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Showing posts from August, 2014

Straw Man: The Motion Picture (God's Not Dead)

Major Themes of this film:

MartyrdomMartyrdomAtheists are awfulMartyrdomMuslims are awfulMartyrdomMartyrdomAcademics are awfulBig Business people are awfulOh, and Martyrdom.  Did I mention Martyrdom?Actually, scratch a lot of what I said before.  Anyone who isn't Christian is awful, and some people who 'claim' to be Christians are also awful. This movie can be summed up as 3 logical fallacies: Arguments from EmotionArguments from IgnoranceArguments from Authority First, just like with the TV appearance of Kirk Cameron and Ray Comfort, this movie most certainly is NOT persuasive in regards to the existence of God.
Virtually every stereotype which could be played, was played.  The abusive Muslim who disowns his daughter when he learns that she is a Christian.  The scenes with the Academic crowd show them all to be vapid anti-theists.  Every student in the philosophy class, save one, simply go along with the anti-religious nature of the class.  The Atheist is just 'angry at…

Coitus Interruptus, Masturbation, & The Bible

When many Christians, particularly Catholics, talk about the 'Biblical Prohibitions' against masturbation and birth control, they all seem to refer to a single story in the Old Testament.  Interestingly, none of these people seem to know what the verses are referring to.
Genesis 38:7-10  New International Version (NIV) 7 But Er, Judah’s firstborn, was wicked in the Lord’s sight; so the Lord put him to death. 8 Then Judah said to Onan, “Sleep with your brother’s wife and fulfill your duty to her as a brother-in-law to raise up offspring for your brother.” 9 But Onan knew that the child would not be his; so whenever he slept with his brother’s wife, he spilled his semen on the ground to keep from providing offspring for his brother. 10 What he did was wicked in the Lord’s sight; so the Lord put him to death also. Catholic.com Entry:  (Source:  http://www.catholic.com/tracts/birth-control)
"The Bible mentions at least one form of contraception specifically and condemns it. C…

How We Evaluate Claims

I wrote this some time ago and never published it. It's pretty simple but I hope that it helps to get the point across. How We Evaluate Claims When we are presented with a particular claim, regardless of the content, we go through a process to determine whether or not the claim is true.

If we can find nothing with which to justify the claim, we can simply stop there. There is no need to accept a claim which has not been positively justified.

We certainly can go on to search for disconfirming evidence, something which would show that the claim is not true; however by this point it isn’t necessary to do so in order to reject the claim’s truthfulness.

However, time and time again, we see and hear people making the argument that ‘you can’t prove that it’s NOT true’. We don’t have to. It is never reasonable to accept a claim based on the non-existence of disconfirming evidence alone. Bertrand Russell demonstrates why this is so with his teapot analogy.

For example, it may be that ‘Strin…

De-Compressing Creationism - A Thought Experiment

If, for the moment, we accept the Creationist argument that our scientific observations regarding the age of the Earth are off by a scale of about 1:750,000 (6,000 years versus 4.5 billion), then it logically follows that our method should be proportionally ‘off’ by about the same amount.  We should be able to recalculate our findings accordingly and, on paper, this should match up our findings to be closer to the Creationist claims.   I am basing these calculations on an ending point of 8/1/2014 at 8:00 AM (the date that I originally wrote this article).

So, for instance, the claim is that the Earth was created on or around 4,000 BCE, compared to the scientific view of the Earth forming about 4.5 billion years ago.  We will now synchronize our Scientific chronology to this timetable and see what happens. Just for contrast, according to Science, in 4000 BCE the wooden plow is being used in central Europe. Agriculture has spread to what today is Britain and Ireland.  Some agricultural h…

Some thoughts on Free Will and Morality

Over the course of several years, through education, discussion and hours upon hours of deep thought, I no longer accept the traditional, mostly-absolute view of 'Free Will'. During some of my discussions, an issue kept coming up which kept me wondering about one particular aspect, though. Mainly, what does this mean for morality and law? How do we hold people 'accountable' to our societal and legal rules if they don't really have a say in their own thoughts and behavior?
For the duration of this article (rant?), when I use the term 'Free Will' without qualification, I am specifically referring to the version of 'Free Will' which has been traditionally held by the majority of the populace for (probably) thousands of years.
It occurs to me that the reason why we can still hold people accountable even without Free Will is because, when our brain is faced with a decision to make, it takes everything possible into account, including memories of laws,…