to his rice straw. Soon he encounters a woman and child, the child wants the dragonfly which Shobe gives her, the mother rewards him with a basket of oranges. He is pleased with the oranges and is about to eat them when he comes across a procession. Three maids approach him asking if he had some water for their princess who was dying of thirst. He had none but he gave them the basket of oranges which saved the princess. The princess thanks him and has her maids reward him with a bolt of fine silk. Further down the road Shobe is accosted by three Samurai who think the silk is too good for him. They threaten him and force him to trade the silk for a dying horse that they had with them. Shobe nurses the horse back to health and travels on. Soon he comes upon an old royal woman, who says she is traveling to her home but must travel quickly. Shobe offers her his horse. The woman accepts and asks Shobe to come to her house for a reward. Later when shobe comes to the womens fine home he is introduced to the womans daughter the princess. The princess tells her mother that Shobe is the man who saved her from thirst. The woman asks Shobe to marry the princess and become master of her estate. Shobe does and lives happily ever after.

A very nice story and very well performed by my daughters third grade class. My daughter was the princess.

It should be mandatory that people in charge of education should actually have one.

This guy is an uneducated, incoherent, blathering fundytard moron. He can't even speak properly. Yet this mindless piece of crap is saying he is going to stand up to experts in science because They don't know what they're talking about. Aaaaagggghhh! We need to pass a federal law requiring the death penalty for stupid.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

It is fun to see bigots get burned with their own crosses.

This is one of those political issues that make me laugh. Prop 8. in California is being challenged on the grounds that it violates the Federal constitution. This is something I am not sure about. I could argue that it should violate the constitution but it is very unclear whether it does. However the Federal defense of marriage act is also being challenged and it does clearly violate the constitution. Not because of gay rights but because it uses a law i.e DOMA to overrule the clear wording of the Constitution i.e. the full faith and credit clause. This should be a legal no brainer. A law can not nullify the constitution, period. Only an constitutional amendment, ratified by the states can do that. Therefore DOMA can not survive a constitutional challenge. If the court actually respects their duty which is notoriously uncertain.

So if this challenge to Prop. 8 fails DOMA should still be overturned allowing out of state gay couples to have their marriages recognized in California. This could actually be Constitutional, CA could refuse to marry gay couples but have to honor gay marriages from out of state. If they do it will be a direct result of them passing the anti-gay amendment in California to start with. The law of unintended consequences will have claimed yet another victim.

Even if you don't care about gay rights you have to find the irony amusing.

Are your children fucking stupid? Who's fault is that?

This guy seems to think it is Hollywoods fault. He makes some good points about role models and the influence of on screen behaviors and such. He also completely ignores the elephant in the room. The parents. If you are not your kids primary role model then that is the problem right there. If you let your child model the behaviors of TV and movie characters without your input then you are to blame. If you allow your kids more TV time than you give them time with you, you are to blame.

Blaming the media is a cop out.

I limit my kids exposure to TV, I subject their viewing choices to my approval. I devote the best part of my time to their upbringing and education. I correct bad behaviors. You know what? I have good kids. They get good grades, they have no discipline problems, they use clean language. That is due to my wife and I not Hollywood, also if they go bad that is also my fault not Hollywoods.

You would think this is a no brainer but people love to blame everyone else but themselves.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Hey Mr. Wanna buy my cookies?

I love the Girl scouts. For one I love Tagalongs, possibly the most wicked confection ever sold door to door. Second I love actual Girl Scouts. My daughter is a Brownie and my wife is a leader. Apparently I also love the organization. I just read this rant against the Girl Scouts by World Nut Daily and found myself saying "wow that's great" a lot. Of course the fundytards disagree, they think it is bad that the GSA is being welcoming and diverse. They can't stand the fact that it is trying to encourage and empower girls. I am sure they are really ticked off that nowhere in the scout manual does it talk about how girls need to be obedient and submissive.

They are also apparently upset that the scouts quote some prominent lesbians as role models. Silly me I had no idea that thinking Billy Jean King is a great athalete automatically turns girls gay.

Anyway unlike their brown shirted male counterparts, the girl scouts welcome atheists, and teach their kids real values instead of religious indoctrination so lets have a big "Go Scouts" for them. Also support your local girl by buying lots of cookies when cookie season comes back around.

