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Showing posts from 2013

The Kalam Cosmological Fallacies

I didn't think I would need to continue writing about atheism, but circumstances force me. Noblesse oblige, and all that shite.
In other words, I ran into somebody who thinks you can prove god logically... in the twenty-first century, using the Kalam Cosmological Argument. Well, let's rip that one apart, shall we?
I'll focus on the formal logic here. Others have more practical objections to Kalam.
The form of the argument is as follows. Premise A: Whatever begins to exist has a cause. Premise B: The universe began to exist. Conclusion C: Therefore, the universe has a cause.
If premises A & B are true, conclusion C must be true. While it can be argued that premise A may not be true, let's just accept this argument. “The universe has a cause”
So far, so good, nobody got hurt in this exercise?
Now, Kalam makes magic happen... [see the update below]
Let's do a “non-sequitur” logical fallacy “therefore cause of the universe is god”
Whoa! Wait one second! We were …

The burden of proof – There are zero gods

I was discussing the “burden of proof” the other day. I lost the discussion, but I learned some things.
The burden of proof is a philosophical concept where, whoever asserts something (anything), has to support the claim with evidence. For instance, if you say you own a race-horse, somebody would want to see you with the horse.
Atheists, all over the world, are cautious when discussing the existence of gods. Usually, we say that we reject the claim of gods until there is evidence in favor of gods. That is, the theists will claim there is a god, and the burden of proof lies on the theist.
Atheists, normally, do not say 'there are zero gods', because, then, the burden of proof lies on the atheist to prove there are none, which seems impossible.
As I don't mind making a fool out of myself, I will claim that there are no gods. This means the burden of proof is on me.
What is a god?
My claim relies on the basic concept of gods; they are supreme beings and have supernatural po…

Falsely accused by AtheismPlus

For those of you that don't know me, I'm a vocal atheist on Twitter. Important for this post is that I'm a feminist; I believe in equal rights and obligations for males and females of both sexes.

Update After writing this, and what follows after the 'End Update', I've learned some more about AtheismPlus. Without getting into details, I want to send a message to them. This is my message to AtheismPlus.
I am sympathetic with your cause. It's a noble cause and any reasonable person would embrace it. However, I feel you should reconsider your strategy. If you want to add (+) something to atheism you should listen to... atheists that want to add (+) something to your movement. The ball in your park.
Your strategic mistake has been, in my opinion, being overly aggressive. You have alienated possible allies by telling them they are rape apologists, or stupid, or … whatever. I'm sure all these people have tried to communicate with you, but it's very hard to do…

We are all equals (I'm not)!

Hopefully, you'll stick with me to the end of this blog-post to discover the meaning of the title. :-) I promise to keep it short.
This post is about “genetic variations over generations”.
I did some research and I found there's a ton of material available. My efforts to understand reproduction, are very partial and it would be arrogant for me to call myself 'an expert'. I'm not. I hardly understand it, but it's incredibly interesting all the same!
For instance... meiosis. This is the first step in the reproductive process. The chromosomes in the individual come together, the chromosomes interchange DNA and then separate to form ova (if the individual is female) or sperms (in males). This is the reason why the traits of the grandparents are visible in the grandchildren!
“Genetic variation” occurs during meiosis; the biochemical process is not perfect. Anything can happen; DNA can be duplicated, deleted or changed! This doesn't represent a problem. Some spe…

Hitler was not a true scotsman

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I was surprised to see somebody write that Hitler was an atheist; I had never even thought about what he believed in, and assumed he was a Christian.

To be associated with Hitler through your believe, or lack thereof, is, of course, a bit of a disgrace and it was unsurprising, for me, to see people debate the issue.

Let's investigate the issue objectively by asking three important questions:

Is it true?Does it matter?What are the consequences?
Is it true?

Hitler was a documented Christian and a catholic. He wrote about it in his book "Mein Kampf" and there are other evidences that he was, in fact, a catholic. For instance, he was never excommunicated.

On the other hand, people claim he didn't act Christian and therefore in reality, he was an atheist. This is a 'no true Scotsman' logical fallacy.

There is, in fact, evidence he worked against the church, so the 'atheist' proponents have a certain case. At any rate, for the duration of this post, let's…

God as a scientific theory

The reason, I think, god(s) are still worshipped today, is because you can view god as a valid scientific theory. As I described in my post about the scientific method, there are four reasons why a scientific theory should be discarded:

1. The facts are wrong.
2. A simpler theory is proposed.
3. New facts cannot be explained by the theory.
4. Better facts cannot be explained by the theory.

Let's check the 'god' theory against these criteria.

1. All facts are "god's work", so no issue here.
2. Magic is the easiest explanation (for some people), so no issue here.
3. New facts, see point one - god's work, no issue.
4. Better facts, see point one - god's work, no issue.

Looks pretty good for 'god' as a scientific explanation, doesn't it?

Apart from these criteria, I mentioned 'predictions', this is a bit of a killer. It's absolutely impossible to base predictions on god. After all, anything that will happen is 'his will'.

The scientific framework

As I hinted in my previous post, there is a framework of mutually supporting fields of exact sciences; the scientific framework.

Chemistry, physics, biology, math, all study reality from different angles. Some of these fields are explicitly linked together. For instance; biochemistry, geophysics or astrophysics.

Scientific knowledge grows daily. More and more facts are added to already existing facts. Old facts are rarely discarded. Maybe if they are proven to be fabrications (frauds) or otherwise inaccurate.
This means that new facts can be tested against old facts. This process works both ways. If new facts enhance old facts, that's great. If new facts contradict old facts, there is a conflict. Either the new facts are wrong or the old facts are wrong. Only by carefully examining the old facts (and the experimental settings) and the new facts (and the experimental settings) can the 'truth' be established.
Verification and repetition are central in scientific research.
To …

The scientific method & evolution.

Sometimes, you hear a phrase and it sticks to your mind. You know something is wrong, but you are not able to put your finger on it. Years may pass until you find out what's nagging you, the original circumstances forgotten.
That's what happened to me with the phrase 'science has been proven wrong lots of times'. I saw that phrase again, lately, and I finally realized what's wrong with it. Some scientific theories are proven wrong by using the scientific method, and are replaced with improved scientific theories. It's not the whole of science that has been proven wrong by using science, but 'just a theory'.
That's another phrase that sticks to the mind. 'Just a theory'. A scientific theory is an explanation of a number of facts. It's not a bar-room insight that explains some detail. It's the 'Truth as we know it'. Currently, this theory is the best we have. It might be improved in the future.
Science starts with somebody …

High morals (rant)

I don't have high morals, I don't automatically know right from wrong... I have to think about it. I don't get my morals from some book. More importantly, I don't tell others what their morals should be.

The golden rule tells us to 'treat others as one would like others to treat oneself'.

This article is about child abuse. I'm not an expert; I've never suffered it, I've never inflicted it, and I'm really not interested in it... But, when Spanish Cardinals and Bishops speak about child abuse, it's something to respond to.

If we apply the golden rule to child abuse, it seems clear to me that it's wrong. I would not have liked to suffer it, and I guess most people would agree with me on that.

Some Spanish Catholic Church leaders have another take on child abuse. One Bishop says (2007) that some children want to be abused. One Cardinal says (2009) 'abortion is worse than child abuse'. Update:One Mexican archbishop (2013) says 'ab…