Showing posts from June, 2012

Thought of the Day: Life, Purpose, Meaning

A finite life is not the same thing as a meaningless life. If you can't find purpose enough for living in the short time you are here, you're not likely to find it in the hereafter. If you believe in an afterlife, an eternal amount of the same will no help you discover any underlying purpose. The fact is, we make our own destinies--we define out own purpose for being. Unless, of course, a rogue asteroid smashes the Earth into oblivion. Cuz, that's pretty much out of our control. --Advocatus Atheist

What is the Meaning of it All?

"[I]f the existence of God is denied, then one is landed in complete moral relativism, so that no act, regardless of how dreadful or heinous, can be condemned by the atheist.... Hence, atheism is destructive of life and ends logically in suicide." --William Lane Craig (Reasonable Faith, p.55) This absurd quote comes from chapter two of William Lane Craig's masterpiece of sensationalist sophistry and obfuscation that is Reasonable Faith. The book is a headache to read, namely because every other page is laced with a quote like the above. Now, Craig pretends to be representing Fyodor Dostoyevsky 's novel The Brothers Karamazov (1879–1880), but really, it seems more like he's just using Dostoyevsky as an angle to try and slip in some of his inane sophistry--which is so absurd that it is lamentable, if not, laughable that a supposedly rational mind even thought of it at all. I often have doubts whether WLC is all that rational, however. But this is beside the

Quote of the Day: Richard Dawkins

"The popular canard about Hitler being inspired by Darwin comes partly from the fact that both Hitler and Darwin were impressed by something that everybody has known for centuries: you can breed animals for desired qualities. Hitler aspired to turn this common knowledge to the human species. Darwin didn't. His inspiration took him in a much more interesting and original direction. Darwin's great insight was that you don't need a breeding agent at all: nature--raw survival or differential reproductive success--can play the role of the breeder. As for Hitler's ' Social Darwinism'--his belief in a struggle between races--that is actually very un -Darwinian. For Darwin, the struggle for existence was a struggle between individuals within a species, not between species, races or other groups. Don't be misled by the ill-chosen and unfortunate subtitle of Darwin's great book: The preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life . It is abundantl

True Love is Artificial: A Skeptics Perspective

A true love story goes something like this: "I was in Hallmark buying my mother a Happy Birthday card when I noticed this old man standing in front of the Valentines card section contemplating which one to get. I decide to go over and I ask him “Are you getting a Valentine’s Day for your wife?” in which he replies 'No my wife died three years ago from breast cancer but I still buy her roses and a card and bring them to her grave to prove to her that she was the only one that will ever have my heart'" "Wow, now that's TRUE LOVE." I hate this story for two reasons. First, contrary to the narrator's opinion, it is the opposite of a happy story. This man is hurting. He cannot let go of the memory of his dead wife. Instead he is caught in the perpetual cycle of heartache, and although he honors her memory in a sweet and tender hearted way, this is not love--it is love lost--and it is tragic. But what, other than convention, is to say this old man couldn

Is God Belief Inherited? Or Why We Don't Worship Volleyballs

A simple thought experiment to show that God belief is inherited and acquired second hand, from family and culture, is to imagine an atheist on an island by himself, and on a totally different island far, far away a Christian.  With nothing--not a holy religious book or anything outside influence, except for the wind in their hair and the sand beneath their feet, and a few coconuts to survive on, after thirty years, assuming their insanity holds up (excluding the volleyball with a face on it called Wilson ala Tom Hanks) do you think the Christian will remain a Christian? But it's not out of the realm of possibility to imagine him throwing up his arms and relinquishing his faith either. In fact, God's thirty year long silence would seem as if God had ceased to hear his pleas for help altogether, or likewise, it would seem as if there was never any God to hear those please to begin with. It's not hard to imagine that after such a long time the Christian would feel rese

Some Random Thoughts for June: Advocatus Atheist

Here are some short, albeit random and uncollected, thoughts I have had recently. 1. Karen Gillan is beautiful beyond all imagination. She's basically my Helen of Troy. Except that I'm married. Never stopped the Trojans though! Badda-bing! My wife has Jensen Ackles to ogle over, and I have Karen Gillan. That makes it, at least, fair. 2. Properly basic beliefs do not exist. Red appears redly to you is considered a basic belief. The belief the color red exists as it exists, that a particular wavelength of light will, under similar conditions, always appear the same and we will all understand that red is red is red. Even if we see different tints of red, red is still red to the beholder, so there is no need to support the belief with anything--it is considered a properly basic belief. Language theorists would tell you this reasoning is flawed. Before we can formulate what red could mean we must assign it a name, a word, and a sound. The idea comes after the formulation

Sam Harris: On Death and the Present


Is the Bible the Best Supported Ancient Text Ever?

A Christian friend of mine posted this image on FB. My response was (with a few fixes) roughly as follows: I like the design of the chart, but the information is completely irrelevant to the point being made. In other words, it in no way lends credence to the claim of reliability. You cannot take different counts of various ancient texts and then say one is more reliable because of a near ubiquitous proliferation of surviving texts from antiquity. The survival of a text does not relate to whether the histiography used to understand that text is adequately suited for doing so. This "best supported ancient text" argument is an apologetics ploy which neglects to fully consider the fact that reliability has nothing to do with the proliferation or survival of popular texts. In fact, the more ancient the text is the less likely there would be means of preserving it. Especially in the case of the Homeric epics which are separated by nearly 500 years of history--in a time when t

Why Attack Christianity?

Are atheists cruel hearted robots? R2-D2 and C3P0 didn't believe in God. And everybody loves them. It is often asked, usually by my Christian family members, why I am so bent on attacking Christianity? Why don't I attack Buddhism with the same zeal? Well, Buddhists aren't, en mass, currently trying to restrict the rights of my homosexual friends to get married and be happy. My Buddhist friends aren't trying to dictate whether or woman can have an abortion or not and dictate what she can or cannot do with her own body. Buddhists aren't trying to control education policies by supplanting historical and scientific facts for their ancient myths. But that's just one of my reasons for speaking out against Christianity. My other reason is more subtle. I want to educate Christians, because the truth of the matter is, many Christians don't seem to know all that much about Christianity. Granted, it might be unfair of me to expect over two billion people to have