Category: Christianity



I recently skimmed a YouTube video with Kent Hovind entitled 100 Reasons Evolution is Stupid! If you don’t know who Hovind is, you should definitely check out some of his videos — they are case studies of hucksterism. I really can’t comprehend how people watching his speeches don’t see him for what he is. It’s not even the fact that he’s spreading a belief in so-called Intelligent Design (creationism) — something I think is ridiculous. It’s his mannerisms and speaking style. Regardless of what he was discussing, I wouldn’t trust him. He could tell me the sky is blue and I’d be highly suspicious of his claims, just because he sounds like a conman.

As I watched just a short clip, I quickly noticed one lie without really searching for it. He claimed that Stephen J. Gould — a renowned evolutionary biologist — stated the following:

“The absence of fossil evidence for intermediary stages between major transitions in organic design, indeed our inability, even in our imagination, to construct functional intermediates in many cases, has been a persistent and nagging problem for … evolution.”

It seemed strange to me that an ellipsis was required right before the word evolution in this quotation. Usually ellipses are used to removed unnecessary information, but in this case, what would have fit in here except vital information. It almost seemed as if Hovind was trying to hide something. Well, perhaps I was mistaken, so I looked up the full quotation.

“The absence of fossil evidence for intermediary stages between major transitions in organic design, indeed our inability, even in our imagination, to construct functional intermediates in many cases, has been a persistent and nagging problem for gradualist accounts of evolution.” (Gould, Stephen J., ‘Is a new and general theory of evolution emerging?’ Paleobiology, vol 6(1), January 1980, p. 127)

If you don’t know, Gould was not in favor of the gradualist account of evolution; however, he was of course in favor of evolution itself. Gould supported “punctuated equilibrium” — a view of evolution as quick explosions of diversity in organisms and long periods of little change. Therefore, this quote does in no way demonstrate that Gould questioned the idea of evolution. It is a flat out lie to portray it as such — which is what Hovind did. At best, Hovind can claim that there are disagreements about how evolution functions — which is true.

Although it upset me to see that Hovind was spreading lies to children, I felt better knowing that he’s now rotting in jail. Not sure exactly what for, but if I cant quote mine from all the things he’s said in his life, Hovind said this about his incarceration:

“I went to … jail … because I … solicited … children with … the intention to … have sex with them … and then … murder them.”

Those are Kent’s words, so this isn’t a lie, right?

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The recent Islam-inspired murder in London allowed us to glimpse the mind of a jihadi. One thing that I noticed was how he proudly said that this is “an eye for an eye” for the people killed in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Even the non-religious amongst us, I believe, rarely question this Biblical concept of “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth”. However, once you do think about it, you realise how barbaric such a legal system would be. We do not dole out identical punishments to fit crimes, nor would this be desirable or even possible. What is to be done with rape? What about mass murder? What if, as happened recently in Saudi Arabia, one person inadvertently paralyzes another while fighting?
Of course it would be barbaric or impossible to try to impose an identical punishment for each of these crimes.
The only crime that some developed societies do impose an eye for an eye for is quite controversial: the death penalty for murder. This too, is considered barbaric by many people.
So, let’s stop just accepting silly old concepts because they’ve been around for so long.
This London murderer was deluded not just by his religion, but also by his understanding of what justice truly is.


… another way of saying, “Nothing will ever shake my ignorance”?


For all Muslims living in Western countries who think that they are being persecuted because their brethren are carrying out terrorist attacks, you clearly don’t understand what it means to be persecuted. Actually, the reverse is much more true.  Christians (and obviously Jews) are genuinely persecuted in Muslim countries Although I am not a Christian or a Jew, I sympathize with any group which is persecuted.

Meeting a random American who snubs you because you are Muslim (especially immediately after an Islamic terrorist attack) is not persecution. Sorry. You don’t get to elevate that experience to persecution or else you diminish the meaning of the word “persecute”.

Now, where’s my evidence? I will make way for Ayaan Hirsi Ali and let you read for yourself. Ironically, Muslims often complain about how their plight is not discussed in the media enough. Yet, the plight of Christians in Muslim countries is little known to the vast majority of people. Here is the article:

http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2012/02/05/ayaan-hirsi-ali-the-global-war-on-christians-in-the-muslim-world.html


Ayaan Hirsi Ali at her best!

 


Cover of "Letters to a Young Contrarian"

I find something repulsive in the idea of vicarious redemption. I would not throw my numberless sins onto a scapegoat and expect them to pass from me; we rightly sneer at the barbaric societies that practice this unpleasantness in its literal form. There’s no moral value in the vicarious gesture anyway. As Thomas Pain pointed out, you may if you wish take on another man’s debt, or even offer to take his place in prison. That would be self-sacrificing. But you may not assume his actual crimes as if they were your own; for one thing you did not commit them and might have died rather than do so; for another this impossible action would rob him of individual responsibility. So the whole apparatus of absolution and forgiveness strikes me as positively immoral, while the concept of revealed truth degrades the whole concept of the free intelligence by purportedly relieving us of the hard task of working out ethical principles ourselves.

– Christopher Hitchens, Letters to a Young Contrarian, p34


This argument occurred to me last night and it isn’t well fleshed out — it’s merely a skeleton of an idea. It is a reason why religion doesn’t make sense which I have never heard — though, no doubt, someone has come up with this idea or something very similar.

