Archive for the ‘Science’ Category

A boundary where scientists face a choice: invoke a deity or continue the quest for knowledge

Writing in centuries past, many scientists felt compelled to wax poetic about cosmic mysteries and God’s handiwork. Perhaps one should not be surprised at this: most scientists back then, as well as many scientists today, identify themselves as spiritually devout.

But a careful reading of older texts, particularly those concerned with the universe itself, shows that the authors invoke divinity only when they reach the boundaries of their understanding. They appeal to a higher power only when staring into the ocean of their own ignorance. They call on God only from the lonely and precarious edge of incomprehension. Where they feel certain about their explanations, however, God gets hardly a mention.

Let’s start at the top. Isaac Newton was one of the greatest intellects the world has ever seen. His laws of motion and his universal law of gravitation, conceived in the mid-seventeenth century, account for cosmic phenomena that had eluded philosophers for millennia. Through those laws, one could understand the gravitational attraction of bodies in a system, and thus come to understand orbits.

Newton’s law of gravity enables you to calculate the force of attraction between any two objects. If you introduce a third object, then each one attracts the other two, and the orbits they trace become much harder to compute. Add another object, and another, and another, and soon you have the planets in our solar system. Earth and the Sun pull on each other, but Jupiter also pulls on Earth, Saturn pulls on Earth, Mars pulls on Earth, Jupiter pulls on Saturn, Saturn pulls on Mars, and on and on.

Newton feared that all this pulling would render the orbits in the solar system unstable. His equations indicated that the planets should long ago have either fallen into the Sun or flown the coop—leaving the Sun, in either case, devoid of planets. Yet the solar system, as well as the larger cosmos, appeared to be the very model of order and durability. So Newton, in his greatest work, the Principia, concludes that God must occasionally step in and make things right:

The six primary Planets are revolv’d about the Sun, in circles concentric with the Sun, and with motions directed towards the same parts, and almost in the same plane. . . . But it is not to be conceived that mere mechanical causes could give birth to so many regular motions. . . . This most beautiful System of the Sun,

Planets, and Comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being.

In the Principia, Newton distinguishes between hypotheses and experimental philosophy, and declares, Hypotheses, whether metaphysical or physical, whether of occult qualities or mechanical, have no place in experimental philosophy. What he wants is data, inferr’d from the phænomena. But in the absence of data, at the border between what he could explain and what he could only honor—the causes he could identify and those he could not—Newton rapturously invokes God:

Eternal and Infinite, Omnipotent and Omniscient; . . . he governs all things, and knows all things that are or can be done. . . . We know him only by his most wise and excellent contrivances of things, and final causes; we admire him for his perfections; but we reverence and adore him on account of his dominion.

A century later, the French astronomer and mathematician Pierre-Simon de Laplace confronted Newton’s dilemma of unstable orbits head-on. Rather than view the mysterious stability of the solar system as the unknowable work of God, Laplace declared it a scientific challenge. In his multipart masterpiece, Mécanique Céleste, the first volume of which appeared in 1798, Laplace demonstrates that the solar system is stable over periods of time longer than Newton could predict. To do so, Laplace pioneered a new kind of mathematics called perturbation theory, which enabled him to examine the cumulative effects of many small forces. According to an oft-repeated but probably embellished account, when Laplace gave a copy of Mécanique Céleste to his physics-literate friend Napoleon Bonaparte, Napoleon asked him what role God played in the construction and regulation of the heavens. Sire, Laplace replied, I have no need of that hypothesis.

Laplace notwithstanding, plenty of scientists besides Newton have called on God—or the gods—wherever their comprehension fades to ignorance. Consider the second-century a.d. Alexandrian astronomer Ptolemy. Armed with a description, but no real understanding, of what the planets were doing up there, he could not contain his religious fervor:

I know that I am mortal by nature, and ephemeral; but when I trace, at my pleasure, the windings to and fro of the heavenly bodies, I no longer touch Earth with my feet: I stand in the presence of Zeus himself and take my fill of ambrosia.

Or consider the seventeenth-century Dutch astronomer Christiaan Huygens, whose achievements include constructing the first working pendulum clock and discovering the rings of Saturn. In his charming book The Celestial Worlds Discover’d, posthumously published in 1696, most of the opening chapter celebrates all that was then known of planetary orbits, shapes, and sizes, as well as the planets’ relative brightness and presumed rockiness. The book even includes foldout charts illustrating the structure of the solar system. God is absent from this discussion—even though a mere century earlier, before Newton’s achievements, planetary orbits were supreme mysteries.

