Wednesday, 30 July 2014

The Conversion Experience

This is a post some people may not like, as I know many people are not fans of Derren Brown the magician/illlusionist/what ever else you may call him. However, I think he has an uncanny ability to demonstrate to people just how strong the mind is at either deceiving itself or reaffirming something it already believes (or really wants to believe).

In fact if you have 45 minutes to spare I would certainly recommend watching the embedded video. In this video you can see how Derren uses the power of suggestion to bring about a spiritual experience in an atheist (its staggered throughout the show). What makes it even more interesting is that this person was chosen after another test in which it was shown that said person is highly sceptical of spiritual experiences, she is an atheist after all.

What bothers me about this is that it is clearly these types of methods (not the exact tricks Derren was using) that priests/rabbis/imams use to create spiritual experiences in their flock. Unfortunately, I do not think that most of these spiritual leaders actually know what they are doing. Rather they are just repeating what they saw their teachers doing. On the other hand, you also get the people that are very well aware of what they are doing. They know how they are manipulating people to get money or whatever else they want.

This form of mind control is surely not ethical. Which is not what one would expect from an organization that is determined to save the world from its moral problems. In fact, if these really were ethical organizations then surely they would try to do scientific studies, so as to eliminate such abuses of the power of suggestion. Or do these organizations realize that they should not be interfering with their cash cow, even if it is highly unethical.

Note: Mind control I am referring to here, is the power of suggestion to influence people. I am not talking about special radio waves sent out by the United Nations to make everyone buy genetically modified food.

Monday, 28 July 2014

A poorly designed argument for intelligent design

The following argument is one you will often hear from creationists and IDiots.

"There are two reasons to suppose life has a designer: One, it bears features common to things known to be designed, and secondly, there are no demonstrable physical causes that could by themselves have produced life as an effect."

The first time this week, I actually gave this argument some thought besides giving it the normal scoff of how stupid as it contradicts everything we know about the evolutionary sciences. Turns out thinking about it makes this idea even more stupid than I initially thought. So apparently humans are designed as they bear resemblence to things we know to be designed. So here are a few pictures of things we know have been designed.

In contrast here is a Human body which clearly is designed. You can see all the cogs and the wheels for improved transport. You can see the interface between the different sections that run different bodily operation. Additionally, see the ease with which you can exchange parts when something gets damaged. Note the metallic sheen of the skin protecting the fragile inner core components. Notice the dripping sarcasm in this paragraph.

If you seriously think this is a good argument for design you seriously need help.

As an added extra the person using this same argument had this gem of knowledge:
"Un-natural forms: If you find a rock in the (American) woods in a certain shape, you will know right off that you have found an Indian arrowhead. Why? Because rocks do not form in that shape naturally."
Here is picture of flint as a counter rebuttal to this argument.
Some times a picture really is worth a thousand words, or in this case a debunked creationist argument.

Friday, 25 July 2014

Idiot of the week - Pat Robertson

This week Pat Robertson was on fine form again telling a women that her sons demon possession, which was giving her son belly ache, could come from their ancestors doing something wrong. You know that whole thing about ancestral sin, which is sort of like original sin except it does not last forever. All this happened while she was praying for her son, and its horrific natural to think that this possession pain got worse as the women was praying over her son and not giving him pain killers. Maybe God just does not care anymore? Anyway, Pat was quick to point out that it would be best if the get a professional exorcist to get rid of those pesky demons that are afflicting this lady's son.

Reminds me kind of like the story I posted recently about the movie "Heaven is for Real". Now I am no parent, however if my kid had a sore stomach I would give them some medicine and not prayer. In fact, if it does not get better (and feels like a kick in the stomach) its probably best to take them to the doctor less their appendix burst and they do something silly like die. But then again thats just me.

Anyway Pat Robertson is our special Idiot of the week.

Here is a video of the Young Turks giving their detailed analysis of Pats Response to this viewers letter.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Is religion killing itself?

I have no solid facts for the following statement, but it seems to me that sceptisim is on the rise.However, I believe the argument for why I believe religion is killing itself holds, even if my initial statement is flawed.

My argument is basically that multiple theists use (potentially deliberate?) misinterpretations of science, and by doing this they are in fact killing religion.

To elaborate, when you are arguing the second law of thermodynamics incorrectly to try disprove abiogenesis/evolution/etc, then you are misinterpreting science. When you say quantum mechanics proves a god when you have no idea what even basic QM principles like the Hesienberg uncertainty principle means, then maybe you need to do your homework.When you look at the evidence for evolution and dismiss it as just a theory, then you don't know what a scientific theory is.

The fact is that people are naturally inquisitive and a lot of them will start seeing holes in arguments the more lies there are in the argument. For example, if you type in "monkey to human evolution" on Google, you will find that all the search results on the front page show that this "idea" is a blatant lie. As such anyone teaching this is either a fool (and you need to find a new church) or a liar (and you need to leave religion)

So basically what I want to say today is "thank you for killing yourself religion, you really make our job easy by misrepresentation."