Monday, January 15, 2018

Causality Doesn't Exist — In The Way We Typically Think It Does: A Further Explanation


I've written several blog posts on my site about how causality doesn't exist (see here and here) but now I want to explain in a bit more detail what I mean by this and also clarify some misunderstandings on what my view is.

Most importantly, my view technically is not that causality doesn't exist, it's that causality doesn't exist in the way we typically think it does. That is, my view of causality is completely different from the general every day notion of causality most people have. The naive assumption one often gets when hearing my view is that I'm saying cause and effect relationships don't exist at all, such that if you threw a brick at glass window it wouldn't shatter, or if you jumped in front of a speeding train you wouldn't get smashed to death by it. That's not what my view says at all.

On my view of causality, if you threw a brick at a glass window it would shatter, if you jumped in front of a speeding train you'd be smashed to death by it. The difference between my view of causality vs the typical view is that on my view causes do not bring their effects into existence in the sense of true ontological becoming.

In other words, on my view it is not the case that cause A exists, and effect B does not exist, and then cause A brings effect B into existence. Rather, cause A exists and so does effect B, but in a different part of spacetime. For example, imagine that a blue car skids off the road and smashes into a red stop sign, severing it and dragging it along with the car. If someone asked, "What caused the stop sign to be knocked down?" it's perfectly reasonable to say the cause was the car smashing into it. But the existence of the severed stop sign was there already, in the future direction of spacetime. That is, the effect technically exists along with the cause and is not brought into existence by it. To get a representation of this visually, take a look at the spacetime diagram below.


Sunday, January 14, 2018

The Most Difficult Questions When It Comes To Being Saved By Faith


The major religions of the world, particularly Christianity and Islam, emphasize the importance of belief in the right god and right religion at the moment of death. Christianity is split between whether belief alone gets you saved, or whether belief plus the right deeds and behaviors gets you saved. Either way, the right belief upon death is almost always part of the equation.

So what does god do when you have a person with two heads? Consider the Hensel twins of Minnesota. They have one shared body with two heads. If one was an atheist and the other was the right believer, what would happen to their soul? Do they have two souls or one? What makes the soul unique? Is it the brain? They have two brains, but one body. If one went to heaven and the other didn't, what kind of body would that one get in heaven? Would they be bodily separated? What if they were both the right kind of believers? Would they stay conjoined in heaven forever?


It's these kind of questions that make the idea of being saved by faith so perplexing.

And if that's not difficult enough, consider the scenario below. Neuroscientist Vilayanur S. Ramachandran describes a scenario where a person whose brain was split in half developed two distinct personalities. One was an atheist, the other a theist! Same brain, same person, and presumably the same soul. If such a thing can happen, how is the idea of being saved by faith logically preserved? The same person can't go to heaven and hell. Does one half go to heaven and one half go to hell?


This opens up further questions for the theist: Is the soul divided when the brain is divided? How can an immaterial thing be divided when a physical thing is divided? If one's personality can be split when a brain is split, that indicates personality is dependent entirely on the brain, not an immaterial soul, and as such, we have no control over what brain we're born with. Given the relationship between belief and the brain the idea of salvation by faith in any way (whether by faith alone or not) is completely moronic. 

Thanks to Atheist Republic's tweet for inspiring this post.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Why Almost Everyone Gets The Big Bang Wrong: Infograph


It's extremely frustrating when you're dealing with internet apologists online who want to tell you that atheism requires that you believe the universe popped into existence uncaused "from nothing," or that the big bang says this is what happened. Surprisingly, even many atheists say this.

The reason why so many people think the big bang says this is because of a few factors: (1) it's very hard to understand the origin of the universe because it's completely non-intuitive, and (2) many well-meaning scientists use a poor choice of words when describing the big bang, in which they say things like the "universe pops into existence from nothing." It technically doesn't. Our language just isn't suited to accurately describe many fundamental concepts in physics, and as a result of this, a lot misinformation spreads to the general public, often by scientists themselves.

