Jump to content


Senior Members
  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by jcarlson

  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 known instance of it ever happening. While we see things being "created" from existing matter and energy in everyday life which certainly are "caused", this is not evidence that the universe being "created" from nothing requires a "cause" because they are really two different definitions of "create" (one implying changing existing matter and energy from one form to another, and the other implying matter and energy appearing from nothing), and thus we have nothing to inductively reason from, and therefore no reason to assume a cause is necessary. Just because something is counter-intuitive doesn't mean it's wrong, and therefore doesn't mean you get to invent an arbitrary omnipotent super-being to mend it.
  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 supernatural exists. With regard to empirical proof of God's existence, the scientist is far more qualified to address it, and with regard to the various logic-based "proofs" put forth, well, every one put forth that stood a fighting chance throughout history (not surprisingly, they are few) is available for viewing on a 5 minute trip 'round the internet complete with a thorough debunking explaining where and why they are logically bankrupt. Any theologian who purports to know more about what is inherently unknowable than any layman is a fraud. There are legitimate fields of study (mostly involving the historical and societal aspects of religion) for a theologian but the nature and existence of god is not one of them.
  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 ancestors to breathe water via gils for a period after birth, just like most modern day amphibians. How is this not blantantly obvious to you? I'm highly suspicious you're being dishonest with either us intentionally or yourself unintentionally in order to keep the illusion of special creation alive in your brain.
  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, without any evidence to support the idea that anyone met in a hotel in New Jersey to overthrow the government why would anyone believe it?
  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 of us eventually calling into question our belief that we won't get one. For me, and I daresay most of us, our atheism is defined by our skepticism. Just because we would like for something like an afterlife to be true in no way means we would believe it in the face of such a gaping lack of evidence for its existence. Our comfort in the face of death comes from knowing that we unabashedly faced what we best know to be the truth, no matter how apparently grim; that we did our best with what we know we had, as opposed to deluding ourselves with false hopes of receiving something more grand. Don't atheists also know how to band together and kill people who disagree with them? http://en.wikipedia....i/State_atheism Absolutely, there is no doubt that especially in the first half of the last century there have been horrible atrocities committed by some of the world's most prominent atheists at the time. And certainly, without a truly clairvoyant knowledge of the inner thoughts of Stalin, Pot, and their ilk, one can speculate that their true motivations were founded in an underlying atheistic hatred of all religion and a desire to extinguish it from their territories. It is also true that, with respect to the many instances of religious genocide and oppression over the millenia, such as the christian persecution by the Romans, the crusades, the Inquisition, witch trials, the Islamic conquest and recent resurgence in Islamic extremism, one can speculate on the true intentions of the leadership presiding over those atrocities, and come to the conclusion that for them, it wasn't a religious motivation at all, but rather a desire for political influence and/or more vassals to fill their coffers. Indeed, this is my own personal belief. This of course, begs the question: How can anyone make the claim that religion is responsible for far more deaths and atrocities committed throughout history than atheism without knowing the true motivations of the evil men in power who initiated these movements? The answer, I postulate, lies in the simple fact that the personal motivations of these men really didn't matter. It takes a large base of support from the populace to commit atrocities on such a scale, and, because most humans don't readily relish the idea of taking another life for no apparent reason, the people must be sold. They must be given motivation which is strong enough to overcome their natural resistance to slay others in cold blood. Without a doubt, in every instance mentioned attributed to religion, this motivating factor was the will of a deity. The leadership may have had ulterior motivations, but in the minds of the people they were acting under the mandate of God. It is much more difficult I think, in the case of the genocides under Stalin, Pot, et al., to make the case that the people were motivated by mere atheism in their support for their leaders. No, indeed it was the worship of the state, and the perceived threat to its superiority that religion posed, that they marshaled under. Your own quote regarding Pot's exterminations in Cambodia attests to this: His supporters believed in earnest that the people they killed were members of "reactionary religions" which were "detrimental to Democratic Kampuchea and Kampuchean people". Christopher Hitchens is somewhat famous for promoting the saying "Good people do good things and evil people do evil things; but to make a good person do evil, that takes religion". While I'm not sure I'm in complete agreement (I think there are other things that have the potential to make good people do evil things, perhaps even, in rare cases, atheism), it seems to me that if the worship of the state which was so heavily promoted in the communist ideology of the 20th century was not religion, it was certainly something very much like it. And it seems that a comprehensive view of history shows that when it comes to genocide, oppression, and other implementations of crimes against humanity, there is no easier or more effective banner to rally the people under than religion.
  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 atheist. Israeli killed in suicide bombing Israeli Forces Kill Unarmed Palestinian Just a few of the reasons why we get angry.
