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Comments by Tyler Durden

Go to: Simply ... should I read the bible?

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Comment 82 by Jalil :

In the case of the Quran which introduced Science to the world

In the words of John P McEnroe: "You cannot be serious."

Thu, 23 Aug 2012 13:41:30 UTC | #951161

Go to: Does Religion = Superstition? G-D Forbid!

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Comment 60 by Rob W. :

Do you believe that women in menstruation should feel guilty?

I am not a rabbi, and therefore not an expert in this area.

Priceless. Best comment of the day.

Well done, Rob, you win the internet.

Thu, 23 Aug 2012 13:05:23 UTC | #951160

Go to: Classroom Clashes: Teaching evolution

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Comment 219 by Rob W. :

I get high worshiping G-d. Does that mean that G-d exists? Who knows? Who cares? It's got to be safer than using actual opiates.

I care.

I care about the truth, and what is real, as opposed to pure fantasy (i.e. your god, and every other god humans have invented to make them feel protected, or special, or high).

And I certainly don't trust the judgment of those who are "high", regardless of their preferred choice of substance abuse.

I said, "Rabbi, you exist. I exist. Bacteria exists. The galaxy exists. I'm not saying G-d doesn't exist, but to say that G-d exists per se would be putting G-d in the same category as you and me, as if G-d were just another being subject to space and time, and that doesn't make any sense. Do I sound meshuge to you?"

Oh dear. Your particular god is "outside of space and time" yet somehow interacts with the world - that doesn't make any sense. None whatsoever.

Epic Fail, Rob. Epic Fail.

Fri, 17 Aug 2012 13:50:05 UTC | #950948

Go to: A lawsuit too far?

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Comment 2 by Jay G :

So even if little kids are taught these religious songs now, that's no guarantee they will be immune to a rational mind-set later on.

True. However, look at what McCary, the school district's attorney, is claiming:

"He's Got the Whole World in His Hands" is used appropriately to teach musical concepts. Do you know this particular song? It's repetition upon repetition.

The school could easily have used "10 Green Bottles" instead, if their goal was to teach the musical concept of repetition, and symmetry, in motifs and hooks.

Sadly, this has nothing to do with "teaching musical concepts", it's blatant religious indoctrination.

And, don't get me wrong, I have no problem with religiously-inspired music. I recently attended a performance of Mozart's Requiem in St Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin. Incredible. And have also enjoyed Handel's Messiah in Christ Church Cathedral around Christmas time.

Thu, 16 Aug 2012 13:33:10 UTC | #950878

Go to: A lawsuit too far?

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The possibly-religious songs include "Thank You for the World So Sweet," which says "Thank you God for everything," "Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep," which says "I pray the Lord my soul to keep," "Michael Row your Boat Ashore" and "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands."

Possibly-religious, hello?

We sang "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands" in my Catholic primary school for one reason, and one reason only.

"[the songs] were used appropriately to teach musical concepts," said Kathryn McCary, the school district's attorney.

Pull the other one, Kathryn, it plays Jingle Bells.

Thu, 16 Aug 2012 12:11:55 UTC | #950872

Go to: Simply ... should I read the bible?

Tyler Durden's Avatar Jump to comment 5 by Tyler Durden

I'd just be interested in anyone's thoughts, is the Bible 'recommended reading'?

Yes. Read it. Read every book, chapter and verse. Even the boring ones (Matthew 1). It will certainly confirm your atheism, and help you see how sick and twisted the book actually is when it comes to advocating morality.

You may enjoy some of the literature (KJV), stories (Parable of the Talents) and analogies. But it will also equip you with more information and armoury than your Christian friends know how to deal with - as they've probably never read it.

(I've only read parts of the Qur'an, so, I would have a similar query: should I read the Qur'an?)

Wed, 15 Aug 2012 16:02:38 UTC | #950829

Go to: Classroom Clashes: Teaching evolution

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Comment 209 by Rob W. :

The ideal for which I strive and which I champion is the most practical, rational, logical interpretation of religion possible.

