Tuesday, 30 June 2015

The creationist half life fallacy

Through various discussions with creationists I have heard two takes on nuclear decay half life, the one is purely deceitful and the other is ignorance. For this reason, I thought I would do a quick write up to explain half life in simple terms and lift the wool from some peoples eyes.

The core problem with radiometric dating is that most people do not understand half life of radioactive decay. To not be to technical, radioactive decay is when one type of atom changes into another type of atom by releasing some type of energy. For example, if there are 100 school children in a tight group and one runs away, then there are 99 children. These groups of 100 and 99 children would be atoms in our example, with the one child running away being the release of energy.

So what is half life? Half life is the time it takes for an amount of atoms to decrease to half its original amount. For example, if there are 100 houses and we destroy 50 houses over a time period of 1 year. Then the half life of house destruction would be 50 years.
But......
This is where it all gets a little more complicated and counter intuitive. One would then expect that the next year of house destruction would leave 0 houses, in fact the number of houses left is 25!

How is this possible?
Its not that complicated really when we think of the term half life and what it is defined as (the  time it takes for an amount of atoms to decrease to half its original amount). If we take 100 houses, then after 1 year we have 50 houses. But now we have a new number of houses, and this number is 50. This means that after 1 more year we have halved 50 houses and that leaves 25 houses. Now with this new number of 25 years and we take one more year, we now have 12.5 houses.
Simulation of many identical atoms undergoing radioactive decay, starting with either four atoms (left) or 400 atoms (right). The number at the top indicates how many half-lives have elapsed. Note the law of large numbers: With more atoms, the overall decay is less random.
(Source)

So, what about the other group that are deceitful you may ask. Simply put they argue (with zero evidence) that the half life of nuclear decay varies with time. Are these people ignorant? No, this is a lie and they know it. SCUM, that's all I have to say scum.

Monday, 29 June 2015

Why do people hate Muslims?

The existence of Islamaphobia in cultures around the world is something that is prevalent and at the same time is trying to be weeded out. It is something I agree should be stamped out, as stupid things like a Muslim getting denied a closed can of soda on an airplane is just downright stupid. Islamaphobia should go in the same way I think discriminating against someone based on their sexuality should be stamped out.

However, this is an ideal situation and I think it is important to realize why Islamaphobia exists. While it certainly is not a logical position to hold that all Muslims are evil, it is a logical question to ask why does it exist. Phobias are human nature, that is why we have phobias of space, insects and heights. Phobias exist as they come from a fear of a situation or object, so should we be really surprised that Islamaphobia exists?

So why would a person hate  or fear Muslims in general? I am writing this post on Saturday 27th June 2015, and that means it is one day after four different terrorist attacks on three different continents by so called fundamentalists Muslims in the countries of Somalia, Tunisia, France and Kuwait. That's right four terrorist attacks killing  over 100 hundred people and injuring multiple more. Then there are also countless Muslim terror attacks in Kenya, Australia, France, Nigeria, Iraq, Syria, Pakistan, England among many others  that I have covered on my blog over the past few years. Please remember that I only cover a few and this is barley scraping the Islamic threat, but I think I have made a very strong point that the numbers of terrorism versus Islam do not lie.


Of course it does not stop at terror, their are other things like their stupid Sharia Laws which are prevalent for the dumbest and most idiotic ideas that exist on the planet. You know things that will put you in jail or get you killed like; owing a Barbie Doll in Saudi Arabia, or saying Muhammad is a pedophile in Bangladesh (and every other Islamic country), not marrying the person your parents approve of in England, Apostasy in Sudan (and every other Islamic country), and of course a host of other idiotic fatwas.Of course lest we forget that if you are a women you have to wear a burlap sack over your head all day as women are to blame for getting raped if they show an ankle. Actually women are blamed for many more things, but this list is getting a bit long and I think I made my point.

Perhaps what I have written above can give Muslims and idea why people dislike them and plainly do not trust them. So what is the solution for this, what can Islam do to get themselves out of the Islamaphobia shadow?

In a nutsehll, Islam is the only one that can get rid of the scourge and until you do people will hate you. It is not nice, it is not rational but it is human nature. Get rid of the problem or  suck it up and accept that humans are imperfect and going to hate you until things change.

