WOW #66

The elections are coming!  The elections are coming!  Actually, they’ve been had – and so has the electorate.  It was Donald tRump against Whatzizname.  Let’s skip past Pathology and Psychology, and go directly to

PSEPHOLOGY

ORIGIN

Psephology, “the study of elections,” comes from Greek psêphos “small stone, pebble.” (The Greeks used pebbles in counting and arithmetic functions; the ancient Athenians also used pebbles to cast votes in elections and trials.) The element –logy is the completely naturalized combining form used in the names of sciences (geology, biology) and bodies of knowledge (theologyastrology).

The 20th-century British historian R.B. McCallum wrote in a personal letter that while with C.S. Lewis and other heavy-hitting philologists, he proposed the term electionology, which so offended the sensibilities of Lewis and the others that they proposed the etymologically correct psephology, avoiding the dreadful Latin-Greek hybrid. Psephology entered English in the mid-20th century.

At first I thought that I would need to be paid – handsomely – to study elections.  Elections themselves seem to be interesting only to CPAs and statisticians.  However, the dramatis personae, the cast of characters, has evolved to make them high drama, and low comedy.  After that first Punch and Biden debate, I thought that they would have to provide the moderator for the second with a cattle prod.  It seems that a simple mute switch was sufficient, although sparks still flew.

I composed this post before the Great American Election of 2020, so, no spoilers.  Don’t tell me how it turned out.  No matter who won, the American public lost.  Now we Canadians face the inevitable march to the polls, to choose between Tweedle-dum and Tweedle-dumber.  I’m gonna study my crosswords till they spend my pension on Green Energy.   😯

Answers Without Questions

Here are 36 GOTCHA “Questions For Atheists” that I stole.  None of them seem to have anything to do with his lead paragraph, which said that most Atheists just say that there is no evidence for the existence of God, but some claim that God does not exist – as if there’s a problem or contradiction with that.

  1. Why is there something rather than nothing?

I don’t know – but neither do you!

  1. Is there any evidence that suggests the universe is eternal?

Time began when matter began, and mathematical evidence indicates that happened 13.78 Billion years ago, when the Universe unfurled during the so-called Big Bang.  So far, we cannot know how, or how long, the singularity existed “before” that, because we can’t step outside the universe to find out

  1. If not, why do Atheists hold onto the idea and say you have debunked the Kalam Cosmological Argument?

A few Atheists might, but the majority go with the 13-Billion year Big Bang.  Neither position relates to the Kalam Cosmological Argument – Everything which comes into existence must have a Creator.  This is an unproven claim – which is why it is an “Argument,” not a Proof, or even a Theorem.  Prove that the Universe needs a Creator.  Prove that your God exists.  Prove that ‘your God’ is the Creator.

  1. If so, why do the vast majority of scientists reject this idea?

See above.

  1. Why is the universe so fine-tuned?

The description “fine-tuned” implies intent.  Perhaps, out of an infinity of universes, this is the only one which didn’t re-collapse, or explode, or was suitable for life to begin.

  1. If your answer is the multiverse, why is there no evidence for that theory?

See #2 above.  We can’t step outside this universe to find evidence of others.  Perhaps they no longer exist, to find evidence for.

  1. Is it possible that there is no natural explanation for the origin of life?

There is already at least one proposed natural explanation for the origin of life.  Many ‘Good Christians’ don’t like it, and refuse to accept it, but a ‘natural explanation’ does exist.

  1. Where does consciousness come from?

See #1.  I don’t know, and neither do you!  My admission that I don’t know, is not an indication of weakness in any way.  I am merely not arrogant or desperate enough to make a claim that I can’t prove.

  1. Do you lack a belief that God exists or would you say that God does not exist?

Yes!  I find no evidence that any ‘God’ exists, and therefore lack any belief.  But also, every individual definition/description of God that has ever been presented to me, is so impossible, contradictory, or somehow in error, that I do not believe it exists.

  1. Do you lack a belief that Zeus exists, or do you believe that Zeus does not exist?

See above.  My position of belief in Zeus is precisely the same as my position of belief in the Christian God, the Hebrew Yahweh, the Muslim Allah, or any other supernatural myth.

  1. If you just lack a belief that Zeus exists, why are you centuries behind the rest of the world who say that Zeus doesn’t exist?

Another great GOTCHA question, Bible-thumper.  Have you stopped beating your wife yet?

  1. Do you act according to what you believe, or what you just lack a belief in?

See above.  After carefully removing the word ‘just’, the answer is Yes.  I act according to what I believe.  To do otherwise is defined as insanity.  I also act in ways which avoid things that I don’t believe in, like rich, benevolent Nigerian princes,  overdue income tax penalties that can be paid off with prepaid I-Tunes cards…. and God.

