Archive for Religion

Travel Day and Theists

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on 2009/08/08 by darkshrouds

I’ve begun my flight to Houston and will be there shortly, then a transfer to get me to Columbus. While I’m sure I will be exhausted, I’m gong to gear up and make sure to be ready for the tour tomorrow. I hope to get at least 3-5 hours of sleep.

However, I digress as, I don’t wish to cover my dull day of transfers but the detriment of the religiously inclined. The mental wound that I am speaking of is the religious and their firm belief that their version of general sect is correct without question, without proof and without analysis. This assertion to give them a method to rationalize the events of this natural world and a way to live on after their being ceases to exists.

A majority of mankind wishes to believe in a higher power or something to explain why things happen, however, we are restrained in our explanations by our common sense and observations. Science covers why things rise and fall, chemical reactions, growth, how to heal, how to kill, etc and for the events and occurrences in the world, they happen because of natural causes and they events are random. Random in the sense of natural disasters, disease, etc, not my toast is done because I put it in the toaster. Religious people state that these events, such as people coming into your life, a good job, happiness in your home, etc, come from God or something similar. There is no proof of this. You might as well as claim the Cookie Dough Dragon is watching over you and breathed himself into existence. You must eat of his dough and drink of his blood (milk) to not be cast into the stale bread at the end of days. This is seen as ridiculous. However, this is exactly what Christians follow. Accept Christ or go to hell. We let our common sense tell us that the Cookie Dough Dragon is bogus, why hold onto Christianity or any religion? Just because some cattle-sacrificing primitives believe that this book was correct and the word of God, doesn’t mean that you, a rational, thinking human being has to buy into it.

God is not dead because God was never alive. God has never existed except in the eyes of people who instead of seeing the world rationally and objectively, analysing what comes their way and actually thinking about their conclusions, desire a simple explanation to the troubles of the world, want comfort for themselves and others when loved ones pass on, and want comfort that things will be alright when they look bad.

This is not necessarily a bad want, however, it has caused a false construction of reality. To believe in adult fairy tales because it makes you feel better is not intellectually honest. I wish, as Jefferson did, that one day we shall shelve our beliefs that a story of a man who was born of a virgin will be placed on the shelves of our libraries with the myths of Zeus, Baal and all the others already there and yet to be.

Isaac Mills

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Religion is Useless

Posted in Personal, Religion with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on 2009/08/06 by darkshrouds

I’ve been hearing the argument after I have dismantled the arguments made from the creationists that seem to propagate the streets here that one can not judge a belief system by its assumptions or its works. Now, I have taken apart creationism in the realms of their own book, cosmology, evolution, abiogenesis, and generally any topic brought up. Once they are beat back they resort to this argument.

I am posting now to dismantle it completely; however I’m going to touch base on the general of the previous topics. Now, I’ve covered abiogenesis already, I’m not doing so again. It takes too long to retype and cut and paste the basics. I assume that one can read and that they can make use of such faculties. Evolution has DNA, fossil and considerable multitudes of evidence. To state that it did not happen or that the facts show a creator is to be either naïve or just a plain ignoramus. The fossil tree of life matches the DNA tree of life without alteration and without interpolation. Fused chromosomes and genetic anomalies can be predicted as we predicted that we as humans have a fused chromosome in comparison with apes.

Onto cosmology, which does not state that the universe began at the Big Bang, but that we can observe the universe to this condensed point at which a rapid expansion happened. The universe could have existed before the singularity, however, we are unable to determine what was prior to 10^-37 seconds prior because we enter a stage where no data can be obtained.

Once disarmed of these “scientific” debates, the point is raised of Stalin and those evil dictators that killed for atheism. It is a failure of understanding as they did not kill for atheism, but for power and control. These dictators were Statists in the sense that the State was to be worshiped and revered. When you return this with the Inquisition, the Crusades, the militant attacks of other religions, the people who believe that when they kill people, they will see Jesus in heaven, and the like, the atheist will be told they can’t do this.