In the words of Ralph Wiggam - "That's unpossible" :)

Wed, 15 Aug 2012 09:22:42 UTC | #950808

Go to: Classroom Clashes: Teaching evolution

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Comment 82 by larriji :

The translation of the Bible into English - ordained by King James - was perhaps one of the greatest acts of learning in Western civilization. And yet, if you ask any atheist, like Dawkins, they would probably think it was not worth the effort - or that it was a bad thing.

Why I want all our children to read the King James Bible by Richard Dawkins.

Check, and mate.

Thu, 09 Aug 2012 10:23:40 UTC | #950531

Go to: Celebrating Curiosity on Twitter

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Comment 12 by Richard Dawkins :

I'm dreading the day that a US astronaut steps onto the surface of Mars for the first time, and utters the requisite soundbyte praising god for the beauty of the universe that he created, and for delivering the crew safely to their destination.

Don't despair, things may not be as bad as they seem. Last year, at the splendid STARMUS conference in Tenerife that brought together astronauts and scientists, I had many agreeable conversations with Bill Anders, astronaut who famously read from the first Chapter of the book of Genesis while orbiting the moon on Apollo 8 in 1968. Major General Anders, a gallant, intelligent and entertaining man, told me he has no respect for religion. He read the Bible in space only because he was told to by NASA.

I seem to remember Buzz Aldrin in a recent interview (Nat Geo, Discovery Channel?) saying he now regrets his 'communion on the moon' stunt, but I can't find his exact quote.

Tue, 07 Aug 2012 11:59:56 UTC | #950491

Go to: Celebrating Curiosity on Twitter

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Yes, America STILL manages to reach Mars, despite half the country preparing to elect a man who believes he'll get a planet when he dies.

Delicious.

Mon, 06 Aug 2012 15:02:45 UTC | #950430

Go to: Against All Gods

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Comment 25 by Ignorant Amos :

There is an excuse for gullible ignorant people sucking up the bilge, but when there is a Pope in the 20th century, try reading the 'Munificentissimus Deus'.

"By the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and by our own authority, we pronounce, declare, and define it to be a divinely revealed dogma: that the Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory"

the ever Virgin Mary?!? Good grief. What is it about the idea of sex that these clowns are so afraid of?

I suddenly feel so sorry for Joseph.

(Amos, I thought Jesus had a brother, James, no?)

Fri, 27 Jul 2012 13:45:57 UTC | #950160

Go to: Religious Olympics

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The Steeplechase - and the only safety gear allowed is blind-faith.

Wed, 25 Jul 2012 09:13:51 UTC | #950026

Go to: Religious Olympics

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Comment 44 by clodhopper :

The 100 martyrs

The 110 martyrs hurdle.

Tue, 24 Jul 2012 22:27:31 UTC | #950009

Go to: We asked "Do you really believe ___" and they said yes. Now what?

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Comment 621 by Shrommer :

When would you make up a story about Moses parting the Red Sea and over a million people crossing over?

6th century BCE during the Babylonian exile, according to William Johnstone, in Eerdmans Commentary on the Bible (2003).

A film like Exodus Decoded or Michael Rood's website, gives modern archeological evidence to back up such accounts.

There is no "modern archeological evidence" for events as told in Exodus. None.

Tue, 24 Jul 2012 19:16:51 UTC | #949995

Go to: The raw deal of determinism and reductionism

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Comment 284 by Schrodinger's Cat :

SCat - I see you're still leading the lads on a wild and merry goose chase. I almost took the bait, but past experience has served me well :)

I look forward to reading your peer-reviewed paper on the "extra physics" of human awareness.

Mon, 23 Jul 2012 09:20:37 UTC | #949882

Go to: The raw deal of determinism and reductionism

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Comment 142 by Steve Zara :

Comment 141 by Zeuglodon

I haven't read much Ramachandran. Does he explicitly say this anywhere or did you infer it from his writings, and if he did explicitly say it, where can I find this information?

I think it may also be in his excellent book "The tell-tale brain".

@Steve, you're correct on both counts: Rama discusses mirror neurons in Chapter 4: The Neurons That Shaped Civilisation; and it is an excellent book:

The Tell-Tale Brain: Unlocking the Mystery of Human Nature: mirror neurons - pages 120-135.

