Saturday, August 31, 2013

Time travel, will it ever be possible?

I know this is an anti-religion blog centering on atheism. But one of the reasons I became an atheist is because I did some critical thinking. Lately, I applied that critical thinking to other things outside of religion. I'm no scientist; I don't really have an aptitude for science, though I do revere it. Science works, bitches.

But, there's one thing I have been giving thought to, and that's time travel. Of course I don't know anything about it, insofar that I can't completely comprehend the hypotheses put forth by many physicists. I have dabbled in studying Einstein's Theory of Relativity (general and special) and how if we were actually able to travel at the speed of light it has time ramifications, etc. Time dilation was further proved with atomic clocks on planes (clocks tick slower when in motion). Hawking posited some time-travel hypotheses, too. 

But as I mowed the lawn today it hit me: Time travel (at least going back in time) never will be possible, regardless of how fast science eventually will allow us to move. As it stands right now, we can all agree no one has invented time travel. We have no working models, etc. 

Now, here's the part you have to grasp: Regardless of when time travel would be invented, if it were invented at all, we would already know about it. Think about that for a second. Clearly it hasn't been invented up to this point. If it were invented in the future, whoever invented it would have traveled back in time and displayed his/her incredible invention. 

This would also mean all time is infinite and everything that is going to happen already happened, and everything that happened in the past is still happening, like on a constant loop. In other words, imagine if we invented time travel today and went back to 1950. If it were possible, that would mean when you got there and announced yourself to them as the inventor of time travel, they would then have to comprehend that things were happening in a future world they couldn't imagine. And, we would now know about it, because that would be the single greatest story in history and would be well-documented in newspapers, etc.

So, fast forward to 2013, when as far as we know there is no time travel possible, nor do we have reports of it from the past. If someone were to have traveled through time from the future, and present himself to us now, we would have to accept that our future selves are living in an infinite spacetime universe and that time travel has always been in existence, because once you achieve it and can bend the fabric of spacetime, then time travel will have always been around since time would then have no meaning.

Since this isn't true, and there are no credible reports of people traveling back in time to chat with us, or any version of us in the past, we have to conclude time travel will never happen.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Kreeft shows he's antiquated

This video was brought to my attention in a roundabout way on Facebook and I just had to comment.

First, Dr. Kreeft likely is forced to make these one-sided videos now because as a debater on such issues he was consistently and soundly defeated. It's hard to believe he still clings to Aquinas-ism since it's such a poor argument for the existence of god and the main reason why he was always destroyed in debates. And as a quick aside, he lists Boston U. (a Catholic school, by the way) as his school, but his videos are from Prager University, which isn't even an accredited school that can offer degrees; it's an online site that compiles five-minute videos to teach students, a Readers Digest of "education" if you will. So his credibility continues to sink further into obscurity.

But let's get to how foolish this video really is. Aquinas' proofs are outdated and vacuous. His first three, which all state exactly the same thing, are the weak foundation upon which Kreeft's entire argument rests. These three "proofs" basically use an infinite regress, which means asking a question that begs another question ad infinitum until Christians are forced to use their one escape/answer, which is to say it must be god. It's called the God of the Gaps argument, and it gets weaker every time science proves something else god didn't make. But there's a major flaw from this saint: Aquinas' "proof" assumes god is immune to this regress. Why do believers get to say, without proof, their god doesn't need a prime mover? And the irony isn't lost on me that Aquinas' proofs prove nothing.

It's much simpler to explain the universe's origins with the Big Bang (or an as yet unknown cause) than it is to explain an omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent being who was always there with no causality (something Kreeft himself says must exist). However improbable Kreeft may think the odds are that the universe exists out of nothing, the odds are INFINITELY greater and more improbable that a divine being had no creator of his own, has existed for all time and created everything out of nothing as well. Ever heard of Occam's Razor? When there are two competing hypotheses, the one that has the fewest assumptions is generally right. In other words, the simple explanation wins. A perfect god is anything but simple.

Aquinas' other "proofs" are just as refutable and antiquated, but since Kreeft only chose the "prime mover" example, there's no need to get into the others.

Kreeft's use of Newton to help his cause was quite pathetic. First, yes, Newton claimed to be religious. So was just about everybody until the nineteenth century. Why? Because that's when social pressure (and fear of being called a heretic and facing death as a consequence) to be religious had finally subsided, and there was more scientific support for abandoning belief in a deity. 

