Friday, 31 May 2013

The bible has been written in such a way that it has actually misguided people as to how life on Earth came about. The way the Genesis account has been written is so far from reality that it is more of a hinderance than a help, even using the language available to it's authors at that time.

Genesis could have been written like this following passage to appear brilliantly inspired :
Gensis 2v7 about breathing life into the dust of the ground should have been placed at

Genesis 1v10, And then god took mud of the sea bed and formed tiny plants and animals too small to see with the naked eye
Genesis 1v10, then the tiny plants and animals in the sea grew into other kinds of plant and animals big enough to see, male and female
Genesis 1v11 then plants  animals began to live in the boggy ground by the sea and spread up to cover the land, the kinds gradually altering with changes in each new birth into other kinds of plants & animals
Genesis 1v20 then the fish of the sea started to travel across the land to catch & eat the tiny animals
Genesis 1v24 then when the fish had developed legs and lungs they started to roam the land
Genesis 1v26 then after a number of days too many to think of,  god tinkered with some apes so that they became able to walk on two legs and their  skull & brain enlarged allowing it to communicate. So we humans came to be.
Parody on 2 kings 23v28. As to many other steps in the process, are they not recorded in the book of the  annals of WEIT
There were countless other tiny steps between one kind of plant becoming another and one animal becoming another but it is beyond me to think of them, perhaps in the future people will work it out.
Parody on John 21v25 :Evolution did many other wonderous things. If everyone of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written

Have you ever noticed that the Bible forgets to create mountains ? It starts off Genesis 1v2 Now the Earth was formless and empty, v 9 has god gathering together some dry land. After that it forgets to make god cause mountains to form.
No mention of volcanoes

Maybe Paley’s Watch analogy is good for the case for evolution. If you saw a watch lying on the ground then you wouldn’t think that it had just jumped into final working form by magic – like how the Genesis creation myth imagines life began. Rather you would realize that the watch has been put together little bit by little bit, in a manufacturing process. Also that watches have evolved by trial and error from earlier designs. The ones which failed & the also ran are forgotten, only the selected designs keep getting manufactured.
Daniel Dennett says something like this in ” Darwin’s dangerous design “. I wonder who else has ? Dawkins talks about the issues in, ” The Blind watchmaker ”
So then evolution is a simpler account of our origins than instantaneous creation.
The Bible might have shown signs of supernatural inspiration if it had managed to explain the most puzzling transitions in evolution but it doesn’t even realize that life evolved by natural selection.
Genesis 1v26 or 2v7 could have said, ” And then God took an ape and made the brain & skull bigger so that it could communicate with him & made it able to walk upright on two legs ”
However it in fact looks like primitive guesses.

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

There are loads of videos on Youtube showing the evidence for the evolution of life on earth as well as the evidence for the evolution of the universe. It would be an interesting experiment to play these videos and an audio version of WEIT & Ancestors tale etc in prisons 24/7, with no choice of other viewing and the rule is that no one can get out of prison until they pass an exam listing the evidence for evolution. Well actually i would maybe allow them to see some videos on the history of religion as part of a series on the evolution of culture.
Luke 6v27 says,”love your enemy “, but maybe that should be ” know your enemy “. There should be a rule,” before you shoot, read their book, you might be able to help them by pointing out the errors.” They might notice there are more similarities than differences, but that all religious text mostly look like primitive guesses compared to the encyclopedia of the evolution of science. They might also notice the evolution of law codes, the evolution of the concept of hell & heaven, the evolution of stories about their prophets.
If people think it looks nearly magical that one species could become another well at least it is a billion little magical steps rather than one vast magical leap over the moon and everything came into life instantaneously as we see it today.
Imagine if there had been a real god observing the process of evolution. I would imagine such a god would have made sure that enough increments were fossilized and made visible on rock faces & coal measures etc that humans could marvel at the wondrous process. We could have had museums full of complete fossils and if we needed more why just nip out and dig up yet more. Why make all earlier species only to be forgotten ? Why wouldn’t a god who had delighted in his grand experiment say, ” Look the diversity and ingenuity of it is superb and the other wonderful thing is that there is nothing to fear in death, you just go back to how you were before you were born. Cosy nothingness ” Isn’t it amazing that you have sprung from a code that has been in development for 3 billion years and largely in existence for 100 million years ? P.s sorry about all the suffering, didn’t actually realize that Homo Sapiens would develop a brain capable of such awareness of itself.
Maybe churches & mosques should be required to teach basic level of evolutionary theory in order to get tax breaks ?
I wonder if the media could add more wee mentions about the evidence for evolution through out the day ?
Maybe as more people get access to youtube and wikipedia they will self help more ?
Maybe there should be a test of peoples knowledge of the evidence for evolution before they can immigrate into the country ? It would probably be possible to define a level of knowledge about evolution above which the writings of books over 1300 years old will be seen as largely mumbo jumbo.
Religious fundamentalism is symptomatic of a n information deficit. If people are presented with all the pieces of the jigsaw then the picture they build is likely to be more moderate than if they only have a slither.
How much about evolution were people taught in school 50 years ago ? There might be many people over age 50 who have never paid it much attention ?
I like the idea in C.S. Lewis book, ” The voyage of the Dawn Treader ” where the children fall into the picture of a ship at sea “. I think people construct story pictures about their world then fall into them. A clear understanding of the sheer quantity of evidence for evolution and the real history of the world should go a long way to preventing children from falling into the pictures painted by ministers or imams etc. If the bible and koran had dates put on the events the absurdities would become more apparent.
The Bible has many ideas which a moments skeptical thought show are absurd.
e.g Genesis 2v19, ” Now the Lord God brought all the beasts of the field and all the birds of the air to the man to see what he would name them “.
A BBC news article by Richard Black, 23 August 2011 says there are now estimated to be 8 million species of flora & fauna which could take up to 1000 years to classify.
Animals: 7.77 million (12% described)
Fungi: 0.61 million (7% described)
Plants: 0.30 million (70% described)
Protozoa: 0.04 million (22% described)
Chromists: 0.03 million (50% described)
It would have been really interesting if Adam had used Linnaean taxonomy to make a catalogue of life, complete with accurate drawings, especially if it was 250,000 years ago.
Adam would have needed to do a round the world tour to classify all living things but his alleged 930 years of life still wouldn’t have been long enough.
It is a pity there wasn’t a real god to ensure that there was a complete fossil record of every stage of evolution – so that we could marvel at it. Also you would think a real god would like a comprehensive record of all his works, like the family photo album. A real god would have been proud of the wondrous story of evolution and told of the amazing dinosaurs etc that had gone before – even giving visions of it. How come New Testament authors never had useful visions like that ?
REWRIT : Genesis 2 : Then the science and reason deity said to  Eve, " Now it is time for you to name all the flora and fauna "
Eve said, " Ok cool, but  how long  is it going to take because Adam craves my attention "
And SRD said, " It'll just take a day "
Eve, " So how many are there " Expecting there only to be about 100 "
SRD, " 2 million species "
Eve, " Are you sure ? "
SRD, " Well, not sure, because they keep splitting up and becoming more, but maybe 8 million "
Eve , " OH my God, that will take more like 1000 years to name them all. Are you going to be able to fit them all into this garden , what will they eat while they are waiting ?"
SRD, " True many might die if taken out of their habitat, it would be much easier if you were to follow me round the Earth. "
Eve, " That is going to need a smart Taxonomy "
SRD, " Yes you need to divide them into  Domain, Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species "
Eve " Can Adam come on this expedition, he likes naming things "
SRD, " Yes working on it together could be a fun project "

