Saturday, 13 October 2007

Jesus died for Your Sins

Sacrifice based on apparent sins of others, is perhaps the most disgusting of all the monotheistic concepts. The idea that an individual would sacrifice his life for someone Else's sin. Indeed, I have already commented in another post why sin is a meaningless man invented concept.

But if we take sin to just mean doing something bad or harmful.... But of course it doesn't just mean that; it means bad or harmful according to God. Indeed, sin in this context has no connection to justice for the victim, but is based around pleasing a none existent entity in the sky.

There is nothing noble or good to the human psyche, in sacrificing one's otherwise healthy ego, in an attempt to take on the sins of others. The whole idea of such a disgusting concept is that it is noble to sacrifice oneself and at the same time, excuse the crimes of others and say 'I will unburden you by taking responsibility for your actions'.

Where is the morality in sacrificing oneself for the apparent sins of others. Any healthy minded individual can immediately see that this is not a healthy believe system. What one is really doing in saying one should sacrifice oneself for the sake of others, in an attempt to ease their misery and take that burden on yourself.... What they are really saying is... "I am a disgusting worm and my pride is my sin and I must sacrifice my ego to the masses".

There is nothing moral in the concept of sacrifice or sin... They are very powerful weapons in the hands of the church when coupled together and have been effectively used to manipulate the minds of those befuddled with religious mysticism. Indeed, when sin and sacrifice are brought together and guilt is also added to the 'pot' then the church masters had it almost to easy in manipulate the minds of the masses to their own ends... Sometimes, very wicked ends indeed.

All sacrifice really means is giving up on pride and one's otherwise healthy ego... That is the fundamental teaching of Jesus. That one should sacrifice oneself to God... Give up on this life and spend your days in prayer-fullness so that you can leave this 'miserable' existence to enter paradise. Once one is constantly bombarded with the lie that sacrifice is noble... Is it any wonder so many Christians feel worthless.

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Thursday, 2 August 2007

Christian style 'Taliban'

The major monotheism's seem to be peaking at this moment in history. But I just think it is a glitch in the trend. It is rather like a 'saw tooth' line on a graph. There are dips and peaks, but the overall trend is upward towards more secular societies. Much of Europe is largely secular and religion is a 'dying breed'.

In recent polls, Sweden was shown to be around 80% secular, even the UK was around the 40% mark ...These are not small numbers. Even in the UK, the majority of Christians are moderate to the point of not even attending Church. It has also been noted, that many of these so called UK Christians, are only Christian by name and simply haven't give it much thought and if they did, they would perhaps realise that they are not religious at all... at least not in the Biblical sense. So the figures for the UK may well be even higher than 40%.

If you visit America... It is not at all odd to be asked "are you a Christian" but in most of Europe such a question is rarely asked. Indeed, if someone does ask such a question; at a dinner party for example, it is liable to lead to chuckles of embarrassment. Religion in most of Europe; has partially secularized and is largely kept going through tradition and ceremony.

As a society advances it seems to naturally give up on mystical ideas, but some are harder to shake than others. We don't practice alchemy and phrenology anymore for example, although I'm sure their may be small minorities that do. But there are still plenty of subscribers for astrology and of course Christianity is still well subscribed, despite the overall trend away from religion, in much of Europe.

America seems to be a strange exception to the rule that religion is on the way out... Of course, I am talking specifically about the Christian religion, Islam is a different matter and seems to be expanding rather than shrinking. Although even here, there is evidence through authors such as Ibn Warraq, that Islam has many 'apostates' and the numbers are growing rapidly.

The point has been made by Professor Richard Dawkins, that the religious obsession within America, is perhaps because it is the only country, where religion has become 'big business and free enterprise' ...Indeed, just becoming a preacher in America can lead to generous perks; such as the huge tax breaks, that are offered to religious organizations, that apply for charity status. Many Secular societies have decided that these religious organizations have had it there own way far to long and such organizations are themselves, now applying for charity status.

Religious organizations, such of those of the late Jerry Falwell, the drug possessing Ted Haggard, the convicted 'jailbird' Kent Hovind and the megalomaniacal 'hate everyone', Fred Phelps ...These religious individuals and their organizations, often have huge power and political influence in America. Indeed, it has been noted that George W. Bush apparently has a direct phone line to Ted Haggard, or rather he did.

So, it seems on the one hand in most of Europe that religion has lost its grip and as noted by British born Physicist Paul Davies, when discussing religion, with reference to England and Australia (where Davies now resides)... He said "unlike America, these countries are essentially post religious societies... The 'corpse' may still be twitching, but nevertheless for most people, religion just plays a role that is largely ceremonial" ...So on the one hand, religion is losing its grip in Europe, but in America and much of the Middle East, religion seems to be burgeoning and it is a religion of the ugliest most fascist form... These religious fanatics will not be happy, till the 'infidels' convert or die. Now of course this applies specifically to Islam... Nevertheless, there is a form of Christian fascism growing in America that as Professor Richard Dawkins has noted, could very well be leading to a "Christian style Taliban".

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Wednesday, 1 August 2007

Here Come the 'Faith-Heads'

What is faith anyway? - To hold a position based on faith... Is really saying that one holds a position devoid of evidence. But of course that is the nature of religion. Religion without faith, would be a very odd kind of religion. Indeed, to the religious mystic, it is somehow more noble to hold a position purely on faith, than it is to present evidence for one's position.

The trouble with faith is, that by its very 'nature' it flies in the face of reason. If a person holds a position based on faith, then this can lead to unreasonable behavior and it does so, because reason is not applicable. But worse still and even more destructive than faith on its own, is the combination of faith and religion.

The fact is that the more 'honestly' religious one attempts to be; then the more one is reliant on a faith position and at the expense of reasoned behavior and this inevitably leads to dishonesty. The fact is that we now live in a World being torn asunder by individuals, that truly believe that a position held purely on faith, is somehow more reasonable than reason itself.

We now live in a World that is under attack by religious extremists, who think their position held purely on faith and without any evidence, gives them the 'God given' right to bully 'infidels' who rely on more reasoned behavior. Those infidels of course, also include the less faithful religious moderates, who while still holding irrational beliefs are at least more tolerant.

The difference between a "faith-head" who bullies and initiates force, such as in the form of suicide bombing, as apposed to the more mild fundamentalist "faith-head" who feels the need to bully in the form of religious indoctrination, by undermining science education and attempting to "pull down the Wall" of separation between Church and State... The difference is only of degree and not of kind. Each is hostile to reasoned argument and think they have the right to bully and coerce from a position of faith. Indeed, they want to drag us back, to living in a Dark Age World, where reasoned argument and scientific inquiry; are trumped by religious fundamentalism.

Many individuals hold positions that are believed purely on faith, such as those that believe in astrology or homeopathy both of which have no evidence in their favor. But the faith of astrological and homeopathic believes does not seem to lead to extreme fundamentalism. But the combination of religion and faith is a devastating combination. While we live in a World, where individuals believe that the faith of religion somehow trumps reasonable argument, then while those beliefs are held, then we will live in a World which is separated in conflict, between the reasonable and the irrational.