I would venture to guess that if Newton were alive today, with all of the discoveries and scientific evidence we have now, he would be at the very least agnostic. Think about all that has been discovered or invented since he died: Einstein's Theory of Relativity, Darwin's Theory of Evolution, splitting of the atom, nuclear power, airplanes, quantum mechanics, space travel, Hubble's telescope, modern medicine, etc. To hold him up as a proof of god is a poor choice. And how desperate is it to use one person's beliefs to defend such a weak argument? For every Newton there are dozens of clergy who lose faith and become agnostics or atheists. That's no way to defend a point of view or argument. 

As for saying believing in god is rational, and atheism requires faith, well that is pure ignorance and is very irresponsible on his part. Atheism requires nothing; it is merely a stance on one point: the lack of evidence for any god or supernatural occurrence. It's not even close to being a religion. Using faith and atheism together like that is akin to saying something like, "What is the color of arrogance?" It's a non-sequitur; they don't even belong together. 

Faith, as it pertains to religion, is a belief in something you can't prove ... the very definition of the Christian god. Rationality, on the other hand, is having sound judgement and reason: two things a religious person can't have when it pertains to their god and religion. It's also the reason why debating people like Kreeft is futile, because they're too far gone in their indoctrination and delusions to hear the truth. Or as Friedrich Nietzsche said, "Faith: not wanting to know what is true."

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

God's Master Plan

"You saw me before I was born and scheduled each day of my life before I began to breathe. Every day was recorded in your book!" -- Psalm 139:16

In other words, everything is predetermined, predestined by the god of the bible. There are so many problems with this, I actually struggled with where to begin.

How about prayer? Doesn't god having a plan throw a huge kink into intercessory prayer? We already know prayer doesn't work (see my post here), but the delusional believers who continue to get on their knees (and speak to an invisible force that's not there) don't know it doesn't work. If they truly believe prayer works, then that would mean their god had other plans for them and they changed his mind.

They are essentially saying to their god, "Your predetermined plan is wrong in my mind and I would like you to alter it in my favor."  (Wouldn't that be a form of blasphemy?) If the prayer is answered in their favor then prayer works and the perfect god isn't really perfect, he's humble and able to be convinced he makes mistakes. This is a god I could get behind. Of course I believe there is no god, but if there were one I'd like this one.

Now, if god already planned their entire lives down to the minute, then how could he be persuaded to change his mind? Everything is predestined, remember? You can't have it both ways ... Oh wait, all of Christianity believes you can have your cake and eat it, too. Kill someone? It's OK because you can be forgiven to pass into heaven. And just as a quick aside, if their god is omniscient, as they absolutely believe, then wouldn't that god know what you want already? Why pray? Does he just like to hear you beg before he'll consider changing his plan? It's just preposterous on so many levels.

But this master plan has so many problems with it. Here's a particularly appalling one:

Nine million children die each year before they reach the age of five. If you do the math, that means by the time you finish reading this sentence a handful of children will have died a horrible death, likely of starvation or lack of medical treatment. And, if you believe Christianity, this is all part of god's plan. There is not enough publicity spin in the universe to make the Christian excuse, "God works in mysterious ways," rectify this horrible statistic. Imagine a god sitting idly by as 17 children die every minute, and if you believe he's omniscient then you know he could stop it and chooses not to ... because of his master plan.

The tsunami that killed 250K people a few years ago? All part of the plan. Hitler? God knew Hitler was coming and would kill 6 million Jews, and he did zilch to stop it. Judas? Christians hate him, but he was only doing what he was supposed to do ... if you believe in the plan.

Cancer, murder, genocide, rape, child molestation, drug addiction, thieving televangelists, tornadoes, hurricanes, torture, 9/11, hell, satan and anything else you can dream up are all just god's way of managing his children. What a loving father. And, even the things Christians are against is still part of the plan. Don't believe in abortion? God's plan. About 30,000 denominations of the one true god's religion, which leads to war, divided families and other violence? All part of his plan.

The best part about this argument is Christians can't fall back on freewill, which I destroyed here anyway. But even if there was Christian freewill, that doesn't explain natural disasters, cancer, children dying and anything else out of their control. If you read the quote at the top of the post you saw that god planned every moment of your life, so how can you have freewill, and how can you be punished for whatever path you chose in life?