Celestial Worlds also brims with speculations about life in the solar system, and that’s where Huygens raises questions to which he has no answer. That’s where he mentions the biological conundrums of the day, such as the origin of life’s complexity. And sure enough, because seventeenth-century physics was more advanced than seventeenth-century biology, Huygens invokes the hand of God only when he talks about biology:

I suppose no body will deny but that there’s somewhat more of Contrivance, somewhat more of Miracle in the production and growth of Plants and Animals than in lifeless heaps of inanimate Bodies. . . . For the finger of God, and the Wisdom of Divine Providence, is in them much more clearly manifested than in the other.

Today secular philosophers call that kind of divine invocation God of the gaps—which comes in handy, because there has never been a shortage of gaps in people’s knowledge.

As reverent as Newton, Huygens, and other great scientists of earlier centuries may have been, they were also empiricists. They did not retreat from the conclusions their evidence forced them to draw, and when their discoveries conflicted with prevailing articles of faith, they upheld the discoveries. That doesn’t mean it was easy: sometimes they met fierce opposition, as did Galileo, who had to defend his telescopic evidence against formidable objections drawn from both scripture and common sense.

Galileo clearly distinguished the role of religion from the role of science. To him, religion was the service of God and the salvation of souls, whereas science was the source of exact observations and demonstrated truths. In a long, famous, bristly letter written in the summer of 1615 to the Grand Duchess Christina of Tuscany (but, like so many epistles of the day, circulated among the literati), he quotes, in his own defense, an unnamed yet sympathetic church official saying that the Bible tells you how to go to heaven, not how the heavens go.

The letter to the duchess leaves no doubt about where Galileo stood on the literal word of the Holy Writ:

In expounding the Bible if one were always to confine oneself to the unadorned grammatical meaning, one might fall into error. . . .

Nothing physical which . . . . demonstrations prove to us, ought to be called in question much less condemned) upon the testimony of biblical passages which may have some different meaning beneath their words. . . .

I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with senses, reason and intellect has intended us to forgo their use.

A rare exception among scientists, Galileo saw the unknown as a place to explore rather than as an eternal mystery controlled by the hand of God.

As long as the celestial sphere was generally regarded as the domain of the divine, the fact that mere mortals could not explain its workings could safely be cited as proof of the higher wisdom and power of God. But beginning in the sixteenth century, the work of Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, and Newton—not to mention Maxwell, Heisenberg, Einstein, and everybody else who discovered fundamental laws of physics—provided rational explanations for an increasing range of phenomena. Little by little, the universe was subjected to the methods and tools of science, and became a demonstrably knowable place.

Then, in what amounts to a stunning yet unheralded philosophical inversion, throngs of ecclesiastics and scholars began to declare that it was the laws of physics themselves that served as proof of the wisdom and power of God.

One popular theme of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries was the clockwork universe—an ordered, rational, predictable mechanism fashioned and run by God and his physical laws. The early telescopes, which all relied on visible light, did little to undercut that image of an ordered system. The Moon revolved around Earth. Earth and other planets rotated on their axes and revolved around the Sun. The stars shone. The nebulae floated freely in space.

Not until the nineteenth century was it evident that visible light is just one band of a broad spectrum of electromagnetic radiation—the band that human beings just happen to see. Infrared was discovered in 1800, ultraviolet in 1801, radio waves in 1888, X rays in 1895, and gamma rays in 1900. Decade by decade in the following century, new kinds of telescopes came into use, fitted with detectors that could see these formerly invisible parts of the electromagnetic spectrum. Now astrophysicists began to unmask the true character of the universe.

Turns out that some celestial bodies give off more light in the invisible bands of the spectrum than in the visible. And the invisible light picked up by the new telescopes showed that mayhem abounds in the cosmos: monstrous gamma-ray bursts, deadly pulsars, matter-crushing gravitational fields, matter-hungry black holes that flay their bloated stellar neighbors, newborn stars igniting within pockets of collapsing gas. And as our ordinary, optical telescopes got bigger and better, more mayhem emerged: galaxies that collide and cannibalize each other, explosions of supermassive stars, chaotic stellar and planetary orbits. Our own cosmic neighborhood—the inner solar system—turned out to be a shooting gallery, full of rogue asteroids and comets that collide with planets from time to time. Occasionally they’ve even wiped out stupendous masses of Earth’s flora and fauna. The evidence all points to the fact that we occupy not a well-mannered clockwork universe, but a destructive, violent, and hostile zoo.

