Some of the great scientific discoveries have been syntheses that emerged more or less organically from the systematic crunching of a compendium of data accumulated over time. Plate tectonics furnishes an illustrative example: the Grand Unified Theory of Geology was made possible by a great many observations made over the course of a couple of centuries, some of them serendipitous (e.g. the discovery of deep-ocean trenches and mid-ocean ranges during the submarine era). Put enough data like that in a room with enough smart people and a really big idea is sooner or later going to take shape, in a manner that kind of resembles abiogenesis.
Others have been leaps of pure intuition so striking as to seem truly original. One of them is Darwin’s theory of evolution. I wish I could have seen the look on his face when the idea of speciation driven by natural selection occurred to him. That’s got to have been one of the greatest OMG moments in history. It must damn dear have stopped his heart: imagine having a single insight that explains everything you’re interested in! He must immediately have recognized how revolutionary an idea that was, and how much resistance and rancor it would incur. No wonder he sat on the idea for two decades before going to press with it – and even then, only out of concern of having his thunder stolen.
Continue reading “Dreaming of Darwin: Fundamentalist Night Terrors”
Warning: The Following is a true story with names changed for privacy and safety. This is a trigger warning so please be careful if you have a history of abuse as this story could cause a recurrence.
Hi, my name is Josephine and I am 12 years old; I’m in the sixth grade, and my life is pretty good. I live with my grandparents and my younger brother. My sister Nicole, her husband and their two children live down the road. I like to visit and spend time with my sister, so I usually walk to her house and we clean or watch television or something like that.
Today was different though.
Today, I walked there and my sister was not there. He was, though. He said that Nicole would be back soon. He sat down beside me on the couch. Then He started tickling me. At first it was kind of fun, but then He started touching places that my grandma said no one was supposed to touch. I thought maybe it was just an accident. Nicole came home soon after that.
I went back to Nicole’s house about a week later. My nephew was the only one who was there. I sat down in the living room and he went back to his bedroom. Not long after I got there, He came home. I got up to walk to my nephew’s room, but while I was walking down the hall, He grabbed me from behind. His hands cupped around my still developing breasts. I tried to squirm away, but His arms are stronger than I am. He leans over and whispers in my ear “You know you can’t tell anyone that we play like this.” I didn’t like this game. This game made me feel dirty, like I needed to shower. Maybe I am just overreacting. Maybe He will stop this soon, He is like my brother. He and my sister got married when I was only four years old. Maybe He really is just playing.
Continue reading “God Isn’t Real but the Devil Is: Childhood’s End and Five Years of Hell”
As I connect with other Atheists, I have noticed that many base their non-belief on science or a lack of evidence that God exists.
Does one need to state that there is no scientific evidence to justify not believing in God? To quote many climate deniers, “I’m no scientist.” I also believe that science is not necessarily a requisite of Atheism.
Continue reading “Science, Evidence, and Faith”
Ramsay Snow is a twisted and evil person who enjoys watching others suffer. Ramsay believes others should do everything he commands, and his favorite weapon of manipulation is fear. Ramsay is one of the most vile villains in the series. He commits countless atrocities against his kin, women, animals, and anyone who is near him, basically. His house sigill is the flayed man and that pretty much sums up this character. It makes one wonder how George R.R. Martin came up with such a character: violent, hate filled, enjoys torturing others, uses fear to get his way, treats women poorly (to put it mildly), and believes everyone should obey him. If I did not know any better, I would say that sounds a lot like the Yahweh from the Bible.
If you’re christian and upset by that comparison, who cares? Seriously though, odds are you have not read the whole Bible; keep dedicating yourself to a book which you have not even read. If Ramsay Snow was real, he would be diagnosed as suffering from antisocial and narcissistic personality disorder. Basically, he feels no remorse or guilt for harming others, and he believes he is more important than anyone else. Again, this seems to perfectly describe Yahweh of the Bible. How else can one explain hell and commandment number one of the Ten Commandments?
