A middle-aged man dreaming of the day when he can stop begging for scraps and write for a living.
Wednesday, December 31, 2014
Monday, December 15, 2014
- We have a god who orders Abraham to sacrifice his son. No winky-face emoticons to indicate Poe's Law, just an outright command that Abraham has no reason to assume isn't sincere. This is okay because this is Yahweh, the source of all morality who therefore has the moral authority to order immoral actions and still have them be moral.
- Abraham, rather than telling his god to shove it, dutifully obeys and goes through with the preparations, right up to the point where he's holding the knife over his beloved son's chest. He doesn't bargain the way he did for Sodom, a city synonymous with moral depravity. He doesn't say anything other than "okay." Remember that Isaac is supposed to be Abraham's beloved son by Sarah, the only child she was able to bear him long after she was supposed to be barren.
- Isaac, once he learns that he is to be the sacrificial victim, doesn't utter a word of protest. According to the story he just meekly goes along with it the same as his father.
- Only then does Yahweh say, "just kidding! Go kill that ram caught in the bushes instead." Why? Because it was a test to see if Abraham would obey.
- And then we're told that the moral of this story is that obedience to authority is the greatest virtue and will be rewarded. This idea is so pernicious in human thinking it's listed as a formal fallacy in logic.
Friday, December 12, 2014
- The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the members of the several state legislatures, and all executive and judicial officers, both of the United States and of the several states, shall be bound by oath or affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.
- Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
- As the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion, — as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Musselmen, — and as the said States never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mehomitan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.
- Constitution: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. (Amendment I)
- Bible: I am the Lord thy God… Do not have any other gods before Me. (Exodus 20:2-3)
- Constitution: Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction. (Amendment XIII, Section 1)
- Bible: Both thy bondmen, and thy bondmaids, which thou shalt have, shall be of the heathen that are round about you; of them shall ye buy bondmen and bondmaids. Moreover of the children of the strangers that do sojourn among you, of them shall ye buy, and of their families that are with you, which they begat in your land: and they shall be your possession. And ye shall take them as an inheritance for your children after you, to inherit them for a possession; they shall be your bondmen for ever. (Leviticus 25:44-46)
- Constitution: We the people of the United States… do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America. (Preamble)
- Bible: It is not in man that walketh to direct his steps. (Jeremiah 10:23)
- Constitution: No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States. (Article VI, section 3)
- Bible: He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. (Mark 16:16)
- Constitution: The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude. (Amendment XV)
- Bible: An Ammonite or Moabite shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD; even to their tenth generation shall they not enter into the congregation of the LORD for ever. (Deuteronomy 23)
- Constitution: The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex. (Amendment XIX)
- Bible: Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as also saith the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church. (1 Corinthians 14:34-36)
FUCK unions. It is the unions who protect people like the cops who shot Hans Arellano, James Boyd, Levar Jones, Brian Dennison, Timothy Mitchell, Oscar Grant... I could go on. In these situations not all of these guys are saints. But in all of these situations the officers life was not in danger and they killed them anyway. A single life lost unnecessary is too many.I have a problem with leveraging popular outrage against genuine civil rights violations to build a straw man argument against an unrelated issue. Police unions -- not even the unions that helped to protect the police officers guilty of crimes -- are representative of all unions. There's a much bigger picture to consider here. Unions are designed to protect their members and serve their interests. Now, not all of their members deserve protection. If they screw up badly enough they should be fired and where appropriate brought up on criminal charges. Where a union protects a member from appropriate consequences we can rightly say that the union has gone too far. It doesn't serve the interests of the union or its members to shelter bad members from consequences. The point of public service unions is to provide a buffer between politics and people just trying to do their jobs. Should a science teacher be fired because someone objects to their teaching the theory of evolution according to natural selection? Should a cop be fired because he arrested a powerful person for breaking the law? In an ideal world unions protect the innocent and surrender the guilty. But we don't live in an ideal world and we don't have all the information we need to create an ideal world. We do know what kind of world we create when we discourage unions: a world where income inequality becomes the standard, worker rights get trampled on and median wages stagnate or decline. We don't have perfect solutions. Let's stop attacking the solutions we have because they're not perfect. Where we can identify problems, let's work to make them better, not get rid of them with nothing to replace them.
