Tag Archives: religion

9-11-Islamic terrorism

Never Forget The Cause of 9/11 — Islam.

The twin towers of the World Trade Center, icons of New York City, stood tall and proud. Before the Western values of reason and individuality were attacked by Islam.

Before 9/11, the twin towers stood as a symbol of the heights achievable by the efforts of reasoning individuals, who value productivity, self-esteem (ego) and rationality.

A symbol of what is achievable by individuals in a culture that values freedoms and individual rights.

Much like the Statue of Liberty, a symbol of the Western values.

A symbol of the American Dream rooted in every individual’s right to:

“life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”

DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE

The American dream that “life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement” (James Adams, 1931).

February 26, 1993 – Islam Attacks

The first terrorist attack on these values came on February 26, 1993. By an Islamic militant, Ramzi Yousef. Islamic ideology killed six people and injured 1,042 people.  

During the 1998 trial, Yousef condemned the United States for its American Victory over Japan in 1945 and its economic embargo against a rights-violating Cuba.  

You keep talking also about collective punishment and killing innocent people to force governments to change their policies; you call this terrorism when someone would kill innocent people or civilians in order to force the government to change its policies. Well, when you were the first one who invented this terrorism.

Ramzi Yousef, Wikipedia.

Here Yousef clearly drops context and pretends the military defence of a nation is equivalent to terrorism if it involves the loss of innocent lives.

However, nobody that understands the moral justification of warfare would say such a thing. It is a moral imperative for a moral nation to engage in warfare with enemy nations and to inflict crushing military defeat upon them.

This almost always involves the loss of innocent lives. It is not feasible to expect to be able to win a war against an enemy state without the loss of innocent lives in enemy nations.

However, the extent to which those innocent lives exist is not as great as most people think.

Most tyrants gain power by the consent of the people and thus the population is guilty of making such tyranny possible in the first place.

It is immoral to equate warfare against an enemy state, a war of self-defence with terrorism. To defend your nation against destruction by an enemy state can in no sense be equivalent to terrorism.

You were the first one who killed innocent people, and you are the first one who introduced this type of terrorism to the history of mankind when you dropped an atomic bomb which killed tens of thousands of women and children in Japan and when you killed over a hundred thousand people, most of them civilians, in Tokyo with fire bombings. You killed them by burning them to death. And you killed civilians in Vietnam with chemicals as with the so-called Orange agent. You killed civilians and innocent people, not soldiers, innocent people every single war you went. You went to wars more than any other country in this century, and then you have the nerve to talk about killing innocent people.

Ramzi Yousef, Wikipedia

The nuclear bombs dropped upon Japan were an act of heroism.

The alternative was a bloody invasion of the Japanese mainland that would have required the destruction of much of Japan and the loss of millions of Japanese lives.

So it is that even the Japanese came to be thankful that the Americans were able to find an alternative to an invasion of Japan that would have virtually destroyed Japan.

We must not judge the morality of a nation by the number of times it goes to war. There are legitimate reasons America may have needed to engage in war in self-defence.

Yes, doing this to Hiroshima was heroism. The alternative was doing this to most major Japanese cities.

One can argue that many of the wars America has been involved in, such as the war in Vietnam or Iraq were not justified in terms of defending American interests but were altruistic campaigns. This is a legitimate reason to condemn America for many of its invasions.

But there is no legitimate reason to condemn America for Hiroshima and Nagasaki. They were a moral necessity as soon as Japan threatened America’s values of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

And now you have invented new ways to kill innocent people. You have so-called economic embargo which kills nobody other than children and elderly people, and which other than Iraq you have been placing the economic embargo on Cuba and other countries for over 35 years. … The Government in its summations and opening statement said that I was a terrorist. Yes, I am a terrorist and I am proud of it. And I support terrorism so long as it was against the United States Government and against Israel because you are more than terrorists; you are the one who invented terrorism and using it every day. You are liars, butchers, and hypocrites.[29]

Ramzi Yousef, Wikipedia

Yousef condemns America for acts of violence and terrorism. He condemns America for acts of war and violence and for inventing terrorism.

Yet, Islam was engaging in religious terrorism long before the United States existed. It certainly did not invent terrorism, but it advocated terrorism long before America existed and long before modern Western culture existed.

The Quran contains at least 109 verses describing war with nonbelievers. Many are quite graphic and describe things such as decapitation of the nonbeliever.

Here are some of them:

As to those who reject faith, I will punish them with terrible agony in this world and in the Hereafter, nor will they have anyone to help.

Quran 3:56

Seems a clear condemnation of the so called “crime” of non-belief.

The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His messenger and strive to make mischief in the land is only this, that they should be murdered or crucified or their hands and their feet should be cut off on opposite sides or they should be imprisoned; this shall be as a disgrace for them in this world, and in the hereafter, they shall have a grievous chastisement

Quran 5:33

And then there is this:

“(Remember) when your Lord inspired the angels… “I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore, strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them”

Quran 8:12

The Quran predates America and modern Western culture. So in what sense did the West invent terrorism? The Quran was clearly advocating terrorism long before America or the modern Western world was.

The truth is that Islam is a death-worshiping cult of widespread genocide.

During the trial of Yousef, Judge Duffy did not morally condemn Islam for it’s death worship. He apologized for Islam and faith.

Islam does not anyone to draw its deranged, murderous Prophet. But Jason has done just that.
Image available under the Creative Commons Share-Alike License.

Duffy did not condemn the sacrifice collection of such cults and religions.

Duffy condemned the ego, the very Western values that had made the twin towers possible!

Ramzi Yousef, you claim to be an Islamic militant. Of all the persons killed or harmed in some way by the World Trade Center bomb, you cannot name one who was against you or your cause. You did not care, just so long as you left dead bodies and people hurt.

Ramzi Yousef, you are not fit to uphold Islam. Your God is death. Your God is not Allah …

You weren’t seeking conversions. The only thing you wanted to do was to cause death. Your God is not Allah. You worship death and destruction. What you do, you do not for Allah; you do it only to satisfy your own twisted sense of ego.