Now why this double standard? Because religion is useless. Prayers get answered but not always the way requested, not at all or you have to squint real hard for it. Devoting time to saving souls is better than devoting time to your local soup kitchen, working on human rights, or doing something to help others. Religion gives nothing to us but division, wars, hatred, bigotry, and truly, a good portion of evil. Science has given us technology including televisions, planes, cars, vaccines, medicine, air conditioning, refrigeration, irrigation, space flight, cameras, improved food, computers, radio, construction, electricity, and so much more. Over 1000 years and religion has given nothing to society except a ritual that people can participate in and science has given us longer lives and better ones at that.

Religion is useless. It gives nothing of merit. If it makes you feel better that an invisible man is watching over you and helping you every day, go right ahead and believe so. Just expect that I’m going to laugh when you try to tell me that it is true and that I just have to seek him truly with my heart and soul. Telling yourself the great adult fairy tale may be nice, but doesn’t make it any more true. If delusion makes you feel better, that is your choice; however, kindly keep those delusions to yourself.

I’m tired of this argument as not only does it hold up to scrutiny, it also has no merit. Because if your religion is shown to be false, then why follow it at all. All religions fail essentially on a majority of scientifically proven theories and data. Therefore, why follow any religion. Put those fairy tale stories from the bronze and iron ages on the shelves where they belong and think for yourselves. And theists, stop asking why an atheist laughs when you make these statements.

Isaac Mills

I Have Been Flattered… With A Post

Posted in Religion, Science/Technology with tags , , , , , , , , , on 2009/07/19 by darkshrouds

I made a simple comment on Vere Loqui on the topic of A Dilemma for Darwinists. I was expecting a simple comment back, as my argument was very small. I’m flattered that I have been honoured with a post located on the blog. (The link to that post isn’t working right now, so if you click here, you can get to the main page and read it under the title of More on the Darwinists’ Dilemma)

It is only proper that I respond to the kindness of a post, with one of my own. I shall begin with my comment.

How to easily fix this. Oh yes, I recall now.

Abiogenesis has some very good proof behind it. Such as the research done and covered below.

Also, man rising from the dead has the problems of what occurs after death – enzyme breakdown, cell decay due to fermentation and decomposition (anaerobic), etc. I must go with Mr. Sagan on this.

“In many cultures it is customary to answer that God created the universe out of nothing. But this is mere temporizing. If we wish courageously to pursue the question, we must, of course ask next where God comes from? And if we decide this to be unanswerable, why not save a step and conclude that the universe has always existed?” [Carl Sagan, Cosmos, page 257]

God does not appear to suspend the laws he puts forth if he exists, and we have no reason to believe the contrary. Why then, should we state that it is so?

Now, I’ll admit that I really wasn’t attempting to be difficult and I was, well, a bit tired and wanted to be lazy. However, that is not an excuse and I shall do my best to further explain and address the argument against my comments.

Now first we begin with my comment on the good proof of abiogenesis. We have a theory, which fits the evidence and would produce the needed required material. This is a good start in that direction. This is a general overview and not the full list of evidence or the full list of the debate between scientists. There is much debate in specific areas of the theory and the theory is still incomplete in the sense that we don’t fully understand the complete movement of organic materials to life. However, there is research being done by many scientists on this theory and a decent list of what is known and not known can be found here.

First, he argues that evolution does not necessarily involve the belief in abiogenesis. To that, there are two responses: First, I did not say it did. I used the term ‘Darwinism’, not ‘evolution’. I have explained my use of the term ‘Darwinism’ a number of times on this blog as referring to the belief that the current state of biological life resulted solely from prior material factors. This is distinct from the mere theory of evolution, which involves only the belief in biological development over time, regardless of how that life came about in the first place. The former involves metaphysical assumptions which its adherents expects everyone else to accept without question, and the latter, it seems to me, does not.

But it is curious to me that the video Isaac linked to, while it claims that abiogenesis is no necessary part of evolution, defends abiogenesis, as if it is. And, of course, it does so by some rather extravagant speculation. And it does make you wonder: if the people who advocate it know the procedure of how life came about from non-life as well as they seem to think they do, then they ought to be able to perform the procedure, which, of course, they can’t.