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Tuesday, 31 July 2007

Socialism Leads to Sacrifice of the Individual

Socialism fails because it is based around a collective ideology and it leads to the sacrifice of the individual to the State. The socialist mentality is based round the premise that there is no such thing as an individual, but rather, each human being is meshed into a unit and that unit should function as a whole. The individual is essentially left out of the equation and sacrificed in favor of the group.

To the degree that a society is run as a Socialist State, is the degree by which it collapses into ruin. To the degree that Capitalism is aloud to function in such a society, is the degree by which it is kept alive. Indeed, it is the 'blood' pumped into the 'veins' of a socialist state, through capitalism, that keeps that State alive. But socialism leads to 'gaping wounds' and sooner or later such a society 'bleeds to death'.

State systems such as fascism, socialism and Communism are all based round a collective ideology. Such ideologies always have and always will lead to sacrifice of individuals to the 'group', the 'State, 'the God', 'the emperor', 'the cause' - et al.

One of the biggest lies ever perpetuated on the collapse of a socialist State... Is to blame the capitalists. But in reality it is the capitalists that allow economies to grow. When the Jews in Germany in the Second World War were sacrificed to the National Socialist Party (Nazi party)... This was a perfect example of the sacrifice of the individual to the cause. It was also a classic example of an attack on the lifeblood of the German economy... Capitalism.

When anyone tells you that success in an economy is directly related to the ideology of socialism, don't believe it. There is really no such thing as a purely socialist society other than societies that are totally self sacrificing, indeed, a purely socialist society would de facto, destroy itself. No socialist, except the most extreme, would really want to sacrifice all the venture capitalists and entrepreneurs... They know full well that these individuals are the life blood of the economy. These socialists just want to curtail enough freedom, so that they can have there unearned cut, taken from the effort of the capitalists.

Capitalism is the healthiest form of economy, because it raises the standard of living, not just for the rich venture capitalists and entrepreneurs, but for everyone. In a capitalist society that allows free market competition, prices free-fall, as competitors try to out-do each other; for their slice of the 'economic pie'. Even a pauper in a capitalist society has a richer pickings from the garbage can, than he would in a socialist economy.

A purely capitalist society has never existed. It is a tug between socialism and capitalism... The closer toward the capitalist ideal a society reaches, the freer and richer everyone becomes. Capitalism grows economies, socialism is the nemeses of capitalism and is the destroyer of wealth, freedom and the individual.

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Monday, 30 July 2007

Astrology and Relationships

Astrology not only doesn't have the ability to solve problems in relationships, it cannot. To build a relationship and then attempt to sustain it, built around Dark Age practices, says little for common sense. But then, if mankind as a whole lived by common sense, we wouldn't still believe in monotheistic religions either.

The idea that the faint celestial forces from outer-space, can impact and influence the human mind, is to say little for an individuals ability, to have self control, over one's own life. But then to judge another individual based on this mystical belief, is to rank the human mind below that of idiocy.

On what basis do individuals believe in astrology in the first place. Well it is certainly not held up as true by the power of logic. Rather, it is believed as 'true', as all nonsense beliefs are believed, by the power of faith and only in that simple conviction alone. It is not believed because of the evidence, but in spite of it. Indeed, if there were any scientific evidence for astrology, then I would not be surprised to see individuals paying less interest in it. The fact that it is believed based on mystical premises, is what draws people to it in the first place.

We live in a society that seems to thrive on the mystical, but as soon as anything is presented through reasonable argument, such as, the reasonable proposition that astrology is unlikely to be true, because there is no evidence for it and never has been... When you present such logic to the those of a mystical disposition; then their belief trumps reason, every time.

The newspapers are filled with astrologers dishing out the 'truth' ...just as the gullible masses of mugs want to here it. But dare to criticize their position or argue for reason and the conversation stops dead. The astrologers who dish out this clap-trap, have never had it so good. How many astrologers really believe this stuff themselves? - I have no idea, but I would not be surprised that many of them know that it is garbage. It is easy to fool the masses and they will pay you for it too. Why work a real job, when you can just spend your days, making stuff up.

Problems in relationships are solved by confronting those problems openly and honestly, they are not solved by believing that the only real problem, is that your star signs are not in alignment.

Individuals in our modern age have passed over alchemy for chemistry, for the simple reason that chemistry identifies known elements within physical laws, alchemy on the other hand is just 'witchcraft' bunkum. The same can be said for the art of Phrenology... or determining characteristics through bumps on the head. These old traditions have floundered because there is no evidence for them. Why then is astrology so popular, when it is equally as nonsensical as Phrenology and alchemy?

...It seems that the key is, the fascination with the stars, mystics like to make a tenuous link between astrology and astronomy and make claim that they are both sciences of equal worth. But the connection really is a tenuous one, the only real connection is that they both involve stars. But the approach of the astrologer, is one purely based on mythical speculation, that harks back to the Dark Ages and has no element, that one could determine as reasonable. Astronomy on the other hand, is a disciplined science that does not come to its conclusions, based on mystical premises, but based on directly observable evidence of real phenomena.

It is not surprising that astronomers are so hostile to astrology. The astrologer will often gives astronomy a bad name, by ridiculing astronomers for being so 'closed minded'. But the facts are the opposite. Scientific inquiry demands one has an open mind to investigate all possibilities, but such possibilities have to be qualified with reasonable assumptions. Thus, it has been said, that scientists have to be 'open minded, but not so open minded that their brains fall out'. The mystic on the other hand... Makes claims for open mindedness.., but in reality it is a false claim. They stand up for open mindedness until you criticize their position, for lacking evidence. Then they clam up and ignore reasoned argument... How more closed minded could one be.

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Plato's Shadowy Cave

Plato believed that we all live in a shadowy cave and can only see the shadowy reflections of reality, but not reality itself. He believed in aspects of physical objects in a literal sense; of them actually possessing an entity of form, which one could move toward understanding through intellectual discourse. The closer one came to identifying the form, the close one gets to reality. But in Essence we are all trapped in a dark cave and only the intellectual elite were capable of at the very least, shining a dim light of understanding into the 'cave' of 'unknowable' reality.

What Plato meant in more specific terms, is that every object such as trees, dogs, books etc, has a perfect form within the universe and what we grasp is only a shadow of that perfect form. In reality, what this really means, is that the universe is fundamentally unknowable, because the fundamental form of every physicality of nature, is forever beyond our reach.

It was Plato's ideas of form, that later coupled with religious edicts from individuals such as St Augustine, lent credence to the concept of heaven. Plato believed that there must be a "perfect Platonic heaven" where we go to at death and experience the 'forms' and step out of the dark cave. Well, this concept of platonic heaven, fits perfectly within the Christian concept of heaven. St Augustine was a big fan of the works of Plato and exploited this Platonic concept to the full, to strengthen the framework of the Christian ethic, built around heaven and hell.

Plato could best be called a subjectivist in the sense that nothing in reality is objectively knowable, because the 'forms' of reality are always out of reach. This was in direct contrast to Aristotle who was the student of Plato. Aristotle has been called the first true scientist by many. Aristotle was the pole opposite of Plato, in that he did not buy into the theory of forms and he believed that the universe was knowable through the process of logic and observation.