Monday, May 18, 2009

On the plus side, he wasn't raping little boys.

This guy. decided celibacy wasn't working out for him so he got a girlfriend. Sounds reasonable to me. I mean breaking vows is a weak and cowardly thing to do but he didn't hurt anyone. Considering the well documented alternative, having an adult partner should be encouraged among priests who can't keep it in their pants.

Of course as you can imagine the church doesn't see it this way. A few hundred kids getting raped is really a small price to pay, in exchange for their inflexible dogma that priests can't get any. As long as it looks like people believe their lies the church doesn't care about actual people getting hurt at all. For example when this poor little girl was brutally and repeatedly raped. The church had no problem with her being raped. The rapist has probably already been forgiven and insured a place in heaven. The Church was instead pissed that she was given an abortion rather than being forced to die giving birth to the twins the rapist impregnated her with.

Just a few more examples of why humanity needs to outgrow this silly God myth. The sooner we close the book on this prehistoric crap the better off we will be.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

If we've learned anything, it is not to fuck with Carl Sagan.

OK this is very stupid, and I should be ashamed for laughing at it, but I'm not so there. See for yourselves.

Friday, May 15, 2009

You have got to appreciate moral clarity.

I just love it when things like this and this come together. Someone gets on a moral high horse and then their own dirty laundry comes out. (Yes I know I am mixing metaphors). Didn't the Jesus story say something about taking the log out of your own eye before trying to pick the speck out of your brothers?



Images courtesy of Atheist Cartoons and TMZ

Thursday, May 14, 2009

A Cartoon Just for Ray Comfort.


See More at Atheist Cartoons

I love it when actual scientists tell me I was right all along.

For years I have been answering those Christians who ask where morality comes from by answering "Game theory." I have said that since humans are social animals we would have cooperative instincts. That nature would select for the traits that best help insure group survival. I even suggested that game theory predicts that much of what humans call moral is simply the best strategy. I even once wrote a long winded exposition about how the prisoners dilemma accurately describes most social interactions. Now I am not so arrogant as to say this is my unique theory, I have heard it before from others, but still it is good to be vindicated. This atricle and this one show how game theory can predict the behavior patterns of ravens. Even predicting a behavior that had not been observed before and then having it verified by field researchers. I love being right.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

I love this Cartoon


See More at Atheist Cartoons

Refuting the transcendental argument for the existence of God. Part II. Setting your axioms.

The first thing the presuppositionalist will do is question how do you know anything with out some absolute standard of logic, such as God. They will in fact wait patiently to refer to something as proven and then leap in, with how do you know? They will say the concept of proof depends on God and yadda yadda. Since this is a stupid question on their part it is tempting to dismiss it as a stupid question and try to explain your evidence. This is a mistake, they will continue to repeat how do you know? indefinitely unless challenged on it. Note that they will still continue to repeat it if challenged, but you can then point out how stupid they are. The best response is to pretend they have asked a serious but simple question and then answer it succinctly. This is my response. It is not original to me in any sense. These are well established axioms but they are effective. These particular axioms are my variation of a set I read on the Skeptical Studies blog. They are largely a simpler paraphrase of those. The presupp won't accept them of course. Their missionary philosophy prevents them from allowing any common ground with atheists. However you will now be able to respond to their "how do you know?" by refering back to these axioms.

Step 1. Perception exists. If I were presented evidence otherwise, I would have to perceive the evidence thereby proving the existence of perception.

Step 2. Consciousness exists, perception requires consciousness therefore consciousness not existing would contradict step 1. However since step 1. is axiomatic consciousness must exist. Also since perception and consciousness are established as discrete entities, solipsism is false because an entity apart from perception is proven to exist.

Step 3. Something exists, proof otherwise would contradict step 2 because step 2 shows that consciousness exists.

Step 4. Multiple things exist, Any disproof would lead to nonseparable identity, i.e. only one identity is. But my TV is black and my chair is not, as given by my sense perceptions. But this is a contradiction. Therefore multiple things must exist. Additionally as it has been established that perception and consciousness are distinct entities, this is further proof that multiple identities exist.

Step 5. Causation exists any proof otherwise would be the result of evidence causing a change in my consciousness, thereby proving causation exists.

Step 6. What our consciousness is aware of through perception is an exact representation of external reality. If this were false it would require that consciousness create perception which is not possible due to Step 1. and 2.

