Posts Tagged ‘Religion’

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Critique of “Science and Design”

September 16, 2013

I was in a civil debate with a friend, and he wanted me to take a look at the article Science and Design, written by William A. Dembski of the Discovery Institute.  Rather than do a quick review with him, I decided to do a better critique here on my blog.

Understand that I am going to especially focus on scientific accuracy.  That’s my “thing”.  It is a pet peeve of mine when religious people (of any faith) make scientific claims that are not supported by the evidence.   With regard to scientific stuff, I will hold no punches.  Deal with it.

When the quantum physics of Bohr and Heisenberg in turn displaced the physics of Galileo and Newton, scientists realized they needed to supplement their deterministic natural laws by taking into account chance processes in their explanations of our universe.

Right out of the gate, Dembski makes a fundamental error in his understanding of science.  Newtonian physics (and Galileo too) was not “displaced”.  As with most scientific theories, the theories were expanded upon or improved on.  We still teach Newtonian Physics in school because it is useful.   This is a minor point, and I am being a bit pedantic in pointing it out, but his misunderstanding about science is common and needs to be mentioned. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Quote Mining and the Bible

September 4, 2011

It always frustrates me when people take a quote out of context in order to make their point seem more valid.  The popular term for this is called “Quote Mining”.  Everybody does this to some extent, but some bring it to a deceitful level– possibly a criminal level.   There are countless examples of this including, but not limited to, the current presidential campaign speeches, the news media, young earth creationists, global warming deniers, etc.  When taken to the illogical extreme, quote mining can produce some very compelling quotes.  For example:

“There is no God” — Psalm 14:1

Of course, when put into context that passage really says:

“The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” ” — Psalm 14:1

Of course, quote mining is most successful when applied to a large body of text that is difficult to interpret, has been translated from different languages, and is old.  Especially a text where people are reluctant to read it themselves.  I am, of course, referring to the Bible.  Although other texts are not immune to it as well.  The works of Nostradamus are very fertile soil for quote mining!

So the question I had was, “How easy is it to quote mine the bible?”  I decided to try an experiment.  I asked my friends on Facebook for some statements that were obviously false.  I didn’t tell them why I wanted the statements.  Once I got some, I picked one out and attempted to justify it using scripture from the Bible.  What follows is a complete work of fiction.  It is made up, using quote mining and other techniques to make sense out of an irrational position.  Enjoy! Read the rest of this entry ?

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Birth Control and the Bible

August 3, 2011

I hate it when people claim to be rational about things but are not.  I also hate it when people blindly believe in things which are obviously wrong.  Naturally, this brings me to the Catholic Church!  Catholics denounce the use of birth control, claiming that the bible is against it.  This is a great area to apply some logic and reasoning, so here goes.

My sources for this blog post come from the following web pages:

It’s History, Dummy

One argument for the banning of birth control is historical.  That, somehow, because that’s the way it’s always been that’s the way it should be.  Of course, that’s complete hogwash.  Just because we used the horse and buggy for hundreds or thousands of years does not mean that automobiles are a terrible idea.  Just because we used cotton and linen in our history doesn’t mean that rayon should be banned.

This logical fallacy is an “appeal to tradition“. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Faith Is Necessary

June 15, 2011

This is a followup to a previous post, Faith is Irrational, where I show that Faith (the Christian definition of the word) is, well, irrational.  This post attempts to cover the other side of that coin to show why Faith is necessary.  Like the first post, keep in mind that I am not trying to change anyone’s religion.  Also, this post is 100% conjecture on my part and worth exactly what you’ve paid to read it.

Faith is the firm belief in something for which there is no proof.  Or at least, we have not personally been exposed to this proof.  This is completely irrational, yet we do it every day.  When we go to the Doctors office, we have faith in the treatments he gives despite not having first hand knowledge in how it works.  We drive through a green light without knowing that the cross traffic has seen the red light.  We eat food without knowing that it has been safely prepared.  Why is that? Read the rest of this entry ?

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Faith Is Irrational

April 20, 2011

Faith in God is irrational.  There I said it…  Now take a deep breath, and relax…  It’ll all be OK.  Breath in.  Breath out…  Good.

Now that you got past my somewhat sensationalistic first sentence, let me be upfront about what this blog post is NOT about.  It’s not about God’s existence and it’s not about Christian vs. Atheist.  The goal is not to convince someone to change their belief system.  I’m hoping that this article will shed some insight on something that Christians take for granted, and therefore tend to loose perspective on.  While primarily written for Christians, even Atheists might learn a thing or two.

The Merriam Webster dictionary defines faith as “firm belief in something for which there is no proof”, and this is my preferred definition.  I think that most of us would accept that definition, but disagree on what constitutes proof.  After all, what convinces one person might not convince another.

What constitutes proof for me lies in the Scientific Method.  In a nutshell, the Scientific Method is a way to prove a hypothesis in a way that’s immune from human interference.  In a previous post, Bad Witness! No Cookie!, I talked about how the human brain and senses can mess with what we think is the truth.  This makes anecdotal evidence very untrustworthy.  Using the Scientific Method is the best way to avoid human error in generating and interpreting data– thus solidly proving or disproving a hypothesis. Read the rest of this entry ?