Archive for the ‘ Science ’ Category

There Is No Explanation For God

… or my recent absence. Now some might be wont to say I’ve equated myself with god but let me assure you that I have a much higher opinion of myself. For a start I’ve never claimed to be omnipotent, omniscient, or omnipresent. Nor have I ever claimed to love everyone. Perhaps gods are like me and just don’t want to talk about it but in any case I can be coerced to explain my absence… primarily because I can prove I exist. Before your philosophy senses start twitching, just stop. I’m as real as anything that questions the reality of a god and more real than the hopes of a championship ring for some sports clubs.

If there is a god and it was not absent this would be a pretty stupid post but it is not a stupid post for one simple reason: not one theist can demonstrate that their god exists.

 

 

Even the most famous of theological apologists cannot demonstrate that their god exists. There is a natural conclusion that can be drawn from this simple fact: Theists are delusional and any influence that they have on society is detrimental. Perhaps their charity or other seemingly benign activities might be seen as neutral if not positive but the net effect of their influence remains negative because it teaches superstition and fear… at least in the case of monotheism. (my favorite targets)

Some of you might still want to ask why I’ve been gone lately or even demand it. Odd that we only expect such of entities we believe are real. Why don’t believers demand to know why their god has not been present? Shouldn’t their prayers end with questions like “why can’t you heal amputees?” or similar? Perhaps I expect too much but when I hear that I’m bound for hell I always loudly opine that the speaker isn’t going to heaven. Think about that for a second or two.

At Least They’re Fucking Thinking

There is much yet to be said for the sound of religion dying.  I doubt that anyone expected it to die with a whimper but what exactly is the sound of religious belief in its death throes?

It might actually sound like this summary I found:

What I mean by all the that is this: the intuition I’ve had for a long time, and grows stronger with every atheist I listen to, is that atheists have different goals than everybody else. One might be tempted to say that they seek truth, while believers seek comfort. I suggest this is false. What atheists seek is technical utility: they want information that allows us to predict the movement of stars, build a better mousetrap, solve equations. Their science helps them achieve this. But the actual truth of things may go well beyond this, and may even, at points, contradict this. And it may be that there are more important things than curing polio or building a rocket to Mars, such as morality, purpose, and the sense of the transcendent.

Redefine everything so that your magic belief seems okay. Define atheists as no better than yourself – atheism is a religion. Here we see a claim that wanting to know the truth is simply a utilitarian thing, not important for real questions. Then there is the thought put forward that maybe there is more to life than this, maybe there is stuff that contradicts utilitarian science and because the atheist doesn’t embrace the possibility they are lost or worse, wilfully stupid.

Well, for the theists who think this way there is some bad news. There is also a possibility that they worship the satan they fear so much. A possibility that we live in a simulation, a possibility that the god they choose is the wrong one… there are many possibilities and without evidence (pesky science) there is no way to know if any of them are true. They assume they know which one is true but HOW do they know? Damn, there is that science thing again, but they don’t like science. They would much rather play roulette with their guesses than to know the truth.

 

The good news is that at least more of them are starting to think about the problems that their religious belief poses. It’s a good sign.

 

 

Let’s Do This

CARM has questions

It looks like research and that leads to education, so I’m in… I don’t have any thought provoking introduction. Education is always the answer, well, it is if the question is not ‘does that saber tooth tiger’s tonsils look inflamed to you?’

ED: It turns out that the questions were not as interesting as I had first thought them to be. Several seemed rather silly.

 

  1. How would you define atheism?
    The lack of belief in gods or the supernatural
  2. Do you act according to what you believe (there is no God) in or what you don’t believe in (lack belief in God)?
    There is no god to believe in so there is no reason to act with reference to that, god’s don’t enter into how I live just like the easter bunny and tooth fairy.
  3. Do you think it is inconsistent for someone who “lacks belief” in God to work against God’s existence by attempting to show that God doesn’t exist
    No, acting against harmful and dangerous ideas is not inconsistent with lack of belief in gods.
  4. How sure are you that your atheism properly represents reality?
    As sure as the evidence will allow me to be. As sure as the lack of a god’s presence warrants. Where I am infinitely more certain that there are no gods than I am certain it’s possible for a god to exist.
  5. How sure are you that your atheism is correct?
    As certain as the facts will allow one to be. There has never been credible evidence for the existence of a god. Atheism is the right position in light of that lack of evidence.
  6. How would you define what truth is?
    That which is not shown to be false and which has high probability of being true. That said, true has several meanings. People want to give the value ‘truth’ metaphysical meaning but there is no such thing. Newtonian physics was truth until it wasn’t. It still is truth but not for all situations.
  7. Why do you believe your atheism is a justifiable position to hold?
    Because there has never been credible evidence for the existence of any god.
  8. Are you a materialist or a physicalist or what?
    materialism
    As a theory, materialism is a form of physicalism and belongs to the class of monist ontology. As such, it is different from ontological theories based on dualism or pluralism. For singular explanations of the phenomenal reality, materialism would be in contrast to idealism, neutral monism and spiritualism.