Of course, Earth can be bad for your health too. On land, grizzly bears want to maul you; in the oceans, sharks want to eat you. Snowdrifts can freeze you, deserts dehydrate you, earthquakes bury you, volcanoes incinerate you. Viruses can infect you, parasites suck your vital fluids, cancers take over your body, congenital diseases force an early death. And even if you have the good luck to be healthy, a swarm of locusts could devour your crops, a tsunami could wash away your family, or a hurricane could blow apart your town.

So the universe wants to kill us all. But let’s ignore that complication for the moment.

Many, perhaps countless, questions hover at the front lines of science. In some cases, answers have eluded the best minds of our species for decades or even centuries. And in contemporary America, the notion that a higher intelligence is the single answer to all enigmas has been enjoying a resurgence. This present-day version of God of the gaps goes by a fresh name: “intelligent design.” The term suggests that some entity, endowed with a mental capacity far greater than the human mind can muster, created or enabled all the things in the physical world that we cannot explain through scientific methods.

An interesting hypothesis.

But why confine ourselves to things too wondrous or intricate for us to understand, whose existence and attributes we then credit to a superintelligence? Instead, why not tally all those things whose design is so clunky, goofy, impractical, or unworkable that they reflect the absence of intelligence?

Take the human form. We eat, drink, and breathe through the same hole in the head, and so, despite Henry J. Heimlich’s eponymous maneuver, choking is the fourth leading cause of unintentional injury death in the United States. How about drowning, the fifth leading cause? Water covers almost three-quarters of Earth’s surface, yet we are land creatures—submerge your head for just a few minutes, and you die.

Or take our collection of useless body parts. What good is the pinky toenail? How about the appendix, which stops functioning after childhood and thereafter serves only as the source of appendicitis? Useful parts, too, can be problematic. I happen to like my knees, but nobody ever accused them of being well protected from bumps and bangs. These days, people with problem knees can get them surgically replaced. As for our pain-prone spine, it may be a while before someone finds a way to swap that out.

How about the silent killers? High blood pressure, colon cancer, and diabetes each cause tens of thousands of deaths in the U.S. every year, but it’s possible not to know you’re afflicted until your coroner tells you so. Wouldn’t it be nice if we had built-in biogauges to warn us of such dangers well in advance? Even cheap cars, after all, have engine gauges.

And what comedian designer configured the region between our legs—an entertainment complex built around a sewage system?

The eye is often held up as a marvel of biological engineering. To the astrophysicist, though, it’s only a so-so detector. A better one would be much more sensitive to dark things in the sky and to all the invisible parts of the spectrum. How much more breathtaking sunsets would be if we could see ultraviolet and infrared. How useful it would be if, at a glance, we could see every source of microwaves in the environment, or know which radio station transmitters were active. How helpful it would be if we could spot police radar detectors at night.

Think how easy it would be to navigate an unfamiliar city if we, like birds, could always tell which way was north because of the magnetite in our heads. Think how much better off we’d be if we had gills as well as lungs, how much more productive if we had six arms instead of two. And if we had eight, we could safely drive a car while simultaneously talking on a cell phone, changing the radio station, applying makeup, sipping a drink, and scratching our left ear.

Stupid design could fuel a movement unto itself. It may not be nature’s default, but it’s ubiquitous. Yet people seem to enjoy thinking that our bodies, our minds, and even our universe represent pinnacles of form and reason. Maybe it’s a good antidepressant to think so. But it’s not science—not now, not in the past, not ever.

Another practice that isn’t science is embracing ignorance. Yet it’s fundamental to the philosophy of intelligent design: I don’t know what this is. I don’t know how it works. It’s too complicated for me to figure out. It’s too complicated for any human being to figure out. So it must be the product of a higher intelligence.

What do you do with that line of reasoning? Do you just cede the solving of problems to someone smarter than you, someone who’s not even human? Do you tell students to pursue only questions with easy answers?