Thu, 19 Jul 2012 16:56:52 UTC | #949588

Go to: The raw deal of determinism and reductionism

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Comment 95 by logicophilosophicus :

Since you take it as axiomatic that consciousness is ENTIRELY material, it is your argument re the Measurement Problem which is in fact circular.

How can consciousness be immaterial?

Tue, 17 Jul 2012 14:05:20 UTC | #949423

Go to: The raw deal of determinism and reductionism

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Comment 92 by Steve Zara :

There isn't a place in the human brain where quantum wavefunctions hit and then suddenly decide that it's time to collapse.

What if they're tired? :)

Tue, 17 Jul 2012 11:53:30 UTC | #949405

Go to: Teaching science in public schools without stepping around religion

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Comment 22 by Nordic11 :

Physics explains how the universe works, but it cannot discover why it was put together the way it was.

Of course it can, and as a science teacher, Nordic, you should know this.

Pop quiz:

Q1. Why is the sun at the centre of our solar system?

Q2. Why do the rocky planets orbit closer to the sun than the gas giants?

Q3. Why do some stars (e.g. SN 1604) trigger a supernova?

Tue, 17 Jul 2012 11:23:35 UTC | #949400

Go to: Teaching science in public schools without stepping around religion

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Comment 22 by Nordic11 :

Science cannot study the mind of the baker.

If only there existed a field of science dedicated to the study of mind (and behaviour) of humans.

Tue, 17 Jul 2012 11:05:17 UTC | #949398

Go to: Three Developments in British Education

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Comment 204 by Steve Zara :

Evolution has been a challenge for the Church, but it's going to pale into insignificance in comparison to the challenge of neuroscience. Exciting times ahead!

Indeed. I would actually go as far as to say neuroscience could sound the death knell for organised religion. But then, I'm biased :)

Fri, 13 Jul 2012 14:52:50 UTC | #949063

Go to: Three Developments in British Education

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Comment 203 by RJMoore :

Comment 202 by Steve Zara

The criterion for Catholicism accepting evolution is not scientific evidence, but that evolution doesn't seem to get in the way of spiritual belief and core Catholic values.

Is that true? Surely it was the weight of scientific evidence (in respect of evolution) that forced the CC to accept it that the theory held water.

@RJ - the RCC only ever make official pronouncments if it is of direct benefit to... the RCC. That is how it stays in business.

(As above) I dont think its acceptance is on theological grounds at all; it just couldnt deny what was shown to be true by science.

They can only accept evolution on theological (or "theistic evolutionary") grounds because the science of evolution shows their "original sin" shell-game to be bogus: no "Adam and Eve", no "original sin", no need for Jesus as saviour.

You only have to watch the pretzel-logic and mental gymnastics of Catholics, who do profess to accept evolution, in action to see the illegitimacy of their position.

Fri, 13 Jul 2012 14:28:09 UTC | #949054

Go to: The raw deal of determinism and reductionism

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Comment 15 by logicophilosophicus :

Personally I think awareness itself, and probably also volition, will require new physics. I'd certainly regard it as an unwarranted act of faith to assert that the known particles and forces, as of this moment in time, MUST be entirely sufficient to explain free will, intention, purpose, ethics, value and the rest.

There is no need to posit "new physics" to explain awareness.

Self-awareness is a product of neurons within our evolved brains; and in particular, mirror neurons, as discovered by Rizzolati, Gallase and Laccoboni while recording actions in the brains of monkeys.

Here's neuroscientist V.S Ramachandran on the subject:

Mirror neurons are also abundant in the inferior parietal lobule — a structure that underwent an accelerated expansion in the great apes and, later, in humans.. As the brain evolved further the lobule split into two gyri — the supramarginal gyrus that allowed you to "reflect" on your own anticipated actions and the angular gyrus that allowed you to "reflect" on your body (on the right) and perhaps on other more social and linguistic aspects of your self (left hemisphere).

Ergo, mirror neurons, the supramarginal gyrus, and the angular gyrus of the brain are clear physical evidence for self-awareness. Certainly not an "unwarranted act of faith", as it's something we can actually pin-down with neuroscience, so no need for new physics.