Hell was created to punish man forever for trying to become educated; seriously, what kind of messed up parent would do everything they could to keep their children ignorant and in fear? Then the “most important” commandment, the first one, is an order reminding everyone that Yahweh is the only god who should be worshipped.
“Only worship me!”
Continue reading “Game of Thrones vs The Bible: Ramsay “The Bastard of Bolton” Snow vs. Yahweh”
© David Teachout
Christianity is about as multifaceted as the people who label themselves adherents to it. Once “the bible” was given to the masses and the notion, put forward by the Renaissance and Enlightenment, that the individual mind could seek truth, it didn’t take much time for theology to reflect even more the nature of its creator, i.e. human variety. The title here then is a simplification, for the topic in question has far more to do with the basis of a supernatural tradition than with any particular instance of it. Still, for ease of writing, Christianity will serve as primary example. At issue is the claim there exists a fundamental level of reality, the realm of god and his angels, that is by definition outside of the understanding of humanity. While much can be said about such claims and their absurdity, what is often overlooked is what such a pronouncement means about people in general.
The apologetic traditions of Christianity boil down to two: evidentialism and presuppositionalism. The former is most glaringly offered by people like Josh McDowell and William Lane Craig, offered through some variation of the cosmological argument. Essentially the practice boils down to finding a point of ignorance and then filling it with, in a display of utter self-service, their own deity. The latter has historically been placed in the hands of Gordon Clark, Carl F.H. Henry and Francis Schaeffer, among others, and is offered through some iteration of an axiological argument. Essentially this attempt is to declare all ideologies must assume some foundational basis for knowledge and existence, so of course their holy book and their god is correct, particularly since once you assume their book and god, all other ideologies fail. Truly, it’s that mind-numbingly simple. What both traditions have in common, besides attempts by users of each to destroy the arguments of the other, is a belief that at some point there is a limit to human understanding, not because existence is huge and complex, but due to some inherent lack or deficiency in humanity. This is why at some point each tradition flings itself into the arms of faith. The evidentialist does this as a “leap of faith” ala Kierkegaard, the presuppositionalist simply assumes faith as the preeminent means of knowing right from the start.
Continue reading “Christianity Isn’t Irrational… It’s Worse Than That”
Christianity’s most outrageous and ruinous conceptual coup has also been its most brilliant, and has positioned the church for success in perpetuity by poisoning the well of humankind until the end of time. In a single stroke, this odious religion has enslaved a large portion of the human species by implanting the following malignant, two-headed brainworm into a hundred generations of potentially reasonable people:
a) Instead of being an integral and necessary part of the way the universe works, death is a curse (hence dreaded – not simply feared, as our biology would have it) incurred by “sin”(hence “a shame,” especially if self-inflicted).
b) Christianity offers a way to avoid that curse even as one appears to succumb to it.
The latter an inconvenient datum that is rationalized to insignificance (Granny didn’t really die, she just went home to be with Jesus), a way into eternal life. And it indoctrinates children with that nonsense before they’re old enough to recognize the difference between fantasy – especially of the wishful thinking variety – and reality.
That’s why Christianity is never going to go away. Talk about brilliant! Is any more effective program of mind control even conceivable?
Continue reading “Sometimes, For All to Live, Something Must Die”
Despite loose usage of the term and the tossing about of its diminutive form, “fundamentalist” is not a pejorative: the word was invented by conservative Christians for purposes of self-identification and bears an exact meaning that has only secondarily to do with attitude. I’m well acquainted with the history of this word because it is my interesting fortune to have been raised in one of the small, fractious, separatist, backwater Christian sects that coined it around the turn of the 20th century.
By the time I was born at mid-century, Missionary Baptist churches all over the U.S. South proudly touted their fundamentalist bona fides on the signs that identified them: “Independent – Bible-believing – Fundamental.” While dismissing the historic creeds as the inventions of fallen man, such churches showed not the least hesitation in publishing “statements of faith” (as though “creed” meant something different) sometimes disguised as “church covenants,” and those published statements always included an article such as “We believe the Bible to be the divinely-inspired and wholly inerrant Word of God.” Fundamentalists of the other monotheistic religions hold a similar attitude regarding their various “holy books.” Belief in the divine origin of a “sacred scripture” is essential to fundamentalists of all sects, because it’s the primary premise – often unspoken – in all of their arguments.