Thursday, December 11, 2014
Critical thinking and scientific skepticism are the filters required for producing rational statements of probable truth. Without these filters our brains will inevitably follow the path of least resistance and succumb to credulity, supernaturalism and all manner of magical thinking.I'm unable to find a source for this on the web, leading me to believe that this is taken from Sherlock's new book. I don't yet have confirmation.
Tuesday, December 9, 2014
Sacrilicious: adjective : a description of something so sacrilegious that it's delicious to behold. Portmanteau of sacrilege and delicious. example: The Loophole by Garfunkel and Oates is positively sacrilicious!What I want to know is this: why is this not a thing? Come on, Oxford! It's time to step up!
Friday, December 5, 2014
Tuesday, November 25, 2014
Thursday, October 30, 2014
Friday, October 10, 2014
Thursday, September 11, 2014
I didn't say what it is FOR YOU, I said what it is. If I get in a business relationship, that means we're in a contractual bind with certain agreements which means I can't use his competitor and he can't use mine. That's what a relationship is.Pause with me for a moment to savor the audacity here in which the person claims the moral probity to declare what can or cannot be part of a relationship. He has it all tied up in a neat little bow, perfect and pristine and not to be sullied by anything so petty as human nature. Nevermind that my Lady and I are very happy together, and we don't need to pretend that no one else can catch our eye. Nevermind large communities of people who are happy with the staggering variety of arrangements with their significant other(s); he's decided that no matter what reality shows him we're all unstable and emotionally sick people whose relationships are doomed. This is the problem with perfection. It sets an impossible standard that creates havoc when we try to live up to it, let alone when we attempt to hold others to it. Why does this man claim this perfect standard? Because of his perfect god. He's found his answer and his search is over. The discussion is done. Gods offer perfect answers, but perfection is a lie. There are no perfect answers. There are good answers and answers that fit the data but they're never complete; the discussion is never done. No matter how much we learn about things like physics, chemistry, morality and so forth the more there is to learn. We progress by challenging what we think we know and seeing what works. Even if all we're doing is refining our understanding we're not standing still. We're not satisfied with incomplete answers and we never should be. So for now my answer is atheism. It's not perfect, but it's mine.
Wednesday, September 10, 2014
But he's the creator, we're told. We owe him things like worship and praise because he has that right. Let's look at someone who builds an ant farm. What do the ants owe the person who maintains their farm? Do they deserve to be flooded, baked or starved if they don't behave according to the rigid demands of their owner?
History tells the story of hundreds of kings and queens with total dominion over their kingdoms. As a general rule we look poorly on the ones who treated their station as a right to be exploited and we look favorably on the ones who treated it as a responsibility. Jealous kings and queens aren't deemed wise or benevolent but tyrants. Benevolent kings and queens were the ones who ruled fairly, forgiving human frailty while guiding their kingdoms through crisis and prosperity alike.
The god of Abraham has more in common with a child than a benevolent ruler. Children are jealous of what they consider their rightful due and we try to teach them to abandon such attitudes as they mature.
"Oh, that's not what the religion really teaches! If you look at what the original text says this is being misinterpreted!" Like I care? The reality is that the Islamic religion as it is widely believed and practiced -- and not just the Islamic religion but other religions as well, this teaching is not restricted to Islam alone -- that religions as they are practiced in the real world teach that little girls' clitorises have to get cut off.This is by no means restricted to Islam or female genital mutilation. It's a common apologetic even among some atheists, to claim that a common belief is really just a mistranslation of sacred texts like the word "homosexual" in the Bible. As Greta says, like I care? I advocate that we not let this excuse slide. It doesn't matter what the original text said or how it's mistranslated if the mistranslation has become the official dogma. I don't care if Paul original wrote against sacred prostitutes or some other variation of homosexual practice if that's not how people are practicing religion today. People repeatedly use the Paul's words as they appear in modern Bibles to help justify their bigotry against homosexuals, and that's hardly the only topic where apologists claim mistranslation to defend their religion. Like I care? It doesn't matter what the original text says or what theologians claim if they're not part of the common practice of religion. If you tell me that some theologian explains his god as a genuinely benevolent deity who doesn't intercede in the world and never sends anyone to Hell because that's not what his interpretation says, that's fine. That's what the theologian believes. In the meanwhile we still have the entire Southern Baptist Convention and hundreds of other churches and denominations teaching that their god changes reality in answer to prayer and sends people to Hell for trying to marry the person they love even though they're the same gender. Don't give me excuses for how the religion went wrong. Own up to what religion is doing today.