You would have others believe that you are a soldier, but the attacks on civilization for which you stand convicted here were sneak attacks which sought to kill and maim totally innocent people …

You, Ramzi Yousef, came to this country pretending to be an Islamic fundamentalist, but you cared little or nothing for Islam or the faith of the Muslims. Rather, you adored not Allah, but the evil yourself have become. And I must say that as an apostle of evil, you have been most effective.[29]

Judge Duffy, Wikipedia

But we have seen that according to the Quran itself, Yousef was acting entirely consistent with the Quran.

The Quran has many verses like the ones given above. Not one of them says that a true Muslim shall spare a heretic imprisonment or a violent death!

Yousef is acting just as the Quran, as Islam demands. Let us look at another quote:

Not equal are those of the believers who sit (at home), except those who are disabled (by injury or are blind or lame, etc.), and those who strive hard and fight in the Cause of Allah with their wealth and their lives. Allah has preferred in grades those who strive hard and fight with their wealth and their lives above those who sit (at home). Unto each, Allah has promised good (Paradise), but Allah has preferred those who strive hard and fight, above those who sit (at home) by a huge reward “

Quran 4:95

This verse clearly criticizes peaceful Muslims! It holds those willing to violently strike against the nonbeliever as morally superior to those that refuse to do so!

September 11, 2001 — Islam Attacks Again

On September 11, 2001, the Western values of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” were attacked again. This time the twin towers collapsed. 2,192 civilians died. 414 sworn personnel died.  

If only the West did not apologize for its values…

If only America stood firmly and morally behind its victory over Japan in 1945

If only Judge Duffy and America had morally condemned Islamic ideologies as evil…

If only…

Next Page

Quora Answers 9/7/20: The Kalam Cosmological “Argument”

Today I am answering the following Quora question on the Kalam Cosmological Argument:

Is there a flaw in the Kalam cosmological argument?

My Answer

I assume you mean the form of the argument made popular by William Lane Craig. Which takes this essential form:

  1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause.
  2. The universe began to exist.
  3. Therefore, the universe has a cause
  4. Therefore God must have created it.

Let me show why this does not work.

  1. Yes, whatever begins to exist generally does have a cause. Which is to say that it did not always exist and did not come about by magic.

    However, the universe is not a thing. The concept of the universe refers to the totality of everything that exists. Regardless of what exists, we can lump everything that exists under the concept “universe”.

    But does the universe have a cause? Well, yes the concept of the universe has a cause. The need to refer to the totality of existence.

    But does existence have a cause? No, it does not. Existence has always existed. No matter how far “back in time” you go, you will always find that something has existed.

    There is no alternative to existence. There is no point at which nothing existed. And if there was, there would be nothing to cause existence to come into being.

    Therefore since existence has always existed and there is nothing that could cause the universe to come into existence, existence cannot have a cause.
  2. Since the universe refers to everything in existence, for the universe to have a cause, existence would have to have a cause. But we have shown that existence has no cause.
  3. Therefore since the existence has no cause, the universe has no cause.

I could go on and point out the Kalam Cosmological Argument has many flaws.

Firstly, the first premise applies to God. If God exists, then God must have a cause. According to Christians, God began to exist therefore god had to have a cause.

So what caused God? And if something caused God, then that thing must have existed and something must have caused that to exist.

And so on you, have an infinite series of creators that must have created each other.

Why does God get to be an uncaused entity? Logically he could not be. And if something created God, is that creator more powerful than God. If so, then that more powerful entity must be created by a yet more powerful entity.

So you have an infinite series of increasingly more powerful God-creating Creator gods.

Which is clearly logically absurd.

God, Kalam Cosmological argument
Hey God, who created you? And who created that God? Or do you get to be an arbitrary exception. If only there was a name for that logical fallacy…

It also greatly diminishes the importance of God as the ultimate creator. Since he is merely the last in the line of an endless line of more powerful creator Gods.

Which means that God cannot be omnipotent. Why? Because there is now a long series of entities far more powerful than God is.

That or all the other gods are just as powerful and God is part of an endless series of gods of equal power than created each other. It is Gods all the way down.

Which rather diminishes the uniqueness of God.

Or, God gets to be the exception to logic and was able to magically create himself.

The Kalam Cosmological Argument is of course an example of the special pleading fallacy.

What is the special pleading fallacy? That is when you establish a principle such as “everything must have a cause” and then make arbitrary exceptions to that principle for no reason.

In other words, you make a claim and then make exceptions to it for no reason. Everything is meant to adhere to the principle except for the things which you make exceptions for.

This creates a double standard where your opponents are expected to adhere to your principles but you get to make exceptions without providing any reason for why your exceptions are valid.

If we are allowed to make God immune to logic, why bother with logic at all? Why not just assume that the universe is magic?

Or, more logically, that the Kalam Cosmological argument is invalid.

But of course, the fact that this is entirely illogical is not going to bother Creationists such as Craig. Since they are perfectly willing to use logic as long as does not apply to God or anything in the Bible.

Which is why it is pointless to argue with them. As they will never listen to logic or reason when it clashes with what they have accepted on faith. For no reason and against all reason.

It is therefore rather pointless to point any of this out to them. As once you have closed your mind to logic and reason, you have closed your mind to reality. And such people cannot be reasoned with. It would be rather a waste of time to try….

bear dog kinds

Biblical Absurdities: Animal “Kinds”.

If you are familiar with the fable of Noah’s Ark, you may recall that the Bible discusses how Noah took two of each kind of animal onto his inadequate Ark. What is all this talk of kinds?

As you would expect, the people that wrote the Old Testament were more than a little lacking when it came to knowledge of taxonomy.

Their knowledge of animals presumably extended to the animals they knew about in their geographic area. As well as, perhaps, some other animals they heard about from those that had travelled to other areas.

They had no way of knowing that there are by some estimates 6.5 million species of land-dwelling animals.

They probably thought that there were only a few hundred, maybe several thousand different species of animals. It seems likely that they had no conception that there might be millions of species of land animals.

So, it is perhaps not surprising that they believed that a giant wooden ark might be able to house two of every species of land animal.

But wait, the Bible does not say species, now does it? No, it does not. It talks of kinds of animals in several places. We will focus on this example of the use of “kinds”:

Of fowls after their kind, and of cattle after their kind, of every creeping thing of the earth after his kind, two of every sort shall come unto thee, to keep them alive.”

Genesis 6:20, King James Version.

What is a kind? Good luck figuring that out. Nobody seems to know. Does that stop the Creationists chiming in? No, of course not.

