Showing posts from April, 2012

Why Pascal's Wager is IRRELEVANT

The Christian game theorist Jack Holgroth, whose OBJECTIVE: Ministries (an activist Christian site full of right wing propaganda) wrote this Game theory payoff matrix to show why Pascal's wager is such a... *heh-hem*... strong argument against atheism. The matrix shows the atheist will lose infinitely while the believer in God will win infinitely. If you think it sounds like the game might be rigged, then you'd be correct (for reasons I shall shortly explain).  I was actually surprised to see this on an actual "Game theorists" page, because anyone who actually is calculating a payoff matrix, such as betting on a horse at a horse race, has to calculate the chances of all the horses in that race, not just the top rated and the least rated. Also, if introducing infinitude into the wager also seems peculiar, again you'd be right. Objection 1 : Other Probable Gods The above game wager payoff matrix fails to consider each and every possible contender in the rac

A Universe From Nothing book review plus Commentary

Review: Much Ado About Nothing  I finished Lawrence Krauss' new book A Universe From Nothing  this week. In it he addresses the philosophical, physical, and theoretical implications behind the question why there is something, namely a universe with the sort of matter and energy that we find ourselves living in, rather than nothing. Krauss goes into great detail to explain, in layman's terms, how nothingness gives rise to something like the universe. Overall this was a very easy physics book to read--or maybe it should be categorized as a philosophy of science book because it is dealing with the philosophical implications of science instead of being a straight forward explication of science. However, if you're into heavier physics reading then this book may seem rather on the light end of the spectrum. Which is why I downloaded  The Quantum Universe  by Brian Cox and Jeff Forshaw to read along with this one. Luckily, I read Krauss' prior book on Richard Feynman  Qu

Is God Infinite? A Couple of Objections.

Objection 1: Disagreement Among Definitions Theologians often claim that God is an infinite being. I think one problem theologians have is that they seek to apply definitions to God without any referential validation for attaching the terms. Basically, theologians and theists are merely dressing God up with fancy descriptors as they imagine him to be, but not actually describing something they have knowledge of--otherwise their definitions would match much more than they do and there would be a lot less confusion. So theists who say God is love, or God is all knowing, or God is merciful, or God is just, or God is transcendent, immutable, beyond space and time, are simply supplying labels, or sets of labels, which "describe" God as they imagine him to be.  This is why God almost always conforms to people's religious and cultural beliefs. If God actually existed, then it would be the other way around. All the cultures would conform to the same beliefs becaus

Porn: Should Humanists Support Pornography?

[ Note : A recent debate in the secular world on whether or not Humanists should support pornography compelled me repost my research on this very question in which I weigh the pros and cons of porn and the various cultural views of sexual conduct. I have updated the essay with new information.] What is Pornography? What is pornography? Even in the U.S., the land of free speech, the Supreme Court struggled to delineate a standard for pornography. While most definitions are vague or abstract, Justice Potter Stewart famously declared, “I know it when I see it.” Dictionaries usually define pornography as material containing the explicit description or display of sexual activity. Although, many more describe anything as overtly explicit, such as violence, as worthy of being deemed pornography. In fact, the first cut of the 1980’s film Robocop was so violent that the MPAA didn’t know how to rate it and gave it an X rating (at that time NC-17 wasn’t an option). I feel that

Quote of the Day: Lawrence M. Krauss

"Occam's razor suggests that, if some event is physically plausible, we don't need recourse to more extraordinary claims for its being. Surely the requirement of an all-powerful deity who somehow exists outside of our universe, or multiverse, while at the same time governing what goes on inside it, is one such claim. It should thus be a claim of last, rather than first, resort." --Lawrence M. Krauss

Scientific Theory vs. Opinion

Scientific Theory vs. Opinion According to celebrity physicist Brian Cox, head of the ATLAS division of the Large Hadron Collider at CERN in Geneva, the largest and most advanced technology that science has ever developed, and his colleague Jeff Forshaw, a Professor at the School of Physics & Astronomy in Manchester and an expert in the phenomenology of elementary particle physics, they state that a good scientific theory is one that "specifies a set of rules that determine what can and cannot happen to some portion of the world." Notice that they are dealing with things which occur in reality, i.e. are observable/testable, and thus can be understood according to the physical processes which underline all of reality. Continuing on they add that a good scientific theory must "allow for predictions to be made that can be tested by observation. If the predictions are shown to be false, the theory is wrong and must be replaced. If the predictions are in accord with