Thursday, August 28, 2014
Friday, August 22, 2014
Thursday, August 7, 2014
Wednesday, August 6, 2014
Bob was a genuine nature-lover. I mean that literally. He loved nature. Once when we were out hiking by a pond I watched him catch a frog and force it to fellate him. I asked him what the hell he was doing, and he told me that God wanted him to have dominion over nature so that's what he was doing. Then he yelled at the frog, "What's my name? Say my name, bitch!" That was Bob. Always going that extra mile.
Friday, August 1, 2014
Don’t get me wrong, it saddens me that a teacher can actually get fired if he or she offends someone by praying aloud or teaching scripture in a public school. It sickens me that some school systems (not mine) have taken the phrase “under God” out of their daily Pledge of Allegiance. It frustrates and sometimes angers me that other religions seem to be tolerated so quickly, yet Christianity simply will not be tolerated in some public school systems. It makes me want to cry out “What are we doing?”This was my response to her. I hope she allows my comment to pass moderation, but I'm posting it for posterity. I apologize for being the voice of dissent here, but I have to ask: do you truly believe that that there's some kind of War on Christianity ala Fox News? Do you really think your beliefs are under attack, that secularists are seeking to make it illegal to worship in a church or in the privacy of your own home? You claim that other religions are tolerated while your beliefs are being suppressed, but what schools are seeking to replace Christian prayer with Muslim or Hindu ones? Where are we trying to take down Bible verses in favor of those from the Koran or the Eddas? I applaud your desire to live by your beliefs and show your conviction by walking the walk as well as talking the talk. This more than anything else is what secularists strive to achieve: where people feel free to live according to the dictates of their conscience without imposing them on others. Otherwise where does it end? It's frequently claimed that the United States is a Christian nation by virtue of the majority, but Christianity isn't a monolithic belief system. There are over forty-two thousand different sects of Christianity, many of whom directly contradict each other. Some deny the divinity of Jesus while others not only uphold the doctrine of the Trinity but the unassailable truth of predestination. Which of these doctrines should become the law of the land? Yours? Theirs? Who decides? Whomever happens to be in the majority at the moment? The point of enforcing secular values in our schools and governments is not to suppress your beliefs. The point is to make sure that your majority beliefs do not suppress all others. You are always and have always been free to worship as you feel is right, but you were never supposed to have the freedom to make sure that others worship as you require. Leading by example is fantastic. I utterly support this. Claiming persecution because we want to respect the right of others to follow different examples is something else entirely.
Monday, July 28, 2014
Thursday, July 24, 2014
Wednesday, July 23, 2014
Thursday, July 17, 2014
As this new method [science] found great success, the specter of scientism began to emerge. Both Bacon and Descartes elevated the use of reason and logic by denigrating other human faculties such as creativity, memory, and imagination. Bacon’s classification of learning demoted poetry and history to second-class status. Descartes’ rendering of the entire universe as a giant machine left little room for the arts or other forms of human expression. In one sense, the rhetoric of these visionaries opened great new vistas for intellectual inquiry. But on the other hand, it proposed a vastly narrower range of which human activities were considered worthwhile.Astonishingly, Burnett quotes Carl Sagan as an example of scientism in the modern age when Sagan said, “The Cosmos is all that is or ever was or ever will be.” For those of you who may not be familiar with his work, Carl Sagan never once denigrated creativity, memory or imagination. In fact he had a lot to say on the importance of those topics. It's worth pointing out that creativity, memory and imagination are all important aspects of the human experience. They help us create solutions, express feelings and communicate ideas. Without creativity and imagination it would be impossible for us to form new questions for us to test on our way to finding answers. It would be impossible to challenge the ideas we've already formed to make sure that they accurately reflect reality. In science and all other aspects of life these qualities are what allow us to do more than merely survive but also thrive. We look to the dark and undiscovered places, imagine what their secrets are, and pour every bit of cunning we have into amazing, complex tools just to see if we were right. We cast a light into the darkness and find ourselves intrigued by the darkness beyond that and start the whole thing over again. Imagination both fuels and is fueled by science. Creativity is what turns theory into knowledge and knowledge enables further creativity in turn. However, this has its limits. We can't invent an answer and expect it to be correct simply because we like it and want it to be true. Scientism is a slur against people who dare to acknowledge that we are flawed creatures with senses that are not always reliable. Consequently we must approach our assumptions and conclusions skeptically, no matter how we arrived at them or how long we've held them. What accusations of scientism does is betray a fundamental misunderstanding of what science is and how it works. Ultimately, science is skepticism applied in a rigorous and methodical manner. Another thing the accusation tries to do is pull science down to the level of religion. I'm often faced with accusations that they're both based on faith. Richard Dawkins shows us what science would be like if that were true.
