Posts Tagged ‘ Christopher Hitchins ’

Can’t We All Just Get Along?

The never ending discussion on the compatibility between science and religion asks if they can get along and coexist. The argument, no matter how it is stated, comes down to this: Science has facts, religion has faith. As long as religion has faith it will remain incompatible with both science and reality. Believers might argue that their faith is compatible with science yet they will not allow for someone else’s faith being compatible with their own. When believers can’t even get their ‘faith’ coherent but decide to disagree with the best method we have of knowing the world around us then it is completely incompatible with science.

A religion that is not incompatible with science would be one that requires no faith. Would that be a religion?

Can’t we all just get along?

NO, we can’t as long as you are unwilling to be a full participant in reality.

Before anyone thinks I’m calling all believers stupid, just stop. This is a reaction to the discussion of compatibility and not simply your particular point of view. That said, if you want to feel offended, that is your prerogative, just don’t expect an apology.

 

 

That Meaning Of Life Thing … Did You Really Mean To Say That?

As you might know, I asked my readers to comment on what they thought the meaning of life is. I got some interesting answers though it would appear that I don’t have too many ‘believer’ readers lately. Such is life.

I wanted to get a feel for what my readership thought of the meaning of life question before posting. I suppose that is odd or somehow paranoid, but it struck me as the right thing to do at the time. Such feelings have not always been a good guide for me but I thought I’d give it another chance.

As it turns out, it was an interesting response. There were several joke or humorous responses, of course.

tildeb: There’s only one answer: 42, silly.

And then my preacher friend says:

Surely the meaning of life is explained by different people in different ways, it all depend on what they want to get out of life.

If you think about that for a bit you can take it several ways. I find it interesting that a believer would view ‘the meaning of life’ as a meta statement about what we might want to get out of life. I’m sure that he meant this in respect of people wanting eternal bliss with skydaddy, but it has a deeper meaning in that it specifically implies subjective reality rather than objective reality.

What the hell, go on, tell me what YOU think already

Several commenters rightfully pointed out that meaning is a poor way to phrase things. Life as value, purpose, and meaning, not simply meaning. We humans like to conflate the three but they are very different.

heretherebespiders said:

Seems to me that the only meaning of life is to make more life. I suppose that brings up other questions: why bother expending all that energy on making something that has to expend energy to make something that expends energy making something… so on and so on, ad infinitum. Maybe the answer to that question is the real meaning of life?

It is true of all species on this one planet that the purpose of life is to create more life. Evolution may have created life at some point that is not hell bent or creating more of its kind, but they did not survive for us to observe. So it would seem that evolutionarily the purpose of humans is to make more humans. This endeavor, on it’s own, does not seem to have any purpose beyond propagating the species. Having more of one species or other does not imply a deeper meaning of any kind.

If we address value we dive straight in at the deep end of subjective morals and value propositions.

Purpose seems solid as nothing more than propagating the species. Value seems only subjective. What then is meaning, especially in the context of life or existence?

The word meaning implies a causal relationship, that we exist for a purpose not readily apparent to the casual observer. Meaning implies a chain of causal relationships of which existence on this planet is but one. That further implies that we exist somehow before and after this life. This, to me, means that the very concept of meaning is based on failed logic. There can be no ‘meaning’ without a chain of causal relationships. We have no credible evidence for such a chain nor any credible reason to believe that such a chain exists.

Without such a chain we exist simply because our parents were driven to procreate by the hormones in their bodies. Some of us truly are here by accident. Most of us simply don’t want to die before we have to. We do not approach life thinking that we are supposed to have x, y, and z without causing problems. This and other things tell us that we are here, no explanation. An explanation would show the chain of causal events.

Determinists are certain they understand the causal events, yet have no explanation for them.. therefore, they too have no meaning for life. In fact nobody does. There are those that will offer anecdotal stories of what they value and try to tell you that is what the meaning of life is… but it is not a shared experience or understanding.

We can show that life or existence in general has a purpose and subjective value but we have no way to assign meaning to the life we know. Life or existence has no meaning. Meaning then must be a subjective evaluation of life as it runs on the simulator in our heads.

I can only conclude that there is no objective or even universal meaning to life or existence. Those that believe in determinism will see this as true. Nihilists will see this as true. Does that mean that everyone else is fooling themselves?

