Thursday, July 31, 2014

A Beginner's Guide to the Israeli Palestinian Conflict




Saturday, July 19, 2014

Lawrence Krauss On Quantum Mechanics And Determinism


"Quantum mechanics is not indeterministic as many people think, it's a completely deterministic theory. It's second order differential equations with boundary conditions and they're completely determined. Once you give the initial conditions the wave function of a particle after some time is completely determined, so there's no indeterminacy. Now what happens when you measure the properties of that particle based on its wave function that's probabilistic." 



Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Reality of Past, Present, and Future—Video






Saturday, July 12, 2014

Yet Another Catch-22 On God And Free Will


If god's free will is limited by his nature, then he has no free will. And if you say he has free will but always wills to do good, then we too could have been created the same way and there'd be no evil and we'd have free will.

You simply cannot argue that human moral evil exists because god gave us free will and we therefore can chose evil actions. If god has free will and can only chose good actions, then there's no logical reason why we couldn't as well. You'd be admitting that "free will" is compatible with "always choosing to do good" and would be undermining the free will defense.

Republicans Have The Same Misconceptions Of Reagan As They Do Jesus


What's wrong with republicans?

Today's republican party are politically the biggest and most stubborn babies perhaps in the history of the US; certainly since World War II. They're a bunch of anti-birth control, anti-middle class, anti-secularist, anti-evolution, anti-science, climate change denialists who have been completely bought and sold by their corporate fundraisers. They hate the President with a passion and are willing to disrupt government and jeopardize the welfare of the people just to prevent him from getting any serious bills passed because they don't want him to leave the White House with a positive legacy. Any time you hear a republican sound off on science, sexuality or economics you can almost guarantee that you're going to be hearing something profoundly idiotic.

Republicans have two dead heroes that they love to put up on a pedestal and idolize: Ronald Reagan and Jesus Christ. And what makes these two icons of the republican part so odd, is that if you really look at what each of them did and said, it is antithetical to their primary agenda. While the hypocrisy is astounding, it's what you'd expect from an anti-intellectual party.

Let's look at former President Ronald Reagan, the political icon of the republican party, who all party members must speak about with the utmost admiration. Ronald Reagan raised taxes 11 times when he was in office, he gave blanket amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants, he traded arms with terrorists, he nearly tripled the federal deficit, and he increased the size of government. Reagan wouldn't even be able to win a primary in today's republican party because he'd be too far to the left. And yet, republicans have this image of Reagan as the ideal president - a model for every future republican with presidential aspirations. But his record clearly deviates from the modern script the party has devised today. Reagan was willing to compromise, he was sometimes willing to do the right thing and get government moving by finding a middle ground between his party's ideology and the left's. Compromise has become a dirty word today in the republican party and as a result we've got a congress that is the least productive in history.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Does Acupuncture Work?


The prevailing view among skeptics is that acupuncture is a pseudoscience. It's said to be based on unsubstantiated spiritual claims and should be considered in the same vein as homeopathy, faith healing and astrology. There have been some conflicting reports over the effects of acupuncture within scientific studies. One BBC documentary made a few years ago claimed that there was scientific evidence that acupuncture had an effect on the brain's chemistry. However, there are many sites claiming that acupuncture is nothing more than a "theatrical placebo."

I'm not convinced either way.

While I don't believe in the claim that we all have a "Qi" or energy field that acupuncture taps into, there is no reason for me to doubt that there could be certain pinpoints on the body that when stimulated can ease pain and certain ailments. The reason why I'm getting acupuncture is to help quite smoking. Since I was in high school I've been an on-again and off-again smoker. I initially started smoking because all the "cool" kids did it, and it soon became a staple of my party lifestyle. I managed to quit for a period of 2 years when I was in college but then it came back with a vengeance and that's where I am today, trying to quit yet again. At the height of my addiction I was smoking nearly a pack a day. And at $14 per pack here in New York that's a very expensive addiction.

I've gotten down to smoking a few cigarettes a day but I can often smoke a lot more if I'm drinking. The worst thing about trying to quit smoking is that the stubborn desire keeps coming back. It's such a psychological addition that it gets to the point where just thinking about having a cigarette makes me happy and puts me in a good mood, and that's what makes it so dangerous. I'm hoping acupuncture can alleviate me of this condition.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

5 Things Muslims Will Say When They're Losing A Debate With You


I love debating theists, especially Muslims, because you know they've got really bad arguments. I just recently had a Twitter "debate" with a Muslim and here are five things to recognize that are clear signs the Muslim is losing the debate you're having online.

1. They begin accusing every criticism of Islam as "racist" even though Islam is not a race. #logic

2. They immediately assume you're a white, redneck, Fox News watching, Bush-loving republican.

3. They immediately assume that you don't know anything about Islam and think you're judging the religion based on the actions of extremists.

4. They immediately assume that you hate Islam, but are fine with all other religions.

5. They ignore or deny the meaning of verses from the Qur'an that clearly show violations of basic human rights and will always claim that you've got the "wrong" translation.

If you get into an online debate with a Muslim you can be sure that you will see many of these paths taken. Your ignorance to Islam is the Muslim's greatest weapon. So I advise you to be as knowledgeable as you can about the history and theology of Islam if you're a serious debater like me.


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