Steps 5 and 6 establish the validity of logic and perception respectively. Having established causation it is therefore possible for though and argumentation to exist. Since logic describes thought and argumentation logic can exist. Step 1 establishes perception as existing, step 6 establishes it as accurate. None of these steps require logic in order to exist, they are self evident. Logic is used to describe them but they are not established through argumentation, they are axiomatic.

It will then be possible to answer most of the presuppos arguments by simply referring to Steps 1-6. They will of course ignore these even if they understand them but will be completely unable to refute them. This will put them on the defensive. Their position can not be established defensively so you can pretty much hold them there forever. However doing so does not refute their position it only prevents them from establishing it, I will continue at a later time with an argument towards refuting their position.

I highly reccomend reading the original article at Skeptical Studies it is far more complete and accurate than these. I have dumbed these down for the benefit of the average TAG advocate. If you wish to get more complex and accurate, the debate at Skeptical Studies is an escellent resource.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Refuting the transcendental argument for the existence of God. Part I. Laying some groundwork.

Having recently withdrawn from a discussion where the other party was clumsily attempting to set up the transcendental argument, I have made some observations on the subject. Hopefully this will be useful to anyone encountering this monstrosity. The person I was discussing with was clearly an amateur. I kept giving him easy openings and softballs but he just kept repeating nonsense. However I have seen people use the argument effectively so I thought I would post some tools for overcoming it. The first is that for the transcendental argument to get off the ground the person postulating it must set some definitions. They must for example claim that logic is Absolute, Immaterial and Universal. Their argument rests on logic being something that has to come from a perfect and divine source. They need for it to be not explainable as a result of natural processes. Fortunately this is easy to avoid. This is the reason I ended up withdrawing from the last discussion, I asked the person to address the validity of these terms, and presented the following argument. The presuppositionalist in question just ignored it entirely and tried to change the subject. These really do mess up the position taken by the transcendental argument.

First I address absolute.
Absolute is a qualifier which is applied to the property of true. This seems either non valid or false, depending on the intention. If it is simply an adjective describing the property of true there is no reason to do so, in logic there is either true or not true applying a qualifier in this regard is non valid. If you are using the qualifier to add an additional value to the property of true then the statement must be false.

Call true T and absolutely A. and a Statement S. S=T describes a true statement describing a statement as absolutely true would be S=T+A for this to be true A=0 if a has no value it is a non valid qualifier if A>0 then you have a contradiction T+A does not =T so you have a false statement.

To sum if A=0 then there is no reason to call something absolutely true, so therefore a statement can not be absolutely true it can only be true or false.

If A>0, for instance if if the term absolute adds meaning then an absolutely true statement is false because the qualifier absolute makes it non true. So again in this instance a statement is not absolutely true it is simply true.

Logic can not be absolutely true in any possible circumstance so it is simply true.

Now that I have addressed the question of absolute and demonstrated that it is either a useless qualifier or a false one. In addition to being contradictory it also violates the law of the excluded middle, by implying that there are degrees of truth, which is not possible. If something seems partially true then the question asked is insufficient. Probably because it is either not specific enough or improperly stated.

At this point I will address universal. This is another adjective used to set up the transcendental argument. One which I question the relevance of. At least it is not a logical contradiction like absolute. However it is without value in this context.

If it means the common usage as in it would apply in every appropriate situation. Then yes it is universal, however since that is a basic concept of logic I am not sure why the term would be added. If it means something beyond that, such as the laws of logic having meaning apart from intelligence then no, universal does not apply.

Logic is a symbolic representation of the function of thought. It is not an entity in it's own right. It describes an entity, thought. Since logical axioms are self evident and irrefutable and the laws of logic are based on axioms, it must be true that any intelligence in any possible world would be subject to them.

However absent intelligence they could not exist. This does not of course mean that without intelligence the universe would behave any differently. It would do what it does regardless. Light doesn't move at a certain speed because we have a theory that says it does. It moves at that speed because that is the nature of light. Gravity does not attract because we have laws of gravity describing how it works it attracts because that is the nature of gravity. Logic allows us to understand these things it doesn't create or guide them.

The absence of intelligence would simply mean that there would be no observers measuring and quantifying things therefore there would be nothing for logic to describe.

So I can say that universal is either a useless qualifier or a false one.

