Saturday, December 27, 2008

A hypothetical situation:

     Suppose someone had created a device that allowed him to control the actions of someone else. Suppose further that he used device to make someone else rob a bank. Finally, suppose the person who used that controller was the judge in the criminal case and sentenced his victim to life in a dungeon. Would that person be perfectly good? Is the person controlled against his will actually responsible for anything?

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

And now for an ad spoof...

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Sunday, December 21, 2008

A prediction

     I am making a prediction for what will in 2009 when Daniel's "prophecy" about the supernatural destruction of San Francisco fails to come to pass. I will put my prediction in the comments section to avoid claims of editing after the fact.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Well, Daniel is decreeing that I am not impartial because I don't simply take his side on everything.

     I suppose it's not really a surprise. He doesn't want a fair judge. He wants someone to give him a pass on everything. Failing that, he wants to say that anyone who says that something he did is wrong is just a "servant of Satan" looking for an excuse to accuse him. Well, the fact is that when he is right, I say so. When he is wrong, I say that as well. In the particular post he is wrong to say that Charles of England went to him. He went to Charles (by his own account) and taunted him about his dead wife. Now, he might have tried to argue that he was justified in going to Charles. That would be open to discussion. After all the man who threw the shoes at George Bush no doubt considered himself justified in going to Bush to do so. But he would be wrong to say that Bush went to him.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

No such thing as an ex-christian?

     Some people claim that there is no such thing as an ex-christian. That, of course, is baloney. A christian is someone who believes (or pretends to believe, depending on your point of view) that a person named Jesus was really the son of a god and came to "die for our sins." As it is possible to stop believing that, it is possible to be an ex-christian.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

It seems that several christians are embracing the dishonesty that is Sye.

     I am talking about lines like "How do you account for logic according to your worldview?" In an honest debate, one does not call for an accounting of things not in dispute. One also does not call for an accounting of things that are properly basic. It is not possible to form a worldview without some sort of logic. Logic is properly basic to any worldview.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

If the larger scientific community had accepted an unfalsifiable pseudoscience as a valid science, could it ever be corrected?

     I would like to point out that a falsifiable pseudoscience would eventually be corrected because someone would publish an experiment which falsified it. I am of the mind that large-scale evolution is such an unfalsifiable pseudoscience. But here I am interested in the larger question. I only bring up that particular belief because I am sure that, if I did not, someone would use it in an ad hominem attack.
     To the direct point, I think that such an error could remain uncorrected indefinitely. There is no perfect test to distinguish between science and pseudoscience. In fact, the determination is made by existing scientists. Going against the grain (unless you can prove it) will get you ignored, dismissed as a crackpot, shunned, or something similar. But one cannot prove that no possible observation will falsify an idea. Believers in an idea will insist that the idea is potentially falsifiable. Look at the followers of any pseudoscience. They will state that they have conducted tests and that differing results would have "falsified the theory." And they are sincere. They really believe it. But the significance of data are only determined after the fact. Negative data are dismissed as unimportant or explained away. Positive data are heralded as important confirmation. The followers of a pseudoscience genuinely cannot see that they have set it up to be unfalsifiable. So, if a pseudoscience was ever accepted, how could it be detected? Once it was in, how could it be rooted out?

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Something I don't understand

     A lot of christians act as if you should believe their particular interpretation of the bible as evidence "because it's true." These same christians will dismiss all other beliefs as mere legends. Quite frankly, I find nothing to suggest to me that the bible is evidence -- leave alone any religious groups interpretation of it. Seriously, there are only two ways someone could find their claims convincing. One is if he was ready to believe anything they said without question. The other is if he already subscribed to that particular interpretation. There is reason why christians are seen as calling on people to turn off their brains.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

What is the purpose?

     If a first person knows that a second person does not accept a particular text as a valid reference, why would the first person continue to quote that text? In principle, this could occur with any subject. In practice I only see it with christians quoting the bible. Now, I have come up with some possibilities.

     Too stupid to think of anything else to say. It is possible that someone might continue using the same failed tactic because he can't think of anything else. Such a person is not a useful advocate for any position.

     Can't really say what he'd like. This condition suggests an indirect warning. He is repeating what is already considered invalid to ensure a rejection. He is forced to create the illusion of advocating an abhorrent position.

     Puppet on a string. The first person isn't acting of his own power at all. Of course the same question can then be applied to the puppet-master.

     Seeking an emotional response. Such a person is being dishonest in any debate. In internet forums, he is considered a troll.

     Playing to a different audience. This would often be mixed with number 4. He is not really trying to convince the person to whom he is nominally speaking. Instead, he is putting on a show for people who agree with him.

     So, can anyone think of any other possibilities? Or have I got them all?

Friday, November 21, 2008

Suppose the bible was written by an evil spirit (repost)

     Suppose the bible was written by an evil spirit who loves suffering (our suffering, not his own) but who has no power over anyone who has not agreed to submit to him. On this idea, when we die, we become free spirits in a spiritual realm unless we have enslaved ourselves.
     It's amazing how much of what we see fits the notion. The biblical god's commands to slaughter outsiders certainly fits a being who loves suffering. A current desire for fresh victims also fits the notion well. Consider: Biblical followers tell you that their god is good. They also give varied excuses why your conscience is not a good measure when it says his actions are not.
     It is expected that such a wicked being would want to people to submit to him sight unseen. If we make a good / evil determination first, we are likely not to submit. What is particularly interesting is that it explains satanism as well. Satanism appears to be a fake opposition designed to send people running scared into the biblical spirit's clutches.


     The Jesus tale does not defeat the possiblity. There may have been a Jesus who was only a pawn in this game. Furthermore, some of the grand claims may well have come later.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

What do people mean when they an idea is ridiculous?

     Well, a good definition for the term would be an idea that would prevent anyone holding it from functioning in society. And, in this, I am not talking about ideas so shunned by society that one must feign disbelief in order to function. Perhaps a better definition would be an idea that one would confirm to be false in one's day-to-day operations. In this definition, the notion that mice eat cats would be ridiculous (for anyone with experience with the two animals.)
     In my observations, when people call an idea ridiculous, they normally do so unfairly. It is generally an idea that they wish to dismiss without thinking about it. Simply put, people don't like to consider worldviews other than their own.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Suppose you were travelling to another realm.

     In preparation for your travels, you need to select a land to make your home. There are representative from various possibilities seeking to persuade you to choose their land.
     Caelum is ruled by a king. This king is surrounded by many people who sing his praises at all times. The representatives of Caelum explain that their king is so good that it is unlawful to criticize the king's actions in any way or to give the slightest suggestion that he is less than perfect. It is because of his incredible sense of justice that he straps such people to devices of horrendous pain for eons. After all, the punishment must fit the worth of the one offended; and the king's worth was great, indeed.
     Regalia is also ruled by a king. But people people complain about some of his actions. No one is punished for making complaints. Instead, subjects have the ability to present a case before the king as to why an action should be changed. Sometimes, the king changes his policies based on the presentations.
     In Plurima, all policies are decided by straight majority vote. There are, of course, some unhappy people who lost a recent election in which the majority ruled that that group would have to surrender 3/4 of their wages to suit the comfort of said majority. But you can't please everyone; and the will of the people must be respected.
     Liberia also has elections to decide policies. However, there are constraints such that no policy may single out a group for harm. Sometimes it can take years before the validity of a policy can be determined, during which time it is placed on hold.
     So, what land would you make your home? What land would you most want to avoid? Are there other possibilities that I should have considered?

Saturday, November 15, 2008

I leave it to my readers to make their own decisions. I expect this to be deleted.

Dani' El said...

If you can return to a respectful conversation I would be glad to see it.
But to come to my blog and spew accusations and blasphemy is disrespectful.
I would never do the same on your blog or anywhere else.

Dani' El

November 15, 2008 5:18 PM

Pvblivs said...
     "But to come to my blog and spew accusations and blasphemy is disrespectful."
     Pot meet kettle. This blog consists largely of accusations against residents of California (e.g. "Evangelists driven out of Catro - San Francisco," "Sodomites terrorize a church," "Extreme wickedness in San Fransodom.") No, I was respectful and Daniel decided to start quoting bible verses starting with "but he answered him nothing." That is, of course, highly disrepectful. The blasphemy charge is, of course, complete nonsense. Blasphemy consists of "misuse" of the name of the hebrew god, consisting of four hebrew letters. I do not know this name. I probably couldn't pronounce it. And I don't have the means to type it. Simply put, I couldn't commit blasphemy if I wanted to.
     My analysis is sincere. I really believe that all the bible-verse quoting really was Daniel's human spirit doing what he could to warn against evil spirits that have trapped and constrained him.

November 15, 2008 5:56 PM


Dani' El said...
This started when you started making demands, commanding that I do this or that to satisfy you.
Even demanding that I stop quoting scripure on my own blog.

You then wrote-
"Certainly Jesus, if he was anything like the bible describes was a grand deceiver. But now I see that the biblical god is a cruel master indeed."

That's blasphemy and you are showing yourself to be a troll.

