Question of the Day #13: Design Inference
What methodology does one use to infer design, and how does one differentiate something that is designed from something that is merely complex?
We promote rational individualism, and are opposed to those who assert incoherent supernatural claims.
What methodology does one use to infer design, and how does one differentiate something that is designed from something that is merely complex?
Great quotes from Kersey Graves and Robert Ingersoll...
There is no "mercy or forgiveness" in putting an innocent being to death for any pretext whatever. And for the Father to consent to the brutal assassination of His own innocent Son upon the cross to gratify an implacable revenge toward his own children, the workmanship of his own hands, rather than forgive a moral weakness implanted in their natures by a voluntary act of his own, and for which consequently he alone ought to be responsible, would be nothing short of murder in the first degree.
We cherish no such conception. (...) [N]o person actuated by a strict sense of justice would accept salvation upon any such terms as that prescribed by the Christian atonement.
It is manifestly too unjust, too devoid of moral principle, besides being a flagrant violation of the first principles of civil and criminal jurisprudence. It is a double wrong to punish the innocent for the guilty. It is the infliction of injustice on the one hand, and the omission of justice on the other. It inflicts the highest penalty of the law upon an innocent being, whom that law ought to shield from punishment, while it exculpates and liberates the guilty party, whose punishment the moral law demands. It robs society of a useful people on the one hand, and turns a moral pest upon community on the other, thus committing a two-fold wrong, or act of injustice. No court in any civilized country would be allowed to act upon such a principle; and the judge who should indorse it, or favor a law, or principle, which punishes the innocent for the guilty, would be ruled off the bench at once.
How fortunate it is for us all that it is somewhat unnatural for a human being to obey. Universal obedience is universal stagnation; disobedience is one of the conditions of progress. Select any age of the world and tell me what would have been the effect of implicit obedience. Suppose the church had had absolute control of the human mind at any time, would not the words liberty and progress have been blotted from human speech? In defiance of advice, the world has advanced.
It is a blessed thing that in every age some one has had individuality enough and courage enough to stand by his own convictions, -- some one who had the grandeur to say his say. I believe it was Magellan who said, "The church says the earth is flat; but I have seen its shadow on the moon, and I have more confidence even in a shadow than in the church." On the prow of his ship were disobedience, defiance, scorn, and success.
Surely it is worth something to feel that there are no priests, no popes, no parties, no governments, no kings, no gods, to whom your intellect can be compelled to pay a reluctant homage. Surely it is a joy to know that all the cruel ingenuity of bigotry can devise no prison, no dungeon, no cell in which for one instant to confine a thought; that ideas cannot be dislocated by racks, nor crushed in iron boots, nor burned with fire. Surely it is sublime to think that the brain is a castle, and that within its curious bastions and winding halls the soul, in spite of all worlds and all beings, is the supreme sovereign of itself.
Some atheist bloggers (you know who you are) seem to be entreating us to speak positively about atheism on the Carnivals, to not attack Chrsitianity so much and look to the bright side.
Well, however badly I evaluate IAM's intellect, I must say he's a class act. Thank you very much for letting us on the Carnival. This blog won't grow without the support of carnivals like the Carnival of the Godless.
First new comic I've done in a long, long time. My first few comics from a couple months ago were barely funny. In fact, I've long since forgotten what the one from September 25 was even about. Don't be surprised if that one just kinda disappears.
When I was handed Question of the Day, I had the option of replacing all of Franc's questions with my questions or just letting all of his pan out. For the most part, I simply made up my own.
I'm always surprised to see Christians with a sense of humour. And it never surprises me to see horrible Christian humour. Just Ed is not the least funny Christian comic I've ever seen, but close. Here is one example :
The last IM conversation of my series about religion in the Roman States of America.
It's the essay that was heard round the world, a resounding call for atheism. Penn Gillette deserves an award for standing up for materialism on national radio :
I believe that there is no God. I'm beyond Atheism. Atheism is not believing in God. Not believing in God is easy -- you can't prove a negative, so there's no work to do.
So, I'm saying, "This I believe: I believe there is no God."
I have love, blue skies, rainbows and Hallmark cards, and that has to be enough. It has to be enough, but it's everything in the world and everything in the world is plenty for me. It seems just rude to beg the invisible for more. Just the love of my family that raised me and the family I'm raising now is enough that I don't need heaven. I won the huge genetic lottery and I get joy every day.
