Bad Math

Two plus two

Something Doesn’t Add Up

Trying to argue or debate with Christian Apologists is like trying to spar with fog. They’re never quite ‘there.’ They move the goalposts, or change the definitions. When they argue their positions, they add just enough reality to make it seem real. 2 + 2 doesn’t quite equal 4. They will claim 3.97 or 4.04, hoping that skeptics will concede the tiny difference.

They hold up portions of the Bible which are historically correct, and then claim that it ALL is. See, the Bible mentions Jerusalem, and Jerusalem exists, so the Bible must be true. It’s when you ask them to prove the existence of Sodom and Gomorrah, that the tap-dancing begins.

A very small percentage of archeology remains after three to four thousand years.
A very small percentage of surviving archeology has been discovered.
Of what archeology has been discovered, a very small percentage of it has actually been dug.
Of the archeological digs, only a small percentage of the total area is actually exposed.
Only a tiny fraction of what has been examined and published, has anything to do with the Bible.
Of the unidentified digs, one of them might have been Sodom, or Gomorrah.

Yeah??! And it MIGHT have been Jephthah’s bait shop and sailboard rental. We’re getting down to dancing on the head of that argumental pin.

A YouTuber complained that Atheists are so closed-minded, that even if they observed a miracle, they wouldn’t change their minds. As Proof, he quoted the story of Christ raising Lazarus from the dead. The Jewish leaders plotted to have both Jesus and Lazarus murdered, because all Christ’s miracles were bad for their business. But that was because they believed that the miracles were real. They accepted Christ’s divinity. The circular reasoning is hardly the best example to refute Atheists with.

One Apologist admitted that Christianity had got many things wrong, but defended its existence as a possible font of additional hunches/intuitions/guesses about the universe and reality, which science could then investigate, and either prove or disprove. Contrary to usual dogma, he insisted that Christianity and the Bible should be viewed as allegory, and not taken literally. What did I think about that?

That idea sounds weak and desperate. So far, EVERY one of religions’ wild-ass guesses/intuitions/hunches has proved wrong. I don’t think that any one of them need make any more. If organized logic and science can’t intuit something new, ‘Conspiracy Theory’ is the new growth industry.

Besides, Religion is the bully on the block. No Flat Earther has ever threatened me with eternal torment in Hell, or even worse, stretched me on a rack, burned me at the stake, or protested at my funeral because I had the audacity to serve in the military to defend my country, just because I thought the Earth was round.

No Area 51 fanatic has ever put det-cord around my neck and blown my head off, tossed me off a 10-storey building, or put me in a cage and drowned me, because I didn’t believe that the government performed an autopsy on an alien there in 1947.

I don’t feel that we should give any sanction or acceptance to most religions. It only validates and encourages the worst among them. They, and their desperate, insecure, ego-driven adherents, can be quite retrogressive and dangerous.

If you can’t take religion at face value, why take it at all? Playing ‘Pretend’ is for children.

Skeptic

Skeptic

A skeptic is a thinker, not a blind believer, but you already know that.

I laugh when ‘they’ use the word -or the term- to characterize someone who happens to have a different opinion, or point of view from them.  It’s obvious, that is the whole purpose of this, isn’t it?  Seize the definition, and then prove it wrong.

It’s wonderful to be a Skeptic, but who isn’t?  Unfortunately, far too many, who farm out and subcontract others to do their thinking for them.  But fortunately, we still have the right to think whatever we want, whatever we like, whatever we wish, the most wonderful nonsense, the most brilliant ideas.

We need to continue to fight for the right to be skeptics. So, dear journalists and assorted religious nuts, you’d better use some other words.  Like “controversialist,” “dissenter,” “arguer,” “questioner,” etc.

Freedom of thought, freedom of speech, freedom of association, freedom of religion – including freedom FROM religion, freedom of action – as long as it harms no-one else. As Braveheart, William Wallace, said, FREEDOM. I am not skeptical about that.

Just be careful not to topple over the edge to Cynic. I’ve seen some militant Atheists – actually anti-Theists – interviewed, and asked, “If you were presented with proof of the Christian God, would you believe?” And they answer, “NO!” That is just foolish, rebellious cynicism. Believe what you want, but have a good reason for it.