There are those that say the meaning of life is friends and family – which is nothing more than purpose as stated above. Everyone else that seems to claim meaning for life or existence bases it on a belief in god or gods. One might then wrongly say that without god life has no meaning. The reality is that life has no meaning with or without a belief in god(s).

So how does one live life if there is no meaning? Just like you did before when you thought there was meaning except that you don’t blame everything on magic. Life just is. Existence just is. You don’t have to enjoy it, you just have to experience it. Try to make the best of it. Experience stuff. That sounds a lot like YOLO thinking but it’s not. What your life affords you to experience will be different than mine, but experience just the same. Try to live in the moment, in the awe of even being able to understand that you exist and that at any given moment, somewhere in the universe there is a star exploding with more energy than you can probably imagine. Why we are here does not matter. That we are here does. We didn’t ask to be on this amusement ride so make the most of it while you are here. Existence is guaranteed for those that can read this, so is the end of existence.

As it turns out, it’s just a ride…

 

 

God Is Not Good!

I’m not going to bore you with my own personal account today, but there are a few pointers from some other guys.

I don’t think that Mr Hitchens needs an introduction. I poured two fingers of Johnny Walker Black Label just to prepare myself to review this blog before posting. Cheers Chris!

 

 

This is a scene from the Movie “God on Trial” apparently. I’m going to have watch it. I’ll update if I can find it on Netflix etc. Awesome scene!

 

 

God is not good. Certainly not the one described in the Christian Bible, nor the Qur’an, nor the Torah. That god is a vile thing conjured from the minds of racist, violent, bigoted, sexist assholes. It was not bad enough that the Jews thought this a useful thing to do. No. The Muslims and Christians had to follow suit and claim that their stories were better so it’s all okay. All of it makes me sick. If such a god exists I would spend my days figuring out how to kill it.

The god of monotheism is NOT  good.

There endeth the lesson for today kiddies.

Oh, Mr Krauss, What Have You Done?

Regular readers here will know that I truly enjoy listening to L. Krauss. He makes some really good talking points. It saddens me that this particular video shows him being what you would call ‘not at your best’ …

I want to put some things forward here. You know me, I kind of see things differently. Firstly, the entire premise seems to be skewed to make the endeavor a failure from the start. Here were some of the questions posed and discussed.

  • Belief in God: Prohibitive or Liberating?
  • Is belief in God rational or irrational?
  • What role should religion play in our private and public lives?
  • Is science sufficient to make religion redundant?
  • Is the way forward for humanity in the 21st century a return to God or the completion of secularisation process of modernity?

Is belief in god prohibitive or liberating.

Well, you’ll have to define liberating but from the outset we can see that all the monotheistic religions use the Old Testament where we find the 10 commandments (several versions actually) and most of them start with ‘thou shalt not…’ this is not liberation, it is prohibition. There should be no argument on this. Thou shall not is a prohibition in the making. The premise here is basically screwed like a drunk monkey with no bathroom pass. To even pose the question is to try to give credence to the thought that belief in a god is liberating, though we are not told what we are liberated from.

Liberation:

  1. to set free, as from imprisonment or bondage.
  2. to free (a nation or area) from control by a foreign or oppressive government.
  3. to free (a group or individual) from social or economic constraints or discrimination, especially arising from traditional role expectations or bias.
  4. to disengage; set free from combination, as a gas.
  5. Slang. to steal or take over illegally: The soldiers liberated a consignment of cigarettes.

The opposite of liberate can be:  control strictly,  restrain,  enslave,  capture,  keep down,  inhibit,  oppress,  subjugate,  occupy,  regiment

Most of those opposites of liberate can be found in religion and religious dogma. Christians are fond of talking about their master and serving their god. Islam is all about submission to their god. The Jews are given 600+ laws to obey, including those that order them to kill offenders of the laws. This is not liberation. It is in fact the opposite of liberation.

It can fairly be said that religion and monotheistic belief is NOT liberating. It seems rather far from that in as much as it is willful enslavement to a deity, even though some folk in some societies don’t get much of a choice on whether or not they willfully submit to a deity.

Is belief in God rational or irrational?

