Wednesday 29 April 2015

I will pray for you ...

Before on this blog I have spoken about religious sayings and generally how it does not bother me. In that post, I said the one thing that irritates me is when people say "I will pray for you", however in light of recent events I thought I should highlight that it is not always necessary to be a dick in these situations.

Recently, my father was diagnosed with Renal Cancer, at the time of publication of this post the operation to remove it will be over and we will know what the next step is.  However, over the last few weeks I have had religious friends and colleagues say to me "I will pray for your father". Now does this irritate me internally? Yes, it does. But, I realize these people are saying this because they do not actually know what to say. Its as if we have a lack of words to express sympathy and concern, and so we go for the easy answer. In fact even as an atheist, who grew up using the Christians words of sympathy, when confronted with these situations I find it difficult to express my sympathy. Not because I am a heartless baby eater, but its not easy to express sympathy when you have been indoctrinated to say certain things. That is why I now take my time and clearly express my sympathy and concern in a realistic way. While my words may not be all magical and hopeful, they are real and sincere.

So just in case you are wondering, I will not be joining prayer circles although some family members will. But I also do not intend to be a dick and discredit someone who says they will pray for my father. After all, I believe their intentions are sincere and that indoctrination makes it easier to say this than something else when faced with troubling times.

Monday 27 April 2015

Secret Pleasures

I am guilty of enjoying some creationist videos, as it is well.....Really fun to laugh at dumb people. So it was with glee that I stumbled across this Megan Fox Youtube video that has been getting so much attention.

There is so much wrong with this video, so I am not going to give it a detailed analysis. If you want to know whats wrong, just watch it and see every bad argument a creationist can deliver in 30 minutes. Literally, every single word out of this women is tripe. However, there are two points I will bring up.

The first point that almost made me choke was when she was saying that she respects fossils as thats real science. Then in the next hall she discredits the transitional fossils and plant fossils as they do not agree with her bias. Cognitive dissonance anyone?

The other point that made me laugh, which is a significant portion of the video, is the intricate knowledge this fruit-loop has of dinosaurs dragons which starts at 18 minutes. I bring this up as she talks about cave paintings which depict dinosaurs dragons with humans. This is not true and all Megan is doing is being a big fat liar. Here is a link to the Smithsonian website that debunks this claim.

Have fun.

In conclusion thanks Megan, I love dumb people. :D

On a side-note, if you want to have some fun with creationists then make them watch this video on transitional fossils.

Friday 24 April 2015

Difference between creationism and evolution

Most people can show creationism as false based purely on the evidence. It really does not take a degree to see the beauty of evolution backed by more scientific fact than could ever be contained in one part of one chapter of one book that has two conflicting versions of the same story. Yet there is one even more significant difference in the joke that is creationism. It is one that creationists love to point out, not realizing or accepting the problems it creates for their beloved theory which is actually two theories.

Science, as everyone knows is self correcting. In this regard it is entirely plausible that in some scientific article their could be a solitary bad idea buried behind 99.9 % good solid facts. This bad idea however does not make the entirety of the study incorrect, it just means that a bad idea exists that needs to be corrected or scrapped. Also, most often than not, the original findings stand with the bad idea gone as these bad ideas are usually related to a faulty mechanism for example.

However, creationists see this bad idea in a different sense. They will grasp onto this bad idea and then declare the whole study irrelevant.They do this not realizing that there own arguments are based on bad ideas. Bad ideas which they continually and deceitfully continue to support without any evidence.

So simply put, the difference between science and creationism is this.

Science may have one bad idea buried behind 99.9 % good facts. Creationism has 99.9 % bad ideas supported by a book that already has two versions of the same argument. It is for this reason that its more difficult to debunk any creationist argument than a simple scientific bad idea. Each  creationist argument takes a book to discredit, in comparison a solitary bad idea in a scientific manuscript can get discredited with one well written page. This is simply put why Creationism is not even close to a credible science.

Wednesday 22 April 2015

Happy Days if you are a creationist

It is my opinion that coming soon in the weeks ahead, or it may already have started, we are going to hear a creationist argument along the line of, "why should we trust any DNA evolutionary evidence." This has to do with the recent announcement by Nature Publishing Group (NPG) that from May 1st, that they will require all publications that use cell lines to check if these cell lines may be tainted.  It should be noted that NPG has been asking researchers to do this since 2013, however they are only making it an official policy this year.

So why should we care, and why should we not care?

