"On the other hand, the value of April 1st is that it may make people view what they see on the Web with the kind of scepticism and critical thought that they might not exercise the other 364 days of the year.
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Thursday, March 19, 2009
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
The Pope has noted, correctly, that giving out condoms is certainly not saving any lives in Africa and is contributing to the problem of AIDS. Think it through properly. What spreads the disease is sexual contact with people who are infected. Distribution of condoms has led to an overall widespread increase in casual sexual contacts, as people have been told that casual sex can now be made "safe". The information that, in a controlled experiment, a condom works as a method of prevention, has to be presented against the actual overall increase in the opportunities for infection to occur. In other words, it's not just "method" that matters but the actual reality. Most sexual encounters with infected people do not occur in the circumstances that the condom-distributors have planned.
Can you feel the failure!? No, not yet? Well, anyway, the fact of the matter is that the effectiveness of condoms in preventing disease is not solely done in a "controlled experiment" that could be said to be irrelevant to the real circumstances in which condoms are used because these studies are done by observing the rate of contraction of a disease for couples that regularly use condoms. Does she really think that it would be ethical to do an experiment in a laboratory setting to see whether a subject contracts a potentially fatal disease or not?
Remember, only one sexual encounter with an infected person is required to receive this deadly disease. So promotion of any policy that promotes increased sexual encounters is going to increase the overall chances of further AIDS cases day by day.Not if, you know, the condoms actually prevent the disease at a rate greater than the increase in sexual encounters. Unless you are proposing that the idea of safe sex will make these people have sex approximately 10 times as much as before, because the prevention rate is around 90%: "In studies done on couples where one partner was HIV-positive and the other wasn’t, the infection rate was less than 1% per year for couples who used condoms correctly and consistently; for couples who either used condoms inconsistently or not at all, the infection rates were 10-14% instead. "
The Church offers a 100 per cent measure that will protect you from AIDS - no sexual contact with an infected person. And this works. In the Philippines, where the first cases of AIDS were reported, the Church's policies were implemented - and it has a miniscule rate of AIDS. In Thailand, condoms were promoted instead, and the death toll from AIDS is high and still rising - and the tragedy of child prostitution has grown to massive proportions.
Experts say other factors may be the small number of intravenous drug users and a low prevalence of ulcerated sexually transmitted diseases -- like syphilis and herpes -- that facilitate transmission of the AIDS virus. Anal sex also appears to be less common"
So, if you propose to fight AIDS by 1. having very few people who are HIV positive and 2. "abstaining" from going to prostitutes, then you might have been right in the Phillipines. But that sure as hell doesn't help confront the problem in Africa, where they already have a high number of people who are AIDS infected, and where the problem just comes from sex with other people without money changing hands. The Phillipines just got lucky, and if that ever changes, they will probably get screwed due to the unwillingness to utilize condoms at all.
On the TV programme we were told that 22 million people had died from AIDS in Africa. The condom policies aren't working. Why not try the alternative which works?
The Christian worldview states that God is the author of truth, logic, physical laws, etc. Atheism maintains that physical laws are properties of matter, and that truth and logic are relative conventions (agreed upon principles). Is this logically defensible?What this boils down to is the difference between a "top-down" vs. "bottom-up" conception for how we came about with "logic". Under the idea that it is a top-down process, logic is based upon principles that lie about in the aether and are tapped into by our minds. They are revealed to us, more or less, and exist in a platonic realm as their own distinct things. This contrasts with the bottom-up conception, where logic doesn't exist preformed and isn't just called down to our consciousness en masse, but is rather "agreed upon principles" based on exposure to the way that things behave in our own perception and on conclusions that can be drawn due to that. In this way, logic as we use it is constructed based upon observation of reality, as compared to being a product of reality itself that is simply made manifest in the mind. But, let's see what Slick has to say about the matter.
How does a Christian account for the laws of logic?
- The Christian worldview states that God is absolute and the standard of truth.
- Therefore, the absolute laws of logic exist because they reflect the nature of an absolute God.
- God did not create the laws of logic. They were not brought into existence since they reflect God's thinking. Since God is eternal, the laws of logic are too.
Man, being made in Gods image, is capable of discovering these laws of logic. He does not invent them. Therefore, the Christian can account for the existence of the Laws of logic by acknowledging they originate from God and that Man is only discovering them. Nevertheless, the atheist might say that in his answer is too simplistic and too convenient. It might be, but at least the Christian worldview can account for the existence of logic itself
Examples of the laws of logic
- Law of Identity: Something is what it is. Something that exists has a specific nature.