What do they say a kind is? I do not know what they think a kind is. They do not seem to know themselves.

It would help if we appreciated the problem that they think they are solving. Which is what?

The Creationists seem to be aware that we have a lot of land-dwelling species around us (to say nothing of all the countless extinct ones). So many that two of each of these species could not all have fit onto this mythical boat.

Whoops! But God said two of each kind of animal was on the Ark!

plant kinds
Um, what about all the land-dwelling plants? Did they all get destroyed in the flood? Or did Noah take kinds of plants too?

Yes, two of each kind. Who is to say that kind is the same as the concept of species?

Maybe Noah got two of the cat kind and two of the dog kind and two of the bear kind and two of the rabbit kind and so on.

This seems like it might be helpful. Then Noah does not need nearly 6.5 million species of animals. He just needs two of every kind of animal. And how many kinds of animals are there?

Not nearly as many animals right? Well, this does not really help.

You see, Creationists like to use this anti-concept of “kind” to group all sorts of organisms together into undefined and undefinable groups.

They do this based on grouping together things that look and or act similar. Orwhich they arbitrarily decide are related and hence part of the same “kind”.

For instance, they like to pretend that anything they consider to be a cat, must belong to the cat kind.

Lions look like cats, so they are part of the cat kind. Tigers look like cats, so they too are members of the cat kind.

What about the lynx or panthers? Are they members of the cat kind? Presumably.

But let us consider the Carnivora suborder of Feliformia. This includes the taxonomic order Felidae or cats. I would assume Creationists would classify most or all members of Felidae as the cat kind.

But what about some very cat-like members of Feliformia that are not in the order Felidae and therefore not cats?

What about the extinct family known as Barbourofelidae, a family of sabre-toothed “cats” ? They are not in the Felidae family, but they are closely related to this family.

Are they members of the cat kind?

What about members of the extinct family Nimravidae? These are even more distantly related than the family Barbourofelidae and had different bone structures in the ear to extant Feliformia. As well as more low-slung bodies with shorter legs and tails than typically associated with cats.

Are members of the Nimravidae family considered part of the cat kind?

At what point does something stop being in the cat kind? How dissimilar to cats does something have to be to what they consider cats before it is no longer part of the cat kind?

They do not know! They have no answer to this. Because there is no logical answer to this. There is no clear, logical point where you can logically suddenly decide that something closely related to cats is not part of the cat kind.

We can do the same with any kind they care to name. Such as the bear kind.

Bears are animals of the family Ursidae. But what do Creationists consider to be part of the bear kind? Presumably, brown bears, polar bears and giant pandas and other similar bears, such as the sun bear.

But what about sloth bears? They are members of the family Ursidae, are they part of this bear kind? What about spectacled bears?

What about members of the extinct subfamily of Ursidae known as Hemicyoninae or “dog-bears”? They are very bear-like but also very dog-like. Are they in the bear family or the dog family?

bear-dog kinds
Yeah, is this of the bear or dog kind? How would you know? It looks a lot like both a bear and a dog to me…

Yes, remember we know that bears and dogs are very closely related. Both Ursidae, bears and Canidae, dogs are closely related branches of the family Caniformia.

What kind are the members of the Caniformia family? At what point does something leave this family and become either part of the dog family?

What kinds are members of the Arctoidea family that includes both bears, bear-dogs and mustelids?

Are mustelids part of the bear kind? They are closely related and look a lot like small bears? Or do they form their own arbitrary mustelid kind? Or the Arctoidea kind?

At what point does something stop being a bear and become some related kind?

Creationists have no clear or logical answer. Again, because there is none.

What about rabbits? Rabbits are organisms in the family Leporidae

Are pygmy rabbits part of the rabbit kind? What about the Sumatran striped rabbit which looks quite different? Or the Anami rabbit which barely looks like a rabbit at all? Or the tiny Swamp rabbit which I can hold in my hand?

Are these all part of the rabbit kind?

What about hares? They are rabbit-like. But they belong to a different family, the family Lepus. Are they part of the rabbit kind or a separate hare kind?

What about the Pika? They are another family in the Lagomorpha order which includes rabbits and hares. Are they part of the rabbit or hare kind? Or the Pika kind? Even though they look like short-eared rabbits or hares

What about members of the Glire clade? It is the parent clade of the Lagomorpha order. Where do you draw the line between Glires and members of the Lagomorpha order you consider part of the rabbit kind?

At no point is it clear where something closely related to a cat stops being part of the cat kind. Or where something closely related to a bear stops being part of the bear kind. And so on for every other kind you care to name.

There is never any clear and distinct point where you decide something that is closely related to members of one kind is no longer part of that kind.

It is easy to include things that clearly look like “cats”. But at some point, you have no way to clearly decide which closely related species belong to this kind or another kind. And so on.

faith

Biblical Absurdities: Faith

Before we too far into our series on biblical absurdities, we should take a look at the most central issue here; faith itself. We should ask ourselves what faith is and why it is so unreasonable.

What is Faith?

I define faith as:

The blind acceptance of assertions in the absence of any evidence or proof, on the basis of emotion or wishing that claim to be true.

Dwayne Davies

So, it is the blind acceptance of empty assertions, for no reason.

The only claims which have any value are those which can be shown to have some relation to observable facts, those which can be said to have some truth to them. Those with some evidence or proof behind them. Any assertion accepted for no reason at all has no value at all.

But that is exactly what faith is, the acceptance of things for which there is no evidence or proof.

What is Wrong with Faith?

The truth typically does not matter to the devoutly religious. If it mattered to them, they would not be devoutly religious. They would not have faith in anything at all!

Faith is the belief in something for no reason whatsoever. Faith is typically defended against all reason. It is the acceptance of assertions without any attempt to find out what the facts are.

The most dishonest is position is knowing what the facts are and choosing to pretend that they are not so. But as we shall see, many faithful also do this. Making the devoutly faithful some of the most dishonest people that you are likely to meet.

As with any form of dishonesty, there are consequences for holding faith in anything.

Why? Because faith and reality are always in conflict. As is every claim of consequence that is assumed for no reason and against all reason.

Knowing the truth on any matter of consequence is not a trivial task. It takes observing reality, thought and understanding the facts for what they are.

Faith is the refusal to do any of that. Faith is the attempt to bypass thought and proceed directly to truth by the process of wishing empty assertions to be fact. As though wanting them to be true makes them true.

