Saturday, 31 August 2013

Muhammed looks at clouds and wonders.

Scienceislam claims that the Koran tell us all about the wonder of clouds and cloud formation as well a lightning and how lightning works. Excitedly I was expecting to read a book explaining all the different cloud sorts and how the discharge and charge occurs in lightining strikes. Unfortunately, I was only given this single solitary verse.

Surah 24: 43 Hast thou not seen how Allah wafteth the clouds, then gathereth them, then maketh them layers, and thou seest the rain come forth from between them; He sendeth down from the heaven mountains wherein is hail, and smiteth therewith whom He will, and averteth it from whom He will. The flashing of His lightning all but snatcheth away the sight.

So what we can learn from this is not that Allah told Muhammed how the clouds form and what types there are. What we learn is that Muhammed at some time in the pass lay on his back and stared at the clouds as the coalesced and made Bug Bunny shapes. Eventually he also noticed that if huge amounts of clouds gathered and they looked brooding we got rain. Well done Muhammed you have the science skills of any three year old!

(Source)
Cloud formation is a lot more complex than watching clouds gather together. What about evaporation of water from oceans and rivers. What about condensation of this water on tiny bits of dusts and other aerosols as it cools. Only then do these  water particles start coalescing into "clouds" which are visible at first to the naked eye. So Muhammed where is this information of the water cycle?

So the Koran fails on cloud formation, but what else does it fail on? Apparently the author of this website seems to think that only hail is needed to create lightning. As he quotes a book (Meteorology Today) which is a good text book but it is a introductory meteorology book.
This seems to indicate that hail is a major factor in producing lightning. Looking to a book on the subject (Meteorology Today) we find that it says: "Clouds become electrified as hail falls through a region in the cloud of super cooled droplets and ice crystals."......"These negative charges are then discharged to the ground as lightning".

What the author fails to mention this is only one theory on lightning formation and the community is still divided on which theory is correct, as it could even be a combination of multiple effects including, hail, rain, graupen or convection currents. This is explained on the NASA weather website where they say:
"The creation of lightning is a complicated process. We generally know what conditions are needed to produce lightning, but there is still debate about exactly how a cloud builds up electrical charges, and how lightning forms. Precipitation and convection theories both attempt to explain the electrical structure within clouds."

The Koran and Islam has failed again at proving science with its lighning/cloud/rain theory, when any three year old could have done the same. It has also failed at explaining anything about different cloud types etc, unless we make massive leaps from no knowledge to yes I see cumulonimbus clouds written there where it says "the heave mountains". But even avoiding the flawed science, it is easy to prove it wrong just using an initial glance as lightning is not only found in thunder clouds but also forest fires, volcanoes, dust storms and tornadoes...........and Thor ;)

 (Source)

Friday, 30 August 2013

Dear God IX

The point of this weekly segment is to thank god for all the awesome stuff he/she/it gives to us in the form of a prayer. Not to be taken seriously by atheists, but to be taken seriously by theists.

Dear god

I am wanting to get married to a women that fits your ideal mold. I am looking for a submissive servant who that will not talk back and not raise her voice in conversations at our holy place of worship. While I know this may not seem right according to the standards applied to females in this secular world, I know this is what you want me to have.

Please grant me a slave god.

Amen

(Source)

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Science and Morality

The debate is over for theists who claim morality cannot come from anywhere besides god after the publication of a new study showing that there is a positive relation between thinking about science and then performing certain moral compass tasks. The new study in question is published in PLOS ONE  and is entitled "Does “Science” Make You Moral? The Effects of Priming Science on Moral Judgments and Behavior". The researchers in this study did four tests and showed in all these tests that scientific thought was associated with more moral behaviour.

The first test was a basic test which was to give a moral condemnation score (1-100) about a date rape scenario story. After the readers had given their scores they were then asked to fill out a questionairre on their scientific knowledge, and it was shown that people with a greater scientific background most harshly condemned the date rape action.

The other three tests had to do with moral actions/opinions after test subjects had been primed with either scientific words or non scientific words. These researchers showed that the test subjects that were primed with scientific words displayed a greater moral judgement than those who were primed with other words. This means that just thinking about science can make you perform morally.

Importantly,  the researchers do point out that there are some things that we need to be aware of. They say potentially religiosity could also play a role in moral decisions, however they do not believe this is true as usually people who follow scienctific studies are less religious. The other problem that the researchers do point out is that it can also come down to the question of what is moral? These test were designed to test interpersonal violation, prosocial behaviors and economic exploitation, but how various scientists and non-scientists view  these moral scenarios may be different. For example, someone could believe that the date rape was justified if they think that a women inviting them into their house is a form of invitation for sex.

It is my opinion however that these moral values do line up at least very well with the Christian values. This means that science is as moral as Christianity and as such who needs God?

Another epic quote by a scientist

Possibly the best quote you will hear this week or this year or ever.