Also, the Mirror test is an ideal mechanism to explain self-awareness; as is the ability to switch off self-awareness in the superfrontal gyrus - not an "unwarranted act of faith" - no need for new physics.

See also: work by Binet and Bandura with regard to intelligence and self-efficacy. Certainly not an "unwarranted act of faith" - no need for new physics.

Fri, 13 Jul 2012 13:35:59 UTC | #949050

Go to: Moral compass: a guide to religious freedom

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Comment 240 by RJMoore :

Are you that naive to think Muslim girls wear the burka (or niqab) of their own volition?

Well, you can read what numerous muslim women who wear the burka said when asked about their 'choice' in the matter; but let's say, for the sake of argument, that they are lying....what then? What is the state going to do?

For the sake of argument: if Muslim women are lying about why they are wearing a burka, there's not a damn thing the state can do.

But back to my question: Are you that naive to think Muslim girls wear the burka (or niqab) of their own volition?

What should the state do with regard to female genital mutilation on the grounds of Islamic culture and tradition? I wonder what Muslim girls would say if you asked them how they felt about having their clitoris forcibly hacked off for religious reasons.

Sun, 01 Jul 2012 16:25:57 UTC | #948394

Go to: Moral compass: a guide to religious freedom

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Comment 210 by RJMoore :

(the assumption) the women who choose to wear the burka have no choice in the matter. They do. Provided that they are wearing it of their own volition, it's not the state's business.

@RJ - Are you that naive to think Muslim girls wear the burka (or niqab) of their own volition?

(It is the state's business if the wearing of a veil, headscarf or burka conceal the face, and so, lead to security issues in banks, airports, courts or government buildings.)

Sat, 30 Jun 2012 13:33:31 UTC | #948351

Go to: Where do atheist morals come from?

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Comment 106 by parkerjwill :

Morality must originate from the same universal source which is the foundation for all order in the cosmos.

Whoever claimed order exists in the cosmos? Cosmological references, please.

What is this source? God.

Let us assume by "God" you actually mean Yahweh, the god of the Judeo-Christian bible. Do you think owning slaves, child sacrifice, or genocide is moral?

Sun, 24 Jun 2012 09:30:59 UTC | #947994

Go to: Why We Don't Believe in Science

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Comment 78 by Nordic11 :

The fossil evidence for millions of years of human evolution could probably fit in a couple of filing cabinents...

Nordic, have you never been to a Natural History museum?

Your comment might be indicative of an nescient opinion held by a uneducated young earth creationist, perhaps living in a trailer park, without access to the pertinent information.

But you're a science teacher.

Fri, 22 Jun 2012 23:43:55 UTC | #947968

Go to: Three Developments in British Education

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Comment 73 by blitz442 :

Comment 71 by Tyler Durden

Please don't say "The Fall", please don't say "The Fall", please don't say "The Fall".

I try very hard these days not to use names like "idiot" when describing the religious. But if someone really ascribes all of the misery, disease, death, natural disasters, etc. in the history of the world to a man eating a fruit, then that person is an idiot. Not delusional, not misinformed, not "a smart person holding irrational beliefs". No, that person is truly stupid.

@blitz, it reminds me of this from earlier this month:

Comment 36 by Wonderingaboutlife :

Tyler, my belief is that HIV, MRSA, cancer, etc. are all a result of a fallen world.

And she presented herself as a medical doctor!?!

Tue, 19 Jun 2012 22:11:54 UTC | #947880

Go to: Three Developments in British Education

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Comment 68 by LongDarkHair :

I was listening to a street preacher yesterday

Why?!

Tue, 19 Jun 2012 21:21:44 UTC | #947875

Go to: Three Developments in British Education

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Comment 69 by Ignorant Amos :

Comment 68 by LongDarkHair

I was listening to a street preacher yesterday and felt it was quite moving. It was called the' Lie of New Atheism' - they, [intellectual atheists], cannot explain human corruption etc.It was interesting.

Do you think the religious have an answer that explains human corruption then?

Please don't say "The Fall", please don't say "The Fall", please don't say "The Fall".

The Fall.

D'oh.

Tue, 19 Jun 2012 21:18:54 UTC | #947874