Assertions accepted on faith are wrong. They must be since since empty assertions accepted for no reason have no basis and blind assumptions are always wrong.

Once you have rejected reality and embraced faith, what does that leave you to believe? Whatever you want to believe in, as long as it is assumed blindly.

Most often this takes the form of whatever is emotionally satisfying or which seems easy to superficially grasp. Or which provides moral guidance with no actual connection to how man should act in order to be happy and thrive.

faith
Yes, Heaven may be an emotionally satisfying idea, but it just encourages people to waste their life.

The religions of every culture posit some kind of spiritual existence after death where the spirit can endure the death of the body. Why? Not because there is any reason to believe this. No, but because this is emotionally satisfying for some.

Every religion seems to offer some form of spiritual existence after bodily death usually by obeying the moral teachings of the religion and doing the bidding of the clergy.

Every religion tries to offer its followers moral teachings. This makes sense. We all need moral guidance in order to help choose which actions to take in life. Once you have rejected reality, you must get that moral guidance from somewhere and religions are all happy to offer that.

Often with plenty of threats and other forms of emotional manipulation.

The most devoutly religious people emotionally invest in their religion. They believe that their religion is the only means of moral guidance they have and more importantly, the only means by which they can achieve some kind of immortality.

It should come as little surprise that many of these people desperately cling to the teachings of their religion. Reality has little interest to them, unlike their religion. They are strongly incentivized to defend their religion against the facts of reality.

So, it should come as little surprise that since reality conflicts with religion, the truly devout have little interest in reality.

Their faith invariably clashes with science. Faith says one thing. But science says another. It is science that they discard.

When reality invariably clashes with their religion, they have two fundamental choices: to reject their faith as dishonest or to accept reality. But in embracing faith they have already rejected reality so they almost invariably continue to reject reality.

Many religious people know what the facts are. But they still refuse to abandon their faith. Reality is rejected for clashing with their delusions.

That is the harm in religion. It is the refusal to know reality and to accept whatever one wishes to believe. Assertions accepted on faith are always wrong about anything of consequence.

Faith is the epistemological equivalent of choosing to walk around blindfolded while declaring that you can see. But you cannot see. Reality is what it is despite you trying to make it whatever you want it to be.

faith
This is your brain on faith.

Is Biblical Faith “Justified Trust”?

There are those that might think that by “faith” the Bible means “justified trust”. I am about to present several several Biblical verses to disprove this notion.

The Bible never uses faith in that sense. By faith it means blindly believing things for no good reason and against all reason. It openly tells you to not to see reality but to just believe anyway.

Why? Because of the empty assertion of promises beyond the observable world. That is the only thing religions can offer anyone to have faith, empty assertions that have nothing to do with reality.

That is why every religion widely recognized as such always offers immaterial, unearthly rewards. Because they cannot offer anything real that relates to reality. All it can do is appeal to emotion and irrational, baseless desires that have nothing to do with reality.

Biblical Absurdities: How Much Space Does the Ark Need?

In this series, we look at the countless absurdities that can be found in the Bible. Today we are looking at the alleged dimensions of the Noah’s Ark and seeing whether there is any chance it could have held the animals it was supposed to.

I got bored and crunched some numbers and this came out. Obviously you don’t need math to show this is silly, but lets have some fun with this.

Note that I was rather generous and assumed that Noah only needed to keep these animals on the Ark for 150 days. Most scholars admit that this would have been more like 370 days.

Let’s assume the dimensions of the Ark given in the Bible. Genesis 6:15 gives us a figure of 300 by 50 by 30 cubits. Let us assume that a cubit is 21 inches. A cubit ranged from about 18-21 inches, but I am going with 21, as that was a common definition of the cubit given in Mesopotamia.

Why Mesopotamia? Many elements of the Biblical flood story seems to be taken from earlier flood legends around this region. So, I am going to go with this plausible figure that also gives an upper estimate for the alleged size of the Ark.

So, we have a volume of about 450,000 cubic cubits. Let us convert that to litres. Why? Because later we are going to figure out how much water and food the animals needed. Litres works well enough for both. We get about 68,292,270 or about 68 million litres.

Let’s go with a fairly conservative number of animals required, 70,000 animals.

This is obviously far too low. The Bible talks about “kinds” of animals. But the word “kind” employed here has no objective meaning. Animals are not divided into “kinds”, nor is the word “kind” given any definition.

Why does this matter? Because apologists will tell you Noah brought one of each kind onto the Bible. Not one of each species, but each kind. Even though the word “kind” has no meaning and apologists can consider several different species all the same kind.

For instance, they can say Noah had one couple of the lion kind, the tiger kind, the bear kind. Not several bear species, not hundreds of cat species, not thousands of bird species, but one bird kind and so forth.

This means they can say that Noah only needed enough animals to cover all the “kinds” of animals.

But they can only artificially create so many kinds without seeming clearly insane. Most people can easily see that even if you only count the land creatures, you need several thousand “kinds” of animals.

Scholars tend to agree that the 70,000 is a figure on the low side, so we will go with that. Again, we are being generous here.

Ark
This drunkard is the guy that built an impossible Ark?

Now, we are going to assume that the average animal is about the size of a sheep. This does not seem unreasonable and several Biblical “scholars” themselves use this metric.

We need to give them some space, let’s give each animal one meter cubed of space. That is 1000 litres, per animal, or 70 million litres required.

Too little, given many Biblical scholars claim that at least some of the dinosaurs were on the Ark! But, we will allow it. We are being very generous here.

A sheep requires about 3 litres of water a day. We will go with one litre, to make it be very generous. So, for 150 days we need like 31,500,000 (31.5 million) litres of water (which he has to keep fresh for 150 days).

For 370 days we need over

Yes, we need to bring along water. That is, fresh water. We cannot use salt water for this and Noah did not have magic to convert salt water to fresh water.

Unless you think he can gather 7,000 litres of salt water a day. And then covert all 7,000 litres of salt water to fresh water. No, I don’t think so.

Let’s assume about 1kg of food a day, probably a little generously low. We will assume the food has the density of water. We need like 10,500,000 (10.5 million) litres of food.

Granted food is denser than water, but we will definitely need more than 1kg of food a day on average.We are already 43,707,730 (43.7 million) litres short.

