Tag Archives: debate

Falun Gong is another cult that refuses medicine

View at Medium.com

Link here. Back in the day I sided with them on the grounds of religious freedom, and because the CCP was harvesting their organs and ruthlessly trying to stamp them out. I didn’t have a perfectly consistent position because I always made exceptions that favoured Christianity.  Let’s just agree that both sides are bad. Continue reading Falun Gong is another cult that refuses medicine

Why you ultimately can’t be allowed to believe whatever you want without criticism

“Why you ultimately can’t be allowed to believe whatever you want without facing criticism.”

(I’ll be paraphrasing Sam Harris here.)

I just want to contradict part of a common hippy logic that we should be allowed to believe in fantasies if they make us happy, or if we are weak and need them to survive. It often goes that they think that anyone who is invested in crapping on their fantasies is an a-hole. Undoubtably there are a-holes, but I think many of us do it benignly because we recognize the danger of bad ideas and if you will be living in the same society as everyone else, then your beliefs and their potential consequences are not an entirely private matter. If you’re going to vote, then it’s not just about you anymore, and you need to grow up and enter the arguments and face the music that you don’t want to hear. Most atheists do not enjoy inflicting emotional distress by telling vulnerable Christians that there is no Santa Clause, but there’s a kind of moral responsibility that can’t be ignored.

If each of us lived apart in our own prison cells, then there would be no harm in believing whatever we want. But there is obvious potential harm from letting someone live within fantasies which we can liken to having a bugged operating system. You never know when the vulnerability will be exploited. The people will also vote and if they don’t know what they are doing then their actions will affect everyone else. Often there doesn’t seem to be any immediate harm in letting someone believe a falsehood (such as that the Earth is flat.) However, since you can never be sure of what the future holds lies are not good in the long-term even if they’re convenient. Because a flaw that seemed harmless can suddenly become significant when the world changes, such as when scientists made findings in STEM cell research, and then the religious conservatives turned reactionary and slowed down science because no one fixed their religious operating system.

Christians would be much better of believing there isn’t such a being, and you’ll be able to see a much more complicated world. Unfortunately, their belief system makes it so that you can discover there really isn’t any debate. Because you simply aren’t going to convince someone that has convinced themself that everything you say that is contrary to their conviction is part of a coverup–as with every argument you’ll have with a flat-earther.

A response to when Catholics defend the Galileo and the backwardness of the Middle Ages


Pause to remember the Renaissance which means “rebirth” in French. Christians couldn’t draw, everything was flat 2D because they were focused on their inner spiritual world rather than the external world, and if Christianity were instrumental for progress then we would have advanced sooner within those 1000 years without needing to dig up ancient knowledge from the Greeks (and Romans.) We rediscovered old art and that is when we learned the techniques of foreshadowing and 2 point perspective which had been lost for a thousand years, and then only after reading ancient Greek philosophy were we ready for a scientific method, because Christian thought was always an obstacle. The moment science expanded from neutral topics and started to contradict the Catholic church and its dogma, the church fought back and then you had Galileo’s arrest and other heresy trials.

Ancient Greece was always a more advanced civilization than the most Christian countries that have ever existed during the Dark/Middle Ages because they had a freer spirit of inquiry. It’s a terrible thing when Christianity fights our values, and then when it loses it tries to claim credit for them. DarkMatter2525 made a video about that, titled “The theft of our values.”

A response to when Catholics defend the Galileo and the backwardness of the Middle Ages

You can’t say there was stagnation in the Middle Ages, because Christianity invented the crossbow

Funny how the first examples that you thought of were advancements in weapon technology. Yes, it’s natural for you to think of those because the Middle Ages were a barbaric time full of strife, sectarian violence and holy wars, as during the time when we were the closest to following God’s holy word. That was when we thought about the God and Jesus the most, and followed the bible the more strictly than at any other time in history. The result for Europe was close to hell on Earth, with disease, widespread illiteracy, superstition run amok, systems that perpetuated injustice, anti-Antisemitism, serfdom, disenfranchised women, and the Inquisition.