Plato essentially believed that, to understand reality (though never perfectly)... One simply had to intellectualize and could do so independent of observations in the real World. The simple process of intellectual discourse and study was the process necessary to get closer to understanding the "forms". The history of the idea of the 'unwashed masses' as apposed to the 'intellectual elite' stems directly from these original ideas of Plato. This idea is still prevalent among many academics, who often as just one example deride open source information, such as that in the Wikipedia Encyclopedia, because the authors are the general public... 'the unwashed masses' ...This begs the question of course, are the general public any less able to intellectualize than the elites in high places. From the studies of Wikipedia that have been carried out, it appears that the articles are no worse than that of mainstream encyclopedias and many of the articles may start of in unfinished form, but because of the editing progress a natural and one might say almost organic, editing process occurs, that leads to increased corrections which build on one another, which leads to articles that are no less accurate than those found in 'standard' encyclopedias.

The influence of Plato is far reaching and can be seen in the many existentialist ideas that permeate modern society. Indeed, politicians are often big fans of Plato. perhaps because of his "absolute truths" ...Politicians are very fond of absolute truths and often throw about statements like "unquestionable" "absolutely no doubt" "we are the one true party".

Another big influence that can be traced back to Plato as the subjectively unknowable are the teaching methods of John Dewey... Dewey like Plato believed that learning could be achieved independent of observation and merely as an intellectual exercise independent of that observation. This led to a spate of teaching methods based on the idea of simply "throwing an idea at a child" and then letting them "run with it" and "see where it leads" ...In reality, this has led to an appalling dumbing down of the education system, which should be based on the concept of the teacher, teaching the child real knowledge and not leaving the child to 'teach' itself.

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The Atkins Diet Good or Bad?

The Atkins Diet is targeted around a balance of carbohydrates and proteins. The Atkins diet, was developed, based on the premise, that the majority of overweight individuals are so, because they are living on high carbohydrate fast food diets. they eat too much sugar... Basically they are filling their bodies with fast food and are becoming carbohydrate junkies.

The correct balance of proteins and healthy carbs, such as the protein found in chicken, Salmon, mushrooms and avocados and the carbs one finds in dark leafy green vegetables, leads to a decrease in unhealthy sugar cravings. Sugar is essentially dead food and turns to starch in the body, this 'starchy fat' leads to weight gain. The same that can be said for refined sugar, can be said for refined flour, both foods plump the body up; into unwholesome shapes.

The reason that refined sugars and flours are so deleterious to the human body, is because we have not evolved a digestive system that can handle them. We only started farming late on in our evolution. There is therefore a mismatch between our digestive system and what we now eat. We evolved on the plains as long distance running animals and would eat meat and the occasional berries of trees and just a few wild plants. Refined foods such as flour and sugar are a 'man-made invention' that do not exist in nature, we quite simply, have not adapted biologically to handle these food stuffs.

Problems have been associated with the Atkins Diet and claim has been made, that the Atkins Diet is not safe, if not combined with a strict exercise routine. The Atkins Diet has been linked with heart problems. But then again, one could say that a high carbohydrate, junk food 'diet' is not particularly safe either.

Another diet, very similar in many ways to the Atkins Diet is The Zone Diet, developed by Dr. Barry Sears. This is considered to be a safer diet than that of Atkins and indeed, Sears, takes a much more scientific approach.

Basically, how both the Atkins Diet and Sears Diets appear to work, is simply because the body cannot digest a lot of protein, without very quickly feeling 'full-up'. The opposite of course can be said of carbohydrates, indeed, I'm sure everyone reading this has at one time or another, ate a whole packet of cookies in one sitting and still felt hungry afterwords. If you combine a high ratio of protein in your diet, you stomach 'fills-up' very quickly and this counters and stops the sugar cravings. This limit on junk foods, leads to weight loss.

Carbohydrates are not unhealthy per se... Indeed, the human body needs a percentage of carbohydrate. But there are good and bad carbs. The healthy carbs are those found in dark leafy vegetables. We have evolved to break down the enzymes within the 'primitive' carbohydrates, but the carbs in refined sugars and flours 'knot' together and do not easily breakdown in the body, instead an accumulation of starchy fat build up and leads to weight gain.

The main criticism that one can make of the Atkins Diet is that it is not combined with a fitness regime and many scientists do now believe that the Atkins Diet is unsafe, if not combined with a good Aerobic program that gets the heart rate working, such as running or brisk walking. The other minor 'by-product' of the Atkins Diet, is that it makes one smell and not a pleasant smell either.

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Sunday, 29 July 2007

The Purpose of Life?

There is no purpose to life, other than the purpose we give it. What this really means is that 'nature is blind' and indifferent and knows nothing of joy, happiness, love or suffering.

The purpose of life is simply the purposes that we apply to the life we have. We create purposes through what we do. Not only does the universe care nothing about purpose, it has no purpose other than being. It is true that universes evolve and eventually die, as they reach infinite entropy and by the same token, it is true that we evolve through biological purposes. But it is not true to say, that such evolution proves purpose, as if somehow nature is aware of an evolving purpose, in which it is the 'director'.

The point is that reality exists independent of the mind and that reality could quite perfectly still exist without humankind in it. The universe would carry on evolving as star stuff scatters from its original big bang. But this movement of star stuff is all done blind. The only mind that can know and be aware is a conscious mind, such as that of you and I. But beyond us or maybe, other conscious beings in the universe, who can contemplate such things... Beyond this, there is no awareness and there is no purpose.

The only reason that we can contemplate the purpose of life, is because we have evolved conscious minds that can proceed forward consciously and deduce purposes. We can deduce purposes only with regard to our conscious self, that is through our own awareness of our own mind. But the universe itself, beyond the conscious awareness of biological minds, is mindless. It does not evolve because it directs, rather it evolves simply because. In other words the evolution of universes is not a process of conscious awareness, it is a process of simply being, thus unlike conscious minds that proceed forward consciously and deduce purposes, existence in toto and independent of mind, simply proceeds and it does so with no purposeful deduction and no conscious awareness. To put it simply, the universe is Godless and cold... It is only the existence of conscious beings that give it warmth.

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Saturday, 28 July 2007

New Age Science Equals Baloney

Go into any book store and the shelves are filled with New Age Science books. But of course, in reality, there is no science to be had. The New Age movement actually contradicts every aspect of the scientific method. Science relies on inductive and deductive reasoning and conclusions are arrived at through principled procedures of investigation and identification, of objectively knowable phenomena, that obey physical laws within reality.

To couple New Age with science of course, leads to an oxymoron. The very definition New Age, implies that there is a new method of reasoning to arrive at, through determinable facts about the universe and these new age proponents, are doing something revolutionary and beyond what the average working day scientist is doing. But 'New Age science', should really be called new age mysticism and indeed, it is when people are being a little more honest.

So, why do people believe in this clap-trap. Well, the fact is that most individuals are mentally lazy and they will look for and even believe in any method of knowledge, that even sounds remotely scientific, even though of course, it is not based on scientific research in any way whatsoever. The other reason is; that most people don't really care about science and would rather live their lives in the realm of delusion, anything other than face reality as it really is.