This is even though will actually need far more than 70,000 animals. And although we probably need more water than this and almost certainly more food. And we will need far more than on average one cubic meter of space per animal!

In fact, the animals themselves require more space than the Ark has to spare! The animals need 70 million liters of space but the Ark has under 69 million liters to spare!

And that is before we account for the fact we need to bring along food and water. Which require over 42 million more liters of space than the Ark has to spare!

The Ark is seriously short on volume, even if we make some pretty generous assumptions.

Whups, looks like our all-knowing God did not give Noah the right dimensions. This Ark was going to be big enough!

Now, what about if we assume Noah was on the Ark for 370 days?

He will need 77,700,000 litres of water. That is over 77 million litres of water.

He will need over 25,900,000 litres of food. That is almost 26 million liters of food.

Together he needs over 100,000 litres for food and water. Which is already far larger than the volume of the Ark, leaving no room for the animals themselves!

So much for the omniscience of God….

Scare Quotes of Note – Episode Two

Introduction

Today we are continuing a new series where we take seven quotes from my database of irrational quotes, briefly examine what they mean and what is so terrible about each of the quotes. You can see part one of the series here.

Without any further ado, let us look at our quotes. We have several quotes from the physicists Einstein, Kaku and Planck. As well as some more quotes from Islam.

Scare Quotes of Note from Islam

the Messenger of Allah said: I have been commanded to fight against people till they testify that there is no god but Allah, that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah” – Sahih Muslim

More verses of violence, this time from one of Islam’s other holy sources.

People like to claim that any assertion that Islam is violent is misrepresenting the faith. But it is a faith revolving around a violent warlord and has countless verses like this!

Islam is fundamentally a violent religion in the spirit of the Old Testament.

It is not like Christianity, which was intended to be a somewhat more peaceful adaptation of the Old Testament Judaism. Islam is intended as a violent radicalization of Abrahamic theology!

Religions never tolerate disbelief and they all prescribe some kind of penalty, even if it is simply severe moral condemnation. In fact, in most religions, non-belief is the cardinal sin.

In most religions, the one sin the gods, including the Christian God, cannot forgive is the sin of non-belief. Most religions can forgive most or all other sins if the sinner engages in the proper magic rituals.

The more violent the religion, the more its ideas support radical violence, the more probable it is to openly advocate the slaughter of heretics.

Islam is a religion with a very violent ideology. So, when Muslims demand the slaughter of non-believers we should not cry “that is not the real Islam talking”.

We should condemn Islam as an incredibly violent ideology that must be opposed as the cult of death that it is.

“And if ye are unclean, purify yourselves. And if ye are sick or on a journey, or one of you cometh from the closet, or ye have had contact with women, and ye find not water, then go to clean, high ground and rub your faces and your hands with some of it” Quran 5:6

Islam has a less than healthy attitude towards women.

As do many religions, particular the Abrahamic ones. It considers women inferior to men. Islam takes it further than some of them and considers women not only unclean but lowly, degrading creatures.

Apparently women are inherently unclean. If one touches them one should wash ones hands and faces!

Islam treats women as inferior in many other verses too. As we can see here.

So much for a peaceful religion. And the claims that Islam is not anti-women. Evidently, it is.

Scare Quotes of Note from Physicists

“I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness. Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulates consciousness.”- Max Planck

Consciousness is not fundamental.

Biological organisms possess consciousness, the faculty of awareness. As far as we know, only  biological organisms  possess consciousness.

Consciousness does not and cannot exist separately of organisms. Just as we cannot separate life from living organisms, neither can we separate consciousness from living organisms.

Since only organisms possess consciousness and organisms are matter, matter must exist as a prerequisite of consciousness. If there is no matter, there is nothing to possess a faculty of awareness.

Not only that, if there was no matter, there would be nothing for consciousness to be aware of. A faculty of awareness when there is nothing to be aware of is a contradiction and therefore does not represent reality.

Consciousness requires matter in order to exist in the first place.

“All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force which brings the particle of an atom to vibration and holds this most minute solar system of the atom together. We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent mind. This mind is the matrix of all matter.” ― Max Planck

All matter exists and originates from a force?

First of all, force is an abstract description of the action of entities. Before forces exist, entities must exist in order that they can interact and thus exert forces on one another.

You cannot have forces that exist without entities to act. No more than you can have dancing without dancers or driving without cars. Actions require entities to act. Actions can not exist divorced from entities to act.

We have no reason to think that matter originates and exists only by virtue of some force. Or that the force in question must be a result of some conscious and intelligent mind.

This is a thinly veiled attempt at primacy of consciousness.

It asserts that consciousness is primary to reality. In the words of Ayn Rand, the primacy of consciousness is “the notion that the universe has no independent existence, that it is the product of a consciousness”.

This is exactly what Planck is asserting! That somehow matter and the physical world would not exist if it were not for some form of consciousness that created it!

Planck was a member of the Lutheran Church. It is obvious that this requirement for intelligence is meant to suggest that matter requires the existence of some kind of god, preferably the Christian God.

Obviously this is not true. If the universe does not require consciousness to exist, then it certainly does not require intelligence to exist either.

“When Physicists speak of “beauty” in their theories, they really mean that their theory possesses at least two essential features: 1. A unifying symmetry 2. The ability to explain vast amounts of experimental data with the most economical mathematical expressions” – Michio Kaku

There is not necessarily anything wrong with a theory having a unifying symmetry.

In fact, this can lend a theory a kind of mathematical beauty.

But what about this ability to explain vast amounts of experimental data with the most economical mathematical expressions? Um, explain data with mathematical expressions?

No, mathematical expressions are not explanations. They are quantifications of relationships. We talked  about this in episode one of Scare Quotes of Note.

“The physical world is real.” That is supposed to be the fundamental hypothesis. What does “hypothesis” mean here? For me, a hypothesis is a statement, whose truth must be assumed for the moment, but whose meaning must be raised above all ambiguity. The above statement appears to me, however, to be, in itself, meaningless, as if one said: “The physical world is cock-a-doodle-do.” It appears to me that the “real” is an intrinsically empty, meaningless category (pigeon hole), whose monstrous importance lies only in the fact that I can do certain things in it and not certain others”  – Albert Einstein

How is it meaningless to assert that the physical world is real?