Now another adjective frequently referenced is "immaterial." This seems the most vague to me but probably the least fallacious. Again it depends on what is meant.

Thoughts and concepts are immaterial in the sense that they are functions of intelligence not matter so that is true enough, however since this is pretty much part of the definition of thought again the qualifier is unneeded.

However it means they transcend the material world then no. Concepts may be in a sense immaterial, but they are formed in a mind that is tied to the material. If there was no material there would be no thought. As I said regarding the term universal. Logic is a tool to describe thought and facilitate argumentation. Even though it is perfectly accurate it only applies to thought and argumentation. In the absence of thought logic has nothing to describe so it is irrelevant.

So again the qualifier is either pointless or false.

Therefore the laws of logic are not absolute, universal, or immaterial.

They are simply true. The law of the excluded middle prevents partial truth so absolute doesn't apply. Logic is a function of intelligence so universal doesn't apply. Consciousness is a function of the material therefore immaterial does not apply, even though as a general rule concepts are defined as not material they could not exist apart from matter and energy.

I've been Bombarded with scripture, Here are some quotes I actually like.

Friday, May 8, 2009

God zero Ryk one, presenting Ryks Ontological argument for the Non existence of God. As I call it the great RONG.

God is by definition perfect. To be perfect one must be that which nothing greater can be imagined, all existent entities fall short. This is due to a principal I call "plus a cookie" Even if I define myself as having every possible perfection, someone can honestly say they imagine someone with every possible perfection plus a cookie(or any other virtue, I like cookie) If I then say well I have every possible virtue plus two cookies, they can respond in kind until we reach some arbitrary limit when we get tired of adding cookies or die of old age. The only way to be perfect is to have infinite cookies(and every other virtue) however an existent being can not have infinite virtues.

It is impossible for many reasons for an existent being to have an infinite value of anything. Only in the purity of imagination is infinite perfection possible. Therefore only God who does not exist can be so perfect that nothing more perfect can be imagined.

For math geeks I will call real identities R and God P(for perfect) I will call virtue V. Now assign R a value of 1. Now if I add a virtue to R that will give R a value of R+1 or two. Someone can easily imagine a being with a value of three, four, or more. So R can not be perfect unless an infinite number of virtues are added. However infinity+1 is not a valid concept. The only value to which infinity can be added is zero.

Therefore R+V is only valid if V is a finite number. If V is finite then R is not perfect. However God being non existent has a value of 0 and therefore G+V can be accurate when V is an infinite value. Therefore only a non existent entity such as God is capable of perfection.

It is the perfection of non existence which allows God to be perfect. Existence is imperfect therefore for God to exist it could only be imperfect, If it is imperfect it can not be God. Therefore there is no possible way for God to exist.

Again for Math geeks I am calling this the formula, E(existence), P(properties), I(identity), G(God)

I=P+E if I< or = infinity.
If P= infinity E=0
I=G if P=infinity

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Life part II. Is religion a relic of our pre human past.

First I would like to make a few statements regarding my scientific qualifications. I have none. I am not ignorant of scientific theory and methodology. I would rightly claim that I am better educated than the average High School graduate on the subjects of physics, math, and biology. I may even be comparable to many undergraduate students but I am no expert nor am I trying to be. A friend that I correspond with who is an expert in biology, commented briefly on my last post in this series. She said essentially that while she enjoyed my intellectual exercise, my science was fanciful. Fanciful was her term and it is a wonderful choice. She could have said woefully ignorant and been just as accurate. However as is the case with most educated atheists she is a generous soul, and used the more flattering terminology.

I don't proclaim my ignorance in a self depreciating manner, far from it. I exult in my ignorance while at the same time trying to overcome it. On this blog I am not trying to be a scientist, I am contemplating life and sometimes using science as the focus of my contemplation. Science is peripheral, I could just as easily be contemplating the social dynamics of a Smurf village. As I am admittedly not a scientist and am in no way trying to establish any scientific premise or theory I have freed myself to indulge in conjecture. Essentially I am indulging in the same arrogant conceit that practitioners of religion engage in. However I wish to stress that I do this only for my own pleasure (and presumably that of my readers) in the pure joy of speculation. I assure you that if you tell me that I am talking out my ass I will not behead your family or threaten you with eternal damnation.