- Law of Non-Contradiction: Something cannot be its self and not itself at the same time in the same way and in the same sense.
- Law of Excluded Middle: a statement is either true or false. Thus the statement "A statement is either true or false" is either true or false.
How does the atheist account for the laws of logic?
- If the Atheist states that the laws of logic are conventions (mutually agreed upon conclusions), then the laws of logic are not absolute because they are subject to "vote."
- The laws of logic are not dependent upon different peoples minds since people are different. Therefore, they cannot be based on human thinking since human thinking is often contradictory.
If the atheist states that the laws of logic are derived through observing natural principles found in nature, then he is confusing the mind with the universe.
- We discover laws of physics by observing and analyzing the behavior of things around us. The laws of logic are not the result of observable behavior of object or actions.
- For example, we do not see in nature that something is both itself and not itself at the same time.
- Why? Because we can only observe a phenomena that exists, not one that does not exist. If something is not itself, then it doesn't exist. How then can the property of that non-existent thing be observed? It cannot.
- Therefore, we are not discovering a law of logic by observation, but by thought.
Or, where do we observe in nature that something cannot bring itself into existence if it does not already exist?
- You cannot make an observation about how something does not occur if it does not exist. You would be, in essence, observing nothing at all and how can any laws of logic be applied to or derived from observing nothing at all?
The laws of logic are conceptual realities. They only exist in the mind and they do not describe physical behavior of things since behavior is action and laws of logic are not descriptions of action, but of truth.
- In other words, laws of logic are not actions. They are statements about conceptual patterns of thought. Though one could say that a law of physics (i.e., the angle of reflection is equal to the angle of incidence) is a statement which is conceptual, it is a statement that describes actual physical and observable behavior. But, logical absolutes are not observable and do not describe behavior or actions of things since they reside completely in the mind.
- We do not observe the laws of logic occurring in matter. You don't watch an object NOT bring itself into existence if it doesn't exist. Therefore, no law of logic can be observed by watching nothing.
If the atheist appeals to the scientific method to explain the laws of logic then he is using circular argumentation because the scientific method is dependent upon logic; that is, reasoned thought applied to observations. If logic is not absolute, then no logical arguments for or against the existence of God can be raised and the atheist has nothing to work with. If logic is not absolute, then logic cannot be used to prove or disprove anything.
Atheists will use logic to try and disprove Gods existence, but in so doing they are assuming absolute laws of logic and borrowing from the Christian worldview.
- The Christian worldview maintains that the laws of logic are absolute because they come from God who is Himself absolute.
- But the atheist worldview does not have an absolute God.
- So, we ask, "How can absolute, conceptual, abstract laws be derived from a universe of matter, energy and motion?"
- In other words, "How can an atheist with a naturalistic presupposition account for the existence of logical absolutes when logical absolutes are conceptual by nature and not physical, energy, or motion?"
- The Christian theistic worldview can account for the laws of logic by stating that they come from God.
- God is transcendent; that is, He is beyond the material universe being its creator.
- God has originated the laws of logic because they are a reflection of His nature.
- Therefore, the laws of logic are absolute.
- The are absolute because there is an absolute God.
- The atheistic worldview cannot account for the laws of logic/absolutes, and must borrow from the Christian worldview in order to rationally argue.
Thursday, March 5, 2009
The Obama recession is in full swing, ladies and gentlemen. Stocks are dying, which is a precursor of things to come. This is an Obama recession. Might turn into a depression. He hasn't done anything yet but his ideas are killing the economy. His ideas are killing Wall Street. They need some certainty, and now everybody in the Drive-By, "We don't know who Obama is."
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
What I have found is that atheists like to say that their arguments against God's existence specifically exclude the God of the Bible as a God who could exist. However, in reality, atheists produce generic arguments against a generic God whose characteristics and creation do not match those that are described in the Bible.....Go on.
If the atheist states that the God of the Bible is logically impossible, he cannot pick and choose which arguments from the Bible to accept in order to "prove" his point. Let's formalize the atheist's arguments:
- God is all-powerful, loving, and perfect.
- A perfect, loving God would create a universe that was perfect (e.g., no evil and suffering).
- The universe is not perfect but contains evil and suffering.
Therefore, God does not exist
The Bible does state that God is "all powerful." In the Old Testament, one of God's titles is "El Shadday," which is translated "God Almighty.So...he is all-powerful.