Tuesday, July 15, 2014
Thursday, June 19, 2014
Thursday, June 12, 2014
Tuesday, May 20, 2014
Friday, May 16, 2014
Thursday, May 15, 2014
Wednesday, May 14, 2014
Friday, May 9, 2014
Tom Wheeler, the latest chairman of the FCC, shocked the Internet by calling for approval for a "fast lane" proposal for the Internet. Effectively, in order to avoid having your site and services downgraded by ISPs you have to pay an additional premium for preferred service. It's the proposal that AT&T suggested back in 2005 which sparked the entire Net Neutrality movement. Remember that you're already paying for your connection to the Internet, and sites like Google, Amazon and Netflix are also paying for their connection to you. This proposal amounts to triple-billing.
Of course, Wheeler's betrayal shouldn't shock anyone who knew who he was. An industry insider and lobbyist, he was always going to be sympathetic to ISP demands and ignore the consumers. So now he's trying to get a vote on new rules giving AT&T everything it wants and the backlash has been so severe that the FCC can't handle all the phone calls they're getting. Instead they're requesting that you email them your complaints instead. So I sent the following email to firstname.lastname@example.org:
I STRONGLY oppose Wheeler's proposal of approving "Fast Lane" internet access in direct violation of open internet standards. This is the proposal that AT&T wanted to implement years ago and sparked the Net Neutrality movement. We do not want an Internet where service runs to the highest bidder. We do not want an Internet where ISPs are allowed to downgrade traffic or decide what we can consume. They have been and must continue to be custodians, not traffic cops. I am extremely disappointed by this betrayal of our interests and I call for the immediate removal of Wheeler from his position with the FCC. SpaceGhoti Denver, COI invite everyone to do the same. Email the FCC and make your voice heard.
Update: Wheeler turned around and did the right thing. Consequently, I was wrong about Tom Wheeler. I freely admit it. In fact, I will go so far as to say I'm glad I was wrong about Tom Wheeler. I apologize to him.
Monday, May 5, 2014
One can, however, acknowledge what inside of themselves is a story, and have gratitude and mercy for the stories one sees in others. It's the really hard-headed ones who become so convinced that their way is the "truth" and deem those who don't subscribe to their story as the "truth," who can be a bit of a pain, but who also miss out on the grandeur and the majesty of the world and the universe it hangs in.The implication here is that everybody has their own perspective and they're all unique, beautiful and valid (except when they're not). I often see this Milquetoast defense of religious belief and superstition as religion is forced to concede more ground on the nature of reality. However, there are two claims being made here that I feel deserve attention.
"One can, however, acknowledge what inside of themselves is a story, and have gratitude and mercy for the stories one sees in others." This claims that religious beliefs are based on allegory about true fact regarding gods and divinity, a nod to Plato's Cave in which the god being worshiped is perceived imperfectly but is no less real because of it. The problem is that as I explored previously many of those beliefs are directly contradictory and can't all be valid. This god can't simultaneously reincarnate us endlessly until we all get it right and send us to hell or heaven if we reject salvation in this life. We can cherish these "stories" as stories -- fiction that we invent to amuse or comfort ourselves. However, the stories Deacon Duncan discusses in his essay aren't held as fiction, they're claimed to be accurate representations of reality with everyone's depiction of god a form of Mary sue characterization.
"It's the really hard-headed ones who become so convinced that their way is the 'truth' and deem those who don't subscribe to their story as the 'truth,' who can be a bit of a pain, but who also miss out on the grandeur and the majesty of the world and the universe it hangs in." Here the commenter makes the claim that sure there are some bad apples in the basket but they don't represent the vast majority of believers who keep their beliefs personal and don't take action on them. Do I really need to refute this again and again? Apparently I do. Maybe this overview will demonstrate my point.