Believing there's no God means I can't really be forgiven except by kindness and faulty memories. That's good; it makes me want to be more thoughtful. I have to try to treat people right the first time around.
Believing there's no God stops me from being solipsistic. I can read ideas from all different people from all different cultures. Without God, we can agree on reality, and I can keep learning where I'm wrong. We can all keep adjusting, so we can really communicate.
Believing there is no God gives me more room for belief in family, people, love, truth, beauty, sex, Jell-o and all the other things I can prove and that make this life the best life I will ever have.
Let me start off with a disclaimer: I have no problem with homosexuals (or heterosexuals). What I do have a problem with is hypocritical religious institutions that condemn homosexuals yet are infiltrated with them from top to bottom.
The Vatican says sexually active homosexuals and those who support "gay culture" are unwelcome in the priesthood unless the candidate has overcome homosexual tendencies for at least three years, according to a church document posted on the Internet by an Italian Catholic news agency.
Estimates of the number of gays in U.S. seminaries and the priesthood range from 25 percent to 50 percent, according to a review of research by the Rev. Donald Cozzens, a former seminary rector and author of "The Changing Face of the Priesthood."
The New York Civil Liberties Union has filed a federal discrimination complaint against a Catholic school, charging that it unjustly fired an unmarried teacher for being pregnant.
"I don't understand how a religion that prides itself on forgiving and on valuing life could terminate me because I'm pregnant and choosing to have this baby," Michelle McCusker said Monday at a news conference to announce the suit.
I found a great poetry site recently, Worldling's Christian Poetry. Here are a couple of limericks about Christianity :
Jesus Christers, more rightly than wrongly,
Are opposed to Black Magic quite strongly.
So isn't it odd
That they worship a god
Who is, technically speaking, a zombie?
"I have faith," says the Christian, "and you
Can know God if you just have faith too."
But of course! For it seems
"To have faith" simply means,
To pretend really hard something's true.
The Catholic Encyclopedia concurs :
When the Church approves private revelations, she declares only that there is nothing in them contrary faith or good morals, and that they may be read without danger or even with profit; no obligation is thereby imposed on the faithful to believe them.
Evangelical Atheist is a fucking idiot.
“In my reply to Morgaine from the other day, I said that “There are, without question, those atheists who have simply traded god for science without losing religion in the process.” Francois Tremblay is a perfect example."
Evangelical Atheist, in his recent entry about the Cosmological Argument, seems to be turning post-modernist towards Big Bang theory :
The Big Bang is a good theory. There’s a lot of evidence that it’s an accurate model. It looks right on paper, but it’s an unsatisfying answer. It’s not enough.
We will probably not learn the truth about the origin of the universe in any of our lifetimes.
1. You don’t seem to understand Big Bang theory very well. The singularity did not “sit around”. I would recommend you read more on the topic before passing judgment on it.
2. Your basic argument seems to be that no solution satisfies your feelings. The question arises : WHAT solution would satisfy you ? What would it take for you to be satisfied ? If you answer this question honestly, you’ll understand why you’re wrong.
Evangelical Atheist, you’re acting like a Christian. This is very dissapointing. Have you examined your position at all ? Please make a new entry and tell us what it would take to convince you of the validity of Big Bang theory (which, I remind you, while still not complete, is backed up by all the empirical evidence we have). Do you deny that structures of matter as we know them come from an expansion of spacetime from a primitive state ? Yes or no ? Why ? What would convince you ?
The Raving Atheist asks why Christians and Hindus have legitimacy while belief in Poseidon would not have said legitimacy.
Kent Hovind, Creationist crackpot and now poet :
God does not believe in atheists
His presence from creation is quite clear
God does not believe in atheists
It takes a fool to tell him he's not here
God believes atheists can get born again
And become a new creation,
But they'd best admit the world around them first
And ask for their salvation
But to only cry, "Recycle!" is the worst
God believes atheists do have certain rights
To seek and search the scriptures
It says, "Come now, let us reason" that's for them
But it doesn't give them reason to
Make up what God is saying
Until it's no true benefit to them
Blee dop, sklee dop, sklee dilly dilly
Bah donna bee on a Saturday night
If that sounded like nonsense to you too,
Those schools have got some books for you
4.2.1 All baramins were created in creation week. No new baramins have appeared since then, so we can expect to find fossils representative of all modern baramins throughout the fossil record. We would therefore expect to find cattle [Gen 2:20] or cattle tracks etc. throughout the fossil record in Pre-Fall (possibly), Post-Fall, Flood and Post-Flood rocks.