If theories cannot be tested, “then to me, they are not science. They are just religious beliefs, and they hold no interest for me.”

Giovanni Amelino-Camelia

Source for the quote, unfortunately subscription only.

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Heavy Metal is just music its not satan worship

When I was growing up in South Africa there was a massive anti-satanic movement by the police and schools and anyone else that was a Christian. Not so fun fact for you theists, this movement was happening during apartheid when the government and everyday life was run  by the conservative Christians. The one thing that really irritates me about this, is that it deprived me of some really fantastic music growing up. Not that the music was banned, but I was religious and so a lot of bands were no go territory and as such listening to their music could invite demons into your body as you were praising Satan with this heavy metal music. This was not a belief I originally held, but more something that got told to me so often from pastors/teachers/adults etc that I started to believe it. Which brings me to a interesting/disturbing/embarrassing (at my stupidity) story regarding an Iron Maiden poster I bought. I bought this poster for one reason, the artwork fascinated me and it still does.

 (Source)

Anyway, after hearing about the evil Iron Maiden and all the satanic mumbo jumbo surrounding this band I decided to burn this fine piece of artwork and save the planet from doom and destruction. But hang on it gets worse, I had heard from a pastor in my home town that when you burn these posters satan had been known to throw flames at people to scar them for life. So there I was in my back yard burning a poster, praying that Satan would not scar me for life. This was a very traumatic experience to say the least, I was a young gullible kid living in absolute fear of demons. Luckily I have now thrown away these stupid beliefs and also come to realize that Iron Maiden is if anything a historically correct band. I can now enjoy the artwork and music guilt free for what it is, brilliant. Here is one of my favorite songs from Iron Maiden, its called Fear of the Dark. Maybe it should be called Fear of Christianity for me ;)


These stupid things did not stop at Iron Maiden, but continued to most other bands that were producing great music at that time. I was reminiscing about these things with Sheldon the other day who posted something similar. For example we had the great acronyms linked to bands that were considered evil like KISS (Kids In Satans Service) and AC/DC (Anti Christ Devils Child). Or you could listen to music played backwards and hear the hidden messages from Satan, you had to use a lot of imagination but you could hear it if you wanted to. A great one was Meatloaf's  song - You took the words right out of my mouth, which played backwards is just the word Satan over and over again and demonic grumbling. Fun fact, any song played backwards sounds like demonic grumbling, well if demons actually existed.

Enjoy the music. For all you theists reading this, the temptation was too much...... so here in Number of the Beast by Iron Maiden.Just remember this is as biblical as you can get.

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Skeptic and/or atheist?

I have been reading about the question of whether you can be a sceptic and not an atheists and vice-versa. I am not sure why this is not clear cut in a lot of peoples minds so I thought I would give it a try.

If you are an atheist, you do not have to be a sceptic, although I do believe most atheists are sceptics as they have got to atheism through healthy doses of doubt applied to their religious upbringing etc. Atheism is only the position that there is not a god. As such an atheist can believe in fairies if they want, as fairies are not gods. For that matter an atheist can believe in a anything that does not fit into the god realm. This may make their arguments weaker at times, but it does not stop them from been unsceptical about things beyond the god question.

On the other hand, a sceptic is unable to not be an atheist. I am not sure how anyone can debate this, as by definition a sceptic follows the evidence and there is absolutely no evidence for a god. If this is not the case then pure and simple you are not a sceptic, as would we call a UFO abductee a sceptic if they were sceptical about everything besides UFO abduction? The simple answer is no. If a sceptic is to adopt the agnostic viewpoint that there is a possibility that there can be a god, I have to wonder how as I have pointed out before there is no evidence for any god. BTW my opinion is that agnosticism is a weak position about which I have blogged before.

As a caveat before someone points this out. If I call a rock (Or a shoe/totem/dog/material object) god, then yes their is evidence for a god. But lets not play words games we all know what we are talking about when we use the word god, we are talking about a creator/all seeing/all powerful supernatural entity. But if this is the argument you want to use, then realise that there is no longer a word and position called "atheist". All there is then is a varying degree of theism of which some are based on superstition and some are based on material objects.

In summary scepticism cannot be mutually exclusive of atheism, but atheism can be exclusive of scepticism.

Monday, 26 August 2013

Space Barbie and the money making business

I saw a documentary on the so-called living Barbie doll Valeria Lukyanova, which would have been a boring show except for the fact that there was all this strange alien new age gobbledygook. Actually it was the preview that caught my eye. I mean when I saw her sitting with a beard (not real) and a snake (real) curling around her while she was talking about coming to earth to save humanity, I was sold. Anyway the documentary is absurd beyond belief, but there is one thing that you can learn from it and I think it holds for all religions.