If you decide to change your ways I would be glad to see it, but until then I will be ignoring anything you write that is libelous or blashpemous.
If necessary I will start to moderate comments.

Is that your goal?

And Calif is my home and I am well within my rights to criticize her.
And I am sent by God to warn of judgment, I do not obey your commands.

November 15, 2008 6:10 PM

Pvblivs said...
     "Ah, not that is a testable claim. If you move a few mountains, it will surely make the headlines. I am also sure that you will impress quite a few non-christians with such a feat. On the other hand, if the headlines say nothing of that over the next few days, I will have to assume that your attempt to move mountains was a failure."
     Is that a demand? I would say no. It is a challenge. It's a way of saying "talk is cheap" in response to a previous claim that he had faith to move mountains.
     You will also not find a deman that he stop quoting the bible from me. The closest you will find is that I said that he need not do so any more as it could not accomplish anything more and a separate declaration that I would ignore any further bible passages.
     My criticism was of a double-standard, not of making accusations themselves. If I were going to criticize making accusations, I would have done so when the accusations started. It is when he turned around and said that I should not be making accusations even though he does so himself that I criticized the hypocrisy.
     Since my goal was asked, I shall state it. It is my goal (metaphorically) to hold up a large mirror so that the writer of the blog can see himself as he is.
     Now, some people who are paying attention may note that I have, in the past, defended Daniel against accusations that I thought were unjust. They may wonder if I regret doing that, given the repayment. I do not. I did that for the sake of integrity and for what is right. If appropriate, I would do it again. I always seek to do that which is right. But that means that no being can be above criticism, even when the blog writer calls such criticism "blasphemy."

November 15, 2008 6:41 PM

Christianity must be a trap.

     In a comment on his blog Daniel claimed that he had faith that can move mountains. Now, it is entirely unsurprising when christians pass this bit of fiction between themselves. It's something like a secret handshake. But his blog is (supposedly) directed at non-christians in an attempt to be convincing. Now, many non-christians dismiss extraordinary claims out of hand. I do not. I don't accept them without evidence either. What I do is examine claims and test them. Daniel's not stupid. He knows this.
     Making a bold claim like that and then retreating to bible verses to excuse not answering challenges is a very foolish way to try to convince people that your claims are true. It took me while, but I had an insight. He's not trying to convince people that his claims are true. The spirit of christianity forces him to maintain a pretense. He has been somehow trapped and is giving an indirect warning to any who might examine. I have to conclude that he unable to say directly what he would like.

Friday, November 14, 2008

"9 Then he [Herod] questioned with him [Jesus] in many words; but he answered him nothing."

     The above quote is a cop-out. If it is historically accurate, it suggests that Jesus was not who he pretended to be. If not, it was probably added as a cop-out. It makes for a standard excuse for someone trying to evade people calling his bluff. I have to say that anyone who pulls that stunt (evading challenges with that quote) automatically loses any credibility he may have had.

Let's see a show of hands.

     Who here has no false beliefs?

     Put your hands down! Everyone has some false beliefs. Now, what got me thinking on this was the fact that I saw a comment on someone's blog outlining (his description, at any rate) paranoid schizophrenia. But, if you eliminate all the "sometimes associated with" items, you are left with the rational response to a (possibly false) belief that a secretive group was trying to eliminate one's self. But, we know secretive groups exist and blend seamlessly in with society. Although unlikely, it is possible to be a target of a secret group. And that could even be the result of some unfortunate chance.
     There seems to be a trend to label as "crazy" anyone who holds disapproved beliefs. My own thought is that this is a symptom of people not wanting to hear dissent against their core beliefs. It is a way to discount alternate perspectives. While there really is such a thing as madness, it entails a worldview that is incoherent, not simply incorrect. It would be a set of beliefs that produce inconsistencies on a regular basis, leaving the individual unable to act.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

So, what happens when 2009 goes by and SF and LA still stand?

     There's one guy on Blogger (of whom I'm aware) who is predicting that San Francisco and Los Angeles will be destroyed supernaturally next year. Of course, I don't think it will happen. I have asked if he will admit he is a false prophet (according to his own faith, if it doesn't happen. Others have asked more complicated variants before I. He is very evasive. But I did get this out of him. He refuses to consider the possibility that his god lied to him. So what happens when the deadline approaches? If his prediction comes to pass, of course, he will feel vindicated. But if (much more likely) it does not, he may be cause for concern. Perhaps he will try to bring about the destruction himself. Perhaps he will be able to concede that he has been living a lie. Perhaps he will go someplace else and set a different time or fall back on "no one knows the day or hour." Or perhaps he will snap completely. I really don't know.

     Updated for error.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Political wish list

     Okay the elections are over; and happily McCain lost. With a little luck the Republican party will start considering the needs of the entire country rather than just the demands of its base.

      Now, for some things that I would like to see (but I'm not holding my breath.)

I would like to see Congress have to face a vote of confidence on a regular basis. I do not mean the current election system where people say "they should throw all of Congress out except for my Congressman." I would like to a nationwide vote on whether Congress is doing a good job, and if the vote is "no," removing everyone.

I would like to see a system that did not effectively lock into two parties (which I often think are in cahoots.) Let's face it, people vote for the two major parties to avoid having the election go to the other party. It is not safe to vote for a different preference. A different system that allowed one to indicate one's true preference without throwing the election to the worst choice would be better. I like the idea of a ranked system. Everyone ranks candidates in order of preference. The candidate with the most votes of lowest rank is discharged, then it repeats with the effective ranks of remaining candidates until only one is left.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

How do you know the biblical god is not a false god?

     I, of course, think the biblical god is a false god. Whether or not the biblical god is a real being, my conscience speaks against the actions of that being. And it makes sense to consider that the biblical god could be trying to trap people. It would certainly explain the idea of requiring faith before evidence.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

I have seen quite a few atheists telling christians to "get professional help."

     Personally, I would hope that we were beyond institutionalizing people who are not carbon copies of some "standard." Several of these "get professional help"s were directed at people who are harmless. I think that that is entirely inappropriate. It ulimately comes down to doing the same thing we find objectionable when religions do it. It is a means of suppressing "heresies."
     Now, there are christians I consider dangerous. Those would be the ones trying to enforce christianity by law. Making all non-christians into second-class citizens is very harmful indeed. Those people trying to harm others because they were born homosexual should be separated from society to limit their damage. But if they are harmless and simply hold unusual beliefs, I think we should leave them be. It shouldn't matter if they believe in some god, little green men from Mars, or the Easter Bunny.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

A thing about people who say not to "judge god."

     I do not understand them when they do that. Do they not realize that declaring him holy and just is no less judging him than calling him vile and depraved is? And the fact is that the actions described in the bible and attributed to or supposedly commanded by its god are evil. A common claim by christians is that "it is okay when he does it." First, I don't believe it; and furthermore, it would make it meaningless to call him good.
     I see many people worshipping an obvious evil, and putting blinkers on and calling it good. If anyone other than their "god" were to do or command the same things, they would denounce him as a heinous criminal. Well, I give no such special consideration. The christian god is unquestionably wicked. The only redeeming part to the stories is that it is likely that that is all they are -- stories. Were the christian god real, I would advocate locking him up somewhere where he could do no harm.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Possible pretender alert.

     A commenter on one the posts at Raytractors (not one of the main posters) recently said in regards to a video about someone who lets her religion dictate her votes, "exterminate them all." Now, every so often, a little alarm goes off suggesting that someone is posing as something he is not in order to create a bad image. This is one of those times. I can't actually know that the person is a fraud. But I believe that he is. I think that he is trying to create an undue stain upon atheists in general. Calls for genocide generally come from people with power over many others that want to eliminate competition. So, they generally come from priests or kings, both of which would be better served by having more people like the one in the video. It does not make sense for someone nonreligious to say something like that. But it does make sense for someone trying to create a bad image for the nonreligious to do so while pretending to be nonreligious.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

"Depart from me. I never knew you."

     According to christian dogma, those words are supposed to be heard by people who actually consider themselves christians. Overt non-christians would have no cause to claim that they had done anything in Jesus's name. I have noticed several christians that seem to take some sort of delight in imagining the horrors that await outsiders. These christians, when their spiel is not immediately embraced, will tell people that they are done with them and that they have already heard plenty of "god's word."
     Now, I do not believe the bible to be accurate and so I don't think that will happen. But people like that should be concerned. They, supposedly, do think that will happen. And the verse seems fitted to them. I'm not going to name any names. This is just a personal rant. I highly doubt that any of the people that fit the description I gave will read this. They will have dismissed me long ago.
     There is something else to consider. If, to my great surprise, the bible proves even approximately accurate, I will have a consolation. I have renounced the cruelty and torture as unjust. I do not endorse it. However, in such a situation, christian finding themselves thrust into that eternal torment will have endorsed it. The anguish of knowing that one declared just a torment that one thought one had escaped but instead has to endure is beyond my imagining. Those people may not know it, but they have far more reason than I do to want the bible to be false.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Repost of a comment to Ray's blog


     Does this Jesus of yours command you to lie? I'm serious. You started off admitting that Kaitlyn gave reasons. No matter how much you lie now, it is in the record that you know that people gave reasons and not excuses.
     There is no need for a direct answer. Whether you correct your blog to remove the lie will tell all. If you keep the change to "excuse" everyone will know that you worship a liar and a father of lies -- though I am sure that many will continue to play the game. I will also post this in a couple other conspicuous places in case you decide not to let this through.

