Friday, January 27, 2012

Really? That's the best you could come up with?

Sorry for such a short entry - I'm traveling today so this has to be quick - blogging from a smartphone is a challenge. 

The local newspaper, The Sarnia Observer, has published, in the Friday, January 27th edition of it's editorial, an entry (really a sales pitch for the guy's book) from an believer who argued that Hitch (Christopher Hitchens) had it wrong and science doesn't support his claims (Atheist’s faith a leap too far for science).

The complete argument that the contributor is making is that the earth and the universe is fine-tuned and that if any of the physical constants were off just slightly, we would not be here.  The only plausible reason for this author making such a horrible argument would be that he was in an area that did not permit him to have internet access (or science books) - maybe because he lives in a remote area or is incarcerated?  One simple google query for "fine tuning argument" would bring up the Wikipedia reference that has the "counter argument" and it states:

Victor Stenger argues that "... The fine-tuning argument and other recent intelligent design arguments are modern versions of God of the gaps reasoning, where a God is deemed necessary whenever science has not fully explained some phenomenon".

The argument from imperfection suggests that if the universe were designed to be fine-tuned for life, it should be the best one possible and that evidence suggests that it is not. In fact, most of the universe is highly hostile to life.

Additionally Stenger argues, "We have no reason to believe that our kind of carbon-based life is all that is possible. Furthermore, modern cosmology indicates that multiple universes may exist with different constants and laws of physics. So, it is not surprising that we live in the one suited for us. The universe is not fine-tuned to life; life is fine-tuned to the universe.

And just below it is a reference to Douglas Adams' famous "puddle thinking"...

... imagine a puddle waking up one morning and thinking, 'This is an interesting world I find myself in, an interesting hole I find myself in, fits me rather neatly, doesn't it? In fact it fits me staggeringly well, must have been made to have me in it!' This is such a powerful idea that as the sun rises in the sky and the air heats up and as, gradually, the puddle gets smaller and smaller, it's still frantically hanging on to the notion that everything's going to be all right, because this world was meant to have him in it, was built to have him in it; so the moment he disappears catches him rather by surprise. I think this may be something we need to be on the watch out for.

Really, Tom Harpur? Is that the best you could come up with? I was able to demolish your argument while driving and blogging from a smartphone.  Sadly you'll never see this blog - if you can't get to Wikipedia or Google, you probably can't get here. 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Religion Deserves Ridicule Not Respect

Jay Leno is a comedian and being a comedian means poking fun and pointing out absurdities.  During his opening monologue on a recent show, he referenced a "sacred" building in the Sikh religion when suggesting that Mitt Romney vacationed in a golden palace.

As a result of the joke, someone from the Sikh faith filed a lawsuit against him because of his statements, "claiming Leno is responsible for encouraging hatred and ridicule of his religion".

Dr. Randeep Dhillon, the person suing Jay Leno, is right, however.  Just simply showing the building to people and educating them about it is going to draw ridicule - in the same way that we ridicule the Catholic church for the Pope's (as Sarah Silverman says) "house that is a city".  Wondering where their next meal is going to come from and being taught that an invisible sky fairy father is always there for them while their cult leaders amass such massive fortunes at their expense is, well, ridiculous.  Shovel on the ridicule.

Where Dr. Randeep Dhillon is wrong, however, is in his suggestion that what Jay Leno did was wrong - religion IS absurd and it IS deserving of ridicule.  Thank you Jay Leno.

It is "freedom of speech" not "freedom from being offended" - for the same reason that you are entitled to say crazy shit like "the earth is less than 10,000 years old" or "evolution isn't true", I'm entitled to say "you're batshit crazy" (though I'd be the only one making a statement of fact).

Stephen Fry put it succinctly: It’s now very common to hear people say, “I’m rather offended by that”, as if that gives them certain rights. It’s no more than a whine. It has no meaning, it has no purpose, it has no reason to be respected as a phrase. “I’m offended by that.” Well, so fucking what?

And for a reminder of Sarah Silverman's plan to feed the world:

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Pope on Gay Marriage

Recently the guy with the funny hat piped up about his views on gay marriage - he feels that "Gay marriage (is) a threat to humanity's future".

This from the same person who is against condoms and heads an organization exposed for its consistent and thorough cover-up of child sexual abuse (which included sodomy).  I will admit that there is a substantial difference between "gay marriage" and what the clergy were doing but it doesn't favour the Catholic Church.  Gay marriage is between consenting adults and the "gay sex" committed by the clergy was forced on young children (rape, we call it).

Back to what marriage is/should be all about - the Pope needs to be reminded of his "great book"...