Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The following is a comment I tried to leave on Atheist Central, but different browsers were giving different reasons why they wouldn't send it.


     I do not consider evolution to be a theory. It has not predicted anything in advance. Since it makes no predictions, it can't be falsified. But it is also academic (no pun intended.) If universal common descent is somehow false, medicine will not stop working because of it.
     "Again, you don't understand what proof means. But evidence has been shown to the readers of this blog over and over again, and these evidences have yet to be refuted (or even considered as the case may be)"
     Well, I have found the supposed evidences presented to be just as impressive as the christians' evidences for their deity -- which is to say, not at all. I suppose it looks like evidence if you already believe it. I think it looks like confirmation bias.
     The possibility of confirmation bias is actually quite interesting. Assuming, for the sake of argument, that I am right and evolution is untestable but accepted as fact by the reviewers, it is a predictable result that papers "finding evolution to be confirmed" will be approved. Now, this doesn't prove that I am right. It only shows that my belief is consistent with known observations. But reviewers are human. They will apply their biases wittingly or unwittingly. A pseudoscience that becomes entrenched in the scientific community is likely to remain so.
     "The point is that it has been validated beyond any shadow of doubt to anyone that has really studied it objectively."
     I am not convinced that anyone has studied it objectively. It looks like it has been accepted uncritically. But hey, here's something that would show me wrong. If there was a paper out there that identified a prediction made by using universal common descent that could not be made without it (such that a contrary observation would be plausible on the assumption that evolution is false) an experiment was done, and that confirmed evolution, it would show that it was really put to the test. I have no idea what such a prediction would look like. As near as I can tell evolution makes no predictions. I have seen and been shown many papers on the order of "if we get observation X then evolution is true and took path A; if we get observation Y then evolution is true and took path B; but no matter what observation we get evolution is true." Those don't interest me because they can't falsify the "theory." I am also not interested in "through statistical analysis of the fossils, we can safely say that there were no mammals before this point; therefore we now call finding a precambrian rabbit a 'potential falsifier.'"
     Now some things are interesting. Retroviruses are rather suggestive. But their absence would not have falsified the idea. They were not (and could not be expected to be) predicted in advance. They're more the sort of thing that, once you assume evolution to be true, you can use to deduce the tree actually formed.

Some people claim that their god is the author of my conscience.

     The claim, of course, is absurd. These people worship a god who supposedly flooded the world and commanded genocide so that his "chosen people" could take over land from those already living there. My conscience tells me that those are evil acts. There might exist some god that is the author of my conscience. But it is certainly not that one.

Saturday, June 26, 2010


     "Know what? I have seen NOTHING to convince me that [christians] are nothing but lying, gutless cowards without morals that live in Fantasyland and think they are better than everyone else. How many have had the nerve to read part 2 of this? About ten."

     The person above actually said "atheists." But it applies so well to so many christians. But here's a good question. Why would this guy think he knows how many people part 2 of his nonsense? People can read what he wrote from the main blog. The only reason to click into the post specificly is to try to leave a comment. Second, why should anyone be expected to come back for a second helping of libellous accusations? There really is no point. To call someone a coward for not visiting a sice that lies about him and provides no opportunity for response is dishonest in the extreme.
     So, yeah, to the troll. I call you a coward for blocking all comments to your site (barring your own, of course.) This post will mimic your style. No comments will be allowed. And if you do not comment on this post, I will take that as you agreeing with everything I have said.

Friday, June 18, 2010

This is a comment I found on another blog

     Here is a comment I found on another blog. The names have been effectively removed.

<X>, Baby, for the last time, I'll explain. And I'll type slow because I know you and the rest of this herd can't read fast.

I get accused of making up the comments by the [deleted.] So, I show you how to find his site. He's real, he railed against me (better than you clowns did, I'll give him that). Easily proven, but you're so consumed with hate, you're stupidified.

There's that "reason" again, you lot cannot grasp it.