It would have been good if the early man had gone round the whole planet  cataloging all the flora & fauna, making drawings of each one.

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

The early Hebrew / Jews wrote only of  " Sheol " which was a shaddowy ill defined place where everyone went at death. It is only in the later books like Daniel & 1 Enoch that the references to hades start to creep in. Daniel may have been written after Alexander the Great's conquests hastened the spread of Greek thought through the Levant. This period is called the Hellenization of the Jews. The Greek's imagined Hades as a place underground. initially where everyone went but later the idea of Tartarus developed as a dungeon in Hades where the Titans suffered. This idea later evolved to be a place of suffering for all who had committed crimes.
One day a community of Adams and Eves were sitting around with their little Adams and Eves and Adams parents; Adam and Eve were there, as well as his grandad; Adam.
Then the littlest Eve said, " Dad how did we come to be on this planet ? "
 Adam replied, " Well, Erm you are a little young...  "
Eve replied, " She's not asking that, i've already told her, she means how did life on Earth originate "
Adam , " Oh, I never thought of that, Dad, how did we come to be here ? "
Adam, " Son, that is a good question, Dad how did we get here "
Adam, " Grandson, it's like this... I don't know "
Then Adam junior asked the Bonobo's sitting close by, " Hey monkey face, how did we get here "
Bonobo, " Cheeky, I'm an ape anyhow. Not sure, but I think we have a common ancestor. "
Adam, " No way,  are you trying to make a monkey of me ?"
Gibbon chips in, " It's true further back in time your ancestors looked more like me "
Adam, " Come on, you are having a laugh "
Squirrel, " It's true, further back in time your ancestors looked more like me "
Ratty, " It's true , further back you ancestors looked more like me "
Adam , " How could this be, things don't just happen by magic ? "
Bonobo, " We haven't worked that bit out, we don't have the skill set, we hoped you could work on it, but you must admit the similarities are clear
Kaa, the snake in the grass, " Hold up there, I've been over hearing your debate and i just want to set you straight, because I know with 100% certainty how life originated because I've been talking to God"
Adam , " What is God ? "
Kaa , " Not what, who! God is a huge monstrous snake who lives beyond the stars and created everything in 7 days by magic. God has the power to take you to a happy ever after or a miserable ever after when you die and his decision will depend on whether you accept my true version of the origin of life or whether you listen to those know nothing monkeys.
 Haven't you noticed that when ever you kill one of my relatives bad things happen to you that very year but when you treat us kindly things go better for you "
Adam, " Not totally sure about that link but suppose it could be possible "
Ratty, " Come on Kaa surely you see similarities between your anatomy and the lizards "
Kaa, " Absolutely not, I am holy separate, any resemblance is a coincidence, a trick of the light "
Adam,  " Hmm I'm not sure about all this, but the threat of suffering after death  sounds serious, what do you know about it "
Kaa ( seeing he has spiked Adam's fear ), " Oh the suffering is very real, it is like a million snake bites with venom sending people into wild frenzy "
Eve, " Why that sound awful, if there is even a risk of that we must avoid it "
Kaa, " Well the avoidance of this most terrible fate is quite simple, as I have said all that is required is that you believe the truth, that God said abracadabra & created life on Earth in 7 days and that he will give you further advice through me, his humble servant "
Eve, " Why thank you for helping us avoid a horrid end Kaa, how can we repay you ?"
Kaa, " Just a little food to help me through the winter, and some to offer as a sacrifice to appease God, to keep him in a happy mood, after all you wouldn't like it when he's angry "
Bonobo, " Adam I still think it would be wise to investigate the similarities in our forms "
Eve, " No, we must trust Kaa, what would God think if he could see us doubting the truth, it might annoy him "
Kaa, " Eve I must compliment you on your great wisdom "
Ratty, " I'm not so sure we can trust Kaa "
But Kaa gave Ratty a foul look as if to say, " I've got my eye on you Ratty "
And this is why to this very day snakes eat rats.
 Actually before I go into extinction I expect God would ask me if there were any primitive theories about how life on Earth originated, to which I will reply that there were loads of failed hypotheses.  Some people even came up with the idea that the flora & fauna was created by magic over 7 days and that unless you believe that you will be made to suffer for ever more. And God will laugh, " Oh surely no one fell for that, isn't it illogical to propose that a good God would create life only for it to suffer for ever." I will answer, " Yes that is what i thought " And God will say, " Well I just hope that not many people bought that nonsense," To which I will reply, " Unfortunately there were many who didn't realize it was just parasitic behaviour by priests "