There may be a limit to what the human mind can figure out about our universe. But how presumptuous it would be for me to claim that if I can’t solve a problem, neither can any other person who has ever lived or who will ever be born. Suppose Galileo and Laplace had felt that way? Better yet, what if Newton had not? He might then have solved Laplace’s problem a century earlier, making it possible for Laplace to cross the next frontier of ignorance.

Science is a philosophy of discovery. Intelligent design is a philosophy of ignorance. You cannot build a program of discovery on the assumption that nobody is smart enough to figure out the answer to a problem. Once upon a time, people identified the god Neptune as the source of storms at sea. Today we call these storms hurricanes. We know when and where they start. We know what drives them. We know what mitigates their destructive power. And anyone who has studied global warming can tell you what makes them worse. The only people who still call hurricanes acts of God are the people who write insurance forms.

To deny or erase the rich, colorful history of scientists and other thinkers who have invoked divinity in their work would be intellectually dishonest. Surely there’s an appropriate place for intelligent design to live in the academic landscape. How about the history of religion? How about philosophy or psychology? The one place it doesn’t belong is the science classroom.

If you’re not swayed by academic arguments, consider the financial consequences. Allow intelligent design into science textbooks, lecture halls, and laboratories, and the cost to the frontier of scientific discovery—the frontier that drives the economies of the future—would be incalculable. I don’t want students who could make the next major breakthrough in renewable energy sources or space travel to have been taught that anything they don’t understand, and that nobody yet understands, is divinely constructed and therefore beyond their intellectual capacity. The day that happens, Americans will just sit in awe of what we don’t understand, while we watch the rest of the world boldly go where no mortal has gone before.

BY NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON/NATURAL HISTORY MAGAZINE

Posted by John the Revelator

 

They’re two christian shows I regularly enjoy, “Unbelievable” and “The Jude 3 Project” both for different reasons. My issue is the christian aesthetic. I believe people can worship any deity they please without worrying about being smeared or maligned. Did you discover god or were you born into an already made world. People act as if what they believe, I’m speaking of christians in this instance that their view or way is the only way. This is so destructive and distracting. Not to seem or sound one sided, all these groups feel the same from all the Abrahamic religions. The problem that arises is the fear of the lord is the beginning of wisdom. To some this verse has meaning to others, its meaningless, void of structure. People spend so much time defending the word they don’t take time to read it. Study to show thyself approved or always be willing to give an answer; as long as it agrees with the christian dogma. As an insider for a very long time and now and outsider I’ve noticed one important thing. That is that people derive their values from scripture but insert their own values.

A question I ask myself. How does one believe and why they believe the way they do. You have to believe it to be true or not. There’s no middle ground, we are surrounded by all types of beliefs, some rationed some not so much. When we look to our limited belief system, me as a black person not as easy as you think since I don’t have a faith, it makes more sense to me. Especially  if i’m trying to reason to have a firm footing. In my earnest opinion you first have to alleviate faith, faith is nothing more than fear disguised as truth. Secondly to balance everything you need history as well as science. Lastly you really have to grapple with textual criticism. You also have two deal with black or white, it does make a difference. Think about it this way, Europe has never created a religion it was the darker races since everything started in Africa as it is known today. This can easily be proven from science as well as your bible.

As I told someone teach Jesus/Yashua is black as well as the inhabitants of the bible, whats wrong with this. It’s quit simple. Think of a black child who gets his affection and discipline from the mother and father but god is white. He or she see’s his parents as the first god figure. That goes to all races. Thats traumatic when the child grows up and see’s first hand, blacks were and are second hand citizens today and the god is white. Simply look at the political climate and how laws are being passed especially in the south to strip blacks of their voting rights. For some they are thinking what this has to do with race; everything! The person who ask the question needs to not worry, it doesn’t affect you. The culture that creates the religion creates the god in their image. We aren’t claiming any type of racial supremacy, its sad to go into a black church with a white Jesus image, we don’t go into white churches with a black image of Jesus even with all the information from the scriptures. This is religious dogma 101 from I speak. We know to much we have too much information, time to teach better truths. Think about the statement from MLK that Sunday is the most segregated day of the week. Please, lets have honest dialogue we learn from one another. If the church is divided, how does the world see hope.

Written by John the Revelator

Thought

Posted: August 26, 2016 in Religion, Science, Uncategorized
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We meditate everyday; it’s called self realization or self reflection!