The physical world is axiomatically real. “The physical world” is equivalent to “the objects, the things that exist qua entity and which are not relationships or other abstractions”.

To say it is meaningless to assert that the physical world is real, is like saying it is meaningless to assert that entities exist!

Obviously it is not meaningless or arbitrary or empty. The fact that anyone can make these claims proves that some kind of physical world exists. As those making these claims are part of the physical world!

Einstein is applying some kind of Neo-Kantian philosophy here it seems. He is trying to argue that there is no sense trying to discuss reality. This is a clumsy attempt to do away with objective reality. And it cannot work.

“Whether you can observe a thing or not depends on the theory which you use. It is the theory which decides what can be observed.” – Albert Einstein

Theories do not determine what can be observed!

They are a description of reality, they do not determine how reality works nor do they create reality.

Whether or not we can observe something depends on its nature. It is not determined by the content of an abstract description of it.

Why did Einstein take this view? He took the view that we cannot really know reality as it is. However, physics has to start somewhere. It seems he took the view that it starts with your theories.

Which are not logical deductions based on observing the world and performing experiments. But that you pluck ideas out of the air and see which ones stick.

This is not how you do science or gain knowledge about anything. You have to start by studying reality, not plucking arbitrary ideas out of thin air!

 

 

Scare Quotes of Note – Episode One

Introduction

Today we are starting a new series where we take seven quotes from my database of irrational quotes, briefly examine what they mean and what is so terrible about each of the quotes.

Without any further ado, let us look at our first seven quotes. We have several quotes from the physicists Heisenberg and Schrodinger. As well as quotes from the philosopher David Hume and one from the Quran.

Scare Quotes of Note

“Quantum theory provides us with a striking illustration of the fact that we can fully understand a connection though we can only speak of it in images and parables.” — Werner Heisenberg

According to Heisenberg, quantum theory does not tell us of things as they are. The purpose of physics, to allow us to understand the nature of things as they are and to explain how the physical world works on a fundamental level.

What does he mean by images and parables? He means that we can construct mental pictures but those pictures do not describe things as they are. We can construct descriptions of things like atoms, but these descriptions are not true.

Like a parable, they tell a story, one that is not necessarily true. In this case we are just telling ourselves stories for the purposes of describing the quantum world.

That does not sound much like physics to me!

“Not only is the Universe stranger than we think, it is stranger than we can think.” — Werner Heisenberg

When he says that the universe is “stranger than we think” he is likely referring mostly to quantum mechanics. Which is certainly very strange and also very false.

“[S]tranger than we can think”? What does he mean by this? He means that not only is the world as strange as quantum mechanics claims but perhaps even stranger! Heisenberg did not believe that we could know reality. He thought we could know only what was exposed to our senses. Which according to him, was not really reality.

He also thought it was so strange, so illogical that it would always remain as an unknowable mystery.

No. Reality is certainly not this strange. Despite what quantum physicists assert to the contrary.

“We have no other notion of cause and effect, but that of certain objects, which have always conjoin’d together, and which in all past instances have been found inseparable.” — David Hume

Hume was an extreme skeptic. He was the sort of person who would question whether just because your car battery died and your car stopped, that there necessarily had to be any casual connection between these two events. No matter whether or not you could actually show that there was a causal connection.

There are many, many people like this today and many of them are getting this directly or indirectly from Hume and other philosophers.

According to Hume, just because your observe A leading to B, you cannot assume that causes B. Well, yes, you should not blindly assume that. It is true that just because A happens and then B happens, that you can assume that A causes B. Perhaps B occurring after A was simply a coincidence and B has no real relation to A. After all,correlation is not causation

However, that does not mean that you cannot show that in some cases A and B must be casually connected. It is simple to show that if you take the battery out of your car, that will cause it not to work anymore.

All you have to do is show the nature of a car engine and show the relationship between the nature of the engine and the battery. Then you can show that yes, removing the battery is casually connected to the car stopping.

Therefore you can in fact prove that A will always lead to B. You simply show that if A occurs, it is in the nature of the entities involved that B happens. It would contradict the nature of the entities involved if B did not happen! Therefore A and B are certainly casually connected.

We do not have to blindly assume a causal connection, we can show that in certain instances, such a connection must be necessity exist!

“I insist upon the view that ‘all is waves’.” — Erwin Schrodinger

How can all be waves? Everything is a wave?

Let us remind ourselves what a wave is. A wave is an abstract mathematical description of relationships. Things wave, but things are not waves.

Saying that matter is a wave is like saying that “an electron is the periodic motion of something”. What? How can an electron be periodic motion? An electron might move in a periodic manner, but an electron is not itself made up of motion!

A wave is something that matter does, not something that matter is.

So why on Earth should we insist that all is waves?

We discuss this issue in this episode of the podcast.

“String theory at its finest is, or should be, a new branch of geometry. …I, myself, believe rather strongly that the proper setting for string theory will prove to be a suitable elaboration of the geometrical ideas upon which Einstein based general relativity.” — Edward Witten

String theory is supposed to be a “unified theory of physics” which serves to unify quantum mechanics and relativity. It is supposed to provide a unified, fundamental and integrated theory of physics from which most, all or at least many other ideas in physics can be derived.

Such a theory should provide a physical explanation for the physical world by describing the nature of physical objects and their interactions. A geometrical theory certainly does not do this. Geometry describes mathematical relationships, it does not describe the fundamental nature of physical objects and their interactions.

While it is fine to use geometry in physics, the end goal of physics should not be to describe a geometrical theory. Mathematics is not the end goal of physics. Physicists have for more than one hundred years pretended as though it is. That does not make it so.

“The laws of physics and chemistry are statistical throughout.” — Erwin Schrodinger

Are they now? Let us ask ourselves what the proper place of statistics is in physics.

We know that there are some phenomena that we do not understand very well. We do not yet understand them well enough to be able to accurately predict how they work. Nor do we have mathematical equations that we can use to accurately predict their behavior.

But suppose we are able to construct a statistical model that gives us the probabilities for certain kinds of behaviors. We might not understand the phenomena very well nor be able to predict the outcome with much certainty, but we can at least use statistics to estimate he chances of certain outcomes.

A good example of this would be most of quantum mechanics. We know so little about the quantum world that we have to resort to probabilities and other statistical methods. We tell ourselves that is all we can do, but that nonsense is a story for another day.