If rational is defined as:

  1. agreeable to reason; reasonable; sensible: a rational plan for economic development.
  2. having or exercising reason, sound judgment, or good sense: a calm and rational negotiator.
  3. being in or characterized by full possession of one’s reason; sane; lucid: The patient appeared perfectly rational.
  4. endowed with the faculty of reason: rational beings.
  5. of, pertaining to, or constituting reasoning powers: the rational faculty.

and irrational defined as the opposite of these, we have to ask what is rational about belief in a deity. We’ll stick to monotheistic belief here. The dogma of monotheism and all its doctrine are not rational in that they do not agree to reason. They in fact object to and oppose all change. Reason requires us to adjust our thinking as new information is available but the word of monotheistic gods is unchanging. The laws will not change though many ignore parts of them. It is not amenable to reason. The old testament teaches the adherent how to treat their slaves and where to get them from. The new testament that modern Christians are so fond of fails to say that slavery is bad, thus reinforcing the idea that slavery is acceptable. In the world that we live in today this is not rational. Killing those who eat certain foods or who are GLBTQ is not rational. To claim belief in a monotheistic religion requires you to accept the doctrine, holy texts, and dogma of that religion. It is not a rational thing to do in light of current society and understanding of the world.

The question appears to have been meant in the manner Is it rational to believe in a god rather than how I’ve explained it so far, but let’s consider this: Whether it is rational or not to believe in any god is hardly worth worrying about if believing in the religion is definitively irrational. Believing in a deity but not in any known religion is simple deism. Is that rational? I say it is not because there is no reason to believe in a deity. There is no credible evidence for it. There is no benefit from it. There is no rational reason to believe in a creator god. Which belief you hold determines how detrimental and caustic to society that you are. The belief in a deity is no more rational than the belief in a tooth fairy or fairies in your garden or the great pumpkin. All of them have the same evidence for existence. All of them bring the same level of benefit.

The answer is that belief in a creator god is irrational.

What role should religion play in our private and public lives?

This is a pernicious question.  Firstly because it assumes the existence of a god. If you ask this while you hold the view that there is no god or probably is no god, they you are asking what role should religious ceremony and dogma play in our lives. At this point you should already have given up on religion and moved to more rational thought. The traditions and ‘good’ things that can be found in religion can be found elsewhere and without all the dangerous bits attached. Monotheistic religion should play no role in our lives. It simply needs to go the way of the dinosaurs for which they have no explanation.  Christopher Hitchens said it best:

Name me an ethical statement made or an action performed by a believer that could not have been made or performed by a non-believer.

Is science sufficient to make religion redundant?

It seems cheap to let Hitchens do it again, but he does it so well.

Religion has run out of justifications. Thanks to the telescope and the microscope, it no longer offers an explanation of anything important. Where once it used to be able, by its total command of a worldview, to prevent the emergence of rivals, it can now only impede and retard—or try to turn back—the measurable advances that we have made.

Sometimes, true, it will artfully concede them. But this is to offer itself the choice between irrelevance and obstruction, impotence or outright reaction, and, given this choice, it is programmed to select the worse of the two.

Meanwhile, confronted with undreamed-of vistas inside our own evolving cortex, in the farthest reaches of the known universe, and in proteins and acids which constitute our nature, religion offers either annihilation in the name of god, or else the false promise that if we take a knife to our foreskins, or pray in the right direction, or ingest pieces of wafer, we shall be “saved.”

God Is Not Great

We can fairly conclude that religion is already redundant, the believers just don’t know it yet. This is true for those question we wish answered. For those that seek solace of mind through meditation religion still seems to offer a thing or two but it is not a solace that can be found no where else. Religion is redundant.

Is the way forward for humanity in the 21st century a return to God or the completion of secularisation process of modernity?

You can never go home again is a familiar refrain. Turning back is not possible without willfully forgetting all that we have learned. That is not possible in the normal course of society and would require a forced compliance. No, the only way forward is to leave the infancy of the human species and all it’s fumbling steps behind us.

Religion comes from the period of human prehistory where nobody—not even the mighty Democritus who concluded that all matter was made from atoms—had the smallest idea what was going on. It comes from the bawling and fearful infancy of our species, and is a babyish attempt to meet our inescapable demand for knowledge (as well as for comfort, reassurance, and other infantile needs). Today the least educated of my children knows much more about the natural order than any of the founders of religion.

