Skeptic's Circle #72
Oh yeah, you're gonna want to get there fast to check it out. Don't be tardy. Click here right now before the second bell rings!
Oh yeah, you're gonna want to get there fast to check it out. Don't be tardy. Click here right now before the second bell rings!
Yesterday, Dana White (the foul-mouthed, highly visible president of the Ultimate Fighting Championship) announced that the undercard top fight for the December event that features Matt vs. Matt for the welterweight belt will be the highly anticipated Chuck Liddell against Wanderlei Silva.
Over at PZ's blog, he did a meme that I thought was interesting. It was to find the five phrases/words that, when searched on google.com brought up your blog as the first result. I took it upon myself to do this for my blog and came up with the following:
You Scored an A
You got 10/10 questions correct.
It's pretty obvious that you don't make basic grammatical errors.
If anything, you're annoyed when people make simple mistakes on their blogs.
As far as people with bad grammar go, you know they're only human.
And it's humanity and its current condition that truly disturb you sometimes.
It looks like Rich Franklin just doesn't have the combination to beat Anderson Silva. Not that that's a slight against the former champ, I don't think anyone in the middleweight division has what it takes to beat Silva at the moment - although I'd like to see Swick get a shot.
I was raised Catholic. I went to church every Sunday, catechism one night through the week, and was a youth leader at a spiritual retreat. I believed. Certainly not in a fervent, hand-wringing sort of way, but I knew that there was something called God "up there" because otherwise why were all these adults revering the Pope, looking to the sky in times of trouble, and praying with all their might for sick Aunt Pauline?
How many times? How many times will Dinesh D'Souza be annoyingly wrong and vacuous? It's getting almost as tiring as refuting Deepak Chopra. D'Souza once again spits out arguments against atheism that he seems to smugly smile at as proof that a religious mindset is better than a secular one. He, on this occasion, uses Immanuel Kant as a battering ram against naturalistic thought to, he seems to think, great effect.
Consider a tape recorder. It captures only one mode of reality, namely sound. Thus all aspects of reality that cannot be captured in sound are beyond its reach. The same, Kant would argue, is true of human beings. The only way we apprehend empirical reality is through our five senses. But why should we believe, Kant asked, that this five-mode instrument is sufficient? What makes us think that there is no reality that lies beyond sensory perception?This is just silly in the face of technological advances. I mean, the light spectrum, for example. We never knew - certainly Kant didn't - about radio waves for a long long time. We never knew about quasars, pulsars or binary stars or how to find them. Then along came radio telescopes that can find these waves we had no way to see before. We couldn't touch, smell, taste, or hear them either. Gee, that's all five senses. So I guess we found out that there's a reality that lies beyond our sensory perception. Sorry Dinesh.
...comparing our experience of reality to reality itself is impossible. We have representations only, never the originals. So we have no basis for presuming that the two are even comparable. When we equate experience and reality, we are making an unjustified leap.I'd disagree with that. We can, perhaps, not have the originals, but we can have a group consensus among humans experiencing the same event or situation who all agree on the architecture of the parts involved. That's as close as we can get and that, as far as we high-primates are concerned, is reality in its original form. Show me it's not and I'll argue then.
It is entirely rational for us to use science and reason to discover the operating principles of the world of experience. This world, however, is not the only one there is.I'd love for D'Souza to show his work for that statement. What is, or where are, these other worlds?
Kant (is) positing two kinds of reality: the material reality that we experience and reality itself. To many, the implication of Kant's argument is that reality as a whole is, in principle, inaccessible to human perception and human reason.Well then, let's just give up on trying. A poster in a comment bank on another website (forgive me for not having a link) mentioned the similarity to the "intelligent" design idea here: reality is "inaccessible to human perception and human reason", so let's just say that god did it and call it a day.
Kant's philosophical vision is largely congruent with the teachings of many faiths that the empirical world is not the only world...The spiritual reality constitutes the only permanent reality there is. Christianity teaches that while reason can point to the existence of this higher domain, it cannot on its own fully comprehend that domain.I'm going to need a definition of "spiritual reality"; and why is it a "higher domain"? Does reason really point to it? I think not. I half expected D'Souza to mention quantum mechanics in this paragraph as we all know Chopra would have.
We learn from Kant that within the domain of experience, human reason is sovereign, but it is in no way unreasonable to believe things on faith that simply cannot be adjudicated by reason.Why not? If something cannot be judged real by reason, why should I believe in its existence? I've said it before and I'm sure I'll say it again - there's no reasonable means of finding out if there are flying green six-legged buffalo on Venus, so why should I believe in them on faith? Belief in gods is the same problem and D'Souza seems to have no answer as to why he believes in a sky-daddy but not my six-legged flying green buffalo. We can call this the Flying Spaghetti Monster Problem, if you like.
Atheism foolishly presumes that reason is in principle capable of figuring out all that there is, while theism at least knows that there is a reality greater than, and beyond, that which our senses and our minds can ever apprehend.Well it would be a cocky scientist indeed who says that one day, we shall know all there is to know about our world and universe. This is the boast of religions flipped around and stuck the the back of the scientific method like a schoolboy slapping a "kick me" sign on his buddy...and it's getting old.
Sam Brownback, whom I have taken to task before, is ready to throw in the towel in the '08 presidential race. He doesn't seem to be able to raise money effectively having only generated 4 million or thereabouts.
