Pharyngula

And as a first step, that involved being fitted for a squid balloon hat at the American Atheist convention dinner last night.

i-b4bef44cec3173834fff0e113209296a-ballooning.jpeg

You’re all jealous now, I know.

Comments

  1. #1 David Marjanović
    May 4, 2011

    Replies to Kenneth from the other thread, which is now closed:

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    The issue of purpose:

    What I see you all saying is that you must create your own purpose.

    If indeed you believe you need to have a purpose. John Morales and I disagree with this premise, too.

    Mainly where I see the lack of purpose is in the big picture. When it’s all said and done, what is left? A few bones.

    And my publications. :-]

    My friend wrote this and I think it has an element of what I believe in it: “In perspective…without a God…it’s difficult to explain the significance of our existence.

    Significance? What significance? We’re significant to ourselves and each other, not to some imagined grand scheme of things.

    Infinite insignificance makes our intelligence and very existence worthless.

    So what? Can’t you have fun regardless? :-)

    To be worth something…something needs to see the value… there is no possibility of a God observer and thus, at the inevitable end of human history/the universe, no value to existence.”

    Then let’s go to the next level. What value is there to God himself? Isn’t his existence pointless? He wasn’t created, he doesn’t have a purpose… he just is, says theism. And so are you, says atheism.

    Why does truth matter if there is no need for truth? What is the need for truth?

    I don’t know, but I know I care about truth. I don’t like being mistaken.

    And I know nothing will matter when it’s all said and done, but while I’m here I may as well try to take full advantage of all the wonders this universe has to offer. I want to know how the universe works. I want to discover its mysteries. It fills me with wonder, and I enjoy that. That’s it. That’s enough for me.

    Kenneth, do you enjoy learning? Do you enjoy asking questions and finding the answers? Do you enjoy looking for the truth? If you do, why isn’t that enough? If not… where did you left your curiosity?

    I mean, no one here is going to stop you if you want to believe a lie. But… it’s a lie! It’s wrong. Don’t you care?

    QFT!

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    From this thread:

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    If the Bible is wrong, then my God is a liar (deliberately).

    No, why? That’s just one of a long list of options.

    1) God exists, the Bible is his word, and it’s all true; the contradictions in the Bible are there to give you a headache or something.
    2) God exists, and the Bible is his word, it’s just all wrong, because God is a liar.
    3) God exists, and he never lies; the Bible is not his word at all, it was written by lying humans.
    4) God exists, and he never lies; the Bible is not his word at all, it was written by people who were honestly mistaken about God.
    5) For parts of the Bible 1 and/or 2 and/or 3 and/or 4 are true.
    6) God does not exist, and the Bible was written by lying humans with a political agenda.
    7) God does not exist, and the Bible was written by people who were honestly mistaken about it all. (And had, in some cases, a political agenda.)

    I’m sure you can come up with even more possibilities.

    Science was set up as a cut-throat competition of checks and balances. No idea is ever allowed to slide by on a gentlemanly agreement not to rock the boat or ask inconvenient questions. Science is what you use when you DON’T want to “trust scientists.”

    QFT!

    (…In case you’re not familiar with this, Kenneth, it means “quoted for truth”. Or “quite fucking true” if you prefer.)

    Many of you have found fault with my statement that if evolution is true, I must deny my God. If I believe evolution and the Bible IS true, then God is a liar. If the Bible is NOT true and I believe evolution, there is no reason to believe that God does exist because there is no evidence of him.

    ^^^ that’s the link I see between evolution and God. Where is my logic invalid?

    In the fact that evolution is by far not the only fact that the Bible contradicts. Archeology and history contradict all of the Old Testament up to and including the First Book of Kings.

    Or, the bible is literature (what cosmic law prohibits the Creator of the Universe from writing fiction intended to teach parable-like lessons to his worshippers (or even just to entertain them!)?) and was never meant to reflect an accurate description of scientific reality.

    Indeed, the NT is famously full of parables that are explicitly marked as such*, and the OT contains such things as a love song (called the Song of Solomon because people felt they had to attribute it to someone).

    * That’s how the word parable has even entered the English language, and why it’s the ancestor of the words for “speak” in the Romance languages – Italian parlare, French parler, Portuguese falar, Spanish hablar

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    In case mikkoL or Amelia or indeed consciousness razor have come over:

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    Speaking of David-Fuckin’-Marjanović, I’ve wondered how you pronounce your last name.