I have noticed christian leaders talking about "the mark of the beast.."

     They even quote the passage from Revelation. They must be pretty smug if they don't expect their pigeons, uh, I mean followers to fail to notice the general abolition of slavery. With the current political climate, it would be possible to unite the world peaceably without enforcing the no-slave rule universally. (It probably wouldn't be possible to unite the world peaceably at all.) The passage was written by a person (not a god) who expected all this to take place within his lifetime. Back then, slavery was common. But, it is effectively a prophecy that slavery would continue in the developed world until the "end of days." As such, it fails.
     Incidentally, I say "in the developed world" because in any merger between developed and undeveloped lands, the rules of the developed land are what take hold. Of course, I am sure that all True Christians™ are praying for a return to slavery. For those who protest and say they do not want a return to slavery, it simply means that they are "false converts."

Overwhelming evidence?!

     The blogger at Debunking Atheists recently did a post entitled "Overwhelming Evidence!" attempting to say the bible must be accurate because it has not been tampered with in a few thousand years. In this effort, he only manages to convince those who already believe the bible to be accurate. The fact is that that standard is worthless.
     Let's leave aside, for the time being, the fact that some passages (like the "let he who is without sin" line) appear to be additions after the fact. Some passages are conpicuously absent from the earliest versions available. What is important to my position is that the bible was not written by historians. It was written by people (anonymous people) who had an interest in spreading their, uh, religion. It bears no credibility. The legends of the Greek and Roman gods have been likewise preserved. They are of no value as historical records. (They have value as historical artifacts. They help us understand earlier cultures.) Would we expect, three thousand years hence, the writings of Joseph Smith to be taken as "the word of god." He certainly claimed that they were.
     Ultimately, I recognize that the bible is an ancient book. It is an ancient book of legends. And I give it the same regard as any other ancient book of legends. The burden is still on the believer of those legends to demonstrate that it contains history rather than legends.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Wow! I thought someone would contradict me on my last post.

     So, complete agreement. I must have hit the nail on the head. I really expected that one of the christian readers would say they thought claims of persecution were different from my perception.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Okay, so I can't draw.

     This is my opinion of most christian claims of persecution. Any comments?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Something to consider

     This world could be a test to see who has the courage to stand up to an evil fiend even if the fiend is believed to be unbeatable. The actions attributed to the biblical god are rather plainly evil. A lot of people make excuses for him simply because of an ability to throw his weight around. Suppose this world is such a test. Who has the courage to stand on principle? And who cops out with claims like "there must be a good reason if he does it"?

Sunday, October 12, 2008

One person said he thought that christians attempt to use reasoning to convince themselves of their faith.

     I disagree. I think that they are simply trying to procure more victims... er... followers of the faith. A pretense of logic and reasoning seems to be the only tool at their disposal at the moment. I have little doubt that many of them would prefer swordpoint conversions. They will deny this; and may even be convinced of their denial. But the history is rather plain. Whenever christianity had the power to coerce people into the fold, that is what it did. Even now, we see fearmongering in telling people they will burn forever if they don't join up.
     I consider it quite possible that such christians really are possessed by evil spirits. It seems to fit. (No, I don't consider that a scientific assessment in any way shape or form.) There could be a world beyond what we see that is different from what christianity claims.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Ray deleted another one of my comments.

     I'm not really surprised, even though it didn't violate any of his stated rules. The comment exposed an inconvenient truth that might detract from his income.
     My comment was in response to Ray asking German Mike what would happen if "god" took him up on his request to have Ray show up at his door. Ray said he had important things to do. I pointed out that he is just not that important. And the only people who would seriously pray for Ray to show up are the ones that WORSHIP RAY.

     After I called Ray on it, the comment mysteriously appeared between other comments where it had not been before. I still think he is dishonest.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Worldviews can be interesting.

     One person seems to be claiming to have concluded that the bible is "the word of god." But he rejects the plain meaning of passages and goes with what "bible scholars" say they "really mean." He can't be trusting the bible if he can't decide for himself what it means. Historically, "bible scholars" have adjusted these meanings always avoiding having to admit that the bible contains errors. I find them completely untrustworthy. But there is also an obvious tear in the belief system. The belief that the bible is "the word of god" had to have been a premise. Seeking out scholars to smooth over passages only makes sense if one is trying to protect a belief.
     Another person claims that "everyone knows that god is real." First off, I think the biblical god is fake. More importantly, such beliefs are learned. And these beliefs are taugh by fiat. There has, to date, been no independently verified evidence in favor of the biblical god. But he is probably sincere in his belief that people have such ingrained "knowledge."

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

On the subject of gay marriage

     I have seen a lot of things from people who say they want to "protect marriage" by barring homosexual marriage. Seriously, I cannot make out what they perceive as a threat. Your wife is not going to leave you because two men in love can have their union recognized by the government. If your wife leaves you, it will be for other reasons.
     Now, I have no interest in protecting marriage at all. It is a religious institution. And the government should not be giving special privileges to married couples. The only reason gay marriage is an issue is that people want equal rights. (What a concept.)

Monday, September 29, 2008

What do people mean when they say they support freethought?

     Intuitively, I would think that meant that they accepted that people held their own beliefs without trying to coerce them into following some group. Perhaps they would try to understand the perspectives of other people to see how they came to different conclusions. (That would be without calling them stupid or shunning them.) However, this has not been my experience. In actual fact, advocates of "freethought" apply their own coercive techniques to make dissenters follow the crowd (in my own limited experience.) So what do they really mean? Is the claim only a collection of words that sound pretty? Are they expressing an ideal of non-coersion that they only apply to others? I am interested in learning the perspective.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Is abortion about the freedom not to reproduce?

     I have seen claims by abortion-rights advocates that abortion rights are necessary because women should have the right to decide not to reproduce. Now, I will certainly agree that women (as well as men) should have the right to decide not to reproduce. However, this does not mean that I endorse a means to escape the consequences of voluntary actions. For example, if someone buys a car, he should have the right to expect that car to work. But if he decides to use the engine for target practice and then it fails to work, he no longer has the right of expectation. I support the right of people to remain celibate. I support birth control whole-heartedly. I even support the "morning after pill" because of the possibility of rape.
     Once someone has voluntarily taken a chance on an event, he no longer has the right to be excused from the event. So (with the exception of interpreting the "morning after pill" as a type of abortion) abortion is unnecessary to the right to decide not to reproduce. The particular argument (and, unfortunately, it seems to be a common one) is a complete red herring. The question most fitting is that of what rights/protections the zygot/blastocyte/embryo/fetus should have at each stage of development. Few people seem to want to address that except by decree.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Several christians say...

     Several christians say that the influence of christian ideas on culture is proof of the "truth" of christianity, that christianity is being divinely preserved. To hold this idea, they refer to expressions and various cultural tidbits that can be traced back to a christian, even if the wording has since been changed.
     This raises an interesting issue. The old Greek beliefs are also preserved -- with less modification. Of course, we have the Olympics, which were a deliberate restoration. (Why did unbelievers restore the Greek tradition?) It requires little effort to find things named for the elements of the belief. Google any of the Greek gods. (Okay, I didn't do an exhaustive search. But come on, you can find a book publisher named Persephone.) The christian has actual followers; but I would venture that it is the one more likely to be forgotten someday.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

It seems Ray Comfort has banned "Christ Follower (No Longer)"

     Now, why would this be? Has he been abusive. It would not seem so. Has he engaged in foul language? If he has, I have missed it. No, Ray says it's because of the guy's handle. Maybe Ray thinks it contains a foul word or something. (I admit that first word is normally representative of the profane.)

Yeah, it's been a while.

     I will just make a few brief comments to some replies that I got. My analogy regarding the sun coming from the west is not flawed. It exactly the correct impression. When strong believers in evolution give a "potential falsifier," they give something that is impossible. They do not give something that one might expect in a hypothethical world in which evolution is false but we have our existing observations. They believe that it is impossible for evolution to be false and they pick an impossible observation. Now, one might consider my perception to be in error. But my analogy correctly states it.
     Yes, you have all told me that the authority figures have decided evolution is true. But that is about the extent of your showing me my idea is wrong. I have stated before what would convince me otherwise. No one has stepped up with such evidence. I have gotten "we say so," "scientists say so," "who do you think you are?" and "conspiracy theory." All of these are designed to distract from the idea of mine (which you insist is not only wrong, but stupid.) And none of these actually address it.
     No comments to this post. I am tired of the personal attacks and have no reason to believe anything else will be given. I can accept that people disagree with me. I am quite happy to read arguments against my position. I do not care for the personal attacks and distractions.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Comment I made on Ray's blog.