Now on to the topic of this post. Recently I was faced with the assertion that the existence of similar flood myths, among various cultures was not as I claimed proof that the Christian flood story was a myth. Rather the presence of these myths proved that there must have been a worldwide flood. I have heard very similar arguments before but was still somewhat taken aback by it. What a crude way of looking at history and humanity I thought.

In response I posited a counter claim, I said that rather than assuming all of the many scientific improbabilities associated with the occurrence of a worldwide deluge, we could instead attribute this to human nature. I claimed that since our species is presumed to have originated in a limited geographical area, commonalities among myths could be traced back to that beginning. For example let us assume that at some point an early wise man anticipated a flood. He knew that when clouds looked a certain way the rainy season was coming, he remembered past rainy seasons when flooding had been an issue, and he saw a pattern that led him to believe that this season there would be a flood. He tried to explain this, even going so far as to claim that the Gods had warned him of the flood. Perhaps he even believed it was the Gods who revealed this to him. He had a brilliant idea, he built a large raft which could carry his family, possessions and some of his livestock. When the flood came he loaded this raft and managed to save enough that in the aftermath of the flood he was much better off than his neighbors.

Over the generations of oral tradition this tale was told as a warning against not being prepared for the possibility of flood. As folklore often does the tale grew with the retelling and this wise man became a heroic figure of myth, like Paul Bunyan or John Henry. Many generations later the flood was magnified in to one that covered all the known world, and the people were only saved because the wise man loaded his giant ark with everything needed to rebuild civilization. The flood, as such natural disasters often were was attributed to divine wrath and the wise man who was spared was called favored by the Gods.

As the population of mankind grew and spread throughout the world this tale traveled with them. In some places it was lost but in others it carried on. The names and details adapted to the customs and religious beliefs of the various tribes but the narrative remained pure.

I enjoy this example and consider it true, but what if I have not gone back far enough. What if this and other religious narratives predates humanity all together. What if it comes from the culture of our most recent pre-human ancestor. Religion could itself be a vestigal instinct. A type of thinking that humans can use but which is secondary to logic. This would explain much. For example all human progress has been made by moving away from magic not towards it. Despite the instinct to say God did it, our primary response is to seek out what really did it. Our ancient ancestors believed that plagues were curses from the Gods or the acts of evil spirits. Now we know of germs and disregard such superstition even though it is foundational to the religions still practiced. A particularly devout Christian may well disregard the effectiveness or necessity of using antibiotics to treat infection, but only the most fanatical deny that bacteria cause the infection. They may claim that God causes bacteria to infect people but they acknowledge that it is the bacteria not a demon that is causing the harm.

Human knowledge and understanding has exploded thanks to logic and more recently scientific method. This explosion has been in some sense exponential because discovery feeds other discoveries. Human knowledge has multiplied many thousandfold in just a few hundred years. Why did not our pre-human ancestors experience such exponential growth. Presumably they possessed intelligence and surely considering the time span involved in speciation lived as long or longer than humanity has yet they never made it past simple tools.

What if logical thought is a capability that their brains had not yet evolved. Say they could make casual connections like if a pointy stick goes in to a pile of dirt and a tigers teeth goes in to an antelope perhaps a pointy stick can go in to an antelope. Some of these casual connections, like the stick could be true others could be false. For example a tribesman steals from the chief and that tribesman gets sick, perhaps stealing from the chief makes people sick or maybe the chief has the power to make people sick. Lacking the ability to make causal connections they could only learn through trial and error and could never develop a system of knowledge. It is from these pre-human ancestors that the original myths come from.

Humans having the capacity to make causal connections have ever since been unraveling the mysteries that these myths propose to explain. The myths remain because they still resonate with the part of our brain that enjoys casual connections but they are subordinate to the part that cares about causality. So myth is only accepted as an explanation for the things that science and logic have not yet explained. Thus the ever diminishing God of the Gaps.

In the interest of fairness I am giving some Christian apologists the chance to share their viewpoint.

First Edward Current presents "The Atheist Delusion"

Now the Pastor of Landover Baptist Church in Freehold Iowa ministering to a crowd of Atheists.

Reverend Fred Phelps uses the occasion of George Carlins death to warn of the eternal cost of atheism.

Eminent Creation Scientist Kent Hovind lectures regarding the Evil Atheist Conspiracy.

