Science and Other Drugs

….maybe a little less wrong….

Tag Archives: history

You only believe because….

If Constantine had not endorsed Christianity, you would probably not even be believing it.

This statement was made to me in a comment thread here. It’s a fairly straightforward argument: the adoption of Christianity as the official religion of the Roman Empire under Constantine was an essential element in the spread of Christianity as we know it today; therefore, it’s stupid to believe in Christianity.

This is Constantine. Ugly sumbitch, ain’t he? Must have been a bad hair day.

The premise is hard to deny. If it hadn’t been for Constantine’s tolerance and later adoption of Christianity, it certainly wouldn’t be what we know it as today. It may have even been stamped out entirely. But the truth of the premise doesn’t necessarily mean the conclusion follows. Read more of this post

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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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What makes you different

Religion is predictable.

From a series of conversations over on Violet’s blog….

We see worship of the sun, stars, rivers, or other natural elements, morphing into a pantheon of deities. These pantheons expanded as time went on and religious observance became more and more ostentatious and refined. New gods were added on a regular basis. The members of the divine pantheon had very human attributes, lives, and adventures.

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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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I sat down to write a post about Easter, then came across this….which happened to be the exact same post I was going to write, except with more research. I love this approach to skepticism and criticism.

The Belle Jar

If there is one thing that drives me absolutely bananas, it’s people spreading misinformation via social media under the guise of “educating”. I’ve seen this happen in several ways – through infographics that twist data in ways that support a conclusion that is ultimately false, or else through “meaningful” quotes falsely attributed to various celebrities, or by cobbling together a few actual facts with statements that are patently untrue to create something that seems plausible on the surface but is, in fact, full of crap.

Yesterday, the official Facebook page of (noted misogynistandeugenicsenthusiast) Richard Dawkins’ Foundation for Reason and Science shared the following image to their 637,000 fans:

Naturally, their fans lapped this shit up; after all, this is the kind of thing they absolutely live for. Religious people! Being hypocritical! And crazy! And wrong! The 2,000+ comments were chock-full of smug remarks…

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Linguistic snobbery, elitism, and slavery

Confession: I’m rather elitist.

(I haven’t blogged in a while, so I’m not sure whether it’s generally bad form or simply cliché to start out a post with “Confession: Something-Moderately-But-Excusably-Bad-About-Myself.” It’s accurate, though, so it’ll have to do for now.)

If you’ve ever tried to get help finding something at a supermarket in the less prosperous area of a city, you’ll be well aware that “American English” is hardly a clear, homogenous language, perfectly able to communicate abstract ideas between any two fluent speakers. That is to say, people from a slightly different subculture likely have a terrible time trying to understand what most of us would see as normal speech.

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