So, this is where you come in. Since this idea is not completely formed, I’d like some criticism or additions to the idea to make it more understandable and sensible. Or, reassurance that it already makes sense 🙂

So here it is:

I’ve often heard the same response from a believer, when someone says, “Isn’t it a coincidence that most people believe in the same God as their parents?” The response: “You don’t realize that a lot of people actually change their religions as they come to understand the world better.”

Ok, leaving aside the questionable reference to “a lot of people,” this statement still seems to actually be evidence against God, not for God.

Why? Because if there were an absolutely correct religion, why would finding that religion be up to the capricious nature of humans?

There are many much less important things in the world that are not left to capricious thinking. We all know that humans normally have two arms. We all know that eating certain things can kill us. There is no wiggle room on these mundane things. If someone isn’t born with two arms we consider that a genetic or developmental error. If someone thinks that eating cyanide is healthy, that is a judgement error.

Yet, if someone changes their mind from believing that Christianity is the one true religion to believing that Hinduism is the one true religion — or, more importantly vice versa, which thereby nullifies the possibility of either change being correct — it is not considered an error.

Again, I’m not sure if this is a fully formed argument or if I’m just restating an argument made by someone else in different words. Any criticism appreciated 🙂


It seems to me there are a number of problems with the concept of omniscience.

The most glaring problem is that God has an enemy (how anthropomorphic is that?): the Devil. If God possessed omniscience, this would render any opponent impotent, wouldn’t it?

If God knows everything, he would know every possible way to avoid any attack by the Devil. He would also know every counterattack against and vulnerability of the Devil. Moreover, he would also know every plan the Devil would or could conceive of. Just thinking about how to destroy God would be a fruitless and incriminating task. This doesn’t seem like a fair fight.

So, either God is not omniscient or the Devil doesn’t exist. Or of course, it’s all nonsense.


I always thought that the idea of evidence was pretty simple. I also thought that belief in God was not based on evidence, but on faith, since there is no evidence for God. However, in recent conversations with believers, it seems that they have a different view on what constitutes evidence. Without stating specifically what “evidence” is, so as to not stifle any possible comments by believers, I’m curious what evidence believers have for their belief in God.

And, by the way, I’m getting a little tired of people quoting wikipedia or a dictionary when I discuss a topic like this. Yes, I am tech-savvy enough to log on to dictionary.com or wikipedia.org and surf the web (as the youngsters say). I don’t care about dictionary definitions here, I’m interested in what believers naturally believe is evidence for God.


Why can’t people say I’m metasmart or metafast or even, metahungry? Because attaching the prefix “meta” to any of these adjectives would render them unintelligible and ridiculous. This is quite obvious.

Yet, most of us have heard theists talk about metaphysics and heard them use the term to be something opposed to physical reality, as if this makes some kind of sense (Note that the term metaphysics actually carries many meanings — this is the meaning that I am concerned with here) . Although this, as far as I am aware, is not a proper use of the term metaphysics, it has become one of those buzzwords that many people just generally accept without thinking deeply about it.

So, let’s try to break down the word, shall we? The prefix “meta” is usually defined as being “beyond” or “above” or some such preposition. Fine, this makes sense. Physical, in the sense that this is being used in the aforementioned use of “metaphysical”, refers to everything within the known universe — that is, everything that can be examined. Fine, separately, these two words seem to make sense.

However, it doesn’t seem to make sense to put these together. Why? Consider this:

All of our collective knowledge comes from the universe in which we live. Nothing can come from outside our physical reality because that “outside thing” would immediately become inside if we learned about it. It is nonsensical to think of anything beyond our physical world because our physical world is everything we know and everything we can know. Thus, as soon as we utter the word “metaphysical” we have made it physical: the word metaphysical exists within the physical universe since we are discussing it within our universe. Anything that is truly metaphysical (assuming that that’s even possible) would be beyond our ability to consider, let alone talk about!

In this way, the prefix “meta” can be only applied to things that we know the limits of, and know what is on the outside. For example, metaphysics is also used to describe abstract concepts (in this sense, things that we cannot physically touch), such as existence, truth, ethics and so on. This is fine. We have clearly delineated between touchable and untouchable things. Everyone can distinguish the physical and the metaphysical in this instance.

However, when a theist tells you something like “God is metaphysical” or some other nonsense like that, ensure that they explain two things: what does “metaphysical” mean exactly and how could they possibly know that God is metaphysical if they reside within the physical realm. In all likelihood, they will be unable to respond to either question intelligibly — but this is not the purpose, of course. The purpose? Metaconfusion.

Post Script: Another blogger, debilis, has suggested to me that since there are things that are not physical that exist in this universe (such as ideas) then this is evidence that there is something beyond the physical (notice that this still doesn’t indicate that any form of God exists). Yet, careful examination of what I’ve said in this post will reveal a conflation of two concepts of “metaphysical”: one which I think is nonsense, one which makes sense. Yes, there are things that can be sensed and things that cannot be sensed (ie, ideas). This is the acceptable concept of metaphysics. Then there is the this universe verses that which is beyond this universe (Universe meaning everything we know and can know about. In that way, a multiverse would be included in this notion of a universe). This is the unacceptable version.

Here is where I will assert something that may be controversial: ideas are physical things, in the sense that they physically exist within this universe. How? All information is real. All information is not magically floating through the ether. Therefore, it must exist somewhere — and it does. It exists in the neural connections that host the idea in our brains or in the 1s and 0s that host the idea on a hard drive. Although it is hard to imagine information being transformed into raw data of 1s and 0s, we know this to be true. I would contend that the same is true within our brains. It may not be easy, but I think that there is definitely physical locations where the data of any idea is stored in our brains. Ergo, ideas are physical.

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