Meditation

Posted by John the Revelator

Why are we here? What is our purpose? Only science holds the answers, argues “The Big Picture” author Sean Carroll

It is time to face reality, California Institute of Technology theoretical physicist Sean Carroll says: There is just no such thing as God, or ghosts, or human souls that reside outside of the body. Everything in existence belongs to the natural world and is accessible to science, he argues. In his new book “The Big Picture: On the Origin of Life, Meaning, and the Universe Itself,” out this week from Dutton, Carroll describes a guiding philosophy along these lines that he calls poetic naturalism. It excludes a supernatural or spiritual realm but still allows plenty of room for life to have a purpose.

“I think we can bring ideas like meaning and morality into our discussions of the natural world,” Carroll says. “The ways that we talk about the universe are what make it meaningful.” He eloquently argues that point in his far-ranging book, which takes on the origins of consciousness, the likeliness of God based on a rigorous application of Bayesian probability statistics, and many other “big” questions that scientists are often loath to tackle.

Scientific American spoke with Carroll about his philosophy and how we can all take a closer look at just what we truly, deeply believe.
[An edited transcript of the conversation follows.]

Naturalism is the viewpoint that everything arises from natural causes and that there is no supernatural realm. You coin the term “poetic naturalism” for your own particular brand of this guiding philosophy. Why the need for a new term?

Naturalism has been certainly been around for a very long time, but as more people become naturalists and talk to each other, their disagreements within naturalism are interesting. I thought there was a judicious middle ground, which I call poetic, between “the world is just a bunch of particles,” and “science can be used to discover meaning and morality.”

To me the connotations of “poetic” are that there’s some human choice that comes into how we talk about the world. In particular, when it comes to questions of morality and meaning, the way we go about deciding what is right and wrong, and meaningful or not, is not the same as the way we discover what is true and false.

Just because we have no evidence of another realm of reality beyond the physical world, how can we conclude it doesn’t exist?

It’s not a matter of certainty, ever. I would make the argument that if there were a supernatural element that played a role in our everyday life in some noticeable way, it’s very, very likely we would have noticed it. It just seems weird that this kind of thing would be so crucial and yet so difficult to notice in any controlled scientific way. I would make the case that it is sufficiently unlikely in a fair Bayesian accounting that we don’t need to spend any time thinking about it anymore. Five hundred years ago it would have been a possibility. I think these days we’re ready to move on.

All I can say at the end of the day is we should all be trying as hard as we can to guard against our individual cognitive biases, the things we want to be true. The existence of life after death, for example, I would love that to be true. My cognitive bias is in favor of that. And yet I don’t think it is true. The best we can do is try to be honest.

So do you think it’s impossible for a religious person to believe in poetic naturalism?

Of course that depends on what you mean by religious. There’s actually a movement called religious naturalism. Religion involves a whole bunch of things—practices, casts of mind, morals, etc., so you can certainly imagine calling yourself religious, reading the Bible, going to church and just not believing in God. I suspect the number of people who do that is much larger than the number of people who admit to it.

The mistake comes when we try to pretend that it doesn’t matter what our view of the ontology of the world is. I think it does matter. But having made those decisions [about your worldview], there are many ways you can live a life that’s meaningful and socially relevant and familial. I think we have a misunderstanding of meaning because we relate it to something outside the natural world, when it doesn’t have to be that.

This argument for naturalism feels particularly timely, when politicians and many in society are increasingly hostile to science and evidence-based thinking. How receptive to the approach of naturalism do you think most people are?

I think that scientists have a sort of professional level of understanding of the universe, and scientists are overwhelmingly naturalists. Whereas people on the street, or in Washington, D.C., still don’t admit to this. There aren’t a lot of naturalists in Congress. The way we talk about these things in the public sphere has not caught up with the way we understand the universe as it really is.

As a physicist, what inspired you to write a book essentially on philosophy?

It evolved over a very long time. I’ve always been interested in not only physics directly, but also the wider consequences. I was a philosophy minor as an undergraduate. I always have thought that doing physics was part of a larger intellectual project of trying to understand the whole world in different ways.

What do you hope readers take away from this book?

I think there’s a bunch of people who still, because they just haven’t thought about it that much, have the informal idea that science can explain what happens when two atoms bump into each other, but it can’t explain how the universe started or how life began. I hope people get the idea that we’re well on our way to answering those questions. There’s no obstacle in our way that says we’re just not going to be able to.