The truth is that if we adopt rational epistemology and if we decide we can learn more about the quantum world, we will and we may not have to rely on statistical methods.

“I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them.” — Quran (8:12)

There are many people that like to pretend that the Quran does not advocate violence. They believe that anyone claiming that Islam is a violent ideology is simply misunderstanding the teachings of Islam.

So, then is this quote directly from the Quran not representative of Islam? It is from its most holy book, so one cannot dismiss it merely as the a misrepresentation of the religion.

Perhaps this passage is an anomaly and there are few passages like this? Nope! There are many other passages such as this which openly call for Muslims to violently murder non-believers. Such violence is a central aspect of the faith and the standard response demanded when in regards to infidels!

So much for Islam not being a religion of extreme violence. Such violence is an inextricable part of the faith!

You can find over 100 such verses of violence here.

Why Fundamentalists Dislike Science – Part Two

We continue to look at why the fundamentalists dislike science and dismiss it. You can find part one here.

The Dismissal of Science

Let us take the example of evolution. Which most fundamentalists seem desperate to pretend never happened.

They like to pretend that evolution is fantasy. But evolution has been proven beyond any reasonable doubt.

Almost no theory has as much evidence for it as does evolution. Every living being is evidence of evolution and contains pieces of evidence for evolution.

The body of evidence that evolution has happened and is still happening, is truly staggering. It includes evidence from studying the fossil record. Evidence of genetic similarities and commonalities between species. As well the fact that we have seen evolution happen.

And we know a lot about how it happened. We even know about t he transition from sea to land!

To say that evolution is unproven and “just a hypothesis” is about the most dishonest claim one could hope to make. Especially when it is very easy to understand most of the extremely abundant evidence that it definitely happened and continues to happen.

Observe the way they are frantic to dismiss almost all the evidence. Especially the most convincing evidence. Without which evolution might indeed seem a lot less credible and scientific.

Could it be that they do not understand all the evidence that exists? Perhaps they simply do not understand the science?

Sure, they often fail to understand huge portions of the evidence. Many of them refuse to do so. Yes, many of them have little or no understanding of what the science actually says. And show no interest in correcting their frequent mistakes. No matter how many times you clearly explain it to them!

Do not assume they are interested in understanding evolution. Or any science which clashes with the baseless assertions of their religion.

It is s not just evolution. We see fundamentalists constantly denying the facts of almost every branch of science known to man.

For instance, we see them trying to argue that the speed of light is not constant. Not for any scientific reason, but because the constant speed of light makes it obvious that the universe is far bigger than the Bible allows.

Religious fundamentalists are caught in a trap of their own dishonesty. Their faith demands that they blindly accept any assertion their religion makes as infallibly true. For no reason and against all reason.

Religious people have rejected reality and therefore science. It does not matter what science has to say. If science does not agree with their religion, then it must be rejected. For no reason and without any attempt to understand it.

There is a reason these people are always vastly ignorant. And frequently unable to form a coherent thought or argument. Knowledge and coherent, rational thought require a commitment to understanding reality. Not to blindly assuming whatever you want and to defending it against reason.

Does it Matter?

It matters that these people are spreading lies. But the problem is worse than them spreading lies.

It matters that they are not interested in reality. Or in teaching their children about it. Instead, they raise generation after generation of ignorant savages.

fundamentalists
Knowledge is forbidden!

It matters that they say that abortion is immoral. And that women should be prevented from having abortions. Thus, enslaving pregnant women to their unborn fetuses. Which have no rights as they are not alive in any meaningful sense.

It matters when they tell us that vaccinations are immoral. And then thousands of people needlessly die of easily preventable diseases.

It matters when the Church tells people that contraception is bad. Especially since they tell us abortion is also bad and we must accept however many children “God gives us” or choose not to have sex.

It matters when priests tell us that sexual desire is a sin and that sex is not for pleasure but for procreation. And then people feel guilty about their desires. And are unable to fully enjoy sex!

It matters when religions demand we submit to the will of kings, even brutal tyrants. Which gives kings a moral justification for their unjust rule. And to do as they please on the basis that they have divine blessing.

It matters when slave masters try to justify slavery by appealing to the Bible. Where God gives license to make everyone a slave. Except for his Chosen People.

It matters that fundamentalists want to force religious morality on our legal system. No matter how many lives it costs and no matter how much worse everyone’s lives are.

Yes, it matters that religions spread lies and misinformation that make everyone’s lives worse if taken seriously!

Why Fundamentalists Dislike Science – Part One

Here we are going to confine our discussion to the fundamentalism espoused by Christian fundamentalists. The essential arguments apply to all fundamentalist interpretations of all religions.

What do we mean by a “fundamentalist”? Google provides a good definition of this term:

“A person who believes in the strict, literal interpretation of scripture in a religion.”

So, in other words, a fundamentalist is someone who takes the claims of the official holy books of their religion literally. In this case, we are talking about people who take the word of the Bible (and other canonical texts) as literally true.

These people typically believe that the Bible describes real history, events and people. They believe that since the Bible says God made the universe that God made the universe.

The Old Testament describes how God flooded the world and Noah built an ark. So, they believe a global flood happened. And that Noah loaded a not at all seaworthy ark with an impossible array of animals. And so forth.

Not only do they believe in the alleged events of the Bible, they believe that everything else in the Bible is the inerrant and infallibly true Word of God. They believe that anything God says is literally true. Regardless of how much evidence proves that God is wrong.

We know the Old Testament was written by desert-dwelling savages around 2600 and 3000 years ago. They will never accept that. We know that the New Testament is the result of Roman political propaganda. But they will not accept that either.

The fable of the Flood was stolen from the Epic of Gilgamesh. Which stole its flood from the Epic of Atrahasis. So, their nonsense was not even original!

No, fundamentalists believe whatever the Bible tells them. Or, more often, whatever their religious leaders tell them the Bible says. Many of them have read little or none of the Bible!

The truth does not matter to these people. As it does not matter to any devoutly religious person. If it mattered to them, they would not be devoutly religious. They would not take everything they read in the Bible or are told by their religious leaders on faith. They would not have faith in anything at all!

Faith is the belief in something for no reason whatsoever and is defended against all reason. It is thus the most dishonest position it is possible to have. And as with any form of dishonesty, there are consequences for holding faith in anything.