Some Thoughts – Domestic And Foreign

All teachings are mere references.
The true experience is living your own life.
Then, even the holiest of words are only words.
Deng Ming-Dao

To determine the true rulers of any society, you must ask this question; “Who am I not allowed to criticize?”

‘All religions are equally sublime to the ignorant, useful to the politician [to keep the hoi-polloi in order], and ridiculous to the philosopher.’

“Religion is excellent stuff for keeping common people quiet. Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

Napoleon was not an Atheist. He was Catholic and realized how he could use religion to rule the masses.

“Properly read, the Bible is the most potent force for Atheism ever conceived.”
Isaac Asimov

If prayer actually worked, we’d see two things:
1 – Ambulances would take patients to churches
2 – Christians would have longer life spans than the rest of the population

Most people are not looking for provable truths. Truth is often accompanied by terrible pain, and almost no-one is looking for painful truths. What people need are beautiful, comforting stories that make them feel as if their lives have some meaning. This is where religion comes from.

My favorite part of the Bible is where God gives everyone free will, and then drowns everybody in a flood for not acting the way He wanted.

CREATIONISM
The idea that we are not related to apes, no matter how many genes we share, but are in fact, descended from dirt.

Religion has at every age kept the human mind in darkness and held it in ignorance of its true relations, of its real duties, and its true interests. It is but in removing its clouds and phantoms that we may find the source of truth, reason, morality, and the actual motives which inspire virtue—Jean Messlier 1704

How many religious people does it take to change a light bulb?
None! They just sit in the dark and demand that you believe that the light is still on.

The cold, hard truth is worth so much more than a comforting lie.

“In religions and politics, people’s beliefs and convictions are, in almost every case, gotten at second-hand, and without examination, from authorities who themselves have not examined the questions at issue, but have taken them second-hand from other examiners, whose opinions about them are not worth a brass farthing.”
Mark Twain

When you have to ignore mountains of evidence to hold a belief; when your words are those of others to preserve your faith; when you refuse to use logic, to protect your fantasy, your willful ignorance does not make you a unique individual. It doesn’t afford you special consideration.

Actually, it means that you are just plain wrong. It means that you have nothing to add to intelligent conversation. Believers show all the hallmarks of long-term abuse, unable to distinguish threats, fear and degradation, from kindness, love and self-worth.

Atheism says absolutely nothing about the issues of Northern Ireland, Shia/Sunni wars, genocide in Rwanda, questions of religious freedom, stem cell research, or gay marriage.  Atheism is not a belief, it’s not a set of values, it’s not a political movement, it’s not even a platform.  It merely is the understanding that all the religions seem made up.  And since we have no way to figure out if any of them are real, we must deal with life on our own.  We must use our brains.  So let’s quit being dicks to each other, roll up our sleeves, and figure these things out.  And keep making fun of religions.

PopeClown

***

 

WOW #50

Dictionary

I recently ran into the word

ADVERTENCY

I bruised a couple of ribs, but I’ll be okay.

Advertency = advertence: The state of being advertent – aware, attentive, heedful, knowledgeable, perceptive

The modern (somewhat restricted) equivalent is “Woke.”

I have been somewhat covert (covered, concealed) in my production of another WOW. Some of you have been a bit overt (open to view, observable) in your expectations that I do, so I thought I’d introduce most of the bunch. The family name – VERT – comes from Latin, through the French, ouvrir-to open, into English. They all have something to do with showing, or seeing – or not.

With its negative prefix, avert means to prevent something from happening, so that the results are not seen. Similarly, invert means to display something, but upside-down. Evert means to turn something inside-out, and show the inner surface. With an opening syllable that means – in, at or to – advertising points your attention to the presentation of goods that retailers want you to be aware of, and purchase.

We move to psychology to meet the introverts, who keep most of their personalities hidden within themselves, and the extroverts, who fill any room they’re in with their outward glow and conversations. Then there are the members of the family that we usually don’t mention, pervert and subvert. They’re the guys who get to see stuff that they shouldn’t.

My advertency about the term advertency came from a science-fiction book. In it, one planet prided themselves about their citizens’ knowledge and understanding of what went on around them, so that they could make the most optimal, informed decisions. The giant University even taught a course on advertency – how to notice details, be informed, know what was going on.