An example of new age mysticism that 'borrows' from science is the writings, audios and lectures of Deepak Chopra. He makes his New Age science pitch sound scientific, by rapping it up in Quantum Physics. Of course he is not doing any scientific research within the field of quantum physics and not only that, he totally misappropriates the correct scientific definitions of what Quantum physics predicts in reality, wrapping it up in pseudo scientific predictions, about the individuals 'spiritual self', and how the physical self relates to the 'Quantum World' but really it has nothing to do with quantum physics and is just a religious position. He does this to pass on his New Age religion and sell it to the masses of none thinking dupes, in a form of pseudo scientific sounding mumbo-jumbo... Something all New Age gurus do, in one way or another.

Chopra is just one of many of course and the list of New Age 'sciences' is almost endless, it can really be defined as anything within the paranormal or supernatural realm, that 'apparently' cannot be explained through 'normal' science and thus New Age science fills that gap. The term New Age was popularized in the media in the 1980's... Such supernatural and paranormal phenomena include, but are not limited to: Crop Circles, holistic health and medicines, Crystal Healing, Channeling, psychic phenomena, cold reading, transcendentalism, Feng Shui, Magic Alchemy, Mesmerism... etc.

Now, what all these beliefs have in common, is that they rely on paranormal and supernatural claims. Well supernatural means above nature and paranormal means beyond the ranges of natural definition. So, in reality when one combines the term New Age with science, what one is really saying is that paranormal and supernatural claims can be subsumed under scientific definitions, but of course this is a complete contradiction, if something is above or beyond the realms of natural definitions, then it is by definition, beyond the realms of science.

The reason that the New Age gurus like to combine New Age within a scientific definition, is to raise it to a new level of credibility, simply through definitions. If you combine Science with New Age in a new definition of New Age Science , it leads to a gullibility in being swallowed as something it's not. By simply adding science to the definition New Age, then the mystic gurus are more able to 'peddle their wares' with an air of 'credibility' beyond that of simply calling it New Age. But at the end of the day, it is just mysticism and there is no science to be had.

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Friday, 27 July 2007

The Idiocy of Intelligent Design

The 'new' Creationists, have changed the label but it is the same 'act'. Creationism has been clothed in the label of Intelligent Design. In reality there is no difference between Intelligent Design and Creationism. The Intelligent Design movement was started by the Discovery Institute, which was founded by ex-lawyer Phillip E. Johnson.

Phillip E.Johnson, in defending Intelligent Design, does not produce any evidence, that could hold it up as a serious alternative to evolution by Natural Selection. Rather, he uses clever and manipulative lawyer speak, that confuses and befuddles the minds of individuals, who have little scientific knowledge. This lawyer speak is very convincing to the general public. But even here most of Johnson's lawyer speak is not put forward as an attempt to prove Intelligent Design.. rather, most of his comments are in the negative, in denouncing science... In that the overwhelming body of scientific evidence in favor of Evolution by Natural Selection, is simply claimed to be falsely built up, in some kind of mass "Darwinian conspiracy" and it is Johnson and his institutes job to overthrow it.

In reality, the Discovery Institute have one goal... remove Evolution by Natural Selection from the science class and teach Intelligent Design as a scientific alternative. What this really means is: Replace a solid scientific theory with a pseudo scientific theory, that is fully grounded in religion and has no aspect in it's 'nature' that one could describe as scientific. Indeed, this is not just an attack on Evolution by Natural Selection, it is a direct attack on the scientific method.

Despite the claims of scientific integrity of the Discovery Institute, there is no science and Intelligent Design is not a scientific theory. Indeed, it would be a stretch to even call it a hypothesis. Intelligent Design is just creationism with another name and in reality there is nothing intelligent about it. Intelligent Design is merely substituted for Creationism, because Creationism carries connotations, which are not conducive to getting it taken seriously. Indeed, because of the embarrassing media coverage and court cases over creationism, it has become rather embarrassing to mention or push Creationism with any serious fervor.

So, Intelligent Design has 'taken the place' of Creationism and is being pushed as an alternative to Evolution by Natural Selection. The Intelligent Design advocates, love the phrase "debating the controversy" and this is how they push Intelligent Design onto the public. They make the claim; that there is a controversy within Evolutionary Theory and that it needs to be debated. They then put Intelligent Design up as an alternative. But they do so, without presenting any scientific evidence, of why it should even be considered as an alternative.

But what is Intelligent Design? - All intelligent Design really claims, is that biological organisms are too complex to have come about by 'chance' and must of been designed. They give examples of inanimate objects to draw their analogies, so they will say something like... 'look how complex a computer is, such complexity demands a designer' and 'look, here we can see that computers are design by human beings'. They then apply the same 'logic' to biological organisms, by saying they are complex, thus, they must have a designer.

Of course in one respect biological organisms do have a designer. Evolution by Natural Selection, does design, in the sense that it evolves complexity through time. But it is a bottom up designer and not a tinkering 'watch maker'. As Professor Richard Dawkins has put it in the title of one of his books, Evolution by Natural Selection is a 'Blind Watchmaker'.

The fact is that there is no scientific proof for Intelligent Design, it is really just a substitute name for God, it just sounds more credible, when creationists try to make claim for it, being a scientific alternative to Evolution by Natural Selection... Intelligent Design just sounds more scientific than Creationism, which of course doesn't sound scientific at all, it immediately draws connotations with God. But in reality, Intelligent Design is identical to Creationism.

In there attempts to discredit Evolution by Natural Selection, the fact is that Intelligent Design advocates, are not doing any scientific work, that could overthrow it. They are not presenting any evidence. Rather, they are saying, we believe that Intelligent Design is a better alternative; but that is the best they can do.

As for their claims that evolution is just a theory of chance, this is absurd of course. It is a claim made by Intelligent Design advocates and not one being made by the scientific community. Of course Evolution by Natural Selection does involve an element of chance, in the random mutation of genetic information. But the Intelligent Design advocates of course fail to go on, to say, that Evolution is also a process of Natural Selection and natural selection is the exact opposite of chance - and this process guides the random process.

In reality, the Intelligent Design advocates are attempting a political ploy to overthrow science and replace it with religion. One of their tactics in doing this, is in calling Darwinism a religion. But the error here is that individuals involved in the many different scientific disciplines, that revolve around Evolution by Natural selection are not Darwinist's in the strict scientific sense... while most of them are not hostile to Darwin, the point is that science has moved on a long way since Darwin's day... We know a lot more about evolution today than Darwin did. So to call individuals who are pro science, in that they accept the science of evolution by Natural Selection... To call them Darwinists is naive and does suggest religious connotations. This is nonsense of course. Science unlike the dogma of religion, moves on and that includes the science of Evolution, which is drawn from many different scientific disciplines, such as Microbiology, Evo-Devo, Zoology, Anthropology, Palaeontology, Geology, Genetics... Indeed, all these scientific disciplines and many more still, converge in bringing more and more evidence, that supports Evolution by Natural Selection and this evidence is coming in thick and fast.

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Thursday, 26 July 2007

Christopher Hitchens the Anti-Theist

What is the difference between an anti-theist and an atheist? ...Christopher Hitchens seems to be responsible for popularizing the term - 'anti-theist'.