(Pic source)

Its all about the money, performance and image. It was so interesting to see her freaking out when something was not perfect during the making of these crazy videos that she makes for youtube etc. But why would someone who is only worried about getting a message across be so obsessed with their image and performance? The answer is simple money, she is a fraud and in it for the money. Luckily their are other people that are also worried about this, and while I do not always agree with their methods they are a good source of information.

Here is the video.

Alien cults like Scientology are my best religions as they are absolutely so whacked out.

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Personal experience and false memories

Personal experience as proof for the existence of a god has major flaws with it. The first flaw is the obvious one that it is personal and as such no one else was around to see it. However their is an even more important aspect to this and it has to do with false memories. A great article dealing with false memories has been recently published on Nature if you want to read why the legal system is now sometimes doubting peoples eye witness accounts.

False memories are just that the are not real, but created. These false memories can be either created by a persons imagniation, or they can be implanted their by psychologists/preachers/parents/etc. This phenomena is nothing new, as some children will maintain they have seen fairies or some adults will maintain they have seen UFO's........ or theists who claim to have had a personal experience with a god. All of these sightings/feelings/smells are based on natural phenomena that gets altered in your brain to become something else. For example meditation can lead to a sense of euphoria which can be attributed to an increase in oxygen in the blood (link, link, link). Or when you are praying, which is a form of meditation, and you get euphoric due to a message from god its your brain playing tricks on you. Its not that I want to be an argumentative person, but there is no way I can just accept a personal experience when there is no other verifiable evidence to back it up. I would not trust a scientist who told me some scientific evidence that does not sound rational, I would require evidence. So why do people feel insulted when I ask the same to explain their personal experiences.

I used to have a tagline on my personal e-mail that read "Its not that I don’t believe you, its just that I can no longer ignore the facts." If courts are starting to take memories into question, why should I believe your personal experience unless you can back it up with verifiable evidence. More importantly why would you want to believe in something that has no verifiable evidence.

Friday, 23 August 2013

Dear God VIII

The point of this weekly segment is to thank god for all the awesome stuff he/she/it gives to us in the form of a prayer. Not to be taken seriously by atheists, but to be taken seriously by theists.

This is how I believe every prayer should be even though it still begs the point why?

Dear god

You know what I want , you know what I need. I am yours so please deliver.

Amen

Think about it for a moment. God is omnipotent and omniscient, so what is the point of prayer? If you are  asking for something using prayer or meditation please realize that god knows you need it already.

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Bob Larson and Daughter Exorcists Inc. revisited

About 2 weeks ago I wrote about Bob Larson and daughter exorcists, the new family business. I feel its time to revisit this after I saw a documentary by the VICE squad regarding this lunacy.

The higlights (or lowlights) of the documentary for me were the following.

1) Demon possession in women that got beaten as children or women that got raped. Where was god when all this abuse was going on? Bree Larson explains that due to the hate that someone feels from this type of abuse, you invite demons in. So in other words god hates you actually that much that he allows you to get raped and then when you are angry he gives you demons. Omnipotent god? maybe impotent is more apt.

2) The presenter of the Vice documentary, who is not a Christian and has no faith exorcising a demon. This irrefutably shows to me that demon possession and exorcism is a load of bullshit. I am sure Bob the idiot has some reason that this was possible, like his energy getting channelled. Sound like more new age rubbish to me.

3) The grand finale for me though was when Bob kicked a lady out of church who actually had what looked like real problems. The compassion of Christ anyone? I believe he did this as it did not fit in with his demons on tap psychology.

Here are the videos. Part 1:
Part 2:
I will say it again BOB LARSON IS AN IDIOT!

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Answers in Genesis give IDiots credibility


I have decided to start giving answersingenesis the scientific treatment. At first I didn't think it was necessary, but I do now as I believe it gives the intelligent design proponents some credibility. What I mean by credibility is that answersngenesis (pure creationism) is ridiculous and is anti science in every way, while the IDiots (pseudo creationism) at least embrace some aspects of science. For example if you believe the earth and the universe is only 6000 years old you are a fool like the people at answersingenesis, however IDiots do not believe this and so they win some credibility. 
Now answersingenesis has a Christian bias (see the statement of faith here), and I don’t feel its necessary to address this. I think its more important to point out why they are so wrong scientifically. I dont like liars and Ken Ham and his ilk are liars about science. So lets see what their mission statement says about science and the scientific method. The first problem occurs in Section 1 point 1 where it states.
The scientific aspects of creation are important but are secondary in importance to the proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ as Sovereign, Creator, Redeemer, and Judge.
What answersingenesis is open about from the beginning is that they DO NOT CARE about science, yet they are a site which is dedicated to showing that the genesis story is scientifically correct. It is evident that this is not correct way to approach science.

Section 2 point 1:
The 66 books of the Bible are the written Word of God. The Bible is divinely inspired and inerrant throughout. Its assertions are factually true in all the original autographs. It is the supreme authority in everything it teaches. Its authority is not limited to spiritual, religious, or redemptive themes but includes its assertions in such fields as history and science.
So the bible is fact for science fact about things like homosexuality is not natural (Romans 1 26-27), except that it occurs in mammals like dolphins and birds like penguins etc. Or how about genital mutilation, which clearly is correct/incorrect according to the bible. So much for the infallible word of god.