It all comes down to making reasonable, informed decisions. This is what many Atheists wish that the religious hoi polloi would do. If you want to worship one particular God, or follow the tenets of a specific denomination or church, do it. Just be able to give a better justification, when asked, than, “I have faith.”

Canada and the U.S. – Hell, most of the world – could use a University that teaches advertency. I notice far more things than the average Joe, but I could still use some training in how to do more.

I come over a rise, driving in the curb lane. A block ahead is a bus. I know that it will stop and block my lane, so I move out. The guy behind me now rushes up beside me, almost rear-ends the bus when it stops, and almost sideswipes me, trying to go around at the last minute. Too many drivers ‘drive’ no further ahead than their hood ornament.

If we could just raise the average awareness of citizens, then the uninformed, unaware, extrovert leaders like Donald Trump, Justin Trudeau, and Boris Johnson wouldn’t get re-elected. Probably won’t happen though. Jay Leno used to air a segment titled Americans Are Dumb, And Proud Of It! I continue to hope, though. Were you aware of that?   😕

I’ve Never Herd Of Smith

People Named Smith
H. Allen Smith once wrote a book titled People Named Smith. This was a financial move on his part, as he knew that if only five percent of the Smiths in the United States bought the book, he would be able to retire rich. Unfortunately, he discovered that “almost everyone named Smith is either (1) stingy, or (2) illiterate, or (3) both.”

He did this because Mark Twain had shown him how. Twain claimed that he had met a John Smith in every town he had ever been in, and cynically dedicated his first novel to “John Smith,” claiming that people who have a book dedicated to them, will purchase a copy of it.

Captain John Smith was an explorer of note, and an island he discovered near Cape Charles was named “Smith Island” after him. However, Captain Smith wasn’t happy with the island chosen to honor him, and he complained, “Why, I could spit across it.”

The book is mainly about names, and not all of them were of people named Smith. He once met an imposing man, when invited on a cruise on a yacht in the Caribbean. Not impressed with the commonness of his name, Smith, he declared, “A man’s name is a mere label – nothing else – and has no more meaning than the label on a can.

The gentleman disagreed, and introduced himself. He was Theron Lamar Caudle, the assistant Attorney-General of the United States. His name was all old Anglo-Saxon, and represented a complete sentence. Theron means ‘go seek.’ Lamar means ‘the sea,’ and Caudle is a ‘hot toddy.’ Translated literally, it means, “Go seek a hot toddy by the sea,” and here he was, with a drink in his hand, on a boat, in the Caribbean.

People afflicted with the last name Smith, sometimes go to lengths to have a first name of some significance which sets them apart from all the other multitudes of Smiths. Labels are important to many, although one Appalachian mother cared so little that she insisted to the interviewer, that the official names of her two kids, on the ‘Guv’mint papers, really was Shithead and Fartface Smith.’

One child was named 5/8 Smith. I don’t know if he was the runt of the litter, or maybe, just not all there. One father christened his son Smith, so that he went through life with the double-barreled name of Smith Smith. A photographer, whose work appeared in newspapers and magazines, legally changed his given name to Another, because he was tired of hearing, “Oh, another Smith.”

One day the author was speaking to a writer friend. They discussed some personal things, and then he said, “What are you working on these days?”
“I’m collaborating on a book.”
“With whom?”
“Man named Ira Smith.”
“You serious??”
“Certainly I’m serious.”
He said, “My God, that’s exactly what I’m doing.”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean that I’m collaborating on a book with a man named Ira Smith.”

It was true. The other writer was working on the memoirs of Ira R. T. Smith, who for 51 years had been in charge of mail at the White House. At the same time, H. Allen Smith had been working on a book of baseball anecdotes with Ira L. Smith, a Washington journalist.

Ira wouldn’t seem to be an especially common first name, yet Ira L. had had his share of confusions. He was forever getting newspaper clippings from friends;
Ira Smith caught drunk driving in Georgia
Ira Smith an upstate New York cabbie, kidnapped, robbed, tied to a tree, and murdered
Ira L. Smith, a retired Virginia lumberman, dying at the age of 91

He even had a newspaper ad which said;

FOOL your friends. Pretend you are in San Francisco
3 postcards sent 25 cents (20-$1) You write
message, address, return. I remail in San Francisco
Letter mailed 15 cents. Your friends will think
you’re travelling. Ira Smith, 153 Liberty St., San
Francisco, Calif.