What about his wasted design of the universe? One planet in a sea of billions of planets has life? Why make the other planets, or the other trillion stars and billions of galaxies? Why make an earth that kills off 99 percent of all of its species? If he made them, then he made it so they would become extinct for no reason. If there was a god and he truly made this planet just for us, then why not just make one world that worked and didn't rely on a sun, etc.? Why make the Andromeda galaxy so that it is on a collision course with the Milky Way, which would kill us all, provided the sun hasn't become a Red Giant and swallowed us whole by then.

So, what is the rational explanation? All of these things are occurrences that are a product of their surroundings and environment. That there is no indifferent god ignoring us or making us suffer intentionally. We truly have freewill, there is no afterlife justice and we are all just stuff made from stars. No plan, just life.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

The retort that never happened

As I posted previously, I joined Facebook with the intention of defending myself and throwing cold water on the ignorant believers when they overstep their boundaries with their arrogant lies. 

But the other night a post was made by a family member that basically insulted scientists and said they are stupid when they try to prove there is no god. I had visions of firing off a comment that would just destroy this person, but felt it was best to launch my opening salvo when the topic just couldn't be avoided and was personal. So I took the high road. But since this is my blog and that person will likely never see this, here is what I wrote out as therapy, and then never posted it.

Seriously, what is the point of your ignorant comment and for posting this at all? Are you looking to goad your atheistic family members into a public debate you can't win? I'm game. Are you trying to show how little you know about science and burden of proof? Scientists have never tried to prove there is no god; they have much more important things to do, like keeping you and your family alive. Scientists search for answers to the unknown, completely the opposite of what you so irresponsibly and unappreciatively posted. What you and believers like you are so afraid of is science continues to find answers to the unknown, and eventually there will be no more room for god, and then what? You'll have to think for yourself? Being a scientist is perhaps the most admirable profession there is, and it's the sole reason you can drive your Lexus, live in a plush home with electricity, fly to Wyoming, play with your little magic box and make offensive comments on this atrocity known as Facebook. Putting quote marks around the word scientist is so sad, and the only time you should do that is if you accompany it with Creation Scientist, because they are truly the pathetic ones who deserve the quote marks. What they do isn't science at all, but rather an abomination. Real scientists don't have to prove there is no god because they aren't the ones convinced there is one. That's your responsibility as a believer, and you'll never be able to do it. Why not keep these worthless jabs confined to your Apologia group where your non-thinking followers can continue to mindlessly nod in unison? 

Anyway, I just felt like putting this somewhere so I know I addressed it somehow, even if no one else reads it. Some day, and that day is coming soon, I'll start to comment like this and then no one will be friends with me on FB.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

On their terms

I see and hear a lot of comments from atheists about how so many theists often show their ignorance when referring to the theory of evolution. And not just the "I didn't come from no apes," line, but their misuse of the word theory, sometimes intentionally. 

The laymen's general use of the word theory is almost always tied to hunches or non-researched guesses of the unknown. "I think the bookshelf came loose because the cat keeps climbing up on it, but it's just a theory." 

While this watered-down definition of theory is perfectly acceptable when dealing with something as trivial and conversational as loosened furniture, it has no place in the world of science. In science, a theory is law, it's fact until you can prove otherwise. Gravity is a theory, too. Feel free to climb out on the roof and take a leap if you don't believe theories are laws or true.

A hypothesis is much closer to what average people mean when they use the word theory. A hypothesis is an educated guess at explaining something that is currently untested or inexplicable, with the intention of testing it with due diligence and experimentation. Once it's positively proved by multiple unrelated sources and can be falsified, then it becomes theory. A theory in this sense is a principle that is agreed upon as correct by the scientific community and can be used as explanation and prediction for a class of phenomena.

When theists disingenuously misuse the word theory to misrepresent what it means, it is grossly irresponsible and spineless. Clearly it's a sign of desperation and perhaps a lack of security in their faith or holy book. But not all theists reject evolution, mostly just creationists. And these morons are truly the bottom of the believer barrel.

But it got me to thinking: If I came face-to-face with one of these dolts, is there a religious term I could use to show them similarly how easily this tactic could be used unfairly? Then it hit me: apologist. If you weren't religious or well-read, you might see or hear the word apologist and think it means someone who apologizes for something. And that would be ignorant.