Friday, 26 June 2015

Are all the slave owners in hell?

I was having a discussion about objective versus subjective morality. Actually the discussion was more about what the various ways of viewing morality means in the broader sense, for example are we really progressing? I think these are great questions, and I think both objective and subjective morality lead to uncomfortable questions we may not want to think about. However, as always I think there is a very important difference that needs to be addressed and that is the title of the blog post. But before I jump into to the meat of the meal,there is one fact that you need to keep in mind while reading. Simply put, if objective morality is true, then their is only one correct way.

As most people are aware, in the not so distant past there were slave owners everywhere around the world, in fact there are still slave owners in some countries. So what does this mean for the person that believes in objective truths. Well, if we consider the Christian bible, this leads to one of two natural conclusions. Either all supporters of slavery in the past are in hell, or all the people currently alive are going to go to hell. This conclusion is logical as at least one of these groups was not adhering to the objective truth and the Bible is pretty clear what happens to sinners.


But, the objectivity absurdity even goes further when we consider theistic doctrines. Every believer past, present and future could all end up going to hell as they never start adhering to the one objective truth about any random important subject. Or, I could be the only person in heaven as I am the only person that by pure chance is doing all the right things to make a god who determines these objective truths happy.

That's why I cannot believe there are still people who think objective morality is rational.

Lastly, if you are an atheist and believe that objective morality exists then you are faced with the same problems as the theist. Although you clearly have no consequences for your mistaken views on morality. But you also have to accept that you can never know what the ideal objective morality is.

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Muslims killing themselves

No, its not suicide bombers. This news is sad as it relates to the death of over 700 people in Pakistan during the recent heat wave in that country. There are major issues in the city of Karachi with power outages and just outrageous temperatures (42 (108 Fahrenheit) to 44 (112 Fahrenheit) degrees Celsius) which are contributing to the deaths. Unfortunately, in this Islamic country there is also the prevalence of the Ramadan fast at the moment.

Now, while it is impossible to put an exact pinpoint onto the deaths as being due to Ramadan, the facts are that people are not eating or drinking during the fasting hours which are from sun rise to sunset. These facts are surely a significant contributor towards some of the deaths, as dehydration from not drinking water is one of the reasons many people die from excessive heat.  If your faith is strong enough to deny yourself water while you are literally dying, this just shows that faith is an idiotic idea. In fact in Pakistan it is illegal to drink or eat in public places, so Islamic faith could be the major factor behind many of these deaths never mind Ramadan. All it takes is one fundamentalist policeman or believer and you could end up in jail if you had a sip of water while standing in the midday sun. That sip of water that could save your life, apparently is such an offense that human rights have to play second fiddle during Ramadan.

On the bright side at least some clerics have come out and used a little logic by saying that you can break your fast (have something during the day) if your health is in danger. Then again it does not help when you have believers that say things like this,
As long as I have some life in me, and strong intentions, I will fast,

Thanks Islam for needlessly killing people yet again.

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Research chimpanzees receive endangered status

The news that the US Fish and Wildlife Services have now listed research chimpanzees as an endangered species is a mixed bag for me as a research scientist that has in the past had to deal with research animals. Truthfully, I feel this decision is not the best decision with respect to biomedical research, while on the other hand I realize that the cognitive (almost human) abilities of chimpanzees makes this a difficult issue to accept for most people.

Chimpanzees truly are beautiful animals in fact they exhibit remarkable traits of their homo-sapiens cousins which makes us desire to give them human like status. These human like traits are evident in the way the live in groups with the mothers caring for their young and the alpha male caring for the group. We also see their dark side in the the way that one group will hunt other groups of chimpanzees or in the way the group will oust an alpha male when they deem he is no longer strong enough to lead. They truly behave like humans in many ways, displaying morality principles based on their social structure while passing down learned knowledge of tool use.

On the other hand, chimps are vital in some research fields as they are the closet relative to humans on which certain medicines can be tested. While this may bother people, the only other option is to test on humans, yet I am sure there would be just as much outcry if that was the decision. Please realize when I am talking about testing medicines I am talking about drugs that we have no idea of how they will react physiologically. Those drugs that need to be tested to make sure they are safe before we start clinical trails on humans, its the last gasp effort to ensure safety of human test subjects. Just think of vaccines and the negative effects that could happen if not tested properly. Let me add here, that even if tested on chimps or other primates, there is still a chance that a first stage human drug trial could go horribly wrong. Lest we forget the drug Thalidomide that resulted in serious birth defects, although these defects were related more to poor medical practices of the time.