Section 2 point 3 states:
The account of origins presented in Genesis is a simple but factual presentation of actual events and therefore provides a reliable framework for scientific research into the question of the origin and history of life, mankind, the earth, and the universe.
This is more scientific and should be given credit, as it tells us that there is a framework for scientific studies. A such we are able to test the genesis story and show it is wrong, as has been done countless times. Just in case you forgot answers in genesis does not believe scientific facts as they are only secondary to the proclamation of Jesus.

In section 4 this gems arises:
The view, commonly used to evade the implications or the authority of biblical teaching, that knowledge and/or truth may be divided into secular and religious, is rejected.
No scientists commonly divides knowledge/truth into secular and religious as is claimed here. Fact is fact and falsehoods are falsehoods. These do not mix, seriously where did they get this crap?

Finally the crowning jewel of denial.
By definition, no apparent, perceived or claimed evidence in any field, including history and chronology, can be valid if it contradicts the scriptural record. Of primary importance is the fact that evidence is always subject to interpretation by fallible people who do not possess all information.
I think this talks for itself, its called blind faith. Maybe these fools need to read the bible and get some slaves, or get into polygamous relationships.

Answersingenesis is a pseudo science website that rejects science and the scientific method. If you believe the rubbish on this pseudo science website, please just think for once.

Thursday, 15 August 2013

I am an atheist and an anti-theist


For those readers that have been following my blog it may come as no surprise that I am an anti-theist. But I thought its about time that I made this clear as well as reasons as to why I am an anti-theist. Or should I say I think I should explain the one and only reason that I am an anti-theist or should I say variant on an anti-theist. I say variant as I still respect that someone has the right to believe in a deity, but I and society would be far happier with religion eradicated from the planet as I do not see any good that it offers.

The one an only reason for me been an anti-theist is the following. Every aspect of your life determines your views on certain issues as this is the way the brain functions. With the teachings of religion your world view is affected to be a person that discriminates against groups of people. I do not in anyway think this is beneficial for society at all!

If you are a theist I am sure you disagree with everything I just said. But let me ask you where does your opinion lie on any of the following issues: abortion, stem cell research, homosexual marriage, homosexual relationships, eating certain food types, moral superiority, privilege.

Now take any of these issues mentioned above and be honest does your religion not affect your viewpoint on any of these issues. I am sure that when you take an honest look you will see that religion is affecting your view on these issues. A favourite example of mine is stem cell research if you really believe that a cell is more important than the hundreds of lives it could save, then your opinion is skewed by some irrational belief system. There is just no possible way that it cannot be skewed, it does just not make any sense to hold this belief otherwise.

I think my anti-theism can be summed up as follows. I am an anti-theist because I believe that religion is not doing any good and I believe this is true for every religion on this planet.

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

The Koran fits the science....but not all the science.


I was on vacation and the automatic post somehow did not work :(

xxxxxxx

The latest in the scienceislam.com series deals with the division between seas, as well as the divisions between fresh and sea water. So what does the Koran say about the division between seas?
Koran 55:19-20 He hath loosed the two seas. They meet.There is a barrier between them. They encroach not (one upon the other). 
 
The author then goes on to cite a book on oceanography which deals with barriers between oceans. Using the example of the Mediterranean and the Atlantic ocean which meet at the Straights of Gibraltar. You then get to see that the author of this piece is not using his head when citing a book in the following sentence, as it was clearly just a cut and paste and hope it fits your idea.
Even in depths (indicated here by darker colors) up to 1,400 meters and at distances ranging from a minus -100 to +2,500 meters, we find that both bodies of water maintain their individual temperatures and salinity.
What darker color? Where is the figure. But this is me been petty, so lets get onto the barrier question. What does barrier mean, according to the Koran it means the seas never mix. This is rubbish they do mix, it a diffusion process and takes time, but there is no clear line between the two oceans. If you take hot water and cold water and you mix them quickly in a cup then you will not see a barrier. However if you take a hot swimming pool and a cold swimming pool (2000000 litres each) and you let them come in contact with each other, you will see a barrier for a while, but they will mix. The only difference between this example and seas are that seas are way larger compared to the mixing barrier. 
Also what about the barrier between the Indian and the Pacific Ocean? This one is not so clear cut, so I guess the Koran does not consider it as two separate oceans, but one big ocean called the Paci-dia-antic Ocean? This piece of rubbish in the Koran is a perfect example of searching for something to fit your hypothesis, but that is not science. Science follows the facts and the Koran is clearly not doing that.
As for the mixing between rivers and seas. All of the above holds as well as the rivers water having a certain amount of momentum. Just look at how far into the ocean the Amazon river flows into the ocean, and then the ocean pushes back into the Amazon when the tide turns. Guess this barrier is not so clean cut. 
Koran 25:53 And He it is Who hath given independence to the two seas (though they meet); one palatable, sweet, and the other saltish, bitter; and hath set a bar and a forbidding ban between them.
(Pic source)
My guess is that Muhammad tried to drink sea water and not having an understanding of tides and water flow came up with this forbidden ban. But again it is not a forbidden ban, they do mix.