  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 dishonest tactic in debate is far lower than that of theists, but if you have encountered atheists who do this, they are wrong. It's true that many of the logical and empirical arguments used by atheists are broad-sweeping; they have to be with so many definitions of god in use by theists. But each is still weighed for applicability before use against a specific definition of god.
  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 way to go).
  16. This, to me, is the biggest problem for theists that arises when debating them on the existence of "God". In the presence of good arguments, they consistently change the goalposts with regard to their definition of "God" so much, that a coherent understanding of even the minimal qualities necessary to make something "God" is impossible. All too often I have seen a theist define "God" simply as "that which caused the universe" (usually when attempting to present the cosmological argument), and then not 10 seconds later "God" is back to being a benevolent, personal, intrusive, conscious, supernatural being, with absolutely zero logical justification behind the switch. You can't have it both ways, theists, especially not when trying to construct rational arguments for your belief in debate. And, with that being said, isn't it funny that the more robust an argument for "God", the more limited in scope and abstractly defined "God" is? And even these arguments contain logical hiccups or faulty assumptions. I would be tickled pink to see a theist go so far as define "God" as protons and electrons, or even fundamental particles and natural laws. It's something they seem to be coming ever asymptotically closer to, and if they do ever make that leap, I, and many others, I'm sure, will not hesitate to take that for what it is: An admission of defeat to a materialistic worldview.
  17. Considering the fact that there are something like 30 billion trillion (3*10^22) stars in the observable universe, even if only one in 10 billion stars has a planet similar to what earth was 3.5 billion years ago when life formed (and it seems, instead, that the odds are much higher), that's still 3 trillion planets with favorable conditions for the formation of life, and that's only life as WE know it. Statistically, life elsewhere in the universe is likely. However I think the odds of ever meeting them or even communicating with them is much lower, due to the fact that most of the stars in the universe are in other galaxies which are far to distant to have any hope of contact. I don't see how recognizing this fact is at odds with not believing in god. There is evidence that life can arise spontaneously in the universe, given the right conditions. We're it. Given the vastness of the universe and the immense population of possible host star systems, it is reasonable to believe these conditions exist elsewhere in the universe as well. On the flip-side, there isn't any evidence of any kind of supernatural deity.
  18. I was being sarcastic. The Bible and the Koran both took place in the Middle East. When the books of the Bible were written Europe was entirely a pagan continent.
  19. I think you will find that there are plenty of positions outside of academia for someone with a PhD in CS without having to work below your qualifications. Larger tech companies like IBM, AT&T, Intel, Oracle, Microsoft, etc. all have very robust research divisions where the expertise that comes with a PhD is not just welcome but required for many projects. As D H said there is far greater demand for PhDs outside academia in technical degrees than non-technical simply because research in these fields more often produces knowledge that is profitable, rather than just knowledge for knowledge's sake.
  20. Indeed, in Leviticus 16 the Old Testament even describes the ancient practice of "scapegoating" (from whence we get the modern term), where the townspeople quite literally piled their sins on a goat and drove it out into the arid wilderness to die. Other cultures from the middle east at that time had similar practices, as well.
  21. Whether or not Jesus went to hell should have no effect on what an omnipotent god is ABLE to do. Most Christians say that Jesus went to hell in order to know the suffering that mankind endures (which God is ultimately responsible for) without forgiveness, but an omniscient god should already know what that suffering was like by virtue of the fact that it knows everything. Like I said, all very obtuse. Perhaps, but then, what message does god suffering for the sins instead of the people send? Essentially, "You guys have really screwed up, but hey, I forgive it all" IS the message that was sent, it was just sent along with a gory spectacle of suffering for humanity to witness.
  22. Still does not explain why God, who is supposedly a benevolent, omnipotent being with the power to forgive the sins of humanity on a whim should he so choose, instead decided that it was necessary to impregnate a virgin in order to incarnate himself in human form and die, burn in hell for 3 days, then rise from the dead like a zombie before physically flying back up to heaven before the debt was forgiven. It's awfully obtuse.
  23. Perhaps think of it this way: When you initially pick a door out of 3, there is a 1/3 probability that your door holds the prize, and a 2/3 probability that the two other doors hold the prize. When one of the two other doors is revealed, it doesn't change the fact that there is a 2/3 probability that the other 2 doors hold the prize, but since you know which of those other 2 doors doesn't have the prize, it means the unopened of the other 2 doors now has a 2/3 probability of holding the prize. Your original door also still has only a 1/3 chance of holding the prize, therefore, you should always switch to the other door, if given the option after the host opens one.
  24. And here I've been thinking the Bible took place in the Middle East. Shows what I know.
  25. Let me guess... you want to die while eating a lobster, in front of the calf you just cast out of gold to worship, while wearing a shirt made of linen/wool blend, and screaming "God Damnit!"?
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.