The middle name of our Ira L. Smith was Lepouce, his mother’s Belgian maiden name, meaning ‘the thumb’. He was once under consideration for a great job in Washington, but a senior executive named Smith, didn’t want him hired. There were already too many Smiths in the office, and he didn’t want another one messing up phone calls and mail.

Ira went to the man, and offered to apply his middle name to all phone calls and correspondence. The exec replied, “Anyone who would permit himself to be called I. Lepouce Smith in order to get a job must want that job pretty badly. You’re hired.”

The author mentions a situation called Ultra-Smith, where one Smith marries another. My sister did this, confusing all sorts of folks. As you climb down from the family tree, EVERYBODY is named Smith.

(* I have a framed reproduction of a Feb. 13, 1923 Saturday Evening Post cover, with a Norman Rockwell painting and an article about Wodehouse’s recent Psmith book, which refused to upload to WordPress.  It, and a mug with his name, Cyril, were all I got from the nursing home when my Father died.  I didn’t even know he had it.  Perhaps if/when I figure out the problem, I can display it in a later post.)

In England, we have the interesting case of Mr. Psmith, a dashing young character invented by P. G. Wodehouse. In the novel Leave It to Psmith, we find him engaged in a colloquy with a young woman.

“The name is Psmith, P-smith.”
“Peasmith, sir?”
“No, no. P-s-m-i-t-h. I should explain to you that I started life without the initial letter, and my father always clung ruggedly to the plain Smith. But it seemed to me that there were so many Smiths in the world that a little variety might well be introduced. Smythe I look on as a cowardly evasion, nor do I approve of the too prevalent custom of tacking on another name on the front by means of a hyphen. So I decided to adopt the Psmith. The P, I should add for your guidance, is silent, as in phthisis, psychic, and ptarmigan. You follow me?

This Smith book was written in 1952, which explains the ancient, minuscule postage fees, and the somewhat formal construction. Aside from the P-ed off words above, the author used ‘expatiate,’ which means, to enlarge in discourse or writing; be copious in description or discussion: ramble on and on – which I’ve done magnificently with this post. Thanx for rambling along with me, and some of my questionable namesakes.

Forgive Me Father, For I Have Joked

confession-box

There is the story of a pastor who got up one Sunday and announced to his congregation: “I have good news and bad news. The good news is, we have enough money to pay for our new building program.

The bad news is, it’s still out there in your pockets.”

—–

A minister waited in line to have his car filled with gas just before a long holiday weekend. The attendant worked quickly, but there were many cars ahead of him. Finally, the attendant motioned him toward a vacant pump. “Reverend,” said the young man, “I’m so sorry about the delay. It seems as if everyone waits until the last minute to get ready for a long trip.”

The minister chuckled, “I know what you mean. It’s the same in my business.”

—–

People want the front of the bus, the back of the church, and the center of attention.

—–

The minister was preoccupied with thoughts of how he was going to ask the congregation to come up with more money than they were expecting for repairs to the church building. Therefore, he was annoyed to find that the regular organist was sick and a substitute had been brought in at the last minute. The substitute wanted to know what to play.

“Here’s a copy of the service,” he said impatiently “But, you’ll have to think of something to play after I make the announcement about the finances.”

During the service, the minister paused and said, “Brothers and Sisters, we are in great difficulty; the roof repairs cost twice as much as we expected and we need $4,000 more. Any of you who can pledge $100 or more, please stand up.”

At that moment, the substitute organist played “The Star Spangled Banner.”

And that is how the substitute became the regular organist!

___

 

A carful of Irish nuns are sitting at a traffic light in downtown Dublin, when a bunch of rowdy drunks pull up alongside of them. “Hey, show us yer teets, ya bloody penguins!” shouts one of the drunks.

Quite shocked, Mother Superior turns to Sister Mary Immaculata and says, “I don’t think they know who we are; show them your cross.”

