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About jcarlson

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  1. Frankly, even with all the false dichotomies being thrown about, I don't see where a god necessarily comes into play here. If the universe has no true 'beginning' and the big bang expansion is the result of physical phenomena, well, obviously there's no need to invent a god to explain it. But even if the universe had a 'beginning' in the sense that it appeared from nothing, why suppose god? You are assuming the spontaneous creation of matter and energy from nothing is an effect which requires a cause, needimprovement, and I don't see why. If this is what happened there is no other kno
  2. The navy is working on a rail gun atm. This was filmed with an ultra-high speed camera. Remember a rail gun uses no explosive charge for propulsion, the flames following the projectile is air molecules that have turned into plasma from the friction between the bullet and the air caused by the extreme velocity. Limitations are, as has been stated, power generation and durability of the rails.
  3. Reminds me of this video: http://il.youtube.com/watch?v=K_RyY-nJ-34
  4. Thanks for the link! Now I can brag to all my friends (jokingly, of course ) that I've been plagiarized by Victor Stenger!
  5. And what 'expertise' does the theologian have that allows him to speculate on the existence of god any more than the scientist? Scientists study for years the data, theories, and experiments that have led to the current state of their field today in order to possess the understanding above and beyond that of a layman needed to further advance it. A theologian may be an expert on ancient languages and texts, or on the various world religions, but this has nothing to do with whether or not the supernatural actually exists; only the particular expression of certain groups of their belief that the
  6. It has been mentioned several times in this thread that there are several types of ancient and extant fish that have the ability to breath air via a modified swim bladder. The organs used for breathing air and breathing water are completely unrelated. Some ancient fish with this ability evolved further tetrapodal traits and at one time there were many species similar to Tiktaalik which possessed characteristics of modern day fish and tetrapods. Some of these in turn evolved into the first amphibians; true tetrapods, though the young were born in water and retained the ability of their fish anc
  7. None of these are proofs. At best they are supporting arguments but really they are just non-sequiturs.
  8. Not really sure what this has to do with religion.
  9. No one is arguing that theism in and of itself is evil or responsible for persecution and murder, nor is anyone claiming you should be held accountable for witch trials. But one can hardly argue against the fact that belief systems which make virtues of blind faith, unwavering devotion, moral absolutism, and obedience to a supreme will, have lent themselves exceptionally well to some of the most violent atrocities in history. Theism of the kind held by most people is definitely such a system, and as such, while not inherently evil, is certainly inherently dangerous. Yes, witho
  10. I think your figures are a bit off. Wikipedia states there's 35g of dissolved salts per litre, mostly NaCl, 10x what you quoted. At that concentration, 1 litre of water contains about 14 times the recommended daily value of sodium as prescribed by the FDA, and you will excrete via urine more water than you intake trying to get rid of the excess salt.
  11. I found it HERE and a few other places attributed to physicist Dr. Steven Weinberg from an article in the NY Times in 1999. Hitch certainly has raised its popularity however.
  12. I can assure you that while there are certainly atheists who don't wish for their experience of consciousness to be continued after death (I've met and spoken with many and I can certainly appreciate the reasoning behind their conviction), I and a good deal many others would very much like to continue on in some conscious form or another after we die (though, for me at least, certainly not in eternal worship of a celestial despot as some would have us believe). However, I can't help but think you naive to think that the fact that we would wish for an extension of our existence, equates to most
  13. Kansas Board Approves Challenges to Evolution Mormons Targeted for Role Supporting Prop 8 Six-Months in Jail for Faith-Healing Parents Who Let Daughter Die Ten Commandments marker returned to courthouse Iraqi father claims God is ‘blessing him’ for killing his daughter Atheist Elected to Office Cannot Legally Serve Pat Robertson Blames Earthquake on Pact Haitians Made with Satan What is behind Hindu-Christian violence Abortion Doctor Shot to Death in Kansas Church Parents Charged in Faith Healing Case A U.S. church and its "kill the gays" partner in Uganda Murdered for being an ath
  14. I would say that this is (subtly) not true. The atheist position is to lack belief in any god (for reasonable definitions of god). You could certainly take this route, but I fail to see how it helps your position. If you believe in the Christian god but define "god" as the lamp sitting at your bedside (a definition of god who's existence would be supremely easy to defend), what good does it do you? Even though I am an atheist if you choose to call your lamp a god I would not argue against its existence! I think you will find that the frequency of atheists who use such a disho
  15. You gain weight by consuming more usable energy than you use. You lose weight by consuming less usable energy than you use. So there are two ways to lose weight, consume less or use more. So if you starve yourself (consume less usable energy), you can lose weight just sitting around thinking, though I doubt you'll be able to think about much besides how hungry you are. The alternative is of course, exercise (using more energy), which, in addition to the weight loss, has other health benefits including increased muscular strength and stamina. (Hint: This is generally the healthy wa
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