Christopher Hitchens ―God Is Not Great

Mr. Krauss is very good at explaining things. I don’t think that debates are his forte yet. He is inspirational and deserves a listen. Here are a few links to get you started.

Here is Mr Krauss doing what he does so well. Enjoy!

and more

and more … Mr Krauss is wonderful at explaining things. I don’t think that debating is his forte but explaining things… ooooh yeah, bring it on!  At the 46:00 minute mark, pay attention. ‘Nothing’ is unstable. It is profound and short and it is as important as it is profound.

Also check out the part starting at 1:09:38 or so. The Fox News bit starts at about 1:30:40 and moves into a bit about fear. Dawkins managed to remember that pigeons can be taught to do strange rituals to get food to appear out of the feeder. If you wait till the bird turns left 360 degrees and pecks on the feeder twice before dropping a pellet of food, it will repeat this. This appears to be superstition in humans, but it is not. It is the ability to repeat patterns that have beneficial outcomes. This is what we do when we learn: we repeat beneficial patterns. It is not superstition. Superstition is the ability to continue repeating patterns we have been shown do no good or making associations between events that have no connection in reality. Fear is repeated for many things even when we know it is not good or not beneficial. This is not superstition, it is stupidity based in the untrue belief that each individual is an actor with causal powers.

Not Again

It’s happening again. I get home from work and there simply is so much to do that it’s midnight before I feel like I’m making any progress. I’ve got three replies that I need to send out, bills to check on line, dogs to walk…

They say the days are getting shorter. I think they are always too short. I really like the work that I do, but I’ve got a crap load of it to do with no end in sight. Looks like tomorrow will be another energy drink day. Sigh
Recently I’ve found a spate of new atheist bloggers. That makes me feel good inside. Of course there is no end to the number of religious apologists. Not many of them seem to have studied up on what they face in their non-believing counterparts. For them I have the following video. The 1:49 mark is where these uninformed apologist bloggers need to pay heed.

 

 

Those same apologists should learn a bit about science and the scientific method, so I give you this:

 

 

DAMN! I mean DAMN!!!!

I don’t think Feynman was ever not entertaining. To see what I mean, check out these videos

If you don’t already know Feynman, sit back and get acquainted with him. If you are a believer, sit back, press play and LEARN!

It doesn’t hurt, I promise.

Why Are You Worried About Your God’s Feelings?

Recently we have seen Muslims, Russian Orthodox, and many other religions getting all butt hurt over what they claim is insulting language, movies, art and other expressions of what it is to be human. We know what they claim – insult to god, church, or prophet.We could talk about this topic for hours, questioning religion, sanity of believers, and all manner of things.

The real question is why?

Why are they worried what their god sees or hears?

Why does it matter to them?

Let me see if I can speak about these aspects of the problem for a little while.

An omnipotent god can punish as it sees fit to.

Clearly some believers understand this rule of the imaginary since they blame natural disasters on homosexuality, promiscuity, and any other sin they can think of. To them it is always humanity’s fault when the imaginary sky god gets angry and causes a natural disaster.

They must surely believe then that if it were not for humanity the world would be heaven like. If only gods create disasters, then the earth would be an awesome wonderful place to live. Never mind global warming, asteroids, gamma rays, and the fact that the Sun will burn out soon enough. The Earth would be a perfect place to live if it were not for humanity. Has anyone ever asked a fundamentalist if they had thought this through?

  • Are they afraid they will be punished along with the guilty?
  • Is their god that careless?
  • Would he kill or punish the innocent in his wrath?
  • Why do they feel the need to punish people for their god?
  • Do they feel that their god is not wise and powerful enough to punish the guilty as he wishes?
  • Are they afraid that if the ‘guilty’ do not get punished by humans all others will see that their god actually does nothing to punish the guilty?
  • Would others see their god as impotent, anything but all powerful?

An omniscient god can know when and who to punish, and how.

An all knowing god knows who has broken it’s laws and when. Monotheistic Abrahamic faiths all claim that their god knows your life and all its details before you are even born. Their god then sits back, knowing who will break his laws and when … and does nothing about it.