Hitchens, never shying away from controversial topics, is a freelance journalist and writer for publications, such as Vanity Fair and Slate and author of books such as 'The Trials of Henry Kissinger', 'Why Orwell Matters', 'Thomas Jefferson: Author of America' and most recently, the book... 'God is not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything'.

Hitchens was also, famously called to give testimony at the Vatican against mother Teresa receiving a sainthood and he recently commented , in a debate with Al Sharpton... "That the old bitch got it anyway". He has also written a book on the not so 'saintly' Mother Teresa, entitled: 'The Missionary Position: Mother Teresa in Theory and Practice'.

Christopher Hitchens calls himself an anti-theist, rather than an atheist and he defines the difference as such. He notes that he has occasionally met atheists, who actually wish they could believe in God, but simply cannot, because there is no evidence to support such a position. Hitchens on the other hand, denounces this atheistic position and qualifies his own, by saying that, not only does he not believe in God, he is glad it isn't true.

So, an anti-theist not only doesn't believe in God, the idea that such a God could exist, is a rather unpleasant proposition. Indeed, who in all seriousness would want to live in a World, where an apparent dictator in the sky, watches your every waking and sleeping moment.

Christopher Hitchens, is the only journalist who has visited all three 'axis-of-evil' ...Iran, Iraq and North Korea. Hitchens said that when he was a child, he would try to imagine what Heaven was like and what it would be like to praise your creator in your every waking moment. After visiting North career, where they do exactly that, in praising their 'beloved leader' Kim Il-sung who is now dead, but bizarrely is still praised as the "Eternal President" and his son Kim Jong-il, only holds his 'presidential' position de facto... after his visit, Hitchens said he knew exactly what heaven would be like, it would be like living in North Korea... In other words Heaven would be 'hellish'.

Hitchens went on to say, that Heaven would be even more unpleasant than North Korea... 'At least when you die, you can leave North Korea, but you could never escape the eternal prayer state of Heaven'.

Hitchens commented that North Korea was disturbingly like George Orwell's 1984, where thought police check up on you. Indeed, when visitors enter North Korea, the tour guides are followed around by a 'thought policeman' who monitors the guides words. This is obviously a terrifying experience for the tour guide, one wrong word, could mean prison or even execution. Indeed, one is not even allowed to mention George Orwell, the subject is a big, no no. Another bizarre behavior, which appears very 'Orwellian' ..when tourists do visit, the North Koreans are not aloud eye contact with the visitors, they can be seen walking along, eyes looking at the ground, almost robot like as tourists walk past. This bizarre behavior has been documented on film and can be watched on YouTube... It reminds me of a staircase scene in a Hollywood movie called Equilibrium starring Christian Bale, where all the individuals on the staircase walk in 'military strides' and look like non-thinking robots.

The children of North Korea suffer the worst mental child abuse one could imagine. From dawn till dusk, they learn nothing but words and praise for Kim Il-sung... School is really one long prayer session.

When Kim Il-sung died, there was mass hysteria among the population. There seemed to be genuine grief, with men and women weeping and shaking uncontrollably. If one has been indoctrinated, on a daily never ending basis, with the belief that your president is more than a president and is the 'Great Leader' and your mind is indoctrinated with this day after day for almost every waking moment, then it becomes a 'truth' of the mind. These people genuinely believe in the 'Godly' status of Kim Il-sung and when he 'disappeared up into the clouds' ...They asked 'oh why did you leave us,Kim Il-sung'.

It is hardly surprising that many Christian fundamentalists are so offended by Hitchens. Not only is he denouncing the possibility of God, because there is no evidence for the concept, but on top of that, he is saying it is an immoral belief to hold in the first place. Because God is not only a non-provable concept, it is not a morally praiseworthy one. On top of that, Heaven would not be a wonderful place, it would be a 'living hell'.

Hitchens makes the point that we are innately good and the World would be better of without religion and quite simply, as his book title say: 'God is not Great'.

I for one Agree with Christopher Hitchens and would quite happily call myself an anti-theist. Not only do I not believe in God, I also hold that the monotheistic Gods held up by the three major religions of Christianity, Judaism and Islam are fundamentally bad concepts and should not be held up as forces for good.

Book Reference: 'God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything' - by Christopher Hitchens

Film Reference: 'Equilibrium' - starring Christian Bale, David Barrash, Sean Bean, and Francesco Cabras

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Wednesday, 25 July 2007

Religious Exploitation of a Child (Marjoe Gortner)

Who is Marjoe Gortner? - Marjoe is an American born, former evangelical and childhood preacher and was ordained when he was just 4 years old. The name Marjoe, is a coupling of the names Mary and Joseph. If you wanted to do a serious study into child abuse, through religious exploitation, then you could do little better, than to start by looking into the childhood of Marjoe Gortner.

Marjoe seemed to have a natural talent for public speaking and this was exploited to the full by his parents. His father would present him, fully suited to the media, who would be surprised by his 'adult demeanor' and verbal dexterity.

Marjoe was trained in gestures and articulation by his father; a pentecostal minister. He was essentially groomed to preach and this was exploited to the full.

Marjoe was drawn to public awareness, through an award winning documentary called 'Marjoe'. In this documentary a curly haired boy, can be seen ranting and raving, about the sins of the World and how the unrighteous are going straight to hell. He was like a mini version of Ted Haggard or Pat Robertson.

His verbal virtuosity, was also directed by a set of hidden commands from his mother, she would have key words like 'Jesus' if he was talking to slowly or 'glory be to God' if he needed to speed up. There were even verbal triggers at the point where as Marjoe put it "you've got the people where you want them, now take some money'.

It could be fairly said, that the media, was as much to blame for the exploitation as the parents, it made good television and great headline stories. Nobody seemed to stand up and say there is something rather creepy and not quite right about this. Indeed, the parents fed off the media interest and the fascination with Marjoe grew and grew. His parents even arranged for him to performed a wedding ceremony, in front of the camera, for Paramount Studios.

Marjoe would even bless little bottles of water and sell them to his 'followers'. And Marjoe as well as being a preacher became a rather good businessman. It was estimated that the Marjoe family amassed around three million US dollars.

Marjoe and his parents spent much of the time on the road, traveling from State to State and preaching in one town after another. When he was not preaching, Marjoe was having Biblical passages 'hammered' into his brain... Not only so he knew them, but so that he knew them 'backwards' and could repeat them verbatim. In learning passages from the Bible, If marjoe was not doing as well as his mother would like, she would sometimes smother him with a pillow or hold his head under a water faucet (according to Marjoe) , but always being careful not to put marks on his body... The last thing she would want, when he had to perform in front of an audience.

It is surprising how many ministers stood up at the time and said that it was an exploitation of the church and several individuals, when referring to the wedding ceremony he performed, called it an insult to the sanctity of the marriage ceremony. But it is strange that very few individuals, recognized the most disgusting aspect of the whole sordid business, the exploitation of a child.

When Marjoe was 16, his father ran of with the money and because of the disharmony with his mother they split-apart too. Marjoe spend several years after this as a drifter. He got into the film industry as an actor, but had mediocre success. He left the film industry and is now involved in sponsorship work in several different industries.