     We have seen faces form. We don't see the hand of any deity (behind the scenes, maybe?) and they do not form "from nothing." Even if a deity actually constructs faces, he does so from materials that are available. So, clearly, your confidence in your deity is so low that you have to give him a "head start."

     It doesn't violate any of his stated rules. But let's face it. His censorship is dishonest. Since I called him on an obvious cheat, he will have reason to delete it. Still, it's interesting to see just how much confidence he has in his god.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Conspiracy theory or "conspiracy theory"?

     Several people have branded my belief that large-scale evolution is a sacred belief a "conspiracy theory." I would like to point out that many of these same people have visited Ray's blog where people are claiming that the educational system is trying to brainwash student into atheism and evolution. How often has this been claimed to be a conspiracy theory? By my count, never. Simply put, it is a conspiracy theory and calling it such is not an argument against it. Saying "that's a conspiracy theory" would probably elicit a response like "that's because there's a conspiracy." Calling something a conspiracy theory when it is one is pointless to an argument. Conspiracies do happen. For example, we wouldn't need laws against corporate espionage unless corporate espionage (a type of conspiracy) occurred. Some go on for years before being exposed. Likely, some are never exposed.
     On the other hand, calling something a "conspiracy theory" when it is not may serve as a useful distraction in an argument. It can put the target off his guard and draw out an emotional response. It isn't a logical argument against an opponent's position, or even a pointing out of a fallacy in an opponent's position. It is only a distraction that can prevent clear thinking so that the opponent cannot defend his position.
     No, I don't believe that anyone who charges me with "conspiracy theory" is sincere. Simply put, if you really believed that I was engaged in conspiracy theory, you would not say so (at least, not during the course of the argument.) There is nothing that could be accomplished by doing so.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

And now for something completely different

     I decided to add an image to my profile. I thought it looked nice. As you may have guessed, it is a computer-generated image. To some, it may look specificly designed; but it isn't. It starts off from a single dot in the center and goes through 200 iterations in which one of two update rules is picked randomly (not with equal probability.) Actually, I take that back. It starts with a cluster of 7 dots in the center.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Well, now the nameless one says his question was about cytochrome-c test for evolution.

     Interestingly, I can't find that question. Of course my browser is acting up at the moment and cutting blog posts with a lot of comments. So, I decided to check google and see if it had anything to say about a cytochrome-c test for evolution. First off, I am suspicious of the 10^93 number. Oh, I am sure that Hubert Yockey has computed what he believes to be a real probability. But then, I believe the creationists are sincere when they trot out their "probabilities" too.
     The big problem that I have with the claimed tests in general is that they are of a "confirm or inconclusive" form. If the data they take as confirmation were not there, it would not be disconfirmation. The same appears (to me) to apply to this test. If cytochrome-c were not found or were vastly different between chimpanzees and us, I don't see how that would constitute negative data. I believe large-scale evolution is plausible (though I don't think testable) and I don't see how that would have changed if that outcome had been different.
     Something is a little more problematic for this particular test. Talkorigins reports that the cytochrome-c sequences in chimpanzees and humans are identical. Now, for the given probability to be meaningful, there can't be any selective pressures on those sequences. If there are selective pressures, then small-scale evolution (which is really a direct observation) will tend to lock them in and so the chances would not be so long. But if there aren't any such selective pressures, the sequences should have become different through mutation. We are talking millions of years and an imperfect replication process.
     This test looks like an anomoly even if large-scale evolution is true. I don't see it being taken seriously unless people are blind to problems in the testing. Under the large-scale evolution hypothesis, human-chimpanzee similarities in cytochrome-c should indeed be greater than human-yeast similarities. But an identical form should mean either that there was not a branching off point millions of years ago, or that a selective pressure favors that particular form (in which case, the stated probability is not valid.)

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Were scientists biased in favor of large-scale evolution 150 years ago?

     I was asked roughly this question by someone I don't think was interested in an answer so much as trying to get ammunition for his claim of "conspiracy theory." He shall be nameless here. The fact is that I am not sure. I do know this. Scientists had reached a point (and rightly so) where "godidit" was unsatisfying as an explanation. But they are human and humans don't like to say "I don't know." So was opportunity for such a bias, particularly since no acceptable alternatives existed. Even I refuse to accept "godidit" as an answer. If I am amazed at the intricate design work on a building, I am interested in knowing how it was accomplished. A source of "Acme Construction" does not answer my questions.
     Closer to the heart of the idea, I don't see that we can conduct an actual test. The only "thought experiments" I can come up with involve taking direct observations over millions or billions of years. The direct observations would be necessary so that a missing animal would really be negative data. The only approximation we have are fossil digs and missings fossils are excused by the rarity of fossilization.
     I have seen much of the positive data and the idea is certainly plausible. But I am a stickler. A scientific theory must be subject to falsification attempts. In any of the "tests," absence of positive data, would not be considered negative data. Consider, the recent discovery of the centromere/telomere patterning on human chromosome 2 is supportive and serves as a plausible explanation why we have one fewer chromosome pair than other primates. But, suppose there were no such find on any chromosome pair; would that be negative data? Of course not. If it would, then the many variations in chromosome counts of animals would also be negative data, and, indeed, catastrophic to the hypothesis. If there were no such find, an easy explanation would be that mutations had washed out the patterns. Alternatively, one might suggest that any relevant genes had been transferred to other chromosomes and that the resulting unneeded pair had, through successive generations, not been transmitted.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Judging a prophecy.

     There are many people who claim "fulfilled prophecies" to the credit of their religions. There needs to be a way to judge a prophecy. I offer some criteria.

1> It must be possible to confirm that the prophecy was written before the event.
2> The prophecy must not be vague or cover a wide range of possible events.
3> The prophecy must not be indefinitely postponeable. There must be a point (assuming the prophecy does not come to pass) when we can declare that it has failed.
4> The prophecy must be independently verifiable. No source that has as part of its agenda showing the prophet valid is useful.
5> The prophecy must not have been fulfilled by people who knew about the prophecy and had an interest in fulfilling it.
6> The prophecy must have been understood as a prophecy before fulfillment.
7> The prophecy must not be something that would be expected anyway. (E.g. it will rain this year.)

I am convinced that Ray does not believe what he is selling.

     He recently made a post saying "we cannot lose." Now, Ray's not that stupid. I am aware that there are people that disagree with me on this point. If Ray believed there might be a god (and even I acknowledge the possibility) then he would recognize that if there is a god and he is opposed to christianity, he (Ray) loses. An actual christian might have faith that he will not lose. But he would have to see how he can.
     It gets more interesting. If christianity is true (which I don't believe) Ray still loses. Think about it. Who are the people who say "look at the works we performed in your name"? They can't be atheists, skeptics, or adherents of other religions. Such people have done no works in his name. It's not likely to be former christians. It would be people, like Ray, who openly proclaimed Jesus, but knew they had other things in mind.
     In other news, some dogs were found barking.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

If I know it's pointless, I won't do it.

     No, I will not cry out to Jesus, all the while knowing it's "too little, too late." If it matters not anyway, then I should hope that in such a situation that I would engage in the last great act of defiance and correctly call the christian god a ruthless tyrant. If he is going to send me to hell anyway, I will not give him the satisfaction of pleading for mercy. Mind -- I think the claim is hogwash anyway. But if there is an evil god such as the one described in the bible, my knee will not bend, save by an external force.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

"You just don't understand."

     Have you ever noticed that many religious believers -- when faced with something other than unquestioning belief -- will tell you that you "don't understand" what they are saying? They act as if they are making a claim as obvious as DVODVOQVESVNTQVATTVOR. They will not accept a skeptic's judgement of "not established," let alone an outright disbelief. Critical thinking is something they shun.
     Well, here's news for such people. Disagreeing with you does not imply a lack of understanding. Neither does agreeing with you mean someone does understand. If you trot this saying out as soon as someone questions you, your belief is not rational. It is not based on anything observable. It doesn't matter if you later turn out to be right. Hey, it could happen. Jesus could come down out of the clouds tomorrow. My wager, however, would be that he won't. I understand what you are saying. But I am not buying what you are selling.

Monday, August 11, 2008

In what do you put your trust?

     In what do you put your trust? What do you trust to meet your needs? Do you trust things of this world to put a roof over your head, clothes on your back, and food in your belly? Or do you trust in some god? I, obviously, trust in things of this world. I can see them; and they do keep a roof over my head, clothes on my back, and food in my belly. If you keep possesions, if you set aside funds for a rainy day, you are not serving Jesus. So, why pretend?

Saturday, August 09, 2008

"What if you're wrong?"

     Christians like to invoke Pascal's Wager and say that if they are right and their god exists they have won everything and that if nonthing exists beyond this world they have lost nothing. In essence they ask non-christians "what if you're wrong?" In my own case, I will at least know that I refused to serve an evil being. But they are applying a false dichotomy. It is not necessarily the case that one or the other of those two considerations is true.
     What if, after this life, we are judged by a being other than the christian god? What if the christian god is considered such a dangerous monster that all his followers are exiled -- for the well-being of the general spiritual population? What consolation do you have if you find that you lost such a bet that you thought you could not lose? I don't see how you could object that that would be unfair treatment. After all, you openly assert that you "deserve" hell.