And Finally a few words from Americas best Christian the lovely Betty Bowers, regarding the importance of prayer.

Monday, May 4, 2009

A few thoughts on Life the Universe and Everything. Part I. LIFE

I have been giving thought on what it means to be alive. I don't mean in terms of what we should be doing or anything metaphysical like that but what is life? If I strip myself down to the very basics beyond which there is no me I am left with two distinct entities. Awareness and Identity. They are insepperable but distinct. A true duality.

Awareness tells me what I am. This is important because it does not automatically tell me what anything else is. It is distinct from perception. Perception after all is unaware of the outside world, reality is all supposition. My eyes do not see anything they change chemically in response to light, I am aware of these changes not whatever the light is bouncing off of. This may seem like semantics but it becomes relevant later. For know it is enough to say that awareness is personal it concerns what I am, even though perception relates to other identities.

Identity is a sense of self, it is the essence of what I am supposed to be. This includes personality, memory and conditioning but it is more than that it is a certainty against which awareness is measured.

Awareness changes constantly it is the what, Identity is the why. Thought is the gap between them. Thought does not exist as a thing it is a byproduct of the interaction between awareness and Identity. I believe this is not a human quality, but a function of life. Humans having the greatest awareness and identity (in theory) possess the greatest capacity for thought (again in theory) but our mind is no different in it's essence than the nucleus of a cell.

A cell has awareness. It reacts to its environment therefore it is aware of its environment. A cell also has Identity it knows what it is supposed to be. If a cell is aware that it has increased n temperature and its identity tells it that it is supposed to be cooler, it will make a decision and take action. Chemical processes will begin that cause it to shed excess heat. The same is true if it is aware that a chemical is inside its membrane and its identity tells it that chemical should not be there actions will be taken to expel the chemical. This is thought. This is will. I think it is the totality of thought, everything else is just a matter of scale and complexity.

I think this is also the nature of adaptation and the engine that drives evolution. Let us pretend, and remember I am using philosophy not biology, that mutation is not random or even coincidental but that it is self directed. Take as an example the first multi cellular organism. Take a cell that knows what it is, it can sense changes in its composition, it also knows what it is supposed to be, it's genetic blueprint. Let us make one assumption. Let us say that when this cell divides its awareness will become the new cells identity.

This cell has another cell pressed against it. This causes a huge amount of information to enter the cells awareness. The presence of this other cell causes changes of temperature, pressure and chemical composition to take place. The other cells waste intrudes upon the membrane of the first cell, enzymes pass through, many other things happen. Of course this happens to the other cell as well. Both cells respond to these changes by trying to return to their identity state. They produce enzymes to reduce the increased temperature, they try to excrete the excess waste and neutralize the foreign enzymes, it tries to expand to its original shape. It adapts to the presence of the other cell. Then poof division time, some cells would divide at different times than their intruding neighbor. These cells would find their identity tuned to a presence which is no longer there. Their awareness would tell them that they are lacking a source of heat and pressure and enzymes and a million other things. It would then begin to adapt ways to reproduce the conditions its identity says it should have. Perhaps by latching on to another cell in a parasitic fashion. However some of these pairs could divide at the same time. Their new identity would be perfectly suited to being pressed together. In fact their identity would be exactly that. Now instead of adapting to push the other cell away and restore itself to a single celled state it would adapt to maintain the two celled state. Anything that it became aware of that altered its identity would become a problem to be solved since both cells were doing this it would be synergistic.

The two cells are not identical remember they are merely linked. They may have adapted towards one another in very different ways. Cell one may have found that it needed to excrete excess waste to allow for the wastes it was absorbing from cell two. Cell two could have adapted to pass waste directly to cell one rather than passing it through other portions of its membrane. Over the life span of these cells they will have adapted to respond to conditions. Consuming nutrients, excreted waste, controlling temperature, all based on the identity they inherited when they were first replicated. Poof division time again, now all of the adaptations they have made become the identity of a new pair which is now further specialized for having a cell pressed up against it. The pair could also now be linked to fission at the same time. This refinement could continue indefinitely.