I was reading " The God argument, the case against religion and for humanism " by A.C. Grayling in which he notes that there was a 1996 decision by the synod of the Church of England that hell & suffering there in was just a myth. I google searched and found a BBC news item from 4th April 2000 which had a link to website, which includes articles on universalism by Tentmaker.
In the wildly improbable event that I meet a God one day I expect it will say to me, ” I don’t know you, who, what are you ? ”
I shall reply, ” I am a human from planet Earth ”
And God will say, ” So the rumours were true, the possibility has become a reality, there was
highly advanced organic life forms in the universe after all ”
I shall ask, ” So you weren’t aware of life on Earth then ? ”
And God will say, ” No, I thought it would be a really interesting experiment to start off a universe with a big bang but afterwards it occurred to me that there could be some outcomes I had not initially foreseen, I just hoped it wouldn’t come back to haunt me. Sure I suppose I should have travelled through the universe to check up on it but it looked so vast that I feared I would get lost in it and besides I didn’t have a space ship ”
And I will say, ” Oh that sort of explains it then, sure it was a fabulous experience in some ways but so much pain & suffering too ”
And I expect God will say, ” Oh, sorry about the suffering, if only i had known , i would have helped prevent it if I could, but I couldn’t. Did you manage to work out how you came to be like you are ?
And I shall say, ” Well the scientific method revealed that the theory best support by the evidence was evolution by natural selection – basically a very gradual built up of complexity based on a genetic code ”
And God will say, ” Sounds damn interesting, wish I had known and been able to take a closer look. Now I’d sure like to offer you a happy everafter but I’m afraid you have no immortal soul. So long buddy ”
And Moses came down Mt Sin I, and said to Aaron, " What do you think of these 10 commandments given to me by Yahweh ? "
And Aaron replied, " How come they aren't much different from Babylonian or Egyptian law codes ? "
And Moses said, " Look, do you want to make a living or not, these folk  are too gullibull to check up on it"
Just then sheet lightning lit up the sky carving out huge initials J.C.
The thunder sounded like, " Moses climb Mt  Improbable."
 Moses looked at the cliff and said, " Who speaks ? It looks impossible to climb that cliff, I can't see a way "
The science & reason deity replied, " This is the voice of the science and reason deity,  the source of the one reliable method to finding the truth about reality. I have a software upgrade for you [ recommended ]. You will find a very gentle slope to the top round the back of Mt Improbable.
Moses reaches the top and sees a tungsten filament  burning brilliantly bright yet never burning out, from it the voice says, " Moses take your staff and strike the rock beside you ". Moses did this and it split in two.
" Now look at the rock closely and you will see trilobite, these animals swam in the sea 500 million years ago, they became buried in the sediment & got  fossilized, then the collision of continental plates forced the sea bed to rise forming these mountains "
" But I thought that life on Earth was created instantly by magic 3000 years ago ? " said Moses
 The science and reason deity said, " I can see you are naked of experimental data and I can see through what you do have. The model you are trying to fit data in is transparently false, have you been listening to the spamming snake ?"
Moses, " Yes, It told me that unless I accepted it's hypothesis of 7 day creation then I would suffer for ever after death "
SRD, " The snake is lying as is it's habit, it's hypothesis doesn't have a leg to stand on . Listen  my theory of evolution by natural selection is the only one that really works, the rest are vain idols.
Evolution is the idea that the simplest lifeforms too small to see with the naked eye little by little transformed into more & more complex & varied organisms with the result being the present day flora & fauna "
" Wow " said Moses, " That is an earth shattering, iconoclastic  revelation "
Now said SRD, " Bring me some slabs of slate and I will use micro lightning to etch detailed drawings of many transition forms of animals to help you understand, show these to the people that they might accept your teachings as true "
Moses said, " Great but just one thing, before I forget " Your initials are SRD so what did the great letter's J.C. stand for ?
SRD, " Those are the initials of the prophet Jerry Coyne who will guide you into further truths.
Just one more thing. Your 10 commandments are little better than the Egyptian or Babylonian law codes you need some more advanced ones. Wait a minute and I'll go back to the future to bring you a copy of English common law 2013 as an example to follow.
  Then Moses came down Mt Improbable but found the people serving a load of bull to their children.
  But Moses understood & sympathized with their hominid origins, so he blended the neat truths in many appetizing snacks so they would eat of the knowledge of science willingly, and not leave it at the side of their plate.

Monday, 27 May 2013

One day Mohammad was sitting in his cave doing the really smart thing of studying the Septuagint, New Testament and the writings of Greek philosophers like Plato, Socrates, Epicurus, Anaximander and a whole lot of other stuff by Arabic astronomers when an angelically brilliant idea came to him and said, ” Know what “,
” What ? “, replied Mohammad.
And angelic idea said, ” The stories of the Septuagint and N.T. are mostly fiction. What actually happened was they copied and revised stories of the surrounding cultures, Egypt, Babylon, Greek, Buddhist. It was Plato who developed the Greek idea of Hades and made it sound worse then called it Tartarus which later developed into the nightmare of Hell.”
” Oh how interesting ” said Mohammad intelligently.
Then the brilliant idea said to him, ” You know the Genesis creation story is just a myth, life didn’t come about by magic but by evolution which is a very gradual process where primitive animals can become more complex. So human’s ancestor was like a bonobo ape, and the apes ancestor was like a rat and the rats ancestor was like a fish, Something like that, quite complex to explain.
And Mohammad said something very smart, ” You know what, I think that could be true “.
Then the brilliant idea revealed to Mohammad that 200 million years ago the continents of Africa, Americas, Australia, India and Antartica used to be joined together in one huge land mass which is to be known as Pangea. You will find similar flora & fauna fossils spread over the Pangea .
And Mohammad said, ” Wow that is amazing to find that out, I am going to be able to impress everyone by knowing that, now i am really one up on them, what else have you got to reveal ” .
And the angelic idea said, ” Well you know how lots of people think the sun revolves round the Earth, well in fact the Earth beneath your feet is a planet shaped, spherical, like an orange that is orbiting the Sun “,
” Wow said Mohammad. I’m going to lead my neighbours into these great truths ” .
Finally the brilliant light said, ” That is great, I hope you will make up a code for living by, which minimizes human suffering and maximises their health and happiness, women have the potential to do anything as well as a man can, slavery is forbidden, set a living wage, health & safety at work needs to be a priority & if you study everything really closely using the scientific method then you will find ways to prevent illness & disease and cure people from what causes grief ”
And Mohammad said, ” What joy i have with this great news, i will go and share it with the whole world and help them to understand it ” And so it was that the Arabs became a great advanced civilization renown for their
kindly treatment of their fellow humans.