Friday, August 08, 2008

The christian concept of hell:

     I would like to talk about the christian concept of hell. First, it should be noted that there is no single christian idea of hell. If you ask ten christians you likely get twelve different answers.
     The concept of hell is important because it is the second most preferred method to turn people into christians. (The most preferred method is, of course, to raise their children into christianity, not allowing them awareness of the outside until they are completely shackled to it.) Now, the concepts can generally be divided into two groups, a simple separation from the christian god or a setting in which the god or some demons or whatever are engaging in torture. The considerations for each of the possibilities are different. I shall address them separately.
     If hell is simply a separation from the christian god, I can find no fault with it. But in such a case, I have no cause for alarm. Did you know that I have been separated from the president of the United States and from queen Elizabeth of England for my entire life. It hardly bothers me any more.
     On the other hand, if there are active tortures, regardless of who is doing the direct torturing, any god (or any other being, for that matter) who would send people there for all time is wicked. Does he delight in suffering? It matters little when people say it was only meant for Satan and his angels. The question is still the same. Does this god delight in suffering? If he does, he is a wicked monster and not worthy of worship.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

How to be a christian leader

     This is based on my own observations of Ray Comfort.
     Misrepresent the beliefs of non-christians (preferably with something completely ridiculous -- like expecting a monkey to give birth to a cat.) Explain to your followers that the bible is trustworthy because it says so right there in the bible and they know the bible is trustworthy. Take snippets of what non-christians say to make it look like they hold a position that they do not -- some scientists are so verbose that whole paragraphs could be lifted out of context. When outsiders correctly point out the strawmen, circular reasoning, and quote mining, respectively, insist that that's what they do when presented with "credible evidence for god."
     Remember your target. You are not trying to convince outsiders. In fact, if they think critically at all, that would be impossible. You are trying to make outsiders look unreasonably stubborn to your followers.
     Use claims like "creation proves a creator." Never admit that the claim that the world is a creation is in dispute.
     When an outsider points out an obvious lie, ignore it. Do not even acknowledge he said anything. Your followers will quickly forget.
     Claim that people who committed attrocities were not True Christians™. Keep your definition of christian sufficiently vague that you can always exclude someone at convenience.
     Tell your followers that they have everything to gain and nothing to lose by believing. Never acknowledge the possibility of a judge other than the christian god. If someone professes deism, pretend that is an endorsement of christianity.
     Tell your followers that you need money for your ministry. The donation should flow. Never mention the mansion or the Rolls Royce. [Editor's note: I am speculating on the actual expenses.]

Monday, August 04, 2008

So, anyone want to try to defend hell as just?

     Some ground rules: I think that the god described in the bible is cruel, spiteful, malevolent, and unjust. Claiming that he said that hell is just will completely unpersuasive here. (I also consider the bible to be fictional, thankfully; but that is another matter.) I can picture wicked god constructing a sham "law" to brand everyone as "guilty" as an excuse to send people unjustly to a hell on his whim. If you wish to defend hell as just, you will need to provide evidence that does not fit that.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Why the threat of hell?

     I often see christians claim that their god wants voluntary love and worship. They correctly assert that forced love is not real. But then, why the threat of hell. If you worship this being because of a threat of eternal torment if you don't, it is forced worship and so, not real. In an apparent attempt to get around this difficulty, christians will point out that human societies have and enforce laws. This, of course, destroys the initial claim. In order to keep society running smoothly, I desire that people not steal. It makes little difference to me whether they refrain from theft because theft is wrong or because they want to stay out of prison. The important thing is that they refrain from theft.
     There is something intrinsicly not right about the christian concept of god. If he simply has this great desire that we fawn all over him, he should just show up -- and in a manner that is unmistakeable. That shouldn't be too hard for a supposedly omnipotent being, should it? The claim that he "showed up as Jesus" does not fit the criterion. Jesus (even assuming the stories are true) looked very much like a normal human -- i.e. not a god. Showing up in disguise so that people will think it's a fake doesn't count. On the other hand, if this god wants voluntary worship, he should remove the threat of hell. All it is is an ultimatum; and ultimata are not conducive to voluntary worship.
     There are a few possibilities I see regarding the state of affairs of christian worship. First, it could be a complete fiction. There might not be any god corresponding to the bible. Second, there could be a god that actively desires to send people to hell but has to convince some superior being that he gave people a chance. This would account for the fact that he seems to go to great lengths to make the message look false. Perhaps he wants people to reject it. Lastly, the god in question may be limited. Perhaps he simply has no power over those who do not give their lives to him. In such a case, hell is an empty threat, as he has no such power. He could be using a fear tactic to prevent people from thinking clearly and to ensare them.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

I saw another letter to the editor by an abortion-rights advocate.

     Why is it that they always seem to avoid the word "abortion" and claim that it is only about a woman "controlling her own body"? It seems highly dishonest to me. (I grant that it is possible that the paper simply doesn't publish the honest ones.) At issue is another living being. Now, perhaps they don't think this being deserves any protection and that killing this being on a whim should be considered okay. I afford no protections to roaches. When I find a roach, I make it a dead roach. But this brings me to my point. I have no need to play games like calling it "controlling my own shoe" or saying that roaches are only "potential life." There is just something in the way I see the case for abortion rights presented that seems to suggest that the advocates don't really believe it's okay. It looks like they feel a need to conceal something, even from themselves.
     I don't really want to single out abortion-rights advocates. I'm sure that abortion-rights opponents are just as capable of dishonesty. But the only case I see presented (other than my own) comes from people quoting their holy book. I have every confidence that there are non-theists who are also opposed to abortion. But somehow, they aren't heard.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Ray is lying again. In other news, some dogs were found barking.

     This time he states that the quotes he has in his banner were "in context." People have pointed the actual context of the quotes and the meaning is different from Ray's representation. Of course, his followers will never question him. That man is so dishonest, I would expect even John Hagee to shun him to avoid tarnishing his reputation.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Sorry, Benjamin.

     I'm terribly sorry Benjamin the Sower. But to get the five points you would need to post your answer on my blog, not Ray's. Okay, let's recap. The unwarranted assumption is that Ray is telling the truth. Ray has certainly heard about hackers (not the original definition I prefer) in the news. Some systems tell you when there have been unsuccessful attempts to access your account. Blogger is not one of them (unless Ray is talking about some other account I don't know about.) I know this because I sometimes get my passwords mixed up and enter the password for the wrong thing.
     Now, I don't know for certain that Ray is lying. He may be talking about an attempt to break into some other account that does notify him. But there is no way to verify his claims. And I just don't trust him.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Challenge time!

     There is an unwarranted assumption being made over at The Raytractors under the post "Poor Martyr". Can anyone guess what that assumption is? This is an easy one; so it's only worth 5 points.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Does "Patrick" exist?

     On his blog, Ray Comfort talks about an alleged atheist named Patrick who threatened to sue over his nonsensical "National Atheist Day" bumper stickers. Ray claims that 40 atheists contacted Patrick, telling him to drop the suit. Really? How? Seriously, if there was someone threatening a lawsuit, there was no information to let anyone know whom to contact. That sort of story is only fitting where Tattoo says, "de plane, boss, de plane." (I do not mean this to be derogatory to any potentially sensitive group. That only describes the character.)

Monday, July 28, 2008

Interesting discussion over at the Raytractors

     There is an interesting discussion over at The Raytractors. They are talking about Ray quote-mining Anthony Flew. This, of course, comes as no surprise. Quote-mining seems to be one of Ray's limited talents.
     One of the people said that he thought that Ray didn't care that Flew wasn't referring to the biblical god because Ray believes that belief in any god will lead to the biblical god. I disagree. I have come to the conclusion that Ray is not interested in the biblical god and has no real concern for "spreading the word." (He's spreading something, all right.) Ray worships (shh, don't tell anyone now) money. His followers will eat this stuff up and send him cash. He knows this. The relative scarcity of dissenting comments is probably hurting his income.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Well it looks like the fundie christian posing as an atheist...

     Well, it looks like the fundie christian posing as an atheist has blocked me so that I cannot respond to his accusation. To add insult to injury, he put up a video claiming that the accounts he accused would be able to defend themselves. BALONEY!! The lying sack of garbage is just trying to create an image around him. It wouldn't surprise me if the guy he accused me of being a "sock puppet" for was one of his own accounts. I'm not going to give his ID because 1> I have no desire to give such a low-life, lying, manipulative scumbag any publicity, and 2> I'm sure there are thousands more just like him. It is unlikely that anyone reading this will run into the specific individual; but there is a decent chance that someone here will run into a clone.

Yes, I am PvblivsAelivs on YouTube:

     This post is as a verification. Someone accused me of being a sock puppet for "AtheistRCult" or some such on YouTube. I do not appreciate the accusation. Yes, my account on YouTube is new. In fact, I only set it up to post comments. I have no intention of making any videos.

