Science and Other Drugs

….maybe a little less wrong….

Tag Archives: communication

learning the words: wisdom

Guest post over on Defeating the Dragons about the meaning of “wisdom”.

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The atheist’s other crutch: Breaking the laws of physics

In my last post, I addressed a common excuse atheists use to avoid dealing with testimony of God’s interactions with history: misuse of prior probability. Just because a particular event does not have precedent doesn’t mean it can be handwaved; a prior probability that is undefined cannot be treated as a prior probability of zero. Before July 16, 1945, there had never been such thing as a nuclear bomb, but that didn’t stop Trinity from going off.

As an example, I suggested a botched alien landing, evidenced for archeologists in the testimonies of a prehistoric people and a handful of complex mathematical engravings. Now, whether that is sufficient evidence doesn’t matter; the point is that we’d theoretically be willing to evaluate this evidence despite having no prior experience with alien landings and no reasonable way to estimate the prior probability of an alien landing.

However, several commenters responded by arguing that the analogy of an alien landing was improper, that these hypothetical aliens would necessarily be part of nature. An alien landing, while unprecedented, wouldn’t break any of the laws of physics, and so it’s not on the same level with a miracle. Read more of this post

Why Jesus never existed: A Richard Carrier lecture review

At the repeated urging of John from The Superstitious Naked Ape, I took the time to sit down and watch Dr. Richard Carrier’s lecture for the UNCG Atheists, Agnostics, and Skeptics on why he believes Jesus never existed. You can watch it yourself here. Or you can just read my comments below as I go through the video.

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Faith and falsifiability

“Faith is believing what you know ain’t so.”

Mark Twain.

We see this and similar quotes thrown around quite often, usually in attempts to vilify religious belief. As such, it’s rather laughable; pretending that Christians secretly disbelieve in God is as ridiculous as pretending that atheists secretly know God exists. It’s not an argument or assertion that has any place in rational discourse.

But blind faith does exist; we see it all the time. When confronted with difficult evidence, certain small-minded people like to handwave it by declaring “Well, I have faith!” This sort of idiocy deserves all the ridicule it can get.

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God’s Standard For Victims, Part 1

I’ve been meaning to write about the Purity Culture for some time now, and while I intend to do a more complete treatment of it soon, something came up recently that I simply couldn’t overlook.

Last week, forgedimagination wrote a post over on Defeating the Dragons that really ticked me off. Not because of what she wrote, but because of the response she received. Earlier, she had written about victim-blaming and rape repentance as outgrowths of the Purity Culture, and they were featured on No Longer Quivering. Then things got messy.

But before I can say anything about this particular example, I need to explain a little about the Purity Culture itself.

Purity or Bust

For those of you who didn’t grow up in it, the fundamentalist Purity Culture is a clever scheme to keep Christian teens from doing the deed until they’re safely on their honeymoon. Preferably and presumably, it also keeps them from oral sex, making out, kissing, holding hands, or appreciating each other’s sexuality in any way. Because, you know….LUST. If you enjoy looking at someone, you’re lusting in your heart, which means you’re committing adultery with them in your heart, which apparently makes both of you Guilty Of Fornication. Cover those bra straps, ladies! Bounce those eyes, guys!

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what Christian fundamentalism means to us

“I realized that fundamentalism…is unnecessary.” YES.

Logical Fallacies: The argument from silence

One of the principal reasons I moved away from fundamentalism was the overwhelming presence of fallacies. As a good Fundamentalist Homeschooler, I was taught to hunt down and identify fallacies as efficiently and ruthlessly as the heat-seeking missile shown below.

The AIM-9 Sidewinder missile uses an infrared heat-seeking module and a warhead that expands into a jagged spinning ring of metal death on impact. Image courtesy USAF.

Unfortunately, fundamentalism is home to some pretty egregious fallacies in its own right, ones that became rapidly apparent as I turned my abilities back on my own indoctrinated beliefs. Wait, why do we believe such-and-such? No good reason at all? Interesting.

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Fundamentalism and biblical inerrancy

Note: this is the properly edited release of an earlier attempt at reblogging….something that WordPress really doesn’t do all that well.

Came across this post by John Zande over at the superstitious naked ape and had to reblog it.

Thank gawd for the fine folk over at The Reason Project, and the ever brilliant, devilishly witty Arbourist at Dead Wild Roses for this gem. Behold, the complete list of bible contradictions. Click on it for the full picture.

The bars that run along the bottom represent the 1189 chapters of the bible with the length of each bar corresponding to the number of verses in each chapter. White bars represent the Old Testament and grey bars represent the New Testament. Each arc indicates a contradiction.

Of course, I’ve seen this before, but it’s still amusing. And naturally, I can’t help but wonder if this is really the complete list. I mean, don’t they have a few more they can come up with? Read more of this post

Unmitigated, inexcusable, abject jackassery

This snapshot shows the red supergiant Betelgeuse, a star many times larger than the orbit of Earth, on a collision course with a massive interstellar wall of dust. Betelgeuse, which can be seen with the naked eye as one of the stars in Orion’s belt, is due to explode in a cataclysmic supernova at any time.

I live in the center of a fairly large city. It took me a while to get used to the constant stream of blaring sirens running up and down the street a dozen feet from my window, but now it doesn’t even make me stir.

I love living in the city. It only takes me a few minutes to get to work, and there’s exciting and interesting stuff to do pretty much everywhere. Having a newborn does sort of put a damper on certain leisure activities, of course—I haven’t had a cigar in months—but that’s to be expected. I lived in tiny-to-small sized towns my entire life, even when I was at college, so this is a welcome difference.

But apparently living in a city has its hazards and shortcomings as well.

Our apartment is near the corner of a busy intersection, like pretty much all apartments in a downtown area are wont to be. Yesterday, I was just leaving our apartment complex when I saw a guy on a bike stopped at the intersection with an SUV behind him.

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Sexism and specificity

Image courtesy NASA

This photo of the Crab Nebula shows a brilliant pulsar at the center. A tightly packed sphere of subatomic particles heavier than the Sun but smaller in size than New York City, it rotates thirty times each second, sweeping Earth with a beam of x-rays like clockwork. Initially, pulsars like this were thought to be communication from aliens due to the regularity of their pulses.

I’m a flight attendant; don’t call me a stewardess.

I’ll be the last person (okay, maybe not the last, but pretty far down on the list) to complain that people are too worked up over political correctness. But I was amused on my way to work today when I heard the radio DJ (who, apparently, ought to be referred to as a “radio personality”) talking about different names for different professions, and what tends to offend people. The dental hygienest who called in insisted on not being called a “dental assistant”; a nurse called in who was tired of the nurse/male nurse distinction; a lady firefighter complained about being called a “fireman”. It was a fairly substantial list.

And then one of the other guys in the studio who said he was a part-time server complained about being called a “waiter”.

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