Sister Mary Immaculata rolls down her window and shouts, “Piss off, ya fookin’ little wankers, before I come over there and rip yer balls off!”

Sister Mary Immaculata then rolls up her window, looks back at Mother Superior, quite innocently, and asks, “Did that sound cross enough?”

***

A German Shepherd, a Doberman and a Cat died. (Notice no type of cat was named!)

In heaven, all three faced God.
God wanted to know what each of them believed in.

The German Shepherd said, “I believe in discipline, training, and loyalty to my master.”

“Very good”, said God. “You may sit at my right hand!”
And so the German Shepherd did.

The Doberman approached and declared, “I believe in the love, care and protection of my master.”
Once again, God proclaimed, “Very good! You may sit at my left hand!”
And so the Doberman did.

Finally, the Cat approached and God looked down from high above on his throne and inquired of the Cat, “And what do you believe in?”

The Cat looked squarely at God and replied, “I believe you are sitting in my seat!”

___

 

The Whichness Of The Why

Rene DesCartes

Philosophers have nothing to say, but will take all day (or all of their lives) to say it.

In my ongoing attempts to get psychological explanations for why people – often Christians, but also Atheists – believe what they do, I kept running into philosophers. I thought that Philosophers were deep-thinkers, who used the power of their intellect to uncover important social revelations.

The more I read though, the more I realized that this was not so. One of them, like René Descartes (above) might make a significant claim, like; “Cogito ergo sum – I think, therefore I am” then the rest of them would discuss and debate it. If only one Philosopher contended a theory, it was like mental masturbation. If a group of them worried it like a dog with a bone, it was more like a circle-jerk. It made them all feel good, without actually accomplishing anything.

Often, no-one really proved anything. They just kept arguing with one another until observed facts finally showed one of them to be the closest guesser. Then folks would congratulate him as if he’d discovered something.

Even the winner of a debate, or series of debates, did not reveal, or prove, any particular truth. The champion became the victor by looking the best, yelling the loudest, and waving his hands the most. One Philosopher had a mortal enemy, another debater. There was only one subject about which the two agreed. Mr. Ego challenged his opponent to a debate, and took the ‘anti’ side. He won the debate by disproving an opinion that he held.

Despite the fact that colleges and Universities teach Philosophy, we have no Philosophers any more. What we have today are authors, bloggers, podcasters, and Christian Apologetics. All of them are full of strongly-held opinions, but if you laid them all end-to-end, they wouldn’t reach a valid conclusion.

Gilileo Goes To Jail

Case in point, a book that I recently read, titled Galileo Goes To Jail, 25 myths about Science and Religion. Seldom have I seen hairs split so finely, with no purpose other than to make the contributors appear learned and impressive. All 25 writers tiptoed through the minefield of truth and logic, but I felt the worst among them was the jackass who set out to prove that

Giordano Bruno Was Not The First Martyr Of Modern Science

Now, the first of anything is going to look different from what has gone before. This genius wanted to play the “Own The Definition” game. He started by claiming that Bruno was not a scientist, or was not teaching science. Of course not! Back then, the words, the definitions, the very concepts of “science” and “scientist” did not exist. Everything was Natural Philosophy.

‘Science’ did not exist, and Bruno wasn’t ‘teaching’ it. He did however publicly express and debate his opinions and conclusions about reality. He openly held Galileo’s position, that the Earth moved, and the sun didn’t, contrary to the Church’s dogma of a fixed and unmoving Earth. His claims were heresy to The Holy Catholic Church, which owned the definition of heresy.

Heresy they might have been, but as the equivalents of modern Astronomy, Astrophysics, and Mathematics, they were a Hell of a lot more like science than say, if the Pope might not be infallible, God did not exist in three parts, or we had to eat fish on Friday.

I try not to be hidebound in my opinions, and not get caught in confirmation bias. I invite, and delight in, discussion and debate about anything I publish. If you prove me wrong about any claim I make, I will accept defeat Philosophically. 😉

***

Oops, I left a link to a 1949 Sci-Fi story at the end of this draft.  Rather than delete it –  anybody want to access and read it??

Edmond Hamilton – Alien Earth

https://archive.org/details/Thrilling_Wonder_Stories_v34n01_1949-04/page/n51