Wednesday, June 23, 2010

What It Would Take, part 1

Sorry it has taken me so long to get this out! My father's been in the hospital, and I flew down to be with him.


One thing everyone should do is think of what would make them change their beliefs. It's a tremendously important part of being human. Our first duty is to make sure we understand the world as well as possible. Without that, there's no way we could ever live up to any other duty.

I'm an atheist and a naturalist, which means I am unconvinced by the current arguments for the existence of any actual god (the atheist part) and I think that every phenomenon can eventually be completely explained by matter, energy, and the patterns they make.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Jazz Horse and the Big Red Button

If you remember, my last post was about how the universe we find ourselves in is very poorly suited for life, so poorly suited that it's silly to believe a god – at least a traditional god that values life in general and humans in particular – designed this universe.

Some people who claim to be theists will give scads of reasons why their god simply had to design the universe this empty. It'd collapse under its own gravity if there were so much matter, they might say. You'd never get the heavier elements if you didn't have emptiness. The universe has to be this old to give the universe time to evolve life.

Of course the people who claim this aren't really theists and aren't really answering the question. If they claim to be Christians, they're committing blasphemy. Not that it's a problem – their supposed god doesn't exist, so blasphemy is a victimless crime – but it's interesting to look at why they're wrong.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Life-Unfriendly Design

I listened to May 1, 2010 episode of Unbelievable? while I was mowing the lawn today, and as always it was a valuable experience. The non-Christian guest was Stephen Law, a philosopher at the University of London, and one of my favorite bloggers. The topic was about Science and God, although they ranged quite a bit farther, because both Dr. Law (Great name! Don't you expect him to be a masked vigilante, fighting crime with twin .45s and an insight into epistemology?) and the Christian guest, Dennis Alexander, made the standard digressions this kind of show always has.

One thing that came up in life was that old saw that the universe is well-suited to life. This is one of those big lies that people repeat but never think about.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

One Thousand Thursday Words -- Euthyphro's Dilemma

People have often accused the "New Atheists" of using old arguments against religion, and these people are right. Apart from Victor Stenger's hard-line, physics-based arguments, every argument the new polemicists raise against religion are hundreds, if not thousands, of years old.

A Picture of Mohammed

First, just to get this out of the way:

Mohammed, as shown on our US Supreme Court.

Not the best rendition, but it makes up in verve what it loses in swerve.