Lastly, we should consider a recent interview with a scientists that works with chimps everyday. She is adamant that the chimps are more looked after than they could ever be, and that the environment is ideal for testing. In fact, it is believed that in the wild these tests can never give the results they get when the tests are done in a controlled research chimp environment. I found this comment from the interview an ideal way to end this post on what I consider a bad idea in biomedical research, "I find a lot of what the other side is saying very untrue and hurtful. It's upsetting when someone calls you an evil scientist, or when they say we're causing pain or needless suffering. It's strange to hear people talking about these animals when they don't know who they are."

Monday, 22 June 2015

I dont like theism but I have many theist friends

Yes, it is possible.It is possible to like theists without liking theism. Even with the contempt I hold for their religion, which they are very well aware of, I do have many theist friends. To take it a step further, I have a friend who used to do ministry work in Africa and we agree on more issues regarding religion than I do with some atheists. I think for my theist friends, not to sound vain I actually am a pretty decent person, it is difficult to reconcile their beliefs and the fact that I reject these beliefs with my nature. Let me also say that my theist friends are not crazy fundamentalists and they believe in equality for all.

So, would I be friends with a fundamentalist theist?
Honestly it depends on what the religion is. If they were part of an Abrahamic religion I am certain my answer would be no. However, if they were a fundamentalist Raelian I am pretty sure we could be friends as I do enjoy a bit of the crazy. Seriously, who does not want a friend that dresses like this guy in the picture? If the fundamentalist was part of the Heavens Gate Cult, well they would be dead so I would be minus a friend.


In my opinion, moderate theism is a problem for the world as beliefs do affect peoples actions. On the other hand, fundamental theism ia a major problem. We just have to look at hate groups like the Westboro Baptist Church or ISIS to clearly understand this. Its my belief however that this problem runs deeper with moderate theism giving a platform for fundamentalists. As long as there are people that fundamentalist believe are just being mislead they will exist. Of course they could believe that all non-believers are mislead, yet this position is harder to hold when no one believes the tripe written in your holy text. Just imagine a world where the only place you can find a religious text is a dusty library!

This is why I do not like theism as I believe it is not healthy in any way or form for people and the planet. That said I still have theist friends, and I just wish they would make the next rational and logical step.

Friday, 19 June 2015

Flawed radio dating by creationists shows the Earth is 6000 years old

So, I was having a radio-dating discussion with a creationist that was very knowledgeable on radio-dating which was nice for a change. Clearly, there was cognitive dissonance due to the fact that he was a young Earth creationist. It was during this discussion that he referenced a Creation.com article which purports that Helium shows the Earth is in fact only 6000 years old. This interested me as I like chemicals and elements so I decided to check it out and more than likely debunk it. Needless to say it did not take long to see through the smokescreen although, I did find the complaining about a conspiracy theory by old Earth scientists fun.

I think it is important to realize that none of this work is published in accredited scientific journals, this is despite their claims that their research was published in a scientific journal. This journal, is actually a weekly science newspaper and the reason this article was published is that it is in fact proceedings for a conference. That means if you attend the conference (and anyone can attend and present at a conference if the organizers are interested in your work) then your abstract, at a minimum, gets published. It does not mean that it is correct, in fact its unfortunate that it has to get published as then you get creationists making up these darn lies. Also, this journal has an impact factor of zero, indicating that it is in fact not a journal as they would like you to believe.

So what did the authors of this paper claim? They claim that the speed at which helium diffuses (move out) of zircon minerals is much faster than is accepted. As such this mean that the Earth is much younger than is claimed.
 (Source)

But, why do old Earth scientists believe this study is flawed? The two main reasons are given below. Please realise that I am not linking Talkorigons as it is an evolution website, there are multiple old Earth creationists that disagree with this study.