4.3.1 Within each land animal and bird baramin we expect a pattern of species radiation in Pre-Flood strata, massive extinction down to a single species in Flood strata, a gap followed by radiation into modern species in Post-Flood strata. For example the cattle baramin should show an increase in the number of species up to the Flood, extinction of all but one species at the Flood, a gap followed by a reappearance of that single species and a radiation into modern species after the Flood.
4.5.1 In the Flood period the order of fossils should be determined by hydrological sorting, effectively by body size, modified by swimming ability and flying ability. Acanthostega should appear higher in Flood period rocks than T. rex.
I talked about moral relativity in Christianity. Moral relativity serves the interests of the church and its associated core beliefs, in that it permits the church to adapts to different social circumstances and for its core beliefs to continue to be accepted regardless of the lower popularity of a peripheral belief, such as opposition to religious freedom, the support of slavery, the support of the death penalty, and other such issues.
67 Throughout the ages, there have been so-called "private" revelations, some of which have been recognized by the authority of the Church. They do not belong, however, to the deposit of faith. It is not their role to improve or complete Christ's definitive Revelation, but to help live more fully by it in a certain period of history. Guided by the Magisterium of the Church, the sensus fidelium knows how to discern and welcome in these revelations whatever constitutes an authentic call of Christ or his saints to the Church.
Christian faith cannot accept "revelations" that claim to surpass or correct the Revelation of which Christ is the fulfilment, as is the case in certain nonChristian religions and also in certain recent sects which base themselves on such "revelations".
1) The first norm for evaluating miraculous events is that there be moral certainty, or at least great probability, that something miraculous has occurred. The commission may interview the visionaries, call other witnesses, visit the site of the events.
2) The second norm deals with the personal qualities of the subjects who claim to have had the apparition; they must be mentally sound, honest, sincere, of upright conduct, obedient to ecclesiastical authorities, able to return to the normal practices of the faith (such as participation in communal worship, reception of the sacraments).
3) A third category deals with the content of the revelation or message: it must be theologically acceptable and morally sound and free of error.
4) The fourth positive criterion is that the apparition must result in positive spiritual assets which endure (prayer, conversion, increase of charity).
According to the imbecile "ConcernedCatholic", I do not exist and I am a figment of the modern imagination.
This is a letter I just sent to Matt Slick from CARM:
Dear Matt Slick,
I wanted to bring to your attention a discrepancy I found on your CARM site. Particularly this page:
Now Mr. Slick, as a Christian you believe that sin can be transferred between people. In other words, you believe that guilt can be shifted to a person other than the one that committed the offense. As a Christian you believe that all humans are guilty for fruit eaten by Adam and Eve, and you believe that Jesus was able to suffer punishment and "forgive" or pay the consequences of these sinners. This concept of guilt re-assignment is the centerpiece of Christianity itself.
However, in your "rapedwithchild.htm" page on your CARM site, you specifically say, "Why should I make the child pay for the sins of another?"
I hope you see the significance of this major slip. Your natural, instinctive (non-Bible-based) morality automatically tells you that to have a child suffer for the sins of another is wrong, and you express this in your writing about rape resulting in pregnancy without any second thought or hesitation. It just came naturally to you that to make an innocent child suffer for the sins of another is immoral.
This of course is contradictory to the very centerpiece, the very core of Christian theology. Christianity, and the Bible, quite clearly say in many different verses that guilt and sin can be inherited, traded, and otherwise passed around to people other than the guilty or responsible ones.
It is interesting to see your natural human moral code pop its head out and speak its mind through your writing when you had your guard down. And the ease with which you wrote that sentence makes it clear to me that your moral code is indeed a Godless one. But then again, every human’s moral code is a Godless one when you get down to the subconscious core of it. Your moral code existed before you ever learned about the Bible, and it was fine just the way it was before you ever adopted Christianity.
See, I am an atheist, and I agree with you: it WOULD be wrong to make ANYONE suffer for the crimes of another, PERIOD. You obviously hold on to this tenet except for just a few circumstances: Adam and Eve eating the fruit, and Jesus suffering on the cross. In those two instances, you break your own moral code and say to yourself "That is ok. That is correct." But when any other specific example is put forth before you, without a fruit eating or crucifying context, you say, "That is not ok. That is not correct."