  1. What evidence is there that Atheism corresponds with reality?

What evidence is there that Christianity corresponds to reality?  Two thirds of the world disagrees with it.

  1. Is Atheism a worldview?

Atheism is a position on ONE question – Is there, or is there not – a “God”?  Most Atheists hold wildly varying world views, some of which are influenced by their answer to that question.

  1. If not, what is your worldview?

My worldview is irrelevant to any discussion of the above question.  Shit or get off the pot!  Can you prove that your God exists, or not?

  1. What would convince you that God exists?

I don’t know.  Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.  The Bible says that God hardens my heart so that I do not believe, so the ‘God’ that you believe in should be able to reverse the spell, and would know what would convince me.  The fact that this has not happened convinces me of His non-existence.

  1. Are you willing to follow the evidence, even if it leads to a different understanding of how the universe works?

YES!  I would ask if you would be willing to do the same, but you have already declared that you would hold onto your faith.

  1. If Jesus rose from the dead, would you become a Christian?

With three provisos – With reliable proof, not claims, or someone else’s desperate beliefs – Depending on the word games that many Apologists play with the meaning of the term, and – I would not want to worship the Christian God, who seems to be an insecure, narcissistic, capricious, homicidal maniac.

  1. If you wouldn’t become a Christian, why would you ever accept that he rose from the dead?

Worry about whether or not you can prove your claims before you worry about whether or not I’ll join your club.

  1. Why do Atheists keep insisting faith is blind trust, when that’s not what Christians or the Bible say?

In Hebrews 11: 1 the Bible says, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” I’ve seen and heard dozens of Christians who have admitted that’s exactly what faith is.  If there is evidence, or proof, there is no need for faith.

  1. Why do you want material evidence for an immaterial God?

Because many Christians insist that the immaterial God affects the material world – miracles wrought, prayers answered.  I see many such claims, but no evidence of their occurrence.  An invisible God is indistinguishable from a nonexistent God.

  1. Is there a purpose to life?

I do not find any externally-applied (objective) “Purpose To Life.”  The purpose to life is what we make of it.  I regard it as a fortuitous random occurrence, which I am happy to take advantage of.

  1. If there is, by what standard do you determine life has purpose?

The purpose of life, is to reproduce to carry the species forward into the future.  Any purpose to life is whatever the person living it assigns.  Some are laudable, while others are despicable, but all are decided on by the individual involved.

  1. If not, what is the point of listening to this video?

I believe that anyone who thought that there was no purpose to life, would not find any purpose in watching it.  With all 36 silly questions carefully printed out and down-loadable, I found no point of wasting half an hour, running the video.

  1. Where does morality come from?

Wal-Mart!  Seriously, ‘morality’ is evolution-driven empathy helping to assure the survival of our social-animal species, and individuals, through The Greatest Good For The Greatest Number.

  1. How do you determine what is right and what is wrong?

What is right and wrong for me is determined by The Greatest Good, but the For The Greatest Number portion quickly kicks in.  I can’t be totally selfish, because of social opprobrium, banishment, and government action, in the form of fines, imprisonment or execution.  Even Hitler, when he invaded Poland, did not believe that what he was doing was wrong.

  1. When a lion kills a cub from another pride because that’s what natural selection has raised it to do, is that morally acceptable?

Christian Apologists insist that only humans have a soul, therefore, whatever happens in the animal kingdom is neither moral, nor immoral.  I regard this question as deliberate obfuscation and confusion, to cloud the issue.

  1. If evolution has put a sense of morality into us to help us survive, what makes our actions any better than any other animals actions?

Better in what way, and why would they need to be?  We have a higher level of intelligence, and a greater ability to make others of our species aware of the consequences of choices and actions.  Other than that, there is no great difference.

  1. Is it morally acceptable for you kill a toddler because you can no longer financially support it?

No, because there are several other, less drastic solutions to the problem.  Also, to do so constitutes theft, the taking of all the potential experiences and good that the individual might have received, or given out.

  1. Is it morally acceptable to kill a fetus in the womb because you couldn’t financially support it?

The word ‘morally’ is adding a considerable bias to these questions.  It is reluctantly, legally, socially, acceptable to do so, and will continue to be so until implantation into a willing, alternative birth-mother is medically possible.

  1. Is it morally acceptable to kill a baby after it has been born?

Yes!  This is known as Capital Punishment.  The Good Christian States of Texas and Florida have perfected the procedure.  Also see self-defense and, tragically, War.

  1. How can you morally differentiate between a baby in the womb at 6 months and a baby born prematurely at 6 months?

The question is non-relevant, unless the writer wants to reference abortion.  Morally, there is no difference.  Physically, the already-born child has a greater number of people with a greater amount of evolution-generated empathy, concerned for its welfare.

  1. Who was Jesus?

Why do you ask?  Do you not know?  How is the answer, in any way, relevant to this discussion?