The Bible also states that God is loving.3 In fact, the Bible indicates that God is love.So...he is loving too. So, God isn't perfect?
The Bible also indicates that God is perfect. So, we can agree that the first statement is a correct interpretation of what the Bible says about the characteristics of God.WTF!? The only statement about God's characteristics is right about God's characteristics. So what the hell is up in that first statement of yours?
The next statement indicates that a perfect, loving God must create a universe that is perfect. This is the statement that is false and invalidates the argument.It doesn't need to be perfect. But it should, at very least, be one that is just and at least approximating perfection. This is because, if a creator is perfect and wants to be kind, you would think he would want to make the best product possible, and be able to make it as well, due to the aforementioned perfection. I mean, really, if his perfection does not allow him to be a paragon of craftsmanship, and his love for mankind is insufficient to allow him to even try to perform at even close to his best....there must be something very bizarre behind the scenes making it so that his hands are tied (which his omnipotence should conveniently prevent from happening...).
"Nowhere does the Bible state that the universe was created to be perfect."Ahahahahahaha, get off the damn stage. The second step in the argument is supposed to be a logical procession from the first dogma-supported proposition, and not itself another statement of "The Bible says....".
The Bible states that the current universe is not perfect,9 but was designed to be temporary10 and will be replaced with a perfect universe11 that will be permanent.12 Science also tells us that the universe was designed to be temporary.A billion years of a "temporary world" isn't too temporary for God's favored species with the average life span of 70-ish years. And don't you find it the slightest bit odd that a perfect God would need a prototype universe to act as placeholder before utopia? He clearly can create a perfect universe, so we need to ask ourselves why he would be compelled to make ours, the one that we actually live in and know about, imperfect.
Why would God create an imperfect, temporary universe only to replace it later with a perfect one? Why wouldn't God have created a perfect universe in the first place? This is a good question, but shows a lack of understanding of the biblical reason of why God created the universe.Well, as long as you say that it shows a lack of understanding, I believe you. No further questions.
One can find the reason for the creation of the universe in the first few chapters of the Bible. God created humans in order to have a personal relationship with them, which He had with Adam and Eve before they sinned (Genesis 2)
Jesus said that the first and foremost commandment was to "Love the Lord your God..." A personal relationship, characterized by the possibility of love, is only possible if created beings are given free will. If God had created the universe with no possibility of evil or sin, then the created beings would have had no free will, and, as such, would essentially be programmed computers.
I can program my computer to say "I love you" when it starts up. Does this mean that the computer really loves me?I program my computer to experience a subjective experience of joy and loyalty whenever it is nearby, and then step inside and outside of the room where it is in to see whether it continues to do what I say or not. The "love" remains regardless, but that is not sufficient, because I am really testing for unquestioning obedience.
Likewise, God could have programmed humans to say that they loved Him, without the possibility of rejecting Him or performing evil deeds. However, these programmed beings would exhibit about as much true love as my computer - not a very satisfying relationship.
This parable tells that God wants not only a relationship with humans in this universe, but a relationship with billions15 of these creatures in His future, perfect creation. If God's purpose is to have relationships with free will beings in a future creation, then there must be a means by which these beings can make a choice to enter or not enter into this relationship.It's too bad your God is a little too transparent with that operation. He is an invisible target among thousands, asking us silently to aim with our hearts. He is the king of the carnies, running a rigged cosmic game (and apparently pretending that is our fault if we lose).
Evolution does not explain the vast amount of evil done by mankind.Please, pllleeeeaaaaasssseee tell that to a creationist! ("B-but...if we're all just animals...")
No other mammals kill arbitrarily. They only kill to eat and surviveInfanticide is also relatively common compared to other baboons species, as newly dominant males will often attempt to kill young baboons sired by the previously dominant male.
The Bible says that the presence of evil is due to the spiritual component of our nature - something that animals do not possessThat is some hardcore fail right there, Jesus. The presence of a spirtual nature actually make us worse than animals? You would've thought that God would have set up some buffers against that kind of crap. I mean, let your babies have the freedom to roam around and go astray, but at very least, block the knife draw and keep the front door closed.
The atheist also makes the assumption that all pain, suffering, and death are bad or evil. In fact, physical pain is absolutely vital to our survival. If we felt no pain, we would do things to ourselves that could be very destructive.....Pain tells us we need to react to a situation before serious damage occurs.