    Monism is the philosophical view that a variety of existing things can be explained in terms of a single reality or substance
    I am a monist, atheist, anti-theist, existential nihilist, mechanical atheist and so on

  9. Do you affirm or deny that atheism is a worldview?  Why or why not?
    Atheism is not a world view. It is a single point view – relating only to the existence of gods and the supernatural
  10. Not all atheists are antagonistic to Christianity but for those of you who are, why the antagonism?
    Christianity and Abrahamic monotheism is caustic to society, it is dangerous and deluded. It seeks to harm those that will not submit and assimilate.
  11. If you were at one time a believer in the Christian God, what caused you to deny his existence?
    The utter lack of evidence, starting with the way that believers act, then onto the ridiculousness of the bible and doctrine, then to how it is claimed that god intercedes – strictly through nature. Starting in Genesis we have a string of stories that are without evidence and completely unbelievable on the face of them.
  12. Do you believe the world would be better off without religion?
    Yes, see number 10
  13. Do you believe the world would be better off without Christianity?
    Yes, see numbers 10 and 12
  14. Do you believe that faith in a God or gods is a mental disorder?
    I may not be qualified to diagnose a mental disorder, but if mental disorders are the temporary or permanent incapacity to think critically and interact in nominal ways with society without causing harm, then yes, it is a mental disorder.
  15. Must God be known through the scientific method?
    If a thing cannot be known via the scientific method, it cannot be known. Otherwise Christians would have to admit that Vishnu is real, the FSM exists, and so on. Christians would not accept on faith alone the existence of other non corporal beings.
  16. If you answered yes to the previous question, then how do you avoid a category mistake by requiring material evidence for an immaterial God?
    If the god can interact and intercede in the physical world it can be physically verified. This is not a category mistake. If a god cannot interact with the physical world why pray to it?
  17. Do we have any purpose as human beings?
    Yes: eat, breathe, drink, procreate, sleep, repeat … any order you prefer
  18. If we do have purpose, can you as an atheist please explain how that purpose is determined?
    This purpose is found in all living things. It is minimal for survival of a species.
  19. Where does morality come from?
    Morality is always subjective, it comes from our own intuition and experience.
  20. Are there moral absolutes?
    Absolutely not.
  21. If there are moral absolutes, could you list a few of them?
    See number 20.
  22. Do you believe there is such a thing as evil?  If so, what is it?
    A really good plot point. The ‘evil’ would be an absolute… evil does not exist.
  23. If you believe that the God of the Old Testament is morally bad, by what standard do you judge that he is bad?
    The same standard by which I judge everything: my own internal ethics… just as you and all believers do.
  24. What would it take for you to believe in God?
    I have a couple of posts on that. Consider what it would take for you to believe that Zeus and Thor are real? That might work for me in the case of your god.
  25. What would constitute sufficient evidence for God’s existence?
    If the evidence were to convert all non-believers and all other religion believers unequivocally — that should do it.
  26. Must this evidence be rationally based, archaeological, testable in a lab, etc., or what?
    No, YHWH can come on down to the mall on Friday night and start his campaign there. If it’s not enough to convert Muslims on the spot I’m probably not going to buy it.
  27. Do you think that a society that is run by Christians or atheists would be safer?  Why?
    Safer for who? The answer is that theists by definition will curtail the liberties of others. It is not the safer options.
  28. Do you believe in free will?  (free will being the ability to make choices without coersion).
    Yes. I’ve written quite a bit about it
  29. If you believe in free will, do you see any problem with defending the idea that the physical brain, which is limited and subject to the neuro-chemical laws of the brain, can still produce free will choices?
    I have no problem defending the brain being the source of mind and free will.
  30. If you affirm evolution and that the universe will continue to expand forever, then do you think it is probable that given enough time, brains would evolve to the point of exceeding mere physical limitations and become free of the physical and temporal and thereby become “deity” and not be restricted by space and time?  If not, why not?
    No, see number 29. Universe expansion does not mean brains will expand. There are limits to how much brain matter the body can support. There is no dieties… brains are not going to become deities.
  31. If you answered the previous question in the affirmative, then aren’t you saying that it is probable that some sort of God exists?
    I did not, and no it is not probable that some sort of god exists.

 

Hell Is Real…

It’s called Alzheimer’s Disease.