Check out the debate between Christopher Hitchens and Alister McGrath at the Richard Dawkins site. It's an hour and forty minutes, so bring a snack, but it's well worth it because Hitchens just beats the snot out of McGrath. It really isn't even funny.
to: preposition; begins prepositional phrase or an infinitive as in, "I'm going to the store", or "He helped to write the term paper."
I learned from Orac today that the autism blog and hub for fighting the crazy anti-vaccination crowd that has been going for five years or so, Left Brain Right Brain, has shut down.
I patted Archbishop Rowan Williams on the back for his stance against ID or creationism is schools a while back, but in that piece I said I'd probably fight with him about other things. Well, here we have one of those things in full techno-colour.
Don't distract us from the real arguments by assuming that religion is an eccentric survival strategy or irrational form of explanation...When believers pick up Richard Dawkins or Christopher Hitchens, we may feel as we turn the pages: 'This is not it. Whatever the religion being attacked here, it's not actually what I believe in'Pardon? Please explain to me how appealing to an invisible sky-man is not irrational. I'd love to hear that clearly expressed. Secondly, of course people don't recognize their religion in what's being demolished by Hitchens and Dawkins (not to mention Harris, Dennett, Stenger, and a ton of bloggers). When you're in the middle of it, you can't see it - it's like being in a shitty relationship where all your friends are saying, "Holy crap, you need to kick this psycho to the curb and move on", but you think your partner is just the bestest and everything's peachy.
Right off the bat, I want to say that I don't like to mince words. Those of you who read my blog regularly will be quite familiar with that fact. In that vein, I decided to just put the title of this "movie" in the grown up language we all know in place of the babyish title of What the Bleep Do We Know. Let's get a life, shall we?
Crazy ol' Pope Benny said in a recent article that the Catholic Church is against embryonic stem cell research because it violates, "the dignity of human life". No shit, that's what the old man in the funny hat said. I don't think he has a clue what he's talking about and in the following four paragraphs, I shall attempt to prove it.
The destruction of human embryos, whether to acquire stem cells or for any other purpose, contradicts the purported intent of researchers, legislators and public health officials to promote human welfare....So what about when the frozen blastocysts are thrown away after five years? Is that bad too? Here's the actual quote: "(S)urplus 5-day-old embryos...Such embryos are produced in the 'test-tube' for infertile couples, but often more are produced than needed...normally thrown away after 5 years". See, I wouldn't lie to you. Wait, is freezing them in the first place bad? Is every extra fertilized egg supposed to be reared into adulthood by caring and God-fearing Catholics? Man, I hope not. We can't feed all the people that are on the Earth right now, let alone if all the extra sperminated eggs start being hatched in incubators; hospitals will start looking like that scene in The Matrix where all the egg-pod people are being grown for batteries.
Wow, that was unexpected. While in South Africa filming the next Scorpion King movie, Randy "The Natural" Couture (aka Captain America) has announced via a letter to Dana White that he is leaving the UFC. So sayeth the Fight Network, so it is.
The 71st Skeptic's Circle is up overat Infophilia and you'd do well to go check out the links, words, evaluations, and witty banter.
A group of Muslim scholars wrote a letter to the Pope, among others, saying that the faiths should really really try to understand each other better. Somehow I don't think this will work. You have groups of people who just believe stupid things trying to grasp which ridiculous story has merit and agreeing that both are just dandy. The Muslims, who think a guy rode up to Heaven on a horse with wings, think that the Catholics, who believe a guy walked on water, got killed, came back from the dead - all after performing Copperfield-like miracles - need to get together on the issues.
Ummm...anyone else see this? Anyone else weirded out? Rev. Gary Aldridge seems to have been hiding something. Maybe he's been watching a little too much Showcase on Friday nights (do they get that in Alabama? Maybe on Dish TV). Poor fella spent his 51 years devoted to the wrong stuff. Instead of being the minister of the Montgomery's Thorington Road Baptist Church, he might have been a well-known sex advice therapist or maybe a gay/tranny icon. If he wasn't a religious man, he might have had a confident sex partner there to help him out of the wet-suits (yes, that's plural), masks, ligatures, and maybe take the dildo out of his behind so he didn't die. There's something to be said for safety in numbers.
Why is it that whenever I see the word "Family" in a political party's name, it means that a group of crazy religious bigoted asshats got together and think they know best? Take, for example, a party that I've seen signs for in our provincial election here in Ontario, the Family Coalition Party.
The Family Coalition Party is Ontario's only pro-Life, pro-family political party, and the only provincial party that endorses the principles of the Preamble to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms in the Canadian Constitution:That's right, the only party that's "pro-family". All those other parties just think family sucks and is a quaint outdated concept. Especially us godless heathen-type folks - we're anti-family.
"Whereas Canada is founded upon principles that recognize the supremacy of God and the rule of law..."
This is too good. A "psychic" from Toronto who conned a woman from Seattle out of $220,000 was caught in Calgary hiding under some blankets in a closet.
High school students, beware of the Bard. I realize that this is a bit of an old story, but I still thought it was funny that a production of a compilation of Shakespeare's plays and sonnets was "inappropriate" for seventeen year-olds. At least in the opinion of Tara Kissane, a director of something or other that I don't care enough to click to the other web page I have open to check. She said that, "there was inappropriate language and the content was very suggestive...I just thought it was over some of our kids' heads and it wasn't appropriate for our kids...."