We should care that the creationists may be right in a few instances in saying we need to scrap DNA evidence. For example (example not fact) if a genetic study had been done to check the evolutionary path between two separate species a and b and in fact a link was shown to exist. This data has to be thrown out if species b is actually 1) species c or 2) species b cross contaminated by a. Another example would be to discredit studies on cell lines classified as human when they were chicken cell lines. This can have massive knock on effects if for example these studies were used to get granted permission to do studies on animals.

We should not care for the idiocy that as some cell studies are wrong that evolutionary theory is flawed and should be completely discredited. We probably may even hear more of that fallacious argument "this proves that evolutionary theory is a massive conspiracy." Little do these creationist realize that even if evolutionary theory is discredited today, it does not make their theory right. Their theory can only be right once it has been vetted scientifically. The reason this has not happened so far is that simply put, ID/creationism has no proof.

I think NPG should be lauded for taking this step in a very positive direction towards embracing a more transparent and scientific method. I also think that creationists should think, but that is certainly something that never seems to happen. I mean, all we need to think about is Noah.

Monday 20 April 2015

Why Christians need to adhere to their Biblical rules

Christians are an interesting group of people when they are defending their faith and specifically what parts of the Bible they need want  to believe in. Of course anyone with a rational mind knows that they are picking and choosing according to their own will. Yet this picking and choosing creates a huge problem when debating said Christians as you cannot pin them down on anything, because as soon as their positions become unacceptable they just claim that that part of the Bible is outdated or is a metaphor or is add rubbish excuse here. In essence they are all playing the No True Scotsman fallacy with themselves by saying that they can never believe that as that is not the way a true Christian would behave.

The truth however is, as always, a lot simpler than that. The Bible is very clear on what parts of the Bible need to be adhered to and it is really a pity an atheist who has read the Bible needs to point this out. So for my Christian readers here is your justification to kill witches, have slaves and not eat shellfish anymore.

The Bible has the following two verses which do not need much brain power to interpret.
John 14:15 "If you love me, you will keep my commandments."
This is Jesus speaking, and as Jesus is God that means the rules set by God/Jesus should be kept. So what did God want?
Psalm 119: 30 "I have chosen the way of faithfulness; I set your rules before me."
Simply put God wants you to obey his rules laid out in the Bible.

To sum up, this means the rules in the Bible are those you should live by. That is all there is to it. So now when you kill gays or witches, disrespect your women, eat shellfish or own slaves, just remember you are allowed to according to the Bible. However, also realize that the rest of the civilized world will not accept your stone age ideas and you will probably end up dead.

Harsh realities are not always the ones you may like.

Friday 17 April 2015

List of Awesome Comic Book Gods

We often have to listen to the major religions tell us how awesome their gods are. The fact is Allah, Yahweh, etc are just not that awesome when compared to the other comic book gods. So here I present my list of awesome gods, that are worthy of a comic book strip. Granted this list will be updated, but for now I find these pretty cool.

1) Hanuman
I am not sure Hanuman could ever get knocked of top spot after all this is the god that is a monkey and can cause enough havoc to decimate the country of Sri Lanka. But, if you are not impressed by that, Hanuman could also lift mountains and shape shift.
Or the goddess of cognitive dissonance, I mean seriously how can you be the goddess of adultery and also the goddess of purity.She basically would make people do misdeeds and then also purify them from these misdeeds. I suppose this is one way to keep the customers coming back.

3) Namtar
The god of plagues, I mean what more do you need than a god that can cause plagues.My guess is this god was worshiped like most gods held with respect today, when illness was avoided Namatar was listening and when illness occurred the adequate respect was not administered.

Like living a long life? Well this is the god for you and as the Japanese are the oldest population in the world perhaps we should be worshiping Jurojin.
When you think things can only get worse, well you are probably right if you are spending your time worshiping this goddess. This is your run of the mill goddess of bad luck, I mean what more do you need in life than a bit of bad luck.

Honorable mention:
6) Jesus
I was not going to include Jesus due to the mainstream nature of the man. But, I mean to be fair he was a bit of a weird one. Why else would you make pigs jump of cliffs and fig trees die as they are out of season. Anyone seen my fruit loops?

So, who is your favorite comic book god?