Now Mr. Slick, how do you reconcile this discrepancy? Do you stick true to your Christian beliefs and revise your "rapedwithchild.htm" page and instead say "I should make the child pay for the sins of another," or do you betray your Christian facade and admit that truly, it is NOT OK to have anyone ever be assigned blame for the sins of another, ever?
Mr. Slick, what I am looking for from you is consistency. So in this case, who loses? Your Christian faith, or the rape-baby? One of them has got to give.
I look forward to your reply.
I just got the surprise of the year when I learned that an inconsequential anthology of my Suite 101 Atheism column just got reviewed in an online magazine of international politics... ?!
Anti-theists (such as Tremblay and myself) regard religion as an unmitigated evil that must be eradicated to make for a better world.
In the chapters he dedicates to refuting the bogus arguments from design, he refers to the works of George Smith, Michael Martin, and Corey Washington. His own treatment of the issue is even more original and refreshing - complexity and order do not a design make, he shows.
If you want to survey the emerging battle lines between the regrouping forces of reason and the resurging Dark Ages - read this book. It is a gem of a guide to the real Armageddon that is upon us.
What does it feel like to be an atheist ? It feels like being any other human being. What kind of a stupid question is that ?
Dawson Bethrick reports that our old enemy Paul Manata may have fell off the Internet, or at least the blogosphere. Can we claim victory yet ?
An interesting circumstantial case for Paul's repressed homosexuality, from the enlightening text "The Bible and Christianity - The Historical Origins" :
Saul, the pre-conversion Roman Jew, was a man with an intense self loathing. He doesn't tell us why, but time and again, he describes himself as a sinner who was far beyond any possible redemption. A man who stood condemned in the eyes of God. A man clearly destined for hell, and there's nothing he himself could do about it, especially since his body's 'member' would not cooperate. (...) So mething was eating at Saul. It clearly related to behavior, because he describes himself as being a sinner. Over the centuries, many suggestions have been made as to what might have been the source of that self loathing. Few of them are really convincing, they all seem to have serious problems - except for one: the suggestion that Paul was a repressed homosexual. Homosexuality was not widely condemned in this region at the time, yet it could possibly have been a personal interpretation of Levitical proscriptions that drove him to consider himself a sinner for being a homosexual. Yet when he experiences his conversion, he realizes that by the grace of God, his homosexuality no longer matters, for God loves him the same as all men. I say this after having read the references in the New Testament in which Paul speaks of his shame and his self loathing: his words have a startlingly deep resonance with every gay man who was ever brought up in a Christian environment. This theory alone to the exclusion of all others I've seen explains all the strange aspects of Paul's attitudes towards sexuality - the proclivity to a monastic degree of chastity, the extreme mysogony, the fact that he remained single and urged others in his situation, whatever that was, to do likewise, and the frequent discussions of how the 'members' of his body do not cooperate with his spiritual goals, and his despair over his inability to effect the changes he would like. All of these evidences are consonant with the repressed-gay theory; no other theory I know of account for them all.
If this theory is true, it may well be that the whole of the Christian edifice of sexual doctrine, and even of Christianity itself, is built on the foundation of the self-loathing of a repressed gay man, unable to change himself or find salvation within himself, but finding salvation only in the grace of God. Again, if this theory is true, try to imagine how world history might have been different had Saul not been born gay and suffered the self-loathing that resulted from that circumstance of his birth.
There are many ways in which we can say something is a "miracle". There are secular uses of the word - a miracle being something positive and extraordinary, or something that has tremendous emotional impact - which have no bearing on this discussion. Although people have very little understanding of probabilities and can come to believe that extraordinary events must have a greater explanation, we know that the improbable must happen to a lot of people every day, by simple mathematical necessity. Miracles in this sense are the expression of the extremes of natural law.
After a promising first post, it appears that Christopher Lycan's blog, "Naturalism: A Critical Appraisal," has died. At the very least, it has now been seven months since the blog was birthed, and it's received no attention since then. The stated purpose of his blog was: "Examining The Absurdities of "Goosing The Antithesis."
Should we be bothered or offended by people who say that they'll pray for us?
