Thursday, June 30, 2011

New Computure Software Claims Bible Has Different Authors!


This is an interesting read (even coming from FoxNews). 

An Israeli team of computer scientists and Biblical scholars have developed a cutting edge computer software which shows that the theory that multiple authorship that wrote the Bible is not just a critical assumption--but a veritable fact. 

The new software analyzes style and word choices to distinguish parts of a single text written by different authors, and when applied to the Bible its algorithm teased out distinct writerly voices in the holy book. What I found interesting was that the software agreed with 90% of what the traditional field of Biblical criticism and scholarship has been saying on the issue for the past 300 years. 

However, it seems that even this cutting edge software will likely have it's detractors (predictably, probably only among the religious). This is evident by the tip-toeing around of the issue, as not to offend any religious people, by the teams leaders. I especially liked the last line of the article which reads:
"In other words, there's no reason why God could not write a book in different voices."

It's funny because it implies God is schizophrenic. I guess if you believe in a Triune god, this option makes more sense. But for orthodox Jews? Not so much.

Another possibility is that the biblical god chose different authors, because he wanted to include different voices, which ultimately adds to the confusion of deciphering the text (which the Bible claims cannot possibly be the case--since God is not the author of confusion--thus we can rule out this possibility).

Finally, it could mean, and this is the option they are deliberately skirting around, that God was not the inspiration behind the Bible and that it is entirely man-made. Period.

Now, I don't think we need a super-computer to tell us which of these three options is the most probable.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Where Did All The Good Christians Go?


Christians love nothing more than to distance themselves from other Christians they disagree with.


I was recently talking to a Christian friend who said that her Church just lost a few thousand members because the overall congregation voted to uphold support of the LGTB community along with the right for Gays to Pastor. 


Her Church seems to be moving in a more liberal direction, and I commend them on it, but I mentioned to her that it seems strange to me that several thousand would just walk out on their Church because they found a problem with allowing other human beings the same rights they have.


Equality is no reason to quit a club, unless your club is evil, like the KKK (also a Christian organization by the way).


At any rate, I mentioned that it was the dogmatic abuse of Church doctrine which frequently corrupts peoples beliefs and turns them into intolerant bigots. I put the blame squarely on religion. Not because I think all religion is evil, but because I know how it functions well enough to know how it spreads its ideologies and why so often it seems that the ideologies are tacked to an agenda. Usually the agenda is the gain prominence or dominance, either political or cultural, and most of the time the competition is other Christian churches. 


When I was a believer I often heard the saying, "Well, you're not a true Christian if you believe X, Y, or Z." 


Personally, I think this is probably what happened at my friends Church. Both factions, split on a non-issue, basically where one group was claiming the other group couldn't be a "true Christian" if they believe that homosexuality was acceptable. Meanwhile, the other group was claiming the others couldn't be "true Christians" if they didn't find homosexuality, at the very least, a sinful abomination.




Now I don't mean to suggest that granting equality and the same basic human rights is a non-issue. What I mean is, talking about the way in which people chose to love on another is not any of my business. Certainly it's none of yours. To argue, how people ought to butter their bread is just as ridiculous, and you wouldn't be caught dead doing something as silly as quitting your organization, in droves, just because some like to butter their bread butter side up, while others butter their bread with the butter side down. It makes one scratch their head why anybody would even care whether you share the same anatomical parts as the person you love or not. It's just as silly of an issue as the butter thing.


More to the point, however, I pointed out that if doctrine didn't make such a big deal about what was "acceptable" and religion didn't try to control what people do in the privacy of their own homes, then there wouldn't be any reason for such a stupid waste of time--like arguing against homosexuality because you don't like the fact that two people occasionally walk down the street holding hands. If that's you, get over it grandpa, the times are a changin'. 


Of course, you'll always have the conservative groups that view change as bad. And since any progress is change--then things like granting gays marriage rights (as NY just did) would be taboo.





In the end I'm glad that my friend's church had enough progressive independent thinkers who valued the modern notion of equality and shared human rights over archaic sex guidelines written down by delusional goat herders who believed that whacking the tip of your manhood off was the best way to appease their imaginary deity who, for some reason, didn't want them eating pork chops and didn't want the women to speak.


At the same time, I wanted to make the point to my friend, that although people like her may progress, the doctrines remain the same. When I pointed out that, eventually, calling herself Christian just wouldn't make sense anymore, since everything she believes goes against everything Christianity teaches, that once one's beliefs change enough that they are no longer compatible with the beliefs of the religious faith, it doesn't make any sense to keep calling oneself Christian. But that's just my thoughts. I think for most Americans, they believe "American" and "Christian" are synonyms. But those who think this way also think that because evolution is a theory that it can't possibly be true. 