Some people seem to be unsure of the proper way to handle sacred cows.

     Personally, I prefer quick removal of the head, chopping into nice thick slices, slather in barbecue sauce and roast for about half an hour. If anyone else has different recommendations, I would like to hear them.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

I am reposting a comment here.

     The original comes from Debunking Atheists. I am reposting here in case the administrator of the blog decides it was a Ctrl-Ins/Shift-Ins job.

If I showed you evidence that would that prove God to you would your presuppositions prevent a belief again?

There is plenty of evidence for knowing God. Evidence of impossible things that are in the Bible, such as, eye witnesses with dedication to truth, 40 people penned a cohesive message of salvation over 1600 year period, etc.

The Bible is not a science book, yet it is scientifically accurate. There is even scientific truths in the Bible that would be impossible to know back when it was written a brief list of Atoms (Hebrews 11:3, written 2000 years ago), Blood is the source of life and health (Leviticus 17:11), Ocean floor contains deep valleys and mountains (2 Samuel 22:16; Jonah 2:6), round earth (Isaiah 40:22) , Second Law of Thermodynamics the Law of Increasing Entropy (Isaiah 51:6; Psalm 102:25,26; and Hebrews 1:11), Each star is different (1 Corinthians 15:41), Light moves (Job 38:19,20),Winds blow in cyclones (Ecclesiastes 1:6), Ocean contains springs (Job 38:16).

Job 38:35 written 3,500 years ago said that light can be sent, and then manifest itself in speech but did you know that radio waves move at the speed of light? This is why you can have instantaneous wireless communication with someone on the other side of the earth. Science didn't discover this until 1864 when "the British scientist James Clerk Maxwell suggested that electricity and light waves were two forms of the same thing" (Modern Century Illustrated Encyclopedia, Vol. 12), Dinosaurs (Job 40:15-24), Why was circumcision to be carried out on the eighth day? (Genesis 17:12) Medical science has discovered that the eighth day is the only day in the entire life of the newborn that the blood clotting element prothrombin is at the highest levels.(source)

On and on, a handful more things that can be pointed out but you get the point.

My point is that man doesn't/hasn't always known the truth that's in the Bible. Look Doctors/scientists used to bleed people (bloodletting) just 140 years ago, some even think that is how George Washington died. Over 3000 years ago in Leviticus 17:14 it has always said that blood is life.

Are all of these points made acceptable to you, is another question. Obviously, the evidence presented so far doesn't allow atheists to believe so why should this be any different. I am sure your presuppositions are still in place.


     Hebrews is talking about an unseen spiritual realm. Indeed, atoms are not invisible.
     Blood, while needed to keep us alive, is not the source of life. If it were, tranfusions should be able to raise the dead. Blood only helps to keep life from slipping away. Similarly with air.
     Jonah 2:6-7 seems to be talking about the abyss as the end of life or the afterlife. The phrase "the roots of mountains" (New American Bible) seems to suggest that the people thought mountains were distinct forms that had roots under the earth. My reading of 2 Samuel speaks of "wellsprings of the sea" and "foundations of the earth" (both fictitious) but no valleys or mountains.
     My translation doesn't even render it "circle" of the earth. I presume yours does. In any event, it would still be referring to a flat disk.
     Your references to things wearing down was not unknown at the time. People observes that things wore down.
     "One differs from another in brightness" (New American Bible) The people could see that. (Now if it had said that they were really balls of gas -- but I digress.)
     Job 38:19, 20 is claiming that light and darkness are beings with dwelling places. That would be a scientific falsehood.
     Winds blowing in cyclones were not unknown at the time. (I'm not even going to look up that biblical text. It was something known to the people the way you stated it.)
     My copy only talks about "sources" of the sea. People could guess that there would be some source.
     Job38:35 talks about lightning (not light) and how only the biblical god can control it.
     Job 40:15-24 talks about a "behemoth." It has only recently been re-interpreted to be talking of a dinosaur. Further, the wording suggests that it should be an animal with which the people were familiar, which rules out dinosaurs.
     The choice of the eighth day was likely based on trial and error and then codified in their sacred book.
     Yes, I'm sure you could on with things equally impressive. Your "evidence" is mostly a re-interpretation of ancient texts to fit modern knowledge. If someone did that with any other religious book, I'm sure you would cry foul.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Note to readers:

     If you have a reply to one of posts, and you want me to see that reply, it would be a good idea to comment directly on the post. My comments are open. I say this because I have actually found replies addressed to me on another blog buried within 50 to 100 comments. There may be others I did not find. It is not hard to post on my blog and your preferred blog.
     If, on the other hand, you are not speaking directly to me, but only venting about my post, you can do that how you like. Although if you are simply talking to your fellows about one of my posts, it's probably a good idea not to begin the post with "Pvblivs:"

Hitler was a christian, not an atheist.

     I bring this not to condemn christianity for the actions of a madman. However, I have seen quite a few people trying to lay Nazi Germany's actions at the foot of atheism. There are varying degrees to this. Some say that rejecting christianity left them open to perversion. Some are trying to say that that is the "true face" of atheism.
     I don't whether these people are just unaware of the reality or if they are "lying for Jesus." There is probably a bit of both. Hitler was a christian. In his warped, twisted little mind, he thought what he was doing was for Jesus. Now, I'm sure that a lot of people will tell me that "most christians aren't like that." I quite agree. Hitler was a madman and not representative of anything but Hitler. (He was a charismatic madman. That is always a dangerous combination.) That is why I don't bring him up in my objections to christianity. (I consider the Inquisition and the "witch burnings" to be more representative.) However, I want to set facts straight.
     I am also not interested in claims that he was not a True Christian™. That is a cop-out given as "answer" to that which is inconvenient to christianity. He was as "true" as any other christian.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

My thoughts to Ethan's post on "Where did the atheists go?"

     I saw a post by Ethan on the thread Potential Law Suit timestamped 6:49 pm on 23 Jul on "Atheist Central" "Where did the atheists go?" I thought I would supply my own thoughts on it.

     (knock on door)

     Pvblivs: (opens door a crack with latch) Yes.

     Christian: I see that you're taking a nap on train tracks. Aren't you worried that a train might come?

     Pvblivs: What are you talking about? I'm taking a nap inside my own home. There are no train tracks here.

     Christian: So how do you explain the tracks?

     Pvblivs: I told you. There aren't any here. Railroads do not run tracks through private residences. Are you crazy or something?

     Christian: I'm really concerned for you. Won't you at least consider your situation? Soon a massive train is going to come this way and I don't want to see your head chopped off. It's crazy to stay where you are.

     Pvblivs: I have lived here for several years. I can assure you that trains do not run through my home. Right now, I only see one threat and that's the demented person claiming a train is coming.

What?! NO takers?

     Christians are always big on saying how their god is good, holy, just, and righteous. I gave them an opportunity to explain just what they mean when they say their god is good. I have seen the biblical accounts. The terms "good," "holy," "just," and "righteous" are not what I would use to describe such a being. I know I have some christians reading. They insisted that Sye was not a troll. Do they really believe in and worship an evil god? Is that why they are afraid to tell me what they mean when they say their god is good? That's what it looks like from here.

Monday, July 21, 2008

A question for christians

     For any christians that may be reading this blog: What do you mean when you say your god is good? I am being quite serious here. Are you applying a standard of goodness that you think your god meets? Or are you just mouthing pretty words? In order for it to be meaningful to call a being good, it must also be meaningful to call the being wicked. If you have instant cop-outs like "it's not a sin when he does it," or "his ways are not our ways," you don't mean anything when you say he is good.

The results are in.

     The readers of my blog think Sye Tenb is a troll. (This is obviously not a scientific survey.) I was surprised. I got more responses than I expected (about 21 more.) Strangely, there were no "don't know"s. The final tally: 24 thought he was a troll. 2 thought he was not. And no one was undecided.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Ray has a problem with honesty.

     Ray Comfort posted a quote, supposedly from Plato. After Discomforting Ignorance asked for a source, he edited the post to a Newton quote. Of course, it is possible that his motivation was the fact that some critics were pointing out Plato's actual views and how they didn't fit the image Ray wanted to portray. What is really funny is the fact that the http address of the post testifies to Ray's duplicity. I wonder if Ray even noticed. Maybe he is relying on his fans not to notice.

Ray Comfort fails again. (I'm detecting a pattern, here)

     Today, he is trying to use the Second Law of Thermodynamics to state that the universe cannot always have existed. "If a closed system is not in the equilibrium configuration, the most probable consequence is that the entropy of the system will increase monotonically in successive instants of time" Princeton Guide to Advanced Physics [Emphasis mine]
     The equations of motion (as they are understood) are time-reversible. Entropy is a statistical phenomenon. When "entropy increases" it simply means the number of possible configurations that correspond to the observed state is increasing. There are simply more disordered states than ordered ones. A common illustration of the principle is the shuffling of a deck of cards. If you shuffle a deck of cards, it is highly unlikely that they will come out Ace of hearts, 2 of hearts, 3 of hearts, ... and so one through diamonds, spades and clubs. However, the cards are just as likely to come out in that configuration as they are to come out in any other configuration specified in advance.
     Now, if you shuffle decks of cards endlessly, there will be occassions that full order is the result. Simlarly, if the physical universe is eternal in some sense, then "pockets" of low entropy are expected to occur.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

... Or are we?