     So here's the challenge. Can you tell to what belief the above commenter subscribes? Is he hindu? Muslim? Christian? Jewish? Atheist? Wiccan? A believer in the old Roman gods, perhaps? I should probably give my readers (crickets chirping) some background. No one had claimed that the other person didn't exist. In fact, a link was provided to the site by one of the critics of the commenter above. No reference to that commenter can be found on the site. Now, this person has been accused of fabricating comments because, well, he has been caught fabricating comments. But no one has asserted that the people he pretends write the invented comments don't exist. That's a red herring he's throwing. They point out, quite correctly, that he invents comments and falsely attributes them to people who exist but never wrote those comments.
     Yes, you there in the back. You could come up front. There's plenty of room. Hardly anyone seems to be here. You say I haven't given you enough information? That all those styles of belief produce such inane people among their members? Well, that's actually my point. No belief system is a guard against such stupidity. And yet I find so many people who claim to be smart by virtue of adhering to the "correct" belief. No, if you're smart, you will realize that your belief might be incorrect.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

About comment spam...

     It seems that some people are posting comment spam. I have been finding long sets of random character glyphs or periods that link to (if the link address is any indication; I have not actually followed those links) "adult" websites. Now, if you want to argue against something I have said in my blog and wish to include a link to a source that supports your case, feel free. But if the text of your comment is a mere filler so that you can treat my blog as your personal ad space, then I will delete the comments.
     Consider this a heads up. This blog is written in English, not Chinese, Japanese or whatever those characters were supposed to be. If I find unreadable material that is serving as a hyperlink, I will probably regard it as spam. If I find hyperlinks in which the text does not make it clear what the link is supposed to go to, I will regard it as spam.
     Try to be reasonable. I'd hate to have to turn on moderation -- although so few people read my blog, I doubt anyone would notice. I also can't help but wonder if Stormbringer isn't behind this. The appearance of the spam seems to coincide with my criticizing him for making excuses to block all comments. Well, I will never need to block all comments. But I prefer to keep comments "real time." It would help discussions -- if there were any.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

     On Dan's blog, Stormbringer gave a link to an mp3 file of an episode of the CARM broadcast he seems to like. I have stated before that call-in programs tend to act problematicly for dissenters. And this seems to hold true for that one as well. I listened to a small portion of the spot where people are calling in and found that it is arranged so that the callers are all but inaudible (the host can be heard clearly) and the host will speak over the callers.
     At any rate, in the section to which I listened, the caller was stating that the alleged resurrection of Jesus is an extraordinary claim and requires extraordinary evidence to be believed. I found the host to be rather slick-talking; but, perhaps that is my own bias. The caller gave as an example of possible extraordinary evidence, the stars being rearranged to spell out the claim. Now me, when I think of this as extraordinary evidence, I am thinking of the stars arranged in patterns like the lights of electronic highway signs. When those lights are used to spell out a message, there is no mistaking the message indicated. If the stars were so arranged, it would establish the existence of a being powerful enough to do that and interested enough to convey such a message. The host twisted it in saying that maybe it's there in some connect-the-dots fashion. That would be something subject to confirmation bias and would be decidedly ambiguous.
     Ah, but the host was not done. His clear agenda was to take the ordinary evidence of the human-written bible and get it accepted as though it were the extraordinary evidence requested. Jesus making a post-mortem appearance would indeed be extraordinary evidence, for anyone who saw it. Unfortunately, the claim of such appearances is, itself, an extraordinary claim requiring extraordinary evidence to be accepted. We don't actually have his appearance as evidence. We have an anonymously written text that claims an appearance before several people, none of whom could be questioned by the time the text was written. That level of evidence is so weak that I would want independent corroboration even for otherwise plausible claims. Yet christians want me to accept it as conclusive for claims that look outlandish on their face. Sorry, but it is more likely that the text was written as a lie than that the events depicted really happened.