Sunday, 26 May 2013

More brilliant ideas from Daniel Dennett; author of " Darwin's dangerous idea " and " Breaking the spell "

Dennett offers intuition pumps to help avoid being like prey lured by the bioluminescent escas
 of a bathypelagic angler fish.

I was attracted to " Intuition pumps " by the tweet of Richard Dawkins.
 I thought it would be fun to read the book he was reading.
 I was a bit worried that Intuition pumps would be beyond me
 and that i would be like a fly to the nectar bribe of a pitcher plant.
Some of it was a bit abstract for me but still worth looking through.

I shall attempt to follow Rapoport's rule and list the points in the book
 that I admired or agreed with first before attempting rebuttal's

The best things about this book is that it steer's toward reality by being
 based on the fact of evolution by natural selection and introduces the
 reader to the works of Richard Dawkins, Steven Pinker, Matt Ridley,
Jerry Coyne, Charles Darwin, Richard Feynman.
   IP recommends , " Surely you're joking Mr Feynman ". So I bought it & read it - true enough - it's super.
I thought he would have given a nod to other great books like
" Believing bullshit, how to avoid falling into a black hole "
 by eminent philosopher Stephen Law and
 " Evolving out of Eden, christian responses to evolution " by
 Robert M. Price and Ed Suominen..
Loc437 Dennett comments that " 'Well it seemed like a good idea at the time'
 has often been regarded as the rueful reflection of an idiot, a sign of stupidity
 but we should regard it as a pillar of wisdom."
Every issue has pros and cons. Often we get drawn into making a decision by
 the pro and it is only afterwards that the cons slowly dawn on us or are
 discovered from bitter experience. Many decisions involve a trade off
between competing priorities and aspects. Maybe no matter what decision
 is taken it is always a bit of a mistake in terms of the other priorities.

Dennetts books have helped me to stop being like a moth circling the " light " of Christianity by showing
which points of it are not reality. This has helped me escape the black hole at the centre of
 the christyway galaxy and now the golden rule is just a guiding star.
If God was going to throw people who deny truth into hell then the authors of Genesis creation account would be the most in danger of hell since the evidence supports the theory of evolution where it points to a magical 7 day creation as being wildly adrift from reality. However if there is no immortal part to humans then how could anyone go to a hell. It would be unethical to let people end up in a hell. A loving God wouldn't let that happen.

Alternative creation myths

In the beginning God existed but he developed a technical fault, exploded and that caused the big bang

In the beginning God thought he would do an interesting experiment to bring about a universe so he caused the big bang. After 13.7 billion years of touring the wonderous galaxies & their solar system planets he stumbled on Earth and noticed something a bit unusual. " Oh look there is organic life on that planet " so he descended for a closer look, he saw thousands of species of flora & fauna. " Wow he thought, that is really surprising and cool, how did that happen ? " So he landed on the surface and studied everything. He went around talking to all the animals to see if any would reply. " Hello, who or what are you " he said.  When he came to humans they replied, " I am a human, who are you ", " God " oh so you are responsible for this chaos then. " Well in a way, but i never expected anything quite like this, have you managed to work out how you came about ", " No, we thought you would know ", " I'm afraid not, sure I could explain the stages in the evolution of the stars and all that but the idea of organic life on earth is new to me, have you had any ideas ? " , " Well some say you created life on Earth in 7 * 24 hour days others that it evolved of it's own accord ", " Well certainly not the former, evolution seems more likely since I've observed a sort of evolution in the galaxies ", " Ok ,so you don't know much more than us, what about helping us out with some knowledge how to prevent suffering on Earth ? " " Sorry can't help you their "

A long time ago people wondered how life on Earth originated. Then one man said to the others, " I have had a revelation that life was started by a big man in the sky called God. God did this by magic over 7 days, 6000 years ago. God has appointed me to be your chief, you must do as I say in order to prevent disasters like earthquake, drought, disease, infertility & many other sorts of suffering. God says that I am to be paid 10 % of your wages. If you do not follow my instructions you will have these various calamities fall on you. And the people replied, " Come off it you are just trying to con us " and the man said, " No and if you don't believe me then you will suffer for ever more after you die ". So the People did what he said. But one day an ape came up to the people and said to them, " Did you know that in the distant past you looked like me ". And the people wondered. And then a rat came up and said, " Did you know that in the distant past you looked like me ". And the people wondered. And then a fish came up to them and said,  " Did you know that in the distant past you looked a bit like me " is a good place to compare the bible & quran. It looks to me like the quran contains more references to dire threats than the bible. The quran was written about 700 CE, 500 years after N.T. The quran is synthesis of Septuagint, N.T. and pre islamic arabic myth. The quran has taken the name of a lead god figure, Allah, from arabian polytheism and used it in place of Yahweh. The quran could be described as a jumbled summary of the Bible.
It admits to this itself, 10:74 we decreed scripture for the children of Israel, 23:49 we gave Moses the scripture.
However some how it claims mankind and jinn together couldn’t have produced the quran. I think it would take very little imagination to make variations on either bible or quran.
It is necessary to take a skeptical view toward the quran and give the reasons to recognize which bits are false. Criticism of the bible really applies to the quran as well, since it’s stories are based on bible stories.
The quran has subconscious recognition of it’s failings, 21:5 these are but muddled dreams, he has just invented them, he is only a poet
21:30 the sun stars & earth were joined together until Allah separated them 6000 years ago. Living things were made from water
24:45 allah created every animal of water
92:2 Mankind was created from a clot
There is no evidence for a large Hebrew slave presence in Egypt or an Exodus , yet Ta Ha repeats the stories about Moses. It also places the idea of Hell back into Moses time ( 20:74 ) where as the Septuagint doesn’t know of hades or hell. This is the same trick as re writing the lead characters as being muslim. [ It would be fun to re write the Bible & Koran with the lead figures being atheist ]
quran 5:60 could have been improved if it made allah threaten to reverse evolve the unbeliever into a chimpanzee but maybe it is the believers who are more in danger of that.