    Well… ć is between “ts” and English “ch” (Spanish “ch” can come close), j is English “y” in “yes”, “you”, “year” etc., and the stress goes on the third-to-last syllable.

    In short, [maʀˈjanɔvɪtʲ͡ɕ], where [ʀ] is German accent for what ought to be a Spanish-style [r], and [ɪ] (as in English “ship”) is actually an exaggeration – it’s somewhere between there and [i] as found in French.

    Strange gods, get off the grand inquisitor complex.

    Why, has somebody come to expect it?

    Perfect reply. Day saved.

    (But, frankly, yes. Your behavior isn’t erratic.)

    Well, luckily we have non-religious Soviet Union to show us how unbelievers free from religious superstitions are superior in politics, art, science and even sports.

    Like all totalitarian ideologies, Soviet communism was chock full of superstitions that might as well be called religious. Basically, the only difference is the lack of an afterlife; afterlife in any kind of communism is restricted to Kim Il-sung, who is still the president of North Korea.

    Yes, back in the day I had to write an essay on this. Huge legal debate. My opinion is that when it gets to that point, it’s more about lawyering than morality. In real life only lawyers take lawyering very seriously. If someone kills a burglar, most of us are more interested in the moral questions than the legal definition. It’s very telling that when we turn to Iraq, liberals are more interested in lawyering (in which 99% of liberals have NO expertise at all) than in morals. When you have nothing worth saying, pedantry is a useful retort. When you struggle to make a moral case, lawyering is a useful retort.

    1) Then what about the hypocrisy? Why remove this particular evil murdering bastard and not all the other evil murdering bastards? And why in 2003 and not in 1988 or even in 1991? Is hypocrisy not immoral?

    2) “Huge legal debate” my ass. It’s plain as day, and only a few Republicans have ever tried to pretend otherwise. The USA isn’t the whole world.

    3) We’re still beside the biggest moral point: is removing one evil murdering bastard worth several hundred thousand corpses?

    4) Let’s look at this again:

    If someone kills a burglar, most of us are more interested in the moral questions than the legal definition.

    In that case, I’m not sure about Texas, but where I come from that’s the same thing. Was it immediate self-defense or immediate emergency defense of someone else? If yes, fine. If no, well, excess of self-defense is a crime where I come from. It is evil and illegal to kill a burglar who isn’t credibly threatening to kill you or someone else.

    a war that killed tens if not hundreds of thousands and cost the American people over a trillion dollars!

    Three trillion dollars till 2006 alone.

    Did you cover the fact that we sent US forces to guard the oil wells long before we sent them to guard civilians?

    Indeed, during the invasion itself, the only building in Baghdad that US forces guarded was the oil ministry. The museums were looted… and so, I bet, was the evidence of the crimes of Saddam’s secret service.

    How exactly can someone be willfully careless?

    Very easily: by believing the issue they’re being careless about isn’t important enough.

    Have you never been lazy? :-)

    Science without any commonly shared value system can be a monstrous thing – and continues to be such.

    Yes, and?

    Science is a tool. You can use it to do good, evil, anything.

    Science was never intended as a value system about anything but intellectual honesty.

    “Deepest Thought” says that the Ultimate Answer is not 42 but p52.

    And there it says…

    ΤΙ ΕΣΤΙΝ ΑΛΗΘΕΙΑ

    Well, what is truth. Is there even a point in caring?

    I can tell you what reality is. It is the physical world, that which does not go away when you stop believing in it, that in which the argumentum ad lapidem is not a logical fallacy.

    Truth is that in which the argumentum ad lapidem is a logical fallacy. Truth could be that reality is a (remarkably consistent) illusion. Perhaps reality is like the concept of maya in some kinds of Hinduism. Or perhaps I’m the solipsist. Or perhaps God is the solipsist, and we and the rest of reality only exist in His Mind.

    Or perhaps reality is truth, there is nothing “behind” reality, there is no truth other than reality, and the argumentum ad lapidem was valid all along.

    How are we ever going to decide between these options?

    Is there even a point in deciding between these options? Why should we care?

    I frankly don’t care. But there is one argument that favors the last of these options over all others. It is Ockham’s Razor: the things that [are assumed to] exist should not be multiplied beyond necessity.