What I wish I could say to fundamentalists of all stripes (and wish they could hear me when I say it) is that their foundational premise is false. The Bible is most certainly not the Word of God: it has no more to do with the (alleged) creator of the universe than the Qur’an, the Book of Mormon or the Left Behind series.
Continue reading “Fundamentally Fundamental about the Fundamentals of Fundies: Facepalms of Biblical Proportions”
At the beginning of every semester, I tell my students: there is a world of difference between hearing music and listening to it. Emphatically despite the fact that “hear” and “listen” are often used interchangeably in casual speech, as though they were exact synonyms. In fact, they mean two completely different – although not entirely unrelated – things.
I’ve spent a goodly portion of my life thinking about language and trying to understand its expressive range, the better to express myself. I’ve noticed that transitive verbs do not carry the same weight – are not charged with the same energy – as intransitive verbs. Did any of your English teachers ever tell you that? Mine didn’t: I had to discover it for myself.
Let me illustrate: We regularly hear music, but we also occasionally listen to music. The transitive verb requires a direct object to complete its meaning; the intransitive verb is complete in itself (hence its greater potency), and the prepositional phrase that follows adds no weight to the verb: it simply brings the verb’s activity to a focus.
The difference in energy between transitive and intransitive verbs is faithfully reflected in our daily experience. Taking the illustrative case I’ve offered above, consider the fact that hearing is an altogether passive experience which might actually be described as a condition, often ignored and therefore mostly registered unconsciously; every animal with ears has pretty much the same experience of hearing, assuming similar auditory capacities. (There are interesting differences, of course: dogs can hear at least an octave higher than humans, and humpback whales and elephants can communicate in wavelengths much longer than those available to us.) The capacity – the sense – known as hearing is our ability to register physical phenomena in a way that’s available only to an exquisitely fine-tuned nervous system, by means of equipment (eardrums, etc.) that can respond to (resonate with) disturbances in some fluid medium such as air or water. The old conundrum, “if a tree falls in a completely unpopulated forest, does it make a sound?” is thus answered: sound is the name we give to that nervous-system registering, that experience of a disturbance in air or water. Where there is no experience, i.e. no experiencer, there is no sound.
Continue reading “If God Falls Like a Tree In the Forest and No One Hears, Does God Exist?”
John Figdor and Dan Fincke tackle subjective verses Objective Morality. John starts us off with why he feels subjective morality is the only way we can understand morals. Dan counters John’s point of view to discuss why Objective #morality true for most situations.
Godless Offerings are condensed clips from shows done on the Atheist Analysis network meant to bring a shortened version of our shows or to highlight important points made during the show.
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Watch the Original Show Here: http://youtu.be/B519dWROpG4
Continue reading “Godless Offering 16 Free Range Brain Farming: Is Your Morality Caged or Self Defined”
For all of human history, humans have been forced to die from the natural effects of aging. Unless humans have been living forever in secret unbeknownst to our history books, they had no choice in the matter of death. But now, with advancements in medicine and technology, death is seemingly becoming closer to being a choice for possibly, the first time in history—that is, if we survive long enough to benefit from these therapies.
But even despite this apparent choice in the foreseeable future, many people claim they would still choose death and their actions suggest they are telling the truth. They seem to be very happy with accepting the hand that nature has dealt them. They show no fear as they draw nearer to the end of their lives. This attitude of accepting death is what we call Deathism (see “Deathism Explained”)
The parallels between Deathism & Stockholm syndrome
In many ways, deathists exhibit symptoms of someone who is suffering from Stockholm syndrome. Mankind has been held hostage by death for so long that most of us have learned to be helpless and we gave up fighting. It’s as if nature’s plan of involuntary death from aging has broken our spirit, and now we just go along with the plan. We don’t question it. Betraying our own survival instincts, we have become willing victims.
Continue reading “Nature is Not Your Friend… But Transhumanism Is”