Friday, 24 May 2013

I can remember the classes on evolution at school when I was 15. I remember being in turmoil about it because church had filled my head with, ” if you believe evolution then you will go to hell, you need to witness to the biology teacher, take a stand for christianity, defend the bible, make converts or be damned “, etc but I hated the idea of threatening anyone with hell and i had a lot of misgivings about christianity too so I just kept quiet about it. I was tied in knots about the whole thing not knowing if i wanted to go toward christianity or away from it. However I think i missed my chance to get help from the teacher, although he might have been too afraid to comment on religion in case somebody’s parents complained. Partly I couldn’t think what to say or ask.
Maybe from that position I should have just said to the teacher, ” But the bible says God created the world, so how can it have been by evolution ? What about the difference between the Bible & evolution? ” What might his reply have been ?
Would he have recommended some books for me to read.
Would he have said in front of the class that Genesis was the best guess of those writers 2500 years ago but that evolution by natural selection was a much better theory & had much more evidence to support it?
Would he have said, ” Well if evolution is true then there probably is no hell so you can’t go there “.
Would he have said , ” You need to study history & comparative religion & higher criticism of the bible “.
What is the standard response for teachers to hand out now a days ? How many teachers say, ” Well for a start you should study ” Why evolution is true ” by Jerry Coyne. Get to understand the case extremely well before you make a decision about whether it is plausible or not.
I don’t remember my teacher asking, ” Now has anyone got issues with the theory of evolution because if you do then read x,y,z and if you still have issues write me a question and I’ll try to answer ”
Maybe if I’d had a chance to voice my doubts I would have been reassured & learned the details . Doubts like, ” Aren’t most of the fossils just tiny bits like 1% of the skeleton and a whole load of guessing is going on? The fossils aren’t clear what they are, they need expert interpretation , so then you are trusting the scientis

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

To boldly investigate avenues of thought that the church attempts to keep sealed off
To boldly think through all areas of the debates about religion
To boldly go into lines of reasoning where christians fear to tread.
Firstly there is the question of whether the person is aware of all the main arguments then there is the question on what parts of the reasoning they focus on.
Lawrence Krauss wrote " The physics of Star Trek " in 1997 and mentions, " Star Trek, The final frontier (1989)" on p 3, p134, p135 but strangely he doesn't mention the scene where Kirk, Spock & Bones challenge the image claiming it is God. He does mention Sybok though.
Maybe Deuteronomy 5v8 should have said, " Check to make sure that your Gods aren't just idols i.e. illusions and fraud by other men or funny feelings which have better, naturalistic, explanations.
To fearfully cling to a version of orthodoxy
To timidly cling to the apron strings of your parents religion
The main question is maybe whether a person has been brave enough to explore all the issues and thereby reached intellectual maturity or whether due to paranoia has never dared listen to the reasons against their imagined orthodoxy , never looked at the kaleidoscope of views. This despite 1 Thess 5v21 saying, " Test everything. Hold on to the good "
Matt 7v7 " Seek and ye shall find " that the stories in the Bible are mostly fiction or fraudulent propoganda.
" Ask and it will be given to you ", Ask the minister for a list of all the books he has read to see if there are things he is not telling you, ask if there are any books which give reasonable doubts about Christianity, ask your minister what he thinks are the most major reasons for thinking that the supernatural realm is not a reality.
" Knock and the door will be opened to you ", Knock down the doors which ministers have tried to seal to prevent you discovering that they are conning you & themselves

Monday, 20 May 2013

Intuition pumps to help you avoid being lured by the bioluminescent escas
 of a bathypelagic angler fish.

I was attracted to " Intuition pumps " by the tweet from Richard Dawkins.
 I thought it would be fun to read the book he was reading.
 I was a bit worried that Intuition pumps would be beyond me
 but like a fly to the nectar bribe of a pitcher plant I couldn't resist.

I shall attempt to follow Rapoport's rule and list the points in the book
 that I admired or agreed with first before attempting rebuttal's

The best things about this book is that it steer's toward reality by being
 based on the fact of evolution by natural selection and introduces the
 reader to the works of Richard Dawkins, Steven Pinker, Matt Ridley, 
Jerry Coyne, Charles Darwin, Richard Feynman.
I thought he would have given a nod to other great books like 
" Believing bullshit, how to avoid falling into a black hole "
 by eminent philosopher Stephen Law and
 " Evolving out of Eden, christian responses to evolution " by
 Robert M. Price and Ed Suominen..
Loc437 Dennett comments that " 'Well it seemed like a good idea at the time'
 has often been regarded as the rueful reflection of an idiot, a sign of stupidity
 but we should regard it as a pillar of wisdom."
Every issue has pros and cons. Often we get drawn into making a decision by
 the pro and it is only afterwards that the cons slowly dawn on us or are
 discovered from bitter experience. Many decisions involve a trade off 
between competing priorities and aspects. Maybe no matter what decision
 is taken it is always a bit of a mistake in terms of the other priorities.

Chapter VII is Tools for thinking about consciousness. Is it possible to write 
software codes for humans ? Are there some subroutines which undermine our 
experience of life ? Maybe language is like monitor resolution and primitive language
 was like low resolution ZX -1981 graphics in comparison to 2013 megapixel
 windows display. Maybe the more generalized the comment the less accurate it is. 
Perhaps if comments could be adequately specific by restricting them to the level of
 the idea or action in question our thinking would improve.
Phrases like " He is an idiot, fool " are too generalized and it is smarter to say, 
" He did an idiotic thing or said a foolish idea "
Loc 612 Dennett mentions Sturgeon's law - " 90% of everything is crap ". 
Percentages attempt to make a more accurate comment. Maybe the trouble
 with language is that most times the comment ends up generalized on
 some level which allows for many interpretations & misunderstandings.