Wednesday 15 April 2015

Publishing controversial science

One of my pet peeves is the commonly repeated phrase by pseudo scientists, i.e. creationists, anti-vaccers, UFO-oligists, GMO haters, etc, that the findings of their studies showing their view is correct cannot be published as they are being discriminated against. This line of reasoning misrepresents the scientific method and shows that these people have no idea how science actually works. In this post I want to put this dumb argument once and for all by showing two examples that demonstrate beyond doubt that controversial science can be published.

Example 1: Cold Fusion
The idea of cold fusion, that is nuclear fusion at room temperature has been thoroughly debunked. Please do not confuse cold fusion with other processes that are termed cold fusion but are in fact other processes. However, for a short while the idea of cold fusion seemed plausible when Pons and Fleischmann published their scientific report in the prestigious Nature journal in 1989.

However, this study did not stand up to the scrutiny of the scientific process and later was retracted. But this example shows in fact that highly controversial science can be published as the idea of a nuclear fusion reaction happening at room temperature was thought to be impossible even before this publication.

Example 2: Graphene

The idea that a two dimensional one atom thick sheet could ever exist was considered almost impossible in reality as it was deemed unstable. However, in 2004 Giem and Novoselov published a ground breaking study in the journal Science showing that this is in fact possible.

However, before publication in Science this manuscript got rejected twice, see pg 13. However, this same manuscript that got rejected twice ended up in these two "rejects" wining the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2010. Again an example of publishing controversial science with a massive payoff. Here is another great link if you want to understand more about Graphene.

Owned Graphics

In concluion, the next time a pseudo scientists says there is a conspiracy prohibiting their publications, just ask them about graphene and cold fusion. I believe this is another bad argument put to bed.

Monday 13 April 2015

The head in the clouds theist

As anyone who has ever engaged in theist will know that it can be akin to self inflicted torture as you butt your head against torrents of irrationality. Really, debating theists is tough work, just debating creationists is tough work. However, there is one kind of theist that debating could potentially drive you insane. This person is most often the newly saved theist, who just loves god way to much that their head is literally stuck up their ass in the clouds.

It is impossible to have a discussion let alone a debate with these people. They are the ones who gladly admit their ideas are flawed but the evidence is in their heart.They are the theist who freely admit their belief is personal, or even go so far as to admit its irrational. I mean how can you debate someone like this? Is it even possible? But as I love examples let me share a recent one with you where I was debating the authenticity of the Bible. I have cropped the example but I believe in includes the important parts.

Theist: faith has nothing to do with prayer. Prayer is a conversation. We pray because it brings us closer to God our Creator. You do have faith because you can't prove evolution.
Me:  So you disagree with Joshua about "Mark 11:24 "Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours."
To break it down further are you saying that if a person prays they will not receive as it says in the Bible?

Theist:  I agree but prayer does say we have faith. It's who we pray to. God gives us faith.

Me:  Perfect you agree that a person who prays has faith. That means that according to the Bible which you agree with that when a person prays they will receive.
As I have stated above prayer studies have been shown that prayer does not work. That means the Bible is flawed..... and if the word of a perfect god is flawed that means?

Theist: I never agreed the Bible is flawed I said i agree with Joshua.

Me:  And that means then you have to take the Bible in its literal self "because when I read the bible I have faith in its absolute truth ". Which means prayer is meant to work every time and we are back where we were before.
So again I am waiting for your acknowledgment. I will gladly respond once you have acknowledged that the Bible is flawed.

Theist: NEVER
You can see the full discussion here.

When I am debating a theist and they start along this line of reasoning, the only way to retain sanity is to unplug your brain. It is nice to speak and exchange ideas, but you are not going anywhere when you talk past this believer.

However, this is my experience. Does anyone have any idea how to approach this type of theist? Leave comments I really would love to know.

Friday 10 April 2015

Creation is a scientific fact?

Recently I got challenged by a creationist to prove that something can come from nothing, abiogenesis, evolution, and a hundred other questions in true Gish Gallop style. Then after presenting the evidence (see this link for the basic rundown) I got asked the same questions, so I copied and pasted my previous answer. Then I got asked the same questions again, and I got told to watch the You tube video entitled "Creation is a scientific fact" and answer all the questions in that movie as well. So anyway, I answered a lot of questions, and provided a lot of evidence. But in return I got no evidence, yet I still decided to answer some of the major points for my creationist friend.

So I present to you "Creation is a scientific fact" debunked.

The whole movie can be boiled down into one simple question which keeps getting asked. The only difference is that it is asked in a hundred different ways. It has to do with causality. The assertion is this, if the Universe had a beginning it had a cause, and this cause is the Biblical creator aka the God man.