1) It seems (and I am no geology expert) that the leak rate of the Helium (which is determined by taking a base value) is incorrectly estimated and does not stand up to more realistic base values. This important mistake is amplified by the absence of other element analysis for lead, uranium, thorium. One would expect this information to be forthcoming from the authors of this manuscript as it is such an important discovery, yet this has not happened.

2) The other more important issue for me, is that the external pressure at which the samples were found is ignored. If you apply pressure to something then it cannot escape, think about a pressure cooker and how the water cannot escape while it is enclosed. Yet, when you open a pressure cooker the water gets out super fast. The video below shows a pressure cooker explosion and I think it explains the idea of why containing pressure is so important, no one got hurt in the video so it looks scary but everyone ran away.
 
In conclusion, this data is flawed and it does not support a young Earth. Perhaps we could consider this data again if the authors are more forthcoming with all the experimental evidence that would be required to uphold such a fantastic claim.

So, what do we have at the moment? We have deceit and lies. This report is despicable as it shows that these creationists are knowingly lying to you, and in most circles that is considered immoral.

Thursday, 18 June 2015

11 year old Paraguayan pregnant after rape, yet denied an abortion

When I first saw the story circulating of a raped pregnant 11 year old child being denied an abortion I was appalled. I was thinking, what would make people deny a child who was raped by her step father an abortion? The only conclusion that I could come to was that to deny an abortion in this case you need to be sick in the head.

As such it was no surprise to hear that in Paraguay the government is strongly influenced by the Catholic Church. Should we really be surprised that this occurs in a country where 88 % of the population is Catholic and 96 % of the total population is Christian. Apparently, in Paraguay they have deemed abortions illegal for any case except in the case where a women's life is at risk. Needless to say this leads to multiple back street abortions and deaths of women due to the risks associated with these types of abortions. So we can say that clearly the government does not give a fuck about the sanctity of life while claiming they do.

One question you may ask is why would I want this girl to have an option for an abortion? Well, there is no way to know what effect this pregnancy could have on this little girl both physically and psychologically. Now while the government says the child's health is doing well, I have to wonder how accurate this is when she is staying at a hospital. Usually if a pregnancy is going well you can stay at home, I mean my sister stayed at home till it was time for the baby to come. Perhaps, I should also add that the abortion has been asked for, if it as not asked for we would not have heard about this case.

So sanctity of life? What does that actually mean to these religitards that embrace backward laws like this. What posses someone to think that a fetus created from a rape that reminds the victim of the rape for a whole nine more months is a good psychological test. Where the hell are your ethics and morals? Yes, some children born from rape have loving relationships with their mothers, but I would say this is the exception and not the rule. I give up with this type of stupidity, anyone that justifies the refusal of an abortion for this girl is fucked in the head.

There are petitions available on-line that you can sign, or letters to send that ask the Paraguayan government to allow this child to get an abortion.

Lastly, Paraguay is not alone in their stone age laws. Here is a map of the world and you can quickly see they are not alone.
   Legal on request.
   Illegal with exceptions for maternal life, mental health, health, rape, fetal defects, and/or socioeconomic factors.
   Illegal with exceptions for maternal life, mental health, health, rape, and/or fetal defects.
   Illegal with exceptions for maternal life, mental health, health, and/or rape.
   Illegal with exceptions for maternal life, mental health, and/or health.
   Illegal with no exceptions.
   Varies.
   No information.
(Source)

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

South African Scientists proudly announce: Homosexuality is biological


Nature reported some brilliant news from South Africa last week about a report that will hopefully bring an end homophobic laws in Africa. Okay, I will be honest this report will not change things quickly, but it does point out that homophobic laws on the continent are discriminatory and based on faulty premise i.e. being gay is a choice. So, while this report nothing new for people with half a brain, what it does do is condense all the information into a document that shows that homosexuality is  completely natural. As such any discrimination against homosexuals is based on irrational fears and other bigotry that people hold internally or through religious belief.