  1. Why did his disciples die saying that he rose from the dead?

Why do thousands of people claim that they have been abducted and anally probed by space aliens??  The fact that they believe it does not make it true!

  1. Why does the Bible keep lining up with archaeology? 

Because there were places in the ancient mid-east, which were mentioned, and have been found.  What about Biblical references that do not line up with archaeology, such as Noah’s flood, or the supposed destruction of dozens of cities by the Israelites under Joshua.  One sparrow does not a summer make.

  1. Why do the three bloodiest regimes in History, (Mao’s China, Nazi Germany, and Stalin’s Russia) come from Atheistic ideas?

Simple answer??  They didn’t!  Hitler was a Catholic, and every Armed Forces belt buckle had Gott Mitt Uns (God Is With Us) imprinted on it.  All three of these sociopaths merely wanted to stifle the accepted state religion, and replace it with the religion of personality Idol-Worship, making themselves gods like the Roman Emperors.

This has been far longer than my usual posts.  Thank you to those who had enough interest and stamina to wade through to the end.  I promise something much shorter next time.

Smitty’s Loose Change #13

I just won the jackpot – and I don’t even gamble.

I notice things.  I find money, because I look where people will lose money.  The $100 bill that I picked up from a grocery store checkout line floor, had been stepped on by the two customers in front of me.  I check the overflow chutes of the coin-counting machines found in many grocery stores.  I found 40 pennies in one, before Canada stopped minting them.  I still find the occasional few, because the machines have been set to reject them.

I recently left my neighborhood store, and glanced at the chute as I passed.  There were coins in it.  Not just a couple of pennies, or a bent dime, or a foreign coin that I could add to my collection.  The chute was full.  I bent over to see what they were…. and they were Loonies and Toonies – Canada’s, one and two dollar coins.

I quickly looked around, to see if there was someone cashing in a machine receipt – someone who would yell, “Get away from there!  That’s my money!”  No-one was paying me the least attention.  I took a large handful and dumped it into my shirt packet – and another large handful – and another large handful.  I scraped the last of it together and poured it into my pocket, affecting an off-the-shoulder look as I scuttled out.

I hoped to beat my $100 dollar record.  When I got home, I sorted it out.  21 Toonies = $42, 33 Loonies = $33, and 4 quarters, totaling $76.  Not a bad reward for just paying attention.  The next day, I only found two dimes.

***

Newspaper article headline
Should Kitchener aim to end all traffic injuries?

Nah!  Let’s maintain the ‘Run Em Down’ protocol we’ve always had!

Duh.  While that headline may seem rather silly, what the article was (delicately) asking, was, how much tax revenue can we afford to spend, for how much reduction in injuries.

***

How can you tell when a Christian Apologist blogger is lying?
That’s a trick question.  They’re always lying!
The liars are the majority, who won’t enable comments.  They make strawman claim after special pleading claim, but won’t engage in debate, or allow Atheists to offer counter-arguments.

The ones who are even worse than this, are the ones who edit out comments they don’t like.  I found a Christian trivia post which asked, “Who did Paul say should not be allowed to continue to Cyrene, because he had left the group?”

Knowing what would happen, I gave two answers.  Howard Stern?  Ray Comfort, because he went out for more bananas?  (If you don’t get the Ray Comfort joke, Google it.)  Sure enough, when I returned the next day, I had been excised.

***

I heard a TV weather forecast during the cold snap around Christmas.  The announcer warned not to travel to Canada’s Prairie Provinces, because the temperatures could go down to Negative 35.  I’ve never heard that expression used before.  It sounds like we owe somebody some weather.  Technically, it’s correct.  Plus and Minus are mathematical terms which indicate actions.  Five, minus (take away) three, equals two.  Have any of you ever heard a weather forecast which included the term “negative” temperatures.  My new online friend from Kenya is exempted.

***

After claiming victory over an infestation of rats, Oh Rats!, they came back for a second round.  I tried to turn the central air-conditioner on, and found that they had chewed their way in through the tiny hole that carries the tubes to the outdoor unit…. and the control wire.  😯  😦  After that repair, I sprayed the hole full of expanding, hardening plastic foam.

I had replaced the flexible dryer hose with another plastic one, because the path the tube takes from the machine to the outside vent is quite twisty, and complex.  To prevent another attack from that direction, I hired Dryer Vent Wizard to install solid, aluminum tubing.

The installation tech was, indeed, a wizard.  When he moved the dryer, leaving a hole in the floor, to the basement, Mica, my Fred Astaire-dancer, Bengal cat showed up to supervise.  Workers like this now all take pictures with their smart-phones, as proof of work done.  We didn’t even know that Mica was there.  He leaned up, took a photo, showed it to us when he finished, and sent it to us by email.