Evolution, in the sense of natural selection and those mechanisms, has nothing to do with the formation of the first life. Evolution can be likened to going to an ad infinitum argument. Where did this animal come from, and so on and so forth until you reach the ‘first’. The last common ancestors genes are homologous, thus derived from a single common ancestor by duplication and modification, with this ancestor coming from an even simpler one. A decent article covering a majority of the Origins of Life in detail can be found here (and is also quoted partially in the line before). Abiogenesis involves no metaphysical assumptions. Some people may argue that God put life starting, however there is no evidence as such and no real reason to accept it. We remain agnostic, skeptic, and inquisitive. Experiments done show that organic molecules can be found in the pre-biotic earth quite easily. Learning what lead to life is what is being researched right now, with a good portion understood.

Again, Mr. Carl Sagan comes to mind, “If the general picture, however, of a Big Bang followed by an expanding universe is correct, what happened before that? Was the universe devoid of all matter, and then the matter suddenly somehow created? How did that happen? In many cultures, the customary answer is that a god, or gods, created the universe out of nothing. But if we wish to pursue this question courageously, we must of course ask the next question: where did God come from? If we decide that this is an unanswerable question, why not save a step and conclude that the origin of the universe is an unanswerable question?” If the understanding is that the universe was devoid of all life and then it appeared, how did it happen? It is common to ascribe a god, or gods, to this formation of life. But where did God come from and again, if this is unanswerable, why not save a step and conclude that the origin of life is a complex question. Since the universe already existed and is observable, we will be able to have data and thereby, able to answer to some degree the questions about the beginnings of life. Just because a question is complex, does not mean that we should assume that it is unanswerable, God did it, or it is irreducibly complex.

It is true that we have yet to create life in a test tube so to speak, from organic matter. Dr. Szostak and others are doing bottom-up abiogenesis research, small building blocks to discover the formation from smaller particles to life; Craig Venter and others are doing a top-down approach, attempting to discover the most simplistic life possible – the threshold on what would constitute life.

Isaac says there is “very good proof” behind the doctrine of abiogenesis. But there is no “proof”: there is only speculation. And just because the speculation is extravagant and even plausible on its face, it doesn’t amount “proof”–at least not in any sense of the word ‘proof’ with which I am familiar. A proponent of parthenogenesis could simply respond that they have proof too: in form of the gospels of Matthew and Luke. Undoubtedly this will not satisfy a Darwinist, but point is that the Darwinist will be at pains to explain why his “proof” for abiogenesis is any better that for parthenogenesis.

Now, first off, I just dealt with the first portion, and that proof has geological data used to determine constants for the atmosphere and there are simulated experiments included above. To equate that proof, actual data and analysis, to words on an ancient text that is problematic itself is far less valuable or admissible in the court of rationality.

“Religion submits to the court a signed letter that God created life on the planet earth.” (The letter however is written by many hands, and there is no signature of authenticate the document)
“Science submits to the court geological data and experimentation that shows that with the constants given, the materials for life are formed in significant concentrations and how it is possible life came about. While we don’t have everything, we have a considerable amount.”

I believe a good portion of the world will take science here, than believing a god or gods did so. Please, may the proof her at least be equal in value. Only Matthew and Luke mention the virgin birth, which, in a biography of God incarnate, would be something that you would expect an author to write down. Maybe we lost those portions, but that is a side observation.

To say that one believes in abiogenesis is a faith statement that is a part of the larger body of Darwinist dogma.

I do not believe in abiogenesis in the sense of a Christian stating that God exists. I hold that the theory is the most plausible, natural method that we have to explain the origins of life. It requires no more assumptions than my doing a chemistry experiment requires, because that’s what a good portion of the theory is, chemistry. Formation of organic molecules, bonds, formation of organic layers, synthesis, etc. are all chemistry (biochemistry really). This requires no divine intervention, it is how the universe works with the pre-biotic conditions.