Craig Sowder of Through The Eyes Of Faith opined recently on homosexuality, specifically on how, given his Christian worldview, he can justify criticizing their lifestyle. Although he begins by suggesting that homosexuals aren't born with that orientation, he does admit that he's arguing the nature/nurture question, and in fact goes right after the nature itself. He says,
Now, from here we could ask all kinds of deep philosophical questions about the nature of a 'nature' and what the relationship is between our natures and our physical bodies. But really, what I want to suggest is that it is not a stretch at all when thinking about original sin to see that this also has effected our very DNA itself. After all, as Christians, we believe that our physical bodies themselves are fallen and are in need of glorification. So if our DNA is fallen, is it not possible that homosexuals are born the way they are because of fallen DNA? Is not sin in general, in fact, a problem with our genes? If you grant this point, then all of the scientific arguments that homosexuals bring forth against our position lose all their force. After all, not only are people born as homosexuals, but they are born as liars, rapists, murderers, and idolators as well.In fact, it might have been in Craig's best interest to spend some time asking the "deep philosophical questions" about the "relationship between our natures and our physical bodies." Because he begs on hell of a question by assuming that a 'nature' can cause a body to 'fall.' His entire argument rests on the premise that something immaterial can affect something material. How exactly does "sin" interact with DNA, I wonder? Does "sin" fit into the major groove or the minor groove of the molecule? Does "sin" bind to polymerase? If so, what is the Kd of that relationship? Can I use "sin" to design and carry out mutations in a gene I'm working with for my fellowship project? I'm sure I don't need to go any farther to illustrate how non-sensical and absurd this hypothesis is.
Am I intolerent ? Yes, yes I am. I am intolerent against all belief systems that undermine the importance of life and independent, critical thought. I am intolerent of Christianity, as well as most religions, intolerent of most political positions, intolerent of cults and other organizations that try to subvert the individual. Unfortunately for some of our fans at the Hellbound Alleee Show, that also includes liberalism. We've had a "Why Liberals are Wrong" show recently which made some people uncomfortable.
Doctrine-belief independence is a particularly interesting facet of Christian memetics, because it gives rise to what is perhaps the most infuriating and obtuse sort of Christian behaviour - the willful ignorance they exhibit about their most revered icons, Jesus and God, preferring to invest them with their own personal meanings. Most of the time these meanings have absolutely nothing to do with the Biblical representation of these characters.
BOBBY: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen, I am the Amazing Jesus, son of God and master of prestidigitation! Has this ever happened to you? Your followers want a glass of wine, but all you have is water. Well, if you're the Amazing Jesus, no problem! Water into wine! It's a miracle! John 2:11. Thank you. Now you're going to need something to go with all this wine, maybe some bread. But how are you going to feed all these hungry people with just one slice? No problem, if you're the Amazing Jesus! Amen! It's a miracle, ladies and gentlemen! Mark 6:44. Thank you! Now, for my next miracle, I'll need a large wooden cross and a couple of volunteers...
By JOHN HANNA, Associated Press Writer
The 6-4 vote was a victory for intelligent design advocates who helped draft the standards. Intelligent design holds that the universe is so complex that it must have been created by a higher power.
Critics of the new language charged that it was an attempt to inject God and creationism into public schools in violation of the separation of church and state.
"This is a sad day. We're becoming a laughingstock of not only the nation, but of the world, and I hate that," said board member Janet Waugh, a Democrat.
Supporters of the new standards said they will promote academic freedom. "It gets rid of a lot of dogma that's being taught in the classroom today," said board member John Bacon.
The new standards say high school students must understand major evolutionary concepts. But they also declare that the basic Darwinian theory that all life had a common origin and that natural chemical processes created the building blocks of life have been challenged in recent years by fossil evidence and molecular biology.
In addition, the board rewrote the definition of science, so that it is no longer limited to the search for natural explanations of phenomena. [empahsis added. -Z]
The new standards will be used to develop student tests measuring how well schools teach science. Decisions about what is taught in classrooms will remain with 300 local school boards, but some educators fear pressure will increase in some communities to teach less about evolution or more about creationism or intelligent design.
"What this does is open the door for teachers to bring creationist arguments into the classroom and point to the standards and say it's OK," said Jack Krebs, an
But John Calvert, a retired attorney who helped found the Intelligent Design Network, said changes probably will come to classrooms gradually, with some teachers feeling freer to discuss criticisms of evolution.