Same-sex Sexual Activity Legal
   Same-sex Marriage Legal
   Other type of Partnership (or Unregistered Cohabitation) Recognized
   No Recognition of Same-sex couples
Same-sex Sexual Activity Illegal
   Not Enforced or unclear
   Penalty
   Life in Prison
   Death Penalty
(Source) 

Importantly, what makes this report different from other before it is that it comes from African scientists. This is important as some politicians use the idea that reports from western scientists are flawed as it is western propaganda destined to corrupt the countries culture. While the idea that something coming from another country is propaganda is clearly a flawed argument, we need to remember that it is an argument that is used, albeit often with malice and intent. In fact just look at the FIFA corruption case and Jack Warner, this man is "convinced" that the Americans are just probing FIFA as they lost the bid for the world cup. In fact, the guy is a thieving idiot and just will not admit it. So with a report like this in hand, it is much easier for legislators that actually care about human rights to address social inequality. This is great news for those countries (like Uganda) where dumb Christian groups are backing laws that ask for the death sentence for homosexuality.


Congratulations and thank you to the Academy of Science of South Africa. You have created an important document that will benefit the lives of future Africans.

Monday, 15 June 2015

Why are we so poorly evolved?

I have been having an interesting discussion with a Jehova's Witness recently. I say it is interesting in the sincere from of the word, as he is  a person that wants to address the important questions. Often when you get involved in theistic debates you usually get the normal"the beauty of the world proves a God", or "its wrong, as the Bible says it is wrong". Now while I am sure these types of statements and questions could and probably will come up at some point. He and I decided to discuss why he believes in a God. This question to me strips away all the razz matazz and gets to the core issue which every theist should be thinking about.

So while these conversations go on, I thought I would put some of the interesting questions that come up during these talks. The one question that I did not see coming was a surprise as we both asked the same question with a twist.

He asked: If survival of the fittest is the driving force of evolution, why are we so poorly evolved?
That is, if survival of the fittest means getting stronger or smarter then why are our bodies so fragile and weak in comparison to other primates? This is a valid question but I think it does need to be put into context as humans have evolved a brain capacity that effectively helps us do away with a lot of strength. We are able to kill using weapons and not our bare hands, and so even though we are not physically the strongest, we are the strongest. Another thing that I pointed out, is that we are effectively distorting the genetic pool with medical knowledge. To be frank, if it was not for medicine, I would not be typing this blog and many would not be reading it. So effectively, I have dodged the survival of the fittest bullet. But this is why we are humans and we have survived this long.

Now, lets move to the question I asked: If God is acting as the intelligent designer, why are we so poorly created? Using the same line of reasoning, I asked why are human bodies so fragile and susceptible if they were designed. Surely, we would expect a designer to wrap their most important design in a lightweight super-strong titanium shell. Imagine we could all be like Tony Stark without J.A.R.V.I.S. as we have the designed mental capacity to do without a pesky computer telling us how to do things.


So, the line of reasoning for both questions is similar, yet only one can be right. Evolution has been proven, while intelligent design ideas ignore the elephant in the room. For intelligent design to be correct, you first need to prove the designer.

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Its Sunday and I aint going to church

To all my fellow atehists, I think I worked out what the Christians mean when they say we are going to hell.

It all an elaborate plan to get us to the biggest AC/DC concert ever.

Track List Unknwon, except for track 1 and the encore.



Have a great Sunday. Knowing you do not have to go eat some restaurant food as chosen by the minister.

Friday, 12 June 2015

I am a proud white male

There seems to be an immense amount of what I would call self denial or shame among some atheists and other activists these days. So, I thought I would make it clear today that "I am proud to be a white male". In fact, I think everyone should be proud of their heritage. Not only that, everyone should be proud with the labels they assign to themselves and identify as.

Now, at this point you may be wondering what I mean so let me give some examples. With the rise of so called 4th wave feminism you get men that are ashamed of well being male. Seriously, how crazy is that? In the same vain, when there was the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson we  saw a multitude of white people being ashamed to be white. Interestingly, these feelings of shame existed despite the evidence showing that Michael was in fact not the innocent person he was made out to be. As happens often on this blog, my thoughts seem random so why am I bringing this up today?