A miracle claim is simply immune from these kinds of criticisms–precisely because it is a miracle claim. If someone says, “I believe the normal and otherwise uniform course of nature was interfered with in Instance A,” it is hardly a valid response to say, “But Instance A is problematic because it violates the normal and otherwise uniform course of nature,” which, for all practical purposes is what Isaac is saying here.

This would be a problem, if there was evidence that your so called miracle actually occurred. I’m reminded of a George Carlin quote on why don’t miracles happen and why prayers go unanswered.

Pray for anything you want. Pray for anything, but what about the Divine Plan?

Remember that? The Divine Plan. Long time ago, God made a Divine Plan. Gave it a lot of thought, decided it was a good plan, put it into practice. And for billions and billions of years, the Divine Plan has been doing just fine. Now, you come along, and pray for something. Well suppose the thing you want isn’t in God’s Divine Plan? What do you want Him to do? Change His plan? Just for you? Doesn’t it seem a little arrogant? It’s a Divine Plan. What’s the use of being God if every run-down shmuck with a two-dollar prayerbook can come along and fuck up Your Plan?

And here’s something else, another problem you might have: Suppose your prayers aren’t answered. What do you say? “Well, it’s God’s will.” “Thy Will Be Done.” Fine, but if it’s God’s will, and He’s going to do what He wants to anyway, why the fuck bother praying in the first place? Seems like a big waste of time to me! Couldn’t you just skip the praying part and go right to His Will? It’s all very confusing.

Compare the reality with my previous post about what True Christians should be able to do, and it is truly confusing.

The post concludes with this:

Isaac concludes, saying:

“God does not appear to suspend the laws he puts forth if he exists, and we have no reason to believe the contrary. Why then, should we state that it is so?”

Well, all I can say is that the religion that formed all of Western civilization has maintained for 2,000 years that that’s exactly what he did–and given reasons for it.

That’s why some of us say that it is so.

And that sir, is no good reason at all. Western civilization did not rise because of religion, but because of science. Science has brought us the computer, the rocket ship, tools, modern comforts, etc. What has religion brought us? Superstitions continually propagated. Again, science here seems like the winner. I’ll leave with one final video that I found amusing on PZ Myers blog.

Regards,

Isaac Mills

Christians’ Literal Interpretation of The Bible Makes Them Not Christians

Posted in Religion with tags , , , , , , , on 2009/07/14 by darkshrouds

When I leave my house and traverse the downtown, I am constantly seeing religion out in force, attempting to gain new converts. Now I think they are insane, and since most of them are Christians who take the bible as the infallible word of God, I am focusing on parts of the Bible make them cringe to hear. First; however, I must first bow to George Carlin for a pithy reminder on religion. You can watch it here or read it below.

Religion has the greatest bullshit story ever told. Think about it. Religion has actually convinced people that there is an invisible man, living in the sky, who watches everything you do every minute of every day, and the invisible man has a special list of ten things he does not want you to do, and if you do any of these ten things, he has a special place for you with fire and smoke and burning and torture and anguish where he will send you to live and suffer and burn and choke and scream and cry forever and ever till the end of time…

but He loves you.

Now, I’m very amused by this little remark. I find it quite accurate as well. Now, I don’t deny that Jesus existed. He most likely did in the historical sense; however, he most definitely was not divine. To claim divinity, some evidence would be wonderful.

Now Christians will claim that God works in the world daily. Well let’s quote some scripture then to assist in my argument. Let’s start with a set of verses from Matthew.

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.
For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door opened.
Which one of you would hand his son a stone when he asks for a loaf of bread,
or a snake when he asks for a fish?
If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father five good things to those who ask him.

This is basic. In shorter terms, if you pray and are a faithful follower, God will hear and answer your prayer as you desire. For it states that wicked people know how to give what their children ask of them, and because God is even better he will give it to you in even better form. Now I don’t have faith, but I know many people that I have argued with that do. Let us continue on shall we?

Again, a bit of Christian knowledge is that they are commissioned like the Twelve. To go forth and spread the Word an Message of Christ. Let us see exactly what the Twelve were told to do.

