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.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

I remain convinced that belief in large-scale evolution is religious.

     Now, don't get me wrong. It's a plausible story, unlike (for example) cintelligent designism. But I find no reason to think that it is scientific. No, the fact that scientists believe it is not such a reason.
     A scientific theory makes detailed (i.e. not vague) predictions. Gravitational theory permits predictions of the locations of the planets many years in advance. The predictions of evolution are rather limited. One can predict that something will survive and that it will be suited to survive in the environment in which it finds itself. Small-scale evolution is actually validated by the fact that we can simulate it (mimicking differential reproduction in electronic components) and get functioning electrical "designs" that performs tasks in ways we don't really understand. But the evolution that we can see is more like raw data. We can also see objects fall. But "objects fall" is not a scientific theory. A theory of gravity needs to predict the rate of fall.
     Another thing I notice is that people will say that they do not distinguish between "microevolution" and "macroevolution" because it is all "the same theory." As I stand outside, this reminds me remarkably of the way religions will say something like "god's word does not change." Even if it were a useful predictive model over parameters we have tested, we would still not know how far it would remain useful. Newtonian gravitational theory is very useful (for dealing with objects like cars and planes.) However, it breaks down when we deal with objects approaching light speed. Appeals to "it's the same theory" does not counter the fact that theories have limitations on the parameter over which they give useful predictions. Furthermore, it is only when a discrepency is seen that we know we have run into such a limitation.
     So, I don't believe that evolution is scientific. Small-scale evolution is an empirical observation -- making it true. But it is also true that Ronald Reagan was once president. That doesn't make it scientific in any way. Large-scale evolution may, in fact, be true. (We don't have the capacity to make direct observations. Just about any imaginable observation we can make could be fitted to the idea -- another trait of religions.) I certainly don't have an alternate story to propose. But it does not look scientific.
     I find it interesting that scientists are human. As such they don't always apply the scientific method appropriately. For example, the grand unified "theories" that they try to use for particle physics predict that protons decay (with an incredibly long half-life.) They conducted an experiment for 12 years using enough material that it would be predicted that they would find multiple decays each year. A grand total of zero proton decays were observed. According to the scientific method, one would tentatively conclude that protons are stable (until we find evidence to the contrary.) In actuality, the scientists decided they still like their GUT's and just decided the half-life must be longer. This reminds me of the "god of the gaps." So, scientists, just like anyone else, make claims which cannot (even in principle) be falsified by any conceivable observation.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Is there a good god?

     Well, strictly speaking we don't know if there is a god at all. But, suppose there is a god. Further suppose that you want to convince me that this god is good. How would you do that? A lot of people try quoting bible verses at me where he is declaring himself to be good. I have to tell you. That does not impress me. Wicked people say that they are good. They also tell me that he does not lie. And they know this because... well, because he says so. So far, that's O for 2. If he lies, he can lie and say he does not. Now, there are quite a few things in the bible, attributed to its god, that are wicked. Believers will attempt to "justify" these things by saying "it was right for god to do that because the people were wicked." Hold on a moment? How can we be sure the people were wicked. Several times, we are talking about infants and children. My instinct tells me that infants and children (while they may be a handful) are not wicked. Oh, right, he says so again. This "god" seems to blame everyone else for what he does. He takes no responsibility whatsoever. It seems to me that he is a spoiled brat.