Recently I found a blogger that thinks the mind creates the brain. That person is an idiot. Watching a vivid character and mind waste to nothing is the most disheartening thing I can possibly think of. I can’t imagine the hell of not being able to remember 5 minutes ago. My mother is becoming like many animals… living only in this moment but able to remember her college GPA to three decimal places. She can’t remember what she ate last night but she can remember long term stuff like the back of her hand. It’s a torture that I can see taking its toll on her and soon on the family. If prayer would work I would pray for her. It gives me physical pain to see that beautiful woman and mind reduced to such confusion and pain. Hell is real. It is the loss of your mind.

When she faces her god, she won’t remember if she has sinned and can’t repent of them if she did. If this is a god’s perfect plan I want to beat that god to death with a hammer. This was his plan? Torture her here and then condemn her after? I really want some believer to explain their god to me now. I want to know why their god wants me to feel such pain. I want to know why their god wants to torture my mother and my family. I want an explanation or for religion to shut the fuck up. Religion has no explanation and this just happens. It is part of life and if fucking sucks. I cry for the woman who does not know what my tears are for. Tell me you religious believers, what are my tears for? What is my family’s suffering for? What part of god’s perfect plan does this support? I’m listening…

Illusions? Who Are You?

We are not enslaved to the illusions of our memories nor trapped within them.

It is only marginally correct to say that we are afraid to reach outside of them.

 

If the truth is to be told, we are frightened of living without them.

 

Not because change is stressful, but because without them we do not know truly who we are.

 

If there is but one thing more frightful to humans than living without their illusions

 

 

it is to find out who they really are.

 

Who are  you?

 

What are  you afraid of?

Near Death Yet? Have An Experience? Want To Share?

Near death experiences give people some odd bits of experience and science has yet to pin it down as to what is going on. That part is no surprise. In the track of my mechanical atheism and decidedly dedicated desire to divine the direct dope on near death dreams I decided to devote this ditty to declaring delineated decisions derived from my dunce cap stand.

Duh!

Near Death Experiences or NDE have increased since we became more successful at resuscitating people. How Stuff Works  has a piece on NDE and there are lots of posts on the internets to help you get confused over what is going on with these things. I will approach this from the atheist and anti-theist, monist, materialist, nihilist point of view. Oh, I know, nothing special but I’ve got to give the old college try.

Yes, there are those that think it is a religious experience and I’ll tell you that this idea invalidates their religious experiences as something other than natural phenomena.

Your body is a machine. Sure, it’s organic, but it is a system of interrelated systems working together to support the brain that is you.

I urge you to read “My Stroke Of Insight” by Jill Bolte Taylor. She describes what happened when she had a major brain haemorrhage that shut down half of her brain. No, it’s not an NDE though it could have been. She is a neuroscientist and took some good notes on what was happening to her. There is a TED talk to make it a short trip.

She talks about how parts of her brain shut down and what experiences she had from that.

In an NDE the body begins to shut down. Lack of oxygen being circulated means that malfunction begins. It will begin in the extremities first. Your body will strive to keep your brain functional for as long as possible. Your brain has the capacity to function for a certain amount of time before shutting down. While those last moments tick along your brain will lose contact with sensory inputs, and various parts of your brain. This will create an unreal world where nothing ‘feels’ right, and things seem to be odd. In this state your brain will continue to process data as fast as it can with whatever sensory data it can find.

You will lose sense of time, sense of position, and sense of synchronized data. That is to say that the sensory data from one source will not match up to other sensory data. It will be out of synch and give us a distorted picture of the world that we believe we are seeing.

As your brain starts shutting down, memories will be what is available for the simulation in your head. Vision will go and only memories will provide visual data. Everyone familiar with ‘stream of consciousness’ thinking will know that given a chance, most people will scream through random thoughts at any given point of the day. We mostly suppress them to ensure that thoughts synchronize to external sensory data.

Jill Bolte Taylor describes what happens when we lose these brain synchronizations.

In cardiac arrest, we go straight to this shutting down state. It is our experiences and memories and simulator rules that define what our brain will be doing to try to make sense of what is happening. Because of this, there is no way to predict what your NDE might be like. What is known is that these general conditions and symptoms express themselves as dream like experiences in the memory of those who experience an NDE.

There is no magic, no spirits, nothing special… it’s what happens when you unplug your brain. Awesome and frightening in one step. It is what you will experience after that last breath.

Are you looking forward to it?

Science, Because It Works…

You can talk about prayer all you want but the world has never seen this in a church and never will. This won’t happen with prayer and never has. When it does happen it happens not with a book and a choir but with lab coats and a medical chart. If you haven’t seen this yet, set back, grab a tissue…

 

 

Someone please tell me again how prayer works and how this woman never managed to pray the right way or to the right god in all her life. Then explain how loving your god is… and don’t forget to explain why it is that your god would give doctors such skills but make this woman wait a lifetime to hear her own voice.

 

It’s a tear jerker alright and damnit, at least she can hear her sobs.

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