Saturday, August 28, 2010

"What part of 'illegal' don't you understand?"

     I'm sure that one or two of the three people who actually read this have heard about the illegal immigration debate. The issue as a whole is very complicated. But at the heart is the fact that U.S. citizens are concerned about their livelihood and how employers are taking advantage of people coming here to work for next to nothing and foreigners are coming here because they face starvation for their families. There's a lot of desperation going around. But I'm not here to talk about that today.
     What I am here to talk about is the thought-stopping mechanism that a lot of people use to try to gain the upper hand. They just say "what part of 'illegal' don't you understand?" Well, here's something to consider. What Washington, Jefferson, and the other rebels did was illegal. Without those illegal acts, our nation would never have been formed. The "underground railroad" was illegal. Without it, we might still have slavery. No discussion should ever end with "the law is the law is the law."

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A brief rendition of a conversation with a christian:

     Christian: If the resurrection is made up, why did the gospel writers say the first people to find the empty tomb were women?
     Me: The gospel writers had an inconvenient fact. There was no prior record of anyone reporting an empty tomb. The only way to salvage the claim is to say it was witnessed by someone whose report would not be recorded. That meant women.
     Christian: But women had no standing. If they were going to make up a story about an empty tomb, why would they say it was found by women?
     Me: It is precisely because women had no standing that the gospel writers claimed that women found the tomb. It was the only way to account for the absence of a record.
     Christian: But why would they make up a claim that women found the tomb?
     Me: I have already answered that question.
     Christian: But why say it was women?

     Experiences like this color my perception of those who try to defend christianity as accurate. The facts are against them. Now, in all fairness, this person did touch on other topics. But the main thrust was asking this same already-answered question over and over.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Why do christians call their god, "good"?

The following is a post by JRM:

Pvblivs said...


     "'You cannot rebel against the United States as a citizen (or, as a citizen in another [c]ountry, in rebellion to ones [c]ountry [of] citizenship), and go unpunished, whether you like it or not.'
     "Funny you should say that. Washington, Jefferson, Franklin, Adams, and others were English citizens subject to the British crown. They rebelled against that crown and went unpunished. (Granted, if the British troops had won, they would have been hanged.) I bring this up to make two points. One, rebellion is sometimes appropriate. Two, it is punished only if it fails."
     True Pvblivs, but you are speaking of a revolution that involved many, many people fighting alongside Washington, Jefferson, etc. And certainly, if the British had won, they would have been punished. Satan has started a rebellion, and has many "angels" (we would probably call them demons) working along side him. And people who remain in rebellion against God, whether they recognize or admit that they are working along side of him or not, are. Yeshua said that we are either for Him, or against Him. Many people don't like that black and white, cut and dry statement. They like to think that they have nothing to do with the situation, and they are not necessarily for Him, nor are they against Him.
     If the United States were at war on our own turf, each citizen would have to make clear who they were fighting with, and for. If anyone who was a citizen were found to be giving aid or comfort to the enemy, they would be punished. If the battle were near your home, in the streets so-to-speak, and you did not either take up a weapon, or give aid to US military or citizens - actually refused to give aid, you would be considered hostile to the US - a traitor. You would be punished.
     There is a battle in the unseen (unseen does not mean non-existent) - and God will have the victory. In this instance, using your analogy, the "British" WILL BE hanging "Washington" and "Jefferson", if you catch my drift.
     Yes, rebellion against a tyrant, or against evil is good. So ALL rebellion is not bad. But rebellion against what IS good, holy, just, and righteous IS bad.

     Now, it looks to me that JRM does not say his god is "good, holy, just, and righteous" because he believes it. He says it because he is afraid of being punished as a "traitor." This god, if he exists, is a tyrant. And his followers follow only out of fear. Would any christian say his god was good if he weren't afraid of being thrown into some hell if he said he was evil?

Monday, August 16, 2010

I have seen people accusing "Carl" of quote-mining.

     I've seen the accusation, but no evidence that supports it. Now, I do find many of Carl's quotes tedious and repetitive. I am inclined to skip many of them. But I have looked at Carl's quotes against the "larger context" produced by some of the people claiming he is quote-mining. (Most of the accusers don't even try to produce a "larger context.") He is not changing the meaning of the original authors' words. He is not, in the fashion of (for example) Ray Comfort, quoting a question, presenting it as unanswerable, when the author presented a question for the purpose of giving the answer. What he is doing is changing the focus. He is drawing attention (to the degree that people aren't passing over him in boredom) to things the original authors were admitting, but trying to gloss over. He is also throwing in useless bible quotes; but that is another matter.
     So why the accusations? My personal suspicion is that Carl is bringing up an inconvenient fact. Scientist have not conducted experiments to try to determine whether large-scale evolution is true, but instead have assumed large-scale evolution to be true and have conducted experiments to determine which path it has taken. Some scientists openly admitted this (20 to 30 years ago) while treating it as a relatively unimportant point. More recently, they seem to be taking care not to admit that. So people can (and do) correctly claim that his quotes are antiquated. But what they can't do is produce an experiment that didn't have every outcome conceivable before the start of the experiment be one that either supports evolution outright, be a declaration of a path for evolution, or be "inconclusive." At no point was there ever a risk of a "disconfirming result."
     Now, none of this should be taken to mean that I somehow support "intelligent design." I don't. If there is somehow a designer, the competence level is comparable to such fictional characters as Peter Peachfuzz and Maxwell Smart. But I don't need an explanation for the diversity of life. Nothing is dependant on it. If large-scale evolution turned out to be false (and how would anyone know?) medicine would be undisturbed. It only depends on small-scale evolution -- and specificly that later generations of bacteria adapt to the environment in which they find themselves. It doesn't even depend on the observed fact that separated populations of bacteria can become distinct species. Why do people think it is so important that everyone believe large-scale evolution is true? To me, it makes as much sense as being adamant that everyone have the "correct" belief regarding whether Sirius has an orbiting planet with a large diamond at its core. It's not going to change anything.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Some christians leave the fold.

     I would like to talk about something everybody knows. Some christians leave the fold. They come to decide that christianity is not true. Now, I'm not going to say that this is common or that it happens to a majority of christians. But it does happen.
     The point that I made would be insignificant except for one fact. Some christians try to deny it. They will claim that there is "no such thing as an ex-christian" and say that the ex-christians were really "false converts." Some of them will throw around the "false convert" label for various other embarrassments that they don't want associated with christianity. But it's all a sham.
     There is no such thing as a "false convert." It is a label invented to cover up embarrassments. Oh, there are people who will say "when I was a christian" when they never were christian, just as there are people who will say "when I was an atheist" when they never were. But these aren't the people over whom they throw about the "false convert" label. The person who lyingly says "when I was a christian" never thought himself a christian. The people they call "false converts" genuinely believed in the faith; but they don't want to admit these people were christian.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Making the rounds again.

     The line of "how do you account for logic?" seems to be making the rounds again. Of course, no one can account for logic. One must assume logic before accounting for anything and that fact precludes an accounting for logic. This doesn't stop some people from claiming to have accounted for logic. It just means that they are mistaken or (more likely) lying.
     The fact is that every worldview rests on foundational beliefs which serve as the basis for all other beliefs. These foundational beliefs can only serve as premises, never as conclusions. Anyone who tries to claim one as a conclusion is either being incoherent or deceptive. Either way, I can't trust them.