The old question of " She loves me, she loves me not " might be more accurately put,
 " What does she love about me, and is there anything about me that irritates her ,
 will she mostly enjoy my company over the coming years or will she get sick of me,
 does that depend on whether she focuses on the good times or bad times ? " 
Terrence Real in " The new rules of marriage " attempts to explain what you need to know to make love work.

Anyway there is food for thought in " Intuition pumps " but several sections were
 too abstract for me but at least it is more concise than Dennett's other good books;
 " Breaking the spell " and " Darwin's dangerous idea "
They helped me to stop being like a moth circling the light of Christianity by showing 
which points were false. This has helped me escape the black hole at the centre of
 the christyway galaxy and now the golden rule is just a pole star.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

BBC Radio 4 had a good book of the week about Bumble Bees, ” A sting in the tale ” by Dave Gaulson. Starting 7th May. On 10th Dave pointed out that many garden bedding plants have been bred for larger flowers but unfortunately produce less nectar. Flowers that have been bred to produce double blooms make it difficult for the bumble bees to get to the nectar. Dave pointed out that a century ago there was a far more diverse flora on farmland. Nectar plants for bees have been greatly reduced by a combination of agri herbicides, ploughing wildflower meadows & reseeding with rye grass, fertilising resulting in lush grass blocking out wildflowers, far higher area of grain etc
What if the governments of the world made a rule that there must be a 5 metre band of wildflowers round every field, would that make a big difference or would it need to be a 12 metre band ?
Dave was appealing to people who have a garden to grow plants which are good nectar source
I find the idea that there is no supernatural realm comforting. I feel a wonderful sense of relief to think that the majority of the human race isn’t going to suffer after death, because hades never existed.
I wonder if there would maybe be a lot less mental illness in the world if the vast majority would come out and agree that the primitive myths or our ancestors are failed hypotheses. We can give better answers now to why things happen. The only real demons are things like ignorance, superstition & fraud.

The books advertised on Debunkingchristianity and Exchristian websites can blow faith to kingdom come, especially Victor J. Stenger; ” God the failed hypothesis “, ” God and the folly of faith “, Randal Helms; ” Gospel fictions “, Robert M Price; ” The christ myth theory and it’s problems ”
On BBC Radio 4, 13th May, ” Start the week, Music and the mind “. Richard Bentall; Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Liverpool, author of “Doctoring the Mind: Why Psychiatric Treatments Fail ” was
in debate with Tom Burns; Professor of Social Psychiatry at Oxford University, author of “Our Necessary Shadow: The Nature and Meaning of Psychiatry ”
Richard argued that conventional diagnosis like the DSM5 of USA is often unhelpful / doesn’t work well. Often no one asks the person suffering angst what has gone on to lead them to that point, what troubles them.
Tom argued that there isn’t a germ theory of why people suffer periods of mental illness.
I think folk like Randy worry about the uncertainty of what happens at death. They focus on the threats of hades – the germ / virus floating in society – which seem supported by a mass of people including presidents, doctors, professors & written as if fact in reference books. They fear the threat so fall in line thinking that if they tick the ” I believe ” box then they will be safe. Going with the flow.
On the idea of cognitive behaviour therapy it is quite a positive idea to trust that if there was a god it would either take everyone to happy ever after or let them cease to exist at death.
There are many ideas in the religious restaurant, some people focus on the ones which fit the ” Everything is going to be ok for me ” box and others focus on ” Ruin for me unless I tow the orthodox view “. As R.M.Price says, ” It is just mind games “, ” but often culture already has you half way along the yellow brick road by claims that the stories in Bible & Koran are mostly historical ” I think there is very little reality in either. Read both and it appears the Koran is only a jumbled summary of the Bible, written at least 500 years after it. How would it have needed an angel to reveal it?

REWRIT, More lost sayings of Jesus; " Look at the sparrows of the field,
they do not need to worry about death because they go back to nothing,
so it is with humans, so eat drink and be merry while you live.
On average you can expect 70 years which is a lot longer than the sparrows 3 or 4 years.
 [ Sparrows can live up to 20 years but only 25 % make it to their first year ].
 Try to make the best of this amazing and bizarre universe.
Ps here is how to make binoculars to see the bird's more closely....
.then you'll see that many birds that in the distance appeared to be
 sparrows are other species like dunnock, goldfinches, tree creeper,
wren etc " [ Does the photo show a tree sparrow ? ]
See Youtube Johnny Carson reads letters from 3rd Graders on
" The Tonight Show " 1986 - completing proverbs that they hadn't heard of,
 when just given the start. " A bird in the hand is .... "
My suggestion: A plain bird in your nest is worth a dozen gaudy ones in a magazine.

REWRIT: And Jesus said unto them, consider the birds of the field
for their ancestors were reptilian dinosaurs. Though it does seem
 virtually miraculous that a cold blooded reptile could become
 a warm blooded bird, but there shall come a day when someone
 will be able to explain that to me.
And Jesus said unto them, " Consider the apes of the field,
 for our ancestors were pretty much like them. we share
a common ancestor. Beware of apish tendency to irrational thinking & behaviour.
Try " The Chimp Paradox " by Dr Steve Peters
And Jesus said unto them. Consider the book of Genesis,
 for it has many errors, especially in their idea of how life arose on Earth.
It would have been closer to say that God took an ape
and increased it's brain size so that it could communicate with him.
Luke 23v35 The people stood watching and the rulers even sneered at him,
 " Surely if there was real God he would save you ?
 Or not even let you get put on that cross ".
And Jesus said unto them, " You've got a good point there,
 but I find the idea of a happy ever after comforting "

  • Question 4 should have been , " What were the ancestors of humans like
     when Tyrannosaurus Rex roamed the Earth ? " Answer; We were doing
     time in purgatory as rats - purgatorius.
    I see there was also a Mosesaurus back then in the Maastrichtian. Maybe
     he was a bit like a crocodile faced pied piper of Hamelin leading all the
     dirty rats on a flit out of the chaos of asteroid apocalypse desert to a
    promised brave new world. The way some creationists act you would
    think they had never left the Cretinaceous period.
    Does anyone remember if the Jurassic Park films mentioned what
    mammals existed at in the Cretaceous ?