I bring this up as I believe its important for the simple reason that people are feeling ashamed for things for which they have no control. These thoughts in turn lead to skewed/bad ideas which are not beneficial towards a truly sceptical conversation about issues that need real solutions not based on feelings of shame and guilt. We should be able to point out bad ideas without worrying about reproach from lunatics that are pretty much only able to scream insults and make false equivalences. Let me explain further using an example, that I am sure you will understand. It seems that homosexuality has a genetic basis. Yet no matter how we point this out, we still get fundamentalist theists complaining about their so called choice. Now, as for homosexuals, it was not my choice to be a white male. For that reason I will not apologize and I will not feel ashamed. If you cannot understand that, then think about that again when you hear fundamentalists complaining about homosexuals. After all homosexuals were born that way, just as I was born a white male.

Again, I am proud of my heritage (and my genes) and I will not be ashamed by rage monsters.

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

My two pence on the whole Duggar situation.

Initially, when this whole Duggar media storm hit, I looked into it I decided not to touch it for a number of reasons. However, after seeing all the craziness surrounding this, as well as been called a sex offender, child abuser, and paedophile among many other things. It occurred to this slow brain, that maybe I need to get my opinions across, even if that results in more name calling and unproductive dialogue.

Firstly, as many people do not understand this I will state here and at other places through this post. I am not condoning Josh Duggars actions!

Is Josh Duggar a child abuser, or as most people seem to be calling him a paedophile? No, what he did was deplorable yet for the term paedophile to apply to him, Josh would have had to been an adult when he did this. The facts are Josh was a teenager when this happened and the age difference would never classify him as a paedophile (page 166 of 263). Then on top of that, the fact that Josh is now married to an adult women shoots that argument that he is a paedophile in the foot. You may be thinking now, why is this important? Its important as the label paedophile is a label (with huge amounts of social impact) he probably will never shake and it was irresponsible to label him incorrectly in the first place. People, get all angry when someone calls them an idiot on the internet, remember Josh has to live with this label for the rest of his life and it is incorrect.

At this point, I think its pertinent to say again. I am not condoning Josh Duggars actions!

Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar deserve serious condemnation for not reporting the case. The fact that what Josh did was not reported when it happened, yet at a later stage is deplorable. The fact that it was reported at all is in itself pretty amazing when one considers the significant time gap between reporting and the incident. For this reason, I wish that something would be done to the parents and other adults involved so that this type of abuse which can happen in these Christian fundamentalist home schooling systems never happens again.

Should the police report have surfaced? The answer to this question is yes. But to those people that have not seen the report, I think you should look it up and see how much of the report is censored. That is, there is now way that we would have known that the guilty party was Josh Duggar unless he admitted to it. While we could have speculated about the person, there was no certainty until Josh issued his apology. I am not saying this to laud Josh for coming forward, I am just pointing out that there is some credibility to the man for apologizing and owning his dark deeds.

Oh, as I am sure some people do not get this yet.  I am not condoning Josh Duggars actions!

So why do I think this happened? I think this happened as it is easy to pick on a fundamentalist family who hold good wholesome Christian family values,and purity in such high regard. The same family that likes to point fingers at others and claim people are living in sin. These are certainly all valid criticisms. Yet, there are criticisms and inaccuracies. With this story I have seen a lot of irrational inaccuracies on various internet spaces, especially by more liberal leaning atheists and I think we should be ashamed in many ways.

Regardless what I personally think of Sarah and Bristol Palin, I do believe they have a valid point when they say why is the media, internet social justice warriors and bloggers forgetting about the case of Lena Dunham.

And now let the name calling begin. Thanks for reading all the way to the end.

Monday, 8 June 2015

People that still believe David Koresh was a Prophet

 

A friend on Google+ turned me onto a Big Questions program about the difference between cults and religion. While this topic of cult versus religion is interesting in itself. What's more interesting for me was the appearance of a Branch Davidian that was on the show. For those that do not know, Branch Davidians are mostly associated with the belief that David Koresh was the final prophet before the second coming of Jesus. What really happened was not Armageddon however, as they ended up getting shot at by the government at Waco. Now while I do not agree with everything the Government and the Davidians did during the siege, I think that there are still believers that trust what Koresh told them is true is insane.

What happened at Waco in 1993 is no secret, its fact that David Koresh was an unstable man who was accused of sex abuse and the stockpiling of firearms and explosives. What happened exactly at the end of the siege is still debated, but what we do know is that if you were in the church building (with Koresh) that stated burning  you died. So after all of this, would you believe that twenty years after Waco there are still Branch Davidians that believer what Koresh told them. In the Big Questions video, you get to meet Livingston who made it out of Waco, or more correctly got arrested and put in jail for what happened at Waco.