This sort of adaption through awareness could extend to all sorts of changes. A rapid change in environmental temperature. The cells awareness indicates it has become hotter, its identity tells it it is supposed to be cooler. It begins excreting heat to try and cool itself. Poof division time, the old cells awareness becomes the new cells identity. Now this temperature is not too hot it is just right or at least the cell thinks so however the cell doesn't function well at this temperature say it is unable to excrete waste as well. Unlike its predecessor it no longer is aware that it should cool down it thinks the temperature is perfect, so it begins producing excess enzymes to help it increase its ability to process waste. Poof division time the new cell is now well adapted to the new temperature and functions normally.

Of course this is simplistic. A cell is aware of vast information and requires a certain balance to function. Adapting could take hundreds or thousands of replications to normalize. Many cell lines would die without replicating. However this one assumption awareness and identity as the basis for consciousness turns adaptation from a process of random mutation to a clear and precisely guided mechanism. Perhaps that is what is encoded in the double helix, awareness and identity. Natural selection would still determine which organisms survived or not but evolution would be ongoing at the cellular level, we wouldn't see it happening because what is happening is what we have always seen happening. Every action a cell takes in response to its environment is evolution at work. Evolution is not the thing that creates or organizes life. It is life.

To be continued sometime.

Why the Skeleton?

I was recently asked why I use the skeleton as an avatar. It began a long time ago with a different picture of a meditating skeleton which I can no longer locate. Originally it was simply a matter of liking the picture but it has evolved a meaning over time.

To me it is a reminder of why religion is useless. It seems all religions answer two basic needs. The fear of death and ignorance of nature. My meditating skeleton flips the bird at both. For one it shows a cavalier disregard for death, a willingness to see death as just another part of life devoid of any deeper meaning. Secondly the meditation shows a willingness to seek answers, a desire to wonder and contemplate beyond simply saying "God Did It". Obviously meditation is associated with religion, but it doesn't need to be. I try to reclaim contemplation from it's religious connotations just as I wish to reclaim death from its fearful ones.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Contemplating Contemplation

I recently had an epiphany of sorts. I was in discussion with someone who made the interesting if unusual claim that if peoples life experiences influenced their religious leanings then those who contemplated life deeply would logically become Christians whereas those who only focused on daily life would not. I handily refuted such argument by pointing out that deep thinkers such as scientists, philosophers, and artists often reject superstition while simpleminded folk embrace it. Yes this was a bit insulting on my part but I am sometimes prone to that. His argument however did get me thinking about the role of contemplation in life, particularly my life.

I am greatly prone to contemplation, regardless of whether I am discussing physics, biology or a walk in the park I am always seeking the meaning behind it. My initial post to this blog, a half drunken ramble about a meal I prepared has proven defining for me. Contemplating that has as much value as anything else.

A virtual acquaintance of mine who may well be reading this has begun espousing a philosophy of love being the basis of all morality and anything other than love is contrary to morality. I don't precisely agree with this but it is as good as anything else. All that is required for truth to be found is contemplation itself. It doesn't matter if you begin with love, hate, science, fantasy, a walk in the park, the night sky, or a good dinner, as long as you contemplate. Truth isn't in the details it is in finding the meaning behind the details.

Stephen Hawkings is no doubt a brilliant astronomer but I believe he is also a brilliant philosopher. While he supplements his philosophy with evidence and mathematics his true brilliance is his ability to envision the meaning of things. This is equally true of Albert Einstein or Richard Dawkins or any other scientific mind.

Contemplation is not however the exclusive realm of the brilliant. A genius may find conclusions more swiftly and with less struggle than the simple minded but he will reach the same place. Anyone can contemplate reality. No expertise or instrumentation is needed beyond the human mind and the human senses. Look in to the night sky, observe the stars. Now think of the very human assumption that this expanse must have an end. Then compare this with the equally human assumption that it can not end. Now try to reconcile the two. All of the truths of physics will come spinning through your mind. You may lack the terminology or the calculation but you will be contemplating the same truths as Dr. Hawkings.

I have discovered a simple fact about myself. I don't want knowledge so much as meaning. I want to understand how I see things as much if not more than what things are. I have also discovered that the two are not incompatible. Seeking after meaning leads to seeking after knowledge and finding knowledge leads to finding meaning. Human beings are all both scientist and philosopher. We are creatures of contemplation. A Buddhist monk on a mountain, a hermit in a cave, a scientist in a lab, or a man talking about a walk in the park are all doing the same thing. Looking beyond what is and finding what it means.