But this is clearly just ridiculous, as if God caused the Universe then what caused God? Oh, thats easy to explain away apparently all you do is that you assert your God is "spaceless because it created space, timeless because it created time, immaterial because it created matter, powerful because it created out of nothing, intelligent because the creation event and the universe was precisely designed and personal because it made a choice to convert a state of nothing into something (impersonal forces dont make choices)."

Now, thats a lot of words, so to sum it up "what you do to prove God, is you get rid of the causality concept and then you assert the causality concept." So you create a contradiction and refuse to see it. This is creationism and this is how you assert a god.

What creationists and theists fail to realize is that you cannot just discard causality, as it does not fit your argument when your argument is based on causality. This is deceitful! In fact they go a long way in proving this deceit they employ by saying that you can assert whatever you want (about 28 minutes) when they are incorrectly interpreting and referencing Stephen Hawking's and the concept of imaginary time. Granted they are making the incorrect claim about imaginary time (imaginary time and real time work together, imaginary does not do away with real time) but if they are making this claim, they are dismissing their claim.

Which brings this debunking to a conclusion. I could go into further examples of what is wrong with this video, however there is no point when the philosophical and rationality behind the central concept is totally flawed.

On a side note, I am sure in the future I will revisit this as the person responsible for this video has written extensively on the Vatican and its knowledge of .....wait for it.....Aliens. :) My guess is the creationist person who asked me to watch this is unawares of the UFO connection.

Wednesday 8 April 2015

The "my personal beliefs don't hurt anyone" lie

Most, if not everyone, has heard at some point that a persons personal religious beliefs do not hurt anyone. So I was thinking about this, and have come to the conclusion that the idea that personal beliefs do not cause harm is an absurd notion to say the least.An obvious example to consider is marriage equality, where people who oppose equality do it based purely on personal religious beliefs. That is the are promoting discrimination based on personal views, and this is demonstrable harm in many ways. However, while important this is a weak example as there is no violent physical harm been done by denying someone the right to marry. Let me reiterate for the outrage warriors, to hold this view is discriminatory, it is not however violent.

Some good examples of hurt being done by personal views are the draconian laws held in place in multiple Muslim and Christian countries around the world. We just need to look at Saudi Arabia and Iran to see the oppression of women, as they do not have the same value as men. This discrimination based on personal views is a massive factor behind women getting raped and then exectued or sent to jail for being raped. Or we can turn our gaze onto Uganda and see the harm Christian thought about homosexuality is doing to gays in that country. There are already laws in place to send you to jail for being gay, but sometimes you may not make court as the righteous Christians execute you in the name of their good lord.

But, we can go a step further and even look at individuals. For example look at Vladimir Putin, he is Russian Orthodox and frankly allows the church to get away with pretty much anything in Russia, while promoting the virtues of religion. In facts his willingness to give his signature to laws discriminating against gays has a strong basis in Christianity. The justification of these laws has in turn lead to numerous violent acts against gays in Russia already. This surely is a good example of a personal religious beliefs causing harm, yet we should still just accept the lie that personal religious beliefs do not cause harm.

Or how about that other shining light of freedom George W. Bush who said the following "Faith informed my principles and decisions, but not my tactics. It would give me strength, but I didn’t use my faith to make decisions. Freedom is a faith informed principle." This is the same Christian faith then that informed him in his decisions to go to war. War, wher Christians get to take part in that time held honorable Christian value of killing. Now, let me state I am not criticizing him for going to war, I am saying if he listened to his faith to make a decision, then Christianity is largely accountable for these war deaths. So again, this is another fine example of personal beliefs causing deadly harm to others.

The list continues when we look at countries like South Africa during Apartheid, Nazi Germany during World War II, Pakistan and India today, etc etc. This is why I do not buy into the lie that "my personal beliefs never hurt anyone."

Monday 6 April 2015

Muslims going ape-shit, yet again

The religion of Peace has been killing people, yet again. This time in Kenya, 147 people were slaughtered by a group of Muslims calling themselves Al-Shabaab, which apparently translates to "Mujahideen Youth Movement" but what I translate to mean stupid retards with guns.