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

And so you die, with thoughts of an afterlife

I was thinking about why people want to cling onto the afterlife earlier today and then I came across this piece of news about an interesting study on near-death experiences. This study does not deal with the afterlife directly, but it does show what these so called near-death experiences are about. The authors showed that there are high levels of brainwave activity in rats after the heart was stopped. The authors found that "high-frequency neurophysiological activity in the near-death state exceeded levels found during the conscious waking state".
They carry on to say that "the mammalian brain can, albeit paradoxically, generate neural correlates of heightened conscious processing at near-death".

Now as I said in the beginning of this post, this does not prove the non existence of the after life. However, it does bring into doubt any stories regarding the after life that people have "experienced".  So if someone has had a near death experience and they are using this as an argument for the existence of a god, then this study is pointing us towards the fact that this is a false claim.

The argument I am sure to hear from theists is that this study was done in rats, and so one could claim that this is not true for humans as we have "souls". But as I have pointed out in two recent previous posts, we are not that special when it comes to our abilities with respect to memory and learning abilities. So, if we are not so special when it comes to memory and learning, how else might we not be special? Could it be that we don't have a special "soul".

I think this whole soul question could easily be proven, by monitoring brain function of people were the life support gets terminated or in countries where assisted suicide is legal. If the brain activity at death is the same as mice, then one either has to accept that mice have souls or that near-death experiences are lies. I am guessing these studies will never happen due to ethical reasons, but would it not be good to know from a theistic and an atheistic viewpoint?

xxxxx

On a side note this is not the only reason that I know near-death experiences are trash, but it is another interesting study showing that they are not true.

Its not demons/sadness its genetics

A recent report in Nature Genetics has revealed more information on the genetic variations that cause the 5 major mental illnesses (link, link). This work builds on previous research published in the Lancet earlier this year. According to these articles, the 5 major mental illnesses are scizophrenia, ADHD, bipolar disorder, depression and autism.I have written before about my depression and this is why I am interested in this research.


Depression sufferers often hear ridiculous statement from believers and non-believers like "cheer up its not that bad", or "why do you need medication for sadness". However, now with mounting evidence that often these mental illnesses can be linked to genetics its no longer a case of demons infesting your body, or "just get over it". People will have to think more carefully about their opinions regarding an illness which can be either passed to children or some random mutation.

Remember, depression is real just like the other major mental illnesses. If you have never had major depression you most likely wont understand what it does to you. It is for this same reason that I will never understand how it is to be colour blind.

xxxxxx
Allie at Hyperbole and a Half does a good job at explaining depression.

Monday, 12 August 2013

Homophobia is never justified

I saw a comic (see below) and thought about the one theistic arguments against homosexuality that do not just add up. all theistic arguments fail against homosexuality, but they really like this one as it seems to justify their homophobia. Firstly I feel the obvious place to start is to define homosexuality and what does it mean, stick with me, there is a point to this.
Homosexual is the romantic attraction, sexual attraction or sexual behavior between members of the same sex or gender.

Theists will then throw around the fact that gay men are more susceptible to HIV and that its gods wrath. And they will say go look at the CDC website and see the stats for high risk groups (link, link.) Now this is right gay men are a high risk group, but what theists wont like to admit is that Black and Latinos are also high risk. Apparently its ok to be homophobic but not racist if you are a theist. By the way. this is one of the reasons people use to prohibit gay men donating blood. This is a separate issue but think about it would you stop Black and Latinos donating blood if they were a high risk group? Or what about the youth, were HIV is also on the rise?

Now here is the ultimate question if this is a theistic argument. What about lesbians as they are also homosexual. Lesbians have the lowest incidence of HIV, so I guess their is nothing wrong with homosexuality. Theists wake up HIV is a virus not a curse for having sex.


 

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Bob Larson and Daughter Exorcists Inc.

I got linked to an article about Bob Larson's daughter who is now following in daddy's footsteps and performing exorcisms.  Initial find thanks to the great  Laughing in Purgatory blogspot. I have written before about the idiocy that is Bob Larson before but I think this deserves attention for mainly 1 reason.......age!