Written by CLARA MOSKOWITZ/SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN

Posted by John the Revelator

Source: WATCH: Joy Behar leaves Kirk Cameron’s sister dumbstruck by asking her to defend creationism

David Edwards/ABC TheView

Posted by John the Revelator

What A Fool Says

Posted: January 14, 2015 in Religion, Science
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In my continuing series Kicking Over Sacred Cows, the subject this time is Psalms 14:1 (The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good). This Scripture is problematic for many reasons. We can easily look to the psalmist David, whom many have said was gay, vile, murderous, and a rapist. What bothers me most are the stories and the little quotes of how pious and righteous the Christian is. A story from J. Vernon McGee’s book: Thru the Bible: Vol. II, A Commentary gives an example of this.
McGee says he has a friend who knows how to deal with atheists. “He was in a group of men one day when an atheist said, “I don’t believe there is a God. Man doesn’t have a soul, and when he dies, he dies like a dog.” This man went on raving like a madman. His friend waited until the group began to break up and then approached this man. He said, “I understand you said that you are an atheist.” Upon hearing these words the man launched into another tirade about his belief that there is no god. My friend said, “I would like to ask you a question. The Bible says, The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. The word fool means insane or mad man. Either you were not sincere when you talked about God as you did and you were just talking for the benefit of the crowd or you are a fool and a madman. A second part to this really struck me as odd, he then goes on to profane people with PH.D.’s. He also calls them atheists adding, “I want to say this carefully—the lowest that a man can sink in human depravity is to be an atheist. That is what the word of God says.” What these men do is tear down people who’ve done the work and who are doing the work, especially those with higher degrees or those that question upon serious study. I’m sure universities have far more believers than atheists or agnostics. We are not supposed to be mindless wanderers.
Above all other questions, we must deal with; what is a fool, and the meaning of the disjointed Scripture. When we look at the word fool, a pattern becomes apparent; it is a person that lacks wisdom, a person who acts unwisely, a silly person. The dubious issue is using characteristics to describe a fool. This is the Christian washing. The fool is unrighteous, hates what is good and loves evil. This is much different than a court jester. Prov 19:9, 10:23, mocks sin 14:9. Fools do not possess wisdom, cannot possess wisdom, and would not, even if they could. You get the point. From the Jamieson Fauset and Brown sinners are termed “fools” because they think and act contrary to right reason. A perfect example pertains to the earlier story when the good Reverend tries to pigeonhole or corner the atheist. He first quotes the Bible. Think for a second, the atheist and the agnostic (like me) do not believe in the Bible. The believer cannot judge the sinner, only his brothers in the faith. How foolish was this haughty man by calling the atheist a fool, he’s incorrect. The trick is “I didn’t call him that God called him that, I simply quoted the Bible”.
The word fool has a moral and not an intellectual context and overall is insulting. By saying I’m corrupt, is it because of my abominable works, or is it because I’m unable to do well? This is another one of those ignorant passages that doesn’t make sense. If the fool, so they say, is ignorant then why in the religious community is divorce only 1 percent better than in the secular community? It doesn’t fare any better when believers try and be partial. Some say it doesn’t mean only one thing. The Hebrew word Nabal, meaning lacking intelligence, and so-called sinful people do not believe in their one and only (Christian) God and denial of God is often accompanied by a wicked life style. This is pure idiocy. Believers/Christians are most ambiguous because by their fruits, you can’t tell where they properly stand. They believe a lack of righteousness leads a person to reject a belief in a God.
So the interpretation of Psalms 14:1 becomes denying God’s existence is commonly based on a desire to lead a wicked life. Another bad example! What is their terminology to the unbeliever? It’s exactly your definition and yours alone. It’s as if you can’t live your life without being controlled by the ancients who were all immoral imposters from David to Saul as well as Moses, Paul, Solomon, and even Jesus himself?
The Christian is going to have to answer for a lot, so everyone else is serving the wrong God, when Judaism and Islam are Abrahamic religions.
I don’t say there is no God, since that word (God) is a later invention. I somewhat believe in design and maybe it’s my personal bias for have being a believer for so long. Since we have free will, I choose to live a life of non-aggression. “Belief is a hope, not a fact”. Again maybe we were created or evolved. Religion for hundreds of years wouldn’t allow science or mathematics; they considered it to be evil. Yet science is proving much more than religion ever could. The next time you see a believer doing good chastise him or her and quote Mark 10:18 18: “And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone.” I have to believe there’s something bigger than me; more out there than simply us.