    ENTA NON SUNT MULTIPLICANDA SUPER NECESSITATEM

    Does Mr Hitchens not see how the entire Universe sings the majestic glory of its Maker?

    A maker, with or without majestic glory, is not required to explain what we know of the universe, including what you interpret as “singing”.

    A maker is an ens multiplicatum super necessitatem.

    Does he not know that the chosen people of God are still living among us and prospering especially in the United States of America?

    Evidence?

    Other than that old anthology of fiction and fanfiction, I mean.

    Does he not know how God is speaking in almost all human languages spoken today

    Evidence, or it’s not happening.

    and how recently two billion people upon earth were celebrating love of Williamd and Kate in the Westminster Abbey build for His honor?

    Was that supposed to be an argument???

    Has Mr Hitchens really never experienced how the giver of those laws responds to his prayers for help?

    Evidently not. Neither have many other people (like myself) – and indeed, there’s no evidence that anybody has experienced it as opposed to having experienced confirmation bias, the Texas sharpshooter fallacy, and similar failures of reason.

    and lo, his parents gave him such a beautiful name when he was baptized to the wonderful kingdom of God, Χριστόφορος – the one who carries Christ.

    what went wrong?

    He started to think.

    Besides, I don’t think it’s at all beautiful to give kids names in an attempt to determine their future. I think it’s evil.

    The letter seems to adopt positions close to August[e] Comte

    Wrong. The 19th century is over, even in science theory.

    Evolution is the big thing in modern worldview, but it is human concept largely based on the brilliant and difficult to understand work of Hegel

    Utter bullshit. The theory of evolution is science, not philosophy.

    When human egg becomes pregnant, we do not call the deterministic (teleological) growth and development of the embryo “evolution”. But when planet Earth becomes impregnated by life, perhaps by the interstellar sperm in Sir Fred Hoyle’s theory of the origins of life, and reaches the peak of biodiversity in Mesozoic era, we do call it “evolution” and try to understand it by observing both living and paleontological evidence like Charles Darwin did in Patagonia and Galapagos Islands.

    Of course we don’t apply the same term to these two extremely different things.

    Evolution is about the frequencies of alleles in populations. Individuals cannot and do not evolve.

    Evolution is not predetermined. Mutation is random, and natural selection depends on the vagaries of the environment.

    BTW, why do you think biodiversity reached its peak in the Mesozoic? How do you measure biodiversity, and how do you extrapolate from the fossil record to the organisms that were not preserved and those whose fossils haven’t been found yet?

    Interestingly, the name of his brilliant and revolutionary scientific publication “The Origins of Species” remains – after 150 years of intensive research – an elusive goal. We really do not yet know why chimpanzee brains kept that block which was removed from our ancestors head leading to enormous and fast evolution, growth, development, of human brains.

    1) The Origin of Species is not the same book as The Descent of Man.

    2) Block? What block? The chimps have simply never needed bigger brains for what they’re doing – and trying to duplicate what we’re doing would be pointless; we happened to come first.

    For Hegel the processes were ultimately pushed by God, a kind of philosopher’s God rather than the God of Israel, and Marx relocated this Hegelian emancipating spirit into matter.

    Modern evolutionary theory layes on the same foundation – it looks at the processes with modern knowledge of DNA etc and does not really even try to explain, why life evolves.

    Modern evolutionary theory does not assume any spirit, emancipating or otherwise, as a property of matter or otherwise, at all.

    Why does life evolve? Because at least two miracles would be required to prevent it from evolving: an end to mutations, and an eternally stable environment throughout the entire globe.

    The entire Universe makes noise at 2.725K. It’s more like infinite cosmic tinnitus than a song.

    I love you, God.

    Seconded!

    History of Science is deeply rooted to philosophy, including the evolution of Natural Sciences.

    The history of science is, however, completely irrelevant to science itself.

    If I were crazy enough to believe that I had invented the scientific method and done all science that was published before last Thursday, it wouldn’t impact my ability to do science at all. (It would only destroy my ability to cite correctly. That’s publication, not science.)

    The discovery of Archaeopteryx was God-sent

    Evidence?

    BTW, the International Committee on Zoological Nomenclature strongly recommends to put Archaeopteryx in italics.

    KG #1006
    you seem to have truly cosmic interest in anal probings – Sigmund Freud (Jewish) might have some useful ideas about this for your consideration before such interest develops into an obsession. If I remember right it has something to do with children growing up as sexual human beings.