 (Pic source) Bob and daughter remind me of a show that used to be on TV

 (Pic Source)

Are these three teenage girls equipped to be dealing with this lunacy and what untold psychological damage could it causing to them. Yes, I said three girl as its not only Bob Larson daughter but two other teenage girls who are in on the farce. Bob Larson's daughter is now 17 but she started with these shenanigans at least a year ago, so she was the ripe adult age of 16 when she started doing "psychology" on people. Now demon possession is bullshit! However, when I was younger (15) and I used to go to one of these charismatic churches I saw a so called demon exorcism. At the time it really messed with me mentally as I thought surely this could happen to anyone as why would priests lie to me. It really scared me as I didn't want to be writhing it pain on the floor while I got shouted at by some priest. So what kind of damage is this doing to these girls.

The other big problem for me is that these girls are dealing with very mature themes at a very young age. Simply put would you go to a 16 year old for psychological advice? These so called demonic possessions can deal with anything from paedophilia, to murder, to adultery etc. Do you honestly think these girls with no psychological training are equipped to deal with the horrors they are encountering.

I have said before Bob Larson is an idiot, but this is a whole new level of irresponsible behaviour.

Side note: Feel free to join Bob Larson at his money making school of exorcism on line as well.You can get your apprentice level exorcist badge for only $995, what the hell is a apprentice level. Does this mean you can only exorcise donkeys?

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Glenn Beck the conspiracy theorist

Note all links are to You tube videos featuring Glenn Beck so you can hear what he says for yourself.

Prophecies are something that irritate me way too much, its something that should never appear in the news. It is for this reason that I would like to ask Glenn Beck followers to wonder if he is delivering news or is he just a conspiracy theorist. The answer is yes he is a conspiracy theorist. This last week Glenn Beck was acting like a prophet again (end times prophecy 2013, Middle East meltdown 2010). Unfortunately Glen is again given us a another testable claim. Now, if Beck is wrong again will he apologise for the first time or will he disappear like Harold Camping. You have a year and bit Glenn.

Remember Glenn Beck is a Mormon and so he believes one of the biggest frauds in US history (Joseph Smith) was a saint. But does that excuse him from been an idiot?



On the downside if Glenn Beck is right we should all be dead soon in a thermonuclear war. Then again theists like Beck have been predicting the end of the world since it started so I am not holding my breath.

Friday, 9 August 2013

Dear God VII

The point of this weekly segment is to thank god for all the awesome stuff he/she/it gives to us in the form of a prayer. Not to be taken seriously by atheists, but to be taken seriously by theists.

Dear God/Allah/Buddha/Zeus/ Thor/ Mercury/Venus/Jesus/Mary/Mars/Jupiter/Xenu/Aphrodite/Hades/Spaghetti Monster/Ra/Osiris/Krishna/Satan//Invisible Unicorn/Apollo/Ares/Poseidon/Yahweh/Vishnu/Rama/Shiva/Denka/Nyame/Waq/!Xu/Napi/Ta'xet/Aholi/Meztli/Xipe-Totec/Tezcatlipoca/Kwan Yin/Suyama/Brahma Sahampathi/Anubis/Horus/Lucifer/Set/Hera/Hades/Bacchus etc etc etc etc etc.

Seriously why so many names? And why so many different sexes?You hiding something?

Amen

If you want to see how special your deity is, this website will show that it is not. After all there can be only one or is that one billion?
http://www.godchecker.com/


Thursday, 8 August 2013

Dolphins show humans we are not so special......not to be outdone by dogs

Last week I posted about our canine friends abilities to retain memories and imitate learned tricks after a certain amount of time. Clearly the dolphins heard about this and decided to not be outdone and showed they are capable of retaining memories of up to 20 years. The 20 year limit given for this study is what the scientists do not believe is the high limit, it is just that the data is not available for longer times.

So what is it about us humans and our lofty self love that we feel we are so special? Granted I am a firm believer that we should look after our own species first, but are we really that special? If dolphins have the ability to remember friends 20 years later from their voice surely that makes them better learners than us humans for the most part. For example, I can't even remember what some of my friends from middle school looked like let alone sound like and that was only 15 years ago! Maybe if we as humans can respect that we are not so special we will live more in the real now and not in the imaginary afterlife.

Hey maybe I am wrong and their is dolphin heaven as well. Or maybe the dolphins are Muslims and dogs are Christians and only one set of animals is going to heaven. Or maybe heaven is just another fairytale, I will go with this option.   

Here is a video showing the dolphins been extremely happy when they hear the voice of their friends which they lived with a long time ago.

The article is published open access and is available at the Proceedings of the Royal Society B. (link)

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Allah designed but does not understand the brain?

Scienceislam needs help! They need help to at least make their arguments reasonable and a little hard to refute. The Discovery Institute is also always wrong, but at least they try to confuse you. Scienceislam is a bit like Answers in Genesis, absolute rubbish.