Marjoe Gortner, to his credit, had a 'guilty conscious' about his 'fire and brimstone, 'your going straight to hell' preaching, that he had inculcated into the minds of the gullible... and he did a final 'sermon tour' with film crew in tow. When he wasn't preaching, he was backstage talking to the camera crew and revealing all the exploitation trickery, to grow the 'Marjoe bank account'.

The one saving grace for Marjoe Gortner is that even when he was preaching, he said, he never really believed any of it. Unlike many adult preachers who do 'apparently believe their own hype (or do they really), Marjoe saw through the whole thing as a set-up-job, simply to exploit the masses of non-thinking dupes. Thus, when he was old enough to stand on his own two feet, he bust the whole thing wide open, in the Marjoe documentary.

Nobody could of course blame marjoe for exploiting the gullible. The blame lies directly with the parents and indirectly with the media. The parents of course, exploited their child for money and at the expense of a normal childhood. But without the obsessive media coverage, then perhaps it would not have continued as long as it did.

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Tuesday, 24 July 2007

Is Atheism a more Moral Position than Theism

Christopher Hitchens, freelance journalist and writer for magazines like Slate and Vanity Fair and author of the book, 'God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything' - made the point that: 'children do not have to be taught the Golden Rule' (treat others as you want to be treated). Now, children may need a friendly reminder, now and again, but for the most part, the Golden Rule is innate in us.

Hitchens went on to say, 'why do many of us voluntarily give blood, religious or not, not only that, we positively enjoy knowing we are helping out a fellow human being.

Most atheists tend to hold that a baby is born innocent and if treated with love and respect will naturally grow up, to love and respect others. Religion and most positively the three major monotheism's start from the opposite premise, we are born innately wicked and thus, a set of religious dogmas has to be followed, to hold that 'innate' evil in check. It is not surprising that many children who grew up in strict Catholic households, have had their minds poisoned with this vile nonsense and it had a devastating effect on their entire lives, to the point where many of them, were so inculcated with the belief in sin on a deep subconscious level, that they grew up, with the incapacity to hold on to a loving relationship. Much the same can be said, for many Muslims today.

But what is important to understand, is that morality has nothing to do with religion or atheism, morality is not a synonym for either atheism or religion. Our morality comes out of our humanity as first cause. This is why the majority of moderate theists, are good and by the same token, so are atheists. Note, I didn't say 'moderate' atheists, the reason for that, is that I see no evidence for atheist extremism and thus the term moderate atheist would be 'null and void' ...The same cannot be said for religion of course. there is plenty of ordinary and extra ordinary violence, created in the name of religion. That is why I used the qualifier, moderate religion, as apposed to extreme.

It seems to be the case, that as long as one is bought up in a loving household, or at the very least, a relatively loving one, as compared to the majority, then that in itself, is enough for one to grow up, with an innate sense of responsibility, in being a reasonable and moral human being... That is all it takes.

Now atheists can of course do criminal things. But what one cannot do of course, is find a causal link between atheism and the criminal act perpetrated. How often have you heard stories in the media of people being convicted of crimes, which they perpetrated, directly because of their atheism, I cannot personally think of even one of the top of my head. Now, there may well be the occasional exception of someone committing a crime, directly because of their atheism, but the point is that such incidence, if they do occur, must be very rare and I challenge anyone to point to any modern or past crime that was directly caused by atheism...

I'm sure many theists will now be shouting at the computer screen, and saying 'Stalin' and 'Hitler' ...This of course is a 'straw man'. No historian is seriously blaming atheism for Hitler or Stalin. Indeed, at the Nuremberg trial, after the Second World War, nobody in the court room, mentioned atheism as a cause for the Nazis behavior... The same cannot be said for religion of course. You can find stories of crimes in the media, that are only caused because of religion and without religion as a direct link, such crimes would never have happened.

It should also be noted, that there are statistically, far more religious people in prison than there are atheists, this is a statistical fact. But even here, a point is being missed. One could of course say that most of the religious people in prison, did not commit their crimes, because of the religion, but of course the same applies to the atheist inmates too. But one can say one thing for certain, the meta analysis, between the statistical numbers, suggests that the only reason that there are statistically more theist prisoners than atheist is exactly because of religion.

I said earlier, that morality really has nothing to do with religion or atheism. Well I now want to add a qualifier so this makes a little more sense. Now, although atheism does not directly make someone a more moral person than 'some' theists, there does seem to be an indirect reason why 'most' atheists are more moral than 'some' theists. The reason quite simply seems to be, that an atheist naturally, has not got the excess 'baggage' of mysticism beclouding their mind, which could possibly lead them into committing acts, which most individuals would consider to be less than human. In many such cases, such acts of violence are committed only because of a literal interpretation of scripture or they were, indirectly advised to commit such acts by priests of the Church.

So, the final point is that, humanity is naturally moral and when someone is behaving immorally, our human nature leads us to look for reasons. The simple fact is and I am absolutely convinced of this, if religion was taken out of the World, it would be a safer and more moral place to live in. It is only the excuse of religious dictates, that leads to crimes against humanity, that otherwise would not occur. Religion is often the catalyst, that allows for the most heinous crimes, including, suicide bombing, beheading, the severing of limbs and all kinds of torture. Now, most of these atrocities today, are of course done in the name of Islam and not Christianity or Judaism.... But, as long as religion remains a force in the world, then it always has the potential to lead to the worst in us and cut us of from our innate humanity.

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Sunday, 22 July 2007

Who is James Randi?

James Randi is a stage magician, illusionist and well known skeptic of the paranormal. He has spent over 30 years of his life debunking paranormal and supernatural claims, that mystics often hold-up as real phenomena within physical reality. They claim to have powers such as Crystal Healing, Mind Reading, The ability to move and bend objects, water divining, spiritual healing, Tarot Card reading, talking to the dead (Michael Shermer, of Skeptics Magazine, made the humorous comment that: "Talking to the dead is easy, getting them to talk back, is the hard part"). ...The list of paranormal and supernatural claims goes on and on.

The James Randi institute, has held up a cash prize for many years, to anyone who can prove supernatural or paranormal phenomena, and at the moment, it stands at One Million US dollars (The $1 million challenge). As James Randi has said himself, once these individuals attempt to prove their claim for special powers, under scientific testing, 'the phenomena strangely disappears'.

Randi started out as a stage magician and illusionist and did some rather remarkable magic stunts, his career really took off, after showing two policeman, that he could break out of their handcuffs... utterly amazed, they gave him a dare, to try and break out of a prison cell, he did, he became a media sensation and his career took off. His daring escapades, led to comparisons with Harry Houdini (Randi wrote Houdini's biography). One of Randi's earlier stunts was an escape from a straight jacket, while suspended over Niagara Falls.

Randi drew his biggest media attention though, in his confrontation with Uri Geller, in the 1970's. Exposing him as a fraud. Geller sued Randi for $15000,000 dollars, Geller's suit was thrown out in 1995 and he was forced to pay $120,000 for filing a 'trivial' lawsuit.

Geller made a name for himself, through the apparently paranormal ability to effect objects. For example, Through his spoon bending trickery and other magical shenanigans, such as stopping watches, moving compass needles and mind reading... that still to this day, Geller claim are real paranormal phenomena and that he really does have special powers, to effect objects.