(As a quick aside, people often get offended when they are called ignorant or told they are ignorant on such things. It merely means they aren't educated on a particular subject; it's not an insult. They are uninitiated or uninformed. I'm ignorant of French cuisine and TV repair. It's no big deal. The funny thing is, if they're insulted by being called ignorant because they think you're calling them stupid, then that's ignorance again.)

So if you then put the adjective "Christian" in front of apologist, you would think that person was apologizing for either Christianity or for being a Christian. (Of course I feel like they really should be apologizing for the atrocities Christianity has committed and continues to commit, but that's not the point of this post.) An apologist is someone who defends something, usually in speech or written word, and a lot of times the subject is unpopular, though that's not necessary. So, when you hear apologist, a synonym for that is defender or advocate.

Just as the insincere theist or creationist throws around "theory" in an effort to belittle evolution, I could just as easily say Christian apologists are apologizing for their religion because it's so ridiculous and harmful. Would that be fair? No. Would it be misleading to sway the audience to a non-believer's side? Yes.

Again, it comes down to education and critical thinking. Think for yourselves. Evolution is fact, look it up and deal with it.

My Facebook era begins

I have denounced Facebook for ages, mostly because I think it actually promotes antisocial activity, plus the useless platitudes people post (or should I say share?) serve as pseudo-intellectual hokum, and that’s just sad. 

But lately my family has been going overboard with the religious tripe (my wife and fellow non-believer has an account) and now they're including me in their comments, saying they're praying for me, etc., because they recently found out I am an atheist. So I decided to join FB just to balance the equation. I’m sure I’ll piss a lot of people off, but they didn’t take my feelings into consideration, so why should I care?

Monday, August 12, 2013

Freewill, who really has it?

I propose the only people who truly have freewill are non-believers. And when I say having freewill, I'm not referring to what neuroscientists such as Sam Harris and physicists such as Michio Kaku argue, that evidence seems to imply we don't have freewill. According to neuroscience, thoughts arise in our brain several seconds before we're conscious of them, so we don't have absolute control over them. That's just being controversial for controversy's sake, since the brain is still making the decision, regardless if the conscious has to follow the path seconds later.

And I'm not touching on something so trite as picking between diet soda and water with lemon at the restaurant. I'm talking morally, and only non-believers have freewill. It's not a terribly difficult idea to follow, but 95 percent of our population fails to see the logic and how belief in a god who will hand down eternal punishment for finite acts removes the ability to exercise freewill.

A simple analogy:

You're sitting at home and the doorbell rings. When you answer it, a robber busts through the door and drags you back into the house. He pulls out a gun, holds it to your head and says, "If you scream, I will kill you. If you stay quiet, I'll let you live." 

Do you scream? Of course not. But it's obvious this guy isn't really giving you a choice. Now, substitute this maniac with the Christian god; the gun (and threat of death) represents hell, and the act of screaming would be any sin Christianity dubs hellbound-worthy.

If you're a Christian, you worship Jesus/Yahweh/HS and follow the dogma, which means you believe there are sins that will send your "soul" to eternal hellfire once it's liberated from your fleshy carcass. Now, how is it that you, a believer, have freewill? What kind of choice do you really have? You don't.

True freewill comes when you can make a choice without fear. As the brilliant late antitheist Christopher Hitchens once said when asked if he believed he had freewill: "I have no choice but to assume that I do." 

Now, granted something so severe as murder should have secular consequences, which is why we have a penal system. After all, I'm not advocating having a free-for-all society. And since we don't have one of these types of societies, it only proves morality exists without religion, for if it didn't, wouldn't there be more crime? And wouldn't the prisons be full of non-believers, instead of the way it is now, where less than one percent of atheists/agnostics make up the imprisoned population?

So perhaps using an example such as murder is too extreme. Let's use the Catholic dogma and use its holy spirit as the example. In Catholicism, if you reject the holy spirit, this is considered an unforgivable sin. You can't even repent. And the penalty? Burn in a fiery hell for all of eternity.

So, the Catholic can be sentenced to hell for all time because of his thoughts and beliefs. ... not even physical actions. And he's not hurting anyone, he just chooses not to believe in a holy spirit, and he has to burn forever.

A non-believer is the only person who truly has freewill. He can reject or accept this holy spirit without fear or a predetermined eternal sentence. Because he doesn't believe in the supernatural he can make his decision freely, hence freewill.