Today's topic has to do with the Koran knowing about the Cerebrum before scientists even came close to understanding it. According to the Koran the Cerebrum is "responsible for planning, motivating, and initiating good and sinful behavior, and is responsible for the telling of lies and the speaking of truth." Just in case you wonder this is all summed up in the following verse. 
Let him beware! If he does not stop, We will take him by the Naseyah (front of the head), a lying, sinful Naseyah (from of the head)! [Quran 96:15-16]
or
Nay, but if he cease not We will seize him by the forelock - The lying, sinful forelock - [Koran 96:15-16] 

WAIT, Before you go out and buy the Koran, this is all wrong. The Cerebrum is firstly divided into four lobes, so which lobe was Allah talking about? The Frontal Lobe is responsible for Motor control, Thought and Personality and Olfaction. The Occipital lobe which is responsible for vision. The Parietal Lobe which is responsible for touch sensations. The Temporal lobe which is responsible for sound processing. The insular lobe which is responsible for taste and some emotions. So what does the front of the head mean surely it means the Frontal lobe? But we should be careful here as the Frontal lobe requires the Temporal lobe for sound processing, without the temporal lobe then there can be no speaking which means no lying.

OK so maybe Allah and Muhammad meant the whole Cerebrum. This brings us to the logical conclusion that the Koran is wrong, as the Cerebrum is not just the front of the head . In fact the Cerebrum is massive! Below is a picture of the brain, the Cerebrum is everything except for the small part at the bottom. So when Allah was grabbing the front of the head did they mean the whole head? 
 What we have here is that the Muslims that are promoting this view that the Koran tells us about the Cerebrum have a problem with their Cerebrum.

Monday, 5 August 2013

A matter of perspective

I was listening to an episode of The Thinking Atheist called "Clash from the past" where Seth Andrews was talking to his ex-manager David Stephens at the Christian radio station he used to work at. It was a great debate/conversation between the two, and I realised that the whole argument between these two comes down to perception of theists versus atheists. Theists have a strict worldview that is forced onto them from a holy book, while most atheists (not all) rationalise their worldview.


Listen to internet radio with TheThinkingAtheist on Blog Talk Radio


In the interview David said, multiple times, that the world and the the USA is not in a good state now that secularism and other religions are on the rise. So I thought about this a lot and came to the following conclusions. From Davids perspective he is absolutely correct and from Seths perspective he is absolutely correct.This reminds me a lot about morality been subjective or objective, for a good blog about this check out this recent post by Cephus at the Bitchspot. In case you are wondering morality is subjective.

So lets break this down more from David and other theists perspectives. If we consider the world today from the theists perspective things are a lot worse of as their worldview is not their own, but those determined by some tribes 2000 years ago situated in the Middle East. If you are a theist (in most cases) you disapprove of homosexuality so with the much more visible LGBT community nowadays you would think the world is worse off. If you are a theist the rise of atheism or other theistic religions in your community/country is also in your worldview the rise of evil. So in other words when your book is based in the stone ages, then your worldview will also be in the stone ages so of course the world is getting worse. You can no longer club women over the head and drag them into a cave for a good time we have moved on.

From my perspective the rise of various communities (LGBT/atheist/sceptic etc) is awesome as it means less discrimination, so from my perspective the world is getting better. But then again my worldview is not determined by cavemen.

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Its not trolling

I am highly irritated as to what people consider trolling so I thought I would give a breakdown of what trolling is and is not. This comes in light of all the Twitter suspensions and basically just ignorant theists who don't understand what a troll is.

A troll is defined by Wikipedia as "In Internet slang, a troll is a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people, by posting inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community (such as a forum, chat room, or blog), either accidentally or with the deliberate intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion."
Or according to know your meme "Trolling is an Internet slang term used to describe any Internet user behaviour that is meant to intentionally anger or frustrate someone else. It is often associated with online discussions where users are subjected to offensive or superfluous posts and messages in order to provoke a response."

So lets look at these definitions and try to in rational terms define what a troll is. A troll is someone who does some or all of the following.
a) Talks about off topic messages. So this is pretty much the same as spam in your spam folder, no one want to see Viagra commercials in a discussion thread.
b) Is inflammatory or offensive. Someone who reverts to name calling or someone who just uses insensitive language when referring to someone else. For example if you are going to call someone a bitch maybe think about it before you comment. BTW this I think is specific for people involved. You can call me cracker, honky, white trash, satanic, child eating, porn addicted, ugly, @#*&^#, ........, I don't care it just shows you have no logic to debate.

I think the above points cover trolling if you disagree go to 4chan's /b/ thread and you will understand better.

So what is not trolling? Here is my list of things I do not consider trolling.
a) Disagreement on opinion: When someone disagrees with your opinion this is not trolling.
b) Disagreement on facts: When someone says your facts are wrong and you cannot provide citations for these facts, this person is not been a troll.
c) Giving someone a label. If someone makes a comment like "all gay people are sexual deviants", by all means call them homophobic. This is not inflammatory it is true.
d) Pointing out logical flaws or incorrect facts: This is called been dishonest, and if you are going to use a worldwide platform to spout rubbish, you better be able to back it up. Don't cry like a baby and scream "Mommy I am been trolled" when you get shown to be an idiot.