Geller was set to appear on America's, NBC, Johnny Carson Tonight Show. Carson had been a magician himself and was highly skeptical, he phoned James Randi up, the night before the show in which Geller was to appear. Randi advised Carson that they should provide their own props for Geller to work with and not let any of Geller's staff near them. The props included drawings sealed in an envelope and little metal cups with lids on (it was Geller's job to 'mentally deduce' which did not have water inside, just by passing his hands over them). It was painfully embarrassing to watch, almost cringe-worthy. Geller looked like a lost child and his attempts at psychic powers utterly failed (of course, if you don't use your own props, you cannot rig them).

What is startling, is that this event did not effect Geller's career, if anything it made Geller more popular, people seem to have an obsession with the 'mysterious'. As Randi himself said: "Even after this event, 'it still takes time for Geller's star to fade'.

I guess the real reason that Geller's popularity faded, is that you can only interest people with spoon bending so many times, the novelty soon wears off... Of course he had other gimmicks as well, such as moving compass needles and stopping watches, but they have all been shown to be magicians tricks and if you repeat the same trick over and over, people get bored.

Randi has had a highly successful media career and had several highly successful TV shows, that were networked in different countries. These programs revolved around, individuals claiming to have supernatural/paranormal abilities. They would come on his show, and going through a test set up by Randi, to prove or disprove their abilities. Such abilities of course have never been proved and the Randi Foundation Prize is still up for grabs.

In the days when Uri Geller was at the heights of his success, he had hoodwinked many individuals into believing he really did have paranormal abilities. He even fooled many scientists into believing his claims for such ability. But Randi made an important point, that scientists are not the best people to rely on, in trusting their 'common sense' when it comes to paranormal claims. Scientists seem to be just as capable of being hoodwinked as anyone else...

As Randi said, the best person to expose a charlatan, who is merely using a magician's trickery, is another magician and of course that is exactly what Randi does, in exposing fakers. The paranormal 'events', such as bending spoons with the mind, will be presented by the mystic and then James Randi will come along and do the same 'trick' ...But the difference is, he stands up and says it's just a magic trick, not only that, he shows the audience how the trick is done.

In one big stunt on Australian TV, he set up a water divining test. The ground was dug-up, water pipes were placed in holes and they were filled back in. This was all done 'behind-the-backs' of the water diviners, so they had no idea where the pipes were. The pipes were filled with water, it was then a water diviners job to dowse for water. The results came in and were negative for the dowsers.

So why does James Randi do it. Well, he believes that these individuals who make claims for paranormal/supernatural powers, often set themselves up as authority figures and exploit the vulnerable. The healer for example may claim to have the ability to cure cancers and other diseases. What is so pitiful is that this exploitation is often usually aimed at the desperate and vulnerable. These individuals are often at their wits end and out of desperation, will try anything.

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Can God be Disproved?

Well, just think about that question for one second. 'Can God be disproved?' ...It starts with an affirmation in the positive, as if God already exists to be disproved. Read it again and you will get my meaning.

If I said , 'can flying pigs be disproved?' - one can see the point I'm making, the question starts with an assumption in the positive, that flying pigs exist to be disproved, which is a nonsensical oxymoron.

The reason that such questions are nonsensical and have no real meaning, is that they are formed, based on a proposition in the negative, it is like saying, 'can one prove an unprovable event' ...It is a negative claim, because there is no positive information that could be applied to produce evidence, either for or against.

The correct question, is not for a theist to ask an atheist: 'can God be disproved? - Which starts with the assumption that God is there to be disproved, this question can me dismissed as meaningless. The correct response towards a theist is 'it is you who are making a claim that God exists, it is therefore up to you to produce evidence for your claim' ...In other words, put up, or shut up. Now, I know that a theist might then say, 'yes, but I don't have to produce evidence, because my position relies on faith' ...Well, the correct response to that then is, 'OK then, if your position is purely based on faith and does not require evidence, stop asking me to disprove God then, you cannot have it both ways'.

It is not a strength in a theists argument to say 'you cannot prove God doesn't exist' ...although they like to claim it is. In reality it is an incredibly weak argument. Imagine an inventor who made a claim that he had invented a perpetual motion machine, but then said he had destroyed it and the plans. Now suppose that same scientist then said, 'you cannot prove I didn't invent it'... This is absolutely true of course, one could not prove it, but the fact that one cannot, does not make it true, it is just that one cannot prove a negative claim or assumption, because there is no evidence with which to work with to prove it...

One can of course, produce good scientific evidence, to show why a perpetual motion machine, could not be invented and this of course is a process of shrinking propositions, that could allow for a machine, capable of perpetuating its motion, without outside forces. This means that the more evidence one produces for machines needing fuel to be 'motivated' into action and if fuel runs down, so does the motion, it means the more evidence one produces against the proposition, the less probability of the likelihood of perpetual motion machines.

Just as the likelihood of perpetual motion machines, has shrunk to essentially zero, because our knowledge of the laws of physics has shrunk the gaps of knowledge to the point, where perpetual motion machines have been pushed into 'small corners' of unlikelihood. The same goes for God, one cannot disprove God directly, but the gaps in the universe, where it was convenient to say God did it, are shrinking as we find explanations to fill those gaps, so one could say, that God is being disproved as a needless concept, in a World that is being understood through scientific findings. In this regard the God concept is being disproved as a nonsensical proposition.

In Newtons day, most people believed in God, Including Isaac Newton. But look at the statistics for atheists within the scientific community. In particular, biologists and physicists, seem to be the most atheistic of all scientists. Once you get to the elite in the scientific community, the top 10% of scientists, then you are talking about a figure in the 90% region for atheism. The reason seems to be, the confrontation with reason within their own scientific disciple. It becomes virtually impossible to make those identifications in nature, that shrink the gaps for God and still believe in God.

Of course science does not work like that, if a scientist comes up with a hypothesis, it is his or her job to prove or disprove that hypothesis through evidence. A scientist would not simply make a claim that it is true and unless you can disprove it, then it must be so. Only the dishonesty of religion gets away with this.

Can God be disproved, no... But then again, neither can flying pigs. I have never seen a flying pig and if someone made a claim that they existed, by asking me to disprove them, what should I do? ...Nothing. The point is that there is no means by which I could disprove them. The same logic applies to the concept of God, it belongs in the same arbitrary category as flying pigs and so, if someone asks me to disprove God, what should I do, again, nothing whatsoever, other than maybe asking the person to present a shred of evidence in the favor of God, something I could work with, to disprove his or her claim. But then here we go again, they then immediately pull out the 'faith card' and say, 'I don't need evidence, because I have faith'. Fine, but in that case, don't expect me to waste my time trying to prove a negative speculation.

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Saturday, 21 July 2007

I Believe in "God"

There is of course, the belief in the monotheistic God(s)... of which Judaism, Christianity, Islam - et al, are all prime examples, of where such beliefs are held.

Such Gods, are of course, based on a supernatural speculation, of a 'force' existing outside of nature. Moreover, there are those of more literal 'mind-sets', that seem to believe in such a God; as a man-like being, sitting on a golden-thrown, somewhere up in space, looking down on Earthly beings and their behavior, ready to dish out punishments and rewards. This would be funny, apart from the fact that children's minds are inculcated with this nonsense.