The trials these people have experienced have made them sensitive to the needs of others in similar situations, in ways that only they can understand.Pain makes people feel more sensitive to those who are in pain. Consider me sold. Someone smash in my toes with a hammer. Quickly! I need some spiritual growth here!
During the "easy" times, we become complacent. For the non-Christian, he sees the trials as mere annoyance or pointless suffering, often resulting in bitterness.First off, we may become complacent when things are easy, but, (shockawe) that's how God made us [according to you]. Once again, this could be different if God so wanted it to be. As for non-Christians seeing suffering as annoyances and becoming bitter about it: not everyone is fortunate to have their suffering come to a happy ending like you did (he had Crohn's disease and then it miraculously healed within three months). Not everyone can as easily justify the misfortunes in life. Even your fellow Christians don't have it so lucky. This idea that suffering builds character is partially true, but only when it can actually be overcome. Because the process of overcoming the suffering itself necessitates the growth that you experience. For those who aren't as lucky, it ain't necessarily so. As the late, great Heath Ledger once said "Whatever doesn't kill makes you... stranger".
God did not design this universe to be perfect, but as a temporary creation where free will beings make choices about where they want to spend eternity (in the new creation, which will be perfect).Which makes him a bit of a prick.
The new creation will be perfect, but will not have absolute free will for its inhabitants. We must agree in this life to give up some of our free will in the next life. Those who are unwilling to give up their own free will choices will not be forced to do so in the next life. However, they will have to be separated from the new creation, since God is unwilling to compromise His character.Which is all well and good if his standards for entry weren't completely arbitrary or impossible to meet otherwise.
All people will suffer at least somewhat because of bad choices that others make. In addition, because of the temporary nature of the universe, some bad things will happen to us due to "bad luck" or chance. However, these things will teach us to be more sensitive to the needs of others, and will prepare us to show God's love to others when they suffer through similar things.So, more or less, the universe looks exactly as we might expect if the kind of God described in the original argument didn't exist afterall, and our only solace is in one another? Fantastic.
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
Rowling created a hero with many noble characteristics, and in this last book, Harry willingly gives his life. Responding to a message he magically received from Hogwarts' former Headmaster Dumbledore through Professor Snape's memories, the young wizard walks unarmed up to the evil wizard Voldemort, who points his wand at him and projects a killing curse. Harry falls down, apparently dead.So far so good. Noble characteristics, martyrdom. Standard fare.
Harry chooses to return to his lifeless body at Voldemort's feet. After some torturous tests to verify the absence of life, Voldemort declares that Harry is dead. He will soon realize his error, for Harry has still another battle to fight and win.
Oh my! Back from the dead! Truly amazing (but also standard fare).
But Harry's final victory is less significant than the above near-death encounter. By presenting a counterfeit version of Biblical salvation, Rowling gives her readers an image of a counterfeit Christianity that embraces the occult. Most people accept it as true, for such dialectical lies (union of opposites) -- taught through occult systems such as the Kabbalah, Gnosticism, Rosicrucianism, and Unity -- have now become an accepted way of thinking around the world. Indeed, what God calls evil, now seems deceptively good!
"A counterfeit version of Biblical salvation"? How about just a rough analog? You know...the kind that might arguably be called....standard fare? (Interesting article about this kind of thing in sci-fi). It is hilarious, because I am sure that the only reason why Berit has deemed this to be a "counterfeit" is because of her well-established hangups, due to a compulsive need to view fictional wizardry through the prism of a strict Biblical worldview. Even in a fictional world, with principles different from our own, and magic readily available to be tapped into, and the resemblance to real world "occultism" is either tangential or just window-dressing, it doesn't matter: that practice has to be Satan worship, because that's the Bible's stance on anything resembling magic usage. Oh, and if they exist in a world where Satan and/or God don't exist, or where they work under different rules, even if it is only for the sake of allegory, that itself is blasphemy worthy of a firm scolding. Most people tend to be able to take a fantasy world as a fantasy world, magic tropes as magic tropes, and a pretty typical literary Christ figure as just that. But, others are just completely perturbed at the idea of fiction not adhering to how they think reality works. And that's just sad.