Everyone wants to believe that their assumptions are correct and that even if they turn out to be wrong they're going to be ultimately harmless. When it comes to religion, I can't stress enough how the evidence shows that such beliefs are neither correct nor harmless.
Wednesday, April 30, 2014
A recent study points out that 4% of the people on death row are innocent and that percentage is higher for those sentenced to life in prison. Contemplate that for a moment: four out of every hundred people sentenced to death are victims of our legal system. Does that shock you? Does it bother you at all? It does for me, but I know people who don't give it a second thought. For them it's an acceptable margin of error.
Consider also that we spend about $74 billion a year nationwide up from $37 billion in 2007 and just about as much as we spend on food stamps for the poor. It's become a major growth industry for the private sector meaning that once again we've found a way to make a profit off the suffering and misery of others. But they deserve it, right? They're convicted criminals, whether or not they actually did the crime.
American prisons are brutal places. When the inmates aren't preying on each other they're at the mercy of their guards. It's a problem we've known about for twenty years or more and we've turned a blind eye to it. Why? There's a prevailing attitude in the US that people who end up in prison deserve to be abused under the guise of "punishment." We're cutting rehabilitation programs across the board so we can spend money to build more prisons, resulting in high rates of recidivism: inmates returning to prison because they re-offend after they're released.
I submit that with these attitudes and the policies reflecting them, we have transformed our justice system into a vengeance system. We've abandoned the notion that prison is a place to separate troublesome members of our society and teach them not to be problems, but a place to abandon them where they can suffer as they deserve. Consider that with the margin for error in the percentage of innocent victims in the prison system and the overrepresentation of minorities you've got a recipe for a human rights disaster.
Friday, April 25, 2014
Thursday, April 17, 2014
At this point there's no stopping the implementation of Obamacare. The White House has delayed specific provisions to the derision of conservatives, but the overall provisions are not going to be stopped. Every year conservatives claim that it's going to make premiums skyrocket and every year it doesn't happen. Now we have an election year coming up, a mid-term election where Republicans typically have more success and they've pinned their election strategy on selling the idea that Obamacare is a failure. Clearly, Republicans will keep trying to repeal and delay as long as possible.
So here's the thing: I would completely support a full repeal of the Affordable Care Act. The one thing Republicans could do to get my support is give us Medicare for all. Give us a public option, a single payer system where the government can negotiate costs. It doesn't have to completely replace private insurance like in Canada; plenty of nations have instituted both to great success. But stop pretending that health care is a luxury rather than a literal life-or-death necessity. Then you'll get your wish. You'll have completely undermined the Democrats and demonstrated that the Republicans are genuinely more concerned about governance than catering to industry lobbyists.
Until then, no. No delays, no repeal, no "compromise" intended to undermine the success of the program. If there's no progress then there's no deal.
Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Having just acknowledged that I can be wrong and be perfectly aware that I'm capable of being wrong, I come to the topic of being wrong about gods and the afterlife.
Hell is a particularly insidious concept that really epitomizes the effectiveness of the carrot and the stick approach to coercion. On the one hand you've got this fairy tale place commonly referred to as Heaven where there's no more suffering, no more worry, no more sickness or death. In Heaven you experience an eternity of bliss while you reunite with loved ones and sing the praises of the all-powerful God. But if you reject God (and thus Heaven) then your only option is Hell, a lake of fire and brimstone where you experience unending torment and shame for all of eternity. I've listened to more than a few stories of people who were traumatized by fear of Hell as children, and a few adults who struggle with religion only because they're afraid that leaving it might actually send them to Hell. It can have that much power over our minds.
Nowadays I can easily laugh it off. If you tell me I'm destined for Hell, I'll tell you I'm going to punch you in the aura. Neither threat has any power over me, but it wasn't always that way. I used to worry that my journey away from religion might actually be sending me to Hell. It's a common question that occurs to anyone with even a shred of self-awareness: what if I'm wrong?
If I'm wrong, then I'm wrong. We're wrong about things all the time. Do I have the chicken or the fish? Let's say I choose the fish and it makes me sick. I had no way of knowing the fish was prepared improperly so I was wrong because I didn't have enough information to make the right choice. There are things we can't know beforehand that necessarily impede our ability to choose.