     One movie I rather liked was "Interstate 60." If you can find it, you should watch it. Here's one part I really liked.
     "Just remember, no matter how hot <stuff> you think you are, it's always going to be more of the same -- just another high school."
     "High school?"
     "<Heck> yeah! Ev'rthin' in life is high school! They just change the names. Take this place. Instead of a principal, you got a boss. Instead of teachers, supervisers. Instead of assignments, they give us work orders. And... if you <mess> up those work orders, you get fired, instead of expelled. Yep, the names are different. But it is the exact same <stuff>. High school!"
     Well, uncritical acceptance, hasn't really changed much either. Instead of preachers, we have scientists. Instead of scriptures, we have journals. And if you question those journals, you get labeled a nutcase, intead of a servant of Satan. Most people have never seen quarks. But we're supposed to believe in them. The scientists said that they're there. For the most part, people can't have come to the conclusion that these things are correct through critical examination. Only the people who work with it directly can possibly come to it as a conclusion. Everyone else is expected to accept it uncritically.
     While I currently see a lot of lip-service paid to skepticism, I also see that it is not appreciated when applied to certain ideas.

Good thing we're past this

     You should believe whatever the preachers say. They have extensive training and know what they are talking about. The authority found in the scriptures is completely trustworthy. You should never listen to people who dare to criticize them or question them in any way. They are servants of Satan and will only lead you away from truth.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Who was it -- Revealed

     The comment to which I refered appeared appeared under An interesting thought on 13 Jul at 8:54pm on this blog. My prediction was that, without knowing the subject matter at hand, people would guess that it was a christian. It was actually Clostridiophile responding to me asking what one would expect to find if evolution was held as a sacred belief. The actual result was that Clostridiophile recognized his own comment and no one else hazarded a guess.
     The reason I expected people to guess it was a christian is that it fits the christian methodology so well. Anything of the order "if what you are saying is true we should find X" is met with "Nothing will convince you!"

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

A complete list of the evils of the biblical god?

     On Ray Comfort's blog, one poster told me to provide a comprehensive list of everything I consider evil about the biblical god. Naturally, I declined the invitation to keep me busy. I see no need to attempt to compile an exhaustive list. In fact, I think it suffices to name one BIG evil act. (Well, alleged act) For that, I cite the flood. Under the biblical assumption that it was a willful action it was unspeakably evil.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Christians: Stated vs. actual beliefs

     On YouTube a person who goes by VenomfangX is allegedly closing his account. He states that it is because he has gotten death threats aimed at himself and his family. It should go without saying that I do not condone death threats, particularly in an effort to silence someone. Still, I would like make clear that that is my stance.
     Now, to my actual point: Christians claim that they will go to a better place when they die. Anyone who actually believes that should be completely unafraid of death threats. It would, I don't know, like threatening me with an all-expenses-paid vacation in a tropical paradise. Only if you believe there is nothing after death or that there is something bad after death should you be afraid.
     As a side note, I think he made up the "death threats" and was, in fact, tired of being ridiculed. He named thunderf00t as encouraging the threats; but I have seen thunderf00t's videos and he encourages only ridicule.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Fairness and my poll

     I have put up a poll asking if Sye Tenb is a troll. One christian has stated that she thinks it is unfair because she considers it unlikely that christians will stop by to cast their vote.
     It is certainly true that this is a poll of readers of my blog -- not of the population at large. I still consider it more fair than Sye's own internal survey of those who agree in advance that he is not a troll. (I still expect Sye will respond. He has visited this blog before.)

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Who was it?

     Previously, I asked someone (actually several someones; but that's another matter) what would true if he and his group were shielding (that would be consciously or unconsciously even though I did not make that explicit) a belief they mutually held. I received a comment telling me that I was the one with the faith and asserting "nothing will convince you." This person has also accused me of ignoring "positive evidence." Do these tactics sound familiar? They should. We hear them all the time. I ask that anyone who knows to which comment I refer not reveal it. I want to see how effectively people know the posters and see who, if anyone, can predict who would say that.
     I have taken down the information so that I can reveal the answer and give a reference at an appropriate time. Now, trying to find the comment is cheating. You have to go by your own familiarity.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

It's sad to see creativity misused.

     Don't get me wrong. Ray Comfort is creative. Well, either that or he has someone behind the scenes that provides creativity. The trait is not shared by his followers who can do little more than say "Great post, Ray!!!!!!!!" I would love to be able to come up with imaginitive analogies like he uses. But it is sad to watch him use this creativity to promote a lie. I am thouroughly convinced that he knows it's a lie. (His followers may be deceived.)
     We have far too little creativity in this world. I have heard that Einstein thought that imagination was more important than knowledge. I'm not sure I would agree with that. But it is important; and it is certainly scarcer than knowledge. I want to see what little creativity we have used to help mankind, not thrust it back into another Dark Ages.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Sometimes, it is better to sit quietly and be thought a fool...

     This next excerpt comes from someone on Ray's blog named Susan.

     "As a matter of fact, if the atheist is right and there is no God why does it matter to them that we believe in our Creator? Why do they hate, so much, someone they don't believe exists? Obviously with all the time they spend on this blog talking about Him and trying to discredit His word they must really have a huge problem with Him and us (His followers, especially Ray.) I don't understand it. Maybe they are trying to get rid of their conscience and the guilt that they feel deep down inside. Most of them seem to find real joy in trying to prove Ray wrong."

     My own thoughts are that the fact that they believe in a creator, in itself, does not matter to me. However, the fact that they wish to impose their beliefs, particularly given the history of the christian church, disturbs me greatly. I have no desire to see a return to executions for heresy. So any time that "fox" attempt to stick its nose into my tent, I will beat it off. And, no, I don't buy the line that those were "not true christians." Such a line is entirely in keeping with the history.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Some people are dedicated to making Ray look stupid

     I am talking about Ray Comfort. His blog is here. I don't spend a lot of effort trying to make him look stupid for a rather simple reason. He doesn't seem to need any help. I mean: just look at the nonsense he spouts on his blog. It's not uncommon for people to go around with "blind spots" in their worldviews. Whole societies have done this. They indoctrinate their children with their "sacred beliefs" and essentially teach them not to question those beliefs. This is the danger that people like Ray present.
     A lot of people state that the early church held back scientific advances for the purpose of maintaining its power. That might have played a part. But even revolutions in power structure continued such suppression. The church leaders seem to have been afraid for their own "sacred beliefs." Nothing could be allowed to challenge them. It took great courage on the part of free thinkers to challenge those beliefs. I am sure there were many people silenced before the ones of whom we have heard became known.
     So, sacred beliefs are problematic. And it doesn't really matter whether they are true or false. Oh, they will act so cute. They will tell you that you don't hold them as sacred beliefs. No, you came to them rationally. The belief that the original belief is rational then becomes another sacred belief. *They're breeding.* A guideline that I consider useful is to consider the implications of the belief being false. If a belief is sacred then you will be able to begin constructing scenarios, but will conjure excuses for why the belief is still true. There are also core perceptual beliefs for which you will not be able to picture contrary scenarios.
     I try to keep my beliefs from being sacred. To this end, I try to consider the implications of their falsity. This is why you see posts on my blog talking about what it would mean for the biblical god to be real. I think he's fictional. But, if I insist that disagreeing with me implies that you are stupid or that you must think me stupid because I disagree, I make my belief sacred and am shielding it from critical thought. It isn't that Ray postulates a god that makes him look stupid. It's that he insists on misrepresenting the views and twisting the words of those who disagree.

An interesting thought

     If scientists held a belief about our world religiously, would they necessarily recognize the fact? I have asserted my perception that belief in evolution is religious in nature (not scientific.) Obviously, this perception is itself not scientific. How would one go about conducting a controlled study? Still, I am open to the possibility that I may be wrong. I have even stated what would convince me. Show me a study (really, for a scientific theory there should be several) in which the evolutionary hypothesis predicts one outcome, previous observation together with the assumption that evolution is wrong predict a different outcome and that second outcome is agreed in advance that it will be recognized as a disconfirmer (a falsifier.) Conditions in which there is an "out" do not count. Evolution predicting a type of fossil cannot be used as there is always an excuse ready if no fossil is found. Declaring something a "potential falsifier" after it is confirmed not to occur (or would be considered highly unlikely to occur given previous observations) will not persuade me. For that matter, such things should not persuade scientists. Ordinarily, scientific theories go around with bullseyes on their backs. Evolution appears to have been coddled.
     People have told me that their belief in evolution is not a matter of "faith." I have little doubt that they have convinced themselves. But their actions strongly resemble those produced by religious faith. They will tell me I need to do more research. It's very similar to the question posed by christians, "is it possible there is evidence for god in what you don't know?" It is quite impossible to exhaust all studies, and telling me to "do more research" seems more an effort to keep me busy and shut me up. When do I stop looking for the purple cow and simply conclude it is not there? I have not changed what will convince me. Yet people only point me to studies that fail the criteria. (One other failure that people cite as a potential falsifier is the proof of a universal negative, e.g. a persistent trait that provides a benefit only for a species other than the one in which it is found. These are not possible results because no observation could be proven to meet the condition.)

