My YouTube Podcasting Has Erupted

This is the first of the podcasts I’ve been cutting over the past few days.

It’s a lot of fun to switch gears as a broadcaster into new mediums.

Though it’s become clear to me that the fun part of doing the recordings is getting addictive versus the boring part of doing the editing.

These are going to get a bit … wild … in coming updates.

If you’re catching me here then consider linking up with me over on the YT as well.

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Chapel Hill Shooting: Atheists / Anti-theists Are Responsible?

Craig Hicks, charged with shooting death of 3 Muslims in N.C.

Some less than spectacular people out there on the Inter-webs are calling for vocal atheists and anti-theists to own up to the Chapel Hill Shooting being our version of the Charlie Hebdo Massacre. No, we won’t be doing that. At least not at this time. Should the available facts on record change, such as a confirmed manifesto being released, any reasonable person would adjust their views to include this. But what we have here is a horrible tragedy with no clear motives, nothing more. Charlie Hebdo was killing in the name of religion being held higher in importance than freedom of speech and human life; no comparison.

Standards of acceptance of evidence is probably the core difference between atheists and theists. For instance: I don’t see any evidence that is at all compelling for a historical Jesus of Nazareth nor for a God of Abraham. The commonly used “personal experience” routine is crap on multiple levels but mainly because people lie to further their own goals all the time and religious labels don’t instantly cure a person of unethical behaviors.

I’ve studied the Bible at length, researched non-canonical texts, applied the standards of historical veracity to both the Old and New Testaments and none of it amounts to the claims of “divinity” and “divine truth” made by Bible-believers. At the most, and this is being very generous, there was a Jewish rebel priest put to death by the Romans that had a chain of hearsay turn him into a demigod in the eyes of certain men who were all born around a hundred years after his execution.

Islam and the Quran are different in the sense that the central figure is much, much more so a verified historical figure but shares in the same issues of the Torah and the Bible where none of the claims to divinity and ultimate truth are any more compelling than when the Greeks, Egyptians or the Pagans wrote of their mastery of the ethos of life and contemplation. The endless contradictions anyone can find with enough time spent with almost any “holy book” placed to the side, the issue with any form of religious extremism boils down to dehumanizing those who will not conform to the point where an act of torture or murder upon them is not only acceptable but mandated from on high.

Thing to remember here is some people believe in UFOs and anal probes but it’s rare to the point of being unheard of that one of them would go shoot up a skeptic conference in the name of being unhindered to spread the message of the coming alien overlords to the masses. But both radicalized Christians as well as Muslims, and even the heavily pacifist Buddhists, have done exactly these kinds of actions in both isolated and organized acts of violence. All this in recent decades and not even bothering to dredge out old history books citing violence over the centuries committed in the name of religious “purity.”

No respected atheist anywhere is advocating you solve your disputes with acts of murder or that the best way to silence an ideological opponent is to kill them in their home or place of business. But I could troll the right-wing radio Christian waves for awhile and bring back some moron who is doing exactly that and same with the nationalistic Islamic newsgroups and forums. This would not in turn implicate all Christians and all Muslims in those statements but only those who identify with the speaker’s views which is not an easy thing to assess unless someone declares it to be so.

Deah Barakat, his wife Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha and her sister Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha.

 

As always when I cover tragic stories my deepest condolences go out to the family members and friends of the victims of this horrible event.  I do not speak merely for myself when I say that this man should face the full force of the legal justice system and hopefully this will bring you some measure of peace.

I Don’t Blog As Much As I Used To

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I just don’t compose much that goes into blog format these days.  Sorry about that if were around back when I posted like wildfire. I do a lot of writing and have been plagiarized the times that I posted my best work. However, I’m leaving Web-impressions somewhere if not around here and I thought I might share a decent argument I wrote against the notion that God created the universe.

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I find it way harder to believe the universe always existed.That’s fine. Math and science have nothing to do with what you find acceptable. So big whoop. You have weird stances on logical deduction and sound reasoning. You’re hardly the first and won’t be the last.

Or the universe created itself, or popped out of nothing. All of these are absurd. Man the lengths people are willing to go to deny God.”

Again you just don’t understand the Big Bang Theory (sometimes called the “first event“) in any meaningful way. Nothing was “created” because that word implies an intelligence for which we have no evidence of. “Popped out of nothing” is just a poor way of expressing the concept. A better way to say it might be “exploded out of non-spacetime” or “expanded outward from highly condensed existing matter.”

I get that you think this is big exercise to disprove your God but in fact this is, like all valid science, just following where the facts lead us. The “God did it” explanation is one that is very easy and explains nothing to us about the how and why. Whereas the Big Bang model (which has many variations that I’m probably screwing up as a layperson) exactly addresses these issues in cosmology with real answers that form together like a symphony of knowledge of what we already understand to be true.

I feel the need to point out, however, that in cosmology a deistic god (very specifically not the Christian or Abrahamic god) is highly plausible while at the same time being completely unnecessary to the model. A deistic stance on the creation / formation of the universe doesn’t break down the models or change the level of logical accuracy. But it also adds nothing new into the equation either, making it this little weird caveat that some people like to throw in but others find repugnant because they are very rigid about their mathematics.