  • It would be possible to argue that points 2 and 4 about dinosaurs are both true and false. Jack Horner has interesting talks on TED about " Building a dinosaur from a chicken " & " Shape- shifting dinosaurs ". If birds are the descendants of dinosaurs then what point are you going to say they are no longer dinosaurs ?
    It seems that people have spoken carelessly, making sweeping generalizations when they say that dinosaurs were wiped out 65 million years ago. Should it be that the non avian dinosaurs were wiped out by the asteroid strike ? Or just the largest dinosaurs were wiped out ? However if homo only goes back 3 million years before being pretty much like the other apes then it maybe is stretching the definition of bird to say humans walked beside dinosaurs.
    For a funny video see Chickenosaurus :
    My answer to 
    5 , From the earliest time animals have eaten both plants and animals
    11, We should be thankful that there is no God like Jehovah [ or Allah or Marduck or Zeus ]
    12, The theory of evolution by natural selection is the model which the evidence best fits 
    13 Probably there was no Noah or flood or ark. People have imagined that God was telling them to do things but probably they were deluded about that.
    16 localized flood events could have rapidly buried plant & animal species allowing them to later become fossilized. I wonder how many animals were buried & later fossilized by the Chicxulub asteroid ? What size of tsunami might it have caused ?
    Wikipedia lists the following fossilization processes: Permineralization, Casts & molds, Authigenic mineralization, replacement & recrystalization, adpression, carbon films, bioimmuration

    See Lake Titicaca water frog on YT " A&E The undersea world of Jacques Cousteau " hingsadoa channel. Cousteau points out that the frog isn't amphibious like a toad which needs to surface to breath with it's lungs. Instead its lungs have atrophied to the point of being useless and instead bag like layers of skin can absorb oxygen out of the water via capillaries. His hypothesis is that the oxygen poor air drove the frogs to become aquatic where the oxygen was richer. Who can think of a mechanism where such things can evolve just from frogs swimming around in water ? Were there ancient switched off genes that reactivated ?
    Wikipedia article about frogs says that many species can absorb oxygen & water through their skin. It also says that in Lake Titicaca the oxygen content is lower than in lower altitude lakes which is probably why the extra skin flaps evolved.
    The original sin of many religious people is when they write off an idea before they have even researched it, which is why they are religious. That is why I was stuck in christianity so long- didn't read widely enough.

    ReWRIT Deuteronomy 6v16 . Then John said to Moses : Be sure to put your God through an M.O.T test to see if it is road worthy for the 21st Century. Basically from a quick initial inspection round your God I can see near minimum tread on the tires, a lot of rust on the body work, bumpers missing, indicators on the blink and copious black smoke rising to heaven from that exhaust. You have 7 days to bring a certificate round to the station. Honestly I think you'd be better trading it in for a shiny new scientific method.
    Moses : You don't understand, this is a classic, a collectors item, it turns heads. People look at me driving down the street. My wife and I have happy memories with it, she would fall out with me if I got rid of it.

    The original sin was writing things that are desired or possible with more certainty than is warranted.
    This is represented in the attempt at building the tower of Babel - to turn fantasy into reality.
    The original sin of the Bible writers was writing things as definite which were no more than guesses about what had happened in the past.
    Any truly honest account would give the address, date of writing and name & description of author.
    The Bible authors could have said, " We have no written records from the distant past so we are recording the opinions of our leaders about what might have happened in our distant history ". Maybe this introduction to each book of the Bible got lost ? Or maybe there was an introduction passage, " This fiction based play is to be performed for the amusement of the people during days of the full moon ".
    So the original sin of the Bible was fraud which was compounded by dire threats whereas it could have been ameliorated by saying that is was considered no more than a possibility.
    Maybe John 14v6 should have Jesus say, " I am mostly false ideas which will block your way to positive psychology . For how can anyone have joy whilst considering that the majority of humanity will suffer for ever more and how can anyone have peace with the prospect of a judgement day when Jesus could turn round and say he never knew you because you didn't give all your worldly wealth away to the poor or to the church, or you remarried or failed to keep the laws better than the pharisees or doubted or didn't truly believe because it was impossible to figure out what you were to truly believe or any number of other uncertain factors "
    Ever noticed how the author of Matt 25v42 has Jesus threaten damnation to someone who neglects to clothe the poor yet the author of Matt 26v11 is quite happy to say there will always be poor.
    The Bible is a many headed beast - or two many cooks spoil the broth.
    Maybe the original sin was selfishness, I'm going to heaven and to hell with the rest
    ReWRIT John 14v5 Thomas said, " Jesus , we don't know where you are going because your views are so contradictory, how can we possibly know the way from what you have said ? John15v26 claims you say that they hated some of your ideas without reason but many of your threats & views warrant an angry response. 
    You know, it occurs to me that you are in a psychological valley of superstition where you think there are evil spirits and such like that could attack you but I actually think there is no supernatural realm and so nothing to fear.
    John 16v1&21&30 Then Jesus said, " You think you do service for truth but blessed are they who believe in me for they shall have a life of pain and grief like a woman in labour- which proves they are on their way to heaven " And some of his disciples said, " Now we can see you know all things and do not even need to have anyone ask you questions "
    v33 Jesus said, " I tell you this so you will have peace: in this world you will have trouble, grief, suffering and ridicule for holding my ideas "

  • I've been looking at Exodus 34v26 again and I think the original sin was
    " Do not under cook a young goat " which is quite a sensible rule due to risk of food poisoning especially if it had been lying around in the unhygienic conditions of 500 BCE in hot near eastern summer.
    Maybe a typo resulted in a change to 
    " Do not udder cook a young goat " which some smart scribe interpreted as
    " Do not milk cook a young goat ", since it would be utterly absurd to cook a goat in an udder
    So I think i will deliberately put the lord god to the test by seeing if I can masterchef the perfect goat steak but god hasn't left me with much of a divine plan to go on since their original recipe failed to give the minimum time for boiling a goat in milk to eliminate risk of bad bacteria surviving to cause food poisoning. Even without the aid of a holy spirit guide I would recommend searing the goat steak in the red hot pan first of all with some onions, pour in milk , bring back to the boil then simmer for not less than 3 minutes and much nearer 30 minutes. I predict it will be a sin, how much stuff is burnt on the bottom of the pan, and it won't taste too great but won't kill you, which is the main thing.. [ difficult to give accurate time in Bible without hourglass or small increments on sundial, any anachronisms of time keeping devices in bible ? ]

