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.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Can Metaphysical Claims Be Falsified By Science?


One frequently touted claim by Thomists is that metaphysical claims cannot even in principle be falsified (and perhaps corroborated by) scientific data, because metaphysics and science lie in two completely separated domains.

This is easily shown false. I claim that some metaphysical views make claims or assume things about the nature of physical reality, and such claims or assumptions fall within the purview of science. Here is why using AT metaphysics as an example:

1. AT metaphysics claims act/potency causality distinctions are real.
2. Act/potency claims that A will actualize B's coming into existence.
3. This requires a true ontological coming into existence or "becoming" of effects by their causes.
4. Such a claim presupposes the view on time known as presentism is true.
5. Presentism says that only the present moment exists and does so universally, and that the past and future do not exist.
6. Presentism's claims about time fall within the purview of scientific investigation.

I could stop right here because I've demonstrated my claim: Some metaphysical claims make or assume things about the nature of physical reality, and such claims fall within the purview of science. However, I can go a step further:

7. Scientific theories and experimental data have falsified the view known as presentism via special and general relativity.
8. Therefore, AT metaphysics assumes a view on the theory of time that falls within the purview of scientific investigation and that has been falsified for 100 years.
9. Thomism would be false as a result of this.

Now I'm not particularly interested in 7-9 right now. I'm more interested in 6, since dogmatic Thomists insist that nothing about AT metaphysics can in principle make a claim that can fall within the purview of scientific investigation. But a recent article on the Catholic Strange Notions site by a philosopher well acquainted with Thomism, Dr Dennis Bonnette, would seem to contradict this as he makes it explicit that a presentist ontology where things begin to exist ("becoming") is required for Thomism's metaphysical claims to survive.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Discovering Religion


About seven years ago, when I was still in my early years of discovering YouTube atheism, I came across a channel called Discovering Religion. It contains a few dozen well produced videos critiquing religion from various aspects that aided me in my journey of becoming a more active and more knowledgable atheist. From the YouTube description:

"Discovering Religion" is an original, documentary-style series on YouTube that explores a variety of topics within the framework of religion, science, philosophy, history and politics. The aim of this series is to objectively examine the fallacies propagated by religious doctrine through an entertaining, educational, and thought-provoking medium.

Sadly, the channel is no longer active and the videos seem to have been part of an extended documentary that is now over. But if you haven't seen any of the videos, I highly recommend them. Transcripts of videos can be seen here. Here is the first video and one about the founders of the US. Check out the channel page to see all videos.



Enjoy!

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