    1) It didn’t – see comment 1016.

    2) Have you never heard of “alien abduction”? That’s what KG is, sarcastically, alluding to.

    for some reason still unknown to science our head engines have grown to 1200-1800 cm3 and are still growing as every mother giving birth to a big headed child can witness.

    1) Unknown, yes, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t good hypotheses on this topic. Sexual selection, the one Darwin suspected in his book The Descent of Man (1871), is still among the strongest contenders.

    2) It is not growing anymore. The average brain size of Homo sapiens sapiens, 1400 cm³, hasn’t changed in 200,000 years. H. s. neanderthalensis had 1500 cm³…

    This concept of “modern science” as being something right now, with no history and past research having no importance is in my opinion a problem and demonstrates general lack of understanding of the meaning of human history.

    Why do you switch the topic from science theory to “the meaning of human history” (whatever that’s supposed to mean)?

    Sigmund Freud, Adler and others are of fundamental importance in our understanding how modern psychiatry has developed

    Yes, and?

    and Fredu had some pretty powerful ideas about early sexual developments from oral and anal to genital, as you probably know very well.

    Powerful perhaps, but they’re pseudoscience. Freud made sweeping generalizations from small, highly biased samples (we are not all upperclass ladies from turn-of-the-century Vienna – for instance, most of us aren’t repressing our sexuality that badly) and didn’t test whether his interpretations were the most parsimonious ones even given only his small, biased samples.

    1. כך בחיים – kacha bechayim – Because!

    [...]

    2. במקרה‎ – bemiqreh – by chance.

    See, this is typical. This happens when philosophers only think about nature instead of thinking about nature and then testing their hypotheses – instead of becoming scientists.

    Here are the four possible explanations for how anything came to be:

    1) chance
    2) necessity
    3) intelligent design
    4) evolution

    1) because it could, and nothing stopped it
    2) because it had to: the laws of physics required it
    3) because somebody wanted it and made it
    4) descent with heritable modification

    4) works by mutation and selection: chance and reproduction produce variation in a population, and some members of this variable population are better able to have surviving fertile offspring in a given environment than others. Obviously, this only works on entities that can reproduce and inherit – living beings (in the widest definition, including viruses), genetic algorithms, and cultures (in particular languages).

    I used to believe only creationists are so ignorant as to believe that 4) is 1).

    Order, not chaos, rules in modern Biology as it does in Nuclear Physics.

    4) is not 1). 4) is not 2) either!

    Besides, quantum physics is chock full of 1). Why didn’t you know that?

    D.C. Dennett, a human being like me, is convinced that he can scientifically demonstrate that DNA is nothing but a lucky product of random mutations evolving in some rather accurately defined environment.

    Wrong. Unlike you and the creationists, he is not so ignorant as to confuse 1) and 4).

    God of Israel says

    Evidence?

    Evidence he says anything?

    Evidence he exists at all? Isn’t he just an ens multiplicatum super necessitatem?

    I do so even I understand very little about [...] evolution

    No. You do so because you understand just about nothing about evolution.

    Lord Setar, your aggressive style of commenting is somewhat surprising, you must really be out of your brilliant mind.

    Did you really believe scientists undergo the full kolinahr as part of their training?

    Scientists have trained long and hard to call a spade a spade. Don’t be surprised when they call an ignorant moron an ignorant moron.

    God of Israel (there is no other God)

    The Bible contradicts itself on this.

    But after 4000 years Jewish people still remember Abraham by name, that wealthy owner of lambs and goats. (Brilliant Greeks assumed still in Biblical times – the times of Hesiod- that their heroic ancestors were born from dragon teeth sowed into a field).

    By all evidence, Abraham is just as fictional as dragon teeth.

    As I’ve shown, uniformitarianism, knowledge that the earth is very old, and notions of biological evolution all predated Hegel, who contributed nothing whatever to science, and whose ludicrous effusions constitute a turning point only in the history of pompous drivel.

    Indeed, his idealistic writings were already called “guano” in his lifetime.

    And rightly so.

    rough materialism

    Physicalism. Matter is just one form of energy: E = mc².

    Deep Thinking of what in fact is meant by the catchy word evolution

    What?

    We evolutionary biologists have a definition of evolution. I have already quoted it: descent with heritable modification.

    WTF?

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