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

It appears that my prediction was wrong.

     No one made the accusation. Now, the reason for the prediction -- I had referred to "Vox Veritas" by the English translation "voice of truth." Literally, it means "the sound is truth," but I go by general usage. At the time, Get_education had already made a post making the reference; it simply hadn't been approved yet. I figured someone would jump on that. I guess I was wrong. Or, maybe, no one noticed.
     Well, no one gets the fifty points. I am sure there will be other opportunities.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

It seems readers tire of my blog quickly.

     Is it my breath? Maybe I need a new mouthwash. Seriously, I think much of it has to do with the fact that I don't fit in neatly with expectations of "what people think." I don't categorize well.
     I remember reading that people can model around 150 mindsets. These can be models of individuals or aggregates. So, you might be able to model the thoughts of "Uncle Bob," "Aunt Agatha," "Neighbor Dennis," and "fundamentalist christian." Fundamentalist christian are sufficiently similar in their beliefs that (unless you deal in the day-to-day life of a particular one) they may be effectively modelled as one mindset. Another mindset is "standard atheist." Many of you can probably guess, on the basis of someone being atheist, the person's views on a decent-sized range of topics. Now, to be sure, there are atheists who don't "fit the mold." They would need to be modelled separately or placed in a different group.
     I don't fit any mold. If you try to predict my beliefs based on any group, you will get a high error rate. There will generally be some error rate dealing with anyone based on the group. But most people seem to categorize well. Indeed, a lot of humor relies on this. We have all met "people like that" for many different categories.

A prediction; and a challenge

     Somebody over at Ray Comfort's blog will accuse me of being the same person as get_education. I don't know who will make the accusation; but, after looking at some of the recent comments, I think I can safely predict that someone will make it. "Why?" you may ask. I will reveal that in a few days. Right now, I will pose it as a challenge. My writing style is completely dissimilar to that of get_education. Yet I am confident in my prediction. Fifty points goes to the first person to figure out why I make this prediction -- before it is revealed,of course.

     Update: The link has been corrected.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Definitions of terms

     People have been trying to redefine the word "atheist" to suit their own agendas. Some christian groups are insisting that an atheist would have to be someone with absolute knowledge to know there is no god. Some atheist groups are insisting that it means anyone who would answer "anything other than yes" when asked if there was a god. Both sets of groups may have convinced themselves internally. In general usage, however, it means someone who believes there is no god. The word does not require absolute knowledge, nor does it include anyone who hasn't come to a (tentative, at the very least) decision.
     The claims of the christian groups on the matter are so ridiculous that I cannot imagine anyone who actually thinks about them to accept them. I shall, therefore, not deal with them here.
     The claim of the atheists groups sound reasonable until you look more closely. So, I would like to address them. They primarily come down to a claim that an atheist is someone who "doesn't believe in a god," so must include the undecideds. Well, an atheist someone who doesn't believe -- in the sense of someone coming back with a report on the results of an announcement "they don't believe us." No one, on hearing such a report, would decide that the people hadn't decided whether the announcement was true. That report conveys the sense that people believe the announcement false. An atheist is someone who doesn't believe there is a god like I don't believe there is a Santa Claus. I believe there is no Santa Clause; and an atheist believes there is no god.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

An ethical question

     Suppose I were a highly advanced extraterrestrial being and I had decided to pay your planet a little visit. Suppose further, that I had very specific expectations for my arrival. I have provided expections so that you can follow them. Some of the residents of insane asylums are providing the instructions. In order that you know that I am serious, I have also provided pictures of my craft -- in crayon. They sort of look like the drawings of 4-year-olds.
     Now, in this scenario, I decree that anyone not conforming to my expectations will be tortured. Since I have provided such convincing evidence (though none has seen me directly) all such people are "without excuse."
     Do you think that this would be morally justified? I think it is highly analogous to the biblical claims. If the biblical god actually exists, shows up, and punishes non-believers for their non-belief (let's face facts; the "it's for your sin" is simply false) he is an immoral monster.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Someone claimed the bible was a "godscope."

     Seriously, this was in comparison to a microscope, which allows us to see microorganisms. This person claims that the bible allows us to see the presumed god. Of course, this is nonsense. Everything we see in the bible is something the writer put there. Microscopes, on the other hand are something we can look through to see things the maker did not put there. If I were to draw a picture of bacteria, it would prove nothing. I could draw anything I imagined. (Well, if I had a talent for drawing, I could.)

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Copy of post to Ray Comfort's blog

Ray Comfort:
     You have been deleting quite a few of my comments and they don't run foul of your stated rules.
     In the most recent you deleted, I pointed out that I agreed that the editing was not appropriate, particularly the insertion of chimp sounds. Indeed, it is rather stooping to your level. After all, you do stunts with chimps for the purpose of mocking the idea that we are distantly related.
     The most effective counter to your claim is to show it as you, yourself, presented it followed by a demonstration that the wild banana doesn't fit anything you said.

     Personally, I think he deletes posts that he considers more obvious exposures of his deception.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Does Ray Comfort Think His God is Special?

     Actually, I do not believe that Ray thinks his deity any different. I am convinced that he knowingly serves a great deceiver. While it is possible for someone to believe that all atheists are just pretending, someone that incapable of understanding the thoughts of others could never run a business as successfully as he does.
     Ray often makes false claims like "an atheist is someone who pretends there is no god." I am sure he has followers that are convinced. But I do not think that he is that stupid. The only thing that makes sense is that he has committed himself to eternal torment and he hopes that by placating the great deceiver he serves he may lessen that torment. Consider. He states that anyone who leaves christianity must not have been a true christian. That would indicate he is only counting people who cannot back out. As the "relationship" he describes is one of abject servitude, it is wholly implausible that no one would change his mind. It can only be a condition where people are bound. This does not speak well of the "god" he worships.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

I would like to recommend a story.

     Don't worry. It's short. The story is "Displaced Person" by Eric Frank Russell. Now, my copy is in a book called 100 Great Fantasy Short Short Stories, a collection edited by Asimov, Carr, and Greenberg. Unfortunately, it is out of print. However, you should be able to find a copy at your local library. Wonderful places, libraries. In any event, it is my hope that the story inspires people to think.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Suppose the bible was written by an evil spirit.

     Suppose the bible was written by an evil spirit who loves suffering (our suffering, not his own) but who has no power over anyone who has not agreed to submit to him. On this idea, when we die, we become free spirits in a spiritual realm unless we have enslaved ourselves.
     It's amazing how much of what we see fits the notion. The biblical god's commands to slaughter outsiders certainly fits a being who loves suffering. A current desire for fresh victims also fits the notion well. Consider: Biblical followers tell you that their god is good. They also give varied excuses why your conscience is not a good measure when it says his actions are not.
     It is expected that such a wicked being would want to people to submit to him sight unseen. If we make a good / evil determination first, we are likely not to submit. What is particularly interesting is that it explains satanism as well. Satanism appears to be a fake opposition designed to send people running scared into the biblical spirit's clutches.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Evolution supporters decline to debate cdesign proponentsists.

     Actually, there are a number of good reasons to decline such a "debate." Creationists do not present evidence. They hop around between different ideas (like cosmology and abiogenesis) until their opponent admits lack of expertise in a specific field and then say "aha! godidit." It can detract from productive research. However, one bad reason was advanced by an evolution supporter. (I forget who, exactly. But I am speaking on general principles.) This particular person did not wish to "lend credibility" to creationism by allowing debates.
     That's right. It was an admission of an effort to regulate public perception of an idea. The tactic is time-honored and will probably backfire in time. Power groups use that type of tactic so that the masses remain unaware of reasoned dissent. I don't know why it was used there as creationists do not use reason. Efforts to suppress dissent generally cause the public to wonder what the suppressors are hiding. If your intellectual adversaries are crackpots, give them every opportunity to speak their piece. They will reveal themselves.
     Ultimately, attempting to avoid "lending credibility" to creationists will only help the creationist cause. Similarly, I expect that within 100 years or so, few people will believe the Holocaust happened. I do not predict that people will consider it a good thing that they would want to emulate. But people are likely to dismiss it as official propaganda. The reason is simple. In Europe, it is illegal to assert that one does not think the Holocaust happened and/or give reasons why one believes it to be fiction. Eventually, direct confirmation will be impossible. Already much of the evidence could be faked. When the only thing left that can be confirmed is a propaganda tactic, people will not take the event seriously.
     Suppression of dissenting views is a tactic suited only for those who are enemies of truth. Truth needs no such protection. Full inquiry is best path to protect truth.