The first time you will hear Livingston is at about 16 minutes. What is fascinating is that he talks with utter conviction that he believes everything about Koresh and that all prophecies by Koresh have come true. However, what he fails to admit is the failed prophecies about the stock piling of guns and how that lead to the siege. According to the Branch Davidians the guns were stock piled as they got a prophecy from Koresh that they were going to be attacked, and so they had guns for protection. Which begs the question, was the cause of the siege (the guns and explosives) the reason for the prophecy? Also, why not speak to the ATF agents when the first came, there was no reason to automatically jump to guns unless you had something to hide.

The next time to hear apologetics by Livingston is at about 33 minutes, where the conversation about sexual abuse starts. The guy denies sexual abuse of children by Koresh happened, yet it is documented according to testimonies by abused girls. I should add here, that there is some doubt due to dubious age laws regarding wives in Texas at the time?

If, you have time watch the video, or at least watch those segments with Livingston to see delusion at work. Oh and there is a Raelian on the show as well.


This is what religious beliefs can lead to. No matter whose actions that day in Waco were wrong or right, personally I believe there were errors on both sides, the fact is that due to stupid beliefs people died, just as in Jonestown. The fact that people still believe this idiocy after twenty years show that indoctrination is difficult to get over and that faith is dangerous.

Friday, 5 June 2015

Morality and sexuality

The quote "What happens in someone else's bedroom is none of your concern" is a very apt statement when discussing sexuality. However, I think changing views on sexuality are a great example of the evolution of morality and one that shows we certainly do not need a god to determine our morality.

Morality and sexuality

The need by theists to try and control the base sexual urges and consequences of humans is something that is very well known. We just need to look at the Catholic Church and their prohibitions on contraceptives and the problems this causes in Africa where HIV is such a prominent disease. Then again there are also theists that believe HIV is God's wrath for sexual deviant behaviour, after all a death sentence is what one would expect from an all loving God. Lets also not forget that abortions and divorce are largely banned in some countries based on theistic reasons.

Yet, besides the theists best efforts we see that attitudes towards sexuality are changing. We just need to consider the amount of countries worldwide that have legalized same sex marriage to know that attitudes towards homosexuality are changing. This change mirrors the changes that occurred in many countries where it was considered immoral for members of different races to have relationships or get married. Although, I should say here that legalization of same sex marriage is only one indicator of the acceptance of homosexuals in many countries. There are in fact many countries where the population is accepting of homosexuality, yet the government is not.
 

Another very recent indicator of changing attitudes in sexuality is the rise of BDSM due to the release of the film Fifty Shades of Grey. Now, while it can be argued that the use of whips and handcuffs is not true BDSM, the fact is that there is certainly an increased interest and acceptance of BDSM by  a much larger group of people than before.

So there you have it, the morality of sexuality has changed and is changing. Yet another way to show that morality is not coming from a God, because if it where we would still not allow inter-racial marriages.

I hope you have enjoyed these posts on morality as much as I have enjoyed writing them.

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Morality and war

War is one of my favorite examples of morality. The reason for this is that it is one of those extreme moral cases which people under most circumstances do not want to think. While it is easy to dismiss these extreme cases when one considers something like stealing, it is not easy to dismiss when it comes to war as war already is the extreme case.


Morality and war

The one major point to remember when discussing war is this quote by Winston Churchill "History is written by the victors". This is important, as many times we are lead to believe that actions are moral depending on the outcomes of the actions taken. For example, its easy to say I stole medicine to give my sick child if the child lives. Most people in this case would be willing to say this was a moral action albeit a very dubious moral action. On a side-note my favourite Winston Churchill quote is the one where he was presumed to say he would drink poison.

In WW2, the Nazis were killing multiple Jews (as well as homosexuals, gypsy's, communists etc) in gas chambers in what we now all know as the Holocaust. This action of killing is justifiably wrong for a number of reasons such as killing innocent civilians and ethnic cleansing through genocide. However, the Nazis that were doing this at the time thought they were completely rational in their actions. As such this action while immoral to most people around the world at the time, it was certainly not the case for those Nazis who thought they were engaging in a very moral action. So was the killing of the Jews a moral or immoral action? Today it is very easy to say it is immoral, yet if you were in Nazi Germany you would probably have thought it is completely moral.