As you go, make this proclamation: “The kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, drive out demons. Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give.

Through the power of Christ and God – also the same – Christians have been given the ability to request and with divine intervention, bring others to their religion by calling upon the divine. If they are true Christians, their requests will be answered to give credence to their claims.

So this leads to a great question. Where are all the miracles? Where are the Christians going into hospitals, healing all the patients and bringing back the dead? There are claims that I have heard before that these miracles don’t happen anymore because they aren’t needed. Wait… I’m detecting a huge load of bullshit; however, let us see what their book says on this issue.

In 1 John 4:3 it is stated that “every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus does not belong to God. This is the spirit of the Antichrist…” and previously states “whoever says, ‘I know him,’ but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him,” (1 John 2:4) with the commandments expounded upon in 1 John 2:7, which clarifies that there is no “new commandment to you but an old commandment that you had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word that you have heard.”

So, I guess that if any person who says they are Christian or have a new heart or have been reborn, but sin against the ten listed below, is lying, and since the spirit of Christ is then not in them, they are that of Antichrist. Now the new heart is referenced by Ezekiel in many places but the greatest is Ezekiel 36:26-27.

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.
And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.

So the new heart is with God’s spirit, so my assertion above holds. So that’s what the problem is, there are no real Christians out there, just a bunch of people ranting about a book that they really like and it has become their world. Christians are just like Trekies, obsessed Tolkien fans, Scientologists, Muslims, etc, who believe that a fictional work, actually is real. We laugh at the Trekies and other overly obsessed people – such as people who claim Elvis is still alive and walking – and yet we have yet to laugh at these religious persons? Well I certainly do. Hopefully more people will join me.

Remember if a Christian still sins, they aren’t a Christian. If they say they don’t and can’t heal a person, drive out a demon, etc, to give credence, they aren’t a Christian either. Please let me know when someone finds one.

Regards,

Isaac Mills

The Universe Doesn’t Have Constants?

Posted in Religion, Reviews/Analysis, Science/Technology with tags , , , , , , , , on 2009/07/13 by darkshrouds

According to this blog post entitled Uniformitarianism: Philosophical Problems, all of the scientist in the world should stop trying because all of our theories are just theories. I shall explain.

He starts off with the definition which I shall quote.

“Uniformitarianism, in the philosophy of science, assumes that the same natural processes that operate in the universe now, have always operated in the universe in the past, and at the same rates; and that the same laws of physics apply everywhere in the universe. Its methodology is frequently summarized as “the present is the key to the past,” because it holds that all things continue as they were from the beginning of the world.”

Now, most scientist will see what is wrong here quite quickly. We do operate on the assumption that the same natural processes that operate in the universe now, have always and at the same rates; and that the same laws of physics apply everywhere. Now, the question is why do we assume this? Because that is what we see. When you look at the geological layers and analyse samples – terrestrial and extraterrestrial – we find that the same laws work. When you send a probe into space, the laws of physics stay the same. When you look back into the universe, back in time; the laws of physics stay the same. When we measure the speed of light, calibrate the strength of gravity, observe phenomena in different places and under similar conditions; the speed of light is constant, the law of gravity holds, and the phenomena do the same thing every time, and if they don’t we alter our view to conform to the new evidence. This is how science works and how your computer, iPhone, oven, stove, dishwasher, refrigerator, television, radio, lights, electricity, air travel, medicine, and all of the technology that is enjoyed by society today came to be. It came from science discovering, interpreting and figuring out the world. Then other people use these discoveries to bring all this stuff into being and it works, because uniformity of the universe holds. If you have similar conditions, similar phenomena are expected.

Now considering the statement that just makes one cringe.

This definition has a problem. Consider whether evolution has always been occurring. Was there a time when it wasn’t occurring, before living things existed, according to common ancestry? This shows that there is an enthymeme, or unstated proposition. Something is missing from the definition. Let’s amend the definition to include this proposition.

“Uniformitarianism, in the philosophy of science, assumes that, given a set of local conditions, the same natural processes that operate in the location now, have operated in locations with similar conditions in the past, and at the same rates; and that the same laws of physics apply everywhere in the universe.”