Monday, March 2, 2009
Sunday, March 1, 2009
Being fondled by the Latin master in the Squash Court was a disagreeable sensation for a nine-year-old, a mixture of embarrassment and skin-crawling revulsion, but it was certainly not in the same league as being led to believe that I, or someone I knew, might go to everlasting fire.Now, I can imagine that people could take exception to this. They could surely note that the psychological harm caused by both teaching of Hell and molestation are subjective (with the latter normally doing more than the former), and that it doesn't seem that many children suffer unduly for learning about Hell , enough to make it so that this comparison is merely reflective of Dawkins having a unique disposition towards both matters. But, I think that he makes much less debatable point later on:
(and this is the point with which I began) the mental abuse constituted by an unsubstantiated threat of violence and terrible pain, if sincerely believed by the child, could easily be more damaging than the physical actuality of sexual abuse. An extreme threat of violence and pain is precisely what the doctrine of hell is. And there is no doubt at all that many children sincerely believe it, often continuing right through adulthood and old age until death finally releases them.And that's the crux of the issue. He is not saying that it is certainly always the case, but that, under the right situations, frightening children with threats of hellfire and damnation may be more damaging than (most likely non-violent) sexual abuse might be. It makes sense, in a way.
In The God Delusion and other writings,1 Richard Dawkins claims that teaching children about religion (specifically, the doctrine of hell) is a form of child abuse that scars children for life. Accordingly, Dawkins states, "Priestly groping of child bodies is disgusting. But it may be less harmful in the long run than priestly subversion of child minds."1Conspicuously absent in his writings are any published studies documenting that teaching children religious principles might adversely affect them.
In one of the largest studies of its kind, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill examined the role of religion in the lives of nearly 2500 adolescents.9 The adolescents indicated the level of their indoctrination (i.e., frequency of church attendance) and importance of religion, along with a number of activities that they have or have not participated in.It truly is an awesome study. (It's from 1996 though, so I wonder how things have changed, since, 13 years later, we have a whole new set of adolescents). But, let's address Ricky D's manipulation of it, shall we?
Listed below are graphs of behaviors that would generally be considered to be unfavorable. To see larger versions of the graphs, just hover your cursor over the thumbnail image.This ought to be fun!
(Please note that there seems to be a high enough of a correlation between "importance of religion" and "church attendance" as to make distinguishing betweent the two irrelevant.)
If you decide to determine whether something is "bad for [some] children" entirely by the exhibited behavior of adolescents, then yes, you might have a point. As for displaying the "symptoms of real child abuse"....aside from the deliquency, pretty much all of the symptoms that you are associating with it also correlate with depression often. Depression which can be staved off by having more social support, which, surprise surprise, the kids that go to church do! But, here's an interesting thought of my own, pertinent to little: what if there is healing effect? In other words, what if the original message (hellfire, etc.) is psychological damaging to the young child originally exposed to a degree comparable to abuse but it is alieviated gradually in later visits? As the details filter in, they provide some sort of effect to lessen the blows of other factors, calm them, and let them accept the idea more readily through whatever means. However, those who are not sufficiently indoctrinated, but only partially, will still be dealing with the pain of the relevant ideas, as well as whatever additional aspects that motivate them to discontinue attendance. In that respect, it might be good to differentiate between those who never once went to a church service, compared to those who are not going at all presently. This is still simplistic, and I incidentally don't actually think it to be the case. But it is a possibility, among others, that I can only assume Rich intentionally ignored when deciding his method of rebuttal.
These data show that religiously indoctrinated youth are much less involved with illegal substances, alcohol abuse, criminal and violent activities, and have fewer problems in school. Dawkins's hypothesis that religious indoctrination is bad for children has been soundly falsified. In fact, those who never attend church or feel that religion is not important display far more symptoms of real child abuse than those who are subject to frequent religious indoctrination.
These graphs show that those whose minds have been "subverted" by the "evils" of religion exercise more frequently and volunteer more to help in their communities.Of course, it is helpful to mention that the church provides many opportunities for volunteering, many of which would not be available (or at least as noticeable) outside of that community.
Molesters will go where their targets are easily accessible - it has nothing to do with religion. I used to be an atheist. Now that I am a Christian, I don't suddenly feel drawn to molest boys!
Scientific data shows that teaching children the moral principles of religion has a positive impact on their behavior, as would be expected intuitively.Yes, and that's how he ends it: assuming that the positive difference in these results is due to "moral principles" (which, if those outclassed the effects of abuse, means that he has not successfully ruled out any form of abuse by simply mentioning this as a possibility). I know that they want to jump to that conclusion so desperately, and I know that I am a complete and utter dick for never, ever, wanting to concede that point when I can find an alternate explanation. But, seriously, I have no idea how he has come to this conclusion, when the social factors are right there, glaring people in the face, and yet still remain unacknowledged. Oh well, I was never one for "intuition" anyway.