But why do they think this? That's what I wanted my friend to think about. Because they have a religious book, written by the same ignorant bronze aged superstitious fools who thought the world was flat and that women suffered child labor because of a curse put on her for the crimes of a talking snake, and because modern scientific knowledge is not compatible with their cherished beliefs--it's obviously science that is wrong. In other words, it's their religious beliefs which are directly impacting their worldview/ideologies. 


Therefore as long as anyone prescribes to religious beliefs, then they are at risk for allowing their ideologies to be polluted by the defunct doctrines of their particular brand of religion. And I wouldn't have such a problem with such people if they kept their religion to themselves, private, and out of public life. But many Christians feel it is their God given right to protest abortion, homosexual marriage, and evolution... and then this is when their religion becomes a problem.

At this point my friend reminded me that all ideologies have the potential to corrupt. But I find that an over simplification. Not all ideologies are created the same. Also, I'm not suggesting that people just replace their religion with atheism. Administering 10cc's of atheism never cured anybody. In fact, that's probably the main reason Communism failed. 

What I am suggesting, however, is that people learn to think for themselves. Learn the critical thinking skills necessary to cope with complex issues. But more importantly, learn how to question their beliefs and why they believe them. If they can't find any good reason to keep believing, then as my friend's Church, leave such outmoded beliefs by the wayside. 


Who knows? Maybe in the future, Christians won't need to distance themselves from other Christians, because they will have learned to stop letting religion dictate what they believe and will have finally learned to think for themselves. Only then can they come to any rational agreement on what truly matters.







Monday, June 20, 2011

Magic DNA! It's a Miracle!

Just bear with me...



Even if she did receive magically new DNA, that doesn't magically unmurder those people she killed when she was... you know... still evil.

[I really hate how becoming Christian means she's all forgiven and stuff... new DNA means she's not accountable. See the problem here? Get out of jail free card--well then, what's stopping Christians from murdering all the time?]

Also, notice the big fat fallacies--appeal to authority and bandwagon appeal. I'm your preacher man, so listen to me, listen to this story I gotz for ya'allz. Now watch this... it's inspirational--stand up like a moron and raise your hands in praise--hallelujah! 



I kept waiting for him to cite a source... but then I remembered... that's only something rational people who are in search of the unadulterated truth do.

On a side note: there is a plausible scientific explanation for changing DNA. It's a rare medical condition regarding ones genetic make up called Chimera DNA

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

How to Write a Critique

How to Write a Critique

Strangely enough, one of the things I notice about online discussions is the poorness of clarity, the shoddy argumentation, and the amount of constant digressions. All this only seeks to confuse or confound a proper criticism of any given theory or proposition.

My expertise is in literary theory, rhetoric, and criticism (I also have a history degree but many of the same critical thinking skills apply). So here I am going to offer a few suggestions on how to critique someone else's comment(s), essays, and writing.

Before we begin, however, I have to explain what a critique is. In literary theory and criticism, a critique is an analytical criticism which gives a detailed analysis and assessment of something, especially a literary, philosophical, or political theory. We can extend criticisms to ideas, concepts, and beliefs as well. So without further delay, let us begin our investigation of how to write a better critique.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Ignorant or Just Ignorant?


I have Christian friends and family members that don't believe in the theory of evolution. Some claim they believe in natural selection but not evolution. 

Now often times we New Atheists will blame their religion for making them ignorant. I'm sure it's not helping any by filling their head with incorrect information, but is it really Christianity's fault when a Christian claims evolution is false?

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Scarecrow



Many of you might be wondering if I fell off the edge of the world. Right when about a dozen new subscribers jumped on board because PZ Myer's plugged my blog, most were probably wondering why I vanished from blogging. Well, the truth is sometimes stranger than fiction.


Actually, in this case it was fiction.


Although this is unrelated to the content of this blog, I thought I would offer my readers a proper excuse for my lack of posting. I wrote a book. Well, more of a novella really.


It's now available on Amazon.com for Kindle, and if you don't have a Kindle and would like to check it out, be sure and download the *free Kindle app for the PC.


The books is called The Scarecrow and Lady Kingston: Cafe Crunch and the Hollywood Express. It's part one of a three part series I've plotted. If you're interested, follow the links above and check it out! If you're interested in following the progress of the next volume, as well as news for upcoming/future releases, check out my publishing imprint Kuebikobooks.


Although all this is great news, I won't be able to resume a regular schedule. My family will be moving back to the U.S. in two months, so nearly all my time will be taken up with that. But when I do get a few moments to write, I'll try and get a blog or two up (periodically). In the meantime, enjoy the archives, and check out my new book!



Cheers!

Science Quote of the Day: Richard Feynman

"Science is a way to teach how something gets to be known, what is not known, to what extent things are known (for nothing is known absolutely), how to handle doubt and uncertainty, what the rules of evidence are, how to think about things so that judgments can be made, how to distinguish truth from fraud, and from show."
--Richard Feynman

Advocatus Atheist

Advocatus Atheist