In conclusion, its not trolling when someone disagrees with you and points out logical flaws in your argument. You are using a worldwide platform, so expect worldwide condemnation for stupid and irrational thoughts.

Saturday, 3 August 2013

Humans not that special

It irritates me that humans as a species think we are so special and that we can do anything we want to our planet. I think this is actually one of the reasons that people believe in gods as we believe we are special. For this reason I was pleased when I read this article online a week ago (yes, it took that long to blog about it). The details in the paper are fascinating, and the reason I took such interest was that I originally doubted the claims.

The article and related research paper (subscription depending on affiliation) have to do with the results from tests that show dogs are capable of deferred imitation and declarative memory. So first lets get to what this means by looking at definitions.
Deferred imitation: refers to observing a model and replicating important aspects of the model's behaviour after some significant period.
Declarative memory: refers to memories which can be consciously recalled such as facts and knowledge

So in essence what we have here is dogs showing that they can remember and recall memories. This was done by the dogs repeating tasks that they had previously learnt from their owners after time intervals of up to 10 minutes. Now this may not seem like a long time, but in human babies this retention time is a lot less for deferred imitation.  This is remarkable as it does show that dogs are able to form memories and recall these memories. Interestingly, the clincher for me in this study was that the dogs were distracted by doing other tasks between learning the original task and reperforming it. This is in my opinion very conclusive that the dogs are definitely retaining memories.

So there you have it humans are not so special after all. Dogs have joined the club along with dolphins, chimpanzees, gorillas, all the other primates I am forgetting etc etc etc. It seems weird saying that as growing up with dogs I pretty much always knew they were intelligent.  


(Pic source)

Friday, 2 August 2013

Dear God VI

The point of this weekly segment is to thank god for all the awesome stuff he/she/it gives to us in the form of a prayer. Not to be taken seriously by atheists, but to be taken seriously by theists.

Dear god

I was reading the bible and it opened to me at Matthew 21 verse 22 and I read this wonderful message you sent to me. Thank you for telling me god that " And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.". It is with this promise in mind that I would like to pray for the following things.

Please can I have a new red Ferrari super car, if you can also add 2 billion USD's to my bank account. I would also like a penthouse apartment in New York, Tokyo,Milan, London and Hong Kong. While you are granting me these houses I think a villa in the South of France and a Beach House in Santa Monica would be a good addition to the Ranch in South Africa that you gave me when my grandfather died. Please let me date and marry a famous Hollywood actress and bless us with three children who have great looks, genius IQ's and a talent for all sports. 

Your humble servant.

Amen

I am guessing God missed with his delivery
(Pic source)

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Creationism is running for cover..again

Creationism (intelligent design) is running out of places to hide. I have posted before about the chemical origins of life, but this week some fascinating new evidence (three manuscripts) has been presented for the chemical origins of life.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130730235542.htm

These papers deal with the Submarine Hydrothermal Alkaline Spring Theory. A similar theory to this theory the Iron-sulfur World Theory was first proposed by Günter Wächtershäuser between 1988 and 1992, so this idea is not new. Interestingly, this is again science refining and showing that some things work and some things don't, but importantly not blind acceptance. So here we have a different theory that bases the formation of life on the harnessing of energy (heat) from deep sea vents. Also it is believed and has been shown in these and other papers that the basic building blocks for life are formed by the chemical reactions that occur between chemicals in the hot vent water and chemicals in the cold water surrounding the vents. These chemicals are then able to form what we would call a type of cell membrane, similar in structure but not in composition.

 (Pic source)

Interestingly in the one paper titled Turnstiles and bifurcators, the authors have done studies which show that the energy reactions occurring in this environment are not been forced to do so. This is important as the reactions taking place are obtaining the energy spontaneously (without outside help) which means this could be the onset of metabolism. Remember metabolism is the use of energy (chemical transformation) in a living organism which keeps the organism alive. Here is what the author says in the abstract
"Here we discuss the thermodynamics of FEC (Free Energy Conversion) and advance proposals regarding the nature and roles of the FEC devices that could, in principle, have arisen spontaneously in the alkaline hydrothermal context and have forced the onset of a protometabolism."

What makes this fascinating is that the scientists who consider this the method by which life evolved are getting closer to recreating the experiment in the lab. So now my question: creationists when this experiment is finally done, will you then say okay we were wrong? Or will you find some other stupid reason to retain your belief in an intelligent designer.

Here is a list of the papers with their links. (These paper may be subscription only depending on your affiliation etc.).
http://rstb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/368/1622/20120258
Beating the acetyl coenzyme A-pathway to the origin of life
http://rstb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/368/1622/20120254
The inevitable journey to being
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0005272812010420
Turnstiles and bifurcators: The disequilibrium converting engines that put metabolism on the road