Now lets move forward in time towards the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Were these wars moral? In my opinion, yes they were as they were very effective in removing a very dubious dictator in Saddam Hussein as well as the dictatorial Taliban government. Now, I will be the first to admit that the reasons for going to war were false as has been discovered. Yet we should realise the good that these wars have been done in removing unjust leaders that were down right horrible to their populace. Also these wars were not as successful as they should have been, yet we know what the underlying problems are and its not the invasions its bloody Islam. So, were these wars moral? Again the answer is yes and no. Also, the argument of look at ISIS now is a dumb argument as it forgets what happened under the past regimes.

I think if you rationally think through any war that has happened you have to come to the conclusion that morality is certainly subjective and not objective. Its that extreme case that leaves you having to make extreme decisions outside of your comfort zone. The only way you can not feel this way is to curl up into a ball of comfort and blind your self to the realities of life outside of your perfect world fantasy.

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

correlation and causation :)

This website I came across called tylervigen.com and the spurious correlations is just awesome at showing that correlation does not necessarily translate into causation. Well unless you want to believe that US spending on science and technology leads to increase in suicides by hanging and suffocation.


Then again after watching that Hollywood snuff film about the rapture, i.e. Left Behind, I could believe that the number of people who drown in pools could be correlated with films Nick Cage appears in.


Or what about the number of Japanese cars on the market which correlates with suicides by crashing of motor vehicles.


Link this website, and when you meet a theist who does not just understand that correlation does not equal causation, send them the link. Thanks to Tyler for creating an amusing resource to teach a simple but sometimes difficult to understand concept.

Oh, and if you made it this far and still do not understand. Think about it this way. Two things may be correlated, yet they have zero impact (causation) on each other. As such if something is correlated, it does not mean the one causes the other.

Monday, 1 June 2015

Morality and imperialism

This week on my blog, I have decided to take a look into the question of morality. In general theists attribute their morality to a god, yet a rational look at some examples of dubious morality in our societies show that morality certainly does not come from an objective source like a god. It is through these examples that I hope to show morality truly does not come from God, and excitingly I will not be using slavery as an example.

Morality and Imperialism

Imperialism can be defined as follows: a policy or practice by which a country increases its power by gaining control over other areas of the world. Now, this is a very general definition and if you are not aware of imperialism I would point you towards the wikipedia article as well as a Google search about British Imperialism. There in fact has been finger pointing at America towards Cultural Imperialism, and while I can see this in terms of economy I am not convinced that this is Cultural Imperialism. I would rather say American Cultural Imperialism is a forceful business plan. However, I digress so lets get back on topic.

Imperialism is in many aspects a horrible idea as the British displayed so well in their conquests and subsequent subjugation of multiple countries around the world. We just need to think of the methods they employed in creating countries that hate each other like India and Pakistan when they finally removed themselves from power there. Or consider their penal colony Colony of Australia where all the criminals in the home country were deposited. Additionally, we can consider the mass slaughters of the Xhosa wars by the British in South Africa. But there is no need to pick on the British, as this list can carry on as we look at the morality of the Portuguese, Spanish, French etc. conquests as they expanded their empires.


The British Empire (Source)

So was imperialism bad? Well, yes and no. If it was not for imperialism, the country of the United States of America would not exist in its current form today. If it was not for imperialism we would not have learnt about the modern idea of passive resistance which was started by Ghandi in India. If it was not for imperialism Africa, the Americas etc. as continents would still be hundreds of years behind the rest of the world in terms of technology, medicine and quality of life. Regardless of what you think about these statement they are the hard truth as Europe and Asia were the only parts of the world that were jumping ahead with technology and innovation when these conquests started.

So is their morality in imperialism? The obvious answer is yes, unless you want to leave people to suffer without modern solutions to ancient problems. The answer most of us lean towards is no, and there are valid reasons for this as well. Yet without a doubt there is no way that god could have come to the right answer about imperialism, after all its not an absolute answer and gods like dealing in moral absolutes.