I’m Not Sure That They’re Sure

Big Bang

Here are some extracts from Atheist/Christian Apologist arguments debates.

So, how do you explain the empty tomb of Christ and the 500 witnesses to His post-death appearances?

I’d explain it the same way I’d explain Harry Potter waving a non-existent wand, and shouting ‘Petronus!’ Somebody wrote it down, who hoped that you’d buy into it.

The odds of Life arising spontaneously, are 1 with 41,000 zeroes behind it.

It didn’t have to go all the way to the last zero to be successful. It might have happened on the first – or the tenth – or the thousandth time. And all the attempts need not be sequential. In Earth’s reported early ages, the chemical soup in the oceans was thick, and there were tens of thousands of lightning strikes PER DAY, which might have catalyzed primitive life.

Question: Was there ever a time when there was no chemical soup, no oceans, no lightning strikes or electricity, no Earth?

Yes. What’s your point?

Was there ever a time when there was no chemical soup, no oceans, no lightning strikes or electricity, no Earth?

(Well, that certainly clarifies that! 😛 )
In the beginning, if the scientific and mathematical evidence is valid, 13.8 Billion years ago, ‘The Big Bang’ allowed a hyper-dense singularity, containing all matter, to expand and become the Universe of today.

If geological research is correct, the Earth came into existence about 4.5 billion years ago. This leaves over 9 Billion years in-between, twice the time that the Earth has existed, when stars were born and died. Some exploded into novas, and super-novas, fusing hydrogen and helium into the heavier and heavier elements necessary for the rise of life. Eventually gravitational tides caused some of it to agglomerate, and coalesce into our galaxy, our sun, our solar system, our planet.

Even then, it took over a billion years for the Earth to cool enough to allow the existence of liquid water, and the chemical soup that life was spurred from. Yes, once upon a time – actually, for a really long time – there was no Earth, no oceans, no soup, no lightning, no life. So what??! There is also no proof – no vague indication – that the butler God did it.

I think I answered this (a claim that Atheists can’t be happy without God) in my final paragraph in the article, for those who believe in Genesis 1:1; it’s the verse that divides. I actually think you’d agree with that statement.

Actually, I don’t agree with it, because, actually, you didn’t ’answer’ it. You made a statement – an unproven claim – which buttresses your opinions, ignoring the statements of Atheists. This is merely the first of dozens – hundreds – of verses which divide, not merely Christians from Atheists, but often one sect of Christians from the rest. I have a file with 23 pages of examples of mistakes and contradictions in the Bible. One verse says one thing, and a page or two later, another verse says something entirely different.

There’s no compelling reason for another atheist to adopt your moral imperative as their own, and many don’t. If no God created, then why should they have to? Yours is no doubt better for your neighbours than some of the things other atheists have adopted, and it may be better in practice than some who claim to be Christians do. But still, it comes back to the fact that you are the one who has decided it, and it has no answer for death. You are supreme while you are alive but you will submit to death, so your supremacy is limited. Death is supreme for you — you claim supremacy now, but you know it is only temporary.

I realize that it makes you feel better to phrase statements like this, in a way that reinforces your stance and beliefs. Of course there is no compelling reason for anyone to accept my beliefs except me. Each person should be free within their own mind. There need be no imperative. There is no dogma among Atheists, as there is in Christian churches. This whole statement seriously disturbs me. People who compel others are – at best, bullies – at worst, criminals.

This appetite for compulsion and competition is worrying. Life is not a game, to be lost or won. Rather, we all should do the best we can with what we have. I make no claim of supremacy, whether over Death, or anyone else, and I have no answer for Death. It is inevitable. Life, indeed, is temporary. Make the most of it that you can, while you have it. Don’t wait for God to (maybe) iron out your wrinkles, once you’re gone.   😳

***

BTW:

I just had an epiphany. Atheists are allowed to have them. While I was getting the above post ready to publish, I heard (All Christmas – All The Time) The Little Drummer Boy song. For years, it has drifted in one ear and out the other, with no thought. Suddenly, I realized what is being unwittingly portrayed.

“A Little Drummer Boy is not just some kid in an elementary school band. A drummer boy is the child, trained to beat out the cadences for ancient armies. The bugler conveyed the orders to march, attack, retreat, wheel left, etc. The drummer boy set the pace for thousands of men to kill and maim each other.

It is disturbing that this song shows him displaying his martial abilities…. to the Prince of Peace. 👿

Even other Christians are disturbed at a new trend this Christmas.  More and more ‘Good Christians’ are adding crosses to their Nativity scenes.  There are two, very different stories within the New Testament.  One is about the birth of the Christ child.  The other is about the death of the Messiah.  They should not be confused for one another.  This just seems to say, “Open your eyes, kid.  See what they have in store for you.”  😯