"These changes are not targeted at changing the hearts and minds of the
The vote marked the third time in six years that the
In 1999, the board eliminated most references to evolution. Harvard paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould said that was akin to teaching "American history without
Two years later, after voters replaced three members, the board reverted to evolution-friendly standards. Elections in 2002 and 2004 changed the board's composition again, making it more conservative.
The latest vote is likely to bring fresh national criticism to
Many scientists and other critics contend creationists repackaged old ideas in new, scientific-sounding language to get around adecision in 1987 against teaching the biblical story of creation in public schools.
endorsed teaching intelligent design alongside evolution.
As a recent B-movie fan, I'm getting kinda used to being befuddled or annoyed by a horrible movie. But recently I have gone through tremendous suffering in order to watch the movie "The Trial of Billy Jack" in its entire, agonizing three hours run time. This is it. I'm a veteran now. Nothing else can hurt me.
Viewing the evolution of religion from a Darwinian perspective, as a meme, one would expect successful modern faiths to discourage suicide and promote sexual reproduction, which is precisely what we see. Suicidal cults, or faiths that discourage procreation, are at a tremendous competitive disadvantage for passing on their beliefs.
Atheists, and others who lack similarly appealing fantasies of faith, make extraordinarily poor candidates for suicide bombers.
Death is "no big deal" for the truly faithful, and that's a problem. Faith-based afterlife delusions have consequences beyond suicide bombings and nonchalant attitudes toward capital punishment; for an inestimable number of people it has resulted in lifetimes of forbidden pleasures, self-denial and unnecessary misery endured explicitly to achieve the hypothetical "eternal reward."
Gloria Steinem concisely summarizes the problem, "spirituality celebrates life, religion celebrates life after death."
Memetics has a lot to say about Christianity. This is to be expected : Christianity has proven itself as a very resilient meme complex. It has existed for about 1950 years (no, that's not a typo), is the second-oldest major religion apart from Hinduism, and yet still has a follower base of 2.1 billion people. It has mutated within a large variety of cultures, and survived even in the most rigorous social conditions. For its complexity, it is probably the most powerful meme complex to ever evolve, pound-for-pound.
I was first introduced to Nadir Ahmed through Derek Sansone (which should have been a clue right off- Derek meets the strangest people), and my interest was piqued because he claimed that the supernatural inspiration of the Koran could be proved scientifically. Nadir pointed me to a debate transcript on his website, www.examinethetruth.com, that he had participated in with a critic of Islam, Denis Giron of Freethoughtmecca, and I checked it out.
Nadir structures his argument through the lens of an "algorithm" that can be found here. Basically, the algorithm examines specific components of the Koran that correspond to modern scientific knowledge. Although the algorithm assigns eight different possibilities to the reason for scientific correspondence, they basically amount to: 1) Chance, 2) Common Knowledge, and 3) Supernatural Knowledge. Thus, if there exists an element of scientific accuracy in the Koran that can not be due to chance (the statistical significance coefficient is not mentioned), and can not be something that could have been known by the author of the Koran (or his contemporaries), then we can conclude that the source of that knowledge was supernatural, i.e. Allah.
Fair enough, it’s not perfect, but let’s see where he goes with it. Nadir offers eight evidences for scientific truth in the Koran that his algorithm proves comes from a supernatural source. The full text of the debate can be found here. But let’s focus on the first evidence, which concerns the gender of bees:
This is what modern science has to say on the topic of zoology, in particular bees. We're going to be talking about bees over here. Today science tells us that the male bee has only one purpose, and that is to reproduce with the female - there's really no other purpose for a male bee. Now here's the important point - however, the worker bee or the soldier bee is a female bee. She is the one that builds the nest, leaves her home, and goes out in search of food. This what modern science tells us - that we have discovered only recently. Now it takes a specialist in the field to detect the sex of the bee - you cannot look at it from the naked eye - it is impossible, there is no way you can look at it that way. Now let me show you what the Qur'an says about bees. Now, keep one thing in mind here. In the Arabic language, animals are either male or female. Like in English we have the word cow - "the cow in the pasture" - that does not tell us if the cow is male or female. But in Arabic animals are either male or female. There is no gender neutral term for animals. Let's look inside chapter sixteen verse sixty-eight. It says over there:
"and thy Lord taught the bee" (here it is specified a female bee) "to build its cells in hills, on trees, and in men's habitations, then to eat of all the produce and find with skill the spacious paths of its Lord."
This is exactly what modern science today tell us - that the bee that goes out and builds the nest, that goes out looking for food, as what the Qur'an has mentioned, is indeed the female bee.