Written by John the Revelator

My Position/A Thought

Posted: December 31, 2014 in Religion, Science
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My position about God is difficult at best. While I consider myself agnostic, I could easily be an atheist. For a period in my life I was a believer, twenty-seven years to be exact. I couldn’t imagine anyone not being a believer or not having a belief in God. I myself imagined the biblical characters the way I imagined characters in comic books. None of it made any sense to me. Yet I believed it by faith. Faith isn’t a belief that is rooted in truth. Belief is a hope, not a fact. Maybe I believed in a universal creator. I wont use the name God, it was a created word that coincides with one particular religion. Maybe my introduction still allows me to continue to believe in a designer creation. Science offers good provable evidence of our world. Natural selection is quit powerful, it tries to prove how our world came into being, but not as compelling. I can’t prove their is or isn’t a designer/creator. So my over all contention is; I DON’T KNOW AND YOU DON’T EITHER! Religion tries to answer questions that deal with the afterlife. It’s a bit disingenuous when you think about it, since no one has ever died and come back ten or twenty years later. Atheism is coming on as a religion, with their absolutism. Truth be told, we will only find out when we die. For now, enjoy your life. Drink good wine, beer, scotch. Make love and practice none aggression. Secondly, except others as they are, allow an ass whole to be an ass whole. If we disagree, that’s fine, but lets disagree agreeably. Which a lot harder than we would like to admit.

Written by John the Revelator

There is no valid argument disputing the simple fact that America is a paradise for patriarchs and, to a slightly less degree, champions of misogyny. What defies logic, especially in the 21st Century, is that Republican patriarchs are able to maintain their hold on political power when women make up 51% of the population. Even shaky reason dictates that a robust women’s electoral movement would cleanse Republican patriarchs from Congress, governorships, and state legislatures, and bring the Republican war on women to an abrupt and just end. However, that is certainly not the case and it is down to American women’s greatest enemy and it is not Republican men per se, but the evangelical women electing them.
Republicans have historically, and regularly, opposed any legislation aimed at granting women equal rights as American citizens, and although no Democrat or Republican has the courage to admit it, the unspoken and permanently entrenched “male supremacy clause” is founded in the biblical edict that women are commanded by a mysterious deity to be subservient to a man; any man, any time, any place, and under any circumstances. Although America is not a nation under bible, Republicans have had the greatest measure of success known to man in keeping women as subservient, second-class citizens in an nation alleged to be founded on equality, and their greatest supporters are not necessarily other patriarchs, but women who vote for Republicans.

What is stunning beyond comprehension is that women who support Republicans, particularly evangelical women, know full well that their support for Republican patriarchy is inflicting second-class status, and certain misery, on their own mothers, sisters, daughters, and other evangelical women. It leads one to assume that evangelical women either suffer from Stockholm Syndrome and adopted their patriarchal masters’ cult belief that women are born to be subservient to men, or they just hate other women; there can be no other explanations.

Republicans running for the Senate and House have made little effort to conceal their anti-women’s rights agenda; particularly restricting every woman’s right to choose their own reproductive health. In both the House and Senate, Republicans have introduced “personhood” legislation that, if passed in a Republican-controlled Congress, will effectively criminalize birth-control as premeditated murder; choosing when to give birth will be eliminated. Many so-called conservative Christian Republicans have more-than intimated that they are in strict agreement with Catholic doctrine that contraception is a mortal sin. And yet, even though over 95% of American women have used artificial birth control, including Catholics and evangelical Christians, at least half of them regularly vote for Republicans intent on adopting the Catholic prohibition on artificial birth control. Not only to force women into perpetual birthing machines, but to control them.

Evangelical women also dutifully vote for Republicans in state legislatures and Congress intent on abolishing women’s access to reproductive health providers and advocates such as Planned Parenthood, despite the lion’s share of their work is devoted to family planning, pregnancy counseling, pre-natal services, birth control, and cancer screenings; all things Republicans are adamant that women, especially poor women, do not deserve and will not receive if they control Congress. One can hardly imagine that any woman, even a staunch evangelical woman who embraces her own subservient position, would advocate for restricting other women’s access to any healthcare, much less reproductive health care, but when they vote for Republicans they are willingly, and with malice aforethought, denying other women’s access to health care.