So if I'm wrong about this and I end up in Hell it won't be because I'm rebellious or obstinate. It will be because the god who puts me there doesn't care enough to make sure I have the information I need to make a good choice. That's his fault, not mine. I don't believe in auras, elves, unicorns, leprechauns, gods or the afterlife. If it turns out I'm wrong about any of those assumptions then I'll be wrong because I have no reason to believe in them, and that's the right reason to be wrong.
Tuesday, April 15, 2014
In fact, I'm wrong about things all the time. I don't project this awareness because that's not how I was raised, but please take my word for it that I am aware of it. I am not right about things more often than the average individual. I'm no polymath like Sherlock Holmes who can speak authoritatively on a wide variety of topics. I have areas of interest in science, literature and politics but I am at best an enthusiastic layman in those areas. My understanding is general at best rather than specific. I grasp the basic concept of quantum mechanics but not well enough to teach a course in it.
On occasion I get accused of being close-minded because I'm fond of arguing passionately about whatever I think is true. I don't just say what I think is true, I usually try to dig up sources to support why I think it's true. For the average discussion this can appear quite daunting. Add to that several decades of experience in constructing and supporting arguments in favor of what I believe and people can walk away with the impression that I'm a know-it-all who can't be told anything. I'd like to take this opportunity to explain why that isn't true.
I do possess sufficient self-awareness to realize I'm not always right about everything. There are things I've thought about and researched sufficiently to feel comfortable about, and I often write about them. I use feedback (when I can get it) to test and refine my arguments. It's an ongoing process and at this point many of my arguments are very polished, especially when it comes to topics that come up in popular discussion. For example when someone attempts to justify their belief in their god because I can't prove their god isn't real, I have a pithy reply to demonstrate how their logic fails. I came up with that pithy reply after years of trying to explain the burden of proof at length and gradually refining my explanation into a simple, penetrating response. Most of the time, however, I include subtle caveats into my statements. "It seems to me." "As I understand it." "The evidence suggests." These are mental bookmarks intended to remind me that I am ultimately agnostic when it comes to absolute statements.
When I'm wrong and I know it I try to explicitly state it as such. "No, I was wrong." "I stand corrected." I then try to point to the source demonstrating how I know I was wrong and what the correct answer is. I'm human and I sometimes try to rationalize how the new information still allows me to be correct (seriously, who wants to be wrong?) but I try to be brutally honest with myself when I know I need to correct my assumptions.
In the end, changing my mind is dreadfully easy: all you have to do is show me the evidence.
Friday, April 11, 2014
To begin with science doesn't talk about absolutes, it talks about degrees of certainty. The short explanation of this is that certainty is defined by supporting evidence. The less evidence you have to support your idea, the less certainty we have that it's true. The more evidence you have, the greater the degree of certainty.
There are no absolutes when it comes to knowledge. We're always updating and refining our knowledge, but at this point we very rarely end up refuting something that has a great deal of evidence supporting it. Most of the ideas in science that get left behind are ones that didn't have that much evidence supporting them regardless of how popular they were. One such example is the Big Crunch hypothesis for how the universe will end. Current observations make that hypothesis extremely unlikely so cosmologists have a very low degree of certainty.
Creationism has no evidence supporting it. The conflation of creationism as a branch of science is a lie meant to comfort people who are emotionally invested in it. There's no evidence of a creator, no evidence that the universe was fully formed at its beginning or that a trickster god planted false evidence to lead us to believe that it's actually 13.8 billion years old (See: Last Thursdayism).
The "young earth scientists" out in the world aren't scientists. They're religious partisans who make no useful predictions, perform no repeatable experiments and devote the majority of their time either attempting to refute real science or creating apologetics for what current discoveries mean for their beliefs. What they do is not science. It's more accurately described as lying for Jesus.
Thursday, April 10, 2014
As I like to say, if I have to prove your god isn't real then you have to prove I'm not your god testing you.
I ran across an old comic that neatly demonstrates the problem with presuppositionalism and the way it's applied in debates over evolution, cosmology and so forth. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
Thursday, April 3, 2014
Here's what I came up with:
Q: What did the atheist say after walking into a church?
A: Mind if I smoke?
Q: How many atheists does it take to change a lightbulb?
A: One, and it's not funny!
Q: Why did the atheist die at the bottom of the cliff?
A: He didn't believe in gravity, either.
I realize it's a short list, so I invite anyone to come along and suggest some more. Bonus points if I find it offensive to atheism.