So anyway, I'll have to raise a question now. How did the author of the Qur'an know this scientific statement, that the bee that leaves the nest in search of food is the female bee? Let's go back to the algorithm. If you can look at that link which I have just sent you, let's look at that algorithm. Perhaps the author of the Qur'an was a genius or a scientist, which is (A) and (C). Well, I don't think that could be a possibility, becuase no matter smart you are, you'll never be able to detect the sex of a bee, unless you had these modern scientific methods which did not exist one thousand four hundred years ago, so those could not be a possibility. Let's look at (F). Perhaps the scientific fact is observable. Well, this is not true either, because you cannot look at the bees and tell which one is a male or female. Let's look at (B). Perhaps it was a very good guess. Well, it is a possibility. If it was a good guess then we'll say it was a fifty-fifty chance, one half chance if that was the case - or coincidence, we can look at it that way. Now let's look at (G) here, I want to pause on this one for a second. The information already pre-existed in history, therefore the author of the Qur'an simply plagiarized from another source. Let's analyze this for just a second here.
So what is Nadir’s argument here?
P1) It is impossible for anyone living in the seventh century to have known scientifically that bees (or at least, the ones that we see) are female.
P2) The Koran says that bees are female.
C) (From the algorithm) The Koran must have been supernaturally inspired.
But hold on. Look closer at the second premise, as Nadir himself gives the argument for establishing that.
P1) If a language incorporates gender-specific nouns, then any instance of that noun explicitly intends a literal gender translation.
P2) In Arabic, the noun “bee” is feminine.
P3) The Koran was written in Arabic.
C) The Koran says that bees are female.
Obviously, this is a very weak argument. Hundreds of languages incorporate gender-specific nouns, and in many of them the word “bee” is feminine. This seems to be a textbook example of the Chance possibility of his own algorithm!
Strangely enough, I got the chance to talk to Nadir today through Paltalk, and he agreed with me. I wish I had recorded our conversation, because I’m still having a hard time wrapping my brain around the logic that he was using. He admitted (as he did in the debate with Denis) that many other languages imply that bees are female (by his argument above), but that, even though Arabic only had a 50% chance of getting the right gender, it still got it right. Then things got stranger, and Nadir then said that even though it got the right gender, that didn’t necessarily mean that the Koran was divinely inspired- he was able to make that conclusion by looking at all the evidences. That is to say, even if you could show that each evidence corresponded to modern scientific knowledge by random chance, by accumulating multiple examples (50% x 50% x 50% etc.), you arrive at a statistical improbability of the Koran having natural origins.
It’s quite mind-boggling, I know. He seems to be somewhat of a Muslim Jason Gastrich in his argumentation. Check out his website for more evidences.
How would you define intellectual bullying? Is there such a thing as bullying someone with the truth?
Let me state this strongly enough : there is no such thing as price-gouging. It is anti-capitalist propaganda, given to us by people who should know better, and some who know better.
I read an article on memetics recently that brought to my mind the following question. How well does the claim that Christianity is necessary for moral judgment fit with "Jesus"' admonition of "judge not lest ye be judged" and his calls for "universal love" ?
Lasting far longer than any other of our national conflicts, the drug war has been prosecuted with equal vigor by Republican and Democratic administrations, with one president after another — Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush — delivering sanctimonious sermons, squandering vast sums of taxpayer money and cheerleading law enforcers from the safety of the sidelines.
It's not a stretch to conclude that our draconian approach to drug use is the most injurious domestic policy since slavery. (...) In 1980, 580,900 Americans were arrested on drug charges. By 2003, that figure had ballooned to 1,678,200. We're making more arrests for drug offenses than for murder, manslaughter, forcible rape and aggravated assault combined. Feel safer?
I've witnessed the devastating effects of open-air drug markets in residential neighborhoods: children recruited as runners, mules and lookouts; drug dealers and innocent citizens shot dead in firefights between rival traffickers bent on protecting or expanding their markets; dedicated narcotics officers tortured and killed in the line of duty; prisons filled with nonviolent drug offenders; and drug-related foreign policies that foster political instability, wreak health and environmental disasters, and make life even tougher for indigenous subsistence farmers in places such as Latin America and Afghanistan. All because we like our drugs — and can't have them without breaking the law.
Another IM conversation in the Roman States of America. What happens when Vesta turns presup...