If a woman refuses preventative cancer screenings, new baby coverage, or contraception, it is their right to choose for themselves. It may be inherently stupid, but it is their right to be inherently stupid whatever their motivation. However, for any woman to give unwavering electoral support to Republicans who promise to deny every other woman that coverage borders on pure evil, whether they are trapped in a cult or suffer Stockholm Syndrome.

Look, any person who would deny women the right to any healthcare options is deficient of basic human compassion, and all Republican candidates, especially males, appear to lack any regard for women. One just expects other women to show more compassion than Republican males, but as the evangelical Republican war on women demonstrates, there is no difference between Republican patriarchs or evangelical women; they both lack compassion for women.

Evangelical women are also aware that many, many women, especially their evangelical cohorts in the Confederate Bible Belt, work to help support their families and either earn poverty minimum wage, or if they are very fortunate to hold “professional” positions, earn 76-cents on the dollar compared to their male counterparts. Republicans have not only blocked every single piece of legislation to provide women equal pay for equal work, they vehemently oppose raising the pathetically-low minimum wage of which women make up the majority of the workforce earning poverty wages.

When women vote for Republicans, they are voting against not only their own economic well-being, they are voting to keep all women economically disadvantaged. One might think that being Christians these women would be aggrieved at the thought of anyone suffering in poverty due to Republicans keeping wages low, especially other evangelical women. However, they must be mesmerized by their cult’s demand that subjection to a man is a pre-condition to enter heaven to deliberately vote for Republicans pledged to keep women economically disadvantaged.

Republicans have made no secret of their economic agenda they claim appeals to women; but what woman in their right mind is attracted to earning less than a man because they are a woman, or loves earning poverty wages with no hope of an increase? Obviously many evangelical women do because they will help elect Republicans on Election Day. Also, what woman in their right mind embraces the prospect of perpetual pregnancy that Republicans will impose on them when they restrict access to contraception and a woman’s right to choose with a certain-to-pass personhood bill in a Republican-controlled Congress? Evangelical women, of course. It begs the question; are women who vote for Republicans’ anti-women policies devoid of compassion for their own mothers, sisters, and daughters, suffering Stockholm Syndrome, or brainwashed into helping force all women into biblical subjection to men? The answer is likely all of the above.

It is true that Republicans, primarily patriarchal males, are enemies of American women; of that there is no rational dispute. But without a majority of evangelical women loyally electing Republican patriarchs to positions of power, Republican men would be impotent to wage war on women; a war they could not prosecute without the loyal support of American women’s greatest enemies; evangelical women.

written by Rmuse for PoliticusUSA

Posted by John the Revelator

Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson continues to challenge long-held religious beliefs on his weekly prime time science show on Fox, Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey. At the beginning of Sunday’s episode, Tyson offered up a compellingly straight-forward reason why the Earth cannot possibly be 6,500 years old, as creationists believe it to be.

As Tyson explained to his viewers, we measure Earth’s distance from other planets and galaxies in the universe by the speed of light. On average, Neptune is four light-hours away from Earth, meaning the Neptune we see when we look through a telescope is as it appears four hours ago.

For another example, Tyson looked at the Crag Nebula, a supernova remnant that just happens to be 6,500 light-years away from Earth. This means that when we view the Crab Nebula through the telescope, we are seeing it 6,500 years in the past. Because there are objects beyond that point, we can see with our own telescope-enabled eyes that the universe is older than 6,500 years.

“If the universe were only 6,500 years old, how could we see the light from anything more distant than the Crab Nebula?” Tyson asks. “We couldn’t. There wouldn’t have been enough time for the light to get to Earth from anywhere farther away than 6,500 light-years in any direction. That’s just enough time for light to travel through a tiny portion of our Milky Way galaxy.”

“To believe in a universe as young as 6 or 7,000 years old is to extinguish the light from most of the galaxy,” he continues. “Not to mention the light from all the hundred billion other galaxies in the observable universe.”

If the existence of million-year-old fossils doesn’t do it for you, maybe this will do the trick.

By Matt Wilstein/mediaite video

Posted by John the Revelator