  • Why do believers feel it necessary to point out to their god and others who is guilty of breaking their god’s laws?
  • Don’t they trust their god to know who and when his laws are being broken?
  • Why must they riot and call for new human laws to enforce laws that their god should be sitting in judgement of?
  • Why do their holy books tell them to punish the wrong and evil doers?
  • Is it because the charlatans who invented their religion did not want people to know that their god will not know when laws are being broken, even if their god could punish people?
  • Does it make them a better place in the afterlife to bring retribution down on others for breaking a god’s law?
  • Are they instructed to stand in judgement of those who break their god’s laws?
  • Is their prophet so petty that any reference to him that is not pure requires rioting, violence, murder, and all that is the worst of humanity?
  • Is their prophet simply an excuse for them to behave badly and get it out of their system?
  • Why does their all knowing god need tattle tales, informants, and bullies?

If the gods of monotheistic faiths exist, they are powerless or indifferent to people breaking their laws. It’s as if they don’t even exist at all. Their gods only punish humans by natural disaster. Never do their gods defend the righteous or specifically punish the evil in the world. Where were their gods in WWII? Where were they in any wars? Why doesn’t god heal amputees? Which god was in charge of actions on 9/11?

Fuck religion. It is  nothing more than superstition and lunacy. As long as it exists normal people will profess divine right to behave immorally and with evil intent. There is no good in a religion so long as that religion brings evil to the world. Monotheistic religions have brought more evil, death, pain, and suffering to the world than any other source, bar none.

The Hitch has a lot to say, go listen to him.

Universal Declaration Of Human Rights…. right?

Well, into the dark we go. I know Christianity and Judaism with some confidence. I do not know Islam or the Koran with the same confidence but it is time that I did and time that I began reprimanding it for the dangerous and stupid ideology that it is.

Any of my readers that have insight are most welcome to comment and correct any misgivings that I seem to have.

Tonight I read this post. Here we have the idea that Isalm itself is in violation of UN declarations. Islam is the world stage equivalent of a hate group. We have to ask if this is true why is it tolerated?

Perhaps it is time to ask tolerant people why they tolerate it because I damn sure don’t know why it is tolerated. Should we poke our nose into the business of other countries? Apparently not, but wait… Islam is becoming a problem for many countries in Europe. These peoples should be asking why anyone is even considering shariah law? Why is anyone even thinking about it?

In the USA we should be drilling every Muslim on where their loyalties lie. No, not McCarthy-ism, but public debate.

If being Muslim in these other countries mean that you will violate all of our human rights, all of the bill of rights, why should you be allowed to practice Islam in this country? Your faith is a hate group, why should you be allowed to practice it here? Sure, you may not agree with all that happens in other countries, but why are YOU supporting the very foundation for those atrocities? Why should we believe you would behave any different if you achieved power? Explain yourself. Tell us why YOU are not part of a hate group. Tell us why you should not be followed by the CIA night and day.

Yes, for fucks sake, you are guilty by association. If you look like, talk like, act like, pray like, and believe like a terrorist…. well, you’re a terrorist. That is not thought police mentality. When you are indistinguishable from terrorists there is no reason to give you any quarter. How else is any government to prevent terrorist activities? Why do I say terrorist? Because it’s only Muslims who do suicide bombings. Even though there are one or two questionable incidents that make Christians or Jews seem as bad, it is Muslims who have perfected terror. Remember, I think that Christians and Jews are just as wrong as Islamic terrorists. All the followers of the god of Abraham are dangerous idiots. Yes, I did just say that. If you don’t like being associated that way…. walk. Give it up. Quit being part of the problem.

 

 

I want my money back. No more tax breaks for churches, no more foreign aid to Israel.

You! Yes you moderate Muslim. Defend yourself. Defend your support of this atrocious tyrannical fascist religion. Your god does not exist. Your prophet was a desert dwelling nomadic paedophile. Nothing about your faith is clean. Defend your belief in it.

Is that stepping over the mark? Should I provoke? Yes, I should. I live in a country where it is not only perfectly legal to do so, but insane to not question others and demand understanding and equality. You who believe that paedophile deranged old man was the mouthpiece for a god, explain why you believe this to be true. I think you’re drunk with indoctrination and inability to question what you are told. You have no free will because it was taken from you in childhood. If you think you have free will, show it, explain yourself.

Well, that will hopefully start a shouting match that turns to a conversation… maybe.

 

 

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