And so that's why I created the following infograph below. Hopefully, it can dispel much of the misinformation many people have surrounding what the big bang says so that I wouldn't have to type it over and over. I also am practicing up on my graphic designing skills so expect more images and perhaps even some gifs on similar subjects like this soon.

So check out the infograph below. Download it, share it, put it up on your blogs/social media, spread it around the internet where ever you want. Also, let me know if there are any grammatical/spelling errors in it so they can be fixed.



Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Cool Site For Weather Geeks


If you're a weather geek like me, check out ventusky.com. You can get global temperatures, rain, and other weather facts in real time. One cool feature is being able to find the temperates at various different altitudes anywhere on earth. I used to want to be a meteorologist when I was a kid, and sites that this would have kept me occupied for days. And today, given the threat of man made climate change, knowledge of the weather and the science behind it is ever more pertinent.


Friday, January 5, 2018

The Atheist Conference Is Dead



As some of you may have read, here or elsewhere, I was co-organizing an event this upcoming summer called The Atheist Conference, or TAC for short. It was supposed to be the first major atheist event held in New York City.

I was supposed to participate in two events there. The first was to moderate a debate between atheist Justin Schieber, and Christian David Wood on the existence of god. The second was to host a panel discussion called Make Atheism Great Again, about how atheists can respond better to the arguments for god, and improve their critical thinking skills. It was to be shared with Justin again and the Counter Apologist. It would have been a fucking awesome panel.

But none of this is going to happen now because the event has just been canceled. The reasons why are complicated, but it started out difficult enough. The atheist community has splintered into a million shards in recent years. There are the atheist feminists and the atheist anti-feminists, the social justice warrior atheists and the anti-social justice warrior atheists. The pro-PC atheists and the anti-PC atheists. There are pro-Trump atheists and anti pro-Trump atheists. Atheists are split over gamergate, elevatorgate, whether we should organize, or whether we should even call ourselves atheists at all. The divisions go on and on.

Early on we invited atheist YouTuber Steve Shives to speak at TAC on a panel about YouTube atheism. We gave him the ability to control who's on the panel, as he wouldn't participate on it with anyone who strongly disagreed with him. Naturally, he picked people whose ideology was very much in line with his own. And immediately we got slack by the anti-SJW wing of the atheist community who all told us that our speakers were very one sided in the pro-SJW direction.

There is no doubt about it that Shives's panel was very pro-SJW. No doubt. But it would have been moderated by Lee Moore, TAC's founder, and the plan was for him to be the sole voice of criticism against some of the shadier tactics Shives is guilty of. Also, Shives's panel was just one event at the conference. It wasn't all we were about. We weren't going to put on a social justice warrior conference. Social justice issues weren't going to be the focus of the conference. Trying to patch the atheist community's rifts to focus on getting us united on what we agree on was. There were going to be panels with secular politicians, speeches about critical thinking and the problems of group think, speeches about science, a comedy show with Mike Lee, and of course the debate between Schieber and Wood, which would have been our opening night special.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Quote Of The Day: Hitchens On The Fair Test


Happy New Year!

Whenever an atheist articulates any sort of expression to the effect that religion as it is traditionally understood should disappear, the theist will quite often predictably respond with the insinuation that getting rid of religion will result in gulags and mass slaughter. It's as if to say, godlessness necessarily leads to such atrocities. I heard it just the other day on Twitter. Well it's obviously false. Atheism cannot be conflated with communism. And I think Hitchens had one of the best counter points to show why that was so. From his Google talk:


Now you might be saying, "Wait, weren't they all believers?" Well, some were pantheists, and some were deists, but they were all products of the enlightenment and critical of traditional organized religion and its role in society and government. They were secularists. That was especially true of Voltaire, Paine, and Jefferson. A culture founded in secular enlightenment values—which the Soviet Union was not—is not going to end up anything like what most theists think a godless society will be.

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