I myself am not so clear on that one, having had too much time to think about it. It’s also valid to talk about self affirmation in existence, in which I mean human time travelers started things not that we define our physical reality crap. Think about it if you’re still reading this whoever you are: a point in our future results in technology that allows to bend time backwards to the First Event (Big Bang) and we find nothing there, realizing that if we don’t detonate our vessel’s drive to trigger said event that all of existence will thereby fail to exist. Yeah, see this way more plausible than even the deistic logic let alone the theist’s stance on these matters. 

The Bible Reloaded on YouTube

biblereloaded

In my Internet wanderings I came upon a rather interesting YouTube channel
hosted by Jake & Hugo called The Bible Reloaded.”

They take a unique approach in how to use their channel in the ambitious
attempt to read the narrative of the entire Bible (NIV) on the Internet.
Not only this but most importantly they provide context for the topics
they raise and even have done a video outside of canonical texts to
provide further context still.

This ongoing project has caught my attention and is a worth a look.

Episode 1: Genesis

USAToday: ‘Embryonic Stem Cells Used On Patient For First Time’

 

USAToday.com:

 

For the first time, surgeons have injected a spinal cord injury patient with human embryonic stem cells in a federally approved experiment, a biomedical firm said Monday.

Food and Drug Administration officials approved the start of the privately funded safety trial in July, allowing a long-awaited test of the cells, which were grown from a single embryo to resemble forerunners to spinal cells.

The unnamed patient received the cells at the Shepherd Center, an Atlanta hospital specializing in brain, spine and related ailments.

 

Despite religious objection of some the benefits of embryonic stem cells are already being applied to better the lives of others. I see this as a victory over religious insanity and unthinking, arcane dogmas that serve no purpose in the modern world.

LGF: ‘Planned Parenthood Clinic Firebombed In Madera, California’

LittleGreenFootballs.com:

In Madera, California, police and FBI are investigating a firebomb attack against a Planned Parenthood office that has been open for 20 years without incident:

Molotov Cocktail thrown at Madera’s Planned Parenthood.

This attack comes one week after a brick was thrown through the window of a local mosque and anti-Muslim signs posted on its walls, by a group using the name “American Nationalist Brotherhood.” One of the signs: “No Temple for the god of terrorism at Ground Zero.”

This is what the extremist rhetoric of the right-wing brings about with their constant hate mongering.

With the constant creation of straw men and paper dragons for righties to fear at night, eventually some of the wackos are going to go and get the boogey men with their own hands.

Richard Dawkins – The Virus of Faith

Some say that while religious fundamentalists betray reason, moderate believers betray faith and reason equally. The moderates position seems to me to be fence-sitting, they half-believe in the Bible. But how do they decide which parts to believe literally, and which parts are just allegorical?”

As a member of the religious moderate camp, I take issue with these statements. There is no question that fundamentalists betray reason, but a moderate does not betray faith nor reason and here is why: scientific facts are not rejected by a moderate as they are by a fundamentalist therefore that which accounts to the betrayal of reason for the fundamentalist is not true of the moderate; by drawing upon a more personal and perhaps more primal sense of faith and understanding the moderate is only leaving the confines of faith that are formed as preconceived misconceptions in the minds of others while never betraying the true nature of their own faith. By my logic, moderates are neither betraying faith nor reason. While there is nothing less than truth in the statement, “they half-believe the Bible” I believe the position is not “fence-sitting” in the least and here is why: The Bible is a flawed book, like trying to look at the truth through broken glass; if we draw a distinction between a precept or a series of moral teachings against certain stories that the vast majority of our number believe are purely allegorical in nature that is not failing to take a position but rather the act of taking the position that these pieces should be venerated while others diminished. The question posed by Dawkins is profound and requires a more lengthy response than I am willing to formulate at this moment. The short and witty answer is: arbitrarily. But that is mostly in jest and mainly meant to point out that there is no one definition of moderate religious belief so much as there is a loose grouping among many faiths and churches. It cannot to be answered to the satisfaction of Dawkins and others that would apply strict logical reasoning to the equation but the difference between allegory and literalist in the Bible comes from divine interpretation or, to use a less provocative term, personal spiritual guidance.

We are privileged to be alive, and we should make the most of our time in this world.”

I could not agree more with Dawkins on this point.

Life is precious and should not be given any less value to every waking moment of it.

Where I divide greatly from Dawkins is centered around this conflict between God and science.

Religion, expressly organized and established religion, are in direct conflict with science. There is no doubt of this whatsoever.

But I and many others do not see God and religion as one in the same.

God exists as a metaphor for the unknown, in one mode of thought, and the very practice and essence of science relies entirely upon an unknown in order to exist.

The day we know everything, we will have little more use for science.

This is much the same I feel about God or more loosely the concept of a “higher power”: the day we control life and death, the flow of time, and have attained all power the universe has to bestow is the day none alive would see a use for a “God”.

The unknown itself, defines both science and faith.

Faith is irrational, and taken to extremes it is always dangerous. While science has no such pitfalls.

But I still do not advocate the eradication of faith, though I do agree with Dawkins in regards to religious upbringing not being a healthy psychological practice to put a child through.

I believe, and I shall surely write more of this in days and months to come, that faith combined with reason is not a flawed stance or lacking any amount of logical context.

I would also argue from a more emotional standpoint that a purely scientific view of the world, as I once held myself, is “sterile” and “overtly plain”.