Now there are many things wrong here, I’ll start with the most obvious. Evolution has not always been occuring, this is true. Not because evolution is not a constant, but because there was no life for which it to act upon. Evolution does not deal with the first life form, only after life exists does evolution come into play. Therefore, the amended portion is not needed because it still holds. Uniformity assumes that laws hold for what they are supposed to. Gravity works on sub-atomic particles, however, the effect is minimal due to much stronger forces that are effecting these. Scientific theories are only set to specific conditions.

However, the pain for the scientific and rational mind does not cease. It comes again.

Now let’s look a bit at what impact the new proposition has on the definition. Local conditions determine which local processes are occurring and their rates. Laws of physics are unaffected by local conditions; we assume that the laws of physics determine the local processes and their rates by acting on the local conditions.

We find that we have a uniformity condition remaining:

Uniformity of law: Laws of physics apply everywhere and everywhen in the universe.

Uniformitarians, who ignore local conditions, assert the following invalid uniformity condition:

“Uniformity of process: If a past phenomenon can be understood as the result of a process now acting in time and space, do not invent an extinct or unknown cause as its explanation”

Why is this invalid? We have seen that processes are condition-dependent. The assumption of uniformity of process assumes that the local conditions existing in the past are the same as the local conditions existing now. We know that local conditions change. We know that natural processes operating on different local conditions may yield the same set of observed phenomena. There also may be supernatural events that yield the observed phenomena. We know that there is historical evidence of supernatural events that yield the observed phenomena, so there is no invention apart from evidence.

Boiling all this down, we see the following reasons for the invalidity of the asserted uniformity condition:

1. Ignorance of local conditions in the past. We have good reason to believe that, in fact, they were quite different than the local conditions we see today.

2. Ambiguity of processes that could have produced the phenomena. Different sets of local conditions can result in different processes producing the same observed phenomena.

3. There is no necessity for asserting that natural processes formed the observed phenomena and ignoring historical evidence that the observed phenomena may have been formed by supernatural events.

Thus, uniformitarians who assert that “the present is the key to the past,” are asserting an invalid proposition.

Now this is simply too easy. If you are observing an asteroid and see that it will hit our moon tomorrow, you can enter the data into a computer and predict what is going to happen. When you observe the phenomena occur the principles of physics hold. Uniformity holds for the universe. When different conditions – local – exist, we see evidence in the fossil records, evidence in the type of stone deposited and other pieces of data that can be used to understand and predict what the conditions were. The second statement is why we – scientists, empiricists, rationalists, etc. – seek more evidence, to clear up ambiguity. When we know certain conditions must have existed, we get a better picture. The third statement is ridiculous. To assume a supernatural interaction is not needed when we can explain the phenomena is ridiculous. If we can’t explain because there is to few evidence, we research further. There is stated historical evidence for supernatural phenomena, I humbly ask that this is submitted to the world. If it holds up to scrutiny, you will have altered much of science and challenges are always welcome. This is how we learn; however, we see no necessary requirement for your supernatural occurrence. I discussed this previously here.

The understanding of the present is the key to the past, as it is only in the present that we can obtain new data. To state that this is invalid, then DNA analysis of blood at a crime scene should be inadmissible in court because some supernatural being must have placed it there. I’m sure the judge will be accepting of that claim, or perhaps in Saudi Arabia.

Again, science simply states that the universe exists and it can be observed. Uniformity comes out of this because that is what we see. We do not see supernatural beings moving mountains, dead people walking about in cities, trees talking to humans, etc. We see natural phenomena, explained by natural mechanisms. Let us enjoy and be happy for what science has given us, the comforts of modern day. In the past couple thousand years, we have grown into a successful race at conforming the environment to our needs using science; in the past couple thousand years, what has religion brought us but war, strife, hate, contempt, inquisitions, persecutions and pain to those who are different than themselves?

The answer is simple. It has brought nothing else.

I’ll go with science as it seems to have a better track record.

I. A. Mills