Recent blog posts
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- Interesting Outcomes of Assumption-Laden Perception: 2001 A Save Theodicy
- A Review of Dwolla
- What First (or Any) Time Home Buyers Need to Know About Drywood Termites
- Simple Fix for Bootcamp Partition Error: "Files cannot be moved"
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- 2010 iMac Target Display Mode (Mini Display Port) with 2011 Macbook Pro (Thunderbolt)
- approx 502 Bad Gateway, Connection failed errors
- A More Equitable Way to Trade Stocks? An Arbitrage-Free Exchange
- Religious Leaders Feel Threatened, Enjoy Attention
You can't reason someone out of something they weren't reasoned into.
If Christ were here there is one thing he would not be - a Christian.
Religion is regarded by the foolish as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.
It only takes 20 years for a liberal to become a conservative without changing a single idea.
-Robert Anton Wilson
He who would do good to another must do it in minute particulars. General good is the plea of the scoundrel, hypocrite, and flatterer.
Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
...Faith: that is to say, to shut one's eyes once and for all, in order not to suffer at the sight of incurable falsity.
- Nietzsche, the Antichrist
They say, 'We do not know how this is, but we know that God can do it.' You poor fools! God can make a cow out of a tree, but has he ever done so? Therefore show some reason why a thing is so, or cease to hold that it is so.
-William of Conches
I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forego their use.
[Christianity has made the world] a prey to the wicked, who have found men readier, for the sake of going to paradise, to submit to blows rather than to resent them.
And don't tell me God works in mysterious ways. There's nothing so mysterious about it. He's not working at all. He's playing. Or else He's forgotten all about us. That's the kind of God you people talk about - a country bumpkin, a clumsy, bungling, brainless, conceited, uncouth hayseed. Good God, how much reverence can you have for a Supreme Being who finds it necessary to include such phenomena as phlegm and tooth decay in His divine system of creation? What in the world was running through that warped, evil, scatological mind of His when He robbed old people of the power to control their bowel movements?
-Yossarian, in Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
Life is both entirely and only what you make of it.
-attributed to many, modified by dimmer
South Park 712 - All About Mormons (79.3MB avi) (true story)
- Bad Religion - Let Them Eat War
- Bad Religion - Epiphany
- Bad Religion - Kyoto Now
- Bad Religion - Faith Alone
- Bad Religion - Come Join Us
- Bad Religion - 21st Century Digital Boy
- Bad Religion - All Good Soldiers
- Filter - Dose
- Modest Mouse - Bukowski
- XTC - Dear God
- Sarah McLachlan - Dear God (XTC Cover)
Listening to the Point of Inquiry podcast with Francis Collins was a little bit frustrating. Francis Collins is a world renowned researcher - one might say one of the most important scientists in the world - yet he's a Theist. I'm convinced that having the skepticism and critical thinking skills that make a good scientist leads to agnosticism/atheism. When Dr. Joe Shmoe preaches something crazy about God, it's easy to think, "Anyone can get a PhD these days!" But when it's a top scientist it makes you wonder what's going on.
Listening to the podcast is very insightful as to what's going on. Although Francis Collins seems to be a well educated and smart man as far as his job is concerned he has little understanding in the realm of theological arguments, and in the realm of evolutionary biology. He cites CS Lewis as being his initial influence for a conversion to Christianity. He also states that he think the arguments of CS Lewis are even today hard to refute. This is complete bunk! All of CS Lewis' arguments have been absolutely shredded apart.
DJ Grothe, an altogether outstanding interviewer, throws Francis Collins complete softball questions (reminiscent of Bill O'Reilly interviewing George W. Bush). I don't blame DJ though - it makes sense to be respectful of your guests (lest he wants this to be his last theistic guest). Although I think DJ should have asked slightly more critical questions he was erring on the side of caution. I think you can actually hear him biting his tongue.
Francis asserts that Evolution is all about reproducing your individual genes. I'd agree with him that this is the case. Francis says "Evolution cares about your genes, they don't care about much else. And remember, they care about the genes of the individual and not so much the genes of the group." This is true too, but he makes a logical error after this.
He goes on to challenge Evolutionary Biologists "Why do we respect people like Oscar Schindler who risks his life to save thousands of Jews from the Holocaust when he himself isn't Jewish?" (he lists Mother Teresa too). Granted I'm no evolutionary biologist, but I think this question is far from a paradox. In a society where people cooperate - it increases everyone's chance of reproducing. This is a broader form of reciprocal altruism (which he actually mentions). I don't see how he didn't connect the dots. When humans evolved in tribal societies cooperation was necessary to survival. It is easy to imagine altruism and cooperation being sewn into the human genome. Surely the head genome decoder could imagine that?
"Why do Atheists insist that we get over religion and be good to one another? Who cares about being good? If they are right, we should shrug off the whole idea and be just as darned selfish as we possibly can because we've all been hoodwinked by evolution into being just as good as we possibly can and we should rebel against that?" This is slightly reminiscent of when I told someone I was an Atheist and they responded "Do you have morals?" Francis, evolution also "hoodwinked" me into standing upright, opposable thumbs, and other biological features. Actually Francis, I'm quite happy with most of my evolutionarily developed features, including my empathy.
"By committing the scientific method to religious claims you're committing a logical fallacy" - Francis Collins argument is that the scientific method is the wrong tool to study religion. Francis Collins is dead wrong here, with little wiggle room. Science is the best tool humanity has. And anything that is possibly provable - is best proved by Science. If anyone is trying to prove a religious claim without using scientific proof - then you have no way of knowing if they are telling the truth, a liar, or delusional. I would assume Francis Collins makes his religious decisions not based on Science, but on emotion. I wonder if then there's any coincidence that he was born in the USA and decided to become Christian and not Jainist? Are emotions a good tool to use to judge truth? Have you ever liked someone before they did something awful? How about nymphomaniacs, kleptomaniacs, or homicidal maniacs? For them the ideal to strive for is as much sex, stealing, or murder as possible. Yet not everybody does (or should) share these Truths.
One thing Francis Collins doesn't explain is how he goes from believing in the stereotypical philosophical God (omnipotent, omniscient, benevolent) to believing in a particular Christian view of God. Again, he doesn't mention what type of Christian he is, but he believes in the resurrection of Jesus. Please Francis - the resurrection of Jesus? If I told you something impossible to happen happened - would you just believe it, or would you think I'm either lying or delusional? What are the chances of each side being true?
Francis Collins is not as kooky as many religious people we hear about. He does afterall believe in evolution - yet it's still disturbing that he's a top scientist and doesn't use (or doesn't know how to use) the scientific method in his personal life.