    It occurs to me that Genesis 22 Originally said:
    Then Abraham thought God said : Take your kid and sacrifice it to me on the barbecue .
    Abraham replied : Geez, that seems a bit weird 
    God : Just do it, who are you to question my authority, show some faith
    So Abraham took one of his two sons, Isaac, and was going to murder him
    And then Abraham saw a chariot of angels with blue flashing lights and sirens
    Gabriel : Stop, drop your weapon, what in the hell do you think you are doing ? 
    Abraham: I was just following orders to sacrifice my kid like God ordered 
    Gabriel : Are you out of your mind ? What sort of moral monster do you think God is ? He meant you to sacrifice a GOAT, a kid goat. God is caring and sane, he would never desire you to murder one of your children. Murder is a crime - cruel - a sin damn it.
    Abraham : Darn, I knew i should have bought those fancy new digital hearing aids I saw advertised, but really 
    God should have realized that my hearing wasn't too great
    Gabriel : It's not just your hearing, you seem to be hard of thinking too, oh well I suppose it is only to be expected from species who evolved from apes.
    Abraham: What's with the evolved from apes idea ? I thought life on earth was pretty much instantaneous over 7 days - like magic
    Gabriel: What fork tongued critter told you that primitive mythology ? No, evolution is the way in which species can gradually change over the course of many generations because of the genetic variations in the species, the influence of things like climate and habitat & other predators can select for the variation best able to survive. The less fit ones die and the survivors multiply.
    Abraham : Oh, I think I see, well maybe not ?

  • Re Anna Pierre, North Miami, " Say no to corruption " campaign 2013
    Good campaign poster; ” Say no to corruption “, Say no to religious fraud, Say no to Jesus. Let’s have more education about all sides of the debate, Let’s have health insurance because ,let’s face it, God isn’t going to do any good for your health & Jesus will let you die like sparrows.
    Try, ” Forgery in Christianity ” & “Is it God’s Word ” by Joseph Wheless. Also ” The encyclopedia of Biblical errancy ” by C. Dennis McKinsey.
    Harry H. McCall on Debunkingchristianity 15th May 2013, shows a good example in Matt 18v17 which has Jesus talking about ” the church ” but it didn’t establish until after he was dead.[ assuming that he ever lived ]
    Contra John 14v6. Jesus stands for mostly false ideas which block
    the way to healthy psychology, reality, emotional maturity & higher ethical systems.

    Actually I suspect that some of the Bible writers were trying to conduct a dirty tricks campaign against Jesus by trying to slur his name, by misquoting him, alleging that he spoke a load of primitive mumbo jumbo & nonsense.
    Other sources claim Jesus stood for truth so maybe there was a lost gospel recording his true teachings, probably something like this: One day as Jesus sat by the watergate of Galilee he said, ” Evolution is true, consider the frogs of Lake Titicaca, they are not amphibious like toads of the field which have lungs to breath air and so must surface when in water to breath. Rather their lungs have become atrophied and useless like the brains of many religious fundamentalists.
    Like many species of frogs they can absorb oxygen from the atmosphere but the low oxygen content of Lake Titicaca at such high altitudes has been a selection force for frogs with greater skin surface area. This has resulted in the frogs having large bag like flaps of skin with capillaries that can absorb enough oxygen."
     And all the people who heard this said, ” Surely this is true “.
     And Jesus replied, ” One day there will come a man who will lead you into more truths about the Fact of evolution, and his name shall be called Jerry Coyne."
    But beware of the creationists for their brain is filled with the fossilized thoughts from the cretinaceous period.

    Thursday, 9 May 2013

    ReWRIT; Now, Jesus stood on  Mt Improbable and said, " The love of money is the source of much priestly fraud. The  parasitic priests think that their income depends on maintaining the illusion of God. They are like spammers phishing with their junk maleware codes to see if they can get your cash.
    Blessed are they who have read the books of Richard Dawkins and John Loftus for they shall avoid being parasitised by the priesthood.
    Mark 10v18 : One day a rich young man ran up to Jesus and fell on his knees before him, " Good teacher " , He asked, " What must I do to avoid eternal suffering after death ? "
    Jesus, " Why do you call me good when so much of what I have said is primitive mumbo jumbo ?"
    Boy, " Well my elders told me that unless I think and say that your teachings are good then I will fry in hades "
    Jesus, " Oh dear, sorry about that, you too have been infected with that software virus. Have you not read that the idea of Hades comes from Greek mythology ? I was just repeating the ideas that the society I grew up in told me were true, I trusted the priests assurances that the Septuagint was real verified history but now that I have read the ideas of Socrates and Epicurus & having looked into the future, 21st century, I have come agree with Keith Parsons that it wouldn't be ethical to let anyone suffer after death and in any case humans probably have no immortal soul. Trust me, God is a failed hypothesis "
    John 7 ; The Jews were amazed to hear Jesus say this and asked, " How did this man get such learning in the days of Herod Agrippa ? "
    Jesus answered, " My teaching is not my own, it comes from studying debunkingchristianity "
    But some said, " You are demon possessed "
    Jesus answered, " Now that I speak some sense you are astonished. Demons do not exist, my contrary points of view are because I am being possessed by a legion of ghost writers each competing to assert their view as being divine truth. You think that Moses gave you circumcision but actually it did not come from Moses, more likely just was copied from Egyptian practice, it was later priests who attributed the idea to an earlier mythic figure who became historicized. Watch out for the stories of the Jews for their ancestors were apes "
    Luke 4v29 And they siezed Jesus to throw him off a cliff near Nazareth but they couldn't find one