Now we would expect there to be some technological advances in a thousand years anywhere, but the question is why there wasn’t much more of it during that very Christian time period, and then why did it suddenly change? I don’t think it’s coincidental that when we found ancient knowledge during the Renaissance it triggered a Scientific Revolution. There is something about Greek thought and even its religion with all of the lazy gods which allows for freer thought than Christian monotheism.

Monarchs and elites helped by pushing back against the church; had they not done that then the new printing presses would have printed bibles and theological treatises which were what the handful of literate people (monks) had cared about for centuries. A division of power between church and state helped literate geniuses to communicate and spread revolutionary discoveries when they were separated by hundreds of miles, (and also allowed aristocrats to shield dissidents like Martin Luther who could further weaken the Catholic hegemony.)

Fundamentalist Christianity looked just like Fundamentalist Islam in the Middle East today, but how often do you hear about new scientific discoveries coming out of the Middle East? Their greatest technological advancements today involve breeding camels. If we hadn’t pushed back against the church, then we still would be where the Islamic world is right now, stuck in the 7th century during the 21st century.

It’s no coincidence that the period when we most strictly adhered to Christianity was a time when we fell backward so far that we forgot how to make concrete for one thousand years. Yes, the Romans knew how to do it, and they built the Roman Pantheon with it in 125 AD, and then shortly after most of the population embraced Christianity we lost the technology and literally forgot how to make cement for one thousand years. In fact, I was told when I took Art History at college that we never found the same exact recipe and to this day we still can’t make the same strong concrete in the way that the Romans did at the Pantheon.

I wish to ask you only out of amazed curiosity–whether you feel any embarrassment at arguing in the defense of groups of people who owe you no loyalty and who would absolutely kill you at the drop of a hat if they were still around? Do you really think the Inquisition, or the guys running the Salem witch trials in early Colonial America could be trusted to not back-stab you and be your allies? If not then why on Earth do you think you’re in the right when you try to revise history to defend the actions of such detestable people?

Take the pope, you say he met Galileo. Wonderful, let’s imagine how that might have happened in context.

Galileo wanted to publish a book that contradicted the church’s teachings about an Earth-centered universe. The Pope agrees to meets him, hears his idea and is impressed and says, “Well that sounds like a great idea. I will mandate it and make it the only belief you’re allowed to have.” Galileo then says, “Well that sounds very nice of you, but no thank you, that kind of misses the point.”

Like I said, don’t you feel any embarrassment when your internet posts shield people who banned thousands of books? Or a religious organization that banned the laity from owning a bible for centuries to prevent contradictions or biblical criticism, because it would weaken the authority of the priests?

Don’t you value the free speech that allows you to write what you’re writing on the internet? It seems clear to me that you keep two sets of books, and whenever you walk into a room to argue about religion you leave the book with critical thinking at the door. Religion comes to us with a smiley face and an ingratiating form, but you have no right to forget how it was when it was strong before it lost its claws.

It is the willingness of scientists to say “I don’t know”-to really integrate doubt into their view of the world-that constitutes their privileged position with respect to truth

I just read part of an email exchange Sam Harris had a a few years ago with Andrew Sullivan, a ‘moderate’ conservative gay Catholic who worked for the Atlantic (how much cognitive dissonance he must live with!) It was a fruitless exchange and shows the limits of rational discourse when religious people simply refuse to answer Socratic questions or have their premises challenged. So I just wanted to share a well written paragraph by Sam Harris:

It is the willingness of scientists to say “I don’t know”-to really integrate doubt into their view of the world-that constitutes their privileged position with respect to truth. As you know, there are an uncountable number of questions upon which religion once offered a faith-based answer, which have now been ceded to the care of science. Indeed, the process of scientific conquest and religious forfeiture is relentless, unidirectional, and highly predictable. Some smart person begins to doubt received opinion-about the causes of illness, the movement of celestial bodies, the nature of sensory perception, etc.-he or she then observes the world more closely (often making shrewd use of technology and/or mathematics) and makes predictions that can be verified by others. What we see, time and again, is a general unwillingness for religious people to seriously interact with this discourse (and even an eagerness to subjugate or murder its perpetrators) whenever it challenges doctrines to which they are emotionally attached. Eventually, however, the power that comes with actually understanding the world becomes too seductive to ignore, and even the clerics give in. In this way, real knowledge, being truly universal, erodes the basis for religious discord. Muslims and Christians cannot disagree about the causes of cholera, for instance, because whatever their holy books might say about infectious disease, a genuine understanding of cholera has arrived from another quarter. Epidemiology trumps religion (or it should), especially when people are watching their children die. This is where our hope for a truly nonsectarian future lies: when things matter, people tend to want to understand what is actually going on in the world. Science (and rational discourse generally) delivers this understanding and offers a very frank appraisal of its current limitations; Religion fails on both counts.

http://www.beliefnet.com/faiths/secular-philosophies/is-religion-built-upon-lies.aspx?p=16

A geologist shows Noah’s Ark is impossible

 

 

earth-church-sm.gif

I have to bookmark this, since I’m familiar enough to refute Creationism with astronomy, or by talking about Bill Nye’s talking points on tectonic plates, tree rings and evolution, or by talking about the ships and the myths, but geologists have even more to say about Ken Ham’s nonsense!

https://www.csicop.org/si/show/twenty-one_reasons_noahs_worldwide_flood_never_happened

Ah, to be an atheist really is to have a better mind. If there is a heaven and we’re the ones going to it, maybe we can appropriate the ditty of the Southern Baptists and tell the stubborn theists…

“We are the pure and chosen few
And all the rest are damned
There’s room enough in hell for you
We don’t want heaven crammed.”

 

 

Why more guns can’t save lives at a mass shooting

I always hear the argument, “If 1/3rd of the people at that Las Vegas concert had a gun, they could have trained the guns at the window and fired, and sooner or later he would have been hit and died with fewer deaths!”
Not sure if my rebuttals have been pointed out, but if all of the people opened fire on that Las Vegas hotel, just think about how many shots would have missed his window and how many people in that hotel would have died! That’s the main reason the police allegedly did not risk returning fire when they identified the room until they could break through his door.

Why do you use citations?

Question: Why do you use citations?

Answer: They show you’ve done research; they prevent misunderstandings by keep thinking people on the same page; they provide reading material, demonstrations and examples that can be used as evidence; they elevate a discussion by encouraging people to read more before spouting their mouth on things they know nothing about. Suffice to say that better debates have them.  I cannot assume everyone I meet has read what I have, and it’s easier to provide a link to some sources. I usually prefer to leave posts that are rich in information that can be called out (except when my opponent is a lazy idiot.)

 

I don’t try to hide what I’ve read unlike someone who only wants to persuade, because if I’ve inadvertently made errors I want someone to find them rather than to be convinced by a bad argument. Scholars, professionals, priests and lawyers can’t argue formally without citations to their scriptures. They’re also fun to use, unless you want a rigid forum for pure thought. Citations are a sign of a formal debate and let people contradict each other on material grounds by providing evidence, which makes it more obvious when someone’s events and facts are wrong.
I’ll give a favorable shout out to anyone who occasionally provides examples and references, while entering the litigation game with links when there was a point of contention. I prefer a debate where someone understands a subject and has read enough of his position to provide examples and can make a case that requires fact checking, unlike with someone whose opening post is so fallacious that you can usually defeat it with logic without even checking what he is talking about. Many people have become used to making stupid arguments and not being challenged. They’re not used to actually providing evidence and litigating of the relevant points in an opposing argument, but if you can’t show your work you can’t prove it, and if you can’t prove it then you don’t know it.

Abortion -Thread

Bleh, I go beyond those who want to say abortion is fine until X months (an arbitrary number) I am for eugenics by either parent if the baby is born with serious defects. I am even in favor of infanticide for any reason if either parent parent wants it within a period of 2 months after birth (my arbitrary number); I would prefer it be done humanely by a doctor, but the laws aren’t there yet.  Continue reading Abortion -Thread