The Muslims attacked the Garissa University College in the early morning during the time of morning prayers. Now, while it unclear whether Garissa University College is a Christian college (I believe it is not as it is state funded) it has been reported that the Muslims let their elk go, while they killed the Christians. So, I suppose we could say this is certainly a religiously motivated crime with the Muslims following the Koran perfectly in its commands to kill the Infidel.

As we know attacking schools is what the Mulsims do best, as they have shown over and over again how much they hate education with attacks on schools in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nigeria, etc etc etc. This is obviously a rational position to hold for a group of believers that are stuck in the stone age and believe things like the mountains are pegs set into the Earth and that these mountains stop Earthquakes. If this is the tripe your brain can process I am sure the horror of an education is something that needs to be stopped.

Now I am sure there are a bunch of Muslim apologists that will be jumping up and down and say these are not true Muslims. Well apologists, you are wrong as this group of terrorists goal is to create an Islamic state. Now, if you goal is to create an Islamic state, then I am sorry you are as Muslims as they come. So creep back into your hole whence you came from and shut up, because these idiots are Muslims and that is all there is to it.

Lets hope the Somalian and Kenyan governments get an army together and go kill these Muslims, as truly that is the only way they will ever stop this group.

Friday 3 April 2015

How can anyone deny evolution?

I am starting to think that creationists (IDiots included) and preachers that take a literal translation of the Bible are just a bunch of trolls or comedians. In fact I would suggest that people should just start attending creationist events these IDiots hold to laugh like one would if they went to any good comedy show. This in fact may be a really good ploy, it will cost money unfortunately that could be better spent, but after some time the point will get across that they are a laughing stock. Imagine Ken Ham the comedian one night only in Las Vegas. He will be happy as he has money, and the audience will be happy at the amusement.

Back on course, there is so much information out there in the written form such as or books such as The Greatest Show on Earth. You cannot go to any museum (bar creationist museums) and not see the beauty of evolution.  The are so many educational TV programs which show the truth behind evolution. For example, if you have 2 spare hours, the video embedded below is really great and explains evolution really well. So, if this is the quality of educational programs/tools/books/websites that are getting produced at a constant rate, how is anyone able to continue denying the evidence unless they literally are brain dead but somehow reanimated. Is Ken Ham a zombie? To deny evolution you have to live in a cave with no internet or books and never go to school or a museum. It really is that simple.

It is absurd that we as a population on this Earth are unable to get such a simple and elegant message across. I actually feel embarrassed that people continue to hold these incorrect views, it is in my opinion a black mark on our history. It is like a CEO of a Fortune 500 company admitting they believe in Santa Claus. The idea is absolutely scary in the absurdity of it. If this actually had to happen, we would get that CEO help. Yet, here we sit and tolerate this tripe of creationism (intelligent design) just because it requires religion and religion is considered sacred territory.

Wednesday 1 April 2015

Scientist and theist?

This post is my personal opinion on the theistic scientist question. It is a question that I feel very strongly about as a practising research scientist and I have been avoiding it since I started this blog.  So I decided to sit down and put my opinion out there, as important questions deserve answers.

Simply put, can you be a scientist and a theist? The answer is clearly yes. In the same way we can ask, can you be an atheist and not a sceptic? Again the answer is clearly yes.

However, the answer to the scientist and theist question is one I think should be a simple no. It just makes no sense in any way or form. As a scientist, you need to embrace scepticism and evidence. Yet there is no proof for a theism, by that I mean there is no evidence for a god of any sort. In effect, I think any scientists that holds the opinion that theism is a rational position to hold needs to be rethink their position as a scientist. The stance is illogical as it does not adhere to the principles whereby scientists should live and approach their work.

If an atheist is not a sceptic, I can understand that. However to be a sceptic and not an atheist, then I have serious misgivings that a person is really a sceptic. Science embraces scepticism, if it did not we would have creationism taught in schools after all you cannot disprove the god concept. Although, I would say the Christian god concept has well and truly been debunked

However, this is not the only reason I have a problem with the scientist and theist question. The larger problem I have is this. How can we expect religious people to ever accept science when some scientists (prominent ones at that) fold to the irrational beliefs of theism. This truly is the biggest problem that needs to be addressed. If for example Richard Dawkins was a Christian (he is not) how many people would take his views on evolution seriously? If you answer that question honestly, you can see what a massive dilemma being a scientist and a theist can create for the public. Who should they believe, the Christian who is a scientist or the Christian who is the preacher.

My only hope is that more scientists start smelling the morning coffee and stop attempting to reconcile irrational beliefs with scepticism.