The other rather disturbing fact that arises from these discussions is the lack of fair justice. No matter what the crime is in the physical world, no crime is worth an eternity of punishment. Our time on earth is finite, so an infinite punishment is unjust.

My favorite band is a group called Rush out of Toronto, Canada. As a quick aside, it turns out the drummer/lyricist Neil Peart is agnostic and the bass player/singer Geddy Lee is an atheist. I've discovered a lot of things like this on my journey to de-conversion, that things I liked or followed my whole life were somehow rooted in unbelief. Anyway, one of Rush's most popular songs is called Freewill. The lyrics, as with most Rush songs, are extremely poignant, but for the purposes of wrapping up this post I'll leave you with the chorus. 

You can choose a ready guide in some celestial voice.
If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.
You can choose from phantom fears and kindness that can kill.
I will choose a path that's clear; I will choose freewill.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Like clockwork, their ignorance shows

Through all of my research, I read plenty of testimonies from deconverts who listed the comments their religious family members had made when they finally came out of the closet, and I thought to myself, "My family wouldn't think that way." 

But just like clockwork, they showed just how brainwashed and indoctrinated they really are (from morality superiority to evolution rejection). The most common remark I found from other nonbelievers was when their families would say, "So Atheism is your religion?" And that recently came from one of my devout family members as well.

Atheism isn't a religion. That would be a contradiction in terms, like army intelligence. It's merely a rejection of theistic claims, a position on one issue, and that issue is whether or not any god exists. I don't subscribe to any dogma, tenets, traditions, beliefs in the supernatural or any governing bodies. There's absolutely nothing religious about it and any claim otherwise is pure ignorance.

The inevitable retort from these people is, "Well, you have to have faith to be an atheist." What jibberish, and it's this sort of mindless response that proves these people absolutely are sheep resigned to posting worthless empty religious platitudes on Facebook because they can't think of anything important to say for themselves.

Faith is a belief in something that has no evidence for its existence. Atheism is a stance, like I feel a woman has the right to abortion. You wouldn't say you have to have faith to be pro-choice ... well you might if you didn't even understand what the word faith meant.

Atheism just means there is zero evidence of any god or anything supernatural, and to call it a religion is sad on so many levels. It isn't a belief at all.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Perhaps god needs a bigger condo

I haven't written much lately, partly because I've been terribly busy and was out of the country, but mostly because I need to be moved to write. At random moments during the day I may have a thought that I could develop into a full post, but most of the time I just move on to my next task and forget about the moment.

One thing that has been gnawing at me like a termite on a soft piece of poplar has been how believers aren't the least bit concerned that their god made multiple appearances in the OT, "returned" in the NT, promised to return again before his disciples died and never did, and how no god of theirs has ever returned in 2,000-plus years. 

Matthew 16:28 "Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom."

This god waited about a quarter of a million years as humans suffered and wandered aimlessly on this planet to finally intercede, often chatting directly with certain individuals, disappeared, reappeared, spewed a bunch of parable nonsense and then went away again and never came back. Why? What's the problem with returning? Is he waiting for something? Perhaps we're stuck in some cosmic PlayStation's role-playing game and haven't earned enough points to where we are worthy enough to face the level's leader. 

There's no reason why Christ shouldn't come back right now. What's comical from the bible is the verse where Christ says he is preparing rooms for us in heaven, like some weekend sleepover at a cottage. How can you read this and not laugh? The bible constantly gives man-made attributes to afterlife locations, proving this book is man-made. 

Certainly there are enough people here to make it worth the trip for Christ to return, and with Christianity dying, wouldn't he want to come now before losing any more souls? And wouldn't a teeny tiny appearance "resurrect" Christianity and essentially eliminate competing religions and non-believers? Doesn't he want this? Unless maybe he's running out of real estate up there and can't fit us all so he's waiting for us to all turn into atheists so he can fit those few believers left in his spare bedroom.

Isn't it just a little suspicious that god would leave so much to chance by only sticking around for a handful of years, relying on imperfect humans to safely record and pass on his word? Look at how well they've done so far.  There are more Christian denominations than there are sentences in the bible. Think about that for a minute. 

It just makes so little sense that an all-knowing being would leave us behind. What does that accomplish? Why are we here at all then? Just take us now. How big is his ego that billions and billions of worshippers (throughout time) isn't enough? If god promised to return in his followers' lifetime and didn't fulfill that prophesy, what does that tell you?