A belief in a supernatural God of monotheism, such as that of Christianity, holds up the premise, that universal laws of nature, can be suspended and they are suspended to allow miracles to occur. Now a miracle does not merely mean the unusual. A miracle means something that is specifically impossible, under the normal laws of physics. For a a miracle to occur, the laws of physics would have to be suspended.

If someone wins the lottery and they are mystically minded, they may well shout 'miracle' ...But because of probability statistics, someone somewhere was likely to win, it just happened to be this individual. So, winning the lottery is not a miracle, it is just statistically unlikely, for any one particular individual and when one does win, it is falsely seen as miraculous.

The true definition of what miracle means, is often misappropriated... Thus, we get incidents in the media, of individuals been dragged out alive from under rubble after an Earthquake and people shout - "it's a miracle" ...But the fact of the matter is, that hundreds, if not thousands, may die in an Earthquake of force 8.0-8.9 Richter Scale magnitude. Is it really a miracle, that some people get pulled out alive? - rather, it is statistically probable that some would.

A similar phenomena occurs with telephone calls, when someone thinks of a person, the phone suddenly rings and it's that person. Again, this is simply a law of probability, there are millions of phone calls made everyday, statistically, it is not surprising that every now and then, someone somewhere will be thinking of a person, just before they phone.

So, the God of the old testament, is a supernatural speculation and believers, rely on the belief in miracles, as a distinct possibility. No evidence has ever been produced for such apparent miracles of course. To believe in the miraculous, one first has to suspend the belief, that the laws of physics are universally applicable at all times and one must believe that God can trump such laws; as 'he, she or it' sees fit.

Now moving on, from the supernatural God(s) of monotheism, I can move on to say: that I do hold up the possibility of another sort of 'God' within the universe. But as I will explain in a minute, the 'God' I'm talking about has no supernatural claims attached to it.

Imagine an advanced civilization in another galaxy, say 100 years more advanced than human beings, now imagine an advanced civilization that is 10,000 or even 100,000 years more advanced than us. This speculation has been put forward by the inventor and futurist Ray kurzweil. This idea was also put forward by Dr. Frank R. Wallace in a manuscript called The Neo-Tech Discovery.

Now, if the laws of physics are constant and universal, throughout the universe, such advanced conscious beings would have to obey the same laws of physics as us. But, if we ever met them, we may be tempted to call them Gods and kneel before them. By the same token, imagine an individual in the Dark Ages, being brought forward to the technology of the 21st century, such an individual would be awestruck by mobile phones, television, the Internet, space flight and what would they make of Quantum Physics. To such a person, we would seem God-like.

So perhaps there are 'Gods' of the universe. But they only seem Godly because of their steps-ahead in technological progress... Indeed, perhaps they are so advanced that they have merged their biological selves with the very technology they use.

Imagine the God of the Old Testament next to a civilization of biological beings, who are say, one million years more advanced than us, their technology would surely be mind-bogglingly astronomical and could out compete any geocentrically minded supernatural God, in terms of instilling wonder and awe.

Now, there is of course, a major difference in believing in a supernatural monotheistic God on the one hand and an advanced civilization of conscious beings, who only seem godly from our primitive perspective on the other hand. The God of the Old Testament relies on belief, bound up in faith and has no connection to anything knowable in reality, indeed, it presumes a being that can defy the known laws of that reality. The speculation of an advanced 'God-like' species out in the universe, is simply drawn from a known premise: we know that conscious beings exist, us... and therefore it is not unreasonable to speculate other conscious beings, may possibly exist in the universe and they may well be more advanced than us, even far more so. Thus, one cannot prove that such advanced conscious beings exist, at least not at our current level of technology, but one can speculate.

On the other hand, one cannot point to anything in nature that could lead one to speculate a supernatural creator, that works somewhere outside of nature. Indeed, let us just suppose for a minute, that such a being did exist... The point is, that one could never prove it, even if it were true... To know God one would have to step outside of nature to know, one would have to suspend the same laws of physics, that theists claim can be suspended through miracles.

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What is Militant Atheism?

Militant atheism draws up connotations in the minds of theists, with words like: strident, aggressive, belligerent... and atheism is even called a fundamentalist position by theists. You often here theists say, 'the atheists are being just as extreme as the extremists'.

I'm wondering, when was the last time someone saw an atheist suicide bomber or indeed, a less extreme theist, trying to surreptitiously, force Intelligent Design into the science curriculum in the classrooms of schools.

Indirect force within an American school, was used against a child, by a school board member... an advocate of Intelligent Design/Creationism: This was uncovered in the Kitzmiller vs Dover area school district trial - on the teaching of Intelligent Design as an alternative to Evolution by Natural Selection, where it was discovered that a child's artistic mural, on Evolution by Natural Selection, had been burned by a member of the school board.

When theists talk about militant atheists, what they are really doing is misappropriating the word militant. They are doing so, in comparing the militancy within religion and the verbally forceful criticisms of the militancy within that religion.

What theists get so upset about, is not really that atheists are militant, the real annoyance that 'gets under their skin' is the very act of criticizing. It is OK to criticize someone's politics, but apparently religion is 'sacred' territory and out of bounds.

Is a theists position really so feeble, that he or she cannot 'stand-it-up' to a little ribbing? ...even if that ribbing is often verbally forceful, strident, aggressive, belligerent or any other synonym one could think of... at the end of the day, it is just words.

There are those of course, who long for a World where criticism of someone's religious sensibilities, is considered to be insensitive, 'beyond the pale' and such criticism, is to be met with force. This position exists today in countries like Iran and Saudi Arabia in particular, where criticism of religion, is considered an objective crime and apostasy is virtually impossible, at least openly and is often met with extreme force.

There is this weird belief in society, that one can genuinely hurt someone by criticizing their religion, as if you have committed a heinous act and scarred the 'victim' for being to stridently verbal, in 'attacking' their belief. This of course is nonsense. Religion should no more escape criticism, than any other area of discourse.

With the rise of religious fundamentalism in the World today, it needs to be openly criticized to the 'ninth-degree'. The only reason most Christians in western society, are more tolerant to criticism of their faith, than are Middle Eastern Islamic fascists, is because Christianity went through reforms, which relied on open criticism. Of course, such openness, was not immediate, it was a shifting zeitgeist.

In the Dark Ages, many people were tortured and murdered by the Christian 'pious' leaders and it took time, through gradual steps of enlightened thinking, to move the zeitgeist forward.

Islam, unlike Christianity, has not had a reformation, it is still trapped in the 'Dark Ages' ...and is so, to such a backward degree, that some of its more extreme followers are driven back to living in caves.

The fact is then, that there really is no such thing as militant atheism, there is just verbal hostility to militancy within religion, that can and does lead to irrational acts of barbarism.

To paraphrase, journalist and author, Christopher Hitchens: "There is a militant force of Christianity in America, that wants to 'tear down the wall' of separation between Church and State". Indeed, Richard Dawkins the charles simonyi Professor of the public understanding of science, has asked the question: "Is America moving toward its own Christian style Taliban" - ?

I personally, do not feel I am being militant, at speaking out against religious intolerance... rather, I feel I am defending freedom of speech, against the militancy brought on by religious intolerance.

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