Why? Because faith and reality are always in conflict. As is every claim is assumed for no reason and against all reason.

It is not simply that fundamentalists are wrong.

They are, they are wrong about almost everything of any real importance which pertains to their religion. As they must be since what they believe has no basis and blind assumptions are almost always wrong.

Once you have rejected reality and embraced faith, what does that leave you to believe? Whatever you want to believe in, as long as it is assumed blindly.

Most often this takes the form of whatever is emotionally satisfying or easy to understand. Or which provides moral guidance with no actual connection to how man should act in order to be happy and thrive.

Every culture seems to posit some kind of spiritual existence after death where the spirit can endure the death of the body. And every religion seems to offer some form of spiritual existence after bodily death usually by obeying the moral teachings of the religion and doing the bidding of the clergy.

Every religion tries to offer its followers moral teachings. This makes sense. We all need moral guidance in order to help choose which actions to take in life.

Once you have rejected reality, you must get that moral guidance from somewhere and religions are all happy to offer that. Often with plenty of threats or instructions regarding how to achieve spiritual immortality while doing so.

So it is that most devoutly religious people are heavily emotionally invested in their religion. They believe that their religion is the only means of moral guidance they have and more importantly, the only means by which they can achieve some kind of immortality.

Heaven
All religions elevate some kind of afterlife above reality.

It should come as little surprise that many of these people desperately cling to the teachings of their religion. Reality has little interest to them, unlike their religion. They are strongly incentivized to defend their religion against the facts of reality.

So, it should come as little surprise that since reality conflicts with religions, fundamentalists have little interest in reality.

If science touches on something opined on by their religion, science is always rejected in favour of what their religion tells them.

Fundamentalists are not just wrong; they are hostile to many areas of science. Including biology, evolution, astronomy, taxonomy and more.

What They Are Wrong About

Clearly, fundamentalism disagrees with reality. It asserts that God created the universe and then the Earth and then the Sun, then the Moon. And then man and other creatures. As well as asserting countless other miracles.

People of a more scientific mindset know that this is not the case. We know that such mythologies are not only arbitrary, but they are also blatantly false. Almost everything we know about the world, the stars and every living thing, contradicts every creation myth.

This is all arbitrary nonsense. And so, in many ways, it warrants no serious argument. But I think it is nonetheless interesting to list some of the countless things the Christian faith is wrong about and some of its many contradictions with reality.

Atheism, Theism and Agnosticism Defined

We define atheism in manner many of you will find controversial. But, we have given this a lot of thought and despite any objections I know many of you will have, these definitions are not only non-problematic but better than the standard definitions you might use.

That is not to say the standard definitions are wrong, just that these are better, at least in some ways. The only slight issue being that there are two kinds of agnostics as here defined and you may need to specify which kind of agnostic you are talking about. This will become clearer in a moment.

Yes, much of this content is taken directly from the subscription article “Atheism or Anti-religion”. If you have read the most current version of that, you should already get the general idea. This might give a few more details or clarity for those still not sure about what we are saying or for those not quite convinced.

Anyway, here goes…

Atheism: The firm conviction that gods or other such supernatural entities do not exist.

We know that our definition of atheism is more narrow than the standard definition. According to our definition an atheist does not simply lack belief.

Lots of people lack such beliefs. But, an atheist rejects the existence of such beings.

That means that everyone is one of three categories: They are convinced in the existence of gods and the like, making them a theist. They are firmly convinced that such beings do not exist, in which case they are an atheist. Or, they are uncertain and not committed to believing they exist nor that they do not exist. Making them an agnostic.

Let us define theism: The firm conviction that gods or other such supernatural entities do exist.

Agnosticism: The state of not being sure whether or not gods and such supernatural beings exist. An agnostic is not convinced either way. Some agnostics believe that no such knowledge is possible and this is agnostic  in the sense often used in technical philosophy.

If you are unsure, you are an agnostic. Even if you think they most likely do not exist, but are not sure. If you refuse to take any position and are unsure, you are an agnostic. If you say “Well, they probably don’t, but maybe” you are unsure and you uncommitted and an agnostic.

It is important to grasp that here agnosticism is used not just in the sense of “You can’t know” but “I don’t know” as well! This includes all people not convinced one way or another as to whether or not such beings exist.

This is not a redefinition of agnosticism, it is simply using it in the more broad and common sense of the word. While allowing a more narrow definition of agnosticism as specifically the “I cannot know kind”, as long as you specify that is the kind of agnosticism you are talking about. You might call this “philosophical” agnosticism, the conviction that such things are not knowable.

Why do we define atheism this way? Well, it is less vague. If atheism is merely “a lack of belief”, then this includes agnostics as well. They lack belief, just as do people who reject the divine. So, if someone is an atheist, do they reject the divine or just have a vague non-belief?

This way it is easier to distinguish the two. And you do not have to deal with a “hard” vs “soft” atheism distinction. Soft atheists usually being those who lack a belief, hard atheists being those who reject such beings.

And agnostics being those unsure as to whether they accept or reject such beings.

atheism

Atheism rejects all religions, not just these ones.

We think it is important to have a term which clearly and unambiguously refers to those who reject the divine. As opposed to not really clearly indicating this, at least not without further clarification.

Granted, it allows for two different kinds of agnosticism. Those who simply do not know and those who do not know and think that they cannot know. And you may have to specify what kind of agnostic you are talking about.

But, is that any worse than simply saying atheists lack belief? Since that includes agnostic. And those convinced such beings don’t exist. In the same category! If you are going to do that, why not just call them non-believers?

Some people believe these definitions do away with those simply lacking belief but not convinced gods do not exist. No, they are agnostics. Many or perhaps most so called “atheists” fit into this category.

Some might object to us including the “I don’t know, but maybe I could know” people in with the “I can’t know” people. But, why have yet another term for these people? We already have three terms, why multiply the number of terms to cover every highly specific kind of answer to “Do gods exist?”. I think having “yes”, “no” or “maybe” categories are enough. Why create a separate term for the “I do not know, but I could know” people?

No, I think simply stating which kind of agnosticism you mean is sufficient. Without having to coin/use yet another term.

Alright, that is that. As we will be discussing atheism, theism and agnosticism again on this blog, please keep these definitions in mind (although we will be repeating them as required).